Followers

Tuesday, June 19, 2018

Regional Missionary Emma Cantor

Helping Women Find Power (published in United Methodist Church Response publication, June 2018),

United Methodist Women Regional Missionary Emma Cantor Leads Workshops Across Asia.

Emma Cantor works across a wide stretch of the world where people speak dozens of languages. That’s not an obstacle for Cantor, a regional missionary in Asia for United Methodist Women, because she says there’s a common language women share no matter the political or cultural context.

“Every part of Asia has its own language, but what is common is the love that women have for God,” says Cantor, a deaconess from the Philippines. “I’m thankful that United Methodist Women has given me the opportunity to talk, to be in partnership, to pray with, to teach, and to be friends with these women.”

One of the places where Cantor has made friends is in Myanmar, which is also known as Burma. For more than a decade she has accompanied women there as their country has slowly emerged from crushing military rule and international isolation.

After more than a century of British control, then Burma achieved its independence in 1948. Yet democratic rule was short-lived, and a 1962 military coup launched the country into decades of authoritarian rule. A growing pro-democracy movement slowly gained international attention in the 1980s, and Aung San Suu Kyi became its leader. Daughter of Aung San, the principle architect of Burma’s break with Great Britain who was assassinated on the eve of independence, Suu Kyi had lived outside the country for more than 20 years. Yet her family’s stature thrust her into a prominent political role. Frightened by her rising popularity, the military placed Suu Kyi under house arrest, preventing her from traveling to Oslo to receive the 1991 Nobel Peace Prize.

Under continued domestic and international pressure, the military announced sweeping reforms in 2011. Although political and economic freedoms were expanded, the military remained the undisputed power behind the scenes. Those in charge were former military officers who swapped their khaki uniforms for suits and longyi—the sarong-type skirt traditionally favored by both men and women in Myanmar.

However military officers dressed, they watched as democracy activists continued to slowly erode their power, and by 2016 Suu Kyi became the State Counselor of Myanmar—the country’s de facto prime minister. While the world celebrated and eased sanctions against Myanmar, it remained clear that her power was limited. The military continued to be the final arbiter of power.

Despite the limits to her authority, or perhaps because of them, Suu Kyi is idolized by many in Myanmar. Yet many women in the country, like their political heroine, feel caught in the tension between wanting their rights respected and living in a political and religious culture that has pushed back against their empowerment.

Emma Cantor thinks that tension is the perfect place for mission to occur. Cantor started coming to Myanmar in 2005 to train Bible Women, who are laywomen in the Methodist Church who teach literacy and spread the Gospel in their rural villages. Over the years since, as the country has experimented with the promise and limits of democracy, Cantor has worked with a variety of denominations in Myanmar to expand the role and ministry of women within their churches and communities.

In October 2017, Cantor traveled to Kalay, a city in northwestern Myanmar that sits at the edge of Chin State, home of the ethnic Chin people. Often considered to be “doubly oppressed,” the Chin are a minority in a country where the dominant Bamar ethnic group controls most levers of power; moreover, the Chin are largely Christian in a staunchly Buddhist country.

Chin women sit even lower in the social hierarchy, and Cantor’s workshop was designed to challenge that by helping the women discover their own theological voice.

Sunday, June 10, 2018

Two newly ordained Deacons - Episcopal Church (USA)

News from Association for Episcopal Deacons (U.S.)
Congratulations to the two Deacons ordained on Saturday 9th June - Lisa Siciliano and Paula Waite
(Cathedral of the Incarnation, Baltimore Md). 

(Always great to have news of ordinations, consecrations and other significant moments in our diaconal communities)




Wednesday, June 6, 2018

Vale, Deaconess Olivia Nataniela (Fiji)

FORMER Superintendent and long-serving matron at the Dilkusha Girls Home in Nausori (Fiji), Deaconess Olivia Kauroto Nataniela, has died on 31st May 2018. She served as the Superintendent at the Girls Home between 1973 and 1981, and 1985 and 2010, before she retired in 2011.

Deaconess Meresiana (DAP Regional President) writes: Deaconess Olivia Nataniela was one of the first four Deaconess in 1967 in Fiji. She has been called to rest on the 31st May 2018. She was from Motusa Rotuma. Thank you you have been a Beacon and a Light to the church and society.
Rest in Peace.
Deaconess Olive Nataniela and Deaconess Meresiana
From Fiji Times report
HUNDREDS gathered at the Churchward Chapel in Rewa Street, Suva, to bid farewell to the former Superintendent of the Dilkusha Girls Home, the late Deaconess Olovie Kauroto Nataniela.
Deaconess Olovie was born in Motusa, Itu’ti’u on the island of Rotuma on November 3, 1938, the youngest of nine children.
While delivering his eulogy on behalf of the Tigarea family, Sukamanu Mani said after her parents passed, she was then embraced into the family of the late Gagaj Jotam Tigarea.
“Soon after she was born, Olovie was embraced as a grandchild in the family of the late Gagaj Jotam Tigarea, who was chief of the Itu’ti’u district then and his late wife Sarote Tigarea of Pepjei,” Mr Mani said.
“Sarote Tigarea became a central figure in Olovie’s life from Olovie’s childhood, adolescence, into adulthood.”
Deaconess Olovie was one of the pioneers of the Methodist Deaconess Training in Fiji and Deaconess Terani Lalomilo also a pioneer said she was the instigator of many things that had happened while they were together and that she was a very loving person.
“She was very intelligent, she was very fun and I think one of the things that the church needs to have today is fun, we need to have fun,” Deaconess Terani said.
“Deaconess Olovie was also a very loving person because she always looked inwards, one of the most important things that Christians must do all the time is to look inward first.”

Fiji Times: Lady of love, care











Friday, June 1, 2018

Minnesota United Methodist Deacons

Minnesota United Methodist deacons meet at UMC annual conference and celebrated an ordination and a retirement!


Monday, May 28, 2018

DUCC - United Church of Canada

Gathering of DUCCs at the last meeting of the Conference of Manitoba and Northwestern Ontario
Diaconal ministers in the United Church of Canada are members of the order of ministry who are commissioned to a ministry of education, service, and pastoral care. There are approximately 300 diaconal ministers in the United Church. You can find out more about Diaconal Ministers in the United Church Canada on their website

Diakonia of The United Church of Canada Statement of Vision

God calls us to diaconal ministry.
The gospel of Jesus invites all to this ministry:
to offer compassion and accompaniment,
to work for liberation and justice,
to act as advocates of creative transformation.
Diaconal ministry, as a recognized order, is rooted
within our faith tradition and history,
and it is continued and embodied
in an ecumenical, world-wide community.
This vocation is a journey
involving Spirit-filled enrichment and learning,
requiring humble offering of self,
demanding prayerful discernment and courageous risking,
exercising visionary and communal leadership,
promising joy and meaning,
and daring to imagine God’s abundance
in a world of love and respect.
Through education, service, social justice, and pastoral care,
diaconal ministry in The United Church of Canada,
encourages a growing faith,
speaks truth to power,
seeks mutual empowerment,
proclaims prophetic hope,
nurtures life-giving community,
fosters peaceful, right relationship,
within the church and the whole of creation
wherever the Spirit may lead.
Adopted at DUCC National Gathering, April 2009.

Wednesday, May 16, 2018

Congratulations, Rev Deacon Geraldine Swanson (NY)

The General Theological Seminary has awarded its distinguished alumni award for the first time to a vocational Deacon. Congratulations Geri Swanson, a member of the Sacred Order of Deacons in the Episcopal Diocese of New York! The Distinguished Alumni Award was presented on May 15, 2018.


The winner of the 2018 Distinguished Alumni Award: The Rev. Deacon Geraldine Swanson

The Alumni Executive Committee of The General Theological Seminary is delighted to announce that the Rev. Deacon Geraldine Swanson, is the recipient of the 2018 Distinguished Alumni Award. Swanson is the deacon to the Richmond Episcopal Ministry overseeing the development of new ministries on Staten Island, NY and helping existing congregations revamp their vision for the future due to changing demographics and resources.

Swanson's diaconal ministry has been centered on serving under-represented populations in multiple roles of leadership coordination and direction, of a soup kitchen, an afterschool music program, and the Staten Island Hunger Task Force and Coalition for Housing Equality.

Ordained a deacon in the Diocese of New York in 1997, Swanson has served over 25 years as an educator in both public and private schools in New York City, both in the classroom and as a mentor to new teachers, trainer of teacher mentors, and staff developer. She has been elected to the Board of Directors of the Association for Episcopal Deacons for two terms, coordinated the Triennial Assembly in 2016, and is now serving on the Board of the Fund for the Diaconate.

A resident of Staten Island, Swanson filled multiple roles aiding relief in the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy. Her efforts included setting up the parish hall for community needs, creating a drop-off center for donated food and clothing, providing meals for folks without kitchens, and arranging work crews from Manhattan parishes. While volunteering in a Sandy Relief Center, she visited every Episcopal parish on Staten Island, checking on status to report findings to the Bishop's office, providing additional holiday baskets to families on the heavily hit east and south shores, and supporting the work of “Soup in the Hood” to provide hot lunches for residents for residents of the Midland Beach community for a full year after the hurricane hit. Swanson was also a member of the Disaster Relief Committee, and ad hoc IPC Committee for the “Heart of the Home” Initiative, reviewing and approving renovations to kitchens in rebuilt homes with funds from Trinity Wall Street/Diocese of NY and ERD.

Swanson's invaluable contribution to the Episcopal Church's diaconal community has been her documentation of the history of the New York School for Deaconesses and the life of Susan Trevor Knapp, the only historical study of an important diaconal role model in a pivotal era. Completed for her General Seminary Master's Thesis, the material is the only historical study of an important diaconal role model in a pivotal era. Her analysis of this important figure from the “Second Wave” of diaconal theology provided essential background for the current development, for the first time in TEC's history, of a comprehensive theology of the diaconate.

The Distinguished Alumni Award was created in 2004 to recognize and hold up Seminary degree holders with both extraordinarily original, path breaking ministries and extraordinarily faithful, though quiet ministries.



Monday, April 16, 2018

DUCC gathering, April 17-20th, 2018

The National Gathering for Diaconal Ministers in the United Church of Canada takes place in Winnipeg from April 17th-20th, 2018. Prayers for them as they gather to share stories, to gather around the Word, and to be equipped and inspired for ministry.