Latin America’s Episcopal, Anglican churches provide spiritual accompaniment amid COVID-19…

first_img Director of Administration & Finance Atlanta, GA Associate Rector for Family Ministries Anchorage, AK Rector and Chaplain Eugene, OR A boy on a bicycle looks at the construction site for a new cemetery in Guayaquil, Ecuador, on April 23, 2020. Ecuador’s COVID-19 death toll is among the highest in the world. Photo: Santiago Arcos/REUTERS[Episcopal News Service] Every night at 8 p.m., Diocese of Ecuador Litoral Bishop Cristóbal León Lozano prays for Episcopalians in his diocese who have contracted COVID-19. In mid-March, the list included just four names, but by Holy Week, the list spanned seven pages. He also keeps a separate prayer list for families in need of health services and protection.“The fear is real; we all feel death is around us,” Lozano told Episcopal News Service. “Our clergy are coping with the emotional toll of everyone around them. This is why we meet virtually every day; we pray, talk and cry if we need it.”In early April, shocking images went viral of corpses left on the streets in Guayaquil, a port city southwest of Ecuador’s capital Quito. The images depicted a perfect storm: In late March, the government imposed a strict 15-hour curfew limiting citizens’ mobility; the state’s health care system collapsed with rising infection rates; and its morgues and mortuaries exceeded capacity, forcing families to live alongside the bodies of those who’d died at home.Like their counterparts worldwide, The Episcopal Church’s Latin America-based Province IX dioceses have moved much of their pastoral work online and have continued some in-person outreach to their communities despite government-imposed lockdowns, but the situation in Guayaquil has laid bare a system in collapse.“It is hard to trust the official death toll because people are dying at home,” Lozano said, adding that the health care system’s collapse makes the actual numbers and cause of death difficult to certify, and that the risks associated with family members caring for infected patients at home has intensified the virus’ spread. “The risk of contracting the virus on the streets is now higher,” he said.As of April 30, Ecuador’s public health ministry reported 24,258 coronavirus cases, with 20,103 patients being treated at home. The official death count stands at 871, though that number is predicted to be much higher. Brazil reports the highest number of cases, 71,886, in Latin America, followed by Peru at 31,190, according to the World Health Organization. The Dominican Republic has reported 6,652 cases; Colombia, 5,949; Cuba, 1,467 cases; Puerto Rico, 1,433; and Honduras, 738.The Episcopal Church’s seven Province IX dioceses cover the U.S. territory of Puerto Rico and five countries in Latin America and the Caribbean: the Dominican Republic, Honduras, Venezuela, Ecuador and Colombia. The province’s bishops meet online weekly to share information about what’s happening in their dioceses and their countries, and to offer support to one another.“We all are having a tough time,” Puerto Rico Bishop Rafael Morales, who also serves as the province’s president, told ENS. “I personally even had to celebrate a funeral by phone the other day, but our brothers and sisters in Ecuador are off the charts. They have our support, and they are in our daily prayers.”Amid the chaos and despair, the church’s call is to offer spiritual and emotional support, which is a challenge while being under lockdown. Still, the creativity shown by clergy and laity to maintain a sense of community using online tools has impressed the Rev. Glenda McQueen, The Episcopal Church’s partnership officer for Latin America and the Caribbean.“We went from asking what to do if the temples should remain closed to confirming that we all are the church. We are a community no matter where each person is, and technology is keeping us connected,” McQueen said.Like many Episcopal churches, the Latin America-based churches are livestreaming Sunday Eucharist and keeping in touch via Facebook, WhatsApp and other messaging apps to maintain connection and pray for one another at a distance.“We have had to reinvent ourselves. We have put all our effort and heart into working with technology, but that heart is beating hard in the lives of our communities,” Morales said.Episcopal and Anglican dioceses in Panama, El Salvador, Colombia, and Ecuador confirmed to ENS that they are using online platforms to be in touch with their parishioners. However, in dioceses like Venezuela, where internet access is limited and where the country has been undergoing a dramatic political crisis for years, the challenge is harder.Coromoto Salazar, a member of the Diocese of Venezuela’s Standing Committee, said clergy are working around unstable internet connections by recording sermons and prayers and sending the audio files to parishioners via WhatsApp and using landlines to stay connected to elderly, less technologically nimble parishioners who may be isolated and alone.“We make [landline] calls to check on people. We have chat groups. We are doing everything to feel that we are in this together. A large group of our parishioners are elderly, so they are at high risk of contagion and some of them live alone,” Salazar said.The standing committee also approved a stipend for struggling clergy, she said.In the Diocese of Honduras, where in rural areas access to computers and the internet is scarce, smartphones have allowed churches to maintain connection, and even some training programs have carried on via WhatsApp, Bishop Lloyd Allen said.The diocese is also working to support its clergy who are struggling financially, and then there are the diocese’s own financial concerns. “We might only survive like this for two more months,” Allen told ENS.In Colombia, the government’s quarantine allowed churches to continue providing social assistance in their communities, and the diocese has been able to continue operating some of its parish-based feeding programs, said Colombia Bishop Francisco Duque Gómez.The diocese has focused its food pantry program on meeting the needs of the elderly; people ages 70 and older have been told not to leave their homes under the South American nation’s quarantine regulations. The diocese is also participating with others to feed Venezuelan migrants who are returning to their home country because of the lockdown, which prevents them from working and feeding themselves and their families. Venezuela has been suffering from an ongoing political and socioeconomic crisis over the last decade, with its residents fleeing to neighboring countries for work and protection. Moreover, migrants and asylum-seekers have fled poor economic and security situations throughout the Americas, but particularly Central America’s Northern Triangle – El Salvador, Guatemala and Honduras.Episcopal churches in Latin America also maintain close contact with the Anglican-Episcopal churches that form the Anglican Province of Central America.In El Salvador, the Anglican diocese and the Episcopal-affiliated organization Cristosal are working to protect citizens’ constitutional rights. El Salvador’s government moved quickly to contain the virus’ spread by imposing strict quarantine measures and temporarily suspending citizens’ constitutional rights, which international human rights organizations have criticized as an abuse of power.“As a church, we are watching that the government guarantees that the restrictions imposed do not violate human rights,” El Salvador Bishop David Alvarado said.The Diocese of El Salvador has a long history of defending human rights, going to back to the country’s civil war. Cristosal, a leading human rights organization in the region that was born out of the Salvadoran church’s longstanding connection with U.S. Episcopalians, continues to defend human rights and respond to forced displacement in the region.In the long term, bishops are bracing for high levels of unemployment, food scarcity and other public health emergencies, while trying to be present and prepare for the future.“This will pass, and then we will have a lot of work to do. Being under lockdown must help us to grow and to be ready for the next stage,” said Morales, the bishop of Puerto Rico. “We are celebrating Easter these days; may God pass by our lives and makes us stronger to keep moving forward with his protection.”– Clara Villatoro is a freelance journalist based in San Salvador, El Salvador. She has previously written about the Anglican and Episcopal churches in Latin America for Episcopal News Service. Lynette Wilson is managing editor of Episcopal News Service. Latin America’s Episcopal, Anglican churches provide spiritual accompaniment amid COVID-19 pandemic Rector Shreveport, LA Priest-in-Charge Lebanon, OH Remember Holy Land Christians on Jerusalem Sunday, June 20 American Friends of the Episcopal Diocese of Jerusalem Assistant/Associate Priest Scottsdale, AZ Youth Minister Lorton, VA Virtual Celebration of the Jerusalem Princess Basma Center Zoom Conversation June 19 @ 12 p.m. ET Join the Episcopal Diocese of Texas in Celebrating the Pauli Murray Feast Online Worship Service June 27 This Summer’s Anti-Racism Training Online Course (Diocese of New Jersey) June 18-July 16 Rector Belleville, IL Rector Pittsburgh, PA Inaugural Diocesan Feast Day Celebrating Juneteenth San Francisco, CA (and livestream) June 19 @ 2 p.m. PT Assistant/Associate Rector Washington, DC Curate Diocese of Nebraska By Clara Villatoro and Lynette Wilson Posted May 1, 2020 Rector Tampa, FL Rector/Priest in Charge (PT) Lisbon, ME Episcopal Charities of the Diocese of New York Hires Reverend Kevin W. 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Study suggests antibodies may offer protection against tuberculosis

first_imgAntibodies are one of the body’s first lines of defense against infection, but their role in tuberculosis (TB) has gone largely unstudied. Now, by harnessing a unique technology for rapidly analyzing human antibodies, a team of researchers led by Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health and the Ragon Institute of MGH, MIT, and Harvard University has uncovered key differences in antibodies isolated from different groups of TB patients—findings that could spur new diagnostic tools and open a new scientific path towards an effective TB vaccine.“Our work shatters some long-standing paradigms on TB,” explains co-senior author Sarah Fortune, professor of immunology and infectious diseases at Harvard Chan School and director of TB research at the Ragon Institute. “That means we’ll need to think differently about how the body develops natural immunity to the infection and how effective vaccines should be engineered.”About a third of the world’s population carries the bacteria that cause TB, known as Mycobacterium tuberculosis or Mtb. In 2014, nearly 10 million people worldwide became newly infected with Mtb and 1.5 million died. Although there are drugs that can treat the infection, drug-resistance is a pervasive problem and the most potent tool for long-term TB control—a vaccine—remains an elusive goal.Fortune and her colleagues set out to answer a couple simple questions about antibodies in TB: First, are they different in people who are actively sick with TB versus those who can control the infection? Read Full Storylast_img read more

Murray hopes to be fit enough by next year to play Federer, Nadal

first_imgRelatedPosts Nadal stunned by Schwartzman in Italian Open quarter-finals, Djokovic survives Koepfer Federer pays surprise visit to rooftop tennis girls Murray says players need assurance on quarantine issues before US Open Former world number one, Andy Murray, said he still needs four or five months to play top-level tennis, so that he can again take on old rivals Roger Federer and Rafa Nadal after career-saving hip surgery earlier this year. The 32-year-old is regaining his fitness after a hip resurfacing procedure in January, and late last month recorded the first two victories of his singles comeback at the Rafa Nadal Open Challenger tournament in Mallorca before making a third-round exit. Briton Murray, who has dropped to 415 in the world rankings, will next compete in Zhuhai, Beijing and Shanghai in the Asian swing of the ATP tour this year. But the three-time major winner thinks that it will be 2020 before he is “maybe” able to face the challenge of playing Federer or Nadal. “For years… I competed against them, although I haven’t won every time. I’ve lost more than I’ve won, but I always went out onto court feeling I could win,” Murray told Sky Sports. He added: “I don’t know if I’d enjoy going out on court against them knowing I’m going to lose or feeling like I had no chance. That would probably be psychologically challenging… I need to be patient and not expect too much too soon. “But maybe in four or five months, I can get there. In terms of how I’m hitting the ball in practice… the skill is still there. I physically need to get a little better and hopefully over time I get a little bit faster… I think I will.” Murray is hopeful of being picked in Britain’s Davis Cup team for the November 18-24 Finals in Madrid, adding he would be happy playing only doubles if necessary. “If I’m selected I’ll play. I don’t want to play or be selected just because four years ago I played really well,” Murray, who guided Britain to the title in 2015, added. He added: “I’d like to help and be in the team and play singles, but if I was asked to play doubles I’d probably do that.”Tags: Andy MurrayRafa NadalRoger Federerlast_img read more

Morrison injury frustrates Allardyce

first_img Press Association A move to fellow Barclays Premier League strugglers Fulham in January failed to materialise and Allardyce had to refute claims Morrison had threatened to strike to force through a deal. Now a loan move to a Sky Bet Championship side appears to be a distinct possibility, with QPR keen and with Allardyce frustrated at how long Morrison’s injury has kept him on the sidelines. “Listening to our medical staff, there is no problem that he can carry on – not at all,” he said. “He says he feels it occasionally. Instead of gritting your teeth and getting on with it… he’s not the type. “Lots and lots of players throughout the country will be playing with a similar type of injury that the medical team say ‘you can carry on, it’s not a problem’.” Back-to-back wins have seen the Hammers move up to 15th in the Barclays Premier League after a dismal couple of months, with Allardyce left bemoaning a fall in impact from former Manchester United youngster Morrison. “Some come, rise to the occasion and then don’t realise how far they have risen, then all of a sudden when they start realising where they have gone that can be a little bit of a problem,” he added. “I think that overall anybody under 21 playing in the Premier League on a regular basis finds it very difficult eventually. I think probably (Manchester United winger) Adnan Januzaj is the one who has played more. Luke Shaw would probably be the other one at Southampton. Morrison, 21, was a key performer for the Hammers earlier in the season, even as the team struggled to get their campaign up and running. His form led to England Under-21 recognition but injuries, a slump in performances and the return to fitness of a number of West Ham’s key players have seen Morrison’s path back into the first-team fold restricted. West Ham manager Sam Allardyce feels Ravel Morrison could have played through his recent groin injury – with the midfielder set to be shipped out on loan. “You have a lot of other players that are challenging his (Morrison’s) position and doing a better job than him. I’m always disappointed if no-one gives me selection problems. “I like the fact that you have to see how players deal with being left out – are they going to be professional or unprofessional about it? “I’m not talking about Rav as an individual, but everybody, because some players won’t even get on the bench shortly. It will be interesting for me to see their professionalism and determination to react the right way, or (whether) they go away and sulk.” Allardyce refused to answer any further questions on Morrison at his press conference on Monday morning, with rumours surfacing shortly afterwards that Morrison was set to move away on a temporary basis. QPR boss Harry Redknapp told Sky Sports News after his side’s loss to Derby: “It’s a possibility, I’ve been trying to speak to Sam. I think he’d like to come and if they want to loan him, we’re here.” Morrison will not form part of the West Ham squad that will entertain Norwich on Tuesday evening looking to strengthen their chances of survival with a third successive league victory. Andy Carroll will also be missing as he serves the second of a three-game ban but Allardyce will be able to call on Joe Cole and Mohamed Diame after the midfield duo returned from injury. last_img read more

Dodgers left-hander Brett Anderson has been healthy through first month

first_imgBut the one area that Anderson has been steady has been his health.VIDEO: Watch Dodgers manager Don Mattingly talk about Brett Anderson’s healthy April“He’s been that, that’s for sure,” Dodgers manager Don Mattingly said. “That’s encouraging probably for him and for us. It’s been a normal spring training, normal like any other pitcher. I know he’s had injuries in the past, but it’s been a really clean spring training.“In the season, he’s been throwing regular ‘pens and doing regular work. He’s not been on the rehab table. It’s been good.”Anderson has been plagued by injuries throughout his career, including a UCL tear and ensuing Tommy John surgery (a la Brandon McCarthy). He also has experienced a stress fracture in his foot and a broken finger after being hit by a pitch last season. In fact, his season ended last season after undergoing surgery for a bulging disc in his back.“I did a bunch of rehab stuff with my back,” Anderson said. “I did a lot of proactive stuff to keep everything healthy and a ton of Vitamin D to keep my bones from breaking hopefully.“My training wasn’t focused to one part of my body. It was more total body and making sure everything was as healthy as I could possible be. And I feel good.” Injury roll callDodgers closer Kenley Jansen began a rehab assignment Friday night at single-A Rancho Cucamonga, recording a scoreless inning with one strikeout. He threw 10 more pitches in the bullpen following his inning and is schedule to take the mound again today against Inland Empire. Jansen has missed the entire start of the season due to offseason foot surgery.Mattingly said Hyun-Jin Ryu would begin throwing to live hitters on the upcoming roadtrip, but did not specify whether that would come in the four-game series against Milwaukee or a three-game set against Colorado.Mattingly also reiterated that Yasiel Puig will begin a rehabilitation assignment this week, but once again declined to provide when and where.Around the hornDodgers third baseman Juan Uribe sat for the third consecutive game despite being in the midst of an 11-game hitting streak, and Mattingly said it was “nothing physical.” …. Mattingly, on rookie Joc Pederson hitting a grand slam after teammates switched his walkup song to Hanson’s “MMMBop” song: “I would use that music again. If you hit a grand slam, you take it back up there with you.” … Saturday marked the three-year anniversary of the Guggenheim Group officially taking ownership of the Dodgers with a group that includes controlling partner Mark Walter and owners Magic Johnson, Todd Boehly, Peter Guber, Bobby Patton and Dodgers President and CEO Stan Kasten.VIDEO: Watch Don Mattingly react to Joc Pederson hitting a grand slam to the walkup song of “MMMBop” by Hanson. Newsroom GuidelinesNews TipsContact UsReport an Error While Anderson is still searching for consistency, his injury-free April is noteworthy for an organization whose pitching depth has been tested in the first month.Dare we say Anderson has been beacon of health?“That’s the first time that’s ever been said, but I’ll take it,” Anderson said. “Obviously the results could be a little better and I’d like to pitch deeper into ballgames. But as far as being able to go out and pitch, I’ve been happy with that aspect.“I feel good. I feel healthy. The velocity and everything else will hopefully come later as the season progresses.”Anderson is scheduled to take the mound for the Dodgers in today’s series finale against the Diamondbacks and starter Chase Anderson (no relation), and Brett Anderson is hoping for quality and length. Anderson has pitched past the fifth inning just once. He is 1-1 with a 5.49 ERA, 11 strikeouts and four walks in 19.6 innings with a high 1.53 WHIP (walks plus hits divided by innings pitched). center_img It was a bold and ambitious move, part of a aggressive offseason for the Dodgers’ revamped front office.The decision to sign oft-injured left-hander Brett Anderson to a one-year, $10 million contract despite a slew of injuries and ailments certainly was the kind of high-risk signing that could have a major payout or blow up in their faces.The 26-year-old left-hander has been effective when healthy, but had not pitched more than 100 innings in the regular season since 2010.Yet through the first month of the season, Anderson’s health has held up.last_img read more