On January 19, 2020, the Canterbury Cross was presented to the congregation of Holy Trinity Nice, France, during their service.. The organizing team of the next Convocation Convention came forward to receive the Cross from Samuel and Helena Mbele-Mbong of Emmanuel Episcopal Church Geneva Switzerland. It was well received, and many wondered about the story behind the Cross.
At the Closing Service of the Convocation Convention at Emmanuel on 27 October, the Canterbury Cross was presented to Father Peter Jackson and Joe Voelker representing Holy Trinity, Nice, where the next Convention will be held. However, they could not take it with them on the plane. So Samuel and Helena drove down last week with the cross. Although part of the Diocese of Gibraltar in Europe of the Church of England, Holy Trinity, Nice, has a special and very welcomed relationship with the Convocation since absorbing the congregants of the Episcopal Church of the Holy Spirit in Nice when it closed many years ago.
The Canterbury Cross was made in 1997 for the Convocation from wood removed from Canterbury Cathedral during renovations. That year the Cross made a pilgrimage to all parishes and missions of the Convocation, coinciding with the pilgrimage from Rome to Canterbury to commemorate the 1400th anniversary of St. Augustine being sent to England. The first group of Youth Across Europe brought it forward at the Convention which was in Paris that year with Presiding Bishop Edmond Browning. Since then, at the close of each Convention, the Cross is presented to the parish hosting the next Convention.
The new rector of The Episcopal Church of the Holy Innocents, Beach Haven, NJ, The Rev. Dr. Caroline Carson, has just been on an adventure in Bangladesh. That’s a long way from New Jersey and she was not on vacation. What was she doing?
Mother Caroline is an exceptionally talented person. In addition to her recent ordination to the priesthood and call to serve at Holy Innocents’, she has a Masters of Divinity from Sewanee School of Theology, a Doctorate of Musical Arts in Conducting from the University of South Carolina, a Master of Conducting from Emory University and a Bachelor of Music Education from the University of South Carolina. This trip adds to her adventures from her recent grants, the Seminary Consultation on Mission (SCOM), the United Thank Offering (UTO), and with Episcopal Church Global Partnerships funding (with the SCOM grant). Carson was following up on last year’s Global Partnership visit to the Church of Bangladesh, the first official visitation from The Episcopal Church since The Most Reverend Ed Browning went to Dhaka in 1997. The goal for this mission partnership outreach process is to continue to help build relationships, if possible, parish to parish and/or diocese to diocese. She also provided the Church of Bangladesh assistance with their 2020 UTO grant application, sang with every group she visited, and brainstormed development and grant ideas with bishops around the various dioceses there.
Dr. Carson is a missioner interested in global partnerships, peacemaking, interfaith relationships, and Anglican ecumenism. A professor for 20 years, she continues to enjoy conducting and singing professionally. Caroline is also a member of the Episcopal Communicators and a volunteer with the NASA Solar System Ambassador Program. She has a high energy and enthusiasm for life and is dedicated to discipleship, learning, pastoral sensitivity, missional engagement, and recognizing the movement of the Holy Spirit in each person. (https://www.worldanglican.com/united-states/beach-haven/the-episcopal-church/the-rev-dr-caroline-carson )
The Rev. Carson provided her congregation back home with a running account of her adventures. The whole story from her trip is on the Holy Innocents’ Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/HIBeachHavenNJ/
Rector’s note: I arrived safely into Dhaka, Bangladesh and am staying at St. Andrew’s Theological College. I received a VERY warm welcome and the group here sends many prayers and greetings to you! There was a reception program in the theological library and I met several students and some seminary staff as well as the Dean and choir director. They sang me a hymn and we shared introductory greetings and then we had a question and answer time. They graciously gave me a gorgeous shawl...and I’m sure you noticed the BANNER, WOW! That was a really sweet surprise!
Tomorrow, I’ll participate in morning worship, teach a class, see the cathedral and another large church, talk to the Moderator (primate there), Synod staff and others.
The Episcopal Church Global Partnerships website (https://episcopalchurch.org/global-partnerships describes its mission and ministry this way:
The ministry of the Office of Global Partnerships is to help “build bridges beyond ourselves”. We serve as a bridge for developing and nurturing relationships between The Episcopal Church and our partners around the Anglican Communion, our ecumenical and interreligious partners, and with organizations such as the United Nations and the National Council of Churches. We are a resource for congregations and dioceses as they develop and foster their own relationships around the world. We actively develop resources to strengthen and facilitate the global mission engagement of The Episcopal Church. We highlight issues of international concern and, in cooperation with colleagues on the Presiding Bishop’s staff mobilize engagement in these issues throughout The Episcopal Church. Our ministry is guided by the mission priorities adopted by General Convention, and the mission priorities of the Presiding Bishop of Evangelism, Reconciliation, and Care of Creation.
The Rev. Canon Bruce Woodcock, Partnership officer for Asia and the Pacific, says “Similar Asia Pacific partnership development efforts are envisioned for several Anglican Communion partners, such as Korea (ACK) Japan (NSKK) and the Philippines (ECP) among others under consideration in Oceania (ANZP). My hope is that Caroline+ can also help make a similar connection (perhaps for Dioceses and Parishes in Province 2) with the Anglican Church in Ceylon perhaps in May 2020, if travel support can be located.”
Global Partnerships are formed by networking and story-telling. Dr. Carson will share her story with her congregation in NJ and with the Diocese of NJ, at least. All too often we hear about the disasters and exploitation in Bangladesh but nothing about the vibrant Christian community in the Anglican tradition that welcomes connections, prayers and support.
Any congregation can get involved. There are resources on the Global Partnerships website at https://episcopalchurch.org/global-partnerships/resources . One example is Carson’s trip, but that’s not the only possibility. There are covenant and bilateral relationships that bring churches together. https://episcopalchurch.org/bilateral-and-covenant-relationships . Groups from around the world have formed official links, finding their rewards in new friendships, mutual learning, and an expanded awareness of the world. Together, they share prayers and fight poverty, throughout the Church and abroad. Groups in mission relationships take on responsibility for each other. https://episcopalchurch.org/page/mission-relationships . Our young people are always ready to get involved with partnerships. St. Andrews School in Maryland has international partnerships with Haiti and with Bokamoso, South Africa.
Mother Caroline spent an exhausting week on a whirlwind tour. We can all look forward to seeing what comes next. What will result from these friendships newly forged? Where will she go next? We’re waiting to find out. Meanwhile, just look at all she accomplished!
Rector’s update: Yesterday (Wednesday, Jan. 29), I attended Morning Prayer in the Theological College, met with students to talk about practical ministry, discernment, well-being for clergy, and being a pastor/preacher/teacher in the world today. We also shared some singing. Then, I visited St. Thomas cathedral and the Church of Bangladesh offices. When I got out of my car, I saw myself on a tree! There was a short program of welcome led by the Moderator (primate) Samuel S. Mankhin and I was given a plaque. Afterwards, it was wonderful to share lunch with his grace and his assistant Prodip. Later, I met to talk about grant writing, a UTO (United Thank Offering) grant project, asset-based community development (ABCD), and more. Archbishop Mankhin asked me to come and say hello to visiting Coptic Orthodox bishops who actually know three people I know in the new province of Egypt, N. Africa, and the Horn of Africa. It was a laughter-filled discovery and an amazing moment of just how small the world is (and they liked my Coptic cross!) Evening Prayer was held in St. Thomas Cathedral before dinner. I’d forgotten how spicy the curries are, WOW! I hope you’ll enjoy these little video clips (if they show up!) and photos from a moving car. Hopefully, it’ll give you an idea of life in Dhaka. Wednesday evening, we left to northern Bangladesh by overnight steamer on the Burigonga River to the Kirtonkhola River. It was dark and foggy and rumbled like crazy. Not sure of upcoming internet availability as I’m going to be in and out if smaller villages. More in a bit with what I experienced today.
Rector’s update: Sunday, while Canon Woodcock was with you (The Rev. Canon Bruce Woodcock was the celebrant and preacher filling in for Carson at Holy Innocents’ on February 2, 2020), I preached at St. John’s Cathedral in the Kushtia diocese and served with Bishop Hemen Haldar. After lunch, it was time to head off to Lalon Shah - Bengali philosopher, Baul saint, mystic, songwriter, social reformer and thinker from the Indian subcontinent. He was an icon of Bengali culture, inspiring and influencing many poets, social and religious thinkers including Rabindranath Tagore. There at the shrine area, we heard a fantastic music group with singer Babo Shah. We then drove north four hours to Idilpur parish. It is the area of the Garu tribal indigenous people, also known as “mandthee” or “original man.” Here, there is a “Children’s Village” where poorest families may send their children to grow up having education and enough food. Last night, I taught the kids three songs. I also heard a Garu group practicing for a worship service.
And there’s more on the Facebook page of Holy Innocents’!
Check out some of the photos here >
I greet you all and hope that this note finds you in good health. It's been 14 months since we, in Haiti, have been living in unprecedented times. In the past, after a greeting of "how are you?” we would usually hear "not too bad." These days the responses are "I'm dying of hunger" or "I'm not going out anymore." And the parting wish now is "be careful."
Life in Haiti has become very difficult. Travel from one city to another is impossible. Food, treated water, fuel, propane gas, products of first necessity such as flour, rice, pasta, and ingredients such as oils, spices, soap, milk, cereals all remain in Port-au-Prince in the warehouses of their owners. The farmers and agriculturists cannot transplant their fruit and vegetables to big cities.
The charcoal remains in the provinces. the people in Port-au-Prince cannot prepare food without charcoal.
The majority of hospitals in provincial towns remain closed due to lack of fuel and also to maintain the safety of patients and employees. Doctors are stranded in one place or another. The general hospital of the city of Les Cayes is inoperable. Currently, if you need to get to North America for a serious emergency illness, a Cayes charter flight to Port-au-Prince is $750. Getting sick these days in Haiti is not desirable.
Some priests are stuck in Port-au-Prince with or without their family and others in the countryside with or without their families. Some commercial banks open their doors early in the morning before demonstrations while others open just every two days. One piece of good news: with the magic of technology, your funds sent to your partners are transferred by direct deposit to the accounts of institutions in provincial towns.
The Standing Committee of the Diocese of Haiti had a very positive meeting with the Presiding Bishop last month in New York concerning the state of the diocese. The current situation in Haiti has greatly slowed the activities of the diocese. The diocese convention is planned for January 28 and 29, 2020. The sources of income of our institutions are completely blocked as people have no money for school fees or to give to the church. Sincerely the situation is alarming.
With the fervent hope of your prayers, we thank you all in the name of our Lord Jesus.
Diocese of Haiti
Rev. Dr. Kesner Ajax
Dean of BTI and executive secretary
Episcopal Church of Haitiepihaiti@yahoo.com
Some of the children from the Sea Cow's Bay area on the island of Tortola returned to school this week with new backpacks and school supplies, thanks to the congregation of St. Paul's Episcopal Church. More than half of the 60 children came from the surrounding community. The original idea was to invite children to bring their backpacks to be blessed but when it realized that some children had no backpacks to bring, the congregation donated cash and school supplies so that backpacks could be bought and filled. The outreach involved students from kindergarten through high school.
Tbilisi Ministry to be welcomed to Convention
At the September meeting, the Bishop and the Council of Advice approved the recommendation of the Committee on Mission Congregations to invite St. Nino's mission in Tbilisi Georgia to be a specialized mission in the Convocation of Episcopal Churches in Europe.
We will welcome the congregation to the councils of the church in our Convocation Convention in Geneva in October.
Sacramental ministry and oversight will be provided through monthly visits by Convocation priests under the leadership of the Rev. Sunny Hallanan , Rector of All Saints in Waterloo, Belgium.
Please keep this new ministry in your prayers.
300 Miles in Malawi for UrbanPromise International
Local rider from St. John’s
Somerville, NJ (June 2019) – For ten days in July, Bridgewater resident William Hoffman will join a dozen riders from local New Jersey churches on a 300-mile bicycle trek through the African country of Malawi. The aim is to raise funds for local education initiatives for children and young adults.
A parishioner at St. John’s Episcopal Church in Somerville, Hoffman’s ride will be sponsored by church members and friends. Proceeds will support UrbanPromise International, a non-profit organization dedicated to helping children and young adults both in NJ and around the world. http://www.urbanpromiseinternational.org
“It’s not uncommon for children living in rural Malawi to have to walk more than 300 miles every year just to get to school,” Hoffman explained. “One of the ways that the money raised can help is to build dormitories closer to where students go to school.”
In its 30 years, UrbanPromise has delivered impactful educational and social projects throughout the United States and around the world. In Malawi there are seven ministries focused on areas such as girls’ empowerment, afterschool programs, medical clinics and mentoring programs. Among its other achievements, Urban Promise has been featured by Diane Sawyer of ABC News.
“The youth ministry program at St John’s is deeply committed to serving the needs of children and young adults both here in Somerville and globally,” noted the Rev. Canon Ronald Pollock, rector of St. John’s. “We’re delighted to support UrbanPromise International and we will be following the progress of all the riders, praying for them daily, and pledging our funds to their efforts.”
For more information or to make a pledge/donation to Hoffman’s Bike Trek, contact St. John’s at 908-722-1250 or go to https://www.urbanpromiseinternational.org/hoffmans-trek-malawi-ride
About St. John’s
St. John’s Episcopal Church is located at 158 West High Street in Somerville. St. John’s is handicapped accessible. Ample parking is available in the church lot behind the church or on the street. At St. John’s, weekly Sunday services are conducted at 8 am and 10:15 am with music. St. John’s offers Sunday School every Sunday at 10:15 am preceded by “Children’s Chapel” at 10 am which features the rector offering a brief children’s message. Among its many programs, St. John’s hosts the SHIP's Galley Soup Kitchen three days a week and a monthly Laundry Love, assisting those who are unable or cannot afford to clean their laundry. www.stjohnsomerville.org. Like us on Facebook!
Student Ministry resumes at St. James in Florence, Italy....
The Rev. Andrew A. Cooley, Interim Rector, reports:
“A new caldaia (furnace) was installed; we are now living in the Rectory. After spending time cleaning and organizing, we were able to host 8 college students for dinner last Wednesday. We had a great evening of eating, discussion, compline and even a short bible study. It was a fabulous "house warming" experience and connected us to the ministry of hospitality that has been such an important part of the Rectory.
“The theme of our discussion, and a theme that continues to rise in my consciousness is that of "Pilgrimage". We reflected together on how being in Florence on a semester abroad can be a time to awaken to hear God's call in our lives in new ways. I pray that all of us touched by St. James can find our ears opened to hear God's voice speaking in new and transforming ways through our connections here.
“Soon these students will be returning to the United States and resuming more familiar patterns. My God bless them, and each of us in our journeys. And may we be filled with gratitude for the hospitality we have experienced in this place.
On May 3 and 4, the Union of Black Episcopalians (UBE) held its Northeast Regional Conference in Niagara Falls, New York. The event was hosted by the UBE's Bishop James Theodore Holly Chapter, based at St. Philip's Episcopal Church in Buffalo.
At the conference luncheon, Bishop Bill Franklin was awarded the inaugural Racial Healing and Transformation Award from the Bishop Holly Chapter. Franklin, who was instrumental in organizing the diocese's Commission to Dismantle Racism and Discrimination, retired in early April.
Justice Rose Sconiers, dean of the conference, commended Franklin for his leadership on racial justice issues. " I could really see the difference between when Bishop Franklin stepped into this diocese and when he left," she said, citing his participation on the Greater Buffalo Racial Equity Roundtable and his support of the diocesan commission.
In addition to Sconiers, organizers of the conference included Wayne A. Blassingame, president of the Bishop Holly Chapter of the UBE; Michael Hughes and Kim Green, conference co-chairs; and Ann Burroughs, Josephine Cross, Deacon Lillian Davis-Wilson, Herman Wilson, and Paul Nevergold.
On May 4 the Diocese of NY had a very successful wardens’ conference, organized by diocesan chief of finance, Esslie Hughes, and hosted by the Parish of Christ the Redeemer in Pelham. The 110 wardens who attended enjoyed an engaging and informative presentation from diocesan vice-chancellor Alice Yurke on the perennial topic of the role and responsibilities of wardens, a sermon preached by TEC chief operating officer Deacon Geoffrey T. Smith, an address by Bishop Dietsche, a panel discussion led by Heavenly Rest rector the Rev. Matthew Heyd, and further presentations on the mechanics of diocesan finances, church revitalization and new church development, and the Diocesan Investment Trust, by the Rev. Matthew Hoxsie Mead, Bishop Allen K. Shin, and Mr. John Trammell, respectively.
Links to materials and videos are at www.dioceseny.org/2019-wardens-conference.
The videos include:
Anti-Racism and Reconciliation Training
Here is the latest class of NJ Diocese’s Antiracism 2.5 day training, completed Saturday May 11 at All Saints Scotch Plains. The inter-active Training, Repudiating the Sin of Racism, was facilitated by a team of NJ Antiracism Commission members who created and developed course. All successful participants of New Jersey’s Antiracism Multi-day trainings are presented with the purple and gold stoles signifying membership in the Diocese’s Antiracism Team. The next NJ Diocese’s 2.5 day Antiracism Training will be October 4, 5 and 12 at St Stephens, Whiting, NJ.
Bishops United Against Gun Violence - Live
Bishop Chip Stokes will livestream a prayer vigil on gun violence this Friday from the 9/11 memorial insideTrinity Cathedral in Trenton. Sponsored by Bishops United Against Gun Violence, the vigil will be broadcast live on the Episcopalians United Against Gun Violence Facebook page, the theme is school shootings and urban violence and the main reading will be Habakkuk 1:1-4.
The Jubilee Ministry site Samaritan House--a halfway house that has transitioned more than 200 men to permanent housing in the past five years--gained national exposure, including an article in USA Today. While the reason for the attention was unfortunate, the resulting attention has increased donations and an awareness of the good work Samaritan House is doing. Local police had entered Samaritan House on April 24, looking for a resident, and were startled by a different resident's pet dog. Officers shot and wounded the dog in the leg. The dog--a 2-year-old mixed breed named "Bella"--has had surgery and is recovering. The incident has raised some questions about local police policies.
English & Spanish Protocol
The Diocese of New Jersey has developed a Protocol for English-speaking congregations that wish to establish a relationship with those who speak Spanish. This Protocol outlines the various steps to take from the early exploratory stages up to full implementation. We have planned a June 1 Workshop to present this Protocol to all interested congregations of the Diocese. The Workshop will be held on Saturday June 1, 2019 from 9:00 a.m.-noon at St. Matthew’s Episcopal Church, Pennington, NJ.
La Diócesis de Nueva Jersey ha preparado un Protocolo para las congregaciones de habla inglesa que desean establecer una relación con aquellos que hablan español. Este Protocolo describe los distintos pasos a seguir desde las primeras etapas exploratorias hasta la implementación completa. Hemos planeado un 1 de Junio Taller para presentar este Protocolo a todas las congregaciones interesadas de la Diócesis,