This report was written by Felicity Hallanan, diocesan representative to The Episcopal Church's Commission on World Mission, and member of Trinity, Watertown.
The 80th General Convention of the National Episcopal Church was held in Baltimore, MD, in July of 2022. Because of Covid-19 precautions, it was extremely condensed in terms of length and participation. When it concluded, it was one year behind schedule for the General Convention 81, and preparations were already under way for that to be held in 2024. If that sounds complicated, consider the next step! Shortly after GC80, then, word was sent out that applications were being accepted for the several task forces and commissions which review and propose governing practices and guidelines for the Domestic and Foreign Missionary Society, i.e. the Episcopal Church, to be ready for 2024. Decisions about membership were made as quickly as possible and, from Nov. 14-17, about 10 of the so-called “Interim Bodies” returned to Baltimore to begin organizing and deliberating about the tasks they face.
The Diocese of Central NY was represented by our Bishop DeDe Duncan-Probe; it was also my privilege to attend. Since I represented the Diocese as a Deputy at GC 80, and was a member of the then-Committee on World Mission, I applied for the same topic again. And so I was also in Baltimore again, having been accepted as a member of the Commission on World Mission.
For four, intense days at the Maritime Conference Center near the BWI airport, our group and the others focused on resolutions that had been presented at the previous General Convention, their relevancy to what is happening in the Church since, and how they apply for the future, or whether new topics need to be addressed as well. Members in the World Mission Commission came from as far as Okinawa and several places in the U.S.; we are both clergy and lay persons joined by staff from the National Church, and bring a wide range of experiences to the group. The topics we are addressing range from colonialism, and the Anglican Communication, to theological education in the U.S. and overseas, and creation care. Examples of the issues include everything from the effects of colonial practices by the Church on other cultures, to talking about differences among members of the Anglican churches worldwide but still getting along, to what guidance the Church can offer to our members about what’s happening to harm God’s world and how we can respond. The many topics will be addressed, basically by Zoom meetings over the next several months, while we aim for a December, 2023, deadline to put them in order for what’s called the Blue Book, to be presented at GC81 in Louisville, KY.
In the end, one can only return home (to snowstorms!) from such an event with increased pride and humility about the many efforts of our Church to respond to local and world concerns. Our meetings and those of the other groups, as said, will continue, and we will seek to share them with members of our Diocese.
Episcopal Diocese of New York Task Force on Domestic Violence and Sexual Assault
Date and Time: November 29, 2022, at 7:00 PM EST
Please register in advance of the webinar to receive an email about joining the webinar - http://bit.ly/climatechange-and-gb
In commemorating the 16 Days of Activism against Gender-Based Violence (November 25-December 10), The Episcopal Diocese of New York Task Force on Domestic Violence and Sexual Assault is pleased to present this webinar, Climate Change: What’s Gender Got to Do with It? We aim to examine how climate change fuels a rise in gender-based violence and propose solutions to ending the pandemic of violence against women and girls.
At first blush, when people hear that climate change increases gender-based violence, they are incredulous and ask how this is possible. However, there is much evidence that women and girls are adversely affected by climate change. The 66th Session of the United Nations Commission on the Status of Women in 2022 addressed violence against women and girls in the context of the climate crisis and environmental degradation. Countries worldwide recognize and call for action to address the climatic impacts of violence against women and girls as a part of gender-responsive climate policy.
The Episcopal Church and the wider Anglican Communion are working to mitigate the ravages of climate change and advocating for an end to gender-based violence. A key message from the Anglican Communion at COP26 stated: Faith actors should leverage both their capacity and influence to advocate for urgent, bold climate actions by leaders and key stakeholders. The should also utilise their capacity to transform hearts and minds away from destructive attitudes and behaviours toward responsible creation care. Our moderator will tell us about COP27.
We have a dynamic panel of experts from the church, civil society, and two UN entities. Come, learn, and be inspired to be a catalyst of change.
The Reverend Melanie Mullen, director of reconciliation, justice, and creation care of The Episcopal Church.
St Ursula's, St. John celebrates!
On October 23, 2022, St. Ursula's celebrated its patronal feast. Included in the celebration were the Rt. Rev. Ambrose Gumbs, retired bishop, and Interim Dean of All Saints Cathedral Church, St. Thomas, the Very Rev. Sandye Wilson. Many thanks to Dean Wilson for the photos!
St. Mary's, Virgin Gorda ECW
When Hurricanes Irma and Maria devastated the British Virgin Islands in 2017, it seems
that to many, the island of Virgin Gorda – home of St. Mary the Virgin Episcopal Church
- “got it the worst”. The hurricanes coupled with the crippling effects of the COVID
pandemic hurt the congregation’s attendance, stewardship, and outreach efforts in the
community. Its guilds and ministries either ceased to exist or they functioned at a
fraction of their former activity. With the call of the Reverend Ellis Clifton, Jr.
attendance and stewardship have improved, and the guilds of the parish – one guild in
particular - are beginning to function differently. “Focus is not solely directed at
fundraising and survival. It is more directed at thriving and the expansion of ministry.”
On October 2, 2022 – Saint Mary the Virgin’s Episcopal Church Women were
recommissioned as an active guild of the parish during their Sunday worship. New
officers were installed and a schedule of activities that included visitations of the parish’s
sick and shut-in’s and a health fair for the screening of high blood pressure and diabetes
was announced. The ladies of the ECW rededicated their lives to a renewed Christly
ministry as they took an active part in that day’s liturgy.
A highlight of the occasion was receiving congratulatory letters written by The Reverend
Jennifer Kenna, Province 2 Representative to the ECW’s National Board and The
Reverend Canon Ronald C. Byrd, Missioner for the Office of African Decent Ministries.
The Reverend Kenna offered the recommissioned fellowship a charge to grow and to
shape their ministries for the present and their future as she wrote, “On this first Sunday
in October, 2022, as the women of the parish recommit themselves to the diocese, the
parish and each other as a dedicated group of Episcopal Church Women, I believe that
God's Holy Spirit will be moving and leading you all forward in new and exciting ways.”
She continued, “St. Mary's ECW can take its lessons from the past as building blocks for
the future, seeking new and innovative ways to serve, while continuing to share their gifts and talents with this parish, and supporting each other as sisters in Christ.” Likewise, Canon Byrd, reminded the ladies of ECW’s purpose and of the important ministry they are called to offer, saying, “As you know, the stated purpose of the ECW is to unite the women of the church in a program of worship, study, service, and fellowship which will deepen their own spiritual lives and encourage them in grateful service in the parish, the community, the nation, and the world. I understand there is much ministry to offer in both, your parish, and your community.”
Trevor Bridgewater Jr, Sr. Warden of the parish, offered his reflections of this joyful
event saying, “St. Mary’s is not the same church we were before Irma and Maria hit. As
individual members of the congregation, the ladies of St. Mary’s have had an active part
in shaping the new direction of the parish to make us responsive to the new and present
needs of the community in these post-Irma and post COVID times. I am confident that
our ECW will work together with the Vestry and Fr. Clifton to make our unanimously
adopted vision plan for St. Mary’s a reality.”
This celebration of St. Mary’s women to the parish and community concluded on Sunday, October 16, 2022 with Ms Eloise Estridge, National Coordinator of the Child Evangelism Fellowship as guest preacher at the service.
From the Rev. Ellis Clifton, priest-in-charge of St. Mary's, Virgin Gorda, BVI, Diocese of the Virgin Islands
Fire in Cuban city of Matanzas
Bishop Griselda's letter from Facebook
A toda la familia diocesana, a la amada ciudad de Matanzas y a todo el pueblo de Cuba!
En esta hora de dolor y angustia profunda, elevamos nuestra súplica a nuestro Buen Señor con las palabras del salmista: "Dios mío, ¡ven a librarnos! Señor, apresúrate a socorrernos". Salmo 70: 2
Desde las últimas horas del día de ayer, todos los cubanos, especialmente el pueblo de la ciudad de Matanzas, estamos viviendo una catástrofe sin precedentes. Mucho es ya el sufrimiento que día a día soporta nuestro pueblo, y por el que continuamente oramos al Señor por su auxilio y misericordia.
Con esta nueva situación, aumenta la angustia y el dolor de tantas familias, y especialmente de aquellos que han estado en primera línea y que han sufrido directamente el embate de este siniestro. Oramos por los heridos, cada uno en la situación particular que se encuentre; también por sus familiares y amigos que cuidan y esperan su recuperación. Oramos por las familias que viven más cerca de la zona industrial del desastre. Oramos por todo el personal de salud que los recibe en los hospitales. Oramos por los que tienen la alta responsabilidad de cuidar y proteger la vida de nuestro pueblo.
A todos los encomendamos a Cristo el Señor, que es nuestro Dios, y en el cual ponemos nuestra esperanza.
Pido y suplico a todos los miembros de la Iglesia episcopal en Cuba, y a todo cubano que cree, confía y espera en la misericordia del Señor, que aumentemos nuestra oración humilde y constante, porque solo del perdón y amor del Señor, brotará la salvación de nuestro pueblo.
+ María Griselda Delgado del Carpio
Bishop Edington at Lambeth
Last Lambeth Stuff: