Friday, August 28, 2015

Piecemeal revision of C of E law won't help, say canon lawyers

From The Church Times-

PROPOSALS for a new Enabling Measure that would give the Archbishops’ Council “Henry VIII” powers to change or repeal some synodical Measures and Acts of Parliament do not go far enough, the Ecclesiastical Law Society (ELS) have said.

At present, minor changes to existing church laws usually require the passage of another Measure, with full scrutiny by the General Synod and Parliament’s Ecclesiastical Committee, in a process that takes a minimum of 18 months.

The proposed new Measure would give the Archbishops’ Council the power to change Measures and other legislation by Orders that, if approved by the General Synod in a single majority vote, would be laid before Parliament as Statutory Instruments.

More here-

At This Brooklyn Church, Everything Must Go

From The New York Times-

On a recent Saturday morning, dust choked the air, and debris rained inside the Church of the Redeemer in Brooklyn, just south of the Atlantic Terminal transit hub. Shards of stained glass panes had fallen onto remnants of floral floor tiles, near stacks of dirt-covered hymnals and mangled metal ceiling panels. Workers were hammering apart walls and carrying walnut pews, which were to be offered for sale at the Demolition Depot in Manhattan.

Last year, the Episcopal Diocese of Long Island sold the property for $20 million, and the church is scheduled for demolition. Its new owner, the Jackson Group, has not announced plans for the empty lot.

More here-

Jonathan Daniels’ companions in Alabama recall his life, death

From ENS (with video)

Five people who worked alongside Jonathan Daniels in the struggle for civil rights in Alabama in 1965 gathered at his home parish, St. James Episcopal Church, on Aug. 22 to reminisce about the seminarian who died when he was 26 years old.

Daniels died Aug. 20, 1965, in Hayneville, Alabama, by stepping in front of a shotgun aimed at then-16-year-old Ruby Sales.

The Episcopal Church added Daniels to its Lesser Feasts and Fasts calendar of commemorations in 1994. His feast day is Aug. 14, the day of his arrest.

The panel discussion included:

Sales, a Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee (SNCC) volunteer in Lowndes County, Alabama, in 1965, who now operates the Atlanta, Georgia-based SpiritHouse Project to work for racial, economic and social justice.

More here-

Thursday, August 27, 2015

From South Africa-

Archbishop Desmond Tutu is expected to be discharged from hospital by the end of next week, his daughter said Thursday, as his health improves under treatment for a persistent infection.

The 83-year-old Nobel peace prize laureate was readmitted to hospital on August 17 after being troubled by the infection, which his family said was a consequence of prostate cancer treatment he has received for 18 years.

His daughter Mpho Tutu told journalists in Cape Town that his family were keen to see him back home.

"We hope that he will be able to return home by the end of next week maybe, and he will take all the medication and not need to be on the intravenous stuff.

"He won't make a fuss about being uncomfortable and so sometimes that makes it a bit challenging for the nurses," she added.

More here-

Defendant Testifies in Prep-School Assault Case

From The Wall Street Journal-

A 19-year-old defendant on Wednesday said he didn’t have sex with a fellow prep-school student in a high-profile case that demonstrates how allegations of campus sexual assault are widening beyond the nation’s colleges and universities.

Owen Labrie, a former student and captain of the soccer team at St. Paul’s School, took the stand for the first time Wednesday. He is accused of raping a then-15-year-old girl in May 2014, just before he graduated at age 18. Mr. Labrie of Tunbridge, Vt., has pleaded not guilty to three felony sexual assault charges and other charges, including endangering the welfare of a child.

Under cross-examination Wednesday, Mr. Labrie acknowledged he invited the girl for a “senior salute,” in which graduating upperclassmen proposition younger students to arrange encounters, often intimate, before graduation. But he said the two had a consensual physical encounter that didn’t include intercourse.

More here-

Out of Deep Waters: Gulf Coast, Episcopal Church remembers Katrina

From ENS-

It was Sunday; just six days after Hurricane Katrina had ripped a swath of death and destruction across the Gulf Coast of Louisiana and Mississippi. It was time for church.

Not matter that Katrina had wiped the building known as St. Mark’s Episcopal Church in Gulfport from its Gulf-side lot. The Rev. James “Bo” Roberts had not missed a Sunday service since he became rector of the then-123-year-old church in April 1969 before Hurricane Camille knocked the building of its foundation about the same time in August of that year.

And so, on Sept. 3, the Sunday of Labor Day weekend, the particle board sign along debris-strewn Church Avenue just north of sand-covered East Beach Boulevard read “Here! Mass 9:30 Bring Chair.”

Roberts, a Gulf Coast native, rode out Camille in his home but nearly died. He stayed for Katrina, too.

More here-

Wednesday, August 26, 2015

Vatican Supports Naming Square After Excommunicated Church Reformer (Martin Luther)

From Huffington-

The Vatican has given its backing to a central Rome square being named after Martin Luther, a church reformer excommunicated by the pope nearly 500 years ago.

A German Catholic priest and theologian, Luther was a key figure in the Protestant Reformation and sparked considerable controversy by challenging the authority of the Catholic Church. He denounced the corruption he saw among clergy in Rome and believed salvation came through faith alone — views that did not sit well with Pope Leo X.

Luther was excommunicated in 1521 and was never allowed to return to the Catholic Church, but now the Vatican’s views have changed.

Next month a hilltop square in Rome is due to be named Piazza Martin Lutero, in memory of Luther’s achievements. The site chosen is the Oppian Hill, a park area that overlooks the Colosseum.

More here-

PB Supports Iran Agreement

From The Living Church-

Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori has joined more than 50 other religious leaders urging Congress to approve the Obama administration’s agreement with Iran.

“The July 2015 diplomatic agreement with Iran will dramatically shrink and impose unprecedented constraints on Iran’s nuclear program,” the leaders say in an open letter. “In exchange, the international community will begin to lift sanctions on Iran. It also establishes the most robust monitoring and inspection regime ever negotiated to verify Iran’s compliance with the restrictions on its nuclear program.

More here-

Kenya’s Council of Churches launches climate change campaign ahead of Paris conference

From National Catholic Reporter-

While calling for global carbon emissions cuts, Kenya’s National Council of Churches has launched a multifaith campaign to lobby governments, industries and multilateral agencies to agree on a binding treaty at the United Nations climate change talks in Paris later this year.

A new protocol is expected to be adopted at the meeting, known as COP21, to replace the 1997 Kyoto Protocol, which is due to expire. That protocol required that state signers reduce greenhouse gas emissions, based on the premise that global warming exists and human-made carbon dioxide emissions have caused it.

A pan–African climate justice campaign, under the slogan “We Have Faith -- Act Now for Climate Justicem,” seeks to mobilize African religious communities on climate justice ahead of the December conference. It has launched a 1 million signature petition to push for a new treaty.

More here-

Rape Trial Casts Spotlight on New Hampshire Prep School

From The Wall Street Journal-

A high-profile rape trial under way here has put an uncomfortable spotlight on one of the nation’s most prestigious boarding schools.

Several current and former students from St. Paul’s School in testimony Monday described a campus tradition in which seniors proposition younger students to arrange encounters, often intimate, before graduation—with boys in some dorms and athletic teams competing for the highest tally.

In the “senior salute” tradition, students about to graduate would “decide that they wanted to hook up with a younger student,” Henry Kremer, who graduated from St. Paul’s in June, testified. The encounters “meant at least kissing” and could escalate “all the way up to sexual intercourse,” said Mr. Kremer.

More here-

Cuban Episcopal Bishop makes historic visit to Christ Episcopal Church

From New Orleans-

Love brings courage and last week Rev. Griselda Delgado Del Carpio, the Episcopal Bishop of Cuba, brought love and courage to Christ Episcopal Church in Covington. 

Christ Episcopal welcomed Bishop Del Carpio with a program featuring prayers, readings, and songs, including a rousing rendition of Guantanamera, all in Spanish by students of Christ Episcopal School under the direction of Spanish teachers Dawn Cox, Elizabeth Ryan and Angela Nunez.

More here-

Tuesday, August 25, 2015

Attempt at humor falls flat, mischaracterizes parishioners

From Minnesota-

The road to hell, it is said, is paved with good intentions.

In my case, the road to hellish — or at least boorish — behavior was paved with the intention to be funny. Unfortunately, my intent went awry, and in the process I inadvertently caused offense and unintentionally leveled insult at a place and a group of people who deserved none of it. In other words, I tried to be funny and I wasn’t, and in the process, I hurt a lot of people whom I shouldn’t have hurt and disparaged a lot of people whom I didn’t intend to disparage. It was a stupid mistake on my part. For that, I am truly sorry and I apologize.

What happened was this: In the Lifestyle section of each Weekend Edition we run a feature that we call Mystery Shot, a feature we have been running since 2008. In the feature, we show part of a fairly well known structure in Steele County and ask our readers to identify the place pictured — something which our readers are very good at doing. Then, the next week, we identify the place pictured and tell which of our readers correctly identified the place. Occasionally, a couple dozen ID the place, sometimes only a few.

More here-

A remarkable tale of slavery and opportunity in early Detroit

From Michigan-

Tucked into a bucolic corner on Grosse Ile, an island community in the Detroit River, a small wooden Gothic Revival chapel adjoins the congregation of St. James Episcopal Church. The building is quaint and charming, matching the leafy setting and peaceful environment of the island. The story of the building’s existence, though, dates back nearly 150 years and testifies to the enduring friendship of two remarkable women and serves as a reminder of Michigan's oft overlooked history with the institution of slavery. Along the way, the story includes quite a few famous names from Detroit history, as well as some statewide firsts.

More here-

RIP: Former Jerusalem and Middle East Bishop Samir Hana Kafity

From ENS-

The Most Rev. Samir Hana Kafity, twelfth president-bishop and primate of Jerusalem and the Middle East, and bishop-in-residence at St. Bartholomew’s Episcopal Church in Poway, died on the afternoon of Aug. 21 at home after a stroke. He was 81 years old.

“Bishop Kafity kept a ball of barbed wire on his desk to help him remember that he was pastor to Christians on both sides of the barbed wire,” said the Rev. Mark McKone-Sweet, rector of St. Bartholomew’s, Poway, the parish home of Bishop Kafity and his family for the past eighteen years. “He gave himself relentlessly to bringing peace to all people, regardless of race, nationality, faith or political group, by breaking down differences and collaborating with countless religious leaders around the world.”

More here-

Monday, August 24, 2015

Did Religion Make the American Civil War Worse?

From The Atlantic-

If there is one sober lesson Americans seem to be taking out of the bathos of the Civil War sesquicentennial, it’s the folly of a nation allowing itself to be dragged into the war in the first place. After all, from 1861 to 1865 the nation pledged itself to what amounted to a moral regime change, especially concerning race and slavery—only to realize that it had no practical plan for implementing it. No wonder that two of the most important books emerging from the Sesquicentennial years—by Harvard president Drew Faust, and Yale’s Harry Stout—questioned pretty frankly whether the appalling costs of the Civil War could be justified by its comparatively meager results. No wonder, either, that both of them were written in the shadow of the Iraq War, which was followed by another reconstruction that suffered from the same lack of planning.

Bishop Curry's farewell comes through Greensboro

From North Carolina-

As the spiritual leader for the Episcopal Diocese of North Carolina, which roughly covers the central part of the state, Bishop Michael Curry often joins in the creativity of the Greensboro parishes.

“I think their legacy is in finding creative ways that really do engage people in issues — not always having to fix them but to engage people in problem solving,” he said on the steps of Holy Trinity during its 100th anniversary celebration in 2010, which focused on spirituality and the arts.

Curry, in his attention-drawing purple vestry and carrying a hooked wooden staff, led local congregations in a re-creation of the Stations of the Cross at Easter in 2013, with the downtown business district as a backdrop for the symbolic journey.

More here-

Rhode Island Church Taking Unusual Step to Illuminate Its Slavery Role

From Rhode Island-

One of the darkest chapters of Rhode Island history involved the state’s pre-eminence in the slave trade, beginning in the 1700s. More than half of the slaving voyages from the United States left from ports in Providence, Newport and Bristol — so many, and so contrary to the popular image of slavery as primarily a scourge of the South, that Rhode Island has been called “the Deep North.”

That history will soon become more prominent as the Episcopal diocese here, which was steeped in the trans-Atlantic slave trade, establishes a museum dedicated to telling that story, the first in the country to do so, according to scholars.

More here-

St. Paul's Episcopal Church discusses Confederate imagery

From Richmond-

At the landmark church sometimes referred to as the Cathedral of the Confederacy during the Civil War and its aftermath, the issue of memorials and imagery is prompting self-examination by congregants and clergy.

About 100 members of St. Paul’s Episcopal Church downtown participated in the second of two conversations about the Confederate symbols after their worship service Sunday.

The discussions, which are far from conclusive at this point, were sparked by the racially motivated massacre of nine black churchgoers June 17 in Charleston, S.C., said St. Paul’s rector, the Rev. Wallace Adams-Riley.

More here-

Saturday, August 22, 2015

Former Nigerian Maximum Ruler, Abacha, Handed Millions To Anglican Church Leaders, Exclusive Documents Reveal

From Nigeria-

Documents exclusively obtained by SaharaReporters reveals that former military ruler,  Sani Abacha, gave millions of dollars in public funds to leaders of the Anglican Church of Nigeria during his brutal reign.

Mr. Abacha's regime was marked by draconian decrees, the incarceration or hanging of dissidents, most famously Ken Saro-Wiwa and the Ogoni 8, as well as massive corruption.

Before his death in November 1998, Mr. Abacha had squandered hundreds of millions of dollars to buy political support for his plan to succeed himself as a civilian president.

The documents obtained by SaharaReporters reveal that Sani Abacha approved $5 million to fund the leaders of the Anglican Church of Nigeria on a trip to the 1998 Lambeth Conference in London. The Lambeth Conference is a gathering of Anglican leaders from around the world that takes place every ten years.

The documents reveal that more than  $1 million of the fund was delivered specifically to Peter Akinola, the then Anglican Archbishop of Abuja.

More here-

Elite New Hampshire prep school probes campus ‘hookup’ culture amid rape case involving teen students

From The NY Daily News-

A New Hampshire prep school that has educated some of the nation's elite for more than a century and a half is confronting a campus practice of sexual conquest after a senior was charged with raping a 15-year-old freshman girl.

In a series of letters over the past year to students, parents and alumni, St. Paul's School Rector Michael Hirschfeld candidly acknowledged the sexual assault charges and vowed to re-examine campus culture to see how a practice known as "Senior Salute" had been allowed to develop.

"While the allegation and the people it involves will not be a topic of conversation at the school, the broader issues it raises — the use of social media to perpetuate unhealthy relationships, the 'hookup' culture and unsanctioned student 'traditions' — will be," Hirschfeld wrote on Aug. 7, 2014, a month after Owen Labrie was charged with rape and other felonies.

More here-

also here-

The Ancient Spanish Monastery Is A North Miami Beach Gem That You Have To Visit

From Miami-

Secluded within the groves surrounding West Dixie Highway lies a Florida Heritage site you may not have heard of – the Ancient Spanish Monastery.

A North Miami Beach relic, it boasts historic structures containing Romanesque and pre-Gothic architecture. Stretching from as far back as the 12th century, conserved artifacts take visitors into the life of medieval monks in northern Spain. But how this wonder ended up in Miami is a long story

Here’s the condensed version:

–   From 1133 to 1141 AD, the monastery and cloisters were constructed in Sacramenia, a city in the province of Segovia, Spain. Originally dedicated to the Virgin Mary, it was renamed to recognize its renowned abbot Bernard of Clairvaux after his canonization.

More here-

St. Paul’s Episcopal Church closes

From Michigan-

The name is off the building at St. Paul’s Episcopal Church, 3201 Gratiot Ave., Port Huron.

The last Episcopalian service at the church was Aug. 9.

“We are closed,” said the Rev. Bob Diehl. He and the Rev. Shirley Seely were the two priests at St. Paul’s. “Our ecclesiastical corporation will be dissolved Aug. 9, which was the day of our last service there.”

The building, however, won’t remain empty. It was sold to Restoration Christian Community Church, which had been at 2625 Moak St., Port Huron.

“The sale of the building was finalized on July 16,” Diehl said. “They’ve had the building legally, but they have been helpful with us in terms of moving out.”

More here-

Friday, August 21, 2015

Onward Christian soldiers

From The Tablet-

Seventy years on, it may be hard to imagine the Second World War as a religious conflict. Yet at the time it was defined as the ultimate struggle for the Church’s survival
Wednesday 2 September will mark the seventieth anniversary of the formal surrender of Japan, and with it the end of the most destructive war in history. The Second World War resulted in the deaths of more than 55 million people, most of them civilians; it triggered the Holocaust, laid waste vast swathes of Europe and Asia, and saw the advent of nuclear weapons.

But for all its significance it remains poorly understood, not least in Great Britain. Here, perceptions of the conflict are largely governed by a complacent national mythology that still has an unsettling resonance among English football fans (“Where were you in World War Two?”, as Chelsea fans chanted on the Paris Metro last February).

More here-

Churches Have Lost the Way

From Namibia-

The old Evangelical, Catholic and Anglican churches have not only been losing ardent followers in Namibia, where they have dominated for more than a century, but they are also failing to take the lead on moral guidance as they did almost unchallenged for decades. They have only themselves to blame.

Consider the latest reports emanating from Okaku, a village west of Ondangwa, where a pastor of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Namibia (Elcin) is accused of locking a cemetery in order to block the funeral of a 115-year-old man, because he belonged to the Roman Catholic faith.

Pastor Nehemia Sheefeni argued that he forbade the burial in a grave that had already been dug for Benediktus Shikwamanga, because his family failed to wait for the reverend to give explicit approval since non-Lutherans must follow a more long-winded procedure.

Pastor Sheefeni put two padlocks on the gate just to make sure the deceased would not be laid to rest in what he insists is a Lutheran cemetery.

More here-

Bishops hang on to hope in ‘shameful’ South Sudan

From The Church Times-

THE Bishop of Maridi, South Sudan, the Rt Revd Justin Badi, has no doubt about the cause of the "hopeless and shameful" situation in which his countrymen find themselves.

"All the bad things are the products of the devil, whose aim is always to divide, destroy, and uplift self-will," he says.

Reading the accounts of the horror that stalks Unity state, it is hard not to conclude that something hellish has taken hold. Fighting flared up in the state in April when government forces (the Sudan People’s Liberation Army, SPLA), aided by militias, attacked villages from three fronts.

Aid workers from the UN Mission in South Sudan (UNMISS) managed to interview 115 victims and witnesses.

More here-

Thursday, August 20, 2015

Why The Pope Matters

From Huffington-

An estimated 1.5 million people are expected to join Pope Francis on September 27 for a celebration of the Mass at the culmination of the World Meeting of Families in Philadelphia. The massive gathering, plus the pope’s participation in the Festival of Families the day before, which is expected to draw close to 750,000 people, has led to the coining of the term “Popeapocalypse”.

Universities are closing, pilgrims are staking sleeping plots in the Philadelphia Zoo, the mass transit system is holding a lottery for train tickets and women expecting to give birth in the area are looking at traveling to other cities -- all in anticipation of Pope Francis's visit.

There is no other religious, entertainment or political leader alive today who could garner anywhere near the kind of response inspired by the pope -- a fact that leaves some people scratching their heads and wondering: why? 

More here-

Episcopal Cathedral in Erie raising money for Homeless Jesus

From Erie-

The Episcopal Cathedral of St. Paul in Erie is trying to raise $50,000 to pay for and install a Homeless Jesus statue near the church.

The Rev. John Downey, the cathedral's dean, tells the Erie Times-News ( ) that the statue combines issues of faith and social concerns.
The statue by Ontario sculptor Timothy Schmalz shows Jesus under a blanket on a park bench. The bench has room enough at the end for one person to sit.

Chris Tombaugh, who chairs the Home Team for Erie County, says she thinks the statue is "awesome" and will help call attention to homelessness in Erie County. The group is a coalition of agencies that fight homelessness.

More here-

Wednesday, August 19, 2015

Alleged NH Prep School Rape Victim Takes the Stand

From ABC (with video)-

The alleged victim took the stand this afternoon after opening arguments in the rape case involving an elite New Hampshire prep school that has raised questions about the campus culture.

The teen, who is not being named because of her age and the nature of the alleged crime, told the court that she and defendant Owen Labrie were not friends and that she was 15 at the time of the incident last year, The Associated Press reported.

Labrie, 19, of Tunbridge, Vermont, is a graduate of St. Paul's School in Concord, New Hampshire. He is accused of raping the girl on campus on May 30, 2014, days before he graduated.

More here-

Near bustling Harvard Square, monks provide silent sanctuary

From Boston (via San Francisco)-

Just blocks away from the bustling heart of this city, a community of monks offers a silent escape from it.

The Society of Saint John the Evangelist, an order of Episcopal brothers, has kept a guesthouse at its monastery for decades to give outsiders a place to unplug and relax in a place of deep, serene quiet.

Behind the stone walls, idle chatter is taboo. Cellphone calls are to be taken outside, or not at all. Signs posted throughout the house ask guests to respect the quiet.

It all acts as a counterweight to the hurry-scurry of Harvard Square around the corner, where crowds of tourists jostle with Ivy League academics amid the clamor of street performers, vendors and the thrum of traffic.

More here-

Leader at Washington National Cathedral Steps Down

From The New York Times-

 The Very Rev. Gary Hall, the dean of Washington National Cathedral, announced on Tuesday that he would step down at year’s end to make way for a younger leader who can help guide the century-old Episcopal church as it tries to overcome financial and demographic challenges.

Mr. Hall, 66, said that given the mandatory retirement age of 72 in the Episcopal Church, he had come to realize that he would not be able to guide the cathedral through what he and others expect to be a long and difficult quest for sustainability.

The news came as cathedral leaders were preparing to begin a capital campaign in the coming years that they hope will raise around $200 million. The leaders want to complete repairs of damage caused by a 2011 earthquake and stabilize the cathedral’s finances as it tries to appeal to a younger, broader base of potential congregants.

More here-