Black Ministries

The history of contributions to The Episcopal Church by its black clergy and black congregations is long and inspiring. The church pays tribute to this legacy by supporting and fostering the growth of black congregations through partnerships that reach across ethnic and racial boundaries, from the Episcopal provinces, dioceses, and deaneries to local parishes. Through the Recruitment, Training, and Development Program, black postulants and candidates for ministry are empowered and encouraged to seek vocations in lay and ordained ministries. This program offers an annual conference to provide historical perspectives of black Episcopalians in the church, leadership training, opportunities for networking, and mentoring for ongoing education and spiritual growth. 

Tagged in: Ethnic Ministries

[Episcopal News Service – Houston, Texas] Black clergy from across the Episcopal Church and parts of the Anglican Communion are spending more than four days here exploring how to reclaim the Episcopal Church’s membership in the Jesus Movement.

The International Black Clergy Conference, titled “The Jesus Movement: Embracing Our Call,” is doing so through plenary presentations, including a Nov. 16 keynote address by Presiding Bishop Michael Curry; indaba-style conversations and affinity group meetings.

In his keynote address, titled “The Jesus Movement: Embracing the Call,” Curry repeatedly told participants that the Jesus Movement is not a “Michael Curry concoction” that will have a limited shelf life.

“It is a solemn call to reclaim our deepest origins – the deepest roots of who we are – and to thereby know how to be oriented in a time of profound disorientation,” he said. “We’re taking the long perspective and we’re going deep.”

The Jesus Movement, Curry said, is about evangelism and reconciliation, and more.

“It’s the work of redeeming this creation. It’s the work of helping justice to role down like a might spring,” he said. “This Jesus Movement – following the word of Jesus – will set this world free; set us all free. I didn’t make that up; it’s in the Bible. And, for the Episcopal Church to reclaim that is to reclaim who we are. That, my friends, is a game changer.”

But, he said, the basic technique of the movement is simple and he is living proof. “I’m here because somebody showed me Jesus,” Curry said, telling the story of how he came to understand Jesus anew during college when a friend’s overdose caused him to recall how his grandmother faith had sustained her through grief and loss.

The Rev. Benjamin Twinamaani, rector of Grace Episcopal Church, a 23-year-old parish in Tampa, Florida, would agree about being shown Jesus. He met Jesus through a Christian group of high school students in his native Uganda.

Twinamaani, whose name means “together we have strength,” said in an interview with Episcopal News Service that in Uganda “evangelism is a given” and it is mainly lay-led. The role of clergy is that of trainer. “You equip the people and they go out and do it,” he said.

At Grace, lay people who work within their own demographic segment of the community but who look outside of their group, as well, lead evangelism. For instance, the Episcopal Church Women group decided on its own to start feeding homeless people in the neighborhood. “I didn’t tell them to,” he said.

In fact, Twinamaani said, clergy can get in the way sometimes and be a bottleneck. The Episcopal Church is a very clerical institution, he said, but “I have seen the other side where lay people drive the church and it’s much more vibrant.”

For many years Ugandan Anglicans equipped their evangelists with materials created by the Episcopal Church during the 1990s Decade of Evangelism. Twinamaani still uses some of the concepts he learned from those materials and he thinks the Episcopal Church ought to revive their use.

Twinamaani said people also have to realize that, as Curry told the conference, working for the Jesus Movement means being in it for the long haul and not expecting things to change overnight. He cited other efforts such as Cursillo that work slowly but last long.

And, for the Rev. Lewis Powell, a deacon in the Diocese of Northern California, getting ready for the long haul is about building relationships because, he said, that is how the Jesus Movement must begin. “You have to enter into a relationship in order to serve someone,” he told ENS in an interview.

ens111716_blackclergylewis_slider

The Rev. Lewis Powell, a deacon in the Diocese of Northern California, reads the gospel Nov. 16 during the International Black Clergy Conference’s opening Eucharist at Christ Church Cathedral in downtown Houston, Texas. Photo: Mary Frances Schjonberg/Episcopal News Service

Powell said he thinks of his diaconal ministry as being the person who fills in the potholes along the path that runs back and forth between the church and the world, “trying to make life smoother” and fostering relationships along the way.

“Once that relationship has been established, we can move on to fill another pothole together,” said Powell, who serves as the indigenous ministries missioner for Northern California.

During his visits with the water protectors on the Standing Rock Sioux Nation, Powell said he learned that people must be in relationship with the past and the future, as well as to be in peaceful relationships with people in the present.

 

The rest of the conference

The conference runs Nov. 16-19 at the Magnolia Hotel in downtown Houston,

The Nov. 17 session, whose theme is “The Jesus Movement: Embracing the Word, will center on the New Visions movement models of ministry for congregational renewal and vitality, clergy/lay mutual ministry and clergy leadership. The Nov. 18 sessions focused on “The Jesus Movement: Beyond conversations on race, violence, repentance and reconciliation.”

During that evening’s banquet the church’s black bishops will be honored. Those present will be given 11×17 framed copies of a newly revised black bishops poster, and an accompanying book. Those items will be mailed to bishops not in Houston. The conference will also pay tribute to the ministry the Rev. Angela Ifill, who retires this month as Episcopal Church missioner for the office of black ministries, a position she has held since 2000.

Curry praised Ifill’s work during his Nov. 16 keynote address, saying that she has served “faithfully, nobly and well.”

On Nov. 19, participants will finalize and share their action plans for going forward. The conference plans to issue a statement to the wider church.

In addition to priests and deacons from across the Episcopal Church, conference participants came from elsewhere in the Anglican Communion, including the Province of the West Indies and the Church of England, as well as Sudanese clergy.

A pre-conference gathering on Nov. 15 included meetings of affinity groups such as seminarians, clergy ordained five years or less; deacons; retired clergy; diocesan leadership staff; New Visions teams; and clergy serving in multicultural and/or white congregations.

Previous ENS coverage of the conference is here.

The Rev. Mary Frances Schjonberg is an editor and reporter for the Episcopal News Service.

[Episcopal News Service – Houston, Texas] Black clergy from across the Episcopal Church and parts of the Anglican Communion are spending more than four days here exploring how to reclaim the Episcopal Church’s membership in the Jesus Movement. The...

Save the date for an important upcoming conference and educational event, the International Black Clergy Conference, scheduled for Wednesday, November 16 to Saturday, November 19 in Houston, TX.

The theme of the event is “The Jesus Movement: Embracing Our Call.” 

The pre-conference begins on Tuesday, November 15 with meetings of affinity groups: clergy ordained five years or less; deacons; retired clergy; diocesan leadership staff; New Visions Team; and clergy serving in multicultural and/or white congregations.

On Wednesday, the conference keynote address will be presented by Episcopal Church Presiding Bishop and Primate Michael Curry on “Embracing the Call.”

Indaba style conversations throughout the conference will include the following:

  • Thursday, November 17: New Visions Movement: Ministries & Models for Congregational Renewal and Vitality
  • Friday, November 18: The Jesus Movement: Conversation on Race and Reconciliation                   
  • Saturday, November 19:  The Jesus Movement: Call to Action  

Saturday’s program will also feature a live webcast from Evangelism Matters, the Episcopal Church Evangelism Conference November 18-19 in Dallas, TX. For info see here 

In addition to priests and deacons from The Episcopal Church, the International Black Clergy Conference will welcome participants from the Anglican Church of Canada as well as Anglicans and Episcopalians from the Province of the West Indies and throughout the United Kingdom. 

Registration information is available here.  Early bird discounts are available.

These clergy conferences continue to be important events in the church, gathering clergy for conversations on various topics that include congregational life, clergy wellness and networks in support of one another.  The conferences have traditionally included bishops, who are available for consultation.  Also, the Episcopal Church Office of Transition Ministry will be present for counseling on discernment and ministry opportunities.

For more information contact the Rev. Angela Ifill, Episcopal Church Missioner for Black Ministries; or Angeline Cabanban, Associate for Diversity and Ethnic Ministries.

 

Save the date for an important upcoming conference and educational event, the International Black Clergy Conference, scheduled for Wednesday, November 16 to Saturday, November 19 in Houston, TX. The theme of the event is “The Jesus Movement:...
Tagged in: Lent

The meaning of this scripture passage for me is that it is Jesus’ statement of mission a way forward for Jesus and for us today.  It is used in my ministry and is the basis of the focus on mission in the New Visions Initiative for Congregational Renewal and Vitality.        

Jesus read this particular passage not another, when after his baptism he went to the synagogue on the Sabbath, stood up and read from the scroll from Isaiah which was handed to him.   The words seemed to mean that Jesus had an understanding of the path of his life before the inevitable end.      

At that time he took on the cross that he was to bear, but before that day when he was to be crucified Jesus went about preaching, teaching and healing.  He caused the lame to walk and the blind to see, he raised the dead, exorcised demons and ate with outcasts.

This is the example that Jesus left for us to guide and direct our path as we take on the Christian way of life.   I suppose it can sometimes feel like a burden to be a Christian.  You have to take the high road even when you may want do differently.   You have to think of others, love your enemies, preach the gospel, witnessing to others.  That is the responsibility that comes with following Christ.  It is even risky.

Two years ago I went to a restaurant to order take out. While waiting for my order I noticed a woman sitting alone eating.  I approached her and introduced myself and half an hour later we were still talking.   She had just moved into the area and had not yet made any friends.   During the course of the conversation I invited her to church saying that she would enjoy being among the people there.   She said that she had not been to church in thirty years and I told her that did not matter.  Well, the Sunday she decided to visit the Church I was not there because of my travel schedule.    

But she returned and has kept on worshiping at that parish.   She is now very involved in the life of the parish, eventually met a gentleman to whom she is now married and they both serve in various capacities and fully support the work of the church.

That experience helped me to remember that sharing my faith journey is an important part of whom I am as a Christian even not knowing the impact it will have on others.   After all we are only the sower of seeds.   Like Jesus we walk the road boldly giving all that we have and all that we are in the name of God and all to God’s glory.       

The meaning of this scripture passage for me is that it is Jesus’ statement of mission a way forward for Jesus and for us today.  It is used in my ministry and is the basis of the focus on mission in the New Visions Initiative for Congregational...

The Episcopal Church Executive Council announced the recipients of the Constable Fund Grants, totaling $535,000, for the 2013 grant cycle. 

The announcement was made by Anne Watkins, an Executive Council member from the Diocese of Connecticut and chair of the Constable Fund Grant Review Committee, during the Executive Council meeting, currently gathered in Baltimore, Maryland.

The Constable Fund provides grants to fund mission initiatives that were not provided for within the budget of the Episcopal Church General Convention/Domestic and Foreign Missionary Society (DFMS).

Watkins said seven grants were awarded from the 22 applications received, the most ever submitted for consideration.  “We received applications from Provinces, Commissions/Committees/Agencies/Boards (CCABs), and DFMS offices/affiliates/seminaries or others,” Watkins explained. “They were quite worthy of consideration, and we had very difficult decisions to make.”

Watkins explained that the 22 applications requested a total of roughly $1,621,452 in grant requests.

A Constable Grant Management Task Force was constituted by the Executive Council Joint Standing Committee on Governance and Mission (EC-GAM) which made subsequent recommendations resulting in the establishment of the Executive Council Constable Fund Grant Review Committee.  That committee was charged with promoting the fund, widening its access to more of the Church, and making award recommendations. Committee members are:  The Rev. Canon James G. Callaway, D.D., General Secretary, Colleges and Universities of the Anglican Communion; Marian Conboy of the General Convention Office; Margareth Crosnier de Bellaistre, DFMS Director of Investment Management and Banking; Executive Council member Dr. Anita George; Executive Council member the Rev. Marion Luckey; Sam McDonald, DFMS Deputy Chief Operating Officer and Director of Mission; Executive Council Member the Rev. Sylvestre Romero, Jr.; and Watkins.

"This cycle of recommendations confirmed something we already know:  that we are a church of great creativity, with an abundance of ideas and gifts for God's mission and for doing the work of the Church,” Watkins continued. “That meant that the Constable Fund Grant Review Committee had an even more challenging job than before.  The decisions made were not so much between good and poor applications.  It was rather, decisions between good and good.  While each application stood on its own merit, we did also try to remain aware of the distribution of awards.  And in many cases, decisions had to be made simply because of the amount of funding available. We could only fund about one-third of the grant amounts requested and there are certainly some good proposals that could not be met through this particular fund."

Recipients

The recipients, the projects, the amounts and brief explanations (taken from the applications) follow:

  • Province II (for The Episcopal Diocese of Haiti) to establish a network of three radio stations in the northern region of the Diocese of Haiti; $130,000

The Diocese of Haiti has created an Episcopal region in the north part of the country and The Rt. Reverend Ogé Beauvoir, Bishop Suffragan in the Diocese of Haiti, is overseeing the expansion of the diocese in that region under the leadership of the Diocesan Bishop. While strengthening the six existing parishes made up of 18 congregations, there is an urgent need to start doing some religious education by using mass media.  The plan is to open 15 new congregations. This proposal is to help the Episcopal Diocese of Haiti establish a network of three radio stations in the north to better proclaim the Good News to the population of the great north, teach the Christian faith and further nurture the believers.

  • Province III (for The Diocese of Pittsburgh) for Reconciling Conversations of Sexuality and Communion; $30,000

The diocese has brought in a team from the Public Conversations Project (PCP) to help design and facilitate diocesan-wide conversations, not only on the critical matters of human sexuality, but on related questions of communion and fellowship in the midst of our differences. Through this process we hope to produce a cadre of PCP-trained facilitators sufficient to engage up to500 people, representative of the diocese as a whole, in a process of conversation to help heal division, build consensus and inform the bishop’s decision-making in relation to these critical questions. We hope this cadre will help facilitate future dialogue to help create a common mind around a range of matters, from mission strategy to resource allocation. 

  • Standing Commission for Small Congregations for Conference on Lay and Clergy Leadership in Small Ethnic Congregations; $43,000

The Standing Commission for Small Congregations proposes to hold one or more conferences on providing education and training for lay and clergy leadership and development in small congregations. Participants will be invited to meet with the Commission members and each other to study and discuss ways to provide cost-effective education and training for persons working or intending to work in small congregations. The conferences will include study of non-traditional educational means and formats such as on-line study and training courses utilizing the internet, cooperative programs among dioceses, and study of education and training of persons whose primary language is not English.

  • Forward Movement for a Catalyst for Transformational Spiritual Growth: Adult and All-ages Christian Formation Materials; $94,000

This project will publish Christian formation materials that have been piloted successfully in several congregations, as well as create new materials, including a Basics Course in the Anglican expression of the Christian faith. The Good Book Club is a four-year congregation-wide program for all ages that includes the narrative of the Bible, the Gospels, Christian history and saints, and spiritual practices.  All materials will be provided for free download online, and printed materials will be available for a modest cost.  Materials will be published in English and Spanish.

  • Office of Black Ministries for New Visions Initiative for Transforming Congregations of African Descent; $142,000

New Visions Initiative for Transforming Congregations of African Descent is a multi-tiered collaborative initiative, grounded in Faith Formation and full participation of children, youth, young adults, middle and older adults in transforming the congregation. New Visions congregations form mutual partnerships for ministry, and participate in activities to Renew spiritual vitality, Reimagine mission and Revitalize energy and participation in order to focus outwardly toward the mission field. Program will enable congregations to develop their ministries, strengthen the ties in their communities, provide reports on their progress and share experiences, as well as participate in meetings, training sessions and ministry evaluations.

  • Asiamerica Ministries Office, Partnership Office for Asia and the Pacific and Episcopal Divinity School for EAMS-EDS Theological Project; $66,000

This project addresses the need of Episcopal Asiamerican clergy and lay leaders to obtain advance pastoral studies and continuing theological education that will enable, empower and equip them for effective ministry in the 21st century. The program uses brief residential training, on-line technology and distributive learning. The goal is to develop “working theologians” so the training does not take clergy out of their ministerial context, except for the intensive study in January and June terms.  At the end of their study-reflection, the successful candidates will obtain a Doctor of Ministry diploma from EDS and their dissertation papers will be accessible for use in the Episcopal Church.

  • Office of Government Relations, Bishops Working for a Just World for Advocacy Collaboration for Bishops and Young People; $30,000

The purpose is to fund a joint advocacy-focused gathering of Episcopal bishops and young persons, to be held in Washington, DC, with the aim of creating a “ready bench” of young social justice advocates in the Episcopal Church. These young people will return to their dioceses and provide sustained “grass tops” leadership toward all Episcopalians living into their baptismal covenant to “strive for justice and peace and promote the dignity of every human being.  The proposal is for funding that will allow the Office of Government Relations to provide scholarships for young people to be invited to partner with the bishops at this conference, thereby widening the diversity of young adults who can participate.

Named for Miss Constable

The Constable Grants were named for Miss Mary Louise Constable, who was a visionary philanthropist.  Watkins pointed out, “Hers is an example of faithful witness and generosity in response to an obviously mature and deep understanding of herself as both a disciple of Jesus Christ and as a steward of the blessings bestowed upon her by God.”

In 1935, in the midst of economic catastrophe known as the Great Depression, Miss Constable made a monetary gift to the Episcopal Church to establish the Constable Fund.  Her desire and intent to add periodically to the fund during her lifetime was realized and culminated with a very generous final gift at the time of her death in 1951.

Watkins further explained, “Stipulations for use of the fund were also visionary and generous, recognizing in and trusting those who came after her to comply with her wishes while allowing them flexibility in order to carry the mission of God through God’s Church forward into new eras.”

The language of Miss Constable’s will states that the fund exists “in perpetuity … to apply the net income for the purposes of the Society, preferably for the work in religious education not provided for within the Society’s budget.”

 

 

The Episcopal Church: www.episcopalchurch.org

Facebook: www.facebook.com/episcopalian

Twitter: twitter.com/iamepiscopalian

YouTube:

 

The Episcopal Church Executive Council announced the recipients of the Constable Fund Grants, totaling $535,000, for the 2013 grant cycle.  The announcement was made by Anne Watkins, an Executive Council member from the Diocese of Connecticut and...
Tagged in: Prayers

Heavenly Father, as we become the Beloved Community, we believe that we are disciples of Christ, taught by your word and obedient to your will. We thank you for the opportunity for renewal in our community of faith. We ask that we shall be filled with the Holy spirit to guide and lead us through our journey of spiritual wholeness and wisdom. Give us the vision of what united prayer and faith can do. empower us with the fruit of the Spirit of love, joy, patience, kindmess, goodness and self control. Give us insight to listen to one another as we embrace the common good. Revitalize and strengthen us with your power to become faithful disciples for the success of the New Visions Project. Help us to be faithful to the task of praying and working together for the well being of ourselves and our community. All this we ask in the name of Jesus.

Written by Joyce Mobley and Pearl Jordan.

Heavenly Father, as we become the Beloved Community, we believe that we are disciples of Christ, taught by your word and obedient to your will. We thank you for the opportunity for renewal in our community of faith. We ask that we shall be filled...

The New Visions Initiative is an ongoing congregational renewal program designed specifically for congregations of African descent. Built upon a foundation of lifelong Christian formation, the initiative’s purpose is to spark new visions of mission-centered communities and find fresh ways for congregations to strengthen their ministries.

CONTACT: The Rev. Angela Ifill, missioner for Black Ministries

The New Visions Initiative is an ongoing congregational renewal program designed specifically for congregations of African descent. Built upon a foundation of lifelong Christian formation, the initiative’s purpose is to spark new visions of mission...