Guest Blog: Faith Formation in Advent Season

Guest Blog by Linnae Peterson, Formation Network NH

Recently an older member of my parish remarked that she had misplaced her cell phone for several days. She was amazed at how difficult it was for her to function without it. That small device had replaced not only her phone but her calendar, flashlight, map and yellow pages. For all of us, our connections online are a significant part of our daily life. There are also an increasing number of resources available online to help us deepen our faith. Here are some that I’ve found helpful and interesting. Look them over and see what you might find helpful.

Pod casts
My son loves to listen to podcast while he does chores. Others listen when waiting for appointments, driving to work, or all those other in between times. These podcast offer short audio reflections and conversations on topics of faith.
http://thirtysecondsorless.net/
http://scrappapertheology.podbean.com/
http://moonshinejesus.podbean.com/
 
Scripture
These video’s are just fun!
The Gospel of John in 3 minutes  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7lQkLSU4dAA
The Book of Acts in 3 minutes  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MJIHgMR7LP0
 
Emmanuel Episcopal in Wakefield MA has created some wonderful videos of Biblical stories using Legos.
https://www.youtube.com/channel/UC35ioUakw4mAUdqfgBK9tIQ
 
The Episcopal Church of the Good Shepherd in Kingwood TX offers ways for families to interact with the upcoming Sunday lessons. With ways to engage children, youth and adults, this is one you will want to use weekly. http://www.biblicalencounter.com/home
 
Daily Prayer and Meditation
The Daily Office https://dailyoffice.wordpress.com/
If you are interested in praying Morning and Evening Prayer, this is a good resource. It will post to your email or you can go to their site. A weekly webcast enables you to join with others in praying the daily office.
 
Daily Meditations
If you are looking for a way to connect with God at the beginning of your day, any of these are wonderful options.
Barbara Cawthorne Crafton- an Episcopal Priest and author, her daily meditation often use art to illuminate faith. http://www.geraniumfarm.org/dailyemo.cfm

Richard Rohr- a Roman Catholic monk has written extensively of topics of faith and action. https://cac.org/category/daily-meditations/?gclid=Cj0KEQiAx7XBBRCdyNOw6PLHrYABEiQAJtyEQ7x2c9tznVxGwnC-OxUSlLGqKnA8_lPYWKBUuRB08boaAhvE8P8HAQ

Society of St. John the Evangelist-Drawing on the wisdom of teachings of the brothers in the order, these short daily meditations encompass a wide variety of topics and voices. http://ssje.org/word/
 
Online study opportunities:

Church Next-The Big Class
Getting More Out of the Bible with Archbishop Justin Welby
https://churchnextblog.wordpress.com/the-big-class/
Church Next offers a huge variety of video based classes with some of the best people. Most are offered at a modest price (appox. $15 per class). Their “Big Class” offering are free. During Advent 2016, the Big Class presenter is the Archbishop of Canterbury, Justin Welby. This 45 min. class will offer ways to read and interact with Scripture.
 
The Five Marks of Love
www.5marksoflove.org
This year’s Lenten offering by the Society of St. John the Evangelist focuses on five marks of God’s mission (Tell, Teach, Tend, Transform, Treasure). With a daily mobile-ready video and daily questions, individuals or groups can participate. The hashtag #5marksoflove will enable participants to share insights with other around the globe. (Free)
 
Darkwood Brew
http://darkwoodbrew.org/
The Faith of Jesus in a Pluralistic World
Listen- hearing the still small voice and finding your own
Hope – A Pessimist’s Guide
These titles are just some of the offerings you can find at Darkwood Brew. Created by Rev. Dr. Eric Elnes, these course are insightful and provoking. Centered around conversations with leading thinkers, scholars and activists, each course provides additional material that will provoke the participant to dig deeper and keep one thinking about the topic long after the class.  (available for free but with a suggested donation of $49 per class).

Free Advocacy Training this Saturday: Speaking our Faith in New Hampshire and Maine

 

At the root of the word advocacy is ‘vocare,’ meaning to call, or speak. In our advocacy as Episcopalians, we are calling out the challenges and we are speaking on behalf of those who have no voice.

This training will encourage partnership among our communities and parishes, with one another, and between our Church and a wounded society.  Join us as we learn to be stronger advocates, grounded in our faith. This training is co-hosted by the Episcopal Dioceses in New Hampshire and Maine.

 

Saturday, December 3

9:30 am – 2:30 pm

St. Thomas Episcopal Church, Dover, NH

5 Hale Street, Dover, NH

 

9:30 - 10 am

Registration and Coffee 

10 am - 11 am

Advocacy 101 workshop

This interactive session will focus how to frame a message and narrative to demonstrate our values and how to taking action rooted in Christian practices both as individuals and as congregations. Speakers: John Hennessy, Director, Maine Episcopal Network for Justice and Laura Simoes, Missioner for Community Engagement, Episcopal Church of NH.  

11 am - 12 pm

Theological Framework Panel Discussion 

Why should Christians engage in the public sphere? What are the Biblical and theological imperatives that motivate us for such engagement? What unique compelling message do people of faith bring to the table? How do we choose the issues we advocate for? Panelists: The Rt. Rev Rob Hirschfeld, Bishop, Episcopal Church of NH and The Rev. Calvin Sanborn, Rector, St. George’s Episcopal Church, York Harbor, Maine. Moderator: Heidi Schott, Canon for Communications and Advocacy, Episcopal Diocese of Maine.

12 pm - 12:45 pm

Lunch and Networking

12:45 - 2 pm

Overview of the New Hampshire and Maine political landscapes 

Participants divided by state for this conversation about the local landscape, which advocacy topics will be hot in the upcoming legislative session, and how you can speak your faith in the advocacy process. New Hampshire Speaker: Sarah Mattson Dustin, Policy Director, NH Legal Assistance. Maine Speaker: Joby Thoyalil, Policy Analyst, Maine Equal Justice Partners

 2 pm - 2:15 pm, Closing Prayer and Dismissal

To register, email Lynn Eaton at leaton@nhepiscopal.org, or call 603-224-1914.

GUEST BLOG: In Partnership with Latin America and the Caribbean

Guest Blog by The Rev. Mark Pendleton, Christ Church, Exeter

Two days after the Presidential election, I left the country. It would only be for a week, but I knew there was no escaping the impact and reaction of many around the world. 

I was invited to travel to Panama City, Panama to attend the Latin American and Caribbean Partners’ Gathering by the staff of Trinity Church Wall Street. 

Trinity Church on Wall Street in New York City is a famed historic and resourced congregation that has a large footprint far beyond lower Manhattan.  With its vast financial wealth that dates back to pre-U.S.A. and the land grant given to them by Queen Anne of Great Britain when Trinity was still a Church of England congregation, Trinity has been a leader in making grants that empower ministries around the world.  Having worked deeply throughout Africa in the last two decades, Trinity is exploring new partners in Latin America and Asia.

Trinity rector Bill Lupfer (second from the left) presented Trinity's goals and values
Convening is something Trinity does very well and often.  Those that Trinity gathered in Panama from November 10-15, 2016 were bishops, clergy and laity from South and Central America, Mexico, the Caribbean, the West Indies and Spain and Portugal.   This was the second gathering for this emerging group, which had first met in Brazil last year. Archbishop Tutu once said that the core identity of Anglicans is that they meet.  So, this group, in that tradition, met to discuss what it means to be Anglican in their cultural context and how it shapes the mission agenda. 

What fascinated me as a North American observer was to see how the mix of peoples and histories and cultures was and is still impacted by the colonial roots of each of the regions.  Great Britain, Spain, Portugal, and the United States were all colonial powers. As one presenter noted, Anglicanism is a ‘heritage carried in colonial vessels.’   Gathered in one room was a Jamaican, a Brazilian, a Mexican, and a Cuban all brought together because of the legacy of the Anglican and Episcopal mission in the America’s. 

Language.  We used three to communicate: Spanish, Portuguese and English.  Trinity provided professional translators and equipment to ensure that all plenary and small groups had simultaneous translators to that people could speak and listen in their native tongue. 

Breakout conversations with translators in booths behind the table. Bishop of Cuba second to the left
There were common threads of concern and interest among the participants and we had time for presentations and small group conversation on various topics: migration, the environment, economic inequality, indigenous rights, theological education, leadership development, and long-term ministry sustainability.  A bishop from Jamaica spoke about socials ills of crime, drugs and the delinquency of many young men on the island and how the church is challenged to respond.  There was time for sharing from each participant diocese about their history and current ministries -- a way to share the Good News and best practises of mission. 

Presentation on Indigenous peoples and the church's mission
One of my lasting impressions was on the issue of migration. In the U.S. the immigration issue was a hot point of the political campaign: to build a wall or not to build a wall on our southern border with Mexico and whether or not to deport millions of people. The rector of Trinity Church Bill Lupfer reminded us that the original settlers to the island of Manhattan were afraid of the local Native Americans in the 1600’s, so they built a wall. That wall ran along a street, which became known as Wall Street -- the iconic name of all things financial in New York and beyond.  A wall does not end fear; it only divides. 

Presenters shared the impact of the presence of migrants and refugees on their local dioceses and what they were doing to respond.  Immigration is not  ‘just’ a U.S. issue (note the obvious tone of this statement).   Almost every diocese that participated spoke about the plight of migrants in their countries: Latin Americans in Spain, Cubans in Costa Rica passing through to Mexico and the U.S., Haitians and Senegalese in Brazil, Venezuelans in Colombia, Dominicans in Puerto Rico, Haitians in the D.R., Guyanese in Barbados, and Nicaraguans in Costa Rica.  Nearly all of the churches were using ministry resources to respond to the universal Christian call to care for the stranger and foreigner, even in contexts were resources are limited. I was struck again how the movement of peoples across borders is a growing global phenomenon and will require many to dig deep into a Christ-based compassion to learn and respond.  The impulse to build walls will certainly grow.   

A gift of a conference such as the one Trinity organized was that we did not gather to legislate or resolve conflict. With many of the official Anglican meetings centered on finding the least common denominator to hold this vast and complex Communion together in a post-colonial age, participants in Panama were invited to build friendships, deepen ties and imagine a network that goes beyond institutional provinces and jurisdictions. 

I was assigned note taker for one small group on migration
As the conference concluded  after Sunday preaching engagements in some of Panama’s Episcopal churches and a tour of the world famous Canal, there was a shared commitment to stay in communication with one another.  To share what is energizing them in their ministries and contexts.  To draw inspiration from the Gospel to stand up for and walk with the marginalized of the world.  As Trinity Church hopes to go deeper in the areas they are defining that they do well, I imagine that future gatherings of this group will also want to go deeper as they continue to build trust and friendships. 

After preaching at the Cathedral of St. Luke in Panama City

I conclude with some of the questions that guided our daily Bible studies: 
What are we looking for as a Church?

What does it mean to follow Jesus today?

Here do we identify the presence and need of Jesus in our ministry?

What is our mission today?

Where do we find the Holy Spirit in our mission?

How are we imitating the mission of Jesus to bring good news to the poor?

How we empty ourselves to become like Christ?

What does leadership mean in our church today?

Where do we see the crucifixion of Christ today?  

Who are the crucified people?

Where do we need healing in our church and world?

How is Jesus calling us to new ministries and new places?

Where are we looking for Jesus and where will be find him?

How are we called to preach today?

To see images of Mark's+ trip or read more, visit his blog at http://markpendleton.blogspot.com

GUEST BLOG: Post-Election Resources for Refugee and Immigration Advocacy

GUEST BLOG: Post-Election Resources for Refugee and Immigration Advocacy

Dear advocates,

This week, Presiding Bishop Michael Curry wrote to the Church, reminding us that, "As a Church, seeking to follow the way of Jesus, who taught us, 'you shall love your neighbor as yourself,' (Mt. 22:39) and to 'do to others as you would have them do to you' (Mt. 7:12), we maintain our longstanding commitment to support and welcome refugees and immigrants, and to stand with those who live in our midst without documentation."

In this spirit, we recommit ourselves to strive for justice and peace for all people. Refugees and immigrants are woven into the fabric of our nation, and indeed, our Church is comprised of people of all backgrounds - including refugees and immigrants. As the body of Christ, we must speak out boldly for the dignity of every human being. I write you today offering resources for action to support our refugee and immigrant neighbors:

1. Express your support for refugee resettlement to your members of Congress

2. Download and share Know Your Rights resources and post-election information on Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA)

3. Host a Refugees Welcome event in your congregation

4. Report Hate

As people of faith, we must not sit idly by. Instead, we will take action together. Please reach out with any questions or comments.

In peace,

Lacy Broemel, Refugee & Immigration Policy Analyst, lbroemel@episcopalchurch.org

The Episcopal Church Welcomes YOU: Post-Election Statement from Presiding Bishop Curry

Our Presiding Bishop and Primate Michael B. Curry has issued the following statement:

"The Episcopal Church Welcomes You," is not just a slogan, it’s who we seek to be and the witness we seek to make, following the way of Jesus.

 

Last week I shared what I pray was a reconciling post-election message to our church, reminding us that 'we will all live together as fellow Americans, as citizens.' Today I want to remind us that during moments of transition, during moments of tension, it is important to affirm our core identity and values as followers of Jesus in the Episcopal Anglican way.

Jesus once declared, in the language of the Hebrew prophets, that God's "house shall be a house of prayer for all nations" (Mk 11:17). He invited and welcomed all who would follow saying, "come to me all who are weary and are carrying heavy burdens" (Mt. 11:28).

We therefore assert and we believe that "the Episcopal Church welcomes you" – all of you, not as merely a church slogan, but as a reflection of what we believe Jesus teaches us and at the core of the movement he began in the first century. The Episcopal Church welcomes all. All of us!

As the Episcopal branch of the Jesus Movement today, we Episcopalians are committed, as our Prayer Book teaches to honor the covenant and promises we made in Holy Baptism: To proclaim by word and example the Good News of God in Christ; To seek and serve Christ in all persons, loving our neighbor as ourselves; to strive for justice and peace among all people, and to respect the dignity of every human being.

As Christians, we believe that all humans are created in God’s image and equal before God – those who may be rejoicing as well as those who may be in sorrow.

As a Church, seeking to follow the way of Jesus, who taught us, "you shall love your neighbor as yourself," (Mt. 22:39) and to "do to others as you would have them do to you" (Mt. 7:12), we maintain our longstanding commitment to support and welcome refugees and immigrants, and to stand with those who live in our midst without documentation.  We reaffirm that like all people LGBT persons are entitled to full civil rights and protection under the law. We reaffirm and renew the principles of inclusion and the protection of the civil rights of all persons with disabilities. We commit to the honor and dignity of women and speak out against sexual or gender-based violence.  We express solidarity with and honor the Indigenous Peoples of the world. We affirm the right to freedom of religious expression and vibrant presence of different religious communities, especially our Muslim sisters and brothers. We acknowledge our responsibility in stewardship of creation and all that God has given into our hands. We do so because God is the Creator. We are all God's children, created equally in God's image. And if we are God's children we are all brothers and sisters.

"The Episcopal Church Welcomes You," is not just a slogan, it’s who we seek to be and the witness we seek to make, following the way of Jesus.

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

Note: The Spanish version of this statement is forthcoming.

On the web:
Statement from Presiding Bishop Michael Curry

 

Evangelism Matters Conference--watch live, Nov. 18-19

Evangelism Matters, an Episcopal Church Evangelism Conference on November 18-19 in Dallas, TX, is designed for anyone who would like to learn more about evangelism and available resources to share our faith. The churchwide event is co-sponsored by Forward Movement and the Presiding Bishop’s Office, and is hosted by the Diocese of Dallas and Church of the Transfiguration, Dallas, TX where the activities will be held.

The live, free webcast will be available here  www.episcopalchurch.org

Webcast schedule:

Friday
9 am – 10:30 am Central – Welcome and main panel presentation
10:45 am - Workshops
Cultivating an Evangelistic Church
Presented by Carrie Boren Headington and the Rev. Canon Stephanie Spellers

From Visitor to Member in 12 Months, Presented by the Rev. Chris Girata and Elizabeth Carrière Peeples
1:30 pm – Keynote address by Presiding Bishop Michael Curry
2:45 pm – Workshops

How the Church Can Reach and Engage Millennials

Presented by Grant Skeldon 

Storytelling as Evangelism: How to Connect Our Story with the Never Ending Story

Presented by Bishop Porter Taylor
7:30 pm – Eucharist: Celebrant is Bishop George Sumner of Diocese of Dallas and preacher is Presiding Bishop Michael Curry

Saturday
9 am – Plenary on Testimony by Canon Stephanie Spellers
9:45 am – Workshops

The Shape of the Jesus Movement: Strategies for Discipleship, Evangelism and Reconciliation

Presented by the Rev. Jay Sidebotham and the Rev. Canon Stephanie Spellers

Made for Evangelism

Presented by Bishop Andrew Doyle and Bishop Gregory Brewer
11:30 am - closing plenary “Sharing the hope that is in us” by Canon Spellers

 

Unpacking the Election--A Webinar with Local Episcopal Bishops

In the days following a historic election, this webcast will provide a forum with Bishops Rob Hirschfeld, Doug Fisher and Nicholas Knisely to discuss the following:

  • what do the results mean
  • how can we heal the hurt/s that the election may have caused
  • what resources are available to bring us together.

The webcast is from 7:30 - 8:30 on Tuesday, November 15th.  

James McKim, Province 1 Representative to the Episcopal Church Executive Council's AntiRacism Committee and Chair of the Episcopal Diocese of New Hampshire's Diversity Committee and The Rev. Karen Brown Montagno, Diocese of MA Director of Congregational Resources and Training, will facilitate the conversation.

HERE to register.

HERE to read Bishop Hirschfeld's Post-Election Message.

GUEST BLOG: Refugee Crisis & US Resettlement Webinar

GUEST BLOG by Allison Duvall, Manager for Church Relations and Engagement, Episcopal Migration Ministries

Right now, it is absolutely critical that we work together to ensure we live up to our values of welcome, serving refugees and all newcomers and setting everyone up to succeed in safety.  

Refugees are an investment in our future, so please join us on Tuesday, Nov 15 at 4pm ET to learn how you can help. 

Please save the date for a webinar co-hosted by the Interfaith Immigration Coalition and Refugees Welcome partners to learn how you can help ensure U.S. communities have the resources they need to help refugees integrate and thrive.

What: Responding to Refugee Crisis & Funding Shortfall in U.S. Resettlement

When: Tuesday, November 15 at 4pm ET

Where: Join here: https://join.me/faith4immigration

Register: Click here to RSVP

Right now, we are facing the largest displacement crisis in recorded history. To respond with true leadership, it is critical that the United States responds with compassion, hospitality, and welcome. Congress needs to hear that our communities around the country stand ready to welcome refugees who are looking for the chance to find safety and rebuild their lives. As Congress must pass a spending package by December 9, now is the time for interfaith partners to speak up to ensure any spending measure robustly funds programs to welcome and integrate refugees.

Join us on Tuesday, November 15th at 4pm ET to learn how you can help. All faith communities are needed to act in a united way in the midst of this critical moment for refugee resettlement and funding.

Please share this invitation across your networks and encourage them to take action! Feel free to email Meredith Owen at mowen@cwsglobal.org with any questions. 

 

 

A Post-Election Message from Bishop Hirschfeld

As I walked on the streets of Concord this morning, the sense of division in our society was very clear, as some citizens rejoiced and others looked profoundly dejected.  We all knew that no matter who won the election yesterday, that person would preside over a nation that is deeply fractured and hurting.  We also knew how afraid and angry so many of our fellow citizens are.  If half of us were tempted to deny that fear and rage, we all have to admit it now.

At such a delicate and vulnerable moment such as this, I take strength in remembering that, for followers of Jesus, such fractious and anxious, even dangerous, times as these are not unusual or even strange. Sure, times like these may seem strange for a certain class or segment of American Christians, who have for many decades enjoyed access to privilege, wealth, and power.  But, nervous times as these were not at all strange for the first disciples of Jesus and certainly not for the vast numbers of saints who have come before us. They are not strange for a majority of Christians in the Holy Land, in China, and in many other places on the planet. They were not strange even for generations of Americans who have faced sacrifice, war, and economic hardship. Even Jesus, on the night before he died, told his followers to find their true peace in him and, in the midst of persecutions, to take courage for he has already conquered the world with his love. (John 16:32-33)  

Recognizing me as a member of the Church, someone stopped me this morning to introduce herself.  She was feeling quite distraught this morning about the change in direction our country is taking, especially for refugees, girls, and religious and racial minorities. She asked, "What are we to do now?" She was a stranger, someone I've never met before, and it seemed that maybe such unplanned encounters will be a hidden blessing of these times.  The only words that came to me were:

Pray.

Seek justice.

Love mercy.

Walk humbly with your God. 

Pray some more.

Love your neighbor.

Don't go it alone.  There's been enough of that.

Never has there been a time in my life or ministry when this short list seemed such a high and urgent calling as it does now.

Now is the acceptable time, says the Apostle Paul. (2 Corinthians 6:2) Now.

Faithfully Yours in Christ,

+Rob

HERE to read the 214th Annual Diocesan Convention's Prayers of the People.  

 

Speaking our Faith in New Hampshire and Maine--A Free Advocacy Training, Dec 3

The Episcopal Dioceses of New Hampshire and Maine are partnering to offer a free advocacy training in Dover, NH in December, post-election and prior to the upcoming Legislative Session. All are welcome and encouraged to come and learn to be stronger advocates, grounded in our faith. 

At the root of the word advocacy is ‘vocare,’ meaning to call, or speak. In our advocacy as Episcopalians, we are calling out the challenges and we are speaking on behalf of those who have no voice.  This training will encourage partnership among our communities and parishes, with one another, and between our Church and a wounded society. 

 

Saturday, December 3

9:30 am – 2:30 pm

St. Thomas Episcopal Church, Dover, NH

5 Hale Street, Dover, NH

 

SCHEDULE

9:30 - 10 am

Registration and Coffee

 

10 am - 11 am

Advocacy 101 workshop

This interactive session will focus how to frame a message and narrative to demonstrate our values and how to taking action rooted in Christian practices both as individuals and as congregations.

 

11 am - 12 pm

Theological Framework Panel Discussion 

Why should Christians engage in the public sphere? What are the Biblical and theological imperatives that motivate us for such engagement? What unique compelling message do people of faith bring to the table? How do we choose the issues we advocate for?

 

12 pm - 12:45 pm

Box Lunch and Networking

 

12:45 - 2 pm

Overview of the New Hampshire and Maine political landscapes 

Participants divided by state for this conversation about the local landscape, which advocacy topics will be hot in the upcoming legislative session, and how you can speak your faith in the advocacy process.

 

2 pm - 2:15 pm

Closing Prayer and Dismissal

 

To register, use our online form or email Lynn Eaton at leaton@nhepiscopal.org, or call 603-224-1914.