Thursday, January 23, 2020

Sex is for male-female marriage only, Church of England confirms

From Christianity Today-

Sex only belongs in heterosexual marriage, a new statement from the Church of England's House of Bishops has declared.


In a document responding to the introduction of mixed-sex civil partnerships, the Bishops say: "For Christians, marriage – that is the lifelong union between a man and a woman, contracted with the making of vows – remains the proper context for sexual activity.

But they also add: "In its approach to civil partnerships the Church seeks to uphold that standard, to affirm the value of committed, sexually abstinent friendships and to minister sensitively and pastorally to those Christians who conscientiously decide to order their lives differently."

The statement affirms: "Sexual relationships outside heterosexual marriage are regarded as falling short of God's purposes for human beings. The introduction of same sex marriage... has not changed the church's teaching on marriage or same sex relationships."

More here-

https://www.christiantoday.com/article/sex-is-for-male-female-marriage-only-church-of-england-confirms/134075.htm

Southern Virginia moves female bishop’s consecration in response to backlash from Roman Catholics

From ENS-

The Diocese of Southern Virginia announced Jan. 17 that it would change the location of its Feb. 1 consecration of Bishop-elect Susan Haynes from a Roman Catholic church in Williamsburg in response to backlash from some Roman Catholics who said they were disturbed by the ordination of a woman bishop.

St. Bede Roman Catholic Church originally was chosen as the location because the Diocese of Southern Virginia doesn’t have a church large enough to host the 800 to 1,000 people expected to attend the consecration, said Ann Turner, the diocese’s communications officer. The consecration is now scheduled to take place Feb. 1 at 11 a.m. at the interdenominational Williamsburg Community Chapel. The consecration service will be live-streamed on the diocesan website.

“The decision to change the location from St. Bede Catholic Church in Williamsburg arose out of concern and respect for the ministries and leadership of both the Catholic parish and the Catholic Diocese of Richmond. Learning that its intended use of the building was causing dismay and distress, the Episcopal Diocese withdrew from its contract with St. Bede,” read the diocese’s press release announcing the change in venue.

More here-

https://www.episcopalnewsservice.org/2020/01/22/southern-virginia-moves-female-bishop-consecration-in-response-to-backlash-from-roman-catholics/

Wednesday, January 22, 2020

St. Stephen’s Episcopal School scrambles for solution as access to free breakfast, lunch program ends

From Central PA.-

St. Stephen’s Episcopal School is appealing for community support after learning that funding soon will end for its free breakfast and lunch program.

The school recently lost its “at risk” status due to changes in federal regulations, said Head of School Ellen Hartman.

“We’re truly an inclusive school, where you can attend regardless of your socioeconomic status,” she said. “That’s why we deal with issues that so many other private schools don’t have. It’s not a one-size-fits-all solution here.”

Of the 145 students who attend the pre-K-8 school, about 40 children are in the breakfast program and 60 children in the lunch program, she said. As of Jan. 31, those programs will end, as the federal government continues to tighten regulations for its food programs, including the USDA’s Child and Adult Care Food Program.

More here-

https://theburgnews.com/news/st-stephens-episcopal-school-scrambles-for-solution-as-access-to-free-breakfast-lunch-program-ends

Former Female Episcopal Priest Links Women’s Ordination to LGBT Activism

From Church Militant-

A former Episcopalian female "priest" is warning of the "grave danger" of women's ordination as it is inextricably linked to homosexual activism, rooted in feminism and perpetuates confusion about gender and the Eucharist. 

Ordaining women priests is a revolt against Catholic orders, a rejection of the Fathers' teaching and a denial of the authority of Scripture, writes Alice Linsley in a hard-hitting essay in the Anglican journal Virtue Online.   

Linsley, who served as a priest in the Episcopal Church of the U.S.A. (ECUSA) for 16 years, renounced her orders and quit her denomination "as it moved toward a radical revision of the Gospel, setting aside the apostolic Tradition for its social justice agenda."  

More here-

https://www.churchmilitant.com/news/article/female-episcopal-ex-priest-links-womens-ordination-to-homosexual-activism

Tuesday, January 21, 2020

Trinity Church Wall Street: Can reporters solve the case of the missing Episcopal rector?

From Get Religion-

It was a strange way to announce one’s resignation, I must admit.
On Jan. 5, the rector of the richest Episcopal church in the country was standing before his congregation in downtown Manhattan giving some rather banal parish announcements. Then, he added, he knew that some folks had heard that he was leaving and yes, this would be his last Sunday there. Comparing himself and his wife to the Mary, Joseph and Jesus trio in terms of being on the move toward Egypt (and away from Herod, one supposes), he said they were going to take a sabbatical and that he wished the church well.
It was clear that many in the church had no idea what was going on, including the choir that was awkwardly standing by, waiting to sing an anthem during the offering. (You can see all this go down in this video. Start at the 50-minute mark).
More here-

'My People Still Are Not Free,' Rep. Ayanna Pressley Says At 50th MLK Breakfast

From Boston Public Radio-


The breakfast's keynote speaker, Bishop Michael Curry of the Episcopal Church, invoked King via Thomas Jefferson. He acknowledged the hypocrisy of Jefferson — a slaveowner who fathered children with one of his slaves, who also wrote the Declaration of Independence.

"He may have been wrong, but the words were right,” Curry said. “’We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal.’”

“Human equality, human dignity, is not conferred by Congress,” Curry added, “it is decreed by the Lord God Almighty.”

More here-

Veterans group's criticism over Bible in Space Force ceremony sparks outrage

From D.C.-

A veterans group that opposes religious displays in public areas has sparked outrage over its criticism of the use of a Bible in a blessing ceremony for the newly created U.S. Space Force at the Washington National Cathedral.

The Military Religious Freedom Foundation objected to a ceremony this month at the Episcopal church that featured the Air Force’s top chaplain and a King James Bible donated by the Museum of the Bible. In a since-deleted tweet, the National Cathedral said the Bible would be used to swear in “all commanders” in Space Force.

Foundation founder Mikey Weinstein said in a letter last week to Defense Secretary Mark Esper “this ‘blessing’ event and its concomitant widespread dissemination, publicized as an official U.S. armed forces event, is in practical effect declaring the newly formed United States Space Force to be a uniquely and exclusionary Christian military service.”

More here-

https://www.washingtontimes.com/news/2020/jan/20/veterans-groups-criticism-over-bible-space-force-c/

Larger-Than-Expected Response To Gun Buyback Program Leaves Church Asking For Donations

From Pittsburgh-

Holy Cross Episcopal Church in Homewood is asking for donations to keep their gun buyback program up and running today due to such a large response.

The church planned to hold the event through 3 p.m., but less than an hour in and the money ran out.

The gun buyback is in observance of Martin Luther King Jr. Day, and spreading his message of non-violence.

The church was offering up to $100 per firearm, thanks to funding from various local organizations like the Episcopal Diocese of Pittsburgh.

However, organizers tell KDKA that they’ve already gone through $5,000.

More here-

https://pittsburgh.cbslocal.com/2020/01/20/homewood-holy-cross-church-gun-buyback-program-large-response/ 

and here-

https://www.nbc4i.com/news/u-s-world/pittsburgh-church-runs-out-of-money-during-successful-gun-buyback-program/

Monday, January 20, 2020

Walk with Bishop Michael

From England-

People are being invited to join the Bishop of Lichfield on a walk which will call at ten churches in rural mid-Staffordshire on 8 and 9 February.

The Rt Revd Dr Michael Ipgrave will cover 30 miles in the two-day walk around the Mid-Trent Benefice. Walkers will call at Sandon, Salt, Hopton, Burston and Milwich on Saturday 8 February followed by Gayton, Weston, Hixon, Stowe-by-Chartley and Fradswell the following day, finishing with a Team Service at All Saints Church, Sandon, at 6pm on Sunday 9 February.

Everyone is welcome to cover the whole route – which is mostly on field paths, tracks and quiet roads – or for just one or two sections. There will be refreshments at all of the churches for walkers and non-walkers. There is no charge and families, community groups and walking groups are all invited to join in. There will be brief prayers at each church and time to learn more about the buildings. Toilets are available at Sandon, Salt, Burston, Milwich, Weston and Hixon churches.

More here-

https://www.lichfield.anglican.org/news/2020/01/20/walk-bishop-michael/

In second whitest state, racial justice leaders urge inclusion of diverse voices

From Vermont-

At the state level, newly named Vermont Episcopal Bishop Shannon MacVean-Brown is sharing her experience as the first African American woman to serve in a post initially held by John Henry Hopkins, who offered the 1851 lecture “Slavery: Its Religious Sanction, Its Political Dangers, and the Best Mode of Doing It Away” before helping to end the division between northern and southern dioceses after the Civil War.

“Clearly it’s not the only story that should be told in this diocese,” MacVean-Brown said at her ordination, “but it is part of our story. It holds importance in relationship to my presence and future ministry here.”

As Vermont’s first executive director of racial equity, Davis is addressing issues in state government.
“I worry that people assume this work is all taken care of because we now have one person in a position,” she says. “It’s everybody’s work.”

Davis isn’t simply seeking a display of greater diversity.

More here-

https://vtdigger.org/2020/01/19/in-second-whitest-state-racial-justice-leaders-urge-inclusion-of-diverse-voices/

Pittsburgh church fighting gun violence by buying back guns

From Pittsburgh (with video)-

A gun buyback program will take place at the Holy Cross Episcopal Church on Monday -- the holiday that honors the legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and his message of nonviolence.

In November 2019, it was the scene of a double homicide on the corner of Kelly and Collier streets in Homewood, just outside the church.

“Does anyone not understand that to reduce gun violence, we need to get some guns off the street?” said Leon Haley, of the Episcopal Lutheran Alliance.

More here-

https://www.wpxi.com/news/top-stories/pittsburgh-church-fighting-gun-violence-by-buying-back-guns/5GU26WEZ7ZGATEGXU3WPMFXLB4/

Sunday, January 19, 2020

Head of US church reaches out to Harry and Meghan to offer support

From Page Six-

The head of the Episcopal Church, who delivered a powerful sermon on the “power of love” at the 2018 wedding of the Duke and Duchess of Sussex, has reached out to the couple after their break from Britain’s royals.

US bishop Michael Curry, the first African-American to lead the Episcopal Church, is offering his “pastoral care” as Meghan Markle and Prince Harry settle in to their new life in Canada, according to the Times of London.

Citing civil rights leader Martin Luther King, Jr., the Chicago-born Curry gave a rousing sermon at the couple’s lavish wedding at St. George’s Chapel in Windsor. His 14-minute speech, which drew smiles and some confused looks from the assembled royals and the couple’s celebrity guests, touched on themes of reconciliation and harmony in families — sentiments that seem oddly prescient today after the couple’s bombshell break with the Queen.

More here-

https://pagesix.com/2020/01/18/head-of-us-church-reaches-out-to-harry-and-meghan-to-offer-support/

First woman bishop elected for Episcopal Diocese of Alabama

From Alabama-

The Episcopal Diocese of Alabama on Saturday elected its first woman bishop.

The Rev. Glenda Curry, rector of All Saints’ Episcopal Church in Homewood and former president of Troy University in Montgomery, was elected to succeed the current bishop, who is retiring.

Bishop John McKee “Kee” Sloan, head of the Episcopal Diocese of Alabama, announced last year he was retiring.

He called for the election of a bishop coadjutor, who would assist him and then succeed him when he retires at the end of 2020.

More here-

https://www.al.com/news/2020/01/first-woman-bishop-elected-for-episcopal-diocese-of-alabama.html

Friday, January 17, 2020

Anglican Bishop’s Son Faces Deportation To El Salvador

From Huffington-

The son of El Salvador’s top Anglican leader is facing deportation from the U.S. back to his home country, where his father says gang members have threatened to murder him.
Bishop David Alvarado’s son, 34-year-old Josue Alvarado, is currently in the custody of U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement at a detention center in Ohio, Reuters reports. The bishop told the Episcopal News Service that his son sought refuge in the U.S. in 2016 after being kidnapped and receiving death threats from gangs in El Salvador. 

“We are sad and worried because he can be deported and he is in great danger here in the country,” Alvarado told ENS on Friday.
Gang members forced the bishop’s son, who worked as a taxi driver, to drive them around and distribute weapons and drugs, his father told Reuters. When the younger Alvarado refused to continue, he received death threats, the bishop said. His son eventually filed a complaint with the police, Reuters reports.

More here-

https://www.huffpost.com/entry/josue-alvarado-el-salvador-deportation_n_5e208cdcc5b673621f72149d

Secular group blasts National Cathedral Bible blessing as 'vile, Christian supremacy’

From Christian Post-

A secular legal organization announced its outrage over the blessing of a Bible for the swearing-in of commanders of the newly created Space Force, calling it a “shocking and repulsive display of only the most vile, exclusivist, fundamentalist Christian supremacy.”

On Sunday, the Washington National Cathedral held a ceremony to bless a King James Bible that will be used to swear in all commanders of America’s newest military branch, the U.S. Space Command, if they so choose.

"Today @WNCathedral blessed the official Bible for the new @SpaceForceDoD, which will be used to swear in all commanders of America's newest military branch," the cathedral's official account tweeted Sunday.

The Rev. Carl Wright, the Episcopal Church's bishop suffragan for armed services and federal ministries, offered the blessing as Maj. Gen. Steven Schaick, Air Force chief of chaplains, held the Bible donated by the Museum of the Bible in Washington, according to The Washington Post.

More here-

https://www.christianpost.com/news/secular-group-attacks-bible-blessing-at-national-cathedral-calling-it-vile.html

St. Andrew’s Church in New Kensington holds final service for its faithful

From Pittsburgh-

St. Andrew’s Church in New Kensington has sat empty for seven years. On Thursday, roughly 30 parishioners filled the pews one last time.

Together they prayed, received Communion, and listened as Episcopal Bishop Dorsey W.M. McConnell deconsecrated the 71-year-old building, which is in the process of being sold.
“This is a hard thing to do under any circumstances,” McConnell said.

The church, part of the Episcopal Diocese of Pittsburgh, has been without an active congregation for several years.

It was last used by a congregation of the Anglican Church in North America, which moved out of the building in 2013. The original St. Andrew’s congregation was among the 42 parishes that left the Pittsburgh Episcopal Diocese in 2008 to join the Anglicans.

The diocese attempted to restart a parish at the church after the Anglican congregation left, but it was unsuccessful, the Rev. Canon Kimberly Karashin said. She said congregations that looked at the church told the diocese it was too big and would be too expensive to maintain.

More here-

https://triblive.com/local/valley-news-dispatch/st-andrews-church-in-new-kensington-holds-final-service-for-its-faithful/

Thursday, January 16, 2020

‘Grown-up’ Primates’ Meeting affirms Anglican links with Canterbury

From The Church Times-

AT THE Lambeth Conference this year, bishops will “draw a line under some of the inward-looking approach of the past”, the Archbishop of Canterbury predicted this week at the close of the Primates’ Meeting in Jordan. Primates praised the “mature” and “grown-up” discussions at this week’s meeting.

Primates from 33 of the 40 Provinces were present. Three — those of Nigeria, Rwanda, and Uganda — chose not to attend, while others were detained by illness or other difficulties. Just one woman was present: the new Canadian Primate, the Most Revd Linda Nicholls.

“We were acutely aware of the ongoing tensions within the Anglican Communion,” the Primates said in a communiqué issued on Wednesday afternoon. “However, we were also profoundly conscious of the Holy Spirit in our midst, drawing us to walk together.”

At a press conference on Wednesday, held before the communiqué was released, Archbishop Welby said that the formation of new Churches that claim an Anglican identity, including the latest, the Church of Confessing Anglicans in New Zealand (News, 25 October 2019), had not been discussed. There had been no desire to discuss “those negative aspects”, he said.

More here-

https://www.churchtimes.co.uk/articles/2020/17-january/news/world/grown-up-primates-meeting-affirms-anglican-links-with-canterbury

Sunnyside’s All Saints’ Episcopal Church to close in February

From Long Island-

After the congregation of Sunnyside’s All Saints’ Church dwindled to about 20 members, the Episcopal Diocese of Long Island announced that it will close the church as a parish congregation on Feb. 23.  

The ministries in Sunnyside and Long Island City have been running since 1928. The diocese said that it would examine how to continue to serving western Queens, but given the size of All Saints’ current congregation, which shrunk from 100 members in 1998, it can no longer afford to maintain the property or support staff salaries.

The diocese has no plans to sell the property, located at 43-12 46th St., and it will continue to use the church building for at least a year. 

“Our diocesan director of real estate, Haiko Cornelissen, will be handling rental and lease arrangements. The head of our Congregational Support Office, Canon Claire Woodley, will continue to provide consultation as she has regarding All Saints’ during the last 18 months. The priest-in-charge, the Rev. Gabe Lamazares, will be moving to North Carolina,” said Rev. Lawrence Provenzano, the bishop of the Episcopal Diocese of Long Island.

More here-

https://qns.com/story/2020/01/15/sunnysides-all-saints-episcopal-church-to-close-in-february/



‘An act of charity’: Virginia bishop defends parish hosting Episcopalian consecration

From Southern Virginia-

Bishop Barry Knestout of the Diocese of Richmond has issued a statement responding to concerns that a local parish church is to host an Episcopalian consecration of a female bishop.

The online petition, titled “Stop Ordination of Female Episcopalian ‘Bishop’ at Catholic Church” refers to the upcoming consecration of the Rev. Susan B. Haynes as the new bishop of the Episcopal Diocese of Southern Virginia. It has attracted nearly 2,000 signatures. 

In a statement Wednesday, Bishop Knestout called the “offer of hospitality to a Christian neighbor in need” an “act of charity and well within the teachings of ecumenism and the norms provided by the Church for ecumenical activities.”

The event is scheduled to occur on Feb. 1, 2020 at St. Bede Catholic Church in Williamsburg, Virginia. Haynes was elected an Episcopalian bishop on Sept. 21.

More here-

https://www.catholicnewsagency.com/news/an-act-of-charity-virginia-bishop-defends-parish-hosting-episcopalian-consecration-92025

Wednesday, January 15, 2020

How Katherine Sonderegger finds delight in a humble God

From Christian Century-

Friends and former students of theologian Katherine Sonderegger combine affectionate diminutives and terms of great forcefulness when describing her. Erika Takacs calls her former teacher at Virginia Theological Seminary “a perfectly darling little leprechaun.” Fleming Rutledge, a fellow Episcopal priest, says Sonde­regger is “almost like a nun in her total devotion to prayer and study,” with “the mind of a steel trap, but the manner of a somewhat shy, retiring, grandmotherly type.”

Former student Benson Shelton describes her as a “Yoda figure,” a professor who would turn up late to class because she’d stopped at a petting zoo or saw a perfect flowering bush. Yet Shelton also remembers how Sonderegger eviscerated a visiting theologian with whom she disagreed: “She might as well have cut his legs off and handed them to him.” Rutledge says she is not sure how to reconcile the darling saintliness and the daring, merciless mind: “She is a curious person.”

More here-

https://www.christiancentury.org/article/critical-essay/how-katherine-sonderegger-finds-delight-humble-god#disqus_thread

Episcopal Church in Alabama buys, forgives $8.1 million of medical debt

From Alabama (Episcopal Cafe)-

St. Luke’s Episcopal Church in Mountain Brook, in partnership with the Diocese of Alabama, recently bought and forgave $8.1 million in medical debt.
Over the Mountain Journal reports:

Over the holidays, roughly 6,500 Alabama households received a notice in the mail that their medical debts had been purchased and forgiven by the Episcopal Diocese of Alabama.
Those letters were the culmination of a fundraising campaign undertaken by Saint Luke’s Episcopal Church in Mountain Brook, which commemorated its 70th anniversary by eliminating $8.1 million in medical debts throughout the Birmingham metro area and its surrounding counties.
The Episcopal Diocese of Alabama quickly got on board, donating just more than $10,000 to kick off fundraising efforts. The church then raised $68,000 more, mostly from parishioners, though others in the community pitched in as well, Nations said. Because hospitals sell off unpaid bills at discounted rates, the church and RIP Medical Debt were able to buy $8.1 million in debt for just $78,000.

More here-

Tuesday, January 14, 2020

Darien’s St. Paul’s settles lawsuit, to move forward in new location

From Connecticut-

St. Paul’s Church in Darien has settled its previous lawsuits between parishioners and church leadership and will relocate from its Mansfield Avenue home.

The vestry and wardens of the Parish of St. Paul’s Episcopal Church, and the Directors of St. Paul’s-Darien Foundation, Inc., recently announced the end of all litigation with the Episcopal Church in Connecticut and The Episcopal Church. All parties have withdrawn their respective pending civil actions in both the Connecticut Appellate Court and the Superior Court. The parties’ settlement agreement and release of claims was reached after a vigorous and sometimes thorny mediation conducted between Nov. 6 and Dec. 10, 2019, by Judge Terence A. Zemetis, according to a jointly released press release.

St. Paul’s will now continue as an autonomous non-denominational Christian church and will soon complete its reorganization.

More here-

https://www.darientimes.com/news/article/Darien-s-St-Paul-s-settles-lawsuit-to-move-14971460.php

United Methodists talk more about potential split over same-sex marriage, gay clergy

From Pittsburgh-

As Methodists in Western Pennsylvania consider the future of their denomination, a group that has proposed an amicable split explained the proposal in more detail Monday.

Known as the “Protocol of Reconciliation & Grace Through Separation,” the proposal allows for the formation of a new “traditionalist” Methodist denomination that would not sanction the performance of same-sex weddings or the ordination of openly gay clergy, and the continuation of a presumably smaller but more liberal United Methodist Church.

Questions having to do with human sexuality, LGBT persons and biblical authority have roiled the United Methodist Church for decades but, until now, have not led to formal divisions within the global Protestant denomination — the second-largest in the United States.

More here-

 https://triblive.com/local/regional/united-methodists-talk-more-about-potential-split-over-same-sex-marriage-gay-clergy/

Space Force Bible Blessing At National Cathedral Sparks Outrage

From Capital Public Radio-

The blessing of what's being called "the official Bible for the new U.S. Space Force" at the Washington National Cathedral on Sunday is drawing an outpouring of criticism on social media and condemnation from a prominent religious freedom advocacy group. 

"The Military Religious Freedom Foundation (MRFF) condemns, in as full-throated a manner as is humanly possible, the shocking and repulsive display of only the most vile, exclusivist, fundamentalist Christian supremacy," MRFF founder and president Mikey Weinstein wrote in a statementdenouncing the Bible blessing. "The utilization of a Christian bible to 'swear in' commanders of the new Space Force or any other [Department of Defense] branch at ANY level is completely violative of the bedrock separation of church and state mandate of the First Amendment of the U.S. Constitution."

In a tweet on Sunday, the Washington National Cathedral posted a statement describing the Bible that was blessed during a morning service as a Space Force official Bible "which will be used to swear in all commanders of America's newest military branch."

More here-

http://www.capradio.org/news/npr/story?storyid=796028336

Monday, January 13, 2020

Church App Helps Protect Against Human Trafficking

From Uganda-

A new mobile app has been launched by the Church of Uganda to help young people avoid falling into human trafficking when they seek work abroad.

The new app is called Just Good Work and was developed by clergyman Paul Davis.

Archbishop Stanley Ntagali says high levels of unemployment in Uganda had created desperate tendencies among some young people, tempting them to seek undefined job opportunities.
The Archbishop told Anglican News the app will give Ugandans critical information on working abroad in their own language.

Developer Paul Davis says the app was created primarily to act as a tool for information, pastoral care, prayer, teaching, and community empowerment.

More here-

https://vision.org.au/radio/news/church-app-helps-protect-against-human-trafficking/

Vancouver Island’s Anglican bishop retires this spring

From Canada-

An Anglican bishop known for his progressive attitude towards reconciliation and the LGBTQ community is retiring after six years of leadership.

Logan McMenamie has been the bishop of the Anglican Diocese of British Columbia – comprised of parishes across Vancouver Island, the Gulf Islands and the community of Kingcome – since 2014. Prior to that title, McMenamie was dean of Victoria’s Christ Church Cathedral.

Set to retire in April, the bishop is well known for his commitment to reconciliation and healing. In 2015, while standing at the site of the the demolished St. Michael’s Indian Residential School, McMenamie made a formal apology to survivors of the residential school system.

“Reconciliation is a journey,” McMenamie says. “The work we’ve done with de-colonizing ourselves, realizing we came as a colonial church, and what does it mean to de-colonize ourselves and how will that be different in the future?”

More here-

https://www.vicnews.com/news/vancouver-islands-anglican-bishop-retires-this-spring/

The Methodists, the mediator and the divorce plan

From Pittsburgh-

It was a divorce mediation unlike any other, with a small group of diverse leaders shuttling back and forth to Washington, D.C., from the far corners of the country and the world, trying as best they could to cushion the breakup of a dysfunctional family of 13 million.

What emerged on Jan. 3, after months of talks, was a plan to amicably divide the United Methodist Church into at least two main churches, each with a mandate to pursue a different vision of theology, biblical interpretation and the role of LGBTQ persons in marriage and ministry.

Sixteen people — including bishops from the United Methodists’ American and foreign conferences, as well as advocates from groups at the Methodist left, right and center — met at the offices of a Washington law firm three times over the latter part of 2019, and held video conference calls in between.

More here-

https://www.post-gazette.com/news/faith-religion/2020/01/13/United-Methodist-Church-separation-protocol-lgbtq-ordination-gay-marriage/stories/202001120048

Saturday, January 11, 2020

Religious Questions: Why do we sit in pews?

From Chattanooga-

If you think pews are uncomfortable, just be thankful there is at least something to sit on. Until the Middle Ages, churchgoers had to stand for the service. This practice had a theological background, according to a history by St. Nicholas Church in Connecticut. Faith is intended to be an active practice and Christians are taught to stand in the presence of their master, rather than sit like an audience.

The few people who had seats brought their own, though the tradition of lengthy services was not common, according to an 1844 argument by John Coke Fowler about abolishing pews.

The feudal system of the time bled into the religious landscape. Wealthy people who paid for church buildings were given prominent places in the church to sit and passes those seats down to their children, according to the Encyclopedia Britannica.

More here-

https://www.timesfreepress.com/news/life/faith/story/2020/jan/10/why-do-we-sit-pews/512667/



Holy Smoke podcast: has the Church of England surrendered to ‘soft socialism’?

From Holy Smoke (with video)-

Just before Christmas, Dr Gavin Ashenden, a former Chaplain to the Queen, converted to Catholicism. But that’s not the main subject of my interview with him in the first Holy Smoke episode of 2020. In it, he deplores the Church of England’s surrender to secularism under Archbishop Justin Welby, who won’t enjoy his former colleague’s assessment of his talents.

Dr Ashenden may not be Anglican any more, but he does think that the Established Church has a historic mission – and that its ‘middle managers’ have betrayed it in favour of ‘soft socialism’. To which I reply that Pope Francis is busy hoisting the white flag, or perhaps a red one, on the other side of the Tiber. At which point our conversation takes an unexpected turn. Don’t miss it!

https://blogs.spectator.co.uk/2020/01/holy-smoke-podcast-has-the-church-of-england-surrendered-to-soft-socialism/

Friday, January 10, 2020

How American Anglicans Went Mainstream

From Philip Jenkins-

But what strikes me most forcefully is the absolutely normal and mainstream way in which people describe this affiliation. This is interesting for me because I have in a sense lived through this story over the past twenty years or so, and I am still used to the earlier idea of American Anglicanism as something new, breakaway, experimental, even radical…. whatever word you like. Back in 2005 (say) if you were talking with American Anglicans, they were very conscious of the novelty of their enterprise, and were keen to talk about the causes and issues motivating them. Today, there’s nothing of the sort. “I’m an Anglican” has exactly the same weight as declaring membership of any other established tradition – Lutheran, Baptist, Episcopalian, whatever. It’s just part of the religious landscape.

Equally fascinating for me is the lack of any obvious sense that things were ever different. If you are an Anglican younger than forty or so, there seems to be little sense of how recent or novel or daring that whole project is, or how and why that split came with the Episcopal church. Or even, dare I say, that such a split or breakaway ever occurred. I base that remark on anecdote and impression, rather than a sophisticated scientific survey, but I think it’s fair. As in other denominations, people don’t seem that interested in how that church or group got there, or indeed what was the passionate point of principle that led to the group being founded in the first place.

More here-

https://www.patheos.com/blogs/anxiousbench/2020/01/how-anglicans-went-mainstream/