A Special Meeting of the Synod of Province II of The Episcopal Church will take place on September 1, 2020 at 1 pm Eastern at Woodbury Commons, Central Valley, NY.
The principal purpose of this very brief in-person gathering is to approve resolutions that will allow Province II to operate meetings and elections virtually in an effective and legal manner. Other than the adoption of the revised Ordinances, no other business will be transacted.
This meeting was called by the Provincial Council pursuant to Ordinance III, Section 2(b) of the Ordinances of the Province. With air travel questionable, and because of the shortness of the business, this meeting can effectively be conducted with representation from the eight NJ/NY dioceses (Albany, Central New York, Long Island, New Jersey, New York, Newark, Rochester, Western New York).
Kindly direct any questions to Neva Rae Fox, Province II Coordinator/Communications Consultant at email@example.com.
The Rev. Yamily Bass-Choate of the Diocese of New York has been named the Province II representative to the Executive Council Committee on Anti-Racism and Reconciliation (ECCAR) to fill an unexpired term.
Province II Vice-President the Rt. Rev. Dr. DeDe Duncan-Probe announced the appointment, which is effective immediately. “Yamily has shown great leadership in the field of anti-racism and reconciliation, and I am thankful for her contributions to ECCAR and the wider Episcopal Church,” Bishop Duncan-Probe said.
Bass-Choate currently serves as the Liaison to Global Mission and is the former Missioner for Latino/Hispanic Ministries in the Diocese of New York.
“I look forward to continuing my ministry with ECCAR and its important initiatives,” Bass-Choate said.
In 2009, she was named a Trinity Transformational Fellow, and for ten years she served as the Vicar for San Andres, Yonkers, NY.
A native of Colombia, South America, Bass-Choate has resided in the United States for more than 40 years. She has been a social worker for youth, a counselor to victims of domestic violence, and a high school Spanish Teacher.
She received her Master of Divinity from General Theological Seminary in New York. After seminary, Bass-Choate served as Canon for Hispanic Ministry in the Diocese of Mississippi and the Coordinator for Hispanic Ministries for Province IV. Returning to the Diocese of New York in 2005, she now lives in Yonkers with her two daughters.
In the Diocese of Mississippi, she was appointed to the Anti-racism Commission for the Episcopal Church. She was a board member for Mississippi Immigrant Rights Alliance, the YMCA Jackson Metropolitan area, and CONTACT, the emergency crisis line for Mississippi. She initiated and organized a statewide Spanish language crisis line, AYUDA. She served as Camp Director at Camp Bratton Green, the Diocesan camp in Mississippi. She pioneered a traveling multicultural Vacation Bible School across the diocese and a Total Immersion Spanish Education Program.
She was elected three times, at General Convention 2009, 2012, and 2015, as a trustee for the Board of the General Theological Seminary.
Currently, she is a member of the Episcopal Church's Trust Fund for Hispanic Theological Education, a post she has held for the last nine years.
For more information contact Neva Rae Fox, Provincial Communications/Coordinator, NevaRae@aol.com.
Report of the Clerical Representative to Executive Council Winter Meeting February 13-15, 2020
The Rev. Gay Clark Jennings, vice-chair of council and president of the House of Deputies, presided over the Executive Council meeting at the Hilton hotel in downtown Salt Lake City. Presiding Bishop Michael Curry was with us on the meeting’s second day after recovering from a bout of food poisoning.
The meeting opened with a Eucharist celebrating Absalom Jones lead by The Rev. Charles Graves, The Rev. Deacon Lillian J. Davis-Wilson, a sermon by The Rev. Ronald Charles Byrd, and with music played by The Rt. Rev. Scott Hayashi, Bishop of Utah. What a beautiful and unifying service.
This was followed by a heart-wrenching presentation by Mr. Forrest S. Cuch, a longtime leader of the Ute people, former director of Utah’s Division of Indian Affairs and the bishop’s warden at St. Elizabeth's Episcopal Church on the Uintah-Ouray Ute Reservation. He shared the way the “Doctrine of Discovery" dehumanized the Native American. The Doctrine of Discovery was a concept that asserted the superiority of white Europeans and their descendants over the indigenous peoples. It was used to justify taking of native lands and countless other injustices. The Episcopal Church formally rejected the doctrine and repented for its complicity at the 2009 General Convention. Cuch's presentation showed that injustices still live on.
Mr. Cuch stated, "That as a nation, we are in big trouble, due to the extreme degree of cruelty and nastiness that is being displayed in our nation’s capital, I believe it is of a diabolical nature. And it needs to be taken seriously.”
The Rev. Cornelia Eaton of Navajo land and the Rev. Angela Goodhouse-Mauai of North Dakota (both members of council) shared, through personal experiences and historical events, topics of racism from an indigenous perspective. They provided narratives of the ways the church can be an instrument of oppression and erasure of Native peoples or a source of strength and empowerment for them. Goodhouse-Mauai said, “In the Episcopal Church, we meet in the paradox of everything. How do we meet in the middle to continue this work together that we’re called to do?”
Racial Reconciliation is one of the cornerstones of the church's mission. It should be at the forefront of the movement to undo the damage of the Doctrine of Discovery and root out racial discrimintion where it still grows, the presenters said.
The Rev. Michael Carney, vicar at St. Elizabeth’s, showed some of the many ways his church is working to heal and renew the people of the Uintah-Ouray Ute Reservation. Through talking circles and art projects, children can share traumas openly, receive support and express difficult emotions. Native storytellers share the Ute creation stories, so they can reconnect with the cultural heritage that was taken away from them.
The next morning Kristine Stache, interim president of Wartburg Theological Seminary, an Evangelical Lutheran Church in America affiliate, made a presentation and spoke about ways to interpret and respond to The Episcopal Church’s membership decline as depicted in the most recent parochial report data.
Stache started off with a brutally honest look at those declining statistics. She said, "If the rate of decline experienced over the past decade continues, The Episcopal Church will have no Sunday attendance in 30 years and no baptized members in 47 years. As with other mainline Protestant Churches, it depicts a church that appears to be dying, perhaps.” But, she argued, other signs show a church that is not dying but transforming. Stache encouraged council to see this difficult transformation as a sign of God’s presence, not God’s absence, citing Isaiah 43:18 “Do not remember the former things, or consider the things of old. I am about to do a new thing. Now it springs forth; do you not perceive it?”
Stache said, while “innovation” has become the buzzword of choice in discussions of how to deal with these changes, it often consists of creating new pathways to traditional models of ministry or coming up with solutions to perceived problems. That’s not what the word really means or what the church needs.
She argued "Innovation" gives us permission to say, ‘We don’t have it figured out. But we trust that God has a future and it includes the church. We ask new questions and experiment, creating a culture of failure by which we learn something. The church should become something truly new, something we have yet to imagine. This kind of thinking looks nothing like what we’ve ever done before. We don’t have the current knowledge or solutions to address this work. In fact we can’t even define the problem, but that’s the point. Living in this space is about a mental shift to a focus on questions instead of answers.”
Next, Michael Barlowe, as secretary of General Convention, formally certified that the Episcopal Church of Cuba had met the requirements for readmission to The Episcopal Church as a diocese. After a unanimous vote, it was official: The Episcopal Church of Cuba became the Episcopal Church in Cuba, joy and excitement burst forth to a round of joyful applause.
Addressing the council Cuba Bishop Griselda Delgado Del Carpio spoke in Spanish with a great deal of emotion and said, “Each one of us has been living a very emotional time in our life in the Diocese of Cuba because the church lived for more than 50 years all by itself. I want to express my gratitude to each one of you … who has worked so arduously to achieve this moment. We will continue serving our people, our country – however, we will do it in your company.” I feel this is an exciting time for our province.
I Chaired the Joint standing committee Beyond the Church this session and, after hearing reports from the Office of Government relations, we presented two resolutions to the body. The first was False and Misleading Information when it Comes to Our Elections, urging Episcopalians and political leaders to fight misinformation and enact election security measures in the United States and elsewhere. The second resolution was On Anti-microbial Resistance. This resolution urges the research and support needed for advocacy. We have come to the end of our ability to use antibiotics against these "super bugs" that are a threat to individuals and society.
Other resolutions adopted by council included an assessment waiver for the Diocese of Alabama, the adoption of a Covenant for Care of Creation and a plan for its implementation.
Another high point of the meeting was the selection of Louisville, Kentucky, as the site for the 2024 General Convention and congratulations and farewell to Georgia's Bishop elect Frank Logue.
After completing the enormous work of this session, a blessing from Presiding Bishop, Michael Curry was given adjourning the meeting on a high note.
Respectfully submitted by,
The Rev. Lillian J. Davis-Wilson
At its February 2020 meeting, the Executive Council of The Episcopal Church
on February 18, 2020 adopted a resolution as required by General Convention
Resolution 2018-A238 to effect the admission of the Diocese of Cuba as a
Diocese of The Episcopal Church.
Our entire Province II shares in mourning the passing of Bishop G.P. Mellick Belshaw, IX Bishop of New Jersey. Bishop Belshaw’s leadership and ministry provided us all a pattern for a life lived for Jesus. Bishop Belshaw and his family remain in our prayers.
Into your hands. O merciful Savior, we commend your servant Mellick.
Acknowledge we humbly beseech you a sheep of your own
fold, a lamb of your own flock, a sinner of your own redeeming.
Receive him into the arms of your mercy, into the blessed rest
of everlasting peace, and into the glorious company
of the saints in light. Amen.
May his soul and the souls of all the departed, through
the mercy of God, rest in peace. Amen
The Rt. Rev. George Phelps Mellick Belshaw, who served as the 9th Bishop of New Jersey until his retirement in 1995, died peacefully at his home in Princeton, NJ. The funeral will be Friday, March 6, at 11:00 a.m. at Trinity Episcopal Church at 33 Mercer Street in Princeton. Obituary >
A congregation in Western New York recently received a $194 solicitation disguised as a bill for website listing services from a company titled "Internet Networx" in Duluth, Georgia. Scams like this are common at this time of year; please check unusual bills to avoid becoming victims of this type of "phishing" attack.
If you are uncertain whether a solicitation or bill is a scam, forward it to firstname.lastname@example.org .
[December 2019] Province II of the Episcopal Church is forming a committee to prepare a special service of Stations of the Cross for Lent 2020.
The goal of the committee is to work with Province II leadership to develop the service with an eye on participation of all 12 dioceses in their respective languages.
Committee members will be clergy and laity canonically resident and actively engaged in ministry in a Province II diocese, who understand the power of community prayer, the importance of participation and the elegance of many languages.
Province II of the Episcopal Church includes 12 dioceses in New Jersey, New York, Europe and the Caribbean. The Province II dioceses are: Albany, Central New York, Cuba, [anticipated effective March, 2020], Episcopal Churches in Europe, Haiti, Long Island, New Jersey, New York, Newark, Rochester, Virgin Islands, and Western New York.
For more information or to express interest in serving on the committee contact the Rt. Rev. Dr. DeDe Duncan-Probe, Diocese of Central New York, at email@example.com.
Committee work will begin after the New Year holiday.
Neva Rae Fox
Louie Crew Clay, a longtime advocate for the full inclusion of LGBTQ people in The Episcopal Church, the founder of Integrity and a former member of the House of Deputies, died on Nov. 27 at age 82 with his husband by his side, according to the Rev. Elizabeth Kaeton, a close friend.Known commonly as Louie Crew, he is remembered across The Episcopal Church as a tireless trailblazer for sexual minorities and outcasts, a prolific author and a devoted husband and friend. Read more >
[December 2019] The Rev. Canon Johnnie E. Ross has been appointed the Province II clergy representative to serve an unexpired term on the Province II Council of the Episcopal Church.
The Rev. Dahn Gandell, Province II president, noted, “The Rev. Canon Johnnie E. Ross possesses the skills, the talents and the spirituality that are needed for this role, and he will be an invaluable member of Council.”
Ross is the Dean for Small Church & Pastoral Development for the Episcopal Diocese of Rochester and serves as rector for Grace Church in Scottsville and St. Andrew’s in Caledonia. He served in various positions, churches and committees in the Diocese of Rochester and the Diocese of Lexington. He has served as a General Convention deputy and/or alternate five times since 1997.
“What a wonderful opportunity to serve the 12 dioceses of this province and the greater Church,” Ross said. “I have long been an admirer of the work of provincial councils and look forward to learning more, serving when and where I can, and experiencing the great diversity of Province II and the greater needs of Episcopal Church. I look forward to serving alongside ‘old’ friends and those friends I have yet to meet. To my clergy colleagues nominated and not chosen, I am sure you have ideas of what you would like to see accomplished on the provincial level. Should you feel comfortable enough to share those thoughts with me, I promise to hold them as sacred gifts and bring them to the table whenever appropriate.”
More than one dozen clergy expressed interest in the position. Gandell reviewed the nominees and presented Ross to the Province II Council, which consented to her recommendation.
Ross will join the Province II Council immediately. Duties include attending Province II council and Synod meetings, participating in the business of the Province, and offering advice and insight to the Executive Board of Province II.
The term expires following the conclusion of Provincial Synod in April 2021.
Province II of the Episcopal Church includes 12 dioceses in New Jersey, New York, Europe and the Caribbean. The Province II dioceses are: Albany, Central New York, Cuba [anticipated effective March 2020], Episcopal Churches in Europe, Haiti, Long Island, New Jersey, New York, Newark, Rochester, Virgin Islands, and Western New York.
For more information contact Neva Rae Fox, communications consultant at firstname.lastname@example.org .
Commemorating 400 years of African American History and Culture: An invitation to participate in Healing Day National Bell Ringing
August 25 at 3:00 pm EDT
Presiding Bishop Michael Curry and Episcopal Diocese of Southern Virginia Bishop James B. Magness invite Episcopal churches to take part in a national action to remember and honor the first enslaved Africans who landed in English North America in 1619 by tolling their bells for one minute on Sunday, August 25, 2019 at 3:00 pm ET. Read more >