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Diocesan Digest - August 10

[Episcopal News Service] 
  • CHICAGO: Congregational development seminar planned
  • INDIANAPOLIS: Brasilia bishop leads cathedral’s Hispanic congregation
  • NORTHWESTERN PENNSYLVANIA: Bishop takes 'terminal sabbatical leave'
  • WEST TENNESSEE: Parish celebrates first service in new sanctuary since May 2003 tornadoes
  • WESTERN LOUISIANA: Bishop urges patience, faith

CHICAGO: Congregational development seminar planned

[SOURCE: Diocese of Chicago] Dr. Kennon L. Callahan, author of “Twelve Keys to an Effective Church: Giving and Stewardship in an Effective Church,” will present a seminar September 25-28 at St. Michael’s Episcopal Church in Barrington, Illinois.

Callahan will discuss how to grow generous congregations and generous givers who focus on ministry and mission to the hurts, hopes and needs of their communities. In the Diocese of Chicago, several congregations have adopted Callahan’s approach and experienced significant growth in membership and stewardship.

Information about Callahan’s approach, developed from his research with mission-focused congregations.

The seminar is arranged so that participants may either attend all of the sessions or just the evening sessions if that better accommodates work schedules.

A $250 fee per person covers registration and program.

INDIANAPOLIS: Brasilia bishop leads cathedral’s Hispanic congregation

[SOURCE: Christ Church Cathedral] The Most Rev. Mauricio Jose Araujo de Andrade — the Anglican bishop of Brasilia and Primate Bishop of the Igreja Episcopal Anglicana do Brasil — has arrived in Indianapolis to join Christ Church Episcopal Cathedral as a guest leader of the Hispanic congregation. His five-week visit to Indianapolis will end September 10.

Andrade will lead Sunday morning and Tuesday evening worship services for the Spanish-speaking community at the cathedral. In addition, he will be guest preacher at various Episcopal congregations within the diocese.

In 1998, Christ Church Cathedral began a working partnership with the Diocese of Brasilia. Later, in 2002, the partnership grew to include the entire diocese as well as the Diocese of Bor, Sudan, Africa. As part of this partnership, the three dioceses pray for each other weekly during worship services, and the Indianapolis diocese has made several mission trips to both countries. The cathedral also provides financial support to both dioceses.

In an interview last October, Andrade stated that although the Anglican Episcopal Church of Brazil and the Episcopal Church are widely different, they are united in a unique core of their being.

“Every (Church) has a unique DNA,” says Andrade. “The DNA for the Episcopal Church has three parts: service, hope and faith. That DNA is the same for Christ Church Cathedral, for Brazil and for Sudan. It ties us together. It is our strength.”

Andrade was elected Bispo Primaz or Primate Bishop at the church’s 30th General Synod, gathered in Curitiba July 26-30. He began this role immediately upon the close of the church’s convention on July 30.

Andrade’s visit follows the six-week visit by the Rev. Luiz Barbosa, the diocesan administrator of Brasilia and newly elected president of the Clergy and Laity House for Brazil. The two leaders are visiting Christ Church Cathedral during the Rev. Canon Alfredo Williams’ three-month sabbatical.

NORTHWESTERN PENNSYLVANIA: Bishop takes ‘terminal sabbatical leave’

[SOURCE: ENS] Northwestern Pennsylvania Bishop Robert D. Rowley Jr. has announced that he is taking a “terminal sabbatical leave.”

In a July 17 letter to the diocese, Rowley said the Standing Committee proposed the idea of a terminal sabbatical because it was concerned that “if I continued to serve as Diocesan Bishop that my physical health would be impacted.”

His leave is effective immediately, concluding August 31, 2007, a date Rowley had previously announced as his retirement date.

“The conversation was initiated by the Standing Committee over concerns we had for his health and well being,” the Standing Committee said in a July 18 letter to the diocese.

Rowley, 65, will hold his office for pension considerations, but he asked the Standing Committee to assume ecclesiastical authority until a new bishop is elected and consecrated.

An episcopal search committee had been previously organized and the electing convention is set for May 19, 2007.

Rowley was ordained deacon in June 1977 and priest in January 1978. He has been bishop since May 1989 and served as coadjutor until 1991. Prior to his ordination, he served for more than 26 years as a Judge Advocate in the United States Navy and Naval Reserve, retiring with the rank of captain in 1992. He specialized in international law.

Rowley served on the Presiding Bishop’s Council of Advice from 1993 to 2002, and was president of Province III of the Episcopal Church during the same period. He was one of the nominees for Presiding Bishop in 1997, when Frank Griswold was elected.

The diocese consists of about 4,800 Episcopalians worshipping in 36 congregations.

WEST TENNESSEE: Parish celebrates first service in new sanctuary since May 2003 tornadoes

[SOURCE: Jackson Sun] Members of St. Luke's Episcopal Church, Jackson, shared smiles and shed tears of joy August as they walked in a celebratory processional from their old parish hall to their new spiritual home.
"Welcome home!" proclaimed the Rev. Susan Crawford, St. Luke's interim rector, inside the historic church's newly built sanctuary on Baltimore Street.

St. Luke's was among several congregations in downtown Jackson that rallied to rebuild after their buildings were damaged by the May 4, 2003, tornadoes.

A tornado pummeled the entire roof of St. Luke's, destroying the church's nave, causing extensive structural damage and damaging the church's pipe organ and pews. The church was able to repair most of its original stained glass windows and use the brick from the original church.

"God took a horrendous situation and turned it into a new reality for this congregation," Crawford said to the nearly 200 members and guests, seated in the sanctuary amidst beaming hardwood floors and breathtaking stained glass windows.

"The face of God is shining through to us in this building," Crawford said during the service Sunday.

One of the smiling faces in the church crowd was longtime member Jeanne Jones. "I'll be 85 in September. I grew up here," said Jones, whose mother served as a former church secretary.

"You just can't imagine what it feels like," Jones told the Jackson Sun newspaper. "Don't get me started," she said, waving off tears, as she climbed the stairs to attend the first worship service in the new building.

The journey toward reconstruction had been an especially hard one for members of St. Luke's. St. Luke's longtime rector, the Rev. Charles Filiatreau, took early retirement a few months after the tornadoes, saying he disagreed with the 74th General Convention’s consent to the ordination of V. Gene Robinson as the bishop of New Hampshire.

About one-fourth of the parishioners left and started a new church in North Jackson, All Saints Anglican Church.

Church member Anne Wade of Jackson referred to the day as "a resurrection" for the congregation.

"It's as if it were Easter," Wade said. "It's not just the structure. It is the church itself, which is the people. I sense a renewal of spirit. I can feel it."

St. Luke's Episcopal Church was founded July 23, 1832. In 1995, the church added a parish hall, which survived the tornadoes. The church will have a rededication of its sanctuary on September 17.

WESTERN LOUISIANA: Bishop urges patience, faith

[SOURCE: Shreveport Times] Episcopalians were asked to have continued faith and patience with the church by Bishop Bruce MacPherson on August 8.

In a meeting at St. Mark's Cathedral in Shreveport, the bishop and Western Louisiana deputies to General Convention reported on the events of the June proceedings in Columbus, Ohio.

Shreveport's meeting was the fourth of five MacPherson is holding throughout the diocese. In those meetings, the bishop said he has seen much anxiety and frustration.

Before a nearly full cathedral, the bishop criticized the actions of the wider church but called for perseverance from the local church.

"It is with a heavy heart that I remind you, I cannot identify with, nor support, the national leadership of the church and the direction in which they have and continue to take the church," he said to those gathered. "As we look ahead to the response to come, it will be important for us as a diocese to seek to follow the process that will ensure our place and recognition, as constituent members of the Anglican Communion."

The Rev. Morgan Allen, one of the diocese’s deputies, expressed dismay that two extremes seemed to drown out the "diverse center," which represents most of the church. While fearing divisions, he came away from the convention hopeful.

"We set aside our differences for the sake of staying whole," he said. "I'm proud to be Episcopalian. I appreciate that many leave wounded, but I believe this is the moment to which God called us."

Deputy Bradley Drell echoed that call.

"We have to remain part of Episcopal Church," he said. "I appeal to you to stand firm and not leave. Where are you going to go? Every church is having to face these questions and they are struggling mightily."

MacPherson said that the debate is more than homosexuality.

"It's about the authority of scripture, theology, polity, about how to live in communion," he said.