Thursday, January 19, 2017

Anglican Bishop’s shocking affair

From Zimbabwe-

Nasty rumours are once again dogging St Agnes' Anglican Church in Chikanga. This time it involves Bishop Erick Ruwona and his alleged, adulterous affair with a married woman who is also a member of his congregation.

A resulting feud between supporters and non-supporters of the bishop has broken out, taken control of the parish and is now threatening to tear the, already fragile, diocese apart.

Church members have, via whatsapp, called for the expulsion of both Ruwona and the lady involved, Portia Magada, accusing the bishop of failing to execute his duties in the Anglican Manicaland Diocese.

Worshippers have also appealed to the Zambia based Archbishop of the Church of the Province of Central Africa, Archbishop Albert Chama and the Episcopal Synod of the Anglican Church to intervene in the matter on their behalf.

More here-

Robert E. Lee, a remarkable American immersed in his faith and controversy

From California-

Today is the birthday of a remarkably famous American, and one of the most controversial.

President Theodore Roosevelt said of him, “His noble presence and gentle, kindly manner were sustained by religious faith and an exalted character.”

President Franklin Roosevelt said of this American, he is “one of our greatest American Christians and one of our greatest American gentlemen.”

He said of himself that he was “nothing but a poor sinner, trusting in Christ alone for salvation.”

Historians have noted that he killed more Americans than any other single military commander in history.

This was Robert E. Lee, who was born on this day, Jan. 19, in 1807.

Lee’s career as an officer in the United States Army and as a general in the Confederate Army have been described in considerable detail by many historians. However, his religious views are less well known and show us much of the piety of his age.

More here-

Of course the National Cathedral should participate in Trump’s inauguration

From Patheos-

As Inauguration Week presses on, our debate about the role of religion in public life reaches a quadrennial peak. This year, the Washington National Cathedral is under fire from some of its Episcopalian constituency for its participation in the Trump Inaugural.

Designated by Congress as our “national house of prayer,” the Cathedral has often played a role in the inauguration of presidents, as well as significant national events such as state funerals, memorial services for American heroes, and services following national tragedies. Should the Cathedral shirk its historic role in 2017 because the incoming president is an obnoxious fool? A larger-than-usual number of people are upset about the Cathedral’s participation, and I understand why.

There are also people who would prefer that religious institutions, leaders, and symbols be completely excluded from these kinds of events. For them, no president – no matter how personally worthy or godly – should receive public prayers, blessings, or any manifestations of religion. It’s simply not proper, helpful, or appropriate to incorporate the trappings of faith, or even of civil religion, into government.

But that’s not the argument we’re having.

More here-

Why we need inaugural prayers

From The Hill-

The selection of prosperity gospel preacher Paula White as one of the clergy saying prayers at Friday's presidential inauguration has ignited some controversy.

Evangelical critics cite her flamboyant exaltation of material riches and her alleged rejection of Christianity's traditional understanding of the Trinity. White, who's a friend and neighbor to President-elect Donald Trump, insists she affirms Christian orthodoxy as defined in the Nicene Creed.

Inaugural prayers have become one of the rites of American civil religion. And the extent to which Christian orthodoxy or specificity should be expected from them and their delivering clergy is debated. Franklin Graham and Rick Warren, both evangelical, were criticized for citing Jesus Christ in their prayers for George W. Bush's inauguration.

More here-

Roberts: Will you pray for Donald Trump?

From Arizona-

It is all the rage these days to shun America’s soon-to-be president.

Democrats in Congress are boycotting his inauguration. A-listers in Hollywood, too.

Some of the Rockettes would like to do it but likely would lose their hoofing jobs if they’re no-shows.

Meanwhile, the National Cathedral in Washington D.C., home of the Episcopal Church, is taking heat because its choir plans to participate in Friday's inauguration festivities and not only that, the cathedral will host its traditional Inaugural Prayer Service on Saturday.

The Rev. Gary Hall, former dean of the cathedral, is among the critics who believe the cathedral should ignore Trump’s inauguration.

“I think the faith community should be a center of resistance against Donald Trump’s vision in America,” Hall told the Washington Post.

More here-

Alleged victim of sexual abuse steps forward

From Rhode Island-

Meg Yarbrough will join the Women's March on Washington on Saturday as a personal statement against sexual abuse; and against a president whom she opposes.

The 48-year-old registered nurse is also shedding anonymity in her own allegations against former Episcopal priest Howard W. "Howdy" White Jr. Previously quoted anonymously in The Providence Journal, Yarbrough says she wants to use her name because "hiding implies I did something wrong, which I certainly did not."

White, ex-assistant chaplain at St. George's School in Middletown, was one of six named alleged perpetrators in a scandal involving widespread sexual abuse dating to the 1970s, that roiled the elite Episcopal school last year. He was charged last month with sexually assaulting a St. George's student in Boston in 1973.

More here-

Wednesday, January 18, 2017

'Unity' call on Reformation anniversary

From The BBC-

A statement from the Archbishops of Canterbury and York has said the split caused "lasting damage" to the unity of the Church - something that contradicted the teaching of Jesus and left a "legacy of mistrust and competition".

It went on to say: "Such repentance needs to be linked to action aimed at reaching out to other churches and strengthening relationships with them."
'Call to all Christians'

Coming during the annual Week of Prayer for Christian Unity, it is a further sign that these two Churches are seeking to repent of past failings and find more ways in which they might work together.

The historic rupture, which began in October 1517 when the German monk Martin Luther nailed his 95 theses to the door of Wittenberg Cathedral, led to centuries of violence, where rulers of one Church would frequently execute communicant members of the other.

More here-

Washington’s National Cathedral should not bestow a blessing on Donald Trump

From RNS-

Washington National Cathedral was founded in 1907 and envisioned as a “Westminster Abbey for America,” which, in part, is why it finds itself at the center of controversy about its role in President-elect Donald J. Trump’s impending inauguration.

For more than a century, the cathedral has tried to stand in two worlds at once, attempting to be both a practicing Christian church and a gathering place for American civic expression. As the cathedral’s former dean, I believe that fidelity to the former role now requires rejecting the latter.

For much of its life, the cathedral experienced the tension inherent in playing two roles as creative but not potentially destructive.

But much has changed in American religious life over the past 110 years, and the cathedral has found it increasingly difficult to have it both ways.

More here-

Norfolk art exhibit aims to curb gun violence

From Southern Virginia-

The Rev. John Rohrs sees art as a way of opening up a conversation about difficult subjects.

That's the reason the rector of St. Andrews Episcopal Church in Norfolk helped organize  "Under the Gun," a new exhibit at Work | Release on Granby Street. The show opened Jan. 12 and runs through Feb. 4.

Disturbed by mass murders across the country over the past several years, Rohrs became interested in hosting an event or several events that could bring people together to peacefully discuss the ramifications of gun violence. He hopes the exhibit will also serve as a launching pad to address mental health topics, gun safety education and more.

More here-

A Word From Dean Randy Hollerith

From The National Cathedral-

As the new Dean of Washington National Cathedral, I have seen firsthand the Cathedral’s singular ability to draw the nation’s attention to an issue or a cause. Many of my predecessors harnessed the power of the Cathedral during important moments in our country’s history. Dean Francis Sayre, for one, set the standard with his vocal opposition to poverty, segregation and the war in Vietnam. Bishop John Walker, a personal hero of mine, led the way in the fight against apartheid and racial injustice.

I have stepped into this position during a very polarized moment in our nation’s history. The 2016 election divided our country in a way that I have never seen in my lifetime, and its aftermath has only deepened those divisions. Many people in our country are angered by the exclusionary and divisive rhetoric that too often surrounds the incoming administration. I understand that anger; indeed, I have felt it myself. At the same time, I also understand that many good people across this country voted for the President-elect out of a deep sense that the American dream has passed them by.

More here-

Tuesday, January 17, 2017

Religious freedom: It’s a core American principle, and it doesn’t mean what right-wingers want it to mean

From Salon-

Forget the “War on Christmas.” Although far less known to the general public, Religious Freedom Day, which falls on Jan. 16 — coinciding this year with the Martin Luther King Jr. Day observance — has become one of America’s most-contested commemorative days. In most ways that’s a good thing, because of the need to shed light on what’s at stake: the very foundations of our most cherished freedoms.

Since 1992, Religious Freedom Day publicly celebrates the enactment of the Virginia Statute for Religious Freedom, drafted by Thomas Jefferson in 1777 and passed into law by his protégé, James Madison, in 1786. It disestablished the state power of the Anglican Church, and ensured religious freedom for all.

More here-

Cathedral's future could be decided before February earthquake anniversary

From New Zealand-

An announcement on the future of the earthquake-damaged Christ Church Cathedral could be made before February 22, a restoration campaigner says.

Great Christchurch Buildings Trust (GCBT) co-chairman Philip Burdon said in a letter that Anglicans and the Government were in "broad agreement".

"All parties are in broad agreement on a solution that incorporates the old and the new and we are hopeful that an appropriate announcement can be made not later than the 22nd of February, being the sixth anniversary of the earthquake," he wrote.

More here-

We Will Not Pray For Donald Trump By Name Because He Is A 'Trauma Trigger' Says Christian Minister

From Christian Today-

An Episcopal church in California in the US has stated it will not pray for Donald Trump by name.

This is because the name of Trump is considered to be a "trauma trigger" - and a risk to health and safety.

It is traditional in Anglican churches worldwide to pray for a nation's leaders. Church of England parishes regularly pray for the Queen and Episcopal churches in the US pray for the President and the Government.

"We are in a unique situation in my lifetime where we have a president elect whose name is literally a trauma trigger to some people – particularly women and people who, because of his words and actions, he represents an active danger to health and safety, says Mike Kinman, Rector of All Saints Pasadena in his blog.

He defends the Trump name boycott as justified because his church must be kept as "a place of safety from harm".

More here-

Praying for our new leaders is on the horizon

From Kansas-

For sure, new leadership is on the horizon; Friday is Inauguration Day, when America will formally install a new president. What will ultimately develop from this new, untried leader remains a mystery. Because of his cantankerous behavior and often offensive speech, a number of prominent personalities have refused to participate in any honoring of the new president on his special day. I’m proud and thankful that Washington National Cathedral (an Episcopal cathedral) has accepted its traditional role in the inauguration of a president, with appropriate prayer and worship services, including its world-renowned choir.

The Episcopal leadership proclaims that “God’s house is a house of prayer for all people.” The election is over. Let us pray for the president who has been chosen. Let us pray that the president prays and that he listens carefully to his God. Let us pray that the president obeys God. With presidential power, a truly prayerful president could insure the pathway to peace throughout the world. Prayer is our hope. Prayer works. Prayer is good. Let us pray!

More here-

Monday, January 16, 2017


From The Living Church-

It was Good Friday, April 12, 1963, that an open letter, “A Call for Unity,” written by seven white Christian and Jewish leaders in Alabama, appeared in The Birmingham News. It was during the days of the Civil Rights Movement, and these seven men shared the view that the demonstrations occurring in Birmingham were creating unnecessary havoc and discord. They hoped that their letter would dissuade Birmingham’s African-American community from going forward with an illegal march on Birmingham’s City Hall, planned for the same day as the letter’s publishing, in protest of the city’s segregation laws.  The clergymen also hoped that the letter would move city officials to work toward racial progress through peaceful negotiations and nonviolent resolutions. But despite their hopes, the march went on, with arrests and media attention coming along with it.

On Easter Sunday, April 14, Southern Christian Leadership Conference Executive Director Wyatt Walker went to the Birmingham Jail to give a copy of the white ministers’ letter to an “outsider” arrested two days earlier. His name — Martin Luther King, Jr.

More here-

A New Martin Luther King Jr. Parade Divides a Virginia Town

From The New York Times-

For years, the weekend leading up to the observance of the Martin Luther King Jr. holiday has been overshadowed here by a celebration and a parade honoring two Confederate generals whose birthdays fall within days of the civil rights icon’s: Robert E. Lee and Stonewall Jackson.

But this year, a group seeking to march in honor of King obtained the sole permit available on Saturday, the day that a Lee-Jackson parade is typically held.

After a presidential election that has left the country sharply divided and emotions raw, some people in the town feared the worst, with town officials warning of “unintended consequences” if the King parade went ahead. But on Saturday, both groups held peaceful observances.

Part of that, he said, involved making peace with monuments and references to Lee and Jackson, which seem to exist on nearly every block. John Leland, a retired English professor who taught at Washington and Lee and the Virginia Military Institute, remembers walking into the Robert E. Lee Memorial Episcopal Church for the first time.

Judge sides with Morris County for historic preservation of churches

From Newark-

Morris County can continue awarding historic preservation grants to churches in Morristown and across the county, a state judge has ruled.

Sitting in Somerset County, Superior Court Judge Margaret Goodzeit last week dismissed a lawsuit by the Freedom from Religion Foundation and Madison resident David Steketee, who charged that millions of grant dollars since 2002 have violated separations of church and state outlined by the state and federal Constitutions.

“Excluding historical churches from receipt of reimbursements available to all historical buildings would be tantamount to impermissibly withholding of general benefits to certain citizens on the basis of their religion…and would be inconsistent with the spirit of our state and federal Constitutions,” ruled state Superior Court Judge Margaret Goodzeit, sitting in Somerville.

The Morris freeholders welcomed the decision in a statement:

“In Morris County, as in all counties in New Jersey and across the nation, churches and other religious buildings are a vital part of the historic fabric of where we live, interwoven with the history of how our county developed.

More here-

Person 2 Person: Bishop Scott B. Hayashi of The Episcopal Diocese of Utah

From Salt Lake-

Bishop Scott B. Hayashi is the spiritual leader of the Episcopal Diocese of Utah, which covers the entire state of Utah and a little bit of Arizona.

Hayashi has been a clergy person in the Episcopal Church since 1984.

"I enjoy the work very much, mainly because of working with people," he said.

You can imagine that his role keeps him very busy; he considers managing time as the most challenging part of his job.

"I think with any professional position, the demands can be pretty intense," Hayashi said. "And then to find the personal time that all of us need to recreate, to exercise, to read, to be with family--all of those things need to be attended to."

Hayashi's family and his staff help him maintain balance in his life. He and his wife have been married since 1981.

More here-

Sunday, January 15, 2017

Are martyrs of 500 years ago really a burning issue for Welby?

From The Daily Mail-

It was one of the bloodiest periods in English history, with thousands brutally put to death, often burned at the stake for their religious beliefs in the Reformation.

But even though Henry VIII’s war with the Pope began 500 years ago, the Archbishop of Canterbury, Justin Welby, is expected to express his remorse this week.

The move was ridiculed by former Conservative Minister Ann Widdecombe, an Anglican who converted to Catholicism.

‘These gestures are pointless. The Archbishop has not put anyone to death, as far as I know,’ she said.

‘Modern Christians are not responsible for what happened in the Reformation.

More here-

Church 'deeply distressed' by Koran offence, says primus

From The BBC-

The head of the Scottish Episcopal Church says the Church is "deeply distressed" at the offence caused by the reading of a passage from the Koran in a Glasgow cathedral.

The comments of the Church Primus, the Most Rev David Chillingworth, follow criticism that Islamic verses were read during an Epiphany service.

In his blog, he also condemned the abuse received by St Mary's Cathedral.

Police are investigating offensive online messages aimed at the church.

The primus, who is also Bishop of St Andrews, Dunkeld and Dunblane, said the church wanted to bring together people involved in interfaith relations.

More here-

State NAACP chief attacks Trump in King sermon in Wilmington

From North Carolina-

The president of the North Carolina NAACP delivered a long-distance sermon of defiance Saturday evening at Wilmington's annual interfaith service for the Martin Luther King Jr. holiday.

"Bowing down is not an option,' the Rev. Dr. William J. Barber II told a packed audience at St. James Episcopal Church, criticizing President-elect Donald J. Trump and many of his Cabinet appointees.

Barber, who could not reach Wilmington, delivered his remarks by telephone, played over loudspeakers in the sanctuary. He still drew applause and "Amens" from the crowd, however, for such assertions as "We're still going to be a witness for justice, we're still going to be a witness for love."

More here-

Saturday, January 14, 2017

Plan for Compassion

From The Living Church-

Long aligned with progressive causes, Augustana Lutheran Church in Portland, Oregon, did not hesitate when Pastor Mark Knutson announced 20 years ago that the church would be a “sanctuary congregation” where undocumented immigrants could avoid federal agents with warrants to deport them.

But that did not mean Augustana’s congregants were fully prepared when their commitment was suddenly tested in 2014.

With federal agents in pursuit of El Salvadoran national Francisco Aguirre, Augustana’s chancel was transformed overnight into a sleeping space. A husband, father, and local labor organizer, Aguirre also faced charges for drunken driving and illegal reentry after a prior deportation. How long he would be a 24/7 resident of the church was anybody’s guess.

More here-

Churches Challenge Nigeria Forcing Pastors to Retire

From Christianity Today-

The surprise resignation of Nigeria’s highest-profile pastor has exacerbated a debate among West African Christians on the merits—and limits—of pastor tenure.

Last weekend, Enoch Adeboye resigned his role as general overseer of the 5-million-member Redeemed Christian Church of God (RCCG) in Nigeria (though not as overseer of its international presence in 192 nations). He cited the nation’s Financial Reporting Council (FRC) and its newly-introduced Governance Code for his action.

Section 9:3 of the code stipulates that leaders or founders of nonprofit organizations—including churches and ministries—must hand over leadership to a non-family member after 70 years of age or 20 years of being in charge. Adeboye is 74, and has been leading his megachurch since 1981.

The law, which is designed to guarantee financial accountability, went into effect in October 2016. If fully implemented, 90 percent of the populous West African nation’s evangelical church founders and leaders would be required to step aside.

More here-

Should we pray for Trump? Anglican leader asks Christians

From Premier UK-

Anglicans in the United States have been challenged over whether they will be praying for US-President elect Donald Trump.

The question was posed by the Presiding Bishop and Primate of the Episcopal Church, Most Rev Michael B Curry who said the recent election was "contentious", with Episcopalians of all political backgrounds holding "deep feelings."

Writing the week before an Inaugural Prayer Service for the Republican at the Washington National Cathedral next Saturday, Bishop Michael responded to his own with the answer:

"Yes! We can and, indeed, I believe we must pray for all who lead in our civic order, nationally and internationally. I pray for the President in part because Jesus Christ is my Saviour and Lord.

"If Jesus is my Lord and the model and guide for my life, his way must be my way, however difficult. And the way prayer for others is a part of how I follow the way of Jesus."

Bishop Curry wrote the principal of praying for our leaders runs "deep" in Biblical traditions, referring to 1 Timothy 2: 1-2 where Paul writes: "I urge, then, first of all, that petitions, prayers, intercession and thanksgiving be made for all people - for kings and all those in authority, that we may live peaceful and quiet lives in all godliness and holiness.

More here-

Washington National Cathedral under fire for participating in Trump’s inauguration

From Think Progress-

The Episcopal Church’s Washington National Cathedral is under fire for agreeing to lend its space—and its choir—to the inaugural festivities of President-elect Donald Trump, with members of the liberal denomination chiding leaders over the decision.

Earlier this month, the Washington National Cathedral announced that in addition to hosting its traditional interfaith prayer service the day after the inauguration, it will also allow the church’s Choir of Men, Boys and Girls to participate in Trump’s official ceremonies.

ThinkProgress has learned that, at the request of the president-elect, Saturday’s prayer service will not include a central preacher or a customary sermon—unlike similar services held for President Barack Obama.

More here-

Exclusive: Bishop of Chelmsford Stephen Cottrell Is Favourite To Be Bishop Of London

From Christian Today-

The Bishop of Chelmsford, Stephen Cottrell, has been named as the favourite to succeed Richard Chartres as Bishop of London.

Cottrell is 3/1 favourite with bookmakers William Hill for the Church of England's third most senior job after Archbishop of Canterbury and York.

Although the formal appointments process has not yet begun, his name is increasingly being spoken of in Church circles as someone with the experience and charisma to lead the Church of England's fastest-growing, most diverse and most complex diocese.

More here-

Alien Citizens Karl Barth, Eberhard Arnold, and Why the Church Is Political

From Plough-

What did Christians have at stake in the past presidential election? The question is not primarily which candidate we should have voted for, a decision that for me was made easy by Donald Trump. Instead, we ought to be asking: Why should we vote at all and, once the 55 percent of eligible voters have voted, what are Christians to make of the outcome of the election? How then shall we live now that “the people have spoken”?

How will Trump rule, or be led by those who want to rule through him? Now that less than half of the voters have coerced the rest of us to call Trump our leader, how then should we live? How will we exorcise the demon of American-style racism and xenophobia that Trump has unleashed?

More here-

Some upset over National Cathedral’s decision to participate in Trump’s inauguration

From The Washington Post-

The Washington National Cathedral, which has long been a gathering spot for symbolic national events, has found itself in the middle of controversy over whether Christians who oppose Donald Trump’s rhetoric should participate in his inauguration.

The National Cathedral’s Choir of Men, Boys and Girls will sing at the inauguration on Jan. 20, prompting an outcry from some who don’t believe Christians should participate in a ceremony for Trump, who has been decried for his comments on immigrants, Muslims and other groups.

The day after the inauguration, the cathedral will also host an interfaith prayer service, following its tradition for many inaugurations in the past century.

More here-

Friday, January 13, 2017

Black people breed too much, says Bahamas archdeacon

From Caribbean News-

Anglican Archdeacon James Palacious said on Tuesday that black people in the Bahamas are “recycling poverty” by having too many children they cannot afford.

While speaking to hundreds of people after the 50th Majority Rule Day march, Palacious said “black people breed too much” and rely too much on the government to do things that “we should be doing ourselves”.

“We live in a society where the rich get richer and the poor get children,” he said.

“What I mean is this, unless we can control our reproductive process, we will always be recycling poverty. We’re recycling poverty. That’s what we’re doing.

“My MP in Montagu, Richard Lightbourn, made some most unfortunate remarks at the FNM convention.

“He later apologized for it, and that is important.

More here-,-says-Bahamas-archdeacon-33151.html

God provides refuge in face of persecution, Archbishop says

From ACNS-

The Archbishop of Jos in the Anglican Church of Nigeria has spoken about how Christians are finding refuge in God “in the face of turbulence, persecution and wickedness” in the north of the country. Archbishop Benjamin Kwashi made the comments at the opening service at the annual retreat of Anglican bishops in the province, which is being held at St Peters Chapel at the IBRU International Ecumenical Centre in Agbarha-Otor. He said that the “forces of evil are still at work but Jesus has already defeated powers of hell, of darkness of wickedness and of evil.”

Archbishop Benjamin asked the church to “intensify their prayers” for churches in the northern part of Nigeria. Persecution is biting very hard, he said, adding that “the devil has failed because God cannot be defeated.”

More here-