A struggle for power lies behind the Anglican Communion’s divisions over homosexuality, the former Archbishop of Armagh Lord Eames said last week at the annual Lecture to the College of St George at Windsor Castle.
Speaking to the topic: “The Mechanics of Reconciliation Today,” Lord Eames --- the chairman of the commission that prepared the Windsor Report --- explored reconciliation’s social, political and theological principles, seeking to define its terms.
The modern world was “experiencing a constant evaluation of the concept we call 'reconciliation',” he said. The “fracture of society, the break-down of human relationship, the tensions between nations and how human kind’s failure to understand the deep significance of our contribution to the fracturing of the natural world” had led to a reevaluation of the concept of reconciliation.
“My thesis,” Lord Eames said, was that “short of understanding the mechanics of reconciliation we have yet to define that process itself. So often the process we call 'reconciliation' has become a form of retreat when other efforts of human progress fail --- a sort of comfort zone when other means of solving problems fall short.”
The “endeavour to overcome division or misunderstanding” had also become an “an end in itself,” defeating its purpose. Reconciliation, he argued, was not a short-term goal but an on-going process, for “when agreement is reached it is usually only a beginning to any lasting appreciation of what has been achieved and each stage in the process can produce a fresh evaluation of what we set out to accomplish.”
The Windsor Report was an example. The 2005 report “contained sign-posts, laying out the possible routes to greater understanding of each other’s arguments,” he explained.
Fairbanks congregation gathers at Eagle Summit for special service
A solstice celebration with a spiritual bent is in the works for Sunday night and Monday morning atop Eagle Summit.
For the 11th consecutive year, St. Matthew’s Episcopal church congregants and anyone else interested in joining the journey will travel to one of the highest road passes in the area (elev. 3,685 feet) to celebrate the midnight sun with a Eucharist service. The event will be followed by a covered dish picnic.
“I love going up there because I can see out there in this big, wide-open space, and I think of God’s creation,” said Irene Roberts, one of the congregants. “It is wonderful, and we invite all the rest of the people up there looking for the midnight sun to join us.”
An outdoor service at Eagle Summit was suggested by Helen Howard 11 years ago during a vestry meeting brainstorming ideas that could involve the whole congregation.
Howard thought the time of year and locale were perfect to enjoy nature’s displays of the midnight sun and arctic wildflowers.
“The arctic wildflowers are quite different,” Howard said. “They are short-stemmed and sometimes have no stems.”
St. Matthew’s rector, the Rev. Scott Fisher, who has presided over the service for the past decade, never takes the summit weather for granted.
“The first time, it was absolutely perfect. The sun came down and came up and ricocheted off the chalice,” Fisher said. “It was spectacular, and we said we have to do that again.”
A long-lost bell from a floating chapel for seamen who worked on ships at Philadelphia's port 160 years ago was rededicated on June 18, along with a new chapel that serves today's seafarers. The double celebration at the Seamen's Church Institute of Philadelphia and South Jersey was attended by more than 175 people, including members of the SCI board of directors, donors, representatives of local churches and members of the maritime business community. Bishop Rodney Michel, with the Rev. Judith Meckling, vicar of All Souls' Episcopal Church for the Deaf, the Very Rev. Joy Segal of Southwark Deanery, and the Rev. James D. Von Dreele, chaplain to the port and executive director of the Seamen's Church Institute of Philadelphia & South Jersey, officiated at the dedication of the chapel.
SCI is one of about 150 independent port ministries founded by church denominations in North America. The 166-year-old ministry in Philadelphia has strong Episcopal roots, as evidenced by the newfound bell.
"We are blessed to have the iconic symbol of our ministry back with the purchase of this bell," said Von Dreele. "We were completely surprised to see it surface after 150 years. Perhaps it was the providence of God that brought the bell to us as we consecrate a new Chapel of the Redeemer."
The church bell, 30 inches high and weighing more than 300 pounds, dates back to the seafarer ministry's founding in 1847. It had been missing for more than 150 years since it was first cast for the Floating Church of the Redeemer, a 600-seat building mounted on a large barge in the Delaware River. Dedicated in 1849, the floating chapel was a key part of the early history of what is now known as the Seamen's Church Institute. When the chapel sank after a few years, it was salvaged and placed on dry ground in Camden, New Jersey, only to be destroyed by fire a short time later.
As Alice would say "Curiouser and couriouser" From the Miami Herald
A man who says he is the ex-boyfriend of Ruhama Buni Canellis, the newlywed wife of former priest Alberto Cutié, is suing the couple and the Biscayne Park Police Department.
In a lawsuit filed in Miami-Dade Circuit Court, Maxi Paulus Ratunuman, 44, says Biscayne Park police arrested him without cause on June 6 while he was installing floor tiles in a customer's house on Griffing Boulevard.
The reason: Ratunuman, who the lawsuit says lived with Canellis in the Biscayne Park area for three years and helped raise her teenage son, had information ''that would bode badly'' for her and Cutié, who wanted to get him out of the picture.
Biscayne Park police officer Antonio Sanchez, named in the suit along with officer Raimundo Atesiano, arrested Ratunuman on trespassing charges.
Ratunuman, from Indonesia, is being held at the Metro West Detention Center on an immigration charge. He also faces charges of driving with an expired license. He goes to trial July 15.
Ratunuman and Canellis ''planned to be married and have children,'' according to the lawsuit. Ratunuman paid the house's mortgage because Canellis ''could not afford the residence on her own,'' but she then ''began cheating'' on him with Cutié.
Cutié has said he and Canellis became romantically involved two years ago.
THE Bishop of Liverpool, the Rt Revd James Jones, has opposed proposals for a completely elected Houses of Parliament, during a debate on constitutional reform in the House of Lords. The Bishop, speaking in the Lords on Thursday of last week, said that elections would deliver too narrow a political class.
“The truth is that, in today’s world, election, especially in this media-dominated culture in which we live, does not always deliver what is needed,” he told peers.
What was needed were “two Houses but one Parliament: a Commons that is elected and with the authority of having the last word, and a revising Chamber to advise, revise, and refine legislation”. Defending the need for an ap pointed House, he said: “A revising Chamber should be made up of what is, in effect, and what could be called, the ‘elders’ of our society: men and women experienced in different walks of life, who, from their expertise and wisdom, can shape the laws that govern our common life. Such people cannot be limited to the political class, but must be recruited and appointed with transparency and accountability, and for fixed terms.”
The Bishop of Durham, Dr Tom Wright, also spoke in the debate on constitutional renewal, which was introduced by Lord Tyler. He said there was danger in rushing through a programme of change that the public would see as “sheer displace ment activity” from the issue of parl ia mentary expenses.
Reform was needed, but not in a rush. “It is like somebody who,under the guise of so-called visionary leadership, decides to cut down all the old oak trees in the great park, only then to discover a few months later that the topsoil has all blown away.
“There is currently a real danger of us losing some of the political top soil,” he said. “Legitimacy does not arise just from having people vote for you. Legitimacy is also sustained by doing the job and being trusted.”
The Government proposed on Wednesday last week to replace the House of Lords with either a totally or a partly elected senate. An estimated 300 senators would replace the 740 Lords. Nothing has been said yet about the Lords spiritual: the 24 bishops and two archbishops who serve ex officio.
The Rt. Rev. Dena Harrison, Bishop Suffragan of Texas, was recently named chairwoman of the board of trustees for the Seminary of the Southwest, based in Austin, Texas.
Bishop Harrison joined the seminary’s board in 2005 and has served as a member of the finance committee as well as chairwoman of its faculty and education committee. Seminary policy allows the Bishop of Texas, now the Rt. Rev. Andy Doyle (the de facto board chairman), to name someone else.
Bishop Harrison, a 1987 graduate of the seminary, succeeds the Rt. Rev. Don Wimberly, who retired as Bishop of Texas this month. Bishop Harrison has pastoral oversight of congregations in the Austin, Central, Southwest, and Northwest convocations. The diocese plans to dedicate a new regional headquarters on the seminary’s campus in September.
Anglican leader Archbishop Phillip Aspinall has called on all states to make it easier for child sexual abuse victims to sue churches.
Archbishop Aspinall's call comes in the wake of an independent report commissioned by his church which found it took on average 23 years for a victim of sexual abuse to report their abuse.
All states set a time limit, known as the statute of limitations, for abuse victims to bring their cases to court.
In Queensland, this requires a victim to launch legal action by the time they turn 21, but other states take a different approach.
Archbishop Aspinall said it was time for a uniform national approach to the issue, with all states moving at least in line with NSW and Victoria which have the longest period available.
He has written to all Australia's heads of churches asking for their support.
"Given what we've learned about child sexual abuse in the last few years, I think it is a discussion which could well be had nationally to see if we can do better to provide for those people," Archbishop Aspinall said.
"I believe some relaxation in the statute of limitations is warranted.
"Queensland has the strictest regime in Australia, along with the Northern Territory."
Should public high school students receive credit for religious classes taken off-campus? A lawsuit filed against Spartanburg School District 7 says it’s unconstitutional.
District 7 parent Bob Moss says he has no problem with students taking advantage of a 1954 Supreme Court ruling which allows students to attend religious education classes. It’s the fact that they are receiving credit for it. Moss says, “The whole family got together and we realized not only was that unconstitutional, but that it wrong and insensitive.“
The lawsuit was filed by Charlotte attorney George Daly on behalf of Moss, fellow district parent Ellen Tillett and the Wisconsin-based Freedom from Religion Foundation. Daly says, “We think it violates the first amendment to the United States constitution which, which prohibits the establishment of religion. That’s colloquially known as the requirement of separation of church and state.“
In 2006 the South Carolina legislature said elective credit could be given for released time classes in South Carolina, as long as evaluations are based on secular criteria and don’t involve public funds. Moss alleges the district doesn’t monitor the content of the class which is offered at Saint Christopher’s Episcopal Church, next to Spartanburg High School. “Clearly they are trying to get around things to do that,“ says Moss.
People we spoke to near Hillcrest Mall support the idea of students receiving credit. Sandra Hawkins says, “I think it’s wonderful, and I think they should have the option on campus also, because without God, we have nothing.“ Polly Chitwood told News Channel 7, “I think taking God out of the schools is ridiculous. I think as a Christian, God should be in everything that we do.“
Cult Awareness, Spiritual Abuse, and Recovery Presentation Saturday, June 20th
Mary Stuart Hall
St. Barnabas Episcopal Church
1200 North Shiloh, Garland, 75042
On Saturday, June 20, 2009 from 2:00-4:00, Doug and Wendy Duncan will give a presentation on cult awareness, spiritual abuse, and recovery at St. Barnabas Episcopal Church in Garland. The Duncans are former members of a Bible-based cult.
Wendy is a licensed social worker and holds a master's degree from Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary. She is also the author of I Can't Hear God Anymore: Life in a Dallas Cult, the true story of the couple's involvement in and eventual separation from a Bible-based cult. After leaving the cult where he was a member for over twenty years, Doug earned his master's degree in counseling and is now a licensed professional counselor.
An internal battle in the Episcopal Diocese of Long Island apparently has ended with Bishop Orris Walker Jr. taking a leave of absence and setting a retirement date of Nov. 14.
The Rev. Richard Brewer, head of the diocese's Standing Committee, would not say what happened, but he said that Walker had stated at public events that he had been urged to resign earlier this year but had refused.
But now Walker, 66, has taken a leave of absence, and will permanently leave his post in November, according to a diocesan announcement. His leave went into effect June 1.
Walker did not respond to telephone messages and a visit to his house seeking comment. "He's chosen not to offer any of his own comments at this time," said diocesan spokesman Canon Kris Lee.
Church officials are saying little publicly about the nature of the dispute or how they resolved it. Walker's leave was announced in a statement on the diocesan Web site. He has publicly acknowledged an alcohol problem in the past. Also, some parishioners, who ask not to be named, complain about how he managed the diocese.
The Archbishop of Canterbury, Dr Rowan Williams, has issued a statement in support of today’s ‘Sudan Day of Action’ which calls for a renewed commitment to sustainable peace in Sudan. The Sudan Day of Action, organised by Baroness Cox and the Sudan Action Group, aims to raise awareness for the desperate plight of the people of Sudan.
The Archbishop’s statement is below:
This Sudan day of action is a crucial reminder of the need for renewed commitment to achieving sustainable peace in Sudan. With only 18 months left before the scheduled referendum on the future of Southern Sudan, it is essential that all parties are reminded of the obligations contained in the Comprehensive Peace Agreement (CPA) signed between the Government of Sudan and the Sudan People’s Liberation Movement in January 2005. The CPA brought to an end 21 years of bitter civil war in Southern Sudan in which over 2 million people died. I saw the first benefits of peace myself when I visited Sudan in February 2006, just one year after the signing of the agreement. The CPA brought new hope to Southern Sudan after long and destructive conflict. Families could be reunited after long years of separation. New development opportunities opened up such as the church’s widespread programmes of teacher training and classroom building. For the first time, Southern Sudan had the opportunity to establish its own government as an autonomous region within the country.
However, delays in implementing the CPA and unfulfilled commitments have threatened the sustainability of this peace. There is now an urgency for both parties to the agreement and the international community which helped to broker and support it to demonstrate their renewed commitment to implement the agreement fully. This includes proceeding with disarmament and addressing the widespread problems of insecurity; establishing a workable infrastructure of roads and energy supplies in the region; settling the overdue issues of border demarcation; making timely progress towards free and fair elections; and ensuring the process is on track towards the referendum in which the people of Southern Sudan exercise their right of self-determination in February 2011.
The Vatican warned a rebel ultra-traditionalist order on Wednesday not to go ahead with plans to ordain new priests this month, saying the move could incur disciplinary action.
The Society of Saint Pius X (SSPX), in the headlines for having a Holocaust denier as one of its four bishops readmitted to the Roman Catholic Church, plans to ordain 21 new priests in three countries on June 19 and 27.
A statement said that if the ordinations go ahead "they are still to be considered illegitimate" despite an uneasy rapprochement under way between the SSPX and the Vatican.
It cited a letter by Pope Benedict in March in which he explained his decision to lift the excommunications of four traditionalist bishops and start a dialogue aimed at full re-integration of the rebels.
But the statement said disciplinary questions regarding the SSPX "remained open," a clear warning that if the ordinations were ahead they would have repercussions on negotiations to bring the traditionalists fully back into the Church.
The SSPX plans to hold the ordination of the traditionalist priests in Germany, Switzerland and the United States.
Father Yves Le Roux, rector of the SSPX's St Thomas Aquinas seminary in Winona, Minnesota, said the ordination of 13 new priests would go ahead despite the Vatican warning.
"Absolutely. We are doing it," he told Reuters by telephone. "This is something the Vatican feels it has to say. It's a political statement but the reality is totally different."
The Seamen’s Church Institute of New York and New Jersey awarded the first “Courage at Sea Award” on June 11 to Captain Richard Phillips, who surrendered himself to Somali pirates in April to save the lives of his crew. He was rescued by Navy Seals on Easter Day after five days in captivity.
More than 900 guests from the church and maritime industry gave Capt. Phillips two standing ovations as he accepted the award during the SCI’s annual Silver Bells Award dinner in New York City. Church leaders in attendance included the Rt. Rev. Mark Sisk, Bishop of New York, and the Rev. James Cooper, rector of the Parish of Trinity Church Wall Street.
In introducing Capt. Phillips, Douglas Stevenson, SCI director of the Center for Seafarer’s Rights, said Capt. Phillips, captain of the cargo ship Maersk Alabama, exemplified true leadership. He “reacted to an imminent threat with careful consideration for the safety of his crew by telling them to lock themselves up while he surrendered himself to the pirates. He made this heroic choice without knowing what the outcome would be or what further sacrifice he would be asked to make. But his choice saved the lives of his crew.”
Founded in 1834 and celebrating its 175th anniversary, the SCI serves as an agency of The Episcopal Church that works ecumenically to provide pastoral care, legal advocacy, and maritime education to seafarers and port chaplains worldwide.
The Episcopal Diocese of Albany recently reaffirmed its membership in the Episcopal Church while at the same time saying that the General Convention cannot tell it or any other diocese what to do.
While reaffirming the diocese's "loyal membership in the Episcopal Church," a resolution passed during the diocese's annual convention, held June 5-7 in Speculator, New York, also agreed with a recent statement released by 15 active and retired Episcopal Church bishops who are Communion Partners, a group of Episcopalians who have said they will remain in the church despite disagreeing with some of its policies and theological stances. The statement claimed that the Episcopal Church's constitution "lacks any language making General Convention the 'supreme' or 'highest' authority, making its decisions 'final' or making dioceses 'subordinate' to any other office or body."
The statement said that "no one … may act in or speak on behalf of the dioceses or of the Episcopal Church within the dioceses."
Albany Bishop William Love, one of the signers of the April 22 statement, said during his address to the convention that the Communion Partners statement "accurately reflects the true polity of the Episcopal Church as described . . . in the Constitution and Canons of the Church."
"There is much confusion right now throughout the church as well as the courts concerning the true polity of the Episcopal Church and a diocese's constitutional and canonical relationship with the other dioceses within the province as well as with the Presiding Bishop," Love added. "The bishops' statement is offered in an attempt to provide clarity in regard to these issues."
The Albany diocese endorsed Love's decision to sign the statement.
In light of their conclusions about the church's governance, the statement's signers said that individual dioceses are constitutionally entitled to sign onto an Anglican covenant, a set of principles intended to bind the Anglican Communion provinces in light of recent disagreements over human sexuality issues and theological interpretation.
Much of the growth and success of Trinity Episcopal Church at 139 Ocean Ave. in the Cranston section of historic Pawtuxet is due to the dedicated and talented rectors that have provided such excellent leadership. From the time of the first rector, Rev. Samuel W. Webb, who came from Grace Church in Providence to Trinity Chapel in 1884, to Rev. P. Wayne Runner, the church has received the necessary guidance and support it needed.
One of the most outstanding leaders in Trinity’s history was Rev. J. Hugo Klaren, the first full-time Trinity rector. It was during his tenure as pastor that the building was erected. Those who followed Rev. Klaren, such as Mr. Worthington, Rev. John H. Robinette, Frederick Hicks and Rev. Frank J. Landolt, contributed their special talents to take the church well into the 20th century.
In 1960 Rev. Harrington M. Gordon came to Trinity Church to serve the congregation and remained for over three decades. Those who attended Trinity during those years still identify the church with this prelate. He led the way through the difficult periods of change in 1960 and was its longest lasting rector. Church members, such as Henry A.L. Brown, who joined Trinity in 1962, found Father Gordon’s guidance over the years to be invaluable. He preferred the title “Father” to “Mister” and this title continues to be used by his successor, Rev. Runner, who came to Trinity in 1995 and is the current rector.
Father Runner is well aware of the influence of Father Gordon and realizes the responsibility placed upon him to continue to keep Trinity Church on the move. In speaking of his calling to the ministry, Rev. Runner feels that “God mugged me for three years.” He meant that’s what it took for him to make the commitment to be an Episcopal priest. He had been teaching 4th grade students for 15 years and was unsure as to what his role in the Episcopal Church should be. When he finally decided to go to study for the priesthood, he thought his wife and mother would be surprised. He found, instead, that they expected it and just wondered when he would decide. He credits his wife as being “God’s instrument” in getting him to his present place in life.
If there were a Top 10 list of Catholic cultural touchstones, surely “Catholic priests can't get married” would be listed somewhere in the top five (if not No. 1). But did you know that it isn't always true?
Among the newest priests in the Diocese of Grand Island, which covers much of western and north-central Nebraska, is the Rev. Sidney Bruggeman. He was an ordained minister in the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) until 1995, when he, his wife and their four children all joined the Catholic Church. With his ordination on June 5, Father Bruggeman became Nebraska's only married priest in the Catholic Church's dominant Roman Rite.
Why, then, didn't that Catholic priest in Florida (the Rev. Alberto Cutie) stay in the priesthood despite his relationship with a girlfriend? Indeed, why should ordination be denied to any married Catholic layman? (A discussion of women's ordination will have to wait for a future essay.)
The answer begins in the New Testament: “And when Jesus entered Peter's house, he saw his mother-in-law lying sick with a fever” (Matthew 8:14).
Yes, the apostle whom Catholics consider the first pope was married! In fact, the Catholic Church has included married clergy, in some of the various churches under the jurisdiction of the pope, from Peter's day to now. Thus, before he became Pope Benedict XVI, then-Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger told Peter Seewald in their 1997 interview book Salt of the Earth that celibacy “is not a dogma. It is a form of life that has grown up in the Church."
Morgan Tsvangirai will deliver a passionate appeal this week to Zimbabwe refugees and asylum seekers living in Britain to return home to help to rebuild their shattered country.
In a two-hour address at Southwark Cathedral before evensong on Saturday afternoon, the Prime Minister of Zimbabwe will argue that his country has made important progress towards democracy and stability.
He will tell the thousands of Zimbabweans who have fled during Robert Mugabe’s rule that their country needs their skills, youth and vigour to help it move further along the path to recovery.
Mr Tsvangirai, who is on a three-week world tour to boost his country’s standing in the West, will also meet Gordon Brown and Alistair Darling in an effort to secure financial support for Zimbabwe and political support for his party, the Movement for Democratic Change.
Mr Tsvangirai has chosen Southwark Cathedral to deliver his message because the diocese is linked to four of the five Anglican dioceses in Zimbabwe, with the cathedral itself linked to a diocese of its own. Anglicans in Zimbabwe have suffered terrible privations in an episcopal power struggle that has seen worshippers locked out of churches and intimidated and persecuted by the regime.
A former Anglican bishop of Harare, the disgraced Nolbert Kunonga, an ally of Robert Mugabe, attempted to split the church and set up his own province with himself as archbishop, taking funds and property from the legitimate church.
Church doors have now been opened, however, and the new bishop, Sebastian Bakare, who keeps the chains that were used to lock the door of Harare Cathedral in a bag in his office, led Anglicans in Easter celebrations in the building this year for the first time in two years.
An appeal set up by the Archbishops of Canterbury and York, Dr Rowan Williams and Dr John Sentamu, has raised £300,000 to help the churches provide food and health care for the victims of the nation’s crisis.
The Rt. Rev. Donald J. Parsons, Bishop of Quincy from1973-1987, said that as bishop visitor for the All Saints Sisters of the Poor for about the past six years, he was aware that the convent was undergoing a process of discernment about its continued affiliation with The Episcopal Church. But he said he played no role in their deliberations. The Catonsville, Md.-based order announced it will be received into the Roman Catholic Church in September.
In recent years, Bishop Parsons said the sisters had become increasingly discouraged in their efforts to recruit new aspirants, or members, to their order. While attracted by the sisters’ beautiful 80-acre campus and their mission and ministry, most potential aspirants declined to pursue a calling with the order because they found its traditional “vows of poverty, chastity, and obedience” to be incongruous with what the visitor understood to be the mission and ministry of The Episcopal Church.
Bishop Parsons agreed with the Rev. Mother Christina, superior of the community, that a court battle over the property was unlikely because according to the constitution and canons of the General Convention of The Episcopal Church, “a religious order is not a parish, mission, congregation or institution of the diocese” for the purposes of the so-called Dennis Canon.
Title 3, Canon 14, Section 2(f) states that in the event of its dissolution, the order may provide for the disposition of its assets according to the laws governing not-for-profit religious organizations in the state in which the order is incorporated.
“That seems pretty clear to me,” Bishop Parsons said.
He commended the sisters as a pioneer in the field of compassionate hospice care for the terminally ill. The order sponsors and is the spiritual advisor to a hospice which caters to those dying of AIDS, he said.
A third of child sexual abuse cases substantiated by the Anglican Church resulted in no action against the perpetrator, a new study has found.
Anglican Primate Archbishop Phillip Aspinall (pictured) on Wednesday released the results of a research project designed to help the church strengthen its child protection protocols.
The study was welcomed by victims group Adults Surviving Child Abuse (ASCA), although the organisation said it remained to be seen whether the church would stand by victims over time.
The report, received by Anglican leaders at a meeting in Sydney at the weekend, examined 191 alleged cases of child sexual abuse reported between 1990 and 2008 from 17 dioceses around Australia.
It found most reported cases were substantiated.
But of the substantiated cases, 34 per cent resulted in no action by the church, while 22 per cent went to court, and 31.5 per cent resulted in disciplinary action.
The report said the fact that, on average, abuse was not reported until 23 years after it occurred meant many perpetrators died before any action could be taken, or too much time had passed to make a clear determination of what had happened.
It said 24 per cent of the accused were dead by the time the complaint was made to the church or died during the investigation.
The study found three-quarters of complainants were male, most aged 10 to 15 at the time of abuse.
The Rev. Canon Enock Tombe has been released from his role as provincial secretary for the Episcopal Church of the Sudan (ECS) to become chairman of the Eastern Equatoria High Elections Committee, according to a June 16 announcement from the provincial headquarters in Juba. Archbishop Daniel Deng Bul of Sudan described it as a "national honor" for the Episcopal Church of Sudan "that one of our leading clergymen has been chosen ... for this most prestigious appointment."
Following a request from the chairman of the Southern Sudan High Elections Committee on June 16, Deng officially released Tombe from the post to enable him to take up the new appointment at the earliest convenience.
Based in Torit, Tombe will chair the committee in charge of implementing the upcoming Sudan National Elections in Eastern Equatoria State.
Deng said that Tombe was chosen for the role because of his previous work in Torit with Norwegian Church Aid throughout the 1990s. Tombe has also served as secretary general of the ecumenical organization Sudan Council of Churches.
John Augustino Lumori, ECS personnel secretary, has been appointed acting provincial secretary until the province can elect a successor.
A telegenic Miami priest known as "Father Oprah," who left the Catholic Church amid an uproar over tabloid photos of him kissing his girlfriend on the beach, made the relationship official Tuesday, marrying the woman he was involved with for about two years.
The Rev. Alberto Cutie and Ruhama Canellis were married by a judge in Coral Gables, according to Miami-Dade County court records. No other details of the wedding were known. It was the latest in the public spectacle that started when photos of Cutie embracing his longtime girlfriend surfaced last month.
Amid the scandal, Cutie was removed from his South Beach parish, protesters marched to support him, and he departed from Catholicism to become an Episcopal priest. Cutie, 40, did not respond to an e-mail seeking comment. Last month, in an interview with CBS, he said, "I believe that I've fallen in love and I believe that I've struggled with that, between my love for God, and my love for the church and my love for service." \ Canellis, 35, met Cutie in church. The priest said they were friends for years before becoming romantically involved. An e-mail to Canellis prompted an automatic reply that said the account was not being checked but to "keep us in your prayers."
Cutie remains, technically at least, a Catholic priest, though the Miami archdiocese has barred him from celebrating Mass, providing the sacraments or preaching. Only the Vatican can fully remove him from the priesthood.
The Catholic archdiocese declined to comment on the marriage. A message left with a spokeswoman at the Episcopal Diocese of Southeast Florida was not immediately returned. Cutie gave his first sermon before Episcopalians last month, but must meet other requirements before becoming a full-fledged priest in the religion.
A former Catholic priest from Zambia who is an advocate of optional celibacy for clergy and the ordination of women has been excommunicated from the Catholic Church.
Bishop George Lungu of Chipata, president of the Zambia Episcopal Conference, announced the excommunication of Father Luciano Anzanga Mbewe June 9.
The bishop said in a statement that the Vatican's Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith took the action because Father Mbewe entered into schism for establishing the Catholic Apostolic National Church of Zambia.
"This decision to excommunicate Rev. Luciano Anzanga Mbewe is motivated by two main facts, the foundation of a schismatic church, Catholic Apostolic National Church of Zambia, and his declaration to have received a so-called Episcopal ordination by clergy linked to the old Catholic Church of Europe," Bishop Lungu said.
The bishop said Father Mbewe is no longer a member of the Catholic Church and any religious ceremonies he leads are being done outside of the church.
"Even if signs and symbols as well as attire being used during the services resemble those of the Catholic Church, the services conducted are not part of the Catholic Church," the bishop said.
Bishop Lungu urged Catholics to continue praying for Father Mbewe even though he is separated from the church.
Father Mbewe, 54, formerly of the Ndola Diocese in Zambia, was forced to resign from the priesthood in 2001 by Bishop Dennis DeJong, now deceased. At the time, Bishop DeJong said Father Mbewe was "having difficulties in being faithful to mandatory celibacy" after the former was discovered to have fathered two children while serving as a priest.
The annual convocation of the Navajoland Area Mission adopted overwhelmingly an amended resolution to defer the election of an interim bishop until September. The convocation met June 12-14 at Good Shepherd Mission in Fort Defiance, Ariz.
Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori presided and officiated at the opening Eucharist, which was attended by about 150 persons, including 40 delegates. Prior to the start of the convocation, Bishop Jefferts Schori had nominated the Rev. Canon David Bailey, canon to the ordinary for the Diocese of Utah, as a possible choice for interim bishop. Her proposal also included identifying and training Navajo leadership, and fund raising in conjunction with the Episcopal Church Foundation.
But during debate, several speakers said they felt that the proposal had not been discussed adequately within Navajoland. Others asked whether it would be possible for the Rt. Rev. Mark MacDonald, National Indigenous Bishop for the Anglican Church of Canada, to continue serving as assisting Bishop of Navajoland, a role he has held since 2006. Bishop Jefferts Schori said that Archbishop Fred Hiltz, primate of Canada, had said previously that he wants Bishop MacDonald working in Canada on a full-time basis.
“It is my hope to ordain a Navajo bishop during my tenure as Presiding Bishop,” she said, adding that she had put forward the name of Canon Bailey in an effort to ensure that there would continue to be an episcopal presence during the transition until the area mission is able to raise up a Navajo bishop. “If nothing changes, nothing changes,” she said.
As debate continued, Bishop MacDonald put forward an amendment to provide additional time to assess the area’s views and needs. According to the approved resolution, a leadership conference to facilitate the election of an interim bishop in September would be created with the election of a Navajo bishop planned for 2013. Bishop MacDonald would continue to serve until after the election of an interim bishop in September. Bishop Jefferts Schori described the amended proposal as “a way forward.”
The approved resolution also includes a design team of Church Center staff and Navajo area representatives. Bishop MacDonald will be joined on the design team by the Rev. Canon Charles Robertson, canon to the Presiding Bishop; and one Navajo from each of the three regions: Lillie Henderson from Utah, Anna Fowler from New Mexico, and Fred Dick from Arizona.
Among other convocation business, delegates approved a $396,000 annual budget.
Canon Peter Kwadwo Sakyi, Nkoranza District Minister of the Anglican Church, has called for the revival of puberty rites (bragoro) to help check against pre-marital sex and teenage pregnancies.
He said the practice could be modified to eliminate the exposure of the breasts of girls and other sensitive parts. The Anglican priest made the call when he addressed a meeting of queenmothers of the Nkoranza Traditional Area at the weekend, which was a prelude to the formation of a local Queenmothers Association. Canon Sakyi expressed concern about the high moral decadence among the youth and emphasised that puberty rites encourage girls to abstain from sex until they become adults and get married. He advised the queenmothers to educate women in their localities to support their husbands to raise their children so that they would grow to become responsible adults.
Canon Sakyi asked the Queenmothers to collaborate with their local chiefs to organise the people to complete development programmes in order to improve the living standards of the people. He deplored the practice of some queenmothers who conspire with malcontents in their communities to rebel against chiefs, thereby creating disputes and instability, which inadvertently affect development. "Such practices should not be encouraged", he said and emphasised that the chieftaincy institution was ordained by God, meaning chiefs and queenmothers were God's specially chosen persons entrusted with the responsibility of taking care and control of His creation. He advised chiefs to respect the views and opinions of queenmothers and regard them as equal partners in development.
The Anglican priest urged traditional rulers to live above reproach and to respect their subjects to win their trust, support and encouragement to ensure successful governance. In an address read on her behalf, Nana Yaa Dudaa Kani, Queenmother of the traditional Area, urged her colleagues to help improve the low level of women education in their communities. She advised the youth; especially girls, to shun pre-marital sex and rather take their education seriously in order to become responsible women.
During the past year, my home has become the gathering place for my extended family. All the cooking and sleeping and socializing happen at my house, which of course means a great deal of preparation, shopping, and cleaning beforehand for me.
As these family times approach, I try to consider how I will handle all the people in my house. Will I be helpful or irritable when a guest needs something? Will I be cheerful during our time together or exhausted by the end? Will I be a dictator or a servant?
Often times in daily life, we forget that we have many opportunities to choose our attitude toward others and the circumstances of our lives. Our natural tendency may be to complain and fuss and have a bad attitude when relationships or situations are not how we would wish, but we can choose to put our ill-tempered feelings aside and instead respond in word and deed as Jesus would have done.
Of course, choosing to act like Jesus is not always easy. At first, it is very difficult, because it is a discipline that must be practiced. Just as those of us who want to get in shape after the New Year will be successful if we develop new habits that become part of our lifestyle, so will we be successful imitating Jesus if we practice to such an extent that it becomes habit.
In the meantime, the Holy Spirit is within us cultivating our hearts so that responding like Jesus is not just a habit but grows second nature to us. We still at times have to make the choice to turn away from our old tendencies, but through the work of the Holy Spirit, our desire to please Christ and imitate Him is stronger than our desire to indulge our old habits.
And out of our desire to please Christ grows a sweet willingness within us to serve and help others, in order to bring glory to Him.
John Henry Newman, an Anglican leader in nineteenth century England, said that “to take up the cross of Christ is no great action done once and for all: it consists in the continual practice of small duties which are distasteful to us.”
Eighty-nine years ago, Shirley Palmer was baptized at Christ Church. She was married there and saw her son baptized and confirmed there. Nineteen years ago she attended her husband's funeral at the 245-year-old building on the town Green.
And last year Palmer was there when nearly all of the congregation left to form their own church because of the national Episcopal Church's stance on gays and other issues.
On Sunday, Bishop Laura J. Ahrens of the Episcopal Diocese of Connecticut told the congregation the final services in the building will be July 26.
It is closing.
"It sort of broke your heart," Palmer said. "But you have to go on."
John W. Spaeth III, director of administration for the diocese, said the building will close because of "fiscal prudence" and the diocese will be working with the congregation to determine how it could proceed.
The Rev. Stanley C. Kemmerer, priest-in-charge of Christ Church, said about 20 members who were at the meeting -- of about 50 he said would consider themselves related to the church -- immediately discussed their options.
They could stop going to church. They could join another church. Or they could find a church to sponsor them so they could continue to meet at a new location as a member of the Episcopal Church.
"It's not news any of us wanted to hear," Kemmerer said of the meeting. "But it was kind of ... now we go on. Now we know what we're dealing with. Now we can make plans. Let's get to it."
Episcopal Church Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori announced on June 12 that she had accepted the renunciations of David C. Bane and Edward MacBurney.
Both men told the Presiding Bishop by letter in March that they intended to affiliate with another Anglican province, according to a release issued by Jefferts Schori's office.
Bane is the resigned (retired) bishop of the Diocese of Southern Virginia and MacBurney is the resigned (retired) bishop of the Diocese of Quincy.
The two were not deposed and the actions do not affect their standings in other provinces, the release said.
"They are being removed from ordained ministry in the Episcopal Church 'for causes which do not affect (their) moral character,' " the release said, citing the words of the church's voluntary renunciation canon (III.12.7(a)).
Jefferts Schori notified Bane and MacBurney on June 12, the release said, noting that the actions came "with the full support of her Council of Advice, and under the authority of, Title III Canon 12 section 7 of The Episcopal Church."
During a news conference after the House of Bishops meeting in March, Jefferts Schori had expressed "great sadness" when asked about a March 11 letter by Bane, notifying her that he had joined the Anglican Province of the Southern Cone and intended to serve as an assistant bishop in the breakaway Diocese of Pittsburgh. He also works the bishop-in-residence at the Anglican Church of the Redeemer in Elizabeth City, North Carolina, where he lives.
An 81 year old man wants the Episcopal Diocese of Pennsylvania to pay for his alleged sexual abuse and for the inheritance he claims they stole from him. Ralph White Jr. said even if he doesn’t live to see a dime of any money awarded him he’s glad to know the church must respond to his allegations.
According to papers filed by White who is suffering from a heart condition, he claims he was sexually abused by his pastor in the 1940s when he was a boy. Now a Philadelphia Common Pleas Court had ordered the church to respond to his lawsuit. White, of West Philadelphia, is seeking unspecified damages from the five-county diocese and All Saints parish in Wynnewood, and the return of his modest inheritance.
Last year, the diocese publicly apologized to White for failing "to respond adequately to the injuries and injustices" he endured at the hands of a priest. But recently representatives insisted the church had "no financial responsibility to Mr. White."
Michael Rehill, chancellor or chief legal counsel to the diocese, called the lawsuit "60 years late." He predicted that the court would ultimately reject the lawsuit on the ground that the statute of limitations expired long ago.
Volunteers from four area churches gathered once again at the 35th Habitat for Humanity of Hall County building site to celebrate the ground breaking of a home for a Gainesville mother of three.
Lakisha Thomas hopes to move into the 1,150-square-foot home with her young children by October.
Dennis Machida, construction supervisor for Habitat for Humanity of Hall County, said the two-story house on West Avenue will have three bedrooms and two bathrooms. He said volunteers have already laid the foundation for the site, but community members are invited to construct the rest of the house.
“Every Saturday we need 20 to 25 people and we plan to complete this in 16 weeks,” he said.
Four churches pitching in on Habitat home
Grace Episcopal Church, First Baptist Church, First Presbyterian Church and Gainesville First United Methodist Church are sponsoring Thomas’ house and are providing many volunteers.
Doug Dailey, rector of Grace Episcopal, said this house is the sixth Habitat home since 2003 his church has helped to build. He said the “theology of the hammer” drives his congregation to pitch in.
“As Christians, we are called to increase justice, compassion and love and Habitat is a real tangible way to do that,” he said.
Robb Owens, executive director of Habitat for Humanity of Hall County, said this house marks the 35th Habitat home Hall Countians have built since the mid 1990s. He estimates about 85 percent of those homes have been built since 2001.
For some, retirement means slowing down. For Dr. William "Gerry" and Nancy Hardison, both in their 70s, it means serving in a hospital and various clinics; running a seminary; fostering a nursing school; and overseeing an orphan-feeding program in a remote area of western Kenya. Known locally as "Professor Nan" and "Professor Gerry," the retired San Diego couple has worked as Episcopal volunteers for mission for seven years in Maseno, a town too small to be on the map.
"We have been privileged in our education and our working lives, and believe we ought to continue to use that education for service," Nancy Hardison wrote in an e-mail interview.
Both had been Fulbright scholars in Albania. She served as a professor of business administration at Point Loma Nazarene University in San Diego, retiring in 1998. Her husband retired a year later from his work as a doctor at Veteran's Hospital in La Jolla, California, and as professor of medicine at the University of California in San Diego.
"We heard about Maseno when we were in Nairobi," Nancy Hardison recalled. Both Episcopalians, they also are affiliated with the Church of the Nazarene (an evangelical Christian denomination rooted in Methodism) and arrived in Kenya in 1999 as Nazarenes in volunteer service. She became deputy vice chancellor of academics of Africa Nazarene University. Her husband practiced and taught medicine at University of Nairobi and Kenyatta National Hospital.
"One of our Kenyan acquaintances asked us to come to Essaba, a village near Maseno, to do clinics three or four times a year," Nancy Hardison said. On several visits, they met Bishop Simon Oketch of the Diocese of Maseno North in the Anglican Church of Kenya.
Anglican clergy and laity attending the launch of the Fellowship of Confessing Anglicans in the UK and Ireland in London on July 6 will hear the Bishop of Rochester, the Rt Rev Michael Nazir-Ali, call for "repentance and a renewed commitment to evangelism and mission".
The launch of the Fellowship comes less than a year after the GAFCON conference in Jerusalem, which led to a declaration of Orthodox beliefs.
At a time when the Anglican church in North America and Canada is facing major splits between liberals and orthodox members, the Fellowship is being launched to provide "a home, focus and support for orthodox churches in diocese and provinces which they believe they can no longer be aligned with, or have been excluded from over their beliefs".
Delegates gathering at Westminster Central Hall will hear from a wide range of international speakers, including Bishop Keith Ackerman, president of Forward in Faith (North America), Archbishop of Sydney the Most Rev Peter Jensen, and Baroness Caroline Cox.
The morning sessions will focus on the global Anglican Communion, with welcome messages from the Archbishops of Uganda, Rwanda and Kenya, before looking in detail at the key issues of unity, orthodoxy, the uniqueness of Christ and holiness of life.
The Bishops of Chichester, the Rt Rev John Hind, and Fulham, the Rt Rev John Broadhurst will also speak.
Afternoon sessions will address the challenges of mission in a society of aggressive secularism, with special input from the Rev Vaughan Roberts of St Ebbe’s, Oxford, and Canon Vinay Samuel from India. Following teaching by Bishop Wallace Benn on biblical fellowship, delegates will then focus on the opportunities and challenges for mission in the British Isles, with film and interviews from around the UK.
In the nearly 500 years since the Church of England split with the Roman Catholic Church, a fair number of converts have crossed from one church to the other. Still, the path can be rocky, as Alberto Cutié—the most recent high-profile convert—discovered on May 28 when he left Catholicism to join the Episcopal Church.
Known as "Father Oprah" because of his popularity and media savvy, Cutié was caught by a photographer in an embrace with his girlfriend on a Florida beach early in May. The 40-year-old celebrity cleric later admitted to struggling with the Catholic priesthood's mandatory celibacy requirement and was suspended from ministry.
Just weeks later, Cutié announced that he hopes "to continue priestly ministry and service in my new spiritual home," the Episcopal Church, which allows priests to marry. He had been considering conversion for two years, according to the Episcopal Diocese of Southeast Florida.
With a star of Cutié's magnitude— millions have tuned in to his television and radio shows focusing on relationship advice—media attention to his conversion perhaps was inevitable. Reporters from English- and Spanish-language media crowded into Trinity Episcopal Cathedral in Miami to witness the half-hour ceremony and subsequent press conference.
Miami's Catholic archbishop, John Favalora, Cutié's former boss, was not pleased. In addition to criticizing the new convert, he blasted his Episcopal counterpart, Bishop Leo Frade of Southeast Florida, for breaking the unwritten rules of conversion: Advise the other bishop about your plans and don't show up the other faith by making a public display.
The Rev. Rob Holman reminded Anglican parishioners to practice love and forgiveness Sunday morning as they reeled from the state Fourth District Court of Appeals’ decision last week to uphold a lower court’s ruling that the Episcopal Diocese of Los Angeles is the legal owner of the St. Luke’s of the Mountains Church property on Foothill Boulevard.
Reacting to comments made by the Right Rev. J. Jon Bruno, bishop of the Episcopal Diocese of Los Angeles, to the News-Press regarding the court decision and the church’s future, Holman told parishioners Bruno had been misleading and dishonest.
“God’s timing is kind of interesting to begin 40 Days of Love with the court’s appeal,” Holman said. “This week taught me it’s hard to be loving.”
He asked parishioners to forgive Bruno “and release you and your statements to the Lord’s hands.”
The fate of the Anglican congregants, at least with staying at the church, remains unknown, Holman said.
“Right now, we are still reviewing our options,” he said before Sunday’s service.
The congregation needs to get feedback from parishioners before deciding its next move, said Debbie Kollgaard, St. Luke’s senior warden.
The court issued its ruling Tuesday and agreed with the lower court that the Episcopal Diocese had the right to restore the church to its authority after the now-Anglican congregation split in 2006 over theological differences.
After severing ties with the Episcopal Diocese, the congregation allied with the Anglican Province of Uganda. But congregants continued to worship at the church, arguing that the property belonged to them, not to the diocese.
The Episcopal Diocese sued St. Luke’s after it joined the Anglican Province of Uganda.
A Los Angeles Superior Court judge sided with the diocese in July 2007, citing a 1979 church law establishing its ownership of all Episcopal parish property.
Delegates to the 33rd annual Convocation of the Episcopal Church in Navajoland June 12-14 overwhelmingly approved creation of a leadership conference to facilitate the elections of an interim bishop in September and a Navajo, or Diné, bishop for Navajoland, an area mission of The Episcopal Church, by 2013.
With Navajo vestments and crozier, Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori officiated at a June 12 opening Eucharist and healing service attended by about 150 people, including 40 delegates at Good Shepherd Mission in Fort Defiance, Arizona. Meeting sessions were held in a tent pitched on the grounds.
The Rt. Rev. Mark MacDonald, who was chosen to serve as the assisting Navajoland bishop by then-Presiding Bishop Frank T. Griswold during General Convention 2006, continues to lead ministry there. He also became the first National Indigenous Bishop in the Anglican Church of Canada in 2007. "The Archbishop of Canada has been pushing me. He wants Mark there full-time," Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori told the gathering about MacDonald's dual role.
"It is my hope to ordain a Navajo bishop during my tenure as Presiding Bishop," Jefferts Schori added. Navajoland is the only area mission in the Episcopal Church. It functions much the same as a diocese but with more oversight from the office of the Presiding Bishop and the House of Bishops. Development of indigenous leadership, a longstanding policy of TEC, has continued to be a priority in Navajoland during MacDonald's tenure there.
A 20 percent increase in the number of donors in 2008, coupled with the first $50,000 installment of a $250,000 grant from a Colorado foundation and two major gifts from new individual donors have helped to mitigate a shortfall in scholarship funds for postulants and candidates preparing for ordination, said Thomas Moore III, executive director, in a recent address to the board of directors of the Society for the Increase of the Ministry (SIM).
“The increase in new donors is good news for building a foundation of support, as was the $46,000 raised for the celebration of the ministry of SIM’s former executive director [The Rev. Canon John L.C. Mitman],” said Mr. Moore.
Overall, however, donations from individuals and parishes dropped over the year, he said. Sharp cuts in parish budgets and endowments greatly affected parish donations, producing a budget shortfall in the Parish Partners program by about half, he said.
“The current economic conditions make it all the more imperative that seminarians be supported,” Mr. Moore urged after the board’s meeting. “These are difficult times for us all; it is especially so for our current future ordained leaders.”
SIM is an independent, not-for-profit organization which provides direct financial support to postulants and candidates for holy orders in The Episcopal Church. Since its inception in 1857, SIM has given more than $6 million in assistance to nearly 5,000 men and women who have gone on to serve in parish ministries.
In its report to the 76th General Convention, the Standing Commission on Ministry Development noted that seminarian debt “is growing to epic proportions…[and] hindering deployment and the mission capabilities of our dioceses.”
The commission has pre-filed two resolutions addresing seminary debt in the so-called Blue Book report to General Convention. Resolution A106 commends SIM for developing a three-fold plan “to limit, manage and help ordinands successfully repay accumulated educational debt” and work to consult and coordinate with SIM to disseminate SIM’s plan to all diocesan bishops and commissions on ministry. Resolution A107 proposes a $450,000 allocation to SIM during the next three years “to be used solely for the financial support of persons studying for ordained ministry and as a supplement to the financial support of those persons already provided by SIM...”
The Secretary General of the Anglican Consultative Council is on a shortlist of six candidates for the post of Secretary General of the World Council of Churches (WCC).
On May 28 Ecumenical News International reported that Canon Kenneth Kearon was among the six candidates vying to succeed Dr Samuel Kobia of Kenya. On June 5 the WCC stated it had not “officially released any names of candidates and does not confirm the accuracy of the ENI list.”
The moderator of the WCC’s Central Committee Dr Walter Altmann stated the search process was being conducted in a spirit of “Christian fellowship and ecumenical commitment and in confidentiality; thus, we deeply regret that these names were made public."
The WCC confirmed that the short list of candidates would be interviewed this month. The new general secretary will be elected at the WCC’s Central Committee meeting held Aug 26- Sep 2 in Geneva to replace D Kobia who last year announced he would not seek a second term of office.
During the February Primates’ meeting in Alexandria, Religious Intelligence learned that Canon Kearon had been nominated for the post, and had received the backing of Archbishop of Canterbury Rowan Williams.
The WCC’s general secretary serves as the ecumenical organization’s chief executive officer as a spokesman for its council, responsible for promoting the strategic vision of the Geneva-based WCC.
The five other finalists for the post included South African Methodist the Rev Daryl Balia, the Church of Scotland’s the Rev Robert Anderson, Brazilian Mennonite the Rev Fernando Enns, Korean Presbyterian the Rev Seon Won Park, and the Church of Norway’s the Rev Olav Fykse Tveit.