Asian American or “Asiamerican” describes both Asian immigrants in the United States as well as Asian Americans born in the United States – Chinese, Filipino, Korean, Japanese, Southeast Asian (Vietnamese, Laotian, Hmong, Burmese), and South Asian (Indian, Pakistani, Bangladeshi, Sri Lankan). It also describes the relationship of Asians in the United States with the Asian Episcopalians and Asian Anglicans in the global Asian community. The office of Asian American Ministries offers resources on mission work, church revitalization, and racial justice – among and beyond Asian communities in the United States.
Asiamerica Ministries Office, Partnership Office for Asia and the Pacific and the Diocese of New York jointly feted a Welcome Dinner for the Asian delegates to the United Nations Commission on the Status of Women in New York City last March 20, 2018. Delegates come from Hong Kong, Japan, Korea, China, Macau, Myanmar, Australia and New Zealand.
The Welcome Dinner Organizers (L-R): The Rev. Canon Dr. Winfred B. Vergara, the Rt. Rev. Allen Shin, the Rev. Canon Bruce Woodcock and the Rev. Canon Dr. Ada Wong Nagata.
So much has been written and spoken about MLK, his life, works and legacy but let me just address myself to some lessons we can learn especially for those who aspire to become “Christian” leaders. I refer to MLK’s ministries as a “pastor, prophet and priest.” Read more.
By Rev. Canon Dr. Winfred B. Vergara, Missioner for Asiamerica Ministries
1. EPISCOPAL ASIAMERICA MISSIONER’S OFFICE: The mission of Asiamerica Ministries Office is three-fold: To enable, equip and empower ministries among Asian immigrants and Asian-Americans and help build bridges to Asia and beyond. This involves partnership with dioceses in evangelism, church planting, revival and congregational development. Asiamerica Ministries have seven ethnic convocations: Chinese, Japanese, Korean, Filipino, Southeast Asian, South Asian and Pacific Islanders. We are one of the most pluralistic and highly diverse ministries in the Episcopal Church. Asiamerica Ministries Office is part of the Department of Ethnic Ministries. The DEM include four major ministries: Asiamerica, Black, Latino/Hispanic and Indigenous Ministries.
2. EAM COUNCIL: My Office works in partnership with Episcopal Asiamerica Ministry Council who also serve as my Council of Advice. The EAMC is composed of Executive Committee and co-conveners of the seven convocations, with both Asiamerica Missioner and Partnership Office for Asia and the Pacific as ex-officio members. Each convocation meets separately for two consecutive years and on the 3rd year, we gather as a pan-Asian EAM Consultation. This year’s Consultation will be held on September 27-October 1 in Honolulu, Hawaii and the theme is “Piko- Celebrating Christ, Community and Creation. Presiding Bishop Michael Curry and House of Deputies President Gay Jennings as well as Bishops Singh, Shin and Hayashi and EAM leaders are some of those invited as plenary speakers. Highlight of the Consultation is immersion at Polynesian Cultural Center. Registration will open soon. Please email me if you wish to receive the Registration link.
3. DIOCESAN ASIAMERICA MINISTRIES: Many events happen in dioceses and parishes. Some of the dioceses with active EAM Commissions are California, Los Angeles, Chicago, New York and Long Island. Lately two innovative diocesan ministries recently emerged: the “EAST of New York” and “The Gathering of Los Angeles.” EAST means “Episcopal Asiamerica Supper Table” and is an outreach to pan Asian city dwellers, especially young Asian Americans. An Asian of interest is invited to share his/her story around a liturgical as well as a dinner table. “The Gathering” is a similar approach and exploration to Asian spirituality. In a related development, the Anglican Diocese of New Westminster in Vancouver, Canada, inspired by EAM, also organized ACAM (Anglican Asian-Canadian Ministries), the Canadian version of EAM and the Asian Anglicans in England are planning to do the same.
4. ASIAMERICA MISSION TO END MODERN SLAVERY: In 2014, the Missioner’s Office organized the annual “Summit against Human Trafficking” in Queens, New York. It gained popular support from many grassroots organization and paved the way for the alliance called “AMEMS” or Asiamerica Mission to End Modern Slavery. In 2016, Trinity Wall Street funded the program and it has now grown to be a 501c3 non-profit organization that is ecumenical and intercultural so we dropped the letter “A” and is now known as MEMS (Mission to End Modern Slavery) Website:www.endmodernslaverynow.org. Please join the 4TH MEMS Summit & Celebration of Asian Heritage Month to be held at Cathedral Retreat Center, 840 Echo Park, Los Angeles on Saturday, May 12, 2018.
5. “ANDREWS” MENTORING PROGRAM: In 2017, the Missioner unveiled a three-year plan to train and develop a cadre of mentors (disciplers) who will prepare at least two mentees. We have a booklet detailing its plan, an electronic copy can also be sent. To summarize: Our goal is to commission 70 ANDREWS MENTORS ON TRAINING (AMOT) on September 27, 2018 in Hawaii and they will commit to be trained on three areas: Evangelism; Social Justice; and Liturgy & Music. Subject to funding availability, the AMOT will be provide scholarships for training in evangelism, church planting, parish revival, social action and liturgical renewal. Most trainings will be done locally through sponsored conferences as well as on-line and virtual classrooms. To strengthen biblical-theological roots, the training will also involve a Pilgrimage to the Holy Land scheduled for November 2019. Aside from head knowledge, ANDREWS also aims to produce an Asian Songbook called “RICE & SING” and participation in mass actions and social justice advocacy through MEMS (Mission to End Modern Slavery). If you wish to become an ANDREWS mentor, email me at [email protected]
6. UPDATING RESOURCES: Over the years, the Asiamerica Missioner authored several books and some of them are being updated to take into accounts new developments. “Being Episcopalian,” is a user-friendly booklet good for baptism, confirmation and evangelistic hand-outs; “Filipino Ministry in American Context” is a proto-type to ethnic-specific approaches to immigrant history, culture and ethnic evangelism and can be adapted to other immigrant group. “Mainstreaming Asians in the Episcopal Church” is a combined Asiamerica history, cultures, theology and vision. They will all soon be available in book form as well as electronically.
7. HOW CAN WE SUPPORT OUR COMMON MINISTRY? At General Convention, we seek your prayer and advocacy to Ethnic Ministries in general and Asiamerica Ministries in particular. Help us in promoting Asiamerica Ministries in your respective dioceses. According to recent Census Projection, Asians in America will continue to grow next to the Hispanic/Latino population. The hope of EAM-ANDREWS and other endeavors is not only to respond evangelistically to the growing Asian immigrant population but to prepare a dynamic cadre of well-trained Episcopal Asian clergy and lay mentors who will increase Christian disciples exponentially over the years. Please do not hesitate to contact me through any of these media:
Email: [email protected] Phone: (646) 510-6918
Facebook, Messenger and Twitter: Fred Vergara
Facebook: Asiamerica Ministries Network/The Episcopal Churc