Monday, May 20, 2019

Trouble looms in Anglican Diocese following bishopric elections

From Kenya-

Trouble is looming at the Anglican Diocese of Maseno West after a faction that was defeated in the bishopric elections accused the electoral college of irregularities.

Following yesterday’s elections that saw Rev. John Mark Haung- Godia elected to succeed the outgoing bishop Joseph Otieno Wasonga, a faction that supported Canon Fancis Omondi called on the head of the Anglican Church in Kenya, Archbishop Jackson Ole Sapit to nullify the elections and order for fresh polls.

Speaking on behalf of the faction today, Rev. Kenneth Wachianga said that failure to order for repeat polls may force them to go for other alternatives, among them seeking legal action or calling for a split of the diocese that covers slightly more than half of Siaya County.

“We cannot be criticizing Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission for presiding over flawed processes yet we as church leaders allow ourselves to be influenced to manipulate church elections” said the clergyman who spoke at St Marks Mindhine ACK church in Gem Sub County.
He said that they became alarmed when some of the electoral college members, especially from the church headquarters in Nairobi, were hijacked by one of the candidates and booked at a hotel in Kisumu, instead of a Busia hotel which had been earlier booked.

More here-

http://www.kenyanews.go.ke/trouble-looms-in-anglican-diocese-following-bishopric-elections/

Magdalene House seeks skilled volunteers

From Arkansas-

Just a few months after securing a local property for use, the Magdalene House has completed its initial inspections and found itself in need in one particular area — skilled volunteer laborers.

The Magdalene House, which started through St. Mary’s Episcopal Church, aims to provide a two-year program to help women survivors of sexual exploitation, violence and addiction. Since starting the local group last year, board members have worked to acquire a suitable property and furnishings.
In late February, the board formally approved taking ownership of a donated house in El Dorado. 

Since then, they’ve met with city inspectors and an architect to identify what needs to be done before anyone can move in. Becky Choate, board president, said the house needs a lot of work and there are plenty of projects to take on. She described the property as being an older house that has a “cottage feel,” with a screened in porch.

“It’s got a lot of personality,” Choate said.

More here-

https://www.eldoradonews.com/news/2019/may/19/magdalene-house-seeks-skilled-volunteers/

Prayer service honors flood victims, church’s history

From Johnstown-

At the beginning of a community prayer service held Sunday to commemorate the 130th anniversary of the 1889 Johnstown Flood, rumbles of thunder and the sound of rain spread throughout the sanctuary of St. Mark’s Episcopal Church. 

“You know, I didn’t ask God for the sound effects, but God provided them,” said the Rev. Nancy L. Threadgill, priest in charge at St. Mark’s. 

The service honored Father Alonzo Potter Diller, rector of St. Mark’s, his wife, Marion Diller and their children, all of whom perished at the church, as well as other victims of the flood. 

Behind the altar, an inscription reads, “to the glory of God and in loving memory of Alonzo Potter Diller – many waters cannot quench love.” A stained glass window at the church pays tribute to Marion Diller, displaying the date of her birth and her death. 

Threadgill said Diller was known to spend time out in his community and, about a month before he and his family were killed in the flood, he turned down an offer at a larger rectory in Pittsburgh. 

More here-

https://www.tribdem.com/news/prayer-service-honors-flood-victims-church-s-history/article_75508cf0-7ab1-11e9-b34a-cbc017c0fd3c.html

Sunday, May 19, 2019

New Anglican diocese created in New Zealand as wider Province moves towards same-sex blessings

From Christian Today-

An independent diocese has been created by orthodox Anglicans in New Zealand following moves within the wider Province to allow same-sex blessings.

The establishment of the Church of Confessing Anglicans Aotearoa/New Zealand follows the passing of a resolution by the Synod of the Anglican Church of Aotearoa, New Zealand and Polynesia paving the way for churches in the province to bless same sex relationships.

'Motion 29' recommended no change to the Church's official definition of marriage as a union between one man and one woman, but said that individual bishops should be able to use existing canonical provisions to hold "a non-formulary service" allowing for the blessing of same-sex relationships.

The resolution, which was passed earlier this month, also stated that the existing canon should be amended to make clear that members of the clergy will not face disciplinary action for refusing to conduct the blessings. 

More here-

https://www.christiantoday.com/article/new-anglican-diocese-created-in-new-zealand-as-wider-province-moves-towards-same-sex-blessings/132455.htm

First African-American Bishop of The Episcopal Church in Vermont elected

From Vermont-

Eighteen months after Bishop Thomas Ely announced his retirement, the Episcopal Church of Vermont has officially named his replacement.

Reverend Dr. Shannon MacVean-Brown was elected by the 45 Episcopal congregations across the state Saturday.

She was one of three women vying for the position, and is the first African-American bishop of the Episcopal Church in Vermont.

Rick Swanson, a reverend at Saint John's in the Mountains in Stowe, explained the church's decision.
"I believe that the three candidates that we had were all wonderful women and offered amazing gifts," said Swanson. "I believe that Shannon brings a host of creativity and artistry with her that will help us break boundaries."

More here-

https://www.wcax.com/content/news/First-African-American-Bishop-elected--510124251.html

Saturday, May 18, 2019

Church leaders look to improve safety as soft target attacks continue

From Arkansas-

There is a push to secure places of worship following attacks in recent months. Religious leaders everywhere are looking to protect their worshippers. 

Religious communities in Poway, California, Charleston, South Carolina, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania and many more have been targets of hate-filled attacks. Between prayers, a search for answers carries on to stop the violence. 

“We are tolerating this not only in our houses of worship but everywhere,” said Mariann Budee, the Bishop of the Episcopal Diocese of Washington. 

Budee says because of this string of attacks, her worshippers are asking questions she never thought she’d have to answer. 

“It’s a constant request from the congregations that I oversee that we have workshops for them or that we partner with local law enforcement to have some kind of training,” said Budee. 

Training for the unthinkable. Reverend Randy Hollerith, Dean of the Washington National Cathedral, says the groups carrying out attacks are trying to sow divisions and hatred. 

“The most important thing we have to do is stand against hate. That we cannot succumb to the sort of hatred they’re trying to produce through their violence,” said Hollerith. 

More here-

https://www.kait8.com/2019/05/17/church-leaders-look-improve-safety-soft-target-attacks-continue/

Rev. Patrick Augustine leaving La Crosse Episcopal Church after 16 years for position in Africa

From Wisconsin-

It was a magazine article that kept the Rev. Patrick Augustine awake at night, that brought tears to his eyes, that shaped the course of his life.
Augustine was serving at a parish in Virginia in 1992 when he received a copy of “Yes” magazine from the Church Missionary Society in London, a photo of Bishop of Bor Nathaniel Garang on the cover.

Inside, Garang had detailed the plight of the Sudanese, who were suffering through decades of war, genocide and religious oppression under the reign of the National Islamic Front.
The Second Sudanese Civil War had begun nine years earlier, after the First Sudanese Civil War of 1955 to 1972, and by its conclusion 2.5 million lives would be lost and 4.5 million citizens would be displaced, among them Christians refusing to accept Sharia law.
“When I read that story, it really touched my heart,” Augustine said. “I was very much disturbed by what was going on.”

More here-

https://lacrossetribune.com/news/local/rev-patrick-augustine-leaving-la-crosse-episcopal-church-after-years/article_c80d9ecb-d208-53a9-9189-129a336296fc.html

The Episcopal Church in Colorado Is Getting a New Bishop

From Colorado-

On May 18, the Reverend Kimberly (Kym) Lucas will become the first female bishop, as well as the first black bishop, in the Episcopal Church in Colorado since its establishment in 1887. While Episcopalians make up only 2 percent of the state’s religious demographics, Lucas’ election is a big deal for a denomination that proclaims progressive values—most notably, their open and affirming stance on LGBTQ people—yet is led by a standing committee (the authoritative board in the diocese) that is exclusively white. 

Lucas will be leading nearly 30,000 active members across 96 worshipping communities throughout the state. While the Episcopal Church in Colorado was unable to supply state-specific data about its demographic makeup, Pew Research Center reports that nationwide, the Episcopal community is about 90 percent white, 4 percent black, and 2 percent Latino.

More here-

https://www.5280.com/2019/05/the-episcopal-church-in-colorado-is-getting-a-new-bishop/ 

and here-

https://denver.cbslocal.com/video/4087249-new-bishop-elect-kimberly-lucas-feels-awe-amazement/

Friday, May 17, 2019

1889 Johnstown Flood commemorated Guided tours will be available at St. Mark’s Episcopal Church

From Western PA-

In the aftermath of the 1889 flood and despite considerable damage to the 1874 church building and rectory, the death of its rector, and over half of its communicants, St. Mark’s congregation continued meeting in the “Ark,” a temporary small wooden structure furnished by the American Red Cross. The response to the 1889 Johnstown Flood marked the first time the Red Cross was mobilized. The head of the organization, Clara Barton, decided to build “Red Cross Hotels” to house the homeless of Johnstown and surrounding areas. 

Bishop Cortlandt Whitehead of the Episcopal Diocese of Pittsburgh gave the St. Mark’s site to the American Red Cross for use in the Johnstown recovery efforts. The first “Red Cross Hotel” was built on the St. Mark’s site. 

Later, the site of St. Mark’s was returned to the Diocese and the present day church was built and consecrated on May 31, 1891, the second anniversary of the 1889 flood. 

More here-

http://www.altoonamirror.com/life/area-life/2019/05/1889-johnstown-flood-commemorated/

Former bishop who killed Baltimore cyclist must use ignition interlock, undergo treatment for at least 5 years

From Baltimore-

Heather Cook, a former Episcopal bishop who was released from prison this week after serving 3½ years for killing a Baltimore bicyclist while driving drunk, must participate in Maryland’s ignition interlock program and undergo treatment and testing for alcohol and drug addiction for at least five years.

Cook, 62, learned of these and other conditions of her five-year probation at a meeting with parole and probation officials within hours of her release Tuesday, according to David Irwin, her attorney.

Baltimore Circuit Judge Timothy J. Doory imposed the conditions on Oct. 27, 2015, as part of a seven-year sentence he gave Cook for the crash that killed Thomas Palermo, a software engineer and married father of two young children, the previous December.

Cook’s parole and probation officer has the discretion to refine those and other terms of Cook’s probation, but not to add new ones, Irwin said Thursday.

More here-

https://www.baltimoresun.com/news/maryland/baltimore-city/bs-md-cook-probation-terms-20190516-story.html

UMC Bishops advance 'full communion' agreement with Episcopal Church

From Christian Post-

The United Methodist Church’s Council of Bishops approved sending a resolution to the 2020 General Conference to approve a “full communion” agreement with The Episcopal Church.

Bishop Gregory V. Palmer, co-chair of the United Methodist-Episcopal Dialogue Committee, told those gathered at a meeting last week where they approved the resolution by a unanimous voice vote, that it was important to explain what the full communion proposal “is and what it is not.”

“It’s not an organic merger, two denominations becoming one, but the reminder that we see in one another the signs of church — one holy catholic and apostolic church,” said Bishop Palmer, as reported by the United Methodist News Service.

As part of the agreement, the UMC and the Episcopal Church will officially acknowledge each other as partners in ministry, recognize each other’s baptism and communion and share clergy.

More here-

https://www.christianpost.com/news/umc-bishops-advance-full-communion-agreement-with-episcopal-church.html

Thursday, May 16, 2019

‘Mad’ preacher made his mark in Haworth

From The U.K.-

Visitors flock in their thousands to the parsonage museum every year to learn more about the lives of the famous literary siblings. 

But some 70 years before their father Patrick became curate in the village, another colourful character held the post and was making his own impression on parishioners. 

William Grimshaw was a fiery man renowned for some strange behaviour, yet was also a hugely popular preacher who packed out churches. 

A glimpse into his fascinating life is provided in a new, illustrated book,
William Grimshaw: The Perpetual Curate of Haworth. 

More here-

https://www.keighleynews.co.uk/news/17643813.mad-preacher-made-his-mark-in-haworth/

Report: Ex-bishop Heather Cook to advocate for female inmates, addicts after release from prison

From Baltimore-

Former Episcopalian Pastor Heather Cook, who was released from prison Tuesday, said in a new interview that she plans to advocate for women in prison and for those recovering from addiction.
Cook — the first female bishop in the Diocese of Maryland — was convicted of vehicular manslaughter and driving under the influence after she struck and killed cyclist Thomas Palermo in 2014.

She served a little over half her seven-year sentence and will be on supervised parole and probation for five years.

She served a little over half her seven-year sentence and will be on supervised parole and probation for five years.

More here-

https://www.baltimoresun.com/news/maryland/baltimore-city/bs-md-ci-heather-cook-interview-20190515-story.html

Bishop Michael Curry Talks Faith, Love and Social Justice

From D.C.-

The first thing one notices about Bishop Michael B. Curry is his smile and laugh. That smile and easy laugh welcomed everyone to a conversation at the Smithsonian National Museum of African American History and Culture about his new book, “The Power of Love: Sermons, Reflections, and Wisdom to Uplift and Inspire.”

The setting was a conversation with Michel Martin, host of NPR’s “All Things Considered.” The book contains the full sermon Curry preached at the wedding of Prince Harry and Meghan Markle (now the Duke and Duchess of Sussex). Two billion people watched that wedding. The sermon gave Curry global presence beyond the Episcopal Church in America. The book also has four of his favorite sermons on the themes of love and social justice.

Curry has a lot of titles with the Episcopal Church. He is the 27th presiding bishop and primate of the Episcopal Church. Additionally, Curry holds the titles chief pastor, president and chief executive officer and chair of the Executive Council of The Episcopal Church.

More here-

https://washingtoninformer.com/bishop-michael-curry-talks-faith-love-and-social-justice/

Walk in Love border tour starts in San Antonio

From Texas-

The humanitarian crisis on the border has drawn Episcopal church leaders from across the country to San Antonio, where they’ve begun what they’re calling the Walk in Love border tour. 

The Rev. Ann Fraser, associate rector of St. Mark’s Episcopal Church downtown, said the tour is based on Ephesians 5:2, which reads, “Walk in love, as Christ loved us.” 

“Whether they’re asylum seekers, ranchers, Border Patrol agents, everybody is in a terrible struggle right now,” said Bishop Anne Hodges-Copple, who is with the Episcopal Diocese of North Carolina but is originally from Texas. 

The bishop said they hope to find “the humanity in this humanitarian crisis.” 

More here-

https://www.ksat.com/news/walk-in-love-border-tour-starts-in-san-antonio

Wednesday, May 15, 2019

Anglican Bishop calls on authorities to take tough action against mob violence

From Sri Lanka-

Anglican Bishop of Colombo Rev. Dhiloraj Canagasabey yesterday called on authorities to take strong action to prevent mob violence, and warned that failure to do so will only expand rifts between the majority and minority communities in Sri Lanka.

Addressing the media, Canagasabey stated that the Government should act without fear while enforcing the law strictly and impartially, to safeguard the life and property of each individual of the country. He also urged the Police and armed forces to not be influenced by vested political agendas.

“I appeal to the Police and armed forces to act according to your conscience, and be true to yourself, and do not be led by the negative emotions of people intent on creating chaos,” he stated.

He said that while the victims of the Easter bomb blast were mostly Sinhala and Tamil, as well as foreign visitors to the country, all Sri Lankans irrespective of class, caste, religion, or race flocked to the blood bank to offer blood, or to help the victims in other ways. According to him, that is the true noble character that Sri Lankans possess. 


More here-

http://www.ft.lk/news/Anglican-Bishop-calls-on-authorities-to-take-tough-action-against-mob-violence/56-678212

Ex-Episcopal bishop who killed bicyclist gets out of prison

From Baltimore-

A former Episcopal bishop who fatally struck a bicyclist while drunk and texting behind the wheel was released Tuesday from a Maryland prison after spending more than three years behind bars.
Heather Cook was the second-highest-ranking Episcopal leader in the state when the fatal crash occurred two days after Christmas 2014. Thomas Palermo, a software engineer and a married father of two, was fatally struck by Cook's vehicle as he rode his bicycle in Baltimore.

She served just over half of the seven-year sentence she originally received for Palermo's death, according to corrections spokesman Gerard Shields. She had earned good behavior credits and authorities have described her as a "model inmate" at the Maryland Correctional Institute for Women.

More here-

https://www.foxnews.com/us/ex-episcopal-bishop-who-killed-bicyclist-gets-out-of-prison 

and here-

https://www.wbaltv.com/article/heather-cook-released-from-jail/27467514

Tuesday, May 14, 2019

Child abuse inquiry criticises Prince Charles' 'misguided' intervention to shield Anglican bishop

From Common Space-

AN INDEPENDENT INQUIRY will scrutinise the internal procedures of the Church of England regarding allegations of abuse, following its criticism of Prince Charles for misusing his influence to shield his friend, the former Anglican bishop Peter Ball, from scrutiny after Ball confessed to sexually abusing a novice.

The Independent Inquiry into Child Sexual Abuse (IICSA) concluded that Ball was “able to sexually abuse vulnerable teenagers and young men for decades”, and stated in its report that the Prince of Wales’ actions in support of the former bishop were “misguided”.

The inquiry’s report found that Ball “sought to use his relationship with the Prince of Wales” in his campaign to return to his position within the church.

While Prince Charles told the inquiry that he was not aware of the significance or impact of the caution that Ball had already been given, and was uncertain whether he even knew Ball had been cautioned at the time, the inquiry nevertheless decided that his actions and those of his staff “could have been interpreted as expressions of support for Peter Ball and, as a result of the Prince of Wales’ future role within the Church, had the potential to influence the actions of the Church of England”.

More here-

https://www.commonspace.scot/articles/14230/child-abuse-inquiry-criticises-prince-charles-misguided-intervention-shield-anglican

The doors that Rachel Held Evans wedged open

From Christian Century-

By writing and speaking about her own religious struggles in a way that was both irreverent and profound, Rachel Held Evans invited a host of doubters and rebels into a fresh conversation about Christian faith. This apostle to outsiders, who died on May 4 at age 37, was authentic, candid, smart, and funny—and refreshingly unintimidated by church hierarchies, particularly ones that exalted only men.

In her blog posts and books, Held Evans took on the shibboleths of the conservative evangelical faith of her childhood. For many people—especially women—who were struggling to find their way out of an evangelical milieu, Held Evans offered a safe haven. Many of them took to social media after her death to share their stories, tagging them #becauseofRHE.

Nadia Bolz-Weber, a Lutheran pastor and writer who founded the Why Christian? conference with Evans in 2015, told the New Yorker, “Rachel pried open the door and then put her foot in the threshold and kept it open for other people.”

More here-

https://www.christiancentury.org/article/critical-essay/doors-rachel-held-evans-wedged-open

Monday, May 13, 2019

Okowa wants God-fearing leaders to take charge of Nigeria

From Nigeria-

Gov. Ifeanyi Okowa of Delta says only God-fearing leaders that will serve the yearnings and aspirations of the people in every facet of national life will change the country for the better.
According to him, compromise, covetousness and corruption are prevalent in Nigeria due to inordinate desire for wealth and material possessions by Nigerians.

Okowa stated this while addressing the 1st session of the 15th Synod of the Asaba Diocese of the Anglican Communion held at St. Paul’s Anglican Church, Ubulu-Okiti, Aniocha South local government area of Delta State.

He noted that the people, who should be more committed to the affairs of God, have left their duty to God in search of wealth at all cost.

“The inordinate desire for wealth and material possessions inevitably results in compromise, covetousness and corruption.

“This is, perhaps, our greatest undoing as a nation today, as people want to make money at all costs and the result is what we are seeing all around us.

More here-

https://www.pmnewsnigeria.com/2019/05/12/okowa-wants-god-fearing-leaders-to-take-charge-of-nigeria/

First ordained Native woman receives honorary doctorate after decades of public service

From Alaska-

When asked what it felt like to receive an Honorary Doctorate of Laws last week from the University of Alaska Fairbanks at age 79, the Rev. Anna Frank said the experience was incredible and emotional, quite similar to the journey of trials and triumphs that got her there. 

“It was so awesome and overwhelming and emotional,” Frank said. “Because it’s like your life just flashed in front of you, of how you got to that moment. It’s hard to describe, but just amazing.”

Frank was born in Old Minto in 1939 and was raised around five siblings. For the first years of her life, she traveled with her family from the village to her family’s spring camp to summer fish camp and then back to the village. 

More here-

http://www.newsminer.com/news/local_news/first-ordained-native-woman-receives-honorary-doctorate-after-decades-of/article_a63b0078-7545-11e9-9125-cf8cb0290bcf.html

An Episcopal Church in New York Is About to Host Two Virulently Anti-Israel Speakers

From The Algemeiner-

On Tuesday May 14, the Redeemer Episcopal Church in Astoria, Queens is scheduled to hold an event called “Palestinian Expulsion and Resistance: The Nakba, BDS, and the Great Return March.” The scheduled speakers include BDS leaders Raja Abdulhaq, the executive director of Majlis Ash-Shura Islamic Leadership Council of New York, and Nerdeen Kiswani, founder and chair of Within our Lifetime United for Palestine.

Given that the Episcopal Church voted against BDS at its General Convention last July, the Redeemer Church’s promotion of the BDS campaign raises serious questions. The Church’s opposition to BDS was clearly articulated by many at the Convention, including by retired bishop Ed Little from the Episcopal Diocese of Northern Indiana who said, “Divestment will not move us one inch forward in the peace process. It will not bring an end to the occupation. It will not lead us to the solution that we all yearn for, which is two states living side by side in peace within secure borders.”

Little continued, “All it [BDS] does is make us advocates for one side in the conflict and remove us from our role as peacemakers.” Indeed, as reported by William Murchison in The American Spectator, “at General Convention, they affirmed, formalistically, Israel’s right to exist within secure borders.”

More here-

https://www.algemeiner.com/2019/05/13/an-episcopal-church-is-about-to-host-two-virulently-anti-israel-speakers/

Saturday, May 11, 2019

PLATELL'S PEOPLE: Don't blame Prince Charles for sex abuse bishop Peter Ball - I was duped by Rolf Harris

From The Daily Mail-

Over the years, I have been a fierce critic of Prince Charles. Yet now an inquiry has ‘damned’ him over his misguided backing for a bishop exposed as a serial paedophile, I find myself in the unusual position of being his defender.

Peter Ball, the former Bishop of Gloucester, was convicted in 2015 of abusing 18 boys and young men. 

By then, he had been a friend of Charles for more than 20 years — despite Ball having been cautioned by the police in 1993 for gross indecency and resigning from the Church in disgrace.

Charles saw him regularly and corresponded with him, telling him he was the victim of ‘monstrous wrongs’ and giving him money. The bishop prayed with the Prince at Highgrove and became Charles’s long-term mentor.

The Prince claimed that he never realised Ball’s 1993 caution carried an admission of guilt. But that seems na├»ve, particularly for a future head of the Church of England.

More here-


Tennessee Episcopal bishops join push to spare death row inmate Donnie Johnson's life

From Tennessee-

Two Episcopal bishops in Tennessee are joining calls from other religious leaders in the state for the governor to spare the life of death row inmate Donnie Johnson

In a letter appealing to Gov. Bill Lee, Bishop Brian L. Cole, who leads the Episcopal Diocese of East Tennessee, said the life Johnson has lived behind bars demonstrates the power of faith and forgiveness. 

"Ending his life now would only show a violent world that more violence is an answer," Cole said in the May 8 letter. "I believe there is another way available to you — to show our state that forgiveness and mercy is the true measure of mature authority and a wise measure of executive power." 

Johnson, who was sentenced to death for the 1984 murder of his wife, Connie Johnson, is scheduled to be executed Thursday at Riverbend Maximum Security Institution in Nashville.

More here-


Friday, May 10, 2019

Next Lambeth Conference — and its rival

From The Church Times-

THE Lambeth Conference next year will be bigger and shorter than before — but possibly no less contentious, it emerged this week.

On almost the same day that the CEO of the Lambeth Conference, Phil George, was giving details of Lambeth 2020 to members of the Anglican Consultative Council, the Primates belonging to GAFCON, a conservative grouping formed in 2008 in protest at liberal moves on sexuality, were formulating an alternative gathering.

The 2020 Lambeth Conference will begin with a seven-day hospitality initiative, Mr George said. Every bishop and his or her spouse will visit churches around England and Wales. They will travel to Canterbury on Wednesday 22 July, and Thursday and Friday will be spent in retreat. There will be a separate retreat for spouses.

The two Sundays will centre on opening and closing services in Canterbury Cathedral. Thus the conference proper will last only from Monday 27 July to Saturday 1 August, including a London day. Bible studies will focus on the text of 1 Peter.

More here-

https://www.churchtimes.co.uk/articles/2019/10-may/news/world/next-lambeth-conference-and-its-rival

In Good Faith: The soundtracks of our lives

From Akron-

Whenever I watch a show on Netflix or see a movie, I’m always struck by how dramatic the scenes are - the courtroom encounters, the romantic professions of love, the stirring chase scenes. And then I contrast this with my own life, and the interactions I have on a daily basis feel somehow ... lacking.

It finally struck me one day, that it’s less about the drama in my life. I mean, sure, I don’t engage in many high-speed chases with guns blazing, like some sort of clerical version of James Bond. And my wife wouldn’t take kindly to my living as though I was starring in a romantic comedy. Nor would my bishop.

But I realized the thing that’s really missing is the accompanying soundtrack. What makes so many of these moments tug at the heartstrings or get the heart pumping, is the music that matches the movement.

That training scene in “Rocky” set to “Gonna Fly Now” just wouldn’t fly if Sylvester Stallone was doing one-armed pushups and punching raw meat if it was set to, say, “The Sound of Silence” or simply silence. Or Darth Vader entering a scene from “Star Wars” without composer John Williams’ iconic accompanying “Imperial March” theme, wouldn’t create that same sense of impending doom, than if he just appeared from stage left. Music sets the mood and heightens the drama and intensifies the emotions that go with the script.

More here-

https://www.ohio.com/opinion/20190509/in-good-faith-soundtracks-of-our-lives

Thursday, May 9, 2019

What happened to U.S. evangelicals? In early America, they were our freedom fighters.

From The Washington Post-


In a span of three days, Jerry Falwell Jr., a close ally of President Trump, has been in the national news twice — neither time for good reason. Over the weekend, Falwell said the president was the victim of a “failed coup” and deserves two more years tacked onto on his term. Then on Tuesday, Reuters reported that Trump fixer Michael Cohen helped Falwell get rid of some racy “personal” photos of the Liberty University president.

In the past two years, comments and actions by evangelical leaders close to the president have made it easy for many Americans to conclude that evangelicals are the foremost enemies of democracy and freedom.

As someone who writes about American religious history, I think this is truly unfortunate, because no one group has arguably done more — in the past — to advance religious freedom than evangelicals. Understanding the crucial evangelical role in crafting religious freedom makes the position of folks like Falwell all the more tragic, but it also hints at a better way forward for the evangelical movement as a whole.

More here-

ONE ANGLICAN PRIEST'S JOURNEY INTO CONTROVERSY

From Sight Magazine-

It’s no secret to those who have seen the signs he places outside the Gosford Anglican Church in New South Wales that Fr Rod Bower is a man of strong convictions. 

So it’s no surprise to find his memoir is called Outspoken, and while the first half of the text devoted to telling the narrative of his life, it’s the second half of the book that we encounter Bowers in full flight while we’re taken through an exploration of his, at times, controversial views.

Bower had an difficult start to life in the New South Wales city of Newcastle – his was an unplanned birth and his 16-year-old mother felt she had no choice but to give him up. His adopted family soon moved out to a farm at Warakeela in the Hunter Valley and it was there he spent the first 14 years of his life.

More here-

https://www.sightmagazine.com.au/reviews/books/12189-books-one-anglican-priest-s-journey-into-controversy

Guatemalan woman prepares to mark two years in sanctuary

From North Carolina-

A woman from Guatemala has been living in sanctuary longer than anyone else under the Trump administration. Juana Ortega is staying at St. Barnabas Episcopal Church in Greensboro to avoid deportation. Thursday marks two years since she's taken up sanctuary there. 

Though there is a language barrier, Ortega has made friends at St. Barnabas. Church members distract her from a harsh reality. Her immigration case is closed, and she can't stay in the country outside of this building. Ortega said, "I'm feeling a little desperate honestly, because I didn't realize I'd be here this long."

Speaking through a translator, Andrew Willis Garces, Ortega explained that what she misses most is her family. She has a husband, four kids ages 30-17, and two granddaughters. Their lives are the subject of a documentary airing Thursday at the church on the two-year anniversary of her stay there. 

More here-

https://www.wxii12.com/article/guatemalan-woman-prepares-to-mark-two-years-in-sanctuary/27413039

Wednesday, May 8, 2019

Exorcists of the world unite: 250 clerics from different Christian denominations gather in Rome for classes in driving out the devil

From The Daily Mail-

Hundreds of clerics from different Christian denominations have gathered in Rome to exchange tips and to attend classes on exorcism for the first time.

As many as 250 members of the clergy are expected in the Italian capital this week for the conference that comes at the end of a week's training.

Those who believe in exorcisms say a priest tries to draw out an evil spirit that has taken over a person's body - which can take hours or even years to work.

The event, which started yesterday at Ateneo Pontificio Regina Apostolorum - a Vatican-linked university, has classes such as 'Angels and Demons in the Sacred Scripture, The Historical Origins of the Rite of Exorcism' and 'The Symbology of Occult and Satanic Rituals'. 

More here-