A post from Bishop Gayle E. Harris:
Yesterday our daily Eucharist was spoken in both English and in Hmong, further reminding us of the divinely created diversity of humanity and within the Episcopal Church, and our call to advocate for the oppressed, exploited and outcast. The preacher was Canon Bonnie Anderson, President of the House of Deputies, and her sermon wonderfully captured our call to be courageous in faith, ministry and witness.
The Hmong people are nomadic jungle dwellers whose homeland was established before the boundaries of the nations of Thailand, Laos, Viet Nam and China. Without a country of their own, they were forced into working for the U.S. military during the Vietnam War. Following the war, many migrated to the U.S. and there are now about 200,000 Hmong Americans. Holy Apostles Episcopal Church in St. Paul, Minn., may have the largest number of Hmong members—700–in the Anglican Communion.
Following worship, at the House of Bishops morning session, we were addressed of Suheil Dawani, Bishop of Jerusalem. Many in Massachusetts will remember him from when he visited us at Diocesan Convention a few years ago. Bishop Dawani informed us of the terrible need for medical services and funding at the Episcopal Arab Hospital in the Gaza strip; the UN has cut all funding due to political pressure from Israel and the US. He also reminded us that Palestinian Christians are the “living stones” of the Holy Land, especially in the mission of the Episcopal Diocese of Jerusalem; they have the unique position for forging a bridge for justice and peace.
Honoring the Hmong people reminded me that we are all sojourners on “this planet Earth, our island home.” When we live and behave as faith in Jesus demands, we too would find ourselves as strangers in a strange land. Then, too, we are the living stones of a bridge of justice and peace.