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April
2006
Trans-Atlantic ministries
Affluent American expatriates were responsible for the first organized Episcopal presence on the European continent. The names of Vanderbilt, Drexel, Roosevelt, Harriman, Biddle and Tigge are linked to the first church in Paris.
European interludes
A dozen years ago, a friend contacted the Rev. Fletcher Lowe and asked him to fill in for him as summer supply priest at St. James in Florence, Italy. A decade later, Lowe and his wife, Mary Fran, returned to Florence, where he served as interim for three-and-a-half months.
Rappin’ for the saints
“Ethelbert believed in freedom of religion, so no one was forced to convert,” Doebler said. “He gave his royal palace in Canterbury to Augustine for his use, founded a cathedral there and laid the foundation for many other churches.” She said the youth knew their idea was a good one when delegates passed their resolution unanimously.
Remembering first black priest
In 1792, under his leadership, the African Church was organized as an outgrowth of the Free African Society, the center of black religious life in Philadelphia. Eventually the church became St. Thomas’ African Episcopal Church, the first black Episcopal Church in the United States.
Continuing WCC influence
Anglicans will have a significant role in the World Council of Churches over the next seven years, through representation on the Central Committee and by the election of Mary Tanner, a member of the Church of England, as one of eight regional presidents.
Constructing peace
“Rebuilding is harder than tearing down. Expectations of help from the global community is high, but the delivery is slow,” he said. Speaking of the grim situation, the archbishop told one reporter that he felt Darfur was a “self-destructive tragedy.” He repeatedly reiterated that message to government officials.
Seeking ways to help
The Episcopal Church has roots in Sudan, the largest country in Africa, that date to 1906, when missionaries ventured into a region with no tradition of Christianity or formal schools and little contact with the outside world. More recently, Episcopalians in the United States sent money to support missionaries who braved desperate conditions during the recent civil war, which former President Jimmy Carter has called “the most long-lasting and devastating war in the world.”
Gender equality still a dream
Meeting for two weeks in late February and early March, delegates representing the Anglican Consultative Council were sponsored by Anglican Women’s Empowerment and composed the largest NGO group. Delegates said they came to learn, to be inspired and to return home carrying the commitment to women’s equality in their corners of the church and the world.
Campus connections
What had started several years before as a grassroots desire by Maine Episcopalians to establish a chaplaincy presence on the state’s campuses and to engage colleges and universities in dialogue about the Gospel, was going to happen in about five minutes.  And Shirley Bowen was at the center of it all.
Healing ministry in Kenya
The Rev. Paul Feider is the pastor of St. John’s Episcopal Church and Center For Inner Peace in New London, Wis.  He has been involved in the Christian healing ministry for 34 years.  Recently, he was invited to Kenya to teach clergy and lay leaders about the ministry of healing, he shares his experience.
Fun for prisoners’ kids
“They sing songs, they beat drums, they dance, they cut and paste and draw, they write, they imagine, they listen, and they speak. They run and they wait … In a safe and loving environment, children discover self-worth, broaden their horizons, make positive choices and develop leadership skills … Children and adults are transformed.”
A varied collection
One may think of Poetry as being like Religion, a modified descendant of primitive Magic; it keeps the family characteristic of stirring wonder by creating from unpromising lifeless materials an illusion of unexpected passionate life.
A Wind from God
A new book by Barbara Hemphill is comforting the hearts and spirits of hurricane survivors. Encouraging readers to pray and journal as they read, the book includes sample journal pages and instruction in the lectio divina method, which is appropriate for individuals or in small groups.
Know thine Enemies
Richard Gage, a parishioner of Chicago’s St. James Episcopal Cathedral since 1983, has organized two art exhibits at the cathedral during Lent. Last year, Gage coupled original poetry with black-and-white photos of the Holy Land to create a powerful Stations of the Cross exhibit. This year’s exhibit is titled Enemies.
Contemplating war and peace
This new collection of the late Denise Levertov’s poetry focuses on her poems about war and peace. Written at specific times in her life, the poems are relevant to any war anywhere, and to humanity’s sometimes feeble attempts at peace.
Resurrection dance
I have often wondered what it must have been like for Jesus to awaken from his death sleep in the tomb. Of course it is beyond our grasp, but we can have a glimpse, I think, if we put ourselves imaginatively in the place of that patient who undergoes surgery – not sure of the outcome on his awakening. When he awakens, he rejoices at the smallest sign of life. “I am alive.”
Women’s stories give new perspective on Passion
... I press my broken son to me, as if I can absorb him once again into my body. Oh Beloved! Have mercy on me! Pour Your tender mercies down upon me and help me! Help me! I have no strength left.
Few agree with assumptions about Mary
A dozen readers responded to the “Provocateur” column in January. The question accompanying Bishop Chris Epting’s essay was “Should Anglicans be expected to accept the Roman Catholic doctrines of the Immaculate Conception and Mary’s Assumption as a condition of full communion?" More responses will be printed next month.
Keeping the feast
Our union with Christ in his death and resurrection, and Christ’s intimate presence with us in our own dyings and risings, also has been associated with the passage of the children of Israel from slavery in Egypt through the disorientation and privation of the wilderness into the freedom and fruitfulness of the Promised Land.  They had to pass through the waters of the Red Sea – waters that prefigure the waters of baptism – into a season of uncertainty and unknowing.
Letters to the Editor
Episcopal Life welcomes letters and will give preference to those in response to stories. Letters should be no longer than 250 words and must include the writer’s name, address, phone number for verification. Pictures are welcome. Send to Letters, Episcopal Life , 815 Second Ave., New York, N.Y. 10017; or e-mail to letters@episcopal-life.org. All letters will be edited for brevity and clarity.