Volume 6, Issue 24
June 11, 2021
THIS SUNDAY: June 13, 2021
Third Sunday after Pentecost

1 Samuel 15:34-16:13
God surprises the prophet Samuel in the choosing of a new king for Israel by paying attention to the heart and not following the human tendency to focus on external appearances.

Psalm 30
Despite oppositional military might, it is God who raises up his victorious Anointed One.

2 Corinthians 5:6-17
Paul encourages his readers to live by faith and not by sight.

Mark 4:26-34
Jesus teaches his disciples that God often acts behind the scenes to bring about the Realm of God on earth.

Linda Crocker (EM)*
David Crocker (U)
Lorna Nishi (AG)
Muriel Jackson (DM)

Dileep Bal (EM)
Mary Margaret Smith (U)
Nelson Secretario (LR)
Jan Hashizume (AG)
Vikki Secretario, Mabel Antonio (HP)
Joan Roughgarden, Jan Hashizume(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

Guest Organist for June Services
Morris Wise
Sundays, 9:30AM service

Ministry Council Meeting
Saturday, June 12th
9:00 - 10:00AM
Zoom meeting
Contact Cami Baldovino for login info.

Camp Mokule`ia Day Camp
Monday - Friday
June 21st - June 25th
8:00AM - 4PM
Church Campus

Daughters of the King
Thursday, June 24th
Zoom meeting
Contact Mabel Antonio for login info.

Recurring Events
Aloha Hour
Every Sunday, 10:45AM - 12:00PM
Under lanai tent

Monday/Friday Crew
Every Monday/Friday, 8:00AM 
Church Office
Laundry Love
1st & 3rd Wednesday, 5:00PM
Kapa`a Laundromat

Daughters of the King
2nd & 4th Thursday, 7:00 - 8:00PM
Those affected by the Pandemic,Those affected by racial violence, Willy, Donna, Bob, Heather, Glen, Garrett 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 those affected by the COVID-19 virus, Paul, Donald, Uncle Fran, Donna B., Yumi 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
The Unforgivable Sin
Mark 3:20-35
Genesis 3:8-15
2 Corinthians 4:13-5:1
Proper 5B
6 June 2021

If we have lived any significant time on this earth, chances are that we each have something in our past that we may regret doing or saying. It could be rather small, or it might feel rather large, especially if what we did had a negative impact on someone else. How each day we handle such a thing in our lives can determine the degree to which we thrive or not thrive in our everyday living.

This morning in our Gospel reading from Mark 3 we happen to have a rather thorny hard saying of Jesus to the religious authorities who by this time are plotting against his life: what he calls “the unforgivable sin” of blasphemy against the Holy Spirit, as stated by Jesus in verses 28-29. Jesus said, “Truly I tell you, people will be forgiven for their sins and whatever blasphemies they utter; but whoever blasphemes against the Holy Spirit can never have forgiveness, but is guilty of an eternal sin.”

Now, this all seems to fly in the face of the faith that we have in God as Christians. We know God’s love to be expansive, inclusive, and all-encompassing, full of aloha and welcome – the thought of a particular sin being unforgivable and eternal seems quite opposite of our faith! After all, I keep thinking of that hymn, “There Is a Wideness in God’s Mercy.” Thus, this problematic word from Jesus raises a couple of questions for me: (1) What exactly is “blasphemy against the Holy Spirit?” and, (2) Is it possible that we may commit this unforgivable sin today?

The best way to address this is for us to understand the context in which Jesus is saying this hard word. Jesus has just started his ministry, and is at first focusing on his home area in the north of the Holy Land around the Sea of Galilee. It is here that Jesus gathers his very first disciples – fishermen like Simon, Andrew, James, and John. After appointing his crew of disciples, he starts to preach, teach, and heal people in that local area. Soon there is a buzz about this wonderworker who teaches with a greater sense of authority than even the great Jewish religious teachers from the Temple in Jerusalem, which is why they get jealous of his popularity.

Large crowds are amassing to hear and see Jesus, so much so that the start of our Gospel reading says that Jesus and his disciples could not even eat (Mark 3:21) – maybe that is why Jesus and his friends had gone to the house to begin with, to have some downtime and to enjoy a meal together, but Jesus becomes “a victim of his own success” – his growing popularity does not allow for even a snack break. Even Jesus’ own concerned mother and brothers try to visit with him, since they are hearing from several people that think “he has lost his mind” (Mark 3:22).

The Scribes, or religious teachers of the Mosaic law, also come to hear and see Jesus, but not to join the crowds in praising and following Jesus – instead they go to check him out and ultimately out of jealousy to trip him up, frustrate his growing ministry, and to get him in trouble. Notice that they don’t deny Jesus’ power to heal, but instead they question his source of miraculous healing power: “He has Beelzebul, and by the ruler of the demons he casts out demons.” 

It is that last remark that especially draws Jesus’ ire and prompts his statement regarding unforgivable blasphemy against the Holy Spirit. It was not merely that the Scribes hear Jesus’ preaching and deny his gospel. That would have been, as he says in a parallel passage from Matthew 12:32, merely speaking “against the Son of Man,” which according to Jesus is forgivable. But in this instance the religious leaders not only hear Jesus’ claims about himself, but they also see the validity of his claims through the works of the Holy Spirit, via the miracles Jesus performs. But instead of believing, they attribute to the devil what is the work of Christ through the Holy Spirit. They claim without proof, “He has an evil spirit” (Mark 3:30). So hardened are their hearts, that even knowing the miracle is really of a holy God they instead knowingly and falsely ascribe it to the devil, knowing full well that God is the source of the miracles but instead jealously and falsely claiming that they come from the devil. That is the sin of blasphemy against the Holy Spirit, willfully and intentionally refusing to submit to God and the things of God.

Can this sin be committed today? I think the answer is surely, “Yes.” People blaspheme against the Holy Spirit when persuaded by the veracity of the Holy Spirit’s power of the truth of the Gospel and Christ’s claim to be God’s Son and our Savior, yet they nonetheless reject it. D. A. Carson, an esteemed Canadian New Testament scholar, says such people are “thoughtfully, willfully, and self-consciously rejecting the work of the Spirit.” Their blasphemy is to deny the Spirit’s testimony and to knowingly ascribe it to some other (usually evil) source.
But why is this particular sin “unforgivable,” since Jesus says, “People will be forgiven for their sins and whatever blasphemies they utter; but whoever blasphemes against the Holy Spirit can never have forgiveness, but is guilty of an eternal sin” (Mark 3:28-29)? It helps if we look at that word “eternal”, which in the original Greek suggests both a long-lasting nature as well as a continuing action going on. Thus, this sin Jesus describes as “eternal” is about an ongoing and recurring posture of rejecting God, not a singular act of sinning. Another way to render Jesus’ words in light of this is, “Whoever keeps on blaspheming against the Holy Spirit continues not to have forgiveness.” 

To me this is something like a needy but prideful person who is offered $1 million by a friend who is aware of the person’s deep financial need. The friend goes to give them a check for that amount, with no strings attached. However, the receiver looks suspiciously at the check, and in their heart questions the giver’s motives and is also insulted at the gift from a sense of pride. Rather than depositing the check in their significantly overdrawn bank account, the receiver instead shreds the check. The friend sees this and still wants to help out, but the potential receiver keeps on rejecting all subsequent offers of help. The receiver could have accepted the original check with joyful gratitude and had their debt wiped out, but instead they keep on rejecting the friend’s offers – which is tantamount to rejecting the friendship also.

In the same way, the blasphemy against the Holy Spirit is an attitude of constantly rejecting God in our lives. This leads to my second question from earlier, namely “Is it possible that we may commit this unforgivable sin today?” In light of the above, seems like the answer is yes. If we nurse an attitude and lifestyle of constantly rejecting God and God’s love of us, then we can place ourselves outside the realm of God’s forgiveness. God is not the one rejecting us – we are the ones not accepting God’s invitation of love, welcome, and forgiveness.
But does that mean that if we happened to have said or done something in the past, that we cannot ever be forgiven? No. We know from last week’s Gospel from John 3:16 that God gave Jesus to us out of God’s love for the whole world, so that we may have eternal life. God’s arms are open wide to forgive anyone for anything. However, what makes this particular sin unforgivable is the offender’s unwillingness to repent and believe. It is not God who ceases to forgive, but like the potential recipient of the $1 million it is a hard-hearted person who rejects God’s offer of forgiveness and thereby puts themselves out of God’s ability to forgive. In this case, the religious authorities in our story show their hardened attitude by their determination to reject any proof for Jesus’ divine mission. Jesus’ words on this matter assure us that such continual, intentional, and blasphemous rejection of the Gospel can render the heart no longer capable of repentance and leave the sinners like these particular Scribes beyond forgiveness.

The great news for all of us this morning, though, is that even if we have regrets over something we may have said or done in the past, God wants to forgive it and for us to know and feel God’s great love and acceptance of us in a palpable way. We only get into trouble when we cannot forgive ourselves to be able to move past whatever is hindering us. This is where confession to a friend and making restitution to the one hurt by our actions can help us to move forward with our lives and thus promote our own inner healing. God never holds us up, but we at times hold ourselves up. But 1 John 1:9 assures us that “If we confess our sins, God is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness.”
So I invite us all to drop the self-incriminations and self-imposed sense of guilt. God wants us to move on, to heal, and to be a source of love and healing to those around us. Let’s take whatever actions are necessary to make us whole with others, with our past, and with ourselves. When we do those things, then we are whole with God. The only “unforgivable sin” is when we don’t avail ourselves of God’s great gift of release from the yoke of self-imposed slavery. Hear these words from Paul’s letter to the Romans 8: “If God is for us, who can be against us? The One who did not spare the Son but gave him up for us all – how will God not also, along with him, graciously give us all things? Who will bring any charge against those whom God has chosen? It is God who justifies. Who then is the one who condemns? No one. (Nothing) will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.” (Romans 8:31-34a, 39b). Let’s avail ourselves of this great news and this great gift. Amen.

Sloggett Center Solar and Roofing Project
An Environmental Initiative
All Saints’ Church and Preschool is beginning an exciting new project that will improve our current physical plant and provide for All Saints’ future in an environmentally sustainable way. The Sloggett Center will be getting a long needed new roof and a solar panel system will be installed to meet a good deal of our church’s electrical needs. The entire solar panel system has been funded by a private donation from a church `Ohana family. The fundraising effort for the new roof is off to a great start. 

We have raised a whopping $67,500 since our last thermometer update!

Now is the time for everyone to step up and make a contribution toward completing the funding for the roofing project. There is a donation link on the All Saints’ website for the roofing project. Follow the funding goal thermometer to see how our fundraising efforts are going.
To date we have raised over $212,300!! Only $67,689 to go. Mahalo to all our donors.
Happening Now: Kalaupapa Webinar Series
Register now. It's not too late.
June 30 is Kalaupapa's Independence Day when the State Legislature lifted the isolation ban and decriminalized Hansen's Disease. In celebration, Dr. Kerri Inglis, history professor at UH-Hilo, who animated Lei Hali'a eight years ago to honor all who died in Kalaupapa, has taken her students and invited halaus, churches and Hawaiian groups across the islands to make lei that is placed upon every grave each year.

Due to the pandemic, this year Inglis has produced a 5-session webinar series running during the month of June. For more information, click on the image to view the flyer, or HERE to register.
53rd Annual Meeting of the Convention
New Date!

The 53rd Annual Meeting of the Convention of the Episcopal Diocese of Hawai'i takes place October 22-23, 2021, at 'Iolani School in Honolulu. Originally scheduled for October 29-30, the date had to be moved up due to facility commitments. This year's theme is "Remembering those who have gone before." 

For more information and to stay informed, visit the Convention webpage:

Inaugural Diocesan Feast Day Celebrating Juneteenth

 San Francisco, CA (and Facebook)
 June 19 @ 2 p.m. PT
In 2020, the 171st Convention of the Diocese of California passed a [sic] historic resolution recognizing Juneteenth, the annual holiday commemorating the end of slavery in the United States, as a diocesan feast day and holiday. Bishop Marc Andrus, the Diocese of California’s Afro-American Commission, and the Vivian Traylor/Northern California Chapter of the Union of Black Episcopalians invite you to attend or watch the livestream of the First Inaugural Diocesan Feast Day Celebrating Juneteenth, a service of healing, reflection, and hope.

When: Saturday, June 19 at 2:00 p.m.

Where: Grace Cathedral, San Francisco (in-person) and livestreamed on
The Diocese of California’s Facebook page (linked here)

Who: The Diocese of California’s Afro-American Commission and the Vivian Traylor/Northern California Chapter of the Union of Black Episcopalians

Registration: To attend the event at Grace Cathedral, please register here.

*Note: Due to COVID safety restrictions, seating at the cathedral will be capped at 200. We recommend registering now to secure your seat. No registration is needed for the service livestream.

If you cannot be a part of the celebration June 19th, we invite you to:

1.   Use the liturgy in your church on Sunday, June 20th.

2.   Learn about the history of Juneteenth. Here are some resources to read, watch, and share with others.

3.   Support local Black-owned businesses (this links to a registry of Black-owned businesses in the San Francisco, Bay Area).  Click here for more information on how to find directories of Black-owned businesses in your region.

[Note from Epistle Editor - The cover photo was taken by Marge Akana. Please thank her for her efforts.]

Our cover story celebrates the new pipe organ at All Saints’ Episcopal Church in Kauai, Hawaii — the only church on the island with a pipe organ. Did you know a “clarion” stop in Hawaiian is labeled “pū kani pākolu”?
All Saints’ Episcopal Church, Kauai, Hawaii, dedicated a new pipe organ on May 16, the only church on the island with a pipe organ. The organ is unique in having the stops translated into the Hawaiian language, including one for a conch shell (middle of bottom row in photo above). Gold leafing was applied to the facade by volunteer artists from the congregation. The pipes are a combination of new and reused from the former organ. The number of pipes was increased fourfold. The project had been in the works for the better part of a decade and the cost was $500,000, with no debt remaining. The church’s original pipe organ was installed in 1925.

Visit allsaintskauai.org to learn more and see other photos.
Saint Barnabas the Apostle
June 11
Saint Barnabas was a Levite from Cyprus, and one of the leading members of the early church at Jerusalem. Originally named Joseph, the apostles gave him the Aramaic surname Barnabas, which means “son of consolation” or “son of encouragement.” He introduced St. Paul to the apostles after Paul's conversion, and he worked with Paul as a missionary. At the Council of Jerusalem, he defended the rights of the Gentile Christians and argued that they did not have to be circumcised. He and Paul separated after they disagreed about the role of John Mark as a missionary. Barnabas continued as a missionary on his own. He is the traditional founder of the church in Cyprus. Legend claims that he was martyred at Salamis in Cyprus, in 61, during the persecution of Nero. Barnabas is commemorated in the Episcopal calendar of the church year on June 11.
Archdeacon Remembered for Ministry Among Alaska Natives Century After His Historic Ascent of Denali

David Paulsen
June 7, 2021
Hudson Stuck is seen with his dog team and a sled with a personalized sled bag hanging from the back, in a photo captioned “Rough Ice on the Yukon” in his 1914 book, “Ten Thousand Miles with a Dog Sled.”

[Episcopal News Service] Hudson Stuck, though his name may be unfamiliar to many Episcopalians, is a legendary figure in the church in Alaska and in mountaineering circles, thanks to his role in organizing a historic expedition on Denali. The Alaska archdeacon, 49, and three companions became the first on record to reach the summit of North America’s highest peak, at 20,310 feet, 108 years ago on June 7, 1913.

Stuck also is remembered for advocating the preservation of Alaska Native culture – he once lamented white cultural incursions as “the steamroller of our civilization” – while expanding The Episcopal Church’s ministry among Indigenous communities.

After moving north in 1904 at the invitation of then-Alaska Bishop Peter Trimble Rowe, Stuck first left his mark in Fairbanks at St. Matthew’s Episcopal Church, where he created a library and reading room for men as a free-time alternative to the local saloons and brothels. Stuck, who is depicted in one of St. Matthew’s stained-glass windows, also started a mission church in Fairbanks and oversaw the development and opening of an Episcopal hospital.
Hudson Stuck was called to Alaska in 1904 by then-Bishop Peter Trimble Rowe to serve as archdeacon of a mission field spanning 250,000 square miles.
The rest of his mission field spanned 250,000 square miles. His early years traversing that territory would provide the literary material for “Ten Thousand Miles with a Dog Sled,” a book by Stuck that offers a wealth of insight into this larger-than-life figure, Alaska Bishop Mark Lattime said in an interview with Episcopal News Service.

“You discern his genuine love for the people and his genuine love for their culture and identity,” Lattime said. “I think almost universally here in Alaska, he is recognized as having been a positive minister and beloved of the Native community. He certainly did well by Walter Harper.” Harper, the 20-year-old son of an Athabascan mother and Irish father, was the first of the four men in the Denali expedition to reach the summit in 1913.

Patrick Dean was in his 20s when he first learned about Stuck, having picked up Stuck’s book while working in a bookstore in his native Mississippi. “At that time, I was really interested in Africa and Alaska,” Dean told ENS. “I guess I wanted to get out of Mississippi.”

Dean never made it to Alaska himself – the pandemic foiled a planned trip there last year – but he recently published his own book, “A Window to Heaven,” which centers on the planning, preparations and completion of the 1913 Denali expedition. Along the way, Dean highlights Stuck’s childhood in England, his brush with frontier life in Texas, his religious studies at the University of the South in Sewanee, Tennessee, and his extensive travels across the vast Alaska Interior to visit the region’s far-flung Episcopal missions.

“Hudson Stuck would always treat the community with which he worked, whether the millworkers of Dallas or the Indigenous people of Alaska, as human beings worthy of respect as equals before God,” Dean writes in an early chapter of his book.

Stuck, while driven to climb Denali by his own sense of adventure, also saw it as a way to promote Native culture, starting with the peak’s name. White prospectors and Americans in the Lower 48 began calling it Mount McKinley as a tribute to the 25th president, and that name stuck after McKinley’s 1901 assassination. But human habitation around the mountain dates back about 15,000 years, with Indigenous peoples for many generations referring to it by a variety of names in their languages, including “Denali,” or “the tall one” in the Koyukon language.

Stuck publicly supported Alaska Natives who advocated preserving the name Denali. In 1917, however, the federal government made Mount McKinley official when it created a national park around the mountain. That name would stand nearly a century, until the Obama administration officially renamed it Denali in 2015.
“A Window to Heaven” by Patrick Dean details the planning, preparations, completion and aftermath of the 1913 ascent of Denali.
Stuck was an alumnus of the School of Theology at the University of the South in Sewanee, where Dean moved in 1999. Dean first began writing about Stuck while earning a master’s degree in theology from the university. At that time, Dean was a ninth-grade history teacher at St. Andrew’s-Sewanee School and wanted to dig deeper into the history of religion. His master’s thesis in 2006 was “The Muscular Christianity of Hudson Stuck.”

The “muscular” movement among late 19th-century missionaries emphasized physical strength, grit and social justice advocacy. Stuck embodied that ethos, Dean said, but he resisted its less noble tendency toward paternalism, condescension and sometimes even racism.

“He was proud to have gone around to all his churches in the dead of winter, in 50-degree-below whiteouts, but he didn’t have the sort of arrogance of the ‘white savior’ complex,” Dean said, adding that Stuck’s attitude generally aligned with that of his church. “The Episcopal Church had a history of being more empathetic and sympathetic to Native cultures and sensibilities than some of the other denominations.”

Stuck’s defense of Alaska Native culture and language, however, did not extend to the spiritual life of the Indigenous peoples he encountered, Dean said. As a missionary archdeacon, one of his ultimate goals was to convert them to Christianity, away from their Native belief systems.

“The missionaries’ presence – even that of someone as open-minded as Stuck – inherently undermined the ancient ways of Alaskan Natives,” Dean writes in his book.

That complicated dynamic has played out in the liturgy of Anglican and Episcopal worship services since the late 18th century, when Anglican Archdeacon Robert McDonald oversaw translations of the Bible, prayer book and hymnal into the Indigenous languages of the Canadian Arctic. Stuck followed suit in Alaska, helping to preserve those languages by promoting Native translations for worship.
Hudson Stuck took this photo of his fellow members of the 1913 Denali expedition. Pictured from left are Robert Tatum, Esaias George, Harry Karstens, John Fredson and Walter Harper.

“The objective was to Christianize, but not necessarily to civilize,” said Allan Hayton, who serves as senior warden at St. Matthew’s in Fairbanks. “Archdeacon McDonald thought that Gwich’in people were already civilized. They didn’t need to be made to act like white people.”

Hayton recalls regularly attending Episcopal services celebrated in the Gwich’in language while he was growing up in Arctic Village. Native or bilingual services are not as common today, further challenging efforts to preserve the language, he told ENS. “Our language is shifting, eroding,” he said.

Hayton, 52, works in the Doyon Foundation’s language revitalization program. Like Stuck’s guide Harper, Hayton comes from mixed ancestry. He is Gwich’in on his mother’s side, and his father’s family was Scottish and Irish. One of his relatives, John Fredson, was part of Stuck’s expedition in 1913 but remained in the basecamp and didn’t make it to the summit. Hayton agreed to advise Dean on his book, to improve its cultural accuracy.

“I was happy to read it, and I really enjoyed learning more about Hudson Stuck and Walter Harper and the ascent itself,” he told ENS.

One of the more interesting subplots, Dean said, was the thorny relationship between Stuck and Harry Karstens, who would later serve as the first superintendent of Mount McKinley National Park in the 1920s. Karstens, a more experienced outdoorsman, resented the focus on Stuck in news coverage of their ascent of Denali, which became known as “Stuck’s expedition.”

“Karstens not only resented that, but he accused Stuck of orchestrating it,” Dean told ENS. That irritation grew while they still were on the mountain and boiled over afterward, though Dean said there was evidence Stuck had tried to correct the record about the group’s shared achievement.

Harper, meanwhile, is revered today in Alaska, especially among Indigenous communities, as an important historical figure, Lattime said. He was “able to bring together the two cultures he lived within,” but sadly he died in 1918 in a shipwreck at age 25. Last year, Alaska celebrated its first Walter Harper Day on June 7, marking the day he first reached the summit, and a fundraising drive aims to create a statue honoring him.

Descendants of Stuck’s expedition team participated in a centennial climb to the top of Denali in 2013. Lattime had planned to represent Robert Tatum, a 21-year-old seminarian who was one of the original four until one of Tatum’s relatives signed on and Lattime gladly gave up his spot. The bishop continued to serve as chaplain to the centennial team.

Stuck’s adventurousness isn’t necessarily emblematic of clergy who serve today in the Diocese of Alaska, Lattime told ENS, though “it certainly is expected if you’re going to serve in this diocese, particularly in our more rural communities, that you are prepared to live the lifestyle that you will be encountering in that community.”

“And for some, that lifestyle would be a big adventure. … To an Indigenous person in Alaska, they would describe it as a Tuesday.”

With Stuck as one model, today’s clergy, Lattime said, must be “willing to come in and be open and understand that they’re not bringing the Gospel to this place, they’re coming to discover how the Gospel is already there.”

– David Paulsen is an editor and reporter for Episcopal News Service. He can be reached at dpaulsen@episcopalchurch.org.
In the first century, Jesus of Nazareth inspired a movement. A community of people whose lives were centered on Jesus Christ and committed to living the way of God’s unconditional, unselfish, sacrificial, and redemptive love. As Episcopalians, we believe in a loving, liberating, and life-giving God: Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.

We believe in following the teachings of Jesus Christ, whose life, death and resurrection saved the world.

We have a legacy of inclusion, aspiring to tell and exemplify God’s love for every human being; women and men serve as bishops, priests, and deacons in our church. Laypeople and clergy cooperate as leaders at all levels of our church. Leadership is a gift from God and can be expressed by all people in our church, regardless of gender, sexual identity or orientation.

We believe that God loves us all – no exceptions.
For Many LGBTQ Episcopalians, the Struggle for Full Inclusion is Not Over – It’s Expanded

Egan Millard
June 8, 2021
Charlie Knuth of All Saints Episcopal Church swings a censer as he marches in an LGBTQ pride parade in Salt Lake City, Utah, on June 2, 2013. Photo: Jim Urquhart/Reuters

[Episcopal News Service] For years, the LGBTQ movement in The Episcopal Church had a specific primary goal in mind: full participation in the sacraments, including matrimony and holy orders. After decades of activism by advocates like Louie Crew Clay and groups like Integrity, those goals were achieved – at least on paper – by 2018, when General Convention approved a resolution granting full churchwide access to same-sex marriage rites.

Three years later, the question of whether the campaign for LGBTQ acceptance in the church is complete is a topic of increasing discussion. For many LGBTQ Episcopalians, the answer is no, but the path forward is less focused on one legislative outcome and more on cultural shifts. The spectrum of gender and sexuality in America is increasingly diverse and visible, with more Americans than ever identifying as LGBT. However, Pride celebrations this month are coinciding with a record number of anti-transgender bills in state legislatures, largely centered around young transgender athletes and access to medical care.

While The Episcopal Church has been among the most progressive denominations in regard to LGBTQ acceptance, some say it hasn’t evolved enough. Criticism of Washington National Cathedral’s decision to invite the Rev. Max Lucado, who previously expressed anti-gay views, has revealed a rift in the church, with some saying the move was a slap in the face to LGBTQ Episcopalians. And when the Rt. Rev. Gene Robinson, the first openly LGBTQ bishop in the Anglican Communion, tried to assuage those concerns by saying “we’ve won” the battle for LGBTQ inclusion, for some, it has never felt that way – especially those who are not white and cisgender.

“That was a really striking moment to me as a Latino gay man,” said Miguel Escobar, executive director of the Episcopal Divinity School at Union Theological Seminary, during a House of Deputies discussion on May 18 titled “A Full and Equal Claim: LGBTQ+ Episcopalians Discuss the Path Forward.”
“I heard that and thought, ‘Wow, that’s not my experience as a person of color [in] this church, or member of society as an LGBTQ person.’”

Others on the panel agreed that the National Cathedral incident highlighted a disconnect in the church but also presented a learning opportunity, including the Rev. Cameron Partridge, rector of St. Aidan’s Episcopal Church in San Francisco, California, and a transgender man.

“I completely respect Bishop Gene and everything that he’s done,” Partridge told Episcopal News Service. “I think that the work is unfinished. And I think my sense is that the cathedral has heard loud and clear that there’s more work to be done.”
The Rev. Cameron Partridge. Photo courtesy of the Diocese of California
However, the goals now are more diverse and less tangible than they were in the 1990s and 2000s, when Integrity advocated for procedural gains at General Convention. With Integrity now essentially defunct, there is a less unified agenda, but two areas of concern have emerged from those who have been vocal on the issue. In public discussions and interviews with ENS, some LGBTQ Episcopalians have said the official stance of acceptance is not practiced on the ground in some areas of the church, especially when it comes to transgender and nonbinary people and LGBTQ people of color.

“People’s experiences are pretty uneven,” Partridge said. “People across the church should feel fully embraced and their leadership honored, and I think that is happening in a variety of places, but it’s not happening everywhere. And there’s a need to really embrace the gains that we’ve made legislatively within the church and to really embody them more fully.”

Partridge and others say many parishes, even ones that profess to be LGBTQ-inclusive, don’t have the experience or resources to fully welcome transgender and nonbinary people, let alone hire them or include them in leadership positions.

“Probably the biggest area for us to grow is … supporting trans and nonbinary folk in the church,” said the Rev. Charles Graves IV, the Diocese of Texas’ campus missioner in Houston. Graves told ENS he doesn’t feel comfortable referring LGBTQ students, especially those who are transgender and nonbinary, to some parishes because they might not have accepting and inclusive environments. Some of that is cultural, he said, but it also comes down to more practical issues.
The Rev. Charles Graves IV. Photo courtesy of the Diocese of Texas
“Most churches don’t have a bathroom that a nonbinary person can go to and not feel weird about,” he said. “In a lot of places … if you’re somebody who uses they/them pronouns, you’re going to end up explaining that to people 500 times.”

Some LGBTQ Episcopalians of color have said that they experience additional barriers to acceptance. In a church that continues to struggle with racism within its structures and membership, their race magnifies the exclusion they already feel as LGBTQ people.

“There were some churches I applied to that I couldn’t get as a gay person, and there were others that I applied to that I couldn’t get as a Black person,” Graves told ENS, describing his earlier job searches. “The same is true for female clergy and even more so for nonbinary clergy. The more of those categories they check off, the harder it’s going to be.”

The constitutions and canons of some dioceses still officially ban gay clergy – unless celibate – and same-sex marriages, including AlbanyDallas and Central Florida. In the ordination application forms for Central Florida and Dallas, ordinands are asked to affirm that they will abide by the diocesan canons that define marriage as one man and one woman and stipulate that clergy must remain celibate outside of marriage.

According to The Episcopal Church’s canon law, churches in such dioceses that wish to perform same-sex marriages may seek pastoral oversight from another bishop, although even that was still prohibited in the Diocese of Albany as recently as January 2021. And some parishes explicitly state that they only marry heterosexual couples, including The Episcopal Church’s largest parish, St. Martin’s Episcopal Church in Houston.

“In some parts of the church, it may seem like full inclusion is no longer really an issue, like we’ve been there, done that, and we’re kind of on to the next thing,” said the Rev. Devon Anderson, rector of Trinity Church in Excelsior, Minnesota, and a member of Executive Council, “but I just think in so many other places, people … feel vulnerable because either local leaders aren’t supportive or because civil protections seem to be at risk.”

Anderson put forth a resolution that Executive Council passed at its April meeting, which expresses lament for the harm the church has done to LGBTQ people and pledges to do better. The resolution doesn’t mention the Max Lucado incident specifically, but Anderson said she was prompted to write the resolution by the reaction to that, as well as the Vatican’s statement in March that the Roman Catholic Church will not bless same-sex unions, calling them sinful.

“I had parishioners that were like, ‘How do I interpret all of this stuff that’s going on? Where’s the church in this? Am I still safe here? Is this someplace that’s going to use my gifts and deployment fully in ministry and offer me all the sacraments?’” she told ENS.

The resolution “confesses the Church’s continued heterosexism, homophobia, biphobia and transphobia, and the ongoing harmful impact of anti-LGBTQ+ Christian proclamation, preaching, pastoral care, and theology” and expresses a renewed commitment to ensuring that LGBTQ people experience a “full and equal claim” to church life.

Anderson, who consulted with Partridge and other LGBTQ Episcopalians in crafting the resolution’s language, said she thought the church needed to acknowledge the rejection and pain some are still experiencing and reassure them that the church’s leaders are still working to ensure they are welcomed everywhere.

The resolution itself does not solve the existing problems, she said, but it provides a basis for more specific actions to that end.

“You can’t mobilize anybody around a platitude, and in some ways, you could look at this resolution and think, ‘Wow, that’s another platitude,’” but it goes deeper than that, she told ENS.

“[It says,] we’ve committed ourselves resolutely to this vision, and the church is going to make serious mistakes and that doesn’t mean that the vision isn’t still intact or any less sacred,” she said.

A range of more specific solutions have been proposed, including ideas for General Convention resolutions that came up during the May 18 House of Deputies webinar. One potential resolution to address discrimination in hiring clergy might involve “finding ways to make the search and call process truly open and inclusive,” said House of Deputies President the Rev. Gay Clark Jennings during the webinar. Other ideas included a sexuality and gender audit, similar to the racial justice audit the church just performed.

Partridge and Graves told ENS that one of the major challenges ahead is translating resolutions and statements into visible actions on the diocesan and congregational levels. Partridge praised the efforts of the TransEpiscopal advocacy group, which has been active since 2005 and is currently working on compiling a list of readings and resources to help educate Episcopalians on transgender issues. He hopes that parishes will host workshops and reading series that will help them not only welcome the transgender and nonbinary people who may visit, but also embrace and honor those who are already in their congregations or have family members who are.

“It’s not like a not-yet thing; it’s a reality,” Partridge told ENS, “and people need to feel fully embraced and supported, and to really truly feel that The Episcopal Church has their back.”

– Egan Millard is an assistant editor and reporter for Episcopal News Service. He can be reached at emillard@episcopalchurch.org.
Irish Organist Takes on 800–Hymn Marathon Challenge to Boost Parish Funds

June 8, 2021
[Church of Ireland] A Dublin organist will play the entire Church Hymnal to raise funds for his parish. David O’Shea, director of music at St. Philip’s Church in Milltown Parish, will play through the Church Hymnal (fifth edition) on June 11. The Hymnathon will be livestreamed on Music at Sandford and St. Philip’s YouTube channel starting at 9:30 a.m.

Over the last 15 months, parish funds have been hit hard, and in exploring suitable alternative ways to raise income, David settled on the hymnathon, as it can easily be followed remotely. Donations are invited here.

There are 719 hymns and a total of 799 tunes in the Church Hymnal and some tunes are used several times, resulting in over 800 pieces. David will play the first verse of each hymn. He has calculated that the Hymnathon will take approximately 10 hours to complete.

Why I Go to the Water

Kimberly Knowle-Zeller
June 8, 2021
Why I go to the WaterHello, water at my feet.
Hello, you who brings forth life
and cradles the duck and heron
and reflects the sun and stars
and provides relief from a hot summer’s day
and welcomes all who long for a drink, even, the
doubting and the lonely –

best preacher that ever was,
dear water, that just happens to form our bodies
to keep us alive and refreshed
to nourish our crops and flowers
to keep us from thirst
to keep our lands and our souls from being parched –
hello, hello, hello.

Watch, now, how I remember
what I’m made of and who formed me.

// Thank you Mary Oliver for this inspiration from the poem, Why I Wake Early.
Kimberly Knowle-Zeller is an ordained ELCA pastor, mother of two, and spouse of an ELCA pastor. She lives with her family in Cole Camp, MO. You can read more at her website, follow her work on Facebook, or sign up for her monthly newsletter.
IN BRIEF . . .

These news briefs were featured in previous issues of "The Epistle"
From The Epistle, June 4, 2021

From Listen to the Inaugural Concert
The Sloggett/Wilcox `Ohana Organ
If you missed the inaugural organ concert, here is your chance to listen to this marvelous performance with introductions by our Rector, Kahu Kawika; Kevin Cartwright, Rosales Organ Workshop President, co-owner and voicer; and Morris Wise, our project leader and in-house organ expert.

To enjoy the entire concert, please click on the video link below.
From The Epistle, June 4, 2021
Pentecost: The Gift of Haircuts, Hugs, and Helpers

After four months of scruffy over gelled styling, I went to get my haircut by my regular guy in February. As the cool steel of the clippers touched my scalp, and the buzz vibrated near my ear, I felt my body unclenching in ways I had not known it needed.

My haircut reminded me just how much I value someone coming alongside me. It was even more helpful that it was an old friend who knew all my stories, you know, the ones you share with the person who cuts your hair.

I was comforted.

In John 15 the word for Spirit is “Parakletos.” A literal translation is “the one who comes alongside.” That could be like a lawyer in court, or the person you call to comfort you when you are sad.

With the absence of closeness and comfort in this last year of COVID, I have realized that having friends and loved ones who hug you, comfort you and sit alongside you (closer than 6 feet) is a gift I have so often overlooked.

I have also seen so many creative ministries of “coming alongside” in the last year in church life. Phone-trees, Zoom coffee hours, online evening prayer, live- streamed Eucharists. They have all required un-budgeted investment from our churches. We may continue with some of these ministries, as fresh ways for us to “come alongside” others. I hope we will all integrate new technology, as well as good, old-fashioned hugs, into our spirit-filled ministries in the future.

I invite you to make a gift in gratitude for the ways your church has creatively come alongside you in the past year. It will be a sign of thanksgiving and an investment in hope for the future.

And thank you, David, for my haircut. It was great!

The Very Reverend Matthew T. Woodward is Dean of Trinity Cathedral, Sacramento, and serves on the TENS Board of Directors
Who Do You Call?

Contact information for All Saints' Ministries and Outreach

Please submit your story ideas to the Epistle Staff at news@allsaintskauai.org.
There is an on-going need for travel sized toiletries and canned goods so these items will be accepted every week. As always, monetary donations are gratefully accepted. Leave them in the red wagon outside the sanctuary

Any of our All Saints' kupuna who need assistance with grocery shopping can contact Carolyn Morinishi at church@allsaintskauai.org to set up a delivery.

If any ministry has an unmet need, reach out to put it in the All Saints' Virtual Swap Meet and it will be published in the Epistle. Contact Bill Caldwell at news@allsaintskauai.org.

Whenever you have a need for support, please call (650) 691-8104 and leave a voice mail. The system will immediately forward the information to the Pastoral Care Committee who will respond to each request. If you prefer, you may send an electronic pastoral care request via email to pastoralcare@allsaintskauai.org.

Individuals who want to participate in the Prayer Chain Ministry must re-enroll to continue receiving the email communications. To re-enroll, please visit the newly established Pastoral Care web page or contact the Church Office at (808) 822-4267.

Prayer requests will now be submitted online or by contacting the Church Office at (808) 822-4267.

Names can be added to the Prayers of the People petitions by using the Prayer Chain Request form or by contacting the Church Office at (808) 822-4267. Names will remain in the Prayers of the People for a maximum of four Sundays before a name must be resubmitted.