The Pittsburgh Tribune Review has an article about the upcoming convention in Pittsburgh and how people are responding to it.
Supporters and opponents of a plan to realign the Episcopal Diocese of Pittsburgh with another Anglican body will outline their positions at two meetings before taking a final vote.Across the Aisle, a coalition of clergy and lay people who oppose realignment, will hold its first public meeting at 1 p.m. next Saturday at St. Paul's Episcopal Church in Mt. Lebanon.
The pastor of St George’s Anglican Church in Baghdad, one of the largest churches in Iraq, said that 36 of his members were kidnapped in a month during his testimony before the US Commission on International Religious Freedom in July 2007.
Earlier this year, Christians were shocked when Iraq’s second most senior Catholic cleric was kidnapped and murdered. His body was found in March, two weeks after his disappearance.
The combined effect of church bombings, kidnappings, death threats, economic inequality and general insecurity have forced about half of Iraq’s Christian population to flee the country since the US-led offensive in 2003.
CHURCH OF ENGLAND: Parishes Are Urged to Dim the Lights
The Church of England is telling its members to, yes, let there be light -- just not so much of it.
Reversing an eight-year campaign to brighten up the evenings, the denomination has come up with new guidelines backed by Archbishop of Canterbury Rowan Williams urging parishes to cut back on the use of floodlights in the interest of reducing their carbon footprints.
The move marks a sharp switch in Anglican enthusiasm, which received a major boost for exterior lighting eight years ago when Britain's Millennium Commission awarded about $4.4 million to install floodlights at about 400 places of worship.
Now, the church's guidelines suggest that the lighting has gone a bit too far in these days of global concern over carbon emissions.
"All Christians have an important role to play in developing their own environmental awareness and encouraging it in others," Williams said.
An update on the property dispute in the Church of Canada.
In the Vancouver Island case Anglican parishes in Victoria voted early this year to break away from the Anglican Church of Canada. They went to court to try to ensure that they not be kicked out. They lost.
"The plaintiffs have not, at this stage, established a strong case that they and their fellow parishioners who have elected to join the network are the beneficial owners of church property because they represent true Anglicans and the remaining parishioners do not," the court ruled.
The Church Times on Lambeth reaching out (or not) to the Bishops who were missing last month.
The Archbishop of Sydney, Dr Peter Jensen, who is the newly appointed secretary of the Global Anglican Future Conference (GAFCON), told The Guardian last week: “At Lambeth there was talk of building bridges, but as far as I know there has been no approach made.”His remarks followed the publica tion of a communiqué from the GAFCON Primates’ Council’s first meeting, held in London from 20 to 22 August. The five Primates — of Nigeria, the Southern Cone, Rwanda, Tanzania, Kenya, and Uganda — who formed the Council said that GAFCON “continues its advance”. They had found no reason “to make us hesitate from the course we are taking”.
Opinion Piece from the London Telegraph on The Jeffery John Situation.
You asked for this, Rowan. When you first became Archbishop, you encouraged your old friend to put himself forward as Bishop of Reading and then dropped him in the most humiliating manner possible when evangelicals made a fuss.
This is just a guess, but I reckon that the Archbishop of Wales, Barry Morgan, remembers the great betrayal of 2003 and is perfectly happy to cause +Cantuar maximum embarrassment. If Dean John was in a sexually active relationship, then Morgan would be treading on thin ice. But he is celibate, and in addition ticks just the right boxes – "affirming Catholic", noted theologian, Welsh speaker. (Remind you of anyone?)
"A senior clergyman in Wales is threatening to resign if the openly gay Dean of St Albans, Dr Jeffrey John, is appointed Bishop of Bangor.Canon Peter Jones, the treasurer of Bangor Cathedral and a vicar in the diocese, said that homosexual acts were “sinful and wrong” and the appointment of Dr John would force him to consider his position.Dr John celebrated a civil partnership with the Rev Grant Holmes two years ago but their relationship has not been physical for many years. As such he meets the requirements under Anglican teaching that homosexuals should be celibate."
Here's the Episcopal News Service article about the damage suffered and the good work being done there-
Officials of the New Orleans-based Episcopal Diocese of Louisiana hope to enter the civil parish of Terrebonne on September 5 to survey damage from Hurricane Gustav and assess people's needs."We assume we have significant church damage in Houma and I just don't know about Bayou du Large," Bishop Charles Jenkins reported September 4, speaking from his car as he was making a delivery of gasoline and generators.The bishop said that police reports indicate that Gustav's winds toppled the steeple of St. Matthew's Episcopal Church in Houma and damaged the building's roof and windows. http://www.episcopalchurch.org/79901_100410_ENG_HTM.htm
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Waverly Moss sings in the choir at Christ Episcopal Church in Marion. As church membership dwindled, Moss recalled, she once compared the experience to that of the musicians who sang as the Titanic sank. The comparison is no longer valid, and the 40-year member expresses great hope for the 139-year-old church’s future.
Moss, a retired teacher with more than 30 years of experience, is once again taking up the education mantle, this time for the church. She’s heading the new church school program. This month, Christ Episcopal Church will introduce Sunday school to its ministry, a program that’s been missing for about 20 years. That’s not all. The church will begin a children’s choir, Tuesday night adult Bible study and regular healing services.
In this time when many traditional churches are losing membership, the Main Street, Marion, church is growing.
Congratulations to Scott (and his lovely wife Vera) (who just happen to be Lindsey's (our youngest's) Godparents). Great work for the gospel !
Quinn's tenure wasn't expected to last so long. When he arrived fresh from seminary in 1983, many people didn't expect the parish to survive. The Church of the Nativity had about 25 members showing up for services, a dwindling bank account and a leaky roof.
"When Scott came, the church was practically nothing," said Jim Perrin, the church's historian. "Scott brought credibility to the church."The parish endowment, once less than $50,000, is nearly $1 million today, Quinn said. The church has about 300 members, including descendents of Charles Craft, who donated the land that the church sits on. http://www.pittsburghlive.com/x/pittsburghtrib/news/today/s_492741.html/s_586260.html
The Episcopal News Service article on the September meeting at St. Paul's Mt. Lebanon. There's always Hope.
The event, "A Hopeful Future for the Episcopal Diocese of Pittsburgh: An Alternative Solution," will center on rejecting proposals that the diocesan leadership plans to use to remove the diocese from the Episcopal Church, according to a news release. Speakers will explain how continuity of the diocese as a judicatory of The Episcopal Church will be maintained irrespective of the outcome of the vote on "realignment" at the October 4 diocesan convention.
New Medium: Rector uses YouTube to reach those who don't look for God in traditional places.
Rice, 29, has been the rector at St. Timothy's Episcopal Church since June. He has been writing a blog for three years and creating videos and posting them to YouTube since January 2007. He said that he sees the blog and videos as a way to reach an audience that may not look for God in such traditional places as church.
"I think we're in a post-Christian world," he said. "There's not a cultural impetus for people to come to church on Sunday."The hope for the videos is that they would be a nonintrusive introduction to the faith first of all, and then an introduction to this community of faith."
The Episcopal Church of Liberia under the leadership of the Rt/Rev. Dr. Jonathan B.B. Hart, has re-opened the Seth C. Edwards Memorial Theological Institute for academic 2008-2009.The re-opening of the institute indicates that the church is true to its mission of spreading the Gospel of Jesus Christ nationwide as well as emancipating Liberians from the ills of illiteracy poverty.
As a final vote approaches on whether the Episcopal Diocese of Pittsburgh should secede from the national church, local Episcopalians who want to remain part of the New York-based denomination are meeting to plan for their future.
"A Hopeful Future for the Episcopal Diocese of Pittsburgh: An Alternative Solution" will present reasons for opting to stay in the Episcopal Church.It will also present what may happen with property, a new diocesan government and other issues if Bishop Robert Duncan and most local Episcopalians change their allegiance to the theologically conservative Anglican Province of the Southern Cone, which covers six nations in southernmost South America. The Episcopal Church is the U.S. branch of the worldwide Anglican Communion.
"A Hopeful Future" will take place at 1 p.m. Sept. 13 in St. Paul Episcopal Church, Mt. Lebanon.
Episcopal News Service piece about Georgia priest and the Republican National Convention.
The Rev. Robert Certain, an Episcopal priest who was a former prisoner of war in Vietnam, opened the Republican National Convention evening session on September 2 with prayer.Certain asked God to "grant wisdom and grace" to President Bush and other U.S. leaders and that the presidential, vice-presidential and other political candidates be granted the "courage to face the rigors of the campaign (and) honesty and integrity to cast a vision of unity, progress and liberty."He also asked God to "teach our people to rely on your strength, and to accept their responsibilities to their fellow citizens, that they may put country first, elect trustworthy leaders and make wise decisions for the well-being of our society." http://www.episcopalchurch.org/79901_100389_ENG_HTM.htm
Story from a local paper about an Episcopal priest and her church involved in outreach to to low income Latinos.
“I can remember filling out those questionnaires to get a sense of what career I’d be good at it, and sometimes mine would come out a minister and I would just laugh,” Honig Smith recalled.Instead, she became a licensed clinical social worker and married a man who became an engineer. They were going along with their lives, but then she heard a calling.“It was something that I resisted quite a bit,” she said. “Well, I have a career, I’m doing just fine, thank you. But no, God wanted me to do this. It’s too long a story, as to how all that came about, but there is certainly a discernment process – taking some time to pray and process that. Once I made the decision, I started looking back on my life, and I realized that there had been this call all along.” http://www.tigardtimes.com/features/story.php?story_id=122039911889259800
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Does this mean I've been wearing unethical shirts all this time? Interesting BBC piece about English cleric making a difference.
"Almost all of my colleagues seem to be committed to fair trade as an essential aspect of living the Gospel message and so it seemed ridiculous that clergy didn't have the option to buy according to conscience when it came to our own uniform," said Mr Butler
A report about the work going on in the Diocese of Louisiana in the wake of Gustav.
"We have worked hard to have emergency evacuation plans for every congregation," said Jenkins in a telephone interview on September 1 from Baton Rouge, where he had evacuated with his family."We made sure that elderly and disabled people in our parishes were taken out by the city, the state or friends and we have given each congregation an emergency preparedness kit," said (Bishop) Jenkins.He also reported that the diocese's mobile units -- a medical unit, a ministry unit and a meal-serving truck -- purchased and deployed following Hurricane Katrina, were also sent to Baton Rouge to wait out the storm."There is a really good feeling to know that we have learned from Katrina and have been changed by that experience," said Cowart."We have been more vigilant, more prepared and we have systems in place to be able to stay connected even when external circumstances scatter us," she said. http://www.episcopal-life.org/79901_100361_ENG_HTM.htm
The Dallas Diocesan Newspaper interviews the bishops about Lambeth. these are conservative bishops who are not in favor of the realignment.
ESPRIT: So where from here?
+JMS: It depends much on the will of the Communion. Bishops acting unilaterally do not help this. The future of the Communion depends on those who are willing to forgo what they perceive to be their rights and their prerogatives and agree to live with and for others. We’ve been deaf to that call. It just depends on the will of those who are in leadership and who say, you know, the time has come to work together in unity. As far as I’m concerned as diocesan bishop, we have strong ties and relationships with the Anglican Communion, the Archbishop of Canterbury, and the Global South. The Global South bishops invited both Bishop Paul and me to a meeting with them. We cherish those relationships, and we will continue to witness and carry out our part in the Anglican Communion.
+PEL: I don’t know how I can expand upon that. We need to be faithful to the Scriptures and our Lord’s command to go forth into the world, but one of the things I’m trying to live into is what it means to be faithful to the vows I took when I was consecrated. There are some significant vows there. I think the House of Bishops and all bishops would do well to read those every day.
From the Philadelphia Inquirer. What should I wear to church? Just remember, gentlemen, to kindly remove your hats !
"The Rev. David Moyer still remembers the gasp as the beautiful young bride came up the aisle."What was that about?" he wondered.So Moyer, the conservative rector of Good Shepherd Episcopal Church in Rosemont, went ahead with the nuptials - quite unaware of how backless the bride's dress really was."It wasn't until I blessed them and they turned around that I looked down," he recalled with a laugh, "and saw her..."
1066 Washington Road Pittsburgh, PA 15228 Contact: The Rev. Nancy Chalfant-Walker Member, Across the Aisle Steering Committee Telephone: +1 (412) 243-6100 or +1 (412) 716-7364 E-mail: email@example.com
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Group Announces Unity Event for Pittsburgh Episcopal Diocese
Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania — September 3, 2008 — A coalition of Episcopal clergy and laypeople today invited everyone in the Episcopal Diocese of Pittsburgh to an event promoting diocesan unity. “A Hopeful Future for the Episcopal Diocese of Pittsburgh: An Alternative Solution” will present the case for rejecting proposals that, purportedly, would remove the diocese from The Episcopal Church. Speakers will explain how continuity of the diocese as a judicatory of The Episcopal Church will be maintained irrespective of the outcome of the vote on “realignment” at the October 4 diocesan convention.
“A Hopeful Future” will be presented at St. Paul’s Episcopal Church, 1066 Washington Rd., Mt. Lebanon, Pa., from 1 to 3 pm on Saturday, September 13, 2008. The program will be of special interest to vestry members, convention deputies, and Episcopal Church supporters feeling isolated in pro-realignment parishes. Those interested in attending may obtain additional information by calling St. Paul’s at (412) 531-7153 or by visiting its Web site at http://stpaulspgh.org .
“A Hopeful Future” is sponsored by Across the Aisle, a coalition that grew out of conversations among conservatives, moderates, and liberals of the diocese who believe that withdrawal from The Episcopal Church and “realignment” with a foreign Anglican province is neither a proper nor a helpful response to the current controversies within The Episcopal Church. “The name symbolizes what we are about,” said the Rev. James Simons, rector of St. Michael’s of the Valley, Ligonier. “We have reached ‘across the aisle’ in peace to those who are committed to Jesus Christ but who have different interpretations of scripture and events and who wish to remain part of one church.” Across the Aisle includes Episcopalians from more than 29 churches of the Pittsburgh diocese.
Across the Aisle has appointed a steering committee of six: The Rev. James Simons; the Rev. Nancy Chalfant-Walker, rector of St. Stephen’s, Wilkinsburg; Mr. Charles Jarrett, Chancellor Emeritus of the diocese; Dr. Joan Gundersen, Church of the Redeemer, Squirrel Hill; and Mr. Thomas Moore and Ms. Mary Roehrich, both of St. Andrew’s, Highland Park.
Most elected leaders of the Episcopal diocese have supported constitutional and canonical changes promoted by Bishop Robert Duncan to remove the diocese from The Episcopal Church. The constitutional changes will be voted on for the second and final time at the October 4 diocesan convention to be held in Monroeville.
The Episcopal Church has taken the position that individuals may leave the church but that parishes and dioceses are integral components that cannot separate. Those who vote for “realignment” and plan to leave The Episcopal Church may neither hold office in the Episcopal Diocese of Pittsburgh nor retain control of its assets. If convention approves the proposed measures, vacated leadership positions will have to be filled by Episcopalians staying in the church, and core diocesan functions will be performed under new leadership until the diocese regains control of diocesan assets. “We are making plans to assure continuity in the administration of the diocese,” said Simons. “It is with great sadness that we are undertaking these necessary preparations.”
Contact: The Rev. Nancy Chalfant-Walker Member, Across the Aisle Steering Committee Telephone: +1 (412) 741-1281 or +1 (412) 716-7364 E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
A report on the good work ERD is doing in the wake of Gustav. From Relief Web not an Episcopal site. ReliefWeb is the "global hub for time-critical humanitarian information on Complex Emergencies and Natural Disasters."
"The level of preparedness among these churches operating just three years since Hurricane Katrina has been amazing," says Abagail Nelson, Senior Vice President for Programs at Episcopal Relief & Development. "They were prepared for the worst and are now ready to reach out to the communities and families impacted by this disaster. We will continue to work with them in service to those impacted by this storm, as all work to rebuild their lives."
He linked the diocese with the Church in Sri Lanka. His interfaith expertise was used on the Church of England Doctrine Commission, and with the Archbishop’s Interfaith Consultants. His missionary interest continued through his chairmanship of Partnership of World Mission and the Society for the Promotion of Christian Knowledge. A keen sportsman, he ran in the London Marathon of 1989, raising £30,000 for a diocesan appeal. He was appointed CBE for his work in education in 1999.His theological stance might be described as open evangelical. He was critical of liberal theology, but was a strong supporter of the ordination of women.
Violence continues against Christians in India. Maybe something to add to this week's prayer list.
Churches in India closed about 30,000 of their educational institutions on August 29 to protest against the continuing attacks by mobs of Hindus, which Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh called a "national shame."The Rev. Charles Robertson, canon to Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori, said in an August 26 statement that "the news of churches being destroyed, orphanages set on fire, and Christians forced to flee for their lives are cause for great concern. We urge all Episcopalians to keep the Church of North India…in our prayers."
What does this mean for the Anglican Communion and, more specifically, for the Anglican Church of Canada? While we continue to devote time and energy to dealing with those issues that divide the Communion -- and those issues are profound and deep – we need to continue to celebrate those rich spiritual treasures that unite us.
In a time when society dismisses the Church as irrelevant and the institutional church as archaic, we need to continue to preach Christ and to show Christ to those around us and those half a world away. The Lambeth Conference stands as a symbol of faith in action.
Never mind consents, some dioceses can't even make the election happen ! Archbishop Buckle is pictured with his wife.
Members of the diocese of the Yukon, meeting in Whitehorse on May 31, failed to elect a new bishop, and Archbishop Terrence Buckle said he would postpone his retirement and remain in office.Archbishop Buckle, who is 67, had said earlier this year that he would retire at the end of 2008. Canadian Anglican bishops generally retire before or at the age of 70.
This is from the August Diocesan Newsletter and is pre-Lambeth but I'm sure the sentiments haven't changed. The President of the Standing Committee is writing to the diocese and describing a plan for reconciliation not separation. Refreshing ! ("Reconciliation" - by Vladimir Sokolov- right)
A message from The Rev. Canon Colin P. Kelly, III, D. Min President of the Standing Committee
As I write to you, most of the bishops within the Anglican Communion are meeting in England, under the leadership of the Archbishop of Canterbury at what is commonly called The Lambeth Conference. They are in our prayers. Many clergy and laity are eagerly or anxiously awaiting some statement from this Conference. All hope and pray this gathering of our bishops will provide some clear leadership for the future of the Communion. Some fear that nothing substantive will come forth and they wonder if they should make plans to leave The Episcopal Church.
I have heard from some that there are fears within our own diocese that the Standing Committee and others in leadership are promoting an image of a unified diocese, when in fact there are serious divisions. From the beginning, we on the Standing Committee have acknowledged that our diocese has many issues with which to contend. Among them are the differing theological positions held by the members of our diocese. It is, in fact, because we do not have a mirage of a unified diocese that we are working to prayerfully face into the divisions which exist in our diocese.
Our Lord, Christ Jesus directs us to go and be reconciled with our brother or sister when we discover that they have something against us. (Mt 5:23-24) We see this process of healing continuing for the next several years, going deeper and deeper, much like the image of peeling the onion. As a response to the call of the people of our diocese for healing and reconciliation, we formed the New Life Healing and Reconciliation Process. All of our leadership teams: The Standing Committee, The Diocesan Council, and the Search and Transition teams experienced the first Healing and Reconciling Retreat.
The New Life Healing and Reconciliation process is designed with the following vision:
* Call together the community of Jesus Christ.
* Develop a sustainable process that offers hope for healing, reconciliation, and restored trust.
* Build communication capacities that are transparent, respectful, and loving.
* Provide opportunities to live in the tension of diversity.
*Create a Sacred Space as a safe place to share stories and explore differences.
* Establish connections that transcend differences.
The retreats will also offer people across the diocese the opportunity to inform the profile being developed as a part of our search for a new bishop.
I invite you to come work with your brothers and sisters in Christ to bring healing in the body of Christ, that together we may glorify our Lord and bear witness to Christ's reconciling power.
In Christ’s love, Colin+
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An overview from the Houston Chronicle of how the homosexual issue issue is being dealt with in the major denominations. The Episcopal Church is not alone. I found the excerpt below interesting as I bet Gustav may create a different reality.
The issue of gay clergy is hotly debated in many faith communities today. "Clearly we are on a journey," said the Rev. Susan Russell, president of Integrity USA, a national network of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgendered Episcopalians that supports gay ordination.
Integrity is one of a number of groups sponsoring Many Stories, One Voice, the first North American convocation of pro-LGBT Christians, meeting in New Orleans Sept. 4-7.
Gustav shows up on the same day we're supposed to remember Katrina. Now that's some bad mojo.
"Episcopal Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori had also called on the denomination’s churches to observe Katrina Remembrance Day."Katrina Remembrance Sunday is a way of remembering, of heralding the vast relief work that has gone on, and of reminding that there is still work to be done," explained Neva Rae Fox, the Episcopal Church's program officer for public affairs.Bishop Charles E. Jenkins of the Episcopal Diocese of Louisiana noted that the church’s relief work has shifted from recovery to now including redevelopment and biblical justice."
“The needs continue [to be] great and the resources are dwindling,” he said.
From the London Daily Telegraph. Jeffery John (gay priest) (pictured without the hat) may get an episcopacy after all. He's living with a partner, but celibate - nuances abound !
"But even though he has had a civil partnership ceremony with his long-term partner Grant Holmes, Dr John is not in a “practising” relationship. As he said in an interview with The Times at the height of the Reading controversy, his relationship is a celibate one.The Church of England’s bishops issued guidelines in 1991, Issues in Human Sexuality, that have become an unofficial benchmark for the entire Communion. These guidelines offered guarded acceptance of committed, faithful gay relationships for the laity.For gay clergy, though, celibacy was made the rule, a rule that Dr John lives within."
This is one of the answers given by Bishop Coadjutor elect The Rev. Canon C. Andrew Doyle, during the selection process. Let's see if he gets consents like Mark Lawrence and Paul Lambert weren't supposed to. I worked with Andrew at General Convention. He'll make a fine Bishop.
4. Please relate your personal views regarding the ordination of non-celibate gay and lesbian persons and the blessing of same-sex unions. How would you lead the Diocese of Texas in light of your views? (250 words)
I believe that the bishop's responsibility to the Church is to conserve the faith, unity and discipline and represent the whole of Christ's body. It does not seek to preserve any one special interest. Anglicanism values communion as a guiding principle and bases decisions upon scripture, tradition, and reason.
The Communion is clear about its teaching on sexuality. The Lambeth Conference has reaffirmed this historic teaching. The General Convention of The Episcopal Church has not changed its teaching on sexuality. The Diocese of Texas is clear in its canons regarding the definition of marriage. Therefore, I will not ordain non-celibate individuals, whether heterosexual, gay, or lesbian. I will not give permission to celebrate unions in the Diocese of Texas. As bishop, I will hold true to the canons of the Diocese of Texas. While some would see me as a Windsor bishop, my goal is to be a faithful and discerning bishop. I will not be anxious or have a problem leading the diocese through this time, for I have already been an integral part of the voice and vision. Full Transcript is here -
This was on "All Things Considered" one night last week. Very interesting take on happiness and the whole chastity thing. Its about 2 and a half minutes long. Hit the "Listen" button- Really worth the listen.
"Twenty years ago this week, James Martin left corporate America and entered the Society of Jesus.His friends and family asked him if he was out of his mind. Martin says his call came to him in the form a TV documentary about a Trappist monk.James Martin is a Jesuit priest and author of A Jesuit Off Broadway: Center Stage With Jesus, Judas, and Life's Big Questions."
"Now Episcopalians seem on their way to almost complete rejection of the concept (of heresy). This is one of the major recommendations in a report made public last week by the church's committee on theological freedom and social responsibilities, which labels the sin "anachronistic" and suggests that ideally it be abandoned except in the historical context "of the radical, creative theological controversies in the early formative years of Christian doctrine.""
From Time magazine in 1967. Its interesting that the idea of heresy and trials for it was being rejected forty years ago. Another piece of the puzzle falls into place.
From the Manchester Guardian- a report on the GAFCON primates response to Lambeth. Seems a little odd that they would not go and then complain about the result.
"Six primates, who between them claim to represent half of the world's Anglicans, issued a communique saying they were "saddened" by the Lambeth conference, the 10-yearly gathering held last month in Canterbury, for failing to offer a "more effective way forward".The communique follows their meeting, in London last week, to establish a council, an advisory board and a secretariat for the Global Anglican Future Conference (Gafcon) and the Fellowship of Confessing Anglicans (Foca).All but one of the signatories, the Archbishop of the Southern Cone, boycotted Lambeth, partly because of invitations extended to prominent liberal bishops."
A. Well yes and no. He is a druid in the same way that the Queen of England is. It's difficult to explain and is probably in the category of "They're always be an England". The BBC does a pretty good job though and here's the link. Maybe it should be called "The Society of Silly Hats! http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/uk_news/2173194.stm
You can see all of the Frequently Asked Questions by typing FAQ into the blog's search engine.
Q. I've heard that there are practicing Druids in the Episcopal Church. Is this true ? It's referenced on the Diocese of Pittsburgh's FAQ (#10).
A. This was a man bites dog story.
Four years ago there was an isolated instance in the Diocese of Pennsylvania (Philadelphia). A husband and wife, both ordained, were experimenting with, and involved in, druid practices. The Rev. Glyn Lorraine Ruppe Melnyk managed to get a liturgy she had written up on the Women's Ministry web site managed by the Episcopal Church Center. When it was discovered, it was immediately pulled from the web site. Bishop Bennison (hardly a conservative ally) investigated the charges which resulted in both of those involved recanting of their involvement in such liturgies and resigning from any further participation in such.
The Rev. William Melnyk's letter read in part
"I was wrong. I repent of and recant without qualification anything and everything I may have said or done which is found to be in conflict with the Baptismal Covenant, and the historical Creeds of the Church.
With God as my witness, I reaffirm my belief in the historical creeds of the Church, and the Baptismal Covenant, and reaffirm to you my faith, as expressed in that covenant. I am resigning my membership in the Order of Bards, Ovates, and Druids, as a sign of my repentance."
From The London Daily Telegraph. I guess an asphalt shingle is too pedestrian.
"Thousands of churches have been targeted by gangs over the past year, with more than £1 million worth of metal stolen every month. The thieves strip lead from the roofs, which they can sell to scrap dealers, cashing in on high metal prices. Many churches have been targeted repeatedly and now want to stop replacing the stolen lead and start using cheaper alternatives, like stainless steel, felt or tiles, which would be less tempting to thieves." http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/uknews/2650841/English-Heritage-in-row-with-churches-over-metal-theft.html