Wednesday, July 23, 2014

15 Reasons Why We Should Still Be Using Hymnals

From Theology in Worship-

Unfortunately, many churches have done this with their hymnals, but I think they are important symbols for worshiping congregations. Here are some of the reasons why.


Hymnals actually teach music. We’re making less music than ever before. Oh, to be sure, there’s lots of music going on around us, but very few people are actually making it. We’re just consuming it, or at the very most, singing along with music someone else made first. But even an untrained musician can look at the words and music in the hymnal and learn to follow melodic direction and rhythmic value.

Hymnals set a performance standard. Contemporary worship music is based on recording instead of notation. This is endlessly confusing, and it opens each song up to individual interpretation. Without notation, it is exceedingly hard to sing well as a congregation. Hymnals fix that. Everybody has the same notation, so we all know how the song is supposed to go.

Hundreds of families seek refuge in Gaza's Churches

From Gaza-

Umm Abdullah Hijazi, holds her 1 year-old son, Yousef, as she pours water on a bar of soap and tries to wash the boy and his clothes.

But although she scrubs hard, the soapy mixture proves inadequate, and Hijazi cannot wash away the dirt and blood-stains that spattered the boy’s body as his family fled their home under the hailing of Israeli bombs.

“We ran outside as fires broke out all around us. Israeli tank shells fell on our heads, and killed some of our neighbours,” says Hijazi, who fled with her husband and six children.

The first idea that came to her mind after the shelling was to run to one of the UNRWA schools that are acting as makeshift shelters for the internally displaced. But with almost 120,000 people now taking refuge in 77 UN-run schools and medical centres, Hijazi found no room for her and her children.

More here-

Ecumenical Associate Named

From The Living Church-

Richard Mammana, founder of Project Canterbury and a member of the Living Church Foundation’s board of directors, has been named associate for ecumenical and interreligious ministries of the Episcopal Church.

The Rev. Margaret R. Rose, deputy for ecumenical and interfaith collaboration, said Mammana will serve as staff liaison for the Episcopal Church’s ecumenical dialogue with Roman Catholics, Presbyterians, United Methodists, the Lutheran and Moravian coordinating committees, and the Concordat panel of the Philippine Independent Church. His duties will also include ensuring that archival and current ecumenical documents are easily available as well as networking with diocesan ecumenical and interreligious officers.

More here-

Fire Ruins Historical Hebron Church

From Maryland-

Authorities are investigating a Tuesday fire that destroyed the historical St. Paul's Episcopal Church at the corner of Memory Gardens Lane and Route 50 in Hebron.

The Maryland State Fire Marshal's Office said the fire was reported by a passerby to 9-1-1 shortly after 11 a.m.  Father Ryan Glancey is an episcopal priest at another church in the diocese and is the one who made the 9-1-1 call.

"Just black smoke coming through the windows at the top.  And then the flames came out of the roof about 20 feet and then all the windows downstairs started to break and the sides fell in," Glancey said.

More here-

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Stanford Names New Dean for Religious Life

From California-

The Very Rev. Dr. Jane Shaw, dean of Grace Cathedral in San Francisco, has been named dean for religious life at Stanford University, Provost John Etchemendy announced today. Shaw will also be joining the faculty in Stanford's Department of Religious Studies.

Shaw, a historian and theologian who is at present also a visiting scholar at Stanford's Center for Advanced Study in the Behavioral Sciences, has served as dean of the Episcopal Grace Cathedral since 2010. She previously taught at the University of Oxford.

More here-

Seattle prelate is early prospect for Episcopal Presiding Bishop

From Seattle-

The bishops of America’s Episcopal Church will elect a new Presiding Bishop next July.  Western Washington’s Bishop Greg Rickel is being sounded out as candidate for a top job that requires the wisdom of Solomon and the patience of Job.

Rickel, 51, is an Arkansas native, a onetime hospital administrator who successfully built a multiethnic, multilingual congregation in fast-growing Austin, Texas, before being elected Episcopal Bishop of Olympia in 2007.

Rickel indicates he is willing to have his name put in nomination.  A Joint Nominating Committee will on August 1 publish a profile of sought-after talents and a call for nominations. The General Convention at which bishops make their choice is June 25-July 3, 2015, in Salt Lake City.

More here-

Popular S.C. historian Walter Edgar testifies in Episcopal trial

From South Carolina-

The Palmetto State's best-known historian testified Monday about the historically interwoven connection between the Diocese of South Carolina and the national Episcopal Church, two bodies now immersed in a legal battle.

Walter Edgar, a popular author known for his ETV Radio shows including "Walter Edgar's Journal," pointed to historic documents showing the local diocese has long accepted The Episcopal Church's laws. Wearing his standard bow tie, often quipping about his flagging eyesight and hearing, Edgar spent most of his time on the witness stand reading from historic documents.

More here-

Monday, July 21, 2014


From Beitbart-

Iraq’s Christian leaders have just made a desperate cry for help. Patriarch Louis Raphael I Sako, head of Iraq’s Catholic church, has issued an appeal “to all who have a living conscience in Iraq and all the world.”

The situation for Iraq’s Christians has been steadily deteriorating ever since the 2003 invasion, in part because the U.S. never acknowledged that Christians were being targeted by Islamists and did not prioritize protection of Christians or other minorities.

But with the recent sweep through Mosul and other Iraqi cities by the jihadi group ISIS, Iraq’s Christians look to be on the verge of genocide.

On June 16th it was reported that ISIS had marked the doors of Christians in red. Patriarch Sako’s letter confirms that rumor. While no one yet knows what this ominous sign foretells, Sako and other Christian leaders are pleading with the world to intervene before the meaning of the sign is made clear.

More here-

Give Us a Bishop in High Heels

From The New York Times-

LAST Tuesday, on the front page of The Daily Telegraph of London, which I buy like thousands of other dementia-fearers because of the kindly crossword, I saw the face of a young woman at the General Synod at York with a bright teardrop sliding down her cheek. I thought, Oh dear! More misery. Newspapers now are only frigates of misery.

But the gleaming teardrop was not for sorrow; it was for joy! This girl, in an ecclesiastical, once exclusively male, dog collar, was weeping for joy because the synod, which governs the Church of England, had at last decided to allow women to become bishops.

Not that there are not some tough preliminaries. The dog collar has to be earned. And more. But starting next year, if all goes well, a female Anglican priest will be able to become even an archbishop should she believe she is called to do the job.

More here-

Church sex 'obsession'

From New Zealand-

The church's perceived obsession with homosexuality has seen an Anglican pastor break camp and lead his flock into the religious wilderness and find a new home in the city.

Reverend Michael Hewat, the vicar of West Hamilton Anglican Parish on Rifle Range Rd, was the second high profile Anglican leader to leave the Anglican Church in opposition to Motion 30 - a national declaration by the governing body to bless same sex relationships.

He said homosexuality had dominated the church's agenda for two decades and "it amounts to an obsession", he said in a letter to Waikato Times.

His refusal to submit to General Synod on the motion passed in May that aimed to recognise same-sex relationships meant a forfeiture his licence to practice as an Anglican pastor.

More here-

Can Anglicans, Catholics unite on role of women? Opinionline

From USA Today-

What people are saying about Church of England allowing women bishops

The Sydney Morning Herald, editorial: "(Last) Monday, word came from Rome that Pope Francis is considering allowing priests to end their vow of celibacy. Also on Monday, the Church of England voted to allow women to become bishops, overturning centuries of fiercely guarded tradition. ... The Herald hopes Pope Francis does act on his signal. We'd like to see the role of women in the Catholic and Anglican churches become more reflective of the dramatic change in the rights and roles of women in the societies and communities these churches exist to serve."

Monsignor Mark Langham, The Tablet: "This is a critical moment for ecumenical dialogue. Anglicans do not seem always to realize how difficult (allowing women bishops) is for Catholics. ... It is true to say that hope of (an Anglican-Catholic) union has receded. There is no midpoint now between having women bishops and not having them. (Consider) how two traditions, one of which ordains women bishops and one which does not, co-exist. The rug has been pulled from under those who longed for unity."

More here-

New solar panels are symbol of the resurrection of life on earth

From Utah-

For one small Episcopal church, new solar panels mean a big difference in its carbon footprint, the community and the congregation's devotion to God.

About 160 members of St. Stephen's Episcopal Church, 4615 S. 3200 West, were able to raise $7,500 in conjunction with a grant from the Rocky Mountain Blue Sky Foundation and Utah's Interfaith Power and Light Organization to install 76 solar panels on the roof of the church, cutting the facility's energy bill in half.

The Rev. Matt Seddon, vicar of St. Stephen's Episcopal Church, said he expects the new panels to save the church nearly $6,000 annually. Seddon emphasized that the initiative to lower the church's carbon footprint was based upon members' faith in God.

More here-

Presiding Bishop speaks at Christ Church

From Savannah-

As the Rev. Katharine Jefferts Schori stood behind the pulpit Sunday at Christ Church, her message to the crowd was a simple one filled with acceptance and love.

Hundreds filled the pews of the Johnson Square church to listen to Jefferts Schori, the presiding bishop and chief primate of the Episcopal Church. Jefferts Schori is the 26th presiding bishop and chief pastor to the Episcopal Church’s 2.1 million members in 17 countries and 109 dioceses.

“Thank you for demonstrating what it is to be disciples and missionaries...,” Jefferts Schori told the crowd. “Usually we only want to let in people who agree with us. Too often we try to exclude people who make us uncomfortable or fearful...

More here-

Sunday, July 20, 2014

Anglican church's first female head given warm welcome

From Australia-

Australia’s first female head of an Anglican diocese said she’s had a warm welcome from the faithful she leads, four months after she began in the historic position.

As the church’s homeland in England voted to allow women bishops this week, Bishop of Grafton Sarah Macneil said she had heard no opposition to her own appointment as she travelled around the northern NSW community.

“They’ve been very welcoming, very open – they are very positive, down to earth, interesting people,” Reverend Macneil said.

“A few people have said, ‘We weren’t sure, but it’s fine, we welcome you as a bishop’.”

Read more:

Saturday, July 19, 2014

Vicar of Dibley: I rather fancy becoming Archbishop

From The Telegraph-

So there we are, finally. The stained-glass ceiling has been shattered. You, Lord, must also have seen that front-page photograph of the woman in tears at the Synod’s vote this week, as it at last made way for the consecration of women as bishops in the Church of England. I got a little teary, too, once I’d dismissed unworthy concerns about water-proof mascara. It’s been like bishops in chess, hasn’t it? Two steps forward, one step sideways… But we’ve made it. It’s Geraldine here, Lord. Your long-serving and much-loved Vicar of Dibley.

And thank you, Father, for sending us the boy-Archbishop Welby to shake some sense into them all. It needed someone from outside the firm, a deal-making City-lad unstifled by the dead weight of tradition, to bang their heads together. How illogical was the situation, after all? Women priests have been around for a generation, more Synod against than sinning. One third of the clergy we now number, and we’re making, might I say, a jolly good fist of it.

More here-

Christians welcome Anglican vote for women bishops

From Swaziland-

News of the passing of a vote to recognise women bishops in the Church of England, which is Anglican, has been received with joy by the local church.

Chairman of the Council of Swaziland Churches Bishop Absalom Mnisi of the Lutheran Church said Swaziland had already paved the way with the recognition of woman Anglican Bishop Ellenah Wamukoya.

He noted that Swaziland had already taken the lead in recognising female preachers in the church and that several denominations had women pastors and that it had been the Anglican church that had issues on this subject but that had passed.

 The Anglican church itself had other women preachers before the appointment of Wamukoya. 

More here-

Religious leaders react to appellate court's ruling regarding same-sex marriage in Oklahoma

From Oklahoma-

A federal appeals court officially declared Oklahoma’s ban on same-sex marriage unconstitutional Friday but temporarily delayed the ruling to allow time for a possible appeal to the U.S. Supreme Court.

The 2-1 decision by the 10th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals reinforced the court’s ruling last month in a similar case from Utah, effectively making same-sex marriage legal in all six states that are part of the circuit: Oklahoma, Utah, Colorado, Kansas, Wyoming and New Mexico.

Here's what local religious leaders had to say about the ruling.

The Rev. Nick Garland, senior pastor of First Baptist Church of Broken Arrow and president of the Baptist General Convention of Oklahoma: “This ruling, which was stayed and has no immediate effect, still represents a disturbing move away from God’s plan of marriage for men and women. We are prayerful this will not stand, but we will work to promote and uphold the true meaning of marriage no matter what court rulings happen.”

The Rev. Justin Lindstrom, dean of St. Paul’s Episcopal Cathedral: “The ruling today is just wonderful news for me and I think the people of St. Paul’s will feel that way as well. It’s an issue of civil rights and allowing all people access to the benefits of marriage.”

More here-

Bishop: Episcopal Church has no specific law against breakaway dioceses

From South Carolina-

A past president of southeastern Episcopal bishops testified Friday in an ongoing civil trial that he wasn't aware of church law that says an individual diocese cannot leave the national Episcopal Church.

The statement drew excitement from local parishes who left The Episcopal Church in 2012 and then sued it to retain more than $500 million in church property along with the names and marks of the local diocese.

Led by Bishop Mark Lawrence, the breakaway group contends the formally called Protestant Episcopal Diocese in South Carolina existed befor
e the national church and has the right to leave and remain an independent body as it chooses.

More here-

Friday, July 18, 2014

Archbishop writes to ecumenical partners about women bishops

From ENS-

Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby has written to ecumenical partners about the General Synod’s decision to allow women to become bishops, emphasizing that churches “need each other.”

An ENS article about the Church of England’s decision to enable women to serve as bishops is available here.

The text of Welby’s letter, which is being posted to partner churches, follows.

More here-

Synod seeks to amend robes canon

From The church Times (Really? Robe canons?)

WEARING robes could become optional for those officiating at some services, after the General Synod passed a motion calling for draft legislation to relax the current rules.

After a debate on Saturday at the University of York, the Synod passed a private member's motion by the Revd Christopher Hobbs, from the diocese of London, which called for robing to become optional in some circumstances.

"For holy communion there is no flexibility," Mr Hobbs said. "It makes no difference if it is café-style in a pub, outside in a field, in a hotel lounge or lobby. Surplice and alb is required, with scarf or stole."

Many members of the Synod agreed, arguing that, in some contexts, the wearing of robes was inappropriate or unhelpful for mission. Sam Follett, the youngest member of the Synod, said that, for Fresh Expressions, robes would often get in the way of reaching the unchurched.

More here-

How a bishop moved Lincoln, and saved 265 Dakota Indians

From The LA Times-

The Founding Fathers had good reasons for explicitly barring government from inserting itself into matters of religion. But nothing in the Constitution forbids a president from consulting with clerics, and meetings between presidents and religious figures have, on occasion, helped shape history.

One such time came when an Episcopal Church bishop traveled to Washington from Minnesota to try to persuade Abraham Lincoln to make wholesale changes in the corrupt and brutal ways the federal government treated Native Americans. The entreaty may well have saved hundreds of Dakota Indians from execution — and the nation from a huge injustice.

Whipple ... gave Lincoln a lens through which to evaluate the Dakota War.

Bishop Henry B. Whipple, a native of upstate New York, was an unlikely advocate for Native Americans. A missionary priest in Chicago until he was elected Minnesota's first Episcopal bishop in 1859, he didn't even know a Native American until he was 37 years old.

More here-

Episcopal trial ends eighth day with trademark testimony

From South Carolina-

A lawsuit over rights to more than $500 million in church property and identifying marks of the Diocese of South Carolina marched through an eighth day of testimony Thursday with experts debating the nuances of trademark law.

Bishops on both sides of the schism joked about the tedious nature of the civil court proceedings over issues surrounding trademarks, property rights and state corporate law.

Bishop Mark Lawrence and most parishes in the formally called Protestant Episcopal Diocese of South Carolina, which spans the coastal half of the state, left The Episcopal Church in 2012 after years of dissension over theology and administrative powers. The Episcopal Church is the U.S. province of the global Anglican Communion.

More here-

Thursday, July 17, 2014

Joint Nominating Committee presents second of three essays

From The PB Search Committee-

The Episcopal Church Joint Nominating Committee for the Election of the Presiding Bishop (JNCPB) has issued the following information.

The Joint Nominating Committee for the Election of the Presiding Bishop (JNCPB) continues its work to prepare The Episcopal Church for the election of the 27th Presiding Bishop at General Convention next summer.  The Committee publishes the second of three essays designed to begin a discussion about the election which will take place in the summer of 2015.

The second essay outlines the current roles, functions, and responsibilities of the Presiding Bishop.  This first essay described the basic time-line and steps of the nominating and election process.  The third essay will discuss how the constitutional/canonical role of the office has changed and evolved from being the senior bishop by consecration who presiding over meetings of the House of Bishops to the complex multifaceted position it is today.

More here-

Anglican leadership accused of "scaremongering" over assisted dying

From The Telegraph-

A prominent Church of England cleric has accused her own leaders of “scaremongering” over Lord Falconer’s assisted dying Bill, as David Cameron said he feared it might lead to people being “pushed” into euthanasia.

Canon Rosie Harper said the use of “emotive” language was preventing rational debate on the subject and served to mask the reality that many believers actually support such a measure.

She spoke out after leaders of Britain’s major faiths issued an unprecedented joint attack on Lord Falconer’s Bill, describing it in a letter to Parliament as a “grave error” which would be “disastrous” and result in people “colluding” in the notion that someone seeking an assisted death is of “no further value”.

More here-

Russian Church chagrined by Church of England vote allowing women to be bishops

From Interfax-

A senior Russian Orthodox bishop slammed Monday's vote at the Church of England General Synod that allowed women to become bishops.

"The Orthodox Church takes a negative stance on so-called female priesthood and female episcopacy. We see this process as representing the diversion of the Anglican Church and a whole range of Protestant denominations from the initial church order and as following modern liberal trends. We regret that such decisions have been made," Metroplitan Hilarion of Volokolamsk, head of the Synodal Department for External Church Relations, told Interfax-Religion.

Moves like this do not bring various Christian communities closer to unity "that is still proclaimed at inter-Christian meetings as the aim of such meetings," he said. "The space for dialogue is narrowing down at the fault of our partners, and it is with great regret that we have to state this."

More here-

Oak Harbor church settles property dispute

From Olympia-

Members of St. Stephen’s Episcopal Church in Oak Harbor celebrated a new beginning earlier this month.

Ownership of the church property was finally settled after a schism in the congregation brought about a decade of uncertainty.

The majority of the St. Stephen’s congregation, like many in other churches across the nation, voted to disassociate from the Episcopal Church 10 years ago over differences in interpretation of the Bible; the tipping point for many was in 2003 when Eugene Robinson became the first openly gay, non-celibate bishop.

Such actions led to lawsuits across the nation over the ownership of church properties.

In Oak Harbor, however, a property dispute was settled amicably this month without litigation.

More here-

Bethesda Episcopal Church to sell properties for new parish hall

From Saratoga Springs-

After years of deliberations and a survey among church members, Bethesda Episcopal Church is undergoing a transformation.

The church is selling off three properties to pay for a new parish hall next to its sanctuary, which church officials say will be used to benefit the church and also the wider community.

The church’s parish hall, to the west of the Universal Preservation Hall on Washington Street, sold in the spring for $1.15 million, and the sale of the church rectory, also on Washington Street, is pending at $1.05 million. Both buildings were bought by the owners of the Adelphi Hotel on Broadway.

More here-

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Call to Special Convention

From Easton-

Last Thursday evening on May 8, the Standing Committee of the Diocese of Easton presented its candidate for the position of Bishop Provisional for our diocese. The Diocesan Council unanimously approved the nomination of the Right Reverend Henry Nutt Parsley, Jr., resigned diocesan Bishop of Alabama, as the Bishop Provisional of the Diocese of Easton. The election of Bishop Parsley will be held on Wednesday evening, July 16 at 6:30 pm in Trinity Cathedral, Easton.

More here-

"It's the toughest job since St Paul's" - incoming Bishop in Europe

From Anglican News-

The incoming Bishop of Gibraltar in Europe said he is looking forward to visiting his diocese which stretches many thousands of miles from Iceland to Mongolia.

Canon Dr Robert Innes, who is being consecrated on Sunday at Canterbury Cathedral, joked his new role was “the toughest job since St Paul's”.

Certainly in terms of travel, the new bishop is facing a diocese covering some one-sixth of the Earth's landmass, including Morocco, Europe (excluding the British Isles), Turkey and the territory of the former Soviet Union.

More here-

Women bishops? How American Episcopalians view Church of England vote

From Yahoo-

When the Church of England voted Monday to allow women to become ordained as bishops, it broke another “stained glass ceiling.”

Indeed, the Church of England, the mostly-symbolic mother church for an 80-million-member global Anglican community that includes 2.1 million American Episcopalians, is one of the oldest and most conservative of Christian traditions to officially break in full from the long-held requirement of an all-male clergy.

More here-