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Anglican Observer at United Nations will preach, lead forum as Republican National Convention events begin in New York
New book 'Healing God's Creation' takes up environmental concerns

By Bob Williams
8/24/2004
[Episcopal News Service]  Set to visit an Episcopal parish known for feeding as many as 1,300 needy people daily, the Anglican Observer at the United Nations is scheduled to preach at 11 a.m. on Sunday, August 29, at Holy Apostles Church near Madison Square Garden -- site of the Republican National Convention (RNC) August 30- September 2.

"I look forward to describing the work that I do, and to linking the powerful texts of Sunday's scripture readings to world events today," the Observer, Samoa's Archdeacon Taimalelagi F. Tuatagaloa-Matalavea, told the Episcopal News Service.

Known to her colleagues as Archdeacon Tai (pronounced "tie"), the observer will also speak about the work of her office -- including the environmental advocacy cited in a just-published book she has compiled (see related ENS story) -- during a 1:10 p.m. parish forum at the church, 296 Ninth Avenue (at 28th Street). Title for the forum is "The Church's Witness on International Concerns and Issues."

The observer's work intersects the wider mission of the United Nations in the areas of human rights -- notably for women, children and indigenous people; environmental protection and sustainable development; and international cooperative responses to issues of global and economic security.

Commissioned by the Archbishop of Canterbury and the international Anglican Consultative Council, Tuatagaloa-Matalavea, a layperson, brings to her position 25 years' experience working for the U.N. Development Program in the South Pacific. She will soon mark three years as observer, in which role she will share in the U.N.'s upcoming General Assembly, set to open September 21 -- designated as International Day of Peace worldwide.

GOP delegates expected at Soup Kitchen August 31

In addition to welcoming GOP convention participants on Sunday, Holy Apostles Church has also invited, through the RNC host committee, delegates to volunteer August 31 in its nationally known soup kitchen, and parish and diocesan spokespersons have confirmed that delegates will be among visitors welcomed that day. Information about ongoing ministries and parish events during the convention week is posted on- line at http://www.holyapostlesnyc.org/

Among other Manhattan parishes welcoming RNC participants is Trinity Church, Wall Street (http://www.trinitywallstreet.org/), where the 11:15 a.m. Sunday service is conveniently accessible for those delegations staying at the nearby Millennium Hotel. Letters inviting all Episcopalians who are Republican members of Congress to this service -- and to Sunday liturgies at New York's Cathedral Church of St. John the Divine -- were mailed earlier this summer by the Episcopal Church's national Office of Government Relations, based in Washington, D.C.

The Diocese of New York continues to brief its congregations on issues of heightened security and restricted transit scheduled in Manhattan during the convention. To inform these efforts, diocesan staff members attended a recent citywide briefing by the Department of Homeland Security. Church and city officials say their planning includes preparation for the realities of protest gatherings anticipated through the convention week.

Located uptown in Morningside Heights, the diocesan offices are scheduled to remain open during the convention; so will the national Episcopal Church Center in Midtown.

The Web site of the Diocese of New York (www.dioceseny.org) is updated regularly with information about congregations providing hospitality to visitors expected to reflect varied facets of the U.S. political spectrum.

[Note to international readers: "GOP," which stands for "Grand Old Party," is a common name by which the Republican Party is also known in the United States.]

  • To Read: 'Healing God's Creation,' the report of the Global Anglican Congress on the Stewardship of Creation, compiled by the Anglican Observer to the United Nations, Archdeacon Taimalelagi F. Tuatagaloa- Matalavea, and edited by the Rev. Canon Jeffrey M. Gollier (Harrisburg, Pa: Morehouse Publishing, 2004; 208 pages; published for the Anglican Communion Office, London).

[ENS] -- 'Healing God's Creation' -- a new book compiled by the Anglican Observer to the United Nations and just released through Morehouse Publishing -- is the report of the 2002 meeting of the Global Anglican Congress on the Stewardship of Creation. The first gatehring of its kind, the Congress brought together some 80 leaders, lay and ordained, from 20 of the worldwide Anglican Communion's 38 provinces. The book has been compiled by Archdeacon Taimalelagi F. Tuatagoloa-Matalavea, a Samoan laywoman, who since September 2001 has been Anglican Observer to the United Nations.

"The Global Anglican Congress, I'm happy to say, demonstrated how we can come together, with love and respect, as one people, in response to the challenges before us," Tuatagoloa-Matalavea writes in the book's introduction. "We understood that those challenges are really spiritual and moral at their heart. God and all God's creation need us now to act with commitment and perseverance." The book conveys expertise on topics including: Community empowerment, water, food and agriculture, energy and climate change, HIV/AIDS, biodiversity, ecojustice, gender and human development, and "the beauty of empowerment." The chapters feature observations by various Anglican scholars, among others.

The volume also records Anglican's first-hand perspectives noted in provincial and country reports from Aotearoa, New Zealand and Polynesia; Bangladesh; Burundi; Canada; England; Ireland; North India; Scotland; Southern Africa; the United States; Wales, and the West Indies.Texts of Congress homilies are also featured: "Walk with vital awareness of God's comprehensive mission and purpose in creation," Tuatagaloa-Matalavea observes. "Walk with awe and gratitude. The birds, the beasts, the trees and the rivers, the person next to you is not without purpose and meaning in God's scheme of things."

('Healing God's Creation' may be ordered through the Episcopal Book/Resource Center at the Episcopal Church Center, 815 Second Ave., New York, NY 10017; 800.334.7626; www.episcopalbookstore.org)