The Rev. Dina van Klaveren shares testimony on Cuba

by The Rev. Dina van Klaveren, head of Maryland deputation to #GC79

Cuba, Sí.

Harry Groce, a young person in the Episcopal Church interning presently in the Diocese of Cuba, sent these thoughts for his mother, Julie Groce of Atlanta, (that’s her with me in the first pic, and I’m with Obispa Griselda in the second pic) to share with us as she testified in our committee meeting today for the Cuba Diocese to be fully reunited with the Episcopal Church via Resolution A328:

“The Episcopal Church in Cuba belongs in the American Church. Ripped away from its mother in the 1960s, it is simply trying to come home. The Cubans I have talked to see the American church as family, and desperately wish to reunite. As I understand, this is for two reasons. First, and the reason they stress most heavily, is that they feel alone and abandoned by their mother church and wish to come home. The situation has been described to me as a child whose mother left them but who was adopted by their aunt (Canada). Although cared for, the child was never made to feel at home in its adopted family and so wishes to rejoin its mother. The Cuban church feels alone, and wishes to end that isolation.

“The second reason, though the Episcopalians here are adamant that this is unimportant compared to the former, is the need for a partner – financially and organizationally. The church is on its own here. The Cuban government tolerates the church, but does everything it can to isolate it at every turn. They need an outside partner to ensure their continuity. So far, the church here has survived solely through sheer willpower. Reunion with the American church would go a long way here, especially when it comes to impacting lives. It is the Church that is taking care of the people here. It is the Church that is caring for the elderly, that is working to find gifted children and nurse their talents in the arts, that is supplying the community with a consistent source of fresh water. Some will undoubtedly argue that supporting the Cuban church is tantamount to supporting the Cuban government, but this is far from the reality. It is the Church that is acting where the government will not.

“Furthermore, I am convinced that reunion with the American Church will be an important stepping stone in the inevitable reconciliation of the US and Cuba. This transition will be made much easier if there is already an existing partnership between Americans and Cubans in some form. The exchange that will occur with reunion will be invaluable in the process of creating mutual respect and understanding between our two nations.

“As governments stall and posture, it is the Church’s duty to help the people. Where governments fail to act, the Church must act. We now have a crucial opportunity to draw the circle wider, and it is imperative that we do so. We say that “The Episcopal Church welcomes you”, and now we must practice that – especially since the one knocking at the door is family.”

Testimony from Harry Groce, 2018 Sewanee alum, Diocese of Atlanta – currently interning in the Diocese of Cuba

For more information about the legislation on the Episcopal Church in Cuba, see the resolutions +HERE.

Diocese of Maryland deputation and friends at GC79

We’re on day three of nine of official business at General Convention. Hear from your bishop, the Rt. Rev. Eugene Sutton, the Rev. Stewart Lucas of Nativity and Holy Comforter, Baltimore, and Ms. Alma Bell about how it’s going so far.

The Rev. Jason Poling of St. Hilda’s, Catonsville, came out to Austin for a few days to testify in a hearing on one of the resolutions dealing with Israel and Palestine. You can view a list of them on the GC website. Ms. Alma Bell testified on the same subject on behalf of the Rev. Grey Maggiano of Memorial, Baltimore.

In addition, the Rev. Ramelle McCall of Holy Trinity, Baltimore, talks about his experience as a deputy here at General Convention. Watch and listen!


TEConversations at #GC79 offer way to participate in building a community of love

Dr. Catherine Meeks speaks with vigor about the important work to be done through the Racial Healing Center in Atlanta.

On July 6, the first joint session TEConversation, that on racial reconciliation, took place on in the House of Deputies space at the Austin Convention Center. Truth and reconciliation is a priority in the Diocese of Maryland. The goal of these conversations is to further the work of the Church, deepen relationships and provide resources to help communicants across the Church have conversation in their parishes and communities.

[July 6, 2018] [The Episcopal Church] One of the unique offerings at this triennium’s General Convention are TEConversations (The Episcopal Church Conversations), which will be held during three joint sessions of the House of Bishops and the House of Deputies over the coming week. Each conversation offers multiple speakers, video presentations and engaging interludes around three priorities of this gathering: racial reconciliation, evangelism and care of creation.  Speakers represent international leaders, well-known Episcopalians, and rising voices in the Church.

Each TEConversation are available live so communicants can participate concurrently with deputies and bishops. Each will also be available online, with support materials, for local use in churches at a later date.

Arno Michaelis speaks passionately about his turn to forgiveness and love.

Speakers for the first TEConversation include: a reformed, former leader of a worldwide racist skinhead organization, Arno Michaelis; director of the Absalom Jones Episcopal Center for Racial Healing in Atlanta, Georgia, Dr. Catherine Meeks; and the Rev. Nancy Frausto, a native of Zacatecas, Mexico and DACA (Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals) beneficiary priest. The Racial Reconciliation Conversation will take place July 6 from 10:30 a.m. – 12:00 p.m. Central. A discussion guide may be found here.

A second TEConversation focuses on Evangelism. Featured speakers include: the Rev. Dr. Lauren Winner, prolific author, vicar and associate professor of Christian Spirituality at Duke Divinity School; the Rt. Rev. Alan Scarfe, Bishop of Iowa, whose deep commitment to spiritual renewal and creative thinking has inspired a year of revivals across the state and energized his constituency; and the Rev. Daniel Vélez-Rivera, whose ministry has been one of planting new Latino ministries and creating sustainable dual-language congregations. The Evangelism Conversation is from 2:30 p.m. – 4:00 p.m. Central on Saturday, July 7. A discussion guide is here.

The third and final TEConversation will consider our Care of Creation as committed Christians. As we safeguard the integrity of creation, how do we embrace responsible use, and encourage more conversation around climate and faith? Speakers include the Archbishop of Cape Town, the Most Rev. Dr. Thabo Cecil Makgoba, who has a deep resume around ethical leadership and stewardship; Bernadette Demientieff, an Alaskan native and firm protector of Indigenous sacred lands and waters; and the Rev. Stephanie McDyre Johnson, an environmental planner and educator and co-chair of the Episcopal Church’s Advisory Council on the Care of Creation. The Care of Creation Conversation will take place Tuesday, July 10 beginning at 10:30 a.m. and concluding at noon Central. The discussion guide may be found here.

Follow the TEConversations from home, gather friends at church to participate or visit General Convention as a visitor for the day. Visitor passes are available for $50 a day onsite at the Austin Convention Center.


The garden of the Diocese, the Clagget Center, featured at General Convention

by Lisa Marie Ryder
Co-Executive Director of the Claggett Center
The Claggett Center will have a presence at the 79th General Convention of The Episcopal Church in Austin! General Convention is a unique opportunity to promote the Claggett Center and market our facilities to national church groups. Claggett’s location and facilities are ideal for the many events, meetings, and various retreats that national groups host. Also, the Christiane Inn was not yet completed as of the last convention, so we are especially looking forward to spreading the word about our incredible new conference lodging that so many in the Diocese contributed to.
James and I, along with our son Fletcher, will be at Convention for part of the time to promote Claggett. The Claggett Center is one of the sponsors of the Episcopal Camps & Conference Centers booth in the exhibition hall. Claggett’s photographs and promotional materials will be highlighted in the ECCC booth throughout convention, and we will be stationed at the booth to talk with convention goers about Claggett.

Members of the Maryland deputation will also assist us in serving as Claggett Ambassadors. They will be decked out in Claggett branded items, including lanyards, t-shirts, and buttons. Deputies are also equipped with talking points to help share information about Claggett that may be most relevant to national church groups.

Our goal is to speak authentically and from the heart while inviting folks to visit Claggett and consider it for their next event. 

Together we can promote the Claggett Center and share the good news of the camp, retreat, and conference center facilities of the Diocese of Maryland!

Bishop Curry calls The Episcopal Church to follow the Way of Love

This morning marked the official start of the 79th General Convention of The Episcopal Church in Austin, TX. In a rousing opening sermon, Presiding Bishop Michael Bruce Curry talked about how The Episcopal Church can intentionally move forward in the Way of Love.

After lengthy conversations with his staff and other evangelists within The Episcopal Church, Curry came to the conclusion that we don’t need another program. The Church has plenty of good ones. The teachings of Jesus have been the resource for living the Way of Love for centuries, he remarked. Curry called for all involved in General Convention to “meditate of the life and teaching of Jesus” before stepping up to the microphone in legislative sessions, before heading into meetings and in all encounters. He also called for the whole Episcopal Church to adopt a way of living a Jesus-Centered Life, to commit to this life-giving Way of Love. To make this call a reality, The Episcopal Church has created resources to assist communicants in discerning how to live – The Way of Love: Practices for Jesus-Centered Life. The elements of this new “rule of life” are to turn, learn, pray, worship, bless, go and rest.

For in-depth description and resources on the Way of Love, visit The Episcopal Church website here.

We can learn to follow this rule of life. It it a wonderful tool to help the Episcopal Diocese of Maryland build a Community of Love.