Friday, January 30, 2015

Historic ordination of first woman bishop in Church of England throws down unity challenge

From The Tablet-

The historic ordination of the first female bishop in the Church of England has already made an impact on ecumenical relations, the Catholic archbishop responsible for dialogue and unity said this week.

On Monday Revd Libby Lane was ordained and consecrated as Bishop of Stockport following the passing of legislation allowing women bishops by the Church of England’s General Synod in July last year. 

But Archbishop Bernard Longley, who is co-chairman of the Anglican-Roman Catholic International Commission (Arcic) and leads the Bishops’ Conference of England and Wales dialogue and unity department, said:  “Sadly ... Bishop Lane’s consecration at York Minster serves to highlight one of the major challenges that Anglicans and Catholics in England face on the path towards full visible unity.” He added: “The ordination of women to the episcopate presents a further obstacle to achieving that unity among us for which Our Lord prayed.”

More here-

As Part of Deepening Ties, United Methodist Clergy Oversees Communion at Episcopal Church Cathedral

From Christian Post-

For the first time in its history, Washington D.C.'s National Cathedral had a United Methodist minister oversee the sacrament of Communion for an Episcopal service.

The Rev. Canon Gina Gilland Campbell of the UMC presided over the Eurcharist, alongside Episcopal clergy at a service on Sunday.

Although the Episcopal Church and the UMC have had an interim Eucharistic agreement since 2006, the Rev. Campbell's action represents the most notable example of this sharing.

Richard Mammana, Ecumenical and Interreligious Associate with The Episcopal Church's Mission Department and an attendee of the service, described the event as "an event full of joy and hope." Mammana explained to CP that the Interim Eucharistic Sharing guidelines had been approved in 2006 and were part of still ongoing dialogue between the two denominations regarding their relationship.

More here-

Thursday, January 29, 2015

Ugandan bishop willing to defend notorious Lord’s Resistance Army commander in war crimes court

From RNS-

In its heyday, the Ugandan rebel force known as the Lord’s Resistance Army was accused of killing more than 100,000 people, abducting 60,000 to 100,000 children and displacing more than 2.5 million civilians.

But now a retired Anglican bishop in northern Uganda says he is ready to defend one of the LRA’s top commanders, who stands accused of war crimes and crimes against humanity at the International Criminal Court in The Hague.

Bishop Nelson Onono-Onweng said rebel commander Dominic Ongwen was a victim of circumstance, having been abducted at the age of 10 and transformed into a marauding killer.

More here-

Justin Welby’s Twitter sermon sounds like a plea for ecclesiastical discipline

From The Guardian-

The Archbishop of Canterbury has posted a blog warning Christians not to tweet their disagreements. Electronic communication, he says, lacks the human touch, and in particular the kinds of modulations of tone and the face-to-face aspects of relationships which make it possible to disagree productively.

“Social media does not show tears in the eye, a hand on the arm when saying something painful, body language that speaks of inner turmoil, deep distress – even gentle respect. It is simply there – usually forever,” he writes.

This seems at first sight ungrateful: there must be people who have turned to God because the internet made them lose their faith in humanity. On the other hand, there is no doubt that the schism in the Anglican Communion would have happened much more slowly and perhaps not at all without the help of the internet. Quite possibly the Reformation would never have caught on without the printing press, either. Nothing so promotes self-righteous outrage like the honest communication of sincerely held beliefs.

More here-

Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Bishop Heather Cook: A request for resignation from the Diocese of Maryland

From The Cafe- (and others)

The Standing Committee of the Episcopal Diocese of Maryland has requested Heather Cook’s resignation as bishop suffragan in a letter sent through her lawyer on January 27. On Dec 27, 2014, Heather Cook hit and killed cyclist Thomas Palermo, 41, and has been charged by police with vehicular manslaughter, driving under the influence, and texting while driving, among other charges.”It was clear that our lay and clergy leaders on the Standing Committee felt that the best interests of the diocese would be served were Heather to resign. 

Since this does not impede the Episcopal Church’s investigation into the matter, it is my hope Heather will see the wisdom in this recommendation,” said the Right Rev. Eugene Taylor Sutton, bishop of Maryland.

The Episcopal Diocese of Maryland is acting as swiftly as it can in the context of the Episcopal Church’s disciplinary action, Title IV, currently underway. While Cook cannot resign her orders as a bishop while the disciplinary process is underway, nothing prevents her from resigning as an employee of the Diocese of Maryland.

More here-

From the Sun-

From CBS-

The Brew-

'No zero-sum solution' to Israeli-Palestinian conflict

From ACNS-

In seeking a peaceful resolution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, people of faith need to be effective partners committed to hearing multiple narratives, say members of a broad U.S. interfaith delegation, led by Episcopal Church Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori, during a weeklong pilgrimage to the Holy Land.

The 15-member delegation of Jews, Christians and Muslims engaged in a series of high-level political and religious meetings in Israel and the Palestinian Territories, including with former Israeli Prime Minister Shimon Peres and current Palestinian Prime Minister Rami Hamdallah, to hear a wide range of perspectives on peace, religion and politics and to share their own views about the role the three Abrahamic faiths must play in helping to shape a better world.

More here-

'I never thought it would take more than fifteen years to have women bishops'

From The Guardian-

After years of struggle the Church of England consecrated its first female bishop, Revd Libby Lane, on Monday in York Minster. A momentous occasion for many who have waited for this day Revd Anna Macham, priest-in-charge at St Philip & St Mark’s in Camberwell, shares her view on the ‘new chapter’.

“Yesterday’s consecration meant more to me than I can say. In many ways it was a normal day - but while I was leading school assembly and greeting the mums doing baby Zumba in our church hall, I had half an eye on the photos and excited comments friends and fellow clergy were posting on Twitter. A normal day was rapidly transforming into the best day ever: after so many years of endless arguing, debating, preparing and praying, watching the moment when the bishops laid hands on Libby’s head felt almost life changing in its significance. It was like breathing new air.”

More here-

A spiritual leader’s fall from grace

From Baltimore Brew (In Depth)-

They are not totally silent, the people who knew Heather Cook before December 27 – the terrible day when, texting and severely intoxicated, the Episcopal bishop plowed into a bicyclist pedaling along a Baltimore bike lane and killed him.

Online and in conversations with The Brew, they wrestle with how Cook’s actions that day – in particular, fleeing from the scene of the crash – square with the warm, empathetic, down-to-earth person they knew her to be.

“She’s good people,” said Rev. John Morris, in an online forum, recalling Cook from her days as the rector in charge of a suburban parish in York, Pa.

She was funny and smart, said a woman who knew Cook during her tenure at a Bedford, N.Y., parish in the early 1990s. Looking at her arrest photo posted on the Internet, this person said she wasn’t able to reconcile that image with the Heather Cook she knew.

Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Libby Lane: First female Church of England bishop consecrated

From The BBC-

The Church of England has consecrated its first female bishop during a ceremony at York Minster.

The Reverend Libby Lane, 48, has been ordained as the new Bishop of Stockport in front of more than 1,000 people.

The Church formally adopted legislation last November to allow women bishops, following decades of argument over women's ordination.

Archbishop of York John Sentamu, who led the service, said he had been "praying and working for this day".

During the two-hour service Dr Sentamu and other bishops laid their hands on Mrs Lane and prayed. This was followed by lengthy applause.

More here-

New Anglican Bishop of Limerick and Killaloe is consecrated

From Ireland-

THE new Anglican Bishop of Limerick and Killaloe has been consecrated at a ceremony at Christchurch Cathedral in Dublin.

Reverend Canon Dr Kenneth Kearon succeeds the Rt. Reverend Trevor Williams, who retired in July last year.

A native of Dublin, and a graduate of Trinity College and Cambridge University, Dr Kearon will be formally enthroned on March 7 at St Flannan’s Cathedral in Killaloe.

At the consecration, in Dublin on Saturday, a number of long serving and retired bishops from across the Anglican Church community were in attendance, including the Archbishop of Wales, the Most Revd Dr Barry Moran, who was the preacher at the service.

More here-

Chapel free for the taking

From San Diego-

Want a North Park historic chapel and $10,000 to move it?

That's the offer from St. Luke's Episcopal Church at 3725 30th St., which says it can no longer maintain its adjacent chapel building.

The 1902 building, designed in mission-style architecture by the early San Diego firm of Hebbard & Gill, had been relocated in the 1920s from its original Hillcrest home.

The church's attorney, Scott Moomjian, posted a notice on Facebook, saying, the church is "offering $10,000 if anyone can take the building to their own lot and hopefully restore it to its full glory." Bruce Coons, executive director of Save Our Heritage Organisation, also has called attention to the chapel.

More here-

Monday, January 26, 2015

Rt Revd Libby Lane consecrated at York Minster

From ACNS-

The Rt Revd Libby Lane has been consecrated as the first female bishop in the Church of England in a packed service at York Minster today attended by more than 100 bishops from the Church of England and women bishops from across the Anglican Communion.

In a statement shortly after being consecrated, Bishop Libby said she had been encouraged by the thousands of messages of support she has received since the news of her appointment was announced. She said:

More here-

Priest tells of kamikaze pilot training during WWII

From Stars and Stripes- (Pretty amazing story)

Paul Saneaki Nakamura prepared three times to carry out a suicide attack for Japan during World War II. It took the country’s near-death for him to find religion and become a priest.

Nakamura recently shared his experiences — which included training as a kamikaze pilot, human torpedo and suicide bomber — with about 300 Marines at Camp Hansen to help them see war from a different perspective.

“I have always thought that my experience might be well compared to the historical Exodus,” he said, referring to the biblical story of the Jews who left Egypt, led by Moses to the Promised Land.

The 87-year-old retired Anglican bishop grew up on Okinawa as militarism swept across Japan. Like many others, he became an ultra-nationalist who firmly believed in selfless devotion to his country. He worshipped the emperor as god; offering his life to the emperor was the ultimate virtue.

More here-

Rev Lane arrives for consecration

From The Daily Mail-

The Rev Libby Lane has arrived at York Minster to be consecrated as the Church of England's first female bishop.

Rev Lane will be consecrated as the eighth Bishop of Stockport in a service conducted by the Archbishop of York Dr John Sentamu.

She was named as the new bishop last month in a historic move ending centuries of all-male leadership in the Church.

More here-

and here-

Profile: Who is Libby Lane?

From Christian Today-

A saxophone-playing Oxford graduate, Libby Lane was vicar of St Peter's, Hale and St Elizabeth's, Ashley in the Chester diocese at the time of her appointment to Bishop of Stockport.

Because she will not be a diocesan bishop, she will not be among the women bishops that will be fast-tracked into the House of Lords. Bishop of Stockport is a suffragan or assistant bishop post in her current diocese. Southwell and Nottingham is understood to have women on its shortlist for a new diocesan bishop and Oxford is also likely to consider women when its appointments process begins.

More here-

Sunday, January 25, 2015

Bishop of Burnley installation: Vicar makes silent protest

From The BBC-

A Blackburn vicar has held a 10-minute silence in protest over the upcoming installation of the Bishop of Burnley.

Changes have been made to the Reverend Philip North's ceremony because of his opposition to female bishops.

The Archbishop of York Dr John Sentamu said the arrangements were made "for prayer, not politics".

The Reverend Anne Morris, who serves the same diocese as Rev North, replaced her sermon with the protest over the changes, at St Oswalds in Knuzden.

Dr Sentamu, has said he will not take part in the "laying on of hands" - a traditional part of the ordination service - during the Rev North's ceremony at York Minster in February.

On Friday, he said his decision was not due to a "theology of taint".

More here-

Local events to mark 100th anniversary of Thomas Merton's birth

From Pittsburgh-

Religious congregations will be marking the 100th anniversary of Thomas Merton’s birth on Jan. 31 with the program “Praying with Merton: A Book of Hours.” Prayers will be based on “A Book of Hours,” an edited version of Merton’s writings organized around daily prayer cycles.

Gatherings are scheduled as follows:

Dawn (7 a.m.): Emmanuel Episcopal Church, 957 West North Ave., North Side.

Day (noon): St. James Roman Catholic Church, 718 Franklin Ave., Wilkinsburg.

Dusk (4:30 p.m.): Sisters of Mercy Motherhouse, Carlow University, Oakland.

Dark (7 p.m.): Hot Metal Bridge Faith Community, 2700 Jane St., South Side.

More here-

Indiana church sues JPMorgan for millions

From Indiana-

The Rev. Stephen Carlsen went to a seminary, not business school, but he's quickly becoming an expert on how Wall Street works as his church battles America's largest bank.

Carlsen is dean of Christ Church Cathedral of Indianapolis, which is suing JPMorgan Chase for millions.

The church claims that JPMorgan intentionally mismanaged its funds, which shrank in the past decade. Meanwhile, the fees the church paid JPMorgan skyrocketed.

More here-

Saturday, January 24, 2015

Anglican Archbishop: ‘Allah’ ruling has far-reaching effects

From Borneo-

The ramifications of the Federal Court’s dismissal of the Catholic Church’s application for leave to appeal on the prohibition of ‘Allah’ to refer to God in its weekly publication Herald will likely spill beyond the case.

Reacting to this decision, the Most Reverend Datuk Bolly Lapok — the Archbishop of the Anglican Province of South East Asia and Bishop of Sarawak and Brunei — said the ruling would affect more than the Catholic newspaper.

“Case resolved? I am not too sure. I hope in the process we have not mired ourselves in greater complication,” he said in a statement yesterday.

Read more:

Small church fights Episcopal diocese over land

From Maryland-

The Church of the Ascension is an unremarkable Middle River landmark, just a squat, brick building on an isolated peninsula south of Martin State Airport. But for Episcopalians in eastern Baltimore County's Wilson Point community, the small church has been a fixture for generations — home to such cradle-to-grave memories as baptisms, weddings and funerals.

And on a street of mostly fenced-in front yards, the church's rolling lawn has served as an informal waterfront park to the entire neighborhood since aircraft pioneer Glenn L. Martin donated the property to the community 75 years ago. Residents walk their dogs to the tree-lined shore. A sliver of beach provides a popular spot for fishing. And a wooden bench perched amid a community garden beckons visitors to sit and gaze at the ducks on Stansbury Creek.

More here-

$1.7M for New Ministry in the Episcopal Church: What Happens Next?

From Acts 8-

It is challenging to name a way of changing the church for the better through budgeting alone. In 2012, The Episcopal Church’s budget decided to do just that.

Believing that funding innovative ministries at the local level could provide new models from which the whole church could learn, The Episcopal Church distributed 38 grants totaling roughly $1.7 million for Mission Enterprise Zones and Church Plants in 2013 and 2014. As these grants required matching funds, $3.5 million was raised toward fostering creative ways to be the Body of Christ in differing contexts.

Ultimately, though, the measure of the success of each of these grantees isn’t measured in their ability to raise funds. It’s in their ability to spread the Good News of God in Jesus Christ in each of their communities, and in the process, change lives.

The Acts 8 Moment is following up with each grant recipient to report on the work and discover what grant recipients are learning. With more than a quarter of the stories in, here is some of what we have discovered:

- See more at:

Episcopal bishop urges action on racial inequality

From Pittsburgh-

The leader of the Episcopal Diocese of Pittsburgh on Friday issued “A Pastoral Letter on Race,” decrying racial oppression and suggesting ways that the church and members of its congregations could move society closer toward reconciliation.

“There is a sort of sullen denial across much of our culture as if race were not a problem or, to the extent that it is, that it will someday, somehow, simply go away. [That] we have done enough,” Bishop Dorsey McConnell said in an open letter to the 9,000 members of 37 Episcopal congregations in the 11 counties of southwestern Pennsylvania.

“But we have clearly not done enough. We have heard a great deal recently about growing income inequality in our nation. This inequality of class is inseparably linked to inequality of race.”

More here-

African Anglicans fall out over support for the Episcopal Church of the USA

From Anglican Ink-

The Council of Anglican Provinces in Africa [CAPA] is on the verge of disintegration after leaders of the Gafcon coalition called upon its chairman, the Archbishop of Burundi, to repent or resign in the wake of an October communiqué he endorsed that backed the Episcopal Church of the USA.

The collapse of CAPA, sources within the Gafcon movement tell Anglican Ink, is merely a sign of the wider collapse of the Anglican Communion. On 22 Jan 2015, Archbishop Eliud Wabukala, the Primate of Kenya released a copy of a letter prepared at the December Gafcon primates meeting in Nairobi for Archbishop Bernard Ntahoturi (pictured)

The public rebuke of Archbishop Ntahoturi by the Gafcon primates is unprecedented in African church history, but was not unexpected. In his Advent letter to Gafcon, Archbishop Wabukala called Africa’s bishops to order.  Archbisho Ntahoturi’s failure to heed the warnings coming out of Nairobi prompted the public release of his rebuke.

. He stated that as “no reply has been received, the letter is now being made public in order to avoid misunderstanding.”

More here-

JNCPB report includes updates

From ENS-

The Episcopal Church Joint Nominating Committee for the Election of the Presiding Bishop (JNCPB) has released the following statement with an update of progress following its recent meeting:

The Joint Nominating Committee for the Election of the Presiding Bishop (JNCPB) met January 12 – 14. After nearly two years of conducting its work electronically, the committee gathered for the purpose of discerning the list of candidates to continue in the process. Committee co-chair, Bishop Edward Konieczny, said that during the time together the committee’s “passionate, emotional, and difficult work laid an incredible foundation that we will aim to continue with grace.”

More than 165 people representing over 60 dioceses submitted names during the nomination period last fall. Bishops whose names were submitted were invited to continue in the discernment process as established by the JNCPB by submitting information and materials for consideration. Video conferencing afforded the opportunity for committee members to talk with the candidates.

More here-

Friday, January 23, 2015

Presbyterians scrap ad campaign deemed offensive to minorities

From RNS-

The Presbyterian Church (USA) is scrapping an ad campaign for the needy after it was blasted for being culturally and socially insensitive.

The One Great Hour of Sharing campaign originally included an image of an Asian girl with the words “Needs help with her drinking problem” and, in smaller lettering: “She can’t find water.” Another image featured a man with the words “Needs help getting high,” followed in smaller lettering with: “Above the flood waters.”

Linda Valentine, executive director of the Presbyterian Mission Agency, said a redesign has begun and the new campaign should appear in February.

“We made a great misstep,” she said. “We acknowledged that the materials not only perpetuated offensive racial stereotypes but were insensitive to struggles with addiction that are real struggles and many of our churches and many of our ministries are working with those very people.”

More here-

No 'taint' over first female bishop, archbishop says

From The BBC-

The Archbishop of York has said his decision not to take part in the "laying on of hands" for a new bishop was not due to a "theology of taint".

Dr John Sentamu referred to the idea that he would be "tainted" by consecrating the Church of England's first woman bishop.

He will lay hands on the Rev Libby Lane when she becomes Bishop of Stockport on Monday, but will not when the Rev Philip North becomes Bishop of Burnley.

Mr North opposed women as bishops.

He will be consecrated on 2 February in York Minster, where two bishops will take part in the traditional laying on of hands while Dr Sentamu "will lead all other bishops present in exercising gracious restraint".

More here-

Thousands sign petition calling for Richard III to have a Catholic burial

From The Catholic Herald-

Three thousand people have signed a petition calling for Richard III to be given a Catholic burial.

The petition, addressed to Cardinal Vincent Nichols, the Archbishop of Westminster, is being organised by the historians whose efforts led to the king’s remains being found under a car park in Leicester.

Under present plans Richard III, who died in the Battle of Bosworth in 1485, before the Reformation, will be buried at the Anglican cathedral in Leicester on March 26.

But Philippa Langley, leader of the Looking for Richard project, said the burial should take into account Richard III’s Catholic faith.

More here-

Anglican bishop tasks Nigerians on general elections

From Nigeria-

Ahead of next month’s general elections, the Bishop of Diocese of Lagos West, Anglican Communion, Rt Revd. Dr. James Olusola Odedeji has called on  Nigerians to beware of who they vote for, stating that the outcome of the election will determine how things are going to be in the country for the  next four years.

Odedeji, who made the call yesterday while delivering a sermon at the 70th birthday celebration of Mr. Joseph Abiodun Falode at St. Peter’s Anglican Church Idimu, Lagos, also urged Christians to get involved in the politics of the country.

However, he said clerics must remain apolitical.

According to him, the more Christians shy away from politics, the more they put the country at the risk of being run by unscrupulous elements in the society.

More here-

New East Windsor priest boasts background in rock ’n’ roll, meditation

From Connecticut-

A former rock ’n’ roll drummer with a background in medicine is the new priest at St. John’s Episcopal Church.

“Life as a priest uses every single bit of my formation and my odd talents,” the Rev. Julia Fritts said. “Every single bit of that is not only OK, but necessary.”

Prior to becoming ordained, Fritts, 58, worked as a professional musician. She said she lived the dream for a while as a drummer, recording and touring with her Celtic rock band, Jane and Julia.
“I grew up assuming I would be an artist or a musician,” Fritts said. “Music is a service to the world. Beautiful music is really necessary.”

But the prevalence of ego and a self-absorbed existence were what turned her off to the lifestyle of a musician, she said.

More here-

Marcus Borg, well-known liberal Jesus scholar, dies at 72

From Oregon-

Update: There will be a memorial service for Marcus Borg on March 22 at Trinity Episcopal Church.

Marcus Borg, a liberal Jesus scholar, died Wednesday after a prolonged illness, said Pam Knepper, communications coordinator for Trinity Episcopal Church in Northwest Portland. Borg frequently lectured at Trinity, where he received the honorary title "canon theologian."

He was 72 years old, according to The Religion News Service.

More here-