Tuesday, October 6, 2015

How should church and state balance looking after the poor?

From The New Statesman-

The Labour party, it’s often said, owes more to Methodism than Marxism.

That historical one-liner has, under the Coalition and now under our new, Conservative-only government, become an increasing truth of the welfare system under David Cameron.

Marxism – or at least, state-backed social democracy – is out. Methodism – in the shape of food banks and other voluntary organisations, largely run by the Trussell Trust and other organisations which might not have a proselytizing mission, but they are overwhelmingly run by both staff and volunteers who are driven by a faith-based mission – is in.

More here-


Cricket and Good Will

From The Living Church-

Pope Francis is said to know little about cricket. Courtesy of his South American roots, soccer is his game. Cricket, however, now has a place among the Vatican’s diplomatic endeavors. Last September the St. Peter’s team, Rome-based players mostly from the Indian subcontinent, visited England and narrowly lost to a team representing the Archbishop of Canterbury. This month they return.

Matches are arranged against the Church of England and the Royal Household. But catching most media headlines is a match against an all-Muslim team, Mount Cricket Club from Batley, Yorkshire, on October 17. Organizers hope it will draw still more headlines in cricket-playing Muslim countries.

More here-


Korean Anglicans celebrate 125 years of mission, ministry

From ANS and ENS-

Korean Anglicans welcomed friends from across the communion Oct. 3 as they celebrated 125 years of ministry based in inculturation, mission and evangelism.

The festive Eucharist at the Cathedral of St. Mary and St. Nicholas in downtown Seoul drew an overflow crowd. Many people sat on blue stools in the courtyards outside Romanesque church watching the proceedings on three enormous video screens. Many wore blue paper visors that were handed out with the order of service booklets to shield themselves from a warm October sun.

A street fair of sorts lined on side of the lower courtyard and the cathedral’s Café Grace coffee shop under a large tree in that courtyard was open for business. The café is a mission of the cathedral that helps women refugees from North Korean get settled into society in the South. Communion was served to those sitting outside.

More here-


Monday, October 5, 2015

Archbishop of Canterbury launches review of sex abuser bishop case

From Christian Today-

The Archbishop of Canterbury has commissioned an independent review into how the Church of England responded to abuse allegations against the disgraced former Bishop of Gloucester Peter Ball.

Bishop Ball, a former Anglican monk who set up his own religious order, pleaded guilty last month to two charges of indecent assault against young men and one charge of misconduct in public office by sexually exploiting 18 men who sought religious guidance from him. Two indecent assault charges against boys aged under 16 were left on file. He is due to be sentenced at the Central Criminal Court in London this week.

More here-



From Breibart-

The Archbishop of Canterbury, Justin Welby has spoken out against the forces of secularism, on the one hand, seeking to force religion out of the public sphere, and extremism, on the other, seeking to replace mainstream religion with a radicalised version twisted to fit their own agenda.

In a hard hitting speech, he also urged Muslim leaders to do more than simply condemn terrorism; they should also promote an alternative, peaceful version of their religion.

On Friday Welby joined the Anglican Archbishops of Wales, Scotland and Ireland, and members of the Welsh Muslim community at a meeting to mark the 10th anniversary of the Centre for the Study of Islam in the UK, based at Cardiff University, where he made his remarks.

More here-


Curry offers possible preview of agenda as new presiding bishop of Episcopal Church

From Charlotte-

North Carolina Bishop Michael Curry, who will be installed next month as the new head of the Episcopal Church in the United States, offered a possible preview Sunday of his agenda. Topping the list: Promoting a form of evangelism that calls on members to listen to others’ faith stories and then share their own.

He also wants to stress the love of Jesus, foster social justice, work for reconciliation – racial and otherwise – and preside over a church that’s open to all, including both supporters and opponents of same-sex marriage.

Curry, an outgoing preacher and author of “Crazy Christians: A Call to Follow Jesus,” will be the national church’s first African-American presiding bishop. In a Q&A with parishioners at St. Peter’s Episcopal Church in uptown Charlotte, he said that Episcopalians have been so shy about advertising what their tradition has to offer – including its liturgy, its sacraments and its commitment to social justice – that many people don’t know the denomination exists.

“We’ve got to get to the day when the average Episcopalian is in touch with their own faith story and faith journey and is able to share that appropriately and authentically,” Curry said. “That may be the game-changer. … We’re good about doing. We’re nervous about talking.”

More here-


Sunday, October 4, 2015

The Church and sex scandals

From Zimbabwe-

Congregants should also raise alarm whenever “holy men” hide behind the Scriptures to win sexual favours. This was said by Anglican Church Harare Bishop (Central Africa Province) Chad Gandiya in a frank discussion on sex scandals rocking the Church.

He also spoke of how Anglicans in the capital have set up a “Gender Desk” to help victims, and the rigorous vetting that would-be priests go through.

For years, various churches across the globe have been grappling with improper conduct involving some of their leaders.

Though statistics are not readily available, Zimbabwe’s courts and church tribunals have handled their fair share of such cases. Most accounts have culprits abusing their immense influence to push sex as a gateway to prosperity and spiritual healing. The victims are largely vulnerable women desperate to escape problems.

More here-


Technology updates pipe organs, but not without controversy

From Boston-

 Doug Marshall wasn’t thrilled with what he heard.

Seated at a makeshift desk at St. Matthew’s Episcopal Church, the organ maker ascended the keys of a plastic keyboard he’d propped on a pew to his side. A laptop glowed before him. But the real object of his attention stood by the altar: Opus 10, his newly minted digital organ with four keyboards, a gleaming shell of burnished wood, and the full sonic force, filigree, and thunder of 9,000 pipes — all without a pipe to be found.

Along with his business partner, David Ogletree, Marshall had been at work on the instrument for more than a year, their crew soldering components, wiring circuitry, and fine-tuning software. All told, the organ boasted more than 6 miles of wire, 72 speakers, and 18,000 watts of power. Now, as Marshall sat in St. Matthew’s 19th-century nave, their work was nearing completion: Opus 10 (the 10th instrument they’ve built together) would finally — finally! — receive its voice.

More here-


Pope asserts marriage is forever at start of family meeting

From Albany-

 Pope Francis opened a divisive meeting of the world's bishops on family issues Sunday by forcefully asserting that marriage is an indissoluble bond between man and woman. But he said the church doesn't judge and must "seek out and care for hurting couples with the balm of acceptance and mercy."

Francis dove head-on into the most pressing issue confronting the meeting of 270 bishops during a solemn Mass in St. Peter's Basilica: How to better minister to Catholic families experiencing separation, divorce and other problems when the church's teaching holds that marriage is forever.

More here-


Saturday, October 3, 2015

Photo of the day

From The Episcopal Asiamerica Ministries in Seoul.

Santa Claus Hopes Voters Will Elect Him to Office in North Pole

From the "You Can't Make This Stuff Up" Department-

After no one filed for candidacy in this year's City Council race in North Pole, Alaska, Santa Claus decided he would seize the day and run himself. Sixty-eight-year-old Claus is one of the biggest evangelists for North Pole, having once run for its Chamber of Commerce.

He is not a North Pole native — he previously lived in Nevada, where he decided to legally change his name after debating the idea on the way to the post office in 2005. The heavily bearded man with a twinkle in his eye and rosy cheeks was walking and praying, he told the Alaska Dispatch News in 2013, when a man yelled, "I love you, Santa.” After that he was sure a name change was a good idea.

The Anglican monk formerly known as Tom O'Connor then decided it would do wonders for his brand if he moved to North Pole, which he did three years ago after running two write-in presidential campaigns and finding out that the name "Santa Claus" can sometimes lead to issues at the airport. (It isn't clear whether security thought the name was suspicious or if they were confused about why Santa was flying commercial instead of on his private sleigh.)

More here


Parliament of the World's Religions brings interfaith movement to Utah

From Utah-

On his recent visit to Utah, Imam Abdul Malik Mujahid walked briskly through the Salt Palace Convention Center, taking mental notes of the preparations for the upcoming Parliament of the World's Religions.

In less than two weeks, some 10,000 devotees of 50 faith traditions from 80 countries are expected to fill the halls of the convention facility for the largest interfaith event in the world.

Previous host cities for the event have included Chicago; Cape Town, South Africa; Barcelona; and Melbourne, Australia. This year, the fifth parliament since its first appearance more than 120 years ago in 1893 will be held in the city that is headquarters to The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

More here-


On the mend: Archbishop of Canterbury calls meeting with disgruntled provinces

From Mississippi-

Earlier this month, Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby called for a gathering of the Anglican Communion in what is expected to be an attempt at healing.

The Anglican Communion has been troubled following the 2003 induction of the first openly gay bishop, Gene Robinson, by the Episcopal Church of the United States. In response to Robinson’s election, the church’s more conservative bishops created a subset within the communion in 2008, the Global Anglican Future Conference, holding their own meetings and creating their own jurisdictions.

“As of now, the GAFCON primates have said that if the Anglican Church of Canada and the U.S. is at the table for the January meeting, they will not attend,” said the Rev. Paul Stephens, rector at All Saints’ Episcopal Church in Tupelo, “And that’s unfortunate.”

More here-


Friday, October 2, 2015

Vatican Cricket Club to face Muslim XI, Anglican Church XI in series of matches

From Cricket Country-

The Vatican‘s increasingly high-profile cricket club has set the date for a highly symbolic first match against an all-Muslim team from Britain, organisers said Thursday. In a series of matches this month, the St Peter’s cricket club, made up of mostly South Asian Rome-based seminarians and priests, will also take on a team from Pope Francis’s home town of Buenos Aires and get a chance of revenge against a Church of England XI. But it is the meeting with Mount Cricket Club from Batley, Yorkshire, on October 17 that is likely to attract the most attention, with the Church hoping it will make a small contribution to global inter-faith understanding.

More here-


The Difference Between Kim Davis and a Conscientious Objector (Gene Robinson)

Gene Robinson in Time-

The inmates at Curran-Fromhold Correctional Facility apparently were not the only law breakers Pope Francis met with during his brief visit to the U.S. The Vatican has now confirmed that the pope met privately with Kim Davis, the county clerk in Rowan County, Ky., who notoriously went to jail rather than issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples in her jurisdiction.

Davis broke the law and appears to be neither repentant for what she did nor sorry for the decision she made, which landed her in jail for five days. Rather, she seems proud of her act of civil disobedience, vows that she would do it again, and sincerely seems to believe she is taking one on the chin for Jesus. She has become a celebrity among those conservative Christians who condemn homosexuality and the recent Supreme Court ruling declaring marriage equality a constitutional right.

More here-


Episcopal Relief & Development and Church of Liberia expand SGBV prevention

From Anglican News-

 Episcopal Relief & Development and the humanitarian arm of the Episcopal Church of Liberia (ECL-RD) have expanded their gender-based violence prevention and response program through a $680,000 grant from the UN Trust Fund to End Violence Against Women.

The initiative is equipping and mobilizing faith leaders, networks and communities to prevent violence against women and girls and to increase survivors’ access to services. Launched in collaboration with Liberia’s Ministry of Gender, Children and Social Protection and their national campaign, Episcopal Relief & Development and ECL-RD are implementing this three-year program in Grand Cape Mount and Rivercess Counties. 

More here-


Duncan Gray Jr., 53 years after the Ole Miss riot

From The Christian Century-

I recently had the honor of sitting down with a fourth-generation Mississippian who knows a thing or two about racial injustice because he’s spent his life fighting it: Duncan M. Gray Jr., bishop of the Episcopal Diocese of Mississippi from 1974 to 1993.

We didn’t talk about the controversy over whether the Mississippi state flag, with its Confederate emblem, should continue to be flown over the state and local buildings. I think I know what he would say about that.

What we did talk about was what motivated him, as a Christian, to promote integration in perhaps the most aggressively segregationist state in the nation—at great risk to himself, his family, and his life as an Episcopal priest. We also talked about forgiveness. And love.

“It wasn’t easy,” Gray said, speaking of—and understating—the challenges he and others faced as civil rights activists in Mississippi in the 1960s. “They were rough times.”

More here-


Thursday, October 1, 2015

Kenyan Church Welcomes LGBT Members

From VOA-

In early September, the Anglican Church of Kenya revoked a priest’s license and suspended four others for alleged homosexual activity. It sent a message that there is no room for homosexuality at churches in Kenya.

But there is one place where members of the LGBT community - that is lesbians, gays, bisexual and transgender people - are welcome for Sunday worship.

Lilian, for whom this is not her regular church, sits in the back. The 28-year-old is lesbian.

“For a long time, I had not attended normal church because I felt like the likes of me are not accepted," she said. "Many people don’t know that I am gay. If they knew, they would look at me differently. But I choose to go where I am accepted, where I do not have to hide my identity.”

More here-


Calico Threads Thrift Store begins 3rd year of outreach

From New Jersey-

Memories of the destruction and loss caused by Superstorm Sandy three years ago remain embedded in the lives of many. And, the good will and outreach that sprang forth since the storm continues at Holy Trinity Church in South River where the Calico Threads thrift shop steadfastly meets the needs of those in crisis each day.

When the store first opened its doors at 54 Ferry St., large donations of clothing were offered to help ease the devastation from the storm. The church had lost electrical power when they began aiding the storm victims whose homes were flooded in South River.

According to Sandra Rahn, chairwoman of Calico Threads, parishioners delivered food and cleaning supplies with 80 to 90 meals delivered each night.

More here-


Church temporarily closes due to structural issues, impending storm

From Rhode Island-

St. Luke’s Episcopal Church closed Wednesday, along with surrounding streets, due to fears that the church’s steeple could collapse.

Engineers warned Rev. Tim Rich of St. Luke’s that wind gusts stronger than 30 mph could bring down the structure.

“Two of our weight bearing steel beams had been compromised over decades and decades of water absorption,” said Rich.

The problem was discovered in August after the steeple was struck by lightning. At the time, structural engineers were brought in to inspect the building, and discovered the corroding beams.

More here-


Episcopal Asiamericans begin meeting in Seoul, South Korea

From ENS-

The Episcopal Asiamerica Ministries, with sponsorship and support from the Domestic and Foreign Missionary Society, will hold its International Consultation on Sept. 30–Oct. 5 in Seoul, South Korea with the theme “Celebrating our Partnerships; Uniting our Mission.”

The venue selected is the Cathedral of St. Mary and St. Nicholas in downtown Seoul.

According to the Rev. Bayani Rico, president of the EAM Council, the choice for a Korean venue is in response to the invitation from the Most Rev. Paul Kim, primate and archbishop of the Anglican Church in Korea to join in celebration of its 125th foundation anniversary.

More here-


Wednesday, September 30, 2015

The Pope and Kim Davis: Seven Points to Keep in Mind

From America Media-

What are we to make of the story that Pope Francis met Kim Davis at the Vatican Embassy during his stay in Washington? The story was first reported by Robert Moynihan at Inside the Vatican; subsequently, ABC News interviewed Ms. Davis.

Confirming the meeting, but offering no further details, the Vatican spokesperson, Father Federico Lombardi, S.J., said “I do not deny that the meeting took place, but I have no other comments to add.”

A few things to bear in mind:


Phyllis Tickle, Who Energized a Market for Books on Religion, Dies at 81

From The New York Times-

Phyllis Tickle, who helped energize the religion publishing market in the 1990s, wrote dozens of books on spirituality and gave voice to a movement that believes Christianity is entering an epochal new phase, died on Sept. 22 at her farm in Lucy, Tenn., north of Memphis. She was 81.

The cause was lung cancer, her daughter Rebecca Tickle said.

Ms. Tickle was the founding religion editor at Publishers Weekly, the leading journal in the book trade, serving from 1991 to 1994. In that post she identified and covered a rapidly emerging market for religious-themed books and helped publishers tap into its profitability.

More here-


Questions raised over justice’s impartiality in Episcopal lawsuit

From South Carolina-

When the ongoing lawsuit over The Episcopal Church’s local breakup saga landed before the state Supreme Court last week, several justices peppered questions at an attorney representing parishes that broke away from the national church.

Among those who spoke most was Justice Kaye G. Hearn.

Since the hearing, her relationship with The Episcopal Church and one of its parishes where she worships is raising questions about whether she should have recused herself from the case.

More here-


and here-


S.C. Supreme Court hears arguments in Episcopal Church breakup saga

From South Carolina-

After almost three years of court wrangling, millions in legal fees, a three-week trial, 1,300 exhibits and an unrequited settlement offer, the local Episcopal Church schism landed before the state’s highest court Wednesday.

Attorneys and onlookers packed the Columbia courtroom to hear oral arguments in a legal saga that began when most parishes in the Episcopal Diocese of South Carolina and Bishop Mark Lawrence decided to leave the national church in 2012 after years of locking horns.

In spirited exchanges, several justices questioned the breakaway group’s attorney, Alan Runyan, and took issue with the trial judge’s refusal to allow evidence examining whether The Episcopal Church is a hierarchical religious body that could forbid a bishop or an entire diocese from leaving without its permission.

More here-


and here-


Monday, September 21, 2015


We'll be off line and on retreat for the next week.

Legal issues in Episcopal split going to S.C. Supreme Court

From South Carolina-

South Carolina's highest court this week hears arguments in the legal fight stemming from the acrimonious split in the Episcopal Church in eastern South Carolina.

The conservative Diocese of South Carolina, dating to 1785 and one of the original dioceses that joined to form the Episcopal Church, left the national church in 2012 amid differences over theological issues, including the authority of Scripture and the ordination of gays.

The diocese then sued to protect its identity, the symbols it uses such as the diocesan seal and $500 million in church property.

Parishes in the region that didn't leave the national church are in a diocese now known as The Episcopal Church in South Carolina.

Circuit Judge Diane Goodstein, who presided at a three-week trial in Dorchester County in 2014, ruled earlier this year in favor of the diocese that left in a decision that said the diocese owns its name, symbols and property.

More here-


Sunday, September 20, 2015

My Father, the Priest

From The New York Times-

WHEN anyone asks what my father does, I say he’s a retired teacher. He did, after all, teach high school science and Latin, so I’m not lying. I’m just not telling the whole story: My father, married to my mother for 45 years, is a Catholic priest. Not a former priest, but a member of the clergy in good standing in the Roman Catholic Diocese of Bridgeport, Conn. Especially on a date, that’s a conversation stopper.

More here-


Public schools should teach religion

From The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette-

The day Jesus entered my fourth-grade classroom, my childhood forever changed.

It was 1974, and my family had just moved from western New York state to rural Ohio. I was the new kid, and all I wanted was to fit in. But one afternoon that first week, a woman hired by local churches walked into my public-school classroom and my regular teacher left. She stuck figures of Jesus Christ and his disciples on a flannel board, told us how Jesus could solve people’s problems and, a little while later, asked us all to sing the hymn, “Jesus Loves Me.”

Here’s the thing: I’m Jewish.

More here-


Saturday, September 19, 2015

Bible should be at the center of Anglican meeting, global group says

From The Washington Post-

Restoring the Bible to the heart of the Anglican Communion should be the goal of a meeting called this week by Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby on how Anglicans should move forward, said the head of the Global Anglican Future Conference.

Welby’s meeting of Anglican leaders is planned for mid-January 2016 in Canterbury, England. It is being viewed as an attempt to heal the 80 million-member communion, which remains deeply wounded by disputes over homosexuality and women’s ordination in the global church.

GAFCON’s chairman, Archbishop Eliud Wabukala, the primate of Kenya, said the meeting was a recognition of the deep concerns of the faithful Anglican Church leaders in the world. GAFCON, started in 2008 in Jerusalem, says its aim is to restore the integrity of the Anglican faith and order.

More here-