Episcopal Church Women
February 2020
BRANCHES
Jesus said, "I am the vine, you are the branches."
150 Years
Remember - Serve - Imagine
Recordando - Sirviendo - Imaginando
Cathedral Church of St. Paul, Boston - Video     


How might this video from a few years back inspire you or your ECW to think - to wonder - to move into a new future?

The current dean is The Very Rev. Amy E. McCreath

Trinity Church honored for history of LGBTQIA + advocacy
January 29, 2020 : S tory submitted by Michael Shepley, rinity Episcopal Church member
 
Trinity Episcopal Church in St. Louis’ Central West End is the first site in Missouri to be named to the National Register of Historic Places (NRHP) for its significance in LGBTQIA+ history. It is the first and only such site in Missouri and the only Episcopal parish in the country so honored. Trinity is recognized in particular for the years 1969 to 1993, which include its early support of gay rights, its embrace of LGBT parishioners and community members, and its compassionate response to the first AIDS patients in the 1980s.
The recognition of Trinity is part of an effort by the U.S. Department of the Interior to document a more complete story of the gay rights movement, a project announced in May 2014 by Secretary Sally Jewell. The NRHP is the U.S. federal government’s official list of districts, sites, buildings, structures and objects deemed significant to American history and worthy of preservation. Currently there are 93,500 sites across the country, with LGBTQIA+ sites numbering less than 20.
“Trinity, as a progressive Episcopal church, continues today as an energetic supporter of LGBTQIA+ worshipers,” said the Rev. Jon Stratton, rector of the church. “We are honored by the NRHP recognition and wear this designation proudly.”
A formal dedication ceremony, including the installation of a plaque on the exterior of the church, located at 600 N. Euclid Avenue, will be held on  Saturday, June 13, 2020 . Bishop-elect Deon Johnson, whose ordination is planned for April 25, will be an honored guest and speaker. Johnson will be the first openly gay bishop to serve in the Diocese of Missouri.
“Trinity’s longtime support for the LGBTQIA+ community dates back to its serving as the meeting space of St. Louis’ first gay rights organization – The Mandrake Society in 1969,” said Steven Brawley, founder of the LGBT History Project in St. Louis.
The NRHP designation came after a concentrated period of reflection, recollection and research by members of the church and those involved in the preservation of St. Louis’ early gay and lesbian history.
Aiding the application process were longtime Trinity parishioners who are keepers of parish records and institutional memory for the years cited in the NRHP designation – Ellie Chapman, wife of the late Trinity rector Rev. William Chapman; Etta Taylor, church archivist; and Jym Andris, community historian. Their work was supplemented by Ian Darnell, curatorial assistant for the LGBTQ Collection at The Missouri History Museum, and Steven Brawley.
University of Kansas professor Katie Batza wrote the application as an extension of a current book project and as part of her ongoing work with the National Park Service LGBT Heritage Initiative. She said that as the application took shape, Trinity Church’s ties to the LGBTQIA+ community were ins pirational.
“It was encouraging to see how committed Trinity was to the rights of all of its gay and lesbian parishioners at a time when these rights largely were unknown to the mainstream,” she said. “The first Mandrake Society meeting at Trinity was one of a handful of local, national and global political actions and protests in 1969 – including the Stonewall Riots in Greenwich Village – that marked the start of a new civil rights movement.”
 Trinity Episcopal Church, founded in 1855, has stood at the corner of Euclid and Washington Avenues since 1935. Trinity is urban, socially progressive and Anglo-Catholic in its worship.  Its rector is 35-year-old Jon Stratton, a social justice activist involved with the Clean Missouri campaign and a member of the leadership team with Missouri Jobs with Justice.
Trinity’s parishioners are young and old, black and white, gay and straight, some with many material resources and some with few, some new to the Episcopal Church and some long steeped in its traditions. Families of all kinds are part of the Trinity community. Children are a valued part of Trinity and are always welcome. Trinity has weekly Sunday school activities and, once a month, offers an alternative, lively and informal “Messy Church” service for children and families.
Trinity is a member of the Episcopal Diocese of Missouri. For more information about Trinity – including its Facebook and Instagram links – go to the church website at  trinitycwe.org .
Branching Out
Branching Ou t
A Sermon Preached at the Rooted in Jesus Conference in Atlanta
  by The Rev. Gay Clark Jennings, President of the House of Deputies
Now, I want to acknowledge right up front that I don’t do yard work. In fact, my favorite seat in my house is at my kitchen table, where I can look out over the backyard and often see my husband, Albert, doing yard work. So I cannot share with you very much hands-on experience of vines.
But from observation, I do know that vine growing can go badly wrong. Our hosts here in Atlanta can tell us all about that, since it was here in the South in the 19 th  century that people embraced the Japanese vine called kudzu, which became known as “the vine that ate the South.” I read in the Atlanta Journal Constitution that the nickname is no longer apt—that an alliance of “scientists, foresters, farmers and goats” have slowed the spread of kudzu and reclaimed land it once devoured for other plants. But now, because the climate is changing, kudzu is spreading beyond the South. It still costs about $500 million a year to contain.
When kudzu was introduced, however, it was hailed as “a miracle vine … to help humankind.” In the 1930s and 40s, when erosion from cotton farming was a serious threat, the federal government distributed approximately 84 million kudzu seedlings to farmers. By 1946, roughly 3 million acres of it covered the South. Not long after that, farmers and government officials realized that the miracle plant intended to transform the land was in danger of destroying it.
Kudzu is a helpful interpretative tool for today’s passage from John, because it’s easy to think about vines and imagine carefully cultivated and orderly rows of grapevines, for as far as the eye can see. Never mind that grapevines can be tricky to grow, especially if they are to bear fruit—which is the whole point of today’s gospel. More on that shortly. Grapevines are pretty to look at, and they can lead us to imagine that the kingdom of God is full of uniform vines growing in straight rows under ideal conditions. But that doesn’t sound like church to me.
Church is more of a free-range vine, with branches doing what branches will do: scraping against one another, getting all tangled up, shedding leaves everywhere, poking each other, sticking to things, growing in unpredictable directions. It’s not pretty. But it is beautiful.
Most of our branches, truth be told, lack glamour. Each one is different from the next, each one is flawed in some way. But together, our network of branches, which are nothing special to look at, bear fruit.
We bear fruit that the world hungers for: the peace and hope and love of the Holy Spirit. Jesus tells us our mess of branches is capable of doing all that. And we’re capable of doing it because we are all connected to that one vine and we were all created by the one vinegrower.
But here’s the thing: Jesus does not expect his disciples to  be  fruit. He does not expect of us the near-perfect uniformity and sweetness of a prize bunch of grapes or warm summer’s tomatoes, lined up like soldiers. Jesus expects us to be branches. We are called to do our jobs, to be conduits for nourishment as best as we can. That means that sometimes we support one another, sometimes we get in one another’s way, sometimes we have to move into an uncomfortable space to allow for another’s growth. And as we grow, we all look a little different. The fruit of the branch that busted out of its trellis may be sweeter than the fruit that grew exactly as planned for and expected.
There is one God. And there are countless ways of being a faithful disciple.
But it is oh so tempting to reject messy, complicated diversity in favor of planting kudzu—the miracle vine that will save the church by wiping out everything else in its path. It is easy, especially in times that feel like a crisis, to think that if our vineyards were more orderly, if discipleship were more uniform, if we all prayed and believed and did liturgy in just the same way, we would bear more fruit, be stronger, more vital, more numerous, more faithful. More Christian.
In the Episcopal Church, we love to have our “church fights.” Some might argue it is a central piece of our Anglican identity, since our very origins are rooted, you might say, in the English Civil War and the intrigue of 16 th  century European politics. We are particularly skilled, I’m sorry to say, at having doctrinal and liturgical fights as a way to distract ourselves when the world is on fire. All the proof you need of that is to be found on Twitter. But the urge long predates social media.
In fact, Phillips Brooks, whom we remember today, lived during an age when Episcopalians were going after one another in factions on the side of so-called “orthodoxy” vs. the side of so-called broad church liberal Protestantism, with which he is associated. They were doing this, frankly, to avoid addressing the issue of slavery.
Let me say that I am firmly on Team Brooks. In fact, Phillips Brooks, or at least a book of his sermons that someone gave me early in my time at seminary, is a big reason that I became an Episcopalian after my rather orderly Presbyterian childhood. Phillips Brooks was not particularly keen on the church fight of his time. In fact, in his “History of the Episcopal Church,” Deputy Robert Pritchard tells us that in the fall of 1856, Brooks and other Northern students threatened to drop out of VTS unless the school guaranteed protection for students who spoke against slavery.
Brooks was among the best-known and accomplished preachers of his day, and he was one of the lead organizers of the Church Congress movement, which in the late 19 th  and early 20 th  century, organized a series of meetings for church leaders from many denominations—black and white, male and, after 1911, female—to consider the church’s approach to the issues of the day. Deputy Prichard reports that Brooks and other Congress leaders believed that these meetings could “instill in their church a broad tolerance for diversity of thought.”
In Brooks’ age and in our age and all the other ages, we Episcopalians have trouble remembering that we are branches. The way we answer God’s call will look different. We will practice our discipleship in many ways, and some of those ways will undoubtedly make some of us uncomfortable or angry. We’ll probably be tempted to argue over where to put the altar and what vestments to wear to church, and we’ll call each other heretics and police each other’s liturgies and sermons and websites and social media accounts. We will long for conformity and uniformity, and we will try to plant kudzu, the miracle vine that will save the church by wiping out everything else. But through all of this, we will remain firmly connected to the one vine and we will “branch out.” And we will bear fruit.
We’re stuck to one another, friends. And we’re stuck with one another. We live in the same hope and we are called to keep God’s commandments and abide in God’s love. We are bound to love one another as Jesus has loved us.
To God, who is able to accomplish abundantly far more than all we can ask or imagine, be glory in the church. Amen.

From Province VII
God is Calling You…Yes, You!
By Lisa Bortner, PROVINCE VII REPRESENTATIVE

Have you wondered how your local women’s group fits into the bigger scheme of the Episcopal Church? What exactly is the structure of the National Episcopal Church Women and why is it important? Let’s explore the answers to your questions. Notice that Paul always traveled with other people. In Titus 1, Paul tells Titus that he left him on Crete to attend to unfinished business and appoint elders over communities in each and every city. He is to give them a healthy diet of solid teaching so they will know the right way to live (Titus 2:1) . In the same way, though we are all different, the structure of the ECW is important to encourage every woman in every pew. Women’s ministries give each of us the opportunity to learn and grow in community, and ultimately in leadership. For some, it allows the growth of world class leaders in the larger church. The structure of the Diocesan and Provincial ECWs guides us toward becoming strong Christian leaders ready to do God’s work.

Each church’s ECW or women’s ministry is tied together under the Diocese’s ECW. The Diocesan level is governed by a Board of Director’s and provides spiritual gatherings and retreats where women may come together to be enriched in God’s word. By joining each other in the Diocesan-wide community, women are fed God’s word and are nurtured to do his work. We learn of outreach projects and ministries and bring those back to our own churches. It’s the relational process that is so important to build that strong community and leaders of the church.

We are all created on purpose and for a purpose. We need to make spiritual growth a priority. We are meant for community. Following the example of St. Paul, we are sent out to spread God’s word and we do this well through women’s ministries. It has been said, “If you are feeling disconnected, it’s because you are not connected.” Who are you spurring on? Who is encouraging you? When we say yes to Jesus, we become new creatures, we have a new identity. We need to be intentional in developing our relationships with God. We also need to be intentional in developing our relationships with other women and providing leadership skills and opportunities for women throughout the church. This is the healthy diet St. Paul was asking Titus to deliver.

In the Episcopal Church each Diocese belongs to a Province. There are nine Provinces in the Episcopal Church. For example, Province VII consists of the Dioceses of Arkansas, Dallas, Fort Worth, Kansas, Northwest Texas, Oklahoma, Rio Grande, Texas, West Missouri, West Texas, Western Kansas and Western Louisiana. Through our Province VII ECW network, we model and share best practices, develop and support our diocesan ECW leaders and build support for the ECW in the wider church of the world. Each Province elects one representative to the National ECW Board.

Each Province Representative is charged with disseminating information on programs and gathering information from their Province to relay to the National Board. Province Representatives are an integral piece in providing communication from and to the various Diocese they represent. In the larger scheme of women’s ministry, they are also responsible for developing relationships that will help others (locally and nationally) be transformed into spiritually mature leaders. The goal is both informational and transformational.

The National ECW Board is composed of a President, First Vice-President, Second Vice-President, Secretary, Treasurer, two members at large, and one representative from each of the Provinces. They hold national meetings, called Triennial, every three years at the time of General Convention. Each Diocese may send up to four delegates to Triennial. Usually these delegates are elected by the Diocesan ECW boards. Other Episcopal women’s organizations are also represented including members of the United Thank Offering, the Church Periodical Club, the Episcopal Women’s History Project, the Girls’ Friendly Society and the Daughters of the King. The Triennial Meeting provides a forum for education, training and worship with a focus on empowering the women of The Episcopal Church to carry out Christ’s work throughout the world.

Knowledge is a powerful tool in living out our lives as a Christian, but God wants us to live in relationship with him and with others. What is your next step? Do you currently belong to your local women’s group? Do you make time to mentor those who are coming after you? Are you being called to take a larger role in your Diocesan, Provincial or National ECW Boards? God is calling you! The National ECW challenges you to take your next step and become involved. If you are interested in learning more, please contact your Province Representative found on the ecwnational.org website. They would love to hear from you!
A Warning about Scams from The Rt. Rev. Greg Rickel Bishop of Olympia
I nformation for us all - several dioceses have experienced 'notes' from bishops and several parishioners across the church - notes from clergy asking for help. As Bishop Rickel writes delete - do not reply !
Dear Ones,
It has come to my attention that a number of people within the diocese have been contacted by an individual claiming to be me and asking for assistance. This is now an all-too common phishing scam that seems to occur on a weekly basis at any one of the congregations in our diocese. It is a sad fact of life in our modern digital world is there will be people trying to get money or goods fraudulently through these phishing scams.
 Spear phishing is especially difficult because the perpetrator has the name of the sender or the recipient of the email and uses this to gain trust. 
 There is no way to stop these scams from occurring. But by being vigilant, the risks can be minimized or averted. Here are some steps to take.
  1.  Check the return email address. If the address doesn't match the name of the sender, be wary.
  2. Never open attachments from unknown sources, especially those with .exe extensions.
  3. Be wary of generically addressed emails like Dear Friend or Dear Customer.
  4. If there are links in the email, hover over them without clicking on them. This will show where the link will actually take you.
  5. Look for grammatical or spelling errors in the text of the email.
  6. Check the address at the bottom of the email. If it says "Pastor Jim" and Jim never goes by "Pastor," it's fake.
Finally, if after all these steps it looks safe and the sender is asking for money or access to secure data, call the person directly to get verification. In the case of any communication coming out of the Office of the Bishop, please contact us directly at 206.325.4200 if there is any doubt as to the authenticity of a message.
Your best defense for this is to simply delete the email, do not click on any links or reply to the sender.
 Blessings,
+Greg
Book Recommendation from Canon Martha K. Estes
Province VIII ECW V.P. / NECW Representative

Why We Sleep by Matthew Walker, PHD

What can I do to improve my sleep hygiene?
  • Replace any LEDs bulbs in your bedroom, because they emit the most sleep-corroding blue light.
  • If you’re fortunate enough to be able to control the temperature where you live, set your bedroom to drop to 65 degrees at the time you intend to go to sleep. “To successfully initiate sleep … your core temperature needs to decrease by 2 to 3 degrees Fahrenheit,” according to Walker.
  • Limit alcohol, because alcohol is not a sleep aid, contrary to popular belief. While it might help induce sleep, “alcohol is one of the most powerful suppressors of REM [rapid-eye-movement] sleep,” Walker says.
  • If you can possibly take a short midday nap like our ancestors used to and some Mediterranean and South American cultures still do, you should (but no later than 3 pm). It will likely improve your creativity and coronary health as well as extend your lifetime.
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