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Fall 2017 | The Episcopal Diocese of Kansas

Pet blessings St. Francis Day brings blessings for creatures great and small

Bishop search updates / MissionWichita / Refugee ministry


Committees begin their important work What all these stories have in common is they reveal who we are as the people of God in the Episcopal Diocese of Kansas. In this they also vividly remind me of the stories of Holy Scripture we read and hear week in and week out.

Process echoes the liturgy


Brothers in Christ, I am so grateful to those of you who have shared your stories with me over the past eight months. All of these of these stories have been heartfelt and revelatory. Some of these stories have revealed anxiety about this transitional time, either about the length of the process or a sense of insecurity when there is no bishop in the house. Others stories have revealed raw or chafed edges within communities. However, the majority of stories have revealed the creativity and resourcefulness with which our sisters and brothers are rising to the opportunities and challenges before them.

From this perspective I equate the electoral process to the Liturgy of the Word. We have been sharing and collecting stories through listening sessions and surveys, which has been akin to hearing the Old Testament, the Psalter, the Epistle and the Gospel. Now we are pausing to reflect upon what we have heard. In a matter of weeks after our Diocesan Convention, what we have heard will be expounded upon — not unlike a sermon — by the Search Committee and the Council of Trustees in the form of a diocesan profile that describes who we know ourselves to be as the followers of Jesus Christ in the Episcopal Diocese of Kansas. This profile will help the person God has called to be the 10th bishop of Kansas to recognize herself or himself in our stories. To continue the metaphor of the Liturgy of the Word, once we have heard the sermon — the diocesan profile — we and others will ponder it for a time, and then those people who feel called to respond to our profile will share with the Search Committee their own creedal statements through applications and interviews. Following these creedal affirmations, we will immerse ourselves in the prayers of the people and discernment, for ourselves and for the nominees who present themselves to us. Then, recalling our need for reconciliation with God and our neighbor,

the process will take on a confessional element as the candidates reveal themselves to the Search Committee through background checks, financial disclosures and uncomfortable questions. What follows will be an extended exchange of the peace as the candidates meet together and with the Search Committee in retreat to learn more about each other and the diocese. From this, a slate of candidates will be finalized. This exchange of the peace will continue a bit longer as the process opens to petitions, which undergo the same scrutiny as the candidates. In early October 2018, the conclusion of the exchange of the peace will occur in the walkabouts as we greet the final slate of candidates and discern for ourselves who God has called as the 10th bishop of the Diocese of Kansas. Our next act of worship will be the offertory, when we gather at Grace Cathedral on Oct. 19, 2018, to offer gifts we have received in the election of the person God has called as the 10th bishop of the Diocese of Kansas. Then at long last we will celebrate the Great Thanksgiving, and afterwards we will be sent with thanksgiving into the world in peace to love and serve the Lord. We, the Council of Trustees, believe in and trust the God-given gifts that abide in the people of the Episcopal Diocese of Kansas. During this season of transition, we will not be fearful. Directed by the Spirit, together we joyfully walk with Jesus the road ahead. [Council of Trustees, Feb. 1, 2017]

In This Issue

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Around the diocese

Churches share news of their recent activities, including a Beer Choir in Topeka and an all-BKSM clergy team leading an Overland Park church.

FALL 2017 | VOL. 105 | NO. 1

Blessing of the animals

A publication of The Episcopal Diocese of Kansas 835 Polk St., Topeka, KS 66612-1688 (785) 235-9255 (800) 473-3563

Inaugural MissionWichita event

The Anglican Communion is a global community of 70 million Anglicans in 39 member churches/provinces in more than 160 countries. The Most Rev. and Rt. Hon. Justin Welby, Archbishop of Canterbury

Annual observances in many churches near St. Francis’ Day brought out dog, cats, other critters and even some stuffed animals.

High school youth and adult helpers spent six days learning about poverty and providing hands-on help to agencies in Wichita, with fun sprinkled in, too.

The search for a bishop

The Search Committee reports on the results of the diocesan survey, highlights three diocesan priorities and releases a timeline of upcoming events.

Wichita agency grapples with changes

Episcopal Migration Ministries-Wichita is coping with federal executive orders that have restricted its work and reduced its funding in return.

New space dedicated for BKSM

Classrooms for Bishop Kemper School for Ministry that are equipped for distance learning were dedicated and open for students in September.

Grants aid two ministries

Two churches received Alleluia Fund grants to provide support for special needs young adults and students in a low-income elementary school.

Helping others in times of trouble

There has been no shortage of catastrophic disasters in recent months, and Episcopalians are working to help where they can.

ON THE COVER: Buddy, a Maltese held by owners Deacons Dick and Rita Tracy, is blessed by the Rev. Rob Baldwin at Trinity, Lawrence, on Oct. 7. A parish blessing event commemorated the Feast of St. Francis, when many churches bless animals. | Photo by Melodie Woerman

The Episcopal Church is a community of 2 million members in 109 dioceses in 16 countries in the Americas and abroad. The Most Rev. Michael B. Curry, Presiding Bishop The Episcopal Diocese of Kansas is a community of more than 10,000 members in 44 congregations, and three diocesan institutions in eastern Kansas. The Council of Trustees of the Diocese, Ecclesiastical Authority 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 Publisher The Council of Trustees of the Episcopal Diocese of Kansas Editor Melodie Woerman For submissions, please contact the editor: Need to change your mailing address? Harvest Address Changes 835 Polk St., Topeka, KS 66612-1688 Upcoming deadlines: Winter 2017 issue: Nov. 15 Spring 2018 issue: Feb. 15 Postmaster: Send address changes to Episcopal Diocese of Kansas 835 Polk St., Topeka, KS 66612-1688

The Harvest | Fall 2017 | 1


News and notes from congregations St. John’s, Abilene has established a new ministry to help the community: St. Francis Pet Pantry. The church will provide pet food, pet beds, toys, dishes, cat litter and other items to help pet owners in need. St. Paul’s, Clay Center volunteers spent Tuesday evenings this summer in Linn teaching English to a group of Spanish speakers there, many of whom are working in area dairies. The church previously has hosted a group of dairy workers for a Spanish service and potluck supper. St. Paul’s, Coffeyville Thrift Shop offered a $2 back-to-school sale for bags of clothing and also handed out more than 60 winter coats that were donated during the churchsponsored motorcycle run last year. St. Andrew’s, Derby support for Scouting includes sponsoring Boy Scout Troop 247 and Cub Scout Pack 247, and the church received two certificates of appreciation from the Girl Scouts for its support. St. Martin’s, Edwardsville staffed a booth at the annual Tiblow Days celebration in late August, in Bonner Springs. Trinity, El Dorado hosted its annual post July 4th picnic at nearby Trinity Park, with meat and water provided by the church; those attending brought side dishes and beverages. St. Mary’s, Galena this summer collected school supplies for the town’s elementary school and hosted its annual steak dinner Aug. 13 to help celebrate St. Mary’s Day.

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Karen Clowers (left) and Dr. Kristi Baker (center), from St. David’s, Topeka, and Stan Wilch (right) from Grace Cathedral, Topeka, were among the 60 people who participated in the first-ever Topeka Beer Choir event.

Organist creates Beer Choir sing-along Topeka’s first-ever Beer Choir event took place on Aug. 24 at a local brewery as a way to promote public singing. The Topeka Beer Choir chapter was formed by cathedral organist/choirmaster Steve Burk, who also organized the event. In a story that ran in the Topeka Capital-Journal, Burk said there isn’t a religious component to Beer Choir; it exists just for the love of singing, and for those who wished, a glass of beer. There was no rehearsal, and the event drew 60 people from the choirs at Grace Cathedral, St. David’s and Oakland Presbyterian, the Capital City Chorus, and other local singing groups. Participants downloaded a “hymnal” of German drinking songs from the Beer Choir website, Burk said. He plans to arrange two or three more events in the next year. Epiphany, Independence had a Back-to-School Fun Night on Aug. 13, complete with pizza, ice cream sundaes and games. Backpacks also were blessed.

a second food distribution site in nearby Grandview Plaza, for the designated use of families of elementary students identified as being in special need of additional food.

Covenant, Junction City Wheels of HOPE program has established

St. Margaret’s, Lawrence members helped build one of two new

Habitat for Humanity houses in the city in July. Trinity, Lawrence in August blessed backpacks that the church helped provide and fill with school supplies for children at the city’s Willow Domestic Violence Shelter. St. Paul’s, Leavenworth offers a free community meal on the second Saturday of every month. A special outreach offering on fifth Sundays goes to help support the program. St. Paul’s, Manhattan this summer welcomed two members from overseas deployments: First Lieutenant Evan Hansen from Korea and Major Foster Knowles from Iraq. St. Paul’s, Marysville hosted a supper on June 21 for a team of young adults serving in the city through the AmeriCorps program. They were doing work in the county’s food pantry. St. Michael’s, Mission distributed Bibles to all third graders in the parish during church services on Sept. 11. St. Matthew’s, Newton collected $226 and 328 individual items to help provide school supplies for area young people who needed them. Grace, Ottawa during the first half of 2017 gave 11 cases of eggs — 3,960 eggs in all — to the local Hope House Food Pantry to help people in need in Franklin County. St. Thomas’, Overland Park provided 50 backpacks filled with school supplies for students at Comanche Elementary, a local school with a high rate of poverty. The church has partnered with Comanche on many projects for nearly a decade.


BKSM grads lead K.C.-area church The Rev. Doreen Rice (left) and Deacon Jim Cummins are the first graduates from Bishop Kemper School for Ministry to make up the entire clergy leadership of a church in the diocese. Both serve at St. Francis of Assisi in Overland Park. Rice, who is the church’s vicar, graduated from BKSM in 2015; Cummins, assigned to the church as its deacon, graduated in 2016. BKSM is a theological school operated by the Dioceses of Kansas, West Missouri, Western Kansas and Nebraska and educates people preparing for ordination and a variety of lay ministries. St. John’s, Parsons received final distribution, after other heirs had died, of a bequest to the church that was made in 1929. The additional $3,000 was earmarked for a variety of church needs. Epiphany, Sedan is hosting a special training series for lectors — those who read Scripture lessons during church services — that includes study of the book And God Spoke by Chris Bryan. St. Luke’s, Shawnee said thankyou to parishioner Maxine Liebst, who completed 20 years of service to the youngest churchgoers as the

nursery attendant during the 10:30 a.m. Sunday service. Grace Cathedral, Topeka hosted a six-week program in the summer, Beverages and Big Questions, with attendees gathering in a local brewery to talk about topics like love, forgiveness and Christian belief. The event was led by Deacon Anne Flynn and the Rev. Casey Rohleder. St. David’s, Topeka served as a site for a summer lunch program to help feed school-aged children and adult caregivers. Thirty parish volunteers helped serve 665 meals. Continued on page 4 The Harvest | Fall 2017 | 3

Continued from page 3 St. Luke’s, Wamego hosted a hot dog-and-lemonade stand outside the church during the annual 4th of July parade. Money was earmarked for restoration of some stained glass windows and expensive mud-jacking that is needed to shore up the nave’s foundation. Good Shepherd, Wichita is offering educational programming for all ages on Wednesday evenings, including a class for those who want to know more about the Episcopal

Church, a mom’s Bible study, and a quiet place for elementary kids to read and study. St. James’, Wichita Outreach Committee is helping to recruit 300 volunteers for a newly expanded reading program that will serve students in 15 local elementary schools this academic year. St. John’s, Wichita has awarded scholarships to four college students for the upcoming school year. They are studying at Butler County Community College, Kansas State, New-

man University and Wichita State. St. Stephen’s, Wichita hosted Bishop Stephen Charleston on Sept. 30 for a conversation about his new book, Four Vision Quests of Jesus. Charleston is the former bishop of Alaska and a member of the Choctaw Nation. Grace, Winfield was part of a community worship service on Aug. 25 as a “Call to Reconciliation and Unity.” The event took place at a local park.

Clergy news

New intern is serving at KU

The Rev. Elizabeth Montes began as the new rector of St. John’s, Wichita, on Oct. 1. She previously had assisted at the parish while also serving St. Bartholomew’s, Wichita, and being on staff at Saint Francis Community Services. The Rev. Casey Rohleder began as the new part-time rector of St. Luke’s, Wamego, on Oct. 1. She also serves half-time as the director of communications for Bishop Kemper School for Ministry. The Rev. Brenton H. (Brent) Carey began serving as interim rector of St. Michael and All Angels, Mission, on Oct. 15. With 20 years’ experience in Episcopal churches and medical centers across the country, he most recently served the Wexner Medical Center at the Ohio State University in Columbus. The Rev. Art Rathbun now is serving as supply priest at St. Thomas’, Holton, after nine years as vicar of St. Mark’s, Blue Rapids, and St. Paul’s, Marysville. The Rev. Ted Curtis has concluded his time as interim pastor at St. John’s, Wichita. His last Sunday was Aug. 27. The Rev. John Nixon, a priest of the Church of England who served parishes in this diocese, died at his home in England on July 3. He was 79. Condolences go to the Very Rev. Steve Lipscomb, Grace Cathedral, Topeka, on the death of his wife Robyn on Sept. 4, and to retired Deacon Barbara Adam on the death of her husband Jim on Aug. 14.

has been hired as campus intern to serve at the KU Canterbury House for the coming academic year, under the direction of Campus Missioner the Rev. Betty Glover. He is a 2016 graduate of the University of North Alabama with a major in history and Will Chaney minors in philosophy, religion and political science. He was active in campus ministry there. He then spent a year in Memphis with the Episcopal Service Corps, working at a non-profit helping young people increase leadership, community service and appreciation for diversity in the area. Glover said that the program at KU is undergoing some revisioning, with Chaney playing a key role in that process. Already Chaney and a member of Trinity, Lawrence, have begun to offer Compline on Thursday evenings, both in-person at the Canterbury House and streamed via Facebook Live from the campus ministry Facebook page. Chaney also is reaching out to students in a variety of ways to raise visibility of the program on campus. Continuing as campus intern at Kansas State University in Manhattan is Dillon Green.

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Blessing of the animals CHURCHES AROUND THE

diocese marked the Feast of St. Francis of Assisi by holding special times to bless a variety of pets, including some of the stuffed variety, in early October, near the saint’s feast day of Oct. 4. Francis, who is the patron saint of animals and ecology, is reported to have preached sermons to birds and animals while he traveled the countryside. He also praised all creatures as brothers and sisters under God. He often is depicted in statues with a bird in his hand. He was born in Assisi, Italy in 1181 or 1182 and is the founder of the Franciscan Order of monks.


The Very Rev. Laurie Lewis makes the sign of the cross on the head of a dog during a pet blessing Oct. 1 at Grace, Winfield.



Campus Missioner the Rev. Betty Glover blesses a tabby cat during a St. Francis Day observance Oct. 1 in Topeka’s Gage Park.

Ryan Zavacky, who served as campus intern at KU the past two academic years, brought his 12-week-old chocolate lab, Frank, to the animal blessing at Trinity, Lawrence, Oct. 7.

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Kansas City trip to Haiti helps young students By Anita Menke


had the opportunity to accompany five youth from our church, St. Michael and All Angels in Mission, to Haiti, to visit the school that is run by our partner parish, St. Paul’s in Torbeck. St. Michael’s has been building a relationship with this parish since 1984, and the church is the sole source of support for the school that educates 200 children in rural southwest Haiti. We traveled with a group from St. Andrew’s, Kansas City, Mo., which included their rector, the Rev. John Spicer. As we prepared for the trip, he stressed that the point of going to Haiti was to not to build or fix things but to build relationships and community with the people there. During our time at St. Paul’s School, we visited each classroom and did an art project together. With the help of two patient translators, I was able to share a book by the children’s author Erick Carle. As I entered the classroom for the first time, I was struck that it was so small, simple and crowded. The students sit in rows at long wooden desks with benches. There are no textbooks or basic supplies, no computers or colorful bulletin boards. Plain walls are broken up only by the presence of a chalk board at the front of the room, on which the day’s lessons are written and recited by the students. It would be easy to focus on the lack of resources, but instead I found myself surprised by the skills these students have that I, as an educator, don’t see in American classrooms. The students are very well-behaved. Even the youngest children sat at desks and listened intently as I read.

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Anita Menke (top right) looks at an art project undertaken by young students at St. Paul’s School in Torbeck, Haiti. Menke and other members of St. Michael and All Angels, Mission, visited Haiti in June. SUBMITTED PHOTOS

This focus continued as they diligently worked on drawing and painting animals. An activity that might hold the attention of my students for 10 minutes held theirs for three times as long. I’m sure the other members of the group got tired of hearing me talk about the students’ amazing fine motor skills, but even kindergarten children were able to write their names in beautiful cursive script using small watercolor paintbrushes. I was struck by what the teachers are able to accomplish, with the limited resources they have, to educate these young students. Coming from a developed country it would be easy to think that we have all the answers to the challenges that the children and teachers at St. Paul’s face. That’s why Father Spicer’s point about building relationships resonated with me. Seeing the teachers and students in action allowed me to see all the strengths that the teachers and students at St. Paul’s bring to the school. There are real limitations to the school here, but they transcend the environment they are in and really make the most of the gifts that God has given them. They do so much with the basic resources they have now; one can only imagine what they would do with more. Anita Menke is a member of St. Michael and All Angels, Mission.


Youth at first MissionWichita serve people in need By Melodie Woerman


youth who participated in the first-ever MissionWichita event got a firsthand look at the work that social service agencies in the city do to serve people on the margins of society. Eight students and six adult helpers spent six days in Wichita in late July focusing on the issue of poverty by assisting five Episcopal entities, while also engaging in daily study of poverty through Bible reflections and conversations. The students undertook a variety of activities each day: „„ At Episcopal Social Services, they cleaned the kitchen, dining hall and area in front of the building; helped with the daily lunch program and stuffed envelopes for a fundraising mailing. „„ At Saint Francis Community Services, they helped with a project to provide Christmas gifts to the 7,000 children in foster care across the state. „„ At Episcopal Migration Ministries, they painted the offices. „„ At St. James’ Church, they pulled weeds in the parking lot and flower beds. „„ At St. John’s, which provided them with sleeping space, they undertook a general clean-up. „„ And to say thank-you to the YMCA down the street from St. John’s, where youth went to use the showers, they picked up trash on the grounds. Dillon Green, K-State campus intern who helped with the event,


(From left) Ben Cordova, Sajon Seaberg, Connor Nicholson and Alex Kezar help wash dishes at Episcopal Social Services after one of the weekday lunches offered to those in need in the community. said the youth were eager to do whatever was needed, wherever they went. He also stressed the importance of the study and theological reflection the young people undertook every day, thanks to a custom curriculum developed by the Rev. Katie Knoll Lenon, who also attended.

Called to serve others

Eliana Seidner, a member of St. Michael and All Angels in Mission, said she participated because she feels her purpose is to help others. “Every day I was reminded to not judge anyone and to love my neighbors as myself,” she said. “MissionWichita was a wonderful, life-

changing event, and I wouldn’t trade my experience for the world.” Carson Avery, a member of Good Shepherd, Wichita, said he participated because he felt called by God to serve his hometown. “I learned how to bring the outsiders, such as the poor and homeless, into the middle of society,” he said. “I also learned that we are one body in Christ.” The event wasn’t all work and study, however. Every evening participants enjoyed a fun event, including watching movies, bowling, swimming and visiting the iconic 44-foot-tall “Keeper of the Plains” sculpture in downtown Wichita.

The Harvest | Fall 2017 | 7

By the Rev. Casey Rohleder


four months, the Search Committee has used several strategies to collect qualitative and quantitative data from clergy and lay people throughout the diocese, and committee members now are in the process of writing the diocesan profile. In July Search Committee members held 90-minute listening sessions on July 8 in El Dorado and Wichita, and on July 15 in Lawrence and Topeka. Using an appreciative inquiry approach, the committee and other volunteers facilitated tabletop discussions around six questions. Nearly 120 participants provided feedback about the successes and opportunities in the Diocese of Kansas as well as their hopes for and expectations of the next episcopate. The team transcribed all responses and compiled them into a nearly 100-page document. 8 | The Harvest | Fall 2017

An executive summary can be found on the bishop search website, From Aug. 14-31, the committee conducted an online survey of mem-

bers of the diocese, using a churchbased consulting firm. This survey has been administered in more than 40 dioceses throughout the country, which will provide the


Participants in a listening session at St. David’s, Topeka, on July 15 discuss questions posed by the Search Committee.

During the July 15 listening session at Trinity, Lawrence, comments from those attending are taped to windows in the parish hall so everyone can read them.

diocese and the next bishop with valuable benchmark data about the overall health and priorities of the diocese. A total of 597 lay people and clergy completed the survey, including 290 members of congregations who have held no leadership role, and 162 who have served on a Vestry.

Diocesan priorities emerge

Results indicated that the three top priorities for the Diocese of Kansas, about which there was significant agreement across respondent groups, are: 1. Equip rectors and other leaders in congregations with strategies that enable them to reach new members; 2. Take a leadership role in working with churches that are struggling; and

3. Develop a discernment process to rethink how to be vital Episcopal churches in our specific region. The Rev. Ann Hallisey, the diocese’s search consultant, led a retreat with diocesan staff in mid-June and

Important upcoming dates Nov. 20, 2017: Diocesan profile available; nominations open Jan. 15, 2018: Nominations close June 8-11, 2018: Discernment retreat with semi-final nominees June 21, 2018: Slate of candidates announced June 21-30, 2018: Period to submit nominees by petition Oct. 1-5, 2018: Walkabouts Oct. 19, 2018: Electing Convention March 2, 2019: Consecration of the 10th Bishop of Kansas

Top priorities for the diocese

— based on the online survey of diocesan members

1. Equip rectors and other leaders in congregations with strategies that enable them to reach new members. 2. Take a leadership role in working with churches that are struggling. 3. Develop a discernment process to rethink how to be vital Episcopal churches in our specific region.

a retreat at the clergy gathering in early September. These sessions provided two more opportunities to capture the hopes, dreams and expectations about the future of the diocese and its next bishop.

Profile is being drafted

Currently, a sub-committee is drafting a diocesan profile, which will give nominees detailed information about the history, demographics and ministries of the diocese. It also will articulate the cumulative responses from across the diocese and describe the type of person and gifts the diocese seeks in its next bishop. The Transition Committee, which officially takes the reins from the Search Committee when the slate of candidates is announced next June, also has started its work. Committee members met for a planning retreat Aug. 11-12, and it has begun to organize and plan its work. Ongoing updates on the search for the next bishop are on the search website, www.kansasbishopsearch. org. The Rev. Casey Rohleder is cochair of the Search Committee.

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Refugee agency struggles in the face of cuts By Melodie Woerman


in March was difficult has become critical for Episcopal Migration Ministries-Wichita, as it and other agencies that resettle refuges struggle with cuts by the federal government. The result is a drastic reduction in income, far fewer arrivals than anticipated and uncertainty about staffing levels. The heart of their anxiety came from two presidential executive orders that involved, among others, refugees seeking to enter the United States. Refugees are people who have fled their home because of extreme violence or persecution and are granted entry into other countries after extensive investigation.

Reeling from travel ban

In July an executive order, in part, banned all refugees for 120 days, unless they were coming to the U.S. to join family already here. The order was challenged in court, but the portion relating to refugees was upheld by the Supreme Court pending a hearing, which is expected in late October. In addition, the number of refugees allowed into the country during the period from Oct. 1, 2016 to Sept. 30, 2017, was lowered from 110,000 to 50,000. Marla Schmidt, field office director for EMM-Wichita, said those two factors meant they have received no new arrivals since May, and none are currently planned. “We have two husbands waiting for their wife and children,” she said. 10 | The Harvest | Fall 2017

Wichita refugees resettled, by fiscal year

“Two more families are waiting to join their pastor who is here.” Prior to the ban taking effect, she said the agency had welcomed 80 people, most from the Democratic Republic of Congo. “It’s tough being on again, off again,” she said. “In May we expected more arrivals but it didn’t happen with the order going to the courts. It’s hard to predict, plan, guess — anything.” But the effect on EMM-Wichita is more than just humanitarian concern; it also is financial.

Funding is way down

When the U.S. State Department, which administers the refugee program, sends a person to an agency, it also sends funds to help get the refugee settled in a new home, and to assist with administrative costs. Schmidt said those funds were expected to provide 60 percent of the agency’s funding during the 2017 fiscal year that ended Sept. 30. Instead, with fewer than half the expected

arrivals, their budget has taken a big hit. And even though they have spent nearly six months unable to welcome new refugees, they still have been very busy offering services to those who have arrived since the program began in 2012 — about 400 households. “We have about 200 visits to our office very month,” Schmidt said, representing about 150 people or families. They may need help with documents, employment, a child’s school, English classes or a host of other issues. To provide that help, EMMWichita has a staff of six full-time and two part-time employees. They are aided by a full-time AmeriCorps VISTA volunteer, and a full-time intern from the Mennonite Church. But Schmidt worries that the agency may not be able to maintain the staff it needs if more funding isn’t available. “So far there have been no cuts,” she said. “We probably should have,

if we had known what the future would be.” Schmidt said the agency knows it needs a more diversified financial base, one that no longer relies so heavily on federal funding. “We have applied for grants and hope they will come to fruition in the next three months,” she said. She also has spoken to Episcopal churches and groups throughout the Wichita area and said she welcomes contributions of all sizes, whether from congregations or individuals.

A bleak future

Given how bad the past six months have been, Schmidt said it could be even worse in the next year.

How to help Online: select the “DONATE NOW” button

By check:

Payable to EMM-Wichita Mail to 401 N. Emporia, Wichita, KS 67202

In late September the president set the annual number of refugees at 45,000, the lowest since the U.S. refugee program began in 1980. Schmidt noted this comes at a time when there are more refugees in the world than at any time in history.

And even if the refugee travel ban is lifted and the Wichita agency can receive new arrivals, it could be months before that happens. Once refugees have completed years of applications and investigations, they are given travel documents and clearances that usually last for 90 days. All of those now will have expired, so all refugees into the U.S. will have to start their processes over.

Nov. 5 is Refugee Sunday

Schmidt said she hopes people will take advantage of Refugee Sunday on Nov. 5 to learn more about the plight of refugees and find ways to help.

Wichita hosts second regional confirmation service Bishop Michael Milliken and those confirmed and received at the service Oct. 7 at Good Shepherd, Wichita. Seven congregations from across the diocese were represented. PHOTO BY DEACON BOB HIRST

Bishop Michael Milliken of the Diocese of Western Kansas, and assisting bishop of this diocese, confirmed and received 17 people at a service at Good Shepherd, Wichita Oct. 7. He also was the celebrant and preacher. This was the second of four regional services for confirmation and reception scheduled this year. The first

took place at Grace Cathedral, Topeka, June 17; others will be Nov. 11 at St. Thomas’, Overland Park; and Dec. 2 at St. John’s, Parsons. Clergy or church offices can register people for the remaining services via the form in the “Resources” section of the diocesan website,

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New space for Bishop Kemper School opens for fall classes By Melodie Woerman


that was constructed for the Bishop Kemper School for Ministry was dedicated and blessed, and classrooms equipped with distance learning capabilities opened for use. The blessing was done by Western Kansas Bishop Michael Milliken, who also is assisting bishop of the Diocese of Kansas, accompanied by West Missouri Bishop Martin Field and the Rev. Charles Everson. Both bishops were present for the annual opening Convocation Eucharist for students and faculty. The space, which is in a portion of what used to be the Great Hall at Grace Cathedral, Topeka, was created through donations from members of the Diocese of Kansas to the Crossroads capital campaign, which ran from 2010 to 2014. Crossroads also provided funds to refurbish Upton Hall Conference Center in 2013, where bedrooms are used each month by BKSM students. BKSM, which was created in 2013, is a joint program of the Dioceses of Kansas, Western Kansas, West Missouri and Nebraska and provides theological education for those studying to be priests and deacons, as well as for lay leaders. The agreement that created BKSM stipulates that space in Topeka will be provided for the school by the Diocese of Kansas. PHOTO BY MELODIE WOERMAN

Bishop Michael Milliken of the Diocese of Western Kansas uses holy water to bless one of the new classrooms for the Bishop Kemper School for Ministry during a dedication service on Sept. 9. Assisting is the Rev. Charles Everson.

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Interactive classrooms

The remodeled space includes three classrooms, with seating capacity ranging from 16 to 28 students, as well as an

office, a lobby and library area, a break room and space for students to eat together. Each of the three classrooms is equipped with audio-video components that allow easier presentation options within the classroom and can connect students who are not in residence to the classroom. BKSM has one student who is taking classes remotely this academic year. She is a deacon in the Episcopal Church in Navajoland who needed additional academic work to prepare her to be ordained a priest. She, a mentor and the classroom were connected by video for the first distance class in September, using cameras, microphones and speakers, along with a mini-computer that connects everything to the online video platform. BKSM’s dean, the Rev. Don Compier, called the opening of the new


Technology in the new BKSM classrooms allows students in remote locations to participate in classes via a video link. space “a milestone in the history of the school.” He added, “It is a beautiful and very functional facility that permits us to do our formational

work even better.” He also thanked the cathedral for allowing the school to meet in rooms there in the past.

Program will help people share their faith BKSM, IN PARTNERSHIP WITH

Trinity, Lawrence, is launching a program to educate and equip people to more effectively carry the good news of Jesus Christ into the world by creating a way to form and support a community of lay evangelists in this and surrounding dioceses. A series of eight courses will begin in February, with a mix of one-day classes on Saturdays at Trinity and the regular two-day weekend courses in the new BKSM classrooms in Topeka. BKSM’s dean, the Rev. Don Compier, said he believes this program can help reverse decline in church membership. “As persons learn to effectively share the Good News of Jesus, we believe in the Spirit’s work of forming new disciples,” he said. This program, he said, will give people the language, skills and confidence to share their faith with others. It will appeal to people who are enthusiastic about sharing their faith and have a willingness to engage in in-depth learning and spiritual formation.

It will help people tell others why they believe in God, how faith in Jesus has made a difference in their life, why they are an Episcopalian and what they find great about belonging to a church. Those completing all eight courses can be licensed in lay evangelism, which is one of the seven areas of lay ministry recognized for licensure in the canons of the Episcopal Church. Funds to support this new program came from a $20,450 United Thank Offering grant the school received earlier this year. To become licensed as a lay evangelist in the Diocese of Kansas, students must take all eight classes for credit; tuition is $180 per course, and some financial aid is available. Others are welcome to audit any of the classes, at a cost of $100. The cost of tuition covers instructor stipends, food and overnight accommodations during two-day classes. More information is on the BKSM website at www. The Harvest | Fall 2017 | 13


Members of Thom’s Helpers, a group of young adults with special needs, enjoy a van purchased to support their program at St. Thomas’, Overland Park. An Alleluia Grant helped with the cost of operating the van.

Grant keeps van rolling for special young adults By John McNown


a grant from the Alleluia Fund, a van operated by St. Thomas’, Overland Park, does a lot more than get people from point A to point B. It is a vehicle carrying Christ’s love into a world full of need. The late-model, eight-passenger van was purchased by the church to transport members of Thom’s Helpers, a ministry for young adults with special needs, including Down syndrome, autism and other brain issues. The Alleluia Fund grant provided funds to help with the cost of operating the van during its first year. The Thom’s Helpers program began in 2014 to help fill a gap caused by loss of state funding for training

14 | The Harvest | Fall 2017

This is a look at the final two recipients of Alleluia Fund grants awarded in 2016. Those receiving grants this year will be announced at Diocesan Convention on Oct. 20 and will be highlighted in the Winter issue of The Harvest. for special-needs young adults after high school. It provides these young people with fellowship, enriching activities, and acquisition and maintenance of skills in a Christian community where they felt cared for and productive. With the help and support of volunteers from the parish, they undertake a variety of helpful tasks around the church: recycling worship bulletins, cleaning and setting up the

parish hall for upcoming events, making snacks and drinks for coffee hour, and preparing rooms for Sunday school. They also make Morgan’s Salsa, filling orders each week and donating proceeds to church outreach ministries.

Van offers unexpected benefit

The new van allows volunteer drivers to pick and drop off

Members of Thom’s Helpers load the van with bags of food bound for the pantry at St. Paul’s, Kansas City. members of Thom’s Helpers at their homes and the places they receive daytime services. But the van has provided an unexpected benefit — the time in the van is a major social time for the young adults, as they look forward to each stop as their friends and coworkers are hopping on board. They share conversations. What’s up with the Royals? How did you place at the latest Special Olympics sporting event? Have you heard this song, or seen this YouTube video? How’s your brother? They talk about the normal things that young friends talk about when in each other’s company. It also helps advance their social skills of giving others a chance to speak, and listening to learn. Van time is a bonding opportunity for the volunteer drivers and Thom’s Helpers as they discuss the week’s events and talk about the planned activities for the day. In recent months there have been outings to the Red Robin restaurant for birthday celebrations, a trip to Wyandotte County Park to view the solar eclipse and a trip to tour the Capper Foundation in Topeka. Loading the van with food donations and having Thom’s Helpers deliver them to the food pantry at St. Paul’s, Kansas City, is something these young adults find among the most rewarding things they do. The van expands the range of activities that St. Thomas’ can provide for Thom’s Helpers, because all five or six of the young people can be seated in the same vehicle. And it helps St. Thomas’ ensure these young adults know they are valued members of a community. John McNown has been a parish volunteer with Thom’s Helpers since the program began.


Third and fourth graders painted pumpkins last October at the After School Program at St. James’, Wichita. The program, which received an Alleluia Grant last year, ended in May because of funding issues.

Program aimed to recruit new arts volunteers THE AFTER SCHOOL PROGRAM

at St. James’, Wichita, received an Alleluia Fund grant of $2,980 to support its work with low-income elementary school students and to recruit enough volunteers to run the program without paid staff. The program was successful with its first goal and wasn’t able to accomplish its second one. For more than a decade the program has brought elementary students into the church for arts activities, relying on a paid director to organize and coordinate the program, along with volunteers to assist with various projects. That possibility was becoming financially unsustainable for the church in the long-term. A portion of the grant money supported existing projects, and the rest purchased a high-quality arts curriculum that could be implemented by a minimum of 10 trained volunteers, according to Deacon Peg Flynn, who worked with the program. Several people stepped forward, but the program could not recruit the number needed to continue. Flynn said the parish is committed to serving the students of the school its After School Program had helped, and the church is seeking members of the congregation to be part of a school-based volunteer reading program. The Harvest | Fall 2017 | 15


Episcopalians respond to recent disasters By Melodie Woerman


earthquakes and the mass shooting in Las Vegas all have been occasions when Episcopalians have stepped up and stepped in to provide help to people hurt by these events. Much of the response is provided by Episcopal Relief & Development, an Episcopal Church entity that works with local partners to get emergency aid on the ground quickly and can help with longterm rebuilding effort. They also rely on trained diocesan disaster coordinators in the affected areas to serve as a pipeline for information between the dioceses and the agency.

Storms, quakes and fires

The response needed in the wake of three major hurricanes that have ravaged the Gulf coast, Florida and the Caribbean have been enormous. After the two major U.S. storms hit — Hurricane Harvey on Aug. 25 in Texas and Hurricane Irma on Sept. 10 in Florida — ER&D worked with local bishops and dioceses to provide help to the most vulnerable populations in those areas, including long-term disaster recover. Hurricane Maria caused massive damage to the Caribbean islands of Puerto Rico, as well as the US and British Virgin Islands, when it hit on Sept. 20. ER&D sent a special representative to Puerto Rico in early October, in part to aid the staff of the Episcopal Diocese of Puerto Rico, and ER&D also worked to help parish16 | The Harvest | Fall 2017


A home in Loíza, Puerto Rico, was destroyed by the strong winds of Hurricane Maria. The category 4 hurricane tore through the island on Sept. 20. ioners and fellow citizens cope with widespread power outages, loss of water and extensive damage. ER&D officials expect to provide ongoing aid for many months. After a Sept. 7 earthquake rocked parts of Mexico, ER&D worked with officials of the Anglican Diocese of Southeastern Mexico to provide emergency aid. They jumped in to help further when another quake struck near Mexico City on Sept. 19. Wildfires developed quickly the night of Oct. 9 and raced across parts of Northern California, causing death and massive destruction. The agency worked with local Episcopal officials to provide immediate aid for those most in need.

People helping people

In addition to the work of ER&D, much of the help provided to others came from Episcopalians who

reached out to their communities to assist in any way they could — buying supplies, handing out meals, cleaning up debris or providing shelter to those whose homes were destroyed. And when a disaster of another kind struck — the worst mass shooting in modern U.S. history, in Las Vegas on Oct. 1 — Episcopalians joined the Diocese of Nevada two days later in tolling church bells to remember those who had been killed. In responding to that tragedy, Bishop Dan Edwards said, “God calls us to reach out beyond our walls to the communities around us with an invitation to be cared for — not conditioned on agreeing with us about anything.” This story was compiled from reports by Episcopal News Service and news releases from Episcopal Relief & Development.


We can’t do everything, but we can do something WHETHER IT IS THE

pain of the events of Aug. 12 in Charlottesville, or Hurricane Harvey, or Hurricane Irma, or wildfires in the West, or an earthquake in Mexico, there’s been a lot of pain, a lot of suffering and hardship. In times like these, it’s easy to grow weary. It’s easy to be tired. And it’s easy to be downcast, and to give up. What can I do? There’s a passage in the Book of Hebrews, in the 10th chapter, that says this: Recall those earlier days when, after you had been enlightened, you endured a hard struggle with sufferings, sometimes being publicly exposed to abuse and sometimes persecution, and sometimes just being partners with those who were so treated. For you had compassion . . . so do not abandon your confidence; it brings great reward. For you need endurance, so that when you have done the will of God, you may receive what was promised. It may be that we cannot solve everything, and we cannot do everything. But we can do something, no matter what. We can pray. We can give. If possible, we can sign up and go to work. We can pray for those who have been affected by Hurricane Harvey and Irma. The areas that have been affected as we pray include the Dioceses of Texas and West Texas, Western Louisiana and parts of Louisiana. We can pray for all of those who have been affected by Hurricane Irma. Episcopal dioceses that have

been affected include the Virgin Islands, the Dominican Republic and Haiti, Southeast Florida and Southwest Florida and Central Florida and Florida and parts of Georgia and Central Gulf Coast. We can pray for all of the peoples in these areas. We can pray. And we can give. We can give to the Hurricane Fund of Episcopal Relief & Development, for our donations actually help, they help in strategic ways. They really make a difference. If possible, we can sign up. We can sign up to volunteer through Episcopal Relief & Development, again, all on their web site, we can sign up, and when there are volunteer opportunities, we can know about those and possibly participate. We can’t do everything, but we can do something. We can pray. We can give. We can go to work. The one thing we cannot do, is to quit. The truth is, we don’t do it alone. Jesus in the Great Commission, said after calling his disciples to go and make disciples of all nations, he ended that Commission by saying, “And remember, I am with you always.” In the Presiding Bishop’s office, there is a crucifix that has Jesus sacrificing his life for the cause of love on the cross. It’s a different kind of crucifix. On this one, the artist has sculpted Jesus on the cross, dying as an act of love, but even more than that, holding someone, someone deeply

in need, that this Jesus who sacrifices and gives his life, gives his life for us, and for all who are in need. That’s the Lord we follow who has been raised from the dead. And we are not alone. God love you. God bless you. And may God hold us all in the hollow of those almighty hands. Amen.

This message was issued by Presiding Bishop Michael Curry on Sept. 12, before some of the more recent disasters and events.

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Profile for Episcopal Diocese of Kansas

The Harvest, Fall 2017  

News and features about the people and congregations in the Episcopal churches in eastern Kansas.

The Harvest, Fall 2017  

News and features about the people and congregations in the Episcopal churches in eastern Kansas.