Thursday, January 19, 2006

Mitch Smith's Experiences at Camp Coast Care, Ocean Springs, Mississippi

Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ,
Recently I had the opportunity to travel to Long Beach, Mississippi with a good friend Dr. Patrick Bolt. Once there I was able to volunteer with Episcopal Relief and Development. It was an awesome experience filled with a wide range of emotions. I am pleased to be able to write this letter knowing that ERD is confidently moving towards a long term plan of action which will benefit the people of the Gulf Coast. I worked specifically with Coast Episcopal School and Rev. David Knight a graduate of Seabury Western and personal friend. My responsibilities included the organization of mobile aid units which traveled into the communities helping the elderly waterproof their damaged homes. I also helped with salvaging personal items from homes that were beyond repair. My secondary responsibilities included helping unload supply trucks and organize goods so that they could be effectively and equally distributed. Dr. Bolt worked with me on these things and helped in the sights fully functional clinic. Coast Episcopal School was serving 3,000 people a day by giving out free water, food, pampers, clothes, personal items, cleaning supplies and many other things. Furthermore its clinic based out of a school gym is serving 300 patients a day and is equipped with a full pharmacy and mental health center. I am pleased to be able to write this knowing full well that the volunteers at Coast Episcopal School and with ERD are doing a lot of good. Their faithful work is a living testament and incarnation of Christ's love. I looked at my time there as a link in a wider network of volunteers and would encourage anyone to look into opportunities where they could help in these relief efforts.


Mitchell Smith
Candidate for Holy Orders
Episcopal Diocese of Iowa

For more information about Camp Coast Care at Coast Episcopal School, go to their website at .

Wednesday, January 18, 2006

Quote of the Day

Christ has no body now on earth but yours, no hands but yours, no feet but yours; yours are the eyes through which Christ's compassion looks out on the world, yours are the feet with which He is to go about doing good and yours are the hands with which He is to bless us now. 
              —Teresa of Avila

Sunday, January 15, 2006

Proposals Now Being Accepted for 2006 International Development Grants

The Diocese of Iowa has established International Development Grants to fund economic development projects, setting aside at least 0.7% of the estimated net disposable diocesan income for this purpose. Grant proposals are now being accepted.

PHOTO: Lucy Mabuza presenting a check from the Diocese of Iowa to the Diocese of Swaziland's Mother's Union for their work with HIV/AIDS orphans. Swaziland has approx. 60,000 orphans, a number that is expected to double by 2010.
Criteria for Granting Funds
  • Each proposal should outline the nature of the project and the partnering individual/organization in the developing country.
  • Proposals should provide some history of the partner’s involvement in the development of activities.
  • Proposals may come from—
    • a diocesan board or commission
    • a local Vestry/Bishop’s Committee
  • Proposals for must be received by June 1, 2006
  • Local proposals should include some local additional funding.
  • Priority will be given to projects with a tie with the proposer.
  • Proposals must demonstrate consistency with the following ethical guidelines:
    • Partnership – The economic relationship promotes mutuality of benefits
    • Respect – Local peoples and realities are valued
    • Empowerment – The economic relationship values mutuality of process
    • Oneness with Creation – Sensitivity to, and responsibility for, the environment
    • Distributive Justice – Economic impact of the relationship contributes to the well-being of a significant number of people; does not promote inequities
    • People-Centered Development – Beneficiaries set priorities and conditions. Maximum use is made of local resources; applied technologies are appropriate for the setting
For more information and an application form (PDF), click here.

This Is the Work of the Church

"Crossing borders. Crossing time zones. Reaching out. Giving invitations. Accepting invitations. Taking risks. Talking. Listening. Opening our eyes, our ears, our hearts. Breaking down barriers, climbing over walls (real or imagined), recognizing strangers as friends.

"This is the work of the Church. Love. We need each other. The world needs us. There is work to be done—and joy to be had."

—Margaret Larom, Director of Anglican and Global Relations, from Episcopal Life, January 2006

Deacon Mike Stewart's Experiences with Episcopal Appalachian Ministries (EAM)

Coming Home!
by the Rev. Michael O. Stewart, Ph.D.

It was eight years ago that I last attended an Episcopal Appalachian Ministries (EAM) work camp at Mont Eagle, TN. Much has changed in my life since then—retirement, new diocese, clergy couple, 9/11, etc. But what did not change was my love and fascination for Appalachia and its people. I felt drawn; my diaconal vows were calling me “home.”

I spent the first week of August in St. Paul, VA, housed and fed at Grace House, which was full of grace. I initially flew to Knoxville, TN, to see my two children and four grandchildren. Driving the three hours to Grace House, the second thing I noticed after entering southern Virginia and its winding two-lane roads was the visibly “nice and presentable” houses. Near Sewanee where I had worked before, the houses fit my stereotype of very “run down” Appalachian homes—so much for my stereotypes and my education about Appalachia. In the county where we worked, sixty families had no running water and some had no indoor plumbing and no electricity in this 21st century.

But the people are the same loving persons—children of God. It was a wonderful “fringe benefit” to work at three different sites. At the first site of an 82 year old widower, we built a roof over his deck and installed a screen door to his porch. At the second site of a 50ish widow, we taped and mudded the wall board of a recent addition to the house, painted a large front porch and steps (I never want to see “battleship grey enamel paint again), replaced siding, and cut and installed ceiling molding. I had never used a miter saw before, only a miter box. Lastly, several of us helped at Grace House by cleaning and repairing gutters, mowing the huge yard, and installing a veneer floor in a room at their new resident director’s house.

The real beauty of EAM is getting to know your “clients.” What a gift! I remember at my first camp the confusion some teenagers had with the young Appalachian men watching the others work even though they were physically able to help. Life in Appalachia is more than monetary poverty. It is a way of life and a culture where building codes and inspects do not exist. At another work sight the very reserved husband hugged some of the workers after they had completed their work.

If you would like an adventure or a wonderful learning experience with teenagers and adults, I commend your parish or diocese to consider a week at EAM. The cost is $165 per person and you have to get there. The camps for 2006 are the last week of July and the first week of August. You do not need to be specially gifted in house remodeling.

Mike Stewart serves as a deacon at St John’s Episcopal Church in Mason City, IA. He can be reached at

Iowans Welcome New Brechin Bishop, Reaffirm Companionship with Brechin and Swaziland

The following resolution was passed at diocesan convention in November.
Whereas The Diocese of Brechin in the Scottish Episcopal Church and the Diocese of Iowa have enjoyed a long companionship, and

Whereas, the Diocese of Brechin did, on October 8, 2005, consecrate a new Bishop in the person of the Rt. Rev. John Mantle, and

Whereas, our Bishop Alan Scarfe and our Companion Bishop Meshack Mabuza did participate in this consecration, and

Whereas, the Diocese of Brechin has reaffirmed its intention to continue its Companionship with the Dioceses of Iowa and Swaziland,

Therefore be it resolved that this 153rd Convention of the Diocese of Iowa does officially welcome Bishop Mantle as the leader of our Companion Diocese, and

Be it further resolved that the Diocese of Iowa reaffirms its commitment to continued companionship with the Dioceses of Brechin and Swaziland.

Submitted by OWOC.
PHOTOS: From the consecration of the Rt. Rev. John Mantle, Bishop of Brechin, Scotland, October 8, 2005

Iowans Give Thanks for Healing Mission

In July, Episcopalians welcomed the Bishop of Swaziland, Meshack Mabuza, and his wife Lucy Mabuza to Iowa, where they joined with Bishop Alan Scarfe and Donna Scarfe in leading a healing mission in our diocese. The mission consisted of a series of traditional Anglican healing services with an African flavor. The following resolution was passed at diocesan convention in November giving thanks for the event.
Whereas Bishop Meshack and Lucy Mabuza did visit Iowa in July to join with Bishop Alan and Donna Scarfe to bring a ministry of healing to the Diocese of Iowa, and

Whereas St Alban’s, Spirit Lake; St Thomas’s, Sioux City; Christ, Cedar Rapids; State Prison, Anamosa; Christ, Burlington; St John’s, Dubuque; St John’s, Mason City; and St Andrew’s, Des Moines, did host these healing services, and

Whereas Karen Nichols and Nancy Morton together with others from the diocesan staff, the One World One Church Commission, and the Companions of Swaziland worked countless hours to prepare for and publicize the Mission, and

Whereas many people presented themselves for prayers, and many waited hours for those prayers, and

Whereas this time together in prayer demonstrated to us our need for God’s healing in our lives, and

Whereas God has responded with healing and growth,

Therefore be it resolved that this 153rd Convention of the Diocese of Iowa gives thanks for God’s healing presence among us, and for God’s agents of healing.

Submitted by OWOC.
PHOTOS: Scenes from the healing mission

Call to Common Mission Works: Episcopalians Buy a Well

When Bishop Michael Last of the Western Iowa Synod ELCA spoke at Calvary in Sioux City during Lent 2005, he talked about the need for fresh water in Tanzania. "To drill a well," Last said, "would cost $2,500."

This was a large sum of money for a small congregation. They decided to see what they could do to help. First into the kitty were the proceeds from the Shrove Tuesday Pancake Supper. Major funding came from their annual flower and bedding plant sale. Personal contributions made up the difference. By fall they had raised the $2,500. Calvary members have a tradition of giving away 100% of fundraising efforts. They decided to buy a well.

On Sunday, November 13, Senior Warden Dean Shroll presented a check for $2,500 to Bishop Last for the well project. In expressing his thanks, Bishop Last stated that no congregation in his synod had bought a well, but the Episcopalians did!

Calvary has reason for gratitude for Call to Common Mission between Episcopalians and the ECLA. The agreement makes it possible for Calvary to receive the Sacraments on a regular basis. The Rev. Ernest Caltvedt has been serving Calvary for over a year. The congregation found a pastor, and Pastor Ernie, now retired, has a new way to serve the church.
(Reprinted from Iowa Connections)

Anglican Cycle of Prayer Takes New Form

(Updated 01/19/06)
The Anglican Cycle of Prayer will no longer be available in book form, as it has been in the past. It is available online, with the latest information on bishops and dioceses, by way of the Anglican Communion Office in London at their website,

For those wanting the information in a non-web-based format, the full Anglican Cycle of Prayer for 2006 is also available:
  • for order as a Word file on CD-Rom from Forward Movement at 1-800-543-1813 or,and

  • beginning in February within the Forward Day by Day publication.