Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Thought-provoking religious statue to be unveiled in Cathedral Park

From Western New York-

The chill wind and overcast sky provided verisimilitude Monday as a huddled figure wrapped in a thin blanket took his place on a park bench in Cathedral Park. The shape is completely draped in what almost looks like a shroud. Even the face is covered; all that is exposed is his feet, still showing the holes where they were pierced on the cross.

“Homeless Jesus,” a controversial sculpture by Canadian artist Timothy P. Schmalz, has found yet another home, this time in Buffalo. The bronze artwork will be officially unveiled downtown at 1:30 p.m. Tuesday, in the shadow of St. Paul’s Episcopal Cathedral and steps away from the busy intersection of Church and Main streets. On hand for the ceremony will be the Rt. Rev. R. William Franklin, bishop of the Episcopal Diocese of Western New York, and the Very Rev. W.H. Mebane, interim dean of the cathedral. Joining them will be other local clergy and members of the St. Paul’s congregation, who paid for the sculpture and are donating it to the city.

More here-


Church ordains deacon, first in decades

From Albany-

The ordinand stood before a seated bishop at the altar, while each row of pews were filled by witnesses of the congregation.

The newly ordained Deacon Aidan Everett Smith consecrated his vows at St. Luke’s Episcopal Church on William Street in Catskill Saturday.

An ordination of this type had not been held at the church for more than two decades.

The Rev. Dr. Leander Harding, the rector who is in charge of St. Luke’s Parish, gave the opening sermon, prior to Smith’s examination. “We are here to celebrate a sacrament,” said Harding.

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Vatican defends choice of Chilean bishop linked to abuser priest

From Crux-

Reacting to widespread criticism of the appointment of a bishop in Chile linked to the country’s most notorious abuser priest, the Vatican issued a terse statement on Tuesday insisting the move was “carefully examined” and there were no “objective reasons” to stop it.

“Prior to the recent appointment of His Excellency Msgr. Juan de la Cruz Barros Madrid as bishop of Osorno, Chile, the Congregation for Bishops carefully examined the prelate’s candidature and did not find objective reasons to preclude the appointment,” it said.

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Ex-offenders in New Haven find hope, smiles at St. Luke’s Episcopal Church

From Connecticut-

When Danny had finished serving his time in prison and was dropped off outside the Whalley Avenue jail, he knew where to go — down the street to St. Luke’s Episcopal Church.

But when he sat down for breakfast on a recent Wednesday, he was just one of the many who come for a hot meal at the church at 111 Whalley Ave.

St. Luke’s, through its nonprofit corporation, St. Luke’s Services, serves the ex-offenders because of its location. But you couldn’t tell the ex-convicts from the others who eat there, use the clothing closet, even the diaper bank. Serving everyone without question is St. Luke’s mission.

“As far as this church and these people that run the church,” said Danny, “We get a good meal. We get received of the love of God.”

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Monday, March 30, 2015

In Kenya, religious coexistence feels pressure of stronger Muslim identity

From Christian Science Monitor-

On a steamy day on the Kenyan coast, a tall student stands at the courtyard water pump at her school filling a wheelbarrow during a class break. Her arms, bare to above her elbow, poke out from beneath her blue hijab.

Her attire speaks to a series of compromises between her Christian-funded school and its Muslim students. The hijab is permitted – but must match her blue skirt. The shirt, on the other hand, is regulation short-sleeve, and tucked into the fitted waist of her skirt.

This is the trade-off for attending Malindi Central Primary School, one of Kenya’s many church-sponsored public schools.

More here-


For Holy Week, here’s how you can match your Myers-Briggs personality type to a patron saint

From The Washington Post-

If your personality were matched to one of the Christian church saints, which one would it be? Now you can use the popular Myers-Briggs Type Indicator to match your personal church style.

During Holy Week, the week leading up to Easter, during which Christians celebrate the resurrection of Jesus, different personalities will be attracted to different expressions of worship. For example, introverts might be found hiding in the bathroom while the extroverts might hoard Palm Sunday leaves for display.

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Sunday, March 29, 2015

Pope Francis and the ambivalence of popularity

From Crux-

If Pope Francis were the President of the United States, he would now be on the other side of his first midterm election, having marked his two-year anniversary on March 13, and all indications are his party would have done exceptionally well.

The pope’s poll numbers remain sky-high, with the most recent Pew Forum study putting his approval rating among American Catholics at 90 percent. While a president would probably take that and run, being pope is a bit more complicated.

For one thing, a pope is expected to be not an electoral dynamo, but a living saint. As “House of Cards” proves definitively, Americans long ago abandoned the conceit that our civic leaders are or should be paragons of virtue.

More here-


Women finding their place as church leaders

From Louisiana-

When Linda Baker first recognized her calling, someone told her she misunderstood God's intention.

The Minden native was serving in a teaching ministry at one of the larger churches in Ruston where she held yearly workshops. God's calling comes when it comes, and her heart told her she was needed as a pastor.

But a pastor at that church thought it best she discuss her newly-intended vocation with him first.

"I was coming as a teacher, and he said he could not allow this," she said. Now Rev. Baker is pastor of Mays Chapel CME Church in Ruston.

More here-


Saturday, March 28, 2015

A Cathedral’s Uncertain Future

From The Living Church-

The Diocese of Connecticut is not sure it needs a cathedral anymore. For the past nine months, a six-member task force appointed by the Rt. Rev. Ian Douglas, Bishop of Connecticut, has been asking what type of cathedral, if any, is needed to serve this diocese of 168 parishes and other Episcopal institutions. At annual convention in November, the panel will present its recommendations.

“Everything is on the table,” said the Rev. Harlon Dalton, priest-in-charge at Christ Church Cathedral in Hartford and convener of the task force.

More here-


South Carolina: Second priest returns through path for reconciliation

From South Carolina-

 Episcopal Church in South Carolina Bishop Charles G. vonRosenberg has welcomed another returning priest back into good standing in The Episcopal Church through a new process that provides a path for reconciliation for clergy who left following the 2012 split in eastern South Carolina.

In a brief liturgy led by vonRosenberg in Charleston on March 24, the Rev. H. Jeff Wallace reaffirmed the vows he took at his ordination in 2007 and signed a formal declaration promising to conform to the doctrine, discipline and worship of The Episcopal Church.

He is the second priest to return to The Episcopal Church after the 2012 split. In September 2014, the Rev. H. Dagnall Free, Jr., was reinstated through the same process. Wallace now joins Free and the other clergy of The Episcopal Church as a priest in good standing.

More here-


Northern Indiana: Bishop Ed Little will resign in 2016

From ENS-

Bishop Edward S. Little II recently announced the he will resign at the end of June 2016.

Little, 68, was ordained and consecrated in March 2000 as the diocese’s seventh bishop.

He included the following letter in the April edition of the “Around the Diocese” newsletter.

Dear brothers and sisters,

This past Tuesday I presented a letter to the Standing Committee, announcing my retirement as of June 30, 2016. At the time, I will have served as bishop of this wonderful diocese for 16 years. My ministry as your bishop, however, will actually conclude three months earlier – March 31, 2016 – when I begin a three-month sabbatical to write a long-planned book.

More here-


Episcopal Church Presiding Bishop Easter Message 2015: 'The Only Place We Will Not Find Him Is in the Tomb'

From Huffington-

It's still dark when Mary ventures out to find the tomb. The graveyards around Jerusalem don't have much greenery today. The earth is mostly rock and stone, and it is far from easy to make a place to secure a body. Jesus' body was put in a cave-like space, with a stone rolled across the opening to close it up. Mary has made the journey from wherever she's sheltered over the last day, through darkened streets, perhaps hearing cocks begin to crow and townspeople start to stir.

She nears the place, but somehow it seems different than they left it - this can't be it, can it? Who moved the stone? A trip begun in tears and grief now has added burden- confusion, anger, shock, chaos, abandonment. His very body has been stolen.

More here-


Head Bishop of US Episcopal Church Says Denying Climate Change Is 'Sinful'

From Christian Daily-

The presiding bishop of the U.S. Episcopal Church said it is immoral for Christians to deny climate change.

Katharine Jefferts Schori spoke at an Episcopal Church event in Los Angeles called The Climate Change Crisis on Tuesday, an event meant to promote the ideas of environmental change. During the event, the bishop said she believes that the window of opportunity "will not last long" in order to change the tide of climate change.

More here-


Friday, March 27, 2015

Evangelicals criticise Franklin Graham

From The Church Times-

THE "crude, insensitive, and paternalistic" comments made by Franklin Graham, chief executive of the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association, about police shootings, have been condemned by Evangelical leaders.

On 12 March, Mr Graham, who is Billy Graham's son, wrote on Facebook: "Listen up - Blacks, Whites, Latinos, and everybody else. Most police shootings can be avoided. It comes down to respect for authority and obedience. If a police officer tells you to stop, you stop. . . It's as simple as that. Even if you think the police officer is wrong - YOU OBEY. Parents, teach your children to respect and obey those in authority. Mr President, this is a message our nation needs to hear, and they need to hear it from you. Some of the unnecessary shootings we have seen recently might have been avoided. The Bible says to submit to your leaders and those in authority 'because they keep watch over you as those who must give an account'."

More here-


Syracuse's Episcopal bishop, Skip Adams, announces his resignation for 2016

From Central New York-

Bishop Gladstone "Skip" Adams III has announced that he is resigning. His resignation will be effective at the end of October 2016, which will conclude 15 years as the bishop of the Episcopal Diocese of Central New York.

Here is the text of the letter Adams sent to the Episcopal community of Central New York:

March 24, 2015

Dear People of Central New York:

With love to all of the people of the faith communities of our beloved Diocese, I write to inform you that I have indicated to the Standing Committee my intention to resign as your Bishop Diocesan on or about October 31, 2016.

More here-


England: First female diocesan bishop announced

From England-

The Ven. Rachel Treweek has been appointed as the next bishop of the Diocese of Gloucester and will become the first female to serve as a diocesan bishop in the Church of England.

The news comes one day after the Rev. Alison White was named as the next bishop of Hull and two months after the Rev. Libby Lane was ordained and consecrated as bishop of Stockport. Those two appointments are to serve as suffragan (assistant) bishops.

Treweek, 52, currently serves as archdeacon of Hackney, a borough in northeast London. She will succeed the Rt. Rev. Michael Francis Perham, who resigned as bishop of Gloucester on Nov. 21, 2014.

More here-


These Churches Have Been on a ‘Collision Course’ With the Episcopal Church Over Views of Jesus and Gays. And the Battle Is About to Heat Up.

From South Carolina-

The Episcopal Church has announced that it will fight back against a recent ruling that granted a breakaway denomination in South Carolina the rights to names, symbols and $500 million in church property.

The denomination will ask the Supreme Court of South Carolina to immediately hear the case after a judge ruled earlier this year in favor of the Diocese of South Carolina, a cohort of conservative churches that split from the parent denomination; about 30 houses of worship are remaining with the Episcopal Church in its fight to retain the property and symbols, according to the Associated Press.

As TheBlaze previously reported, the legal battle unfolded after the Diocese of South Carolina separated from the denomination over theological differences surrounding homosexuality and the “uniqueness of Jesus,” among other issues.

More here-


Thursday, March 26, 2015

Just call us Mr and Mrs Bishop! Couple become first husband and wife to be appointed to senior Church position

From The Daily Mail-

A couple have become the country's first husband and wife Bishops.

The appointment of Alison White, 58, as Bishop of Hull means she joins husband Frank, 65, the current acting Bishop of Newcastle, at the top level of the Anglican Church.

Her success in become the country's second only woman Bishop will cause upheaval to the Right Rev Frank White's domestic arrangements.

The couple, who have been married for 33 years and have no children, are moving their family home to the Hull area and Frank will regularly make a 145 mile commute north to Newcastle – staying for much of the week in a 'pied-a-terre.'

More here-


In English Cathedral, Final Rest Nears for King Richard III

From The New York Times-

 For an English monarchy that has lasted more than 1,000 years, there could be few stranger occasions than the ceremony scheduled here on Thursday for the reburial of perhaps the most bloodstained and violent of its medieval sovereigns, King Richard III, who was slain in battle seven years before Christopher Columbus set sail for the New World.

Richard’s skeletal remains, in a coffin of blond English oak inscribed with the sparest details of his life — “Richard III, 1452-1485” — were to be the occasion’s centerpiece. Removed from beneath a black cloth pall stitched with colorful images from Richard’s life, the coffin was to be laid to rest in a brick-lined tomb close to the altar of Leicester’s Anglican cathedral.

The remains of King Richard III, lost for more than 500 years, are carried in procession on Sunday for a later reburial at Leicester Cathedral.Richard III, Previous Visit a Bust, Is Warmly Received 530 Years LaterMARCH 22, 2015

With the tomb topped by a black marble plinth, the former king will rest barely a stone’s throw from the ignominious grave where frightened Franciscan friars disposed hastily of his corpse after his defeat at the Battle of Bosworth Field outside Leicester on Aug. 22, 1485.


Episcopal Church Takes Fight With Breakaway Diocese Over $500M Property to SC Supreme Court

From Christian Post-

The Episcopal Church and its allies in South Carolina have filed an appeal with the state's highest court in its legal battle over a breakaway diocese's $500 million property.

After being denied a motion to rehear by a lower court, The Episcopal Church in South Carolina announced Tuesday that they are filing an appeal against the Diocese of South Carolina.

"The notice of appeal was filed Tuesday with the state Court of Appeals in Columbia by The Episcopal Church and its local diocese, The Episcopal Church in South Carolina," explained the church in a press release shared with The Christian Post.

More here-


Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Changes Precede K St. Rector

From The Living Church-

St. Paul’s, K Street, now welcomes ordained women as eucharistic celebrants, will introduce a provisional liturgy for blessing same-sex couples, and will soon elect its 10th rector.

The decisions on ordained women and the provisional liturgy follow a period of discernment described in August 2014 by the Rt. Rev. James Jelinek, interim rector.

The vestry of the Anglo-Catholic parish, long known by the nickname of “smoky St. Paul’s,” announced its decision about the provisional liturgy in a message [PDF] to parishioners:

More here-


Episcopalians will appeal, ask S.C. Supreme Court to hear massive case

From South Carolina-

Local Episcopalians filed notice on Tuesday that they will appeal a circuit judge’s order granting parishes that left the national church rights to the Diocese of South Carolina name, seal and more than $500 million in church properties — and they want to go straight to the S.C. Supreme Court for a ruling.

The Episcopal Church and its local diocese filed the notice of appeal with the state Court of Appeals in Columbia. However, they also asked the S.C. Supreme Court to take up the case directly, bypassing the appellate court, given the magnitude of the case and to save time and church money.

If the justices agree, arguments likely wouldn’t be heard until after the start of 2016. “Serious constitutional issues are involved,” said Tom Tisdale, chancellor of The Episcopal Church in South Carolina, which comprises about 30 congregations across eastern South Carolina that chose to remain a part of the national Episcopal Church.

More here-


Fayetteville's St. Joseph's Episcopal Church damaged by fire

From North Carolina-

Carol Graham cried as she watched the St. Joseph's Episcopal Church burn Tuesday evening.

The church, on the corner of Ramsey and Moore streets, caught fire just before 7 p.m.

The building will have some water and smoke damage, but the fire was contained to the back part of the building, farthest from Ramsey Street.

"It could have been a lot worse," Richard Bradshaw, assistant fire chief, said. "I was worried when we first got here, but I'm feeling better now."

As firefighters worked, members of the congregation, church officials and concerned residents watched.

More here-


Climate denial is immoral, says head of US Episcopal church

From The Guardian-

The highest ranking woman in the Anglican communion has said climate denial is a “blind” and immoral position which rejects God’s gift of knowledge.

Katharine Jefferts Schori, presiding bishop of the Episcopal church and one of the most powerful women in Christianity, said that climate change was a moral imperative akin to that of the civil rights movement. She said it was already a threat to the livelihoods and survival of people in the developing world.

“It is in that sense much like the civil rights movement in this country where we are attending to the rights of all people and the rights of the earth to continue to be a flourishing place,” Bishop Jefferts Schori said in an interview with the Guardian. “It is certainly a moral issue in terms of the impacts on the poorest and most vulnerable around the world already.”

More here-


Tuesday, March 24, 2015

Why Walmart is battling a church over gun sales

From CBS-

Walmart (WMT) is gearing up for a battle over gun sales with an influential New York parish.

Located in the heart of Manhattan's financial district, Trinity Wall Street is an Episcopal church where George Washington once worshiped and which became a symbol of New York's resilience after the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks. It now has a new mission: it wants Walmart to stop selling assault rifles with high-capacity magazines. Walmart, for its part, is arguing that the church's plan would interfere with its "ordinary business operations."

While selling guns with high-capacity magazines is controversial in its own right, the heart of the battle is over whether Trinity, as an investor in Walmart, has the right to place proposals about a company's day-to-day operations -- such as its inventory mix -- onto shareholder ballots. Given the rise of activist investors, who have in recent years pressured companies to ditch board members and spin off business units, an anti-Walmart precedent could add fuel to the movement.

More here-


Americans are deeply religious, so will we ever see an atheist president? Here’s what we know.

From The Washington Post-

As the 2016 presidential campaign heats up, many of the Republican potential hopefuls have strong Christian convictions.

Sen. Ted Cruz, who is announcing his candidacy Monday, and former Arkansas governor Mike Huckabee are Southern Baptists. Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker, a nondenominational evangelical, and neurosurgeon Ben Carson, a Seventh-Day Adventist, also are devout Christians. Several of the potential contenders are Catholic, including former Florida governor Jeb Bush, Sen. Marco Rubio, Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal and former senator Rick Santorum.

As recently as 1960, American voters were very concerned about the Catholic faith of John F. Kennedy. Fears that Kennedy would take orders from the pope caused consternation for many voters in that year’s presidential election, and New York Gov. Al Smith’s Catholic faith contributed to his defeat in 1928. What once seemed to potentially disqualify a candidate appears to be off the table, at least for those who are Catholic.

More here-


Head of Episcopal Church will speak at Bruton Parish Church in April

From Williamsburg-

The head of The Episcopal Church will preach at two services on Sunday, April 12, at Bruton Parish Church in honor of the 300th anniversary of the church's present building on Duke of Gloucester Street.

The Most Rev. Katharine Jefferts Schori will preach at the two morning services (9:15 and 11:15 a.m.) on Sunday April 12. The evening prior she will present a forum 5-6 p.m. entitled "Where Is The Episcopal Church Today and Where Is It Going?" A reception follows in the parish house.

Bishop Jefferts Schori was elected in 2006 to a nine-year term as the 26th Presiding Bishop, the first female presiding bishop in the history of the Episcopal Church. She serves as chief pastor and primate to the denomination's 2.1 million members in 17 countries and 109 dioceses.

More here-


Monday, March 23, 2015

Presby Ghana And Same Sex Marriages: Is African Church Moving Forward Or Backward?

From Ghana-

This question has been burning in my mind since I heard that the Presbyterian Church of Ghana (Presby Ghana) has reportedly broken ties with the branch in the United States over the issue of homosexuality. The Moderator of the Ghana branch, Rev Prof Emmanuel Martey, announced a severance of ties while reacting to the recent recognition of same sex marriage by the Presbyterian Church in the US. This is clearly a step backward for a church that should be moving forward.

Any intelligent observer of church practices in the region should have noticed a very disturbing trend that is emerging in African christianity. Yes, an unfortunate pattern is forming and firming up throughout the continent. That is the sanctification of homophobia. Gay hate is has become an article of faith. The hatred and persecution of same sex couples is becoming a characteristic feature of African Christianity. All people of conscience in the region should denounce and oppose this dangerous and backward trend.

More here-



From First Things-

The Anglican pastor and poet George Herbert died of tuberculosis on March 1, 1633, just one month shy of his fortieth birthday. Like his famous contemporary and friend John Donne and his nineteenth-centur

Izaak Walton’s hagiographical account of Herbert’s life, published in 1670, helped to shape the iconic image of him as “the poet of a placid and comfortable easy piety” (T. S. Eliot)—not to say the quintessential Anglican perched midway between the rigors of Geneva and the extravagance of Rome. This image of Herbert and his place in the history of English spirituality prevailed in a 1907 collection of his poems which the editor introduced in this way:

y American echo Emily Dickinson, Herbert did not publish his poems during his lifetime. From his deathbed he entrusted them to his friend Nicholas Ferrar, granting him permission to either destroy or preserve them. The poems, he said, contained “a picture of the many spiritual conflicts that have passed betwixt God and my soul.” Later that year they were published in Cambridge as The Temple, and they have never been out of print since then.

More here-


Richard III, Previous Visit a Bust, Is Warmly Received 530 Years Later

From The New York Times-

Nearly 530 years after King Richard III was slain on a battlefield near the city of Leicester, a coffin containing his remains was paraded through the crowded streets of that English Midlands city ahead of a formal reburial ceremony at Leicester’s Anglican cathedral scheduled for Thursday.

The procession began early Sunday with the coffin traveling a dozen miles west of Leicester to the site of the Battle of Bosworth Field. It was there, on Aug. 22, 1485, that the 32-year-old Richard, popularly cast by many in England in the succeeding centuries as the most brutal and duplicitous of all English monarchs, was killed by the forces of Henry Tudor, founder of the Tudor dynasty.

More here-