Saturday, April 11, 2009

Holy Saturday

Friday, April 10, 2009

Good Friday

Nichols at Westminster will be ‘open to C of E’


From the Church Times

THE MAN appointed by the Pope to the most senior position of the Roman Catholic Church in England and Wales has promised to nurture an “open” relationship with Anglican leaders.
Last week, Pope Benedict XVI named the Most Revd Vincent Nichols, Archbishop of Birmingham, as Archbishop of Westminster, succeed ing Cardinal Cormac Murphy-O’Connor.

He will be installed in Westminster Cathedral on 21 May, Ascension Day, but will remain in Birmingham until then. Cardinal Murphy-O’Connor, who is 76, and has resigned on grounds of his age, will act as apostolic administrator of the archdiocese until that date.

After his appointment was announced on Friday, Archbishop Nichols, who is 63, told reporters that he was committed to furthering ecumenical dialogue, despite differ ences on issues such as the ordination of women.
He said that “great strides” had been made towards unity in recent years, and that it was vital that the Churches continued jointly to translate their “inspiration of faith” into “solid action”.
“Yes, there are profound theological issues which in some ways have become sharper, and we have to keep addressing those and keep an open relationship with the Church of En gland,” he said. “That will no doubt exercise our minds and our generosity; but the most important thing is that Christians continue to work together, and inspire each other.”

Archbishop Nichols, as chairman of the Department for Education and Formation of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of England and Wales, has previously joined forces with Anglican bishops in defence of church schools.

More here-

http://www.churchtimes.co.uk/content.asp?id=73131

Virginia Appeals Lower Court Ruling


The Diocese of Virginia filed an appeal April 7 with the Virginia Supreme Court seeking to overturn a lower court ruling which found that nine congregations which voted to leave The Episcopal Church between December 2006 and January 2007 were entitled to retain possession of their local church property.

The congregations subsequently joined together as the Convocation of Anglicans in North America (CANA), a North American missionary outreach of the Anglican Church of Nigeria.

In a news release, the diocese said it is challenging the lower court decision on a number of grounds including:

Whether it is constitutional for a court to impose a congregational majority rule requirement on hierarchical churches, against their faith and traditions;
Whether neutral principles should be used for resolving property disputes between congregations and denominations; and
Whether property may be held in trust for hierarchical churches.

Several national churches and local judicatory religious groups filed friend of the court briefs in support of The Episcopal Church and the Diocese of Virginia the following day.

The CANA congregations must file a response by April 29. The Virginia Supreme Court is not required to take up the case. It is scheduled to consider petitions for appeals July 14, Aug. 26, Oct. 21 or Dec. 9, according to the diocese’s release.

http://www.livingchurch.org/news/news-updates/2009/4/9/virginia-appeals-lower-court-ruling

Sudan: Tribalism Frustrating Peace Work, Anglican Head Says


It cost Sudan the lives of more than 2 million people to the war but the nation is still divided by tribalism, corruption and nepotism, the head of the Anglican Church has said.

In his Easter message, Archbishop Daniel Deng Bul Yak of the Episcopal Church of Sudan challenged Christians to be "the light of the world, shining like stars in the darkness, so that we can achieve the goals of our nation. Let us throw away tribalism, corruption and hatred, as we the new? are born again and put on our new selves."

He reminded the faithful that they were a new tribe of God joined together by deep and unchanging loyalty and friendships. Archbishop Deng decried the conflicts among Sudanese communities which are delaying the process of peace-building.

"Quarrelling over land and cattle is causing us to continue fighting in Sudan. This is a betrayal of this land and our heroes who fought for us to enjoy it."

He appealed to all Christians in the Sudan to take Christ's words of peace and unity seriously and recognise the Gospel mandate to take the lead in bringing peace back to the nation.

"I am appealing to our communities that tribalism has become a major concern in our nation, and that if we are not very careful it will destroy the unity of our country. The division of people along ethnic lines is a very dangerous weapon that can be used against our communities by the enemies of peace."

More here-

http://allafrica.com/stories/200904090821.html

Family claims accused Staten Island cleric took money intended for headstone


The Rev. William Blasingame, the resigned Episcopal priest who's accused of stealing more than $84,000 from his church, is now accused of pocketing money one parishioner's family paid him for her headstone.

In 1999, Blasingame, 66, who until January pastored the prominent North Shore Episcopal church, told one woman that she could bury her aunt's ashes on the church grounds as long as she paid him $500 for a grave marker, the New York Post reported today.

It was 83-year-old Vera Farley's dying wish to have her final resting place be on the stately Stapleton grounds where she faithfully went to church for many years. But after paying the $500, her niece never heard from Rev. Blasingame again.

"It dawned on me that he took Aunt Vera's money," Ms. Farley's niece, Doris Harris, told the paper. "I'm very disappointed. Church people don't do this to their members. It's hard to believe that someone of his stature would do this to a loyal member of St. Paul's.

Her aunt's ashes still rest in a box on a bookshelf between a crucifix and a Virgin Mary statue in Ms. Harris' home.

Rev. Blasingame stole a total of $84,537 over the three years starting in January 2005, and spent it on plastic surgery, Botox injections and prescription drugs, authorities contend. He could face up to 15 years in prison if convicted at trial of the two felonies with which he is charged, second-degree grand larceny and second-degree criminal possession of stolen property.

http://www.silive.com/news/index.ssf/2009/04/accused_staten_island_cleric_r.html

Thursday, April 9, 2009

Church Defectors Seek to Divert Building Funds to Legal Defense


Facing an appeal filed this week to the Virginia Supreme Court of decisions made in their favor at the circuit court level last year, defectors from the Episcopal Church, USA, occupying the historic Falls Church property downtown in the City of Falls Church, are asking parishioners for permission to loot the church's building fund to pay for a legal defense.


In a letter to contributors to the so-called "Southgate Building Fund," leaders among the defectors, now aligned with the Council of Anglicans in North America (CANA), obtained this week by the News-Press, are asking for authorization to redirect the contributions to "defending our congregation and its property, and our sister (defecting-ed.) congregations in the Anglican District of Virginia against the lawsuits initiated against us by the Episcopal Church."

In an ironic twist, contributors to the "Southgate Fund," set up for purposes of funding the demolition of the long-vacant Southgate Shopping Center and construction of a new "parish life center" on the site, include a number of former Falls Church Episcopal members against whom the defectors' legal defense is being mounted.

"This is outrageous," one such member wrote to the News-Press, noting that she and her husband, and about 25-30 others expelled from the Falls Church property by the defectors, "who in good faith donated money to help rebuild the Southgate property, will have their money used against them."

http://www.fcnp.com/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=4334:church-defectors-seek-to-divert-building-funds-to-legal-defense&catid=13:news-stories&Itemid=76

Bishop to shine shoes at St Pancras Station


A bishop and a chaplain will be shining the shoes of commuters at London's St Pancras international train station as an act of servanthood on to mark Maundy Thursday today.

The event will raise money for the Anglican Church in Zimbabwe, which is supporting impoverished communities in the midst of political crisis.

Shining shoes will be Bishop Michael Doe, General Secretary of the Anglican mission agency USPG, and St Pancras chaplain the Rev Jonathan Barker.

Rev Barker said: “We want to remind people through this event that, even though we are going through hard times in this country, there are people in other countries who have it even tougher.

"I was a parish priest for a year in Zimbabwe, in1991, and what is happening there now is completely disastrous.

"However, in Holy Week, we want to show that redemption is possible. USPG is working with the Anglican Church in Zimbabwe, so that is a good charity to support."

Money raised at the shoe-shine will help to support projects run by the Anglican Church in Zimbabwe, including orphanages, feeding programmes and hospitals.

Bishop Doe explained: “Jesus washed the feet of his disciples at the Last Supper on Maundy Thursday, on the evening before Good Friday. In doing so, he demonstrated to his followers that they should be servants, willing to live in humility and work for the good of others. This was his new commandment or, in Latin, ‘mandatum’ – from which comes the term ‘Maundy’ Thursday.”

More-

http://www.christiantoday.com/article/bishop.to.shine.shoes.at.st.pancras.station/23016.htm

Mission From Africa


From the New York Times-

PASTOR DANIEL AJAYI-ADENIRAN is coming for your soul. It doesn’t matter if you are black or white, rich or poor, speak English or Spanish or Cantonese. He is on a mission to save you from eternal damnation. He realizes you may be skeptical, put off by his exotic name — he’s from Nigeria — or confused by his accent, the way he stretches his vowels and trills his R’s, giving his sermons a certain chain-saw rhythm. He suspects you may have some unfortunate preconceptions about Nigerians. But he is not deterred. He believes the Holy Spirit is working through him — aided by the awesome earthly power of demographics.

Africa is the world’s fastest-growing continent, and Ajayi-Adeniran belongs to one of its most vigorously expansionary religious movements, a homegrown Pentecostal denomination that is crusading to become a global faith. In the course of just a few decades, the Redeemed Christian Church of God, founded in a Lagos shantytown, has won millions of adherents in Nigeria while building a vast missionary network that stretches into more than 100 nations. “The rate of growth,” Ajayi-Adeniran says, “is becoming exponential.” As the man coordinating the Redeemed Church’s expansion in North America, the pastor spends his days shuttling from his home base, a storefront church in the Bronx, to the denomination’s continental headquarters, a 550-acre compound in Texas, and to mission outposts scattered from Vermont to Belize. This places him at the vanguard of a revolution in worldwide Christianity, one that it is quite literally changing its face, as a faith that was once exported by white missionaries from Europe and America comes to draw its strength from the peoples of the Southern Hemisphere.

Revival is an eternal theme in the history of Christianity. Time after time, evangelical fervor ignites, burns itself out and then re-emerges in some altered and surprising form, in constant cycles of migration and renewal. The ferment of the Reformation and the Counter-Reformation sent Puritans to New England, Quakers to Pennsylvania and Jesuits into the wilds of South America. The missionary movements of the 19th century inspired pious adventurers to travel to Africa and spread, in the famous formulation of David Livingstone, “Civilization, commerce and Christianity.” Today the process is reversing itself, as the population of churchgoers dwindles in Europe, remains fairly static in the United States and erupts in the “global south” — a geopolitical term that encompasses Africa, Latin America and much of Asia. Seven years ago, in a book titled “The Next Christendom,” Philip Jenkins, a Penn State religious scholar, predicted that the global south would eventually come to represent Christianity’s center of gravity. Now it appears that phenomenon is starting to manifest across a broad spectrum of Christian belief, challenging patterns of leadership and notions of religious identity that in some cases have stood for centuries.

Take, for example, the Anglican Communion.

More here-

http://www.nytimes.com/2009/04/12/magazine/12churches-t.html?_r=1&hp

There is corruption in the Church


A number of religious leaders who attended a two-day workshop on "Zero tolerance against corruption, the role of religious bodies in Ghana" at Takoradi have admitted that there is serious corruption within the churches.

Speaking at the workshop organised by the Ghana Integrity Initiative (GII), the religious leaders from the Anglican, Catholic, and Ahmadiyya Muslim Mission identified greed, selfishness, envy, opulence, flagrant flaunting of wealth as some of the drivers at the wheels of corruption in the churches.

They said that, the activities of these leaders were fed by and thrived on corruption.

Rt Rev Col (Rtd) John K. Otoo, the Anglican Bishop for the Sekondi-Takoradi Diocese, who delivered the keynote address, expressed his indignation about the speed and manner with which new churches were springing up.

"In the Christian community today, people are breaking away and are forming new churches, but they are cheating the world," he observed.

The rest is here-

http://news.myjoyonline.com/news/200904/28561.asp

Latest Covenant Draft Vests Adoption and Discipline with Provinces


From the Living Church. The link to the latest draft can be found to the right at the top.

Provinces, not individual dioceses which violate the terms of a proposed Anglican Covenant, will be subject to a disciplinary process overseen by the Joint Standing Committee of the Primates and the Anglican Consultative Council (ACC), according to the third draft of the document released on April 8. The document is to be discussed next month during the ACC meeting in Jamaica.

Meeting from March 29 to April 2 at Ridley Hall, a theological college in Cambridge, England, the Covenant Design Group revised the second “St Andrew’s” draft of the document. The group spent time reworking the document in light of reactions received from more than 20 Anglican provinces, the bishops attending the 2008 Lambeth Conference, and other comments.

Those adopting the covenant should agree to “participate in mediated conversations” when disputes arise, and commit to “see such processes through.” If unwilling to abide by the covenant’s terms and judged to be acting in a manner “incompatible with the covenant,” a disciplinary process overseen by the joint standing committee of the primates and ACC may be introduced. Repercussions include the potential for suspension from participation in global church councils. However, “it shall be for each church and each instrument to determine its own response to such recommendations” for discipline, the proposed covenant stated.

Divided into four sections, the document restates traditional creedal beliefs from a high-church perspective, but seeks to mollify both the liberal and conservative wings of the Anglican Communion. Churches are to “teach and act in continuity and consonance with scripture and the catholic and apostolic faith, order and tradition, as received by the churches of the Anglican Communion.”

The rest here-

http://www.livingchurch.org/news/news-updates/2009/4/8/latest-covenant-draft-vests-adoption-and-discipline-with-provinces

Archbishop urges everyone to help each other


ELEANOR HALL: Christian leaders say hope is at the heart of their Easter messages this year.

But in a rebuke to the Rudd Government and its message to Australians to spend more to assist the economy, Melbourne's Anglican archbishop is warning people to start saving and to look after one another, not just themselves, during these difficult times.

In Melbourne, Alison Caldwell reports.

ALISON CALDWELL: Hope and renewal are at the heart of Anglican Archbishop Philip Freier's Easter message.

The Archbishop of Melbourne says tens of thousands of Australians are facing particularly difficult times ahead in the wake of the bushfires and the global financial crisis.

PHILIP FREIER: I think in the present situation of the world we're clearly in a place of much more uncertainty than we have been in recent years and I think that many of the things that we thought were, you know, conventional wisdoms, ways in which we could be assured of our financial prosperity and a whole lot of areas are much less certain for people. And I think for many people that will make this Easter quite different to the ones they've had over the last 10 or 15 years.

ALISON CALDWELL: And what will you be advising them as a way of dealing with that?

PHILIP FREIER: Well I think increasingly we have put our frame of reference for our lives on things about our prosperity, things about our comfort. And I think that the message of Christianity is always one that there is a reference point with God and God's love for us which goes beyond those things.

And I think that Easter for me is always a good opportunity of opening up this horizon of God, God's claim over our life, the purposes of our life, and finding within that a source of hope even in our difficult or bleak times.

More here-

http://www.abc.net.au/worldtoday/content/2008/s2539706.htm

VIRGINIA: Diocese, Episcopal Church ask state Supreme Court to review property rulings


From Episcopal Life Online-

The Episcopal Diocese of Virginia and the Episcopal Church each asked the state Supreme Court April 7 to review a Fairfax County Court judge's rulings in a series of church property lawsuits.
The diocese said in a news release that is appealing for the review on a number of grounds, including a challenge to the constitutionality of Virginia's one-of-a-kind "Division Statute" (Section 57-9(A)), which dates to the Civil War and is triggered when there is a so-called "division" of a church or religious society, and the rulings of the Circuit Court in applying the law.

The litigation involves nine Episcopal parishes of the diocese which the majority of members and clergy left to form congregations of the Convocation of Anglicans in North America (CANA). The case originally involved members of 11 congregations of the Virginia diocese who left the Episcopal Church to form CANA congregations. The departing members of nine of those congregations then filed claims to parish property under the Division Statute.

The diocese and the Episcopal Church in September 2008 reached a legal settlement with two of the original 11 congregations, Potomac Falls Church in Potomac Falls and Christ the Redeemer Church in Chantilly, neither of which held any real property.

The rest is here-

http://www.episcopalchurch.org/81803_106787_ENG_HTM.htm

VIDEO: Priest steals for Botox


A New York priest is accused of stealing nearly $85,000 and spending it on Botox, booze, plastic surgery and nice clothes.

The Reverend William Blasingame, 66, recently resigned from Staten Island’s St. Paul’s Memorial Episcopal Church.

Investigators say Blasingame took the money over a three-year period.

“The investigation arose from a phone call from church leaders about disparities in the church books,“ a source told the New York Daily News.

The funds were to have been used for maintenance of the church’s grounds, as well as to help struggling parishioners.

Blasingame was arraigned Friday after turning himself in.

He’d resigned in January and is scheduled to appear in court next month.

http://www.nbc13.com/vtm/news/local/article/video_priest_steals_for_botox/67319/

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Churches across England offer fresh takes on world’s ultimate story of death and life


This week, the most significant days of the Christian calendar are being marked with a wide range of innovative services and events to help regular worshippers and those with less experience of church explore the story of Easter.

From video installations to Hot Cross Bun giveaways and chocolate fountains, Church of England churches are providing new ways of reflecting on the message of Jesus Christ’s dramatic death and resurrection.

This overview gives examples of:

Modern interpretations of Stations of the Cross in York, Birmingham and Herefordshire;

Bishops and clergy shining shoes for passers-by in Bolton, Bury, Oldham, Manchester,
Birmingham and Peterborough;

Dramatic retellings of the story of Christ’s death and resurrection in Essex and Dorset;

Hot Cross Buns being given away in Slough, Reading, and Bicester, and a campaign to promote the ‘original’ Hot Cross Bun in St Albans;

‘Total immersion’ baptisms by the Archbishop of York and Bishop of Birmingham;
Bishops handing out Easter eggs in Oxford, and in Reading on YouTube;

Easter services with champagne, chocolates and much more across the country.

More here-

http://www.cofe.anglican.org/news/pr3909.html

Is Freedom of Religion becoming Politicized in Africa?


From Ghana-

Two of the Longest Running Crisis Spots in Africa are Darfur and Zimbabwe. There are striking similarites in both situations. Both have been victims of very repressive governments. The Darfur crisis has caused the Sudanese Government to become ostracized from the International Community. The Actions of the Ruling Party within Zimbabwe has garnered a similar result. But there is a situation that has not seen the light of day that could have people concerend.

One issue that has been selectively raised in Africa is that of Freedom of Religion. In Eritrea it is one of the sources of the Poor Relations with the United States. In Nigeria periodic acts of violence committed by those from the Muslim North and the Christian Dominated South flare up from Time to Time. Recent Attacks by the LRA in the Congo have targeted Catholic Churches in their attempts at reprisals for attacks by three Armies for walking away from the Peace Table.

First of all Let us talk about Zimbabwe. Since 2002 the Country has had a series of deeply flawed Political Elections, Inflation at an astronomical rate, A similar rate for HIV Infection and Political Persecution. Some of the Political Strife has made its way into the Churches. In 2003 the Group Solidarity Peace Trust Published a Report that highlighted the Political Strife that was affecting the Church regardless of denomination.

In recent weeks there have been a series of reports indicating the Problems that have been afflicting the Anglican Church in Zimbabwe. Some time ago the Governing Body of the Anglican Church excommunicated a Bishop who has close ties to ZANU-PF. He was replaced by another person deemed acceptable by the Church. People Loyal to the Excommunicated Bishop have used force to prevent parishoners from attending services. There are branches of the Zimbabwean Government actively protecting Mr. Kunonga. In this case the silence of the Civil Society Groups in Zimbabwe has been Deafening.

More here-

http://www.modernghana.com/news/210257/1/is-freedom-of-religion-becoming-politicized-in-afr.html

Bishop Kimsey responds to Bishop Breidenthal


From Episcopal Cafe

The Lead earlier this month published the letter from The Rt. Rev. Thomas E. Breidenthal (Southern Ohio) to his diocese regarding his decision not to consent to the consecration of Kevin Thew Forrester as Bishop of Northern Michigan. The Rt. Rev. Rustin R. Kimsey (Assisting Bishop for the Diocese of Alaska, The Fifth Bishop of Eastern Oregon, Retired, Assisting Bishop for the Episcopal Church in Navajoland, Retired) has written an open letter to Breidenthal. Kimsey writes,

Are you attempting to say that the Augustinian view of Original Sin is the only game in town? You and I could cite theologian after theologian who disagreed with one another over this pivotal issue of our nature--and the corresponding issue of the nature of God’s grace--and what occurred on Good Friday--and what was consummated on Easter morning, but the primary point of my entreaty to you is that we should welcome the debate. I find it reprehensible to even think of denying you access to the floor of the House of Bishops because of your theological belief about atonement.
...
If you prevail and Kevin’s election is not agreed to, what is the next litmus test to be? And perhaps the telling question is: if you prevail and Kevin’s election is not agreed to, what word do you have for the people of Northern Michigan? I would suggest you cut us all some slack and withdraw your opposition to Kevin’s election. In so doing you would add a moment of grace to a Communion that, I believe, is in search of openness and transparency, not inquisitional standards employed through the consent process.

The rest is here-

http://www.episcopalcafe.com/lead/bishops/bishop_kimsey_responds_to_bish_1.html

An Anglican Covenant - The Third (Ridley Cambridge) Draft


The entire document as well as a pdf download can be found at the link below-

We, as Churches of the Anglican Communion, under the Lordship of Jesus Christ, solemnly covenant together in these following affirmations and commitments. As people of God, drawn from "every nation, tribe, people and language" (Rev 7.9), we do this in order to proclaim more effectively in our different contexts the grace of God revealed in the gospel, to offer God's love in responding to the needs of the world, to maintain the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace, and together with all God's people to attain the full stature of Christ (Eph 4.3,13).

Section One: Our Inheritance of Faith

1.1 Each Church affirms:

(1.1.1) its communion in the one, holy, catholic, and apostolic Church, worshipping the one true God, Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.

(1.1.2) the catholic and apostolic faith uniquely revealed in the Holy Scriptures and set forth in the catholic creeds, which faith the Church is called upon to proclaim afresh in each generation[2]. The historic formularies of the Church of England[3], forged in the context of the European Reformation and acknowledged and appropriated in various ways in the Anglican Communion, bear authentic witness to this faith.

(1.1.3) the Holy Scriptures of the Old and New Testaments as containing all things necessary for salvation and as being the rule and ultimate standard of faith[4].
(1.1.4) the Apostles' Creed, as the baptismal symbol; and the Nicene Creed, as the sufficient statement of the Christian faith[5].

(1.1.5) the two sacraments ordained by Christ himself - Baptism and the Supper of the Lord - ministered with the unfailing use of Christ's words of institution, and of the elements ordained by him[6].

(1.1.6) the historic episcopate, locally adapted in the methods of its administration to the varying needs of the nations and peoples called of God into the unity of his Church[7].

(1.1.7) the shared patterns of our common prayer and liturgy which form, sustain and nourish our worship of God and our faith and life together.

(1.1.8) its participation in the apostolic mission of the whole people of God, and that this mission is shared with other Churches and traditions beyond this Covenant.

1.2 In living out this inheritance of faith together in varying contexts, each Church, reliant on the Holy Spirit, commits itself:

http://www.aco.org/commission/covenant/ridley_cambridge/draft_text.cfm

Anglican leaders meet to chart future path


An Anglican Covenant, finances and the political divisions within the Communion and across the world will be among topics of debate at next month’s meeting of the Anglican Consultative Council.

Seventy-five Archbishops, bishops, clergy and lay delegates from the Anglican Communion’s 38 provinces are scheduled to attend the May 1-13 meeting at the Pegasus Hotel in Kingston, Jamaica. Over the course of the 11-day meeting, the delegates will receive reports from a variety of pan-Anglican groups and networks, endorse a new budget and elect officers, receive a presentation on the work of the Windsor Continuation Group, and review the proposed Anglican Covenant.

Public worship services with Jamaican Anglicans will be held on May 3 at an opening worship service at the National Arena in Kingston and on May 12 at the Cathedral of St Jago de la Vega, Spanish Town, on May 12. However, the highlight of the meeting would be “consideration of a Covenant for the Provinces of the Anglican Communion,” a press statement from the ACC said on April 3.

The delegates will attend an “information plenary” on the Covenant on the morning of May 4, followed by small group discussion. On Friday May 8 the delegates will hold a “decision-making plenary” and will be asked to endorse or reject the Covenant, but will not be empowered to amend the final document. The ACC could also return the Covenant with suggested revisions to the Design Group tasked by the Archbishop of Canterbury Dr Rowan Williams with drafting the document.

More-

http://www.religiousintelligence.co.uk/news/?NewsID=4208

Archbishop of Westminster protests at football on Easter Day


From the London Times

The next Archbishop of Westminster has attacked the heads of the Premier League and Setanta Sports for holding football fixtures on Easter Day.

The Most Rev Vincent Nichols, who will be enthroned at Westminster next month, has written a strong letter of complaint to Richard Scudamore, the chief executive of the Premier League, and Trevor East, the director of sport at Setanta, for showing disdain for the religious traditions of Britain. Two Premier League games – Aston Villa v Everton and Manchester City v Fulham – are scheduled for Sunday afternoon.

Writing as Archbishop of Birmingham, along with the Anglican Bishop of Birmingham, the Right Rev David Urqu-hart, he accused the league and the broadcaster of disregarding the importance of Easter Day and treading on the sensitivities of their employees and football supporters. “Commercial considerations are not all that matters,” he said.

A spokesman for the Premier League insisted that it had done its best to consider Christian sensitivities. Easter Day was traditionally the one day when English football took a break over the four-day holiday weekend. However, the Premier League – unlike the Football League – has stopped playing matches on Easter Monday, allowing games to be put back from Holy Saturday to Easter Day without causing fixture congestion.

More-

http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/comment/faith/article6047319.ece

Bakare, Kunonga agree to share worship slots

From Zimbabwe-

The two Anglican factions fighting for control of the church’s properties over the weekend accorded each other chance to worship in church buildings after intervention by the co-ministers of Home Affairs last week.

The warring factions one led by Bishops Nolbert Kunonga and aligned to Zanu-PF, and another led by Sebastian Bakare and in line with the church's broad principles have been at loggerheads after the former was ex-communicated from the church.

Kunonga - a hardliner of Zanu-PF had taken church issues to the political level openly supporting a regime that saw the economic meltdown of a the former bread basket of southern Africa.

Kunonga used the name of the church to support Zanu-PF policies which did not go well with the the church's regional leaders leading to his expulsion.

When Kunonga was expelled from the Church of the Province of Central Africa he used political muscle to form the Province of Zimbabwe.

More here-

http://www.zimdaily.com/news/bakare27.7071.html

Good Stuff in TEC: California


Los Gatos faith groups offering hope during tough times

Layoffs, bailouts, foreclosures and budget woes. Just when you think there is little hope left, along comes a House of Hope.

The House of Hope, which opened March 19 at the Calvary Church in Los Gatos, is a food pantry that expects to serve approximately 164 families in Los Gatos, Monte Sereno and Saratoga.

Although the house belongs to Calvary, the pantry is run by West Valley Community Services, with much of the food provided by Second Harvest Food Bank.

"People tend to think the West Valley is affluent," WVCS manager David Ujita said, "but we expect the number of people we serve to climb. Our plan is to expand our outreach to the Los Gatos-Saratoga community." WVCS operates another pantry in Cupertino that saw a 27 percent jump in first-time users in the fourth quarter of 2008.

One unanticipated drawback is the Los Gatos pantry's location. Ujita said some clients were worried they would run into friends or acquaintances because the House of Hope sits right on Los Gatos Boulevard.

More here-

http://www.mercurynews.com/losgatos/ci_12092325

Church Pension Fund To Open HK Office


From the Wall Street Journal-

Church Pension Fund, the US$8 billion pension fund serving the Episcopal Church, has hired Eric Mason, formerly of Carlyle Group, to open a new Hong Kong office, people familiar with the situation said Wednesday.

The Hong Kong office is Church Pension Fund's first in Asia. Mason will be working with the fund's New York investment team looking at all asset classes including private equity, real estate and hedge fund investments in Asia, said one source.

He will report to William Cobb, the former vice chairman of J.P. Morgan Investment Management Inc., who is now the Church Pension Fund's chief investment officer, the source said.

Church Pension Fund, based in New York City, has been increasing its overseas private equity investments since the early 1990s. According to its Web site, it invests about 10% of its portfolio in private equity, 10% in real estate and inflation hedging assets and 10% in hedge funds, including distressed debt and merger arbitrage.

The move to Asia comes as endowments and pension funds have become more visible in the region. The Canadian Pension Plan Investment Board, for instance, opened an office in Hong Kong last year to look for deals. Pension funds and endowments typically buy into other funds, which is Church Pension Fund's approach.

The rest is here

http://online.wsj.com/article/BT-CO-20090408-700048.html

Episcopal bishop takes 'uplifting' approach


Episcopalians expecting Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori to jump into topical issues Tuesday were surprised when she first asked people to meditate on seeing themselves as God's beloved children.

Many of the almost 400 clergy and laity who gathered to hear Jefferts Schori on her first visit to Delaware since her 2006 election as leader of the 2.4 million denomination said they were delighted with her approach.

She was invited to Wilmington's Cathedral Church of St. John by Bishop Wayne Wright of the Diocese of Delaware. He asked her to be part of a service in which priests, deacons and lay people renewed their vows -- and holy oils were blessed.

"We gather with the presiding bishop to talk about the issues in the Episcopal Church and I confess to not wanting to do that," said the Rev. J. Carlyle Gill of St. Peter's in Lewes.

To talk about being beloved and known by God is "fabulous," Gill said in praise of the Jefferts Schori's pastoral approach.

More here-

http://www.delawareonline.com/article/20090408/NEWS/904080346

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Delegates Upbeat at Quincy Reorganizing Synod


The Diocese of Quincy reconstituted The Episcopal Church’s governance and ministry in central Illinois during a special reorganizing synod held April 4 at St. Paul’s Cathedral in Peoria.

The 54 lay delegates and 14 clergy included delegates from nearly all of the congregations in the diocese prior to the decision last November to withdraw from The Episcopal Church and accept temporary affiliation with the Anglican Church of the Southern Cone.

Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori called the special synod and convened the meeting. She was welcomed with a standing ovation and an expression of thanks from the diocesan steering committee, which helped to organize the reconstitution process. She, along with many of the diocesan clergy and lay delegates, used the words “jubilant” and “joyful” in their public comments to describe the mood of the gathering.

In her homily during Morning Prayer, the Presiding Bishop drew comparisons between the struggles of Episcopalians in the diocese to the Old Testament lesson from the Book of Exodus and to the life of Martin Luther King, whose feast was observed that day. Bishop Jefferts Schori said that just as the Israelites and African Americans were released from slavery and had to deal with their sense of brokenness, so too Episcopalians in the Diocese of Quincy need to nurture and strengthen one another in God’s healing grace.

More here-

http://www.livingchurch.org/news/news-updates/2009/4/6/delegates-upbeat-at-quincy-reorganizing-synod

Bishop Marshall declines consent

Paul Marshall says "no" to the candidate from Northern Michigan on theological grounds.

The Church, as it ponders scripture, tradition, in the light to the best reason it can muster, is itself the judge of the Church’s latitude in doctrine and practice. It defines that latitude from time to time, seeking to welcome the broadest possible expression of the basics of the faith. Core doctrines are maintained most notably by unambiguous reference in liturgy and catechism.

Thus when Bishop Righter was tried for allegedly violating the Church’s doctrine in accepting certain persons for ordination, the court was able to say that while the question was a theological question, it was not a matter of core doctrine and was not addressed in our central documents. Unpublished documents from the right wing opine that they subsequently think they would have more likely gotten a conviction if they had charged Righter with violating the discipline (operating rules) rather than the doctrine of the Church.

When Bishop Robinson was elected, there was again a question of doctrine, but no core doctrine in prayer book and canon to which appeal could made. (Attempts to apply to documents from the UK still cause me to wonder.) When a multiply-divorced man was elected in Northern California, at least a majority in both houses believed that the New Testament teaches about divorce, and particularly its prohibition of remarried bishops did not form an absolute barrier. Although I did not agree, this made a kind of sense, the question of moral modeling aside, because the Church is in fact now more open to remarriage. Beyond that, both Bishops Pike and Righter had contracted serial marriages, not to mention many priests.

In the case of the bishop-elect of Northern Michigan, perhaps we can get our ducks in the correct rows. His Buddhist practices are sensational but not the point. In sermons and other writings (including eucharistic prayers which I fear were used outside Rite III settings, giving us a question of discipline as well as doctrine), the bishop-elect makes it clear that the doctrine of the Trinity as confessed in the Creed and explained in the Catechism is not what he holds.

He will use base-three theological language, but never in service to the proposition that in Jesus of Nazareth God became fully human. Similarly, his understanding of the atonement is not conformable with the liturgy or catechism, but appears to be something like gnostic enlightenment. His writings represent a very shaky understanding of the Second Person of the Trinity, God incarnate, severely weakening his gospel.

More here-

http://covenant-communion.net/index.php/news_items/bishop_marshall_declines_consent/

Patton church brings back all-Latin Mass


Patton is near Johnstown PA-

The extraordinary Mass, also known as the traditional liturgy of the Roman rite, is being reintroduced in the Altoona-Johnstown Catholic Diocese. For the first time in more than 30 years, Queen of Peace Roman Catholic Church in Patton is providing the all-Latin Mass, the only church in the diocese to do so. Many supporters of the traditional Tridentine Mass are convinced that it is a priceless gift that must never be forgotten.

Brian Kopp of Johnstown is proud of the love he has for the old Mass because it offers him and his family many spiritual benefits.
After the Second Vatican Council, in the mid-1960s, the traditional Latin Mass only was permitted to be celebrated privately by priests, Kopp said.

But in July 2007, Pope Benedict XVI set in motion an initiative allowing the traditional Latin Mass to be offered publicly. Diocesan Bishop Joseph V. Adamec gave permission to the Rev. Ananias Buccicone, OSB, to celebrate the extraordinary Mass at Queen of Peace on Sunday afternoons.
We are the only parish between Harrisburg and Pittsburgh to offer the all-Latin Mass,  Kopp said. We have had people come from as far away as State College, Indiana, Johnstown, Somerset and even people from the Greensburg Diocese.

More here-

http://m.apnews.com/ap/db_7732/contentdetail.htm?contentguid=IkWUYHAg

Priest in Baghdad fights for his parishioners' souls — and their lives


Of the roughly 80 million members of the Anglican Church worldwide, the Rev. Andrew White reckons none of them would want his job.

Few would voluntarily risk death over six years of war in order to provide the spiritual and daily needs of Iraqi Christians. Who would live in Baghdad if they could get out at any time, with their wife and two children back home in England?

What would possess a man to cross the entryway into St. George’s Church on Haifa Street in downtown Baghdad a few years ago, at the height of the sectarian massacre, on a morning when bodies hung from the streetlights?

In the simplest terms, White said he had a calling.

"I was an anesthesiologist," he said, en route this Palm Sunday from the Green Zone to the church in his armored convoy. "I put people to sleep. Then I realized I could put people to sleep with a sermon."

White maintains a quick and astute sense of humor. So far, he says, it’s been a good year. Only six church members had been kidnapped as of Sunday.

"Last year I had 93 people killed," he said simply. "They’re killed because they’re Christians or because they’ve converted from Islam. That’s the most dangerous thing. The last five people killed this year, I baptized. They pleaded with me to baptize them. They were killed a week later, all of them."

More-

http://www.stripes.com/article.asp?section=104&article=61861

Fellowship of Confessing Anglicans launches this summer


The launch in the UK and Ireland of the Fellowship of Confessing Anglicans (FCA), an orthodox Anglican movement for mission at global and local level, is to take place on 6 July in London.

The Fellowship is the outworking of last year’s GAFCON conference in Jerusalem, at which 1,200 delegates signed up to the Jerusalem Statement. Those attending Gafcon 2008 represented some 40 million Anglicans worldwide, 70% of the total active membership of 55 million.

Organisers say the launch event, entitled Be Faithful! – Confessing Anglicans in Global and Local Mission will be held at Westminster Central Hall from 10.30am-5.30pm.

The aim is to encourage and envision Anglicans who are committed to the orthodox teachings of the Anglican Church and who are passionate about global and local mission. It will be the first of regular ‘fellowship’ events both in the UK and across the world.

Speakers at the July gathering, where around 2,300 bishops, clergy and laity are expected, will include contributors from across the Anglican Communion, including Bishops Keith Ackerman (President of Forward in Faith International), Wallace Benn (Bishop of Lewes), John Broadhurst (Chairman of Forward in Faith UK) and Michael Nazir-Ali, Dr Chik Kaw Tan plus Archbishop Peter Jensen, secretary of the Fellowship of Confessing Anglicans). They, and others yet to be announced, will also lead gatherings in London churches on Sunday 5 July, the day before the launch.

http://www.inspiremagazine.org.uk/news.aspx?action=view&id=3277

Defeat evil with goodness, husband says


From Binghamton NY-

A grieving husband has an answer for those struggling to come to terms with Friday's massacre. "When people do things like this, we have to defeat them," David Marsland said. "The best way to defeat this man is to go out into the world and just be the most amazing person you can be." That's what Marsland said his wife, Hong Xiu Mao, was: Amazing. Hong Xiu Mao, 35, a native of China, died instantly Friday from a bullet wound to her chest, Marsland was told by Binghamton police. That morning, a gunman barricaded the back door of the American Civic Association building in Binghamton with a borrowed car, entered the front door, drew two semi-automatic handguns and killed 13 people before turning one of the guns on himself. Now the victims' families are traveling from far-flung countries to say goodbye. In addition to grieving, Marsland said Monday he is coping with suddenly being in the spotlight. Over the past four days, Marsland has chatted with a Chinese diplomat in his living room in Greene. He's also fielded telephone calls from newspapers and networks around the world seeking interviews. What's amazing to him is the outpouring of support from the local community and from others around the world. Funeral services for Hong Xiu Mao are at 11 a.m. Thursday at Zion Episcopal Church in Greene. Calling hours are 3 to 8 p.m. Wednesday at the http://www.pressconnects.com/article/20090407/NEWS01/904070430/1116

Good Stuff in TEC: Minnesota


Minneapolis cathedral ready to partner with new Cuban diocese

If a plan to divide the Episcopal Church in Cuba (Iglesia Episcopal de Cuba) into two dioceses succeeds, the new eastern diocese will not begin its new life in isolation. It will benefit from an international Anglican partnership years in the making. St. Mark's Cathedral, Minneapolis, has accepted an invitation by interim Cuban Bishop Miguel Tamayo-Zaldivar to establish a formal companion relationship with the new diocese.

St. Mark's has pledged money -- $100,000 over five years -- and a continuation of annual mission trips to the island. The fourth such trip concluded in mid-January and provided Minnesota Episcopalians with their first look at churches in the eastern half of the island. Twelve missioners trekked the nearly 500 miles from Havana to Santiago de Cuba, which will be the seat of the new diocese, stopping at churches along the way.

While the group brought needed medicine and other supplies and worked on church buildings that are deteriorating because of lack of funds for routine maintenance, the most important thing they brought was the gift of relationship, said St. Mark's dean, the Very Rev. Spenser Simrill.

http://www.episcopal-life.org/81799_106695_ENG_HTM.htm

Nigeria: Police Demolish Anglican Church in Ugbuwangue Community


More strangeness from Nigeria

HEAVILY armed Mobile Policemen last week demolished St. Andrew's Anglican Church building in Ugbuwangue community allegedly on "orders from above", just as the Bishop of the Warri Diocese of the Church worshipped with the congregation under the scorching sun last Sunday.

The fierce-looking security operatives, who came with a payloader to execute the demolition order, brooked no-nonsense from anyone, as they declined efforts made to ascertain where they came from and who ordered them.

It was learnt that the destruction of the Church building was a mistake on the part of the security men because the church building site was legally acquired from the Federal Ministry of Works and Housing. It is also not cited on estate land.

When Vanguard visited the demolished property, the Pastor in-Charge, Mr. Gordons Oghenevo produced all the documents to prove that the said portion of land was duly approved by the Secretary, Land Use and Allocation Committee of the Federal Ministry of Works and Housing, Mr. Ike Odoe, in 1996.

The rest is here-

http://allafrica.com/stories/200904070002.html

Reports of the Death of the Episcopal Church are Greatly Exaggerated


The Lord is displacing the Episcopal Church." This pronouncement was made back in December by Bishop Bob Duncan, of the newly formed Anglican Church in North America (ACNA).
A quick scan of the media coverage of the new church reveals that the press has by and large bought this line, and gone along with the story that a select group of missional mavericks have ridden into crumbling church buildings as the white knights destined by God to preserve the “one true Episcopal church.”
While the media seems snookered by the idea that the US Episcopal Church has become moribund, one should not make the mistake of extrapolating from trend to the end. While ongoing Anglican antics by select liberal and conservatives representing the more polar extremes of Anglicanism make Monty Python’s Bishop sketch pale by comparison, the US Episcopal Church “is not dead yet.”

When I interviewed author Phyllis Tickle, she placed this current crisis into a much-needed historical perspective.

As Bishop Mark Dyer has observed, about every five hundred years, the church feels compelled to have a giant rummage sale. During the last such upheaval the Great Reformation of five hundred years ago, Protestantism took over hegemony. But Roman Catholicism did not die. It just had to drop back and reconfigure. Each time a rummage sale has happened, in other words, whatever held pride of place simply gets broken apart into smaller pieces, and then it picks itself up and to use Diana Butler Bass’s term, “re-traditions.”

Read it all-

http://www.religiondispatches.org/archive/religionandtheology/1298/reports_of_the_death_of_the_episcopal_church_are_greatly_exaggerated

Episcopal priest from Staten Island nabbed in 84G theft from church


From the New York Daily News-

A Staten Island preacher was collared on charges of pilfering $84,537 from his flock and blowing it on fancy clothes, plastic surgery, Botox and booze, prosecutors said Monday.
The Rev. William Blasingame, 66, who recently resigned from St. Paul's Memorial Episcopal Church in Stapleton, took the money from church accounts over a three-year period, law enforcement authorities said.

"The investigation arose from a phone call from church leaders about disparities in the church books," said a source close to the investigation.

Blasingame is also accused of taking church funds to pay for club memberships and car insurance. Prosecutors say he drained two funds. The Friends of St. Paul's foundation was set up for the maintenance and beautification of the church's grounds, and the other fund was a discretionary kitty to provide small amounts of cash to parishioners down on their luck, authorities said.

Blasingame stepped down in January before turning himself in Friday morning at the Staten Island district attorney's office. He was arraigned and released on his own recognizance later that day. He's slated to return to court May 12, authorities said.

http://www.nydailynews.com/news/ny_crime/2009/04/07/2009-04-07_episcopal_priest_from_staten_island_nabb.html

Monday, April 6, 2009

Undfeated! Opener Pirates 6-Birds 4

Jack Wilson comes through in the 9th.

The Pirates are mastering the art of the dramatic, opening-day victory.

Jack Wilson's bases-clearing double capped a four-run rally in the top of the ninth inning -- all after two outs -- to cap a 6-4 victory against the St. Louis Cardinals this afternoon at Busch Stadium.

Adam LaRoche's RBI single off St. Louis' rookie closer, Jason Motte, with two outs in the ninth pulled the Pirates within one, and pinch-hitter Eric Hinske doubled him to third. Brandon Moss was hit by a pitch to load the bases. Wilson quickly dug an 0-2 hole, and the 45,832 in attendance rose to their feet, but he drilled a 96-mph fastball to the fence in left-center, and everyone came around to score.

The place, already somewhat emptied because of the 30-degree temperatures, fell silent.

Closer Matt Capps recorded the save.

Tyler Yates had given up Ryan Ludwick's home run in the eighth that put the Cardinals ahead, 3-2.

Yates then walked Chris Duncan and was relieved by John Grabow, who promptly gave up Skip Schumaker's pinch-hit single to put men at the corners. David Freese hit a sacrifice fly to right, one greatly assisted by poor throw to home plate by Moss, and it was 4-2.

The Pirates' Paul Maholm pitched 6 2/3 mostly efficient innings -- two runs, seven hits, 89 pitches -- but did not earn a decision.

Nyjer Morgan, batting in the leadoff spot despite a .238 spring, went 3 for 4 with two RBIs and a steal.

More -

http://www.post-gazette.com/pg/09096/960994-100.stm

Churches condemn ritual murder


TWO mainstream Christian churches yesterday condemned the rising cases of human sacrifice, promiscuity, social inequality and vulgarity in the media. The Anglican and Roman Catholic churches called on Ugandans to repent so as to stop “sliding deeper into sin”.

The remarks came yesterday as the churches marked Palm Sunday, the prelude to the Holy Week of Easter, which marks Jesus’ death and resurrection. The week also ends Lent, the 40-day fasting period.

The faithful thronged churches, waving palm fronds which signify Jesus’ triumphal entry into Jerusalem before he was crucified.

“When Jesus entered Jerusalem, he wept,” the Rev. Canon Stephen Kewaza said at Namirembe Cathedral. “He cried because he saw that people had not understood why He came.”

Kewaza said likewise, Jesus is angered when he sees the way Ugandans sacrifice children and the vulgarity on radio and newspapers.

At Rubaga Cathedral, the Rev. Fr. Achilles Mayanja condemned hypocrisy. “We frequent church activities; but when we encounter problems, we resort to witchcraft and deny our faith,” Mayanja said. What a shock, he added, that most perpetrators of child sacrifice, arson, divorce and gluttony are Christians.

“Let us reject what may prevent us from following Christ and resurrect with him this Easter holiday,” he counselled.

At Christ the King, parish priest Gerald Kalumba blamed moral breakdown for human sacrifice.


The rest is here-

http://www.newvision.co.ug/D/8/12/677093

Nazir-Ali speaks out against 'values vacuum'


Bishop Michael Nazir-Ali, who announced his resignation as Bishop of Rochester last week, has spoken out against a “values vacuum” in the UK,and called on the nation to rediscover its Christian heritage.

The bishop, who steps down in September, said that the UK had left behind the moral framework provided by the Bible in favour of diversity.

Writing in The Telegraph, he said that there had been a “gradual loss of identity and cohesiveness” in society due to the abandonment of biblical values, which had long been held in the country.

In particular, he said that societies ideas about the sanctity of life, equality, natural rights and freedom all arose from a tradition rooted in the Bible.

He added that other faiths may have values which coincide with Bible-based values of the past, but said they would inevitably emphasise other aspects of life more than others, for example social solidarity over personal freedom.

Bishop Nazir-Ali claimed that there was a “values vacuum” caused by “historical amnesia” and which prompted the nation to remember and repent things like its involvement in the slave trade, exploitative colonialism and religious and ethnic persecution, but forget about things it should celebrate, such as the abolition of slavery, the Magna Carta, universal education and improving workers', women’s and children’s rights.

He said that whilst the church was concerned about this, it had also sometimes been complicit in watching “the erosion of Christian tradition”, for example in liberalising abortion laws and the erosion of marriage and Christianity in public institutions.

More here-

http://www.christiantoday.com/article/nazirali.speaks.out.against.values.vacuum/22989.htm

Good Stuff in TEC: Maryland


Locals working to improve life in Ghana

Mercia Laryea can’t say enough about the improvements in her remote West African village since a group of Western Marylanders “adopted” it.

Laryea is a resident of Akramaman, a village about 2 1/2 hours by car from Accra, Ghana’s capital.

A new playground, funded by the Rotary Club of Westminster, Md., gives children a safe place to play, and a new preschool also is home to a summer literacy program.

Construction on a health outpost will begin in July and will include living quarters for nursing staff.

Bruce Neumann, a member of St. John’s Episcopal Church in Hagerstown, is leading a team of nine that will spend a week getting the health outpost project up and running.

A 2004 mission trip by the Episcopal Diocese of Maryland to Ghana to share a Christian leadership program called Cursillo was the beginning of the partnership. Bruce Neumann was a member of the mission team.

Debi Frock of Westminster was so touched by the need of Akramaman that in 2005, she started Ghanaian Mothers’ Hope Inc. (GMH), a nonprofit foundation. Neumann and his wife, the Rev. Rebekah Neumann, are on the GMH board of directors.

Frock said she got involved because of the United Nations Millennium Development Goals, whose aim is to reduce poverty and its many related issues.

More-

http://www.herald-mail.com/?cmd=displaystory&story_id=220383&format=html

You can see all of the Good Stuff posts by clicking on Good Stuff in the labels below.

For two churches, a new beginning


From the Colorado Springs Gazette-

Joy was the pervading emotion at St. George's Anglican Church and Grace and St. Stephen's Episcopal Church during Palm Sunday services, but there was also a touch of sadness.


Some Anglican parishioners mourned the leaving of the gothic stone church on North Tejon Street, while a handful of members of both parishes lamented the emotional toll wrought over the last two years following the group split.


The congregations had only a few days to organize Palm Sunday liturgies, and both groups' liturgies encountered technical and organizational hiccups. But none of that mattered.


A new day for St. George's and Grace and St. Stephen's had begun.
"It's a major transition from the huge gothic church," St. George's priest Alan R. Crippen II said Sunday, "but it feels great."


On March 26, 2007, the Episcopal congregation that met at 631 N. Tejon St. split when its vestry voted to leave the national body and align with the Convocation of Anglicans in North America, or CANA. The CANA parish continued to worship in Grace Church, while the Episcopal group met at First Christian Church downtown.


A lawsuit was filed to decide ownership of the church property, leading to a 4 1/2 week trial, the longest church trial in Colorado history. Last month, a Fourth District Court judge ruled in favor of the Episcopal Diocese of Colorado and the Episcopal Church, ordering the CANA parish to vacate the Tejon St. church, which it did by April 3.

The rest is here-

http://www.gazette.com/articles/church_51249___article.html/episcopal_grace.html

Karma Chameleon: From Zen Practitioner to Episcopal Bishop


"The lay ordination was a welcoming rite for me to commit myself to the path to discover why I suffer or why other people suffer,” Rev. Kevin Thew Forrester told the Times of London shortly after his election as bishop of the Episcopal Diocese of Northern Michigan on February 21. Forrester went on to explain that he took jukai—the lay ordination rite of Zen Buddhism—“[T]o use the practice of meditation to help that suffering.”

These days Forrester’s practice is being mightily tested. His embrace of Zen meditation has riled conservatives in his denomination, and prompted close scrutiny of the process of discernment Forrester himself led that produced his name as the sole candidate for the post left vacant by the death of the diocese’s previous bishop, Rev. Jim Kelsey, in June 2007.
Forrester’s election must be ratified within 120 days by a majority of bishops and diocesan standing committees in the Episcopal Church before he can officially assume his new role. Defenders of orthodoxy—both Episcopal and at large—have leaped through that window of opportunity hoping to thwart what they see as yet another effort by progressives to weaken the foundations of Christian faith.

“The bottom line is that Forrester has embraced something foreign and contradictory,” wrote Greg Griffith, a blogger at the conservative Anglican Web site Stand Firm in Faith. “Call it a faith, call it a philosophy, call it what you will but it is not Christianity. One simply cannot embrace the doctrines of Buddhism—Zen or any other flavor—and simultaneously embrace the doctrines of Christianity.”

“The reality is that this particular meditative practice is not in step with Christian doctrine,” concurred James Tonkowich, president of the Institute on Religion and Democracy, a think tank with ties to the neo-conservative movement and a history of exploiting wedge issues in order to widen rifts in mainline Protestant denominations. “The issue is not whether meditation is good,” Tonkowich said, “it is what is being meditated on.”

More here-

http://www.religiondispatches.org/archive/religionandtheology/1255/karma_chameleon:_from_zen_practitioner_to_episcopal_bishop

Sunday, April 5, 2009

A Message of Hope From a Pile of Bones


From Newsweek-

Rwanda is one of the most enchanting places on earth—and one of the most haunted. With its rolling hills and lush greenery, it could easily pass for paradise—if not for memories of 1994. Fifteen years ago, on April 6, the plane carrying Rwanda's president, JuvĂ©nal Habyarimana, was shot out of the sky. The murder set off an orgy of slaughter and cruelty so extreme that it defied description or understanding.

John Rucyahana, who had fled Rwanda as a teenager, was living in Uganda and visiting Atlanta when the violence broke out. The televised images of suffering and death convinced him that he should return home.

"I needed to be able to have the grip of the horror and then be part of the solution," the Anglican bishop told me.

When Rucyahana got back to Uganda in mid-July, he rented a minibus, hired a driver and took to the road with 10 other pastors. They crossed into Rwanda and made their way to Nyamata, near Kigali, the capital. The violence had died down but death was everywhere: "We saw mass graves; we saw dead bodies. In one home, we found 27 dead bodies, including a cat and a dog … Some of the pastors couldn't sleep; they spent all night crying … Two of them had to be taken back home to Uganda."

During a recent visit to Rwanda, I accompanied the bishop to a bridge near Kigali overlooking the Nyabarongo River. In 1994, it might as well have been the River Styx—a dank passageway to the underworld. "Many people were thrown into the river alive," said Rucyahana. "Others were killed and their dead bodies were thrown into this river. And they floated … through River Kagera, which continued to take these bodies into Lake Victoria in Uganda."

More here-

http://www.newsweek.com/id/192462

Palm Sunday service goes eco-friendly


Nearly 2,000 years ago, an excited crowd welcomed Jesus by going green: spreading fresh-cut branches before him on his last, fateful trip into Jerusalem.

For Palm Sunday today, Second Presbyterian Church is going green, too, by displaying "eco-palm" fronds harvested in an environmentally friendly, economically sustainable way.

More than 640,000 eco-palm fronds will be waved today by 2,500 congregations, including seven in South Hampton Roads. The palms are marketed by the Center for Integrated Natural Resource and Agricultural Management at the University of Minnesota.

Waving and displaying palm branches is a tradition at many Protestant and Catholic churches on Palm Sunday, which starts the Holy Week devotions that culminate on Easter.

The practice commemorates Gospel accounts including John, chapter 12, saying Jesus' admirers "took branches of palm trees and went out to meet him, shouting, 'Hosanna!' " as he rode into Jerusalem.

The Rest-

http://hamptonroads.com/2009/04/palm-sunday-service-goes-ecofriendly

Top Episcopal Church bishop visits Peoria


An unprecedented visit to Peoria on Saturday by the top leader of the Episcopal Church was welcomed by some local churches but was largely ignored by the 19 that have broken away from the national organization.

The presiding bishop of the Episcopal Church, Katharine Jefferts Schori, called a special synod at St. Paul's Cathedral to name new leadership within the Peoria-based Diocese of Quincy and "to get the diocese back on its feet."

"It was remarkable to experience this synod," Jefferts Schori said after the special convention. "Everything passed unanimously, which is rare."

The Right Rev. John Clark Buchanan, a retired bishop of the Episcopal Diocese of West Missouri, was elected the diocese's provisional bishop.

The Peoria-based Diocese of Quincy voted in November to leave the national Episcopal Church and realign with the Anglican Church of the Southern Cone following months of arguments between the local and national Episcopal groups on issues such as homosexuality and the ordination of women.

More here-

http://www.pjstar.com/news/x551068656/Top-Episcopal-Church-bishop-visits-Peoria