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Newsmakers: Benjamin Franklin and more

[Episcopal News Service]   


Benjamin Franklin
William R. Matthews Jr.
The Rev. Mary Siegmund
The Rev. George A. Smith
Lynne Wilson
Emmanuel Kolini, Datuk Yong Ping Chung

PENNSYLVANIA: Benjamin Franklin's parish celebrates his 300th birthday

[SOURCE: Christ Church in Philadelphia, ENS] The congregation of Christ Church in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania will host a two day celebration for the 300th birthday of Benjamin Franklin.
        Franklin, who kept a family pew at the church with his wife Deborah, is buried on their burial ground, located at 5th and Arch Streets.
        On Sunday, January 15, they will process to Franklin's grave for birthday cake, hot chocolate, and prayers, some of which Franklin authored himself. On Franklin's birthday, January 17, the congregation will host dignitaries and a wreath-laying ceremony at 11 a.m.
        Christ Church has just completed a $50,000 renovation of the areas around Franklin's grave so that many more may visit and enjoy the historic burial ground, which also contains seven signers of the Declaration of Independence.
        Franklin raised money for Christ Church in his lifetime, most notably for the grand steeple atop the colonial church, but it continues even though he is deceased. Visitors to his grave often leave a penny, all of which goes to help defray costs of preservation and protection.
        "If only the visitors left something with Benjamin Franklin's picture on it, we could complete all of our renovation projects," the Rev. Timothy Safford, rector said.
        Christ Church is beginning a $10 million Capital Campaign to restore and protect its historic buildings and burial grounds.
        For more information call 215.922.1695 ext 21.

NEW HAMPSHIRE: St. Paul's school names new rector

[SOURCE: St. Paul's School, ENS] St. Paul's School, a boarding school in Concord, New Hampshire, has named William R. Matthews Jr. as its new rector.
        Matthews will be the 12th rector of the school. He has been the interim rector since Bishop Craig Anderson left St. Paul's at the end of the academic year. Matthews, 62, is a 1961 graduate of the school. He has spent 40 of his 62 years at the school in various capacities.
        Six candidates, including two women (one an ordained Episcopal priest), two current heads of school, and two leading teachers/administrators, were considered, according to a statement from James O. Robbins, the board of trustees president, posted on the school's website (
        St. Paul's has 500 students and 100 faculty members. Alumni include the Episcopal Church's Presiding Bishop Frank T. Griswold, Massachusetts Senator John F. Kerry and Robert S. Mueller, director of the Federal Bureau of Investigation.
        While interim rector, Matthews in December published an apology in the state capital's newspaper, the Concord Monitor, for abuse that came to light when a female member of the Class of 1975 levied allegations in 2000. Her complaint was followed by others from her classmates and from members of the Class of 1976, according to Matthews's letter.

KANSAS: Bishop Wolfe names new Canon to the Ordinary

[SOURCE: Episcopal Diocese of Kansas, ENS] Effective March 1, the Rev. Mary Siegmund will be joining the staff of the Episcopal Diocese of Kansas as Canon to the Ordinary.
        Siegmund currently serves as assistant rector of the Church of the Good Shepherd in Nashua, New Hampshire, one of the largest parishes in the diocese. She will succeed the Rev. Jo Ann Ford, who will leave the position on January 20 for sabbatical until the end of July.
        "I am delighted to welcome Mary as the new Canon to the Ordinary for the Episcopal Diocese of Kansas," the Rt. Rev. Dean E. Wolfe, bishop of Kansas, said in making the announcement. "She brings unique gifts for ministry to this position, which will be vital in achieving the ambitious goals we've established. Mary's gifts are very different from mine and will add to the skills of a talented diocesan staff."
        Siegmund, 52, is a native of Kansas City, Missouri, and worked as a counselor and therapist prior to her ordination there in June 1998. She continues to hold accreditation as a Licensed Professional Counselor. She has an undergraduate degree in management from Park College, Parkville, Missouri; a master's degree in counseling education from the University of Missouri-Kansas City and a Master of Divinity degree from Midwestern Baptist Theological Seminary in Kansas City. Siegmund also earned a certificate in Anglican Studies from the Episcopal Seminary of the Southwest in Austin, Texas.
        Prior to her service at Good Shepherd, she served as vicar of St. John's Northland, Kansas City, Missouri. Siegmund currently serves as Convenor of the Southern Convocation in her diocese. She is a priest consultant for parish search processes, a Fresh Start mentor and a member of the New Missions Committee for planting new churches. She also was elected an alternate delegate to the Province I Synod.
        She has been married for 26 years to her husband, Mark, who works as clinical director at Marillac Center, a secure unit for adolescents, in Overland Park, Kansas. They have two adult children.

MINNESOTA: Senior Minnesota clergyman, stepgrandson of Enmegabowh, dies at 90

[ENS] The Rev. George A. Smith, D.D., of Bemidji, Minnesota, died on December 28, 2005, at North Country Hospital. He was 90.
        A memorial service was held January 2, 2006, at Trinity Church, 3rd and Court Streets, Park Rapids, Minnesota.
        Smith was born in White Earth, Minnesota, September 19, 1915, the son of Thomas and Nancy (Taylor)Smith.
        Smith's grandmother NeGom married the Rev. John Johnson Enmegahbowh, an Ojibwe and the first recognized Native American priest in the Episcopal Church, after his first wife, Charlotte, died. Smith lived in Enmegahbowh's house as a young child and was regarded as his stepgrandson.
        He graduated from Flandreau Indian School, South Dakota in 1935. In January 1936 he began reading for Holy Orders under the direction of the Rev. Francis Louis Carrington. Carrington presented Smith along with William Hanks for ordination to the diaconate in the Episcopal Church on June 13, 1941, and to the priesthood in June 1942 with Bishop Benjamin Tibbetts Kemerer officiating.
        Smith served numerous parishes and missions in northern Minnesota, and was active in many local, regional and national organizations. He retired from the active ministry in 1980.
        Smith was preceded in death by his parents, a sister, Louise, and a son, Gale. He is survived by his wife, Elizabeth (Luhman), three children Kent (Mary), Bemidji; Claricy, Minneapolis; and Nancy (Craig) Falkum, Wabasha, Minnesota, three grandchildren Paul and Robert Smith and Alexis Cobe, and two great grandchildren Ashleigh and Arianna Smith.

WYOMING: Total Ministry pioneer dies

[ENS] A celebration of the life of Lynne Wilson was held at St. Matthew's Cathedral in Laramie, Wyoming, on January 9.
        Wilson, 62, died from an aggressive form of cancer at her home in Laramie on January 5. She had served since 1998 as ministries development coordinator for the Diocese of Wyoming.
        In that capacity, she had oversight of six full-time ministry developers.
        "My work with Lynne was a most wonderful experience," said Bishop Bruce Caldwell of Wyoming. "Her heart was in mutual ministry and she was loyal to our common vision. She filled gaps in what I was able to do, just as she allowed others to fill gaps in what she could do."
        Through articles, publications and workshops, she had long been active in the leadership of the total ministry, or mutual ministry movement within the church. Total ministry recognizes the centrality of baptism in all Christian ministry. She and her husband, the Rev. Charles Wilson, were cofounders of Living Stones, a coalition of US and Canadian dioceses committed to promoting the principles of Total Ministry.
        She had also worked extensively with Native Americans in the Southwest and worked for a decade in the Diocese of Alaska.
        "Lynne introduced a whole generation of us to Total Ministry," said the Rev. Eric Heidecker of Nevada. "And she did it with a genuine commitment."
        She was able to plan her own funeral service, for which Caldwell was celebrant. The liturgy included a letter she wrote to family, friends and her husband thanking them for their love and support of her and her ministry.
        She is survived by her husband, four stepchildren and her brother.

ALABAMA: AMiA meeting draws nine Anglican primates

[ENS] Welcoming more than 800 participants, including nine Anglican primates, the Anglican Mission in America's Winter Conference 2006 opened in Birmingham, Alabama, January 11, under the theme "Pressing on Toward the Goal."
        AMiA, a group launched in 2000 by Archbishops Emmanuel Kolini of Rwanda and Datuk Yong Ping Chung of South East Asia, focuses on planting new Anglican congregations throughout the United States. It describes the conference as "a great opportunity to celebrate what God is doing, and to gain new insight, energy and direction for running the race." AMiA is not officially recognized by the Archbishop of Canterbury or the Anglican Communion.
        During the opening worship service January 11, Chung, who was honored for his role with AMiA, said, "We are not the dissenters, we are not causing disunity; we are the unity that God expresses in our soul," the Birmingham News reports.
        Anglican primates in attendance include Archbishop Benjamin Nzimbi of Kenya; Archbishop Justice Offei Akrofi of West Africa; Archbishop Fidele Dirokpa of Congo; Archbishop Bernard Ntahoturi of Burundi; Archbishop Bernard Malango of Central Africa; Archbishop Donald Mtetemela of Tanzania; and Archbishop Henry Orombi of Uganda.
        The conference, which also welcomes participants from 32 U.S. states, continues through January 15.