Volume 5, Issue 12
March 27, 2020
THIS SUNDAY: March 29, 2020
Fifth Sunday in Lent

Service available online on the All Saints' website and Facebook page, and via phone, see info below

Service available online on the All Saints' website and Facebook page, and via phone, see info below
Lenten Bible Study
"Walking with Jesus through Holy Week"
Monday, March 30 th
6:30 - 8:00PM
Join zoom conference here:  https://us04web.zoom.us/j/3297480222
or call in 1-253-215-8782
meeting ID: 329 748 0222

Preschool Spring Break
Monday, March 16 th -
Thursday , April 30th
7:15AM - 5:15PM
Sloggett Center
Sunday School
Every Sunday, 9:30 - 10:15AM
Memorial Hall

Aloha Hour
Every Sunday, 10:45AM - 12:00PM
Under the big tree

Monday Crew
Every Monday, 8:00AM
Church Office

Laundry Love
1 st & 3 rd Wednesday, 5:00PM
Kapa`a Laundromat
McMaster Slack Key Guitar and Ukulele Concert
Every Wednesday, 6:00PM

Daughters of the King
2 nd & 4 th Thursday, 7:00 - 8:00PM
Memorial Hall

Choir Practice
Every Thursday, 6:00PM
Choir Room
All Saints' Response to COVID-19
Please be advised that Kahu Kawika and Fr. Andrew from St. Michael and All Angel's Church in Lihue are collaborating to provide a special joint service recording for Sunday's worship service.

The recording will be available for viewing on our website,  www.allsaintskauai.org  and the All Saints' Facebook page by Sunday morning. 

Congregants will also have the option to listen to the recording by calling the church office, (808) 822-4267, and following the prompts provided through our new auto attendant feature.
The use of the church sanctuary, Memorial Hall, Gym, and Sloggett Center by all church and outside groups has been suspended until April 30 th .
Shopping Assistance for Kūpuna
All Saints' Volunteers Help With Groceries
Shopping assist
During the COVID-19 health crisis and lockdown, the CDC has recommended that people age 65 and over stay home as much as possible to lessen their risk of infection. Because of this, All Saints' is starting a "Shopping Assistance" program for our kūpuna. The organizer/coordinator is Carolyn Morinishi.

Any All Saints' member who is in the high risk category can ask for shopping assistance. They can call the coordinator at 651-2061. The coordinator will assign a volunteer to do the shopping. (Note: The volunteers will always sanitize their hands and the shopping basket or wagon.) 

The volunteer will coordinate with the senior member for the best drop-off time. The senior member must have cash payment ready when the groceries are delivered. The cash payment and grocery delivery will occur via drop-off outside on the front doorstep of the house, to maintain social distancing.  

In addition, Kahu Kawika can provide blessed communion wafers and a prayer, to be delivered with the groceries (if desired). We had a "trial run" of our Shopping Assistance program and communion wafer delivery on March 25, and it was very successful (see photo above).

We currently have a small team of four volunteers. If anyone is interested in being a volunteer, please call Carolyn at 651-2061. Thank you!
Support Kaua`i's Farmers and Added Value Producers
Pick up and Delivery Available
Many of our Kaua`i farmers and value added business people are having a difficult time reaching the customers they used to serve at the local farmers’ markets. There are two online sites where many of these folk have their wares available for pickup and/or delivery.

malamakauai.org , Local Food Connector link

This website lists the three farmers’ markets still operating as of March 23 rd . It also includes the names of retail outlets that sell local products. There are phone numbers and/or links to individual farmers, etc. that you can contact for meat, produce/fruit, dairy, and locally made food for pickup or delivery. 

This website provides the contact phone numbers for farmers who are offering a variety of fruits and vegetables for sale with the price listed on each. They hope to have meat, dairy, and other items available soon.
New Labyrinth Painted on March 23 rd
Please Provide Your Feedback
Thanks to Ron Morinishi for the labyrinth photographs.
The Labyrinth designer, Bob Vlach, painted the new labyrinth on Monday, March 23 rd. Please take some time to stop by All Saints' and look at and walk the new Labyrinth. We welcome your feedback on the design so please contact Ron Morinishi by Thursday, April 30 th with your suggestions. 

If there are no changes, construction will commence as soon as the COVID19 restrictions subside.

-Ron Morinishi
Frequently Ask Questions
A labyrinth is an ancient symbol that relates to wholeness, combining the imagery of the circle and the spiral into a meandering but purposeful path. It represents a journey to our own center and back again out into the world.

Christians are rediscovering the significance of this important spiritual tool, which holds such power for prayer and reflection. We are all on the path... exactly where we need to be. The labyrinth is a model of that path, a metaphor for life’s journey.

The Labyrinth painted on the All Saints' church lawn has been a resource for many within our congregation, the local community and popular with out-of-town guests. It is a reflection of our All Saints' Vision: “Being a Gathering Place for the People of Kaua`i.”

FAQs #1

● What about the cost?

The Labryinth cost estimate is about $4,000. It is envisioned that the total cost will be self funded via donations for inscribed plaques and paving stones.

  • We already are 50% towards our goal

● Will the Labyrinth create additional maintenance and expense? Will it require volunteers to maintain?

We have selected parking pavers to outline the Labyrinth pathway. They will be painted white and covered with glow-in-the-dark coating for night-time visibility.

Mowing is not an issue. The riding mower can cut right over the Labyrinth stones.

There will be added maintenance to weed around the inscribed plaques to prevent grass from overgrowing. However, our Sexton, Mario, has agreed to do it as part of his normal service.

● Will we be able to drive on it and park on it?

Yes, the Labyrinth stones will flush with the ground and can be driven and parked upon.

● Would it be appropriate for something so spiritual be driven over?

We will discourage parking and driving over the Labyrinth, however during large church events it may be necessary.

● Would the greater community really use it or just a few that are knowledgeable about its purpose?

During evening activities, we have seen many community people walk the
Labyrinth at night, especially during Lent and when the path was lit with the small
solar-powered lights.

In addition, members of the wider Kapa`a community have also volunteered to help maintain the labyrinth's design. Two such community volunteers are the Rev. Caroline Miura, Spiritual Care and Bereavement Coordinator at Kaua`i Hospice and the Rev. Barry Mick, pastor at Kapa`a First Hawaiian Church, who hav e given of their time and talents in support of the Labyrinth since its creation.

● What about a more permanent brick or concrete Labyrinth?

We have considered other construction alternatives, but this design fits our budget and needs the best.

A brick or concrete Labyrinth would have to be smaller than our desired 56 ft diameter, which allows for wheelchair and walker access.

The cost of brick or concrete would be 10x more than our selected design.
Click here for the donation form.

This Week In Sunday School
Be Ready! The Son of Man is Coming
Sunday School has been suspended until the Diocese gives us the ok to return to the All Saints' campus for worship. Until that time, the Sunday School article in The Epistle will include more information so the parents of our keiki can share the lesson with their children.
Summary of Today’s Story
Matthew 24–25 contain Jesus’ urgent sayings on the end times (eschatology), and describes the coming of the end of the age (apocalypse). In this lesson, we will focus on a few of these messages.

  • Signs of the end of the age: Jesus tells of the end of the world and the coming of the Son of Man in glory, as the sun and the moon and the stars go out.

  • Parable of the Ten Bridesmaids: Five foolish bridesmaids (virgins in other translations) neglect to keep oil in their lamps in preparation for the bridegroom and so are left out of the festivities when the bridegroom finally arrives because they have no oil with which to greet him.

  • Parable of the Talents: Three servants are given portions of their master’s property to care for while he is away. Two of them invest wisely and are rewarded for their care. The third does nothing and so is scolded and sent away.

  • Parable of the Sheep and the Goats: Jesus compares people to sheep, who are those who help the needy, and goats, who are those who neglect to help those in trouble. The sheep are offered a place in the kingdom, while the goats are punished. “For what you did to the least of my brothers and sisters, you did to me,” says the King.

Weaving our Story with the Biblical Story

God’s rule is both in the future and in the present and so is still in the process of being established. We do not know when God will call us, so we need to be ready. We do this by living righteously now, so that God’s rule will already be in us when we are called out of this world, either when we die or when the end comes and God arrives in all God’s glory.
In Jesus’ coming on earth, we are already forgiven and reconciled with God, but we need to acknowledge our redemption. This we do in how we live our lives. In these stories today, Jesus tells us how.

In the story of the bridesmaids, Jesus tells us that we do not need to always be awake (the bridesmaids fell asleep while waiting), only ready. We need to “have all our ducks in a row.” Nor can we always count on other people to help us. The wise bridesmaids were not selfish in refusing to help; they were  unable  to help, because they had not taken care to have what they needed. They were not prepared. In the same way, readiness to accept salvation is ultimately a matter of personal responsibility.

In the parable of the talents, Jesus urges us to be responsible in our use of our master’s goods (God’s creation) in view of the judgment to come. We need to be working with God in making God’s creation whole again. If God’s creation is seen as qualities such as love and mercy, the message is that God gives these gifts in abundance and we are not to turn them into scarcity. Do not hoard God’s love or God’s forgiveness or God’s grace! Do not bury God’s abundant love!

In the parable of the sheep and goats, Jesus teaches a practical religion of deeds of loving-kindness, mercy and love of neighbor. Ultimately, this is how we are to prepare ourselves for the coming of the kingdom. This message is very clear. Jesus clearly identifies service to the needy with love of Christ. The essence of our faith, and of discipleship in Jesus, is identical with care of the needy.

So  our story  is moving toward the coming of God’s kingdom on earth and in heaven. Our place in God’s kingdom is assured when we live in readiness for God by helping the poor and the needy and by taking care of God’s world.

Telling the Story

This lesson contains one passage in which Jesus warns us about the “end of the age” and tells us the signs of the end. Then he tells us three stories that deal with preparing oneself for the coming.

For older children, introduce this lesson by talking about Jesus’ warnings about the end of the world. We recommend that this part of the message  not  be told to young children. They may be told the stories in terms of getting ready for Jesus when Jesus comes to visit: If Jesus were to come to our house to visit, how can we be ready? What do these stories tell us about getting ready for him?

Read aloud today’s story from a children’s Bible, showing the pictures, tell the story in your own words, or read from the version of the story we provide, found on pages 8-12. Either way, be expressive in your telling. There is a sense of urgency to Jesus’ stories. He is thinking about the end of the world and probably also about his own impending death.
If children made bridesmaid or sheep and goat stick puppets during today’s Gathering time, invite them to use the puppets as you tell the stories. Other ways to engage the children and enhance the story can be found on pages 2-3 in the Appendix on the Website.

After telling the stories, pause, then move directly to Prayer. Do not try to talk about the stories or explain their meaning at this time. For now, let the children absorb the stories into their minds and their hearts. Later, when sharing snacks or doing an activity, bring up the stories again, inviting the children to think about them and share their ideas.
Medical Equipment Loan Ministry Temporarily Suspended
In Response to COVID-19
The Medical Equipment Loan Ministry is temporarily suspending its service during the COVID-19 outbreak. The ministry will not accept donations, receive equipment to be returned, or make any loans of equipment until the Diocese of Hawai`i reopens our churches for worship. We regret any inconvenience to those in need but we must consider the health of the community and our volunteers during this period of uncertainty.

-CeCe Caldwell

A Message from the Bishop
We are all on a journey together in unchartered territory, forcing us to address lifestyle changes and relationships in ways we never thought about before. The way we communicate is more important than ever. Those that were hesitant to deal with the internet are giving it a try, and some are even checking out social media for the first time!

While your priests and/or lay leadership discern the best ways to stay connected and continue to nurture your spiritual growth, please know that the Bishop and the entire Diocesan Support Team are here to help and support all of you. The Bishop plans to communicate regularly through video messages and announcements.

We are all working from home remotely and can be reached through the contact information on our webpage  HERE . Please pardon any delays in responding.

Be sure to visit our special  COVID-19 webpage  often as it is being updated daily. It contains news links, a listing of churches in our Diocese that are offering live and online worship (that continues to grow), and resources for prayer, reflection and worship, including some for children.

In case you missed it, here are links to the latest news and announcements from the Diocese listed below. With church gatherings suspended, we have removed the island-by-island events in this issue, hoping it will be returning soon!

Stay safe... stay healthy... and keep praying. God bless you all.

Mark your calendars! Maundy Thursday, April 9
The Chrism Mass and renewal of vows for clergy and lay leaders that was originally scheduled to precede Spring Training, will be going online! Bishop Robert Fitzpatrick will conduct a version of the Chrism Mass on Maundy Thursday, April 9, 2020. It will follow The Cathedralʻs current Daily Morning Prayer that begins at 9:00AM, and anticipate the consecration of oils to begin at 9:30AM.

There will also be a renewal of vows for clergy, renewal of baptismal vows, and prayers for lay leaders. All are invited to view and participate in the live stream. Mark your calendars and be sure check The Cathedralʻs Facebook page  HERE .
Kaleo Patterson
Priests are ordained to be “faithful pastors, patient teachers, and wise councilors” (BCP, p. 534). These Reflections will be offered over the next few months in the e-News and on the Diocesan website  HERE .

Our sixth Teachings by Clergy piece on the Nicene Creed is by the Rev. Kaleo Patterson, St. Stephenʻs Episcopal Church, Wahiawa

The Ulu from Heaven
f Jesus had taken a wrong turn in the Sea of Galilee and ended up in Hanalei Bay (Kauaʻi), he might have said to the Hawaiians there “I am the Ulu from heaven.”

In fact in the moʻolelo (stories) of the origin of the Ulu or breadfruit tree we find a Christ-like parallel or association in the demi-god Kukaʻilimoku, who comes to earth from heaven, to check things out and likes what he sees, he marries, has children, is having a wonderful life until a terrible famine comes upon the land, and a great hunger develops, and many are perishing. In this climate crisis, Kukaʻilimoku says goodbye to his family and goes on a journey arriving in a lonely place, a field where he becomes the Ulu Tree, burying himself into the earth, to rise again, at first a sprout, and then a young tree, and finally producing wonderful fruit, which is then discovered by his family, and his people, and they eat of the breadfruit, and are saved from the famine.

In the Nicene Creed we have the phrase: he came down from heaven. Jesus comes to earth in a time of great physical and spiritual hunger, and we are reminded of his declaration in John 6:35 (NRSV and Baibala):  READ MO
Life Transformed: The Way of Love in Lent

March 29, 2020 – Lent 5
Drawing on the ancient practice of setting aside Lent as a period of study and preparation for living as a Christian disciple, we are pleased to present weekly teachings from  Life Transformed: The Way of Love in Lent . Learn more at  episcopalchurch.org/life-transformed .

READ Ezekiel 37:1-14

We do not live in a culture that encourages REST. All too often, we are forced to work harder and longer hours, and it shows in our health. Yet, from the beginning, God – who rested on the seventh day of creation – set rest into the pattern of all life. Truly practicing the Way of Love means spending time with God in sabbath rest. Not everyone has the luxury of long breaks and vacations, or even days off. Still, we can help each other find ways internally to pause and receive the gift of sabbath. The act of rest and restoration is a part of the cycle of rebirth that is God’s hope for us and gift to us.

In the exciting story of the Valley of the Dry Bones, we hear the way God sent God’s breath, the Holy Spirit, onto a field of bones. That very breath was enough to reanimate them and bring them back to fullness of life. Making sabbath rest has the same impact. Sabbath rest provides the opportunity for God to refresh us, to breathe new life into us. When we neglect sabbath time with God, we can begin to feel withered and tired, just like those dry bones. This is no coincidence. When we constantly run from activity to activity without breathing and returning to God, we become depleted and dry.

The gospels record numerous times when Jesus retreated to a place of sabbath to reconnect with God and to receive the strength he needed to continue his ministry. In Luke 5 when the news about Jesus spread and crowds gathered around him, Jesus withdrew and prayed. Studies have shown that people who take regular breaks from work have higher rates of creativity and productivity. It should come as no surprise that the ritual of baptism follows the pattern of death into life – that is the sabbath cycle in action.

REFLECT: It has been said that we don’t take a sabbath, but rather make sabbath. Rest is an intentional act. Do you currently have a practice of reserving a block of time each day, week, or month for sabbath rest? If so, how does it restore you? If not, what has the effect of that lack felt like? Lent is a chance to reevaluate our patterns of living. Is God calling you to explore the gift of sabbath this Lent?

Published by the Office of Communication 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.

Embracing Our Vulnerability

March 26, 2020
It finally stopped raining, and I was working at home today, trying to abide by an order to stay at home in the county in which I live. Finally, at one point, my eyes bleary, I went outside and was walking carefully up the path in my backyard, and was grateful to see not just the nodding heads of daffodils, but the groundcover we’d planted years ago to hold down the eroding hillside beginning to sprout up and even bloom. The runners intertwined like mad along the slope.
A huge number of us have spent the last several days radically adapting to a new way of life, one where we’ve been urged to avoid being in groups larger than ten, where we think twice about every surface that we touch, where we jump like we’re scalded whenever we hear someone cough or sneeze too close to us. Up until these last few weeks, perhaps some have thought that times of pandemics were a thing of the past—or at the very least were a thing of places without access to modern medicine. Perhaps we reassured ourselves that viruses like COVID19, hopscotching from country to country, were really only the thing of movies like  I am Legion The Stand , and about a hundred zombie movies. But now we have seen how quickly the entire world can be enveloped in anxiety and a sense of helplessness and suspicion. We are being brought face to face with our own vulnerability in a way that seldom happens.
But here’s the thing: that vulnerability was there all along. Our gospel today invites us to consider our interconnectedness, which is a vital lesson to learn from this challenge before us in the coming weeks. We are being given a gift to remake the priorities in our lives from a position of adversarial competition to one of caring for each other—even if we start only because it is in our enlightened self-interest. Maybe from this crisis, our eyes can be opened to embrace some vital truths, truths that are the backbone of God’s dream for us to live our very best life. We are also being called to remember how intertwined our common life together really is—how we’re dependent upon people that often get taken for granted: grocery store workers and pharmacists and sanitation workers.
Perhaps we can see this time as a precious reminder of our shared vulnerability, and as a reminder to be more gentle with each other. Perhaps we can come to see why making sure everyone has access to sick leave and health care is actually in our collective best interest. 
We are all only as well as the sickest person among us, and that doesn’t mean to shun each other, but to care for each other, to be considerate of each other, and to make sure that people have expanded access to food and preventive medical care so that they can have the luxury of staying home and out of harm’s way. And so I offer this prayer for this holy time of caring for each other:
We bow before you, 
O Love that Sustains the Universe,
and offer our hearts
to be filled by your presence.
Make our hearts a holy habitation, O Holy One,
a living sacrifice, 
that we may be anointed by your Spirit.

The Earth your footstool,
the heavens your tapestry of light,
the smallest seed and the mightiest baobab,
the pinwheel of birds
gathering food by your providence,
the beating hearts of loved ones in companionship–
You have made them all, O Wisdom Eternal,
and your wonders whirl before our dazzled eyes.

Still our rushing heedlessness,
that we may give glory to You, Blessed Savior,
and lay our hearts bare to receive your Word
in joy and gratitude.

This day is your gift, O God;
may we center ourselves
in each moment
by your grace,
for You are our steadfast help and stay.
May everything we do
be for the love of our neighbors;
may we willingly sacrifice
for the good of those around us.
May we embrace our shared vulnerability
as a reminder of how precious each and every person is,
and see the imprint of your love, O God, in every person
rather than looking away.
Bend near to those who seek your face, Blessed Jesus,
that we may see you everywhere we look,
from our rising to our resting.
Anoint us to your service, we humbly pray,
and grant your blessing to those we now name.

The Rev. Leslie Scoopmire is a writer, musician, and a priest in the Diocese of Missouri. She is priest-in-charge of  St. Martin’s Episcopal Church  in Ellisville, MO. She posts daily prayers at her blog  Abiding In Hope , and collects spiritual writings and images at  Poems, Psalms, and Prayers .

Washington National Cathedral donates 5,000 masks found in storage to hospitals

By Egan Millard
Posted Mar 25, 2020
A worker carries boxes of respirator masks out of Washington National Cathedral on March 25, 2020.
Photo: Danielle E. Thomas/Washington National Cathedral

A severe  shortage of masks and other medical equipment  is putting health care workers at risk and limiting their ability to treat COVID-19 patients, and hospitals are  hoping donated supplies come in soon . On March 25, two Washington, D.C., hospitals got a donation from an unlikely source: a stash of masks that was recently discovered in the crypt of  Washington National Cathedral .

The cathedral has donated the 5,000 respirator masks to MedStar Georgetown University Hospital and Children’s National Hospital. The masks were purchased after the  2006 avian flu scare , according to the cathedral’s communications staff, “to allow clergy to provide pastoral care without putting their own health at risk” in the event of a future outbreak.
The masks were kept in storage on the cathedral’s crypt level and forgotten about until a stonemason found them during routine maintenance work. Cathedral staff consulted the manufacturer and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention guidelines and concluded that the masks, which had never been opened, were safe to use.

“In these difficult and trying times, the cathedral community is doing everything we can to help protect the most vulnerable among us from the effects of the coronavirus pandemic,” the Very Rev. Randolph Hollerith, dean of the National Cathedral, said in a press release. “We have made significant adjustments to our worship programs and made  church services available for streaming online , and now we’re prepared to take this additional, proactive step to ensure thousands have access to protection that otherwise may never have been available to them.”

In response to a  critical shortage of donated blood , the National Cathedral will also hold a blood drive with the American Red Cross on March 27.

– Egan Millard is an assistant editor and reporter for Episcopal News Service. He can be reached at emillard@episcopalchurch.org.
Seeing “the footprints of Christ” in the Sustainable Development Goals

Posted on: 12 March 2020
Participants in the consultation.

“In order to deal with the challenges of poverty and inequality, we need to have a comprehensive plan. The Church has the Five Marks of Mission, which are a tool for the churches to engage, and the global leaders have come up with the SDGs. We find good good synergies [between these] – so we can engage with our governments and our local municipal councils in terms of the planning and we can say that the Church has a contribution to make to the SDGs. Partnership is key. Our partnership should be firstly with each other, across the Anglican Communion, to strengthen our voice and our action so that we are meeting one common goal of eradicating poverty. But also, at a local level, we need to partner with NGOs, other churches, other faith groups and also our local governments.”

This, according to Canon Delene Mark, was the most important message coming out of the recent consultation held by the Anglican Church of Southern Africa (ACSA) on the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), with a particular focus on climate change, poverty and gender. Canon Delene is CEO of Hope Africa, the social development programme of the Anglican Church of Southern Africa. The consultation was jointly organised by  Hope Africa  and  Green Anglicans , the Province’s environmental network.

Taking part in the consultation were representatives of various provincial organisations, including the Provincial Theological College of the Transfiguration, the Mothers’ Union, Bernard Mizeki Provincial Men’s Guild, Anglican Women’s Fellowship, Anglican Youth of Southern Africa, Anglican Students Federation and Growing the Church, as well as the liaison bishops for Environment, Gender and Social Development.

The consultation was timed to coincide with ACSA’s Synod of Bishops, with the last session of the consultation held jointly with the first session of the Synod of Bishops. The following resolution, subsequently passed by the Synod of Bishops, is testimony to the value of this collaborative approach and the dedicated work of all involved. The Synod of Bishops’ resolution reads:

“Moved by the scourge facing communities in ACSA at this time, we urgently call on this Synod of Bishops to request the Metropolitan to issue a statement declaring Gender Based Violence and Climate Change a state of emergency in our Province, our Dioceses, our homes, our Parishes, our organisations and our communities. All Dioceses need to put in place programmes to deal with GBV and climate change, also heightening their awareness and engagement with the Sustainable Development Goals.”

Here, Revd. Dr Rachel Mash shares her account of the consultation and the rich opportunities for sharing, learning and action it provided. She writes:

"On day one, Canon Delene Mark shared what the Sustainable Development Goals (or Global Goals) are all about. We then had a Bible Study (from the Anglican Alliance) looking at Jesus’ manifesto in Luke 4:14-21 and identified who are the poor, the prisoners, the blind and the oppressed in our own time."

Each organisation then presented the programmes that they are involved with in the areas of poverty, environment and gender. We also shared the results of a survey that had been sent to the development practitioners working on gender, poverty and environmental issues (including food security and agriculture) in every diocese, which was carried out to assess people’s engagement with the SDGs. It was encouraging to realise that all dioceses are indeed involved in the SDGS, in many different ways, even though we do not name them in terms of the SDGS. For example, participants are engaged in programmes around health, education, nutrition, tackling poverty, providing micro-credit for people to start small businesses, water and sanitation, among other things. We discovered that there is also duplication as we don’t know what each other is doing. 

Cecilia Njenga head of United Nations Environmental Programme in South Africa gave us an inspiring talk on the  Faith for the Earth Initiative , which showed that the UN recognises the important work of faith communities. We were also delighted to have Hope Kabamba from United Nations join us for the whole day.

Dr Kgabe, the Rector of the College of the Transfiguration, then presented the resolutions that had been passed at Provincial Synod and the Anglican Consultative Council on climate, gender and the SDGs. 

We then brainstormed how the SDGs could become part of the mission and vision of the church and ended the day with an evening prayer on the theme of gender led by Toby Koloti from Anglican Students Federation.

We began day 2 with an outdoor environmental eucharist and reflected on the theme of the just fast from Isaiah 58 – we are called to be prophetic and to loosen the chains of injustice. 
We identified why we should work with the Global Goals, deciding: the Global Goals are the voice of the poor and the marginalised; they enable us to amplify what we are already doing into advocacy; they ensure implementation; they will improve partnership, and streamline programmes to avoid duplication.

At this point the consultation participants joined the bishops of the province and some of the vicar generals who had gathered for the Synod of Bishops. This joint session began with Canon Rachel Mash sharing the links between gender, climate change and poverty. Rachel continues:

We saw how the fact that the goals are global can inspire us to work together for our common home.
The bishops then divided into discussion groups (facilitated by the youth and organisation reps) to do a bible study on a vision for the New Earth from Isaiah 65: 17-25.

The discussion groups then looked at the various resolutions passed at Province and by ACC and looked for a way forward for the Province of Southern Africa and the Sustainable Development Goals. 

It was felt that a process of awareness building, strategic prioritising and training should take place, underpinned with spiritual resources such as Bible studies and sermon materials.
The participants in the consultation felt that the SDGs provide a very useful tool to help us to work better together, strategise, and evaluate process. In the words of Bishop Ellinah- Diocese of Swaziland, “we can see in them the footprints of Christ”.

What are the SDGs?

In 2015, the world launched a set of goals which would “leave no one behind” in their ambition of ending poverty and hunger, ensuring healthy lives, education, clean water, sanitation, energy and decent work for all, and caring for the environment. The 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) provide “a shared blueprint for peace and prosperity for people and the planet, now and into the future”, which all 189 member states of the United Nations signed up to. One of the striking features of the SDGs is the breadth of their reach and their holistic nature – the recognition that “ending poverty and other deprivations must go hand-in-hand with strategies that improve health and education, reduce inequality, and spur economic growth – all while tackling climate change and working to preserve our oceans and forests”.

The SDGs have particular resonance for Anglicans, who have long held a holistic understanding of what it means to be disciples of Jesus who share in his ongoing mission. This understanding is expressed in the Anglican Five Marks of Mission, which are foundational to the work of the Anglican Alliance. The Alliance is currently working with the Ujamaa Centre in South Africa and others on developing a series of bible studies which explore the synergies between the SDGs and the Marks of Mission.
The Archbishop of Canterbury welcomed the adoption of the SDGs in 2015 saying:

”Humanity is called to justice, compassion and standing alongside the poor. If we root our response to the afflictions of extreme poverty and other major global issues in these values, we can ensure that the Sustainable Development Goals provide a vision and a framework through which all of us can play a part in working towards a more just world, in which all have the opportunity to flourish and where no one is left behind”.
Excerpted from Anglican Alliance. Read the complete article here .

Empty Pews Fuel Push to Expand Online Giving Options as Churches Brace for Budget Shortfalls

By David Paulsen 
Posted Mar 25, 2020
Church leaders shift to online, mail-in and text message giving options in response to empty pews caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. Photo: Christ Church in Denver, Colorado

[Episcopal News Service]  Christ Church  in Denver, Colorado, entered the era of online worship at 10:30 a.m. March 15 with little more than an internet connection, a handheld iPhone and an order of service. Pews that typically hold 350 worshippers on Sunday mornings were empty on this first Sunday of the COVID-19 pandemic. But Christ Church’s inaugural online service found its congregation. The video has been viewed more than 500 times on Facebook.

“We’re figuring this out on the fly,” the Rev. Terry McGugan told Episcopal News Service by phone. As rector at Christ Church, McGugan, who also serves as president of the Diocese of Colorado’s Standing Committee,  stresses  “adaptability and flexibility.” He doesn’t sugarcoat what empty pews could imply for individual churches and budgets.Empty pews mean no offering plates.

Anticipating potential shortfalls, Episcopal leaders churchwide already are discussing ways to mitigate the financial impact of the virus and the disruptions to everyday life caused by efforts to slow its spread. Suspension of in-person worship services is widespread, and the challenge of maintaining plate-and-pledge income is compounded by the economy. A virus-fueled economic downturn is hitting some parishioners hard, McGugan said. His wife and 23-year-old daughter are among the many Americans out of work because economic activity is grinding to a halt.

As dioceses gently remind congregations to continue collecting offerings and pledges, Presiding Bishop Michael Curry assured dioceses “we will work with you” if assessment payments need to be rescheduled.  Church Pension Group  is waiving some parishes’ pension obligations for two months.

For their part, Episcopal parishes of all sizes are stepping up their use of online giving tools. McGugan’s congregation, one of the largest in Colorado, is somewhat ahead of the curve. Christ Church started encouraging parishioners to pledge online a few years ago through a service called  Pushpay , an option already embraced by about a quarter of the congregation before the coronavirus pandemic hit.

Now, the shortfall caused by empty pews is adding urgency to Christ Church’s online efforts. The shortfall is substantial. On an average Sunday, Christ Church had been collecting as much as $25,000 from worshippers, McGugan said. On March 15, the total dropped to just $2,000 online.

In Baraboo, Wisconsin, a city of 12,000 in the mostly rural Sauk County, Trinity Episcopal Church operates on a much smaller scale, with about 65 pledging households and annual plate-and-pledge total of just under $150,000. Before the coronavirus hit, Trinity didn’t have an online giving option. It didn’t even have the Wi-Fi needed to enable livestream services.
It has both now. But what puts the Rev. Dave Mowers’ financial mind at ease is a different resource: parishioners who can be counted on to pay their pledges, even when they can’t worship in their church.

March 22 was the first Sunday that Trinity was closed to worshippers. The week before, Mowers emailed them a Morning Prayer bulletin with announcements, including a reminder about pledges. “By Sunday, I had picked up a fistful of envelopes that I presumed to be checks,” he told ENS. “And it was a normal-size Sunday offering from just checks that got mailed in.”

The checks that Episcopalians write – and the pledges they make online – don’t just help parishes make ends meet. They also pay for parishes’ ministries in the community, and part of that income is assessed by the dioceses and, ultimately, The Episcopal Church to maintain the broader work of the church.

“We must find gentle ways to remind people that the needs of our churches go on,” Kansas Bishop Cathleen Bascom said in a March 16 message to her  diocese . “This may be a good time to investigate online giving.”

Eastern Oregon Bishop Patrick Bell’s March 17 message was more  direct . “Even though we may not be meeting together, the operation of our churches continues, and that needs funding. I am mindful of empty offering plates sitting unused each Sunday morning,” Bell said.
He encouraged Episcopalians to mail in their pledges or adopt online options. “This needs to be a disciplined practice of our faith,” he said. “Please, please do not neglect your responsibility to financially support your church and your ministry during this time.”
Congregations are using a variety of tools to create virtual offering plates. Some popular ones are  Vanco Tithe.ly Realm Blackbaud  and  Giving 365 .

St. Margaret’s Episcopal Church in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, promoted giving through Tithe.ly during its March 22 livestream of Holy Eucharist. Church of the Good Shepherd in the Northern California city of Cloverdale also began using Tithe.ly at its March 22 service.

“The website allows you to designate your gift as pledge or offering as well as for donations to the Memorial, Stained Glass, and Building Funds,” Good Shepherd said on Facebook.
The Diocese of Central Pennsylvania created an online resource through the service  GivingTools  to enable all its parishes to collect donations  there .

“A large number of our parishes did not have an online giving platform in place,” Alexis Guszick, the diocese’s canon for communications and events, told ENS by email. The diocese’s GivingTools page now is being promoted on parishes’ livestreams and social media accounts.

In Bangor, Maine, St. John’s Episcopal Church is encouraging parishioners to give money by text.

The text-based giving is a feature of Realm, which St. John’s started using a while back to collect pledges  online . “It’s been an underutilized resource up until now,” said the Rev. Rita Steadman, rector at St. John’s. Her parish has an average Sunday attendance of about 100, and like Mowers’ congregation, parishioners reliably pay their pledges, Steadman said. One went online recently and paid the pledge for the full year to help St. John’s up front with its cash flow.

“The bigger concern is probably people’s economic well-being,” she said. Her congregation is economically diverse, and “we have people who could be wiped out or knocked down for sure.”

On March 17, Curry issued a statement supporting decisions by diocesan bishops and parish priests to suspend in-person worship services, possibly including Holy Week and  Easter , in response to warnings from public health experts that large public gatherings could accelerate the spread of COVID-19. More than 43,000 cases have been confirmed across all 50 states, including more than 500  deaths .

Curry followed up in a March 19 letter to bishops and their finance officers, acknowledging that the disruption of social distancing “affects us all spiritually and financially,” “We are in this together,” he said three times in his letter. No “past due” notices will be issued for unpaid assessments.

Dioceses are required by church Canons to contribute 15% of their incomes as  assessments  to The Episcopal Church. Paid in full, those assessments would total nearly $90 million of the church’s revised $137 million budget for 2019-2021. Church officials were estimating about $5 million less in actual collections over three years, based on the number of dioceses that said, even before the coronavirus hit, that they couldn’t or wouldn’t pledge the full amount.
“It is premature to predict our responses to the financial consequences of the current emergency,” Curry said in his March 19 letter. “We will, however, do everything we can to support dioceses and parishes across the church. We invite your suggestions.”

Mary Kate Wold, CEO and president of Church Pension Group, repeated the “we’re all in this together” refrain in her March 23  message  about the coronavirus. The two-month waiver of pension assessments is available to financially struggling parishes in states or regions where a disaster or state of emergency has been declared.

“Our hope is that this action will help alleviate financial strain in the neediest of parishes, help ensure that their clergy can continue to serve without fear of their pensions being reduced, and help support all of their employees and their ministry in this uncertain time,” Wold said.
She also said the church’s Medical Trust would waive copays, deductibles and coinsurance for evaluation and testing related to COVID-19.

Conditions across the United States have intensified this week, as several states from Massachusetts to California issued “shelter-in-place” or “stay-at-home”  orders . The goal of the orders is to limit travel to only essential destinations, such as grocery stores, pharmacies and hospitals, reducing the risk of disease transmission. As businesses shut down and Americans isolate at home, one side effect has been a surge in unemployment claims. The jobless rate could reach 30 percent, one Federal Reserve official  predicted .

“That’s a reality that the church is going to have to face,” Christ Church in Colorado’s McGugan said. “That a large portion of our congregations, especially smaller parishes. A significant portion of our congregations are going to be unemployed.”

Churches will be called on to provide pastoral support for parishioners and neighbors who have lost their jobs and are rapidly depleting their savings, McGugan said. At the same time, churches will face their own financial struggles, with economic uncertainty driving all parishioners to consider reducing their charitable giving.

“It’s going to decimate smaller churches,” McGugan said, and even Christ Church is preparing for the worst. It has modest cash reserves but no multimillion-dollar endowment, he said. He asked the church’s administrator to draft provisional budgets for three scenarios: 80% of annual income, 60% and 40%.

He hopes to be able to keep the church’s staff of 10 employed through the crisis, though their duties are changing to fit the immediate needs of the congregation and community.
Mowers, the Wisconsin rector, isn’t as concerned about the economy’s immediate financial impact on Trinity Episcopal Church. Most pledging families in his congregation are retired or work in sectors or professions that aren’t yet facing job losses.

Trinity, though small, is fortunate enough to be able to lean on an endowment of a little more than $500,000, “although it is 30% lower than it was three weeks ago,” he said, due to the falling stock market.

Even so, Trinity, like many congregations, is facing an uncertain future, and Mowers thinks the economic impact will be felt even after the public health crisis is over. It also may be harder for his parishioners to wrap their minds around the crisis when only a handful of COVID-19 cases have been diagnosed in the area so far.
“We’re in this sort of ambiguous place where we think it’s going to be bad, but we’re not sure how bad it’s going to be,” he said.

– David Paulsen is an editor and reporter for Episcopal News Service. He can be reached at  dpaulsen@episcopalchurch.org .
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 .
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 .

For more information go to Laundry Love Kaua`i or contact Geoff Shields at gshields2334@gmail.com .

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.

All Saints' Eucharistic Visitors are available each Sunday (pending availability) to bring Communion to those who are sick or shut-in. Requests for a Eucharistic visitation can be made by calling the Church Office at (808) 822-4267 or emailing homecommunion@allsaintskauai.org .