Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Gay rector faces backlash in pews over ‘wedding’ plans

From The Telegraph-

An Anglican clergyman is facing opposition from parishioners over a service in his local church to bless his same-sex civil partnership.

The Rev Dominic McClean, the Rector of 13 parishes around the village of Market Bosworth in Leicestershire, invited parishioners to the special service this weekend to mark his civil union with his partner, Tony Hodges.

The service, taking place in the 14th Century St Peter’s Church in Market Bosworth on Saturday next week was given a go-ahead by the Bishop of Leicester, the Rt Rev Tim Stevens, who led the Church of England’s opposition in the House of Lords to the legalisation of same-sex marriage.

But Aubrey Chalmers, a member of the Parochial Church Council in nearby Shackerstone, one of Rev McClean’s parishes, has written in protest both to Bishop Stevens and the Archbishop of Canterbury, the Most Rev Justin Welby, describing the service as “deeply divisive and repugnant to many people”.

More here-

Nigerian Anglican Church Now Has 167 Bishops

From Nigeria-

The Church of Nigeria Anglican Communion yesterday added  two new bishops to the number of bishops they have in the country. Also the are Venerable, Prince Asukwo Antai who is now the Bishop of Uyo Diocese and Venerable Williams O. Aladekugbe who is now the Bishop of Oyo Diocese. Before the consecration of the two new bishops, the Anglican Church of Nigeria had 166 bishops. Whereas Oyo had a bishop, the new bishop would be replacing him thereby making the number of bishops to 167.

More here-

Episcopal Relief & Development celebrates 75 years

From ENS-

Episcopalians, friends and partner agencies around the globe are joining together to celebrate Episcopal Relief & Development’s 75th Anniversary.  The 75-week celebration, which will continue through the end of 2015, invites supporters to learn more about the organization’s programs and get involved in campaigns to raise $7.5 million to sustain its vital work.

In 1940, the National Council of The Episcopal Church established Episcopal Relief & Development – originally the Presiding Bishop’s Fund for World Relief – to respond to the needs of European refugees fleeing World War II.  Now, working on behalf of the Church with partners in nearly 40 countries, the organization continues its legacy of bringing together the generosity of Episcopalians and others to help communities overcome challenges and create lasting change.

More here-

Yale Episcopal Chaplain Steps Down After Letter To N.Y. Times

From Hartford-

An Episcopal priest from Groton serving as chaplain of the Episcopal Church at Yale University stepped down this month after a furor over a letter he wrote to The New York Times.

The Rev. Bruce Shipman, interviewed Friday at his Groton City home, wrote a letter that appeared in the Times on Aug. 26, in response to an article expressing an opinion about a rise in anti-Semitism.

Within two hours of the publication of the letter, which included a line at the end identifying him as the Episcopal chaplain at Yale, Shipman said, "there was an avalanche of hate mail calling me every name imaginable, and an anti-Semite, [saying] I was a disgrace to my calling and I ought not to be in any public office."

More here-,0,2480440.story

Tuesday, September 16, 2014


From Religion Dispatches-

Mark Achtemeier has been a minister with the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A) since 1984, and for much of his ministry he characterized himself as a “conservative anti-gay activist.” As a pastor and an associate professor of theology and ethics at the University of Dubuque Theological Seminary, Achtemeier wrote and spoke against the ordination of gay and lesbian ministers and co-wrote a declaration of faith that an anti-ordination coalition adopted.

That began to change in 2001, Achtemeier says when he made friends with some gay and lesbian Christians, some of whom had tried everything in their power to “change” their sexual orientation or had embraced a life of celibacy.

“It was producing broken people,” he told me, “and it wasn’t just isolated instances of this. I saw more and more of this and came away from these experiences thinking something is wrong with this picture. That got me writing and asking questions.”

Archbishop of Canterbury reflects on the "pilgrimage of justice and peace"

From Anglican News-

Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby generously granted an interview on the subject of “the pilgrimage of justice and peace” last week in São Paulo, Brazil. His visit to Brazil was part of a personal journey that has taken Welby to 31 Anglican provinces around the world since his enthronement as archbishop in March 2013.

The Archbishop of Canterbury is primate of the Church of England, a founding member church of the World Council of Churches (WCC).

The concept “pilgrimage of justice and peace” is found in a call to Christians and others of good will from the 10th Assembly of the WCC, an event in the Republic of Korea addressed by Welby in November 2013.

More here-

Vatican cricket team ready to tackle Church of England XI in Canterbury

From Ecumenical News-

When India hosts a cricket international match at Eden Gardens in Kolkata and Australia does the same at the Melbourne Cricket Ground the grounds can draw more than 100,000 spectators.

When a Vatican cricket team challenges the Church of England in a match at the picturesque Kent County Cricket Club in Canterbury on Friday, the organizers are expecting a smaller crowd.

"Realistically, we are rank underdogs with a very outside chance, but that's okay," said the Rev. Eamonn O'Higgins, spiritual director and manager of the Vatican club in remarks carried by the Holy See's website.

More here-

Demolition - Bishop Wants Anambra Govt. to Be Fair to All Churches

From Nigeria-

Rev. Owen Nwokolo, Anglican Bishop of Diocese on the Niger, has advised Gov. Willie Obiano of Anambra, to be fair to all Christian denominations in ensuring peace and religious tolerance.

The bishop made this known to newsmen at a news conference in Onitsha on Monday.

According to him, the governor as a high profile public officer should be fair to all manner of Christian denominations in the state.

Nwokolo was reacting to the demolition of the Ebenezer Anglican Church, Oyolu-Oze, Nkwelle Ezunaka by some unidentified persons.

He urged the government and the security agencies in the state to fish out those behind the demolition of the place of worship.

More here-

Monday, September 15, 2014

What the Church Can Learn from the U2/Apple Mistake

From Danielle Shroyer-

Two days ago, Apple and U2 came together to upload U2’s new album free to its 500 million users. It magically showed up in our iTunes libraries, where all one had to do was download it from the Cloud. Despite the fact that I’m what easily could be called U2’s core audience, even I found this to be invasive. So I wasn’t surprised when it got immediate pushback. 

My brother and I laughed this morning about how this entire debacle is an indication of how old we are, because most people who tweeted about the matter had absolutely no idea who U2 was, and certainly didn’t want their album in their iTunes folders. (You can get an idea of the overall reaction from this New York Magazine article.) I wondered how U2 must feel about this: they just spent all this time and effort and gave 500 million people a free gift. How can that backfire?

I’ll tell you why. Because they didn’t stop to ask themselves if this was a gift anyone actually wanted. 

They simply assumed that people did. And they. were. wrong.

More here-

Arrests in church thefts

From Washington State-

The first time the thieves broke into St. Philip's Episcopal Church in Marysville they mainly grabbed expensive musical equipment.

The congregation was told not to expect to see their property again. It would be difficult to track down. The equipment likely was going to be sold to make some quick cash, a means to pay for a drug addiction.

The parishioners looked on the bright side. No one was hurt, the equipment could be replaced and the thieves had left behind the more meaningful items used in worship.

Three days later church members filed in for Sunday services. The thieves had been back.

More here-

Skirving to be ordained bishop of the Episcopal diocese of East Carolina

From East Carolina-

The Most. Rev. Robert Skirving will be ordained and consecrated Nov. 8 as the eighth bishop of the Episcopal diocese of East Carolina.

The diocese includes 68 parishes in New Hanover, Brunswick, Pender and other counties stretching from Virginia to South Carolina.

The Most Rev. Katharine Jefferts Schori, presiding bishop and primate of the Episcopal Church in the United States, will preside at the ceremony, which will begin at 11 a.m. at the Rock Springs Center in Greenville. All people of God are invited to attend.

More here-

Sunday, September 14, 2014

Thousands watch as new Episcopal bishop is consecrated

From Boston-

Clad in the bright orange regalia of his office for what he called his last public appearance, retired bishop M. Thomas Shaw said goodbye Saturday to thousands of faithful at the consecration of his successor to lead the Episcopal Diocese of Massachusetts, marking the end of a nearly 20-year tenure during which he fought for social justice and the church’s relevancy.

Shaw, who became bishop in 1995, is succeeded by the Rev. Alan M. Gates, previously a rector at St. Paul’s Episcopal Church in Cleveland. A Massachusetts native married with two adult sons, Gates cuts a different figure than Shaw, a celibate monk who came out as gay a few years ago. Shaw announced last year that he had cancer and would be stepping down.

More here-

Dear Parents With Young Children in Church

From Huffington-

You are doing something really, really important. I know it's not easy. I see you with your arms overflowing, and I know you came to church already tired. Parenting is tiring. Really tiring.

I watch you bounce and sway trying to keep the baby quiet, juggling the infant car seat and the diaper bag as you find a seat. I see you wince as your child cries. I see you anxiously pull things out of your bag of tricks to try to quiet them.

And I see you with your toddler and your preschooler. I watch you cringe when your little girl asks an innocent question in a voice that might not be an inside voice let alone a church whisper. I hear the exasperation in your voice as you beg your child to just sit, to be quiet as you feel everyone's eyes on you. Not everyone is looking, but I know it feels that way.

More here-

Saturday, September 13, 2014

Murdered nuns laid to rest in the Congo as crime investigation continues

From Religon News Service-

Three elderly Italian nuns murdered in Burundi were laid to rest Thursday (Sept. 11) in a Xaverian cemetery in the Democratic Republic of Congo amid heightened calls for action about their death.

Sister Lucia Pulici, 75, Sister Olga Raschietti, 82, and Sister Bernadetta Boggian, 79, of the Xaverian Missionary Sisters of Mary were gruesomely murdered Sunday in their convent in the Kamenge area of Burundi’s capital, Bujumbura.

More here-

More churches report man used death scam to get their money

From New Hampshire-

The Rev. David Robinson didn't think much of it when a man who said his name was Joseph Grieco and appeared to be mourning the death of his brother stopped in to the Trinity Episcopal Church in Hampton last month.

"He genuinely seemed saddened by his brother's death. He seemed like a grieving brother," Robinson said Friday.

Robinson was shocked when he saw Grieco's booking photo in the newspaper Friday morning after he was arrested and accused of using a phony death scam to swindle money from the Kensington Congregational Church.

"He got us, too," Robinson said.

- See more at:

New bishop assumes leadership of Mass. Episcopalians on Saturday

From The Boston Globe-

A former linguist, the Rev. Alan M. Gates looks to etymology to describe his theological understanding of the role of the church. At its root, the word religion does not just describe a system of beliefs and practices, he said, but also the ties that bind us all.

On Saturday, Gates will assume responsibility for fostering such connections among area Episcopalians, as he is consecrated as the new bishop for the Episcopal Diocese of Massachusetts.

He succeeds Bishop M. Thomas Shaw, the longtime leader of the diocese.

More here-

Ordinariate Community Has a Spiritual Home in Washington, D.C.

From National Catholic Register-

A formerly Episcopal community that entered the Catholic Church in 2011 marked a historic moment in their journey to Rome when they gathered on Sept. 7 in downtown Washington for their first regularly scheduled Sunday Mass in the nation’s capital.

St. Luke’s at Immaculate Conception — as the community will now be known — offered its first Mass at Immaculate Conception Church in downtown Washington after its move from its former home in a small, rented church in Bladensburg, Md.

Read more:

Yale Chaplain Explains Resignation After Oped About Israel and Anti-Semitism

From Time-

Within hours of the letter’s publication, Shipman says, people on and off campus began calling for his ouster. Two weeks later, he resigned. Why this happened—and what’s at stake—depends on who you ask.

Shipman has a long history of sympathy for the plight of Palestinians. As a teenager, he lived in Egypt while his father worked for World Health Organization and was there when Israel invaded during the 1956 Suez War. “Among my friends were Palestinian refugees and their children who were my age, so I heard their stories of dispossession and loss, people who had lost their homes and their farms and cut off from their land living in Jaffa and in the area which is now known as Israel,” he says.

More here-

Friday, September 12, 2014

Further responses to the letter from TREC: one pro-ish, one con

From The Cafe-

The Rev. Keith Voets, who blogs at The Young Curmudgeon Priest has read the recent open letter from the Task Force to Reimagine the Episcopal Church and is hopeful about TREC's direction:

The task force imagines a Church built on networks and areas of practice, a stream-lined General Convention, the elimination of Standing Commissions and clarification around the roles of the Presiding Bishop, President of the House of Deputies and Executive Council. TREC did not help its cause by releasing such a confusing letter and I hope that future communications will be a bit more clear, however I believe what they are proposing is worth a try.
I don't mind a Presiding Bishop with authority. Someone has to mind the shop. While the DMFS should not be in the business of micromanaging the work of dioceses and parishes, there are certain functions of a central office that needs to be managed and the PB is the logical one to be doing this work. I would say however, that we will need to revisit the election process of the PB if that office is to take on extra responsibility. ….

More here-

Why Anglicanism? Catholic Evangelism and Evangelical Catholicism

From Robert Hendrickson-

There have been a number of blog posts floating around under the heading, “Why Anglicanism?” I started to write a piece on the same topic and then realized that I was essentially rewriting a piece I had done before.  So I reproduce that piece below with one addition.

That addition is this – the comprehensiveness I mention below in various ways is not a grab bag or buffet in which we pick one thing we like from part of the tradition and another piece we like from another.  Evangelical and Catholic strains of the faith are strongest when interwoven and viewed not as opposites on a continuum but as constituent parts of a whole way of being faithful.  A commenter on my original post noted that “churchmanship” battles are at an all time low.  I actually agree with that to a point – however I have a huge number of people here at the Cathedral who are former Roman Catholics or former Evangelicals who are primed to distrust Catholicity or Evangelicalism either because it is the tradition out of which they came or because it is a tradition they have been actively warned against in their faith journey.

More here-

Namugongo to be turned into World heritage site

From Uganada-

GOVERNMENT has set up a ten-man committee for the rehabilitation of the two Namugongo Martyrs’ shrines, which will include tarmacking the access road infrastructure.

Information and National Guidance Minister Rosemary Namayanja told the press at the media centre yesterday that Wednesday’s Cabinet meeting endorsed the committee to be chaired by General duties minister in the Office of Prime Minister Tarsis Kabwegyere.

It will include Tourism, Wild life and Antiquities minister Maria Mutagamba, Internal affairs minister Gen. Aronda Nyakairima, Works and transport Minister Abraham Byandaala, Water and environment minister Prof Ephraim Kamuntu.

Other members are Lands, Housing and urban development minister Daudi Migereko, Energy and mineral development minister Irene Muloni,  and that of Health Dr. Ruhakana Rugunda.

More here-

Religious Acceptance Of Gays Is On The Rise, Duke Study

From Huffington-

Religious congregations are warming up to LGBT issues more and more, according to the results of a recent study out of Duke University.

Conducted by Duke sociology professor Mark Chaves, the National Congregations Study investigated the shift in acceptance of gay and lesbian congregants from 2006 to 2012 -- which rose from 37.4 percent to 48 percent in that time frame.

More here-

Mushing movie magic: Filmmakers make plans for northern Alaska

From Alaska-

Two filmmakers have been dreaming alike about a long-distance dog mushing expedition to Kotzebue lately.

Completely independent of each other, a remote Brook Range guide and a Two Rivers recreational musher have been making plans to travel more than 1,000 miles through northern Alaska to make films. Either project could get a big boost this month from a competition for a $50,000 prize in a National Geographic competition called Expedition Granted.

Although both projects would half halfway stops in Kotzebue, the two proposed sled dog expeditions follow different routes and have different objectives. John Gaedeke, of Iniakuk Lake, wants to make a documentary about the state’s proposed mining road to Ambler. Two Rivers musher Thomas Swan want to make a historical documentary, recreating the 1905 dog sled trip made by Episcopal missionary Hudson Stuck from Fairbanks to Kotzebue.

More here-

Liberia: Ebola Not God's Punishment - Lutheran Bishop

From All Africa-

The Bishop of the Lutheran Church in Liberia (LCL) D. Jensen Seyenkulo, has disagreed with those Liberians who hold the view that the deadly Ebola virus outbreak in the country is a punishment from God. Bishop Seyenkulo said, he disagrees with those, who in the wake of the deadly Ebola outbreak, have characterized God in ways that are contradicting the Biblical revelation of God through Jesus Christ.

The Lutheran Bishop said the God that Christians serve, is not a God that kills because of sin. The incarnation is a clear manifestation of God's gracious character. Speaking recently in Monrovia, he said, sickness and death are part of the normal course of life since mankind fell through Adam and Eve, and there is no scriptural basis proving that people who fear and love God will not suffer.

More here-

The Elements of Sermonizing Style

From The Wall Street Journal-

'Good sermon," is the worst possible praise a preacher can receive. Perfunctory at best, "good sermon" means what you said probably wasn't heard or understood or relevant.

"Your sermon touched me or troubled me." "You were talking to me." These are the compliments that we preachers want to hear. Even an argument with a sermon's content can be welcome—at least it shows somebody was listening.

Preaching is really hard, and many churchgoing people have no idea what goes into preparing a sermon. Perhaps they shouldn't care, but preachers are disappointed to find that many folks think we just preach on Sundays and do little else. There are preachers who wait until Saturday night to get their sermons ready; they are either extremely gifted or stupid and lazy.

More here-

Openly partnered priest is new rector at FW Episcopal Church

From Ft. Worth-

The Rev. Karen Calafat is the new rector of St. Luke’s in the Meadow Episcopal Church in Fort Worth. She begins Oct. 5.

Patti Callahan, a senior warden for the church, wrote in a statement that the church has been without a rector for the past nine months. “We are eager for Mother Karen to begin her part-time parish ministry here.”

Calafat has served in a variety of ministerial roles, including as a hospice chaplain, for two parishes in Southern California and a supply priest in the Diocese of Fort Worth for the past six years. She will continue her role as a chaplain with the Visiting Nurses Association.

More here-

Thursday, September 11, 2014

The Osteen Predicament — Mere Happiness Cannot Bear the Weight of the Gospel

From Albert Mohler-

The evangelical world, joined by no shortage of secular observers, has been abuzz about the latest soundbite of note from the Pastors Osteen — this time offered by Victoria Osteen as her husband Joel beamed in the background. It is a hard video to watch.

In her message, Victoria Osteen tells their massive congregation to realize that their devotion to God is not really about God, but about themselves. “I just want to encourage every one of us to realize when we obey God, we’re not doing it for God–I mean, that’s one way to look at it–we’re doing it for ourselves, because God takes pleasure when we are happy. . . . That’s the thing that gives Him the greatest joy. . . .”

More here-

Out of the basement, Franktuary's has kept the playful puns for its tasty treats

From Pittsburgh-

For 10 years, Franktuary was found in the basement of Trinity Episcopal Cathedral.

With witty puns, a la “Franks be to God,” Franktuary taught 'Burghers to expect more from simple fare. Hot dogs were no longer a poor man's meal, a means to an end. They were ground from grass-fed, organic beef. They were topped with fresh vegetables, cheeses and homemade sauces. And they were served and devoured with utter esteem.

Franktuary paved the way and reinvigorated Pittsburghers' love for the modest meal.

Read more:

Episcopalians seek to erase stigma of suicide, inspire church advocacy

From ENS-

Walking Philadelphia streets until the evening darkness dissolved into dawn meant raising nearly $6,000 to aid in suicide prevention and “bringing the whole subject of mental illness and depression into the light where people aren’t afraid of it anymore” for the Rev. Elaine Ellis Thomas.

“Fear is one of the biggest barriers” to helping those affected by suicide, according to Thomas, a curate at St. Edward’s Episcopal Church in Lancaster, Pennsylvania. She participated in the 16-mile American Foundation for Suicide Prevention (AFSP) “Out of Darkness” walk in late June in memory of her son, Seth Alan Peterson, who was 24 when he ended his life five years ago.

More here-

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Pope Francis blesses Vatican cricket XI ahead of Anglican showdown

From The Telegraph-

The Vatican's "underdog" cricket team was given an official blessing by Pope Francis on Tuesday as it prepares to travel to Britain to take on a formidable Anglican XI as well as a team fielded by the Queen at Windsor Castle.

The Latin American Pope, who is a passionate football fan but knows little about cricket, signed a bat that the team will take with them during their five-match tour of England, which begins on Friday.

After the tour the bat will be auctioned online on eBay or "possibly something more dignified" in order to raise money for a joint Catholic and Anglican campaign against modern-day slavery and indentured labour, the Global Freedom Network, said a Vatican official.

More here-