As missioner for Episcopal Asiamerica Ministries, I wish you all a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year. Despite all its challenges, the Year 2011 brought tremendous blessings to us. All the ethnic convocations have met to plan their activities and their representatives have gathered to share best practices and strategize for the future. I am grateful to Jim Kodera+ for serving as EAM Council president from 2009 to 2011 and I pray for Bayani Rico+ who now carries the torch of leadership for the future.
The Chinese Convocation developed their E-Newsletter as an avenue for regular communication. The Korean Convocation started three new ministries in three dioceses: Washington DC, Hawaii and Maryland. The Filipino Convocation continues to grow in numbers with its Las Vegas congregation receiving a grant from Domestic Missionary partnership for expansion. The Japanese Convocation is experiencing a new revitalization. The Southeast Asian Convocation has lifted up Toua Vang as the first Hmong seminarian and a Vietnamese mission has just become a full-pledged parish. The South Asian Convocation is renewing ties with Church of South India, Church of North India and Mar Thoma Church..
The diocesan EAM Commission of California held its first regional EAM Consultation (2011); to be followed by the EAM Commission of Long Island (2012). The EAM partnership with Episcopal Divinity School towards a Doctor of Ministry program from the global perspective of Asian Episcopalian will begin on June 2012. The EAM Young Adults are being reactivated and an EAM Youth Camp on Summer 2012 is being organized by Holy Apostles' Parish in Minnesota
The EAM Network has become more than just a sounding board for ministry and resources. It has become a prayer group, a support group, a Barnabas (encourager) group. We have become a spiritual community, a web of relationships of Asians and Asian Americans, bearing connectedness to our historical past and the homelands we left behind and navigating the challenge of assimilating into the culture we find ourselves. The burden becomes bearable and the struggle endurable because these are lived in the context of collegiality, community and solidarity. The collaboration in mission finds its fulfillment in the confluence of diversity: Asians, Black, Latino/Hispanic, Native American and the Anglo-European communities of the Episcopal Church. We are all streams of water flowing into the ocean of God’s loving embrace.
The Christmas manger is the place where all our journeys really started. The birth of Jesus, the Holy Child, was the first step of that arduous mission to reconcile the world and each other to God. The passion and crucifixion of Christ brought the final touches in the divine masterpiece called the incarnation. The resurrection brings forth the promise of a new and abundant on earth and eternal life in the heavens. Eternity was already signed, sealed and delivered into the hearts of those who believe.
“We shall never cease from exploring,” wrote the poet T. S. Elliot,” and the end of all our exploring is to arrive to where we started and know the place for the first time.” On this Christmas season, let us arrive to where we have begun and know the manger for the first time. With faith, hope and love, love, love.
The Rev. Dr. Winfred B. Vergara
Episcopal Asiamerica Ministry
The Episcopal Church Center