I was tempted to take a week off since I will be spending most of this week in Traverse City on a mini-retreat but I am always loath to skip a week just in case someone comes looking. So, this will be brief but at least there will be some information for you to ponder while I’m away!
I always check the Episcopal News Service when I sit down to write because I need to find out what’s newsworthy. I noticed a theme this week – Episcopal Asiamerica Ministries. Sadly, I didn’t even know there was such a group by this name but, again, I find I am delighted to see that our Church reaches out with the love of Jesus in mission and ministry to all corners of the world. The TEC website describes this ministry:
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. It assists dioceses to start new Asian congregations and strengthen existing ones, and advocates for Asian empowerment at all levels of the church: among seminarians, women, youth, clergy, and lay leaders.
According to ENS, there are more than 140 Asiamerican congregations around the United States. The first recorded service for Chinese Anglicans occurred in 1871 for Chinese miners and railroad workers in Virginia City, Nevada and, in 2013, the Rev. Toua Vang, was ordained as the first Hmong priest in the Anglican Communion.
Our Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori celebrated the Eucharist at the Anglican Cathedral of St. Mary and St. Nicholas in Seoul as part of the Asiamerican Ministries international consultation which was held from September 30th to October 5th. The theme for this important event was “Celebrating our Partnerships; Uniting our Mission.” Here is a link to Bishop Katharine’s sermon at the cathedral – http://episcopaldigitalnetwork.com/ens/2015/10/04/video-presiding-bishop-preaches-at-south-korean-cathedral/
You can find some very helpful background in the booklet “Asiamerican Ministry in the 21st Century” found at this link –
Here’s a link to the blog “Travelin’ Asian: Reflections of an Asian American Episcopalian” – http://travelinasian.blogspot.com/
The most helpful link of all lists many other relevant resources including a video from the Presiding Bishop speaking on the future of partnerships with Asian-Americans, a video on renewing the church’s compassion by Jeremiah Yang, a video by the chief operating officer of TEC, Bishop Stacy Sauls, on seeing the world through Asian eyes, and other fascinating videos and resources –
In her key note address and the consultation, Bishop Katharine affirmed:
Boundary and border crossing is the call of Jesus to find a friend in unexpected places, particularly in the face of enmity, difference, and ‘the other’…The very experience of migration, and moving across a national border, is a witness to that kind of courage. EAM communities bring that courage in abundance, and it can be contagious – contagious enough to plant a new virus in our DNA that disposes us to see the new person as friend rather than enemy.
We hear much talk of erecting boundaries and walls in this political season but our Gospels speak volumes about tearing down barriers that divide us and separate one from another. I’m so glad to learn of the work being done through Episcopal Asiamerican Ministries and am eager to find out more.
Let us pray –
O God, you made us in your own image and redeemed us
through Jesus your Son: Look with compassion on the whole human family; take away the arrogance and hatred which infect our hearts; break down the walls that separate us; unite us in bonds of love; and work through our struggle and confusion to accomplish your purposes on earth; that, in your good time, all nations and races may serve you in harmony around your heavenly throne; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.
See you next week at Convention!
~ Judith Schellhammer, chair, Resolution Review Committee, Diocesan Council