Volume 6, Issue 9
February 26, 2021
THIS SUNDAY: February 28, 2021
Second Sunday in Lent

ON-SITE CHURCH SERVICE
WITH COMMUNION

8:00AM
David Crocker (EM)*
Linda Crocker (U)
Dee Grigsby (AG)
Mark Cain (DM)

9:30AM
Mario Antonio (EM)
Mary Margaret Smith (U)
Joan Roughgarden (LR)
Jan Hashizume (AG)
Vikki Secretario, Mabel Antonio (HP)
Jan Hashizume, Carolyn Morinishi (DM)

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

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

ON-SITE CHURCH SERVICES WITH COMMUNION
8:00AM and 9:30AM

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

Friday/Monday Crew
Every Friday/Monday
8:00AM 
Church Office

Workday to Clear Storage Container
Sunday, February 28th
12:00PM
Behind the church

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

March 2, Session 2: Telling your spiritual story
March 9, Session 3: What is prayer and how do we pray?
March 16, Session 4: Making space and praying the Lectio and Visio Divina
March 23, Session 5: Praying through the hurt
March 30, Session 6: Death and dying, and praying with Jesus in the garden
T
Call the church office or email Kahu at rector@allsaintskauai.org to enroll.

Ke Akua Youth Group Meeting
Wednesday, March 10th
5:00 - 6:00PM
Zoom
Contact Cami for login information.
For the aged and infirm, for the widowed and orphans, and for the sick and the suffering, especially Kellie, Mike, the Fulford 'Ohana, Rosalind, Glen and those we name silently or aloud, let us pray to the Lord. ​Lord, have mercy. 

For all who have died, especially Milfred, Millie, Donn (Curly), Dr. Haruki, Micheal, 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
Endless Lent?
Lent 1B
Mark 1:9-15
All Saints’ Kapaa
21 February 2021
I was thinking about this time last year, soon after Muriel and I had arrived to join the All Saints’ ʻohana. In addition to our church services, we had fun events like the Rectory “Soup-erBowl” Party, Morgan & Cami Baldovino’s glorious wedding, and the Mardi Gras Pancake Supper, also at the Rectory. We then welcomed the Lenten Season with our Ash Wednesday services and “Ashes to Go” outside in the parking lot.
And soon after that, the boom fell on us – the COVID pandemic lockdown. Looking back, Ash Wednesday was the last big-ticket event we had before we entered into this long time of pandemic restrictions and financial downturn affecting so many people.

In some ways, it feels as if Lent 2020 never actually ended. If Lent is about going through our own wilderness experience of self-denial, then we certainly have had that and more these past 12 months. I can find myself more readily identifying with Jesus in our Gospel story today from Mark 1 – while we tend to think of him of having to endure his own desert wilderness experience of deprivation for a limitd period of 40 days, the fact of the matter is that, while he was going through it, Jesus might not have known that it would only last 40 days – for him, it would have seemed endless and interminable, not knowing when it would finally be over.

Whenever we go through difficult times, if at least we can know that it is for a certain period of time and that it will end by then, then we can endure a lot in our lives. However, what adds to tough times is when we don’t know when the end will be – when the road ahead seems windy and endless.

This reminds me of a story that I often quote from one of my favorite authors, C. S. Lewis. In his first book in the fantasy Narnia series, “The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe,” one of the four human children, Lucy, meets a faun who is an inhabitant of the land of Narnia named Mr. Tumnus. After Lucy remarks on the cold and icy conditions all over the land, Mr. Tumnus replies, “It is winter in Narnia, and has been for ever so long...always winter, but never Christmas.” In Lewis’ depiction, Narnia is in the grip of what seems like an endlessly grim winter. It’s not hard for us to grasp this image right now as much of the continental United States is largely covered with snow and filled with shivering people in the midst of a pandemic.

Like Narnia’s “always winter and never Christmas,” in the church, one would be forgiven for thinking “it’s always Lent and never Easter.” Like with us, last year’s Lent started pretty normally for most churches, but many soon had to be closed to in-person worship before Holy Week. While in our minds we knew we were passing through the church seasons as Easter approached, the fact of the matter is that it felt like Lent would never end. In the last year, we’ve been worn down by a pandemic that has claimed hundreds of thousands of lives, and has cost millions more in livelihoods. We’ve had to adjust to a “new normal.”

One may wonder if we’re in the grip of an endlessly grim Lent as we start anew our Lenten journey. After all, the previous Lent never seems to have ended. But no matter how we celebrate Easter, or even if we skip it entirely, nothing can change the fact that for Jesus and for us, the empty tomb was proof that Jesus’ “Lent” of living as a human and suffering through betrayal and physical pain was finally over. We can’t be sure what this year’s Easter will look like. But we can be sure that Christians around the world will find ways to celebrate the triumph of Jesus Christ over evil, of love over sin, of life over death.

Jesus frees us from the grip of sin, and he certainly frees us from the grip of an endlessly grim Lenten journey.

Maybe it is our posture and attitude towards Lent that needs to change. After all, Lent is not really about misery, though it may sometimes be about fasting and self-denial. During the holy season of Lent, we “prepare with joy for the Paschal feast” as we turn our hearts and our lives toward Jesus. In that way, even in Lent, we can always be brimming with joy at the prospect that Lent will give way to Easter, that the desert wanderings will give way to the hope of abundant life and resurrection.

What does this preparation entail? It of course starts with the ashes of Ash Wednesday, which remind us of both our own imperfections and our mortality. It tells us that, at times, we are understandably frustrated as fallible human beings. As Paul reminds us, in Romans 7, “I do not do the good I want, but the evil I do not want is what I do.” Likewise, it tells us that we have complicated histories, punctuated with regrets that can send us into periodic detours. As the poet Adrienne Rich reminds us, “it can be difficult to be generous to earlier selves, and yet keep faith with the continuity of our journeys.”
In spite of its somber tone and reminders of our finite nature, Lent is also a time of hope for humanity. It reminds us of God’s unconditional love, no matter how sorrowful and twisted we can feel. That love precedes any good deeds we do, any expectations we meet, or any recompense we make for past actions. Perhaps even more difficult than accepting our human limitations is accepting that God loves and embraces us regardless of the state of our soul or the substance of our actions.
Just as the ashes we received on Ash Wednesday of 2020 served as an ironic lead-in to this prolonged time of reckoning with our vulnerability, so our Lenten observances in 2021 can usher in a sense of hope for what the day truly points to – God’s embrace of our full humanity. Praise God, we even now see some signs of hope with the decreasing rates of infections and deaths across the nation – and may God continue to make it so.

I close by inviting us to the opportunity to observe to a holy Lent. Let us all pray that we might know the joy of God’s saving help and the power of God's bountiful Spirit. By God’s mighty grace, Lent is not endless, and the hope of Easter resurrection is just around the corner. Amen.
News from Buildings and Grounds
Volunteers Needed this Sunday, February 28th, 12:00PM
Volunteers needed for this Sunday (Feb 28 at noon).

Since the organ installation has been completed, the church has decided to sell the storage container. We need volunteers to clean out the container and move its contents to either the rectory garage or gym. We may also need a pickup truck to haul items to the dump. There are some useable wood pieces that may be of interest to anyone willing to haul away. Please contact Ron or church office for more information. 

-Ron Morinishi
Junior Warden
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 and donation box just outside the Sanctuary entrance -- feel free to put your 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+
New Ministry Begins at All Saints'
Come and Join the Office Angel Ministry
The Office Angel Ministry starts March 1, 2021. The ministry focuses on helping out in the church office. The tasks will include answering the phone, stuffing envelopes, etc. The angels will work in 3 hour shifts: 9AM - 12PM, or 12 - 3PM. You can choose one day a month or weekly, whatever suits your schedule. 

If you’re interested, please give Netta White a call at 808-822-7540, or 619- 249-8471.

Thank you for considering lending a helping hand. This ministry enables our Church and Pre-School Administrator, Cami Baldovino, to focus on more important matters for our church, pre-school, and youth group. 
 
Mahalo nui loa,
Netta White
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 2, Session 2: Telling your spiritual story
March 9, Session 3: What is prayer and how do we pray?
March 16, Session 4: Making space and praying the Lectio and Visio Divina
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+
FEMA to Aid with COVID Related Burial Expenses
Information for Those in Need
In a joint press conference earlier this week, Senator Chuck Schumer and Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez announced that the Federal Emergency Management Administration (FEMA) will now reimburse low-income families for COVID-related funeral and burial costs.

FEMA will administer a $2 billion fund that will help families cover up to $7,000 in funeral expenses, retroactively covering the time period between Jan. 20 to Dec. 31, 2020. There’s also a plan to extend this funding into 2021 through the $1.9 trillion relief package Democrats are hoping to pass by mid-March. This subsidy will go a long way towards covering the funeral costs, but not all of it—the average burial costs between $8,000 - $10,000, per Policygenius.
….

For funeral expenses, FEMA will cover:
  • Cost of casket
  • Mortuary services
  • Transportation of the deceased and/or up to two family members into the area to identify the decedent (if required by state/local authorities)
  • Two death certificates
  • Burial plot
  • Interment or cremation

To read the entire article, click here: FEMA funeral aid.
Join the All Saints' `Ohana Workplaces List
Patronize Our 'Ohana Businesses
Ohana workplaces jar
The pandemic has taken quite a toll on Kaua`i residents, including many of our church `Ohana. 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 `Ohana 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. Drop your business card or written description in the `Ohana Workplaces jar outside the sanctuary on Sunday or email your submission to news@allsaintskauai.org
Save the Date!
Spring Training 2021 is Coming in March
The Diocese's annual Spring Training event is coming and will be held online, Saturday, March 13, 2021. Workshops being offered will cover a variety of topics including grant writing, Safe Church, youth ministry, communication tools and much more! Participants can sign up for three sessions. Be sure to mark your calendars and save the dates for the Spring Training. Registration and details coming soon!
Gift from the Diocese: Bishop Akiyama's Cross
I promised to share news about the gift of the Diocese of the pectoral cross to Diana Akiyama at her ordination as Bishop (of Oregon). I also told Diocesan Council that I would invite donations to off-set the cost of the cross. Now, the cross has been in the works for well over three months, but it literally was completed the day of the ordination (January 30, 2021) arriving at the Cathedral in Portland at 11:00AM for the 2:00PM service.

Jan Gordon, a Portland artist who designed and fabricated the pectoral cross shared the following with me on Saturday: The waters of baptism and Christ as the Vine are emphasized in the design. Inspired by a Japanese stencil design of ocean waves, and the Lilikoi vine, it depicts ocean waves across the horizontal cross of the arm and a climbing vine on the vertical arm. The ocean waves resonate with the waters of baptism; the Lilikoi vine reflects Jesus likening himself as the “Vine.” An amethyst is set at the center of the cross, and Oregon-mined sun-stones are set at the ends of the cross. The intricate design includes carefully placed depictions of ocean spray droplets on the top edges of the horizontal arms of the cross.

Diana asked me to share: “I'd love for the folks in my Hawai`i `ohana to know how central you and they have been in my vocational journey. The symbols in the pectoral cross are inspired by my time in the Episcopal Diocese of Hawai`i. When you told me that you wanted to gift the pectoral cross to me, I was deeply moved because it means that whenever I wear it (which is daily) I will have the Episcopal Diocese of Hawai`i near my heart. Words fall short in describing how life-changing my ministry in Hawai`i has been. I am and will be forever grateful for the ways in which the Holy Spirit brings abundant life in Hawai`i.”

Should you wish to make a donation to offset the cost of the cross, please send it to me (with checks made out to “The Episcopal Church in Hawai`i” noting “Akiyama cross” in the memo). I apologize for not sharing sooner. I had hoped to share what the cross would look like in the design phase and its meaning. The artist could not be rushed. I am just thankful that it made it to the Cathedral in time for the ordination. (Mail to: Bishop Robert Fitzpatrick, 229 Queen Emma Square, Honolulu, HI 96813)

Aloha ma o Iesu Kristo, ko makou Haku,

+Bob

The Right Reverend Robert L. Fitzpatrick,
Bishop Diocesan of the Episcopal Diocese of Hawai`i
Creation Care
As we are called by God to care for creation, we support policies that protect the natural resources that sustain all life on Earth. The Church calls for policies that mitigate greenhouse gas emissions, promote sustainable energy, the safe and just use of natural resources, and support communities impacted by a lack of environmental stewardship. 

EPPN Creation Care Series

To make an impact at the magnitude required to slow the damage humans are doing to the environment, action is required on a larger scale than what we can achieve on our own. Sound policy can make the large-scale impact required. The educational pieces below outline evolving policy, from various proposals on carbon pricing to focusing on renewable energy. Our hope is that this series, however limited, will help spur a movement for greater study, reflection and conversation across the Church.


For more resources on Creation Care, visit the Creation Care home page.
Churches in the Nation’s Capital Seek to Balance Welcome and Security

February 25, 2021

By Edie Gross
The artists of Washington, D.C’.s, P.A.I.N.T.S. Institute spent Sept. 5, 2020, creating vivid, social justice-themed images on the plywood-covered stained glass windows at St. John’s Episcopal Church near the White House. Photo: Rachel Jones/Faith & Leadership

Editor’s note: P.A.I.N.T.S. Institute founder John Chisholm, who is quoted in this article, died unexpectedly before publication.

[Faith & Leadership] A war-weary Abraham Lincoln sought solace in one of its weathered pews, and Franklin D. Roosevelt prayed for guidance inside its domed sanctuary. In fact, every sitting president since James Madison has attended at least one service at St. John’s Episcopal Church, earning the Greek Revival-style house of worship its nickname: “the Church of the Presidents.”

Since its opening in 1816, St. John’s has also amassed a long tradition of community engagement and equal rights advocacy, something the Rev. Robert Fisher wanted to emphasize when he became rector in June 2019.


The Rev. Robert Fisher and John Chisholm stand in front of a painting of Archbishop Desmond Tutu. Photo: Rachel Jones/Faith & Leadership
So he asked his congregation: How can we let our neighbors know that St. John’s is as much a sanctuary for them as for any president?

It’s safe to say that barricades and boarded-up windows were not the look they were going for.

Unfortunately, that’s been the reality for St. John’s since June 2020, after someone set a fire in the church’s basement amid protests over the murder of George Floyd. Even then, the church pledged to serve as a safe space for protestors, hosting prayer vigils and providing water, food and hand sanitizer to the thousands who filled the streets in support of racial justice.

But several weeks later, after acts of graffiti and a growing encampment on church grounds, St. John’s reluctantly agreed to the district’s plans to erect 8-foot fencing around the property.

Although the church’s history, location and recent events make it unique, churches in cities across the country struggle with the same issues: how to make the physical space both secure and welcoming.
Church leaders reluctantly agreed to security measures such as fencing around the church property. Photo: iStock/miralex

“All of us — the bishop, the wardens, me — hated the idea of a fence and reluctantly said OK because we felt it was the responsible thing. The buildings are a ministry, and we didn’t want to see that building go away. It’s important to me that it lives to serve future generations,” Fisher said. “But it was an extremely uncomfortable thing.”

Since then, Fisher and his congregation have done their best to get out from behind that fence, reaching out to neighborhood activists with offers of support and solidifying relationships with organizations that can help them better serve their community.

That includes a Washington, D.C.-based nonprofit that recruited local artists of color to paint images of healing and hope on the plywood that conceals the church’s stained-glass windows.

Eight months after the barriers went up — Fisher still comes and goes through a padlocked gate — the stunning works created by artists affiliated with the P.A.I.N.T.S. Institute are like a salve on an open wound.
 Artist Shawn Perkins created two murals, including this serene pastel Madonna, during the painting day at St. John’s. Photo: Rachel Jones/Faith & Leadership

Having barricades around the church has been heartbreaking, Fisher said. But it has also forced the congregation to build bridges where they hadn’t previously existed, an effort Fisher called a “heart-opening experience.”

What relationships does your organization have that are better than fences?

“Relationships are better security than fences, and we now have deeper and more meaningful relationships than a year ago,” Fisher said. “Those bless us and help us be a better church serving the community.”

To read the entire article please click HERE.

FROM THE EPISCOPAL CAFÉ
Much Obliged

February 25, 2021

Leslie Scoopmire
Jesus called the crowd with his disciples, and said to them, “If any want to become my followers, let them deny themselves and take up their cross and follow me….”    –Mark 8:34

Just over a week ago, on Ash Wednesday, we had the sign of the cross placed on our foreheads by someone else, and we then wore that sign of shame and mortality into a world that denies the very existence of both shame and mortality—and if you don’t believe we have lost our sense of shame, you haven’t stared slack-jawed at an episode of Keeping Up With the Kardashians or Judge Judy as people parade their worst versions of themselves on TV simply so they can say they’ve been on TV. In fact, the amount of time the Kardashians spend obsessing about perceived flaws in their appearances is also wrapped up in our culture’s denial of mortality, as well.

Another thing we have turned into an article of faith in our society is our lack of obligations to others. This has been especially pronounced in the last few years, especially in American political discourse: the same people who used to tip their hats and say, “Much obliged,” now would sooner chop their right arms off than acknowledge that they have an obligation to anyone but themselves. And yet the more they isolate themselves from their neighbors, the more vulnerable they feel. And rightly so.

The time in which Paul and Jesus lived was a time in which the vast majority of people in the Roman Empire lived in abject, crushing poverty. Scarcity and want were real and pressing concerns. And the thing about living in a scarcity mindset is that it heightens one’s sense of disconnection and competition against one’s neighbor. 

Being willing to appear weak in front of others has NEVER really been considered to be a desirable situation, whether in first century Palestine with its rigid cultural and honor barriers, or in 21st century America. We live in a culture awash in “rugged individualism,” in which any need for someone else is portrayed in the public American ethos as a failure. And ironically, the same people who extol individualism fear the power of the community even while they decry the loss of those “good, old-fashioned American values” that supposedly existed somewhere back in the mists of time, but in actuality have NEVER provided equal benefits for all people.

Remember that each of the Gospels was written for a particular community of Christians.  The community for which Mark writes is undergoing persecution itself at the time that the gospels being written. Thus, in a way, these are words of comfort for them, because it lets them know that their suffering was foreordained by the words of Jesus himself. It reminds then that their suffering was shared by Jesus.

However, it doesn’t just go to suffering. The core of discipleship is self-denial. It is at this point especially that Jesus makes it quite clear that the gospel is certainly counter-cultural. However, one could take “losing your life” more than one way. Losing your life can also be seen as shedding the old way of living that was in harmony with the values of the world.

The cross in Jesus’s time was shameful, yet for us it is a sign of faith and hope—and so it is important to remember how shocking and brutal the cross was as a symbol but more importantly as an instrument of execution. If we remember that, it is indeed shocking that we now regularly make the sign of the cross over ourselves as we are blessed or absolved. The cross itself was not then a sign of hope, but a sign of shame.

From our side of history, we know that the cross led also to the resurrection. What if we understood that denying ourselves and taking up our cross is meant to remind us that we are called as Christians into obligation with each other, in the name of God? We are called to love each other, be compassionate toward each other, and take care of each other in faithfulness, in good times and bad. What if denying yourself and taking up your cross was understood as giving up something you have a right to, if that would spare someone else pain or suffering? What if denying ourselves and taking up our cross means that instead of using people and loving things, as so much of society tells us to do, we loved people and used things to help us accomplish that? 

We are indeed, much obliged to God, and to each other. What if denying yourself actually means being true to what makes us children of God, made in God’s image—that we are called together to live in community, loving our neighbors as ourselves and not trying to draw lines about who are neighbors are, and who are neighbors aren’t. What if it means putting down our solipsism and the fear and anxiety that generates, and instead embrace the beauty of community, held together by love and the hope that gives us the endurance we need for times such as these?

What if we understood what Jesus is saying here as “Take up your love and hope, and follow me in truly loving each other?
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.
Bishops United Against Gun Violence Pledge to Work with Biden and Harris on Gun Control

February 25, 2021
[Bishops United Against Gun Violence] On Feb. 22, Bishops United Against Gun Violence sent the following letter to President Joe Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris, offering thanks for their support of sensible gun reforms and pledging to support their leadership on this issue. A copy of this letter was also sent to all members of Congress.

Dear President Biden and Vice President Harris:

On behalf of Bishops United Against Gun Violence, a network of more than 100 bishops in The Episcopal Church representing more than 1.1 million Episcopalians in more than 4,200 congregations spread across 314 Congressional districts, we write to thank you for your longtime support of sensible gun violence measures. We are grateful, especially, for your recent call to Congress to enact background checks on all gun sales, ban assault weapons and high-capacity magazines, and eliminate immunity for gun manufacturers.

Thank you, too, for your pledge to take executive action when necessary to stop gun violence, and to establish a task force to focus on the connection between mass shootings, online harassment, extremism, and violence against women. We applaud these efforts and ask that you and your administration urge Congress to enact the kind of powerful legislation we need to save the lives of more than 37,000 Americans who now die each year from gun violence.

We stand ready to assist your administration in advocating for and serving as champions for policies that can help end what we call the unholy trinity of poverty, racism and gun violence. To this lifesaving work, we bring strong partnerships with national and community gun violence organizations across the country and an engaged network of Episcopalians in our congregations and communities. Together, we seek to witness to our belief in a God of life, even in the face of death.

In our struggle against the evil of gun violence, we offer several contributions:

We provide spiritual support for those living with gunshot wounds, with grief, with fear and with the temptation of hopelessness. We advocate for broader and easier access to mental health services for those at risk of suicide.

We teach, bringing an ethic of Christian compassion and concern for the common good to bear on debates regarding unjust economic and legal structures, public safety, individual rights and our responsibilities to one another as children of God.

We hold public liturgies—vigils, processions, and prayer services—to commemorate the dead and inspire the living.

With the support of the Episcopal Church’s Office of Government Relations in Washington D.C., we are persistent advocates for common sense gun safety measures like background checks, holding gun manufacturers accountable, closing the Charleston and hate crime loopholes, and other policy proposals that you have outlined in your gun violence platform.

Although the last four years have brought little progress toward curbing gun violence, we commend House Appropriations Chair Rosa DeLauro and former chair, the Honorable Nita Lowey, for their perseverance in securing $25 million in the FY2020 appropriations bill for gun violence prevention research following their March 2019 hearing on the public health aspects of gun violence. We encourage this federal investment in public health research that can help safeguard the lives of all of God’s people in the United States while respecting the Second Amendment, and we urge you to allocate more research funding in future budgets even as we work together to enact your legislative agenda to end gun violence.

Thank you for your commitment to this holy work. We look forward to working together.

Faithfully,

The Rt. Rev. Ian T. Douglas
Episcopal Church in Connecticut

The Rt. Rev. Daniel G.P. Gutiérrez
Episcopal Diocese of Pennsylvania

The Rt. Rev. Steven A. Miller
Episcopal Diocese of Milwaukee, resigned
Presiding Bishop’s PSA for the COVID-19 Vaccine

Posted Feb 22, 2021
Please click on the image above to hear our Presiding Bishop's statement on the COVID-19 vaccine.

[Episcopal Church Office of Government Relations] The Episcopal Church’s Office of Government Relations has developed a toolkit for individuals, congregations, and ministries to facilitate and promote COVID-19 vaccine distribution in the United States. This toolkit promotes the ongoing work that parishes and dioceses have already been doing, shares best practices, and offers ideas for ways that communities can help U.S.- based Episcopalians to facilitate vaccination, overcome vaccine hesitancy, and find information from state and local officials. Churches and church leaders (lay and ordained) can serve as an important trusted bridge between public health officials and communities.

In his public service announcement encouraging vaccination, the presiding bishop says, “This vaccine can prevent the COVID-19 virus. It can help you. It can help those who you love. It can help us all. The Bible says you should love your neighbor as yourself. And getting this vaccine, as well as wearing your face mask, and keeping social distanced, and out of crowds, these are some simple and real ways that we can love our neighbor as ourselves. To love our neighbor, and while you’re at it to love yourself.”

“As a part of our work beyond the church walls, Episcopalians around the U.S. partner with the government all the time to help address problems in our communities, and combatting COVID-19 is no exception,” said the Rev. C.K. Robertson, canon to the presiding bishop for ministry beyond The Episcopal Church. “We can not only encourage our fellow Episcopalians to get vaccinated to help us return to normal, but churches can ask their local health departments how they can best serve their community in vaccine distribution.”

The toolkit includes 10 actions churches can take to help get everyone vaccinated and resources from the U.S. government on vaccine rollout including links to every state and territory’s vaccine resources page, information on overcoming vaccine hesitancy, and even sample messaging.

This toolkit will be updated as new information and plans become available. The Office of Government Relations also continues to advocate for U.S. support in delivering vaccines to countries being sidelined from vaccine distribution channels. To stay up to date on these efforts, sign up for updates from The Episcopal Public Policy Network.

Episcopalians are already doing great work in this area, and the Office of Government Relations wants to hear about it! Share your stories of engaging the COVID-19 vaccine rollout by writing us at The Episcopal Public Policy Network.
Young Anglicans Urged to Register for Global Environment Event

February 22, 2021
Photo Credit: Helena Lopes/Unsplash

The Anglican Communion’s Permanent Representative to the United Nations, Jack Palmer-White, is calling on young Anglicans to participate in “Youth 4 Climate: Driving Ambition”, a global environmental event taking place ahead of this year’s COP26 climate change meeting. The youth event will take place in Milan, Italy, between 28 September and 2 October.

“Too often, international meetings of global leaders deprive young people of a voice on issues that will impact their generation”, Jack Palmer-White said. “The inclusion of ‘Youth 4 Climate: Driving Ambition’ as a key event ahead of COP26 is therefore a really welcome opportunity for young voices to respond to the climate crisis and shape the global response.”

Amplifying young voices in the Communion is a key priority for the Anglican Communion’s Working Group for COP26. Jack Palmer-White noted that “young Anglicans all around the Communion are at the forefront of local and national efforts to tackle climate change and other environmental emergencies. They are speaking prophetically and responding practically.”

Organisers of the event are inviting applicants to demonstrate understanding of the main challenges relating to climate change. They are also looking for examples of how innovation can accelerate progress for climate action. Applications should also have experience in youth climate work. They are looking for climate activists who are addressing these issues in their own communities, and who has ideas of how to do more globally.

Applicants must be between the ages of 15 and 29. Selected delegates would be expected to attend the meeting either in person, or virtually, depending on Covid-19 restrictions. Organisers are particularly inviting applications from south east Asia, and small island developing states.

The Italian government, who are co-hosts of this year’s COP26 alongside the UK, will pay for travel and accommodation expenses. The main COP26 meeting will be held in Glasgow, Scotland, in November. COP, or Conference of the Parties, is an annual meeting of nations who are signed up to the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change.

Applications must be made by 1 March at un.submittable.com/submit/162028/youth4climate-driving-ambition  
Japanese Anglicans and Ecumenical Groups Welcome UN Nuclear Weapon Ban Treaty

February 23, 2021
[Anglican Communion News Service] Religious leaders in Hiroshima and Nagasaki, Japan, are welcoming the entry into force of the United Nations Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons. The treaty is a multilateral legally binding instrument for nuclear disarmament in two decades. It was approved by 122 nations at the U.N. General Assembly in 2017 and came into force on Jan. 22 after Honduras became the 50th nation to ratify it.

The world’s main nuclear powers – the United States, the United Kingdom, Russia, China and France – have not signed the accord, and neither has Japan, the only country to have endured the use of nuclear weapons against it. Japan’s Christian Council says it “regrets” the lack of support from the Japanese government.

IN BRIEF . . .

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

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