Friday, June 27, 2008

Cuba Says No To Gay Pride

Cuban security agents detain gay activists, cancel parade

Posted on Thu, Jun. 26, 2008

Gay dissidents in Cuba report that a planned gay-rights rally Wednesday was canceled after government security officers detained nine organizers. "The march was not able to take place because the government stopped our leaders," said Ron Brenesky, a Miami Cuban who heads the Unity Coalition, South Florida's largest Latin gay rights group.

"Our brothers and sisters in Cuba, they are not alone," said Brenesky, who spoke with gay activists in Cuba by cellphone Wednesday evening. Unity Coalition members gathered for the phone call at Club Azucar on Southwest 32nd Avenue in Little Havana.Dissident Ignacio Estrada Cepero told Brenesky and the others that he was detained early Wednesday before the planned rally in Havana. Security guards told him he didn't have permission to leave his home province of Santa Clara, Brenesky said.

Cuban Aliomar Janjaque was put on house arrest after being warned not to gather in a park with other gay dissidents, he told Unity Coalition members. The park was taken over by security forces, Janjaque said.

This bit of news from Cuba in the aftermath of the Supreme Courts legalization of gay marriages in California makes for interesting conversation. Understandibly many people of faith find it reprehensible that the courts should be defining marriage yet I wonder ...!

In some of the comments I have been hearing, it almost sounds as if some family upholding , Christ praising, God and neighbour loving folk fall on the same side of the Cuban government as it regards to gays...better to keep them out of sight!

When Christians seem to be on the same side as opressors, it is time to seriously pray and reflect on wether it is the spirit of Christ , or prejudice and distaste for the choices of others which motivates our actions and words.



Thursday, June 19, 2008

Episcopal Diocese Welcomes New Flock

BREAKING DOWN BARRIERS A 150-member Hispanic congregation merges with St. Luke's Episcopal Church, becoming one.

By Jeff Brumley, The Times-Union

The Rev. Miguel Rosada read the gospel in both English and Spanish to about 350 worshipers during an unusual service Wednesday night at St. John's Cathedral in Jacksonville.

The bilingual reading from Luke, in which Jesus commands his disciples to cast their nets wide and deep, marked a new reality for Rosada, his congregation and the Episcopal Diocese of Florida. "You've cast your nets down and taken us up," Bishop John Howard said to Rosada in welcoming him and his Spanish-speaking flock into the diocese.

The new reality for Rosada is he and his 150-member congregation, Ministerio Hispano El Mesias, have formally merged with the 80-member St. Luke's Episcopal Church to become St. Luke's/Iglesia Episcopal San Lucas.

In leaving behind their previous denomination, the Charismatic Episcopal Church, Rosada's congregation also creates a new, unique tool for the Jacksonville-based diocese to more effectively reach out to North Florida's Hispanic community, Howard said Tuesday.

Howard said it is the first time an existing congregation has left another denomination to join his diocese. An Episcopal Church official said it may also be the first time a Hispanic parish has left another organization for the denomination.

Rosada is now the rector for the merged parish. St. Luke's, located on University Boulevard near Jacksonville University, has recently been without a full-time priest. The move gives his ongoing ministry to Latinos more resources and scope, Rosada said."This is a much wider community in which to share our faith," he told the Times-Union on Tuesday.

The Hispanic group began worshiping at St. Luke's as renters two years ago. But a worship and ministry relationship developed that made it clear the diocese was the right spiritual home for Rosada and his parishioners, he said.

The Charismatic Episcopal Church, with fewer than 100 congregations in the U.S., emphasizes both charismatic and liturgical worship. Rosada said his group's "livelier" worship style will be welcomed in Howard's diocese. "It's a very natural, very organic transition."

The merger comes at a time when the Episcopal Church is striving to reach out to minority groups. Last fall, the Most Rev. Katherine Jefferts Schori, presiding bishop of the Episcopal Church, declared a special focus on reaching out to the nation's growing Hispanic and Asian populations, according to its Web site.

Currently, there are 250 Spanish-speaking or bilingual Episcopal congregations in the United States and another 380 in Latin America, said the Rev. Canon Anthony Guillen, the Los Angeles-based staff officer for the denomination's Latino/Hispanic Ministries. There are about 25 such congregations, missions or ministries in central and southwestern Florida, the denomination's Web site reported. None are listed in North Florida.

Gaining an already-formed Hispanic congregation -which will offer services in English and Spanish - will jump-start outreach efforts that have previously come and gone in the 25-county diocese, Howard said.

The development also comes as the diocese emerges from almost five years of turmoil surrounding the issue of homosexual ordination in the Episcopal Church. Approximately 200 Anglican congregations - including about 20 in North Florida and South Georgia - have been formed since 2003. Most were created by Episcopalians who left the denomination when an actively gay priest was elected bishop of New Hampshire.

Rosada said neither he nor his congregation are concerned about that issue because it pales compared with the social, spiritual and material needs of Hispanics in the region.

Monday, June 16, 2008

TEC, soon to Be...

FLORIDA: Priest and 150 parishioners join Episcopal Church
June 10, 2008

[Episcopal News Service] More than 150 new Episcopalians will be received and welcomed into the Episcopal Church in Jacksonville, Florida’s St. John’s Cathedral on June 18.

The Rev. Dr. Miguel Rosada and 150 Spanish-speaking parishioners, formerly members of the Charismatic Episcopal Church, will become members of the Diocese of Florida.

“We joyfully receive this flock into the Episcopal Church,” said Florida Bishop Samuel Johnson Howard. “We look forward to being colleagues and companions in ministry with the people of San Lucas and with Fr. Rosada. This event marks not only the addition of a substantial congregation to the Episcopal Diocese of Florida, but also a remarkable beginning for us in terms of Hispanic ministry.”

Two years ago, St. Luke’s Episcopal Church began renting worship space to the Hispanic congregation, which was then Minsterio Hispano El Mesias in the Charismatic Episcopal Church. The two groups, worshiping at different hours on the St. Luke’s campus near the gates of Jacksonville University, grew to share an increasing amount of fellowship and outreach ministry. Over time, through conversation with Howard and others in the diocese, the leadership and people of El Mesias realized a call to join the Episcopal Church.

“The newly combined congregations are enthusiastic about the new opportunities for enhanced ministries which are emerging from their new status as ‘St. Luke’s/San Lucas’ — St. Luke’s Episcopal Church/Iglesia Episcopal San Lucas — with Fr. Rosada as rector,” said a news release from the diocese.

Commenting on the merger of his Spanish-speaking congregation with the English-speaking congregation, Rosada said: “We are all foreigners. All of us came from somewhere else. We are all on a journey — travelers in this world headed to a new place. God is King of all nations.”

The Diocese of Florida was founded in 1838 as the entire state of Florida. Today’s diocese consists of 70 parishes in 25 counties in northern Florida, stretching from the Apalachicola River to the Atlantic Ocean, and from the Georgia border to the Palm Coast region.

So regrets!