Volume 6, Issue 6
February 5, 2021
THIS SUNDAY: February 7, 2021
Fifth Sunday after the Epiphany


Linda Crocker (EM)*
David Crocker (U)
Diane Sato (AG)
Muriel Jackson (DM)

Mary Margaret Smith (EM)
Mario Antonio (U)
Nelson Secretario (LR)
Jan Hashizume (AG)
Mabel Antonio, Vikki Secretario (HP)
Jan Hashizume, 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

8:00AM and 9:30AM

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

Friday/Monday Crew
Every Friday/Monday
Church Office

Daughters of the King
Thursday, February 11th
7:00 - 8:00PM
Zoom meeting
Those who are interested in the Daughters of the King Meeting may contact Mabel Antonio for login information.

Ash Wednesday
Wednesday, February 17th
8:00AM and 6:00PM

For the aged and infirm, for the widowed and orphans, and for the sick and the suffering, especially Glen, Suzanne, AJ, Rosalind, Kellie, Mike, and those we name silently or aloud, let us pray to the Lord. ​Lord, have mercy. 

For all who have died, especially Linda, Milfred, and 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.
Reflections from Kahu Kawika

Epiphany 4B
Mark 1:21-28
All Saints’ Kapa’a
31 January 2021

I want you to remember something. Think back on who your favorite teacher or professor was. Why is she or he your favorite? How did they make a lasting impact on your life?

Mine is Mr. Dickey, my 10th-grade World History teacher. I had been originally assigned to a different class, since my program in high school was in the AP track. However, I had a scheduling conflict with an elective class I really wanted to take, so I opted for the regular track of Mr. Dickey’s World History class.
At the time, I wondered if I had made the right decision, since Mr. Dickey’s course was not in the college-prep AP program. However, two things changed my mind: The first is that my friends were in the other AP college-prep World History class, and they said that the teacher was absolutely terrible! She had no rapport with her students, seemed disinterested in them, had no teaching charisma or style, and by the end of the year she only got her students up to the Roman Empire!

Mr. Dickey, though, taught World History with a sense of enthusiasm. Not only did he competently cover the subject all the way to modern times, but his approach focused more on significant movements and inflection points in history rather than on mere abstract names and dates. He also noticed my love for the class, and went out of his way to share his own love for history and the impact it has on our lives today. Before his class, my intended college major was in Marine Biology, but his love for social science was so infectious that it led me to my college major of International Relations.

Mr. Dickey definitely had a profound impact on the direction of my life and for my enduring love for political science and cultural influences – even today when I read the Bible, I pay attention to the political, cultural, and economic backgrounds behind the spiritual meaning
In our Gospel reading today from Mark 1:21-28, we find Jesus had just gotten baptized by John the Baptist, had passed his ordeal of temptations in the desert with flying colors, and was calling his new disciples. Jesus is up north, back in his home region around the Sea of Galilee. He stops by the port city of Capernaum, and stops by the local synagogue on a sabbath day. For those who could read Hebrew (which were not that many people), the custom was for them to take turns reading from the Hebrew Scriptures – but no one would go on to “preach” about them, since they lacked the authority of the priests and religious teachers who belonged to the Temple in Jerusalem. In our story for today, though, we see Jesus not only reading from the Scriptures but also actually teaching from them – Jesus goes from merely imparting knowledge about the Scriptures, he actually makes them alive to his hearers and applies them to their lives. Jesus goes way beyond his remit of merely reading the Scriptures – he also actively applies them to peoples’ lives.

No wonder the crowd in the Synagogue is amazed at Jesus: “They were astounded at his teaching, for he taught them as one having authority, and not as the scribes.” (Mark 1:22) Notice two things: (1) the crowd is astounded – this implies they had not witnessed anything like this before, so Jesus is doing a new and startling thing in their midst; (2) they see that Jesus teaches with authority, “and not as the scribes.”

That last statement is a bit of a slam against the recognized holy teachers of Judaism at that time – the scribes are experts in the Hebrew Bible and especially in the Torah, the first five books of the Old Testament. They could recite chapter and verse by memory, and even do it in a language other than in their Aramaic tongue – written Hebrew. Everybody looks up to them as the ultimate keepers of the faith. But the scribes could only recite and point to verses in the Hebrew Bible – they don’t have the authority to interpret them and to apply them to people’s lives. In addition, sadly some corruption had gotten into the religious leadership, and many of them are leading lives that do not match up to the holiness standards in the Hebrew Bible.

Jesus, though, demonstrates that he has authority above and beyond these great religious teachers. People had heard that Jesus had power to heal, to control nature, and to drive out the strong hold of evil spirits on peoples’ lives – note how Jesus subsequently commands the evil spirit to come out of a man present at the synagogue service.

Jesus also has personal integrity – even when his enemies are trying to get him in trouble and to arrest him at every turn, nowhere in the Gospels could they come up with any bad behavior Jesus had done or immoral lifestyle Jesus had led. No one could knock Jesus’ personal integrity, and in turn people recognize Jesus’ authority because he leads a life of personal integrity, where his walk matches his talk.

This leads me to a key point today – the role of trust within authority. Here is a simple formula for understanding this: Power + Trust = Authority. Indeed, this is the essential difference between raw power and authority – power is the ability to do things, whereas authority is the permission to do things, based on the presence of trust people accord to their authority figure. Power can make people do things against their will, but authority persuades people to do things by appealing to peoples’ will through trust in a leader’s integrity and by embracing a common vision for action.

An influential book on my life and thought is one by Francis Fukuyama, Senior Fellow and Professor of International Studies at Stanford University, called Trust: Social Virtues and Creation of Prosperity (1995). Fukuyama diverges from many economic theorists by asserting that communities and nations tend to thrive more economically wherever there is a high reservoir of trust in the culture. Pointing to historical examples, he asserts that if a culture gets too inwardly focused, becomes highly individually selfish, and focuses more on the mere mechanics of business models at the expense of care for the well-being of all levels of society, then that is the start of the downward slope of the decline of that civilization. Instead, there needs to be a sense of trust in the mutual welfare of everyone in society in order to thrive as a society. Most of all, leaders of that society have to prove themselves to be people of integrity and compassion, to model how the rest of that society should function, and thus engender from the top a culture of trust in their society.

I was reminded of Episcopalian author Brené Brown’s characterization of trust as the “stacking of small moments over time,” principally in preparation for inflection points such as the ones we are living in at the moment.
Heading into the months ahead, could there be a more important—albeit painfully absent—need we all have than for the building up of trust? Too often thought of as a “soft competency,” trust must now be our top construction project, if we are going to survive, indeed thrive, into the future.
On the occasion of his 100th birthday in December, George Schultz, former US secretary of labor, treasury, and state, wrote about his education in trust: “When trust was in the room,” he wrote, “good things happened.” When it was not, Schultz warned, the opposite occurred. “Everything else is details.”
Schultz pointed to various ways in which he experienced trust throughout his long life: watching how his parents treated each other and other people; the deep-seated trust that a mentor inspired; moments where he witnessed leaders showing great courage, at other moments their ability to show empathy; the power of story to inspire trust; and the degree to which the best leaders trust their followers with the truth.

Jesus was, and is, such a great leader, modeling the threefold gifts of personal integrity, social compassion, and spiritual holiness. He garnered trust from others, which in turn enabled him to do mighty things in their midst. An example of this is when Jesus meets a man with a disability of paralysis for 38 years – Jesus asks him a telling question, “Do you want to be healed?” The obvious answer to us would be “Yes – are you kidding!”, but Jesus is digging deeper into whether the man would trust in Jesus to do him good. Without that trust, Jesus can do nothing.

Sadly, it seems as if trust is in short supply in our society right now, especially evidenced in the breakdown of trust in our national political arena and in other ways we do business and interact with one another. It will take time to build up trust’s reservoirs. While our leaders are to model this, each of us also needs to do our part – to be people of integrity, compassion, and spiritual holiness. And inasmuch as we accord trust in our God, we can also gain the trust of those around us, and together we can do mighty things. This trust is important especially for caring for those most vulnerable around us: our keiki, kupuna, and those with disabilities.

Trust: takes years to build, seconds to break, and forever to repair. May God enable each of us to be trustworthy people, with God’s authority to change this world for the better. Amen.
Sunday School Makes Valentines
Messages of Love and Caring
SS valentines
Join the All Saints' O`hana Workplaces List
Patronize Our O`hana Businesses
The pandemic has taken quite a toll on Kaua`i residents, including many of our church O`hana. In the spirit of “Shop Local” we would like to compile a list of stores, restaurants, and services for whom All Saints’ parishioners and their families work. Grocery stores, plumbing companies, landscapers, resume writing…whatever you do. With this list we can support our O`hana and Kaua`i by patronizing these businesses. Please consider contributing your work/workplace to our list. You can include your name or submit the listing anonymously. Email your submission to news@allsaintskauai.org
Laundry Love to Resume Serving the Community
Modifications in Place to Comply with COVID Restrictions
Geoff Shields and David Crocker finalized plans for kickstarting a modified Laundry Love program which began on Wednesday, 2/3/2021. They set up a single table with a plexiglass barrier outside the Kapa`a Laundromat at 4:30PM. They distributed bags with a single roll of quarters, detergent tabs & dryer sheets. Patrons were on their own to use the resources at their convenience. A new pattern of behaviors & expectations is expected settle in after a few sessions. All Saints' will continue to offer laundry assistance with modifications to those in need. Geoff sees this as a positive first step in getting back in the game. 
News from Buildings and Grounds
All Saints' Receives Home Depot Gift
new fridge
The church was blessed with a donation from Home Depot of a brand new commercial refrigerator. We said, "if we can get it into the gym kitchen, we'll keep it!". Here is Wayne working on it, and after much pushing, shoving and lifting we were successful! The last picture is a Stella test to see how cold it gets. (Editor’s note: Wayne was working alone when unmasked.)

-Ron Morinishi
 Junior Warden

All Saints' Youth Kick-Off 2021 Relay for Life Virtual Relay
Plans and Sign Up Begin for Events
Welcome to 2021! Relay for Life is starting up again and we have plans to hold another Virtual Relay.

A Team Page has been created for us to start preparing for the event and gathering donations. Join the team! Register by 2/16/21: http://main.acsevents.org/goto/keakuayouthgroup.

All Youth Group members will need to ask their parents for permission. Once granted, you will need to create/login to your relay for life personal page to join the team. As soon as you register you can start collecting.
Last year we exceeded our goal of $1,000. I have no doubt we can double it this year again.
Note for special donation kick-off prizes:

  • Donate $21.00 by 2/16/21 and you will be entered to win Relay for Life blankets and online gift cards
  • Donate $100.00 by 2/16/21 and you will receive a Relay for Life T-shirt

Saturday, September 11th - Relay for Life Kaua`i Virtual event

Note: All Saints’ will probably be a satellite site again, same as last year.

If you have any questions or are interested in joining these events, please let me know.

-Cami Baldovino
 Youth Minister
Camp Mokule'ia: More Stay-Cay dates!
Camp Mokule'ia has added another set of dates to its Spring Stay-Cay packages! Hurry and reserve your space today for a great family get away in a variety of camping options! Current Stay-Cay dates are: February 19-21, March 26-28, and April 16-18. For more info, visit their website HERE.
Absalom Jones Offering
Epiphany 5

February 7, 2021
In honor of Black History Month and Blessed Absalom Jones, the first African American priest in The Episcopal Church, Presiding Bishop Michael Curry has invited Episcopalians everywhere to deepen our participation in Christ’s ministry of reconciliation by engaging with and supporting Episcopal Historically Black Colleges and Universities, known as HBCUs.

Congregations and individuals are urged to dedicate the offering from their observance of the Feast of Absalom Jones (February 13) to support the two Episcopal HBCUs: St. Augustine’s University in Raleigh, N.C., and Voorhees College in Denmark, S.C. “These schools bring educational, economic, and social opportunity to often resource-poor communities, and they offer many blessings into the life of the Episcopal Church,” Bishop Curry said. Donations to the HBCUs will provide much needed help to offer competitive scholarships and financial aid, attract and retain exceptional faculty, support cutting-edge faculty research, install new and upgraded technology campus-wide, and provide state-of-the-art classroom and athletic equipment.

“In light of our renewed covenant and commitment to the work of racial justice and reconciliation, I hope you will join me in supporting the Absalom Jones Fund this year,” the Presiding Bishop said.

Jones was an African American abolitionist and clergyman, and the first African American ordained a priest in The Episcopal Church. He was born enslaved to Abraham Wynkoop in 1746 in Delaware. Jones moved to Philadelphia after his master sold his plantation along with Absalom’s mother and six siblings. Jones bought his wife Mary’s freedom and later was granted his own emancipation in 1784. In 1787, with his friend Richard Allen, they founded the Free African Society, a mutual aid benevolent organization that was the first of its kind organized by and for Black people. Jones was ordained a priest on September 21, 1802, faithfully serving the African Episcopal Church of St. Thomas in Philadelphia, which remains a vibrant congregation.

“As we commemorate Blessed Absalom Jones, the first African American priest in The Episcopal Church, we have a unique opportunity to celebrate his memory and to honor the witness of two schools that continue to form new leaders,” Bishop Curry said. “In honor of Jones’ commitment to advancing the education of African Americans and promoting the development of African American leaders in all areas of life, The Episcopal Church is delighted to designate Saint Augustine’s University and Voorhees College as the beneficiaries of the 2021 Feast of Absalom Jones offerings.”

Donations are accepted at episcopalchurch.org/givehbcus. You can also text GIVEHBCU to 41444For more information, contact Cecilia Malm, Senior Development Officer, at cmalm@episcopalchurch.org or (212) 716-6062.

Published by the Office of Formation of The Episcopal Church, 815 Second Avenue, New York, N.Y. 10017
© 2020 The Domestic and Foreign Missionary Society of the Protestant Episcopal Church in the United States of America. All rights reserved.

February 2, 2021

By the Rev. Canon Heather L. Melton, Staff Officer for the United Thank Offering

Caritas is the Latin word for Christian love, sometimes further defined as the Christian love for all of humanity. Often people go on to define it as selfless love of others. Still others have used it to mean compassion or charitable feelings. Caritas is how I like to think about St. Valentine’s Day, even if culturally we think about the day more from the perspective of the romantic type of love. Not much is known about St. Valentine, other than he was a martyr. Martyrs are a great reminder of the cost of caritas, of loving humanity more than oneself. While I don’t recommend martyrdom as a lifestyle choice, I do think re-centering Valentine’s Day on caritas is a great idea, especially this year in the midst of the pandemic.

This past year has taught us a great deal about what caritas looks like. Not only have we seen so many examples of it, but we’ve been practicing it each and every time we stay home, order groceries (even though we would rather pick out our own grapes), Zoom with relatives instead of visiting them, and put on our mask correctly while out in the world. Caritas looks like the people – from the factory workers to the store employees – who can’t stay home because they need to keep the stores stocked. It most certainly looks like healthcare workers, but it also looks like clergy, teachers, and civic leaders who sorted out new ways to do things, not only to slow the spread but also to keep those within their care safe, by reminding, educating, and assuring them that caritas can look like a Zoom gathering just as much as it once looked like a room full of people. Right now, at my house, caritas looks a lot like people from all over exchanging valentines with my daughters so that they will experience Valentine’s Day, even without a school party this year, thanks to love from adults.

This February is very different than last year’s. Last year, the first cases were popping up in the United States and lockdowns were beginning. This year, vaccines are making their way through communities. Last year as we headed to church on Ash Wednesday, I remember feeling nervous about what was unfolding. This year, as we stay home for Ash Wednesday, I am feeling hopeful about what is unfolding. Perhaps the bigger change, though, is that I’ve learned to practice caritas in new and deeper ways, which means that my hope is also filled with curiosity and gratitude. We’ve learned so much this past year, and what we are doing going forward should (at least in my opinion) be shaped by what we have learned. And, we need to mindful that while we adults are excitedly receiving our vaccines this year, our children cannot and thus remain vulnerable to a disease that we do not yet fully understand the long-term effects of. Caritas demands that we make sure not to forget them and that we protect them until they too can be vaccinated. It also demands that we consider those that have connected with church and community in new ways this past year because they could now do it from home, from homebound people whose experience of church was limited to a Eucharistic visitor and can now participate in coffee hour to families with small children who can participate in church without the anxiety of disturbing others as their kids make noise in the pews. All of this is to say, before we charge ahead, let us take a moment to give thanks for all the blessings of this time, the lessons that we have learned, the new things we’ve adapted to, and the ways we have shown and experienced caritas – the Christian love of humanity – and may we find ways to practice it more deeply and profoundly going forward. It is easy to simply say we are thankful something is over, but the work we are called to in this moment is to give thanks for the light that shined in the darkness, for the hope found in the midst of struggle, and for all of the ways that God reminded us that we (all of humanity) are to be signs of God’s love in a broken and hurting world. Happy Valentine’s Day and thank you for being a sign of God’s love to me, to your family, and to your community through your own practices of caritas.

Bonhoeffer and The Heart of Christian Living

February 4, 2021

Leslie Scoopmire
Dietrich Bonhoeffer

One of the greatest challenges facing our nation, and facing American Christianity right now, is the struggle over how to deal with the anger, hatred, and violence claimed as a birthright by a substantial portion of the population. We witnessed this anger forcefully on January 6. Within Christianity, there is a perceived strengthening of Christian nationalism that makes a mockery of the word “Christian.” Yet. for too many people, this is the face of Christianity that is shown to the world, not the face of a Savior, healer, teacher, and redeemer. 

As I wept watching the ceremony honoring Capitol Police Officer Brian Sicknick in the Capitol Rotunda yesterday morning, I felt a wave of grief sweep over me, and I know I was not alone.  Even as he was being laid to rest, the initial shock of that January 6 has seemingly begun to wear off, with even some Congresspersons claiming that the assault really wasn’t as bad as all that, and some people who claim to be Christians espousing the right to spill innocent blood in the name of a country that they claim to have been founded on their version of “Christian principles.” Some of these same people claim to be “pro-life.”

It is at this time that we are called to remember the life and witness of the great German theologian Dietrich Bonhoeffer, whose birth we celebrate on February 4 in the Episcopal Church’s calendar of saints. His willingness to live alongside the oppressed and to give up his life rather than turn a blind eye to fascist ideology that threatened to engulf the German Church mark him as a modern martyr.

Bonhoeffer wrote one of his greatest works on Matthew’s sermon on the Mount. In Chapters 9-11 of The Cost of Discipleship, Bonhoeffer addresses Jesus’s statement in the Sermon on the Mount that hatred for another person is the equivalent of murder. Bonhoeffer says this:

When we come before God with hearts full of contempt and unreconciled with our neighbors, we are, both individually and as a congregation, worshiping an idol. So long as we refused to love and serve our brothers and sisters and make them an object of contempt and let them harbor a grudge against me or the congregation, our worship and sacrifice will be acceptable to God. Not just the fact that I am angry, but the fact that there is somebody who is been hurt, damaged and disgraced by me, who ‘has a cause against me’, erects a barrier between me and God. Let us therefore as a Church examine ourselves, and see whether we have not often enough wronged our neighbors. Let us see whether we have tried to win popularity by falling in with the world’s hatred, its contempt and its [insulting treatment]. For if we do that we are murderers. (Bonhoeffer, Cost of Discipleship, 144).

Bearing contempt for others cannot be made right just by offering a gift at the altar. No, that’s too easy, and avoids the very real work of reconciliation. The entire point of covenants and commandments is that we live in RELATIONSHIP with God and with each other. Relationships are holy things but also sacramental—for they help us evaluate how strong our commitment to living as God’s children really is. We show our commitment to God by how we treat others—even those to whom we are strangers, or those who are difficult to love. God knows sometimes WE can be difficult to love—but God loves us anyway. That’s called “grace,” and like the song says, it’s amazing.

Now at the same time, loving our neighbor can and must also include holding them accountable. Indeed, people who ask forgiveness and yet refuse to own up to and name the harm they have done are not penitent. They are, instead, self-serving. This calls to “unity” are hollow unless they are accompanied by honesty, humility, and repentance.

We must stop leaving unchallenged speech which denigrates others and seeks to divide. Yet it can never be repeated enough: one of the greatest blessings of Anglican, Catholic, and Orthodox Christian theology is our repeated emphasis on the importance of the concept of the incarnation—of how, in Jesus, God comes to take on our human nature and live as one of us, thereby hallowing our frail flesh and giving us the example of a truly enlightened, joy-filled, purposeful life. The emphasis on breaking bread together here on earth, humbly in awe at the spark of divine light that shines for the face of each and every one of us, of offering, blessing, and giving, is the heart of Christian life.

Our incarnational theology, proclaimed, embraced, and celebrated in our weekly observance of the Eucharist, reinforces the sacredness of the image of God that resides within all humanity, and indeed is shot throughout all of creation. That’s why anger, fear, jealousy, or prejudice that leads us to discount anyone’s life—no matter how much we may disagree with them or their actions—as less sacred and worthy of protection than our own lives or the lives of our family and friends is equivalent to the breaking of our covenant with God.

When we choose contempt rather than seeing the holiness and sacredness of any of our kindred people, we are choosing to let death and destruction reign in our hearts, rather than choosing life and love. God calls us step back from hurting other people through our own anger—even those who have hurt us. Whether they are worthy or not is not our concern. God also calls us to worship God alone, not some idol of individualism and base prejudices.

And that’s hard. But all real transformation—the choice of life over death—is of course not going to be easy. It WILL be worthwhile, and will bless us ourselves as much as it blesses those around us.
The Rev. Leslie Scoopmire is a writer, musician, and a priest in the Diocese of Missouri. She is rector of St. Martin’s Episcopal Church in Ellisville, MO. She posts daily prayers, meditations, and sermons at her blog Abiding In Hope, and collects spiritual writings and images at Poems, Psalms, and Prayers.
Q&A: Washington Bishop Mariann Budde Says Church Should ‘Lead with Jesus’ in its Nonpartisan Advocacy

February 4, 2021

David Paulsen
Washington Bishop Mariann Edgar Budde recites prayers at the first Way of the Cross station March 21, 2013, in Lafayette Square in Washington, D.C. Budde, joined by Connecticut Bishop Suffragan James Curry, left, and Connecticut Bishop Ian Douglas, was part of a procession against violence months after the massacre of students and teachers at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut. Photo: Mary Frances Schjonberg/Episcopal News Service

[Episcopal News Service] Many Episcopal bishops, priests and deacons feel called by faith to bear public witness on issues of the day, but few have been as prominent or outspoken in recent years as Diocese of Washington Bishop Mariann Budde. As the top Episcopal leader in the nation’s capital, Budde hasn’t been shy in calling for federal policies that reflect Jesus’ call to care “for the least of these.”

Budde, in an interview with Episcopal News Service, said she has tried to “lead with Jesus” rather than let politics guide her ordained ministry, going back to her 18 years as a parish priest in Minneapolis, Minnesota. “If your Jesus always agrees with your politics, you’re probably not reading deeply enough into Jesus,” she said. At the same time, “I don’t think justice and societal issues are optional for clergy. They are embedded in our faith.”

Since her consecration as Washington bishop in 2011, she said she has tried to focus on her primary role as chief pastor to the diocese’s Episcopalians, and when engaging in advocacy, church leaders should “take a moral position and not a partisan position, to start somewhere we have authority.”

Budde and other church leaders also are responding to calls for healing after the recent presidential campaign and its tense aftermath. ENS spoke with Budde on Jan. 13, one week after a deadly riot at the U.S. Capitol by supporters of then-President Donald Trump and a week before the inauguration of President Joe Biden.
The Rt. Rev. Mariann Budde was consecrated as bishop of the Diocese of Washington in 2011. Photo: Washington National Cathedral

The following [is the first of several] questions and answers [which] have been condensed and lightly edited for length and clarity.

ENS: The Diocese of Washington is like any other diocese in that it covers a geographic area and encompasses a number of congregations and members, but it also is home to the seat of the U.S. government. Does that shape how you see your role as bishop of the diocese?

BUDDE: The Diocese of Washington goes all the way down to southern Maryland. I wish it had a different name, actually – “The Diocese of Washington and Four Maryland Counties.” I mean, there are a lot of people whose profession is government in one form or another, and not just the political, elected side but the civil service side. The temptation is greater to focus on what’s happening on the federal side of the government, and that’s something that I’ve tried not to define my episcopate [by]. I’m not a chaplain to the government, I’m the pastor of pastors and a leader of congregations. I tend to pick my issues carefully.

To read the entire interview please click HERE.
Episcopal-supported NGO Continues to Provide Teens with Access to Reproductive Education, Contraception as Pandemic Extends into 2021

February 1, 2021

Heather Beasley Doyle and Lynette Wilson
WINGS nurse María Jose during a patient consultation at the Guatemala Youth Initiative’s clinic. Photo courtesy of Guatemala Youth Initiative

[Episcopal News Service] On March 13, 2020, two days after the World Health Organization declared a global pandemic, the staff of the Guatemala Youth Initiative began to strategize ways to continue to provide contraception, sexual education and maternal support to teens and young adults living around the largest landfill in Central America.

Led by Episcopalian Greg Lowden, the Guatemala City-based, Episcopal-supported nonprofit worked with its local partner organization, WINGS, to conduct telephone-based rather than in-person consultations. They set up contactless protocols to allow beneficiaries to pick up birth control at the youth center and clinic. GYI also moved its educational and parenting programs to online and instant messaging platforms.

“It could have gone either way,” Lowden, the executive director, told Episcopal News Service, meaning the pandemic could have forced GYI to shut down operations. Instead, in satisfying a need, it has “given us a chance to expand our programs during a time when youth need them most. [Nearly] all teen mothers are forced to drop out of school, and many of them face the challenge of caring for a newborn without support from their family or the baby’s father. Access to contraception is critical for young women.”

Guatemala has one of the highest adolescent birth rates in Latin America, which as a region ranks second in the world. In 2019, 7,992 girls ages 15 to 19 and 183 girls ages 10 to 14 in Guatemala City and its suburbs became mothers. In 2019, GYI and WINGS provided over 689 consultations for various forms of contraception, preventing an estimated 325 unplanned pregnancies. In 2020, despite the pandemic’s disruption of services, reproductive education and contraception prevented an estimated 400 unplanned pregnancies. In 2021, Lowden estimates this number will increase to between 800 and 900. These pregnancy prevention estimates are calculated using the Marie Stopes International Impact 2 instrument.
Teen mom with baby receiving a grocery store card from Guatemala Youth Initiative to cover food and infant care products at the beginning of the pandemic. Photo courtesy of Guatemala Youth Initiative

On Jan. 29, GYI opened a second, temporary clinic in a community on the landfill’s northern end. It opened its first youth center and clinic in 2018 on the southern perimeter of the landfill, where day laborers scavenge for scrap and recyclables. The laborers and their families live in 12-by-12-foot shacks constructed primarily of corrugated metal. Family dysfunction typically associated with extreme poverty — including drug use and physical and sexual abuse — is widespread, and teens often spend their time outdoors.

A government-imposed lockdown implemented early on to control the pandemic had its intended effect, with deaths and positive cases relatively low in Guatemala compared with the rest of the region, but the lockdown itself exacerbated existing problems. For instance, when local officials suspended day laborers from working in the landfill, residents in surrounding communities experienced increased food insecurity and the abuses intensified, said Lowden.

To meet families’ immediate needs, Lowden turned to Episcopal donors and supporters to ask for funds to provide food and water to 500 people.

Lowden reached out to supporters in the Diocese of Virginia, his “home base.”
“Our Episcopalian supporters are usually the fastest to provide help during an emergency. Thanks to them, we were able to get food into homes immediately after launching our relief campaign,” Lowden said.

By mid-July, GYI’s clinic reopened and began offering long-acting reversible contraception, as well as other methods of birth control. Demand soared to about 90 patients that month, up from the previous record of 50 or so patients in January and February, before the pandemic, though schools have remained closed and educational workshops have remained online.

“Now, we’re waiting on the government response and what they’re going to do with schools to figure out how we’re going to move forward” with workshops for students, Byron Paredes, an educator and coordinator with GYI, said.

At first, shifting in-person consultations and programs to an online format presented a challenge.

“[They were the] same topics, but totally different workshops because the way we do things is really hands on, and we had to adjust all that to working online,” Paredes said. “[But] the response is really, really positive. Our youth leaders kept referring people, and once they joined, they kind of remained loyal and kept signing up for the next [workshop].”

The shift online led to other modifications as well. For example, staff had to make sure the 81 participants in their Young Mothers Support Program (many of whom are teens) and 45 teen leaders had access to smartphones and enough data.

“The main issue we were seeing was data,” Lowden said. Without the costs of in-person workshops, GYI could provide mobile data to those in need and also began to share prerecorded, age-specific parenting videos weekly via WhatsApp, which grew its Young Mothers Support Program from 43 to 81 participants, he said.

GYI’s online classes – sometimes featuring a pediatrician, nutritionist or early childhood educator – cover parenting skills such as bonding, health, nutrition, and cognitive and motor development. They have been so popular that GYI plans to continue providing online workshops, even after in-person activities resume.

“Reaching more young mothers means more children are likely to have a happier and healthier life despite the many hardships faced in their community,” Lowden said. “Many young mothers near the landfill face the challenge of parenting with no guidance or support. The pandemic has made it dramatically harder, so having online classes and videos has been extremely appealing to the moms. They are able to take advantage of time at home towards early childhood development instead of being overwhelmed by motherhood.”

Heather Beasley Doyle is a freelance journalist, writer and editor based in Massachusetts. Lynette Wilson is managing editor of Episcopal News Service.
‘We Can Name the Evil That is Racism’: A Conversation with Archbishop Thabo Makgoba

February 3, 2021
[Anglican Journal] The struggle against anti-Black racism is a common thread in the history of North America and South Africa. During the apartheid era, the Anglican Church of Southern Africa played a major role in supporting the movement to end the official system of racial discrimination. While apartheid officially ended three decades ago, racism continues to plague South Africa today alongside persistent economic and social inequality.

In 2007, Thabo Makgoba became archbishop of Cape Town, occupying the position once held by Archbishop Desmond Tutu. As a student in the 1970s and ’80s, Makgoba actively participated in the movement against apartheid. In his subsequent ministry as an Anglican priest, rector, archdeacon, bishop and archbishop, he continued to challenge inequality, injustice and corruption. In the last years of Nelson Mandela’s life, he provided pastoral care and presence to the former South African president and icon of the anti-apartheid movement.

IN BRIEF . . .

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

Please submit your story ideas to the Epistle Staff at news@allsaintskauai.org.
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ZONTA OF KAUAI FOUNDATION CHRISTMAS FUND is accepting donations for Christmas 2020. To donate, click here: Zonta Christmas Donation.

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