Thursday, May 31, 2007

Declaration of the Anglican Bishops of Latin America and the Caribbean

"Be completely humble and gentle; be patient, bearing with one another in love. Make every effort to keep the unity of the Spirit through the bond of peace." Ephesians 4:2-3

"By this all men would now that you are my disciples, if you love one another." John 13:35

We the Anglican Bishops of Latin America and the Caribbean, who sign below, gathered in San Jose, Costa Rica from the 18 to 22 of May 2007, renew and ratify our position proposed in Panama, better known as the Global Center, in which we call the Communion to preserve its participative nature, diverse, ample and inclusive, characteristics which we consider essential to Anglicanism and at the same time our contribution to the Christian tradition.

Since our last meeting, our concern has grown because of the polarization regarding the biblical and theological positions manifested in the Anglican Communion, during the last years; positions known as Global North and Global South, non reconcilable in their character and putting the unity in the Communion at risk.

In the midst of this painful controversy, we do not identify with either side, because they don't fully represent the spirit of our thoughts.

It has been proven in our relations that we greatly represent the plurality and diversity that are universal characteristics of Anglicanism and that we hold different positions on the themes that are presently discussed in the Communion. However, we have also experienced that the plurality and diversity we represent has become a rich source for growth, rather than a cause for controversy and division.

We unanimously express our determination to remain united as members of the same family and will continue to come to the Lord's Table, together.

We invite our brothers and sisters in the episcopate, as well as all the members of the Clergy and laity who identify with this vision, to join together and work for an effective reconciliation, interdependence and unity in the diversity of our family of faith and so preserve the valuable legacy of which we are guardians.

As disciples of Jesus, called to live out the mandate of love (St. John 15:17), we declare our commitment to be together and with all our strength, struggle for unity, as an act of obedience to His will expressed in the Holy Scriptures. Trusting that the Holy Spirit, whose descent we are about to celebrate on the Feast of Pentecost, will guide and strengthen us on such a difficult journey.

The experience of these few days confirms our conviction that, we will make it with God's blessings. Of this, we are sure and now we return to our dioceses comforted and full of joy and hope.

The Rt. Rev. Mauricio Andrade
Diócesis de Brasilia, Brasil

The Rt. Rev. Carlos Touché Porter
Diócesis de Mexico

The Rt. Rev. Martin Barahona
Diócesis de El Salvador

The Rt. Rev. Lloyd Allen
Diócesis de Honduras
Province IX President TEC

The Rt. Rev. Jubal Neves
Diócesis South Ocidental, Brasil

The Rt. Rev. Naudal Gomez
Diócesis de Curitiva, Brasil

The Rt. Rev. Sebastiao Gamaleira
Diócesis de Recife, Brasil

The Rt. Rev. Filadelfo Oliveira
Diócesis de Recife, Brasil

The Rt. Rev. Orlando Santos de Oliveira
Diócesis Meridional, Brasil

The Rt. Rev. Armando Guerra Soria
Diócesis de Guatemala

The Rt. Rev. Julio E. Murray
Diócesis de Panamá

The Rt. Rev. Héctor Monterroso
Diócesis de Costa Rica

The Rt. Rev. Lino Rodríguez
Diócesis del Occidente de México

The Rt. Rev. Benito Juárez
Diócesis del Sureste de México

The Rt. Rev. Francisco Duque
Diócesis de Colombia

The Rt. Rev. Alfredo Morante
Diócesis de litoral, Ecuador

The Rt. Rev. Orlando Guerrero
Diócesis de Venezuela

The Rt. Rev. Miguel Tamayo
Diócesis de Uruguay y Diócesis de Cuba

The Rt. Rev. Wilfrido Ramos
Diócesis de Ecuador Central

The Rt. Rev. Julio Cesar Olguín
Diócesis de República Dominica

The Rt. Rev. José Antonio Ramos
Retired Bishop

Tuesday, May 29, 2007

Episcopal Public Policy Network

The Episcopal Public Policy Network (EPPN) is a nationwide grassroots network of Episcopalians who call and write their members of Congress and the Administration to advocate positions of the Church. Members of the EPPN receive policy alerts updating them on what is happening in Washington, the Church's position on public policies, and techniques and information on contacting their government leaders. EPPN members also receive a congressional directory and action guide, legislative updates and newsletters, training in advocacy methods, online resources and sample letters.

Click here to join the EPPN!

The programs, action, and ministry of the EPPN and the Office of Government Relations are based solely upon resolutions approved by General Convention, or in the interim, by the Convention’s Executive Council.

As Episcopalians, we promise in the Baptismal Covenant to "strive for justice and peace." Striving for a just and peaceful world can take the form of helping those in need one-on-one. It can also involve pursuing broad, social change through public policies designed to help the needy. The EPPN is committed to the ministry of justice and peace through public policy advocacy. Your national leaders need to hear from you, as Episcopalians. Each year, Congress considers hundreds of bills that impact the mission of the Church. Many organizations are actively engaged in the debates on Capitol Hill. If we are not, others wind up speaking for us. We have a Christian view of public policy that our nation’s leaders need and want to hear. Your letters and calls make a difference.

Click here to join the EPPN!

We need more Spirit-filled voices to support the Church’s mission and to call for the promotion of the Millennium Development Goals, action on the global climate crisis, and support for reforms to the farm bill that will benefit farmers and poor and hungry people around the world!

Memorial Day Prayer

ALMIGHTY God, we remember before you with grateful hearts the men and women of our country who in the day of decision ventured much for the liberties we now enjoy and especially for those men and women who have laid down their lives in the service of our country. Grant to those who are commemorated on these memorials and those written in our hearts your mercy and the light of your presence. And give, O Lord, to the people of our country a zeal for justice and the strength of forbearance, that we may use our liberty in accordance with your gracious will. And in your name we pray. Amen.

Sermon: Pentecost

“Suddenly from heaven there came a sound like the rush of a violent wind, and it filled the entire house where they were sitting. All of them were filled with the Holy Spirit.” And thus, the Church began. Pentecost, literally “50 days,” celebrates this birth of the Spirit upon the disciples, the gathering of the faithful, in God’s name with God’s Spirit, just as Jesus had promised. Since Jesus was no longer among the disciples after his death, resurrection and ascension, it was the Spirit of God that would empower them for ministry.

The same Holy Spirit that breathed over creation at its birth, is the same rushing wind that is poured upon the disciples in the reading from Acts. The Spirit rests on each one, like fire, empowering them to proclaim the Good News in the languages of those who were present in Jerusalem. The people hear about Jesus in their own language and about God’s deeds of power, and they are amazed. The Spirit pours out on the Church, like wind on this day, and the Spirit rested on the disciples like fire.

In some ways, the Holy Spirit is the unsung portion of our Triune God that we take for granted and never quite give its due. Christians, rightly focus on Jesus, the deeds he did on Earth as well as his redemption of humanity through his death and resurrection. Yet, Jesus does not walk among us now. We rely on that Spirit to be with us today, for it is the Spirit that send us out to the world, to all the peoples, and all their languages. As our PB, Katharine Schori recently wrote, “God’s mission has a church, and that mission means we are to speak and do good news. Pentecost would seem to say most clearly that God as Holy Spirit prompts witness in a variety of languages and to a variety of people.”

The Church believes in our witness to the world and relies on the Holy Spirit to guide it, strengthen it, reform it, equip it for the ministry that Jesus has shown us and for which God intends us to live. In Baptism, we are sealed by the Holy Spirit and marked as Christ’s own forever. In Baptism, we become part of the body of Christ, for there is one Body and One Spirit.

It is that Spirit that is given to each of us at our baptism for the common good. There are many gifts and ministries as St. Paul tells us but all of them – wisdom, knowledge, discernment, miracles, tongues, and interpretation – are given by the one Spirit for the well-being of the common life. The same Spirit poured upon each one of us allows us to do the ministry that God gives to each one of us. And we do this collectively, for I don’t have all those gifts of God, nor do you. But together as the Body of Christ, we use our gifts and each part of the Body fits together. We need all the parts if we are to function correctly. No member is more important than another. And it is the Spirit that transforms our human relationships and makes us whole.

It reminds me of the creation of a musical instrument…

It begins as a simple piece of wood or a metal tube. Then a craftsman, using skills and tools that have been passed down for centuries, meticulously forms the wood and metal, carefully drills holes in the shaft, devises a system of stops and valves in the metal, installs a an intricate system of strings, tuning keys and hammers. The wood is then beautifully finished with resins and varnish; the metal is polished until it gleams. The craftsman's long hours of detailed work results in a finished flute or violin or guitar or piano. But the completed instrument, though a beautiful work of art, remains just a piece of wood or metal until a musician takes it up and breathes into it while gliding his or her fingers across the stops or expertly manipulating the strings and keys.

Then that piece of wood, that tube of metal is transformed into an musical instrument, becoming a portal for us to a world of beauty and transcendence. We are like the created instrument, beautiful piece of work by God, but it is when the Spirit dwells in us that we become alive with a beauty and grace from God. A solo instrument is good, but a band or an orchestra, a jazz trio is something even more special…working together to create beautiful music.

And so is the Church, the community that God has formed from the baptized. An instrument of God to bring his love and life to the world. And what makes the Church so vibrant, so alive, is the Spirit that dwells in it. God blows his Spirit unto the disciples and they proclaim the Good News to all the people. God continues to blow his Spirit into us and into God’s Church. It gives life and direction to our mission and ministry to preach the Gospel to every nation, to proclaim forgiveness and reconciliation in God's name, to immerse all of humanity into the life and love of God manifested in Jesus' Resurrection.

In the words of Jakob Boehme, “We are all strings in God’s joyful concert. The spirit of God’s mouth strikes the tune and note on our strings.” Amen.

Wednesday, May 23, 2007

Ancient monk, modern call

Oblates of St. Benedict apply sixth-century Rule to today's life, faith, foodstuffs
[Episcopal Life] My friends are dull -- good people; I love them all -- but dull as dishwater. Sometimes they surprise, and this is one of those times.

Buddy, a friend from our Air Force days, was in town on business a few months ago. During one of our conversations, he said he thought it would be cool to be a monk. But he couldn't take it all the time.

"I asked my priest," Buddy started, "the Rev. Dave Halt, if there was a religious organization where by day I could be a monk and pray and meditate and do good works, then, when I punched out at five, go home and read the sports page and eat pizza, watch Seinfeld and eat pizza, then turn on a classic Rocky or Terminator flick and eat cold pizza?

Read the rest of the article here.

Monday, May 21, 2007

Reflections on poverty and climate change

Reflections on poverty and climate change
by Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori
Before I became a priest, I was a professor of oceanography. One of the things I learned was that oceanographers couldn't just study squid or fish in isolation. We had to study interconnected systems. We had to understand not only the animals' environment, such as the water, but its chemistry and circulation, the atmosphere above the ocean and the geology below it. And that, I believe, is how we must understand our world: We must see everything, and everyone, as interconnected and intended by God to live in relationship.

(Read the whole article at the SF Chronicle, here.)

Sunday, May 20, 2007

Communion in Christ

An executive summary of the liturgical—theological reflection.

In reflecting on the proposed Anglican Covenant, Associated Parishes for Liturgy and Mission’s (APLM) Council grounded its response in Paul’s words to the Corinthians “Just as the body is one and has many members and all the members of the body, though many, are one body, so it is with Christ. For in the one Spirit we were all baptized into one body—Jews or Greeks, slaves or free—and we were all made to drink of the one Spirit” (1 Corinthians 12:12-13).

Our Basis for Unity—The Church is already one because it is one with the Lord, belonging to Christ and participating in Christ’s ministry and mission in the world. Our communion does not depend upon either juridical structures or doctrinal agreements. These, at best, may reflect our unity in Christ, but they do not effect it. In Baptism and Eucharist, God both brings about and reveals our participation in Christ. The intimate connection between Baptism, Eucharist and the ordination of bishops, deacons and priests has revealed that baptized divorced persons, gay men and lesbians as well as women may not be excluded as a class from any of the sacraments of the church, for they are full members of Christ.

We are concerned that misplaced anxiety about unity may drive us to forced uniformity, as though we had to fear communion in diversity. We appeal to our church to address our present divisions, drawing on the charisms that have shaped who we are, including the Anglican comprehensiveness expressed in the Elizabethan Settlement; the authority of scripture, tradition and reason; the integrity of each diocese and Province; and finding our unity in work for justice so that mission, rather than doctrine, gives outward expression to the unity found in Christ.

The Proposed Covenant—We believe that the proposed covenant is deeply flawed, as it attempts to bring about Church unity through enforced conformity. The unity of the church cannot be enforced, as unity is already given in Jesus Christ. It is one of the marks of the Church and an article of faith. We do not believe that the Church should be one, but that it is one. The Covenant places certain persons in the role of being ultimate arbiters of what is and is not Anglican.

Theologically speaking, the sources of church unity have traditionally been understood as:

  • The life, death and resurrection of Jesus Christ
  • The two dominical sacraments of Baptism and Eucharist
  • Ongoing participation by Christ in these sacraments, constituting our communion with a bishop, who in turn is in communion with the see of Canterbury.
  • A common liturgical source tradition (see the Prague Statement of the International Anglican Liturgical Consultation)

The doctrinal expression of our unity is contained in the Chicago-Lambeth Quadrilateral, inasmuch as it describes the essential points of agreement for union with other churches.

Conclusion—We are called to the risk of bringing all of humanity into the Reign of God—especially those who are most unlike ourselves. To try to effect an artificial unity of the Body of Christ through doctrinal enforcement will only lead to yet another scandalous division in the Body of the Lord. It is also idolatrous, substituting a written agreement for the saving work of Christ on the cross and the living, catholic call of the Gospel to incarnate Christ’s ministry in all places and in all times. In Baptism and Eucharist we will find unity—beyond any enforced conformity—which is the real basis for our Communion and our common life in Christ.

(Find the liturgical-theological reflection at the above web address.)

I am a member of APLM. (Rev. Kurt)

Sermon: 7th Sunday of Easter

As a child in Michigan, I can remember heading to downtown Royal Oak and its department stores and on the way there was a Baptist Church with a brightly lit up cross that said Jesus saves. Growing up at an Episcopal Church I never quite thought about it, Jesus saves. It was kind of assumed, it is part of our liturgy, our hymns... So what does it mean Jesus saves?

There is an apocryphal story about Jesus and Satan. They were arguing about who is the better programmer until they came to an agreement to hold a contest, with God as the judge.

They sat themselves at their computers and began to type furiously, lines of code streaming up the screen, for several hours straight. Seconds before the end of the competition, a bolt of lightning struck, taking out the electricity. Moments later, the power was restored, and God announced that the contest is over. He asked Satan to show what he has come up with. Satan was visibly upset, and cried out, "I have nothing. I lost it all when the power went out." "Very well, then," said God, "let us see if Jesus fared any better." Jesus entered a command, and the screen came to life in vivid display, the voices of an angelic choir pour forth from the speakers. Satan was astonished. He stuttered, "B-b-but how? I lost everything, yet Jesus' program is intact. How did he do it?" God smiled all-knowingly, "Jesus saves."

Anyone who has ever had a computer knows that joke because the first time your computer crashes or the power goes out and you stare at the blank screen, having lost your hard work, you keep saying to yourself, I gotta save it…

But what about Jesus saves?

I remember Preacher Mike. Nearly everyday when I walked through the central campus at the Univ. of Michigan, there he was. Standing on one of the benches, shouting at the students walking by. His words might change from time to time. But his theme was the same. “You are all Sinners. You are going to hell. Accept Jesus as your Savior.” Naturally as you walked by you did not make eye contact, or else he would direct his speech to you. I remember one day seeing the Episcopal Chaplain I knew console a student who had a run-in with Preacher Mike. Taking in that scene of the chaplain talking with a student, and the preacher on a soap box yelling at those walking by, I have always thought she was doing the grace filled work that Jesus asked of us, and the preacher was not. It is in our loving one another that we can find that grace of God in our midst.

Today’s reading from the Acts of the Apostles, I find that same loving understanding…

Consider For Paul: It was Jesus who confronted him on that road to Damascus and the HS becomes his guide for his ministry; setting him free from hatred to love others as Christ loved him…

In today’s reading:
-a slave-girl: spirit of divination, profit source!
-she knows Paul and his companions: proclaim a way of salvation!
-Paul moved by the Spirit, for her human right to be free, NO! because he is annoyed, he casts out her spirit…and she is set free, but The owners cannot exploit her anymore and they are angry. Paul & Silas are thrown into jail; beaten for such an act.

They never get to that place of prayer that they were headed too.
-so in jail, shackled and away from others they pray and sing songs to God; prisoners were listening of course it was midnight, how could they sleep? An earthquake strikes, the doors open, they are free
-the jailer is ready to do himself in, he would be blamed…but they are still there What must I do to be saved? The jailer asks. Believe in the Lord Jesus.

A simple and yet profound statement…
-Believe in Jesus.
-and the Holy Spirit moved that night; Paul & Silas are free; the jailer brings Paul & Silas to his home to take care of their wounds, to give them food and the jailer and his household are baptized and freed. Salvation comes to that household and the grace of God is present in the instructions into the faith, the baptism and the fellowship afterwards. It is about the loving relationship that is formed and grace happens and salvation is in it all.

Indeed, Jesus saves.

I think of the story in the 1940’s when asked if he was saved, Archbishop of Canterbury William Temple replied, 'I have been saved, I am being saved, I hope to be saved.' His understanding of salvation that the grace of God, began with Jesus death upon the cross, continues with us in our baptism and is the hope of our own new life at the end of our days. Salvation is a process not an event, Frederick Buechner writes. Indeed, salvation like grace is ongoing in our lives. We are saved by grace, as I preached last week, but it is up to us to respond to that grace, that gift.

The jailer responded to that grace in the actions that night at the jail and by what Paul and Silas did next.

As Episcopal Priest Samuel Shoemaker said, “Most people are brought to faith in Christ, not by argument for it, but by exposure to it.” Those who scream at us from their soap boxes will never bring anyone to know the saving grace of Jesus.

Following Paul & Silas’ example, it is what we do with our understanding that Jesus saves, for by following the example set for us by Jesus to love others, we know that it is by our relationships, our love, our sharing with others that they too can see the grace of God in their lives and know indeed that Jesus saves. And in Paul’s own words: May the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, and the love of God, and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit, be with us all evermore. Amen.

Tuesday, May 15, 2007

Rogation Days

The week of the Sixth Sunday of Easter begins with prayers and celebrations that focus on the stewardship of creation (Rogation Days) and culminates in the great (but much-neglected) Feast of the Ascension of our Lord into heaven on the fortieth day of the Paschal Feast.

Prayers for the Rogation Days (from the Book of Common Prayer)

I. For fruitful seasons

Almighty God, Lord of heaven and earth: We humbly pray
that your gracious providence may give and preserve to our
use the harvests of the land and of the seas, and may prosper
all who labor to gather them, that we, who are constantly
receiving good things from your hand, may always give you
thanks; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns
with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever.

II. For Commerce and Industry

Almighty God, whose Son Jesus Christ in his earthly life
shared our toil and hallowed our labor: Be present with your
people where they work; make those who carry on the industries
and commerce of this land responsive to your will; and give
to us all a pride in what we do, and a just return for our labor;
through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with
you, in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for
ever. Amen.

III. For stewardship of creation

O merciful Creator, your hand is open wide to satisfy the
needs of every living creature: Make us always thankful for
your loving providence; and grant that we, remembering the
account that we must one day give, may be faithful stewards
of your good gifts; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who with
you and the Holy Spirit lives and reigns, one God, for ever
and ever. Amen.

What can one do? Go to The Episcopal Public Policy Network here, and learn more about a Farm Bill to Feed our Nation and the World.

Give Blood, Give Life

(From the American Red Cross)

We're issuing an open invitation to regular blood donors, donors who haven't given blood in awhile and, especially, to people who have never rolled up their sleeves to give the gift of life.

Please consider yourself asked and give blood. Studies have shown that people say they've never given blood because they've never been asked. We’re extending this invitation to everyone eligible to give blood throughout New England.

If you've never given blood before, or haven't done so in a long time, we hope you'll Consider Yourself Asked and come in to visit us. For more information on donating blood, click here.

Visit these websites: and

or call 1-800-GIVE-LIFE

Give Blood, Give Life.

I gave my double red cell donation yesterday. Have you signed up?

You have been asked!

Sermon: 6th Sunday of Easter

“I was born a child of grace.” And so begins the song, All Because of You by the Rock Band U2. I was born a child of grace indeed that is true for all of us. We were each born into the grace of God, all because of God who loved each one of us into existence. But that grace goes beyond our creation.

Frederick Beuchner author and pastor put it this way: “The grace of God means something like: "Here is your life. You might never have been, but you are, because the party wouldn't have been complete without you. Here is the world. Beautiful and terrible things will happen. Don't be afraid. I am with you. Nothing can ever separate us. It's for you I created the universe. I love you." I love his description of grace, we are here because God wants us to be here, the world would not be complete with out us. And in the midst of joy and tragedy, beauty and terrible things, God still walks with us, for nothing can ever separate us from the love of God, so St. Paul reminds us in his letter to the Romans. But it is not just our creation that is a gift, it is not just our breath we have now, the steps we take. That grace extends to the end of our lives too, for that grace is also about our salvation. At the beginning and at the end, its not what we are or do. Grace happens.

As Beucnher also says, “There's only one catch. Like any other gift, the gift of grace can be yours only if you'll reach out and take it.” The struggle of taking hold of that gift, of recognizing that gift in the best and worst of times, is what makes grace so tough to hold onto and yet so needed in our lives.

Today (at the 10:15 AM service) we recognize that Will Benet, Connor Eaton and Evan Kollmann are making an important Rite of Passage, and we witness to God’s grace in their lives. The liturgy is called “The Celebration of Manhood and Womanhood”, but is more well-known as “Rite-13” since it takes place near the candidate’s 13th Birthday – much like a bar mitzvah or bat mitzvah. “During the ceremony, we recognize the gift of womanhood or manhood that God bestows on each one of us. This is a free gift that we cannot earn and need not prove. This gift is the essence of who we are. As we grow and mature in the journey to adulthood, our knowledge and skills increase, but the magical core of who we are remains the same. In our society, the line between childhood and adulthood is often a fuzzy one. Unlike other cultures, we don’t have formalized rites of passage that define the points along the path to adulthood. We need ways to tell our young people they are making progress; they are growing and learning; they are becoming adults. Today we (will) take the time to mark that passage with these three young men (at 10:15).” (from the J2A Materials)

And as we celebrate with them, I am reminded of a poem from my teenage years that speaks of our accepting that grace of god, it is called Come Gather, Children by Martin Bell (from The Way of the Wolf)

Come gather, children everywhere.
Come and listen. Come and see.
It is God alone who gives us our lives,
And God who sets us free.
Free to live. Free to decide.
To make our world what it will be.
And then it is God who demands that we die.
And that's just the way it is for you and me.

And God likes me the just way I am. I turned out just right.
But I'll sing it again in case I forget. And, strange as it seems, I might.

If God is the One who gives us our lives,
Then Children of God we must be.
But how can we be children of someone we can't hold?
Of a father we can't see?
And God can't be held. And God can't be seen.
But we meet him whenever we're set free.
And we learn about freedom when we learn the way life is,
And that you and I decide how it will be.

And God likes me the just way I am. I turned out just right.
But I'll sing it again in case I forget. And, strange as it seems, I might.

Come gather, children everywhere.
Come and listen. Come and see.
It is God alone who gives us our lives,
And God who sets us free.
Free to live. Free to decide.
To make our world what it will be.
And then it is God who demands that we die.
And that's just the way it is for you and me.

And God likes me the just way I am. I turned out just right.
But I'll sing it again in case I forget. And, strange as it seems, I might.

And God likes me the just way I am. I turned out just right.
But I'll sing it again in case I forget. And, strange as it seems, I might.

Today we will mark their transition, as they grow into their freedom, as they learn about that grace they have always had and how to live it out in their lives, to make the choices that brings life and joy to their lives and our world today. It is to celebrate and witness the grace of God in their lives and ours.

In the words of Barbara Brown Taylor: “To give into grace is to surrender our ideas about who God should be in order to embrace God’s idea of who we are and to have the good sense to say Thank You.”

And today we say thank you to God for Will, Connor, and Evan, each born a child of grace, each made in God’s image, and we too offer our thanks for we also are children of God’s grace, created in God’s image. for God likes us the just way we are. We turned out just right. But we'll sing it again in case we forget. And, strange as it seems, we might. Amen.

Thursday, May 10, 2007

Happy Mother's Day!

Mother’s Day started as Mother’s Peace Day in 1870 when activist Julia Ward Howe – underscoring the pain and suffering caused by the Civil War – urged women to come together in solidarity against warfare in all forms.

To advance this cause, Howe – who also wrote the text of the Battle Hymn of the Republic – penned in Boston her Mother’s Day Proclamation: “Arise, then, women of this day! Arise all women who have hearts, whether your baptism be that of water or of fears! Say firmly: ‘We will not have great questions decided by irrelevant agencies. Our husbands shall not come to us reeking with carnage, for caresses and applause. Our sons shall not be taken from us to unlearn all that we have been able to teach them of charity, mercy and patience. We women of one country will be too tender of those of another country to allow our sons to be trained to injure theirs. From the bosom of the devastated earth a voice goes up with our own. It says, ‘Disarm, Disarm!’ … In the name of womanhood and humanity, I earnestly ask that a general congress of women without limit of nationality may be appointed and held at some place deemed most convenient and at the earliest period consistent with its objects to promote the alliance of the different nationalities, the amicable settlement of international questions, the great and general interests of peace.”

President Woodrow Wilson’s official 1912 declaration of Mother’s Day dropped the word “Peace,” ironically two years before the outbreak of World War I. Today, peacemaking remains much on the minds of the world’s mothers, especially those with children deployed in active duty – and also those who must struggle daily to provide necessities for their children.

The Episcopal Church is daily engaged in assisting with these concerns. A notable example within U.S. borders are the efforts through which congregations and individuals are helping Gulf Coast residents rebuild their lives after the 2005 hurricanes.

Internationally, the Episcopal Church’s engagement of the Millennium Development Goals brings central focus to the needs of women and children in eradicating extreme poverty and hunger, in achieving universal primary education for girls as well as boys, in promoting gender equality and empowering women, in reducing child mortality and improving maternal health.

[For more on the Episcopal Church’s efforts in these areas, visit]

The need for sharing in these efforts is underscored by the following text written by a girl living in the Prachakittisuk Church Orphanage in Chiangrai, Thailand. Her writing is displayed as part of a collection of art, poetry and essays created for Anglican Women’s Empowerment, an international grassroots organization founded in 2003 to promote gender equity and to mobilize the power of women to pursue a humane agenda worldwide. [For more on AWE, visit]

Essay About My Mother

My teacher asked our class to write an essay about our mothers. The essay is due tomorrow. But this assignment is too diffi cult for me. I don’t have a mother.

How can I write a good essay?

I don’t understand about a mother’s care. Is it true that a mother’s hug is warm? Eating a family dinner is only a dream for me. I’ve never heard a mother’s lullaby. I’ve never felt the warmth of someone tucking me into bed. My heart has never been warm even when I’m warm in bed. I always sleep alone.

I don’t have anything to write for this assignment. I can’t turn anything in for the teacher to read tomorrow. My paper only has tear drops on it.

Mother, if you still alive, wherever you are, whoever you are, please send love to me. If you hear me now, please think of me just a little bit.

I promise I will be a good child.

(This text was written by Episcopal Life and can be found here:

Wednesday, May 9, 2007

All Shall Be Well

"In my folly, afore this time often I wondered why by the great foreseeing wisdom of God the beginning of sin was not letted: for then, methought, all should have been well. This stirring was much to be forsaken, but nevertheless mourning and sorrow I made therefor, without reason and discretion. But Jesus, who in this Vision informed me of all that is needful to me, answered by this word and said: It behoved that there should be sin; but all shall be well, and all shall be well, and all manner of thing shall be well."

"And thus our good Lord answered to all the questions and doubts that I might make, saying full comfortably: I may make all thing well, I can make all thing well, I will make all thing well, and I shall make all thing well; and thou shalt see thyself that all manner of thing shall be well."

"From that time that it was shewed I desired oftentimes to learn what was our Lord’s meaning. And fifteen years after, and more, I was answered in ghostly understanding, saying thus: Wouldst thou learn thy Lord’s meaning in this thing? Learn it well: Love was His meaning. Who shewed it thee? Love. What shewed He thee? Love. Wherefore shewed it He? For Love. Hold thee therein and thou shalt learn and know more in the same. But thou shalt never know nor learn therein other thing without end. Thus was I learned that Love was our Lord’s meaning."

Dame Julian of Norwich
from the Revelations of Divine Love (c.1393)

Remembered in the Episcopal Church calendar on May 8.

Wisdom for Today

The theme of light and darkness in my life ... has been a constant rhythm. At first I regarded darkness as a menacing chaos which threatened to disintegrate me. The horror of a storm at sea when I first crossed the Channel left me with an especial dread of that devouring Mother. But I have now come to see darkness as that primeval chaos over which the Spirit of God hovers, re-creating me, bringing me to another birth. We have so many small deaths to die. I value my time in darkness, my not knowing, even my pain, as I then simply have to abandon myself to God. So my prayer becomes a little more humble; I stop trying to organize my own life and I rest in him. Often this self-abandonment comes only when I have inwardly shed my tears of anger and limitation and have accepted again that God is greater than I.

Paula Fairlie, osb

from the book "The Monastic Way: Ancient Wisdom for Contemporary Living"

Monday, May 7, 2007

Sermon: 5th Sunday of Easter

Jesus said, “I give you a new commandment that you love one another. Just as I have loved you, you also should love one another. By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another.” The greatest challenge that we have as Christians, is to be that open, loving person that Christ calls us to be. It is a love as Jesus and his disciples understood it, love that connects one to kin or friends, family or village. It wasn’t just a feeling but that love also entailed an action that supported the well being to those whom one loved.

We see that in the life of Jesus, who gave his life for his friends, to those whom he loved. A saving action that shows the depth of his love and his connection to them & us. We are his family & he gave his life for us. It is this love that Jesus tells his disciples to follow, to give to one another. It is not his new suggestion, or his new idea, or his new thought. This is Jesus new commandment for us.

During the days of apartheid, Anglican Archbishop Desmond Tutu was walking past a construction site in Capetown. There was a temporary sidewalk only wide enough for one person to walk on it at a time. A white man at the other end of the sidewalk recognized the archbishop and said, "I don't give way to gorillas." Upon which Tutu stepped aside, made a low sweeping gesture and said, "Ah, yes, but I do." Jesus never held back his love and yet we constantly put barriers around ours; be it apartheid or racial segregation, be it gender inequality, you name it, we have not loved our neighbors as ourselves. Sure, we have loved people who look like us, or talked like us, or believed the same things as us, but Jesus will not allow us to live such a narrow view of his love.

I am reminded of a beautiful collect we often say at Morning Prayer in the Book of Common Prayer, it begins by saying… "Lord Jesus Christ, you stretched out your arms of love on the hard wood of the cross that everyone might come within the reach of your saving embrace. " What Jesus asks of us, is to help with that saving embrace, how we reach out our arms of love to this world. A world that is so filled with hate, spite, violence, inequality, and death.

After the terrible school shooting at the Nickel Mines Amish Schoolhouse last fall, you would expect outrage, anger, even a more withdrawn community. But what struck me most, was the care that the Amish community had for the family the killer left behind, his wife and three kids. That family is not Amish and yet they encircled that family and offered their love in the midst of such pain and suffering. The Amish leaders even asked that a fund be established for that family, to support them. It is one thing to say we love, it is quite another to offer it, to live it and share it. I believe that is what the Amish did, even to the point of refusing to think evil of the man who committed the horrible crime, as one Amish grandfather said to his grandchildren.

If we love one another as Jesus commanded, loving as deeply as we can, than we honor the love of God even when we don’t think we are loving God. For this love is not just about loving those whom we like or agree with. At the Last Supper with Jesus, and at the foot washing of the disciples, Judas, his betrayer was among them. He ate with them, his feet were washed. Jesus still loved Judas, even when Judas refused to love… This love Jesus commands is much more complicated and difficult, for it asks us to do more, to love even at the worst of moments…

As the monk Charles de Foucauld wrote: “love consists not in feeling that you love, but in the will to love.”

In January 2006, Bob Woodruff, the co-anchor of ABC World News Tonight, was imbedded with troops covering the war in Iraq when an improvised explosive device went off and he and his cameraman were hit. Bob suffered a traumatic brain injury that nearly killed him. Bob and his wife Lee tell their story in their book In An Instant. They chronicle how their lives were blown apart and miraculously put back together again: from that bloody day in the Iraqi desert, through the first critical surgeries and the anxious five weeks that Bob spent in a medically-induced coma while his brain healed, to the hard days for Bob and his family as his brain struggled to “re-boot.” At one point, an exhausted Lee asks her husband’s neurosurgeon: “I just want to know, will he still love me?”

Bob Woodruff writes: “I will never understand the full extent of anything that Lee did or endured on my behalf; the depths of her grief and fear, the reserves of energy she had to draw on, the constant love and hope she continually showered on my unresponsive self. I cannot imagine what it must have been like to stare at my wounds and partial skull for five weeks while I slept, and to hold my hand, praying that I would wake up and someday recover. When I awoke and saw her face, I loved her even more than before. I had not thought that possible.” In An Instant is the story of a family who discovers how love enables them to do things they never imagined they could.

“You can’t know how you would behave in a crisis until it drops out of the sky and knocks you down like a bandit: stealing your future, robbing you of your dreams, and mocking anything that resembles certainty,” Lee Woodruff writes. “Sudden tragic events and even slow-burning disasters teach us more about ourselves that most of us care to know.”

Bob and Lee believe that, in the end, their four children “will be more loving, more empathetic, more wonderful human beings than they already are for having taken this unexpected journey together, as a family. May you always remember that there are no perfect parents, just mothers and fathers doing the very best they can. And there are no perfect spouses either, just those who love each other enough to stand by ‘for better or worse.’ Don’t be fooled: that kind of endurance is, perhaps, the greatest expression of love.”

Jesus said, “Everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another.” The Amish showed their love, so did Lee Woodruff, and let me end with a poem called Easter Day by Edmund Spenser 1552-1599, which reflects on that love given to us by Jesus…

Most glorious Lord of life, that on this day,
Didst make Thy triumph over death and sin:
And having harrow'd hell, didst bring away
Captivity thence captive, us to win:

This joyous day, dear Lord, with joy begin,
And grant that we for whom Thou diddest die
Being with Thy dear blood clean wash'd from sin,
May live for ever in felicity.

And that Thy love we weighing worthily,
May likewise love Thee for the same again:
And for Thy sake that all like dear didst buy,
With love may one another entertain.

So let us love, dear love, like as we ought,
Love is the lesson which the Lord us taught. Amen.

Presidents who were Episcopalian

Here is the list:
  1. George Washington
  2. Thomas Jefferson
  3. James Madison
  4. James Monroe
  5. William Henry Harrison
  6. John Tyler
  7. Zachary Taylor
  8. Franklin Pierce
  9. Chester A. Arthur
  10. Franklin D. Roosevelt
  11. Gerald Ford
  12. George H. W. Bush
Others also mentioned:

Theodore Roosevelt was a member of the Dutch Reformed Church but his wife was Episcopalian and he often attended Episcopal Churches.

And our current president:

George W. Bush was raised Episcopalian, but is now a member of the United Methodist Church.