Bishop Frade concludes visit to Korea this week.

View the photos and videos from the past few days from Bishop Frade’s trip to Korea. Read the description for the videos and photos below the images.

https://www.flickr.com/photos/87226290@N05/sets/72157647752645615/

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Bishop Frade arrives in Seoul, Korea

View the photos here: https://www.flickr.com/photos/87226290@N05/sets/72157647752645615/

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Our Changing World

Monday, September 22, 2014

There were 2 reports yesterday, one of which was on the process to elect the next Presiding Bishop. Actually, most of it was centered on how to fill out a nomination form. Most notably, names of candidates will be received from October 1 until October 31.

The second report was on the Study of Marriage where we discussed the current reality of marriage. There are changing norms of marriage of which we need to be aware of and deal with those changes. This will also be discussed at the next General Convention. You may agree or disagree but these are actual facts of marriage today in our society. Here are some of the points discussed.

  1. Marriage as a precursor to childbirth is seen as a relic of the past by many young adults.
  1. In previous generations, marriage was seen as a cornerstone of launching into adulthood. Today, young adults are delaying marriage due to financial insecurity, fear of divorce, and a desire for career stability.
  1. 90% of young adults feel they must be completely financially independent before they marry.
  1. The cohabitation rate of unmarried senior citizens is rising: up 50% since 2000.
  1. 65% of all couples who eventually marry lived together before marriage.
  1. The vast majority of adults in their 20’s  (80%) see marriage as an “important part of their life plan.”
  1. The “ideal” for marriage has shifted from providing economic security to finding a “soul mate.”
  2. In the past 7 years, 35-40% of all marriages began with online dating.
  1. 2/3 of all adults see living together as a necessary step to marriage. Cohabitation has become a routine substitute for marriage.
  2. In 1960, 2/3 of all adults in their twenties were married. By 2008 that number was only 26%.

For more information go to: https://www.facebook.com/A050taskforce

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Today’s meeting started with a very emotional Eucharist celebrated by Bishop David Lai and a special collection was raised for the work of the Diocese of Taiwan.

After the eucharist the workday started with a town hall meeting where different bishops shared various issues of interest ranging from gun control to racism issues.

Business meetings were next on the agenda and we ended with a meeting with the Bishops who are going to visit other dioceses. Tonight we will end the meeting with a banquet in honor of the resigned bishops.

Tomorrow we leave at 5 a.m. for our flight to Seoul where we will meet with the Primate and other leaders of the Diocese of Korea. Please keep praying for us.

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“We are 1 in 100″

Sunday, September 21, 2014

The typhoon is gone. Almost no damage in Taipei, but other areas of the island were affected.

This morning we had three presentations on the challenge of doing ministry in areas where Christianity is being challenged.

The first speaker was the Primate of Japan, Nathaniel Uematsu. I met Nathaniel many years ago when Diana and I were invited to visit and preach for a month to the Holy Catholic Church of Japan (NSSK) as their Anglican Church is called. Nathaniel was a recently ordained priest and he was assigned to take us around – today he is the Primate of Japan. Maybe I’m getting old. Nippon Sei Ko Kai (NSSK) was founded in 1859 when the Rev. Channing Moor Williams arrived in Nagasaki as a missionary of the Episcopal Church to start proclaiming the Gospel of Jesus Christ.

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Bishop Frade with his friend Nathaniel Uematsu the Primate of the Nippon Sei Ko Kai, the Holy Catholic Church of Japan, one of the Anglican Provinces of our Communion.

Today they have 280 churches in 11 dioceses with 57,000 members and 230 clergy.

One interesting historical fact was that Japan ruled Taiwan as one of their provinces from 1895 until 1945. The Japanese Anglicans (NSSK) had Episcopal churches in Taiwan during that time but after the defeat of the Empire of Japan they left. Unfortunately for us, Chang Kai-shek confiscated the Anglican churches and gave them to the Presbyterians and other Protestant denominations. The Episcopal Church opted not to sue to recover the stolen churches in order not to give a bad witness and not to get on the wrong side of Chang Kai-shek. The end result was that the Episcopal Church in Taiwan had to start from scratch having no buildings.

The witness of the Japanese Episcopalians has been one of reconciliation with the countries they invaded during the II World War and they apologized for all the atrocities committed by their Imperial army. Today NSSK ministers not only to the Japanese but also to the Korean and Philippine immigrant that are discriminated and many times abused.

I was impressed by the words of Nathaniel when he shared what he tells his people. “Even if we are only 1% of the population of Japan, that means that we are 1 out of 100 people in Japan that Christ has chosen for us to be his vessels and carry his message of redemption. What a great privilege we have to have been chosen out of 100 to serve our Christ.”

He also explained to me that the reason that only 1% of the Japanese is Christian is not that they oppose or persecute Christianity like it happens in Muslim countries, but it is because to be a Christian demanded exclusivity if you accept Christ.

Japanese on the other hand believe they can be Buddhists, Shinto and Christians at the same time with no problems. They are people where faith is important to them so the more faiths the better.

The second presentation came from the Primate of Korea by Archbishop Paul S. Kim. I will be leaving on Wednesday to be with him and other Bishops, clergy and laity. I’ll share more after I get there. I am looking forward to learn more on their efforts on reconciliation between South and North Korea.

The last of the morning speakers was Archbishop Edward Malecdan, the Primate of PEC – the Philippine Episcopal Church. He just arrived from a devastated country due to the wind and rain caused by the same typhoon that we suffered yesterday. PEC became a missionary diocese in 1901 and was part of our church until they became self-supporting in 1991. Even though the Philippines is the fourth poorest country of Asia their church continues growing and supporting their church financially. They have 170,000 members in 70 dioceses. Their ministry is with the poor and they are also able to assist the Anglican Church in Myanmar (Burma).

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The Reimagining of the Episcopal Church

Sunday, September 21, 2014

Greetings from Taiwan! The typhoon is now gone and the sun is out! Thank you for your prayers.

This afternoon we had a closed meeting dealing with TREC (The Reimagining The Episcopal Church). There were a lot of interesting comments dealing with TREC.  This will be one of the issues dominating the discussion at our next General Convention next year in Salt Lake City, Utah. This letter is the basis for the Blue Book that will be presented at General Convention. Major changes are being proposed on the structures of our Church, and I do recommend your reading of the September 2014 letter (link below).

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Panel of TREC included Bishops Mary Gray-Reeves, Shawn Rowe, Andrew Doyle, and Michael Curry.

Considering it was a closed meeting, I am unable to share more details on the discussion.

Blessings,
+Leo

http://www.episcopalchurch.org/notice/trec-issues-letter-episcopal-church-0

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The World is Bigger Than Us.

Saturday, September 20, 2014

Today the House of Bishops traveled around visiting different churches. Diana and I chose not to attend the Cathedral because we were there last year during our previous visit to Taiwan.

Instead we went to the Church of the Advent and I was so pleased that we did. What a beautiful church building and the people were wonderful. Church of the Advent is located on a main road in the grounds of St. John’s University.

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Church of the Advent

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St. John’s University is the successor of two educational facilities founded in 1879 and 1891 in Shanghai by Bishop S. I. Joseph Schereschewsky of which we celebrate in our List of Holy Men and Women. It was founded in 1967 in Taiwan after the Red Chinese confiscated the property on mainland China. It has over 6,000 students and 400 faculty and staff. The Rector of Advent Church is also the chaplain of the university.

I am sending some pictures of the main building of the university that was started in the 19th Century in Shanghai by Episcopal missionaries in China. It was confiscated by the Communist government and a few years afterwards it was reopen in Taipei.

This afternoon after our return the bishops and spouses debriefed their experiences in the Republic of China in Taiwan. I think that one of the main gifts that we have received as bishops is to know firsthand that the world is not just us; there are many languages and foods and songs. Many of our bishops come from areas where diversity is not the norm as it is in South Florida, or Los Angeles or New York. The world is becoming so small with all the communication we have available and we can not afford to think that we are alone in this planet.

Right now I am typing in a keyboard that has keys in three different languages. It’s a chore but it works. One thing that is happening right now (and far to familiar to South Floridians) in Taiwan is that we are experiencing the beginning of a typhoon named Fung-Wong, which means “phoenix” in Cantonese. The State Department has warned Americans to take shelter and avoid going out while it is passing. It’s coming from the Philippines where it caused some damage. Please keep us in your prayers.

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Three powerful presentations – House of Bishops, Friday, September 19, 2014

First presentation –

Today’s presentations were very powerful and helped us to understand the different challenges that different cultures have around the world. Bishop David Lai shared the story of the Diocese of Taiwan which developed after the Kuomintang Army retreated and the American troops arrived to protect the Taiwanese of being overtaken by Mao’s troops imposing Communism and persecuting all religions.

The Taiwanese Episcopalians have grown and continue growing. They are known very well by their schools, kindergartens and head start programs. I was so impressed by the strong faith and their willingness to share their faith. I pray that we stop being shy and be more courageous in inviting others to accept Jesus as Lord and Savior.

One interesting program they ran this year was a course on Christianity. The purpose was to prepare their membership to know their faith and them proclaim it.

(Also note Bishop Mary Gray-Reeves that happens to be in a table next to mine.)

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The second presentation of the day was shared by the Rev. Peter Koon of Hong Kong, who talked about the issues of being a church in a changing society. The recent riots of the people demonstrating against the Beijing Communist decision of not recognizing the choice of the people of Hong Kong to lead the area, affects the life of Christians there. He explained the “One Country, Two Systems” theory which allows the people of Hong Kong a certain amount of freedom and keep the stability of the area while still being part of the People’s Republic of China.

I was very impressed by the other speaker Gareth Jones (left on the photo next to Bishop Wolf of Kansas who was moderating), and how the Hong Kong Seminary has transformed their theological studies to prepare the future clergy. They have moved from a generic theological education to truly identify their Anglican identity. The seminary has grown from nine to over 80 students.

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The most powerful presentation of the day came from Bishop Azariah on the daily threat that over a quarter million Christians suffer daily from radical Islam and the acquiesce of the more moderate Muslims that are afraid of the wrath of the radicals.

He asked for our prayers, but also wants us to be aware of the dangers of radical Islam. He warned Americans and asked us to learn more about Islam and not ignore the power of the radical Muslims that seem to be growing daily. Islam is being hijacked by extremists that want to impose the Sharia law.

Bishop Azariah spoke of the many meetings where interfaith groups participate. They occur including those with the Pakistani government where they recognize the discrimination against Christians, but when the time comes to do something nothing happens and the persecution continues.

He stressed the existing “Blasphemy Laws” of the country by which many Christians are jailed. More outrageous are the existing forced conversions used against women. If a Muslim man likes a pretty Christian girl he can by force make her to declare allegiance to Islam and her family has no recourse.

Bishop Ian Douglass of Connecticut asked Bishop Azariah about the bombing of All Saints Church in Peshawar almost a year ago. On September 22, 2013, 175 Christians Pakistanis (mainly women and children) were killed by two bombs. Eight days after that, two more bombs exploded, targeting Christians. Bishop Azariah will be baptizing and confirming at All Saints on that same day this year and he is asking for our prayers. He said that a church without a cross is not a church.

Regardless of all the persecution we are called to love our neighbor even those who slap and persecutes us daily. We are called to recognize the otherness in that other person. “Keeping the faith is a very difficult exercise,” he said.

Let us pray for our brothers and sisters in Pakistan.

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