Sunday, October 23, 2016

Anglican Bishop of Wellington Justin Duckworth: 'It's not hard to go and meet your neighbour'

From New Zealand-

Justin Duckworth is a bishop without a bible. The leader of Wellington's Anglican Church uses a smartphone app instead.

But before God's word went digital, Duckworth owned a treasured tome, inscribed with years of musings of a young theology student on a path to ordination.

Decades ago, a light fingered youth uplifted the bag in which Duckworth had stashed his Good Book. The thief biffed the lot in the Hutt River. Duckworth chuckles at the memory.

"They had no idea of the value. They just threw it away to get rid of it. But for me it was like, "You've got to be kidding me. Couldn't you have just left it, or put it somewhere else?'"

More here-


From The Tablet-

Pope Francis has urged bishops to carefully vet who they ordain as priests so they ensure the world is served by “mature and balanced” clergy.

“When it comes to vocations to the priesthood and those entering the seminary, I beg you to discern the truth, to have a shrewd and cautious look,” Francis told a Vatican conference on vocations this week, adding that this discernment should be done without “shallowness or superficiality.”

He went on: "especially to my brother bishops, I say: vigilance and prudence. The Church and the world need mature and balanced priests, pastors who are intrepid and generous, capable of closeness, listening and mercy.”

The Pope has previously told bishops to focus less on the numbers of vocations but the “quality” of the men coming forward, and he has called for the next synod of bishops in 2018 to be focussed on vocational discernment and young people.

Before then, however, the Congregation for Clergy - the body which organised the conference which the Pope spoke at this week - are to release a major document on seminary formation. This has been prepared by Mexican Archbishop Jorge Patron Wong whom the Pope gave responsibility for seminaries urging him to undertake an overhaul of the system. 

More here-

Episcopal Church Executive Council stands with Standing Rock

From ENS-

The Episcopal Church’s Executive Council asked Oct. 22 that law-enforcement officials “de-escalate military and police provocation in and near the campsites of peaceful protest and witness of the Dakota Access Pipeline project.”

The request came in a resolution council passed as it wrapped up its three-day meeting here. A summary of resolutions council passed is here.

Council’s resolution on the Dakota pipeline protest follows support by Presiding Bishop Michael Curry both in words and his presence with the protestors.

The Rev. John Floberg, council member and supervising priest of the Episcopal churches on the North Dakota side of Standing Rock, told the council’s Joint Standing Committee on Advocacy and Networking for Mission Oct. 21 that the way the protest has been conducted has been “the most powerful experience I have had in my 25 years on Standing Rock.” And, yet, he said, he has been shaken by the racist responses that the protest has generated elsewhere in the state.

More here-

Saturday, October 22, 2016

The Bible Never Says ‘All Men Are Created Equal’

From Christianity Today-

An Anglican man rang me out of the blue the other day to ask if the New Testament teaches “equality.” “Not really,” I replied. “The New Testament mentions equality once or twice, but when it comes to social relationships, it is far more interested in concepts like oneness, commonness, partnership, union, and joint-inheritance. If you make all those passages about equality, you flatten their meaning. And in any case, it’s become a blunderbuss word that means everything and nothing.”

Considering the history of the past 50 years, let alone the last 2,000, it might seem unwise to dismiss “equality” so casually. Thankfully, the New Testament presents a better, higher vision.

Two New Testament texts explicitly mention isot─ôs, the Greek word for equality, proportionality, or fairness. In 2 Corinthians 8:13–14, Paul urges the church in Corinth to give generously to the Jerusalem church, “that there might be equality.” And in Colossians 4:1, he tells masters to grant their slaves “what is right and fair.”

More here-

Friday, October 21, 2016

Time for Christians to Unplug from Our Secular Culture

From Crisis Magazine-

Much of what I say today you probably already know. But that doesn’t prevent a good discussion, so I hope you’ll bear with me.

As I sat down to write my talk last week, a friend emailed me a copy of a manuscript illustration from the thirteenth century. It’s a picture of Mary punching the devil in the nose. She doesn’t rebuke him. She doesn’t enter into a dialogue with him. She punches the devil in the nose. So I think that’s the perfect place to start our discussion.

When most Catholics think about Mary, we have one of two images in our heads: the virginal Jewish teen from Galilee who says yes to God’s plan; or the mother of Jesus, the woman of mercy and tenderness, “our life, our sweetness and our hope.” We can too easily forget that Mary is also the woman clothed in the sun who crushes the head of the serpent. She embodies in her purity the greatness of humanity fully alive in God. She’s the mother who intercedes for us, comforts us and teaches us—but who also defends us.

More here-

Is that you, Jesus?

From CNN-

A statue of a baby Jesus in a Canadian church got an unexpected makeover, giving onlookers reason to do a double-take. And for good reason.

It looks less like the son of Mary and more like the daughter of Marge.

The statue depicts Mary with baby Jesus in her arm and it stands at the Ste Anne des Pins Catholic church in downtown Sudbury, Ontario.

The problem is vandals keep stealing baby Jesus' head.

So, recently, a local artist replaced the missing piece with a hand-crafted terracotta presence.
You can see the result for yourself. Locals joke the new head makes baby Jesus look like spiky-haired Lisa Simpson - she of the "The Simpsons" fame.

More here-

Opinion: Why I don’t think we should redefine marriage to include same sex couples

From Austraila-

IN A recent opinion piece on Jane Gilmore argued that the Sydney Anglican booklet What has God Joined Together? is a “logic fail”.

Further, she accused the church of trying to take ownership of the gay marriage debate.
As one of the authors of the booklet, nothing could be further from my mind. I don’t want to own this debate but I do want to move it from startlingly superficial to a far better place.

I should explain that the booklet, which you can read here, is a still a draft, written to help Sydney Anglicans engage in the public debate about whether Australia should redefine marriage to include same-sex couples.

Now, I know that Christians shouldn’t expect that any special privilege attaches to our views. In a secular liberal democracy like Australia, we have no more right than others — and no less right than others — to present our point of view, and to seek to persuade others that our view might be good for society generally.

More here-

Students Object to Yale Honoring Slave-owning White Male Ben Franklin

From V Dare-

Some background: Yale undergraduates live in glorified dormitories known as “colleges.” The incredibly rich university is finally building two new colleges, the first since 1961, after keeping its class size the same for many decades. Yale announced in April that its two new dorms will be named after Pauli Murray and Benjamin Franklin.

Who was Pauli Murray, you may ask?

She is perfect for The Current Year: a Talented Tenth lesbian transgender black studies professor / Episcopalian priest. From Wikipedia:

In 1973, Murray left academia for the Episcopal Church, becoming an ordained priest in 1977, among the first generation of women priests. Murray struggled in her adult life with issues related to her sexual and pbs-pauli-murray-praise-pagegender identity, describing herself as having an “inverted sex instinct”. She had a brief, annulled marriage to a man and several deep relationships with women. In her younger years, she occasionally passed as a teenage boy. 

More here-

Diocese commissions youngest verger in its history

From Mississippi-

At 19, Noah Anglin is the youngest verger in the Episcopal Diocese of Mississippi. He was presented by his mentor, Dr. Lena Melton, a verger at St. John’s Episcopal Church in Ocean Springs, for commissioning at a special service of the Holy Eucharist Aug. 9 at St. Peter’s by-the-Sea.

His parents, J.T. and Debbie Anglin, beam with pride at their son’s most recent religious accomplishment.

"I am very proud of Noah,” Debbie said. “His love for the Lord, the liturgy and the Episcopal Church are very evident, and I pray this is only the beginning of his Christian ministry and service to others.”

More here-

Executive Council meets with staff to help ‘light a fire in the world’

From ENS-

The Episcopal Church’s Executive Council traveled from here to New York on the first day of its Oct. 20-22 meeting to meet with the denominational staff as part of the Church’s effort to have its culture better reflect the loving, liberating and life-giving way of Jesus.

Kicking off the afternoon of conversation, Presiding Bishop Michael B. Curry said the work is an effort “to set this church free to light a fire in the world for good and for love.”

The entire denominational staff met together Oct. 18-19 to continue the culture-change work it has been doing since late spring. During the final exercise of that gathering each staff member verbally committed to one behavioral change. Curry, describing his reaction to listening to those pledges, said that behind each vow was “deep hope for us to be something closer to what God dreams for us to be.”

More here-

Thursday, October 20, 2016

Ntagali Petitions Principal Judge Over Diocese Row

From Uganda-

The Archbishop of the Church of Uganda, the Most Rev Stanley Ntagali, has petitioned the Principal Judge Yorokam Bamwine to intervene in the case filed by some dissenting Canons of West Ankole Diocese who sued the archbishop.

According to Archbishop Ntagali's petition dated October 17, a copy of which Daily Monitor has seen, he told the Principal Judge that the current situation in the management of the case against him has caused serious disruption in the leadership of the Church of Uganda.

More here-

Wednesday, October 19, 2016

Want millennials back in the pews? Stop trying to make church ‘cool.’

From The Washington Post-

Bass reverberates through the auditorium floor as a heavily bearded worship leader pauses to invite the congregation, bathed in the light of two giant screens, to tweet using #JesusLives. The scent of freshly brewed coffee wafts in from the lobby, where you can order macchiatos and purchase mugs boasting a sleek church logo. The chairs are comfortable, and the music sounds like something from the top of the charts. At the end of the service, someone will win an iPad.

This, in the view of many churches, is what millennials like me want. And no wonder pastors think so. Church attendance has plummeted among young adults. In the United States, 59 percent of people ages 18 to 29 with a Christian background have, at some point, dropped out. According to the Pew Forum on Religion & Public Life, among those of us who came of age around the year 2000, a solid quarter claim no religious affiliation at all, making my generation significantly more disconnected from faith than members of Generation X were at a comparable point in their lives and twice as detached as baby boomers were as young adults.

More here-

Russian patriarch concerned about Anglican developments

From Catholic Culture-

The head of the Russian Orthodox Church met with the Archbishop of Canterbury in England on October 18 and expressed his concerns about developments within Anglicanism.

Patriarch Kirill of Moscow “drew Archbishop Justin Welby’s attention to the Russian Orthodox Church’s concern over the liberalization of the Church of England’s teaching on church order, particularly, the ordination of women as priests and bishops and on the family and morality,” according to the Moscow Patriarchate.

“His Holiness Kirill expressed hope that the Church of England will oppose [the] challenges of the modern world and seek to preserve the Gospel’s teaching,” the patriarchate added.

More here-

Inside the evangelicals: How religion has shaped American politics over the past 50 years

From Salon-

On Oct. 3, Longwood University, a public university in Virginia, hosted the first and only 2016 vice presidential debate. In what were described as the debate’s “most sincere” and “most honest” moments, Sen. Tim Kaine (D-VA) and Gov. Mike Pence (R-IN) discussed their religious faiths.

Pence, a Roman-Catholic-turned-evangelical, appealed to familiar concerns of the Christian right, such as abortion and “the sanctity of life.” Kaine, a Roman Catholic, emphasized the moral responsibility of honoring individual choice.

That Pence pivoted toward abortion is not surprising. Since 1973 — when the landmark Supreme Court decision Roe v. Wade legalized the right to an abortion — the Christian right has put abortion, as well as homosexuality and “family values,” at the center of conservative politics.

More here-

Ntagali Has Moral, Eccelesiastical Authority Over West Ankole Diocese

From Uganda-

I read with interest the submission by some Clergy and Christians in West Ankole Diocese accusing the Archbishop of the Church of the province of Uganda for unlawful takeover of their Diocese (Daily Monitor, October 12).

As a mature ordained Christian, well wisher and former provincial Secretary of the Church of the province of Uganda, allow me to state that the Archbishop has the moral and ecclesiastical authority to take over the episcopal jurisdiction of any diocese in the event of a vacancy in a Diocese like West Ankole , in accordance with the Constitution and Canons of the Church of the province of Uganda.

Article 9(a) of the Provincial Constitution 1972 as amended in 1994, gives powers to the Archbishop to exercise general Pastoral care, leadership, supervision and discipline over the whole province.

Article 9(d) authorises him to visit officially any diocese of the province, whether at the invitation of the Bishop or of his own initiative and therefore overseeing west Ankole is not his choice but a Constitutional mandate.

More here-

Church connects with Oxford’s hispanic community

From Mississippi-

Each Sunday evening, before 6 o’clock strikes at St. Peter’s Episcopal Church, Associate Rector for Hispanic Ministry Bruce McMillan brings Spanish Bibles and hymn books to the sanctuary. Other members hang a Spanish banner in the pulpit and bring in a guitar for worship service.

Retired University of Mississippi Spanish professor and current vocational deacon of 15 years Penny Sisson remembers when she and others began the Spanish-speaking service.

In 2000, Hispanics made up 1.39 percent of Mississippi’s population. Since, the population has doubled.

According to Pew Research Center, 80,000 Hispanics live in Mississippi, making up 3 percent of the state’s entire population. In July 2015, the nationwide Hispanic or Latino percentage was 17.6 percent, a 1.3 percent rise from April 2010.

More here-

Tuesday, October 18, 2016

Exorcism in Italy a job 'too scary' for young priests

From The BBC-

"That is a possessed woman there," says Fr Vincenzo Taraborelli as he points up to an 18th Century fresco in his Roman church. "They're holding her with her mouth open. She has little devils coming out of her body. She's being freed."

It is a scene the 79-year-old priest says he knows well. For the past 27 years, Fr Taraborelli has performed exorcisms - the Catholic rite of expelling evil spirits.

He stumbled into the job when a fellow priest needed help.

"I didn't know what it was, I hadn't studied it," the father says. "He told me what to do. I was totally ignorant."

He has since become one of Rome's busiest exorcists, and the Catholic Church is struggling to find younger successors.

More here-

Will Evangelical Women Turn the Tide Against Trump?

From Sojourners-

She never used his name. Or mentioned the recording that roiled so many of his evangelical Christian supporters.

But popular evangelical speaker and author Beth Moore clearly repudiated Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump’s remarks about women, and the Christians who have defended him, in a series of tweets on Oct. 9.

“Try to absorb how acceptable the disesteem and objectifying of women has been when some Christian leaders don’t think it’s that big a deal,” Moore tweeted.

And Moore isn’t the only prominent evangelical woman who has spoken out in the week since the release of the now-infamous “Trump tape,” a 2005 recording of Trump bragging about forcibly kissing and grabbing women, and attempting sex with a married woman.

More here-

Anglican church advocates true federalism as solution to Nigeria’s problems

From Nigeria-

The Anglican Diocese of Calabar on Monday pointed out that the practice of true federalism in Nigeria is the only panacea to Nigeria’s multifaceted problems.

Bishop of the Diocese, Rt. Rev. Tunde Adeleye, who stated this at a press briefing to mark the 2nd session of 9th Synod of the Diocese in Calabar, averred that states should be given more powers to manage some pressing local affairs, while the Federal Government should maintain its roles on national security and diplomatic matters.

According to him, “It is my considered opinion that the main solution to all the socio-political and economic problems in this country is still true Federalism.

More here-

Election of gay bishop spurs complaint to Welby

Anglican Journal-

Three clergy in the diocese of Toronto have sent a letter to Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby to register dissent and request an “intervention” following the election of Canon Kevin Robertson, a gay man currently living with his partner, to the episcopate in September. Welby, however, has no jurisdiction in Canada; all 38 member churches of the Anglican Communion are autonomous.

The letter, signed by the Canon Murray Henderson (St. Matthew’s Riverdale), the Rev. Catherine Sider Hamilton (St. Matthew’s Riverdale) and Canon Dean Mercer (Anglican Church of St. Paul, L’Amoreaux) argues that the election was “irregular” and “out of order insofar as its slate included a candidate whose lifestyle is contrary to the teaching of the historic and universal church on chastity and marriage.”

They also claim that Robertson’s inclusion was “contrary to the present doctrine and discipline of the Anglican Church of Canada,” and that he was therefore “not duly qualified for the office of bishop.”

More here-

Monday, October 17, 2016

Knock, knock. Who's there? It's your local vicar. Derry church uses unusual approach in a bid to get people to come along to some of its events

From Derry (Ireland)-

A local church has taken an unusual approach to getting people to come along to some of its events.

People from St Canice’s Parish Church, right in the heart of Eglinton, have spent the past week knocking on every door in every street and offering a compendium of truly terrible ‘Knock Knock’ jokes.

It is an unusual way of highlighting a week of special outreach activities, according to the Rector of Faughanvale, Reverend Paul Hoey.

“We are running a week of special events entitled ‘Knock Knock!’ for everyone in the community and we reckoned that this might be a way of drawing people’s attention to it,” the Rector explained.

More here-


From The Living Church-

Heresies never die. They just take on new forms from time to time.

Yesterday’s Arianism becomes today’s Jehovah’s Witnesses. Ye olde Gnosticism gets recycled into the warmed over Hegelianism that is still taught in many seminaries. It all goes around and around in a circle. Beware whenever someone says, “God is doing a new thing,” because 9 times out of 10 times what that really means is that human beings have put an old and long broken thing into a shiny new package.

All the old heresies are still mucking about in one form or another, but which one is the most dominant in our day and age? There are certainly lots of candidates for the position. But the one that never seems to come up on anyone’s list is the one that I think is the sleeper victory. We live in an age dominated by

More here-

First woman elected bishop of Episcopal Diocese of Spokane

From Spokane-

The Rev. Gretchen Rehberg has been elected bishop of the Episcopal Diocese of Spokane.

It is the first time a woman has been chosen to lead the 40 Episcopal churches in Eastern Washington and North Idaho.

“I am incredibly humbled and honored to be elected bishop of our diocese,” she said in a prepared statement. Only one person is elected bishop, but the work is all of ours.”

More here-

Sunday, October 16, 2016

New Methodist bishop seeks to bridge gaps

From Pittsburgh-

Her first job as a student pastor was at a small United Methodist church in East Baltimore, Md., founded long ago by an ethnic German community in what had become a mostly African-American neighborhood.

“They were struggling to find their new identity, to make connections with the new community around them,” recalled Bishop Cynthia Moore-Koikoi, the new spiritual leader of United Methodists in Western Pennsylvania.

One way they made connections was to hold a Bible study for the neighborhood youth — not in the sanctuary but on a nearby front stoop.

“That’s what the kids in the neighborhood did — sit on the stoop,” Bishop Moore-Koikoi recalled. The church needed to take its ministry outdoors because, she said, the neighbors were nervous about entering a building where they don’t see “people like me going.”

More here-

Episcopal Diocese of Lexington wants a new bishop

From Lexington-

The Standing Committee of the Episcopal Diocese of Lexington says it wants a new bishop.

The current bishop, the Very Rev. Douglas Hahn, has been suspended since March, after it was discovered that he had had a previous affair with a parishioner which he did not disclose during his interview process in Lexington.

The six-member standing committee said that in a unanimous vote Oct. 5, the committee agreed that “it desires the dissolution of the pastoral relationship between Bishop Hahn and the Diocese of Lexington,” according to a letter to parishioners.

Hahn, however, “has not accepted our decision; therefore, we are not in agreement,” the letter stated. The presiding bishop of the church has been notified of the situation as called for by church laws, according to the letter.

Read more here:

Saturday, October 15, 2016

Church of England Could Soon Remove Legal Requirement For Regular Sunday Services

From Christian Today-

The Church of England is considering moves to abandon the legal requirement to hold regular services of morning and evening prayer in parish churches because of declining congregations.

The proposal is among those in the first "update" from the simplification task group. The group, which in spite of its name is facing a set of extremely complex tasks, was set up as one of a raft of reforms aimed at stopping the "terrifying" decline of the Church of England.

The aim of the group is to remove the red tape from parish life in order to aid mission and growth.

Bishop of Willesden Pete Broadbent, chairman of the group, writes in the update that they are considering changes to church law spelled out in Canons B11 and B14 in order "to relax the requirements for regular worship in parish churches in sparsely-populated benefices."

More here-

Omaha church begins raising funds for shelter to serve survivors of human trafficking

From Nebraska-

Lori Wright said she was 13 years old when she snuck out the window of a boarding school and started running through the cornfields of Indiana.

When she finally saw a sign for a truck stop, she said, she had hope. Someone could give her a ride to her father’s home in Nashville, Tennessee, she thought.

She said she didn’t know then that the truck driver who gave her a ride would be the first of many men who would use her and pass her around for sex.

By 16, Wright was married. By 17, she said, her husband had sold her to a pimp for drugs. For 25 years, Wright said, she was trafficked for sex. She said she lost count of how many times she was raped and beaten.

More here-

Rt. Rev. Jose Antonio McLoughlin ordained as Bishop of Episcopal Diocese of WNC

From Western North Carolina-

The Episcopal Church’s new leader in Western North Carolina wants to see the diocese do more to serve communities and reach people through ministry.

“I want to make sure we as a church are outwardly focused, not looking inward,” said the Rt. Rev. Jose Antonio McLoughlin, the new bishop of the Episcopal Diocese of Western North Carolina.

McLoughlin, 47, began his transition to bishop for the diocese in September after being elected to the job in June during a meeting in Asheville. He was ordained and consecrated on Oct. 1 as the seventh bishop of the diocese in a ceremony at UNC-Asheville.

McLoughlin has spent the last month getting to know both clergy and lay leaders in the diocese, learning the administrative functions of his new job, attending previously scheduled events on the bishop’s calendar, working on the budget for the diocese and meeting with various committees.

More here-

California Episcopal bishops issue statement supporting Proposition 62, repeal of death penalty

From ENS-

Episcopal bishops from all six dioceses in California have issued a statement supporting Proposition 62, which, if passed, would repeal the death penalty in the state. The statement follows.

Grace and peace to you, in the Name of Jesus Christ. We are the bishops of the six dioceses of the Episcopal Church in California. We believe that the citizens of our state face a profound moral choice this November in the form of Proposition 62. That measure, if approved, will end the death penalty in our state, replacing it with a sentence of life without parole.

While we acknowledge that this may be an issue on which reasonable people of good faith might disagree, we want to reaffirm emphatically our Church’s opposition to the death penalty, a position first officially stated by our General Convention in 1958. Then, and in subsequent statements, the Episcopal Church has based its opposition to the death penalty in our understanding of God’s justice, our regard for the sacredness of human life, our commitment to respect the dignity of every human being, our desire to seek and serve Christ in all persons, and our mission to continue Christ’s work of reconciliation in this world.

More here-

Friday, October 14, 2016

ACC chair sets out his vision for the Communion

From ACNS-

Being proactive, building links and bringing peace to a world in turmoil – those are the main tasks ahead for the Anglican Communion and its leaders, according to the chair of the Anglican Consultative Council, Archbishop Paul Kwong.

Archbishop Paul – the Primate of Hong Kong – is celebrating his first six months in the post. He is the first serving Primate to be elected to the role. Speaking to ACNS, he said it was vital for the Communion to be relevant.

“We are not simply a body of churches,” he said. “We have a mission to do – to serve the world, especially in areas where there is lots of conflict, human trafficking and terrorism.

“It seems to me there is no safe place in the world today. We have to help people find peace in their lives and in their hearts. This is the gospel we have to bring to the world.”

More here-