Interstellar Space

Living as I do in an urban environment, it is not usually possible to see many, if any, stars on a regular basis.  Fortunately, my work takes me off the beaten path to places where there is little ambient light to obscure the night sky.  

Most recently, I found myself in the desert of New Mexico at the Benedictine Abbey of Christ in the Desert on a silent retreat.  There, after the sun had set, the heavens blazed.

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Continue reading “Interstellar Space”

Fulfilling God’s Dreams

IMG_2399One of the great and humbling honors of serving Episcopal Relief & Development is the opportunity I have to visit our work around the world.  

In April, I led a pilgrimage of friends and supporters to Zambia to learn about our work with children.  

For the last several years we have worked with the Zambian Anglican Council Outreach Program (ZACOP) to establish nearly 70 Early Childhood Development Centers across the country.  

We’ve focused on the most vulnerable children—those impacted in one way or another by HIV/AIDS.  To date we’ve served over 10,000 children. We’re scaling the work up over the next three to five years.  

What I love about this program is that it speaks both to my head and my heart.

Continue reading “Fulfilling God’s Dreams”

“The silence has been broken.”

liberiaToday I find myself in Liberia where I am learning about Episcopal Relief & Development’s work to mobilize faith leaders in the effort to end violence against women and children.  It’s innovative and impressive work (and I’m not just saying that because I’m the president).

Often, approaches to working with faith leaders “instrumentalize” them.  That is to say, it uses faith leaders to deliver messages, usually created by outsiders, around good and bad behavior.  This approach has met with modest success.

Here in Liberia we are trying a new way.  

Continue reading ““The silence has been broken.””

Servants of God: St. Nicholas & Bishop Paul Jones

Sveti_NikolaOn Wednesday, December 6th, Episcopal Relief & Development, the organization I have the privilege of leading, marks the anniversary of its founding. It also happens to be St. Nicholas Day. That is a happy coincidence and provides an opportunity to reflect on the values that shaped St. Nicholas’ life and inform the work of Episcopal Relief & Development. Continue reading “Servants of God: St. Nicholas & Bishop Paul Jones”

Advice for Clergy (and the rest of us)

Did you know that October has been designated “Clergy Appreciation Month” by the good people at Hallmark Cards?  It was news to me.Young_Woman_Writing_Calligraphy_MET_TR_103_3_2012_Strm1

So, in honor of all the clergy who are a part of our lives, I offer some insights and advice from Sei Shonagon, an 11th century Japanese noblewoman living in the imperial court near modern day Kyoto.  She is, perhaps, an unlikely source of guidance.  But her wisdom is timeless. Continue reading “Advice for Clergy (and the rest of us)”

The Water and Sanitation Mystery (Part Two)

In last week’s installment of “The Water and Sanitation Mystery” my colleague
IMG_0594discovered that, to his alarm, the project had not gone as planned. Household latrines had not been built and the one public latrine that had been built was not in use.  Most concerning, however, the community was not capturing and protecting its clean water supply.

Trying to get to the bottom of the mystery, my colleague convened a meeting of the community Water and Sanitation Committee, whose responsibility it is to manage the project.  

To them the explanation is obvious. Continue reading “The Water and Sanitation Mystery (Part Two)”

The Water and Sanitation Mystery (Part One)

IMG_0607A trip report from one of my colleagues at Episcopal Relief & Development recently crossed my desk.  I find these reports extremely helpful in understanding the challenges my co-workers are facing as they visit our programs around the world.  Each of these reports is fascinating.  

However, this one was exceptional: it contained a mystery.   Continue reading “The Water and Sanitation Mystery (Part One)”

The Kumari’s Blessing (Part Two)

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Author’s note: The second part of this story reminds us that, even after the most terrible of disasters, we can find hope and healing. I hold onto this as we count the losses of the most recent series of tragedies we are enduring.

The morning after we received the Kumari’s blessing, my daughter and I set out to visit the epicenter of the massive earthquake that struck Nepal on April 25, 2015.  The memory of the Kumari’s gaze calmed me as we sat in traffic making our way out of Kathmandu. Continue reading “The Kumari’s Blessing (Part Two)”

Hurricane Harvey: What can I do to help?

Starting on Sunday, as the scope and devastation of Hurricane Harvey became apparent, my email box began to fill with some version of: “What can I do to help?” I praise God for these emails.

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When we see images of people suffering, we want to do something. That’s understandable.

As Christians, we are called to seek and serve Christ in all people and never more so than in times of crisis.

Continue reading “Hurricane Harvey: What can I do to help?”