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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Bishop Leo Frade’s photo and video journey at the House of Bishops in Taiwan, China

Bishop Frade provides images of Taiwan through his eyes.

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Stay tuned for more. View the photos, videos and captions here: https://www.flickr.com/photos/87226290@N05/sets/72157647752645615/

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Bishop Frade begins meeting in Taiwan for House of Bishops

Hello everybody!

I arrived safely to Taipei after 27 hours of travel. The photos below are of all the bishops and spouses of those who have arrived so far. Today after our meeting we met with the President of the Republic of China in Taiwan and clergy of the Diocese of Taiwan.

Please keep me in your prayers for the pain on my knee. It began to hurt after my arrival. Diana is taking very good care of my wounded knee. We miss our Cuban coffee, but the good news is that they have Starbucks in Taiwan!

Blessings,
+Leo

 

hob.all bishop.in.taiwan.3 bishop.in.taiwan.2Of note in this image: Bishop Leo Frade and Diana (lower left), Bishop Chip and Susan Stokes (upper right), Bishop Mary Gray-Reeves (top left), and Bishop Francisco Jose Duque-Gomez (center).

 

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Bishop Frade’s Pastoral Letter – The Cure is Worse than the Sickness

“And let Thy grace, O Lord, control

Our minds and hearts, that none

Should make a sport, that kills the soul,

Of evils war hath done.

‘T is Thou alone who from Thy throne

Canst rule us thus, and save us!”

The Chorale Book for England, 1863

“La cura es peor que la enfermedad.” That’s and old Spanish saying that reflects our government’s proposed solution to show the Syrian regime our opposition for their alleged sarin attack of August 21, 2013.

We claim that President Bashir Assad’s regime is responsible for killing over 1,429 Syrian civilians and military rebel personnel and that requires for us to unleash an attack on the Syrian regime that is bound to provoke a similar amount of casualties of innocent Syrian civilians as well as military personnel.

In recent days our Archbishop of Canterbury speaking at the House of Lords against the military intervention by the British government addressed his peers reminding them that the rational law is based on “the Christian theory of Just War that says the step up of opening fire is one that must be taken only when there is no possible alternative whatsoever under any circumstances.”

“Any intervention must be effective in preventing any further use of chemical weapons. I have not heard that it has been adequately demonstrated as likely,” said the Most Reverend Justin Welby. He also stated, “any intervention from abroad would declare ‘open season’ on Christian communities of the region.”

My concern as Bishop of your diocese is that we seem to be repeating the mistakes of recent years if we respond in such a hawkish way to the so called “intelligence reports.” They just remind us of similar intelligence reports of weapons of mass destruction that led us to the death of thousands of Americans and many more innocent Iraqi civilians in recent years past.

We refer to President Assad of being a thug and a murderer, but we may end up backing equally or probably worst thugs and murderers as the extremist Islamic faction of the Free Syrian Army that has been the real bulk of that rebel force.

We also have completely ignored a recent well documented Russian report accusing the rebels of firing a missile containing the nerve agent sarin at the town of Khan Al- Assal on March 19, by an Al Qaeda linked group called the Bashair al-Nasr Brigade, which caused the death and injury of over 100 innocent civilians and military personnel.

But for me, the most worrisome fact is that even if we give our so called “intelligence reports” the benefit of the doubt and say, “well go ahead and unleash a precision missile attack” then we have to take in consideration that our precision attacks in the past have not been as precise as we wanted. Point in fact is the date May 7, 1999-we unleashed a similar precision attack that blew up the Chinese Embassy in Belgrade destroying their building and killing three non-belligerent civilian reporters that had taken refuge in their embassy thinking they were going to be safe.

I thank our President, who regardless of his personal opinion is willing to consult with our Congress. But still it doesn’t make any sense to give the people of Syria this bitter medicine as punishment for the killing of over 1,400 rebels and innocent civilians. Our medicine is bound to kill just as many or more military and innocent civilians and, as the Archbishop of Canterbury predicts, it will only unleash an anti-Christian reaction in the Middle East. Unfortunately our prestige as a civilized country will not be better than the one ruling the Syrian regime.

I call upon the clergy and laity of Southeast Florida regardless of their position on this matter to pray for peace and to encourage our government to continue finding a peaceful alternative to assure that chemical weapons will not be used by either side in the Syrian conflict. I also encourage our members to contact their Senators and Representatives to do their upmost to make sure that our actions may serve to preserve peace and not exacerbate the drums of war that seem to have been sounding louder and louder in our country.

May our Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, the Prince of Peace hear our prayer and bring peace.

Amen.

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Message of Solidarity

Dearly beloved:

It is with sadness that I share with you this communication from His Grace, Bishop Youssef of the Coptic Orthodox Diocese of Southern United States. As you know in recent years I had the privilege of being invited to be part of the service at the Coptic Orthodox Christmas celebration, January 7 at St. Mark’s Cathedral in Cairo with Pope Shenouda II presiding. It was an honor and privilege to be there at the sanctuary with Bishop Mouneer Hanna Anis, Bishop of Egypt and also Primate of the Episcopal Church in Jerusalem and the Middle East. Unfortunately St. Mark’s Cathedral in Cairo is one the churches that has been attacked by the fanatical hordes of the Muslim Brotherhood and is just one of the 70 churches that have been destroyed in Egypt by the Muslim Brotherhood.

Unfortunately our government and press seems uninterested in the plea of 12 million Christians of Egypt and our press has been ignoring the horror that Christians are going through having their person, homes and businesses been attacked.

I ask for your prayers and support to our Christian brothers of Egypt and in special for the Coptic Orthodox Church that makes up about 98% of all Christians in Egypt.

 

Blessings.

 

+Leo Frade
Bishop of Southeast Florida
(below is the message from Bishop Youssef)

Greetings in name of our Lord Jesus Christ. 

Thank you so much for your kind message and comforting words. I appreciate all your help and support for the coptic church during this difficult time.

Satan is attacking Christians everywhere, in the middle east through persecution which is not only in Egypt but in most of the Arab countries. I am sure that your grace is aware of the abduction of the two Syriac Orthodox Bishops since April 2013 and till now we do not know any news about them or even if they are alive or martyred.

In the last week more than 70 churches were attacked in Egypt, some of them were completely burned, many houses and businesses for the Christians were destroyed, and several copts were martyred.

It is time to be united together in prayers that the Lord may have mercy on us and help us to endure such difficult times with patience and perseverance.

Once again, I thank you so much for your support and comforting words.

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