From the Worldwide Faith News archives

Episcopal communicators honored

Date 18 Apr 2000 15:40:00


Episcopal communicators honored for work in the past year
at Chicago meeting

by James Solheim

     (ENS) Episcopal/Anglican communicators received awards at
the annual meetings of two press associations during the Religious
Communication Congress (RCC2000), an umbrella meeting that
attracted almost 1,200 participants to Chicago, at the end of
March. It was sponsored by 80 religious organizations.

     Episcopal Communicators gave its Polly Bond Awards,
dedicated to the memory of a pioneering communicator from Ohio,
in a wide array of categories covering work in specialized print,
Internet, broadcast, magazines, newspapers, and newsletters.
(Complete list is available on the web at

     Episcopal Life received the top award of general excellence
for agency publications. Anglican Advance, published by the
Diocese of Chicago, received the award of excellence for newspapers
with a circulation above 12,000, and The Record, published by the
Diocese of Michigan, received an award of merit for second place.

     For newspapers with a circulation below 12,000 the award
 of excellence went to Cross Current, published by the Diocese
of East Carolina, and the award of merit to Churchwork, published
by the Diocese of Louisiana.

     Hi-Lites, a publication of St. Francis Academy, was the best
newsletter of an agency, and Good News, published by Christ
Church in Bloomfield Hills, Michigan, was second.

     The award of excellence for a magazine published by an agency
went to Reunion Magazine and an award of merit to Acts 29. The
Southern Cross, published by the Diocese of Southwest Florida,
was the best magazine with a circulation below 12,000.

     Herb Gunn, president of the organization, reported that
31 new members brought total membership to 141. Two new board
 members were elected: Jim Goodson of Dallas and Ann Ball of
New Orleans.

ACP awards to Episcopalians

     Episcopal publications also received some top "best in class"
awards from the Associated Church Press. Once again the
Anglican Journal, published by the Anglican Church of Canada,
received the award of excellence as the top newspaper. Episcopal Life
received the third-place award. Hi--Lites was judged the best
newsletter. Episcopal News Service received the award of
excellence as best news service.

     The Anglican Journal also received top awards of
excellence for the best feature article, department, media
review, front page design, graphics, and second place for in-depth
 coverage and photography.

     Episcopal Life received top awards for news story, first-person
account, and photography. It received second-place awards
of merit for newspaper front page and graphics. The Episcopal
New Yorker received an award of merit for feature article,
Episcopal News Service received an award of excellence for a
news story and Cathedral Age received an award of merit for

     ACP has 175 members across a wide theological spectrum in
North America, with an estimated combined circulation of over
28 million. A complete list of the awards is available from
Executive Director Joe Roos, who may be contacted by email: or by phone: (301) 403-8900.

Do bold things

     Speaking at the opening banquet at RCC2000, the Rev. Jesse
 Jackson urged the communicators to "take light into dark places"
and to "do bold things." He said, "Your task is to do more
than record the changing world but be agents that change the

     Helping change the world can be risky, the civil rights
leaders warned, especially when it involves challenging public
policy. It made a difference in the life of Martin Luther King,
 Jr., one of Jackson's mentors. "He applied his faith and he
dared to dream."

     Change was also on the mind of Dr. Martin Marty, who just
retired from the University of Chicago. In his keynote address
he observed that there has been "an explosion of new religious
energies" since the last RCC held 10 years ago. Pointing out
that Chicago alone has more than a hundred religious
denominations and groups, thousands of religious buildings
and millions of believers, he told the communicators, "You
will not run out of stories."

     As a church historian, Marty has spent much of his career
studying the changing role of religion in public life. Even
though many are convinced that religion is being marginalized
in a more "secular" society, it is the task of the church and its
communicators to introduce another side of the story, the
element of faith.

     Pluralism, the vast diversity of culture and faith in the world,
is simply "a context in which we work and it's not going
away," he added. Stop whining about the "good old days"
because, he said, "no one ever changes because of someone's

     Another speaker, Father Patrick Anthony, urged his
audience to tell the stories of pain and suffering and become
the humanizing conscience of the media. "As we seek to
communicate, people must not be transformed into images but
sown into the hearts of human beings, never compromised. We
must recognize that what is important is not the almighty dollar
but the human soul." Referring to the theme of the meeting, "Faith
Stories in a Changing World," he pleaded with the communicators
to be the voice of those who cannot speak, to tell stories of faith,
hope and love.

     At the closing banquet, Emmy Award-winning journalist Mary
Alice Williams of the Odyssey network shared the stories that
have shaped her life and career. And Susan Frank, general
manager of Odyssey Entertainment, encouraged the audience to
"keep telling your stories. They're important and deserve to be

--James Solheim is director of the Episcopal Church's Offic
e of News and Information.

 Lutherans reaffirm proposal for full communion


Lutherans reaffirm proposal for full communion with
Episcopal Church

by James Solheim

      (ENS)Despite some lingering resistance, the Church Council
of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA) reaffirmed
its commitment to full communion with the Episcopal Church,
noting that it has caused "great hope and thankfulness" throughout
the 5.2-million member church, "as well as deep concern and

     At its April 7-9 meeting in Chicago, the council took three
 actions related to the implementation of the agreement, "Called
to Common Mission"(CCM), endorsed by the Churchwide
Assembly at its meeting last summer. It established a timetable
for implementation, it responded to a resolution from the
Eastern North Dakota Synod opposing CCM, and dealt with
constitutional issues.

     "My basic concern is that this council not interfere with
the action of the Churchwide Assembly," said Presiding Bishop
H. George Anderson. He warned against efforts that would
"abandon governing documents" of the church.

     The council established January 1, 2001 as the
implementation date for CCM, avoiding suggestions from
opponents of the agreement for a delay until the Churchwide
Assembly in 2001,  giving the church time to reconsider
constitutional issues. They argue that CCM requires Lutherans,
contrary to the church's confessional documents and tradition,
to join Episcopalians in consecrating bishops to the historic

     At its March meeting the Eastern North Dakota Synod
overwhelmingly approved a resolution that it "supports the
right of its constituent members, congregations, pastors and
bishops to freely accept or reject local implementation" of the
historic episcopate. The council responded by reminding the
synod that ecumenical commitments and relationships are
made by the whole church and "are not legislated on a
synod-by-synod basis."

The greatest possible unity

     In underscoring the church's decision, and encouraging the
Episcopal Church to act favorably on CCM at its General
Convention this summer, the council called for "orderly
processes of decision-making" within the ELCA. It also invited
church members to "continuing prayers, study and conversation"
in the search for the "greatest possible unity" within the two

     If the Episcopal Church approves CCM "there will be an
opportunity to examine jointly ways to practice the commitments
of full communion, exploring together a variety of matters which
include possible ways to allow a synodical bishop, in unusual
circumstances and with appropriate consultation, to authorize
another ELCA pastor to preside at an ordination."

     The ELCA's Conference of Bishops, at its March meeting
in Florida, reaffirmed its support of full communion and said that
it expects "broad consultation" with Episcopalians on the
implementation of CCM, suggesting that those conversations might
include the issue of exceptions to the CCM understanding on

     At its recent meeting in California, Episcopal bishops made
it clear that "ELCA pastors who were not ordained in the ELCA
or its predecessor bodies will not be interchangeable under the
provisions of CCM," and that would include clergy from other
traditions who transfer into the ELCA after passage of CCM.

Guidance to synods

     The council also offered guidance to other ELCA synods that
may consider proposals similar to the one emerging from North
 Dakota. "While resolutions of a synod assembly seeking changes
in this church's governing documents are in order, resolutions
of a synod assembly pledging to support or undertake actions
in violation of this church's governing documents are not in
order," the council said. Synods should find other methods
to "address their concerns and seek particular decisions."
Council members said that it is appropriate for congregations
 and synods to express their opinions without advocating a
 violation of the church's governing documents.

     "We need to think long and hard about the trend that we
can 'pick and choose' portions of governing documents we
choose to accept or reject," said Brian Rude, a council member
from Wisconsin.

     The Rev. David Perry, the Episcopal Church's ecumenical
officer, said that the tone of the meeting was "very positive"
despite some very "tough" discussions. He said that "there
is no sign that the Lutherans will abandon their decision."
And it was clear, he added, that there is "genuine excitement"
with the possibilities for mission the proposals envision.

     "The hard work begins after we pass CCM," he warned,
"because both churches will need to develop new skills at
partnership and mutual accountability in our pursuit of mission
together." While there has been an increasing level of
cooperation, "we have been able to go only so far."

--James Solheim is director of the Episcopal Church's Office
of News and Information. This article is based on reports by
John Brooks, director of news and information for the ELCA.

For more information contact:
Episcopal News Service
Kathryn McCormick

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