Friday, October 24, 2014

Executive Council moves toward proposed draft budget

From ENS- (Where I am)

The Episcopal Church’s Executive Council opened its four-day meeting here considering its proposed draft 2016-2019 budget as well as reviewing in committees resolutions that are due for council action on the last meeting day.

The Rev. Susan Snook, a member of council’s Joint Standing Committee on Finances for Mission (FFM), gave her colleagues an update on the committee’s work on the budget thus far. Because that work is not complete, Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori advised council members and observers not to report the details of the work Snook presented. The committee will return to council on Oct. 27 with a preliminary draft.

Former Churches Blessed With New Lives in Pittsburgh

From The New York Times-

Like most American Rust Belt towns settled by European immigrant laborers, Pittsburgh in the early 20th century was a deeply religious place, where ornate Romanesque and Gothic chapels, churches and cathedrals rose in nearly every corner of the city. But partly as a result of the steel industry’s collapse, Pittsburgh’s population (now just over 300,000) has been in decline for decades, and congregations have been abandoning their grand old churches in search of smaller, more affordable spaces. Along the way, some of the Steel City’s savviest entrepreneurs have been purchasing many of Pittsburgh’s disused churches and adapting them into clubs, restaurants, theaters and concert venues.

More here-

Primate says 2018 Lambeth unlikely

From The Anglican Journal-

Archbishop Fred Hiltz, primate of the Anglican Church of Canada, said he hasn’t heard directly from the Archbishop of Canterbury whether the next Lambeth Conference will be postponed, but “it’s pretty obvious that in all likelihood it would not be in 2018 because it takes three, four, years to plan.”

Hiltz responded in an interview with the Anglican Journal to media reports that the next Lambeth Conference, for which bishops from across the Anglican Communion usually gather every 10 years and which was expected to be in 2013, would may be delayed, perhaps until 2019 or 2020.

- See more at:

Ebola victims feel ‘forsaken’ says Liberian bishop

From The Church Times-

SUFFERERS from of the Ebola virus in West Africa believe that "God has forsaken them", a Liberian Roman Catholic bishop, the Rt Revd Anthony Fallah Borwah, has said.

Bishop Borwah was prevented from attending Pope Francis's recent synod on the family because of the travel ban on countries affected by the virus.

He urged his fellow bishops, and the Church, to remember that it was the poor who are their priority, and said that whole families were being "decimated".

Speaking to the US Catholic News Service, he said: "We are losing our humanity in the face of Ebola. . . This disease makes impossible ordinary human kindnesses, such as putting your arm around someone who is crying."

More here-‘forsaken’-says-liberian-bishop

Top Anglican calls for breaking confidentiality in confessions involving child abuse

From RNS-

Anglican priests should no longer be bound by the centuries-old principle of confidentiality in confessions when they are told of sexual crimes committed against children, the Church of England’s No. 2 official said.

Speaking at the end of an internal inquiry on whether senior church officials ignored abuse allegations involving children, Archbishop of York John Sentamu said that “what happened was shameful, terrible, bad, bad, bad.”

He said that the Church of England must break the confidentiality of confession in cases where people disclosed the abuse of children. “If someone tells you a child has been abused, the confession doesn’t seem to me a cloak for hiding that business. How can you hear a confession about somebody abusing a child and the matter must be sealed up and you mustn’t talk about it?”


Thursday, October 23, 2014

A Call to Prayer Amidst Violence

From The Anglican Church of Canada-

With all Canadians my heart is very heavy with the news of the killing of a Canadian soldier, Corporal Nathan Cirillo, while on honour guard duty at the National War Memorial in Ottawa today.

This follows all too soon on the killing of another member of the Canadian Armed Forces in Quebec, Warrant Officer Patrice Vincent, just days ago.

I ask your prayers for these men, for their loved ones stricken with grief, and for the Canadian Armed Forces chaplains who are ministering to them.

Pray also for the perpetrators of these awful attacks and for their families as well.

More here-

Diocese holds service of repentance and reconciliation for racism

From Atlanta-

Episcopal Bishop Rob Wright is asking Episcopalians in Middle and North Georgia to attend a worship service of “repentance and reconciliation” in response to the sin of racism.

Wright is the first African American Episcopal bishop in Georgia. The service will be held at 7 p.m. Wednesday at the Cathedral of St. Philip, 2744 Peachtree Road N.W.

“The enterprise of dismantling racism as agents of racial reconciliation is the work of all the baptized in every age,” Wright said in the letter to the Diocese’s 110 worshiping communities.

Racism is a “sin (that) is founded on a lie and therefore an affront to God, an abuse of power and a demonic spirit…,” Wright wrote to the Diocese’s more than 56,000 members. “What scripture calls ‘the more excellent way’ forward for us is not to be consumed by blame or guilt but to take inventory of our hearts and amend our lives…” he continued. “Though we may be culpable, we are not condemned.”

More here-

Striking Professors At General Theological Seminary Respond Positively To School's Offer

From Huffington-

The eight General Theological Seminary professors who have been on strike over working conditions at the New York City school have tentatively agreed to return.

The so-called "GTS Eight" have responded positively to the seminary's offer of "provisional employment for the remainder of the academic year."

The professors are currently in negotiations with the board of trustees, Rev. Dr. Amy Bentley Lamborn confirmed to The Huffington Post. She declined to offer further details.

More here-

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Ebola In Church: A Reverend's Quarantine Spreads The Word

From NPR-

Night clubs have shut their doors. Soccer leagues have been suspended. And a strict curfew is keeping the streets empty at night.

But there's one place in Monrovia where people continue to gather despite the threat of Ebola: Sunday church service.

Since Ebola broke out in Liberia's capital city, more people have started coming to Sunday service at Trinity Cathedral, says the Very Rev. Herman Browne. And like many priests across Monrovia, Browne has been spreading the word about Ebola prevention through his sermons.

More here-

Head of Anglican Church to visit Ghana

From Ghana-

The Archbishop of Canterbury, Justin Welby Head of the Anglican Communion and his spouse Mrs Welby, would pay a three- day visit to Ghana, spanning Wednesday, October 29 to Friday, October 31.

The visit would be his first to West Africa, since his enthronement as head of the church in 2012.

Archbishop Welby and his entourage would be met at Kotoka International Airport by Right Reverend Dr Daniel Sylvanus Mensah Torto, Anglican Bishop of Accra and Mr Jon Benjamin, British High Commissioner.

More here-

Episcopal bishop of Kansas joins in friendly World Series wager

From Kansas-

When it comes to the Kansas City Royals and charity, the Right Rev. Dean E. Wolfe, bishop of the Episcopal Diocese of Kansas, is a betting man.

Wolfe, whose diocese is headquartered in Topeka, has joined the bishop of the Diocese of West Missouri to challenge the bishop of the Diocese of California in a friendly World Series wager designed to raise money for local diocesan charities and share the cultural wealth of their areas with one another.

More here-

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

What is marriage now?

From The Christian Century-

Amid endless debates concerning same-sex relationships and same-sex marriage, one biblical passage is often curiously absent. In 1 Corinthians 7, Paul reflects on the merits of married and single life. If unmarried persons struggle with sexual self-control, he says, they should marry, “for it is better to marry than to be aflame with passion.”

The King James Version translates Paul’s sentiment more bluntly: “It is better to marry than to burn.”

Wide embarrassment on all sides no doubt accounts for neglect of this passage—but also makes it an unexpected resource. If no side owns it, the passage may offer a rare place to meet for fresh discernment. If no one likes the passage, its very neglect might offer an unexpected way out of our impasse.

More here-

Anglican Bishop Preaches Detribalised Nigeria

From Nigeria-

The Bishop of Abuja, Most Reverend Nicholas Okoh, has called for a united and detribalised Nigeria for the nation to grow and developed to its desired height in the face of the challenges confronting it.

Okoh, the Archbishop of Abuja and Primate of the Church of Nigeria (Anglican Communion), made this call during the official flag-off of the 25th anniversary celebration of the church.

He said that the challenges affecting the nation, which is currently affecting the church is the issue of tribalism and the absence of unity.

More here-

7 lessons from the Vatican’s wild and crazy Synod on the Family

From RNS via Salt Lake-

Pope Francis and senior Catholic leaders wrapped up their two-week Vatican summit on the challenges of modern family life Sunday without reaching a consensus on a number of hot-button topics. So where does that leave Francis’ papacy? And the church?

Here are seven takeaways:

More here-

Hope For General Theological Seminary As Board Will Consider Rehiring Faculty

From Huffington-

The embattled General Theological Seminary will keep its controversial dean and has offered to negotiate employment possibilities with the majority of its faculty who quit teaching classes and were subsequently fired. One trustee has resigned over the board’s decision.

Last month, eight full-time professors quit teaching classes and attending official seminary meetings or chapel services until they could sit down with the seminary board to discuss concerns about the seminary’s dean, the Very Rev. Kurt Dunkle.

The seminary board accepted the resignations of the faculty, which the professors said they had never offered. The dispute left the flagship Episcopal seminary scrambling to find teachers for its classes.

More here-

Thieves steal pews, altar from two Chesterfield churches

From Virginia-

An altar, several pews, a bishop's char and a candle holder were all stolen from two Chesterfield churches in the past month. Police say the crimes amount to about $6,000 in stolen items.

Police are searching for the thieves and trying to determine whether the two cases are related.

Thieves hit St. Barnabas Episcopal Church on Iron Bridge Road on September 28 and stole several items, including the bishop's chair and several church pews, according to Chesterfield Police.

 "It was the sense of violation that you know, is so difficult," Father Ray Nelson of St. Barnabas Episcopal Church said of the crime, also pointing out it had to be more than one person, because the items were so heavy.

More here-

Monday, October 20, 2014

Baghdad pastor visits Tacoma, faults US policy and implores church to help Iraq’s Christians

From Olympia-

A summer of bloody persecution has left Iraq’s diminished Christian community “a million times worse” than it was under ousted dictator Saddam Hussein, said a minister known as the vicar of Baghdad during a visit to Tacoma on Sunday.

“I think it could be one of the worst persecutions of Christians in history,” Canon Andrew White said at Tacoma’s Life Center church.

Read more here:

Pope Francis starts Pope Paul VI on path to sainthood

From The Week-

Pope Francis marked the end of a spirited gathering of Catholic bishops in Rome by beatifying the pope who started the Synod of Bishops, Paul VI. Pope Paul VI, elected in 1963, presided over the last part of the Vatican II council and over his 15-year reign implemented many of its momentous reforms to the Catholic Church. He is not as popular as either Pope John XXIII, who launched Vatican II, or Pope John Paul II, both of whom Francis canonized earlier this year.

You need one miracle for beatification — the first step toward possible sainthood — and the one attributed to Paul VI was the survival of a California boy (now a healthy teenager) who was supposed to have been born with serious birth defects.

More here-

Episcopal leader takes time for tiny congregation

From Western Kansas-

Sunlight washed across the living room of the A-frame house Sunday morning.

The savory aroma of a simmering pork roast added to the festive atmosphere as a small group sang and prayed together. Some sat on folding chairs; others sat shoulder-to-shoulder on a sofa.

On this sleepy morning a passerby on Kingman Avenue would have no idea worshiping inside the home was the Presiding Bishop of the Episcopal Church Katharine Jefferts Schori.

More here-

Bp Dietsche of NY issues statement on GTS, calls for reinstatement of faculty

From The Cafe-

This statement was sent as an email to the Diocese this morning

Sunday, October 19, 2014
My brothers and sisters,

I write to you following the resolutions of the Board of Trustees of General Seminary on Friday regarding the continuing conflict involving the seminary dean and the majority of the faculty. I believe that you have a right to know my thoughts and convictions on this matter.

More here-

Sunday, October 19, 2014

The Church Vanishes

From Patheos- Philip Jenkins-

I’m doing a little math, and the consequences are troubling.

My own Episcopal Church USA (ECUSA) just released its annual statistics, showing a rate of decline that would be truly amazing if it were at all unexpected. Between 2012 and 2013, the denomination’s membership fell by 1.4 percent, to 1.87 million, while Average Sunday Attendance (ASA) fell by 2.6 percent. Those percentages may not sound like much, until you realize that these are figures for a single year, and they closely echo the percentage drops for several preceding years. (I discussed these broader trends at this site back in 2012). The report received a “nothing special” headline at Episcopal Cafe, “Rate of decline in Sunday attendance little changed from recent years.”

But here’s my mathematical point. Obviously, those rates are not going to carry on year after year, precisely as in the past decade or so. Sometimes they will be lower than that, sometimes higher. But for the sake of argument, assume that the rates for recent years do continue more or less unchecked.

Read more:

Saturday, October 18, 2014

Why is the Catholic Church cannibalising the Book of Common Prayer?

From The Telegraph-

I’ve always felt sympathetic to foreigners on holiday in England who come across a church advertising Mass and displaying crucifixes and statues inside. When they discover later that they have been at a service of the Church of England, not of the Roman Catholic Church, they are puzzled and confused.

So what would you think if you went into a church and heard the clergyman begin: “God, unto whom all hearts be open, all desires known, and from whom no secrets are hid; cleanse the thoughts of our hearts by the inspiration of thy Holy Spirit…”?

If you said it was an early part of the Anglican service of Holy Communion, you’d be right. But I’ve just been looking at a new service booklet with the Order of Mass according to the Use of the Ordinariate. It begins with that prayer, yet it is a Roman Catholic liturgy. Instead of bells-and-smells Anglicans stealing the Catholics’ clothes, as it were, we have Catholics (Roman Catholics) cannibalising the Book of Common Prayer.

More here-

Hundreds sign worker justice petition to Episcopal Presiding Bishop

From Ekklesia-

Within a few hours over 550 people have already signed a petition to the Presiding Bishop of the Episcopal Church in the US, calling for reinstatement of eight fired seminary professors.

The move follows the intransigence of the Board of Trustees of General Theological Seminary in New York, a flagship Episcopal institution, over their sacking of most of the GTS faculty for a protest and work stoppage concerning allegations of abuse and a hostile work environment against the Dean and President.

The Board has dismissed the allegations against the Dean through a private investigation involving an outside lawyer, but have ignored or bypassed due process and the procedures set out in the Seminary's own handbook, say supporters of the dismissed professors.

More here-

General Seminary trustees issue statement

From ENS-

 On October 17, 2014, The General Theological Seminary issues this statement:

“Shaping the future leaders of our Church is a responsibility we take very seriously; to that end, the concerns raised by eight members of the Faculty were given full consideration by both the Board of Trustees and the Executive Committee. Our chief goal is a fruitful and fulfilling school year for our students.

“We are above all an institution of the Church, and we – both as individuals and as officials of the Seminary – strive to conduct ourselves in a manner befitting our guiding Christian principles. In this spirit, the Board has reviewed the findings of an independent investigation and reached three resolutions.

More here-

Bishop M. Thomas Shaw, former Episcopal leader, dies at 69

From The Boston Globe-

Soft-spoken and clad in a subdued black robe of his monastic order, the Right Rev. M. Thomas Shaw seemed an unlikely choice in 1994 to lead one of the largest Episcopal dioceses in the nation. Yet his unswerving devotion to spirituality and his unwillingness to avoid political controversy turned him into one of the most visible and vocal religious leaders of his time.

“Ever since I was a little boy I wanted to do the will of God,” Bishop Shaw told the Globe two years into his 20-year tenure as head of the Episcopal Diocese of Massachusetts.

More here-

Friday, October 17, 2014

Pray for us, say Bermuda Anglicans

From Bermuda-

Anglicans around the world have been asked to pray for Bermuda as it braces for Hurricane Gonzalo.

The call went out today from Bermuda’s Anglicans while the Island still deals with the aftermath of Tropical Storm Fay.

Fay’s 100mph winds caused flooding from sea swell in coastal areas. They also left many roads impassable because of fallen trees, and left most people without electricity, cellphone coverage or access to the Internet.

The storm caused no fatalities, although there were numerous injuries as windows and doors blew out under the pressure of the wind. However, Bermuda is now facing a much bigger potential danger in Gonzalo, which has become a Category 4 hurricane and is predicted to make a direct hit on Bermuda on Friday morning with wind speeds in excess of 130mph.

More here-

Bishops call for Ebola focus to be on overseas care

From The Church Times-

THE scale of the suffering in West Africa should be in the forefront of people's minds when considering the Ebola virus, not the fear of a small outbreak in the UK, two C of E bishops have said.

Their words came as the World Health Organisation (WHO) announced that the number of dead had reached 4447. Anthony Banbury, Senior United Nations System Coordinator for Ebola, told a special session of the UN Security Council on Tuesday that, unless more concerted action was taken against the disease, the world would "face an entirely unprecedented situation for which we do not have a plan".

The Government this week introduced a much criticised system for screening passengers returning to the UK from West Africa, at a cost of £9 million.

More here-

Thursday, October 16, 2014

Justin Welby: what should we do about ISIS?

From Prospect Magazine-

One hundred years ago, the first casualty reports from the Battle of Mons were received. Although the war had been declared on 4th August, the first British casualty was on the 21st. He is buried opposite the last one, who fell in the same area four years and millions of dead later.

The front line was back where it had started. I saw their graves at the service in August to remember the outbreak of the war at the St Symphorien cemetery in Belgium. Seventeen-year-old John Parr lay near 40-year-old George Elison, who had also fought at Mons in 1914, served in all the major battles of the war and was killed a few minutes before the armistice. Laid to rest together by chance, their graves seemed to cry out against the miscalculations and stupidities that led to more than 10m deaths in those years.

More here-

Hong Kong Anglican Archbishop Calls for 'Dialogue' to Resolve Political Crisis

From Christian Post-

The leader of the Anglican Church of Hong Kong has issued a statement calling for "dialogue" between pro-democracy protestors and government officials.

Archbishop Paul Kwong issued the statement Tuesday where he said that he was "saddened and distressed by the increasing social conflict."

"In order to engage in real dialogue, we need to develop greater trust in one another. However this is not yet happening," stated Kwong.

"Our clergy and laity, and all people in Hong Kong share the gravity of the situation, and acknowledge the present ordeal as an extraordinarily difficult time of trial. We will face a situation of deep internal conflict and division for a long time to come."

More here-ñ

Local churches monitoring Ebola situation

From Philadelphia-

Catholics consider the bread and wine to be turned into the body and blood of Christ during Mass. While some parishes allow communicants to sip from the chalice, parishioners at Mount Carmel who want to receive Holy communion in the form of wine as well as bread take it by intinction, where the bread is dipped into the wine.

“We don’t do it from the cup, we feel there is too much possibility of the communication of disease,” Hagan said.

Bishop Clifton Daniel of the Episcopal Diocese of Pennsylvania issued this statement about the Ebola situation: “The Episcopal Church is committed to the well-being of all people. The Episcopal Diocese of Pennsylvania does not perceive an immediate threat to our community at this time. Because of this we will continue to celebrate the Eucharist and worship as we normally do and invite people to join us. We continue to pray for those affected by the outbreak of Ebola and lift them up in our hearts and prayers.

More here-