Fall 2015 | The Episcopal Diocese of Kansas
5 | Kids flock to choir camp at Trinity, Atchison 8 | Chalice is symbol of racial repentance 11 | Wichita church offers service in Spanish 14 | General Convention provides historic firsts
From the Bishop | The Right Reverend Dean E. Wolfe
New and exciting opportunities That allows churches to also support the work of this diocese in churches across eastern Kansas and ministry in Haiti and Kenya. The diocese, in turn, supports the work of the Episcopal Church in 16 countries across the Americas and abroad. When your church asks for your financial support, I hope you will be generous — not only because the church needs it, but because you do, too. A generous heart is one that is shaped by love for God and concern for others.
I know the calendar tells us that the New Year doesn’t start until January 1, but I believe it begins in reality every fall, with the start of the academic year, and the return of programs and increased activity in churches across our diocese. The fall also brings with it the annual pledge campaign for most parishes. Other than income from any endowments your church has, everything that makes your parish run comes from generous gifts from members like you.
Our new Presiding Bishop On November 1, the Episcopal Church will welcome my friend Bishop Michael Curry of North Carolina as our new Presiding Bishop in a service at the Washington National Cathedral. I was honored to be asked to continue to serve as a Vice President to the House of Bishops, and it has been a delight to work with him in the months since his election in June during General Convention. Bishop Curry is an extraordinarily gifted preacher, and I know you will find it exciting to hear more about his call to join him as part of the Jesus Movement. He also is the church’s first African-American Presiding Bishop, and I believe he will serve as a catalyst for healing and racial reconciliation at a time when our nation and our church badly need both. Emphasis on anti-racism training For more than 20 years the Episcopal Church has asked every clergyperson and every lay leader to
engage in special training and study to combat the sin of racism. In this diocese we are renewing this effort, starting this fall. Our Diocesan Convention will offer four workshops on the value of diversity, led by the Reverend Dr. William Kondrath, a noted consultant in the field of anti-racism and multiculturalism. He also will offer this year’s Tocher Lecture. I hope many of you will take part in this critical discussion. Today, it is more important than ever to look within ourselves to see where we each can learn and grow on this important matter. If you cannot participate in this particular program, please know that additional training will be made available around the diocese in the coming year. A special service of repentance and racial reconciliation took place recently at St. Paul’s, Clay Center, when the congregation acknowledged that the church was not accepting of the only African-American member the church has had, Miss Mai DeKonza, who died in 1959. Be sure to read the story about this on page 8-10, and ask yourself, “Who are we excluding, consciously or unconsciously, from our fellowship today?” The Episcopal Church is a wonderful gift, and we should all be asking who we might invite to share in its rich blessings. Grace and Peace,
In This Issue
2 4 5 6 8 11 12 14
FALL 2015 | Vol. 102 | no. 5
Around the diocese
A publication of The Episcopal Diocese of Kansas 835 Polk St., Topeka, KS 66612-1688 (785) 235-9255 (800) 473-3563 www.episcopal-ks.org
Providing for the needs of pets
The Anglican Communion is a global community of 70 million Anglicans in 38 member churches/provinces in more than 160 countries. The Most Rev. and Rt. Hon. Justin Welby, Archbishop of Canterbury
Churches are reaching out to their neighbors in a variety of ways, including through a Little Free Library on the grounds of St. John’s, Abilene.
Carol Turner of Trinity, El Dorado, helped open a pantry for pets in the church’s unused garage, providing food, collars, leashes and toys to owners in need.
Choir camp teaches singing and more
The second annual Choir Camp at Trinity, Atchison, drew 25 young people from several denominations in two states to learn music, liturgy and more.
Campus ministry serves many students
The diocesan campus ministry program serves students on 10 campuses through the efforts of peer ministers, parish members and dedicated staff.
The Episcopal Church is a community of 2 million members in 109 dioceses in 16 countries in the Americas and abroad. The Most Rev. Katharine Jefferts Schori, Presiding Bishop The Episcopal Diocese of Kansas is a community of more than 10,000 members in 44 congregations, three diocesan institutions and one school in eastern Kansas. The Rt. Rev. Dean E. Wolfe, Bishop
When St. Paul’s, Clay Center, learned the depth of illtreatment of its only African-American member, they undertook acts of reconciliation and repentance.
The Harvest is published four times a year by the Office of Communications of the Episcopal Diocese of Kansas. Member, Episcopal Communicators and Episcopal News Service
Wichita church begins Spanish service
Publisher The Right Reverend Dean E. Wolfe, Bishop
Repentance, reconciliation, healing
The first Spanish-language service at St. John’s, Wichita on Sept. 27 was the result of two years’ worth of prayers, according to one of the organizers.
Farewell to St. Christopher’s
The 63-year ministry of St. Christopher’s, Wichita, came to an end Sept. 13, as the church had its final service as an active parish of the diocese.
General Convention sees historic firsts
The 78th General Convention of the Episcopal Church elected the first African-American Presiding Bishop and approved marriage equality in the church.
ON THE COVER: A chalice that for years had been a symbol of racial separation became a mark of reconciliation and repentance for the people of St. Paul’s, Clay Center, during a service on Sept. 20. | Photo by Melodie Woerman
Editor Melodie Woerman For submissions, please contact the editor: email@example.com Need to change your mailing address? Harvest Address Changes 835 Polk St., Topeka, KS 66612-1688 firstname.lastname@example.org Upcoming deadlines: Winter 2015 issue: Nov. 15 Spring 2016 issue: Feb. 15 Postmaster: Send address changes to Episcopal Diocese of Kansas 835 Polk St., Topeka, KS 66612-1688
The Harvest | Fall 2015 | 1
Around the Diocese
News and notes from congregations St. John’s, Abilene provided hospitality in the form of iced tea and lemonade to those who watched the Central Kansas Free Fair Parade from the church grounds on July 30. The parade route passed in front of the church. Trinity, Atchison served as host to an Atchison Ministerial Alliance ecumenical prayer service on July 2 in honor of the victims of the shootings at Emanuel AME Church in Charleston, S.C. More than 75 people from 10 local churches attended. St. Mark’s, Blue Rapids has a new roof and gutters, and the lighted cross on the front of the church has been repaired, all part of work following a massive hailstorm in October 2014 that struck the area. St. Paul’s, Clay Center expanded its commitment to feeding its community by offering a diabetes nutrition class on June 10 in the church kitchen. Materials and instruction were provided by Harvesters, the area’s major food bank. Participants cooked and ate a dinner using their new-found knowledge. St. Paul’s, Coffeyville senior warden Joe Miller used a previously schedule July vacation to South Carolina as a chance to take notes and cards of condolence from parishioners to members of Emanuel AME Church in Charleston. St. Andrew’s, Derby youth group members offered help to those receiving a meal from the “Sandwich Saturday” at St. John’s in Wichita Aug. 29 by distributing personal hygiene items. Many of those who stop 2 | The Harvest | Fall 2015
PHOTO BY ST. JOHN’S ABILENE
Young parishioners of St. John’s, Abilene, show books they’ have contributed to, or look forward to reading from, the new Little Free Library at the church.
St. John’s, Abilene opens a Little Free Library St. John’s, Abilene, had a blessing and dedication service on July 19 for its Little Free Library that recently was installed on the south side of the church. The library was built by parishioner Justin Shaw with contributions of money, time and talents from other members of the church. Little Free Libraries operate on the principle of sharing — take a book, return a book — and it doesn’t have to be the same book. The idea is to share books and love of reading. This particular library is a literacy outreach project and will feature primarily children’s books. The church continues to accept donations, especially of books for grade school, middle school and high school ages.
by for a meal are homeless. St. Martin’s, Edwardsville offers special parish activities on Wednesday evenings twice a month. Each includes Evening Prayer and a potluck dinner. Second Wednesdays include a Vestry meeting, and Fourth Wednesdays provide a study topic.
Trinity, El Dorado ended its summer schedule with an all-parish brunch Aug. 30, as well as sign-ups for parish commissions and a variety of liturgical ministers. St. Andrew’s, Emporia sought additional members to be part of the ministry of hospitality through
providing receptions following funerals at the church. Bakers, sandwich makers and other helpers were needed. St. Mary’s, Galena collected school supplies for local elementary students during the summer, and also celebrated St. Mary’s Day on Aug. 16 with the annual steak dinner after the Sunday morning church service. Epiphany, Independence celebrated the end of summer with a back-to-school Fun Night Aug. 16, which included blessing of backpacks, games, pizza and ice cream sundaes. St. Timothy’s, Iola again provided meals to the Allen Community College cross country team before fall food service was open on campus. They served more than 1,200 meals (three a day) for two-and-half weeks in August. St. Paul’s, Kansas City is introducing healthier food options in its weekly Saturday breakfast that often feeds more than 200 people weekly. They offered samples of fruit parfaits and egg casserole to patrons of the church’s food pantry on Aug. 15. St. Margaret’s, Lawrence continued its involvement with Habitat for Humanity as members worked on constructing a new house during a workday on Aug. 29. Trinity, Lawrence is seeking donations of Bibles that they can make available to clients of their weekly food pantry who ask for a copy. Extras will be sent to organizations that distribute used Bibles. St. Paul’s, Leavenworth hosted a church picnic Aug. 23 to welcome newcomers, sign up Sunday school
students and offer a silent auction. St. Paul’s, Manhattan organized a team, the Episc-GO-palians, to participate in the local Relay for Life Sept. 25. Team members did relay laps around City Park to raise money for cancer research. St. Paul’s, Marysville member Gordon Etelamaki was honored on July 5 during a parish dinner for being named the 2014-2015 Teacher of the Year for Marysville Public Schools. He retired in May after a 39-year career teaching math. St. Michael’s, Mission youth members spent a week of service on the Rosebud Reservation in Parmelee, S.D. in July. Ten youth and five adults did construction on two Episcopal churches, chopped firewood for elderly tribe members for use during the winter and worked with children during daily sessions. St. Matthew’s, Newton member Thea Ferguson helped deliver the one millionth meal served by the Newton Meals on Wheels to Margaret Ikerd on April 18. The program has been providing meals to shut-ins since 1972, and the church has had at least one member delivering meals every Tuesday since then. St. Aidan’s, Olathe has received many beautiful landscape plantings thanks to a group of “gardening angels” in the parish. Gardens include flowers, shrubbery and a space for projects by the Children’s Chapel. Grace, Ottawa had its third annual Luau Sunday on July 19. Worshipers were invited to wear Hawaiian attire, and island cuisine was provided in a picnic after church. St. Francis’, Overland Park participated in the Stilwell Community
Parade on July 4, with everyone joining afterward for a meal. St. Thomas’, Overland Park sent 15 people — 11 youth and four adults — to the Pine Ridge Reservation on South Dakota for a week in June. Participants did painting, built wheelchair ramps and other tasks, and also had time to tour the area. St. John’s, Parsons spent the summer engaged in a variety of outreach projects, including collecting school supplies for kids who need them, collecting shampoo and body wash for the local youth crisis shelter, and raising money for Episcopal Relief & Development. Epiphany, Sedan continues its yearlong Bible Challenge, which includes reading passages of scripture and discussing them on Sunday mornings. St. Luke’s, Shawnee will provide adult formation classes on Tuesday evenings this fall, with learning coupled with a soup and bread dinner. Topics include Anglicanism 101, Christian fellowship and an introduction to Islam. Grace Cathedral, Topeka kicked off the new school year with Hot Dog Sunday Sept. 13, complete with hot dogs and an array of toppings. Worshippers also were invited to wear apparel of their favorite fall sports team. St. David’s, Topeka Daughters of the King chapter hosted a tea on Sept. 19 for all women and girls of the church. The Daughters provided beverages, and those attending brought finger food to share. St. Luke’s, Wamego observed Sept. 13 as “All Request Song Continued on page 4 The Harvest | Fall 2015 | 3
Around the Diocese Continued from page 3 Sunday.” The first six hymn suggestions received ahead-of-time by organist Kally McConkey were included in the service. Good Shepherd, Wichita men’s group made plans for its annual steak dinner for all parishioners on Oct. 10. Proceeds benefit church projects; last year’s dinner provided 50 white folding chairs. St. Bartholomew’s, Wichita didn’t take a break in its mission to
provide clothing to people needing items just because July 4 was a holiday. The weekly give-away continued with summer hours of 8-10 a.m. each Saturday. St. James’, Wichita members participated in Undies Sundays, when they had the opportunity to donate new underwear for boys, girls and teens served by the Wichita Children’s Home. They also donated cases of water to help quench the thirst of clients of Episcopal Social Services who often walk to the agency’s office
in downtown Wichita. St. John’s, Wichita will serve as the host site in the coming academic year for students participating in the Episcopal Campus Ministry of Wichita. Students and interested adults gather on Tuesdays at 6:30 p.m. for a meal, study and fellowship. St. Stephen’s, Wichita is undertaking a six-week study of the legacy of St. Francis on Wednesday evenings from Sept. 23 to Oct. 28.
El Dorado church opens pantry for pet needs EARLIER THIS
year Carol Turner, a member of Trinity, El Dorado, read about a Wichita church that had added pet food and supplies to its existing food pantry, since many people were finding it hard to afford pet food for their animals. Sensing a need in her community, Turner took the idea of starting a pet pantry to the Rev. Christine Gilson, Trinity’s rector; the Vestry; and the congregation, who all gave their approval. With space available in the unused church garage and a name inspired by the cat that belonged to the late Deacon Jane
4 | The Harvest | Fall 2015
Ware, Priscilla’s Pet Pantry opened in June. On the fourth Saturday of every month, it makes available pet food (three pounds for cats, 5.5 pounds for dogs), leashes, collars and toys — all free, thanks to generous donations from parish members and others in town, including businesses and animal clinics. Turner said that patrons are very thankful to have help in caring for their pets, and many have returned each month. One couple told her they no longer have to share their own limited food supply with their pet. — Melodie Woerman
Carol Turner helped establish a pet pantry that opened in June in the garage of Trinity, El Dorado.
Around the Diocese
Choir camp brings 25 singers to Atchison church The second annual Choir Camp at Trinity, Atchison drew 25 students from several denominations, including some from Missouri, for a week of musical instruction and liturgical experience in June. Some of the campers enjoyed the experience so much they plan to continue singing with the church choir. SUBMITTED PHOTOS
By Melodie Woerman
to learn classical church music drew 25 elementary and middle school students in June to Trinity, Atchison, for a week of choir camp. Twenty hours of instruction culminated in a Jennifer Stammers (left) and one of the 25 campers gesture to information presented during Choir Camp in June at Trinity, Atchison.
special service of Evensong June 26, which the campers led. The camp, in its second year, was the brainchild of the church’s choirmaster, Jennifer Stammers. Campers came from a variety of denominations, and several students even carpooled from Platte City, Mo.
Stammers said the campers learned several selections of chanted service music from the Hymnal and an anthem by Robert Powell. They put the knowledge they gained during camp to good use by setting a psalm they selected to Anglican chant and composed the sung “Amens” for the final collects. Students also read all the lessons during the service. In addition to lots of music, campers enjoyed activities including creating their own Episcopal shield, a talent show, and a tour of the birthplace of Atchison native Amelia Earhart, who was baptized at Trinity. Stammers said that four campers, along with a few parents and grandparents, plan to continue singing with the Trinity choir. The Harvest | Fall 2015 | 5
Ministry reaches students on many campuses By Melodie Woerman
THE CAMPUS ministry program provided by the Episcopal Diocese of Kansas is bringing the love of God through the church to students on 10 campuses across the diocese this school year. All efforts are led by the diocese’s full-time campus missioner, the Rev. Stephanie Jenkins. Two ministries are based in Canterbury houses located near the campuses of the state’s two largest universities — Kansas State University in Manhattan and the University of Kansas in Lawrence. Those houses provide lodging for peer ministers and a place where students from across campus can come together for weekly fellowship and study, centered around a meal. Peer ministers are key to the work at KU and K-State, as well as other campuses. They are student leaders who are responsible for inviting college students into the ministry on their campus, as well as leading programs. At K-State they also help cook a community breakfast every Tuesday morning at St. Paul’s Church, which serves primarily people who are homeless or living on a low income. They also lead a weekly “Brewing on Belief ” discussion session at a local restaurant. Once a month KU peer minsters travel to Kansas City to staff the food pantry at St. Paul’s there. Aiding the peer ministers at KU and K-State are campus interns employed by the diocese and who work closely with Jenkins. 6 | The Harvest | Fall 2015
Students at the University of Kansas in Lawrence enjoy a weekly dinner together at the Canterbury House near campus. Peer ministers who live in the house, friends, guests and people from the community come together for fellowship and a home-cooked meal.
Ashley Petty is in her second year as intern at K-State. Serving at KU is Ryan Zavacky, a native of Michigan who recently completed a year of service in South Africa though the Episcopal Church’s Young Adult Service Corps. On each campus, interns and students are supported by active participation by members of local parishes: St. Paul’s, Manhattan; and St. Margaret’s and Trinity in Lawrence.
Parish-based service to students
The others diocesan campus ministries are based in parishes and reflect a variety of ways of making
the church available to students at a formative time in their lives. The Episcopal Campus Ministry of Wichita brings together students from four area campuses: Wichita State University, Friends University, Newman University and Butler Community College. It is a collaboration of six churches in the Wichita area: Good Shepherd, St. James’, St. John’s and St. Stephen’s in Wichita; St. Jude’s, Wellington; and St. Andrew’s, Derby. Weekly meetings in one of the churches — this year, St. John’s, Wichita — provide a home-cooked meal and a time of worship,
CAMPUS PRESENCE The Episcopal Diocese of Kansas is serving students on these campuses during the coming school year: Chanute: Neosho Community College El Dorado: Butler Community College Iola: Allen Community College Lawrence: The University of Kansas Manhattan: Kansas State University Parsons: Labette Community College Pittsburg: Pittsburg State University Wichita: Friends University, Newman University, Wichita State University
Students and friends of the campus ministry program at Kansas State University in Manhattan do yard and maintenance work at the Canterbury House. The house provides a focus of activities for peer ministers and others. fellowship and discussion. The ministry at Pittsburg State, called Open Arms, offers students a weekly meal and the chance for discussion on a range of topics. It began when St. Peter’s, Pittsburg, extended scholarships to PSU students to sing in the church choir, and it has grown since then. Open Arms now operates as a Canterbury Club on campus. Three congregations in the Southeast Convocation serve students at their local community college in a variety of ways. St. John’s, Parsons, is in its seventh year of “Laundry and Latte,” where they serve coffee to students at a local laundromat. Those with birthdays get a free wash, and the church hosts an end-of-year cookout. Grace, Chanute, provides a weekly study space for nursing students, and many of them return to attend worship services.
St. Timothy’s, Iola, has provided thousands of meals to athletes who have to be on campus for practices when food service isn’t provided. They have fueled basketball and cross country teams with home-cooked meals, served up with a warm welcome and hospitality.
PEER MINISTERS These students are serving as campus peer ministers: K-State: Emma Miller, Janelle Sparkman, Gage Woodyard, Abby Zimmerman KU: Carin Gavin, Tyler Kerr, Alex Kezar, John Olson Wichita State: Dalton Nelson, Cara Wedeking Pittsburg State: Austin Stapleton
The Rev. Sharon Billman (right), vicar of St. John’s, Parsons, helps a Labette Community College student at a local laundromat. The church reaches out to students with its Laundry and Latte ministry. SUBMITTED PHOTO
The Harvest | Fall 2015 | 7
PHOTOS BY MELODIE WOERMAN
St. Paul’s, Clay Center, placed a marker on the grave of the only black member in the church’s history, 56 years after she died, as a mark of repentance for her lack of acceptance by the congregation.
St. Paul’s, Clay Center, offers repentance for the treatment of its only black member By Melodie Woerman
ON SUNDAY afternoon, Sept. 20, St. Paul’s Episcopal Church in Clay Center was packed with worshippers, including half a dozen guests from Ward Chapel AME Church in nearby Junction City. They had gathered for a service of repentance, healing and reconciliation to acknowledge the mistreatment of the only African American member in the church’s 134-year history, Mai DeKonza, who died in 1959. Over and over again, the people prayed, “Forgive us our sins. Forgive us our sins. Forgive us our sins.” DeKonza, who was confirmed in 1900 in the small church, was a poet, musician, playwright and prolific letter-writer who mostly was ignored by her fellow church 8 | The Harvest | Fall 2015
members during her 59-year membership. Her separation from them was even more complete by their use of a separate chalice to administer communion only to her.
Sorrow and repentance
But to help give her a voice in the church that she didn’t have in life, the service included excerpts from letters she had written to Bishop James Wise, the fourth bishop of Kansas who served from 1916 to 1939, as well as a hymn she wrote that had been arranged by parish organist Sandra Carlson to the Hymnal tune Finlandia. And when it came time for communion, the only chalice on the altar was the one that had been reserved for DeKonza.
In her sermon, the Rev. Lavonne Seifert, the church’s priest in charge, said that the point of the service was to express the church’s sorrow “for the actions and inactions” of members during the first half of the 20th century, as well as sorrow “that those who came before us missed the opportunity to really know Mai DeKonza and to hear her wisdom, benefit from her insights and enjoy her company.” Bishop Dean Wolfe sent remarks for the occasion, saying “Today, let us repent of the sins of prejudice and racism and strive to be the inviting, loving people God has called us to be. Today let us say ‘thank you’ to a woman we did not know, yet who is teaching us still, long after she has joined the saints in light.” Hazel Washington, an African
The Rev. Lavonne Seifert consecrates wine in a chalice that previously had been set apart for use solely by Mai DeKonza, the only black member in the history of St. Paul’s, Clay Center. At the service of repentance, the entire congregation received communion from it. American woman who came from the AME church in Junction City, said she thought the service “brought a lot of healing.” She added, “I felt God here.”
A committed Episcopalian
The church’s attitude toward DeKonza had been acknowledged in a history written for the parish’s centennial in 1981. That account called the church’s treatment of her “a blot on the glorious history of St. Paul’s” and noted that for years “she was tolerated but not accepted.” But the depth of this alienation, and the talents DeKonza possessed, remained hidden until Jim Beck and his wife Ginny moved to Clay Center when he retired in 2013. After he read the 1981 account, he said his backJim Beck ground in psychology — he holds a doctorate in the subject — prompted him to ask, “How did this happen?” With a college degree in history and research experience honed
through a hobby in genealogy, he began to dig for information. Beck learned that DeKonza was born in 1870, the daughter of a white man from England and a black woman who was freed from slavery by being brought from Missouri into free-state Kansas by Union general and U.S. Senator James Lane. Her given name was Elizabeth May Lawton, and when she was 21 she legally changed her last name to DeKonza, an acknowledgement of her beloved home state, Kansas. As a child DeKonza contracted typhoid fever that left her disabled and required the use of crutches to walk. Although she had only an eighth grade education, she worked as a music teacher, seamstress, stenographer and light housekeeper. She also composed and performed music, and wrote poetry and dramas, some of which were published. She gave speeches and lectures about race, and she became active in politics, including support of Prohibition. Later in life she was almost left a shut-in, after being run over by a car.
Beck wasn’t able to learn what drew DeKonza to the Episcopal Church, but in the diocesan archives he found what he called a treasure trove of 20 letters from DeKonza to Bishop Wise, and copies of some of his letters to her. In those letters “she described her own experiences,” Beck said. “They were like a diary.” She shared the depth of her commitment to her faith and the Episcopal Church, in spite of her treatment by fellow parishioners. She wrote of walking 11 blocks on crutches to attend Easter services, only to find that the service time had been changed. When DeKonza died in 1959, she was buried in an unmarked grave in the paupers’ section of the cemetery.
It took Beck about six months to complete his research and write a 19page history. When members of the congregation read it, they knew they had to do something. They needed to make amends of some kind for how the church — their beloved church — had treated DeKonza. And they had to get a marker on her grave. Seifert suggested they have a service to publicly acknowledge St. Paul’s poor treatment of its only black member, and she knew that this time, the chalice that had been reserved for DeKonza would be the only one on the altar. Carolyn Garwood, the church’s senior warden, said it was painful to learn the depth of DeKonza’s story. A lifelong member of the parish, Garwood realized her grandmother would have been a contemporary of DeKonza’s. “My grandmother was pretty accepting — at least I thought she was — and taught us to respect people who were disabled,” Continued on page 10 The Harvest | Fall 2015 | 9
Continued from page 9 Garwood said. “I learned tolerance from her. I would hope that she would have been accepting of Mai. It scares me because I know all these people who I wouldn’t have expected to ignore her. It upsets me.” It took the help of the Rev. Frank Holtz, retired priest at St. John’s in nearby Abilene, to identify the chalice reserved for DeKonza’s use. He had grown up at St. Paul’s, and as a teenager served as sexton. Beck had found two chalices in St. Paul’s basement, and Holtz picked out the one he remembers being told “was for the colored lady.” Church members also donated money toward a marker for her grave. The design includes the outline
Hazel Washington, a member of Ward Chapel AME Church in Junction City, places flowers on the gravestone of Mai DeKonza. Washington and other members of her church attended the service at the invitation of St. Paul’s. 10 | The Harvest | Fall 2015
of a chalice, with an Episcopal shield forming its bowl. It is surrounded by ivy, a traditional symbol of strength used on gravestones. After the service, most of the 75 worshippers caravanned to the cemetery to dedicate the marker and place flowers around its base.
Revealing can lead to healing
Heidi Kim, the Episcopal Church’s Missioner for Racial Reconciliation, said that taking an honest look at their history gave St. Paul’s the chance to experience repentance and healing. “You can’t heal something that hasn’t been revealed,” she said. She called what St. Paul’s has done “remarkable” and something she will share across the Episcopal Church. Retired Bishop Nathan Baxter of Central Pennsylvania, honorary chair of the board of directors of the Union of Black Episcopalians, said St. Paul’s work to uncover the truth about its relationship to DeKonza shows “that it is never too late to heal our conscious or unconscious histories with truth, confession and heartfelt acts of corporate penance.” Garwood said the service was an important start, but it can’t be the end. “We have to keep this going,” she said, “and encourage other parishes to tell their stories. This can’t just go on the back burner. We have to keep the momentum going.” Beck said that his research into DeKonza’s life makes it important for him and his fellow parishioners to find out “who are the Mai DeKonzas of 2015 who live in Clay Center but who have been brushed off or haven’t been paid attention.” He wondered what actions undertaken by people today will cause similar embarrassment to their community in 50 years. In her sermon, Seifert said the church now has the opportunity, and responsibility, to better understand systemic racism and other forms of oppression that provide people with a sense of hopelessness. “This is the time,” she said, “to rededicate ourselves to noticing, caring for and walking with the Mai DeKonzas we meet here and now.” Washington, of the Junction City AME church, said she would like to see congregations of different people come together, perhaps around Thanksgiving. She said more opportunities to share across racial lines should happen “not to right a wrong, but because it is right.” A longer version of this story is on the website of Episcopal News Service at http://tinyurl.com/nevdtyq .
St. John’s, Wichita, offers Spanish service
PHOTO BY MIKE MCFERREN
An image of Our Lady of Guadalupe is part of the first Spanish-language service at St. John’s, Wichita Sept. 27. This depiction of the Virgin Mary has great meaning for Latino Christians. By Melodie Woerman
FOR TWO YEARS
Mike McFerren has prayed that God would send new people to his church, St. John’s in Wichita. But he didn’t expect that they would come from his own roots growing up as a white kid in a Latino neighborhood in north Wichita. McFerren was instrumental in organizing the church’s first Spanish-language service that took place on Sunday, Sept. 27. That initial gathering had 18 people who took communion, he said. The church’s rector, the Rev. Earl Mahan, was fully behind the new service, he said, as was the Vestry. The celebrant was the Rev. Elizabeth “Eli” Montes, an Episcopal priest who serves as a chaplain with St. Francis Community Services in Wichita. She is fluent in Spanish. McFerren said he long had been concerned about friends from his old neighborhood who were alienated from the Roman Catholic Church of their childhood. Some had tried other denominations, he said, but found
them lacking. “They didn’t have the sacraments and liturgy that we have,” he said. After Montes joined him for a party with some of those old friends, the seeds were planted for St. John’s to offer a service that would speak to their needs. In late August he and Montes drove to Kansas City to participate in the two-year-old Spanish-language service at St. Paul’s, led by the Very Rev. Don Compier. There were about 35 people there, and McFerren said, “I was so excited. I saw young families. I saw energy.” Afterward he and Montes agreed, “We can do this at St. John’s.” Back in Wichita they got busy planning their first Spanish-language service, setting it for 1 p.m., a common time for Latino worshippers. They obtained a large image of Our Lady of Guadalupe, a depiction of the Virgin Mary that is important to Latino Christians, and Mahan placed a similar statue on a side altar. For three weeks McFerren said he and Montes met with anyone who wanted to know more about the upcoming service, always asking people to pray for this new effort. Just one month after the two of them had visited the Kansas City church, St. John’s was ready, and the church offered its first Spanish-language service. McFerren said he was thrilled with the attendance, adding “I hope it will grow and build.”
Reaching out to others
McFerren said St. John’s has “a long, strong history of outreach and helping people in need,” and this service is part of that tradition. He said that parishioners in the past brought others into the church’s fellowship, and that is what this new service is doing. “It just looks a little different,” he said. The need to provide spiritual support to members of Latino communities across the state is great, as they now make up 11 percent of the state’s population, the largest minority group among Kansas residents. Most have roots in Mexico, but they also represent other countries in Central and South America, and the Caribbean. McFerren said he welcomes prayers for the new service, “that God can use our beautiful church to serve a group of people who are grossly underserved.” The Harvest | Fall 2015 | 11
Members bid farewell to St. Christopher’s By Melodie Woerman
friends of St. Christopher’s, Wichita, gathered to say good-bye as the church had its final service on Sunday, Sept. 13, and closed as an active parish of the diocese. After a Eucharist that morning, people came together in the afternoon for a reception, followed by a liturgy of thanksgiving led by Bishop Dean Wolfe, at which time the building was released from his jurisdiction and ended its service as an Episcopal church. The decision to close was made by the consensus of the church’s Vestry and had the unanimous consent of the diocese’s Council of Trustees. St. Christopher’s was founded in 1952, one of the first churches started in the post-World War II boom that expanded the number of parishes in the diocese. It began on five acres of land in southeast Wichita purchased by the diocese. The Rev. John Pruessner was called as its first vicar, even as the fledgling congregation met in the hospitality room of a local CocaCola bottling plant. The first building was completed on its land in 1954, and an expanded church facility and a rectory soon followed. In the mid-1980s it reached a peak membership of more than 600 people but soon began a decline in membership in the 1990s that continued. Last year there were fewer than 50 active members in the congregation. In announcing the church’s closing to the diocese, Bishop Wolfe 12 | The Harvest | Fall 2015
PHOTOS BY TOM POTT
Bishop Dean Wolfe (center) leads a service of thanksgiving Sept. 13 to mark the closing of St. Christopher’s, Wichita, after 63 years of ministry. noted that faith communities are much more than the buildings they occupy, and that St. Christopher’s had “sustained a long and important ministry.” However, he said, “The remaining active members no longer have the resources to maintain this extensive church property and continue this ministry. Therefore, the church is now ready to retire.” Many of the church’s liturgical items were given to other churches in the diocese, and things such as office equipment also were donated. Cremated remains that were buried in the church yard have been moved to an area at nearby Good Shepherd Episcopal Church. Many members had made plans to become part of another Episcopal church in the area. The diocese now is in the process of finding a suitable buyer for the property.
The nave of St. Christopher’s, Wichita, which was built in the 1960s.
BKSM, Lutherans begin new partnership THE BISHOP
Kemper School for Ministry (BKSM) and the Central States Synod of the Evangelical Lutheran Church of America (ELCA) this fall have entered into a partnership to permit those seeking to become Parish Ministry Associates in the Lutheran Church to study at the Episcopal school. BKSM is a joint venture of the Episcopal dioceses of Kansas, Nebraska, West Missouri and Western Kansas. Parish Ministry Associates are lay people in the ELCA who serve alongside ordained clergy in leadership roles, including preaching, teaching, pastoral care, youth and family ministry, and worship. Heather Yerion-Keck of St. James Lutheran Church, Kansas City, Mo., became the first PMA student to enroll at BKSM this past August. Conversations about a potential partnership began in early fall 2014, when bishops from the four Episco-
Heather Yerion-Keck, a member of St. James Lutheran Church in Kansas City, Mo., is the first student to study at BKSM in a program for Lutheran Parish Ministry Associates. pal dioceses and the Lutheran synod agreed to greater collaboration between the two denominations. Yerion-Keck said she is grateful for the opportunity to study at BKSM. She said, “My experiences as the pioneering Lutheran at Bishop Kemper School of Ministry have
been excellent. I have been made to feel welcomed in the arms of our Episcopalian friends.” She added, “The weekends are filled with fantastic education, wonderful community and a place to make some lifetime friendships.” Five BKSM courses, in the areas of scripture, church history, ethics, homiletics and pastoral ministry, will meet the educational requirements of PMAs. These students also can take up to three additional courses to fill elective requirements. BKSM dean the Very Rev. Don Compier, noting the approach of the 500th anniversary of the Protestant Reformation in 2017, said that closer cooperation between the denominations helps heal centuries of division. “It is exciting to see us live more deeply into this spirit of unity as we work together in the education of our ministers, lay and ordained,” Compier said.
Clergy news The Rev. Ted Blakley has accepted the call to become rector of Grace, Hutchinson, in the Diocese of Western Kansas, beginning Nov. 15. He has served as curate at St. John’s, Wichita, since June 2014. The Rev. Betty Glover began serving as interim rector at St. David’s, Topeka, on July 25. She previously had been a deacon at St. David’s and after seminary was the rector of Trinity, Arkansas City and Grace, Winfield. She most recently served as interim at churches in North Carolina.
The Rev. Mary Korte has accepted the call to become rector of St. Stephen’s, Wichita. She most recently served as priest in charge. The Rev. Antoinette Tackkett concluded her time as vicar at St. Paul’s, Coffeyville, on Sept. 30. She had served there since she was ordained in 2011. Deacon Craig Klein, who moved to Topeka from the Diocese of Utah, has been assigned by Bishop Dean Wolfe to St. David’s, Topeka. Klein works for Washburn Tech, a school
for career and technical education in Topeka. The Rev. Herman Page died on Sept. 17 at age 88. He had been rector of St. Philip’s in Topeka (now closed), an interim in several parishes, and most recently a pastoral associate at St. David’s, Topeka. The Rev. Ruth McAleer died on Aug. 19. She was 84. She had been rector of Grace, Ottawa, and director of pastoral care at St. Michael and All Angels, Mission.
The Harvest | Fall 2015 | 13
General Convention: Marching into the future
Some of the 80 bishops in attendance carry a banner during a June 29 march against gun violence that drew more than 1,500 people during the Episcopal Churchâ€™s 78th General Convention in Salt Lake City.
PHOTOS BY MELODIE WOERMAN
New presiding bishop elected, marriage equality approved Episcopal News Service
THE 78TH GENERAL
Convention, in a series of historic moments, elected the first AfricanAmerican presiding bishop; approved marriage equality for all Episcopalians; adopted a budget that emphasizes racial reconciliation and evangelism; endorsed the study of fossil fuel divestment; opposed divestment in Israel and Palestine; and made some important changes to the churchâ€™s governance.
New presiding bishop
General Convention made history June 27 when it chose Diocese of North Carolina Bishop Michael Curry as the 27th presiding bishop, the first African American elected. The House of Bishops elected Curry, 62, on the first ballot from a 14 | The Harvest | Fall 2015
slate of four nominees. He received 121 votes of a total 174 cast. As required by church canons, Curryâ€™s election then was confirmed by the House of Deputies, 800 to 12. Curry takes office on Nov. 1 when he is installed at Washington National Cathedral.
General Convention adopted canonical and liturgical changes to provide marriage equality for Episcopalians. Bishops and deputies approved a change that eliminated language defining marriage as between a man and a woman, and authorized two new marriage rites, with language allowing them to be used by same-sex or opposite-sex couples, beginning on the first Sunday of Advent.
Budget looks outward
The General Convention adopted the 2016-2018 triennial budget after agreeing to add $2.8 million for evangelism work. It also includes a major new $2 million initiative on racial justice and reconciliation. The budget plans for $125,083,185 in revenue, almost $7 million more than the triennium that ends on Dec. 31, 2015. Expenses are projected to be $125,057,351. Dioceses and regional mission areas now will give 18 percent of their income to fund the 2016 budget, 16.5 percent for the 2017 budget and 15 percent in 2018.
General Convention made mandatory the current voluntary diocesan budgetary asking system for the 2019-2021 budget cycle and
Lay deputies and first alternate
Bob Skaggs, St. Michael and All Angels, Mission (4th time) Michael Funston, St. Paul’s, Manhattan (1st time) Mike Morrow, St. John’s, Wichita (5th time) Ashley Petty, St. James’, Wichita (1st time) Sydney Webb, St. David’s, Topeka (1st time)
Clergy deputies and first alternate
Dixie Junk, St. Paul’s, Kansas City (1st time) Laurie Lewis, Trinity, Arkansas City and Grace, Winfield (1st time) Patrick Funston, St. Paul’s, Manhattan (1st time) Gar Demo, St. Thomas’ Overland Park (3rd time) Andrew O’Connor, Good Shepherd, Wichita (1st time)
imposed penalties for noncompliance. The new plan becomes effective Jan. 1, 2019. A diocese that does not pay the full assessment will not be able to get grants or loans from the Episcopal Church unless the Executive Council specifically approves a waiver. Convention also agreed to study the issue of whether the House of Deputies president should receive a salary.
Prayer book, hymnal revision
General Convention took a step toward revising the 1979 Book of Common Prayer and The Hymnal 1982, directing the Standing Commission on Liturgy and Music to prepare plans for revising each book and to present them to the next convention in Austin, Texas, in 2018. The convention also directed
bishops to find ways for congregations without clergy to receive Communion, but the House of Bishops defeated proposals to allow unbaptized people to receive Holy Communion or to study the issue. Bishops and deputies approved making available a revised version of “Holy Women, Holy Men” with additional saints’ commemorations but left “Lesser Feasts and Fasts” as the church authorized supplemental calendar of commemorations.
‘Alcohol affects us all’
General Convention passed three resolutions dealing with alcohol and drug abuse. One recommends that ordinands be questioned at the beginning of the discernment process about addiction and substance use in their lives and family systems. The others acknowledge the
The day after he was elected, Presiding Bishop-elect Michael Curry offers a blessing to those attending a rally against gun violence. church’s role in the culture of alcohol and drug abuse and creates a task force on substance abuse, addiction and recovery.
General Convention also made some changes to the structure of The Episcopal Church. It slightly expanded Executive Council’s appointment power of the Episcopal Church’s chief operating officer, chief financial officer and chief legal officer (a Continued on page 16
Clergy and lay delegates and alternates, and a guest, pause during convention proceedings. They are (from left) Gar Demo, Dixie Junk, Larry Bingham, Mike Morrow, Michael Funston, Andrew O’Connor, Sydney Webb, Patrick Funston, Ashley Petty and Laurie Lewis. The Harvest | Fall 2015 | 15
Continued from page 15 position created in the resolution). The other reduces the number of the church’s standing commissions from 14 to two — the Standing Commission on Structure, Governance, Constitution and Canons; and the Standing Commission on Liturgy and Music. It also allows the presiding bishop and House of Deputies president to appoint committees and task forces to complete any work left over after a meeting of General Convention.
Bishop Dean Wolfe (right) joins Bishop Mary Gray-Reeves of El Camino Real (left) and Presiding Bishop-elect Michael Curry in the House of Bishops. Bishop Curry asked Bishops Wolfe and Gray-Reeves to serve as his vice presidents.
Divest from fossil fuels
No Middle East divestment
General Convention passed resolutions calling on Episcopal Church groups with investments “to divest from fossil fuel companies and reinvest in clean renewable energy in a fiscally responsible manner.” It also created a climate change advisory committee.
The House of Bishops sent a strong message that divestment from companies engaged in some businesses related to the State of Israel is not in the best interests of The Episcopal Church, its partners in the Holy Land and the lives of Palestinians. The convention also expressed solidarity with and sup-
port for Christians in Israel and the Israeli-occupied territories; affirmed the work of the Episcopal Diocese of Jerusalem; and affirmed the work of Christians engaged in relationship building and advocacy for the rights of Palestinians. The resolution also urges Episcopalians to make pilgrimages to the Holy Land.
ECW Triennial Meeting ‘stirs up the spirit’ Three Kansans were among the hundreds of women who gathered for the 48th Triennial Meeting June 25-July 2, which took place in Salt Lake City concurrently with General Convention. Daria Condon, Bev Winston and Deacon Fran Wheeler were urged to “stir up the spirit,” in the words of the meeting’s theme. A variety of speakers and workshops offered opportunities for delegates to experience ways to bring spiritual vitality to their lives and churches. The keynote speaker was the Rev. Jan Naylor Cope, provost at Washington National Cathedral. Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori and Presiding Bishop-elect Michael Curry also addressed the group. 16 | The Harvest | Fall 2015
Delegates could attend a variety of workshops, as well as business meetings and worship services. A variety of ministries also were celebrated, including the 125th anniversary of the United Thank Offering and Ingathering during the main Sunday Eucharist, Girls Friendly Society, Episcopal Relief & Development, and Church Periodical Club (which was represented by Kansan Melanie Shurden). Wheeler said that during the event “the Holy Spirit was actively at work,” and diocesan participants left the meeting with “complete inspiration and an eagerness to bring the energy from Triennial back to Kansas and start sharing our ‘response to the Spirit.’ ”
Melodie Woerman was named the “Distinguished Woman” for the Diocese of Kansas by the diocesan board of the Episcopal Church Women. Melodie She was Woerman recognized at a special luncheon during the ECW Triennial Meeting in Salt Lake City. Woerman was selected for her support of the ECW in the diocese. She has been responsible for diocesan publications since 1994 and currently serves as director of communications.
SHARING THE GOOD NEWS | The Reverend MATT ZIMMERMANN
Liturgy leads us from our reality into God’s EVERY NOW AND
Liturgy is a movement that leads us from the reality we have created then I meet someone, and they find in our minds to the reality of the out I am a priest. I’ll then get the God who is with us. It begins with comment, “I have come to realize a simple declaration, “Blessed be that I can feel as close to God when God,” a confession that invites us to I am on the golf course or when I’m put down our own subjective reality hunting or hiking in the mountains. about how things are, and to once At those moments, I feel God the again align ourselves strongest — not at with God’s reality. church. Some people If we come to see God The declaration need that. I don’t.” invites us to quit in the communion What they are saymaking ourselves the ing is, “When I am bread, then we will see center of our realdoing what I love and ity, which leads to him in a child’s tears, a the world is leaving frustration, because me alone, I feel so street person’s wounds, life seems to take close to God.” great pleasure in the and in the struggle to Well, I agree. I feel “It’s not about you” close to God in those make a just city. campaign. moments, too. (ActuAnother simple ally, not so much on step that leads us the golf course; if you away from our selfhad my game, you would underpreoccupation is that we never use stand.) the word “I” in worship. All of our What has humored me — or sadstatements, confessions and prayers dened me — throughout the years is that I’ve never had anyone say to me, are plural, not singular. We need each other to walk this “I don’t need a church community life, and to know and meet our God. because I feel so close to God when The liturgy invites us to be still, to I am tending to the needs of a street be present and to come to know the person,” or “I feel so close to God God who is always present, everywhen I am trying to be patient with where. my child, who is frustrated to tears If we come to see God in the comover his math homework,” or “I feel munion bread, then we will see him so close to God when I am serving in a child’s tears, a street person’s on the school board or city council.” Joan Chittister, a Benedictine nun, wounds, and in the struggle to make a just city. states, “It is so easy to love the God The Rev. Matt Zimmermann is we do not see but it is so much more rector of St. Margaret’s, Lawrence. satisfying to serve the God we learn The original reflection from which this to see in others.” is taken first appeared in the Sept. 3 That is a truth we do not easily e-newsletter of the parish. grab for.
PROCESSION AT GRACE CATHEDRAL, TOPEKA | PHOTO BY MELODIE WOERMAN
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