Long-term missionary Jenny McConnachie steps away from ministry

first_img Join the Episcopal Diocese of Texas in Celebrating the Pauli Murray Feast Online Worship Service June 27 Tags AddThis Sharing ButtonsShare to PrintFriendlyPrintFriendlyShare to FacebookFacebookShare to TwitterTwitterShare to EmailEmailShare to MoreAddThis An Evening with Presiding Bishop Curry and Iconographer Kelly Latimore Episcopal Migration Ministries via Zoom June 23 @ 6 p.m. ET An Evening with Aliya Cycon Playing the Oud Lancaster, PA (and streaming online) July 3 @ 7 p.m. ET Rector Hopkinsville, KY TryTank Experimental Lab and York St. John University of England Launch Survey to Study the Impact of Covid-19 on the Episcopal Church TryTank Experimental Lab New Berrigan Book With Episcopal Roots Cascade Books Priest Associate or Director of Adult Ministries Greenville, SC Associate Priest for Pastoral Care New York, NY Ya no son extranjeros: Un diálogo acerca de inmigración Una conversación de Zoom June 22 @ 7 p.m. ET The Church Pension Fund Invests $20 Million in Impact Investment Fund Designed to Preserve Workforce Housing Communities Nationwide Church Pension Group Canon for Family Ministry Jackson, MS Rector Tampa, FL Assistant/Associate Rector Morristown, NJ Missioner for Disaster Resilience Sacramento, CA Long-term Episcopal Missionary Jenny McConnachie ran the the Itipini Community Project in South Africa for two decades. Photo/Jesse Zink[Episcopal News Service] I have a picture of Jenny McConnachie that, for me, sums up her three decades of service as a missionary of the Episcopal Church. In it, she is standing with three young boys, who are trying to decide what pose they want to make for the camera. They’re in the middle of a shantytown, a community of rickety shacks made of tin, tarps, and whatever else was at hand.It is the look on Jenny’s face that is most memorable for me. It is a rueful, resigned look, as if she is not excited about enduring yet one more picture and wants it done as quickly as possible. It’s a look that says, “We’ve got work to do here. Take your picture and let me get back to it.” If there is one thing that Jenny McConnachie never—ever—liked, it was hearing about how wonderful her work was. Why would she? There was lots more of it to do.I came to know Jenny in the two years I worked with her as a Young Adult Service Corps missionary. Jenny ran the Itipini Community Project, a community center in a shantytown on the outskirts of Mthatha, a medium-sized city in South Africa. Itipini is a word that means “at the dump” and it is a good name for a community that grew up on a garbage dump. The socio-economic indicators in Itipini are, as one might expect, abysmal: higher rates of unemployment, HIV/AIDS, and malnutrition; lower rates of education, income, and health.Jenny and her late husband, Chris, moved to Mthatha as Episcopal missionaries in the early 1980s from Hendersonville, North Carolina, though both were originally from Britain. Chris had been an orthopedic surgeon in Hendersonville but he and Jenny felt there was more need for such work in the Transkei, one the nominally independent “homelands” established by the apartheid government, of which Mthatha was the capital. Chris took over management of Bedford Hospital, an orthopedic hospital in disrepair on the outskirts of Mthatha. Over the course of the next two decades—and as a result of major fundraising efforts in both South Africa and around the world—Bedford Hospital was transformed, upgraded into a working, serviceable facility now almost entirely managed by Africans.Jenny, who had trained as a nurse, began work in Itipini more than two decades ago.  Over time, working closely with residents of Itipini, she built up a community center in the midst of the shantytown. There was a primary care clinic, a pre-school, an after-school program, a nutrition support program for people with HIV and tuberculosis, a micro-credit program, and much more. To stand in the middle of the community center on a week-day around noon was to be surrounded by a whirlwind of activity. Staff members employed from Itipini prepared lunch for the preschoolers in one area; the line of patients waiting to be seen stretched out the clinic door as Jenny and her South African colleague, Dorothy, patiently treated patient after patient; preschool children poured out of their classroom after their morning lesson and onto the playground. It all happened in Xhosa, the African language spoken by people in Itipini, which Jenny had worked to gain functionality in over the years, learning how to treat all manner of ailments in a language marked by its difficult click consonants.In the middle of all this, there was progress: people dying of AIDS started anti-retroviral treatment, which reversed the course of their illness and brought them back from the brink of death; young women who had given birth were encouraged back into school and given the support to work towards a diploma; young children who had no toys or learning opportunities at home gathered in the preschool for games and lessons to prepare for kindergarten in a few years’ time.Itipini is no more. In May, after a complicated dispute, government bulldozers destroyed the shacks. Residents of Itipini were forcibly evicted. Jenny and her staff—some of whom who were among those evicted—worked to help resettle people from Itipini elsewhere in Mthatha, hand on their medical records to a government clinic, and continue the preschool education. But it also became clear that the razing of Itipini meant the end of the Itipini Community Project. After prayer and consultation, Jenny has decided to close the facilities and begin to wrap up her time as an Episcopal missionary.There is a sense in the church, at times, that the era of long-term overseas mission is behind us; that people who devoted their lives to the church around the world belong only to the history books. We speak now primarily of short-term trips and companion diocese relationships. These are important elements of the church’s role in God’s mission.At the same time, however, Jenny—and the other long-term missionaries like her around the world—embody our church’s commitment to taking our role in the global body of Christ. Their work with our sisters and brothers around the world is a concrete step towards realizing the unity for which Jesus prayed among his followers. People like Jenny—who shun the spotlight and never imagine their work has any significance beyond its local context—are some of the most important representatives of the Episcopal Church around the world. Their long-term commitments allow them to develop deep relationships and accomplish much.And so, as Jenny steps away from her work, I pray that we will take a moment to remember the important work of so many around the world whose work often slips under the radar of church discussions but who, by their very presence, embody Gospel truth we yearn to proclaim.— The Rev. Jesse Zink is an Episcopal priest and former YASC missionary. His book about his time working with Jenny McConnachie is Grace at the Garbage Dump: Making Sense of Mission in the Twenty-First Century. More information is at www.jessezink.com. Rector Martinsville, VA Associate Rector Columbus, GA Virtual Celebration of the Jerusalem Princess Basma Center Zoom Conversation June 19 @ 12 p.m. ET Comments are closed. June 9, 2015 at 4:23 am Information on Itipini. Was started in 1989 with a primary health clinic, preschool, feeding scheme and handicraft group. The project was shown on a television programme Carte Blanche in 2001/2. The project was self funding with proposals sent out to companies who responded by stating which part of the project they wished to support. Medical supplies were obtained from the medical warehouse after a letter was given to the coordinator of the project after a meeting with the hospital administrator. Jenny joined after the project was up and running and had been shown on television. Incidentally a visit was made by Nelson Mandela having seen the television programme and on his way to visit the building of his new home.I could write much, much more on this subject. Inaugural Diocesan Feast Day Celebrating Juneteenth San Francisco, CA (and livestream) June 19 @ 2 p.m. PT Long-term missionary Jenny McConnachie steps away from ministry Rector and Chaplain Eugene, OR Episcopal Migration Ministries’ Virtual Prayer Vigil for World Refugee Day Facebook Live Prayer Vigil June 20 @ 7 p.m. ET This Summer’s Anti-Racism Training Online Course (Diocese of New Jersey) June 18-July 16 Curate (Associate & Priest-in-Charge) Traverse City, MI Episcopal Charities of the Diocese of New York Hires Reverend Kevin W. VanHook, II as Executive Director Episcopal Charities of the Diocese of New York Africa, Virtual Episcopal Latino Ministry Competency Course Online Course Aug. 9-13 Youth Minister Lorton, VA The Church Investment Group Commends the Taskforce on the Theology of Money on its report, The Theology of Money and Investing as Doing Theology Church Investment Group Rector Collierville, TN Submit a Job Listing By Jesse ZinkPosted Oct 5, 2012 Liz Scott says: Bishop Diocesan Springfield, IL Cathedral Dean Boise, ID Rector Washington, DC Rector Smithfield, NC In-person Retreat: Thanksgiving Trinity Retreat Center (West Cornwall, CT) Nov. 24-28 Course Director Jerusalem, Israel Rector Albany, NY Remember Holy Land Christians on Jerusalem Sunday, June 20 American Friends of the Episcopal Diocese of Jerusalem Seminary of the Southwest announces appointment of two new full time faculty members Seminary of the Southwest Rector Belleville, IL Rector (FT or PT) Indian River, MI Featured Events Submit an Event Listing Assistant/Associate Priest Scottsdale, AZ Assistant/Associate Rector Washington, DC Director of Administration & Finance Atlanta, GA Rector Bath, NC Featured Jobs & Calls Curate Diocese of Nebraska Missionaries Comments (1) Director of Music Morristown, NJ Rector Pittsburgh, PA Rector Shreveport, LA Rector Knoxville, TN Press Release Service Submit a Press Release Episcopal Church releases new prayer book translations into Spanish and French, solicits feedback Episcopal Church Office of Public Affairs Rector/Priest in Charge (PT) Lisbon, ME Family Ministry Coordinator Baton Rouge, LA Associate Rector for Family Ministries Anchorage, AK Priest-in-Charge Lebanon, OH last_img read more

Tribunal rules against NL woman at centre of Scottish harassment scandal

first_imgST. JOHN’S, N.L. – A U.K. tribunal has rejected the claim of a Newfoundland-born woman who alleges she suffered a decade of harassment at her civil service office in Scotland — including once being taped to a chair.The Scottish Employment Tribunal ruled against DeeAnn Fitzpatrick’s complaints of a racist and misogynistic workplace culture at Marine Scotland’s office in Scrabster.Fitzpatrick, a fisheries officer originally from Bell Island, N.L., claims co-workers mocked her for having a miscarriage, used racist language, and threatened female staff members.A photo published by the BBC in May showed Fitzpatrick taped to a chair with tape over her mouth — an incident she claims was a response from two male co-workers for “[speaking] out against the boys.”The photo prompted an outcry in the U.K., but it and much of her evidence was ruled inadmissible as too dated and her claim was ultimately rejected.Fitzpatrick, who has been on leave from her job since last year, said Thursday she and her lawyers are now considering an appeal.“A lot of people have asked me if I want to go back to my job and the response is yes. That’s my professional career, it’s in tatters at the moment because of what other people have done, not because of what I’ve done,” Fitzpatrick said.“Why should I leave something that I’ve done well at because other people are trying to hide the fact that they’re bullies?”Fitzpatrick said she became a target when she reported two men to her union after witnessing their threatening behaviour towards another female colleague.“It’s horrifying that you’re in that situation and you’re stuck in that situation because the area that I’m at, it’s very difficult to find work.”A statement from her family says they are “hugely disappointed” by the result, although they are not surprised, given a judge had decided older evidence would not be allowed.The family’s statement says the tribunal highlighted that the human resources department could have been more proactive in dealing with the matter by launching an investigation, questioning staff and reminding staff that such matters might be regarded as grounds for disciplinary action.The restrictions ruled out any evidence older than three months to the date of complaint, so the tribunal case focused on eight cards with threatening and insulting messages that Fitzpatrick received at home in 2017 while on leave.The tribunal ruled against Fitzpatrick’s case because the people who wrote the cards could not be specifically identified or linked to people from her workplace.But Fitzpatrick said she and other colleagues think the cards were likely written by people from work — two cards used insulting nicknames particular to her office, including one calling her a troll.Others included misogynistic language, one referred to a poem her alleged harassers wrote about her after a promotion, and another depicted her with male genitalia.After the photo went viral, Scottish First Minister Nicola Sturgeon said she was “absolutely horrified,” and ordered a review of Fitzpatrick’s case.“Bullying, abuse, sexism, racism, have no place in any workplace, and let me be very clear today, they will not be tolerated within the Scottish government and within our agencies,” Sturgeon told Scottish Parliament in May.Fitzpatrick said a report on the review is due soon.“I’ll only feel positive once the outcome of the result of the investigation, that they find there was harm done, what was done was highly inappropriate, and measures are put in place to ensure that it never happens again,” she said.Fitzpatrick also wants an investigation into all the events she’s reported, not just a select few such as the cards or the incident with the chair.“That’s not how you treat women, that’s not how you treat anybody,” Fitzpatrick said Thursday.last_img read more