Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Let us go and see: The Incarnation of God in Christ

Across the world on Christmas Eve and Day we shall sit huddled shoulder to shoulder singing carols and Hymns to God. Our children will be eager for gift-giving and sweets; all the while learning the enduring quality of patience. Adults will be gathered, filled with memories and hope for what might be. In the midst of messy family lives and longing for salvation, we shall gather. What I know is that on Christmas when our voices are united in praise of a God who chooses us, regardless of our circumstance, our hearts will be warmed.

We shall gather and we shall retell our sacred Christmas story in which God chooses Mary and Joseph. They were two homeless and poor individuals, forced to wander far from home because of an authority whose rule controlled their lives. With children and parents gathered around we tell the story that Jesus was brought into the world in a manger; in the midst of shepherds. All of this we remind ourselves foreshadows his inheritance to live among the poor and have no place for his head.

Yet it is neither his surroundings nor his lot in life as the son of a poor carpenter that makes our Christmas story special. On the contrary, we speak an ancient and holy truth: Jesus is God with us, Emmanuel, Lord, and Messiah. It is the angel’s words proclaimed to the shepherds that we ourselves echo on this holy of holy days.

We celebrate a living Word birthed into a particularly difficult and hard world. We celebrate light birthed into darkness. We proclaim wisdom birthed into longing. We proclaim glory in the mundane.

It is true that we will all come together as a Christian family celebrating in our own ways the revelation of God in Christ Jesus. We will find him in the midst of our holy worship. However, the Christmas message is clear, the incarnation of God is more than likely best experienced in the world around us.

“Let us go and see” is the shepherd’s cry. So let us, like them, leave our hallowed service and go and see the Christ Child present in the lives of families and friends. May we be buoyed by our mutual joy and hope. Let us with confidence proclaim that God has chosen us, his lowly people, in which to be seen and discovered.

May this season move us to realize the opportunity we have to witness to the Christ Child in the world. Let us offer hope where there is despair, faith where there is doubt, pardon where there is injury, and joy where there is sadness. Let us give food to those who hunger and warmth to those who are cold. Let us love the world into a just society. And let us redefine our neighbor as our family.

My hope for you and your family is a blessed and Holy Christmas. I wish you the greatest measure of peace and joy in the company of friends. May we with one united voice proclaim God in Christ Jesus to a world that even still groans with a longing heart for a savior. Merry Christmas.

Thursday, December 15, 2011

News from the edge: Evangelism Story #5

This story of getting out into the community as church comes from Cameron, Texas.  My friend Ray Bagby wrote to me and told me how one of their parishioners, Phyllis Davis and her creative challenge. 

He said, [she] rallied our folks to have a float in the Cameron Christmas Parade on December 3rd. In front of a painted backdrop of our church (the small white church with the red doors) was a live manger scene. To my knowledge it was the first time, or at least the first in many years, that we have had a presence there and we were the only float that proclaimed the real reason for Christmas. In addition to the banners identifying the church, there was one on each side which read: “Celebrate! Our Savior is Born!”, then below that, “He is Christ the King.”

He closed his short note to me with these words, "After the parade, the participants had dinner together and began to share their stories, which we had already planned to do in the Christian formation hour during Advent. I believe that this sharing will strengthen the church and make it even more open to evangelism in the future."

What a great way to have fun, get out there, and share the good news! Thank you for sharing the story with us.

Friday, December 9, 2011

Encouraging a New Discourse on the Economy

Encouragement for resources to be directed to the common good with attention to the least of these.

This article was submitted by Daniel Cardinal DiNardo, archbishop of Galveston-Houston; Bishop Janice Huie-Riggle, Texas Conference of the United Methodist Church; The Rt. Rev. C. Andrew Doyle, bishop, Episcopal Diocese of Texas; Bishop Michael Rinehart, Texas-Louisiana Gulf Coast Synod, Evangelical Lutheran Church in America; Rev. Manuel LaRosa-Lopez, pastor, St. John Fisher Catholic Church; Rabbi David Rosen, senior rabbi, Congregation Beth Yeshurun; Rev. Mike Cole, general presbyter, Presbytery of New Covenant; Rev. Harvey Clemons Jr., pastor, Pleasant Hill Baptist Church; Rev. John Bowie, pastor emeritus, True Light Missionary Baptist Church; and Rabbi David Lyon, senior rabbi, Congregation Beth Israel

For decades, presidents and congressional leaders have struggled to break the political gridlock that perpetuates federal deficit spending. Success has been elusive - especially when trying to strike the right balance between living within our means and protecting our poorest and most vulnerable.

The federal government's latest failure to address the deficit problem came at the hands of the recently disbanded Congressional Joint Committee on Deficit Reduction, more commonly referred to as the supercommittee. This bipartisan group had been tasked with identifying $1.5 trillion in deficit-reduction measures over the next 10 years or face automatic across-the-board cuts in 2013. Despite the dramatic risks involved, neither side ultimately demonstrated collective responsibility to control government expenditures while passing a sustainable spending plan for future generations.

Now we are back to square one. President Obama has said he will veto any bill that seeks to postpone the draconian cuts the supercommittee was supposed to avoid. Uncertainties abound, as we inch ever-closer to fiscal calamity. Our greatest fear is that whatever approach policymakers try next will disregard morally appropriate solutions and disproportionately reduce spending for programs that care for the unborn, feed the hungry, shelter the homeless, educate the young and care for the sick both at home and abroad.

The task at hand is vital. The ranks of the nation's poorest have climbed to a record high, with some 46 million Americans living in poverty. That's more than ever before in our history. Unemployment rates remain dangerously close to double digits and one in four children go to bed hungry each night. Despite the obvious need, only one in seven Americans (some 36 million people) receives government food assistance to ensure they have enough to eat; approximately 3.5 million are homeless.

We cannot let this situation continue. As we approach the holiday season, with its shared messages of charity and love, we would do well to remember that the federal budget is a moral document. Within its line items are essential programs that millions rely upon to sustain and secure themselves and their families. It would be wrong to balance future budgets by burdening those who already suffer by cutting programs for food support, affordable housing, child nutrition, health care or international poverty assistance.

As a nation we have long prided ourselves on possessing strongly held values: reliability, faith, compassion. Our history demonstrates an ongoing commitment to those values here in America and throughout the world. We pray that our lawmakers uphold those values when taking into account those who depend on them - including the unborn, schoolchildren, the elderly, struggling families, those who are homeless or sick, and refugees in our country and abroad - by maintaining and prioritizing funding to the most vulnerable.

Our congregations and other faith groups assume much of the responsibility for serving our vulnerable brethren, but we cannot do so alone. Recognizing the responsibility of government to provide for the common good, we join as an interfaith community to encourage lawmakers to use their authority to direct resources where they will best promote the common good of all, especially "the least of these" who struggle to live in dignity in difficult times. Limiting spending requires shared sacrifice by all, and we encourage lawmakers to consider eliminating unnecessary military and other spending, while also raising adequate revenues to fund critical programs and services.

A fundamental moral measure of our nation's budget decisions is whether they enhance or undermine the lives and dignity of those most in need. We hope and pray that our nation will be proud of the decisions our president and congress must make to limit unsustainable spending while simultaneously demonstrating the integrity that our nation is known for - integrity that demands that we hear and heed the cries of those most in need of our support and protection.

Thursday, December 8, 2011

News from the edge: Evangelism Story #4

This is the fourth story in a series of stories about people who have bridged the gap between church and their neighborhood.  This story comes from Texas City.

We are planning a "Take back the Night with the Light" block party for our "parish" in the orginal sense of the word. This redefinition has helped us see our neighbors and neighborhood in a new light. With the prediction that in 5 years this will be one of the worst neighborhoods in Texas City, it seems we have the opportunity and obligation to rally the neighborhood to stand united in not allowing the prediction to come true. WE ARE THE LIGHT. We are planning to have an Epiphany Service with a block party with food to follow for our "parish" and give out Epiphany Home Blessing Kits. 

We are also doing advent conspiracy cross-generational events on Sunday mornings. Last week we made advent wreaths and iced sugar cookies to take to our neighbors and friends. This morning I heard from one member that she took her plate of cookies to a neighbor she had not yet met. As she told her about St. Georges, the woman became interested in knowing more. We now have saint cards with a quote, our service times and address for her to take back to her with a follow up."

I know your neighborhood and friends really appreciate being found by the church and discovering that you care for them. Keep up the good work Texas City!

If you want to hear the evangelism talks click here: Bishop of Texas Podcast Site or download them from ITunes (search Andrew Doyle).

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

News from the edge: Evangelism Story #3

The third story to share about evangelism from the street is my own encounter.

This morning I had coffee with a priest at one of my favorite hang outs: Brasil Cafe.

We were leaving and I was getting my typical French Roast Roadie when I noticed a young man in line kept looking at us.  We made eye contact and introduced ourselves. He wanted to know what church we belonged to and so we told him that we were from the Episcopal Church.  I told him I was a bishop and my friend a priest.  He said, "Do you get to wear purple and all that gold bling because you are a bishop." I told him that indeed was correct. We laughed. Then he said the other day he was speaking with a friend and they were discussing the most welcoming churches and they decided that the Episcopal Church was the friendliest. He grew up Methodist but self-described himself as nothing right now.  We listened and talked and I gave him one of my Moo cards with the church finder address on it. I also told him about two congregations near by that are very welcoming.  It was a great exchange and he was very nice.

So if you have a person visit your church and they tell you "your bishop sent me." Truth is...I probably did.

If you want to hear more about evangelism you can listen to a series here:  Bishop of Texas Podcast Page

Thursday, December 1, 2011

News from the edge: Evangelism Story #2

Our second story of folks bridging the gap between the church and the community comes from Texas City.

"One member listened to the Bishops address multiple times and then transcribed some of it. It inspired him to step up his efforts a notch. He was taking flyers for our bazarr door to door in the neighborhood but decided to actually knock on the doors of those who where home. He explained to me after listening to your talks multiple times that he was going to talk with those who were home, just let them know we are their neighbor and then JUST LISTEN. As he said it, I think I get what the Bishop was trying to say -- Shut up and listen.:) He talked or listened to over 30 neighbors in two days and delivered 200 flyers.

While I knew he had the spiritual gift of evangelism, I wasn't sure how to best help him express it -- thanks to the Bishops talks and Holy Spirit-- he is in motion! Now he and others are planning to go to the Andy's 2 Go events. Thought you all might like hearing of the possitive impact the conference is making on one little congregation in the outskirts of Houston."

You can listen to the evangelism talks here: Bishop of Texas Podcast Page

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

News from the edge: Evangelism Story #1

As many of you know we recently held an Evangelism Conference in November.  I want to share with you several stories from the front lines of Evangelism - where people are bridging the gap between church and world.

The first story comes from Beaumont, Texas. 

Here is the message from the edge:

"I'm so excited.  I took the church into the world today.  I invited some people to join me for Morning Prayer at a local bakery/coffee shop.  Three others showed up.  I had printed off the service for everyone.  During the time for intercessory prayer I invited them to offer up their prayers and it was sweet time of healing conversation.  I plan to do this every Tuesday during Advent and then decide about continuing.  I invited others and several were interested but couldn't make today.  There was another LARGE group in the bakery sitting right next to us from Capital One Bank.  I had my back to the rest of the bakery, but I hope that perhaps some others noticed us.  Just wanted to share my excitement with someone who would care!"

This is awesome work.  You know we do this work in the hopes of being out in the world. Engaging with ourselves and others.  We don't do it to "catch" people like in other forms of evangelism. We do this as part of our work of sharing.  Congratulations Beaumont, Texas for taking the church into the world.

You can listen to the Evangelism Talks here: Bishop of Texas Podcast Page

Sunday, November 27, 2011

Advent Meditation

So, here is the truth: most of us don’t get why we (Episcopalians) don’t do Christmas like the rest of the folks who have been working on it since before Halloween.  Some of us think, "Advent is inconvenient and I don’t really understand it anyway." “Waiting” is not one of the cardinal virtues our society holds dear. Just consider on demand movie downloads …

But, waiting is the point of Advent.  Yes, waiting is inconvenient, but then, we are waiting for the coming of an inconvenient God!

Most days I’m looking for the convenient God—the one who gives me all the things I need--a God who will “level the mountains before me, raise up the valleys and make straight the paths.” (Isaiah 40, Mark 1)

Most days I am looking for the God who is nearby when I need him and far away the rest of the time.  And, if we are really honest: most of us want to be singing my favorite hymn: Bing Crosby’s “I’m Dreaming of a White Christmas” now, with the rest of the ice skaters at the mall.

But the God of the Gospel, revealed to us in Advent, is very different. Advent comes in the darkest part of the year, when Christians have to wait to celebrate the coming of the Light of God, the Word of God, into our world.   As Episcopalians, we can wait in several ways. We can make family dinners a priority, lighting the candles of the Advent wreath together with prayers and readings.

God’s inconvenience is not limited to making the time to have a family meal, let alone pray.  God’s Gospel message is even more inconvenient than that!

Isaiah 40: 3-5 and Mark 1:2-3 speak of making the path straight, preparing the way--not for us but for the coming of the Lord.  Advent is a renovating time for our hearts to change our actions.  We can use this time of Advent to become a unified voice in the wilderness.

It’s not uncommon for people to believe that happiness lies in goods and wealth, in extravagant gift giving, when in fact these are misplaced values leaving many people unhappy and feeling unloved. The Good News we have received is not a private message, but a message of hope and love from God for all people.  It is a message we can share with those who live in the midst of the “holiday” insanity.

We are waiting on a God who is interested in the good in every one of us and who cares how we treat our neighbors. (See Matthew 25:31-46)  We are waiting on a God who is interested in the lost and lonely.  The God we worship comes for those who are not at the table, who have little--the cast offs of society.  This is a challenging God.

This is a God who is born homeless, into a lower class family, who is on an immigrant journey, who spends his time with those whom society deems unworthy.  The God we are waiting on is inconvenient because many of the people God cares for are not like us.  Our God comes for the poor and the rich, the old and the young, the weak and the powerful.  God cares for people with whom we disagree politically, who have no homes or who have mansions, who drive nicer cars and who have no car, who have everything they need and those who don’t even have clean water.

This inconvenient God has a message of love for everyone and he will ultimately offer it and himself to the whole world not in the hay of a manger but upon the hard wood of a cross.

Yes, our God came at an inconvenient time, in an inconvenient place, to people who were an inconvenience. This inconvenient God invites us--those who already know of their hope and salvation--to be part of the proclamation and to help in the work. 

Even God’s invitation is inconvenient. Marked as Christ’s own forever, we discover that it is you and I who are to begin the work on the valleys, the mountains and the rough places.  We are God’s heralds, and we are his hands and feet in the world. We are the ones charged to work for the reign of God.

You might say, "That is a most inconvenient message because I have Christmas shopping to do!"  Yep. We are waiting on a God who intervenes in our life, in our desires and in the way we want to do things.  Our God invites us to gather as family at table in this season to share common meals with common prayers. We are invited to read scripture as a family in our home.

We are called to do this spiritual practice of Advent on the one hand so we may remember our own saving.  And, on the other hand so that our eyes will be opened to God’s people who are looking for help and aid. 

We light our Advent wreath to remember that this inconvenient God sends us into the world bearing his light into the darkest of night.  We bring greenery indoors to reminds us of life in the midst of winter so that we might be life and help life take shape and root itself in the world where death and hunger are constant companions to many on their pilgrim way. 

In this Advent season I hope you will be inconvenienced by this inconvenient Christ we worship. I hope you will gather with your family or your friends at dark, break bread, read a passage of scripture and light a candle in your Advent wreath.  I hope you will do this because I hope it will remind you of the saving grace of Jesus and the saving grace he has in store for the world, so much so, that you will see people in your life differently.

I hope in this Advent season that God will see and hear his people at work in the world.  I hope God will see his people--and most of all the people of his Episcopal Church--transforming lives of those looking for a place to lie down, a place to be fed, a place to give birth. I hope he will see someone committing kindness in the stillness of the darkest night.

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

House of Bishops issues a pastoral teaching

The Episcopal Church

Office of Public Affairs



Episcopal Church House of Bishops

Issues A Pastoral Teaching




[September 20, 2011] The Episcopal Church House of Bishops, meeting in Province IX, in Quito, Ecuador, issued the following Pastoral Teaching:



A Pastoral Teaching from the House of Bishops of The Episcopal Church

Quito, Ecuador

September 2011


We, your bishops, believe these words of Jeremiah describe these times and call us to repentance as we face the unfolding environmental crisis of the earth:

How long will the land mourn, and the grass of every field wither? For the wickedness of those who live in it the animals and the birds are swept away, and because people said, "He is blind to our ways." (Jeremiah 12:4)


The mounting urgency of our environmental crisis challenges us at this time to confess "our self-indulgent appetites and ways," "our waste and pollution of God's creation," and "our lack of concern for those who come after us" (Ash Wednesday Liturgy, Book of Common Prayer, p. 268). It also challenges us to amend our lives and to work for environmental justice and for more environmentally sustainable practices.


Christians cannot be indifferent to global warming, pollution, natural resource depletion, species extinctions, and habitat destruction, all of which threaten life on our planet. Because so many of these threats are driven by greed, we must also actively seek to create more compassionate and sustainable economies that support the well-being of all God's creation.


We are especially called to pay heed to the suffering of the earth. The Anglican Communion Environmental Network calls to mind the dire consequences our environment faces: "We know that . . . we are now demanding more than [the earth] is able to provide. Science confirms what we already know: our human footprint is changing the face of the earth and because we come from the earth, it is changing us too. We are engaged in the process of destroying our very being. If we cannot live in harmony with the earth, we will not live in harmony with one another."[i][i]


This is the appointed time for all God's children to work for the common goal of renewing the earth as a hospitable abode for the flourishing of all life. We are called to speak and act on behalf of God's good creation.


Looking back to the creation accounts in Genesis, we see God's creation was "very good," providing all that humans would need for abundant, peaceful life. In creating the world God's loving concern extended to the whole of it, not just to humans. And the scope of God's redemptive love in Christ is equally broad: the Word became incarnate in Christ not just for our sake, but for the salvation of the whole world. In the Book of Revelation we read that God will restore the goodness and completeness of creation in the "new Jerusalem." Within this new city, God renews and redeems the natural world rather than obliterating it. We now live in that time between God's creation of this good world and its final redemption: "The whole creation has been groaning in labor pains until now; and not only the creation, but we ourselves, who have the first fruits of the Spirit, groan inwardly while we wait for . . . the redemption of our bodies" (Romans 8:22-3).


Affirming the biblical witness to God's abiding and all-encompassing love for creation, we recognize that we cannot separate ourselves as humans from the rest of the created order. The creation story itself presents the interdependence of all God's creatures in their wonderful diversity and fragility, and in their need of protection from dangers of many kinds. This is why the Church prays regularly for the peace of the whole world, for seasonable weather and an abundance of the fruits of the earth, for a just sharing of resources, and for the safety of all who suffer. This includes our partner creatures: animals, birds, and fish who are being killed or made sick by the long-term effects of deforestation, oil spills, and a host of other ways in which we intentionally and unintentionally destroy or poison their habitat.


One of the most dangerous and daunting challenges we face is global climate change. This is, at least in part, a direct result of our burning of fossil fuels. Such human activities could raise worldwide average temperatures by three to eleven degrees Fahrenheit in this century. Rising average temperatures are already wreaking environmental havoc, and, if unchecked, portend devastating consequences for every aspect of life on earth.

The Church has always had as one of its priorities a concern for the poor and the suffering. Therefore, we need not agree on the fundamental causes of human devastation of the environment, or on what standard of living will allow sustainable development, or on the roots of poverty in any particular culture, in order to work to minimize the impact of climate change. It is the poor and the disadvantaged who suffer most from callous environmental irresponsibility. Poverty is both a local and a global reality. A healthy economy depends absolutely on a healthy environment.


The wealthier nations whose industries have exploited the environment, and who are now calling for developing nations to reduce their impact on the environment, seem to have forgotten that those who consume most of the world's resources also have contributed the most pollution to the world's rivers and oceans, have stripped the world's forests of healing trees, have destroyed both numerous species and their habitats, and have added the most poison to the earth's atmosphere. We cannot avoid the conclusion that our irresponsible industrial production and consumption-driven economy lie at the heart of the current environmental crisis.


Privileged Christians in our present global context need to move from a culture of consumerism to a culture of conservation and sharing. The challenge is to examine one's own participation in ecologically destructive habits. Our churches must become places where we have honest debates about, and are encouraged to live into, more sustainable ways of living. God calls us to die to old ways of thinking and living and be raised to new life with renewed hearts and minds.


Although many issues divide us as people of faith, unprecedented ecumenical and interfaith cooperation is engaging the concern to protect our planet. And yet, efforts to stop environmental degradation must not be simply imposed from above. Those most affected must have a hand in shaping decisions. For example, we welcome efforts in the United States to involve Native American tribal leaders and to empower local community organizations to address environmental issues. Similar strategies need to be employed in myriad communities in various locales.


Our current environmental challenges call us to ongoing forms of repentance: we must turn ourselves around, and come to think, feel, and act in new ways. Ancient wisdom and spiritual disciplines from our faith offer deep resources to help address this environmental crisis. Time-honored practices of fasting, Sabbath-keeping, and Christ-centered mindfulness bear particular promise for our time.


Fasting disciplines and heals our wayward desires and appetites, calling us to balance our individual needs with God's will for the whole world. In fasting we recognize that human hungers require more than filling the belly. In God alone are our desires finally fulfilled. Commended in the Book of Common Prayer, fasting is grounded in the practices of Israel, taught by Jesus, and sustained in Christian tradition. The ecological crisis extends and deepens the significance of such fasting as a form of self-denial: those who consume more than their fair share must learn to exercise self-restraint so that the whole community of creation might be sustained.


Sabbath-keeping is rooted in the Book of Genesis, where the seventh day is the day in which God, humans, and the rest of creation are in right relationship. In our broken world, keeping the Sabbath is a way of remembering and anticipating that world for which God created us. Sabbath requires rest, that we might remember our rightful place as God's creatures in relationship with every other creature of God. Such rest implicitly requires humans to live lightly on the face of the earth, neither to expend energy nor to consume it, not to work for gain alone, but to savor the grace and givenness of creation.


The practice of Christ-centered mindfulness, that is, the habitual recollection of Christ, calls believers to a deepened awareness of the presence of God in their own lives, in other people, and in every aspect of the world around us. Such spiritual perception should make faithful people alert to the harmful effects of our lifestyles, attentive to our carbon footprint and to the dangers of overconsumption. It should make us profoundly aware of the gift of life and less prone to be ecologically irresponsible in our consumption and acquisition.


In assuming with new vigor our teaching office, we, your bishops, commit ourselves to a renewal of these spiritual practices in our own lives, and invite you to join us in this commitment for the good of our souls and the life of the world. Moreover, in order to honor the goodness and sacredness of God's creation, we, as brothers and sisters in Christ, commit ourselves and urge every Episcopalian:


n      To acknowledge the urgency of the planetary crisis in which we find ourselves, and to repent of any and all acts of greed, overconsumption, and waste that have contributed to it;

n      To lift up prayers in personal and public worship for environmental justice, for sustainable development, and for help in restoring right relations both among humankind and between humankind and the rest of creation;

n      To take steps in our individual lives, and in community, public policy, business, and other forms of corporate decision-making, to practice environmental stewardship and justice, including (1) a commitment to energy conservation and the use of clean, renewable sources of energy; and (2) efforts to reduce, reuse, and recycle, and whenever possible to buy products made from recycled materials;

n      To seek to understand and uproot the political, social, and economic causes of environmental destruction and abuse;[ii][ii]

n      To advocate for a "fair, ambitious, and binding" climate treaty, and to work toward climate justice through reducing our own carbon footprint and advocating for those most negatively affected by climate change.

May God give us the grace to heed the warnings of Jeremiah and to accept the gracious invitation of the incarnate Word to live, in, with, and through him, a life of grace for the whole world, that thereby all the earth may be restored and humanity filled with hope. Rejoicing in your works, O Lord, send us forth with your Spirit to renew the face of the earth, that the world may once again be filled with your good things: the trees watered abundantly, springs rushing between the hills in verdant valleys, all the earth made fruitful, your manifold creatures, birds, beasts, and humans, all quenching their thirst and receiving their nourishment from you once again in due season (Psalm 104).



[i][i] From "The Hope We Share: A Vision for Copenhagen," a statement from the Anglican Communion Environmental Network in preparation for the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCC), December 2009.


[ii][ii] We are indebted to the Episcopal Bishops of New England for their earlier 2003 Pastoral Letter, "To Serve Christ in All Creation." Several of these "commitments" and other phrases herein are quotations or adaptations of their work.


# # # #



For more info contact:

Neva Rae Fox

Public Affairs Officer

The Episcopal Church

212-716-6080  Mobile: 917-478-5659


Last HOB Daily Account for Tuesday, September 20

The Episcopal Church

Office of Public Affairs



Episcopal Church House of Bishops Fall 2011 meeting:

Daily Account for Tuesday, September 20



The House of Bishops of the Episcopal Church is meeting in Province IX in Quito, Ecuador (Diocese of Ecuador Central) from September 15 to September 20.  The following is an account of the activities for Tuesday, September 20.


The September 20 session began with Morning Prayer.  Bishop Carol Gallagher of Diocese of North Dakota read the Gospel in Cherokee.


Emcee for the day was Bishop Sean Rowe, Diocese of Northwestern Pennsylvania.


In the morning session, Bishop Stacy Sauls, Chief Operating Officer of the Episcopal Church, gave a presentation about structure of the Episcopal Church, "Becoming A Domestic And Foreign Missionary Society: An Adaptive Moment." The presentation sparked much conversation among the HOB.


In the afternoon:

- Bishop Jim Curry of Connecticut reported on the activities of Bishops Working for a Just World.

- Archbishop Albert Chama, Primate of Central Africa, offered his reflections and thanks to the HOB


Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori chaired the business session, during which:


- HOB had a moment of silence for Bishop Robert Anderson and Bishop Walter Righter, who died since the last HOB meeting.


- Bishop Luis Ruiz of Ecuador Central addressed the HOB about the current conflict in the diocese. He said that he and the diocesan leadership have been working with the Presiding Bishop and Bishop Clay Matthews. He announced his intention to resign and expressed his thanks for the solidarity he received from the HOB. Also the diocesan leadership will resign from their respective positions. Bishop Victor Scantlebury was named by the Presiding Bishop as interim bishop for the Diocese of Ecuador Central.


- HOB elected Bishop Lloyd Allen of Honduras, Bishop Andy Doyle of Texas and Bishop Dean Wolfe of Kansas to the board of the College for Bishops for three year terms.


- Accepted Bishop Santosh Marray as a Collegial Member of HOB. Formerly the Bishop of the Anglican Diocese of the Seychellles, he currently serves in the Diocese of East Carolina.


- Approved and accepted A Pastoral Teaching from the House of Bishops on the topic of the environment, presented by the Theology Committee.


The Fall HOB meeting ended with Eucharist, celebrated by Bishop Stacy Sauls. Preacher was HOB chaplain the Rev. Stephanie Spellers, Diocese of Massachusetts.


Media Briefers for Tuesday, September 20

Bishop Brian Prior, Diocese of Minnesota

Bishop Lawrence Provenzano, Diocese of Long Island



The Episcopal Church:


Diocese of Connecticut

Diocese of East Carolina

Diocese of Honduras

Diocese of Long Island

Diocese of Kansas

Diocese of Massachusetts:

Diocese of Minnesota

Diocese of North Dakota

Diocese of Northwestern Pennsylvania

Diocese of Texas


Anglican Diocese of Seychelles


Province of Central Africa



# # # #


For more info contact:

Neva Rae Fox

Public Affairs Officer

The Episcopal Church

212-716-6080  Mobile: 917-478-5659




HOB Daily Account for Monday, September 19

The Episcopal Church

Office of Public Affairs



Episcopal Church House of Bishops Fall 2011 meeting:

Daily Account for Monday, September 19


The House of Bishops of the Episcopal Church is meeting in Province IX in Quito, Ecuador (Diocese of Ecuador Central) from September 15 to September 20.  The following is an account of the activities for Monday, September 19.


The Episcopal Church House of Bishops began Monday, September 19 with Morning Prayer and Bible Study. The Bible study focused on the Mission of the Church through the lens of Matthew 5:21-26. At the conclusion of the Bible study, HOB chaplain the Rev. Stephanie Spellers of the Diocese of Massachusetts asked the bishops to reflect on their call to be reconcilers asking, "What is the breach you feel most compelled to repair?"


Emcee for the day was Bishop Paul Lambert of Dallas. Bishop Clay Matthews reintroduced the theme "Proclaiming the Gospel: Caring for the Least as Bishops in the 21st Century."


The morning was devoted to a panel discussion on Migration, Poverty, Indebtedness, and the Environment in Ecuador. Panelists were Franklin Canelos, economist and university professor; the Rev. Nilton Giese, General Secretary of Consejo Latinoamericano de Iglesias (Latin-American Council of Churches); Esperanza Martinez, sociologist, biologist and researcher with Oil Watch; and Ana White, Immigration and Refugee Policy Analyst at the Episcopal Church Office of Government Relations.  Each presented data which detailed the many points and aspects of the topic; presentations were in English and Spanish.


In the afternoon session, Bishop Don Johnson of West Tennessee moderated the open discussion with the morning's panel members and HOB members.


Province IX of the Episcopal Church is comprised of the Dioceses of Colombia, Ecuador Central, Ecuador Litoral, Honduras, Puerto Rico, Dominican Republic, and Venezuela.


Eucharist was celebrated at noon by Bishop Diane Jardine Bruce, Diocese of Los Angeles, in three languages: English, Mandarin and Spanish. HOB chaplain the Rev. Simon Bautista, Diocese of Washington, was the preacher.



Media Briefers for Monday, September 19

Bishop Mary Glasspool, Diocese of Los Angeles

Bishop Steven Miller, Diocese of Milwaukee



Diocese of Dallas

Diocese of Los Angeles

Diocese of Massachusetts

Diocese of Milwaukee

Diocese of Washington

Diocese of West Tennessee

Episcopal Church Office of Government Relations:

Province IX


Consejo Latinoamericano de Iglesias:

Oil Watch

The Episcopal Church:


On the web:

Episcopal Church House of Bishops Fall 2011 meeting: Daily Account for Monday, September 19


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For more info contact:

Neva Rae Fox

Public Affairs Officer

The Episcopal Church

212-716-6080  Mobile: 917-478-5659






  • "Christianity is not a theory or speculation, but a life; not a philosophy of life, but a life and a living process." Samuel Taylor Coleridge
  • "Most people are willing to take the Sermon on the Mount as a flag to sail under, but few will use it as a rudder by which to steer." Oliver Wendell Holmes
  • "Perfection, in a Christian sense, means becoming mature enough to give ourselves to others." Kathleen Norris
  • "Do all the good you can, by all the means you can, in all the ways you can, in all the places you can, at all the times you can, to all the people you can, as long as ever you can." John Wesley
  • "The Christian ideal has not been tried and found wanting; it has been found difficult and left untried." G. K. Chesterton
  • "One of our great allies at present is the Church itself. Do not misunderstand me. I do not mean the Church as we see her spread out through all time and space and rooted in eternity, terrible as an army with banners. That, I confess, is a spectacle which makes our boldest tempters uneasy. But fortunately it is quite invisible to these humans." C. S. Lewis
  • "When we say, 'I love Jesus, but I hate the Church,' we end up losing not only the Church but Jesus too. The challenge is to forgive the Church. This challenge is especially great because the church seldom asks us for forgiveness." Henri Nouwen, Bread for the Journey
  • "Christians are hard to tolerate; I don't know how Jesus does it." Bono
  • "It's too easy to get caught in our little church subcultures, and the result is that the only younger people we might know are Christians who are already inside the church." Dan Kimball