Thursday, July 28, 2016

Turkish Christians nervous after failed coup attempt

From Ireland-

Concerns have been expressed by the Christian community in Turkey after it was reported that a number of Christian churches were attacked during the failed military uprising of July 15.

 As people took to the streets in defiance of the army factions attempting to seize the country, it is reported that pockets of civilians damaged church windows at a number of locations across the nation.

The attacks have led to calls from the Anglican chaplaincy of the British consulate in Istanbul for the government to better secure the safety of Christian communities in Turkey.

Meanwhile, responding to the coup, Bishop Rubén Tierrablanca Gonzalez, apostolic administrator of the nation’s Greek Catholics insisted the community was made safer by remaining apart from current political tribulations. 

More here-

Archbishop of Canterbury’s New Advisor for Reconciliation

From ACNS-

The Archbishop of Canterbury, Justin Welby, has announced the appointment of Sarah Snyder as his new advisor for reconciliation. She takes over from Canon David Porter who moved into his new role as chief of staff and strategy to the Archbishop at the beginning of May.

Sarah will take up the role in September. She will be part of the senior team at Lambeth Palace while also being based at Coventry Cathedral, where Archbishop Justin’s reconciliation ministry has been established since its inception. Her role will have a particular emphasis on supporting the Church in contexts of violent conflict or post-conflict and helping the Church to be an agent of reconciliation and conflict-transformation.

More here-

Clergy urged to be more involved in politics

From Ghana-

A Former Rector of the Ghana Institute of Management and Public Administration (GIMPA), Prof. Stephen Adei, has asked the clergy to get involved in issue-based politics that would transform the country.

He also urged the church to speak against the unjust structures and mechanisms in society that made it possible for corruption to triumph.

“Church members pay tax and so the clergy must be interested in how the resources that accrue from such taxes are utilised. The Church must not sit unconcerned when some politicians make irresponsible comments that could spark violence,” he added.

More here-

Why this pastor spent $3,000 in church funds to win a raffle with an AR-15 as the prize

From The Washington Post-

The Rev. Jeremy Lucas had just returned to Oregon from a family vacation back home to Alabama, the deep south state where he was first introduced to guns and where, as a kid, he learned to shoot a rifle, when he pulled out his phone and started scrolling.

It had been just days since the deadly mass shooting in Dallas that left five police officers dead and seven wounded. They were targeted by a black man with three guns, including an assault rifle, while working a Black Lives Matter protest. That same week, two black men, Philando Castile and Alton Sterling, were shot and killed by police, the incidents captured on video and circulated worldwide. Only one month earlier, 49 people were killed in the country’s deadliest mass shooting at an Orlando gay nightclub.

More here-

France Church Attack: Abdel-Malik Petitjean Was Known Potential Radical

From NBC-

The second culprit behind an ISIS-linked attack that killed a priest in a church was a teenager reportedly known to security services as a potential Islamist militant.

French judicial sources told NBC News that 19-year-old Abdel-Malik Nabil Petitjean, was identified from his DNA.

Petitjean, who is from eastern France, and accomplice Adel Kermiche, also 19, targeted the church in Saint-Etienne-du-Rouvray during morning Mass.

They slashed a priest's throat and took three nuns and an elderly couple hostage. One nun later escaped and raised the alarm. Both attackers were later killed by authorities.

More here-

Wednesday, July 27, 2016

Why Moral Decadence Is Pervasive

From Nigeria-

The Archbishop of Province of Niger Delta Anglican Communion, Most Rev. Ignatius Kattey, has blamed the high level of moral decadence in the society on lack of fear of God.

Kattey said this in Port Harcourt while being conferred with the 2016  African Youth Parliament (AYP) Award.

The Archbishop who is also the Bishop Diocese of Niger Delta North was also at the occasion inducted into the Nelson Mandela Hall of Fame by  the AYP.

Kattey at the event said that restiveness, poverty and unemployment had underscored the need for prayers to the Creator.

The clergyman also stressed the need for people to stand up against evil in the land and called for the reorientation of the youth to promote peace and development in Africa.

More here-

Concealed weapons in church sparks debate

From The Quad Cities-

Emergency response training at a Bettendorf church on Tuesday turned into a debate on allowing churchgoers to carry concealed weapons.

The argument began during a segment that dealt with responding to active shooters. The event was held at St. John Vianney Catholic Church.

"I do not want parishioners bringing guns into my house of worship," said the Rev. Christine Isham, pastor of Edwards Congregational United Church of Christ, Davenport. "It's God's house. I'm a non-violent person. There has to be another way."

Ken Brown, a member of Mount Zion Missionary Baptist Church, East Moline, and several others who spoke during the segment took a pro-concealed carry stance.

More here-

The Very Rev. Tracey Lind Dean, Trinity Cathedral

From Cleveland-

A stained glass sign that hangs outside Tracey Lind's office at Trinity Cathedral simply reads, "The Dean." The Very Rev. Lind, however, isn't your ordinary dean, and Trinity Cathedral isn't your average church. Rather, Lind acts more like a community liaison, and, since her arrival at Trinity in 2000, the church has been so much more than a place for services.

For example, in 2014, Trinity started hosting rock and pop concerts, all with Lind's blessing.

"We're working with [the local promoter] Elevation on a project called Cathedral Concerts and the idea is to find the intersection between sacred space and popular music," she says one afternoon from her spacious office that looks out on Prospect Avenue. "The world is changing and the fastest changing demographic among Americans is called 'nones,' people with no affiliation. The concerts for us are a way to introduce people to our sacred space and allow them to experience the holy on their own terms. Some people experience the divine in contemporary music and in traditional rock 'n' roll and jazz and bluegrass and Americana."

More here-

The Church Pension Group, the Episcopal Church Foundation, and Episcopal Relief & Development Host Wellness Conference for the Diocese of Ecuador Litoral

From Business Wire-

The Church Pension Group (CPG), a financial services organization that serves The Episcopal Church and its people, in partnership with The Episcopal Church Foundation (ECF) and Episcopal Relief & Development, hosted a three-day wellness conference for clergy, lay employees, and lay leaders of the Diocese of Ecuador Litoral who were impacted by the April earthquake. CPG covered the cost of attendance for clergy who participate in the benefits programs it offers, and financial support from ECF and Episcopal Relief & Development made it possible to expand the conference to include lay employees and lay leaders in the diocese.

The three-day conference, which took place from July 21 to July 24 in Guayaquil, Ecuador, addressed the psychological, physical, and spiritual needs of attendees who were affected by the earthquake that killed more than 650 individuals and displaced more than 30,000 people. It also offered them assistance in developing coping skills that they can utilize as they continue to minister and serve those impacted by the earthquake.

More here-

Tuesday, July 26, 2016

Senior Anglican clergy accused of failing to act on rape allegations

From The Guardian-

The archbishop of York and four serving bishops have been accused of misconduct by a Church of England priest who claims they failed to act on allegations he was repeatedly raped by another vicar when he was 16.

The priest says none of the five senior clergy properly responded to his disclosures, made verbally and in writing, of the rapes which he alleged took place in 1984.

“Michael” – whose identity is known to the Guardian, but who wishes to remain anonymous – filed the complaints under the C of E’s clergy disciplinary measure (CDM) against John Sentamu, the archbishop of York and second highest-ranking figure in the church; Peter Burrows, the bishop of Doncaster; Steven Croft, a former bishop of Sheffield, and now bishop of Oxford; Martyn Snow, the bishop of Leicester; and Glyn Webster, the bishop of Beverley.

More here-

Reverend wins rifle at raffle, plans to destroy it

From Oregon-

The winner of a controversial AR-15 rifle raffle by an Oregon softball team is a Lake Oswego church reverend, who now plans to destroy the weapon.

Christ Church Episcopal Parish Rev. Jeremy Lucas purchased 150 $20 tickets, valued at $3,000, to win the rifle.

Lucas said he learned of the rifle raffle from the Willamette Week. The Oregon's Big League Girls' All Star Softball Team was trying to fundraise a trip to California to play in a tournament through a raffle. The grand prize was an AR-15 rifle.

"I hate that we live in a world where a girls' softball team feels like they have to raffle off a rifle to get enough money to go play a game," he said.

More here-

Episcopal cathedral names Mark Shapiro first 'rabbi in residence'

From Western Mass-

Recently retired rabbi Mark Shapiro has been name Christ Church Cathedral's first "rabbi in residence."

Shapiro retired in June after nearly 28 years of service from Sinai Temple on Dickinson Street.

"Judaism is a unique expression of God's love for the world. Our faith will be expanded by sharing life with Rabbi Mark and deepened as we learn more about the richness of this tradition," said the Right Rev. Douglas J. Fisher, bishop of the Episcopal Diocese of Western Massachusetts.

More here-

Monday, July 25, 2016

Bishop of London announces retirement in 2017

From London-

The Bishop has written to clergy and parishes across the Diocese of London to share the timetable for his retirement, with his last public engagement as Bishop of London being Candlemas at St Paul’s Cathedral on 2 February 2017. The Bishop, who has held the post for over twenty years, will continue his work and engagements as normal until Christmas and will continue to hold the post of Dean of HM Chapels Royal until the appointment of the 133rd Bishop of London.

It has been a privilege and a delight to serve in the Diocese of London as priest and bishop for well over thirty years. I have seen confidence return and church life revive. The recently circulated progress report on Capital Vision 2020 is an eloquent testimony to a renewed confidence in the gospel, more strenuous compassion and more extensive service of our neighbours in the most diverse city on earth, together with burgeoning creativity. At the same time the annual accounts reveal that we have ended the financial year in balance for the tenth year in succession.

More here-

The Reformation offers a good lesson for Brexit

From The Telegraph-

One month on from the Brexit vote, and we’re doing fine. The fundamentals are unchanged: a strong economy, a cohesive society and, lest we forget, we haven’t actually left the EU yet. Despite this, some people still talk as though Britain detached itself from the Continent and sank into the ocean. They need to relax – open a beer and enjoy the sunshine. History suggests that ruptures in geopolitics can be the start of something beautiful.

Take the 16th-century Reformation. As a Catholic, I am duty-bound to say that Henry VIII’s divorce and the subsequent establishment of the Anglican Church was a disaster. The enormity of its changes – the abolition of the monasteries, sectarian conflict – dwarfs Brexit, implying that leaving the EU just isn’t the big deal that Remainers insist.

But the Reformation does have two characteristics that hold out hope for a brighter future in 2016: continuity and the unleashing of the English imagination.

More here-

Be security conscious, Anglican Primate urges Christians

From Nigeria-

PRIMATE of the Church of Nigeria (Anglican Communion), Most Reverend Nicholas Okoh, yesterday, called on Nigerian Christians, especially those in the northern part of the country, to defend their faith against the persecution and onslaught arising from heretic teachings and practices in the region.

The Primate made the charge at the multi-purpose occasion of the consecration of three new Bishops, presentation of the Dean, Archbishop of the Ecclesiastical Province of Niger and the Archbishop of the Ecclesiastical Province of Lagos at the Archbishop Vining Memorial Church Cathedral, Ikeja, Lagos. The cleric, who urged Christians not to forget the place of prayer in tackling the onslaught on Christians in the North, stated that Christians must be steadfast in prayer.

Read more at:

Driving while black: On transformative police encounters

From The Living Church-

For black folks, telling the truth about police encounters is painful: Only some people will assume that you are being honest. Others will think that you hate the police or even America. A few might label you a troublemaker and decide to keep a respectful distance.

The most difficult aspect of speaking about my interaction with the police is that it forces me to revisit a time when I felt the full weight of this country’s checkered racial history on my shoulders. I am not sure that words can capture that feeling, that sadness — that feeling of powerlessness, that longing to be free.

More here-

Sunday, July 24, 2016

Nigerians pray for removal of non-performing leaders

From Nigeria-

PROMINENT Ministers of God in Nigeria, yesterday night, stormed the National Stadium in Abuja, the Nigeria Capital, to pray and seek divine intervention to the Nigeria situation, as they all agreed that all is not well with the country. 

The programme, tagged; Nigeria Prays, was championed by the Christian Association of Nigeria
(CAN) with an attendance of the Vice President, Prof. Yemi Osinbajo and his wife, Dolapo, the Speaker of the House of Representatives, Right Hon. Yakubu Dogara and other government officials.

The Minsters of God who graced the programme are; the General Overseer of the Redeemed Christian Church of God, Pastor Enoch Adeboye (represented by Pastor in Charge of Region 10, RCCG, Pastor Emmanuel Ibitayo), the General Overseer of the Living Faith Church, Bishop David Oyedepo, the General Overseer of Deeper Life Church, Pastor W. F. Kumuyi, the Primate, Church of Nigeria (Anglican Communion), the Most Rev. Nicholas Okoh.
Read more at:

A lament over Munich from Europe Bishop Pierre Whalon

From ENS-

You know, God, that I am tired, I am sick and tired, of regularly writing these reflections. I do so because I am bishop for these lands. My heart goes out once again to a city battered and mauled by a kid with a gun. A few days ago, another town, Würzburg, and a boy with an axe. Last week it was a guy with a truck. Before that, with a knife, killing a mother and father in front of their three-year-old son. Before that, it was Brussels. And Paris. And Paris. And Toulouse.

Not to mention, Lord, what’s happening in my country of origin, my homeland. Baton Rouge, Dallas, Orlando, San Bernardino. And the land I visited in 2003, that you brought me to just before the war, that stupid war. Baghdad, I want to go back, but I can’t. And Turkey and Bangladesh. And the horror that is Saudi Arabia. I have friends, real friends, who are Muslim faithful, imams, even an ayatollah or two. And they are dying too. For what?

More here-

Boy Scouts faring well a year after easing ban on gay adults

From The Denver Post (AP)-

There were dire warnings for the Boy Scouts of America a year ago when the group’s leaders, under intense pressure, voted to end a long-standing blanket ban on participation by openly gay adults. Several of the biggest sponsors of Scout units, including the Roman Catholic, Mormon and Southern Baptist churches, were openly dismayed, raising the prospect of mass defections.

Remarkably, nearly 12 months after the BSA National Executive Board’s decision, the Boy Scouts seem more robust than they have in many years. Youth membership is on the verge of stabilizing after a prolonged decline, corporations which halted donations because of the ban have resumed their support, and the vast majority of units affiliated with conservative religious denominations have remained in the fold — still free to exclude gay adults if that’s in accordance with their religious doctrine.

More here-

Saturday, July 23, 2016

A Pastor Fights Against Government Restrictions on Political Sermons

From The Daily Signal-

In a matter that deals more directly with what pastors oppose, the All Saints Episcopal Church in Pasadena, California, faced a near two-year investigation from the IRS after a 2004 sermon opposing the war in Iraq. The IRS dropped its investigation, but the church reportedly spent $200,000 in legal bills.

Tax-exempt status should not be conditioned on what a pastor says from the pulpit, contends Christiana Holcomb, ADF legal counsel, calling the law an unconstitutional infringement on free speech and the Establishment Clause.

“We have welcomed the IRS to really enforce this so we can make a challenge to the law, and make the public aware that any regulation of a pastor’s sermon is a clear violation of the Constitution,” Holcomb told The Daily Signal in a phone interview. “But even without going to court, the IRS has used intimidation, bullying, and harassment tactics.”

More here-

Anglican churches provide aid to thousands of victims of South Sudan's civil war

From The Christian Times-

The Anglican community extended assistance for thousands of those who are affected in the devastated Juba region of South Sudan that recently escalated in its state of unrest.

According to the Anglican Communion News Service, Sudra (the Sudanese Development and Relief Agency) announced Tuesday that it planned to extend its food assistance to around 14,400 internally displaced people from the affected areas of Juba, Kajo Keji, Yei, Lainya, and Rajaf.

More here-

St. John's curate placed on leave

From Massachusetts-

The curate of St. John's Episcopal Church is on administrative leave following "alleged violations of clergy 'standards of conduct,'" according to church officials.

The Rev. Stephen Scarff allegedly drank alcoholic beverages before transporting young church members during a mission trip, according to a letter to the church community dated July 12 and signed by the Rev. Stephanie Bradbury, rector elect; Senior Warden Steve MacKinnon; and Junior Warden Jeannie McIntyre.

The letter follows a complaint the Episcopal Diocese of Massachusetts received July 10, according to a prepared statement from the diocese.

"In keeping with the Episcopal Church’s clergy disciplinary process, Bishop Alan Gates placed the Rev. Mr. Scarff on immediate administrative leave, a standard precautionary response, while the facts of the situation are being determined," the statement said.

More here-

Friday, July 22, 2016

Former government worker now Episcopal bishop in Pennsylvania

From New Mexico-

People who knew Daniel Gutierrez during his years of government service in Bernalillo County say they expected the Albuquerque native to run for elected office one day.

Nobody, including Gutierrez himself, expected that he would be elected bishop of the Episcopal Diocese of Pennsylvania.

“It’s funny, because the bishop is elected by the clergy and the laity of the Episcopal Church,” Gutierrez said in a phone interview from Philadelphia, where he was consecrated Saturday as bishop.

More here-

Cambridge’s Episcopal Divinity School to stop awarding degrees

From The Boston Globe-

Episcopal Divinity School in Cambridge, facing ongoing budget deficits, said Thursday that it will no longer award degrees after June 2017, and will spend the next academic year exploring options for its future.

The decision was approved by an 11-4 vote of the school’s trustees on Thursday. Following the vote, the Rev. Frank Fornaro, the interim dean and president, announced his resignation, effective in November, the school said in a statement.

“I totally disagree with this resolution,” Fornaro said in the statement.

The Very Rev. Gary Hall, the trustees’ chairman, said mounting financial pressures required the board to “act quickly, while the seminary still has sufficient assets to bring to bear in the next phase of its life.”

More here-

Thursday, July 21, 2016

Episcopal Divinity School to stop granting degrees in June 2017

From ENS-

Episcopal Divinity School will cease to grant degrees at the end of the upcoming academic year, the seminary’s board of trustees decided July 21 on a 11-4 vote. During the next year, the board will explore options for EDS’s future, some of which were suggested by a specially convened Futures Task Force to make plans for EDS’s future.

“A school that has taken on racism, sexism, heterosexism, and multiple interlocking oppressions is now called to rethink its delivery of theological education in a new and changing world,” said the Very Rev. Gary Hall ’76, chairman of the board, in introducing the resolution. “Ending unsustainable spending is a matter of social justice.”

The options suggested to the task force include merging with another theological seminary, establishing a center for Abrahamic studies, becoming a center for continuing education, fostering lay ministry, and using the seminary’s assets to fund scholarships for seminarians devoted to working on issues of peace and justice.

More here-

Anglican Archbishop of Perth Roger Herft allegedly failed to report paedophile Peter Rushton to police

From Australia-

One of the nation's most senior Anglicans, the Archbishop of Perth, Roger Herft, received complaints about a priest involved in a paedophile ring but allegedly failed to formally report him to police, according to an Anglican Church insider.

7.30 has obtained a confidential note showing Archbishop Herft received a complaint about Father Peter Rushton's abuse when they both worked in the Hunter region of New South Wales in 2002.

Archbishop Herft wrote that the complaint "left me in an unenviable position" because "Father Peter had my licence [to be a priest] and if he reoffended I would be held liable as I now had prior knowledge of his alleged behaviour".

More here-'kingpin'/7649154

NH Supreme Court to hear Durham church's tax appeal

From New Hampshire-

The New Hampshire Supreme Court is set to hear a Durham church's appeal regarding taxes paid for the leasing of parking spaces to University of New Hampshire students.

Foster's Daily Democrat reports St. George's Episcopal Church appealed to the high court after a Strafford County judge ruled that the church was obligated to pay a property tax to the town.

Church officials say they've been leasing parking spaces to UNH students since 1998 and the town had never levied a tax on the church before. But in 2013, Durham Tax Assessor Jim Rice issued a property tax bill to the church.

More here-

Episcopal Church weighs in on NEK counselor accused of sex assault

From Vermont-

A family therapist is accused of preying on kids he was supposed to help. The Northeast Kingdom counselor says the accusations of sex assault are untrue, but as investigative reporter Jennifer Costa found out, he's been accused before.

During his 20-year career, Armand Henault has counseled countless kids, many from broken homes. In June, police arrested him. They say some of his behavior is criminal and some unethical. Henault says it's a witch hunt. Now, the Episcopal Church is weighing in.

"It's totally devastating and sad for us," said Bishop Thomas Ely, Episcopal Diocese of Vermont.

Ely is not hiding from a harsh reality. One of his own is accused of sexually assaulting a child. He says the allegations against Henault are a blow to the Episcopal Church, but not entirely surprising.

"So, many others whose trust in Mr. Henault must be understandably shaken by the allegations, including me," said Ely. 

More here-

Wednesday, July 20, 2016

Norwich police say treasurer took church funds for food, golf, liquor

From CT-

The former treasurer of the Grace Episcopal Church was arrested on a first-degree larceny charge Monday after allegedly admitting making repeated withdrawals of church funds for “pretty much anything he needed,” including rounds of golf at the Norwich Golf Course.

Andrew Rushford, 58, of 4 Chapel Hill Road — near the church, also on Chapel Hill Road — was charged with one count of first-degree larceny.

He initially was held on a $50,000 bond, but was released on a promise to appear after his arraignment in Norwich Superior Court on Tuesday.

He was released on a condition that he cooperate with a veterans' program, according to the court record.

More here-

For some Christians talking about race is tough, and long overdue they say

From The Washington Post-

At Washington National Cathedral on Sunday, an interracial group of clergy gathered to discuss the role of the white church in perpetuating racism. And what the church might do to heal the wounds. A tough subject, but dealt with unflinchingly.

They began with church complicity in the nation’s original sins — genocide of indigenous peoples and the enslavement of Africans.

“We Christians — British and Americans — said we can’t do those things to people we believe are made in the image of God,” said the Rev. Jim Wallis, founder of Sojourners, a D.C.-based social justice organization. “So we will throw away Imago Dei. And that’s what we did. We threw away the image of God and said that these indigenous and African peoples are less than human.”

More here-