Thursday, October 30, 2014

Anglican Bishop: Christians Look to Rome for Leadership in the Face of Radical Islam

From The Trumpet-

All Christians, regardless of their denomination, look to the Catholic Church to lead the defense against radical Islam, according to Church of England Bishop Michael Nazir-Ali.

His October 2 speech is not available online, but the press release published by the event’s organizer states:

Bishop Nazir-Ali said that with the growth of Islamic militancy and the persecution of Christians worldwide, many people were now looking to Rome as the voice that could stem the tide. He said these people included many Evangelicals he knew who never, in the past, would have thought about Rome. “So the Catholic Church has both a great opportunity and also a great responsibility.”

More here-

Program, Budget and Finance begins triennial budget work

From ENS-

The Episcopal Church’s Joint Standing Committee on Program, Budget and Finance (PB&F) has begun the many months of work that will result in a 2016-2018 budget being proposed to the 78th General Convention in July 2015.

PB&F members spent the bulk of their Oct. 27-29 meeting getting a crash course on how the triennial budget has been constructed in the past and how the process has been changed this time around.

More here-

Episcopal bishop leaves legacy of caring

From South Dakota-

Twenty years after choosing law over religion, Creighton Robertson changed course once more and enrolled at the University of the South's Episcopal seminary.

He had been a trailblazer as an attorney, graduating from the University of South Dakota School of Law in 1976 and becoming one of only a handful of Native Americans with that distinction. Robertson also was the first law-trained magistrate in tribal courts.

As an ordained Episcopal priest, Robertson continued to make history. His consecration as the ninth bishop of the Diocese of South Dakota on June 19, 1994, marked the first time it was served by a Native American diocesan bishop.

More here-

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

New Poll Finds Evangelicals’ Favorite Heresies

From Christianity Today-

Most American evangelicals hold views condemned as heretical by some of the most important councils of the early church.

A survey released today by LifeWay Research for Ligonier Ministries “reveals a significant level of theological confusion,” said Stephen Nichols, Ligonier’s chief academic officer. Many evangelicals do not have orthodox views about either God or humans, especially on questions of salvation and the Holy Spirit, he said.

Evangelicals did score high on several points. Nearly all believe that Jesus Christ rose from the dead (96%), and that salvation is found through Jesus alone (92%). Strong majorities said that God is sovereign over all people (89%) and that the Bible is the Word of God (88%).

More here-

Episcopal Church, African primates, bishops issue communique

From ENS-

 The following is a communique issued by Primates and Bishops of Africa and The Episcopal Church on a recent groundbreaking meeting.

A Communique: Transformation through Friendship

October 8-10, 2014

The General Theological Seminary, New York City

We speak as six Primates representing Burundi, Central Africa, Southern Africa, Tanzania, West Africa, and The Episcopal Church, and as four Bishops of The Episcopal Church representing both U.S. dioceses and Haiti.  Two of us participated by Skype while attending another meeting in Bujumbura.  We gathered together at the General Theological Seminary in New York City from October 8-10, 2014.

More here-

America isn’t a ‘Christian nation,’ and never has been

From RNS-

Right-wing Christians and the politicians who pander to them like to say that the United States was, is and always should be a “Christian nation.”

Why, then, are they so obsessed about money and political power and so determined to make people afraid?

After all, Jesus spent an estimated two-thirds of his teaching time on wealth and power. His message was clear, if radical: Give wealth away rather than build bigger barns. Submit to others rather than seek power. Love your enemies rather than smite them.

More here-

Beatifying Pope Paul VI may be a signal: Don’t expect radical changes

From Crux Now-

The recent Synod of Bishops on the Family concluded with a Mass in which Pope Francis beatified one of his predecessors, Pope Paul VI. Was staging the ceremony at the end of that tumultuous summit an indirect way for Rome to dampen expectations of radical change under Francis? It would seem so.

Giovanni Maria Montini, the given name of Paul VI, was a former archbishop of Milan and the Vatican’s former Secretary of State. He brought the Second Vatican Council to a conclusion in the mid-1960s, in a period marked by immense social change.

More here

Episcopal, Evangelical Lutheran, United Methodist bishops, other clergy issue joint statement to repeal casino gambling in state

From Massachusetts-

 Four bishops, including the Right Rev. Douglas J. Fisher, bishop of the Episcopal Diocese of Western Massachusetts, the head of the Massachusetts Conference of the United Church of Christ, and clergy from the Massachusetts Council of Church and the Presbytery of Boston of the Presbyterian Church (USA) have signed a joint statement urging "all voters to vote Yes on Question 3."

The 2011 Expanded Gaming Act invited casino companies to do business in the commonwealth, and its repeal is Question 3 on the Nov. 4 ballot.

More here-

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Social issues attract Executive Council’s attention

From ENS-

In addition to working towards a draft proposed 2016-2018 budget, the Episcopal Church’s Executive Council Oct. 27 approved resolutions on a number of social issues facing the church and the world.

Prompted by the work of its Joint Standing Committees on Advocacy and Networking (A&N) and Local Mission and Ministry (LMM), council went on record as:

opposing for-profit prisons and directing the treasurer to avoid investment in companies that own and operate for-profit prisons and detention centers;

More here-

Monday, October 27, 2014

‘Do not use witchcraft to pass exams’

From Uganda-

The Anglican bishop for Mityana diocese, Dr. Stephen Kazimba, has asked Primary Seven (P7) candidates not to heed their parents who tell them to use witchcraft to pass exams.

“I know some parents who always call their children and give them ancestors’ blessing. If you hear any parent or guardian calling on the ancestors to guide you in your exams, say ‘no I will not take your blessings in Jesus’ name’.

“Some of those ancestors went as far as Primary One, others did not see any blackboard, so if you take such blessings, be assured of failure,” he said.

More here-

Boston History, Underground

From Boston-

Walking past the granite fa├žade of King’s Chapel on Tremont Street, it’s easy to miss the narrow, dark path that snakes around the building. The path leads to a large iron gate, and behind that gate lies one of Boston’s most fascinating historical artifacts—a crypt containing, among others, a French knight and a poisoned adulteress.

Somewhere between 100 and 150 people are buried beneath the floorboards of the historic chapel, the first Anglican church in New England when it was consecrated in 1689. The present-day chapel was completed in 1754, and it was the place of worship for British Loyalists during the American Revolution. When King’s Chapel reopened after the war, in 1785, it was the country’s first Unitarian church and today boasts an active congregation. Throughout its history, many members of the congregation chose to be buried on site in the chapel’s crypt.

More here-

West Texas elects David Mitchell Reed as bishop coadjutor

From ENS-

The Rt. Rev. David Mitchell Reed was elected as bishop coadjutor of the Episcopal Diocese of West Texas at the Special Council of the diocese on Oct. 25, held at TMI – The Episcopal School of Texas in San Antonio.

Reed, 57, is currently the bishop suffragan of the diocese, and was one of six nominees. As bishop coadjutor, Reed will continue to serve alongside Bishop Gary Lillibridge. Upon Lillibridge’s retirement in 2017, Reed will become the 10th bishop of the Diocese of West Texas.

More here-

Has the Last Episcopalian Been Born?

From The American Conservative-

Philip Jenkins, a scholar and Episcopal layman, does the math and finds out that at the Episcopal Church’s current rate of decline, there will be no more Episcopalians by the end of this century. Excerpt:

If we extrapolate that rate into the not-too-distant future, then the number of people attending Episcopal churches on a typical Sunday will be negligible by mid-century, typical of a tiny sect rather than a great church or denomination. It won’t reach zero for a while, but in effect, the church will cease to exist. We might need a new vocabulary of religious decline. How about church evaporation? That mid-century date is really not far off. In fact, the baby baptized at my church last Sunday will by that point only be a young adult in her 30s. Non-attending notional members will persist for a few years longer, but by the end of the century, we should be talking total disappearance. In that scenario, America’s last Episcopalian walks among us today. At some point, young people contemplating a clerical career will have to consider just how long there will indeed be a church for them to serve.

More here-

Sunday, October 26, 2014

Bruton Parish Church celebrates the 300th anniversary of its building

From Willamsburg-

George Washington stood here. Thomas Jefferson sat there. Strolling around the sanctuary of Bruton Parish Episcopal Church is a walk through America’s history.

“It goes on and on,” marveled the Rev. Christopher L. Epperson, the church’s rector. “There’s no place quite like it.”

This month, the church kicks off a 15-month celebration of the 300th anniversary of its building on Duke of Gloucester Street.

More here-

Nashotah House Episcopal seminary appoints president from within

From Milwaukee-

Nashotah House Theological Seminary in Waukesha County has tapped one of its own, the Rev. Steven Peay, as its next dean and president.

A professor of homiletics and church history who serves as dean of academic affairs, Peay was elected by the Nashotah's board of trustees last week and is expected to be installed in the spring.

He succeeds the Rev. Edward Salmon, retired bishop of the Diocese of South Carolina, who has led the Episcopal seminary since 2011.

"Steven Peay is an excellent choice to lead Nashotah House," Bishop Steven A. Miller of the Episcopal Diocese of Milwaukee said. "Dr. Peay is a highly respected educator and priest and a faithful servant of Christ."

More here-

Saturday, October 25, 2014

Poverty and class: the latest themes to enter the US banned-books debate

From The Guardian-

Late last month, for the 32nd year in a row, Banned Books Week was marked across the US. Spearheaded by the American Library Association’s (ALA) Office for Intellectual Freedom, the annual salute to the freedom to read has become a fixture. It aims to counterbalance perennial challenges to the content of books and efforts to get them banned, usually from schools and libraries.

The ALA collects information on which books are objected to and reports on prominent recurring themes that tend to generate moral or ideological indignation. Subjects such as religion, race, gender, sexuality and allegations of sexually explicit content or offensive language frequently top the list.

More here-
From The House of Deputies-

Good afternoon.

I thought a lot about church structure this past summer. Probably not as much as I’ll think about it next summer, but it was a good warm up.

I also thought a lot this summer, particularly as I watched the news from Ferguson, about our promise to strive for justice and peace among all people and respect the dignity of every human being.

In July, I spoke to the annual meeting of the Union of Black Episcopalians. We met in Atlantic City, surrounded by a cloud of witnesses from Freedom Summer and the 1964 Democratic National Convention. Let me tell you, it’s a humbling experience to give a speech with the voice of Fannie Lou Hamer echoing in your ears.

We were gathered just before the fortieth anniversary of the ordination of the Philadelphia Eleven. On July 29, 1974, eleven women who had been called by God were ordained Episcopal priests by three bishops who were willing to risk ecclesiastical discipline and the derision of their colleagues in the cause of justice.

Prince William and Kate Middleton's wedding minister to preach in Williamsburg this weekend

From Williamsburg-

If there had to be just one indication of the very public nature of the Bishop of London's job, perhaps it would be a note received by the Right Reverend and Right Honorable Richard Chartres in the spring of 2011.

It was just a few days after he had spoken at the wedding of Prince William and Catherine, the newly designated Duchess of Cambridge – an event witnessed by a worldwide audience of between 300 million or 2 billion, depending on which estimates you choose to believe.

"I received a message from someone in the States, in Los Angeles," Chartres said, "telling me that they had downloaded my sermon onto their device – and they were exercising to it." He paused for a moment, and then added: "I found that to be quite extraordinary."

More here-,0,2401758.story

Do people in your church believe in God? Two graphs of America’s 43 largest faiths

From Religion News Service-

Nine out of ten Americans say they believe in God. But push a little bit and you’ll find there is quite a range of belief across the major churches and religions in America. Let’s look at two ways belief in God differs across religious groups: their certainty that God exists and whether God is a person.

Pew’s Religious Landscape survey asked people if they believed in God. Almost everyone who was in a theistic religion did, of course. But the survey followed with a question about this belief: “Are you absolutely certain, fairly certain, not too certain, or not at all certain?” Evangelicals, black Protestants, Mormons, and other theologically conservative groups had high levels of ccertainty– albeit less than their leaders probably expect from their members. Substantial minorities of Mainline denominations expressed less certain beliefs about God. 

- See more at:

Anglicanism keeps muddling on — thank God

From The Spectator (UK)-

Its findings are reassuringly unsurprising. For example, almost one-third of the clergy identify as evangelical; exactly one-third as Catholic; and just over one-third as something in the middle. In a different question, a quarter identify as conservative. Just over half want to keep the established Church in its current form; the rest want some sort of reform. Most call for the Anglican Communion to be more accepting of diversity, rather than seek stricter uniformity. Same in relation to the national Church. Sensible middle-way muddling-through remains the dominant approach: half the clergy think that Christians are discriminated against in some way by our secular society; half oppose same-sex marriage. (39 per cent are in favour of it, which I suppose is a strong body of dissent from Church teaching, but hardly surprising.)

More here-

Episcopal bishop to make 60-mile diocese tour through Worcester County — on foot

From Western Massachusetts-

Bishop Douglas J. Fisher IX, bishop of the Episcopal Diocese of Western Massachusetts, will undertake a 60-mile, four-day pilgrimage through Worcester County to meet, greet, fellowship and pray with residents.

The trek will begin at 9 a.m. Tuesday with a morning prayer at Trinity Episcopal Church in Milford, and end Oct. 31 at Christ Church in Fitchburg, with numerous stops along the way.

He will be in Worcester on Wednesday. 

More here-

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-