EPISCOPAL DIOCESE OF EASTERN OREGON                                                                          EASTER 2019



                   INTRODUCING THE 
                  ASCENSION SCHOOL 
               NATURE RESTORATION 
           REV. LETICIA (“Tish”) CROOM 
                      TRAIL PROJECT
We have begun an exciting new endeavor at Ascension School with the property formerly leased out for farming. Starting this fall, after the final crop is harvested, approximately 85 acres of Camp property will be returned to our stewardship and we will begin a process of restoring most of it to native grasses, trees and shrubs, and the native food sources utilized by the indigenous peoples of this region for millennia.
The project has a number of partners engaged with us, including the Union County Planning Department, USDA Natural Resources, The local Soil and Water Conservation District, The Confederated Tribes of the Umatilla Reservation, and others. A significant factor in making this project both feasible and long term is the probability of setting almost half of the property into contract with the USDA Conservation Reserve Enhancement Program (CREP) for the next fifteen years.
The income from that contract will provide financial support, as will a number of grants supporting the seeding of grasses, introduction of plants and other potential projects for natural habitat enhancement.

All of this project is responsive to our Church’s commitment to environmental justice and creation care, while offsetting our human imprint in the Ascension campus proper.
Additional to this effort will be the establishment of a trail system planned for the perimeter of the property. The trails will be dedicated to meditation, education, and recreation. One of the intentions for the trails will be to invite people into a more reflective relationship with the natural habitat, encouraging a practice in creation spirituality.
To aid this from a Christian basis, a variety of writings from such notables as Francis of Assisi, Julian of Norwich, Mechtild of Magdeburg, Meister Eckhart, John O’Donhue, and others will guide the meditations at stations along the path.

It is my deep hope that this ongoing project will engage visitors profoundly, while providing notable learning opportunities, invite new users of our camp, inspire creative activities, and forge new friendships and partnerships into the future.

I am deeply indebted to all of our Diocesan Staff for their participation in bringing this project to fruition, but especially to Melanie Tromp van Holst and Bobby Fossek for their wisdom and skills in advancing us to where we are today.

We will be dedicating ourselves as a Diocese to this significant effort during our Diocesan Convention this coming October, as it will be held at Ascension School.

August 15-18

We are most pleased to welcome Dr. Wendy Farley to Cove for this summer’s
adult education weekend. Registration for the weekend can be completed on
the Ascension School website.
Professor of Christian Spirituality
Director of the Program in Christian Spirituality

PhD, Vanderbilt University
MA, Vanderbilt University
Considered a leading theologian, Wendy Farley has written extensively on women theologians and mystics, religious dialogue, classical texts, contemporary ethical issues, and contemplative practices.

Professor Farley received her Ph.D. from Vanderbilt University in 1988. Her teaching and research interests include women theologians, Buddhist-Christian dialogue, spirituality and social justice, classical texts, and contemplative practices. Her first book, Tragic Vision and Divine Compassion: A Contemporary Theodicy (Westminster John Knox, 1990) considers the problem of evil by focusing on suffering rather than sin and abandons the forensic model of God in favor of one emphasizing compassion as a dominant metaphor for the divine. A second work, Eros for the Other: Retaining Truth in a Pluralistic World (Penn State: 1996), also takes up the relationships between ethical and philosophical issues in religion. In 2005, she published The Wounding and Healing of Desire: Weaving Heaven and Earth (Westminster John Knox), which combines attention to contemplative practices, folk traditions, and inter-religious dialogue to reflect on suffering and transformation. Gathering Those Driven Away: a Theology of Incarnation (Westminster John Knox, 2011), reflects on the meaning of Christian faith and tradition for women, queers, and others that the church has had difficulty recognizing as part of the body of Christ. She also recently edited (with Emily Holmes) a collection of essays called Women, Writing, Theology: Transforming a Tradition of Exclusion.

Her latest book, “The Thirst of God: Contemplating God’s Love with Three Women Mystics” (Westminster John Knox, 2015), explores the spirituality of medieval mystics Marguerite Porete, Mechthild of Magdeburg, and Julian of Norwich. In Farley’s words, “These women have important things to tell us about our faith, the same as contemporary contemplatives, with the emphasis on divine love.(From San Francisco Theological Seminary website) 

Recommended Reading:


- During a surprise visit to Sunriver Christian Fellowship, I had the distinct privilege to recognize the Senior Pastor there, The Rev. Nancy Sargent McGrath Green, as an Honorary Canon in our Diocese. 
This recognition, which is undoubtedly a first in EDEO, was presented for her life long commitment to ecumenism and her 25 plus years as founder and lead clergy of what has transformed over the years into SCF, a multi-denominational Congregation.
We are so privileged to benefit in this Diocese from her exemplary leadership and wisdom. Thank you, The Rev. Canon Nancy, and congratulations!

-  Congratulations also to The Rev. Ann Marie Hardin, Deacon, on her graduation from Church Divinity School of the Pacific with her Masters of Divinity.  She will now be ordained to the priesthood on July 20 at 11:00 a.m. in Pendleton, at Church of the Redeemer.
-    While we are about congratulations, let us also offer our blessings and best to the Dean of our High Desert School for Ministry, The Rev. Canon Lucinda Ashby, who this past weekend was elected Bishop of the Diocese of El  Camino Real in California. We have been so blessed by her leadership and know she will offer outstanding gifts to her new Diocese.

-    I want to thank all of those who were present for our Labor of Love weekend at Ascension School. We were able to accomplish a great deal in getting ready for our summer programs. So to all of you who lent a hand, thank you!

-    Registration for children and youth programs are available on the camp web page, so please start getting those kids signed up for a great experience at Camp.

-    And just a reminder that we are seeking scholarship funds to support our young people coming to camp. Donations can be made online, or mailed to Ascension School and noted as for scholarships: 
Ascension School Camp and Conference Center
P.O. Box 278
Cove, OR 97824
-  I invite you to remember during this Pride Month all of our LGBTQ siblings as they invite us to affirm life and dignity for ALL of God’s children. 
Our action is all the more urgent in this time of increased hostility and amid the effort to remove protections and rights for these people.
-  Once again, we are jolted by a senseless mass shooting, with 12 dead in Virginia Beach. I had already planned to make a public witness against gun violence by wearing an orange stole this weekend while sharing in an anniversary observance at Heppner with the combined Hopeful Saints Congregation. I hope others in the Diocese will use this weekend, which is the annual date set aside to remember victims of gun violence and bring awareness to this national pandemic, to witness for action and compassion in our country and communities.
Information from the Office of Government Relations:

Summary of General Convention Policy on Abortion and Women’s Reproductive Health
[May 17, 2019] In response to questions related to The Episcopal Church’s position on abortion, the Office of Government Relations offers this summary of General Convention Policy on Abortion and Women’s Reproductive Health. Additional information, including the text of the official policies and statements of the General Convention and Executive Council of The Episcopal Church, may be found here.
Clergy throughout The Episcopal Church counsel women, men, and families who must make decisions relating to pregnancy and childbirth, adoption, family planning, and who face infertility. Our ordained and lay leaders walk alongside Episcopalians and others who struggle with this intimate and challenging aspect of human life. Over the past several decades, the General Convention has addressed the topic of abortion from a position informed by this ministry and personal lived experience of clergy and laity within their own families. As a result, the General Convention of The Episcopal Church recognizes the moral, legal, personal, and societal complexity of the issue. The diversity of views within the Church represents our common struggle to understand and discern this issue.
The Episcopal Church teaches that “all human life is sacred. Hence, it is sacred from its inception until death. The Church takes seriously its obligation to help form the consciences of its members concerning this sacredness. Human life, therefore, should be initiated only advisedly and in full accord with this understanding of the power to conceive and give birth which is bestowed by God.” Our liturgical text Enriching Our Worship calls for great pastoral sensitivity to the needs of the woman and others involved in decisions relating to “abortion, or mishaps of pregnancy and infertility.” This ministry is particularly important in situations that result in the loss of a pregnancy or inability to become pregnant and as a Church, we have experienced that all of these have “a tragic dimension.”
In a series of statements over the past decades, the Church has declared that “we emphatically oppose abortion as a means of birth control, family planning, sex selection, or any reason of mere convenience.” At the same time, since 1967, The Episcopal Church has maintained its “unequivocal opposition to any legislation on the part of the national or state governments which would abridge or deny the right of individuals to reach informed decisions [about the termination of pregnancy] and to act upon them.”
The Church urges dioceses and congregations “to give necessary aid and support to all pregnant women.” General Convention “commends the work and mission of pregnancy care centers which stress unconditional love and acceptance, for women and their unborn children.” We have urged support of “local pregnancy care centers” that “develop an outreach of love to pregnant women and to mothers and their children.”
At the General Convention in 2018, The Episcopal Church called for “women’s reproductive health and reproductive health procedures to be treated as all other medical procedures.” The Convention declared “that equitable access to women’s health care, including women’s reproductive health care, is an integral part of a woman’s struggle to assert her dignity and worth as a human being.”
We continue to advocate that “legislating abortions will not address the root of the problem. We therefore express our deep conviction that any proposed legislation on the part of national or state governments regarding abortions must take special care to see that the individual conscience is respected, and that the responsibility of individuals to reach informed decisions in this matter is acknowledged and honored as the position of this Church.”
The Church also sees education as an essential component of engaging with issues relating to family planning, child spacing, adoption, infertility and abortion. The global Anglican Communion, of which The Episcopal Church is a member, first supported the use of contraceptives in 1930, and as Christians we affirm responsible family planning. General Convention policy states “it is the responsibility of our congregations to assist their members in becoming informed concerning the spiritual, physiological and psychological aspects of sex and sexuality.” The Book of Common Prayer affirms that "the birth of a child is a joyous and solemn occasion in the life of a family. It is also an occasion for rejoicing in the Christian community" (p 440).
On the web:
Summary of General Convention Resolutions on Abortion and Women’s Reproductive Health
Office of Communication | The Episcopal Church | 212-716-6138

Our mailing address is:
*PO Box 236, Cove, OR  97824|* *|*

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