Friday, August 26, 2016

Inside the World's Only Surviving Tattoo Shop For Medieval Pilgrims

Still fishing in Montana but ran across this and couldn't resist- (more next week)

 In Jerusalem’s Old City today, you can find a uniquely obscure historical relic—the sole surviving pilgrimage tattoo business, Razzouk Ink. It’s a place where ancient artifacts meet contemporary machines, rich history intersects with modern technology. Twenty years ago, as a budding tattoo scholar, I first read about the adventures of Christian pilgrims to the Holy Land and the indelible souvenirs they had inscribed under their skin. I never expected to one day get the opportunity to follow in their footsteps and receive my own.

Just inside the Jaffa Gate in Jerusalem’s Old City, you can duck down the second side street to the left, as I did, finding respite from the beating sun and leaving the bustle of the crowded main square. A tiny shop, almost dwarfed by its prominent sign, lies across a quiet cobblestone road. If you didn’t know anything about the incredible, centuries-long history of the family who runs this particular shop, the sign’s tagline might cause you to do a double-take: “Tattoo With Heritage Since 1300” it reads.

Friday, August 19, 2016

Be back September 1st. A little R&R.

African Anglican churches urged not to follow Western progressives in acceptance of gay marriages

From Christian Times-

A senior leader of the African Anglican community urged members to denounce their Western counterpart's acceptance of gay marriages and to stick to what the Bible teaches.
Dr. Josiah Idowu-Fearon, the secretary general of the Anglican Communion, addressed the members of the Council of Anglican Provinces of Africa (CAPA) during their meeting in Rwanda to the uphold their conservative values based on the teachings of the Bible and to reject the forward steps by the Anglican churches in the West.

Idowu-Fearon condemned the Western churches for openly accepting gay marriages.

"We will never allow our churches to be taken over by views and programmes which suggest that the Bible is wrong," said Idowu-Fearon, according to the Anglican Communion News Service (ACNS).

More here-

Lambeth's long history of welcome uncovered

From The Church Times-

WELCOMING refugees with an invitation to live in the grounds of Lambeth Palace is not a new gesture, but history repeating itself.

The Syrian family who moved into the Palace last month, at the invitation of the Archbishop of Canterbury, were the first to be sponsored under a new Home Office scheme, designed to channel offers of goods and accommodation from members of the public into viable long-term support for refugees (News, 22 July).

But searching the archive this week, the Church Times unearthed a Central Press agency photograph of a former Archbishop of Canterbury, Dr Michael Ramsey, and his wife, Joan, showing a Ugandan Asian refugee couple their new home — a cottage in the grounds of the Palace — on 3 November 1972.

The newlyweds, Sulfikaralli and Zebunisa Esmail, are seen with the Ramseys outside No. 216a. A note on the back of the photograph states that Sulfikaralli Esmail, a 28-year-old farmer, television engineer, and salesman, married Zebunisa, a typist, shortly before they left Uganda on 9 October 1972.

More here-

Sticking to his guns: Episcopal priest denounces weapons, with Los Angeles Times' help

From Get Religion-

An Episcopal priest in Oregon inserted himself into a gun controversy – actually, created one – and then he acted shocked, shocked at the public blowback.

So did the Los Angeles Times, in an article that could have been written by public-relations professionals working for anti-gun advocates.

Rather than lengthen this intro, let's just load up and chamber the first excerpt:

The Rev. Jeremy Lucas brought an olive branch to a gun fight recently, hoping for a mellow outcome. It began when he won a semi-automatic rifle in a local raffle, then revealed his plan to destroy it and was mostly congratulated for his stand.

More here-

'We need to make our worship better,' Pittsburgh Bishop Zubik says

From Pittsburgh-

The Roman Catholic Diocese of Pittsburgh must focus on “better homilies, better music and more people” as its six-county territory attempts to reverse a series of “sobering” trends and prepares for a major overhaul in 2018, Bishop David Zubik said Wednesday.

“The No. 1 priority has to be, ‘We need to make our worship better,'” Zubik told the Tribune-Review. “Second of all, we need to do the best job that we can to get not only more ordained leaders, but we really have to open up lots of doors for the lay leaders of the church.”

The Pittsburgh diocese is closing in on the parishioner-input phase of a comprehensive planning initiative called “On Mission for the Church Alive!,” through which leaders are examining how to strengthen church participation, reorganize aging infrastructure and make the most of dwindling resources.

Thursday, August 18, 2016

The Vicar of Dibley meets real-life vicar in Sutton

From The U.K.

SUTTON’s real-life vicar has come face-to-face with her fictional counterpart.

The Rev Helen Collings met local actress Alison Waters who will play the famous Vicar of Dibley in the village next month.

Alison will don the cassock at Sutton Village Hall on September 9 and 10 for the Green Hut Theatre Company’s stage adaptation of the popular BBC sitcom.

Just 100 yards away at St Thomas’s Church the Rev Collings is already used to winning over the parishioners of a little village since arriving last October.

More here-

Church Center Seeks CEO

From The Living Church-

The Episcopal Church is accepting applications for the position of chief operating officer, a member of Presiding Bishop Michael Curry’s staff.

The CEO oversees a broad portfolio, including the day-to-day management of human resources, information technology, buildings and facilities, and real-estate acquisitions. The CEO serves as a senior member of the presiding bishop’s leadership team.

Information about the position, details for applying and process overview are available on the church’s website. Applicants should provide a résumé and a cover letter that includes at least three professional references. Materials should be submitted by email.

More here-

Southern African churches to consider blessing gay unions

From Christian Today-

Southern African churches may begin blessing same-sex unions after the Anglican Church of Southern Africa (ACSA) announced it would consider the move in its upcoming synod next month.

The motion, proposed by the Diocese of Saldanha Bay, rules out permitting same-sex marriages but says "prayers of blessing" should be offered to those in gay unions. And although it calls for clergy to be "especially prepared for a ministry of pastoral care for those identifying as LGBTI" it also makes clear that "any cleric unwilling to engage in such envisioned pastoral care shall not be obliged to do so".

The motion also calls for those in same-sex unions to be licensed "for ministry of clergy" and to "lay ministries on Parochial, Archidiaconal and Diocesan levels".

More here-

Priest sentenced to probation in peeping case

From Albany-

An Episcopal priest from Delmar was sentenced Wednesday to three years' probation for trying to film a woman as she changed in a Salvation Army store.

The Rev. Adam Egan pleaded guilty in Colonie Town Court in May to a misdemeanor charge of attempted unlawful surveillance. He was arrested Dec. 23 in the store on Troy-Schenectady Road in Latham.

At his sentencing, Egan was also ordered to pay $255 in fines and fees and given a host of restrictions on his behavior.

Colonie police said Egan tried to flee the building after the victim noticed a camera peeking over the top of a curtain and contacted police. Officers caught him nearby and said Egan tried to delete a video on a device he was carrying.

More here-

Tuesday, August 16, 2016

'The bishop made clear to me that there would be consequences.' Meet Clive Larsen, the reverend who left the church to marry his gay lover

From The Telegraph-

Reverend Clive Larsen had just finished his regular Sunday service at St Agnes Church in North Reddish, Stockport when he dropped a proverbial bombshell on his faithful congregation.

Taking a deep, restorative breath, the 60-year-old Church of England priest announced that, after 25 years working in the diocese of Manchester (11 of them spent at St Agnes), he was stepping down. But it was not all sad tidings.

His next words were thus: “The first thing I will be able to do is marry John. John, will you marry me?”

His partner of 14 years, John Marcombe, 49, who was sitting in one of the front few pews, was flabbergasted.  

“Everyone cheered,” recalls Larsen, of the bittersweet day in May. “He said yes, of course. It was a bit of a risk in front of all those people.”

More here-


From Religous Dispatches-

When I was in fifth or sixth grade my father bought me a King James Bible. It was bound in white faux leather and embossed with gold lettering. My dad was not religious in the slightest (though he had a surprisingly large collection of books about the historical Jesus), but the children’s Bible with pastel illustrations I got from Sunday School demanded a dignified, literarily respectable replacement.

I couldn’t make much sense of King James, but I enjoyed leafing through the pages—more gold, on their edges!—and sensing some vague power in the sheer overwhelming quantity of words they contained.

I started bringing this Bible with me wherever I went—in my backpack to school, biking through my neighborhood. At my best friend’s house, we marched around his yard and the woods behind his house pretending we were preachers prophesying the end of the world. It gave me a thrilling sense of power to possess this secret knowledge that everyone else was too blind to see.

More here-

Presiding Bishop names Rebecca Linder Blachly as director of government relations

From ENS-

Presiding Bishop and Primate Michael Curry has appointed Rebecca Linder Blachly as director of government relations, a member of the presiding bishop’s staff.

“Rebecca Blachly provides the capability and knowledge that the Episcopal Church wants and needs when working with our government leaders,” Curry said.  “Please join me in welcoming Rebecca to her new position, coming at a critical juncture for religion-government relations.”

Based in Washington, D.C., the director of government relations is a full-time position responsible for representing the public policy positions adopted by the Episcopal Church’s General Convention and Executive Council, and the ministry of the presiding bishop, to policymakers in Washington including, the White House, Congress, the diplomatic community, Episcopal institutions and networks, visiting Anglican and Episcopal leaders, the ecumenical community, and public interest organizations, so that the church has a direct presence and ability to advocate its positions to those who make or are concerned about governmental policy.

More here-

Monday, August 15, 2016

Anti-Islam group storms Anglican church in Australia

From Australia-

Right-wing protestors dressed in mock Muslim outfits and chanting anti-Islamic slogans have stormed a church service on Australia's east coast.

The protestors interrupted a service held at Gosford Anglican Church on the Central Coast of New South Wales state.

A group of about 10 people entered the church and pretended to pray while playing Muslim prayers over a loudspeaker.

Local police are investigating what the church described as a "racist stunt".

The Party for Freedom posted photos and video of the incident on social media, claiming it was a demonstration against the church's support for Islamic leaders and multiculturalism.

More here-

The preacher and the AR-15: How one man's move to end gun violence started a fight

From Oregon (LA Times)

The Rev. Jeremy Lucas brought an olive branch to a gun fight recently, hoping for a mellow outcome. It began when he won a semi-automatic rifle in a local raffle, then revealed his plan to destroy it and was mostly congratulated for his stand.

But the 44-year-old Episcopal priest’s token attempt to take another gun off the streets did little to keep the peace. In response to his gesture, Lucas got threats and demands for his arrest.

“I’ve come to learn a lot about the nature of social media,” Lucas said last week of some of the comments about his one-man, one-gun protest. “The rabid gun activists come out swinging, trying to close down any meaningful conversation and attempting to intimidate people into silence.”

More here-

Sunday, August 14, 2016

As traditional believers turn away, is this a new crisis of faith?

From The Guardian-

Towards the end of the 100-minute service at St Luke’s in Birmingham on a sunny Sunday morning, Taryn Nabi began to shake uncontrollably. Near her, a man fell to his knees with head bowed and arms outstretched. Several people wept; some embraced.

“I can’t explain it. It starts here,” said Nabi after the service, pointing at her diaphragm. “It’s the Holy Spirit, it takes over. I just surrender.”

Nabi was among about 200 people who had come to sing, sway and pray at St Luke’s, a beautifully renovated warehouse in Gas Street, which opened its doors as a church in February. Now, according to priest-in-charge Tim Hughes, it regularly attracts a total of 500 people to its two Sunday services, which are characterised by loud rock music, chatty homilies rather than formal sermons, group prayer, and manifestations of God in the form of shaking or speaking in tongues.

More here-

Church urged not to forget pie-throwing priest clown

From England-

The legacy of a Anglican priest who made a reputation for himself as a custard pie-through clown who targeted bishops must not be forgoten, one of his former-colleagues has told Premier.

Associate vicar Roly Bain, who won accolades including two Clown International awards, reportedly died following a one-year battle with cancer.

Fellow Anglican priest Patrick Forbes, who co-founded the Holy Fools network of Christian entertainers with Roly told Premier Christian Radio: "There was a time when the idea of a lowly priest hurling a custard pie at a bishop in the Anglican Church would have been impossible to imagine.

"It's possible for senior people to take themselves far too solemnly. Roly went to work on that with great success and the bishops, bless their hearts, took it in very good [humour]."

more here-

Anglican Archbishop of Perth admits he knew of abuse in Newcastle diocese

From Australia-

One of Australia's most senior Anglicans has admitted he didn't act on complaints of sex abuse within the Newcastle diocese, which he led for more than a decade. Roger Herft said he regretted he had not been more alert to what was going on. 


MATT WORDSWORTH, PRESENTER: One of Australia's most senior Anglicans today admitted he didn't act on complaints about sex abuses within the diocese he led for more than a decade.

It comes after 7:30 revealed last month that a senior priest, Father Peter Rushton, led a paedophile network in the Hunter region for years. The focus of today's Royal Commission hearings was Roger Herft, now the Archbishop of Perth.

Anne Connolly has been following the stories of the victims whose lives have been destroyed by the dark deeds within the church.

And a warning: this story contains material that may distress some viewers.

More here-

Top cleric says Church of England risks becoming a ‘suburban sect’

From The Gaurdian-

One of Britain’s senior theologians has warned that the Church of England is in danger of becoming a narrow sect “driven by mission-minded middle managers” who are alienating clergy, congregations and the general public.

Martyn Percy, dean of Christ Church, Oxford, writes in the afterword of his latest book, The Future Shapes of Anglicanism, that church leaders’ strategy is moving towards “centralised management, organisational apparatus and the kind of creeping concerns that might consume an emerging suburban sectarianism, instead of a national church”.

More here-

Friday, August 12, 2016

St. Paul's School Grad Accuses Former Chaplain of Sexual Abuse

From New Hampshire-

A former St. Paul’s School student has come forward with an allegation of sexual abuse by a former chaplain after the New Hampshire prep school began an investigation of the man upon learning of a similar allegation at a Rhode Island prep school where he also once worked, a St. Paul’s spokeswoman said Wednesday.

St. Paul’s contacted Concord police, alumni and students about the allegation involving the Rev. Howard “Howdy” White when he was a chaplain and teacher from 1967-1971, spokeswoman Tenley Rooney said in confirming reports that the school was investigating White.

More here-

Thursday, August 11, 2016

Anglican church tried to change rules to keep child sex abuse findings quiet – inquiry

From The Guardian-

Attempts were made to change Anglican church rules so that findings of child sex abuse against priests were kept private, a whistleblower has told the royal commission.

Michael Elliott, a former policeman, has been the professional standards director in the diocese of Newcastle, New South Wales, since 2009.

On Thursday he told the royal commission into institutional responses to child sexual abuse that there was a move within the diocese to undermine the professional standards body as soon as it began investigating allegations against the former dean of Newcastle cathedral, Graeme Lawrence, and four others.

Elliott told the commission he was head of professional standards when a man, referred to in the commission as CKH, reported he had been groomed by a priest, Andrew Duncan, in 1980, when CKH was 14. CKH told the commission he subsequently had sex with Lawrence and a priest, Bruce Hoare, the commission has heard.

More here-

also here-

and here-

Evangelicals form new group within United Methodist Church over homosexuality

From Christian Today-

A new evangelical grouping is set to form within the United Methodist Church. The group – the Wesleyan Covenant Association – is being formed in response to the ongoing debate within the denomination about sexuality.

The UMC is one of the biggest mainline denominations in America, with around 7 million members, and 4 million more worldwide. A special commission of the UMC is working on the issue of homosexuality at the moment. It is expected to report back soon and may recommend some changes to church rules on same sex marriage and gay clergy.

The Wesleyan Covenant Association says that it is forming at a time of "great uncertainty about the future of The United Methodist Church, the Wesleyan Covenant Association stands together as an alliance to advance vibrant, scriptural Christianity within Methodism."

The group's website answers reports which have claimed that it is looking to found a new denomination – especially in response to the appointment of a lesbian Bishop. It says, "That is not the association's intent. The WCA hopes the UM Church can remain united. We pray we can all find ways to live as Jesus' joyful and obedient disciples in covenant with one another."

More here-

Malcolm Gladwell Profiles Minister Who Defied Church for Gay Son

From The Advocate-

Chester Wenger, a Mennonite pastor who sacrificed his ministry by officiating his son’s same-sex marriage, is an examplar of “generous orthodoxy” — showing “respect for the body he is trying to heal,” says journalist and commentator Malcolm Gladwell.

Gladwell, famed for explaining cultural trends in his book The Tipping Point, profiles Wenger on Thursday’s episode of his Revisionist History podcast.

Wenger, now 98, says he had little knowledge about homosexuality for much of his life, and whe

Some years later, Phil joined the more accepting Episcopal Church after Gene Robinson became its first openly gay bishop, making his father weep with joy that he had renewed his faith.

n his son Phil came out as gay, the minister thought it was a phase Phil would get over. Eventually it became clear it was not a phase, and Phil was expelled from the Mennonite Church (by another clergy member, not his father). Wenger and his wife urged Phil to maintain his faith in Jesus Christ nonetheless.

More here-

Wednesday, August 10, 2016

EDS Chairs Issue an Update

From The Living Church-

In late July, the EDS board of trustees voted to end degree programs in June 2017 in order to conserve the seminary’s resources for its future mission. We’re writing today, as we hope to write periodically in the coming months, to update you on our progress.

Since the meeting on July 21, we have formed two committees. One, the New Directions Committee, will spend the next year considering options for EDS’s future. We are delighted to announce that the Rev. Anne Sutherland Howard ’85 has agreed to chair this committee. Anne, the former executive director of the Beatitudes Society, has been a trustee of EDS since 2015. Anne brings great personal and professional skills to this work. She served as canon to the ordinary in Los Angeles for Bishop Fred Borsch, and continues as preacher-in-residence at Trinity Episcopal Church in Santa Barbara, California. She is adept at working with groups to bring both leadership and consensus to achieving a visionary goal.

More here-

Bishop cried at prospect of defrocking senior cleric over abuse, inquiry told

From The Guardian-

An Anglican bishop balked at having to defrock an influential senior cleric for sexual misconduct even though a church hearing had recommended he do so, a royal commission has been told.

The commission has been hearing complex and startling evidence on how the Anglican diocese of Newcastle allegedly took a “do nothing” approach for decades to allegations of widespread child sex abuse by its clergy.

On Tuesday, an abuse survivor, CKH, told how Bishop Brian Farran met him in 2012 and cried over the difficult decision he faced: whether to defrock the former dean of Newcastle cathedral, Graeme Lawrence.

More here-

Inquiry hears of priests' 'sickening' porn

From Australia-

A removal man told his company he found sickening child porn at an Anglican rector's house.

The company's lawyers told the Anglican Diocese of Newcastle in NSW it was legal adult gay porn.

However, then-bishop Roger Herft and diocesan registrar Peter Mitchell were uncertain especially when accused priest Peter Rushton refused to show an assistant bishop his full porn collection.

To clear the matter up the bishop and his adviser let a friend of Rushton's investigate.

On Wednesday, the chair of the child sex abuse royal commission Peter McClellan described the diocese's approach to the 1998 incident as "extraordinary".

More here-

The Rev. Howard White, ex-St. George's assistant chaplain, accused of sex abuse at N.H. prep school

From Rhode Island-

An alumnus of St. Paul’s School in Concord, New Hampshire, has accused the Rev. Howard W. "Howdy" White Jr. of sexually abusing him during White's time there between 1967 through 1971, the school confirmed Tuesday. White served as a chaplain and teacher at the prestigious Episcopal boarding institution.

White, who subsequently became assistant chaplain at St. George’s School in Middletown, is one of a half-dozen former staff members who figured in a sex-abuse scandal at St. George's. A Rhode Island State Police investigation, concluded in June, found no prosecutable criminal misconduct against any of the alleged perpetrators, or the school, in part due to statutes of limitations.

St. George’s announced a confidential settlement last week between the elite Episcopal prep school and up to 30 alumni whose abuse claims reach back to the 1970s. Those sex-abuse claims include allegations against White, whom the school fired in 1974 for admitted sexual misconduct but never reported to authorities.

In Concord, St. Paul's rector Michael G. Hirschfeld wrote to alumni Aug. 5 of the recent allegation against White. Hirschfeld said the school had hired former Massachusetts attorney general Scott Harshbarger "to lead our investigative efforts and pursue any complaints" following the St. George's allegations.

More here-

Tuesday, August 9, 2016

No immediate fix to Nigeria’s woes – Anglican Primate

From Nigeria-

Okoh, who was speaking in an interview at the Conference of Registrars, Chancellors and Legal Officers of the church, in Abuja, called on judiciary to refuse to be used by disgruntled politicians to scatter the country.

Primate noted that although Nigeria is a process of being revived but needed more patience and sacrifice to bounce back.

According to him, “we have been assured by the Present administration, it will take quiet sometime to fixed Nigeria.

“There is no immediate fixed to Nigeria problem, to fix Nigeria of today requires a lot of patient and sacrifice.

“Nigeria is a way already been revived if you watch the trend from the budget was passed notwithstanding, with the difficulty still associate with the budget I am referring to the issue of padding step by step as money is being released by government people will begin to find something to do.

More here-

Anglican Church response to abuse: ‘we’ll sue’

From Australia-

The Anglican Archbishop of Perth warned two youth leaders they would face legal action if they continued to complain about ­alleged child abuse committed by a senior priest, a royal commission has heard.

Archbishop Roger Herft “was more interested in standing up for (the alleged abuser) than listening to the issue,” one of the youth leaders said in a witness statement tendered to the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse.

Robert Wall told the commission he met Archbishop Herft in about 1994-95, when he was the bishop of Newcastle, in NSW, to report the allegations against Graeme Lawrence, the dean of the city’s cathedral.

Mr Lawrence, who was ­defrocked in 2012 after having group sex with a teenager, has been identified in evidence to the commission as part of a “Gang of Three” church officials who protected serial paedophile priest Peter Rushton.

More here-

Priest finds ‘Kingdom of Heaven’ at Burning Man

From Sacramento-

The Very Rev. Brian Baker of Trinity Episcopal Cathedral in Sacramento, Calif., has always traveled outside the box, promoting interfaith conversations with the Dalai Lama, motorcycling through Indian reservations and leading the fight for marriage equality.

Last summer, his daughter, Laura, offered him a fresh test of faith: She invited him to spend a week in the broiling Black Rock Desert of northern Nevada, enduring five-hour dust storms to join the 70,000 people who had left behind cellphones, capitalism and judgments for Burning Man, the festival of “radical self-expression” that will be held this year from Aug. 28 to Sept. 5.

“When my amazing hippie, dreadlocked, tattooed, ‘I’m more of a Buddhist,’ 22-year-old daughter asked me,” Baker said, it was an offer he couldn’t refuse – especially since the 53-year-old Episcopal priest had always wanted to experience what’s been described as a slice of utopia.

Read more here: