Remembering the Very Rev. Dr. Alan Jones, Dean Emeritus of Grace Cathedral 

Remembering the Very Rev. Dr. Alan Jones, Dean Emeritus of Grace Cathedral 

A message from Bishop Marc

“Loving God, Source of all mercies and giver of all comfort: Deal graciously, we pray thee, with all those who mourn, that casting every care on you, they may know the consolation of your love.”  -BCP page 489

The Very Reverend Alan Jones, PhD, Dean Emeritus of Grace Cathedral, died this past Sunday, peacefully and while watching the online webcast of the Sunday Eucharist at National Cathedral.

Alan was the dean of our cathedral for 24 years, and they were years of enormous creativity and of courage. Many examples come to mind of his transformative ministry, beginning with his fostering of the modern labyrinth movement at Grace by his support of the Rev. Dr. Lauren Artress. Alan welcomed Lauren’s innovation, which led to an indoor and outdoor labyrinth there and in time around the world. The outdoor labyrinth outside my office at Diocesan House is a space used by people from early morning into dusk—I see people each day walking, dancing, skipping, sometimes walking very slowly the sinuous, continuous path of the labyrinth. There are many thousands of labyrinths registered worldwide, and it was Alan’s welcome to Lauren’s initiative that launched this global spiritual movement!

And with respect to courage, former Vice Dean Fran Tornquist was a central religious leader in San Francisco in providing compassionate care for all during the AIDS pandemic, which devastated the city before spreading over the world. Alan provided the leadership that supported Fran’s ministry that was crucial for the city.

Of course, Alan not only made it possible for creative, compassionate people like Lauren and Fran to flourish in their ministries, he was generative intellectually and spiritually, too. Alan’s preaching was famous for its warmth, depth, and humor. Many, many people have told me over the years how Alan’s welcoming, intelligent spirit in preaching opened the door for a renewed relationship with Christianity.

Through his writing Alan reached an even larger congregation than through his preaching. Some of his books, for instance, translated into Portuguese, are cherished within the Episcopal Church in Brazil.

Alan and my predecessor, the Right Reverend Bill Swing, partnered together with generous lay leaders like Mrs. Alfred Wilsey to completely transform Grace Cathedral, raising the money to replace the old gravel parking lot with beautiful and functional spaces, including the Great Steps, the Chapter House, and the cathedral’s indoor parking garage.

It was my privilege to be the bishop of this diocese and of the cathedral for the last three years of Alan’s active ministry. Alan and his wife, Cricket, warmly welcomed us to the cathedral, and it was a particular joy that we have been neighbors over these last eighteen years, sharing meals and visits together.

At this time of loss and grief, Sheila and I ask you to join us in praying for Cricket and for Alan’s children and grandchildren. May God in time wipe every tear away and give the comfort of the Holy Spirit to those who mourn.

+Marc Andrus

 

Note: A service is being planned at Grace Cathedral in San Francisco. We will share more information once we receive it.

More information available from Grace Cathedral.

 

A letter and call to Action from the COP28 Faith Pavilion

Dear partners and friends,

The COP28 Faith Pavilion has issued a Call to Action urging summit negotiators to reach more ambitious commitments, that reflect the values of justice, interconnectedness and compassion for those most affected. Faith communities at COP28 expressed concern about the scale and urgency needed to hold global temperature to the ceiling of 1.5° C, and call on negotiators and policymakers to:

  • Prioritize a just transition to a green economy
  • Adopt the Fossil Fuel Non-Proliferation Treaty
  • Prioritize the protection of species and ecosystems in climate negotiations
  • Provide new and sustained funding and new forms of access to the Green Climate Fund
  • Extend and diversify funding for a just and inclusive access to the Loss and Damage Fund

Bishop Marc Andrus, Episcopal Diocese of California, said: “The Loss and Damage Fund is welcome news, but we are no way near reaching the agreements needed to stay at a target of 1.5° C. Inclusive access to Loss and Damage, commitment to the Fossil Fuel Non-Proliferation Treaty and new forms of access for the Green Climate Fund are all crucial commitments that we want to see realised at COP28. The message from faith communities is clear: we will be holding negotiators to account and reminding them to act with their conscience to ensure the protection of planet, and all those that call it home.”

Dr. Iyad Abumoghli, Director of the Faith for Earth Coalition of UNEP, said: “As stewards of this Earth, this Call to Action invites all hearts and minds to unite in action. Let our convictions transcend boundaries, inspiring collective responsibility for climate protection. Together, we can chart a path of sustainable change guided by compassion and shared commitment.”

Khushwant Singh, Head of Secretariat, International Partnership on Religion and Sustainable Development (PaRD), said: “The Faith Pavilion, featuring over 300 speakers from all over the world, sparks transformative paradigm shifts, evokes actions, virtues and wisdom needed to safeguarding the well-being of all sentient beings, and protecting nature and the whole of Mother Earth. Values such as inclusivity, humbleness, honesty, far-sightedness, and altruism are crucial, particularly amongst decision makers.”

Rabbi Yonatan Neril, Founder of the Interfaith Center for Sustainable Development, said: “Faith leaders are united with climate scientists and activists to say: now is not the time to deny the science. Now that the talks are in the negotiations phase, faith communities are actively pushing to ensure the needs of the poorest and the planet are placed at the heart of the agreements we desperately need.”

The full Call to Action can be viewed here

We would request you to support the Call to Action by singing up here (as an individual and/or organization)

Please feel free to approach your media contacts based on this mail to inform them about the work of the Faith Pavilion and the Call to Action.

About the COP28 Faith Pavilion  

The Faith Pavilion will be hosted by the Muslim Council of Elders in collaboration with the COP28 Presidency, United Nations Environmental Programme (UNEP), and a coalition of faith partners including the Interfaith Center for Sustainable Development, the Episcopal Diocese of California, the Partnership on Religion and Development, Peace Department, and over 70 faith-based organisations. The Pavilion will host more than 70 sessions with religious figures, scientists, and political leaders, as well as encouraging intergenerational dialogue involving young faith leaders and indigenous peoples.

https://faithatcop28.com/

About UNEP Faith for Earth Initiative

The UN Environment Program’s Faith for Earth Initiative promotes faith leadership, faith-based organizations and communities as custodians of far-reaching, value-based perspectives on environmental sustainability.

About the Muslim Council of Elders 

The Muslim Council of Elders is an independent international organization that aims to promote peace within Muslim communities and between Muslim communities and non-Muslim communities. The Council – chaired by His Eminence the Grand Imam of Al-Azhar Ahmed Al-Tayeb – unites Muslim scholars, experts, and dignitaries internationally recognized for their wisdom, understanding of justice, independence, and moderation.

About the Interfaith Center for Sustainable Development 

The Interfaith Center for Sustainable Development connects religion and ecology and galvanizes faith communities’ action and teaching on environmental sustainability.

About The Episcopal Diocese of California

The Episcopal Diocese of California, also known as the Episcopal Church in the Bay Area, serves a diverse community of faith encompassing the greater San Francisco Bay Area.

About the International Partnership on Religion and Sustainable Development (PaRD) 

The International Partnership on Religion and Sustainable Development (PaRD) convenes governments, multilateral entities, academia and religious actors to amplify contributions to the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

About COP28

COP28 is being be held at Expo City Dubai from 30 Nov. to 12 Dec. 2023. More than 70,000 participants – including heads of state, government officials, industry leaders and climate experts – will come to the UAE to help deliver a vital blueprint for action to safeguard the planet.

Facts on the scale and breadth of the faith movement active in communities globally

  • Six billion people (84% of the world’s population) have a faith, religion or values system
  • More than 1.5 million projects globally to address climate change are run by faith groups
  • Faith groups own and are responsible for more than 8% of the Earth’s habitable land
  • Faith groups own and are responsible for more than 5% of all commercial forests on the planet
  • More than 4 in 10 health services (40%) in some countries are operated by faith groups
  • Half of schools worldwide (50%) are owned or operated by faith groups – rising to 64% of schools in sub-Saharan Africa
  • 10% of the world’s financial institutions are faith-related, making faith institutions the world’s third largest investor.  Research shows that “faith-aligned” impact investment capital is valued at $5 trillion worldwide

Thank you!

Faith for Climate: A Call to Action

Inspired by the Interfaith Statement signed by Pope Francis, Ahmed El-Tayeb, the Grand Imam of Al Azhar, and around 30 religious leaders and representatives from a range of traditions, launched on December 3, the Faith Pavilion at COP28 puts forth this Call to Action.

We come from different faiths, religions, and spiritual backgrounds. We come from the North and the South, from the East and the West. We represent different communities, united in our longing for a more sustainable and inclusive world.

Though we come from varied traditions, we understand that the climate crisis is fundamentally a human crisis. Human actions, distorted by vices such as greed and selfishness, have brought humanity and the planet to the brink of disaster. By cultivating healthy values, which are taught and practiced in our traditions, we can find balance, and heal our common life, and protect Mother Earth.

Our common values inspire and unite us in our efforts to combat the human-made climate crisis and to nurture the sacredness and well-being of all life on Earth. Love for our world and for each other, and awareness of our interconnectedness, underpin our understanding and our commitment to urgent action.

Every sector of human endeavor – government, multilateral entities, business, health care systems, educational, cultural and artistic institutions – all contribute to the good effort needed now to bring about balance and healing. The religions of the world do not own spiritual values, but they make them the center of their lives. The religious communities bring to the work of climate action and advocacy, among other contributions, their values. This call to action expresses several areas of climate justice that are urgent. No less urgent is the call for us to change our thinking and replace our unhealthy values with those that lead to an integrated, balanced life, a life shared with all people and species.

We call for transformation rooted in shared and unifying values

Spiritual and religious communities account for the vast majority of the world’s population. Our commitment to the well-being of the planet, and of present and future generations, is fundamentally an ethical pact. If our actions are motivated by greed, indifference, and apathy towards one another and the Earth, overconsumption will continue to harm our sole life-support system. 

As communities dedicated to addressing environmental destruction and climate change, we take part in negotiations, policy-making, advocacy, and public mobilizations. In these, we affirm that actions and activities rooted in shared values of compassion, love, modesty, interconnectedness and justice are vital to achieve genuine, enduring change.

We are aware of our responsibility for the common good, and in good will we remind parties of their responsibility to make this COP28 a conference that is rooted in the ambition of limiting global warming to 1.5C and to equity.

These shared values may be expressed in different policies and proposals at different times. At COP28, we have an opportunity to make significant progress on the thematic foci, by day, of the COP, such as: finance, loss and damage, adaptation, mitigation, gender equity, youth, children, education and skills, and nature, land use, and oceans. 

We appreciate the progress already made at COP28, but are aware of much left to be agreed.

We call for world and local leaders and policy makers to:

  • Prioritize a just transition to a green economy
  • Adopt the Fossil Fuel Non-Proliferation Treaty 
  • Prioritize the protection of species and ecosystems in climate negotiations
  • Provide new and sustained funding and new forms of access to the Green Climate Fund
  • Extend and diversify funding for a just and inclusive access to the Loss and Damage Fund

Why do we prioritize these areas of action? 

A just transition to a green economy is one which respects the dignity and value of each human being. This transition must put at the center the needs of the most vulnerable, who currently suffer the inequalities of a model of progress based on consumption and growth. Until 2030 our transition towards a green economy must involve halving its CO2-levels. No one should be excluded from the benefits that flow from the development of a greener economy. The logic of our current economic model needs to be replaced in order to shift from progress to development for all. The transition to sustainability must be equitable for all. 

Reducing greenhouse gas emissions is insufficient; we must urgently stop the expansion of fossil fuel production. The Fossil Fuel Non-Proliferation Treaty (FFNPT) unequivocally calls for a phase-down and eventual cessation of fossil fuel production. We encourage faith communities worldwide to become part of the FFNPT. All parties to the Paris Agreement are urged to agree to a binding and universal phase-out of coal, oil and gas within a COP28 decision so that our energy systems become renewable and more just.

We believe that protecting species and ecosystems is vital, both for the welfare of human communities and animals and because of the inherent value they hold. Our traditions respect and value the life of the world for its own sake, not solely for the enhancement and protection of humanity. 

Promises have been made to support the people and nations who are most vulnerable to the impacts of climate change, yet have done the least to cause it. Funding the Green Climate Fund (GCF) and the Loss and Damage Fund to support adaptation and mitigation aligns with our commitment to honesty and truth – spiritual values that underpin collective promises. While fully funding the GCF is crucial, we also support a simultaneous assessment of the GCF in terms of access to the Fund, creating innovative funding structures that better meet the needs of the phase of the climate crisis today.

We call for effective global governance to tackle climate change and a positive vision

The climate crisis transcends national and regional boundaries and affects the whole of humanity. More effective global collaboration and governance is vital to meet the scale of this challenge. Such collaboration should include strengthening commitments from member states and multilateral bodies to the well-being of the planet, not just to their own domestic interests. Additionally, enforceable mechanisms to ensure that commitments made will be kept should be put in place. 

Our vision is that the well-being of humans, animals, and nature will be the central indicator of progress, rather than a sole focus on linear economic growth. A binding Holistic Well-being Index could assess development and prosperity in this way. The creation of this index requires a paradigm shift towards cyclic thinking, and an interdisciplinary, global approach, which also considers the wisdom of our traditions.

Since all people depend on our shared world to live and flourish, people from all segments of society should have a voice in decisions about its future. When the rich tapestry of humanity has the opportunity to participate in policy-making, the results will be better informed and more widely owned.

We honor Indigenous Peoples

We seek to honor Indigenous Peoples, who, despite at times unimaginable oppression and violence, have upheld world views that recognize the interconnectedness of the Earth we all share. We are deeply grateful for their courage and their continued resilience. Their wisdom replenishes our commitment, and we pledge to stand alongside them as allies, in unwavering solidarity.

We call for responsibility and recommitment

A sustainable future, in which all people live with dignity, is possible if we commit to consuming and producing less, especially in countries which are responsible for high levels of CO? emissions.

To decisively reduce emissions, we advocate for a conscientious review of global and individual priorities along a commitment to reduce the carbon footprint at all levels, including the public sector, industry, businesses and digital services, military, aviation, aeronautics, and in our own private lives.

True change also demands accountability and responsibility for actions taken or not taken. Therefore, we advocate for the establishment of neutral, objective, and forceful accountability measures which hold complicit nations and institutions to account for harmful action, delay or inaction. 

We also acknowledge the unfortunate complicity of people acting in the name of religion in empire-building and colonialism over many centuries and into the modern era. These activities have brought us perilously close to ecological collapse. Consequently, our own religious communities require healing, spiritual awakening and recommitment to our core values and ideals.

Each of our traditions embraces dynamic processes of transformation and restoration. Rituals of lament, sorrow, repentance, recommitment, and renewal, can guide us all – religious and secular, civil society and government – as we chart a path forward.

Our hope for COP28 and beyond

This interfaith call to action is extended as an expression of hope rooted in reality. We call attention to the extreme urgency of this moment. The climate science community has pointed out how quickly Earth’s systems have reached tipping points. We know that at COP28, ambitious action is needed to hold to the ceiling of 1.5° C that may protect life today and in the future.

Therefore we add our energy, our prayers and our action to the voices of all the different sectors, to call together for ambitious advocacy, action and agreement on climate change at COP28 and beyond.

We invite individuals and organizations to sign onto this Call to Action!

https://docs.google.com/forms/d/1Liv58ja4dlMlnMRC-GjQ7HP1drO_2MQD_RJvNkR6jnY/viewform?edit_requested=true

Remembering Sandra Day O’Connor: A message from Bishop Marc

With deep gratitude, we remember the remarkable life and legacy of Sandra Day O’Connor, a wise and pioneering jurist who will forever be remembered as the first woman appointed to the U.S. Supreme Court. Justice O’Conner was also a faithful Episcopalian, a lay leader in the church, and a friend of our diocese and Grace Cathedral, especially. May she rest and peace and may her family, friends, and colleagues be comforted in this time of mourning.

+Marc

O God, who by the glorious resurrection of your Son Jesus Christ destroyed death and brought life and immortality to light: Grant that your servant Sandra, being raised with Christ, may know the strength of his presence and rejoice in his eternal glory; who with you and the Holy Spirit lives and reigns, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.

 

https://www.episcopalnewsservice.org/2023/12/01/sandra-day-oconnor-first-female-supreme-court-justice-and-an-episcopalian-has-died-at-93/

Bishop Marc’s statement on the outbreak of conflict between Israel and Hamas

Bishop Marc’s statement on the outbreak of conflict between Israel and Hamas

Dear Beloved Community,

I write to you today with a heavy heart. 

As many of you know, over the weekend we witnessed the outbreak of violence in Israel where a devastating attack by Hamas has caused immense suffering and loss. Our prayers go out to the people of Israel, especially to those grieving casualties, and to those who have been wounded or taken hostage by Hamas. In this time of crisis, we also extend our prayers to the innocent civilians, including children, who are caught in the midst of this conflict.

As we unite in prayer, I join our Bay Area civic and religious leaders such as San Francisco Mayor London Breed and House Speaker Emerita Nancy Pelosi in calling for restraint on both sides and an end to further loss of civilian lives. It is our fervent hope that a path to peace can be found amidst the current turmoil.

During a gathering on Sunday at Temple Sherith Israel in San Francisco Mayor Breed said, “I know for many people here, our hearts are heavy,” […] “Here in San Francisco, we condemn these attacks and we stand with the people of Israel. The Jewish community of the entire Bay Area have gathered to send our energy to people and their suffering. This tragedy will hopefully bring us together.” [San Francisco Chronicle]

And House Speaker Pelosi also spoke saying, “As we gather, Catholics and Christians are also crying for Israel and for peace,” … [San Francisco Chronicle]

In this moment of sorrow and uncertainty, may our shared compassion and unity be a source of strength. And in the spirit of unity and hope, let us continue to pray for peace, comfort for the afflicted, and an end to violence in the land.

Join me in praying the following for peace among the nations from the Book of Common Prayer: “Almighty God our heavenly Father, guide the nations of the world into the way of justice and truth, and establish among them that peace which is the fruit of righteousness, that they may become the kingdom of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. Amen.” [BCP pg. 816]

Yours in faith,

The Right Rev. Dr. Marc Handley Andrus Bishop of the Diocese of California

 

*Edited title on 10/12/23 to replace Palestine with Hamas

Bishop Marc’s statement on the death of Senator Dianne Feinstein

Bishop Marc’s statement on the death of Senator Dianne Feinstein

San Francisco, California, the United States, and the world have lost a true champion of compassion, justice, and courage with the death of Senator Dianne Feinstein.

Sheila and I arrived in California after many of the historic acts of Supervisor, Mayor, and Senator Feinstein, and those stands and actions, along with many others over the last seventeen years, have influenced and inspired me.

While serving as Bishop of the Diocese of California, I watched with gratitude and admiration as she shone a light on CIA-sponsored torture and called for the closure of the detention center at Guantanamo Bay. Her role in the impeachments of the former President, Donald Trump were also important contributions to the health of our democracy.

Senator Feinstein’s commitment to service has been monumental, matched only by such paragons as Speaker Emerita Nancy Pelosi. Let us pray for Senator Feinstein’s family and friends, among whom included my predecessor, Bishop Bill Swing. May we continue to be blessed by her trailblazing work and find further hope and inspiration in the public servants who succeed her.

+Marc Handley Andrus