How Do We Address Peacemaking in Youth Programming?

Last week, I had the privilege of participating in Reclaiming the Gospel of Peace: An Episcopal Gathering to Challenge the Epidemic of Violence.

The event was organized to help Episcopalians renew their commitment to the Gospel call to make peace in a world of violence. [Read more…]

Gratitude for new friends in the Diocese of Taiwan

I’ve spent a week in Taiwan meeting the faithful and gracious Episcopalians in mission and ministry in this far-flung diocese of our church.

The Rt. Rev. David Lai and his staff exceeded all of my expectations for hospitality, making sure that I was never lost or wanting in this land where I can’t speak the language nor even begin to comprehend the Chinese characters that look more like art than an alphabet to these western eyes.

With Sally, Bruce, and Kay, my colleagues from Church Pension Group, and Peter, my colleagues on the DFMS Church Center staff in Asian Ministries, we engaged in Safeguarding God’s Children training for the clergy, staff, and volunteers in teaching and formation ministries for the 18 congregations of the Episcopal Diocese of Taiwan.

Sally and I were completely dependent upon the translation skills of our new friend Amy, and we did our best to help contextualize the training for this eastern culture. Our students were incredibly attentive, sincere, gracious, and helpful. The Taiwanese people care a great deal for their children and experienced the training  as hopeful and helpful to their many ministries.

I have grown immeasurably as a Christian and a global citizen having made this trip. Although the food and the culture are vastly different from my western and heavily Scandinavian influenced cultural context, the people are warm, gracious, encouraging, and profoundly faithful to the Gospel.

I have a newfound appreciation for tea. I am still not a big fan of raw fish. But my new friends helped me try everything that was new and rewarded me with a tender, juicy, New York Strip steak on the eve of my departure, with abundant gifts of tea.

My belly is full and my heart is overflowing with gratitude for my new friends in Christ. many thanks to Bishop Lai and the people of Taiwan. I hope to return to learn more of your faithful ways in the world. Godspeed!

Bronwyn

Photos from the trip are on the EpiscoYouth Flickr account.

Consider Applying for a Constable Fund Grant

There is still time for congregations, dioceses, organizations, institutions and others to apply for the Episcopal Church Constable Fund Grants for the 2012-2013 grant cycle.

Anne Watkins, Executive Council member from the Diocese of Connecticut and current chair of the Constable Fund Grant Review Committee, noted that the deadline for applications is January 2013, “and that’s really right around the corner.”

The Constable Fund provides grants to fund mission initiatives that were not provided for within the budget of the Episcopal Church General Convention/Domestic and Foreign Missionary Society (DFMS).

Specific guidelines, suggestions, application form and timetable are available here or http://generalconvention.org/ec

Recently, the Episcopal Church Constable Fund Grant Review Committee announced a new cycle and process for Constable Fund Grants.  A Constable Grant Management task force was constituted by the Executive Council Joint Standing Committee on Governance and Mission (EC-GAM) which made subsequent recommendations resulting in the establishment of the Executive Council Constable Fund Grant Review Committee.  That committee was charged with promoting the fund and widening its access to more of the Church.

As stated in the guidelines: “All applications for the 2013 cycle will come from either (1) a programmatic office of the DFMS, (2) one of the General Convention CCABs, (committee commission agency or board) or (3) one of the Provinces of the Episcopal Church.  A maximum of one proposal per programmatic office of the DFMS, one proposal per CCAB, and one proposal per Province, will be considered.  Dioceses or individuals within a diocese should submit their proposals through their Provincial structure with final submission coming through the recommendation of the Provincial Synod, Provincial Officers or Executive Committee, or other corollary structure within the Province.”

[Article published October 11, 2012 by the Episcopal Church Office of Public Affairs]

Episcopal Church Trends

This was just published today by the Office of Public Affairs:

New facts and figures about membership in the Episcopal Church have been posted on the Research page: www.episcopalchurch.org/research

Among the facts:

  • In 2011, membership in the Episcopal Church is 2,096,389 with 1,923,046 in the domestic (50 U.S. states) dioceses and 173,343 in the non-domestic (non U.S. states) dioceses.
  • Twenty-seven domestic dioceses showed growth in membership in the past year: Alabama, Alaska, Arkansas, Colorado, Dallas, Fort Worth, Maine, Maryland, Navajo Missions, Nevada, North Carolina, Northern Michigan, Northwest Texas, Oklahoma, Pittsburgh, Quincy, South Carolina, South Dakota, Southeast Florida, Southwestern Virginia, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, Washington, West Tennessee, West Missouri, Wyoming.
  • In the non-domestic dioceses, growth in membership was marked in six dioceses: Colombia, Dominican Republic, Ecuador-Litoral, Puerto Rico, Taiwan, Venezuela.
  • The Average Sunday Attendance table shows a total for the Episcopal Church of 698,376, with 657,837 in the U.S. dioceses.