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Photo: David Paulsen/Episcopal News Service[Episcopal News Service – Shorewood, Minnesota] Within this politically “purple” state, the Rev. Devon Anderson describes her congregation at Trinity Episcopal Church as a “purple parish,” neither red nor blue but with parishioners who bring viewpoints that fall all along the political spectrum.Purple isn’t an easy color for a parish, especially in these increasingly partisan times. Parishioners at the church in Excelsior, Minnesota, where Anderson is rector, had long felt uncomfortable sharing their political views, and some preferred avoiding such topics altogether at church.Today, the parish is embracing its political diversity rather than hiding from it. Several church volunteers proudly sported their Trinity name badges as they helped stage a local candidate event Oct. 16 at a community center in the adjoining city of Shorewood, about five miles north of the convention center in Chaska where the Episcopal Church’s Executive Council is meeting this week.The event, through a partnership with the local chamber of commerce and League of Women Voters branch, was part of Trinity’s effort to turn what could be a liability into an opportunity for promoting open, civil discourse. Anderson sees the congregation as a kind of “incubator” for compassionate dialogue across political divides.“If we have this parish – we care about each other, we celebrate the sacraments together, we’re really focused on building relationships with each other – could we not also use that as a training ground for being out in the community as respectful, kind people?” said Anderson, who is a member of Executive Council.On this Tuesday evening, that plan seemed to be hitting its mark. A roar of conversation filled the South Shore Community Center as dozens of voters met with candidates for office in communities around the Twin Cities’ west suburbs. Signs, buttons, postcards and banners – Tonka Bay mayor, Hennepin County sheriff, Excelsior City Council, Minnesota House of Representatives – decorated all corners of the room, and some candidates placed cookies on the assigned card tables to sweeten their pitches for support.Kelly Morrison, a Trinity Episcopal Church member and state house candidate, talks with a local voter at the Oct. 16 event. Photo: David Paulsen/Episcopal News ServiceOne of the candidates, Kelly Morrison, who is running for a state house seat, is also a member of Trinity. She has been inspired by her church’s efforts to encourage people to talk and listen without prejudging each other based on political beliefs.“I’m a proud Democrat, but I don’t want conversations to end before they begin,” Morrison told Episcopal News Service. “We’re all on the same team.”She also thinks Christian teachings, such as loving your neighbor and welcoming the stranger, help inform Christians’ actions as they enter the public sphere. They’re “what all of this should be about,” Morrison said.Fellow Trinity member Bev Lane, who had volunteered as a greeter at the candidate event, shares that support for the congregation’s efforts.“When you know the people, you understand them,” Lane said. “I think that we have to be more civil. We have to get along, even though we have differing opinions.”Gary Veazie, who works part time as facility manager at Trinity, on this occasion was in charge of setting up refreshments in the community center room. He stood watch over the table of snacks and drinks.“I’m running for doughnuts and water,” Veazie joked.Candidates for local election in the west suburbs of the Twin Cities talk with voters Oct. 16 at the community center in Shorewood. Photo: David Paulsen/Episcopal News ServiceVeazie started attending worship services at Trinity in 1980, and he had high praise for the congregation’s several rectors over the years. Anderson, too, is known for giving a “top-level sermon,” he said – including sermons that draw connections between the Gospel and current events, “which is a hard line to walk.”One particularly difficult sermon in 2016 helped focus the congregation on its civil discourse work.The presidential election left Anderson in a “panic,” she admitted in her sermon that November, not from her own views on the outcome, but because she wasn’t sure how to unify a congregation with such divergent reactions to Donald Trump being elected president.Some parishioners were cheerful, while others were in shock. “How are we going to continue together?” she thought.She found her answer in the very congregation that seemed so divided. “We need church and Christian community more than ever, because within it we can practice the kind of peace and unity we so desire for our country,” Anderson told her congregation.Minnesota narrowly voted for Hillary Clinton in 2016, but the state’s counties are a patchwork of blue and red, with the bluest centered around the metro areas of the Twin Cities, Rochester and Duluth. Hennepin County, home to Minneapolis, went solidly Democratic; however, Anderson said, Excelsior and other west suburbs are more politically diverse and lean more conservative than Minneapolis.Trinity Episcopal Church already had begun encouraging parishioners to be more open about their political views and listen to each other respectfully. An early catalyst was Minnesota’s adoption of a law in 2013 legalizing same-sex marriage in the state.As with other political issues, parishioners’ views on gay marriage varied widely, and “the congregation had never had a conversation about it,” Anderson said. Trinity would need to decide whether it would offer same-sex ceremonies, but first it enlisted a consultant from the University of St. Thomas, located in St. Paul, to coach parishioners as part of the school’s Civil Discourse Lecture Series.“We needed to learn how to create a safe space for people to really be able to express how they felt, and so we learned a methodology for doing that,” Anderson said.After strengthening the congregation’s civil discourse skills, the vestry called an all-parish meeting to discuss offering the sacrament of marriage to all people. Parishioners were encouraged to put their newly developed skills to work as they listened to members sharing their views one at a time. The meeting felt like a liturgical experience, Anderson said, as each speech was followed by a moment of silence and hymn singing.The meeting was well attended and lasted several hours, she said, and when the vestry later voted to offer same-sex ceremonies, it was not the divisive decision it otherwise could have been.“It was a real moment for the parish,” Anderson said. “Because it was like, we can actually do this. We can be diverse in our opinions, in our political opinions, and we can still be a really close worshiping community.”Such an approach worked for Trinity, but it need not end there.“I think this kind of thing should be the leading edge of the Episcopal Church,” said Betty Bright, a vestry member who was volunteering at the candidate meet-and-greet event. “For me, it’s about being open to each person’s heart.”The candidate meet-and-greet event Oct. 16 was hosted jointly by Trinity Episcopal Church and the local chamber of commerce and League of Women Voters branch. Photo: David Paulsen/Episcopal News ServiceFellow vestry member Christopher Williams also attended the event and was pleased by the turnout. Some Episcopalians may attend worship services and just want to hear the Gospel, without talking about how it may apply to contemporary life, he said, but opening paths of conversation across differences can broaden people’s thinking, within the congregation and beyond.“I think it’s great,” Williams said. “I think it adds a lot to any conversation you’re going to have, with anybody about anything.”A small team of volunteers from Trinity had been working to host candidate forums at the church, but they struggled to get candidates to commit, Anderson said. In the meantime, the volunteers turned their focus toward supporting the meet-and-greet event Oct. 16.Monica Wiant, a vestry member and one of the event volunteers, credited Anderson for pressing the congregation not to shy away from conversations just because they may seem uncomfortable. The all-parish meeting on same-sex ceremonies was a big step, she said.“It was just terrific,” Wiant said. “Because not everybody agreed, but there was a lot of mutual support and listening.”Wiant, who described herself as “proudly liberal,” was among those parishioners shocked and unsettled by the presidential election, and she appreciated Anderson’s invitation to come together as a faith community. “The church needs to be a place where we can bring those emotions and work through it,” Wiant said.Whether Republican or Democrat, they are all Christian.“I think spiritually we have a lot of common ground, regardless of how we vote,” Wiant said.– David Paulsen is an editor and reporter for the Episcopal News Service. 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…ailing champions Leicester City beaten 3-0(REUTERS)-Diego Costa returned for Chelsea with deadly effect yesterday, scoring in the 2-0 win over Hull City which increased their lead at the top of the Premier League to eight points after Arsenal had earlier taken up the mantle as their nearest pursuers.The Gunners beat Burnley 2-1 at the Emirates where the real drama came in injury time when each side scored a penalty and Arsene Wenger clashed with the fourth official after being sent off for disputing the first spot-kick.By contrast, the day’s other game seemed routine, with Southampton beating the ailing champions Leicester City 3-0.Chelsea are odds-on to succeed Claudio Ranieri’s side as victors in May after posting their eighth successive home league win against a Hull side which had Ryan Mason taken to hospital after a sickening clash of heads with Gary Cahill.The stage was set perfectly for the returning Costa to make more headlines after being said by the club to be missing with injury against Leicester last week while British media reported he was unsettled by the prospect of a big-money move to China.Manager Antonio Conte said before the game that he had been happy with Costa’s mentality and he will have been even more pleased with the goal that put the Blues ahead in first-half injury time after good work on the right by Victor Moses.The strike sparked a bizarre celebration in which the Spanish international made gestures with both hands that suggested he had just silenced the chatter about his future in the best way possible.Indeed he had. Costa’s goals — this was his 52nd on his 100th appearance for the club — remain the main reason why Chelsea are such hot favourites for the title as they now stand on 55 points with Arsenal on 47, Tottenham Hotspur on 46 and Liverpool on 45.Costa eventually left to a rousing reception late after Cahill settled matters by rising above the visiting defence to head home the second on 81 minutes.“Now we have (a lead of) eight points and there are 16 games to play. I think me and my players have good experience to understand that in this league it will be very tough until the end,” Conte told reporters.Across London, the goals came even later at the Emirates where the final minutes left the crowd — and managers — breathless.After the game’s astonishing finale, which saw Alexis Sanchez net the winner in the 98th minute, a relieved Wenger apologised for his earlier clash with the fourth official.However, Arsenal’s manager may face an FA charge for appearing to push Anthony Taylor near the tunnel following his dismissal by referee Jon Moss after Burnley’s 93rd-minute penalty had been converted by Andre Gray.“I didn’t see any penalty from outside but I should have shut up and I apologise, even if I was frustrated,” said Wenger.Gray’s goal proved just the start of the action as referee Moss, who had already sent off Arsenal’s Granit Xhaka for a wild 65th minute tackle, awarded the Gunners a penalty of their own when Ben Mee raised a leg to the advancing Laurent Koscielny.Penalty-taker Sanchez possessed the only cool head in the ground, dinking the ball over the Burnley keeper to secure an astonishing win for Arsenal, who had taken the lead through Shkodran Mustafi’s 59th-minute header.At Southampton, Ranieri had no complaints with Leicester’s defeat, even offering an apology for confusing his players with some of his recent tactical variations.“I think (in) the last matches I changed (the team’s) shape to try to help my players play better but maybe I made mistakes,” he said.Poor defending allowed first-half goals for James Ward-Prowse and Jay Rodriguez while Dusan Tadic’s late penalty only confirmed that Leicester, in 15th place just five points above the drop zone, are in free fall and in serious trouble.
Newsroom GuidelinesNews TipsContact UsReport an Error Ronnie Price and Wayne Ellington both expressed interest in staying with the Lakers once they become unrestricted free agents in July. Price embraced staying on as a third-string point guard.Meanwhile, Ellington holds the Lakers in high regard. He has a close relationship with Scott and remains thankful for the franchise’s support following his father’s murder on Nov. 9, 2014. But Ellington also wants stability.Though they are interested in keeping both Price and Ellington, the Lakers have put higher priority in the NBA Draft and pursuing marquee players during free agency. Injury updateLakers guard Jordan Clarkson flashed a thumbs up when asked how his sore right ankle feels. But Clarkson said his status is not definitive for when the Lakers (21-60) play in their season-finale today against the Sacramento Kings (28-53) at Staples Center. The raw emotions hit hard, Lakers forward Julius Randle sobbing in both pain and disappointment over suffering a season-ending right leg injury in his first NBA game. But an influential person named Kobe Bryant immediately texted and called Randle. Bryant offered sympathy before quickly providing perspective on two debilitating injuries to his left Achilles tendon and left knee.“ ‘My recovery starts at that moment,’ ” Randle recalled Bryant saying in late October. “From then on, he checked on me every day and every week and made sure my head was in the right place and made sure I’m getting ready for next year.”After his exit meeting on Tuesday with Lakers coach Byron Scott and general manager Mitch Kupchak, Randle feeling “no pain” in his surgically repaired right tibia, has lost weight and is “not too far” in receiving clearance to participate in contact drills. “The plan is to be ready for training camp,” Randle said. “The short-term goal of summer league, that’s what I want to plan. But we have to work to that.”Randle largely credited Bryant’s support during his recovery. Randle also consulted with Indiana forward Paul George, who has recently returned to the court after fracturing his right leg last summer with the U.S. national team.Randle called himself a “strong-minded person.” But he found it useful that Bryant has conceded feeling self-doubt, including his current rehab on his surgically repaired right shoulder. It helped Randle’s psyche that he said he has experienced zero setbacks.“When you see the improvement,” Randle said, “it’s easy in those moments of self-doubt to reflect on those things and have that confidence to keep pushing.”Free agent market
Leicester City striker Jamie Vardy Jamie Vardy broke Ruud van Nistelrooy’s record to become the first player in Premier League history to score in 11 consecutive games.In true fairytale style, the England international etched his name in the history books at the King Power Stadium, as Leicester City drew 1-1 with Manchester United, leaving supporters applauding his meteoric rise from non-league football.But while reports and headlines have centred upon the goals that he has scored, what may be of more interest – certainly to Claudio Ranieri – is how important his form in the final third has been for his club’s rise to the top of the table.Has he been as key, for example, as Harry Kane was to Tottenham Hotspur last season?talkSPORT has the answer, as we reveal the stats that show how crucial the 28-year-old has been for the Foxes (all stats correct up to 2 December 2015).– Vardy has scored 14 goals and earned the Foxes 14 points– Without him, Leicester City wouldn’t be challenging Manchester City for top spot, rather they would be level with Chelsea on 15 points in 14th place– Vardy, however, isn’t the only player that has been key to their shock rise in the Premier League, as team-mate Riyad Mahrez has earned nine points through his seven goals– Without Vardy and Mahrez’s contributions, Leicester would have just six points this season 1