For Such a Time as This--Fasting on the 21st of each month as Awareness & Advocacy

Episcopal Church Presiding Bishop Michael Curry and Presiding Bishop Elizabeth Eaton of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA) have issued a joint statement calling for prayer, fasting and advocacy.

The statement, For Such a Time as This: A Call to Prayer, Fasting, and Advocacy, calls for fasting on the 21st of each month through December 2018, at which time the 115th Congress will conclude.

The 21st of each month is targeted because by that time each month, 90% of SNAP (formerly food stamp) benefits have been used, thereby causing the last week of the month as the hungry week in America.

The fast will launch with a group of national and local leaders doing a three-day fast together May 21-23. These leaders include Presiding Bishop Curry, Presiding Bishop Eaton, and leadership throughout the Episcopal Church.


Video messages

A video by Presiding Bishop Curry is here

 A transcript of the video is located at the end.

A video by Presiding Bishop Eaton is here

Joint statement

The joint statement of Presiding Bishop Curry and Presiding Bishop Eaton is here:

“For Such a Time As This," a Joint Call to Prayer, Fasting, and Advocacy

We are coming together as leaders of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA) and the Episcopal Church to oppose deep cuts to programs that are vital to hungry people struggling with poverty. We make this call in anticipation of the May 21 Global Day of Prayer to End Famine. We highlight the importance of foreign assistance and humanitarian relief as members of the World Council of Churches.

We also make a call to pray, fast, and advocate not just on May 21, but throughout the 115thCongress. At the invitation of Bread for the World, we join with ecumenical partners and pledge to lead our congregations and ministries in fasting, prayer and advocacy, recognizing the need to engage our hearts, bodies, and communities together to combat poverty. As the call to prayer articulates,

“We fast to fortify our advocacy in solidarity with families who are struggling with hunger. We fast to be in solidarity with neighbors who suffer famine, who have been displaced, and who are vulnerable to conflict and climate change. We fast with immigrants who are trying to make a better future for their families and now face the risk of deportation. We fast in solidarity with families on SNAP, who often run out of food by the last week of the month.”

Domestically, Americans throughout the country are struggling with poverty, and many government-funded programs allow them to care for and feed their families. As we look overseas, we must acknowledge that foreign assistance and humanitarian relief can help to address regions confronting famine and food insecurity, including South Sudan, Somalia, Yemen, and Lake Chad Basin. We will challenge proposals to eliminate or defund proven anti-poverty programs, at home and abroad.

The story of Esther provides encouragement for our fasting, prayer and advocacy. Esther, a Jew, was the wife of the Persian king. When plans were made to slaughter all the Jews in the empire, Esther’s cousin Mordechai pleaded with her to go to the king and use her voice to advocate for them, even though this might place her life in danger. He urged her not to remain silent, as she may have been sent “for such a time as this.” Esther asked people to fast and pray with her for three days to fortify her advocacy before the king, resulting in saving the lives of her people.

God’s intention is the flourishing of all people and we are called to participate in God’s loving purpose by standing with our neighbor who struggle with poverty and hunger. Following the Circle of Protection ecumenical fast in 2011 to fortify the faith community in opposing cuts to vital anti-poverty programs, we may have also been prepared “for such a time as this”. We commit ourselves to and invite our members to one day of fasting every month to undergird our efforts to convince our members of Congress to protect poverty-focused programs.

The Most Rev. Michael B. Curry, Presiding Bishop and Primate, the Episcopal Church

The Rev. Elizabeth A. Eaton, Presiding Bishop, Evangelical Lutheran Church in America

When does the fast begin? An opening three-day fast begins on Sunday, May 21. We will continue by fasting on the 21st day of each month through the close of the 115th Congress at the end of 2018. We fast on the 21st of the month because that is the day when 90% of Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) benefits run out for families. 

How do we fast? We are calling for prayer, fasting, and advocacy. Fasting is an effort to clear our bodies, our hearts, and our minds from the distractions around us so that we may be more present to God. Fasting from food is one option that many will choose. But we invite people to take on other disciplines of self-denial, such as fasting from technology, or particular habits, which will help them rely more fully on God. 

These days of fasting should also be days of advocacy to oppose cuts to public programs that help hungry people living in poverty. Individuals or congregations who participate in the fast will receive updates, prayer and advocacy action opportunities by signing up for either the Episcopal Public Policy Network or ELCA Advocacy. 

Prayer accompanies and undergirds the disciplines of fasting and advocacy. It roots our actions in our total reliance on God’s loving grace and mercy. Turning to God in prayer shapes our advocacy and informs our fasting, grounding our actions in God’s call to love and serve our neighbor. 


Information about “For Such A Time As This” here

The Episcopal Public Policy Network here

ELCA Advocacy Network here

Bread for the World here

WCC Global Day of Prayer to End Famine resources here



Full communion proposal of Episcopal Church-United Methodist Announced

Full communion proposal of Episcopal Church-United Methodist:
A Gift to the World: Co-Laborers for the Healing of Brokenness

[May 17, 2017] The Episcopal Church – United Methodist Dialogue group have prepared A Gift to the World: Co-Laborers for the Healing of Brokenness; The Episcopal Church and The United Methodist Church - A Proposal for Full Communion, the result of dialogue for a formal full-communion relationship.

In a recent letter, Bishop Frank Brookhart of Montana, Episcopal Church co-chair of the committee, with Bishop Gregory V. Palmer, the United Methodist Church, Ohio West Episcopal Area, offered, “The relationships formed over these years of dialogue, and the recognition that there are presently no theological impediments to unity, paved the way for this current draft proposal.” The entire letter is available here. 

A Gift to the World: Co-Laborers for the Healing of Brokenness; The Episcopal Church and The United Methodist Church - A Proposal for Full Communion, is located here.

In the coming months, opportunities for feedback, regional gatherings, and discussions will be slated.

Additional related information, including historical documents, is available here. 

The work of the Episcopal-United Methodist Dialogue is enabled by two General Convention resolutions here and here.

For more information contact the Rev. Margaret Rose, Episcopal Church Deputy for Ecumenical and Interfaith Relations at

Members of the Episcopal-United Methodist Dialogue are:
Bishop C. Franklin Brookhart
Bishop David Rice
The Rev. Dr. Thomas Ferguson
The Rev. Dr. Deirdre Good
The Rev. Jordan M. Haynie Ware
The Rev.  Margaret R. Rose – Staff

United Methodist
Bishop Gregory Palmer
Reverend Patricia Farris
Reverend Dr. James Howell
Reverend Dr. Pamela Lightsey
Bishop Michael Watson
Reverend Dr. Robert J. Williams
Kyle Tau, PhD, MTS - staff

Workshop on Haiti Ministry with Diocese of Massachusetts

The Diocese of Massachusetts'  Haiti Network is hosting an event called “Global Missions: Perspectives for Success” to which you are all warmly invited. The workshop will center on discussion about best practices for forming and sustaining relationships with our partners by understanding the history and culture of their particular context. The event is open to the entire diocese, and all of Province One.  We will  come together for fellowship, storytelling, and shared discernment.

Save the date for June 10, 10 am – 4:30 pm, at Christ Church, 1132 Highland Ave.,   Needham,  MA.   Speakers who will be present include: Alan Yarborough, Communications Coordinator and Office Manager for the Episcopal Church Office of Government Relations, who lived and worked in Haiti for three years with the Episcopal Young Adult Service Corps; and Natalie Finstad, Interim Director of LDI, who has helped lead community organizing movements in Boston, Texas, New Zealand, and most prominently Nairobi, Kenya, where she co-founded Tatua Kenya, an organization that addresses poverty through locally-led justice movements.

Participants will listen to a panel discussion in the morning, followed by a question and answer session. We will break for lunch, then gather together in our regional Network groups to discuss the morning’s activity in the contexts in which we partner. Attendees from outside the Diocese of MA are welcome to join any of these four Network groups for the afternoon discussion:   Haiti,  Latin America,  Africa, or the MiddleEast.   Lunch will be served; a $5 fee is requested to cover costs. Please RSVP to Diomass Haiti Network organizer Leo Ryan at or Deacon for Global Mission Partnerships Holly Hartman at


GUEST BLOG: Free Information on Evangelism Initiatives

Guest Blog from The Rev. Canon Stephanie Spellers
Canon to the Presiding Bishop for Evangelism and Reconciliation

Lots of Episcopalians get skittish the moment they hear the “E” word. Let’s imagine evangelism that is true to the bold, generous and hopeful spirit of the Jesus Movement. Evangelism that welcomes people into a loving, liberating and life-giving relationship with God through Jesus Christ. Evangelism that first listens for what God is doing in our lives and in the world … and then celebrates and shares it.

Episcopal Evangelism Initiatives represent the many ways we celebrate and share the good news of Jesus’ life and love with everyone everywhere. First, by sharing stories that energize and inspire Episcopalians. Then, by spreading resources that equip regular Episcopalians and churches to become evangelists and storytellers in daily life. Finally, by sharing good news with people beyond the Episcopal fold via new ministries and digital evangelism. Share your thoughts and experiences.

Ask for what you need. Join the Movement. More information and free resources for parishes and individuals can be found HERE.

New Book: All Our Children, The Church’s Role in Addressing Education Inequity

Is a quality public education a privilege provided by a responsible government, or an inalienable right granted by God? For some, in recent years, the value of the public education system has come into question. At the same time, the call for better public education for the benefit of every child has grown equally loud.

All Our Children, a collection of essays and theological reflections, including one by Bishop Hirschfeld, has been  published by Church Publishing Incorporated and edited by All Our Children National Network Director, Lallie B. Lloyd. This book is a loud voice for the justice of all children, regardless of background or faith. Elevating the cause to the level of a moral, religious-based imperative every bit in tune with the teachings of Jesus, this book is a strong advocate for faith-based social groups of all varieties to make improving the quality of public education a part of their mission.

As much as a call to arms, this book is a how-to manual for ways congregations can partner with public schools and other community organizations as a means to bring God's mission outside the church's building through social justice initiatives.

Rallied to her cause is a diverse group of Episcopal voices including Bishop A. Robert Hirschfeld, of the Episcopal Church in New Hampshire. By sharing the story of his personal revelation about the opportunity gap and the injustices experienced by children in povertyhis essay illustrates how the church can play a fundamental role in championing the rights of every child to a high-quality public education. As the expression goes, a rise in education lifts all hopes.

Dr. Catherine Meeks, editor of Living into God's Dream: Dismantling Racism in America, notes that, “Lallie B. Lloyd has brought together a collection of strong voices proclaiming the value of courageous individuals from a diverse group of faith communities . . . it is crucial to hear such voices as all of us who are compassionate seek to find the best ways to ensure that all of our children receive the best education possible.”

The Very Rev. Will H. Mebane Jr., Interim Dean of St. Paul’s Episcopal Cathedral in Buffalo, New York, summarizes All Our Children as, “a passionate and clear-eyed argument for why we should add ‘educating our children’ to the commands by Jesus for us to give drink to the thirsty, feed the hungry, care for the sick and those in prison, clothe the naked, and welcome the stranger.”

About the editor: Lallie B. Lloyd,a lay leader in the Episcopal Church, has served on policy and ministry commissions at the local, diocesan, and wider Church levels. In 2012, she founded “All Our Children,” a national network of faith-based community partnerships with under-resourced public schools, to renew Episcopalians’ commitment to education justice. Today, she serves as its Executive Director. She is a graduate of Yale University, with an MBA from the Wharton School and a master’s in theology from Episcopal Divinity School, where she received the Hall Prize for outstanding peace and justice work. She lives on Cape Cod.

Thy Kingdom Come, a Worldwide Anglican Community Initiative

The Episcopal Church has joined the Worldwide Anglican Communion in Thy Kingdom Come, a campaign initiated by Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby calling for prayer by individuals, congregations and families. Info here. 

Thy Kingdom Come is a global prayer movement that invites Christians around the world to pray between Ascension Day – May 25 - and Pentecost – June 4 - for more people to come to know Jesus.  #ThyKingdomCome

Overview info here.

Becoming the Beloved Community: Reconciliation Work in The Episcopal Church

"The 78th General Convention of our Church did a remarkable thing: the General Convention invited us as a church to take up this Jesus Movement. We made a commitment to live into being the Jesus Movement by committing to evangelism and the work of reconciliation — beginning with racial reconciliation … across the borders and boundaries that divide the human family of God. This is difficult work. But we can do it. It’s about listening and sharing. It’s about God.”          ~ Presiding Bishop Michael B. Curry 

Following a year of listening, consulting and reflection, Presiding Bishop Michael Curry and House of Deputies President the Rev. Gay Clark Jennings and officers of the House of Bishops and House of Deputies are inviting Episcopalians to study and commit to using Becoming Beloved Community: The Episcopal Church’s Long-term Commitment to Racial Healing, Reconciliation and Justice.

The full document is available here.

“You’re not looking at a set of programs,” Presiding Bishop Curry explained. “You’re looking at a path for how we, as the Episcopal branch of the Jesus Movement, can more fully and prayerfully embody the loving, liberating, life-giving way of Jesus in our relationships with each other. Look at the scriptures, at Christian history. There is no doubt that Beloved Community, healing, justice and reconciliation are at the heart of Jesus’ movement in this world.”

The Becoming Beloved Community vision emerges as a direct response to General Convention Resolution C019 (“Establish Response to Systemic Injustice”). The comprehensive commitment – which the Church’s top leaders crafted in partnership with the Presiding Bishop’s staff, key leaders, networks and organizations dedicated to racial reconciliation – links new initiatives with existing, ongoing work and seeks to support and amplify local, regional, provincial and churchwide network efforts.

Leaders say Becoming Beloved Community is designed as a strategic path through distinct phases that lead to personal and structural transformation:

  1. Telling the Truth about the Church and Race, via a census to determine church demographics and a Racial Justice Audit to study the impact of racism on the Church’s leadership, organizations and bodies
  2. Proclaiming the Dream of Beloved Community, via a series of regional public listening and learning engagements, starting with a partnership at Washington National Cathedral
  3. Practicing the Way of Love, via a churchwide Beloved Community story-sharing campaign, multilingual and multigenerational formation and training, pilgrimages and liturgical resources
  4. Repairing the Breach in Institutions and Society, via advocacy for criminal justice reform, re-entry collaboratives shaped by people moving from prison back to community, and partnership with Saint Augustine’s University and Voorhees College (the historically black university and college associated with the Episcopal Church)


Presiding Bishop Curry and President Jennings will host a webinar to discuss the Church’s long-term commitment on May 16 at 3 pm – 3:45 pm Eastern (2 pm Central/1 pm Mountain/noon Pacific/11 am Alaska/10 am Hawaii). Link information will be available soon here.  

Additional webinars and conversations with specific constituencies will be held in the coming months. Several working groups will be formed to identify and make use of gifts and expertise across the Church. 

Preparing the Becoming Beloved Community

With the passage of Resolution C019, General Convention called on the officers of the House of Bishops and House of Deputies to cast a vision for addressing racial injustice and dedicated $2 million to make the plan a reality. In February 2016, Presiding Bishop Curry, President Jennings, House of Bishops Vice Presidents Mary Gray-Reeves of El Camino Real and Dean Wolfe of Kansas, House of Deputies Vice President Byron Rushing of Massachusetts and General Convention Secretary Michael Barlowe met in Austin, Texas, to begin their work.

Deputy Diane Pollard of New York chaired the House of Deputies Legislative Committee on Social Justice and U.S. Policy, which crafted Resolution C019. “In my humble opinion, this plan represents the all-important ‘starting line’ for what could change our Church,” Pollard said. “We know it will take more than two triennia to make real change - it is a lifelong journey that we must take together. This is how we begin.”

More Info

For more information contact Heidi Kim, Staff Officer for Racial Reconciliation, 206-399-7771; the Rev. Canon Stephanie Spellers, Canon to the Presiding Bishop for Evangelism, Reconciliation and Creation, 212-716-6086; or the Rev. Charles “Chuck” Wynder, Staff Officer for Social Justice and Advocacy Engagement, 646-584-8112.

Key resources

Becoming Beloved Community Summary

Racial Reconciliation

Leaders call on Episcopalians to heal ‘pain of racial injustice, division’  here


GUEST BLOG: EPPN on Advocating in the Information Age

GUEST BLOG by Jayce Hafner, Domestic Policy Analyst, Episcopal Public Policy Network

"He took him outside and said, 'Look up at the sky and count the stars-if indeed you can count them.'" -Genesis 15:5

A few years ago, I set out to better understand the U.S. prison system. Several hours of online research yielded a myriad of opinion articles, figures, and reports reciting data points on incarceration in the United States. I learned that the U.S. prison population has increased by over 500% in the past 40 years, even though violent and property crime rates have fallen dramatically since the 1990's. I read the often-quoted fact that the U.S. composes less than 5% of the world's population but imprison nearly 25% of the world's prison population. I absorbed the statistic that every black man born in 2001 has a one-in-three chance of being incarcerated in his lifetime.

Loaded with this information, I felt both incensed at the injustice of our prison system, and simultaneously disconnected from the problem at hand. I was not a lawyer or an elected official. I hadn't even been inside a prison before. What role could I play in dismantling the prison industrial behemoth? Like many of us, I wondered about the power and relevancy of my role in public life. How can we, as ordinary citizens, begin to address enormous problems like prison growth and racial discrimination?

Rather than feeling overwhelmed by our digital feeds, let's channel this information into local awareness and relationship. We can start this journey at home by learning the lay of our land. How many prisons or jails exist within our congressional districts? Where exactly are they located? Do our districts house any prison ministries? If so, how can we become involved? Forging relationships with prison inmates and returning citizens offers the chance to learn from people living the realities of the U.S. prison system. Equipped with knowledge of how the prison system affects our local economy, environment, and community, we can call our elected officials and urge them to pass meaningful criminal justice reform legislation (for an overview of Episcopal criminal justice priorities in the last Congress, please see our fact sheet).

This empowering model of local action supplementing and informing our advocacy efforts can be replicated across issue-areas from immigration to homelessness. And, even if we don't have time to regularly engage affected populations, we can still make time to look up from our computers and smart phone screens, to see the world as it is, and to meaningfully connect with those around us. True awareness requires more than facts and figures -it calls for attention, intention, and relationship. This Holy Week, how will you look up?


internet has the power to make us both more aware and more overwhelmed. We are inundated with information, rapidly consuming anecdotes, facts, and images in just a few moments' time. While processing the data on our screens, we often miss real life--and real human need--existing just in front of us.

Easter Message from Our Presiding Bishop

The Presiding Bishop's Easter Message, by The Most Rev. Michael B. Curry

It’s taken me some years to realize it, but Jesus didn’t just happen to be in Jerusalem on that first Palm Sunday. He wasn’t on vacation. He wasn’t just hanging out in town. Jesus was in Jerusalem on purpose. He arrived in Jerusalem about the time of the Passover when pilgrims were in the city. When people’s hopes and expectations for the dawn of freedom that Moses had promised in the first Passover might suddenly be realized for them in their time.

Jesus arranged his entrance into Jerusalem to send a message. He entered the city, having come in on one side of the city, the scholars tell us, at just about the same time that Pontius Pilate made his entrance on the exact opposite side of the city. Pilate, coming forth on a warhorse. Pilate, with soldiers around him. Pilate, with the insignias of Rome’s Empire. Pilate, representing the Caesars who claimed to be son of god. Pilate, who had conquered through Rome the people of Jerusalem. Pilate, representing the Empire that had taken away their freedom. Pilate, who represented the Empire that would maintain the colonial status of the Jewish people by brute force and violence.

Jesus entered the city on the other side, not on a warhorse, but on a donkey, recalling the words of Zechariah:

Behold your King comes to you

Triumphant and victorious is He

Humble and riding on a donkey

Jesus entered the city at the same time as Pilate to show them, and to show us, that God has another way. That violence is not the way. That hatred is not the way. That brute force and brutality are not the way.

Jesus came to show us there is another way. The way of unselfish, sacrificial love. That’s why he entered Jerusalem. That’s why he went to the cross. It was the power of that love poured out from the throne of God, that even after the horror of the crucifixion would raise him from death to life.

God came among us in the person of Jesus to start a movement. A movement to change the face of the earth. A movement to change us who dwell upon the earth. A movement to change the creation from the nightmare that is often made of it into the dream that God intends for it.

He didn’t just happen to be in Jerusalem on that Palm Sunday. He went to Jerusalem for a reason. To send a message. That not even the titanic powers of death can stop the love of God.  On that Easter morning, he rose from the dead, and proclaimed love wins.

So you have a blessed Easter. Go forth to be people of the Resurrection. Follow in the way of Jesus. Don’t be ashamed to love. Don’t be ashamed to follow Jesus.

Have a blessed Easter.  And bless the world.  Amen.

--The Most Rev. Michael B. Curry, Presiding Bishop and Primate, The Episcopal Church

Holy Week Message from Bishop Hirschfeld

Holy Week, 2017

by The Rt. Rev. A. Robert Hirschfeld, Bishop, Episcopal Church of New Hampshire

Jesus’ entry into Jerusalem on a colt and a donkey--rather than on a war horse--is significant. His choosing to wash the feet of disciples whom he knows will betray, deny, and abandon him is significant. His choice not to call for a divine airstrike on the detachment of soldiers that came to arrest him in Gethsemane, but to surrender himself willingly and peacefully, ordering his fearful disciples to put down their arms, is significant. His choosing to be silent and not to engage in a jousting of rhetoric with Pontius Pilate, who has the power to crucify him, is significant. His choice to give himself up to death on one of the most agonizing, humiliating and degrading methods of execution devised by humankind is significant.

As Jesus entered the environment of Jerusalem on that last week, so we Christians are called to enter a deep contemplation of the agonizing elements of our world and our neighborhoods. Our Holy Week began with a searing reminder of how the world yearns for God’s salvation and healing and justice.  On Palm Sunday, as we assembled at our various churches to begin the reenactment the Jesus’s humble entry into Jerusalem, we heard of the two suicide bombings that killed or injured scores of our brothers and sisters in Cairo, Egypt.  This horrific news follows the pictures of the victims of the inexcusable chemical attack on civilians in Syria. Closer to home, we continue to hear of the limits of our work to free our neighbors from the scourge of opioid addiction, from gun violence, and the legal resistance to continue to provide hospitality to refugees, including those of the on-going civil war in Syria.

It occurred to me to say to a group of young people being confirmed on Palm Sunday that being a member of the Church does nothing to protect us from the sorrow, the pain, and the vulnerability of the world. In fact, following the Jesus movement means walking the way of the cross as the only means to a lasting life of purpose and true joy.  Any church that is solely concerned about its own self-protection and survival has begun its own funeral procession.

But, in Christ, we are alive.  Though government executive orders are already curtailing refugee resettlement and Episcopal Migration Ministries is forced to reduce its staff, I know that so many in our parishes are seeking ways to support efforts to bring relief to the suffering of those who live in fear. Several of our churches take seriously, as I do, the Episcopal Church’s commitment to the Sanctuary movement [1], even as we explore how to open our doors and communities as our Bible urges us to, sometimes at some risk of public and legal opposition. In my travels among the parish communities in the Episcopal Church of New Hampshire, I see the Holiness of Holy Week, the Good News of Good Friday. These include our solidarity with those battling addiction of all kinds (please accept the invitation to observe the Recovery Sunday, on April 30th!); our work to mentor, tutor, feed and support youth and children who are on the losing side of the Opportunity Gap; to sit with the dying and those in prison; to weep with and comfort the grieving; and to give God great thanks and praise for the chance that God is always giving us to reconcile with those with whom we have been in conflict.  You want to hear about an Easter miracle?  Let me tell you about the congregations all over New Hampshire, that have faithful people on every political side, but who would do anything to help their neighbor as a child of God, or their fellow parishioner in need simply because they are members of the Risen Body of Christ.

Our Church, with Christ, bursts out of tombs of fear, grief and cowardice when it sees how, despite the fracture we may be feeling in our hearts about the fallen state of the world, God is not done with us. God is still working God’s purposes out.  Even with people like us--fallen, broken, and gorgeously risen in Christ Jesus.

[1] The most recent policy statement of The Episcopal Church is found in Resolution 2015-D057:

"Resolved, That the 78th General Convention recommit to the spirit of the New Sanctuary Movement by supporting congregations so they can assist immigrant individuals, unaccompanied minors, families, and communities by being centers of information, services and accompaniment, and by supporting families facing separation in the absence of comprehensive, humane immigration reform."

Want to hear more? Attend a Holy Week service at one of our 46 Episcopal Churches in New Hampshire. Find one near you, and learn more about us, at