Dear Sisters and Brothers in Christ,
Thank you for the prayers and activities each parish has engaged in for the nation and people of Ukraine.
The Presiding Bishop of The Episcopal Church has called us to prayer:
“There are people and children of God whose lives and freedom are threatened, and so we pray and are mindful of what St. Paul said in Romans: ‘The Spirit helps us in our weakness, because we don’t know how to pray as we ought—and sometimes the Spirit intercedes for us with sighs too deep for words.’ We pray for peace, but maybe we don’t have the words. We pray for a just peace, but maybe we don’t have the words. We pray that the lives of innocents, and the lives of any human child of God, will be spared. We pray that our leaders will find a diplomatic way—a nonviolent solution. But we don’t know how to pray as we ought, and so the Spirit must intercede for us at this time.” – Presiding Bishop Michael Curry
The Standing Committee of the Episcopal Diocese of Albany is intentionally designating the next two Sundays (March 20 and 27) for prayer and giving in support of the people of Ukraine. We encourage parishes in the diocese to offer intentional prayers for peace among the nations, wisdom for the leaders of all nations, and for those who are in danger and displaced due to war. Fr. Tom Malionek has prepared music and Prayers of the People (click links to access) which parishes may use. The song is set to a version of the Trisagion, and the lyrics have been written in both English and Ukranian. The (3rd verse) is the phonetic pronunciation of the Ukranian words in verse 2.
Parishes are also encouraged to receive a special offering each Sunday to support needs of the Ukranian people. The Standing Committee suggests offerings be sent to: Episcopal Relief and Development at: www.episcopalrelief.org/ukraine-crisis,
or
St. Nicholas Ukranian Church, Waterveliet, N.Y. – Checks payable: St. Nicholas Ukrainian Catholic Church, memo “Aid to Ukraine” – 2410 4th Ave, Watervliet, NY 12189,
or
Another trustworthy organization supporting Ukranian relief.
While praying for a peaceful and diplomatic end to this war, may each of us reflect upon the ways in which we are called by the Lord to bring the peace of Christ into all relationships of our own lives.
May our prayers and offerings provide love, support, and peace to all involved in this war. Christ’s blessings and peace to each one of you.
In Him,
Mother Katherine Alonge-Coons
President, EDOA Standing Committee

Episcopal Diocese of Albany Responds to Devastating Storms with Prayer and Financial Support

In response to the deadly line of severe tornadoes that spread across several states this past weekend, leaders in the Episcopal Diocese of Albany began to prayerfully consider how the diocese could assist in caring for those effected. In addition to fervent prayers being lifted on behalf of the storm victims, the Trustees of the diocese voted to immediately send a contribution of $10,000 to Episcopal Relief & Development to assist in their efforts to minister to those devastated by the storm.  According to the ERD Facebook page, “The storms created over 50 tornadoes, including one with a 200-mile long path through Kentucky.” Tragically, many people lost their lives in these terrible storms in addition to the widespread damage to homes and businesses.
Some of the hardest hit areas were in western Kentucky. On Saturday, December 11th the Diocese of Kentucky posted on Facebook, “As we continue getting updates from around the diocese, we want to thank you for the incredible outpouring of support from around the church—our neighboring dioceses and dioceses around the country, and caring people from literally around the world have been in touch.”  Recognizing the needs of those effected will go on for a long time to come, the Diocese of Albany encourages everyone in the diocese to continue praying for those who were in the path of these storms and consider making a financial contribution towards relief efforts.
Through January 15, 2022 the diocese will be collecting donations which will be given to Episcopal Relief & Development, in addition to the $10,000 already sent. Please send your contributions to Episcopal Diocese of Albany, 580 Burton Road, Greenwich, NY 12834. In the memo line write, “Tornado relief”. You may also contribute online by clicking here.
If you prefer you may also donate directly to Episcopal Relief and Development.
Bishops Carol Gallagher and Michael Smith

In an effort to foster communion across differences regarding the use of same-sex marriage rites in the Diocese of Albany, the Standing Committee has invited the Rt. Rev. Carol J. Gallagher, PhD to provide supplemental episcopal pastoral support.

On November 1, 2021 the Standing Committee  released the statement, “Toward Communion across Difference in the Episcopal Diocese of Albany: Statement on the Implementation of General Convention Resolution 2018-B01.” In this statement, the committee explained that while they hold a traditional view of marriage they recognize that in order to comply with General Convention Resolution 2018-B012 and in order to work towards healing within the diocese, a pathway needed to be made available for those clergy wishing to utilize same-sex marriage rites.  The statement directed clergy who wish to use the same-sex marriage rites within the diocese to contact the Rt. Rev. Michael G. Smith, Assisting Bishop, to work out supplemental episcopal pastoral support. Going forward, Bishop Smith will be working with Bishop Gallagher to accomplish this provision.
Bishop Gallagher is a member of the Cherokee tribe and serves as Regional Canon in the Diocese of Massachusetts. Most recently she served as Assistant Bishop in the Diocese of Montana and as Bishop Missioner for the Bishops’ Native Collaborative. She has served as Assistant Bishop in the Diocese of Newark and as Bishop Suffragan in the Diocese of Southern Virginia.
Some wonder what exactly supplemental episcopal pastoral support is and why the diocese needs it.  Bishop Smith explained, “In our tradition, in all churches that incorporate the historic episcopate for that matter, there is the ecclesiastical understanding that the sacramental ministry of priests is an extension of the ministry of the bishop. This is most clearly seen in our Book of Common Prayer service for “Celebration of New Ministry” when the bishop instructs the priest to “take this water, and help me baptize in obedience to our Lord,” and later when bishop says, “let all these be signs of the ministry which is mine and yours in this place” (BCP 561-2). It is also evident in the bishop’s ordination when he or she is instructed “to celebrate and to provide for the administration of the sacraments of the New Covenant” (BCP 518). Therefore, General Convention added the provision for supplemental episcopal pastoral support for a bishop who “holds a theological position that does not embrace marriage for same-sex couples.”
Bishop Gallagher added, “We will serve the Diocese and the people as a team, offering a diverse approach to the life of faith. At Bishop Smith’s direction I will be available to walk in faith with all those who might need my gifts.”
This won’t be the first time Bishops Smith and Gallagher have worked together.
“I was assisting Bishop in North Dakota for several years with Bishop Smith,” said Bishop Gallagher, “We have known each other for more than 30 years. We taught two classes together during COVID for lay and clergy leaders in Indigenous communities and now work with the Navajoland Iona Collaborative. We are good friends, we can be honest with each other, and we are both committed to serving Christ and have deep prayer lives.”
Hoping to lead by example, Bishop Smith agreed, “While +Carol and I differ on our theological views about whether Christian marriage is between two persons or between a man and a woman, we have been friends and colleagues for many years and have been able to focus on that which unites us rather than divides.”
Both bishops hope to draw on their previous experience working together and their Native American heritage for this future partnership in Albany. Bishop Smith explained, “Our relationship goes back thirty years or so beginning in Oklahoma where we are rooted in Native American communities. +Carol is a member of the Cherokee Nation and I am enrolled in the Citizen Potawatomi Nation. Long ago, tribal nations learned it is essential for the well-being of our several peoples to work together for the common good rather than focusing on competition and winner-take-all. We both know what it is to be theological minorities with our conflicting views:  me in the Episcopal Church and her in the Anglican Communion. Our hope is to model true “communion across difference,” to use a phrase from General Convention.”
As the first American Indian female bishop in the Episcopal Church and the first Indigenous female bishop in the worldwide Anglican Communion, Bishop Gallagher would concur. “In Southern Virginia, North Dakota, Newark and Montana, my ministry has always been in balance and differently expressed than the bishops I served with. I offer myself, wholly who I am, with trust that God will use me to help respond to the needs of the Diocese of Albany,” she said, “We are a diverse and complicated church.”

In Albany, the bishops will work together to help bridge the gap between clergy and lay persons who differ on the subject of same-sex marriage. Bishop Gallagher is hopeful, stating, “As the first Indigenous woman bishop I understand the challenges of a church in changing times and have always been called to places of bridge building and healing. My ministry among the people of the Diocese of Albany will be a companion approach, walking with Bishop Smith.”

Bishop Gallagher will begin providing supplemental episcopal pastoral support for the Diocese in January 2022. To date, three clergy members in the diocese have approached Bishop Smith about exercising this option.
By the Rev. Meaghan J. Keegan, Communications Officer, Episcopal Diocese of Albany