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March 2009

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In This Issue
Province II Synod
Province II Night at GC
Hearts for Haiti
Virgin Islands Vision
What Size are God's Shoes?
NY Bishops Meet with Governor
Lambeth Reflections Redux
Under an Adirondack Influence
Around the Province
I am Episcopalian
Churches Take Warning
American Religious Identification Survey Report
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the Dioceses of


Central New York

Convocation of American Churches in Europe


Long Island


New Jersey

New York


The Virgin Islands

Western New York

Save the Date!

All bishops,
and General Convention deputies
& alternates:

Provincial Synod
will be held
May 7-9, 2009

at the
Crowne Plaza Hotel in Albany.

Comments, questions and suggestions?

InProv 2 editor
Laurie Wozniak

Province II Synod

Province 2 LogoThe Province II Synod meeting will be held on Thursday and Friday, May 7 & 8 at the Crowne Plaza Hotel in Albany, NY. Held once every three years, this gathering conducts essential provincial business and serves as a basic preparation for those who will be attending the church's General Convention on behalf of their respective dioceses.

Provincial Business
In addition to receiving reports on the work of the province, the Synod will vote on a provincial budget for the upcoming triennium and elect the following officers:

  • President
  • Vice-President
  • Treasurer
  • Secretary
  • Lay Representative to Executive Council
  • Lay Representative to Provincial Council
  • Clergy Representative to Provincial Council
  • Seven positions on the Provincial Court of Review
    (one bishop, three clergy, and three lay)
April 1 is the deadline for receiving nominations. Download the nomination form

GC Ubuntu LogoGeneral Convention Preparation
The Synod will also offer presentations on several key items related to General Convention taking place in Anaheim, CA this July.

The keynote address by the Rev. Tobias Haller will explore the General Convention theme "Ubuntu." Haller

Bishop Christopher Epting, the Episcopal Church's ecumenical and interfaith officer, will provide an overview of the ongoing dialogues toward deepening unity between the Episcopal Church and the Moravian and United Methodist Churches.

Bonnie Anderson, President of the House of Deputies and Gregory Straub, Executive Secretary of General Convention, are also scheduled to speak.

Bonnie AndersonChristopher EptingTobias HallerGregory Straub

Left to right: Bonnie Anderson, Bishop Epting, Tobias Haller and Gregory Straub

Workshops on the Anglican Covenant and Episcopal Health Care & Lay Benefits, plus an briefing on The Episcopal Church's triennium budget will round out the General Convention preparation portion of the synod meeting.

A province wide mission initiative in support of the Diocese of Haiti will also be introduced at the Synod.

Anyone attending wishing to solicit provincial support for a resolution to be presented to General Convention should bring the text of the resolution along on a thumb drive.

Complete synod registration information is available from the Province II website.

Province II Night at General Convention 

Province 2 LogoProvince II Night will take place at General
Convention on Tuesday, July 14. Because some provincial dioceses have had to reduce per diem allotments for deputies this year, the Province II Council voted last February to cancel an evening harbor cruise originally planned for Province II Night in lieu of an event at a more economical venue. If you will be attending General Convention, watch for further details.

The change in venue will result in savings within the provincial budget, and Council voted to direct the savings realized to the support of mission. As a result, a donation of $3,000 to underwrite the three year education of a seminarian at the Episcopal Seminary in Haiti was made.

Hearts for Haiti 

HeartsOn Valentine's Day weekend, Episcopal, Lutheran and Roman Catholic Sunday school children in New Jersey and downstate New York made hearts inscribed with their names. Their parents enclosed signed letters supporting debt relief for Haiti along with their children's hearts in envelopes addressed to their United States Senators and Representatives.

The envelopes were taken up to the altar and blessed before being mailed to Washington. The project was called Hearts for Haiti.

According to the website, Haiti Reborn, Haiti, the western hemisphere's poorest nation, pays over $1 million a week in debt to world financial institutions.

Churches throughout Province II are urged to conduct a similar campaigns before the May Synod gathering. It is hope diocesan representatives will bring these envelopes to Albany, which is the capital of New York State, so that they may be blessed during the Synod Eucharist.

We can  make a difference for the children of Haiti and for our children....and a child shall lead...  

Have a Heart For Haiti: Cancel the Debt Now.
Virgin Islands Vision: Unity & Teamwork

Bishop Ambrose GumbsRoger Speer
The Diocese of the Virgin Islands is taking steps toward a vision of unity and teamwork under the leadership of Bishop Gumbs. Our Diocesan Convention held this past week followed the same Indaba process as was used at Lambeth last summer. Conversation focused on moving the diocese forward in mutual ministry, sharing resources and staff to create a stronger infrastructure.

This is part of the ongoing challenge of diocesan ministry in a diocese where the churches are on five islands in two countries, with international calls necessary to someone you can practically see from your back door.

Shield of the Diocese of the Virgin IslandsFurthering this process are the commitments to communication, youth ministry and clergy formation. We are bringing experts together to develop online training resources that reach across the waters to help with anything from filing parochial reports to understanding national and diocesan canons to vestry training and even youth minister training. These programs will be guided by the needs of our congregations and built in conjunction with our Episcopal Cathedral students and local journalists, communicators and programmers. It is our hope to be a leader in distance education and training for the rest of the church.

We are also launching this summer a deanery-based summer camp focusing on vocational discernment for our teens, partnering spiritual gifts analysis with local professionals to discuss how our ministry and vocations are linked, and help students to feel better supported in their growth to adulthood. Conversations are also in the works for a program to raise local clergy, since the majority of clergy in the diocese are retired.

Book Report: What Size are God's Shoes?

Tim SchenckTim Schenck is a busy guy. He's a husband, the father of two, a dog owner, a long distance runner, a triathlete, an avid facebook aficionado, an Orioles fan and an Episcopal priest.
Book CoverTim is also a writer. His blog, Clergy Family Confidential, offers a fresh, serendipitous look at life through the lens of faith. His first book, What Size are God's Shoes? Kids, Chaos & the Spiritual Life is a spiritual book for those who choose to read such books, as well as those who don't.

"I got tired of reading books on spirituality that assume you have three hours a day to wander around the woods in silence. Most of us are just trying to get through the day and find God among the chaos in which we live," says Tim, rector of All Saints' Episcopal Church in Briarcliff Manor, NY.

"How much easier life could have been if I had entered a monastery!" he quips.

Tim says some chapters in the book, published last year by Morehouse, started as sermon illustrations, while others are drawn from various columns he's written over the years. The majority were written over coffee. A taken about a year ago enabled him to pull them all together.

The chapter titled "The Power of the Dark Side" is about his two sons going to the dark side and becoming Yankees fans. It's one Tim especially likes.

"I grew up in Baltimore and raised them to be Orioles fans," he explains. "Then they grew up discovered their friends were all Yankees fans, and that the Yankees actually won. The great lesson in the story is that we don't own our children. They have minds of their own. In retrospect, I pushed it too hard."

Tim says being a father keeps him grounded. "It's hard to have a God complex when you're laying on the floor playing with your kids," he quips.

Fr. Tim & his sons"Having kids makes me a better priest. I am much more empathetic. It gives me a great understanding of metaphor of God as a divine parent because I love my kids even when they are driving me crazy. I imagine we humans drive God crazy too, but God is always reaching out and pulling us back."

Tim views all of his writing activities, especially his blog, Clergy Family Confidential, as extensions of his ministry. "It's extending the pulpit," he says. "Generally folks in my parish are exciting that I have this broader ministry-it shines a light on them to a degree. I usually write on my day off. It enriches me. It enriches my sermons. It feeds my soul. For me, writing is almost like breathing. It's a form of prayer for me. Sometimes it's a struggle step back out of the chaos and reflect and say, 'Oh yeah, that's where God was in that.' That's what my writing enables me to do.

Tim says another book is already in the works. Similar in style and tone to What Size are God's Shoes?, it looks at holidays and holy days throughout the church year.
NYS Bishops Meet with Governor

NYS Governor David PattersonOn March 2nd, the Council of Episcopal Bishops of New York State gathered in Albany, NY, to meet with state Governor David Patterson.

During the productive half hour meeting, the bishops advocated for several key social justice issues, including quality education for all children living in New York, support for the farm labor and the restoration of 70% of the state funding for legal services in 2009-10.

The bishops also met with Assemblyman Keith L.T. Wright, an Episcopalian who represents the 70th Assembly District.
While passing through the hallways of the capitol building, they also engaged several other members of the legislature.

This was the bishops' first such visit to Albany. They plan to schedule similar meetings with the governor on an annual basis.

Lambeth Reflections

Need to Know! newsletterIf you missed the Lambeth Reflections event sponsored by Province II last October 4 at Trinity Cathedral in Trenton, NJ, you can read summaries of each speaker's comments in a special edition of Need to know! published by the Diocese of New Jersey.
Under an Adirondack Influence

Book CoverFor Episcopalians fascinated by New York's Adirondack Mountains, Under an Adirondack Influence may be the perfect read. It chronicles the life and ministry of Arthur Leslie Byron-Curtiss, an Episcopal priest. Ordained to the priesthood in 1894, he purchased an abandoned and run-down camp on the shore of North Lake for $15. He spent as much time as possible at the camp and soon became known as the unofficial "Bishop of North Lake." Drawing large excerpts from Byron-Curtiss' own writings, authors William J. O'Hern and Roy E. Reehil present the story of the clergyman's personal struggles, as well as a half century of Episcopal Church and Adirondack camp life history.

In the Winter 2008 issue of "The Historiographer," reviewer Richard J. Anderson said of the book, "It wonderfully reminds us that even heavily burdened with a life of poor health and numerous misunderstandings, one can still find some measure of contentment. Arthur Leslie Byron-Curtiss found that contentment and was thus able to offer some substantial support to the parishes he served, many of the people around him and the celebrated cause of his day."
Around the Province

Bishop Garrison with prayer shawlA call for prayer shawls went out to members of the Diocese of Western New York following the crash of Continental Flight 3407 last month. Thus far, more than 40 have been collected. Some have been given to the families of the crash victims. Others will be given to fire and emergency crews who responded to the scene that night or those who helped to process the site afterwards.

Bishop George Councell
The Rt. Rev. George Councell, Bishop of New Jersey and Vice President of the Province II Council, has pledged to blog each one of the forty days of Lent. Read it here.

Click here to read about the Diocese of Central New York sponsored a medical mission to El Salvador.

The Diocese of Long Island will elect a bishop coadjutor on March 21. Learn more here.

The Diocese of New York recently launched a new website. Explore it here.

Likewise, the website of the Diocese of Rochester has been redesigned. You'll find it here.

I am Episcopalian

I am Episcopalian SnapshotsWhen "I am Episcopalian" debuted on Ash Wednesday, its video clips featured eleven members of Province II:
  • Gail Bennett - Spring Lake Heights, NJ
  • Russ Boulet - Long Branch, NJ
  • Diane Caruso - Riverton, NJ
  • Malakai Fawll - Asbury, NJ
  • Polly Holiday - New York, NY
  • Eric Manzanares - Asbury, NJ
  • Larry Meyer - Ocean Grove, NJ
  • Zykieme McAllister - Asbury, NJ
  • Moneleone - Ocean Grove, NJ
  • Petero Sabune - New York, NY
  • Bruce Sherrill - Red Bank, NJ
Visit the site to see these and more You can also tape your own clip and upload it.
Churches Take Warning

Churches holding rummage sales that include children's toys and/or clothing need to be aware of the national Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act (CPSIA) signed into law last August.

Here's a news story from a TV station in Rochester, NY.

For more information, call the Consumer Safety
Products Safety Commission at 1-800-638-2772.
American Religious Identification Survey

The number of non-religious people in America has risen. So says the American Religious Identification Survey 2008, released earlier this week. Download the entire report here.