Volume 6, Issue 12
March 19, 2021
THIS SUNDAY: March 21, 2021
Fifth Sunday in Lent

Jeremiah 31:31-34
God's new covenant with the Jewish people is on their hearts rather than written in stone.

Psalm 51:1-4, 8-13
Create in me a new heart, and renew a right spirit within me.

Hebrews 5:5-10
Jesus as our role model for learning obedience and being made a worthy High Priest.

John 12:20-33
A group of non-Jewish Greeks want to see Jesus, and Jesus tells them that he will soon be glorified by his death on the Cross.

Joe Adorno (EM)*
Jeff Albao (U)
Marge Akana (AG)
Muriel Jackson (DM)

Dileep Bal (EM)
Mary Margaret Smith (U)
Terry Moses (LR)
Jan Hashizume (AG)
Mabel Antonio, Vikki Secretario (HP)
Carolyn Morinishi (DM)

Live Stream
9:00AM on our home page, YouTube, or Facebook accounts

* EM - Eucharistic Minister; U - Usher; LR - Lay Reader; AG - Altar Guild; HP - Healing Prayers; DM - Digital Ministry; SS - Sunday School

Sunday, March 7th
8:00AM and 9:30AM

Aloha Hour
Every Sunday 
10:45AM - 12:00PM

Friday/Monday Crew
Every Friday/Monday
Church Office

Adult Formation Series
Revive Lent
5:00PM - 6:00PM

March 23, Session 5: Praying through the hurt
March 30, Session 6: Death and dying, and praying with Jesus in the garden
Call the church office or email Kahu at rector@allsaintskauai.org to enroll.

Ke Akua Youth Group Meeting
Wednesday, March 24th
5:00 - 6:00PM
Contact Cami for login information.

Daughters of the King
Thursday, March 25th
7:00 - 8:00PM
Contact Mabel Antonio for login information.

Palm Sunday Services
Sunday, March 28th
8:00AM and 9:30AM
Church Campus
For the sick and suffering in body, mind, and spirit, especiallyThose affected by the Pandemic, Those affected by the island flooding, Rosalind, Glen, Todd, Patsy & the Tabura 'Ohana, Bracy, Suzanne & Harold, and those we name silently or aloud, let us pray to the Lord. ​Lord, have mercy. 

For those saints who have gone before us in the Grander Life, especially Donn (Curly), Dr. Haruki, Micheal, Brad, those affected by the COVID-19 virus, and those we name silently or aloud, in the hope of the resurrection, and for all the departed, let us pray to the Lord. ​Lord, have mercy. Amen.
Thanks to Morris Wise, we realized our quote from The Garden Island in the article "Kaua`i Chorale Mele Masters Series" published in the Epistle on March 12, 2021 contained an error. The All Saints' pipe organ was a gift from Mrs. S. W. Wilcox, not Queen Lili`oukalani. The organ has been restored recently as the Rosales Opus 41 and is a part of Mrs. Wilcox's legacy.

All Saints' Church and Preschool are Hiring
Part-Time Custodian Position Opening

 All Saints’ Church and Preschool are searching for a part-time custodian.

Our custodian is an incredibly important position. As a preschool, our teachers are essential workers in need of clean classrooms to care for their students. Our church is a spiritual home for many kupuna and families during Sunday worship. We rely on the custodian to maintain a clean and safe environment for everyone.

We are looking for a candidate who will take pride in their work as a self-less servant.

Resumes and inquiries may be sent to preschool@allsaintskauai.org.

Please Consider Contributing to Our Weekly Newsletter
The staff of the Epistle sends our sincere thanks to all of our readers who have submitted ideas, photos, and email messages that have formed the basis for many very interesting articles for our newsletter over the years. Without you we would not be able to publish a quality newsletter on a weekly basis. 

We are asking for your continued help in keeping the Epistle timely and relevant. Please tell us what you want to know. What should we communicate to make the Epistle meaningful for you?

Specifically, we are asking all our readers to consider submitting material you want to share with the entire All Saints’ `Ohana. This may sound scary but it doesn’t have to be. Send us a few sentences in an email or some photos and we will take it from there. Don't worry about file format or size. If your email server can handle it, so can we.


We have a dedicated email address for you to use to communicate directly with the Epistle staff. It is:

Please use this address instead of our personal email addresses. 

We are asking for submissions to support these initiatives:

1) Publicizing upcoming events and activities. Worship, Arts, Education, Outreach, Youth Group, Preschool, etc. 

  • If you represent an All Saints’ Ministry, please use the Epistle to publicize your upcoming events. 

  • If you are a member of a community organization whose mission is compatible with All Saints’ we would love to hear from you. 

2) Reporting on events and activities that have occurred. Worship services, Buildings and Grounds initiatives, Preschool, celebrations, etc. 

  • If you take pictures of any All Saints’ event, please submit them. Photos are ALWAYS welcome. Any format, any size. If you can send it by email, we can take it from there.

  • If you represent a Ministry you should always submit a brief write-up of any activities you have sponsored. 

Your Epistle is as good as you make it. 


-Bill and CeCe Caldwell
Reflections from Kahu Kawika
Stop, Look, and Cross
Lent 4B
John 3:14-21
Numbers 21:4-9
All Saints’ Kapaa
14 March 2021
Well, here we are at the halfway point in our Lenten Season, which we mark in church today with the rose-colored lectern frontal (we do a similar thing in the four weeks of the Advent Season, when midway through we highlight Rose Sunday). These midpoints in our holy seasons are invitations for us to stop for a moment, catch a breath from our normal flow of seasonal observance, and make sure we take the time and effort to be more reflective and purposeful in our walk with God and in our spiritual practices.

In Jesus’ time, he has a way of arresting people’s attention, of stopping people short and even shocking them, to make them re-examine their lives in how they worship God and in how they treat each other. Such is the case in today’s Gospel lesson from John 3. Many of us know perhaps the most famous verse in the Bible of John 3:16, “For God so loved the world that God gave the Only Son, to the end that those who believe in him will not die but have eternal life.” Even people at sporting events will hold up placards saying “John 3:16.”

But this inspiring verse, about God’s wide and deep love for not just us but for the whole world, sits within a larger context that may make us uncomfortable – Jesus’ likening himself to Moses’ bronze snake in the desert that we heard about in our first reading from Numbers 21. We’re all familiar and comfortable with other images of Jesus – the Lamb of God, the Light of the World, the Good Shepherd, the Lion of Judah. But Jesus as our “Great Snake”? How weird! I don’t see too many Christians walking around with jewelry depicting Jesus as a snake. Almost sounds like Lord Vordemort from “Harry Potter.”

Jesus, though, cleverly draws from the imagery we find in Numbers 21: “Just as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, so must the Son of Man be lifted up, that whoever believes in him may have eternal life” (John 3:14). Jesus is referring to Moses and the people of Israel in the middle of what would be their 40-year sojourn through the desert on their way to the Promised Land. The people are growing tired of Moses’ leadership and are starting to distrust the God who led them out from slavery in Egypt. Many of them even say they wish they actually were back in Egypt, where even though they were in slavery they could eat a variety of food, compared to only the heavenly manna that God had sent them so they could survive the desert. So God causes poisonous snakes to appear and start to bite the people, causing many of them to die. When they cry out to Moses to do something, Moses hears from God to set up a big image of a bronze snake on a pole, so that when people look at it they would not die, even if they get bit by the poisonous snakes.

Notice even in God’s mercy to them, God still allows the snakes to be around and to bite them! There’s a bit of a punishment still going on, but more a reminder of their complete dependence on God for their whole lives. Itʻs also a reminder to me that weʻre not at Heaven yet – life can still afflict us with trials and temptations, but nevertheless we do have a God whoʻs on the journey with us.

So what does all this have to do with Jesus? With hindsight we can see that Jesus is predicting to Nicodemus, the Jewish religious leader who eventually breaks from his group and becomes a follower of Jesus, the kind of purposeful death Jesus will go through. Jesus himself will be despised by many (like most people despise wild poisonous snakes), lifted up on the “pole” of a Roman cross of execution, and die as God’s sacrifice.

At this midway point in the Lenten Season, I think Jesus is inviting us into a process to slow down and take stock in preparation for the coming Holy Week and Easter Day. This process reminds me of how parents and teachers warn small children about the dangers of crossing a street – they tell them to “stop, look, and cross”. I want to suggest these verbs as our way to take stock of ourselves at this time:

Stop: When we want to change our behaviors or even our minds about something, we first have to recognize where we are wrong and make a course-correction. We have to be willing to take steps to stop the bad habit, the sinful thoughts, the repetitive behavior that hurts others around us or ourselves, in order to begin the process of transformation. The first step to any change is to acknowledge we have a problem. A lot of why we go to a doctor for a physical exam is to get help in facing a potential problem in our health, which is the first and necessary step toward recovery. Or we go to a financial adviser to make mid-course corrections to our portfolio in order to ensure a brighter financial future. And in Alcoholics Anonymous, the very first step is to admit to being an alcoholic in order to take further steps in treatment and healing.

Look: The second step after stopping is to look and observe where we fall short. This is all certainly true on a personal level, but is also vital as a society and world. To improve how we live together, we have to be willing to face real problems in order to address them and to formulate solutions. A case in point is the very real and persistent problem of racism, especially recently the surge of hate speech and crimes against Asian-Americans in our own country, which in itself is a symptom of an even larger problem of fear driving people to divide themselves along tribal and cultural lines. This along with the other problems of classism, sexism, ageism, homophobia, and fear of people with visible disabilities are problems that persistently threaten our goal of unity of being and purpose as a “United” States. The road to healing and grace involves the courage to look and to face what ails us personally and as a society.

Cross: As the Apostle Paul writes in 2nd Corinthians 5:21, “God made him (Jesus) who had no sin to be sin for us, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.” The Cross is the means by which Jesus became “sin” for us. In our lives today nearly 2,000 years after the fact, we forget that the Cross originally was not an attractive image, let alone a frequent piece of beautiful jewelry many of us wear today – it was the symbol of the execution of criminals, despised either by the Roman authorities or by the general population itself. But like the dreaded image of the big bronze snake on a pole that people had to look upon in order to save their lives, Jesus invites us to look and to keep our eyes on the Cross, so that we may be saved – even as the cares and worries of life may “bite” at us along the way like those snakes in the desert, we will ultimately know God’s love for us and be saved from the eternal effects of sin and death, and even the healing balm of God’s grace in the here and now.

The image I put on the slides is that of the caduceus, the symbol of the medical profession. Like the ancient Israelites, the ancient Greeks on the other side of the Mediterranean Sea dealt with poisonous snakes, but worked out that small doses of their venom could actually promote healing – hence the source of our modern caduceus. It’s true, venom could kill you, but it could also save your life. That’s because the various chemical components in venom each have specific effects on the body, with the active components targeting particular molecules. Some, for example, cause the nervous system to shut down or go into overdrive. Others eat away at muscle tissue. Some snake venom toxins cause the blood to clot, and others prevent the blood from clotting. By isolating and slightly tweaking these components, scientists can use them as the basis for effective new medicines. 

Jesus, by “becoming sin so that we might become the righteousness of God” as Paul put it, provides us with the antidote to the poisonous detrimental effects of sin and selfishness. When we look to Jesus, we see the model of a transformed humanity that is the bridge to our realizing the divine life in each of us. Jesus’ love poured out for us in his self-offering is the model for our own healing as we offer ourselves, our prerogatives, our privileges, for the sake of those around us. As Jesus told his friends, “Whoever finds their life will lose it, and whoever loses their life for my sake will find it” (Matthew 10:39). My question to us all is this: do we have the courage and wherewithal to “stop, look, and cross”? Amen.
All Saints' Houseless Advisory Committee
Helping Our Houseless Brethren
A "Houseless Advisory Committee" has been formed to help maintain the relationship between All Saints' and our houseless guests. We look for community resources to help our guests, while doing our best to make sure all groups sharing the campus stay safe. Our committee discusses any issues that arise in this ever-changing situation and make recommendations to the vestry. Our goal is to help our houseless guests find transitional and eventually permanent housing. The current members of the committee are: Chris Wataya, Curtis Shiramizu, Mary Margaret Smith, Wayne Doliente and Carolyn Morinishi, and we meet on an "as-needed" basis via Zoom. If you are interested in serving or want to make suggestions, please contact Carolyn Morinishi or the church office.

-Carolyn Morinishi

Laundry Love Update
Join Our Renewed Efforts to Aid Those in Need
In an effort to rekindle the connection with our community, we introduced a modified service offering last month. Maintaining the 1st & 3rd Wednesday dates, we set up a table in front of the Kapa`a laundromat and distributed resources our patrons needed to wash their clothes. We will continue this service as conditions warrant. We will resume a more robust program, albeit with a new-normal model, as health conditions allow.

In preparation, we encourage those interested in becoming a part of this vital service to contact us now. Mahalo for your continued support.

Blessings,for now.

-Geoff Shields
Laundry Love Ministry Lead
kauai independent food bank

Kaua`i Independent Food Bank Needs Your Help
Please Consider Lenten Donations
Aloha mai kākou,

As we remember our Lord who fasted forty days and nights in the desert in this season of Lent, we also remember those among us who are forced to fast in the form of food deprivation, especially as a fallout of the Pandemic.

During this season, I'm inviting us to join in a partnership with the Kaua`i Independent Food Bank to bring them donations of non-perishable food. Any monetary donations (made out to the Kaua`i Independent Food Bank) will assist the food bank in purchasing supplies in bulk at lower cost. At the Sunday services and other services during Lent and Holy Week, we'll have our Red Food Wagon just outside the Sanctuary entrance while monetary donations can be put in the offering calabash -- feel free to put your food items in or around the Red Food Wagon and we'll make sure to get them to the Kaua`i Independent Food Bank on a regular basis. You can also drop off food items during the week at the Church Office - just let either Cami or me know ahead of time, since we have to limit the number of non-Preschool people on the Preschool grounds.

Mahalo nui loa for your prayerful consideration,

Kahu Kawika+
Mahalo to Hank and the All Saints' Virtual Choir
Enjoy This Performance By the All Saints' Virtual as You Continue Your Lenten Reflections
Lenten Adult Formation Series
The past year has been a very challenging time for all of us. As we make our way through the disruption and turmoil, we will be confronted with questions about how we want to rebuild our lives anew. As Christians, we know that we do not face the future alone or ill-equipped. Jesus promises always to be with us and has gifted the community with the power of the Spirit as a guide, advocate and comforter.

This Lent, I would like to invite you to participate in a six-week small group process called Revive Lent, published by Forward Movement (who also produce the daily devotional guide “Forward Day by Day”). Revive Lent will provide an opportunity to become grounded in foundational spiritual practices that will equip you for a deeper spiritual journey. In this time of uncertainty, Revive Lent helps us to talk with one another, build a deeper relationship with God and prepare to journey with Jesus through Holy Week.

Revive Lent comprises 6 sessions:

March 23, Session 5: Praying through the hurt
March 30, Session 6: Death and dying, and praying with Jesus in the garden

Our sessions will be via Zoom on Tuesdays 5:00PM - 6:00PM, starting on February 23rd and concluding on March 30th. In order to enroll, please either speak with me directly, call the church office, or email me at rector@allsaintskauai.org. I will then send you the Zoom link you will need for each of our sessions.

May God richly bless us as we grow in faith to serve God’s world,

Kahu Kawika+
Your copy should address 3 key questions: Who am I writing for? (Audience) Why should they care? (Benefit) What do I want them to do here? (Call-to-Action)

Create a great offer by adding words like "free" "personalized" "complimentary" or "customized." A sense of urgency often helps readers take an action, so think about inserting phrases like "for a limited time only" or "only 7 remaining!"
'Iolani School "Seasons of Love" Video
Creativity Drives Our Youth

(This is a beautiful video. If you don't watch it you will regret it!)

The `Iolani School marching band, dance team, and musical theatre students, who have sorely missed performing for live audiences due to the pandemic, combined to offer their message of perseverance and hope through a music video of "Seasons of Love" from the Broadway musical Rent. Visit their website HERE or click on the image above to view.
Good Friday Offering
The Cathedral office in Bahrain with a note now familiar all over the world: “Please note that this office is closed due to social distancing.”
(Photo credit: The Ven. Bill Schwartz)
Words like “unprecedented” seem too small to describe the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, which has sorely afflicted the lives of millions of people around the world. It is hard to get one’s mind around the impact of this crisis. And yet, for many Christians in the Middle East, the pandemic is just one more crisis to add to the list.

Reflecting upon the situation at the Ras Morbat Eye Clinic in Yemen, the Ven. Bill Schwartz, Archdeacon for the Gulf in the Diocese of Cyprus and the Gulf, writes: “The COVID crisis is actually only one more difficulty for them in the face of three other ongoing epidemics (cholera, dengue fever, malaria) and all are greatly affected by all of the problems of the ongoing civil war.”

In the Middle East the political instability of neighboring countries faced in Lebanon, Syria, Iraq and Yemen and elsewhere can overshadow all other concerns. Governments in turmoil continue to create conditions which promote poverty, food insecurity and economic instability which put
a desperate strain on refugees and displaced persons, health care, education and family life in the best of times.

The Good Friday Offering is an opportunity throughout the Episcopal Church to support our Anglican sisters and brothers in their ministry to their neighbors to help meet the needs of innocent people caught in the middle of these realities.

In this time of exceptional circumstances, please make a gift to the Good Friday Offering in one of the following ways: 

1) use your smartphone to text ‘GFO’ to 91999
(messaging and data rates apply),

2) give securely online at bit.ly/goodfridayoffering, or

3) send your check contribution by mail to:
DFMS-Protestant Episcopal Church US P.O. Box 958983
St. Louis, MO 63195-8983
Make your check payable to: The Domestic and Foreign Missionary Society with “Good Friday Offering” in the note field. Thank you.

© 2021 The Episcopal Church, 815 Second Avenue, New York, NY 10017
Churches Beyond Borders Issue Statement for the International Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination

Episcopal Church Office of Public Affairs

March 17, 2021
Churches Beyond Borders, represented by Episcopal Church Presiding Bishop and Primate Michael Curry and the leaders of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA), the Anglican Church of Canada and the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Canada have prepared a statement for the International Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination on March 21, 2021.

The text of the statement follows:

In Advent 2020, Churches Beyond Borders expressed a commitment to dismantling racism, combating white supremacy and actively seeking opportunities to engage more deeply on these important issues. In this season of Lent, we continue our journey as we join together in observing the International Day for the Elimination of Racial DiscriminationThis is an annual day of recommitment in remembrance of the day police in Sharpeville, South Africa, opened fire and killed 69 people at a peaceful demonstration against apartheid “pass laws” in 1960. Recognizing that the March 21 International Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination is a calling to be lived out every day, we offer this reflection as encouragement to continue the journey with renewed determination.

I have observed the misery of my people who are in Egypt; I have heard their cry on account of their taskmasters. Indeed, I know their sufferings, and I have come down to deliver them
(Exodus 3:7-8a, NRSV)

How do we lament the sin of racism?

Racism and xenophobia have a painful, violent, deadly history that traverses all borders. The institutional church shares in the complicity of the legacies of the Doctrine of Discovery colonization, forced removal and genocide of Indigenous people, the enslavement of African and Indigenous Peoples and injustices perpetrated against all people of color. The sin of racism is structural, institutional, interpersonal and internalized. It lives in communities inside and outside the church; it continues to inflict harm on a daily basis and generate new history. How do we repent of all of this?

At the burning bush, Moses hears God say, “I have heard the cries of my people.” We who follow the God of Freedom must also hear the cries of God’s people, of each other, and especially those among us who live under the constant threat and violence of racism and white supremacy. For those of us who have the privilege of closing ourselves off, we need to open ourselves to feel the painful truths of the sins of racism and white supremacy in our hearts and bodies and minds and souls. We must create spaces and structures that welcome and include the voices of those most directly impacted by the sins of racism. This message is being shared during the season of Lent, a period of self-examination, reflection, and making amends. We need to lament, repent and be transformed.

Moses is told to take off his sandals. We need to lament in worship: to remove our shoes, to stand in humility, to feel the ashes on our foreheads, to be honest in the presence of God about our sins and shortcomings. Holy Ground is a gift that supports lamentation, repentance, transformation and discernment.

Moses is sent to work for the freedom of people. Oppression is not inevitable or insurmountable. Things can change. Challenging racism and white supremacy calls each of us to deep and honest consideration of perceptions, biases, behaviors and systemic patterns. We echo the United Nations call to take the strongest possible stand against racism, discrimination and intolerance of every kind, to spread the word to fight racism and to take stock of the state of human rights and hate speech today and reflect on how each of us can stand up for rights. In lamentation and repentance, we hear God’s call to act for the dismantling of racism.

Moses admits his own fears and reluctance. God directs Moses to connect with his siblings. God provides Miriam and Aaron to make up for Moses’ weaknesses and to enhance his strengths. The journey is long and the work is hard, crossing many difficult borders in our lives, communities, and our churches. We give thanks for the gift of community on this journey and in this work.

We invite you to join us in prayer:
God of Holy Ground, move us to lament and repent. Open our hearts, bodies, minds and souls to the cries of your people. Transform us by your presence. Drive us into action for the dismantling of racism in relationships, communities and societies. Bless us with companions who support us, challenge us and help us keeping going. We pray for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination. In the name of Jesus. Amen.

We commend to you these resources for further reflection and discernment:

“Doctrine of Discovery: Stolen lands, Strong Hearts” is a film about a devastating decision, made over 500 years ago, which continues to profoundly impact Indigenous and Settler people worldwide.

Call to Racial Reconciliation: “Litany of Repentance” and “Commissioning for the Ministry of Justice and Reconciliation” from the “10th Anniversary Celebration of Full Communion” between the Episcopal Church and the Northern and Southern Provinces of the Moravian Church

Sacred Teachings Podcast: Indigenous Elders all across Turtle Island share teachings, languages, traditions and stories of the Ancestors.

“With Love Before Us, We Are Walking” recording of Gospel Jam 7 (February 13, 2021) with Archbishop Mark MacDonald and special guest Bishop Michael Curry

In Christ – Shalom,

National Bishop Susan C. Johnson
Evangelical Lutheran Church in Canada

Archbishop and Primate Linda Nicholls
Anglican Church of Canada

Presiding Bishop Michael B. Curry
The Episcopal Church

Presiding Bishop Elizabeth A. Eaton
Evangelical Lutheran Church in America
Presiding Bishop Michael Curry Shares Photo of His COVID-19 Vaccination

March 18, 2021
[Episcopal News Service] Presiding Bishop Michael Curry revealed March 18 that he is among the millions of Americans who are being vaccinated against COVID-19.

Curry posted a photo of himself getting the shot to Facebook, Instagram and Twitter. He received the first dose of the vaccine manufactured by Pfizer on March 2 in Wake County, North Carolina, according to The Episcopal Church’s Public Affairs Office.

“I thank God for all of the people who have made the COVID vaccines possible and available,” Curry said. “I’m thankful to have received my first shot – one more to go!”

Curry also directed followers to a COVID-19 vaccine “toolkit” complied by the Episcopal Public Policy Network, offering suggestions for congregations looking to partner with government agencies to help end the pandemic.
Nearly 74 million people across the United States, or 22% of Americans, have received at least one dose of the three COVID-19 vaccinations now available, according to data tracked by the New York Times. The vaccination rate has steadily climbed all year, and this month, more than 2 million vaccinations are being administered each day on average.

Curry is scheduled to receive his second dose later this month.

Canadian Health Authorities See Role for Church in Vaccinating Indigenous Communities

By Matt Gardner

March 8, 2021
[Anglican Journal] In guidance produced during the first wave of the COVID-19 pandemic in April, the World Health Organization (WHO) was emphatic: “Religious leaders, faith-based organizations, and faith communities can play a major role in saving lives and reducing illness related to COVID-19.”

As Canada begins rolling out vaccines in the midst of a devastating second wave, health authorities are once more echoing the WHO. Faith organizations such as the Anglican Church of Canada, they say, can play a vital role in supporting vaccination.
The church’s potential to bolster the fight against the virus can be felt in Western Canada, which has seen some of the country’s highest infection rates. Indigenous communities have been hit particularly hard; people in First Nations represent up to half of all hospitalizations in Manitoba, according to Tom Wong, chief medical officer of health for Indigenous Services Canada.

God is Right Here

March 17, 2021

Karla Koon
When I was a kid, my mom would take my brother and me to the movies each week during the summers, as a reward of sorts, for being well-behaved and helpful around the house. We would go to a mid-day matinee to watch whatever mass-produced, live-action Disney film happened to be out at the time. I am sure my mother also relished the quiet restful nature of the dark movie theater, occupied children, and the air-conditioning. 

Inevitably, midway through the movie, I would have to go to the bathroom. So, my mom would send me up the ramp and out into the lobby to find the bathroom.  It might seem unusual that a mom would let her kid go to the bathroom by herself, but I wanted to exercise my Gen X independence early. Plus, it was a vastly different time and place back then. 

When I would return to the theater, I would be confident that I knew exactly where my mom and brother were seated. My confidence would wane, as I roamed the dark theater looking for them, finally yelling at the top of my lungs, “MOM.” At this, a half dozen heads would turn around, my Mom’s included. But, she would pop out of her seat, and scurry to retrieve me. This scenario would play out every single week. Each time I would head to the bathroom, my mom would remind me to check to know how to find my way back.  Every time, I would be confident I knew what I was doing, and every time I would get lost on the return trip.  

One week, entering the theater, my mom took my hand and pointed out the little light on the floor marking each aisle. I had never seen them before! But there they were and always had been, tiny lights marking the aisles. Who knew? She instructed me, “When you leave to go to the bathroom, I want you to count the number of lights on the floor all the way up the ramp. Then, when you come back into the theater, count the same number of lights, and there I will be.”

Right on queue, I left to go to the bathroom with a quick reminder from my mom to count the lights. As I headed up the ramp, the lights seemed so bright, but when I came back into the theater and counted the lights back down, I saw my mother’s sandals. She looked at me, squeezed my hand and said, “See, I am right here.” 

The whole time, there had been these tiny lights illuminating my way. I just did not notice them before, as I stubbled, bubbled and fumbled in the dark. But now, I no longer needed confidence in myself to find my way back, I had the assurance of knowing that my path would be lit. 

Again Jesus spoke to them, saying, “I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness but will have the light of life.” John 8:12

In following Christ, I think about the assurance and knowledge of the light to help me find my back, even if I stumble and fall in the darkness. Knowing that the path back to Christ is always lit, offers me hope and peace. While on this discipleship journey, I think of all the people who have traveled with me, sometimes teaching and other times guiding, but mostly just walking alongside me, taking my hand in kindness and compassion and the shared love of Christ. See, God is right here.
Karla Koon is a Worship Leader and Eucharistic Minister at St, Andrew’s Episcopal Church, in the Greenlake neighborhood of Seattle. When not serving at church or working as the Director of HR Operations and Administration for Catholic Community Services of Western Washington (Catholic Charities), you can find Karla, reading, quilting, golfing, hiking, kayaking, and (safely) gathering with friends and family.
Prophetic Indigenous Voices on the Planetary Crisis heard at the United Nations Environment Assembly

15 March 2021
“There is an urgent need to embrace the values of Indigenous Peoples’ worldviews and turn from a mindset of extraction to one of relationship with Nature”.

From: Building Forward Better – Action is Urgently Needed, the Joint Global Statement from Major Groups and other Stakeholders to the fifth session of the United Nations Environment Assembly, February 2021

Story by Jack Palmer-White, the Anglican Communion’s Permanent Representative to the United Nations, and Elizabeth Perry, the Anglican Alliance’s Communication and Advocacy Manager.

In a companion piece, we wrote about the Prophetic Indigenous Voices on the Planetary Crisis webinar series – a collaboration between the Anglican Indigenous Network (AIN) and the Anglican Communion Environmental Network (ACEN), with input from the Anglican Alliance.

In this piece, we describe how a delegation headed by the Anglican Communion Office at the United Nations (ACOUN) was able to lift up those voices at the recent United Nations Environmental Assembly (UNEA) and how, as a result, critical insights from Indigenous Anglicans were shared and helped shape the statement presented by the Global Major Groups and Stakeholders Forum (GMGSF) to the member state-led meetings of the Assembly.

“It was very encouraging to witness the Communion working so clearly as a connected body and with significant impact”, said Dr Elizabeth Perry, who took part in UNEA. “As the Anglican delegation we were able to act as a conduit, carrying the wisdom of Indigenous Anglicans from every part of the Communion into that space, influencing the conversation and asking questions of those gathered.”

The United Nations Environment Assembly 

The United Nations Environment Assembly (UNEA) is a global agenda setter, establishing priorities for global environmental policies, developing international environmental law and catalysing intergovernmental action. The fifth session of UNEA is currently underway. The first part (UNEA-5.1) took place virtually towards the end of February, with the second part (UNEA-5.2) scheduled to take place in person in Nairobi in February 2022.

The virtual session included online leadership dialogues for Ministers of the Environment and other high-level representatives, which focused on ensuring a ‘resilient and inclusive post-pandemic landscape’. The meeting also agreed the UN Environment Programme’s medium-term strategy and programme of work for 2022-2025. Whilst this might sound arcane, this is an area where civil society can potentially play a significant role in shaping the global environmental agenda as UNEA is one of the most generous UN agencies in terms of the inclusion of civil society in its decision-making.

The small Anglican delegation was headed by Jack Palmer-White, the Anglican Communion Permanent Representative to the UN. Revd. Dr Rachel Mash, from the Anglican Communion Environmental Network (ACEN) and the Environmental Coordinator of the Anglican Church of Southern Africa, Sophia Gakii from Anglican Development Services, Kenya and Dr Elizabeth Perry, the Anglican Alliance’s Advocacy and Communication Manager completed the delegation.

The Global Major Groups and Stakeholders Forum (GMGSF) is the key platform for civil society engagement in the work of the UN Environment Assembly and Programme. The main purpose of this GMGSF was to gather input for a joint statement to be presented to the two member state-led meetings – the Council of Permanent Representatives and the Assembly itself – based around a number of key areas of concern. The Anglican delegation successfully influenced the outcome of the joint statement in a number of specific ways:

  • The title of the statement – Building Forward Better: Action is Urgently Needed – was proposed by Revd Dr Rachel Mash. This language has been used in other documents and narratives within the Anglican Communion and wider civil society.
  • Proposing language in the ‘Main Messages’ section to make the calls ‘more human’ – including the use of words such as “cherishing”.
  • Proposing the specific inclusion of ‘environmental racism’ as an issue that the UNEP Medium-Term Strategy and Programme of Work must address. This particular point was also highlighted when the GMGSF Joint Statement was presented at the Environment Assembly closing session and later picked out by Inger Andersen, the Executive Director of the United Nations Environment Programme, as a significant contribution of the statement.
  • Developing two sections in the document on the importance of listening to and learning from Indigenous people and communities in order to achieve the necessary changes in our relationship with nature and the means to achieve these changes. Wording included in the statement, based on the Anglican delegation’s suggestion, reads, “There is an urgent need to embrace the values of Indigenous Peoples’ worldviews and turn from a mindset of extraction to one of relationship with Nature”.
  • Supporting priorities in Tearfund’s campaign on plastic pollution, delegates successfully ensured inclusion of reference to informal waste pickers in the section on ending plastic pollution.
  • Receiving specific recognition from a rapporteur that UNEP needs to partner with faith-based communities to mobilise them in the implementation of the Programme of Work

Additionally, ACC delegates also raised questions of key decision makers – including the President of UNEA-5 and the Executive Director of UNEP – on a number of relevant issues:

  • Mobilizing faith actors to action on the Programme of Work and other initiatives and how to engage faith actors better in the dissemination of messages and bring them on board, including the specific suggestion that UNEP facilitate online tools to train clergy of all faiths in environmental stewardship.
  • UNEP’s position on divestment from fossil fuels, including a specific question to the Executive Director on the proposed drilling/fracking in the Okavango Delta. She noted the need for solidarity and funding for green development to avoid the need for hydrocarbon exploitation. Following this question, the UNEP national office in South Africa reached out to Rachel Mash for a briefing on Okavango that had been specifically requested by the UNEP Executive Director in light of Rachel’s question.

Following on from this work, ACC delegates were also approached by a representative of the Parliament of World Religions to discuss how to engage UNEP on the development of online courses on eco-theology.

The Anglican Communion’s Permanent Representative to the United Nations, Jack Palmer-White, said: “I am delighted that the Anglican Communion delegation at UNEA-5 was able to influence the virtual discussions so effectively. I am excited at the possibilities that further engagement can open up, so that Anglicans can be even more involved in influencing global efforts to tackle the triple environmental crises of climate change, biodiversity loss and pollution.”

Why the Anglican Alliance cares about the environmental crisis

The Anglican Alliance exists to connect, equip and inspire the worldwide Anglican family to work for a world free of poverty and injustice and to safeguard creation. The integrity of creation is under severe strain as a result of climate change, environmental degradation and biodiversity loss. Environmental degradation and climate change are also major factors driving poverty and migration and are therefore cross-cutting issues that are part of each of our three pillars of relief, development and advocacy. Furthermore, the COVID-19 pandemic has laid bare the interconnectedness of the life of the Earth and shown us anew how we are all “our brother’s keeper”. Human health is dependent on planetary health.
IN BRIEF . . .

These news briefs were featured in previous issues of "The Epistle"

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