Tuesday, December 1, 2015

‘A Charlie Brown Christmas’: Midstate woman recalls role in iconic special

From California-

The first time Shively watched it was in December 1965. That was the first time the special came on the air.

“We didn’t know what to expect, so my brother and my mom and dad sat there glued,” she remembered.

She had a good reason; one of the voices in the children’s choir that begins and ends the 25-minute show is hers.

Shively was a 12-year-old in the choir at St. Paul’s Episcopal Church in San Rafael, outside San Francisco.

More here-


Anglican ordinariates: Crux explains it well; the Houston Chronicle, not so much

From Get Religion-

For those of us who follow the ins and outs of Episcopalians, Anglicans and Catholics, there was an interesting development recently when the Vatican appointed a bishop to oversee 42 Anglican-rite North American churches. They had converted as congregations to Catholicism but retained some of their Anglican liturgies and customs, such as married clergy.

This group of Anglican churches is called an ordinariate and a system of bringing them into the Catholic fold was created in 2009 by Pope Benedict XVI. The priest he originally tapped to head it up was the Rev. Jeffrey Steenson, the former Episcopal bishop of the Albuquerque-based Rio Grande diocese (which is New Mexico and a corner of far west Texas).

Steenson was elected bishop in October 2004 and consecrated in January 2005. Then less then two years later in September 2007, he shocked his diocese by announcing he was turning Catholic and resigning his position. 

More here-


Members of tiny Episcopal church in Otis rebel at sale

From The Boston Globe (Western Mass.)-

The small Episcopal church served a faithful few for nearly two centuries, spreading the Gospel in the southern Berkshires even as its congregation dwindled to about a dozen regular worshippers.

The inevitable came earlier this year, before summer-only services could begin, when the Episcopal Diocese of Western Massachusetts locked the church’s doors, seized its meager assets, and put the shimmering white building on the market. And if anyone needed a reminder that times had changed, the Old North Church in Boston last month took back a Colonial chandelier it had donated to St. Paul’s upon its founding.

Now, locked doors and for-sale signs have spurred part of the congregation to turn their angst into action. They have formed a nonprofit, hired an attorney, and are raising money to buy back St. Paul’s and begin anew.

More here-


Episcopal Diocese Reckons With Rhode Island's Slaving Past

From Rhode Island-

From the “Welcome to Bristol” sign at the town line, and along Hope Street’s red-white-and-blue stripe to the postcard-perfect Federal-style homes at its center, Bristol wears its Colonial past proudly. But one September evening, about forty Bristolians gathered in St. Michael’s Episcopal Church to talk about a past the town is not so eager to tell — the great crime that built Bristol: slavery.

Slavery was the economic lifeblood of the entire state for eighty years. Rhode Island passed its first law forbidding enslavement in 1652, but the law changed and the practice flourished apace with its profitability. From before the American Revolution to the Industrial Revolution, the slave trade powered Rhode Island’s rum distilleries and the textile mills, spinning cotton picked by Southern slaves into cheap “negro cloth” that was sold back to the South. Slavery employed the carpenters, the clerks, the bankers and the blacksmiths. Everyone made money from the slave trade, but few made more than the DeWolf family of Bristol.

More here


West Palm Beach to settle suit with church for $65,000

From Florida-

A man-made trinity of mangrove islands off Flagler Drive has come with a terrestrial cost not envisioned when the environmental project won approval.

Holy Trinity Episcopal Church of West Palm Beach is scheduled to win city approval for a $65,000 settlement Dec. 7. The payment would end a 2013 lawsuit in which the church asserted the project would block its waterfront views and deny its right to build a 40-slip dock. The settlement follows a $160,000 payment to which the county agreed in October.

Under the settlement, the city and county affirm the property owner’s right to seek permits for a dock, should the church site be sold to a condo developer, for example. The church’s attorney, Robert Yerkes, has said previously, however, that no such sale is in the works.

More here-


Primatial option for the Covenant

From The Living Church-

Looking to the January meeting of the primates of the Anglican Communion, the first that all expect to attend since 2009’s meeting in Egypt, we should pray for ressourcement of a Virginia Report and Windsor Report variety, relying on their rich ecclesiological catechesis. Archbishop Justin Welby’s reference to Lambeth 1998 and subsequent primates’ meetings in his invitation rather evokes this field, but sustained theological engagement of communion is needed.

Something very much like the Covenant remains, in Oliver O’Donovan’s memorable phrase, “the only game in town” (originally said of The Windsor Report), for the simple reason that it delivers a synthesis of Anglican thinking about the Church wrought as a vision for the future. The alternatives to the Covenant school are amnesia at best, innovation at worst — of an invisibilist or otherwise weakened sort that perceives the Church as simply affective gathering in mission across difference. In ecumenical terms, the pressure to opt for mere “Life and Work” would have us surrender the upward call to a common “Faith and Order,” as if the two are separable.

More here-


Monday, November 30, 2015

Unholy Alliance: Christian Charities Profit from $1 Billion Fed Program to Resettle Refugees

From Breitbart-

Though they are officially “non-profit” organizations, Catholic Charities, Lutheran Social Services, and several other Christian organizations are profiting from lucrative contracts with the federal government to resettle refugees in the United States.

Of the 100,000 refugees resettled in the United States in 2014 under the Refugee Resettlement program, an estimated 40 percent were Muslims.

In FY 2015, the State Department, through the Bureau of Population, Refugees and Migration and the Office of Refugee Resettlement, spent more than $1 billion on these programs, which settled international refugees “vetted” by the United Nations High Commission on International Refugees in all 50 states and the District of Columbia. The federal government spent hundreds of millions of dollars more than that on refugees, however. The Department of Health and Human Services also provided a number of “entitlements” to these refugees.

More here-


What’s the faith background of the Episcopal Church’s new leader?

From Get Religion-


Can you tell us something more about the presiding bishop of our [Episcopal] Church? I’ve heard only upbeat things about him from people who have met and heard him. Will he be a Marco Rubio – a very effective speaker who can connect with people?


Perhaps so. Here’s some information about the personable Michael Bruce Curry, 62, who was installed this month as the new presiding bishop of America’s troubled Episcopal Church. Some U.S. denominations lack such a solo head while the Episcopalians grant their chief unusually centralized power and, moreover, his term runs till 2024.

More here-


Episcopal Church plans to 'break away' from N.D. Bishop's stance on same sex marriage

From North Dakota-

In July, the U.S. Episcopal Church voted overwhelmingly to allow same-sex marriages in the church.

However, the Episcopalian leader, Bishop Michael G. Smith says he is resisting that policy that went into effect today.

Darcy Corbitt-Hall recently moved here from Alabama
"Coming to North Dakota and then suddenly realizing I don't have that ability in my church is very upsetting,” Hall says. “I can't align myself with organizations that don't treat everyone the same and don't work for full inclusion."

Along with Darcy, other congregants that attend Saint Stephen’s Episcopal Church, share the same beliefs.

More here-


Sunday, November 29, 2015

Rev. Scott Fisher recalls life of service to church, Alaska

From Alaska-

In October 1970, a young man landed in Fairbanks on a 24-hour layover between his old life and a life that would come to touch countless people throughout Alaska.

That man was Scott Fisher, known to most now as “Father Scott” of St. Matthew’s Episcopal Church, the century-old log church on the banks of the Chena River in downtown Fairbanks.

Fisher, who is now retiring, arrived as a volunteer layworker at the encouragement of the Episcopal Church’s “Flying Bishop,” Bishop William Gordon Jr., after graduating from Kenyon College in Ohio with a major in English and a minor in religious studies. Bishop Gordon met Fisher at a summer camp, and Fisher was struck by how un-fatherly Gordon appeared sitting on a porch wearing shorts.

more here-


Saturday, November 28, 2015

Powerful Demon Inhabits Enugu Governor’s Lodge, Says Cleric

From Nigeria-

Archbishop of Enugu Ecclesiastical Province of the Anglican Communion, Most Rev. Dr. Emmanuel Chukwuma yesterday in Agbani, Enugu State alluded to the possibility of a powerful demon dwelling at the Enugu State government lodge.

Apparently making reference to former governors who had parted ways with their wives after settling in at the lodge, Chukwuma stated that all efforts should be made to break the jinx. He warned
Governor Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi not to relocate to the lodge unless the situation was contained.

He spoke at the burial ceremony of former First Lady of Enugu State, Nnenna Agnes Nnamani at Ojiagu, Agbani, Nkanu West Council of the State.

More here-


Francis Visits Anglican Shrine Outside Kampala in Uganda

From NBC-

Pope Francis paid his respects Saturday to Ugandan Christians who were burnt alive rather than renounce their faith, the latest group of martyrs from around the world honored by Francis in hopes of giving today's faithful missionary role models.

A somber Francis prayed at shrines dedicated to the 23 Anglican and 22 Catholic martyrs who were killed between 1885 and 1887 on the orders of a local king eager to thwart the influence of Christianity in his central Ugandan kingdom.

At Namugongo, outside the capital, Kampala, where most of the martyrs were burned alive, he celebrated Mass in their honor to mark the 50th anniversary of the Catholics' canonization.

More here-


Cincinnati woman takes up human trafficking issue in documentary

From Cincinnati-

Noel Julnes-Dehner is the writer, producer and director of the documentary, called "Coming Home From the Streets." It looks at the dark world of prostitution in the Queen City.

She said Cincinnatians are surprised prostitution is in the area.

“Women can get off the streets and it takes a lot of support, many relapses but they want off and they can get off,” Julnes
-Dehner said.
This is the third documentary Julnes-Dehner has created. This one took a year to organize and six months to shoot and edit.

“My films are human-interest stories,” she said.

More here-


New Md. bishop understands addiction, recovery

From The Washington Post-

Chilton Knudsen has two training specialties that are rare for a priest but that come in handy in church work: addiction recovery and conflict resolution.

The 69-year-old Episcopal bishop’s unusual expertise feels particularly relevant in her new position in the Diocese of Maryland, where a top bishop, drunk and texting, fatally struck a bicyclist with her car in December before leaving the scene. The pain caused by the death of Thomas Palermo and criticism of the church’s handling of the now defrocked bishop, Heather Cook, led the diocese to hire Knudsen, who arrived last month, as Cook’s replacement.

More here-


Boston’s homeless craft an income and self-esteem

From Portland (about Boston)

As winter approaches, attendance at Common Art increases, and as many as 100 homeless and low-income people paint, draw, knit, sew, make jewelry or engage in other crafts that allow them to boost their self-esteem and make a little cash.

Chris Haubrich started coming to Common Art about 10 years ago when he was homeless and still comes regularly even though he now has an apartment.

“This is the place that saved me,” Haubrich said, dabbing at a colorful painting of a parrot. “This is my safety net.”

“I was a kid who grew up being told I couldn’t do anything,” he said. “I had no patience, and this has brought out my patience, given me focus.”

More here-


Friday, November 27, 2015

Archbishop Mouneer Anis Opens Ethiopia's First Anglican Theological College

From All Africa (Ethiopia)-

The first Anglican theological college in Ethiopia, named after Saint Frumentius, has been officially opened by the Archbishop of Jerusalem and the Middle East, Mouneer Anis. Ethiopia is part of Archbishop Mouneer's diocese of Egypt with North Africa and the Horn of Africa.

For many years, St Matthew's Church in Addis Ababa was the only Anglican congregation in Ethiopia. But that changed with the arrival of large numbers of refugees arriving in the country seeking sanctuary from the protracted civil war in Sudan from the mid-1970s.

"Many of these new refugees were Anglican and they began churches in the refugee camps," the college said. "Later, Anglican churches were established in the villages of the Gambella region, in the west of Ethiopia.

More here-


Rejected Lord's Prayer cinema ad seen by half a million

From The Church Times-

A DISPUTE over the refusal to screen a cinema advertisement from the Church of England, featuring the Lord’s Prayer, continues to rumble on.

The C of E’s director of communications, the Revd Arun Arora, has said that Digital Cinema Media (DCM), which handles advertising for Britain’s cinema chains, did not have a written policy banning religious adverts when it turned it down.

The advert was made to promote a new C of E website, www.justpray.co.uk, and was made to be shown before screenings of the new Star Wars film in December. It has been cleared by the Cinema Advertising Authority, and rated U by the British Board of Film Classification.

More here-


Healing two years after a church tragedy

From New Jersey- (with video)

Thursday marked two years since a fatal fire took the life of a beloved Ocean City pastor, Reverend David Dingwall of the St. Paul's By The Sea Episcopal Church.

Ocean City Police say John Sterner, who frequented a food pantry in connection to the church known as Shepherd's Crook, doused himself in gasoline and lit himself on fire before walking into the pantry.

Bruce Young, a volunteer coordinator at Shepherd's Crook, says he was five feet away from Sterner.

"I was looking at John Sterner...didn't know who it was." He recalled Thursday.

The flames spread. It seriously injuring a volunteer and claimed the lives of Sterner and Reverend Dingwall.

Joe Fisher, a manager at Shepherd's Crook, credits Dingwall to much of the success of the food pantry.

More here-


Dallas ministry brings refugees their first Thanksgiving feast

From Dallas-

The scents of Thanksgiving — freshly roasted turkeys, sweet pecan and spicy pumpkin pies, and a whole batch of side dishes — filled the parish hall at St. John’s Episcopal Church in Lake Highlands on Thursday as people who had never celebrated the holiday were given a feast.

Gateway of Grace, a 4-year-old ministry working with international refugees who find their way to the U.S., sponsored the Thanksgiving gathering with help from several churches. Guiding these newly arrived families through this uniquely American celebration is just one of the services the ministry provides.

More here-


Thursday, November 26, 2015

Washington’s Thanksgiving Proclamation

From 1789-

Whereas it is the duty of all nations to acknowledge the providence of Almighty God, to obey His will, to be grateful for His benefits, and humbly to implore His protection and favor; and—Whereas both Houses of Congress have, by their joint committee, requested me “to recommend to the people of the United States a day of public thanksgiving and prayer, to be observed by acknowledging with grateful hearts the many and signal favors of Almighty God, especially by affording them an opportunity peaceably to establish a form of government for their safety and happiness:”

More here-


Anglican appointment reveals continuity between Pope Francis and Benedict

From Crux Now-

At the level of style, Pope Francis is obviously a somewhat jarring contrast with his predecessor, emeritus Pope Benedict XVI. Francis generally comes off as a warm Latin populist, Benedict more a cool German intellectual.

Leaders, however, promote either continuity or rupture not primarily at the level of style but rather policy, and on that front, one can make a case that Francis has a surprising amount in common with Benedict. His reforms on both Vatican finances and the clerical sexual abuse scandals, to take one example, are clearly extensions of Benedict’s legacy.

A new chapter in this largely untold story of continuity came on Tuesday, when the pontiff tapped 40-year-old American Monsignor Steven Lopes as the first-ever bishop of the Personal Ordinariate of the Chair of St. Peter, one of three jurisdictions created under Pope Benedict in 2012 to welcome former Anglicans into the Catholic Church.

More here-


Christian group urges U.S. to accept more refugees

From Pittsburgh-

Leaders in the region’s largest coalition of Christian churches have called on the United States to increase its intake of refugees from the war-torn Middle East and for local church members to help in refugee resettlement.

The statement comes from the executive committee of Christian Associates of Southwest Pennsylvania, representing an array of regional Catholic, Orthodox and Protestant governing bodies. It also calls for passage of a pending U.S. House bill that would expedite refugee processes for religious minorities, including Christians, who are targeted by the Islamic State group.

Bishop Dorsey McConnell of the Episcopal Diocese of Pittsburgh said it’s “important we be absolutely unambiguous about this” in the face of opposition to resettlement efforts. The refugees are “fleeing exactly the violence we are concerned about.”

More here-


Leader Of The Episcopal Church In Middle Tennessee Says Ministers Can't Perform Same-Sex Marriages

From Tennessee-

The Episcopal Diocese of Tennessee says same-sex couples within its churches are free to get married elsewhere, but not by priests here. Bishop John Bauerschmidt has handed down the policy after making what he calls a difficult decision.

This summer, the national denomination decided to change its stance on same-sex marriage and allow clergy to perform them. But it also allows individual bishops to disagree.

Bauerschmidt, whose diocese oversees 45 churches in Middle Tennessee, is one of them, and he says he's in the minority nationwide. To make the decision, he says, he consulted scripture and listened to a wide range of opinions from local clergy.

More here-


Wednesday, November 25, 2015

We need the Church of England more than ever. That’s why we need it to die

From The Guardian-

It takes something special to unite Richard Dawkins, Giles Fraser, David Cameron and the archbishop of Canterbury in a common cause, but that’s what Britain’s three biggest cinema chains have accomplished. Their refusal to screen an advert for prayer has provoked scorn and damnation – or, in more Anglican terms, “disappointment”.

Yet, strange as it sounds, I think the cinemas have done the Church of England a huge favour: they’ve given it the dose of reality it desperately needs. The C of E has no right to any special treatment. We still await constitutional disestablishment, but it’s clear that we are in the midst of a cultural disestablishment. The sooner the Anglican church grasps this, the better it will be for all of us.

Looking at hard numbers, the sociologist Linda Woodhead asserts that the big shift started in 1989. We have now reached the point where the majority of under-30s in the UK identity as having no religion. Woodward says that the C of E is “in freefall”. The question is whether it should bother opening the parachute.

More here-


St. Paul’s Episcopal Church has long history of doing good in Fayetteville

From Arkansas-

For nearly 200 years, St. Paul’s Episcopal Church has been opening their doors for a lot more than just Sunday service in Fayetteville.

The church, which got its start at the corner of Meadow Street and College Avenue in the 1830s before moving to its current location at East Avenue and Dickson Street, has become a sort of unofficial community center for the downtown Fayetteville area.

It opens for at least five different Alcoholics Anonymous groups. Two Al-Anon Family groups have regular meetings there. There’s a support group and a day of respite offered for people with family members living with Alzheimer’s disease and dementia, a Rosen movement class, and at least three yoga classes that meet in the church that are free to attend and open to the public.

More here-


Pope Names Ordinariate Bishop

From The Living Church-

Pope Francis has named the Rev. Monsignor Steven J. Lopes as the first bishop of the Personal Ordinariate of the Chair of St. Peter, a structure equivalent to a diocese for Roman Catholics who were nurtured in the Anglican tradition.

With this appointment, Pope Francis affirms and amplifies Pope Benedict’s vision for Christian unity, in which diverse expressions of one faith are joined together in the Church. By naming Bishop-elect Lopes, the pope has confirmed that the Ordinariate is a permanent, enduring part of the Roman Catholic Church, like any other diocese — one that is now given a bishop so that it may deepen its contribution to the life of the Church and the world.

The appointment comes just five days before the Ordinariate begins using Divine Worship: The Missal, a new book of liturgical texts for the celebration of Mass in Personal Ordinariates worldwide. The texts were approved by the Vatican for use beginning on the first Sunday of Advent, Nov. 29.

More here-


Tuesday, November 24, 2015

The Church awakens: Anglican leaders use the force of a marketing controversy

From England- (with the video)

Star Wars: The Force Awakens has been trending on Twitter and become staple media fodder – so far, so predictable. Less predictable perhaps, is that the Lord’s Prayer and the Church of England has too, after three of the UK’s major cinema chains refused to show the Church of England’s advert for JustPray.uk before the new Star Wars film.

The press has attributed the refusal to concerns about causing offence to audiences, prompting religious media commentators (Giles Fraser), celebrity academics (Richard Dawkins) and that bastion of gaffedom, Boris Johnson, to gnash their collective teeth.

More here-


Iredell church members pack 10,000 meals for people in need

From North Carolina-

The congregation of St. Patrick Episcopal Church took a different, more active role in Sunday's sermon.

Beyond listening to the Rev. Mark Forbes’ message, church members rolled up their sleeves to pack 10,000 meals for Stop Hunger Now

“This will be the sermon,” said organizer Mark Hatley.

The church dubbed the event “Be the Sermon” Sunday.

During the brief worship service, Forbes quoted St. Francis: Only on rare occasions were Christians to speak about God’s love by talking about it.

“I think that is pretty cool,” he said.

More here-


Mission church to offer homeless people space for ‘sacred sleep’

From California-

For decades, St. John the Evangelist, an Episcopal church tucked among charming gardens a block from bustling Mission Street, has welcomed San Francisco’s outsiders and outcasts.

When refugees fleeing the civil war in El Salvador arrived in the Mission District in the 1980s, the church threw open its doors and even painted them bright red, a Christian symbol signifying sanctuary could be found inside.

When gay men began dying of AIDS in the 1980s and 1990s, the church took them in, too — some of their ashes were scattered on church grounds, their graves still visited regularly by partners and friends.

More here-


St. Paul's Episcopal Church to remove images of Confederate flags

From Richmond-

The historic St. Paul’s Episcopal Church known as the “Cathedral of the Confederacy” has begun removing all images of the Confederate flag from within its walls.

The measure includes six plaques with various versions of the Confederate flag, the church’s coat of arms with the flag on kneelers at the high altar, and bookplates in some books in the church’s library.

The coat of arms will be retired, and the church will start to dig deeper in its history, the role of race and slavery in that history, and how parishioners can engage in conversations about race in the Richmond region, church leadership announced Sunday, three months after conversations began with the congregation.

More here-