Inside The Harvest From the bishop
Bishop Wolfe offers the bad news, and some good news, too, in the recent “Report on the State of the Church.” Page 2
Episcopal Social Services/ Venture House in Wichita has been awarded a United Thank Offering Grant of more than $21,000 to help enhance its representative payee program through new computers and software. Page 3
More than 200 campers, plus nearly 50 adult volunteers, helped make this year’s week of MegaCamp another big success. Add in lots of fun outdoor activities, and you know why it’s so popular. Page 5
Six new deacons
Bishop Wolfe ordained six people as deacons in a service at Grace Cathedral June 2. Page 6
First refugee family arrival
The Episcopal Wichita Area Refugee Ministry has received word its first refugee family, this one from Burma, will be arriving soon. Executive Director Shannon Mahan says the obstacles they’ll face are enormous. Page 6
Young adults who are part of the Diocese of Kansas campus ministry program spent a week in Wichita in May doing hands-on ministry and learning more about urban poverty. Page 7
Staff restructuring eliminates two positions income, along with parish apportionments. According to diocesan comptroller n what he called “one of the more Jay Currie, the move will save the diodifficult decisions” he’d made in cese about $175,000 in 2013, includhis eight years in office, Bishop ing salaries, benefits and associated Dean Wolfe on May 10 announced a program costs. The bishop said he and restructuring of the diocesan others involved with the staff that resulted in the diocese’s finances explored elimination of two positions. other options before reachChar DeWitt, the director ing this decision. of development and stewAs with most churches, ardship, and the Rev. Susan more than half of the diocTerry, one of the diocese’s esan yearly budget of $1.8 two campus missioners, million is devoted to staff concluded their service to salaries and benefits, and he the diocese on May 15. Char DeWitt said cuts to program areas In a message sent by alone wouldn’t have yielded email to diocesan clergy, the savings needed. lay leaders and others and There was discussion of posted on the diocesan webraising parish apportionsite, Bishop Wolfe said the ments, he said, but ultimove was made to return the mately “it became clear we use of endowment income needed to restructure our to a more sustainable level. ministry.” He said, “In recent years B i s h o p Wo l f e s a i d we have relied more heavily The Rev. the two staff positions that on endowment income to help Susan Terry were eliminated were in make up shortfalls coming from declining parish revenue and the no way “superfluous to our work.” loss of a significant individual gift to He praised DeWitt’s work in raising $3.3 million in the Crossroads the diocese.” This restructuring, he said, will c a m p a i g n a n d s a i d Te r r y w a s result in the budget being funded from (Please see Restructuring, page 3) a less aggressive draw on endowment By Melodie Woerman Editor, The Harvest
By Melodie Woerman Editor, The Harvest
he Kansas School for Ministry has announced its schedule of classes for the 2012-2013 academic year, along with a switch in format prompted by a group of new students from neighboring dioceses. Classes will begin on Aug. 11, with students meeting from Saturday morning until Sunday afternoon. In recent years the schedule followed a Friday-evening-to-Saturday-evening format. The Rev. Andrew Grosso, KSM’s coordinator, said the arrival this fall of seven students from the dioceses of Western Kansas and West Missouri prompted the change, to allow them more time to drive to Topeka, where all classes take place, without taking time off work. He expects 11 or 12 students from the Diocese of Kansas, also. Grosso said the idea of students from neighboring dioceses attending KSM was born in the summer of 2011, when Bishop Michael Milliken of Western Kansas and Bishop Martin Field of West Missouri attended a regional conference on pre-ordination formation the school sponsored. After the two men learned what KSM had to offer, they and Bishop Dean Wolfe, along with representatives of the three dioceses, began discussing how they all could better cooperate to educate people for ordination and specific lay ministries. Grosso said four new faculty members from (Please see KSM, page 4
Conference center renovations are in full swing By Melodie Woerman Editor, The Harvest
Around the diocese
Learn about the 35th anniversary party for St. Jude’s, Wellington, and how St. Andrew’s, Derby, helped tornado victims feel just a bit more loved — and lots more news from parishes across the diocese. Page 8
Twitter and zombies
Author and professor Elizabeth Drescher looks at what zombies and the people who like them can teach the church about popular culture. She speaks at St. Michael’s, Mission, in July. Page 9
Bishops call for aid
Bishop Wolfe was one of 102 bishops who asked President Barack Obama to work to restore United Nations funding for an Episcopal hospital in Gaza that serves all faiths. Page 10
General Convention Learn who’s going to the 77th General Convention in Indianapolis from the Diocese of Kansas and what issues await them. Page 11
New students prompt KSM format change
Photo by Melodie Woerman
A worker nails plywood sheeting to the roof of the Bethany Place Conference Center in Topeka May 22 before new shingles are put in place. The new roof is one of the many renovations underway in the building.
onstruction is well underway at the Bethany Place Conference Center in Topeka, to remodel the 137-year-old building into modern facilities to house students at the Kansas School for Ministry and others using the space for meetings and retreats. The work is expected to cost about $400,000 and is the first project to begin using proceeds from the $3.3 million donated to the Crossroads capital campaign. A ceremonial “plaster breaking” took place in midApril, and a new roof was put on in late May. Since then the interior of the second floor has been gutted, and the outline of new walls is taking shape as studs are installed. While the building has served as overnight housing for nearly 30 years, the remodeled facility will provide many upgrades, including a first floor bedroom and bathroom with disability access, three new bathrooms on the second floor, new mechanical and electrical systems, greater energy efficiency, and an upgraded kitchen. It also will increase the number of sleeping beds from 12 to 20, to better serve KSM students who are preparing for ordination as priests or deacons or engaged in lay ministry training, as well as parish groups that want to use it for meetings or retreats. It also will have five full bathrooms and one half bath. Rob Junk, the project’s architect, said he and MarLan, the Lawrence-based construction company doing the renovations, are working with state historic preservation officials on approval of new energy-efficient windows that will be installed throughout the conference center. (Please see Center, page 3)
2 • The Harvest • May/June 2012
From the Bishop
The Right Reverend Dean E. Wolfe
Publisher: The Right Reverend Dean E. Wolfe, Bishop Editor: Melodie Woerman A member of Episcopal News Service and Episcopal Communicators, The Harvest is published six times a year by the Office of Communications of the Episcopal Diocese of Kansas: February, April, June, August, October and December. Stories, letters and photos are welcome. They will be used on a space-available basis and are subject to editing. Send all material (preferably in electronic format or by email) to: Melodie Woerman, editor The Harvest 835 SW Polk St. Topeka, KS 66612-1688 phone: (800) 473-3563 fax: (785) 235-2449 email@example.com Send address changes to: Receptionist 835 SW Polk St., Topeka, KS 66612-1688 firstname.lastname@example.org Upcoming deadlines: July/August issue: July 15 September/October issue: Sept. 15 Subscription rate: $1.50 annually Third class mailing Permit No. 601, Topeka, Kansas POSTMASTER: Send address changes to Episcopal Diocese of Kansas 835 SW Polk St. Topeka, KS 66612-1688
The Anglican Communion
A global community of 70 million Anglicans in 38 member churches/provinces in more than 160 countries.
Archbishop of Canterbury The Most Reverend and Right Honorable Rowan Williams Lambeth Palace, London WE1 7JU, United Kingdom www.anglicancommunion.org Episcopal seat: Canterbury Cathedral, Canterbury, England
The Episcopal Church
A community of 2 million members in 110 dioceses in 16 countries in the Americas and abroad. Presiding Bishop The Most Reverend Katharine Jefferts Schori 815 Second Avenue, New York, NY 10017 (800) 334-7626 www.episcopalchurch.org Episcopal seat: Washington National Cathedral, Washington, D.C.
The Episcopal Diocese of Kansas
A community of 12,000 members in 46 congregations, two diocesan institutions and one school in eastern Kansas.
Bishop The Right Reverend Dean E. Wolfe 835 SW Polk Street, Topeka, KS 66612-1688 (785) 235-9255 (800) 473-3563 www.episcopal-ks.org Episcopal seat: Grace Episcopal Cathedral, Topeka
State of the Episcopal Church offers challenges
ear Friends, In preparation for our once-every-threeyear General Convention, I currently am wading through the 753-page “Blue Book” that contains the “Reports of the Committees, Commissions, Agencies, and Boards of the General Convention of the Episcopal Church.” This may sound like a tedious assignment, but if you love the Episcopal Church, there are several reports well worth reading by any committed Episcopalian. In my opinion, one of the more important reports is the “House of Deputies Committee on the State of the Church,” a 32-page report chock full of numbers, charts and graphs regarding statistical trends for our denomination. The report begins by saying The Episcopal Church, like all mainline churches, is “undergoing transition.” Technology is changing the way we communicate and meet, and “the corporate structure and mind set,” so prevalent in the 1950s and 60s when all mainline denominations experienced a strong growth spurt, no longer is the dominant organizational model. To be sure there are “encouraging signs” in the church, and the report refers to Episcopal Relief and Development’s strong response to recent domestic and international natural disasters — hurricanes, floods and earthquakes — as well as to the agency’s continuing response to human need around the globe. Also mentioned is the strength of the Church Pension Group as a provider of “cost-effective retirement, health and life insurance benefits to clergy and lay employees,” as well as the tireless work of the Presiding Bishop and the President of the House of Deputies. Finally, the committee notes, “the level of angst about inter-Anglican Communion and global relations which has dominated conversations in the Church for several triennia, appears to be easing.” This is all very good news.
But the not-so-good news
But then the committee proceeds to report their hard findings. In the past 10 years, “the Church has seen a 16 percent decrease in active membership and a 23 percent decrease in average Sunday attendance. Easter attendance is down 21 percent, and the number of domestic parishes and missions went from 7,095 in 2006 to 6,794 parishes in 2010, a net loss of 301 parishes in a four year period. “The advanced and still advancing age of the Church’s membership, combined with a low birth rate, means that the Church loses the equivalent of one diocese per year through deaths over births. Throughout the 1970s and 1980s and even into the 1990s, the Church gained more adult members than lost through persons changing denominations (particularly former Roman Catholics.) “In the fairly recent past, more people joined The Episcopal Church than left it, making up most, but not all, of the natural decline among participating adult members until recently. This is no longer the case.” The report notes, “51 percent of Episcopalians are in the categories 50-64 and 65+ years of age, significantly higher than the age structure of other mainline denominations. Only 28 percent of Episcopalians are between the ages of 1-34.” The declining statistics in membership and participation were paralleled by a decline in plate and pledge giving in 2008, 2009 and 2010, a trend exacerbated by a global economic crisis. “Nevertheless,” the committee notes, “the Church should be reminded that God continues to provide a blessing of what many would regard as abundance. Total operating income reported by all congregations for 2010 was over $1.6 billion;
Photo by Stephen Butler
by all dioceses, $197 million; and for Churchwide operations, $41 million.” While the 2010 Survey of Episcopal Congregations indicates 43 percent of parishes reported serious conflict over the issue of the ordination of gay clergy (40 percent indicated some people left, and 19 percent reported some people withheld funds), “as always, conflict over clergy leadership is the single most disruptive form of conflict that churches experience.” Finances and budget, the priest’s leadership style, how worship is conducted, program priorities and the behavior of other members or participants added up to surpass the ordination of gay clergy as the primary sources of conflict in congregations in the last five years. This corresponds to our experience in the Episcopal Diocese of Kansas.
Fewer priests are being ordained
There has also been a steady decrease in the number of priests ordained since 2005 and an increase in the number of retirements. In 2005 there were 406 priests ordained, and in 2010 there were 247 priests ordained. In 2005 there were 308 retirements, and in 2010 there were 417 retirements. The average age of priests at ordination is currently 46.4 years, and, “older clergy at ordination makes it more difficult for churches to attract young persons.” 55.6 percent of all congregations now depend upon part-time or non-stipendiary clergy or have no called or assigned priest! The committee suggests there are a variety of trends to monitor concerning clergy data. The age of clergy leadership is “potentially a significant factor for growing the Church,” and “with the average age of ordinations in the 40s, it means there are fewer and fewer long ministry careers.” Learning to lead a congregation takes time and experience, and “fewer opportunities to serve in assisting roles under a mentoring rector suggest another area for further study and potentially a new focus for bishops and diocesan staffs.” The report also highlights the “rising and shocking number of congregations without clergy leadership or the only pastoral leadership is provided by retired clergy.” The House of Deputies Committee on the State of the Church concludes, “The decline in numbers of parishes and missions seems to be matching the decline in ordinations. Unless there is some sort of intervention, such as a Churchwide church (Please see Bishop, page 3)
May/June 2012 • The Harvest • 3
Restructuring: Ministries will continue, relying more on lay leaders (Continued from page 1) instrumental in establishing the innovative campus ministry model the diocese now employs. He said that in this transition he sought to be generous and that he and others would do all they could to assist DeWitt and Terry in the coming weeks.
Photo by Melodie Woerman
A construction worker prepares to add some additional framing to the second floor of the Bethany Place Conference Center. Renovations will provide an enhanced facility for students at the Kansas School for Ministry, as well as church groups seeking a place for meetings and retreats.
Center: Building will feature energy efficiencies and disability access (Continued from page 1) The building, which had been the barn for the Episcopal girls’ school that occupied the property until 1928, was placed on the Register of Historic Kansas Places in the 1970s. It had served as a home for several Kansas bishops from 1916 until 1980 and was converted into a conference center a few years later. Junk said they also have begun the process of applying for permits from the City of Topeka so that interior construction can begin once framing is complete.
Besides the new windows, Junk said another energy saver will be an on-demand tankless water heater. Because it will heat water only as it is needed, Junk said KSM students won’t run out of hot water when taking showers, and the diocese won’t be paying to heat water around the clock when it isn’t in need, as with conventional water heaters. The accessible bedroom and bathroom on the first floor will be another bonus, since until now the only access to the upstairs sleeping rooms has been by stairs.
A portable ramp will allow wheelchairs to enter the front steps and won’t require a permanent ramp that would disturb the property’s historic façade. The kitchen also is being configured to make it more functional for groups using the building. It will include new appliances, more usable cabinets and large countertops. Junk said that once building permits are received and construction gets underway, he expects all work to be completed by mid-October, just in time for a reveal during Diocesan Convention. v
Episcopal Social Services receives UTO grant By Melodie Woerman Editor, The Harvest
piscopal Social Services/Venture House in Wichita on June 21 received word that it had been given a grant from the United Thank Offering in the amount of $21,753 to enhance its representative payee program. Word of the award was made to the agency’s executive director, Dr. Barbara Andres, and to Kansas Bishop Dean Wolfe by email. The grant, which was almost the entire amount sought by ESS, will help upgrade the computer system used to assist payee clients. The agency proposes to buy fine new computers and a printer for its site in Wichita, and two new computers and a printer for its satellite site in the Winfield/Arkansas City area. It also will cover the purchase of upgrades to the program’s software, to accommodate increased data collection needs and create greater efficiency. The representative payee program provides
money management for some people who receive Social Security or Veterans Administration disability checks. These people meet with their ESS volunteer payee, who helps make sure bills are paid and basic living needs are met, allowing them to live independently. In its application for the grant, ESS officials said that in the past three years they had seen an increase in the number of people needing this service. Many of the agency’s payee clients have been diagnosed with “a severe and persistent mental illness, cognitive disorder, substance abuse or physical disability,” the application noted, making them vulnerable to people seeking to swindle cash from them. ESS payees serve their clients at no cost through the use of trained volunteers. Weekly meetings also enhance the client’s support network and allow the payees to provide referrals for additional services their client might need. The agency currently assists more than 300 payee clients. v
Bishop Wolfe said that as a result of this move, the diocese will have to rely more heavily on finding and training lay leaders for ministry. He said he also will be pursuing “pioneering partnerships with other dioceses and denominations” where those exist. He said, “We cannot do more with less, but we can conduct our ministries with greater clarity, creativity and collaboration.” The Rev. Michael Bell will continue as campus missioner, he said, now with responsibility for all the efforts to reach college campuses in the diocese. Bell will work with the paid campus interns at Kansas State University and the Universality of Kansas, as well as peer ministers on all the campuses. Bishop Wolfe said Bell will continue to work “to connect parishes to the campuses in their communities,” as well as further refining how campus ministry will be carried out. To continue to solicit additional gifts to support the Kansas School for Ministry, which is the
We do not intend to lose the hard-won progress we have made in these ministries. — Bishop Wolfe focus of the Crossroads campaign, the bishop said he’d rely on the use of some development consultants to assist him. “We do not intend to lose the hard-won progress we have made in these ministries,” he said.
Time of transition
Bishop Wolfe said that this decision comes in the midst of discussions across the Episcopal Church on how to accomplish its mission with fewer full-time, professional staff members. He noted that eliminating two positions from an 11-member full-time staff represents a real challenge for the Episcopal Diocese of Kansas, but he said that when challenges have arisen in the past, “they have all turned out to be opportunities to pursue our mission — to know Christ and to make Christ known — in new and more faithful ways. This moment is no different.” “Together,” he said, “we will continue to implement our mission to bring Christ to a world desperate to know of God’s love and grace.” v
Bishop: Report shows KSM and training efforts are ‘prophetic’ (Continued from page 2) planting initiative, The Episcopal Church will become more and more a denomination of predominately part-time clergy and single-cleric churches with clergy becoming, in the words of Dr. Matthew Prince, ‘chaplains to the retired.’”
On the right track
Most people would read these statistical trends with great alarm, and I believe every Episcopalian should be giving thoughtful and prayerful consideration to this committee’s findings. However, this report also reveals our work to build up the Kansas School for Ministry and our emphasis on training lay people, deacons and priests for part-time and non-stipendiary work is positively prophetic. This report reveals our efforts to develop creative teams for ministry in small-town and rural
parishes and our church planning effort in Spring Hill are exactly the kind of work we need to be doing! In every crisis it is the responsibility of every faithful Christians to ask, “Where is God in all of this? In what way is God’s present?” I believe God is being revealed in the growing number of people in the Episcopal Diocese of Kansas who are coming to the realization that, if our church is to survive and meet these ominous challenges, it will be up to every one of us. No one will be able to remain in their comfortable pew. We will need to prayerfully commit our time, our tithe and our many talents to responding to this Spirit-drenched moment. May God bless you, and may God bless our beloved Episcopal Church. Faithfully, +Dean v
4 • The Harvest • May/June 2012
Convention deadline nears KSM: Students prepare for for nominees, other actions ordination and lay ministries By Melodie Woerman Editor, The Harvest
ug. 15 is the deadline for submission of items to come before the annual Convention of the diocese when it meets Oct. 19-20 in Topeka. By then nominations need to be made for offices to be elected at the convention, or amendments to the constitution or canons of the diocese.
Ten to be elected
The following offices will be elected at this year’s convention: One at-large, lay member of the Council of Trustees, for a threeyear term; One at-large, clergy member of the Council of Trustees, for a three-year term; One at-large, clergy member of the Council of Trustees, to fill a one-year unexpired term; and Three lay and four clergy members of the diocesan Disciplinary Board, for three-year terms. Lay nominees must be a confirmed member of a parish of the Diocese of Kansas and at least 16 years old. Clergy nominees must be canonically resident in the diocese and in good standing. The Council of Trustees is the governing body for the diocese between conventions. It oversees all matters relating to programs and finance, and it functions as the canonical Standing Committees. The Disciplinary Board is part of a revamped Title IV process that assesses a variety of complaints that
What: The 153rd annual convention of the Episcopal Diocese of Kansas When: Friday, Oct. 19 and Saturday, Oct.. 20, 2012 Where: Capitol Plaza Hotel and Maner Conference Center, Topeka Deadline: Aug. 15 for nominations for elections, debatable resolutions and amendments to the constitution or canons of the diocese
might be brought against members of the clergy of the diocese and assists officers of the process in developing an appropriate outcome.
Submissions go to committee chairs
Nominations for positions to be elected, proposed resolutions and proposed amendments to the constitution or canons must be submitted by the Aug. 15 deadline to the chair of the respective committees: Nominations: the Rev. Betty Glover, PO Box 490, Winfield, KS 671560490; email@example.com; (620) 221-4252. Debatable resolutions: the Rev. Shawn Streepy; 10700 W. 53rd St., Shawnee, KS 66203-1838; shawn@ stlukes.net; (913) 631-8548. Constitution and canons: Frank Taylor; P.O. Box 550, Olathe, KS 66051-0550; firstname.lastname@example.org; (913) 782-2350. v
(Continued from page 1) the neighboring dioceses will be teaching next year, joining 12 people from the Diocese of Kansas. Students will include those preparing for ordination as deacons and priests, as well as those wanting to pursue a one-year program of study to aid them in one of the seven licensed areas of lay ministry: Pastoral leader; Worship leader; Lay preacher; Eucharistic minister; Catechist; Parish administrator; and Children and youth ministry. Certificates in those areas are approved by the bishop upon application from parishes, Grosso said, but 10 months of courses can help prepare people for the challenges they will face in those ministries. These students will take the same core courses as those pursuing ordination, he said. There currently is space to accommodate those wanting to study for one of these certification areas, Grosso said. There also may be space for individuals who want to take KSM classes for their own enrichment but without receiving credit toward a certificate or pre-ordination track, he said. KSM meets for 10 months, August through June, normally on the second weekend of the month. The cost to attend is $150 per course for those in the ordination process and $100 per course for others. Fees cover tuition, overnight accommodations in the Bethany Place Conference Center (starting later this fall, after renovations), and four meals. The cost of books and other materials are
not included. Those wanting to enroll or who need more information should contact Grosso at rector@ trinityks.org or (913) 367-3171.
Next year’s classes are announced
The schedule of Kansas School for Ministry classes, with instructors, for the coming academic year has been announced. Aug. 11-12: Homiletics (the Rev. George Pejakovich) and Christian Spirituality (the Rev. Virginia Brown) Sept. 15-16: Anglican Identity (the Rev. Virginia Brown), Old Testament Survey (the Rev. Dr. Bill Breedlove) and New Testament Survey (Dr. Jim Lewis) Oct. 13-14: Pentateuch and Histories (Dr. Melissa Tubbs Loya), Gospel Traditions (Dr. David May) and Liturgics (the Very Rev. Benjamin Thomas) Nov. 10-11: Prophets and Writings (Dr. Melissa Tubbs Loya), Pauline Epistles (the Rev. Richard McCandless) and Ecclesiology (Dr. Don Compier) Dec. 8-9: Diakonia (the Ven. Charles Pearce) and Presbyterate (the Rev. Kelley Lackey) Jan. 12-13: Missional Ecclesiology (the Rev. Craig Loya) Feb. 9-10: Congregational Development and Evangelism (Dr. David Thompson) and Contemporary Ethics (Dr. Don Compier) March 9-10: Church History Survey (the Rev. Cathy Cox) and Polity and Canons (Mr. Larry Bingham) April 13-14: British Christianity (the Very Rev. Bill Wolff) May 11-12: History of the Episcopal Church (the Very Rev. Bill Wolff) v
Importance of the Eucharist requires baptism first By Charles Everson
he Diocese of Eastern Oregon has proposed a resolution to the 2012 General Convention to remove the following sentence from the canons (laws) of the church: “No unbaptized person shall be eligible to receive Holy Communion in this Church.” (Canon 1.17.7) The movement supporting this position is referred to as “Communion Without Baptism,” or CWOB. Proponents of CWOB present their position as inclusive and opposing views as exclusive. Is requiring Holy Baptism before receiving Communion an issue of inclusivity, or is it a matter of sound, theological principle? The 1979 Book of Common Prayer, more so than any other prayer book revision, emphasizes the fact that Holy Baptism is the full entrance or initiation into the life of grace, and hence the life of the church. God desires all to believe, repent and be baptized, and all are truly welcome to receive Holy Baptism. Those desiring Holy Baptism must indicate a desire to be baptized and follow Christ, repent of their sins and choose to turn from their old ways to the new life of grace.
Each of the other sacraments, or sacramental rites, also requires that the candidate affirm and consent to various things. Confirmation is only bestowed upon those who choose to affirm their faith through a series of vows and promises. The church puts many conditions upon those who wish to be married. Ordination has multiple requirements, including age and education. Confession, or Reconciliation of a Penitent, is preconditioned upon the penitent repenting of his sin and committing to amend his life. Healing of the Sick requires a desire to be healed. And so it is for the Eucharist. Holy Communion is God’s gift of love, nourishment, sustenance and healing for those who have decided to follow Christ and have been baptized. To invite those who aren’t baptized puts the cart before the horse and deprives the non-baptized of the riches and graces of God’s love poured out through the waters of baptism. In other words, inviting the nonbaptized to the Communion rail begs the question, “Why be baptized at all?” How should we respond when a nonbaptized seeker wishes to receive Communion? We should invite them to follow Christ and be baptized. Priests should use pastoral sensitiv-
ity at all times at the communion rail; no one that I’m aware of is arguing that a priest should refuse Communion outright if they’re aware an individual is not baptized. Nevertheless, baptism is the entrance to the full life of Christ, while Communion is the body and blood of Christ, broken and poured out for his followers as food for the journey. According to the canons of the church, baptism is the prerequisite for Holy Communion, and all baptized Christians may receive Communion in our churches. But should all baptized Christians approach the communion rail, every time and no matter what? The church calls us to consider the dignity of the Eucharist. “For while the benefit is great, if with penitent heart and living faith we receive the Holy Sacrament, so is the real danger great, if we receive it unworthily, not recognizing the Lord’s body. Examine your lives and conduct by the rule of God’s commandment....acknowledge your sins before Almighty God, with full purpose of amendment of life; and also being ready to forgive those who have offended you, in order that you yourselves may be forgiven. And then, being reconciled with one another, come to the banquet of that most heavenly Food.” (Book of Common
Prayer, pages 316-317). Holy Communion is not a right, for any person, regardless of whether they’ve been baptized. It is a gracious gift that Jesus offers again and again to his followers who are spiritually prepared to receive Him. When was the last time you (or I) voluntarily abstained from receiving Holy Communion because you had sins you had not yet confessed, or had not reconciled with your brother or sister in Christ? Let us as Episcopalians welcome and invite all to follow Jesus Christ through the waters of baptism. Let us also return to a holy Eucharistic discipline of self-examination, confession and repentance so that we all may rightly “come to the banquet of that most heavenly Food.” Charles Everson is a member of St. Michael and All Angels in Mission. He earned a Bachelor of Arts in Biblical Studies from Ouachita Baptist University in Arkansas and a Masters of Business Administration from Baker University in Baldwin City. He can be reached at email@example.com. v
May/June 2012 • The Harvest • 5
MegaCamp 2012 Where friends and fun meet God and the church, in the beauty of the Flint Hills Photo by Karen Schlabach
Bishop Dean Wolfe (left) celebrates the outdoor all-camp Eucharist, assisted by acolyte Creed Ekerberg, St. Matthew’s, Newton, and the Rev. David Lynch, newly ordained deacon and curate at St. James’, Wichita.
or a week in early June, Camp Wood They learned, she said, “No matter how YMCA, nestled in the rolling Flint young you are, you can do something.” Hills near Elmdale, was filled with Campers spent two hours a day exploring the sounds of 214 Episcopal campers these topics, she said, and another hour a day at the second annual MegaCamp. in worship. Along with the 48 adult While many activities were volunteers who provided supseparated by age group, everyport, young people in fourth one came together one aftergrade through recent high noon for an outdoor Megaschool graduates spent a week Eucharist that incorporated all engaged in exploring their campers and staff. faith with the theme “Prophets Celebrating that service and Visionaries.” was Bishop Dean Wolfe, who Interim Youth Missioner was on hand for much of the Michael Funston said the MegaCamp week. theme was inspired by Peter’s Organized camp events indescription in Acts 2:17 of the cluded a game of MegaTwistchurch right after Pentecost, er, with the colored squares in which young people would of the popular body-bending prophesy and dream dreams. game spray-painted on the Funston said the theme was ground, and do-it-yourself designed to let the campers water slides that kept youngknow “how as young people sters cool. we were called, on the first day They also could participate Photo by Sue Mason of the church, to be prophets in YMCA camp activities, Elementary camper Amelia Ross and visionaries for the church of St. Michael and All Angels, including horseback riding, Mission, tries her hand at archery a ropes course and archery, and to dream dreams of the under the watchful eye of a YMCA which drew a lot of interest kingdom of God.” camp staff member. It was designed, she said, this year thanks to the poputo get the campers asking how larity of The Hunger Games they might talk with others about God’s love book series and movie, in which it plays a and what prophesying about the kingdom of key role. God could look like once they left camp. — Melodie Woerman v
Photo by Brian Duerksen
Graduating high school seniors pause for prayer near the cross on High Y Hill as they recall their final time at camp.
Izzy Knott of St. Andrew’s, Derby (center) enjoys a game of MegaTwister with other junior high campers. Photo by Tyler Kerr
Photo by Karen Schlabach
When 214 campers and 48 adult staffers and volunteers get together for Eucharist, it’s easy to see why the event is called MegaCamp.
6 • The Harvest • May/June 2012
Six new deacons are ordained in June 2 service By Melodie Woerman Editor, The Harvest
he Episcopal Diocese of Kansas welcomed six new deacons after they were ordained by Bishop Dean Wolfe in a June 2 service at Grace cathedral in Topeka. Three of them intend the diaconate as their ordained vocation, and three of them are transitional deacons who are on track to be ordained priest in January. The three deacons are: Peggy Flynn, from St. John’s, Wichita; Sandy Horton-Smith, from St. Paul’s, Manhattan; and Rex Matney, from Church of the Covenant, Junction City. The three transitional deacons are: David Jenkins, from St. David’s, Topeka; David Lynch, from St. Michael and All Angels, Mission; and Adrianna Shaw, from St. Paul’s, Leavenworth. Flynn, Horton-Smith and Matney all studied at the Kansas School for Ministry in preparation for their ordination. After two years of instruction, each now will spend an internship year. Flynn will spend two weeks a month at St. James’ and the other two at St. John’s, both in Wichita. Horton-Smith will split her time between St. Mark’s, Blue Rapids, St. Paul’s, Marysville and her home parish in Manhattan. Matney will work at St. Paul’s,
Photo by Tom Pott
Six deacons stand with Bishop Dean Wolfe after the June 2 service in which they were ordained. They are (from left) Deacons Rex Matney, Peggy Flynn and Sandy Horton-Smith; Bishop Wolfe, and the Revs. David Lynch, David Jenkins and Adrianna Shaw. Lynch, Jenkins and Shaw are transitional deacons who are on track to be ordained priests in January.
Clay Center as well as at the Junction City parish. Lynch and Shaw graduated this spring from seminary — Lynch from Virginia Theological Seminary in Alexandria,
Va., and Shaw from the Seminary of the Southwest in Austin, Texas. Jenkins attended seminary a number of years ago, prior to his ordination as a pastor in the Disciples of Christ Church.
Lynch has been named curate at St. James’, in Wichita, beginning July 8, and Shaw will be returning to Texas to continue working with a church in Austin. Jenkins has been appointed as
pastoral leader at the Church of the Covenant in Junction City, effective June 15. He will continue to serve as the state chaplain for the Kansas National Guard, headquartered in Topeka. v
Wichita agency prepares to help its first refugee family By Melodie Woerman Editor, The Harvest
ust 15 months after the idea for such an agency was first developed, Episcopal Wichita Area Refugee Ministry, or EWARM, is getting ready to resettle its first refugees. Shannon Mahan, the agency’s executive director, received word in May that they can expect a family to arrive soon, perhaps as early as mid-July. She said a married couple (he’s 28, she’s 24) with a 10-month-old daughter will come from a Burmese refugee camp in Thailand. She guesses the couple may have met while living in the camp, where both would have fled to flee the decades of fighting and civilian attacks that have characterized life in Burma, also known as Myanmar, for decades. Mahan said she has been told a few things about this family. They are members of the Chin ethnic group and have very minimal education, perhaps elementary or middle school level. They have almost no employment skills and do not speak, read or write English. They also know no one in this country. “We don’t know their clothing sizes,” Mahan said. “We don’t know much about their health, except that they’ve had a health screening within the past two years. Many people coming from refugee camps arrive in the U.S. malnourished.” She said she was told to expect them to bring nothing but the clothes they are wearing, although they may have a few personal belongings with them.
Mahan said it is EWARM’s responsibility to find housing for the family, and she’s been able to secure a one-bedroom apartment in southeast Wichita. It’s not easy to convince a landlord to rent to a refugee family, she said, since they arrive with no job and no credit history, and the landlord has to keep the utilities in his or her name until the new residents can get established. She also had to line up translators, not only to help the family begin to adjust to a strange environment but also to be sure they understand any legal documents they’ll sign, including rental leases, bank account documents and, eventually, employment papers. She’s found two Burmese people who received political asylum in Wichita who speak the Chin dialect as well as Burmese, and two Roman Catholic priests in nearby communities who speak Burmese and Karen, another of Burma’s 135 dialects and languages.
Federal and donated funding
EWARM is an affiliate of Episcopal Migration Ministries, an official agency of the Episcopal Church that partners with the U.S. government to resettle refugees in this country. According to EMM’s website, in 2011 it and its affiliate partners across the U.S. (EWARM is the 34th) assisted more than 3,600 refugees from 34 countries. EMM receives grants from the federal government to help fund its work, which it in turn passes on to resettling affiliates. Mahan said EWARM will receive $1,850 for each of the three members of this family.
Refugees arriving soon in Wichita are natives of Burma, also known as Myanmar, a country in Southeast Asia.
Of that, $925 must be spent on direct aid to the refugee within 90 days of arrival. The rest of the subsidy supports the administrative work of EWARM and establishes a reserve to help refugees with extraordinary needs. Mahan said Reformation Lutheran Church in Wichita has agreed to help sponsor these first refugees, donating $3,000 to assist after the grant from EMM runs out. They also will provide volunteers to help the family begin to navigate an American culture that is unknown to them. She said there will be an ongoing need for financial and human support, as more refugees are sent to Wichita to begin a new life.
Enormously difficult task
Mahan said the magnitude of difficulties this young family will have to overcome “is enormous.” They quickly need to find a job, and Mahan said she’s scouring the Wichita
area for work that is “highly visual and highly repetitive,” to accommodate their lack of skills and English. They’d be suited for jobs like restaurant dishwasher, hotel housekeeper or in some cases a manufacturing line worker, she said. They also are eligible for low-income government assistance until they find work, including Medicaid and food stamps. EWARM’s goal is that the family will be self-sufficient in six months, employed and paying their own bills. They also have to reimburse the U.S. government for the cost of their flight from Thailand to this country. Mahan said right now she needs more people to assist this family in assimilating. Aided by in-person translators, volunteers will begin to explain things like American finances, health care, and child care and parenting, as well as how to cope with the stresses of their unfamiliar environment. She said she also needs people able to provide instruction in things we take for granted — how to tell time, how to read a prescription label, how to use public transportation, how to operate appliances, how to use the post office. Mahan said the agency also needs prepaid cell phones and international calling cards, or money to buy them locally. EWARM needs to be able to contact the family so a phone is a must, and she’s certain that with no contacts in this country, the family will seek contact with people they know in Burma or the refugee camp. Those wanting to make donations or needing more information can contact Mahan at firstname.lastname@example.org or (316) 977-9276. v
May/June 2012 • The Harvest • 7
Inaugural mission helps young adults understand urban poverty By Melodie Woerman Editor, The Harvest
Those involved in the first-ever “thelo” urban poverty mission experience include (from left) Episcopal Social Services/ Venture House Executive Director Dr. Barbara Andres, Daniel Troop, ESS Volunteer Coordinator Lillian Gattis, Tristan Holmberg, Kayla Bush,campus ministry intern Abby Olcese, Mike Flaigle, Andrew LeighBullard, Michelle Pauley and Campus Missioner the Rev. Michael Bell. Photo by Shannon Mahan
even young adults associated with the campus ministry program of the Diocese of Kansas participated in the inaugural mission experience entitled “thelo,” a Wichita-based opportunity to learn about urban poverty, volunteer with social service agencies, and receive training in nonprofit leadership and management. The title is taken from a Greek word meaning “I am willing.” The weeklong event included six college students from the University of Kansas, Emporia State, Wichita State and Butler Community College, as well as campus intern Abby Olcese and Campus Missioner the Rev. Michael Bell. Bell said the idea for the mission opportunity came from Tristan Holmberg, a student at Butler Community College and a graduate of the diocesan youth program. Last year he asked if young adults could engage in an urban ministry project similar to the Kansas City-based MissionPalooza for high school students. Bell said planning then began, resulting in the trip that took place May 13-18. He said “thelo” offered participants the chance to volunteer with Episcopal Social services/Venture House, Breakthrough Club and United Methodist Open Door. They also learned about the sociology of urban poverty as well as non-profit leadership and management, thanks to ESS’s executive director, Dr. Barbara Andres, and Shannon Mahan, executive director of the Episcopal Wichita Area Refugee Ministry. They also engaged in daily prayer and worship in the chapel of the Magnificat Center, a retreat facility operated by the Congre-
ations that they might otherwise avoid out of ignorance and/or fear.”
Plans for 2013
In addition to volunteering at several Wichita agencies, “thelo” participants spent time in prayer and worship in the chapel of the Magnificat Center, a retreat center sponsored by the Congregation of St. Joseph, where they stayed.
gation of St. Joseph, an order of Roman Catholic nuns, where the group stayed. Bell said the diocese’s campus ministry program encourages young adults to participant in mission opportunities, either at home or abroad. This helps them, he said, “remain mindful of our interconnected humanity and call to serve ‘all’ while bring especially compassionate toward the poor, hungry, sick and otherwise vulnerable.” The students engaged in a variety of volunteer activities. At ESS they worked the front desk, prepared and served at the
hot lunch program, helped with paperwork in the representative payee program, observed in the teen intervention and adolescent anger management programs, and cleaned the parking lot. At Breakthrough Club they socialized with staff and members with mental illness, and visited several vocational training sites. At the Open Door students packed food boxes for weekly distribution to families and prepared daily food bags for walk-in clients. Bell said experiences such as this allow young adults to embody God’s love in “challenging situ-
Bell said this first “thelo” week was so successful that two are planned for 2013 — one in January and another in August. They again will work with ESS and with EWARM, as well as a program of the Congregation of St. Joseph, Dear Neighbors. He has begun working with Deacon Fran Wheeler, chair of the diocesan Outreach and Mission Committee, with the goal of training a team of clergy and lay leaders from across the diocese who can support and lead future mission experiences. He said, “The vision is that ‘thelo’ will become a viable, selfsustaining mission opportunity regularly offered several times a year.” Beyond that, Bell said the week led to some exciting preliminary discussions about creating a site in Wichita for the Episcopal Service Corps, a federation of service programs for young adults in the Episcopal Church that
focus on diverse communities of people working for social justice, deepening each person’s spiritual awareness and discerning a future vocation, developing leadership skills through servanthood. Bell said ESS, EWARM and the Congregation of St. Joseph want to create a program of service in which five young people would live intentional community. He said he hopes a program plan can be in place before the end of the year, leading to application for recognition as an official Episcopal Service Corps site. v
Participants in ‘thelo’ Kayla Bush, University of Kansas Mike Flaigle, Wichita State Tristan Holmberg, Butler Community College Andrew Leigh-Bullard, Emporia State Michelle Pauley, Emporia State Daniel Troop, University of Kansas Abby Olcese, KU campus intern
ESS, Breakthrough Club join to better serve Wichitans in need By Melodie Woerman Editor, The Harvest
piscopal Social Services/Venture House in Wichita on May 30 announced that it was unifying its programs with that of Breakthrough Club, a services and support organization for people with mental illness that had begun its work as a part of ESS and later became a separate agency. Dr. Barbara Andres, ESS’s executive director, said the new agreement will strengthen both bodies by offering one location where clients of each can access services. It also allows for lower overall administrative costs and will combine duESS photo plicated programs, including a hot lunch Episcopal Social Services/Venture House and Breakthrough Club will share the latter’s and representative payees. building near downtown Wichita after the two agencies join forces later this year. It stabilizes the funding for Breakthrough Club while offering ESS a greater Andres said the names and logos of both economy of scale in its administrative it could reduce costs and maintain its core programs. agencies will be on the building, which operations. Both groups will move into the current will expand the visibility of each to its Andres said the unification was sparked by large government funding cuts to Break- Breakthrough Club building. ESS will sell constituents. She said the move should be through Club in 2010 that affected mental its building and use proceeds to help fund completed by the end of the year. needed renovations in the new joint facility. health agencies statewide. “This location will be more convenient Similar but unique missions Facing ever-larger cuts to their proAndres said that while the two agencies grams, Breakthrough Club officials de- and accessible,” she said. “It will offer more share similar missions, they offer some cided that by joining with another agency resources in one space.”
unique differences. Breakthrough Club follows the International Center for Clubhouse Development model, which offers people an intentional community, “much like a parish church,” she said. “It establishes a safe place to develop relationships and live their life.” Members have a greater ownership of the program, she said. ESS is a more traditional service agency, she said, offering a variety of short-term assistance, including food programs and help with finding a job. It also serves more people — more than 1,000 unemployed people and 300 at-risk youth last year alone. Breakthrough Club helped about 450 members, Andres said. But in spite of these differences, the missions of the two groups centers on helping needy and vulnerable populations in Wichita. The move to the Breakthrough Club space has the added benefit of locating it in a neighborhood with agencies in health care and housing that will offer new partnerships. Andres called this new arrangement “exciting” for both agencies and said the soon-to-be merged boards of directors are working to make sure the transition is a smooth one. v
8 • The Harvest • May/June 2012
Around the diocese St. John’s, Abilene memorialized its Pentecost celebration, filled with parishioners wearing various shades of red, in a photo for the parish newsletter, The Carillon.
a clean-up of its stretch of nearby highway, a Vestry meeting and then church. The congregation has adopted a stretch of highway and is responsible for trash pick-up several times a year.
Trinity, Arkansas City’s Montessori pre-school had 43 students last school year, and preenrollments for the coming year already are coming in.
St. Andrew’s, Emporia observed the centuries-old Feast of Corpus Christi (which celebrates the institution of Holy Communion) on Trinity Sunday with an outdoor procession that displayed the Blessed Sacrament. A monstrance for the display was given by parishioner Gary Mason, and a canopy that was used was created by parishioners Millard Harrell and Deborah Cotterman.
Trinity, Atchison has a new seal for use on church publications. It features symbols for God the Father, Son and Holy Spirit, as well as a triangle denoting the Trinity. St. Mark’s, Blue Rapids received a set of ceramic Stations of the Cross as a gift from Robin and Tom Foley. They were used for the first time on Good Friday and now are on a wall in the parish hall. St. Paul’s, Clay Center opened its summertime Kids Café on June 11. The program provides a hot lunch to any youngster in town who stops by to eat. Volunteers prepare and serve the food as part of a parish outreach commitment to feeding the hungry in the community. St. Paul’s, Coffeyville welcomed Bishop Dean Wolfe June 20 for a Celebration of Total Ministry. The service commissioned all the ministry teams in the parish as well as the ministry of the vicar, the Rev. Antoinette Tackkett. St. Andrew’s, Derby recruited volunteers for a summer choir while the regular singers took a much-deserved vacation break. Those who play instruments also were encouraged to participate. St. Martin’s, Edwardsville had a busy morning on June 10 —
Epiphany, Independence asked for donations for its food pantry, which has seen an increase in requests for help during the summer months. Non-perishable items are needed, as well as paper goods and soap. There’s even room in the freezer for frozen items. Covenant, Junction City said a special thank-you to those who serve at the altar each week with Acolyte Recognition Day on May 13. St. Margaret’s, Lawrence in June offered a four-week study session based on the documentary film “I Am,” which chronicles a noted film producer’s struggles following a serious bicycle accident in 2007 and features interviews with notables in the fields of science, philosophy and faith. Trinity, Lawrence is providing the location for a Taize service one Sunday evening a month during the summer. The worship service is a joint offering of seven area churches and features simple music, moments of quiet and Scripture.
St. Paul’s, Leavenworth has a group that provides “manna from heaven” — actually, meals for people who are ill or in the hospital or who have experienced the birth of a baby or death of a family member. Volunteers are needed to help. St. Paul’s, Manhattan hosted its fourth annual Riley County Emergency Appreciation Day May 16. Meals were provided at the church throughout the day as a way to say thank-you to members of area police and fire departments as well as ambulance workers and first responders. St. Paul’s, Marysville joins with its sister parish in Blue Rapids twice a month for a potluck lunch after Sunday worship. St. Michael’s, Mission offered a weeklong arts day camp for children of the parish as well as students at elementary schools the congregation has adopted. Professional faculty members were recruited to offer classes in dance, music, theatre and art. The event was sponsored by the parish’s Horizons Arts Ministry. Ascension, Neodesha hosted its annual Ascension Day service on May 17, with members from Epiphany, Independence and St. Paul’s, Coffeyville joining in the service and the potluck supper that followed. St. Matthew’s, Newton included a survey in its June newsletter that asked members to assess hospitality efforts in the congregation. It asked if members thought the church was welcoming to those who visit on Sundays. St. Aidan’s, Olathe had some help in serving its monthly dinner at the nearby Center for Grace —
Derby church offers stuffed comfort to more than 200 young tornado victims
t. Andrew’s, Derby, offered some cuddly comfort in the form of more than 200 stuffed animals to students at Oaklawn Elementary School after an April 21 tornado damaged the school and many of the homes in the area. For the past two years the school has had a relationship with Oaklawn through Wichita’s Communities in Schools program. So after the tornado struck, the Rev. Tom Wilson, St. Andrew’s rector, said they put in a call to see what they could do to help. The school’s social worker said that most of the students’ immediate needs were being met by other groups. Wilson asked if there might be any “wants” instead of “needs” they could fulfill, and she suggested providing stuffed animals. School officials reported that 202 youngsters had been affected by the storm, so the church put out a plea for some help. Four days later they had 208 stuffed animals. Parishioners provided many that were new or gently used, and the church purchased the rest with money donated for the project. One high school sophomore, whose mother works with a
parishioner, donated 23 of her own stuffed animals to help comfort the affected children. Wilson said St. Andrew’s has worked since 2010 with Oaklawn and with Cooper Elementary, schools with a significant population of at-risk students, with 75 percent of the children at each school qualifying for free or reduced school meals. Most of the other schools in the area are more affluent. To help these students and their families, the parish has undertaken a variety of efforts, including feeding students on weekends during the summer, staging a clothing drive for students and their family members, and providing Christmas gifts for all first and second graders in both schools. The church also provided grocery store vouchers to 50 families at Easter so they could purchase needed food, in partnership with a local Lutheran church. Wilson said the parish wants to continue and expand its involvement with Oaklawn and Cooper. Church representatives meet with the school social workers every month to see how they can help. v
Wellington church celebrates 35 years Members and friends of St. Jude’s in Wellington gathered on May 1 to celebrate the 35th anniversary of the church’s founding. The day included a special reception complete with a commemorative cake (above). Among those in attendance was Bill Dennis, who was one of the charter members in 1977. In addition to Deacon Kitty Shield, who leads the congregation, other clergy attending were Deacon Lee Allen of St. Christopher’s, Wichita; Deacon Patsy Abshier of St. John’s, Wichita; and the Rev. Betty Glover, Trinity, Arkansas City and Grace, Winfield. v
three Girl Scout troops, who used the opportunity to serve as a way to celebrate the 100th anniversary of the founding of the Girl Scouts. The Scouts’ efforts were organized by parishioners Laurie and Jane Bush and helped serve 430 meals. Grace, Ottawa marked Mother’s Day by giving flowers to all women in church that morning. St. Thomas, Overland Park marked Pentecost with food and information. Those at the Saturday evening service enjoyed hors d’oeuvres and learning more about parish outreach ministries. Sunday morning saw a potluck lunch and kids’ activities, along with the chance to talk to representatives of a variety of parish ministries. St. John’s, Parsons is using a volunteer coffee hour this summer, asking for weekly volunteers to make coffee and, if they feel so moved, to provide light snacks. St. Peter’s, Pittsburg has joined with other churches in town in building a Habitat for Humanity house. A work day in May included installing attic insulation, shingling a storage shed, putting up soffits and making lunch for all the workers. St. Clare’s, Spring Hill has opened an after-hours emergency food pantry to serve the needs of people who can’t access other assistance during the day. The pantry at the church will be open on the third Tuesday of every month from 6 to 8 p.m. Grace Cathedral, Topeka commissioned its first group of Stephen Ministers on May 6. The group of 10 will provide confidential Christian care and support to
people going through a variety of life challenges. St. Luke’s, Wamego Guild provided scholarships to young people from the parish wanting to attend diocesan summer camp this year. Money from last December’s “Cookies by the Pound” fundraiser helped with this need. Good Shepherd, Wichita is offering one Sunday service during the summer, and it will feature the combined efforts of the contemporary and traditional worship groups. So far plans call for Sundays featuring jazz and children’s music, as well as a Favorite Hymns Day. St. Bartholomew’s, Wichita marked Pentecost with a parish breakfast, a balloon launch, and red cake and punch after church. St. James’, Wichita said good-bye to the Rev. Tony Clark, a priest of the Church of England who had assisted at the church while on the staff of Friends University. He has accepted a call to a new ministry in England. He celebrated both services on June 3, and the congregation hosted a reception in his honor. St. John’s, Wichita has applied to become part of the Community of Hope, an Episcopalbased ministry that helps train lay pastoral caregivers based on a Benedictine model. The church currently has a pastoral care ministry team of 11 people. Grace, Winfield Daughters of the King is helping a local church provide meals for those in need. Once a month members supplement the church’s main dishes with side items and have invited the congregation to assist on other days. v
May/June 2012 • The Harvest • 9
From Twitter to zombies, author explores religion and culture
Bishop Seabury Academy News
By Melodie Woerman Editor, The Harvest
lizabeth Drescher didn’t start out to look at what zombies can teach the church — but popular culture images like vampires and the living dead actually say something critical at a time when religious institutions are trying to connect with young people. Drescher, professor of religious studies at Santa Clara University and author of two books on digital media, will explore that theme when she speaks July 23 and 24 at the “Bigger Bible Study” sponsored by St. Michael and All Angels in Mission. Her talks are scheduled for 6:30 p.m., and advance registration is required. In a telephone interview with The Harvest, Drescher was quick to point out that her background isn’t in digital media. “I’m a medievalist,” she said, “so you wouldn’t think that’s what I’d be up to.” She said her dissertation looked at the spiritual lives of ordinary believers in late medieval England, when the rise of books affected the way average people engaged not only their culture but their faith. “It changed the way people thought about religious authority, their responsibility to their own spiritual lives, and how that connected to each other, the church and church leaders,” she said. She believes it was these changes that helped usher in the Reformation.
Digital media fits the Episcopal Church
In recent years she again was looking at trends in the spiritual lives of ordinary believers, and she saw that a new technology was having a big effect — this time, digital and social media. That exploration led her to write her first book, Tweet if You ¤ Jesus, which looked at why churches should be involved with digital media at all. Her work convinced her that this new medium was a good fit for the Episcopal Church and other mainline Protestant churches. “We were spectacularly bad at broadcast media,” she said, noting that it wasn’t just lack of funds that hampered its use. It was better suited to shouts from televangelists, she said. But digital media is different, and its emphasis on connection and relationships “is more like our culture and values.” She and Lutheran Pastor Keith Anderson recently authored Click 2 Save, which she said is a how-to manual to help churches get involved with social media.
So, what about zombies?
Drescher said recently she’s been intrigued by the rise of images in popular culture of zombies, vampires and werewolves and what they might have to teach the church. Her conclusion? Stories about these supernatural beings have value to young people because they are
The 20 members of the 2012 graduating class of Bishop Seabury Academy, an Episcopal secondary school in Lawrence
Bishop Seabury graduates 20
Author and scholar Elizabeth Drescher will speak at the Bigger Bible Study at St. Michael and All Angels in Mission on July 23 and 24.
Elizabeth Drescher at St. Michael’s Drescher will lead the plenary session at the Bigger Bible Study on July 23 and will teach the class on July 24. Both begin at 6:30 p.m. Advance registration, with a small fee, is required for both events. For information, visit the church’s website, www.stmaa.net. stand-ins for the big questions about life and death. But because the church isn’t able to reach young people with answers, they are seeking them in other places. Right now, it’s zombies and the like. “Young people have big questions about these things, and for a variety of reasons they aren’t engaging them in traditional religious institutions,” she said. “But they are struggling to make sense of these questions. These images “express something about what people think about the meaning of life,” she said, noting that the popular Hunger Games book series and movie “are profound mediations on poverty, economic justice and abuse of power.” The irony, she said, is that these are exactly the questions the church has always been able to help answer. “These topics are our stock in trade,” she said. But just as the church had to adapt to the new technology of the printing press, it needs to acknowledge that people seek God through new digital channels. To begin to better understand that, she suggests there needs to be more listening. “Just listen to the experience of others, and don’t be defensive.” v
ishop Seabury Academy said good-bye to 20 graduating seniors at its commencement ceremony on May 25. The Episcopal-based secondary school in Lawrence had a student population during the most recent academic year of about 175. Dr. Don Schawang, Bishop Seabury’s head of school, said that all of the graduates will be attending some kind of higher education institution in the fall. He said the class exhibited a variety of talents, including “artists who wish to pursue careers in musical and theatrical arts; some of the strongest athletes we have had at Seabury, several of whom are on track to play professional basketball; and quite a few business majors.” He said that seven of the graduates are international students, staying in Lawrence either with host families or with relatives other than their parents. He also noted that 14 of the 20 had spent all five years of their post-elementary education at the school. Bishop Seabury Academy, which opened in 1997, is an official institution of the Episcopal Diocese of Kansas. It serves students of a variety of faiths in its mission to “promote individual academic growth and character development through an excellent education rooted in moral principles.” It is named after Bishop Samuel Seabury, the first bishop in the Episcopal Church to be ordained after the split from the Church of England after the Revolutionary War.
Award honors contributions to spiritual life
An annual award to a Bishop Seabury Academy junior who has aided in the school’s spiritual life has been renamed the Bishop’s Torch Award to recognize the important work it represents. It is a trophy featuring a flame. This year it went to Raquel Dominguez for her help with and The Rev. Patrick Funston presents enthusiasm for chapel Seabury junior Raquel Dominguez, with the Bishop’s Torch Award. services. v
Clergy news Three deacons ordained on June 2 have received their one-year internship assignments from Bishop Dean Wolfe. Deacon Peggy Flynn will spend two weeks a month at St. James’, Wichita, and the other two at her home parish, St. John’s, Wichita. Deacon Sandy Horton-Smith will split her time between St. Mark’s, Blue Rapids, St. Paul’s, Marysville and her home parish, St. Paul’s, Manhattan. Deacon Rex Matney will work at St. Paul’s, Clay Center, as well as his home parish, Church of the Covenant, Junction City. The Rev. David Jenkins, who was ordained a transitional deacon on June 2,
has been appointed as pastoral leader at the Church of the Covenant in Junction City, effective June 15. He will continue to serve as the state chaplain for the Kansas National Guard. He has been a member of St. David’s, Topeka. The Rev. Art Rathbun will continue to provide priestly support to the vestry and congregation. The Rev. David Lynch, who also was ordained a transitional deacon on June 2, has been named curate at St. James’ in Wichita, effective July 8. He graduated in May from Virginia Theological Seminary. Before leaving for seminary, he was a member of St. Michael and All Angels in Mission.
The Rev. Tom Miles retired as rector of St. Paul’s, Manhattan at the end of June. He had served the congregation since 2002. A farewell celebration took place June 9. The Rev. John Seville has been named the interim priest at St. Paul’s, Manhattan, effective July 15. Seville most recently has been the interim at St. Paul’s, Ivy, Va., and he has served as an interim in other parishes in Virginia and Illinois. He is the brother of the Rev. Joe Seville, who was rector of St. Thomas, Overland Park from 1989 to 1996. The Rev. Amanda Eiman, the outgoing assistant rector of St. James’, Wichita, will be married at that church on Aug. 3. Her fiancé is the Rev. Christopher Bishop,
a priest from the Diocese of Pennsylvania. Bishop William Smalley, the eighth bishop of Kansas, now is canonically resident in the Diocese of Indianapolis, where he has lived since his retirement in 2004. The Rev. Clarence F. “Dutch” Stolz died on June 11 in Lawrence at age 87. He had served as rector of Trinity, Atchison (1959-1969); campus minister at the University of Kansas, Lawrence (1969-1973); and senior canon at Grace Cathedral, Topeka (1973-1982). A memorial service celebrating his life took place June 14 at Trinity, Lawrence, and his ashes were buried in the Memorial Garden at Trinity, Atchison. v
10 • The Harvest • May/June 2012
National and international news Anglican news briefs Episcopal News Service L.A. bishop says his leukemia is in remission: Bishop J. Jon Bruno of Los Angeles announced in a May 24 letter to his diocese that his doctors have declared his acute monocytic leukemia to be in full remission, and that they hope for a complete recovery. He underwent several more rounds of chemotherapy in the weeks following his announcement. Each series of treatments had to be followed by a period of rest and recovery, he wrote, some of which was spent at the hospital and some at his home. Because of the nature of the treatment, which destroys infection-fighting white blood cells, he had to spend most of that time in protective isolation. Bishop Stanley Ntagali elected archbishop of Uganda: Bishop Stanley Ntagali was elected the 8th archbishop of the Church of Uganda on June 22 during a meeting of the House of Bishops at St. Paul’s Cathedral, Namirembe. Ntagali received a two-thirds majority in a secret ballot, in accordance with the church’s constitution. Ntagali was consecrated a bishop on Dec. 19, 2004, and has served as the bishop of Masindi-Kitara Diocese. Interfaith leaders work toward Middle East peace: A landmark three-day Christian-Muslim peace conference in Beirut concluded June 22 on a hopeful note by issuing an appeal to religious leaders and institutions to collaborate on promoting human rights, self-determination, peaceful coexistence, and non-violence, particularly in Jerusalem and the Holy Land. Bishop John Chane of the Episcopal Diocese of Washington announced the agreement to the more than two dozen delegates representing Episcopalians and Anglicans; Roman, Armenian, Melkite and Maronite Catholics; and Sunni and Shi’ite Muslims. The meeting, second in a planned series of four, broke new ground on several fronts. Pennsylvania diocese to aid flooded neighbors: The Diocese of Bethlehem has received a grant from Episcopal Relief & Development to implement a plan intended to help residents of West Pittston still recovering from last September’s flooding, while also preparing Episcopal churches in the region to respond to future disasters. The grant comes in addition to other assistance and resources. This grant, combined with funds provided by the 68 churches of the diocese, will assist the recovery of the West Pittston area and the establishment of a regional disaster recovery and outreach center owned by the diocese and run through a coordinated effort among the Luzerne County regional parishes.
Bishops ask for president’s help in Gaza hospital funding cut
ishop Dean Wolfe was one of 102 bishops of the Episcopal Church who on June 6 signed a letter to President Barack Obama asking for his intervention in cuts by a United Nations agency to a hospital in Gaza run by the Episcopal Diocese of Jerusalem and the Middle East. Ahli Arab Hospital is due to lose half its funding after financial support was withdrawn by the United Nations Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA) on June 1. It operates on an annual budget of about $2.4 million, of which UNRWA had provided about $1 million. Led by Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori, the bishops’ letter to the president said the U.N. agency’s action could have “disastrous consequences for the more than two million residents of Gaza, already living in conditions of profound humanitarian need.” The bishops wrote that “It is the only facility of its sort in the Gaza Strip that is not run by the Hamas government and as such, it is able to provide care without any outside interference or political calculation.” They said this makes its continued operations “in the inherent interests of the United States government.” They wrote that the UNRWA’s decision, after nearly two decades of partnership with the hospital, comes “without public justification … and threatens to debilitate the hospital, its 120-person staff, and the many thousands of Gazans who rely on it for primary and urgent care and treatment.”
An injured child is treated at Al Ahli Arab Hospital in Gaza. The hospital is run by the Episcopal Diocese of Jerusalem and the Middle East.
Founded as a mission of the Anglican Church in 1882, the hospital became a part of the diocese in 1982. Today, it is among more than 30 institutions run by the Jerusalem-based diocese. It serves about 42,000 outpatients and 4,800 inpatients each year and runs specific programs for children and the elderly. It provides services in general surgery, general medicine, gynecology and obstetrics, pediatrics, and orthopedics, among other areas. — Episcopal News Service v
Ogé Beauvoir becomes Haiti’s bishop suffragan Episcopal News Service
Barbara Campbell named Connecticut’s first ‘diocesan poet’: Barbara Campbell of St. Mark’s Episcopal Church in New Britain has been invited by the bishops in the Diocese of Connecticut to be the first “Diocesan Poet.” But don’t think of this as some stuffy, distant appointment. “We invited Barbara to tap into our inner poet and claim a creative expression of our faith,” said Bishop Suffragan Laura J. Ahrens, who took the lead on this effort. “By calling her ‘Diocesan Poet’ we hope she’ll help all of us, as a diocese, to claim our collective poetic voices,” she said. Campbell understands her new role is more of an instigator than a distant expert, although she does come with credentials as a published poet. She also is a retired high school and college teacher. Thomas Logan, eldest serving African-American priest, dies at 100: Services were held May 11 and 12 for the Rev. Canon Thomas Wilson Stearly Logan, Sr., 100, associate priest of the African Episcopal Church of St. Thomas, Philadelphia, who died May 2. The eldest serving African American priest in the Episcopal Church, Logan was a civil rights pioneer and a long-term leader of the Conference of Church Workers Among Colored People (CCWACP), which was the precursor to the Union of Black Episcopalians. Logan served as rector of Calvary Church Northern Liberties in Philadelphia and was named rector emeritus when he retired in 1984. Logan was ordained to the diaconate in 1938 and to the priesthood the following year. He served churches in Yonkers, N.Y., and in New York City and Philadelphia. Later in his career he went on to earn doctorates in divinity and theology and also received two honorary doctorates. Logan was born in Philadelphia on March 19, 1912, one of eight children of a minister and a teacher. In 1938 he married Hermione Hill, who survives him. v
Photo by ACT International
Haiti Suffragan Bishop Ogé Beauvoir
he Rev. Canon Ogé Beauvoir, dean of the Episcopal Theological Seminary in Port-au-Prince, became the Diocese of Haiti‘s first bishop suffragan May 22 during a service in the diocese’s open-air cathedral. Beauvoir was elected Nov. 25 on the second ballot with 68 lay votes and 25 priest votes. The election took place at Ascension Church in Carrefour, a suburb of Port-au-Prince. Close to 1,000 people attended the four-hour long ordination and consecration service that was led by Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori. The Rev. James
Cooper, rector of Trinity Wall Street, New York, where Beauvoir once worked, was the preacher. Among those attending the service were a number of Episcopal Church bishops, as well as a representative of the Roman Catholic Church in Haiti and, reportedly, a high-ranking Vodou priestess. Beauvoir, who was born in Gros-Morne, Haiti, earned his university and seminary degrees in Montreal. He was received into the Episcopal Church in March 2000. Beauvoir was a program associate in the Trinity Grants program from 1999 until 2004. He has been an Episcopal Church-appointed missionary to Haiti since 2004. v
Report shows positive trends in church statistics Episcopal Church Office of Public Affairs
nformation based on preliminary data from the 2011 parochial reports show an increase in Episcopal Church revenue and a moderation of recent declines among Episcopal congregations. C. Kirk Hadaway, officer for congregational research and author of the report, said, “Some churches are growing, fewer churches are seeing large declines in membership and attendance, and many dioceses are seeing gains rather than losses in gifts from their congregations and returns on investments.” He said the key items for his projection are average Sunday attendance, active baptized members, plate and pledge giving, and gifts and assessments to dioceses by congregations. Among the key elements of the report indicate:
An expected 95 percent of domestic congregations will have filed the 2011 Parochial Report. Average Sunday attendance will show an improvement in 2011. While 2011 will witness a decline in membership, it is the lowest since 2002. Plate and pledge giving is expected to rise by around $12 million, or +0.9 percent in 2011. Gifts and assessments to dioceses by congregations suggest an increase of .04 percent in 2011. “The last three years should not be considered the ‘new normal,’” Hadaway said. “This is not to minimize the declines in membership and attendance since 2002, nor the loss of income in the last several years…Still, there are signs of improvement in terms of membership, attendance and finances.” v
May/June 2012 • The Harvest • 11
Racing toward Indianapolis Kansans head to 77th General Convention, where critical votes await Committee assignments
By Melodie Woerman Editor, The Harvest
he Episcopal Diocese of Kansas is sending four lay and four clergy deputies, along with the first alternates in each order, to the 77th meeting of General Convention in Indianapolis July 5-12. One clergy and two lay alternates also are attending at their own expense. Half of the deputies will be first-timers, including three of the four clergy and one alternate. But veterans have 11 previous Conventions between them, meaning there will be both wisdom and fresh perspectives among the Kansas deputation. Here is information on those attending from the Episcopal Diocese of Kansas.
Larry Bingham: This will be Bingham’s seventh Convention, where he has been named a member of the Committee on Prayer Book, Liturgy and Church Music. He is a member of St. Michael and All Angels in Mission. Mike Morrow: Morrow will serve as chair of the Kansas deputation at his fourth Convention. As in 2009, he will be a member of the Committee on Canons. He is a member of St. John’s, Wichita. Bob Skaggs: This will be Skaggs’ second Convention, and he’s been asked to serve on the Church Pension Fund Committee. He is a member of St. Michael and All Angels in Mission. Natalie Vanatta: This will be Vanatta’s first time at Convention, and she has volunteered to track the work of the Committee on Education. A member of St. Luke’s, Wamego, she has been in Boston since last August as a Micah Intern in an Episcopal
These Diocese of Kansas deputies have been named to General Convention committees that will consider resolutions referred to it during the meeting and make recommendations on action to be taken: Larry Bingham: Prayer Book, Liturgy and Church Music T h e R e v. C r a i g L o y a : Structure Mike Morrow: Canons Bob Skaggs: Church Pension Fund The Rev. Juli Sifers: Small Congregations
Photo by Melodie Woerman
Some of the deputies and alternates to General Convention from the Episcopal Diocese of Kansas pause for a photo during a meeting in January to discuss upcoming legislation they’ll consider when Convention meets July 5-12 in Indianapolis. They are (front row, from left) Mike Morrow, the Rev. Juli Sifers and Steven King; (back row, from left) Joe Mitchell, the Rev. Craig Loya, Deacon Steve Segebrecht, the Rev. Betty Glover, Bob Skaggs, the Rev. Gail Greenwell, Harriet Duff and Teresa Rogers.
Service Corps program through the Diocese of Massachusetts. She works as the Sunday school coordinator at the Church of Our Savior in Arlington, Mass. Steven King: This will be first alternate King’s first Convention, where he will monitor the National and International Concerns Committee. He currently is a student at Virginia Theological Seminary and a postulant for the priesthood in this diocese. His home church is St. Margaret’s, Lawrence.
The Rev. Craig Loya: This will be Loya’s first Convention, where he’s been named a member of the Committee on Structure. He serves as the diocese’s canon to the ordinary. The Rev. Juli Sifers: Sifers
will be attending her second Convention, having been first alternate in 2009, and she will sit on the Committee on Small Congregations. She is rector of St. Aidan’s, Olathe. Deacon Steve Segebrecht: This will be Segebrecht’s first Convention, and he has agreed to monitor the World Mission Committee, a good fit, given his work as founding director of the Kansas to Kenya ministry. He is a deacon at Trinity in Lawrence. The Rev. Betty Glover: This will also be Glover’s first time at General Convention, and she will track legislation moving through the Social and Urban Affairs Committee She is rector of Trinity, Arkansas City and Grace, Winfield. The Rev. Matt Zimmerman: As first alternate, this will
be Zimmerman’s first time at Convention. He serves as rector of St. Margaret’s, Lawrence.
Bishop Dean Wolfe
Bishop Wolfe and his wife, Ellen, also will be attending, where he will take his place in the House of Bishops. He also holds the second-highest position in that body, having been elected vice president of the House of Bishops at the 2009 General Convention.
Three alternates have volunteered to attend General Convention and monitor legislation while there. Third lay alternate Harriet Duff will track the work of the Evangelism Committee. She is a member of St. Michael and All Angels, Mission. Fourth lay alternate Joe Mitchell will sit in on the
Kansas deputies and alternates who aren’t a member of a committee will monitor the work of other legislative committees.
Ecumenical Relations Committee. He is a member of the Church of the Covenant in Junction City. Second clergy alternate the Rev. Gail Greenwell will monitor the Ministry Committee. She is rector of St. Michael and All Angels, Mission. Episcopal Church Women members from Kansas attending the ECW Triennial meeting include Kansas ECW board members Beth Criss, June Mendenhall, Bev Winston, Marilyn Milhon, Daria Condon and Lonnie Isaak. Director of Communications Melodie Woerman will be a member of the official Episcopal News Service team for the third time, reporting on the House of Deputies. Others Kansans also will be at General Convention in a variety of roles. All can be spotted by the large felt sunflower pins that have become the diocese’s trademark. v
Big issues are on the docket before Convention starts By Melodie Woerman Editor, The Harvest
hen deputies and bishops gather in Indianapolis for the 77th General Convention, a series of critical votes await them, based on resolutions that already have been presented to the General Convention Office. They include: A proposed trial rite for blessing same-gender relationships. The Standing Commission on Liturgy and Music, in response to a mandate from the 2009 General Convention, created a proposed liturgy and supporting documents for such blessings. They released the information early this year to give people time to study and discuss it. If adopted, the rite would be used for a three-year trial period, with a report to the 2015 Convention on how it
was used. The Anglican Covenant. The controversial document, intended by Archbishop of Canterbury Rowan Williams as a way for the various parts within the Anglican Communion to define its life together, will face a final vote this year. It was proposed in 2009 after five years of discussion and requires votes by all 38 provinces of the Communion to take effect. A section outlining disciplinary measures for churches that don’t follow expected norms is the portion that troubles Episcopal Church opponents. Restructuring the Episcopal Church. Bishop Stacy Sauls, the church’s chief operating officer, last year proposed calling for a special commission to look at how to make the church’s structure less cumbersome and expensive. A slew of resolutions have been offered on the topic. Churchwide health insurance plan. In
Want to keep track of what’s going on at General Convention? Visit a special General Convention page on the diocesan website with links to deputy comments, legislation, news and more:
www.episcopal-ks.org/news/genconv 2009 General Convention mandated that by 2013 all dioceses and parishes provide health insurance through the church’s Medical Trust to lay employees and clergy working at least 20 hours a week, with the same coverage offered to all. Expectations of reduced costs haven’t materialized, and the cost of adding lots of new people, mostly lay employees, to the plan could have big dollar implications. Several options to amend the requirements or delay or eliminate the mandate have been proposed. 2013-2015 budget. Budgets always can
be tricky, but especially will be this year. Executive Council adopted a proposed budget earlier this year, but after it was printed members said it wasn’t what they had intended. Bishop Sauls provided an updated version June 1, and Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori took the unprecedented step of offering another alternative on June 21. It’s up to the deputy and bishop members of the Program, Budget and Finance Committee to come up with a final three-year budget to present to Convention in the meeting’s final days. v
12 • The Harvest • May/June 2012
Reflections on faith and life
Sharing the Good News
The coming of the kingdom is God’s work, not ours By the Very Rev. Steve Lipscomb Jesus also said, “The kingdom of God is as if someone would scatter seed on the ground, and would sleep and rise night and day, and the seed would sprout and grow, he does not know how.” Mark 4:26-28
survived at all, I think, bears truth that the Holy Spirit was and is at work, sometimes despite the church and our often twisted views of what Christianity is really about — which is Christ-like grace and acceptance and love. Jesus’ parable of the farmer and the seed reminds us today, just as it did the people of his own day, that the kingdom of God, and its coming and its growth, is the work of God that comes in God’s own time and in God’s own way. Jesus compares the kingdom of God to a farmer who plants seed and then goes about his life trusting that the earth will do the rest. The farmer doesn’t know how the seed grows, nor is that his concern. He merely sows and then waits for the harvest. Everything in between is up to nature and out of the farmer’s control. The point of the parable, of course, is that the kingdom of God does not depend on human intervention. Its growth takes place totally outside the realm of human endeavor or understanding. This can be a hard pill for Christians to swallow. We can’t imagine God doing anything without us. We can’t imagine anything growing without our implementing plans and pro-
grams to monitor its growth. We can’t imagine being “out of control,” because being out of control means having to put the same trust and faith and confidence we have in ourselves in someone or something else. And that’s risky business, even when that someone else is God. But that is the whole of it. The key to our understanding what the kingdom of God is like lies in our understanding that we do not and cannot make it happen, and in our trust and faith that God can and does make it happen — that the kingdom of God is happening, all around us, all the time. This is not to say that our role is totally passive. By preaching and teaching, by loving one another and working for social justice, by witnessing through our Christ-like words and actions, we are sowers of the seed. But we do not decide how or where or when those seeds grow. We are not called to convert, we are called to proclaim and to trust the Holy Spirit to do the rest. The kingdom of God will come. The one who has begun the good work will see it to completion. Steve Lipscomb is dean of Grace Cathedral in Topeka. This is an excerpt of a sermon he preached on June 17, 2012. v
5 77th General Convention of the Episcopal Church, Indianapolis (through July 12)
8 Southeast Convocation pre-convention meeting, St. John’s, Parsons
17 Council of Trustees meeting, Grace Cathedral, Topeka
August 2012 4 Safeguarding God’s Children training, Grace Cathedral, Topeka 11 Safeguarding God’s Children and Safeguarding God’s People training, St. John’s, Parsons
Southwest Convocation pre-convention meeting, Trinity, El Dorado
18 Council of Trustees meeting, Grace Cathedral, Topeka 22 Northeast Convocation pre-convention meeting, Bishop Seabury Academy, Lawrence
Northwest Convocation pre-convention meeting, Grace Cathedral, Topeka
NOTE: Bishop Wolfe will be out of the diocese on sabbatical from the end of July until mid-October
For the latest news of the diocese, full calendar listings, and more, visit the diocesan website:
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uring the time of Jesus, there were many people who had grown tired of waiting on the kingdom of God to arrive. Some of these, the Zealots, had decided that the time had come to take matters into their own hands. If God wouldn’t bring in the kingdom, then they would do it themselves. They were tired of waiting. Much like the Zealots of Jesus’ day, we Christians have almost from the beginning believed that it was up to us to bring about the kingdom. And after studying church history for 24 years, quite frankly, I am amazed that Christianity hasn’t managed to turn the whole world against Christ. In an effort to speed the kingdom’s coming and ensure its growth, we have, through the centuries, taken it upon ourselves to convert the world to Christianity. And in the process we have abused, oppressed, tortured and even killed people who have stood in our way or disagreed with our views. The Crusades, the Inquisition, the Salem witch hunts and Nazi Germany all were atrocities committed in the name of Christianity and to speed the coming of God’s kingdom. The fact that the church has
We can’t imagine God doing anything without us. We can’t imagine anything growing without our implementing plans and programs to monitor its growth.
The mission of the Episcopal Diocese of Kansas is to gather, equip and send disciples of Jesus Christ to witness to God’s reconciling love.