Thursday, February 11, 2016

Kasich's Spiritual Adviser Thinks Gay Rights Activists Are Fascist "Thought Nazis"

From Mother Jones-

Despite his calls for tolerance, Kasich is part of a religious community that was built almost entirely on opposition to liberalized religious views on gays and lesbians. Kasich attends St. Augustine Anglican Church, in Westerville, Ohio, a church that was created in 2011 as part of a splinter group, the Anglican Church in North America, that broke with the Episcopal Church after it ordained Gene Robinson, a gay man, as a bishop. Kasich's denomination doesn't allow women to serve as bishops or ordain gays and lesbians as clergy, as it considers noncelibate homosexual relationships to be sinful.

Kasich's personal spiritual adviser is Father J. Kevin Maney, the rector at St. Augustine's whose bio on the church's website says he received his religious education "almost entirely online" before being ordained as a deacon in the Anglican Church. Maney has been outspoken in his views on LGBT people, writing on his blog, the Anglican Priest, for instance, to complain that "militant homosexualists" are trying to stifle dissent and silence those who believe homosexuality is a sin.

More here-

The married priest debate

From National Catholic Register-

They haven't ordered team jerseys yet, but two sharply divided sides are lining up in the married priest debate.

Supporters of a wider married priesthood in the Roman Catholic church argue for the whole church's tradition of married clergy, never abandoned by most of the 23 or so Eastern Catholic churches. The other side points to studies of failed clergy marriages and says married priests are just too expensive.

Time out. Let's talk about 23-year-old Joel A. Wright, a first-year seminarian (now a former first-year seminarian) at the Pontifical College Josephinum. Wright is from Vermont, but as a student at Franciscan University of Steubenville in Ohio, he found the vocation director for the Steubenville diocese and eventually began priestly studies.

More here-

Thrown to the lions? Catholic & Anglican leaders say Christians now a minority

From Russia Today-

Practicing Christians are now a minority in the UK and the Catholic and Anglican churches must pull together in order to survive, according to two senior British clerics.

The Right Reverend Richard Chartres, Bishop of London, and Cardinal Vincent Nichols, head of the Catholic Church in England and Wales, were speaking at an event at Hampton Court Palace, London, on Tuesday.

They hailed the reconciliation between two churches that have traditionally been rivals, and the gathering also saw the first Catholic act of worship at the chapel of Henry VIII for 450 years.

“I would like to think of this evening as a celebration of how far we’ve come and also a celebration of a common agenda,” Chartres said.

More here-

Bishop might spark change

From Ft. Wayne-

Wednesday morning during rush hour, the Rev. Douglas E. Sparks spent time at a bus stop near the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minnesota, where he prayed with willing commuters and made the sign of the cross in ashes on their foreheads.

Participating in Ashes to Go, an unusual way of marking the solemnity of Ash Wednesday, was part of how the Episcopal priest spent his first week as bishop-elect of the Episcopal Diocese of Northern Indiana, which includes Fort Wayne.

Sparks, 60, was elected the eighth diocesan bishop on Saturday. His election came on the fourth ballot during a convention of clergy, deacons and laypeople at St. Anne’s Episcopal Church in Warsaw. He succeeds Bishop Edward S. Little II, who is retiring.

The election of Sparks, who heads St. Luke’s Episcopal Church in Rochester, may signal a pending change in the local diocese’s stance on same-sex marriage.

More here-

Wednesday, February 10, 2016

Henry VIII chapel hosts first Catholic service in 450 years

From London-

The sounds of Latin song echoed through the halls of Hampton Court Palace in London for the first Catholic service in more than 450 years to be held in anti-papal King Henry VIII's residence.

Cardinal Vincent Nichols, head of the Catholic Church in England and Wales, celebrated the Vespers prayer together with Anglican Bishop of London Richard Chartres in a symbolic gesture of reconciliation.

"I think it's a very remarkable moment," Nichols told AFP ahead of the service in the palace's Chapel Royal, which is still administered directly by the Church of England's head, Queen Elizabeth II.

More here-

Chattanooga Mourns the Passing of "Brother Ron"

From Chattanooga-

Chattanooga has lost an advocate for those who rarely had a voice in the city.

St. Paul's Episcopal church says Ron Fender, a monk affectionately known as "Brother Ron," passed away on January 29th at the age of 61.

Fender has been in Chattanooga since 2002, and had been a tireless advocate for the homeless, serving as an outreach case manager for the Chattanooga Community Kitchen.

He made the Bible passage of John 13:1-17 a central part of his mission. In that passage, Jesus washes the feet of his disciples. In addition to washing the feet of the homeless, Fender also made sure that they had proper and adequate footwear to brave the elements, hot or cold.

More here-

Ex-St. George’s School chaplain now target of N.C. abuse probe

From The Boston Globe-

In 1974, when the Rev. Howard H. White Jr. was quietly let go as assistant chaplain at St. George’s School in Middletown, R.I., after admitting to sexual misconduct with a male student, headmaster Tony Zane wrote White a letter telling him he “should not be in a boarding school” and “should seek psychiatric help.”

White went on to work at two other private schools, and neither reported complaints. But now North Carolina police are investigating a woman’s claim that, when she was a teenager, White sexually abused her at Grace Church in the Mountains in Waynesville, N.C., where he worked as a rector from 1984 to 2006. The investigation was first reported Saturday by the Providence Journal.

More here-

Gay marriage remains divisive issue in Episcopal Church

From Tennessee-

A resolution passed by delegates from Episcopal parishes in Middle Tennessee signals that the long-simmering same-sex marriage debate in the Diocese of Tennessee did not end when the bishop prevented clergy from officiating gay weddings.

Clergy and lay representatives voted Saturday in support of the resolution that affirmed the contributions of lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and questioning church members, and called for the creation of a task force to discuss LGBTQ inclusion in church life, said the Rev. Rick Britton, whose parish, St. Ann's Episcopal Church, proposed the resolution. The vote happened at the diocese's annual convention, held at St. George's in Nashville.

"We didn’t know where people stood in the diocese because there was silence. Now we have an idea that there are a good number of people in the diocese who agree with the national church’s decision and not the bishop's," Britton said.

More here-

Tuesday, February 9, 2016

Episcopal church leader calls Anglican censure ‘fair’

From RNS-

Episcopal Church Presiding Bishop Michael Curry is describing the recent censure of his church over allowing clergy to perform same-sex marriages as a “fair” move by the wider Anglican Communion.

Anglican primates voted last month in Canterbury, England, to remove the Episcopal Church from votes on doctrine and to ban it from representing the communion in ambassadorial relationships for three years.

In an appearance at the National Press Club on Monday (Feb. 8), Curry said the decision was a “very specific, almost surgical approach” that allowed both sides to express their differences and yet find a way to remain together.

“There was clarity on our part, both about who we are as a church and about our love and commitment to the communion and there was clarity on their part that they disagreed with us,” he said. “But they didn’t vote us off the island.”

More here-

Monday, February 8, 2016

Anglican diocese looks to secure future through ethical investing

From The Globe and Mail-

There are a lot of empty pews in the Anglican Diocese of Quebec’s churches, but the treasury is fuller than it has been in years.

As shrewd investing is replacing weekly parishioner offerings as a main revenue source, the diocese is looking to ethical investment to build its portfolio in a socially responsible way that better reflects its values.

In December, the diocese completed the process of selling off its $1.72-million in fossil fuel investments and the $525,000 it had invested in gold and copper mining. In doing so, it added its name to the growing list of organizations that have chosen to divest from oil and gas over climate change concerns.

Bishop Dennis Drainville says the next step for the Quebec Anglicans is an investing shift to renewable energy.

More here-

Professor, Wheaton College 'part ways' after controversy over head scarf, Facebook remarks

From Chicago-

A Christian college professor who sparked nationwide debate — and scrutiny from her school — after donning a hijab and saying that Muslims and Christians worship the same God will leave her post.

Wheaton College, outside of Chicago, and political science professor Larycia Hawkins have reached a confidential agreement in which they will “part ways,” the college said in a statement Saturday. “Wheaton College sincerely appreciates Dr. Hawkins' contributions to this institution over the last nine years,” the college's president, Philip Graham Ryken, said in the statement. “We are grateful for her passionate teaching, scholarship, community service and mentorship of our students.”

More here-

Northern Indiana diocese elects Douglas E. Sparks as eighth bishop


The Rev. Douglas E. Sparks was elected Feb. 6 to serve as the eighth bishop of the Episcopal Diocese of Northern Indiana, pending the required consents from a majority of bishops with jurisdiction and standing committees of The Episcopal Church.

Sparks, 60, is currently rector of St. Luke’s Episcopal Church in Rochester, Minnesota, and has served as a deputy to General Convention for the Diocese of Minnesota since 2009. He was one of five nominees for the Diocese of Northern Indiana’s eighth bishop and was elected on the fourth ballot receiving a total of 70 lay and 28 clergy votes. On that ballot, 48 lay and 25 clergy votes were needed for a successful election.

More here-

Sunday, February 7, 2016

Letter from the Bishop regarding the Rev. Howard White

From The Diocese of Western North Carolina (and related to the post previous)-

Just a few weeks ago I wrote to let you know that Howard White, the rector at Grace Church in the Mountains (Waynesville) from 1984 to 2006, had been identified by former students of St. George’s School in Rhode Island as having engaged in sexual misconduct in the early 1970s while he served on the staff at that school. I am writing again to share more difficult news with you. Earlier this week I received an email message from a person informing me that she had been sexually abused by the Rev. White many years ago during his tenure as rector at Grace in the Mountains and while she was a minor. I received that with many emotions and with a renewed commitment for our Diocese to do all it can to aid in the investigation, to console any who are abused or hurt, to respect our ecclesiastical disciplinary process while pushing for a speedy resolution, and to pray to the Lord that justice be done and that the Holy Spirit console all those who are harmed as well as give us all hope for a renewed world.

Complaint sets in motion a 'healing' process

From Rhode Isalnd-

When a complaint is filed with a diocesan "intake officer" about a member of the Episcopal clergy, the church launches a "Title IV" ecclesiastical disciplinary process.

That process seeks to support everyone involved or affected — from the clergy member in question, to those who may have been harmed, to the larger community. It also seeks to resolve conflicts, whether through "healing, repentance, forgiveness," or restitution, justice, reconciliation, or someone's agreement to change behavior.

"This is not a matter of what punishment can a person get. It’s how can we best act to heal all the brokenness and woundedness for everybody who is impacted," said Robin Hammeal-Urban, canon for mission integrity and training for the Episcopal Church in Connecticut.

Prior to July 1, 2011, the process in the Episcopal Church was based on a military code of justice, she said. "The question was, what sentence should be imposed on the clergy person? That, at this point, has been rejected."

More here-

also here-

Friday, February 5, 2016

Archbishops launch evangelism week of prayer

From The Church Times-

ALL serving clergy in the Church of England will soon receive a letter from the Archbishops of Canterbury and York asking them to take part in a week of prayer for evangelism at Pentecost.

The event — “Thy Kingdom Come” — will run from 8 to 15 May. Cathedrals and churches across England are expected to hold events to encourage churchgoers to “share their faith with their friends”.

The centrepiece will be “beacon” services in Durham, Canterbury, York, Coventry, St Paul’s, and Win­chester cathedrals, led by bishops, well-known worship leaders, and musicians, including the Revd Tim Hughes, and Martin Smith.

“Thy Kingdom Come” is the fruit of two years’ discussion by the Arch­bishops’ Task Group on Evangelism. Details of the week were given in a report from the group which will be discussed at the General Synod this month.

More here-

First Anglican Ordinariate Bishop Ordained: ‘It Means We’re Here to Stay’

From National Catholic Register-

In a majestic Mass at Houston’s Co-Cathedral of the Sacred Heart on Tuesday evening, history was made for the Anglican ordinariates established by Pope Benedict XVI: Their first bishop was ordained.
“In a nutshell, it means we’re here to stay,” summarized Msgr. Harry Entwistle, the ordinary of Australia’s ordinariate, which is under the patroness of Our Lady of the Southern Cross.

The new bishop, Stephen Joseph Lopes, 40, a native of California, was in fact instrumental in the creation of the ordinariate that he now leads — the Personal Ordinariate of the Chair of St. Peter.

Read more:

Church ethos of 'easy forgiveness' failed to stop child sex abuse, says Peter Jensen

From The Guardian-

There was an attitude of forgive-and-forget in the Anglican church that failed to halt abuse by child sex predators, former Sydney archbishop Peter Jensen has said.

Giving evidence to a royal commission hearing on Friday, the now-retired Jensen said even in 2002 senior clergy failed to respond appropriately when faced with reports of abuse.

“There is an ethos in the church of what we may call easy forgiveness ... and I think that’s what was expressed back then,” he said.

Some of the clergy were from a generation when the impact of abuse was not understood, he said.

More here-

Wednesday, February 3, 2016

Episcopalians Intend to Vote

From The Living Church-

The House of Deputies Newsletter reports in “Primates Meet, Confusion Ensues” that the Episcopal Church’s members of the Anglican Consultative Council expect to vote when the council meets in April.

In the communiqué they issued on Jan. 15, the primates wrote that, “while participating in the internal bodies of the Anglican Communion, [Episcopalians] will not take part in decision making on any issues pertaining to doctrine or polity.”

The deputies’ newsletter reports on those who question whether the primates have any authority to make that decision:

Experts across the communion, including Norman Doe, director of the Centre for Law and Religion at Cardiff University and one of the drafters of the proposed Anglican Covenant, argued that they did not. “I find it utterly extraordinary,” he told the Church Times. “No instrument exists conferring upon the Primates’ meeting the jurisdiction to ‘require’ these things. … Whatever they require is unenforceable.”

More here-

Pope Apologizes for Killing Protestants

From The Trumpet-

Pope Francis officially apologized for persecuting Protestants on January 25, as he unveiled plans for a radical push for unity during the 500th anniversary of the Protestant Reformation.

“As the bishop of Rome and pastor of the Catholic Church, I would like to invoke mercy and forgiveness for the non-evangelical behavior of Catholics toward Christians of other churches,” he said. “At the same time, I invite all Catholic brothers and sisters to forgive if today, or in the past, they have suffered offense by other Christians.”

“Non-evangelical behavior” is an interesting euphemism for the massive violence unleashed in the wake of the Reformation. Modern scholars estimate 50 million died in the religious violence that followed in persecutions, counter-persecutions and religious wars.

But the pope and Protestant leaders are prepared to put all that aside as they get ready for the 500th anniversary of the Protestant Reformation.

More here-

Tuesday, February 2, 2016

Is the Church of England Fit for Purpose?

From Huffington-

That's not news to anybody, but let's start with that. It's not alone - a seismic shift in economy, technology and culture has meant that many institutions are struggling to respond to a landscape utterly transformed.

For many Brits, the rudderless descent into irrelevance matters little. The absurd and cruel delays in gender equality and LGBT rights only cement the image of the church as out-of-date and, if anything, a hateful force in society.

But, unlikely though it may seem to a country where those with no religion are now the majority, the future of our state church should matter a great deal. In spite of its continuing, nearly deliberate, failings, it may be our best hope in building a society of justice, beauty, and love. So to be clear, I'm writing because I care deeply about the future of the church, not to speed its demise.

More here-

Should Episcopalians repent?

From Christian Century-

I was once in the company of an Anglican bishop from Sudan when he was interrupted by an inebriated man who had sought him out for food or money. In responding to the man, the bishop revealed himself to be a masterful and sympathetic pastor—patient, gentle, and firm. Shortly thereafter, our discussion turned to the then-raging Anglican debates over homosexuality and same-sex marriage. “I just don’t understand this whole . . . homosexual thing,” the bishop told me.

I was stunned. This bishop had just shown great pastoral sensitivity, and yet he seemed to speak flippantly about same-sex relations. I gave him the standard arguments, saying that for my own friends who experience same-sex attraction, it isn’t a choice. I said that the members of the Episcopal Church had deeply engaged scripture and tradition in our discernment of this issue and that we viewed affirming same-sex unions as a matter of justice.

More here-

Episcopal Priest Takes Laundry Love to Amagansett

From Long Island-

The Rev. Gerardo Roma Garcia, sent to East Hampton by the Episcopal Diocese of Long Island to oversee the church’s new East End Latino ministry, has a number of outreach efforts planned, but one called Laundry Love is already up and running.

The program is part of a national movement in which laundries and community volunteers work together to help low-income families and individuals save money for other needs by paying to wash and dry their clothes. Locally, Mr. Roma Garcia has partnered with the East Hampton Laundry in Amagansett. On the first Wednesday of each month from 5 to 7 p.m., the laundry provides the soap and fabric softener, while Mr. Roma Garcia and his helpers provide the money for the machines.

It is one small way to ease the burdens on low-income families, and it is open to all people, not only those who speak Spanish, he said.

More here-

Monday, February 1, 2016

Francis is merely following predecessors on ecumenism

From Boston Globe-

Narratives, especially as they come to be shaped in the media, are a funny thing. Every public figure has one, and once they’re set in cement, almost everything that person says or does is seen through its lens.

For Pope Francis, a key element of his narrative is the (often exaggerated) notion that he’s a liberal maverick. Even when he does or says something that other popes have done or said a thousand times before, it’s touted as an innovation.

Recent days have brought examples on the ecumenical front of the push for unity among the various branches of Christianity. Briefly, here’s what’s happened.

■ Francis announced he’ll travel to Lund, Sweden, on Oct. 31, to open a yearlong series of events for the 500th anniversary of the Protestant Reformation, together with the Lutheran World Federation and leaders of other Christian churches.

More here-

Vatican veteran poised to lead converts

From Houston-

Steven Lopes was a "cradle Catholic," reared in a family that never acted as if religion stopped at the church door.

Superlatives topped superlatives in a career that brought him three degrees from Rome's Pontifical Gregorian University, stints as a university teacher, secretary posts with key church officials and a leadership role in the Vatican's outreach to Anglicans, Episcopalians and Methodists.

When the Vatican needed someone to oversee melding of Catholic and Anglican liturgical traditions, it turned to the boyish California priest, who, associates said, possessed the rare ability to seem at ease in any situation.

More here-

Historic St. Paul church for sale, including the crypt

From Minnesota-

For sale: A 103-year-old church on St. Paul’s most prestigious street, designed by the same architect who created the Cathedral of St. Paul and the Basilica of St. Mary. Asking price is $1.69 million, reduced from $1.79 million. Great acoustics. Worship home of former governors. Stained glass, pews and organ come with the building. Also included is a body buried beneath the altar.

St. Paul’s on the Hill, a historic Episcopal church, is looking for a new owner. The Summit Avenue church just east of Snelling Avenue was shuttered last year after a dwindling and aging congregation decided it didn’t have the numbers to keep it going as a house of worship.

More here-

Sunday, January 31, 2016

New bishop takes the helm at Episcopal Diocese of Southeast Florida

From Miami-

Peter Eaton stood in the courtyard of Trinity Cathedral in downtown Miami on Saturday morning, taking selfies, and hugging and kissing those who came to see him become recognized and seated as the fourth bishop of the Episcopal Diocese of Southeast Florida.

“You want a selfie?” he quipped with a 15-year-old guest. “That’ll be $5.”

Eaton’s witty and down-to-Earth personality helped put those around him in good spirits as they prepared for the ceremony.

Among those in attendance for the occasion were clergy from across the world including the Right Reverend Lord Rowan Williams, who is the former Archbishop of Canterbury, members of South Florida’s interfaith community, and political figures such as Miami Mayor Tomás Regalado.

Read more here:

Where free speech goes to die Political correctness may run amok at liberal colleges, but what about Christian correctness at conservative colleges?

From Pittsburgh-

Trigger warnings, safe spaces, micro-aggressions — over the past year or so, pundits, politicians and other serious people had a lot of fun bemoaning academia as a liberal la-la land where hands are held and minds are coddled. I’m rather old-school when it comes to free expression. I didn’t go for author and Northwestern professor Laura Kipnis’ notorious essay cheering professor-student affairs, but surely it was overkill for grad students to bring charges against her under Title IX for having a “chilling effect” on student victims’ willingness to come forward. Wouldn’t writing a letter to the editor have sufficed? As for dropping Ovid’s “Metamorphoses” from the Literature Humanities core class at Columbia after students demanded trigger warnings about its accounts of rape: Wasn’t it bad enough that Ovid was shipped off to Romania? Must his beautiful poems follow him into exile?

Attacks on “political correctness” champion educational values: the importance of grappling with challenging ideas and texts, mixing it up with different kinds of people, expanding your worldview, facing uncomfortable facts. How will students grow into strong, independent adults in a tough and complex world if they’ve spent four years lying on a mental fainting couch?

More here-

Saturday, January 30, 2016

Book tells story of married former Episcopal priests now Catholic priests

From Catholic Philly-

In “Keeping the Vow,” author Father D. Paul Sullins, a sociologist and a former Episcopal priest, presents his research on a tiny but fascinating subcategory of American Catholic priests — married Catholic priests who were formerly Episcopal priests.

The author is in that group; married with three adult children, he became a Catholic priest in 2002. He is a sociology professor at The Catholic University of America in Washington.

In 1980, the Vatican created a pastoral provision allowing the U.S. to admit into the Catholic priesthood former Episcopal priests who have become Catholic. Since that time, at least 80 priests along with their wives and children have made this transition. Most of them serve in dioceses in the Southwest, many of them in Texas in the Dallas-Fort Worth area.

More here-

Anglicans 'more likely to back gay marriage than oppose it'

From The Telegraph-

More members of the Church of England now support same-sex marriage than oppose it, new polling suggests.

The finding, from a YouGov survey of more than 6,000 people, suggests the Church’s leadership, which led a high-profile campaign against a change in the law, is at odds with the majority of Anglicans in England for the first time.

It also points to a sharp fall in opposition to same-sex marriage among those who identify as members of the Church of England since the law changed, echoing a shift in wider society.

More here-

10 predictions about the future Church and shifting attendance patterns

From Christian Week-

Every generation experiences change.

But sometimes you sense you’re in the midst of truly radical change, the kind that happens only every few centuries. Increasingly, I think we’re in such a moment now.

Those of us in in Western culture who are over age 30 were born into a culture that could conceivably still be called Christian. Now, as David Kinnaman at the Barna Group has shown, even in America, people who are churchless (having no church affiliation) will soon eclipse the churched.

In addition, 48% of Millennials (born between 1984-2002) can be called post-Christian in their beliefs, thinking and worldview.

More here-