Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Bishop Frade's 2012 Christmas Message

Can you imagine celebrating Christmas with no Christmas tree, nor Santa Claus, nor gifts or carols and songs, nor Christmas cards or decorations? What if they do away with the Christmas holidays, with all the parties, Christmas family gatherings, with no turkey or refreshments of all kinds? Would you still have Christmas?

Well, I can imagine it and yes, we would still have Christmas. Actually in the land of my birth for more than two decades the Cuban Communist government established an atheist state and outlawed the celebration of Christmas but regardless of their attempt to do away with Christmas the Cuban Christians continued celebrating the birth of our Savior Jesus Christ. There was Christmas and although Santa was sent packing with the Christmas tree and all the trimmings, faith remained.

Unfortunately today, in the midst of our American celebration of Christmas we are facing a massacre of little children so tragic and inhumane at Sandy Hook Elementary School that we need to put away our joy and celebrations to be replaced with tears and mourning. Instead of caroling or parties our country is trying to make sense and understand how could something like this happen in our midst?

How can you have Christmas in the midst of all the constant killings in our society? How can we rejoice in the midst of wars that seem to linger on and on and the threat of more wars to come in faraway lands?

Let me remind you that during the 12 days of Christmas, that starts December 25, we also celebrate on December 28, another massacre of children on a feast that we call The Holy Innocents. In the midst of the joy of the birth of a small child named Jesus we also have the pain of Mary and Joseph having to flee their land and going into exile.

Throughout the Christian era we have faced many ups and downs in our commemoration of Christmas but regardless of the times we have always remembered that hope was born anew in the little town of Bethlehem and that Christ will always be there for us in the good and bad times.

The Apostle St. Paul reminds us of this promise when he asks: “Who can separate us from the love of Christ? Will hardship or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword?.....For I am convinced that neither death, nor life, nor angels, not rulers, not things present, nor things to come, nor power, not height, nor depth, not anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus or Lord.” (Romans 8:35-39)

Let us this Christmas once more be reminded that Christ is the reason for the season and rejoice in knowing that hope can be found in the manger wrapped in bands of cloth.

Let’s join the throngs of angels praising Jesus and say:

“Glory to God in the highest heaven, and on earth peace among all people!” 

Friday, December 14, 2012

Having Faith

At St. Paul's in Delray Beach, while the Voices Out of Darkness event was going on, the Brotherhood of St. Andrew Chapter was making Faith Chests. The chests, as described by Canon Chip Stokes, is presented to children of the church who are baptized. "Baptism is the central milestone ministry of the Christian faith, so when a child is baptized at St. Paul's, we present him or her with a Faith Chest. We encourage family and friends of the baptized to fill the Faith Chest with the child's Baptismal Certificate and candle, children's bibles, bible stories, notes, and any items helping a child grow into the full stature of Christ," Canon Stokes explained. 

As a part of the church's association with the Minnesota-based organization, Vibrant Faith Ministries, St. Paul's observes a variety of 'milestone ministries,' one, of which, is the baptism. 

Canon Chip Stokes is the Rector at St. Paul's in Delray.

A few photos are featured here

Voices Out of Darkness

Voices Out of Darkness was held on Saturday, December 8, 2012 at St. Paul's in Delray Beach. Throughout the day a series of sessions were held to help 20 to 30-somethings deal with very real issues. Organizer Teresa B. Pasquale, who is a founding member off SEEK{ers} Community & Voices describes the event as a day of several opportunities to hear the stories of others. The Reverend Chip Stokes, Rector of St. Paul's welcomed the attendees and a spiritual reading was provided by Rabbi Jenny, a survivor and spiritual coach.  
Presenter Michele Rosenthal

One of the first sessions of the day featured Michele Rosenthal's 'Story of Trauma, PTSD and Healing,' which resonated with those who were in attendance. She spoke of her story, beginning at the age of 13, going through cycles of trauma and crisis for many, many years, finally concluding how she is a survivor today. Toward the end of her presentation Rosenthal asked for the attendees to take away three things: (1) developing hope to live a better life, (2) developing the belief 'I can do it', and (3) having an imagination to set yourself free from who you were and into who you want to be. 

Her book, 'Before the World Intruded: Conquering the Past and Creating the Future' is available via her website

Optional activities included guided contemplation and a mindfulness practice during lunch. Throughout the day pieces of a documentary were shown. THE VOICES chronicled the stories of survivors of different types of trauma. Exhibitors were also invited to share their service with attendees and to join in on the discussion. 

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Vive Al Ritmo!

Floridian performing artist Bobby Ramirez joined the Latin Portuguese Mission last Saturday, December 1, 2012 for a day of inspiration, music, and empowerment. 

Sponsored in part by the Latin Portuguese Mission and the Center of Studies and Integral Formation for Women (CEFIM),  Ramirez said "[his] life's purpose is to inspire and empower one million young people, women and families to become leaders through the gift of music." The theme of the workshop was "Vive Al Ritmo" or Lives to the Rhythm. Attendees learned to discover the rhythm of their purpose, success and significance. 

Everyone in attendance enjoyed special workshops, as well as fun activities for the children.  The Latin Portuguese Mission has many families from Mexico, Central America, and Brazil. Part of the goal is to help these families in their leadership development. This first seminar is hopefully the start of an annual tradition. 

Monday, December 3, 2012

O' Happy Day!

On Sunday, December 2, 2012, the Diocese of Southeast Florida celebrated an ordination and installation! 

Father Denrick Ephriam Rolle was installed as the fourth rector of St. Agnes Episcopal Church at 4 p.m. in Miami. The Bishop of the Diocese The Right Reverend Leo Frade presided over the service, and there was a reception immediately following the worship in Blackett Hall. 

(photos forthcoming)

Father Michael David Picou was ordained into the priesthood at 10:30 a.m. at St. Stephen's Episcopal Church in Coconut Grove. On this first Sunday of Advent, Bishop Frade also presided over this service. A reception in the Oak Grove immediately followed the joyous occasion. 

Thursday, August 30, 2012

New Director of Communications

Beginning the first of September, broadcast journalist and television production teacher Altoria White will be the new director of communications for the Diocese of Southeast Florida.

Mary Cox, who has been the editor of The Net since 1999 and director of communications since 2000, retires on Aug. 31.

White is a native of Jacksonville, FL, where she currently leads the Television Production department at Atlantic Coast High School and has her own photography and videography business.

She holds a bachelor’s degree in Mass Media Arts and Broadcast Journalism from Hampton University and a master’s degree in business with emphasis in marketing from the University of Phoenix.

She has worked in public relations with the City of Jacksonville and in video communications with Duval County Public Schools, and describes as “one of my proudest accomplishments” her work as a producer for Teen Summit for Black Entertainment Television(BET) in Washington, DC.

White serves as public relations chair for her parish, St. Gabriel’s Episcopal Church in Jacksonville. She also offers her communications skills and expertise in the community as a journalist of the Jacksonville Alumnae Chapter of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, a member of the Digital Advisory Board for Florida State College of Jacksonville, and a committee member of the NAACP ACT-SO program, a national youth initiative of the NAACP.

White said she is looking forward to “utilizing all of my communications skills under one umbrella” after working in positions that required only her broadcasting or marketing background.

“I want to help the diocese reach its goal [of] reaching the most people with the message, using the most avenues to communicate that message.”

She can be reached at

Saturday, July 7, 2012

July 6

This afternoon our diocesan Youth Commission president, Nora Vinas, from Holy Cross, Miami, was one of two youth who made a presentation to the House of Deputies on behalf of the Official Youth Presence.  She spoke of how youth programs transform the lives of young people, and “quench my thirst” for deeper involvement in the church.

“Youth events have taught me to speak up,” she said—and speak up she did!

The youth received a standing ovation from the deputies, and House of Deputies President Bonnie Anderson told them, “We value you beyond measure.”

Tomorrow Nora is scheduled to speak to the House of Bishops and the ECW Triennial.

This is the fourth consecutive General Convention at which a youth from Southeast Florida has spoken on behalf of youth and youth ministries to one or both of the houses; Nora follows in the footsteps of Erin Ferguson in 2003, David Pringle in 2006 and Michael Sahdev in 2009. She is the first young woman from our diocese to be chosen to represent Province IV and the Official Youth Presence in this way.

Her speech will be posted tomorrow afternoon after she has spoken to the bishops and the ECW.

Friday, July 6, 2012

July 5

Bishops, deputies, exhibiters, convention staff and volunteers and many guests gathered this morning for the opening Eucharist. Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori was the celebrant and preacher, and was joined at the altar by Evangelical Lutheran Church of America Presiding Bishop Mark Hanson and the Rev. Dr. Betsy Miller, President of the Provincial Elders’ Conference of Moravian Church Northern Province.

“We are all here to make common cause for the healing of this world – of its many peoples and nations, as well as the rest of creation,” the Presiding Bishop said in her sermon. “Our ongoing challenge is to look beyond our own interests to God’s intent for this world.” (For the full text of her sermon go to

Deliberations began today in both the House of Deputies and the House of Bishops. Among other actions, deputies approved a resolution calling for funding the Episcopal Youth Event; asked for $1 million to establish diocesan “mission enterprise zones” to assist a diocese or a group of parishes in reaching out to under-represented groups in the church; and affirmed the “Website Challenge,” which calls on all congregations to have an effective, dynamic and current website by 2015. (For more on today’s actions in the House of Deputies, go to:

Resolutions approved by the House of Deputies must also be approved by the House of Bishops in order to take effect.

This afternoon (July 5) a group of protesters gathered by Episcopal Network for Economic Justice and UniteHere, the hospitality workers' union, marched from the state capitol to the Hyatt Regency Hotel to protest the Hyatt's harassment and intimidation of workers' attempts to organize. Indianapolis is the largest city in the country without any unionized hotels. The issues here are similar to those raised by the case of the “Mardi Gras 10” in our diocese; workers’ rights are an important part of social justice ministries throughout the Episcopal Church.

Thursday, July 5, 2012

General Convention--July 4, 2012

Today committees met, the exhibit hall was open for business and old friends from across the Church greeted each other. Legislative sessions will begin tomorrow, but this afternoon both the House of Deputies and the House of Bishops held orientation sessions, beginning with opening remarks by Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori (here) and House of Deputies President Bonnie Anderson (here).

There are photos on our diocesan Facebook page. If you’re on Facebook, it’s Episcopal Diocese of Southeast Florida; if you aren’t on Facebook, all our photo albums are public: go to

Remember that you can follow all of General Convention as it happens on the Media hub.

Thursday, January 12, 2012

A letter from Bishop Duracin

On this second anniversary of Haiti’s catastrophic earthquake, Bishop Jean Zaché Duracin of the Diocese of Haiti has sent this letter to all throughout the Episcopal Church and the Anglican Communion who are helping in the rebuilding of Haiti.

January 12, 2012
Port au Prince, Haiti

Dear Friends,

Greetings from Haiti in the Name of our Lord Jesus Christ.

As we transition from Advent season and welcome 2012, it is an apt time to remark new beginnings. We are pleased to be celebrating many new beginnings in the Diocese of Haiti. This year we do this while evaluating progress in light of the two-year anniversary of the devastating 2010 earthquake.

The earthquake of 2010 will be fixed in our national consciousness for decades to come and has thus been integrated into the national vernacular. When referring to events, Haitians almost always specify whether it occurred 'before or after the Twelfth'.

We are thankful this year, and always, to be a part of the World Wide Anglican Communion. The support within our Church continues to gain momentum even while the catastrophe fades out of international consideration.

On behalf of the Diocese of Haiti, I thank you for supporting the rebuilding of the Holy Trinity Cathedral. The Cathedral is the center of worship for Diocese of Haiti. We are pleased to state that the Request for Proposals to rebuild the Cathedral has been issued and the international team charged with rebuilding Holy Trinity will soon choose among the proposals a firm to design and build the new house of worship. We count on continued support to complete the project. The rebuilding of the Cathedral will be a victory for the Anglican Communion and the downtown Port au Prince renaissance. We appreciate all of you who participate.

Thank you also for your steadfast support of the Diocese of Haiti's diverse ministries. Individuals from a wide variety of backgrounds met us in Haiti and offered their gifts, talents, and resources. Many more offer their significant support from their homes. Thank you for giving of yourselves for the benefit of your brothers and sisters in Haiti. Despite the continued challenges of insecurity, limited access to clean water, and inflated prices, all Diocesan institutions are functioning, albeit in temporary structures made mostly of plywood and corrugated metal. We look forward to moving all of these institutions into permanent appropriate structures. We look forward also to increasing the community development programs of the Diocese such as micro-credit loans and technical education to insure ourselves for the challenges to come. Together we are moving from the relief stage of recovery into a steady pace striding into a better future.

In March, the Diocese of Haiti welcomed a Chief Operating Officer, Mr. Sikhumbuzo Vundla. Mr. Vundla works closely with Diocesan leadership to facilitate the reconstruction process. The Diocese benefits from his knowledge and experience.

This Fall, the Diocese of Haiti elected Rev. Canon Ogé Beauvoir as Bishop Suffragan to serve in the North. This is an important step in a plan to decentralize and reorganize. The Bishop Suffragan will share leadership duties with the Diocesan Bishop increasing the capacities of all Diocesan ministries.

The potential of what has begun in 2011 adds fuel to the fires of hope and resilience. We are elated to realize tangible advancements. We have many positive things to celebrate 'after the twelfth'. Our joy multiplies knowing that it is shared with so many brothers and sisters around the world.

God's Peace to you and your families at the commencement of a new year. Please know that each one of you is remembered in the prayers of your Haitian friends. May God bless each and every one of you in all of your endeavors this year.

In Christ,

The Right Reverend J. Zaché Duracin
Bishop of the Episcopal Diocese of Haiti