Friday, February 24, 2017

Aid called for as thousands face famine in South Sudan

From The Church Times-

FAMINE has been formally declared in Unity State, South Sudan: it is the first in the world since 2011.

The Archbishop of Canterbury has called on the Church to pray for peace, as aid agencies warn of a narrow window during which aid can be delivered before the rainy season.

On Monday, the UN reported that war and a “collapsing economy” had left 100,000 people facing starvation. A further one million people are classified as being on the brink of famine. The declaration means that people have already started dying of hunger.

More than 40 per cent of the population — 4.9 million people — are in need of food assistance, a figure expected to rise to 5.5 million in July if nothing is done to address the crisis. More than one million children are estimated to be acutely malnourished.

More here-

No justification for attacks on foreign nationals, say Anglican bishops

From South Africa-

The Anglican bishops of Southern Africa on Thursday condemned an anonymous call on social media that incites citizens to attack foreign nationals living in the country.

The bishops said no grievance justifies violent attacks against foreign nationals living in South Africa.

“We appeal for all to act within the law and not to abuse the right to protest by fomenting hatred, division and violence,” said the church’s Synod of Bishops in a statement.

The Synod of bishops, meeting in Benoni, said it was deeply concerned by the potential for violence during the march against foreign nationals planned for Friday in Pretoria.

More here-

Anglican ministers in Ottawa learn how to use naloxone kits

From Canada-

With reports of opioid overdoses on the rise in Ottawa, members of the city's Anglican church spent Thursday learning how to administer the potentially life-saving antidote.

About 20 clergy members attended a naloxone kit workshop organized by Rev. Monique Stone, the priest at the Anglican Parish of Huntley in Carp.

"We all have a part to play," Stone said. "We have to look at how we create the strongest net to combat this issue, and the strongest net is not something any of us can create in isolation."

More here-

Police cheered at Park City meeting after vowing not to assist feds with deportation efforts

From Utah-

About 300 Summit County residents worried about immigration enforcement found reason to cheer at a meeting Thursday night when two top law enforcement officers vowed not to help with deportations.

Summit County Sheriff Justin Martinez and Park City Police Chief Wade Carpenter told the crowded gathered at St. Luke's Episcopal Church in Snyderville that their agencies would not enter into agreements that would “deputize” officers to carry out federal operations.

“I will not be doing that as a sheriff,” Martinez said to loud applause. “I have a responsibility to Summit County. This is a federal immigration issue and therefore I will not be participating in that (and be) deputized.”

Carpenter echoed a similar sentiment.

More here-

Thursday, February 23, 2017

Christians offer national apology to gay and lesbian community

From Australia-

AN Australian Christian group has offered an apology to the LGBTIQ community for ‘discrimination and hurt’ caused by the church and plans a national reconciliation process.

Former NSW Premier Kristina Keneally is one of the supporters of Equal Voices, a non-denominational organisation, which said it would present the document to parliament.

A rally on the steps of St James Anglican Church in King Street, Sydney, tomorrow night will encourage Christians from all groups to sign the apology.

Rev. Dr. Keith Mascord, a founding member of Equal Voices, said: “The National Apology will recognise the discrimination and hurt caused by Christian behaviour and attitudes, particularly in regard to ‘conversion therapy’ and “pray away the gay” movements.

More here-

Vicar admits stealing more than £100,000 from his Liverpool church

From Liverpool-

A shame-faced vicar today admitted stealing more than £100,000 from the Anglican Diocese of Liverpool.

Rev Michael John Fry, 57, stood with his head bowed as he pleaded guilty to eight counts of theft by an employee.

Fry, of Aigburth Vale, Sefton Park, helped himself to thousands of pounds of church funds between December 2005 and January 2014.

Liverpool Crown Court heard how he took amounts ranging from £1,751 to £20,049, adding up to £107,673 in total.

More here-

LGBT: “Glitter Ash Wednesday”?

From TruNews-

LGBT group adds glitter to ash on the traditional cross on the forehead. What's the point, doesn't Ash Wednesday already have an important and powerful message?

The group reportedly indicates that the intention behind adding glitter to the ash on the cross placed on foreheads on Ash Wednesday March 1, 2017, is so that their message is advanced. For Christians, Ash Wednesday already has a very important message for the people, but the LGBT group called Parity feels they have something to add.

The Christian Post reports that the event is known as "Glitter Ash Wednesday," and churches from 21 states and Canada will be taking part in the Ash Wednesday event. "Glitter Ash Wednesday" is being coordinated by the New York-based LGBT group Parity, as well as prominent Episcopal priest, activist and author the Rev. Elizabeth Edman. The Rev. Marian Edmonds-Allen, executive director of Parity, told The Christian Post that the purpose of Glitter Ash Wednesday is to serve as a witness to an "inclusive Christian message."

- See more at:

Police arrest protesters at Dakota Access camp

From North Dakota (via Utah)-

The group sang songs and prayed as they walked along a highway and over a bridge atop the Cannonball River. On two occasions they had to clear the road to make room for ambulances.

A bus from the United Tribes Technical College in Bismarck, along with four vans and a truck towing a trailer from the Standing Rock Episcopal Church, were waiting to transport the protesters. The state arranged for the bus to bring campers to a transition center in Bismarck.

Raymond King Fisher, a protester from Seattle, was one of the leaders of the march. He called it a difficult and emotional day. He ended the parade by saying, "We go in peace but this fight is not over."

More here-

Judge Neil Gorsuch's Anglicanism is still a mystery that journalists need to solve

From Get Religion-

It’s been about three weeks since Neil Gorsuch has been nominated to the U.S. Supreme Court and we’re no closer to figuring out what makes him tick, spiritually. However, there have been a few jabs at trying to gauge the spiritual temperature of his family's parish in downtown Boulder, Colo..

The most aggressive reporting has been by a British outlet, the Daily Mail, whose reporters have shown up at Gorsuch’s parish, St. John’s Episcopal. The Mail has also been sniffing about Oxford University (pictured above), which is where Gorsuch apparently became an Anglican during his studies there. It was also where he met his future wife Marie Louise. Her family is Anglican and the Mail explains that all here and here.

Very clever of them to nail down his wife’s British background and that of her family and to have interviewed Gorsuch’s stepmother in Denver.

They too see a dissonance in Gorsuch’s purported conservative views and the church he attends:.

More here-

Judge remands Episcopal Church case

From South Carolina-

The 4th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals has refused once again to hear a case accusing Bishop Mark Lawrence of false advertising, remanding it to the U.S. District Court in Charleston.

The suit alleges that Mark Lawrence is committing false advertising by continuing to represent himself as bishop of the Episcopal diocese.

The case has gone before the U.S. District Court in Charleston two times, and both times, Judge C. Weston Houck decided not to proceed with the case, preferring to wait until a separate state lawsuit is resolved that will clarify ownership of property and identities in the diocese.

That state suit now is stalled in the S.C. Supreme Court.

More here-

also here-

Monday, February 13, 2017

Taking a holiday.

Three Rivers Episcopal will be back Feb. 23rd.

The Guardian view on Anglicans and gay clergy: stop listening, start leading

From The Gaurdian-

George Orwell’s phrase about “the smelly little orthodoxies which are now contending for our souls” was coined at a time of impending global tragedy but it returns as parochial farce to haunt the General Synod of the Church of England. On Wednesday, it meets to consider a report that appears to be a further attempt to avoid a decision about gay people. In fact, the aim appears to be to avoid the words “gay” and “lesbian” entirely .

The official language of the church piles phrases like “experiencing same-sex attraction” over the reality, rather than the plain English that would make its problem clear. There is an obvious explanation for this: the church is facing an existential crisis in membership and credibility, and the archbishop of Canterbury, Justin Welby, like his predecessors, is concerned above all to avoid an open split over sexuality or anything else. Since there is no real agreement possible between those who think that gay sex is always wrong and the rest of us, the only way they could even appear to agree is to change the subject. But they can’t. For both sides, this has been the consuming test of Christian values for the past 30 years.

More here-

A 'network of sexual perpetrators' operated in Anglican church youth group, royal commission finds

From Australia-

A "network of sexual perpetrators" used an Anglican church youth group to prey on young boys over a period of decades from the 1970s to the 1990s with church leaders failing to report allegations, a royal commission has found.

In a scathing assessment of Anglican authorities, the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse found leaders, including former Brisbane archbishop and governor-general Peter Hollingworth, failed to protect children.

The report into Anglican youth group, the Church of England Boys' Society, and the Dioceses of Sydney, Brisbane, Adelaide and Tasmania, comes a year after a public inquiry heard harrowing accounts of abuse by clergy and lay people.

More here-

Column: Prayers for Refugees

From Connecticut-

Let me tell you the stories of the first two refugee families that I and the parish I served resettled in the early 1980’s. The first was a young family of a mom, dad, and child who came from Poland. The dad was very active in the Polish Solidarity union and movement and had his life threatened with some regularity.

The second also included three people, actually three brothers, who had made it out of South Africa in the nick of time; they too were receiving threats on their life from the Apartheid regime that controlled this beautiful country at that time. Both families had fled for their lives. Both had spent a great length of time being vetted by the U.S. State Department, wondering and waiting. But there was one thing that was not similar.  The Polish family had fled from oppressive Communism, the South African family from oppressive racism, one from the left, the other from the right.

Major changes to parishes across the region

From Northwestern

While the Catholic Diocese of Erie is forced to restructure, a church is in the Episcopal Diocese of NWPA is expanding.

Father Don Baxter, St. Mark Episcopal Church, says, "It's great to be able to spread out on this day and celebrate and celebrate the joy of what we've accomplished here."

St. Mark blessed and dedicated the one million dollar renovations - including a larger parish hall and kitchen area - Sunday morning.

Bishop Sean Rowe, Episcopal Diocese of NWPA, says, "We're celebrating the space more importantly the capacity it creates to reach out to the community."

More here-

St. Stephen’s Episcopal sad to see Cambodian refugee retire

From Richmond-

Sun Ho Nuon was smart enough to become a schoolteacher in his native Cambodia.

And he was smart enough not to tell anyone when the Khmer Rouge terrorized the country in the 1970s, arrested those considered professionals and intellectuals, and executed them in the dead of night. Brutality was the Khmer Rouge style, and their implements of death varied. Nuon carried a serious-looking hoe when I met him for an interview last week. By day, he said, such a hoe would have been used to work the fields; by night, it was a killing tool.


He and his family were sponsored by St. Stephen’s Episcopal Church on Grove Avenue. One thing led to another, and Nuon wound up working as a sexton at the church. He retired a few weeks ago as the senior member of the parish staff after more than 35 years on the job. St. Stephen’s held a reception in his honor.

More here-

Sunday, February 12, 2017

Anglicans braced for new clashes over gay marriage in church

From The Telegraph-

The Anglican church is set for a renewed clash on the divisive question of gay marriage this week when its ruling body votes on a key report from the Bishops on same sex relationships.

The Church of England synod, the governing body made up of Bishops, clergy and laity which decides on church law and policy, will vote on Wednesday whether to ‘take note’ - confirm - or reject the report confirming the status quo against gay marriage.

Liberals within the church are hopeful the synod will reject advice from the Bishops’ to leave its policy against gay marriage unchanged.

A vote by the synod in favour of same-sex marriage could eventually pave the way for a fundamental change in Anglican teaching.

That could eventually see gay and lesbian couples allowed to marry in church - something more conservative elements have long resisted.

Liberals in the synod have welcomed the prospect of a vote against the ban on same sex marriage.

More here-

Sermon: Episcopalians do not separate religious, political lives

From Houston-

"The people who sat in darkness have seen a great light," so declares the prophet Isaiah to a people sitting in great darkness.

This prophecy is given as a glimmer of hope and a sense of direction for a people in exile, who are despairing that their lives will ever be different, "The people who sat in darkness have seen a great light."

As the gospel begins, John the Baptist has been arrested, and Jesus, perhaps full of anxiety or confidence, moves to Capernaum, where he begins his public ministry alone. That work doesn't continue alone because immediately he invites people to walk with him along the way. They risk stepping out and leaving what they know to journey with this person who invites them into meaning and purpose and into light, as they heal and preach and learn together.

More here-

Standing Rock clergy took different approaches to protest

From North Dakota-

The Rev. John Floberg was on his way home from a national meeting of the Episcopal Church when he saw live video of protesters squaring off with police at a northern "front line" camp on N.D. Highway 1806.
The conflict was escalating — fast. Disappointed by the violence he saw on both sides, Floberg wanted to slow things down and return to the more traditional civil disobedience seen months earlier. When the Standing Rock-based priest returned to North Dakota, he drafted a callout to clergy around the country.

The gathering drew more than 500 clergy members of different faiths to the Oceti Sakowin Camp. The group walked to the barricade on the Backwater Bridge before turning back, creating a moment many said evoked the march in Selma. No one was arrested, though a few, whose bravado Floberg critiqued, traveled to Bismarck and protested at the Capitol, where they were detained.

More here-

Friday, February 10, 2017

Welby writes to Primates as provinces continue to differ

From Church Times-

THE Archbishop of Canterbury has written to every Primate in the An­­glican Communion about the next Primates’ Meeting, to be held in Can­­ter­­bury in October.

It is now just over a year since the last Primates’ Meeting, in Can­ter­bury, which envisaged “con­sequences” for the Episcopal Church in the United States. A press release from the Anglican Com­munion Office this week stated that these consequences had meant that TEC representatives at the meeting of the Anglican Consultative Coun­cil in Zambia last year had not taken part in “formal votes on issues of doc­trine and polity”.

On Wednesday, these represent­atives issued a statement disagreeing with this account of events.

“Each of us attended the entire ACC-16 meeting and voted on every resolution that came before the body, including a number that con­cerned the doctrine and polity of the Anglican Communion,” they wrote. “As the duly elected ACC members of a province of the Anglican Com­mun­ion, this was our responsibility and we fulfilled it.”

More here-

Syrian refugee family arrives in Fort Worth during pause in travel ban

From Ft. Worth-

Fahmi Mousa Al Kazma has been looking for safe place to raise his six children since 2011 when militias forced the farmer out of his village near Aleppo, Syria.

The family’s new safe haven is a four-bedroom apartment in Fort Worth. They arrived Wednesday night during a window of opportunity thanks to a federal judge’s halt last week of President Donald Trump’s ban on citizens from seven mostly Muslim countries.

“We just wanted to arrive,” the-38-year-old father said in Arabic through an interpreter. “We were on the plane [with] our hearts in our hands.”


Refugee Services of Texas is working with Lutheran Immigration and Refugee Services to help the family. Volunteers from St. Alban’s Episcopal Church in Arlington, St. Christopher Episcopal Church and Trinity Episcopal Church in Fort Worth are helping too. They helped furnish the family’s apartment. The volunteer work follows a recent plea for refugees by several local faith leaders.
Read more here:

Episcopal Church Executive Council reaffirms stand with Standing Rock

From ENS-

The Episcopal Church’s Executive Council during the last day of its Feb. 5-8 meeting here reaffirmed its stand with the Standing Rock Sioux Nation.

Council members said the church pledges to “continue to support the action and leadership of the Standing Rock Sioux Nation as the salt and light of the nation in its unwavering support of the sacredness of water, land, and other resources and reminding us all of the sacred calling to faithfulness.”

They praised the Episcopal Church and its ecumenical partners in the water protection actions led by the Standing Rock Sioux Nation. The Rev. John Floberg, council member and priest-in-charge of Episcopal congregations on the North Dakota side of Standing Rock, drew council’s specific praise, as did “the hundreds of Episcopal lay and clergy who responded to his call for support.”

More here-

Thursday, February 9, 2017

Archbishop of Canterbury and Ecumenical Patriarch commit to tackling modern slavery

From ACNS-

The Archbishop of Canterbury and His All-Holiness Bartholomew of Constantinople have pledged to fight modern slavery in its various forms. Signing a joint declaration condemning modern slavery at a forum in Istanbul, they vowed to :

Condemn all forms of human enslavement

Commend the efforts of the international community

Pray for all victims

Repent for not doing enough to curb modern day slavery

Appeal to governments to implement strict modern day slavery laws

Urge members of the Orthodox Church and Church of England to become educated, raise awareness and take action

Commit to establish a joint taskforce for modern day slavery, looking at ways for how the Orthodox Church and the Church of England can work together

More here-

Is Gorsuch a secret liberal? Trump, GOP have reason to wonder.

From The Hill-

Gorsuch lives in the ultra-liberal college town of Boulder, Colorado.  He also teaches at the University of Colorado’s law school, also a progressive bastion, and is supported in his quest for the Supreme Court by most of the faculty and students there.

Gorsuch is also a member of the St. John’s Episcopal Church in Boulder.  The Episcopal Church has embraced very liberal positions on a variety of issues, including performing same-sex commitment ceremonies since the 1980s and eventually same-sex marriages. At church, he often hears a very liberal point of view. 

Mike Orr, a spokesman for the Episcopal Church in Colorado, described Gorsuch’s church, as a congregation that “does a lot of social justice and advocacy.” He said, “It’s a healthy and vibrant congregation. It’s very diverse in its congregants as well as its ministry.”

More here-

Episcopal diocese joins federal lawsuit against Trump travel ban

From Washington State-

President Donald Trump is not a man of the pews but has attended Christmas Eve eucharist at the Episcopal Church of Bethesda-by-the-Sea in Palm Beach, Florida, the setting in which Trump took Melania as his third bride.

On the other side of the country, Episcopalians are suing him.

The Episcopal Diocese of Olympia has joined with the ACLU and two unnamed University of Washington students to file a lawsuit challenging Trump's executive order temporarily banning refugees and immigrants from seven predominantly Muslim nations.

The diocese argues that the work of its Refugee Resettlement Office (RRO) "has been completely disrupted" by the Trump executive order.

"Not only have families in transit or on the verge of transit been placed in additional crisis and stress, but the chaos surrounding the implementation of the executive order has also required the RRO to expend additional, unplanned-for resources."

More here-

Wednesday, February 8, 2017

Executive Council supports Episcopal Migration Ministries in midst of Trump’s order

From ENS-

The Episcopal Church’s Executive Council Feb. 8 pledged the Church’s solidarity with refugees in the face of President Donald Trump’s executive order suspending their entry into the United States.

A federal judge on Feb. 6 temporarily blocked Trump’s action, leaving the State Department’s refugee admissions program in limbo.

Council’s approach was two-pronged: financial and legal. It granted $500,000 to Episcopal Migration Ministries to bridge it financially during Trump’s suspension of refugee resettlement and as that work presumably resumes, albeit on a smaller scale. It also requested that presiding bishop investigate whether it is “appropriate and advisable” to defend in court EMM’s refugee resettlement ministry and the church’s stance of religious tests.

More here-

Bishop Stacy Sauls sues the Episcopal Church

From ENS-

Episcopal Church Presiding Bishop Michael B. Curry and President of the House of Deputies the Rev. Gay Clark Jennings shared the following letter with the staff of the Episcopal Church on Feb. 8.

Dear Sisters and Brothers in Christ:

Earlier this week, we informed Executive Council that Bishop Stacy Sauls has filed a lawsuit against the corporation of the Episcopal Church, called the Domestic and Foreign Missionary Society (DFMS), and an unspecified number of unnamed defendants associated with the church. 

The suit concerns Bishop Sauls’ tenure as chief operating officer of the DFMS and his departure from that job.

As you may remember, Bishop Sauls served as chief operating officer from 2011 until December 2015, when he was placed on administrative leave. Bishop Sauls’ employment with the church ended in April 2016.

More here-

Anglican priest, author Tom Harpur argued that Jesus was an allegory

From Canada-

Tom Harpur was a devout Christian who was not certain that Jesus existed, but did believe in the principles that were taught in his name. He knew before he wrote his most powerful book, The Pagan Christ, that his views would be controversial and unsettling.

“My goal is not to summarily dismiss the deep beliefs held by many millions in North America, Europe, and increasingly now in the Southern Hemisphere, where the vast majority of today’s Christians live. But I do want these people to think deeply about their faith anew,” Mr. Harpur wrote in that book.

Tom Harpur, who died last month at the age of 87, was an ordained Anglican priest and theology professor at the University of Toronto who gained international fame, not from the pulpit, but from his newspaper columns and books. He wrote for the Toronto Star for almost 40 years, first as its full-time religion editor and then as a freelance writer.

More here-

First Turned Around By Travel Ban, Syrian Refugee Family Makes It To Texas

From Texas-

“Everything is going to be fine,” one of the greeters, a refugee herself, assured them in Arabic as some of the volunteers handed the girls a bouquet of white daisies and an assortment of stuffed animals. Others broke into applause to celebrate the refugees’ arrival.

By then, the newcomers were smiling back.

While her two older sisters were shyer, the 7-year-old Syrian girl — the family’s second-youngest — looked up in wonder as the parishioners of St. Michael’s Episcopal Church protectively surrounded the family. When she reached out to touch hands with the volunteers there to greet them, there appeared to be little understanding in her big, brown eyes that just a week ago, this country had closed the door to refugees like her over security concerns.

More here-

Episcopal Diocese sells East Ave. HQ for $1.2M

From Rochester-

The Episcopal Diocese of Rochester has sold its East Avenue offices and chapel for nearly $1.2 million, a deal that was finalized late last month.

The 12,000-square-foot property at 935 East Ave. in the city was sold to East 935 LLC, according to the Episcopal Diocese, which has relocated its offices to a space at  St. Peter’s Episcopal Church, 3825 East Henrietta Road, Henrietta.

"These funds will enter our endowment and will be used to support such things as outreach missions and growth of our congregations," Rt. Rev. Prince G. Singh, bishop of the Rochester diocese, said in a statement.

The diocese began exploring a sale of the 100-year-old building, where it oversaw 46 parishes in eight counties, earlier this year. The area diocese has been based at the site since 1954.

More here-