Episcopal Diocese of Louisiana
The  Episcopal Diocese of Louisiana

EDoLA News for March 2016
Volume 10, Issue 2
Announcements from the Bishop's Office

Community Mission Appeal Renewal Grant Recipients Announced

As announced last November ( read full announcement here), the Community Mission Appeal (CMA) Committee and Bishop Thompson changed the grant cycle to align with the Annual Convention of the Episcopal Diocese of Louisiana. In January, congregations that received a CMA grant in 2015 were invited to apply for a renewal grant equal to half of what they received that year. Those who applied for and received renewal grants were: All Souls, New Orleans; Christ Church Cathedral; Christ Church, Covington; Chapel of the Holy Comforter, New Orleans; St. Andrew's, New Orleans; St. Anna's, New Orleans; St. George's, New Orleans; St. Mark's, Harvey; and Trinity Church, New Orleans. A full description as well as videos and photographs of each of the ministries receiving the CMA renewal grant can be found by clicking here

CMA Lenten Fundraising Campaign


Thank you to everyone who has given to the Community Mission Appeal. The CMA exists in order to support the development and continuing strength of mission work throughout the diocese. One hundred percent of your gift is helping our congregations to serve Jesus as he lives and breathes in Louisiana. Later this summer all congregations of the Episcopal Diocese of Louisiana will receive an invitation to apply for a CMA grant to be announced at the Annual Convention on November 4 and 5.

The fundraising period for CMA continues through the Lenten Season. Please consider making a tax-deductible donation. You can contribute  online here or mail your check with "Community Mission Appeal" written in the memo line to:

Community Mission Appeal
Episcopal Diocese of Louisiana
1623 Seventh Street
New Orleans, LA 70115

All are welcome to join us throughout the diocese for Holy Week & Easter services.  Click here to find a listing (alphabetical by city then church) of services and other events.

News from the Episcopal Church
A Word to the Church From the House of Bishops

March 15, 2016

The House of Bishops of The Episcopal Church, meeting in retreat, unanimously approved the following Word To The Church.

A Word to the Church

Holy Week 2016

"We reject the idolatrous notion that we can ensure the safety of some by sacrificing the hopes of others."

On Good Friday the ruling political forces of the day tortured and executed an innocent man. They sacrificed the weak and the blameless to protect their own status and power. On the third day Jesus was raised from the dead, revealing not only their injustice but also unmasking the lie that might makes right.

In a country still living under the shadow of the lynching tree, we are troubled by the violent forces being released by this season's political rhetoric. Americans are turning against their neighbors, particularly those on the margins of society. They seek to secure their own safety and security at the expense of others. There is legitimate reason to fear where this rhetoric and the actions arising from it might take us.

In this moment, we resemble God's children wandering in the wilderness. We, like they, are struggling to find our way. They turned from following God and worshiped a golden calf constructed from their own wealth. The current rhetoric is leading us to construct a modern false idol out of power and privilege. We reject the idolatrous notion that we can ensure the safety of some by sacrificing the hopes of others. No matter where we fall on the political spectrum, we must respect the dignity of every human being and we must seek the common good above all else.

We call for prayer for our country that a spirit of reconciliation will prevail and we will not betray our true selves.

The Episcopal Church House of Bishops met in retreat March 11 - 15 at Camp Allen Conference Center in Navasota, TX.

House of Bishops Spring Meeting

Daily briefings from the March 11-15 House of Bishops meeting can be found here on the Episcopal News Service website.
News from Around the Diocese
Death of the Rev. Chuck Wood

The Rev. Charles A. "Chuck" Wood died at his home in Baton Rouge on March 12, 2016. Fr. Wood served as chaplain at St. Alban's Chapel, Baton Rouge, for 28 years. After his retirement from the chapel he served as chaplain at St. James Place and as supply priest at Church of the Holy Communion, Baton Rouge. His funeral was held at St. Alban's on March 14.  Fr. Wood was 83 years old. 
Rodney Kennedy Ordained to the Sacred Order of Deacons

On March 3, 2016, at St. James, Baton Rouge, Rodney Kennedy was ordained to the Sacred Order of Deacons. The Rt. Rev. Morris K. Thompson, Jr. celebrated and the Rev. Mark Holland preached. Deacon Kennedy was most recently senior pastor at First Baptist Church, Dayton, Ohio. He was assigned to serve as administrator at St. Francis, Denham Springs, until his ordination into the Sacred Order of Priests in early fall. At that time he will be named the priest-in-charge of the church. 

Flooding in the Diocese After the March Storms
[Photograph from the Christ Episcopal School Facebook page] In Covington, flood waters from the Bogue Falaya River surrounds Christ Episcopal Church and the Christ Episcopal School Early Education Center after the rainstorm on March 10 and 11. The river flooded the kindergarten building, but the church, old chapel, and parish hall remained dry. 
Flooding of the Christ Episcopal School Kindergarten Building
[Photograph from the Christ Episcopal School Facebook page] In Covington, water from the Bogue Falaya River flooded the Christ Episcopal School Early Education Center after the rainstorm on March 10 and 11.  A cleanup day was held March 14 with the help of teachers, parents and members of the community. The Covington Fire Department power washed the playground. 
Episcopal Relief and Development Press Release: Responding to Flood and Storms in South-Central US

March 17, 2016 

Episcopal Relief & Development is supporting the response efforts of the Episcopal dioceses of Louisiana and Western Louisiana, following storms that knocked out power and caused widespread flooding across the state. Both dioceses are working through local churches and community ministries to care for vulnerable people and assist with needs such as food, fuel, temporary housing and supplies to clean and repair damaged homes and other property. 

"The churches in Louisiana and Western Louisiana have been incredibly resourceful and thoughtful about assembling their flood responses," said Katie Mears, Director of Episcopal Relief & Development's US Disaster Program. "They have done a fantastic job of identifying where they have local connections or community resources that can be used to assist people in need." 

The early March storm system began in the Gulf of Mexico and caused a series of tornadoes in Texas before moving east and settling over northern Louisiana, where it dumped up to 24 inches of rain over a five-day period. In southern Louisiana, the area north of Lake Ponchartrain received between 12 and 17 inches of rain in less than 24 hours over March 10-11. Flash flooding was widespread, and rivers reached 10-20 feet above flood stage, swamping areas as far as a mile on either side and damaging vehicles and property. Thousands of people evacuated or were rescued from their homes, often by boat as roads became impassable. At least six people died across the region due to the storms. 

In the Episcopal Diocese of Louisiana, congregations in Hammond, Covington and Bogalusa are leveraging ministries, relationships and community resources to aid those in need. In Hammond, Grace Memorial Episcopal Church's ongoing ministry with Meals on Wheels enabled quick assessment of 30 elderly households, and support from Episcopal Relief & Development enabled the church to provide tarps and other materials to prevent further home damage. Christ Church in Covington is able to offer assistance and referrals to community services because of their connections through programs that serve at-risk children. St. Matthew's in Bogalusa has mobilized members with deep community relationships to help assemble a list of families with outstanding needs, in order to supply gift cards for food, fuel and repairs. Christ Church is also working with the Bogalusa paper mill's employee assistance coordinator to identify additional families in need of temporary housing and other aid. 

"We have churches throughout the flooded area - active, engaged congregations with good leadership," said Deacon Elaine Clements, Disaster Coordinator for the Episcopal Diocese of Louisiana. "The new senior warden of St. Matthew's is an attorney in town who has been working with the mayor's office on rescue and relief, and the congregation in Hammond has a member who is a social worker and is connected to community organizations. It's hard to overstate how vital our members and relationships are in disaster response." 

In the Episcopal Diocese of Western Louisiana, church leaders have aided local officials by assessing the needs of residents around their parishes. The primary needs are for cleaning and repair supplies, as well as temporary housing for those whose homes are not currently livable. Day shelters for homeless individuals in Shreveport and Monroe, which are supported by local Episcopal churches, are able to assist those who are temporarily without housing, as well as provide outreach to regular clients who may be experiencing greater vulnerability due to the storm. Stephen's Ministries in several congregations are able to assist displaced people with emotional support and pastoral care. 

"Our clergy and parishioners have been incredibly helpful in communicating and coordinating with local government and disaster response agencies," said Deacon Lois Maberry, Disaster Coordinator for the Episcopal Diocese of Western Louisiana. "This has allowed individuals to be directed to community resources that are offering aid, helping them to cope with this tragedy." 

Episcopal Relief & Development will continue to work with dioceses across the impacted region to assess how church resources and connections can be leveraged to aid those most vulnerable. 

Please pray for people impacted by these most recent storms, and for those who are providing urgently needed care and assistance. To support Episcopal Relief & Development's response, please donate to the US Disaster Response Fund

For over 75 years, Episcopal Relief & Development has served as a compassionate response to human suffering in the world. The agency works with more than 3 million people in nearly 40 countries worldwide to overcome poverty, hunger and disease through multi-sector programs, using the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) as a framework. An independent 501(c)(3) organization, it works closely with Anglican Communion and ecumenical partners to help communities create long-term development strategies and rebuild after disasters. 
A Pastoral Note from Bishop Thompson: Flooding in the Diocese

March 14, 2016

Please continue to keep in your prayers all those across the south who are suffering from the flooding caused by the torrential rainstorm this past Thursday and Friday. The rivers and creeks are still rising and the danger is not over yet. At this time, none of our churches suffered damage from the flooding. However, the kindergarten building of Christ Episcopal School took on water when the Bogue Falaya River flooded downtown Covington.

There were many parishioners and neighbors of our Northshore churches who were affected by the flooding though. We have received emergency funds from Episcopal Relief and Development so the churches in the flood areas can assist the most vulnerable in their community. These funds will be distributed soon.

Please consider making a donation to the Episcopal Relief and Development US Disaster Program. You can donate here
St. Martin's Announces New Head of Upper School

Kevin Weatherill to take helm in 2016-17.

Merry Sorrells, Head of School at St. Martin's Episcopal, announced today that Kevin Weatherill will assume the role of Head of the Upper School with the beginning of the 2016-17 year. Ms. Sorrells says, "Beginning with Kevin's first interview, the search committee and I all felt we had found the perfect fit for our community. Kevin brings with him a wealth of experience, balance, and curricular knowledge.  The passion he expresses for working with students, teachers, and parents foretells an exciting future for the Upper School and St. Martin's."
Mr. Weatherill currently is Director of College Counseling at St. Paul's Episcopal School in Mobile, Alabama, where he is also a member of the school's leadership team.  He is an Ed.D Candidate in Educational Leadership, Policy, and Organization at Vanderbilt University.  Weatherill received his undergraduate degree from Bucknell University in Lewisburg, Pennsylvania, and his master's degree from Middlebury College in Middlebury, Vermont.
In addition to his fourteen years of experience as a teacher, counselor and school leader, Weatherill has extensive experience in athletic coaching in cross country, track & field, and basketball.

Ministry Spotlight
Newly Published Book Highlights the Work of Kairos Prison Ministry in the Diocese of Louisiana

Called to Heal the Brokenhearted: Stories from Kairos Prison Ministry International
by the Rev. Canon William Barnwell

The Rev. Canon William Barnwell's book on Kairos Prison Ministry is being published April 1 by the University Press of Mississippi. Set mostly at Angola, the Diocese of Louisiana has a special place there in Kairos ministries. John Musser of Trinity, New Orleans, is given full credit for introducing Kairos to Angola in 1993. Since then over 2500 inmates have taken part in the long in-prison retreat at Angola, forty or so at a time. Another 2500 have taken part in Kairos at other state prisons. Barnwell's book includes interviews with a number of persons from the diocese, including Deacons Cindy Obier and Charles DeGravelles and lay leaders Jim Lambert, Peck Hayne, Perry Eastman, Richard Saxer, David and John Musser, and Parker Sternbergh.

The University Press of Mississippi says this about Barnwell's book: "In Called to Heal the Brokenhearted are stories of undeniable redemption. They point the way to personal transformation for inmates and volunteers. One Kairos inmate speaks of the change this way: he makes guitars out of the good wood hidden 'beneath the surface' of throwaway pianos. 'I find my work incredibly fulfilling,' he says. 'I see myself in every piano, discarded by society but redeemed and put to use in a new way.'"

A book reading will be held at 6:00 pm on Tuesday, April 19, at the Garden District Book Shop (2727 Prytania Street). All are invited.

Volunteer / Support
Union of Black Episcopalians Seeking Sponsors & Exhibitors for the Annual Conference This Summer 

The Union of Black Episcopalians will be holding their annual meeting and conference in New Orleans from July 31 - August 4. They are currently seeking sponsorship and exhibitors. The following is a letter to those who may be interested:

The UBE National Board of Directors will be hosting the 48th Annual Business Meeting  and Conference at the Hyatt Regency New Orleans, Louisiana from July 31 - August  4, 2016.

Highlights include workshops, keynote presenters and lively worship services based on  our theme ""Let the Church Say Amen: Reconciling Justice and Peace in our
World Today".

There will also be concurrent plenary, workshops and service projects designed by our  Young Adult & Youth leaders.

We hope that you will provide sponsorship for our Annual Meeting and Conference to include placing an ad in our souvenir journal, being an exhibitor at the conference or providing a special donation to enable our young adults and youth to attend the conference.

Additional information follows. If you have further questions please don't hesitate to call  the UBE office at 202-248-3941, email ljackson@theube.org or visit our website  www.ube.org .
Join St. Anna's for the 6th Annual Dodwell House Extravaganza

Shining A Light on Anna's Place NOLA
The 6th Annual Dodwell House Extravaganza
Saturday April 16, 2016
7 PM until 10 PM
St. Paul's Episcopal School, 6249 Canal Boulevard

Featuring:  The Tom Cats,  The Treme Choir,  Live and Silent Auctions,  Original Artwork by Nurhan Gokturk

Hosts: Tony Leggio and Elizabeth Bouvier
Local Cuisine and Beverages
Event Image
Photo of the Month
Feeling the Love of God at Happening #76
[Photograph by Marvin McLennon, Diocesan Youth Coordinator] Youth from all around the diocese recently participated in Happening at the Solomon Episcopal Conference Center. Happening is a youth-led spiritual formation weekend designed for high school teens. This was the 76th Happening weekend held in the Diocese of Louisiana. 
More News on the EDoLA Blog:

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