International Day of the World’s Indigenous Peoples

International Day of the World’s Indigenous Peoples:

Promoting health and well-being among indigenous Episcopalians

Out of the depths have I called to you, O LORD; LORD, hear my voice; let your ears consider well the voice of my supplication. (Ps 130:1)

•L to R: Jasmine Bostock, Frank Oberly and Cohen Adkins at the Opening Ceremony of the UN Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues in May.

• L to R: Jasmine Bostock, Frank Oberly and Cohen Adkins at the Opening Ceremony of the UN Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues in May.

August 9th is International Day of the World’s Indigenous Peoples, first proclaimed by the United Nations General Assembly in 1994. This year’s theme, “Post 2015 Agenda: Ensuring indigenous peoples’ health and well-being”, highlights access to health care as an important need that must be addressed to improve the lives of indigenous peoples.*

Access to mental health care, in particular, is vital to the health and well-being of young people as they traverse the milestones and formational experiences that will shape the rest of their lives. This point was stressed by indigenous Episcopal delegates – Jasmine Bostock, Cohen Adkins and Frank Oberly – in April at the United Nations Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues. In a written intervention to a special session on “Youth, self-harm and suicide”, the delegates underscored the critical plight of indigenous young people, who suffer from alarmingly high levels of self-harm and suicide. They identified the need to address root causes of intergenerational trauma, implement structural change, care for the environment and restore and protect the rights of Indigenous Peoples in order to overcome this tragic trend.

The Revised Common Lectionary reading for Sunday, August 9th includes a passage in which King David orders the commanders of his armies to “deal gently for my sake with the young man Absalom”, his son, as they prepared to battle the forces that Absalom had gathered against him (2 Sam 18:5-33). In spite of this, Absalom is killed by David’s soldiers. King David is overcome with grief:”O my son Absalom, my son, my son Absalom! Would I had died instead of you, O Absalom, my son, my son!” David’s cry ripples outwards, affecting his family and community. His cry is the same as the one too often heard by families within our indigenous communities. Voicing that cry, bearing witness to that terrible, gut-wrenching reality, is one small step towards healing and wholeness.

The United Nations has proven a key forum at which indigenous Episcopalians can voice their cries and bear witness to their realities, both painful and positive. Under the umbrella of the Anglican Communion and The Episcopal Church, indigenous women and men, elders and young adults, have attended sessions of the UN Commission on the Status of Women and the UN Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues over the past few years. They bring their voices and concerns to the attention of UN agencies, member states and non-governmental organizations in advocating on behalf of their local churches and communities. Once back home, they share their experiences and continue local advocacy in their communities. Many share reflections in reports and blogs, such as these by delegates Jasmine Bostock and Cohen Adkins from this year’s UN Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues.

Nellie Adkins enjoying worship at the UN Commission on the Status of Women in March.

Nellie Adkins enjoying worship at the UN Commission on the Status of Women in March.

The Church is enormously proud of this year’s indigenous delegates: Nellie Adkins, Chickahominy, Diocese of Virginia (first official indigenous Episcopal delegate to the UN Commission on the Status of Women); Jasmine Bostock, Native Hawai’ian, Diocese of Hawai’i; Cohen Adkins, Chickahominy, Diocese of Virginia; Frank Oberly, Comanche/Osage, Diocese of Oklahoma (all three the first indigenous Episcopal delegates to the UN Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues). May their voices and actions be blessed as they continue to ripple outwards from their communities, to the United Nations, to the world.

* The “Post-2015 Agenda” is the new sustainable development framework that will be adopted by members of the United Nations in September. Its 17 Sustainable Development Goals will be the new framework until 2030, replacing the 8 Millennium Development Goals expiring in December 2015.

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William Wilberforce, Anthony Ashley Cooper, and Serving God

Steve SmithOur guest blogger today is Stephen Smith of the Diocese of California. Currently a senior at Virginia Theological Seminary, Stephen served as a missionary in Grahamstown, South Africa with the Young Adult Service Corps. During Stephen’s two years in South Africa, he lived and worked with the brothers of the Order of the Holy Cross at the Mariya uMama weThemba Monastery and taught the Holy Cross School. Stephen preached at the mid-day Eucharist service at the Chapel of Christ the Lord at the Episcopal Church Center in New York yesterday and has graciously shared his homily with us.

Mark 9:33-37, 42 William Wilberforce and Anthony Ashley Cooper

 “Whoever wants to be first must be last of all and servant of all.”

On two separate occasions in the chapters leading up to today’s Gospel lesson from Mark, Jesus predicts the Passion and explains to his disciples that he must suffer and die and on the third day he will rise again, and the poor disciples just don’t get it. It’s not sinking in. Instead of absorbing the significance of what Jesus has been trying to tell them, the disciples get into trivial squabbles with one another about who is the greatest. Jesus, being the patient guy that he is, doesn’t get frustrated or loose his cool (something I would probably do), but instead he keeps on teaching. He does so by warning his disciples not to seek to be greatest but rather to be a servant of all. He also goes on to explain what the inclusiveness of God’s kingdom looks like when he commands the Twelve to receive a child (i.e., an often overlooked and insignificant person for this time period). It’s a rather straightforward message that Jesus is hammering home: 1) Seek to serve all people, 2) welcome even those who may have been overlooked or deemed insignificant.

This past week I had the opportunity to spend some time with the new cohort of Young Adult Service Corps missionaries who were going through their orientation at the Holy Cross Monastery. It was a fun and exciting time to be around this group of young adults. They were in the midst of getting ready to spend a year of their life serving the Episcopal Church as mission workers in various parts of the world. During the orientation, one of the mission officers who was helping to lead the training, made a point that stuck with me. He informed the young adults that a lot of what we were talking about in terms of mission, service, and cross-cultural immersion may seem straightforward, but it’s a whole different ball game when we actually have to start living it. The real challenge for these young adults, and for all of us, begins when we have to make the jump from merely hearing Jesus’ message of service and inclusiveness to actually having to start living it out in our lives. Service for others isn’t easy. It requires putting egos aside; it requires putting oneself in uncomfortable situations; it requires patience; and it requires doing things we don’t often want to do. Yet, in the Gospel lesson we heard today, Jesus commands his disciples to put service at the very center of who they are. This is exactly what the Young Adult Service Corps program does. It asks young adults to put service at the very center of their lives. And this isn’t always easy for them. It means being away from family and friends for a year, sometimes it means putting a career on hold, etc. But it is through this experience, experiences of service and of mission, that the young adults are invited to dive deeper into their faith and their relationship with God.

Today we specifically remember two men who lived lives of service: William Wilberforce and Anthony Ashley Cooper. They were two English politicians who fought tirelessly for social reform and for the rights of those who were often overlooked. I love how Lesser Feasts and Fasts describes these two. It says these men, “refute the popular notion that a politician cannot be a saintly Christian, dedicated to the service of humanity.” Wilberforce and Cooper, despite being politicians, devoted their lives to fighting injustice at all levels of society. They led crusades for the abolition of slavery and fought against the oppression of women and children. We remember them today because they committed their lives and their vocations to the service of others.

So, why is service so important? Why does Jesus command that we live a life of service to others? Well, the very nature of God, and the nature of God as Trinity, is self-giving and overflowing love. This overflowing love is not merely hidden in the being of God. Rather, God reveals this love to all of creation going all the way back to Genesis. Jesus invites us to participate in this overflowing and self-giving love by commanding that we put service at the very center of who we are. In doing so, in giving our lives to others and by serving those who may be overlooked or not deemed worthy, we draw closer to the self-giving love that is the very core of who God is. Amen.

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He’s Got the Whole World in His Hands

World Mission Sunday is February 15!  To prepare ourselves to celebrate the many ways in which The Episcopal Church participates in God’s mission around the world, we present these blogs from our missionaries.

Guest Blogger: Kirsten Lowell from the diocese of Maine, serving as a member of the Young Adult Service Corps in the Diocese of Uruguay. the past month I have had the opportunity to meet people from all over the globe.Each day I enter into the cathedral, unlock the gates, turn on the lights, gather my informational pamphlets, and wonder who I will meet that day. Since the New Year, I have encountered people from Brazil, Argentina, Paraguay, Colombia, Venezuela, Thailand, Canada, the US, England, Wales, Germany, Holland, Italy, and people from right here in Uruguay. I have met people who attend an Anglican Church back home, and those who have never been in an Anglican church until right then. Each of these people has a story. Some are traveling together with friends staying in hostels or are on business trips; others are on cruises and only have a few hours in the city while others live just a few blocks away but have never been inside the cathedral, and some people who simply want a quiet place to pray for a few minutes in the midst of their hectic day. Some days I answer questions about the building itself, some days I answer questions about what Anglican’s believe and how it differs from other denominations, and sometimes I end up answering questions about where I am from and how I ended up in Uruguay. As I open those doors each day, I am opening a window into the Diocese of Uruguay, as well as to the Anglican Communion as a whole and letting God’s light shine in.

I had a light bulb, an “ah-ha” moment this week. I’ve been on short term mission trips before (granted all within the US but still away from “home”), and I was so eager to love, and continue to love, everyone I met, and just as eager to return home and share my stories and photographs. It was incredible because it wasn’t in my own backyard. It was different.

What I realized this week is that Uruguay IS my backyard (and just as incredible), and loving people in my backyard is different (not easier, not harder, not more important, not less important, just different). I am learning to love the good, the bad, the sweet, and the grumpy. It’s another one of those continuous learning processes. It also made me think of my previous backyards and all the people I never took the time to love (believe me, it’s a lot easier to love a child who is reaching for your hand than to love the man who is reaching for your purse). Starting now and Uruguay, and wherever my next backyard may be, I want to learn to love everyone in it. And I think with Jesus as my teacher of loving people (and I think he is pretty stellar), I’m on the right path

“Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.’ The second is this: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ There is no commandment greater than these.” Mark 12:30-31

Posted in Latin America, Mission, Mission Models, Missionaries, South America, The Episcopal Church, Uncategorized, Uruguay, World Mission Sunday, YASC, Young Adult | Tagged , , , , | Leave a comment

The Episcopal Church Welcomes You

World Mission Sunday is February 15!  To prepare ourselves to celebrate the many ways in which The Episcopal Church participates in God’s mission around the world, we present these blogs from our missionaries.

Guest Blogger: Carlin Van Schaik from the diocese of Northwest Texas, serving as a member of the Young Adult Service Corps in the Philippines.


Here is the situation. You are many miles from home and you find that the only road has been completely blocked by a mudslide. It’s too dark to turn back to where you came from and there are no hotels. Where do you go?

Is your first instinct to head to the town church or to try and find a place to sleep in your car?

I was recently put in this situation on a trip from my home in Tabuk to visit a partner community in Saltan. When my companions informed me we would just sleep at the church for the night, I wasn’t impressed with the plan. I had tried the same approach in Memphis, Tennessee as an 18 year old on a road trip and it didn’t go particularly well.

As we approach Advent Episcopal Church in Balantoy, I notice two things. The first is a sticker on the door that says, “The Episcopal Church Welcomes You” and the second is large group of people sitting on the balcony of the rectory having coffee. As it turns out, the church isn’t just where stranded church employees went, but where many stranded members of the community turned for shelter. By the end of the evening, there were 12 of us sheltered together. We threw our money together and slaughtered some chickens for supper. We played cards, sang, talked, ate, and enjoyed the warm fire. When late in the evening it came time to sleep, we rolled out mats of the floor and stretched out side by side.

St. Timothy’s Church in Saltan

The Episcopal Church Welcomes You. I mean really welcomes you. I know I have been guilty of using that same sticker on the back of my own car to get free parking at Churches in historical downtown areas. I know many of us think of it in reference to the inclusiveness of congregations towards particular individuals. But I don’t think that I ever thought of it in terms of the welcoming of one individual by another. In this case, it wasn’t the articulation of an institutional guideline. It wasn’t “The Church” welcoming people. It was a statement of the responsibility and joy of an individual providing safe haven to other individuals.

When the slide was cleared, we moved onto Balbalasang and Saltan to do our training seminars and data gathering. Our timing happened to coincide with the town fiesta, so once again, we shared with rectory with 8 other out of town visitors. The whole town came together for church services, eating, a Mrs. Senior Citizen beauty contest, traditional music and dance, and sporting events. Oh and did I mention the eating?

Posted in Asia, Community Development, Mission, Missionaries, Philippines, The Episcopal Church, Uncategorized, World Mission Sunday, YASC, Young Adult | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

The wisdom of little people

World Mission Sunday is February 15!  To prepare ourselves to celebrate the many ways in which The Episcopal Church participates in God’s mission around the world, we present these blogs from our missionaries.

Guest Blogger: Ryan Zavacky from the diocese of Eastern Michigan, serving as a member of the Young Adult Service Corps in Grahamstown, South Africa.

 Two years ago this month, I was baptized into Christ’s Church at St. John’s Episcopal Church in Alma, MI.

That day was an absolutely amazing day filled with many friends and family, and at that time, one of the most powerful experiences of God’s love I have ever felt. Now, two years later, I am even more struck by God’s love.

Lately, I have been really struck by the fact that I am living in South Africa. I know I should have probably realized this 4ish months ago, but you know life and things are happening. The great presence of God’s love has been from the amazing people I have met. I have become friends with many beautiful souls in my time in South Africa. Makhulos who give anything to the many children they watch, the strength of the schools social worker and the school counselor to the horrific stories they hear, and most importantly the wisdom of the little people I watch. They really are wise little people.

On our daily drive down the dirt road, Pheliswa, a third grader, and I talked about many things. One day I thought I would ask her is she was scared leaving Holy Cross next year and going to a new big school. Having changed many schools in life, I thought I could shed some light on changing schools. She told me, “of course I am nervous Bhuti, who wouldn’t be. But changing is life.” I was so profoundly struck by the wisdom of this little girl.

I have loved the journey my faith has taken me on in South Africa. It is really crazy how quickly my faith has taken me to the ends of the earth!

I can see God’s work in the world first hand. It is really interesting the things that can happen if you give up your plans for your life and let God control it. I never planned on going to Africa, but I am so happy I did.

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Buen Vivir–Striving for “Good Living”

World Mission Sunday is February 15!  To prepare ourselves to celebrate the many ways in which The Episcopal Church participates in God’s mission around the world, we present these blogs from our missionaries.

Guest Blogger: Alan Yarborough from the dioceses of Upper South Carolina and Western North Carolina, serving as a member of the Young Adult Service Corps in the Diocese of Haiti.

Buen Vivir speaks to good living, common wealth, the pursuit of happiness perhaps. But who determines what is buen vivir, and how can we strive for buen vivir for all?

The U.S. Declaration of Independence suggests Creator-given rights, namely life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness, are what constitute good living. The document continues by saying that good relationship between the government and the governed, prudence and not abuses, is the mechanism that can spread and maintain buen vivir.

In the Gospel of Matthew, Jesus explains, “Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself'” (Matt. 22:37-40). Again, the focus is on good relationship, this time between people and between people and God. Through these commandments, restorative and loving relationships, we can achieve buen vivir.

The rights-based approach to community development is one method used to restore relationships and help us achieve buen vivir for all. Foundation Cristosal, a non-profit human rights and community development organization, works for the good living of all people in El Salvador using this approach.

The church were Oscar Romero was martyred

I just spent a week with Foundation Cristosal’s Global School in San Salvador, taking a course on the theologies of human rights and development, where I learned about the rights-based approach and the positive impact it can have.
I had two main takeaways from my time in El Salvador. First was simply seeing the country, meeting Salvadorians, and learning more about their history and current reality with overwhelming gang violence and emigration. Second was learning about the rights-based approach and how Foundation Cristosal works within El Salvador using that perspective.

A daily newspaper in San Salvador reported on the continued gang violence. 102 people were reported killed by homicide in the first 7 days of 2015, in a country of around 6 million people. This gang culture, some explain, is an evolution of the environment of violence during the Salvadorian Civil war which lasted from 1979 until 1992.During the course, the Cristosal staff took us to important sites around the capital including Oscar Romero’s house and his resting place underneath the cathedral. Along the way, staff shared their nation’s history, their personal connections, and how they feel motivated by the hope of Romero’s preaching. It is very clear to me that many Salvadorians not only do not want to be defined by the violence in their country, but are boldly working to combat it.

“Do this in memory of me”

Through a series of meetings, conversations, site visits, and one community visit, the Cristosal staff and guest speakers taught us about the theology and theories of the rights-based approach. Restoring relationships, advocating for the assurance of basic human rights for all, and building community capacity are at the core of the approach.Rather than seeking to provide for a need (for example handing out food), or funding a project from the outside (for example externally funding a water well project), the rights based approach would seek to empower the community in need to grow its own food or communicating with the government to provide clean water.

Rights-based development helps people and communities claim the rights they hold and advocates for duty bearers to fulfill their duties. This happens in part through a restorative process that builds relationships and capacity without fostering dependency. Through those long-lasting, loving relationships, dependable justice can advance and human suffering diminish.

I’m very excited to apply what I learned to my work in Haiti. I really believe the rights-based approach has a valuable place there–and is in fact already happening in some cases even if not by the same name. In light of this experience, my biggest immediate task is to analyze each of the initiatives I’m involved in from the rights-based perspective, identifying aspects that pass or fail the approach. From there, I hope to determine why the current approach exists and seek potential shifts in the ministry for a better way forward.Thank you to all who made this experience in El Salvador enjoyable and educational.

“To not forget” followed by the dates of the civil war


Posted in El Salvador, Haiti, Latin America, Mission, Mission Models, Missionaries, The Episcopal Church, Uncategorized, World Mission Sunday, YASC, Young Adult | Tagged , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Saudades. Esperença. Justiça.

World Mission Sunday is February 15!  To prepare ourselves to celebrate the many ways in which The Episcopal Church participates in God’s mission around the world, we present these blogs from our missionaries.


Guest Blogger: Rachel McDaniel from the diocese of West Tennessee, serving as a member of the Young Adult Service Corps in the Diocese of Southwest Brazil.

IMG_4228Tuesday, January 27th, marked the second anniversary of the terrible fire that killed 242 people in the Kiss nightclub in Santa Maria. This nightclub is just around the corner from my new church and office. It was a solemn day around the city; even the sky was crying. In a pause between the showers, I ran out to take some pictures of the front of the former club.

Several students from one of the local universities went out and painted these murals just before the anniversary. There is much unrest in regards to justice for the lives lost. There are many different levels of blame from officials falsifying documents about building codes down to illegal pyrotechnics being used, and very little, if any, jail time has been served by anyone involved.

IMG_4222As I have only been in Santa Maria such a short time, I cannot begin to imagine the pain and loss the people of this city have suffered and continue to suffer. There was a memorial service held Tuesday night that was incredibly touching. The theme of the service was Saudades, Esperença, and Justiça. Saudades does not have an equivalent translation in English, but the closest would be an intense heartache over being apart. Esperença means hope. Justiça means justice. The service began with thousands of rose petals being dropped from a helicopter flying overhead and ended with the release of over 200 white balloons. Bishop Francisco was asked to speak, and while I could not understand as he spoke in Portuguese, it was inspiring to see the families and loved ones of the victims react to his words. Be united in the pursuit for justice. It was wonderfully done.

IMG_4234As my brother passed away in December, it was challenging to be at this service. It was difficult and painful to see the pictures and hear the names of so many young people who died in such a terrible way. It brought my grief to the surface. Somehow, though, it was also very healing to be able to connect with over 1,000 other mourning people. While I certainly did not lose my brother in such a horrific fire at the hands of so many like the grieving people at the service did, I have lost someone recently that I love dearly. I felt closer to the people as we all grieved and celebrated those precious lives. As an outsider looking in at such a personal and tragic part of so many peoples’ lives, I did not feel disconnected and invasive like I know I could have. Instead, I was a part of that service by being able to grieve over everyone’s loss of cherished loved ones. It was a very powerful moment of healing and teaching for me. Saudades to the 242 beautiful souls who died in that fire. Saudade to Ben. No one is forgotten who is loved.




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World Mission Sunday- Feb 15, 2015

Young Adult Missionary Fred Addy at Hogar Escuela in Costa Rica.

Young Adult Missionary Fred Addy at Hogar Escuela in Costa Rica.

World Mission Sunday is an opportunity each year for Episcopal churches to celebrate worldwide ministry, and to think about the implication of our Baptismal promise to “seek and serve Christ in all persons,” (BCP 305).  Churches are involved through companion relationships, prayers, giving, advocacy and action, both in their own communities and around the world.

Episcopal missionaries serve as a bridge between cultures and countries, connecting peoples to one another through relationship, conversation and service.  The Episcopal Church has long-term missionaries serving in over 24 countries, in dioceses of the Anglican communion as teachers, nurses, musicians, accountants, priests, doctors, agriculturalists, and many more, servants all.

The Rev. David Copley, former missionary to Liberia and Bolivia, and current Mission Personnel Officer for The Episcopal Church said, “We do not ‘do mission’ to or for others. Mission is not an activity in which someone is ‘sent’ and ‘received,’ mission is not the kindness of the lucky to the unlucky, of giving a little out of our excess. Mission is about being in a fully mutual and interdependent relationship, in which we recognize that we are blood of the same blood, flesh of the same flesh… We are invited by God to lift up our hearts, our minds and our very being to connect with our global family.” (Read the full text of Copley’s sermon at: Sermons that Work)

World Mission Sunday Video and Resources

World Mission Sunday Press Release

Mission Personnel

Young Adult Service Corps

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Kansas to Kenya: Building Relationships and a Global Community

We are very fortunate to have a fantastic guest blogger, Jennifer Allen from the Diocese of Kansas, sharing some of her experiences in Kenya with us as we commemorate World AIDS Day.

Jennifer Allen and Leah from the Masai Bead Collective

Jennifer Allen and Leah from the Masai Bead Collective

Jennifer Allen is an Episcopalian from the Episcopal Diocese of Kansas. She has traveled with Kansas to Kenya (K2K) for two weeks each of the past three summers. She is a member of Saint Michael and All Angels Church in Mission, Kansas. She has served on the vestry at St. Michaels and has been a delegate to the Kansas Diocesan convention and is an alternate delegate for the national convention. Professionally, she is a nurse who specializes in the development of patient support programs to increase adherence to medication regimens for UBC. She has been married to David for 25 years, and their children, Matt and Olivia, are in college and actively involved in the church. Matt and Olivia both hope to travel with Jennifer to Kenya in the near future. She chronicles her work in Kenya on her blog at

There is a highway that runs through Kenya from Mombasa to the South Sudan. It is known, generally, as the AIDS highway. Nestled along the highway is the village of Maai Mahiu. As we observe World AIDS Day, I’d like to share some of my experiences in Kenya with you:  I have had the blessing of working for three years with the Community Team for Kansas to Kenya (K2K) in this community. We have a number of active initiatives working in Maai Mahiu and the surrounding communities in conjunction with the College Team and the Medical team. We have  been able to provide clean water, drip irrigation, school meals for orphans, malaria nets, dental clinics, medical clinics, housing, two libraries with eReaders in partnership with WorldReader, microfinance programs, seminars in five communities to provide education to women on women’s rights, infant and maternal health, nutrition, reproductive health, dental care, spirituality and prayer, and alcohol and substance abuse; and construction and administration of Agatha’s Amani House, a safe house for women who are victims of gender based violence. All of these initiatives depend on our on-going relationships with the people of Maai Mahiu, Nakuru, and Naivasha.

Two initiatives in particular hold special significance to me, the conferences and Agatha’s Amani House. The women in these communities face incredible hurdles due to the economic conditions with which they are faced. Adding to those troubles, many of them have been subjected to horrific violence. During the post election violence of 2007-2008 that battered Kenya, these women were victims of rape, torture, and murder. As a result of the rape and the very real sex trafficking that occurs along the AIDS highway, many of these women suffer from a variety of sexually transmitted diseases that have left them with chronic illness, infertility, and other reproductive health issues. Sadly, this leads to an increase in the already high levels of gender based violence.

The opportunity to provide women with the tools that they need to overcome violence in their lives is a rare blessing. Our seminars open with prayer and songs of praise. Even faced with tremendous challenges, these women recognize the abundance of God’s love and grace. And it is the relationships with these women that provide the greatest blessing and the greatest opportunity for change and growth. Over the three years that I have been involved with the conferences, I have seen the growth of community activism and the dedication of the women that we see every year. These women are engaged in making real change in their families and wider communities. We are their partners in change and I treasure the relationships that we have built over the past three years. Together we are looking within our community to find the strength to say enough, no more, we will raise healthy daughters in healthy communities, with healthy relationships.

Longonot Women’s Conference

Longonot Women’s Conference

Agatha’s Amani House provides a different level of support. The house provides a safe place for women who are no longer able to negotiate a healthy relationship with their spouse or family members. Many of the women who we have worked with have been subjected to physical violence, rape, incest, arranged marriages of young girls, and exposure to sexually transmitted diseases. The women served receive vitally needed health care, shelter, protection, and training for future success. The house itself provides a warm home, with a well outfitted kitchen, a brightly colored common room, comfortable sleeping quarters, a biogas generator, drip irrigation and land for crops, rabbits, goats, and a cow. From the community, we employ a staff social worker and a house mother. Together we provide access to our microfinance program and the women are prepared for a successful life away from the violence that they have come to know in their prior home life.

There continue to be many challenges. The undervaluing of women in the local economy leads to sex trafficking of women and young girls to increase family income. Because so many children are functional orphans due to unstable family environments, they are at risk of endangerment, exploitation, and violence. As children are raised facing violence and exploitation, they come of age with a skewed and disproportionate sense of the disposable nature of children and women.  Because of the exposure to multiple partners to which these children and women are subjected, AIDS, hepatitis, and a host of other sexually transmitted diseases continue to plague the region. Inconsistent access to health care and much-needed medications leads to advancing disease. But as the conversation moves forward with the community leaders we have come to know and with the resources and dedication of a prayerful community working together, there is a very real chance to achieve significant change in these communities.

For more information about Kansas to Kenya, please visit us at

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African bishops and The Episcopal Church issue communique

roof with crossExcerpt:

Friends walk together.  Friends go the distance together.  Friends make music together.  Friends of Jesus love each other just as he commanded (v. 14).  Friends share their needs and their gifts, their burdens and their joys.  Over the years in the Anglican Communion, we have had the experience of together reconciling the world to Christ in diverse and creative ways.  It is what we call mission, which is grounded in the holy and transforming friendship that comes through our common life in Christ.

Finally, we are aware that in our small but intentional gathering, we engaged the practice of Indaba, and experienced the transformational reality that has characterized so much of the life of the Anglican Communion since our last Lambeth Conference.  We are anxious to encourage this across the Communion and will be calling on our counterparts to do so in the days ahead.”

The Most Rev. Bernard Ntahoturi                     The Most Rev. Albert Chama
Archbishop of Burundi                                         Archbishop of Central Africa

The Most Rev. Thabo Makgoba                          The Most Rev. Jacob Chimeledya
Archbishop of Southern Africa                           Archbishop of Tanzania

The Most Rev. Katharine Jefferts Schori         The Most Rev. Daniel Sarfo
Presiding Bishop of The Episcopal Church     Archbishop of West Africa

The Rt. Rev. Stacy F. Sauls                                  The Rt. Rev. Mary Gray-Reeves
Chief Operating Officer, TEC                              Bishop of El Camino Real

The Rt. Rev. Ogé Beauvoir                                   The Rt. Rev. Clifton Daniel, III
Bishop Suffragan of Haiti                                     Bishop Provisional of Pennsylvania

See Full Text:

Episcopal Church, African primates, bishops issue communique.

Posted in Africa, Anglican Communion, Central Africa, Haiti, Indaba, Partnership, South Africa, Tanzania, The Episcopal Church, West Africa | Tagged , , | Leave a comment