Church News: Spring 2017

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The Dakota Indians managed in their own fashion to fit the values of their old traditions and rituals into Christianity.

The Niobrara Convocation served the same social function as the old Sun Dance, when friends and relatives came together in the summer from all directions.

The convocation custom of the Indians from the different reservations camping together was not unlike the traditional spots held in the camp circle by the various tribes.

From That They May Have Life, by Virginia Driving Hawk Sneve, page 10


The first Convocation was held on October 5-6, 1870, at Santee, Nebraska.

Bishop Clarkson of Nebraska and Dakota issued a call to the clergy of the Dakota field for a meeting to be held for the purpose of organizing an Indian Missionary Convocation.

Each chapel was to be represented by two lay delegates.

The Niobrara Convocation grew to be a loved and much looked forward to annual event in South Dakota. Non-Indian Episcopalians and persons from other denominations, as well as government officials and even President Calvin Coolidge visited. The gathering was frequently honored by visitations of numerous Presiding Bishops.

Only three times in its history did the Niobrara Convocation not convene: in 1876, because of Bishop Hare’s poor health; in 1901, because of the danger of small-pox contagion; and 1945, because of conditions during World War II when gas and tire rationing and enforced slower speed limits made travel difficult.

From That They May Have Life, by Virginia Driving Hawk Sneve, page 78


Hotels for Niobrara Convocation:
Prairie Wind Casino 605-867-6300
45.2 miles from Christ Church Red Shirt Table


Rapid City Hotels

43 miles from Christ Church Red Shirt Table
Singing Horse Bed & Breakfast

Hospitality Checks can be made out to

Christ Church, Red Shirt Table
PO Box 403 Hermosa, SD 57744
Note in the memo: 2017 Niobrara Convocation


Resolutions to Diocesan Convention

All Resolutions to Diocesan Convention are to be submitted in writing to the Committee on Resolu-tions through the Diocesan Office. They should be clearly typed. The committee requests that resolu-tions do not begin with “whereas” but simply state the resolution, followed by the explanation and rationale. The “whereas” is not part of the resolu-tion. This format for resolutions allows for greater clarity as to what the resolution is attempting to communicate.


Resolutions should take the following form. 

Submitted by (name of individual, church, or deanery).

RESOLVED, that the One Hundred Thirty-third Convention of the Diocese of South Dakota (state the resolution).

RESOLVED (Further resolves may also be stated).

Explanation:  (This is where informative material and rationale for the resolution is inserted. It is used in place of “whereas”)  

Impact on Budget: (This is where an estimate of costs is placed and suggestions for funding)

***The deadline for submitting resolutions generated before the pre-Convention deanery meeting is one week before those meetings and the deadline for submitting resolutions generated at pre-Convention deanery meetings is no later than the Friday following those meetings.   

According to Rules of Order, Rule number 6.1

No proposed resolution may be submitted for consideration after the close of the first plenary session. All proposed resolutions shall be referred to a Convention committee by the Chair, in consultation with the Dis-patch of Business Committee. Such reference may be appealed in the same manner as a procedural decision of the chair.

There must be an opportunity for a hearing on any resolution, other than a courtesy resolution, before it will be brought before the whole body of the convention.

2017 Diocesan Convention Positions Open

Diocesan Convention will be held September 29 & 30, 2017 at the Ramkota Hotel in Pierre.

It is the usual course of business for delegates to vote on nominees to fill various positions. This year the following positions will be open for a 4 year term:

Standing Committee—1 lay person

Standing Committee—1 clergy (priest or deacon)

Convention Representative to the Diocesan Council

Convention Representative is a person elected by the body of the Convention, who will attend Diocesan Council meetings giving voice, vote and representation on behalf of the convention

Standing Committee

With a Bishop in charge of the Diocese, the Standing Committee shall be the Bishop’s Council of Advice. When the Diocese is without a Bishop…the Standing Committee of the diocese shall be the Ecclesiastical Authority as provided by the General Convention Constitution and Canons. The Standing Committee also plays a part in the ordination process and deals with certain property issues.

The Standing Committee consists of eight members, and election shall be made by the diocesan convention for a term of four years. Members are entitled to election for two terms. The Standing Committee meets 3-4 times a year, or as needed.

A member of Standing Committee is a voting delegate to Annual Convention. A member of Standing Commit-tee is also a member of the Title IV Ecclesiastical Disciplinary Board.

The nomination form is posted on the diocesan website by clicking this link.

Book Review: Raising a Child with Autism

by Pat Tarrant

Fr. Timothy Fountain has written a wonderful book, RAISING a CHILD with AUTISM.This is a must read for everyone!! The book is amazing, the writing is phenomenal. Each chapter is divided into three parts, each is connected to “gardening or growing something.” The book is like a meditation and it does not just relate to raising a child with autism, it can apply to any difficulty one might go through. It even just relates to life itself.

I LOVED this book and have given it to many people. The depth of this small book will truly amaze you. Enjoy the journey!

Upcoming Events


It is time for our United Thank Offering Spring Ingathering. Please make your collections in early May and have your contributions mailed to-

The Diocese of South Dakota
c/o Randy Barnhardt
408 Jefferson Ave.
Pierre, SD 57501-2626

Our diocesan UTO coordinator, Lisa Kautz, will be there with us at the annual Spring meeting May 6, 11 a.m. Trinity

Pierre. We will have UTO supplies available for you to replenish if needed.

The annual spring meeting for all Episcopal Church Women will be May 6 at Trinity Church in Pierre at 11 a.m. Central time.

I hope to see as many women as possible there. We will be selecting our honored woman for the year. I hope several of our faithful will be nominated.

We will also be choosing our annual project. Please, if you have any ideas for this, bring your ideas to the meeting.

I will be attending the conference in Casper April 28-30 featuring Becca Stevens from Thistle Farms and will relay to you my experience there.

Don’t forget the ECW scholarship application is due, July 31st.

There are so many exciting things happening with and for the Episcopal women.

Please be part of it.

See you there.

ECW President,
Diana Regan

Dakota Experience

Though technically not a part of the Niobrara School for Ministry, Dakota Experience is an educational course open to anyone interested in the culture, history, spirituality, and theology of the Dakota/Lakota people.

It is required for people in the ordination process and for clergy new to the diocese.

Cost is $30 which covers 2 meals. The session begins at 5:30 pm on Friday with supper, and ends about 2:00 pm on Saturday, after lunch.

2017 Dates

• Fall (East): Calvary Cathedral, Sioux Falls
November 10 & 11, 2017

• Spring (West): 2018 Dates will be available at a later date. Emmanuel Church, Rapid City

To register for any of these courses, contact the Diocesan Office.

Registration is also available online by clicking here

Questions? Contact Archdeacon Paul Sneve

St. Paul’s, Brookings will be celebrating their 100th Birthday Celebration and will be the featured church. Start thinking about how many Church Kalendars your churches will need in 2018. Workshop titles and a brief description will be in the next Church News. If you have a suggestion on a topic please contact me (Marlys). 

Guess Who

What a great group of clergy. Please help identify the clergy in this picture.

Do you recognize anyone in this picture? Email your thoughts (

Row 1: 5th person in Bishop Gesner, 6th person in from the left is Fr. Vine Deloria Sr.
Row 2: Second in from the left maybe Fr. John Lurvey?
Row 3: 5th person in from the left Fr. Noah Brokenleg, Last person in this row Bishop Harold Jones?
Row 4: Very back Fr. Richard Miller second from the left ,10th in from the left Bishop Walter Jones.

 Thank you Fr. Chris Roussell, Emmanuel, Rapid City for finding and sharing this piece of history.

 Thank you Fr. Chris Roussell, Emmanuel, Rapid City for finding and sharing this piece of history.

What is BCU?

The Brotherhood of Christian Unity (BCU) was started by three young Dakota Yankton’s in 1873. Their primary goal was to teach their members to become planters. This was at a time when the Native American people were being confined to a local area called reservations. They had been nomadic people and were never in one place long enough to plant and harvest crops, as they followed the buffalo herd and other game to obtain their food source.

Having to adapt to a new way of life was hard on the elder men, so three young men, Phillip Deloria, 19; David Tatiyopa, 21; and Felix Bronut, 20 began to do planting & cultivating of crops, teaching others, who were interested. Its first name was the Planting Society, in Dakota, Wozu-omnicia. About ten years later it was changed to Brotherhood of Christian Unity.

At the time of placing the Native Americans onto reservations by the government, different denominations began to come to these reservations to convert them to Christianity. These younger people who were part of this new “Society” began to develop a following. While adapting to the planting, stationary vs. nomadic, way of life and Christianity these young men started this society. Their purpose was: to “Oppose what is evil and help what is good”, to work for the church, and give assistance to the old and widowed.

The initial society consisted of only males in good standing with the church and was nondenominational. By 1940 it consisted of primarily Episcopalians, but in the 1960’s it returned to its nondenominational roots. As time elapsed a women’s group was formed with their own officers and were a subgroup to BCU. Over the years, the women’s group became full members of BCU and today BCU includes everyone, not just Native American.

The main focus of BCU started as planters, then in the 30’s and 40’s they put their focus on helping fund the 3 schools for Native American children. St. Mary’s for girls in Springfield, Hare School for boys in Mission and St. Elizabeth’s for co-ed K-12 in Wakpala—all in South Dakota. In the 2000 era the focus was on the youth. Thunderhead Episcopal Camp has become BCU’s main focus for the past 25 years, plus helping with projects and construction for the elderly and others who need help.

BCU is a 501.c.3 tax exempt organization and we rely on donations to assist us in purchasing materials and equipment so we can do projects that make people’s lives better.

We hold monthly meetings on the 4th Saturday of each month at 11:00 am in the Deloria Center on Sully Avenue in Pierre, SD. We start with a meal (free) and continue with prayer, singing and business.

Some of the projects we have done these past 3.5 years through our group which meets in Pierre are: TEC work weekends – this included insulating and installing OSB interior walls in all the cabins; installing metal roofs on all TEC buildings; built a ramp for an elder; built a covering on a dangerous basement for an elder; finished a covering over a shed for an elder; installed a metal roof on a church; did electrical trouble shooting and fixed a ceiling in a church; replaced sheetrock and painted rectory water damage; cleaned cemeteries; held a gospel music concert for the public; held a carnival for the youth; gave a pizza party for our youth at Pierre Indian Learning Center (PILC); we have put together “survival” packages for the homeless, three times over the past year; and other projects to touch those in need.

We rely on our membership for donation of their time, travel expenses, food for the meals, and money for items for the homeless and we have a very dedicated group. We welcome new members and monetary donations so we can continue to be a beacon of hope to many throughout South Dakota and beyond.

* Taken from document written by The Venerable Vine Deloria, Sr. The full document can be found on here.

Around the Diocese

Greetings to All,

Easter offers a unique opportunity for all South Dakota Episcopalian’s to think outside our own church or chapel and really try to learn more; such as:

1) What is the difference between a parish and a mission church?

2) Name the city or cities that have the most Episcopal churches?

3) There are nine Indian reservations in South Dakota. Can you name the mission churches and chapels on each reservation?

4) Do these congregations receive the sacrament of Holy Communion once, twice, three, or four times each month?

5) How many clergy serve all the reservations?

6) Approximately how many miles does our Bishop John travel per year to visit his flock?

Perhaps we cannot gather all the answers during this Easter season, or maybe this will make us thirst for more information about our fellow Episcopalians, in this great and unique state of South Dakota. Let us prayerfully make an effort to learn and digest a small amount of knowledge each day about our cultures.


In God’s Love,
Lois Howe
Emmanuel Church
Rapid City

Does your Parish or Mission need new prayer books?

It is probably a rare thing to be told that your parish might be eligible for a gift – a gift that is actually useful and which is backed up by a promise that has been kept since 1833.

It was in that year Bishop William White founded the Prayer Book Society which today bears his name.

Through the years the Bishop White Prayer Book Society has made possible the provision of Prayer Books and Hymnals (and their supplements) to parishes and missions that could not afford them.

Our website has more information about the application process.

Can we be of help to your parish?
The Rev. Mark Ainsworth,
Corresponding Secretary

Disaster Relief

Help, we’ve had a tornado, our river/stream or creek has flooded…. what do we do now, where do we go for help, how can we fix this????

The Episcopal church is trying to complete their Asset Mapping project. This project is designed to give individual churches and their members information on projects they would like to start or help with issues they are having with a current project.

Please go to this video link. Watch and find out how simple it is to fill out the Asset map.

By filling out this map we hope to make more information easily accessible to people. Information such as

How do I contact my county or tribal Emergency Response Manager?

Where and who are my nearest Red Cross contacts?

What is my churches plan if a tornado would strike in my community?

OR maybe you would like to start a soup kitchen in your community? Or a community garden, What about a community recycling collection center.

Where would you need to start? Does my project require more volunteers and money than we have available? Maybe someone has already started a project like this in a small community, in another state. Or maybe you didn’t know another church here in SD has started a similar project already. How did they start their program? What have they learned? What would they do differently? Can I help someone start a project? Would my experience help others? Let’s help build the asset map and lets see all the good we can achieve throughout the Diocese.



The Most Rev. Michael Bruce Curry: Guest Preacher at Niobrara Convocation

The Most Rev. Michael Bruce Curry, 27th Presiding bishop of the Episcopal Church

The Most Reverend Michael Bruce Curry was installed as the 27th Presiding Bishop and Primate of The Episcopal Church on November 1, 2015.  He was elected and confirmed at the 78th General Convention of The Episcopal Church in Salt Lake City, UT, on June 27, 2015. He is the Chief Pastor and serves as President and Chief Executive Officer of the Domestic and Foreign Missionary Society and chair of the Executive Council of The Episcopal Church.  

Born in Chicago, IL, on March 13, 1953, Presiding Bishop Curry attended public schools in Buffalo, NY, and was graduated with high honors from Hobart College in Geneva, NY, in 1975. He received a Master of Divinity degree in 1978 from Yale University Divinity School in New Haven, CT. He has furthered his education with continued study at The College of Preachers, Princeton Theological Seminary, Wake Forest University, the Ecumenical Institute at St. Mary's Seminary, and the Institute of Christian Jewish Studies.

Presiding Bishop Curry was ordained to the diaconate in June 1978, at St. Paul's Cathedral, Buffalo, NY, by the Rt. Rev. Harold B. Robinson and to the priesthood in December 1978, at St. Stephen's, Winston-Salem, NC, by the Rt. Rev. John M. Burgess. He began his ministry as deacon-in-charge at St. Stephen's, Winston-Salem, in 1978 and was rector from 1979-1982. He next accepted a call as rector at St. Simon of Cyrene, Lincoln Heights, OH, serving from 1982-1988. In 1988 he was called to became rector of St. James', Baltimore, MD, where he served until his election as the 11th Bishop of the Episcopal Diocese of North Carolina in February2000.

Throughout his ministry, Presiding Bishop Curry has been active in issues of social justice, speaking out on immigration policy and marriage equality.

In his three parish ministries in North Carolina, Ohio, and Maryland, Presiding Bishop Curry had extensive involvement in Crisis Control Ministry, the founding of ecumenical summer day camps for children, preaching missions, the Absalom Jones initiative, creation of networks of family day care providers, creation of educational centers, and the brokering of millions of dollars of investment in inner city neighborhoods.

In the Diocese of North Carolina, Presiding Bishop Curry instituted a network of canons, deacons, and youth ministry professionals dedicated to supporting the ministry that happens in local congregations.  He refocused the Diocese on The Episcopal Church’s Millennium Development Goals through a $400,000 campaign to buy malaria nets that saved over 100,000 lives.

Presiding Bishop Curry has served on the boards of a large number of organizations, including the Task Force for Reimagining the Episcopal Church (TREC) and as Chair and now Honorary Chair of Episcopal Relief & Development.  He was a member of the Commission on Ministry in each of the three dioceses where he has served.

Presiding Bishop Curry has a national preaching and teaching ministry, having been featured on The Protestant Hour and as a frequent speaker at conferences around the country.  He has authored numerous publications including columns for the Huffington Post and the Baltimore Times.  His most recent book, Songs My Grandma Sang, was published in June 2015; Crazy Christians:  A Call to Follow Jesus was his first book, in August 2013.  He has received honorary degrees from Episcopal Divinity School, Sewanee, Virginia Theological Seminary, and Yale.

He is married to the former Sharon Clement, and they have two daughters, Rachel and Elizabeth.

Biography from 

Episcopal Church Women Scholarship Applications


Fill out the enclosed application form.

Write a letter describing your educational goals and how the scholarship will help you achieve them. Mail it with the application form to the chair of the scholarship committee at the address below. You may e-mail this also.

Give the recommendation form to your priest, deacon, senior warden, or a longstanding member of your parish or mission, and ask him or her to complete it and send it to the chair at the address below.

Ask one other person not related to you – a member of your parish or mission, or a high school counselor or teacher, or an employer – to write a letter of recommendation for you and have him or her send it to the chair-person at the address below.

Deadline for submission of materials is July 31. Scholarships will be announced in August and will be published in the Fall issue of South Dakota Church News. Scholarship funds will be sent directly to the college or university that you will be attending, to the office that you select. For questions or additional information, please contact:

Sandra Magnavito, M.Ed.
Scholarship Chair, EWC
1305 Kings Road
Rapid City, SD 57702

605-348-1678 (leave a message if there is no answer)

Or e-mail:



What Does Love Look Like?

by Canon David Hussey

She died about two weeks ago. She was young, only in her forties. Her mom, Angela is the housekeeper for a friends church and daycare. Fr. Bill persuaded her to take some time off and stay home. “Don’t worry about your

job” he told her, “everything will be okay.” A couple of days later, Fr. Bill bumped into one of the teachers, who had stayed after school to sweep out the classrooms and clean the bathrooms. She didn’t want to be paid. This was for

Angela and her daughter. She was laying down her life that Angela might have some time for tears, memories, rest and prayers. It was a gift of love.

So often we think that love is all about feelings, sweet words and emotions. Now there’s nothing wrong with those things and they can be a legitimate part of love. We all want to be told that we are loved. We want to feel that warmth, security and tenderness that comes with love. But at some point, love, if it is to be real, must become tangible, shown not only in words and feelings but by actions.

In this case, a teacher armed with a broom, a mop, a bucket and rubber gloves were the signs and means of love. “Little children“ John writes in his first letter, “let us love, not in word or speech, but in truth and action.” (1 John 3:18)

So what does this story have to do with Easter, Resurrection and the Good Shepherd? EVERYTHING. It has everything to do with Easter, Resurrection and the Good Shepherd. God’s love for us and for all of humanity became real in the life, death and resurrection of his Son, our Lord Jesus Christ. Jesus acted out God’s love

for us and for the whole world.

“We know love by this” John tells us, “that he laid down his life for us.” In laying down his life, Jesus chose us. He was not a victim of someone else’s power or agenda. Jesus freely gave his life for us, a choice and a gift that he made because of his love for us. That is what makes Jesus the good shepherd.

The hired hand trades his time for wages, a business transaction, quid pro quo. He may or may not care about the sheep. The good shepherd, however, lives and dies for love of his flock. He knows them and they know him, just as the Father knows him and he knows the Father. The very same relationship that Jesus has with his Father, we can have with Jesus. This relationship of deep knowing, the Hebrew word is Hesed, is one of intimacy and love, between the Father and Jesus and between Jesus and all of humanity. In Jesus we are able to know God’s love.

This intimate love is at the heart of the resurrection and the life that Jesus lived and calls us to live with him. Resurrection is about laying down that kind of love. Four times in John’s Gospel, Jesus says that he lays down his life. Four times he says to us, “I love you,” Four times he describes the pattern for our lives and John’s letter is quite clear: “He laid down his life for us and we ought to lay down our lives for one another.”

For Christ, love is ‘LIVED’ and how we live, is always a choice. It is a choice driven by our recognition of, compassion for and willingness to do something about the life and needs of another human being, another beloved child of God; whether they are in our own family, our church or a total stranger. We cannot claim to believe in Jesus, if we are unwilling to lay down our life for another. If we believe, we will love. If we do not love, then we do not believe.

Our belief in Jesus cannot be separated from how and whom we love. Our belief in Jesus is shown by our laying down our life for another. Even if we never say the name “Jesus” laying down our life for another, shows the world who we follow.

Whenever we lay down our life for another, we proclaim that resurrection is not just an event from the past. In our actions, we tell the world that it is a present reality and not just a good thing to remember. Laying down our life makes

Jesus’ resurrection real. The only reason we can ever lay down our life for another is because Jesus first laid down his life for us. The shepherd never takes his flock somewhere he is unwilling to go. He never asks of his sheep something that he is unwilling to do. Every time we lay down our life for another, we remember Jesus’ death and proclaim his resurrection.

The opportunities for ‘laying down our life kind of love’ are all around us. You don’t have to go far or look too hard. They are the family, friends and co-workers we see every day. They are the folks of our church and our own neighborhood and they are the strangers just passing through. They are the anonymous ones, those without names or faces, the ones that we make reference to when we talk about “Issues” such as poverty, hunger, education or the homeless. The opportunities for laying down our life kind of love are not just circumstances. They are people, like you and me, human beings, created in the image and likeness of God and beloved by Him.

We need only to be present, open our eyes, listen and pay attention to know and where Love asks us to lay down our life for another. The laying down our life kind of love means we will have to change. It is not longer business as usual,

same old - same old. The life and well being of “The Other” now sets our agenda, guides our decisions and determines our actions. If you think about it, that sounds an awful lot like how the Good Shepherd lived and died. Laying down our life is not, however, the end of life. It wasn’t for Jesus, nor will it be for us. Rather, it is the Beginning of a new life, a more authentic life, a life that looks a lot like Jesus’ life. It is the life in and by which, we hear the voice of the Good Shepherd calling our name, to follow him where he leads us.

Camp Remington


Amazing things have been happening during the past winter for Camp Remington.

Late last fall the ECW at Emmanuel Episcopal Church in Rapid City gave a grant of $950.00 to purchase a riding lawn mower for the camp. A grant request was made to the Emmanuel Grants Committee for $2,650.00 to purchase a new storage shed for the riding lawn mower, a grass trimmer and accessories and three new picnic tables. The grant was approved and the items have been purchased and will be in place before the end of May, 2017. Also received was a donation from Streeter and Barbara Shining of Emmanuel for a additional picnic table.

This is great news and greatly appreciated. Last year there was a total of 175 days booked between the three cabins. All ready for this year there are over 152 days booked. The camp is a great resource and is definitely being used. If you have not been to Camp Remington, you should put on your bucket list.

There are still things that need to be done at the camp and opportunities for people to volunteer help or donate funds to keep the camp in repair. Contact the Diocese for any contact information. We are sure that you have heard of Camp Remington but not all may have experienced actually being there. You should at least go once as the serenity and the feeling that God is close by is incredible.

Respectfully, Les Koss


Rustic Cabins In The Black Hills

Owned by the Episcopal Diocese of South Dakota on land leased since 1922 from the Black Hills National Forest.

Located off the Needles Highway (#87): South of Sylvan Lake—3 m. north of Playhouse Road.

3 screened cabins sleeping 4-6 +, each with an outhouse.

Use 1 cabin or more for a minimum donation of $30 per night per cabin.

Provided: beds, mattresses, pots, pans, plates, cups, silverware, propane stove and refrigerator, fireplace. Water can be carried from nearby covered spring.

Bring your own: bedding or sleeping bags, blankets, towels, food and beverages, and lighting – fluorescent lanterns, propane lamps, Coleman lanterns with fuel, etc.

Episcopal services at the quaint Chapel of the Transfiguration.


Call Marlys Fratzke @ 605-494-2020
Check the diocesan website for available dates.


Call Tony Gonsor at 605-673-2205

Creation Care Network News

by Chuck Berry


The Creation Care Network in the diocese, 30 people in 12 congregations, is in its 4th year. Our goal is to being Creation Care thinking into the church liturgy and teaching. Why?

Philosopher and Theologian Thomas Berry said that four institutions influence our thinking: education, government, religion, and business. Government, business, and education have their own messages about how we should use Earth’s resources, but religion has ignored the subject, or worse emphasized man’s dominion over earth and not man’s stewardship of the earth.

Greening of Religion

The “greening of religion” began in the 1970s when church leaders saw connections between the degraded conditions of “God’s Garden” and a human “disease” called “affluenza.” Symptoms were materialism, consumerism, and acquisitive individualism, which affect the human spirit and the environment. The Green Bible (1989) lists six greenthemes:

God made all things, declared them good, Creation covenant; Genesis 9:8; Job 38-39.

God is present in and through Creation. John1:1-5 and Acts 17:24-28

Humanity has an interconnection with God and Creation. Rev 11:15-19 and Psalm 65.

Creation care is an act of social justice toward humanity. Isaiah 58:10; Matt. 25:31.

Creation harmed by human sin; disconnects us from God Numbers 35:33; Romans 8:18

Creation is to be restored in God’s plan for redemption. Isaiah 65:25 and Rev. 21:1.

The Episcopal Church (TEC)

TEC has information to help with Creation Care teaching. A basic document is the House of Bishops Pastoral Teaching and Study guide.

Another basic publication is A Catechism of Creation: An Episcopal Understanding. TEC has 11 short videos/lessons to go with the booklet (on YouTube). See:

The South Dakota Diocese

After several years of trying things and several workshops at convention, the Creation Care Network has a list of seasonal opportunities to include a Creation Care message in Parish affairs. A brief explanation of opportunities for summertime are:

Hold a service in The Natural Cathedral

When we have an outdoors service, we are away from the church buildings and property. In The Natural Cathedral, we still have a church, it is the people and liturgy. Getting away from that purposeful world is an experience of Sabbath. Creation Justice Ministries encourages Christians to seek out quiet places to reconnect with God, renew and refresh themselves for ministry, and rediscover our role as caretakers of God’s creation

Plant a Garden for Food

Faith community gardens are being planted in many church yards these days. Appreciate the wonders of gardening and share local produce to those in need. One good source of information forchurches is:

Landscape for Wildlife

The idea is to demonstrate the wonders of nature while providing habitat for wildlife and minimizing your church’s landscaping pollution and “carbon footprint.” Although your Parish property may be small, the benefits grow when Parishioners, visitors and neighbors learn about and see the benefits of landscaping with ecological goals. St Paul’s in Brookings has had their wildlife landscaping plan certified by the National Wildlife Federation

For more information Contact Chuck Berry

(, St Paul’s Brookings, to join this grass-roots mission, and receive materials handed out at past workshops and quarterly information.

We have a presence on the Diocese web site, and a little-known facebook page


The Alleluia Fund

THE ALLELUIA FUND is a Diocesan offering to grow our Episcopal Church in South Dakota. This fund supports a vision and an opportunity that is beyond the scope of individual congregations.

Gifts to the ALLELUIA FUND enable our Diocese to create new mission and strengthen existing ministries in a way that exceeds our allocated resources. Every year during the Easter Season, the people of our Diocese are invited to join together to support our common ministryand celebrate our lives together in Christ.

THE ALLELUIA FUND is a time to reflect and express our gratitude for our Risen Lord. The focus of the Alleluia Fund is on our relationship with Christ and discerning how we use God’s abundance to advance God’s vision for the world.

For several years now we have designated the Thunderhead Episcopal Camp as the recipient of the Alleluia Fund donations. This is an effort to develop the TEC endowment to ensure this important ministry continues for generation to come.

Each summer a diverse group of campers and staff are brought together for a week of living, working, praying and playing as a community of faith. It is an opportunity to build relationships with people they would otherwise not meet. It is a week of placing God in Christ at the center of all activities. It is a time away; a time for our youth to be present in the beautiful, sacred Black Hills.

The people of our Diocese are blessed. The Alleluia Fund is an opportunity to take part of your blessedness and be a blessing to others. We are called to share our abundance for the welfare of those we serve through our ministries. Together we can do great things. Alleluia! Give Thanks and Praise.

Please send your offering during the Easter Season to

408 N. Jefferson Ave.
Pierre, SD 57501-262

Niobrara School for Ministry

by Bishop John Tarrant


The ‘Ministry Weekend’ courses and ‘Summer Seminary’ are affordable continuing education opportunities for lay and clergy in our Diocese. The courses are expected to be attended by those in the ordination process, but are also intended to be educational opportunities for all. The canons of the Episcopal Church call upon all clergy to participate each year in continuing education. These offerings can meet that requirement.

This year’s Summer Seminary is about “Liturgy Practicum”. This is an opportunity to explore deeper our Episcopal liturgical traditions which are at the heart of who we are as a faith community. We are a people of “common prayer.” The three Episcopal congregations in Rapid City will be hosting different sessions during the week.

I encourage clergy, lay leader and especially those who participate in leading worship to attend. Scholarship help is available for those who have financial need. You don’t need to be ordained or in the ordination process to attend Summer Seminary. Please, consider being part of this learning opportunity.

Bishop John

Niobrara School for Ministry

Niobrara School for Ministry offers courses that supplement the local ordination curriculum, provide continuing education, and give valuable training and experience for licensed lay ministers. Anyone interested is welcome to attend.

Here is the schedule for 2017. You may register for any Niobrara School for Ministry Event here on the website. 

These courses are open to any person interested in enhancing their ministry.

They are required for persons in the local ordination process, unless excused.

Fees (except for Summer Seminary) are $15/day.

Questions? Contact Chris Corbin (605) 881-8153 or




Summer Seminary: Liturgy Practicum

May 21-25, 2017

*Note we are not at TEC this year. Summer Seminary will be held at various locations in Rapid City

This year’s Summer Seminary will approach the various ways in which Christian worship is facilitated, and it will focus not only on the principle services found in the Book of Common Prayer, but also the different ways in which these services are actually acted out, meaning the timing and movements that are part of these services.

These sessions will take place at multiple worship locations in and around Rapid City so that it is possible to see how the worship space helps to inform what style is best utilized. The primary services that will be looked at are: morning and evening prayer, baptism, funerals, the Eucharist, and ordinations.

This year, participants will be staying at Terra Sancta retreat center. An accurate count will be necessary to ensure enough housing, and the cost of Summer Seminary will vary depending upon what type of room you would like ($150 for a shared bathroom and $200 for a private bathroom).

Enrichment Weekend: Self Care/ Community Care (Rescheduled)

August 18 & 19, 2017

Christian leaders are expected to act as servants for the communities they serve, and this often leads to the mistaken sense that they should sacrifice their own personal well-being for the sake of their people. However, not only does completely neglecting personal well-being mean losing sight of the Image of God that is within us all, it also actually makes these leaders less effective servants in the long-term and can harm the communities they serve by setting an unhelpful example of living healthy lives.

This weekend will approach the task of self care through the lens of its importance as a tool for helping improve the health of the communities in which we find ourselves serving.


Church News: Winter 2017

It started in 2012 with a simple phone call—an offer to help with Christmas services. It was a ray of hope when only general chaos ruled my mind, trying to figure out a schedule to get to as many churches as possible as close to Christmas Day on the Cheyenne River Reservation. Not an easy thing to do with ten eager congregations and many rivers to cross.

The generous call came from Mother Mercy and Father David at Trinity, Pierre. So, I chose the congregation closest to them, St. Andrew’s, Cherry Creek. St. Andrew’s is a young and lively congregation, where adults are usually outnumbered by children three-to-one and a crowd of fifty or more gather around a wood stove in a 15’x30’ cement block building. The old Victorian-era frame church burned down long ago, and yet the congregation has continued to meet in the 1940s cook house/guild hall that continues to serve not only as a church, but as a community meeting place, despite the lack of water and an easy source of heat.

The day after Christmas, I received another phone call from Mercy and David, full of gratitude—one of the best Christmas’s ever, they said. Please ask us to go back there!

And I know what they mean. So I did! The energy and enthusiasm of the people of St. Andrews, to gather and pray and celebrate our life in Christ, is an on-going gift and blessing to all who have ever been there. And in the next year and the years since then, the good people of Trinity, Pierre have responded to the call by Mother Mercy to share in that joy by sending Christmas gifts across the Missouri and the Cheyenne to the confluence at Cherry Creek—to the folks who gather at St. Andrew’s to celebrate and pray. (This year, there were so many gifts, I could not carry them all in my little wanna-be-car… not even by putting my husband and dogs all in one seat! I am grateful to Marlys and the Diocese for bringing the remainder up in that busy time just before Christmas!)

And it is a good thing. A holy thing. An act full of tinsel and wrapping paper and light and generosity and joy.

(And who knows—maybe one dark and cold Christmas night, all the good people of Trinity will turn off their lights, leave maps at the door, and make the journey to celebrate the Incarnation of Our Lord face to face (incarnationally!) with those who are gathering around the wood stove alongside the small frozen creek in a now-not-so-forgotten place. I have heard the old stories of folks traveling by horse and cart to that same place, camping out in the snow, eating, laughing, celebrating for days on end, sharing in the true gifts of the Spirit.) So, come! Come, taste and see! The Lord is good! All are welcome to the Supper of Our Lord!

To the good people of God in Trinity, Pierre—from the good people of God in St. Andrew’s, Cherry Creek… THANK YOU! God bless you!

From the Bishop

By the Right Rev. John T. Tarrant

A s I was preparing to celebrate the 150 anniversary of Our Most Merciful Savior Church in Santee Nebraska this past December, I reread parts of Virginia Driving Hawk Sneve’s book, That They May Have Life.

In the telling about the conflict between Samuel Hitman and “other white protestant missionaries at Santee” she quotes from Roy Meyer, History of the Santee Sioux who writes, “a difficulty seems to have arisen between them and it is notorious in the tribe that the missionaries themselves, have of late years, not been upon terms of ordinary civility and courtesy with each other.”

It struck me that this could be a description of the church in recent years. It is expected that at times we will find ourselves in disagreement or conflict, but there is no excuse for not showing “ordinary civility and courtesy” toward each other. In fact, when we allow our disagreements to become rude and disrespectful, at times even vile, we reject Jesus’ commandment to us, “to love one another.” We show ourselves to be no different from the world to which we are called to witness.

Jesus told his disciples, “I give you a new commandment, that you love one another. Just as I have loved you, you also should love one another. By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another.” If we think we are honoring God by our angry and disrespectful comments, letters, emails, FaceBook posts, etc then we ought to reintroduce ourselves to the one we claim to follow who from the cross prayed, “Father, forgive them; for they do not know what they are doing.”

Jesus understood that our greatest witness to the world would be how we loved one another. He tells us, “I say to you that listen, Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you… If you love those who love you, what credit is that to you? For even sinners love those who love them.” Do we hold ourselves to a higher standard than much of the world seems to embrace?

St. Paul tells us that ‘love’ is not the way you feel, but the way you behave. In his letter to the church in Corinth he would write, “Love is patient; love is kind; love is not envious or boastful or arrogant or rude. It does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful; it does not rejoice in wrongdoing, but rejoices in the truth. It bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. Love never ends.

To be a Jesus follower and live the Christian ‘way’ is not an easy road. We will regularly fall short, but I believe it is a path worth following and so I do. I miss the mark far more than I wish I did, but I have learned that the first step toward following Jesus is to understand that there is a ‘mark’ to aim for…

Peter came and said to Jesus, ‘Lord, if another member of the church sins against me, how often should I forgive? As many as seven times?’ Jesus said to him, ‘Not seven times, but, I tell you, seventy-seven times.” Repentance and forgiveness goes hand in hand. Peter well knew that there were times when he was the member of the church that had sinned against another. If we want our faith communities to stand as a light in the midst of the darkness of the principalities and powers of this world then we might follow advice of the 18 century Anglican priest and one of the founders of Methodism John Wesley, who wrote in a sermon, “Though we cannot think alike, may we not love alike? May we not be of one heart, though we are not of one opinion? Without all doubt, we may. Herein all God’s children may unite, not withstanding these smaller differences.

Forgiveness, repentance, patience, kindness, loving friend and enemy alike and even praying for those who persecute us is all part of the ‘way’, the ‘path’ of following Jesus. And this path certainly includes offering ‘ordinary civility and courtesy’ toward each other. Conflicts and disagreement within our world, country, and church are not new. From Peter to John Wesley to our present age we have struggled as people to live in harmony with each other and God. As followers of Jesus we see that struggle worth engaging. The opportunity for the church is to witness to a way of life that moves from being self centered to being God centered; that moves from self righteousness to surrender to God’s love. In short, our opportunity is to live as if we believe what we say.