August 31, 2016    Serving the Episcopal Diocese of Pennsylvania
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August 30, 2016


Anti-Racism Training September 17, 2016

The Anti-Racism Commission of the Diocese of Pennsylvania invites you to join us for a day-long training on September 17, 2016 from 8:30 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. at Grace Epiphany Church, Gowen and Ardleigh Avenues. This is phase two (from April 9) but anyone can come. Cost is $25 and includes a continental breakfast and lunch. Come prepared to learn more about racism and its impact on the institutions in our society, including the church. For more information or to register, contact Jane Cosby at 215.848.1760.

A Pilgrimage to Ascension, Parkesburg
Part I


"Shall the Name of This Church be Changed at this Time"
A speech by Bishop Whitaker, 1903

Our Diocese is known as the Protestant Episcopal Diocese of Pennsylvania, part of the Protestant Episcopal Church of the United States, as it has been since the Episcopal Church's adoption of the title in 1789 under Bishop William White. However, in 1901 the General Convention had received a request to remove Protestant Episcopal from the name of The Episcopal Church by the Diocese of Milwaukee. During the General Convention of 1901, a Joint Committee was established to discuss options for changing the name from the Protestant Episcopal Church to something else. Some of the names that were suggested included "The American Catholic Church," "The Church in the United States of America," and "The American Branch of the Catholic Church in the United States." This proposal was defeated during the General Convention of 1904, when many members of the various Dioceses voted against the name change.

In 1903, Bishop Whitaker, Fifth Bishop of the Diocese of Pennsylvania, gave a speech at the Diocesan Convention against the removal of Protestant Episcopal from the name of the Church. Among his many arguments he uses, by adopting the name "The American Catholic Church," we run the risk of associating ourselves with the Roman Catholic Church. Since the Anglican Church, our predecessor, was formed in protest against the Roman Catholic Church, he believed this would drive people away from the Episcopal Church. This speech, reproduced in the images here, is found in the 1903 Diocesan Convention Journal.

The Diocesan Convention Journals, like many of the artifacts and books which chronicle the history of the Diocese of Pennsylvania, can be found at the Diocesan Archives. The Archives contains materials relating to the history and life of the Diocese of Pennsylvania. This includes records from previous Bishops, standing committees, closed and open parishes, diocesan conventions and diocesan organizations. If you would like to see this, or any of the records housed in the Diocesan Archives, please contact the Archivist, Peter Moak, at .

Back to School, Back to Faith

by the Rev. Scott Gunn, 
Executive Director of Forward Movement


This time of year my Facebook feed is full of photos of kids headed back to school. Lots of stores have specials for "back to school season." Many churches which ended Sunday school classes over the summer are starting back up again. But back to school isn't just for kids and their parents. This time of year is an invitation to all of us to renew our learning and growth.
One time a man asked Jesus which commandment is the greatest. The Gospel of Mark records Jesus' answer, "The first is, 'Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one; and you shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind, and with all your strength.'" (Mark 12:29-30).
Did you catch that? "All your mind." When Jesus was asked about the most important thing to do, he said that we should love God with our whole being, including our minds.
Too many people check out of learning about their faith. We don't take courses, we don't read books, and we don't wrestle with ideas that might push us to change or grow. And, yet, how can we love God with our minds if we don't use  our minds?
Without adult learning, we're left to make sense of adult problems with a child's faith. A mature faith helps us face life's difficulties and it can even help us love difficult people. Deep faith, nourished by knowledge and inquiry, is not only more robust, but it is more vibrant. 
If your church offers adult education courses, take a look! Sign up! If not, maybe a nearby church offers something that can feed your mind. If courses aren't your thing, how about reading a book about faith? There are loads of them. Your local bookstore has plenty of books on faith, and so does your public library. Ask a friend or your pastor for suggestions.
If you don't like to read and you don't like to take classes, don't despair. There are loads of podcasts and YouTube videos and apps that can teach us about faith and provoke us to learn and to grow.
In my time as a parish priest, I met with lots of families facing a crisis of some kind - a death, a job loss, a broken relationship, a health problem Too often, their brittle faith was shattered by the normal tragedies of human experience. And it's no wonder. Without adult learning, we're left to make sense of adult problems with a child's faith. A mature faith helps us face life's difficulties and it can even help us love difficult people. Deep faith, nourished by knowledge and inquiry, is not only more robust, but it is more vibrant. We discover new ways to praise God and more reasons to thank God.
Whatever you do, I urge you to find a way to recommit to learning and to growth in this back to school season. I know that in my own life, when I manage to love God with my mind, it helps me to love God with my heart and my soul, and to love my neighbors too.
Lord knows, our world could use more love.

Noah Bullock, Exec. Dir. of Cristosal to Speak on Victims 
 Displaced by Violence in Central America

Today 1 in every 113 people globally is now either an asylum-seeker, internally displaced or a refugee - a level of risk that surpasses all precedent, including World War II. While global attention has gone to the largest war zones - Syria, Iraq, and Afghanistan - the deadliest region in the world is far closer to home. Last year there were 17,500 violent deaths in Central America's Northern Triangle (NTCA) - El Salvador, Guatemala and Honduras, and an estimated 1 million people displaced by violence in the NTCA and Southern Mexico in 2015. There is now an urgent need to not only offer protection to those fleeing this violence, but to upgrade existing humanitarian and human rights mechanisms to address these new forms of conflict (
As part of our Outreach ministry, the Central American Migrant and Refugee Commission of the Episcopal Diocese of Pennsylvania is glad to host a live presentation by Noah Bullock. Mr. Bullock is the Executive Director of Cristosal, an Episcopal human rights organization based in El Salvador, leading regional efforts to protect and advocate for victims forcibly displaced by violence in Central America. Recently, Noah presented at the World Humanitarian Summit in Istanbul, Turkey and at the NGO consultations with the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) in Geneva.
Come hear from a regional expert about what is driving violence and migration in Central America, and what we and the Church can do to make a difference. Noah Bullock's talk will take place Sunday, September 18 at 3:00PM EDT at St Paul's Episcopal Church, Chestnut Hill, PA ( ). Noah's talk will be simulcast live on the internet and can be accessed at on September 18th. You will have an opportunity to post questions to Noah and his Staff.

- Save the Date -
September 18, at 3:00 P.M. 

Education for Ministry

Have you ever considered a formal study of the things which inform your baptismal covenant?  Many EfM seminar groups will be reforming or starting in the fall and now is the time for you to consider if this program is for you.  The current texts are portrayed in the attached link.

For more information contact:

Alan Lindsay, EfM Coordinator for the Diocese of Pennsylvania
Episcopal Diocese of Pennsylvania
3717 Chestnut Street, Suite 300
Philadelphia, PA 19104
215-627-6434 x127 or

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