Local churches feed hungry through sack lunch program
Local churches have handed out around 2,500 sack lunches to needy families as part of the Sack Lunch Saturday program, which started in February.
Tom Rea and other members of the Church of the Good Shepherd Episcopal started the program to help families struggling to feed themselves and the program has grown over the past couple of months.
Good Shepherd had their first Sack Lunch Saturday on Feb. 28 at Trailblazer Park and have handed out sack lunches every fourth Saturday of the month since then. Good Shepherd will be at Trailblazer Park again this Saturday from noon to 2 p.m.
Other churches have joined in the feeding effort and four churches are now running sites. First Baptist Church of Covington also serves lunches on the fourth Saturday of every month at Murray Christian Methodist Episcopal Church at 4100 West Street NW.
First United Methodist Church serves lunches at Trailblazer Park on the third Sunday of every month. Salem United Methodist Church had its first lunch give away at its church last Saturday at 3962 Salem Road. Rea said the church hadn’t committed to serving every month, but he said they seemed enthusiastic about Saturday’s response.
In addition, Rea said members from other churches including Allen Memorial Methodist Church have been helping out and the Solid Rock Baptist Church food ministry made a huge contribution in the past and is continuing to assist with food needs. He said Central Community Church in Oxford is also considering joining the program.
Rea said each location hands out about 200 to 300 sack lunches every Saturday. He said most of the lunches are handed out at the site, but church members also take lunches to surrounding neighborhoods in Covington. The lunches consist of some combination of a lunch meat sandwich, potato chips, desert, fruit, a vegetable and a drink.
Loaves and Fishes food pantry meets local needs as part of collaboration between churches
For Tina Lopez, the Loaves and Fishes Food Pantry picks up where her food stamps fall short.For the two churches that run the small, but growing, service, the pantry is an example of grassroots collaboration to meet a local need.Now, Church of the Holy Spirit, an Episcopal congregation at 1200 Post Drive NE, is adding to its building, formerly a one-room schoolhouse, to make the pantry more accessible.
"It just feels like an Amish barn-raising or something," said the Rev. Sue York, retiring rector. "This sort of collaboration doesn't happen often."The congregation started the pantry, a branch of ACCESS's North Kent Service Center, three years ago.Meanwhile, Assumption Catholic Church, nearby on Belmont Avenue NE, was trying to keep its food pantry going. Food was collected at the church and school and then stored in a former nuns' home.
But that meant unlocking the doors and fetching items whenever someone in need knocked on the church office door."It was kind of embarrassing for the people, and it was mostly unknown -- plus, there was no fresh food," said David Kromer, an Assumption member.One day, Kromer's wife, Ruth, met members of Holy Spirit's congregation, and they decided to join forces.
The Rev. Dr. E.F. Michael Morgan will become the executive director of the Episcopal Preaching Foundation on July 1. Morgan, 66, recently completed work as interim rector of Saint Peter’s Church in Glenside, Pennsylvania. He has served churches in and near Philadelphia and Massachusetts as well as Church of the Good Shepherd in Athens, Ohio.
"I'm looking forward zealously to working closely with Mike Morgan," said A. Gary Shilling, founder of the foundation. "We'll not only continue our highly successful annual Preaching Excellence Program (PEP) conference for seminarians, but also expand our conferences for parish preachers and pursue other programs to fulfill our mission of improving preaching in the Church. Mike brings a wide knowledge of the Episcopal Church, strong leadership and administrative skills, and a firm commitment to Christ and the importance of preaching in proclaiming the Gospel."
Shilling, founder of the investment advisory firm bearing his name, began the foundation in 1987 in an effort to improve preaching in the Episcopal Church. Approximately 10 percent of the clergy active in the Episcopal Church today have participated in the Preaching Excellence Program during which a group of rising Episcopal senior seminarians and just-graduated seminarians gathers for six days of intensive preaching and study.
Morgan will succeed the Rev. Dr. Timothy J. Mulder, whom Shilling thanked for his service to the foundation as a board member, PEP faculty member, executive director and, most recently, as the director of PEP 2009.
"We appreciate Tim's many efforts on our behalf and are delighted over his interest in continuing to serve the foundation," Shilling said.
Amid a frenzy of TV cameras and news photographers, former Catholic priest Alberto Cutié and Ruhama Canellis arrived at a private Spanish monastery in North Miami Beach where they became husband and wife Friday night.
Dozens attended the hour-long Episcopal service, officiated by Bishop Leo Frade, a friend of Cutié. Canellis arrived in a black stretch limo, while Fr. Cutié arrived separately in a black Cadillac SUV. The priest had been legally married to 35-year-old Canellis since June 16. Even though news cameras weren't allowed inside the ceremony, CBS4 News acquired a photograph of the groom and bride inside shot by the Miami Herald.
Cutie, known worldwide for his television show while a Catholic priest, was caught on camera in provocative photos. He left the Catholic Church weeks after they were published and joined the Episcopalian church, receiving an invitation from Bishop Frade. At the time, as a Catholic priest, Cutié was under a vow of celibacy, but he was caught by a photographer in loving embraces with Canellis on a beach earlier in 2009. The ensuing scandal and firestorm began to subside when Cutié left the church.
Alberto Cutié will get married in a private religious ceremony Friday evening, according to a source close to the controversial former Roman Catholic priest.The wedding is scheduled for 7 p.m. at the Spanish Monastery, a historic Episcopal church in North Miami Beach, with Bishop Leo Frade of the Episcopal Diocese of Southeast Florida officiating.About 50 people are expected at the hourlong ceremony, which will include a traditional Episcopal service and homily.
The guest list includes the couple's families and Episcopal priests.Cutié legally married 35-year-old Ruhama Buni Canellis before a Miami-Dade County judge in a Coral Gables courthouse ceremony on June 16. The couple joined the Episcopal church in late May, and he announced he had begun a yearlong process to become an Episcopal priest.
Cutié left his post at St. Francis de Sales Catholic Church in Miami Beach May 5 after a Spanish-language celebrity magazine published photos of him entwined with Canellis on a Florida beach, a violation of his vow of celibacy as a Catholic priest.With its lush greenery and Gothic architecture, the Spanish Monastery, formally named St. Bernard de Clairvaux, is one of the most popular spots in South Florida for weddings and photo shoots.
The three-year, $162-million draft budget submitted by Executive Council will likely be reduced by the Joint Standing Committee on Program, Budget and Finance (PB&F) before it is submitted for approval to General Convention on July 15, according to Pan Adams-McCaslin, PB&F chairwoman.
In an interview with Episcopal News Service (ENS) June 24, Ms. McCaslin said income could be $9 million less than previously estimated. During the 2006-2009 triennium, Executive Council was forced to reduce $152 million approved by the 75th General Convention on several occasions. For example, at two meetings during 2007, council reduced the budget a total of $5.6 million.
The draft budget approved by Executive Council in January assumed an annual increase of 8 percent in endowment income, and that diocesan income would increase by 1 percent in 2010 and 2 percent in both 2011 and 2012. Under the Executive Council draft budget dioceses would contribute $96 million while endowment income would contribute $29 million. Historically, other income sources have included government grants, advertising and subscription fees from the monthly newspaper, Episcopal Life, and income from renters at the Episcopal Church Center.
However, Ms. McCaslin said that the committee has been conducting an ongoing survey of bishops and diocesan financial officers. They were asked how realistic the income assumptions made six months earlier by Executive Council now appear. Those who already have responded have been “very candid” in their replies, she said.
Kurt Barnes, treasurer for The Episcopal Church, told ENS that “church center staff have not been formally asked to submit adjusted budget requests,” but the PB&F had previously asked department heads to participate in an exercise in which it was assumed that the available funds were 50 percent less than in the Executive Council draft budget.
New revenue projections will be released after PB&F meets in Anaheim, Calif., on July 6, two days before General Convention begins. PB&F will hold three open hearings during convention: one on budget priorities July 7 and two on spending and revenue decisions July 9 and 10. A final vote is expected July 16, the day before convention adjourns.
Ms. McCaslin said the committee is concerned that reduced revenue projections are accompanied by pre-filed resolutions which call for “several million dollars” Canonical and corporate expenses must be funded by canon. These include the office of the Presiding Bishop, the office of the president of the House of Deputies, and the General Convention office, which includes the committees, commissions, agencies and boards charged with carrying out priorities established by convention.
“The tension that PB&F faces is, of the gifts that we have to share, how do we make prayerful decisions on funding the ‘have-tos’ and the ‘wants?’,” she said, and added the committee was “not going into convention in fear.
“We are going in as educated as possible about the draft budget that was approved by Executive Council, as educated as possible about the proposed resolutions with funding implications—both revenue-specific and those with funding implied—in order that PB&F can listen to the convention and the Holy Spirit so that the mission of the church is fulfilled and not political agendas,” she said.
THE POST of the Suffragan Bishop of Hulme has been axed, on the eve of a motion at the General Synod next month which could pave the way for cuts in the number of bishops and senior clergy within three years.
The Bishop of Manchester, the Rt Revd Nigel McCulloch, announced this week that he would tell his diocesan synod on Tuesday that he would not seek a reappointment to the suffragan bishopric, after the Rt Revd Stephen Lowe retires next month. Bishop Lowe has been seconded for the past three years to be Bishop of Urban Faith and Life.
The cut follows the recommendations of the Bishop of Manchester’s Council Working Group in 2005, a spokesman said: “This will reduce the cost of suffragan bishops from three to two.” The General Synod motion, which originates from the Bradford dio cesan synod, seeks to balance the loss of stipendiary clergy in the parishes by cuts in senior posts. The Revd Dr John Hartley, Vicar of Eccleshill, who will propose it, said this week that his hope was that “we can ask whether we can find a new way for the hierarchy of the Church of England working.”
“Should we have archdeacons at all, or would it be better to make them all bishops?” he continued, “instead of us simply continuing with the same number of chiefs, when the indians like me on the ground are being reduced.”
The motion calls on the Arch bishops’ Council to “formulate pro posals for reductions in the numbers of Episcopal and senior clergy posts, taking into account the reductions for the number of stipendiary clergy since 1979; and submit a report with recom mendations to the General Synod within three years”.
Unlike the previous General Convention, next month’s gathering faces a “vague anxiety level” over multiple issues as opposed to just one, said the Rev. Canon Charles K. Robertson, canon to the Presiding Bishop. He made the remarks during a June 24 lecture at Virginia Theological Seminary (VTS).
The comment came in response to a question as to whether a final decision on issues such as same-sex blessings would come out of the General Convention. Canon Robertson said that Resolution B033 from the 75th General Convention, consent to the election of the Rev. Kevin Thew Forrester as Bishop of the Northern Michigan, and the budget are all flash points causing anxiety for different Episcopalians.
“What’s fascinating about this General Convention . . . [is] that there’s not really a very specific target for our anxiety,” he said. “We’re not seeing the same thing we saw in 2006.”
Canon Robertson’s lecture, titled “Facing into the Wind: Lessons on Leadership from Conflict in The Episcopal Church,” was the first in the seminary’s summer leadership series. In it, he presented a model of how conflict develops and escalates. He looked back at prior Anglican controversies, particularly the ordination of women, to contend that the current tensions within The Episcopal Church and the Anglican Communion are neither new nor unexpected.
Canon Robertson cited sources as diverse as the apostle Paul, Richard Hooker, and various Lambeth Conferences to argue that resolutions should come through an Anglican comprehensiveness where “bonds of affection” conquer tensions arising from differences.
“The real challenge in all of this is to decide whether [issues such as human sexuality and hermeneutics] need to be the real litmus test,” he said. “Something has been lost if we believe that communion equals agreement.”
In response to a question of what is at the root of opposition to same-sex blessings and related issues, Canon Robertson said, “It often comes down to fear of change, but even that’s too easy. It often comes down to fear of the other.” He advocated building relationships with “the other” using agreed-upon rules of interaction.
REFORMATION is now under way, Bishop Robert Duncan told the inaugural gathering of the Anglican Church in North America (ACNA) in Bedford, Texas, this week.
Of the 800 people present, 234 are delegates from the 28 groups that have broken away from the Episcopal Church of the United States and the Anglican Church of Canada. Bishop Duncan, deposed from the Episcopal Church in 2008 and now a bishop in the Province of the Southern Cone, was due to be installed as Archbishop of the would-be province on Wednesday at St Vincent’s Cathedral.
The assembly has ratified its canons and constitutions, and pro claimed its support for the Anglican Covenant, which it would like individual dioceses to be able to adopt, rather than provinces. It has retained a declaration that says: “We are grieved by the current state of brokenness within the Anglican Communion, promoted by those who have embraced erroneous teaching and who have rejected a repeated call to repentance.”
ACNA says it has 693 congregations, 81,311 worshippers, and an average Sunday attendance of 69,197. It seeks to become a legitimate province of the Anglican Communion. Its intention to replace the jurisdictions of the Episcopal Church and the Anglican Church of Canada was conveyed in a memo from the American Anglican Council in December 2003.
The memo declared: “Our ulti mate goal is a realignment of Anglicanism on North American soil, committed to biblical faith and values and driven by Gospel mission. We believe, in the end, this should be a ‘replacement’ jurisdiction with confessional standards, maintaining the historic faith of our Communion, closely aligned with the majority of world Anglicanism” (News, 24 January 2004).
A California appeals court has ruled in favour of the Diocese of Los Angeles, holding that the congregation of St Luke’s Church in La Crescenta could not take its property with it when it quit the diocese.
On June 9 the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeal upheld a 2007 lower court decision which ruled against the congregation, which in 2006 had quit the Episcopal Church for the Church of Uganda.
"The long history of the Episcopal Church in La Crescenta will continue with new leadership and the potential for sustained growth, and as an open source of full inclusion for all humanity," Los Angeles Bishop Jon Bruno told the Episcopal News Service after the decision was released.
On June 11, the Rev Rob Holman, rector of the breakaway congregation, stated his congregation had “shed many tears at the thought of being deprived of our house of worship for these past 85 years.
“That the Bishop of Los Angeles would spend hundreds of thousands of dollars in the courts to wrest all, down to even the small wooden processional cross from the hands of our youngest acolytes, is unfathomable to the Christian heart,” he said.
The appellate court’s action in the St Luke’s case will not affect any other California church lawsuit, however, as it was issued as an unreported decision --- meaning the court will not publish its ruling, preventing other courts or litigants from relying upon it for precedential value.
The court stated that it based its decision upon the Jan 5, 2009, decision by the California Supreme Court in the case of St James’ Newport Beach --- a case currently under appeal before the US Supreme Court and returned to the lower courts for trial in Orange County, California.
Over the next few years, the provinces of the Anglican Communion will receive and study an invitation to deeper relationship through a formal covenant. The text (with a few procedural items still being edited) may be found online at the website of the Anglican Communion Office. For our upcoming General Convention, I am a co-sponsor of a resolution, D020, titled "Provisional Acceptance of the Anglican Covenant." It builds on the foundation of two resolutions adopted by the last General Convention in 2006.
Resolution A159 affirmed the commitment of the Episcopal Church to the interdependent life of the Anglican Communion and our desire to live with our brother and sister Anglican churches in "the highest degree of communion possible." Resolution A166 affirmed the commitment of our church to participation in the development of an Anglican covenant.
The 2006 convention also (resolution A160) expressed regret that "our failure to accord sufficient importance to the impact of our actions on our church and other parts of the communion" has "strained" the "bonds of affection" in the communion.
This year, D020 commends the Anglican covenant to our dioceses for study in the next triennium and asks for the creation of a special task force to consider what modifications of our Constitution and Canons might be required if the Episcopal Church were to adopt it.
Importantly, the resolution asks that as we study and discuss the covenant over the next three years, we make a voluntary commitment to live to the highest degree possible in accordance with both its spirit and its guidelines for collaborative life in the communion.
Which is to say—and this is the source of our resolution's title--that during this time of discernment we engage voluntarily, "provisionally," in the deeper patterns of mutuality, of communion-wide conversation and consultation envisioned by the covenant, showing thoughtful restraint when considering any action that might further strain relationships and complicate a decision to endorse and adopt the covenant in 2012.
The Episcopal Diocese of San Joaquin, which stretches from Bakersfield north to Lodi, is about to have its first-ever ordination of a woman to the priesthood. The Rev. Suzanne Ward is to be ordained June 27 by the Rt. Rev. Jerry Lamb at the Church of the Saviour in Hanford.
San Joaquin has had many female deacons over the years and now has four female priests, all of whom were ordained in other dioceses. Women were first ordained to the priesthood in The Episcopal Church in 1975. After June 27 there will be only two dioceses left that have not ordained a woman, Quincy (in Illinois) and Fort Worth.
The Rt. Rev. Nedi Rivera, suffragan bishop of the Diocese of Olympia and, in a missionary partnership, is also provisional bishop of the Diocese of Eastern Oregon, is scheduled to preach at Su8nday’s services. The first Hispanic woman to be ordained a bishop in the Episcopal Church, she is the daughter of the late Victor Rivera, third bishop of San Joaquin. Ms. Ward has assisted with the leadership of the continuing St. Paul's Episcopal Church in Visalia since its establishment in early 2008.
She and her husband, Jon Ward, who have been married for 30 years, are both teachers in the city of Tulare.
I don't think religion can be replaced, but then I don't think anything can be replaced; things are what they are and any substitute is something else. With generic objects substitution amounts to replacement: a window, a car, a lamp can be "replaced" by a copy; but anything more complicated is another matter. The notion that something as elaborate and multi-faceted as religion could be replaced is laughable.
Apart from anything else religion is a lot of things and serves a lot of functions, and the closer you come to matching all of them the closer you come to reproducing religion itself. If you don't match all of them then you haven't "replaced" religion.
There are several candidates for least-possible-to-replace aspect of religion. For most varieties the obvious one is the object of worship – the god or gods. If you subtract god or gods and leave the ceremonies and meetings and rules, you seem to be left with something very arbitrary and random. "Why are we doing this when we don't think God is participating?" Secular pseudo-religion strikes me as not just hopeless but also faintly nauseating. I'm not about to sit in a circle holding hands, or worship The Principle of Humanity, or put a list of Affirmations on the wall.
I'm not a good judge of this, though, because I'm not a joiner; congregations of any kind make me feel squirmy. The few times I went to church (Episcopalian, ie high Anglican) as a child, I hated it – I felt bored, confined, suffocated, vaguely oppressed. It was all so starchy and solemn and dressy, for one thing: I had to wear school clothes five days a week as it was, I hated having to wear even more formal clothes on yet another day.
Modern church isn't always like that though, at least not in the US. I once went to a suburban megachurch for a Friday evening service of some kind. It was nothing like "church" – it was more like a rock concert crossed with a pep talk. There was a lot of perky music, and a huge hall full of bouncy young people, all very chatty and energetic and cheerful. Still – there was also an abundance of God-talk, so it was a religious occasion of some kind, and this is the aspect of religion that is so hard to match with anything else. A weekly meeting of atheists? To do what?
Reverend Hannah Dwomoh, a 60- year-old educationist at Nkoranza in Brong Ahafo at the weekend became the first female priest of the Anglican Church of Ghana.
Rev. Dwomoh was ordained as a Deacon in June last year by the immediate past Bishop of the Sunyani Diocese of the church, the Most Rev Thomas Ampah Brient, and became a Reverend Minister in November the same year.
She is a graduate of Saint Nicholas Anglican Seminary in Cape Coast.
Preaching a sermon at the Saint Barnabas Anglican Church at Nkoranza during her first solemn Holy Mass, the Rev. Dwomoh urged members of the church to eschew selfishness and to respect their fellow human beings as Christians should do.
She called on members of the Church to support and assist the needy and to conduct themselves as role models in their communities.
The Rev Dwomoh thanked God for giving her the opportunity to serve Him in her new role as a priest, and prayed for His wisdom, more knowledge and strength so she could perform to the satisfaction of all and win more souls.
Okatakyie Agyeman Kudom 1V, Omanhene of Nkoranza Traditional Area and his elders attended the service and commended the female priest "for allowing God to take control of her life".
He noted that the Rev. Dwomoh had made great history for Nkoranzaman which would be a lasting record for posterity.
A Newport Beach parish that cut ties with the national Episcopal Church has asked the U.S. Supreme Court to settle a property dispute.
St. James Anglican Church, which cut ties to its parent church five years ago over the ordination of a gay bishop and biblical doctrines, requested Wednesday that the high court decide who owns the parish property.
In January, the California Supreme Court said St. James had the right to disaffiliate with the larger church but could not take parish property with it, even though the parish has held the deed to the church for decades.
St. James says the ruling violates the parish's right to freedom of religious expression and gives preference to hierarchical faiths.
The U.S. Supreme Court could decide whether to hear the case as early as October.
The spiritual leader of the Orthodox Church in America offered to begin talks aimed at full communion with the new Anglican Church in North America, then named a series of obstacles whose removal could tear apart the hard-won unity among the 100,000 theological conservatives who broke from the Episcopal Church and the Anglican Church of Canada.
"What will it take for a true ecumenical reconciliation? Because that is what I am seeking by being here today," Metropolitan Jonah said to a standing ovation from 900 people assembled in a tent on the grounds of St. Vincent Cathedral in Bedford, Texas.
He spoke of St. Tikhon, a 19th-century Russian Orthodox missionary to the United States who initiated a close relationship with the Episcopal Church that later cooled.
"We need to pick up where they left off," he said. "I occupy the throne St. Tikhon held as the leader of the Orthodox Church in America. Our arms are wide open."
The Anglican Church in North America hopes to be recognized as a new province of the 80 million-member global Anglican Communion, of which the 2.1 million-member Episcopal Church is the U.S. province. The new church believes the Episcopal Church failed to uphold biblical authority and classic doctrines about matters ranging from the divinity of Jesus to biblical morality, a criticism that the Orthodox share.
The Orthodox Church in America is a self-governing daughter of the Russian Orthodox Church. Metropolitan Jonah, who was elected last year in Pittsburgh, is a convert who was raised as an Episcopalian. He spoke with humor about both traditions, warning, "I'm afraid my talk will have something to offend just about everybody."
When it comes to blow-out church services, the Anglicans can sure put on the dog. I've been filing stories for the past three days on the constitutional convention for the Anglican Church of North America, the emerging 39th province of the 77-million-strong Anglican Communion. The big party to end it all was Wednesday night (it's 1:14 a.m. as I type this on Thursday) and it was a splasher.
The site was a Texas megachurch called Christ Church in Plano, a north Dallas suburb. Although I got lost getting there from Fort Worth (first ended up in Garland somehow), I knew when I finally drove up that this was the place. Talk about huge. Buildings everywhere and the sanctuary was cathedral-like in its vastness. All that was missing were side chapels and votive candles. The decor is a bit stark - no Christ on the main cross above the altar which goes along with low-church evangelicalism Texas-style.
Fortunately they got fancy with the music. Some 60 bishops and 323 clergy had to process in, so they needed something sprightly to move these folks in - long robes, mitres and academic hoods and all - rather quickly. What they came up with, composed by trombonist John Wasson was a variation on the hymn "Praise My Soul the King of Heaven" combined with African march-style music in a 4/4 beat. Sounds awful but it was stunning - and beautiful.
Now before that, there was a ton of intro choral and organ music - the brass quintet and organ were the best in a list of very presentable offerings. I don't think this is ordinarily a church that probably doesn't do the smells and bells of a more Anglo-Catholic service but they learned fast because of the huge variation of visitors there - people from around the globe coming to celebrate Archbishop Duncan's installation. The haunting "Veni Creator Spiritus" is very rarely done - usually for the consecration of bishops - and often it's played in a deadly fashion. At this church, the organ pounded it out in grand style. And fortunately the music director - Mark Snow - had the sense to choose the lovely "Missa de Sancta Maria Magdelena" for the Communion chants.
Actually I'm afraid of clowns but "Whatever"- From Metro London-
Clowning around in church is usually frowned upon. But Anglican priest Roly Bain has his congregation rolling in the aisles.
That's because he is also a professional clown – and combines his two callings in a bid to bring younger people to church.
In the guise of Clown Roly, he makes slapstick sermons all over the world – using magic tricks, daft props and circus acts to illustrate spiritual lessons.
The 54-year-old, who was ordained as a priest in 1978 and graduated from clown school 12 years later, wears red and black plaid over his dog collar and conducts choirs with a pink feather duster.
The priest, from Bristol, said: 'The best clowns are deeply profound and speak to laughter and tears, comedy and tragedy, death and resurrection.'
Father Felix Mascarenhas, who invited him to hijack his traditional Sunday service at Brighton's Church of the Good Shepherd, said: 'Some things, like his tightrope walk, showed trust and risk-taking – important messages in faith. I don't think I'll be copying his preaching style, though.'
His Beatitude, the Archbishop of Washington, Metropolitan of All America and Canada of the Orthodox Church in America (OCA) announced recently that his church has ended its ecumenical relations with The Episcopal Church, and will establish instead formal ecumenical relations with the Anglican Church in North America (ACNA).Metropolitan Jonah of the OCA made the announcement June 24 at a plenary session of the ACNA’s founding convocation at St Vincent’s Cathedral, Bedford, Texas.
An autocephalous Eastern Orthodox Church, the OCA was established by eight Russian monks in 1794 on Kodiak Island, Alaska. Known as the Russian Orthodox Greek Catholic Church in America, it was granted autocephaly, or autonomy, by the Russian Orthodox Church in 1970. The OCA has 700 congregations, monasteries and communities spread across the United States and Canada.
Metropolitan Jonah, 49, was reared in The Episcopal Church, but joined the OCA while a student at the University of California, San Diego, in 1978. He was elected metropolitan last year as a reform candidate, 11 days after he was consecrated Bishop of Fort Worth.Asked what the OCA’s stance toward ecumenism might be under his tenure, Metropolitan Jonah said, “If the matter concerns The Episcopal Church USA, then this dialogue has stopped.“We engage in dialogue with Episcopalian traditionalists, many of whom embrace the Orthodox faith,” Jonah told a Moscow-based weblog. “And I personally, and our entire synod, give great attention to bringing these people into the fold of the Orthodox Church in America.”
Nothing could have prepared me, or, indeed I believe, Prime Minister Tsvangirai and his entourage, for the shock reception and outright rejection of his message to Zimbabwean exiles living in the United Kingdom. Like the more than 1 000 Zimbabweans who turned up at the Anglican cathedral to listen to the Prime Minister, by 11am l was already at London Bridge, frantically asking for directions to the famous cathedral, not wanting to miss the opportunity to hear Morgan speak. I saw and greeted numerous familiar faces from home, and eagerly joined a group of women who spontaneously broke into song and transformed the meeting into a rally of sorts. Although invitations to the meetings had indicated that the meeting would start promptly at 12, when the clock struck 1 with evidence that Morgan had arrived, no-one complained.
When the Prime Minister arrived people packed in the cathedral jostled to catch a glimpse of Morgan and his team, and to snap away a photo or two on their mobile phones. The Prime Minister was scheduled to address the people and then have a question - and - answer session, all in time for meeting to end at 3pm. However, just ten minutes into his prepared speech, the Prime Minister was forced to abandone his speech and the pulpit due to jeering and booing from the crowd. The shock treatment of he received was triggered by his bold declaration that the unity government had brought “peace and stability” to Zimbabwe in the last four months. He went on to say, “let me state it here boldly that Zimbabweans must come home!”
His call on Zimbabwean exiles to come home was greeted by an uproar and spontaneous chants of “Mugabe Must Go!” To his credit, the Prime Minister attempted some damage control and said, “I did not say pack your bags and come home tomorrow, but I said you must begin to think about coming home.” But the damage had already been done. He further tried to portray the unity government as a success stating matter-of-factly that schools are open, hospitals have re-opened and, again, my favourite, inflation has come down from 500 billion percent to just 3 percent. In the brief question and answer session that, was also aborted, one woman asked the Prime Minister where ordinary people are getting the foreign currency to buy goods that are supposedly now in abundance in Zimbabwe. If the meeting had not degenerated into utter chaos forcing the PM and his team to leave prematurely, I would have wanted to pose this question to the PM: ” What is happening to MDC Director-General Toendepi Shonhe - who is languishing in remand prison?”
Leaders of the UK's main religions have appealed to their followers to support a campaign to register as organ donors.
They are trying to counter uncertainty about what their religions teach about organ donation. The Roman Catholic Archbishop of Westminster, the head of the Muslim Council of Britain and the Chief Rabbi are among those involved.
Three people die a day in the UK because there is no suitable organ available for transplant for them.
BBC News Religious Affairs Correspondent Robert Pigott says senior clergy report that some people are unsure what their religion teaches about the subject.
Archbishop of Canterbury Rowan Williams will make a presentation addressing the world's economic crisis during a panel discussion webcast live July 8 from the Episcopal Church's 76th General Convention, scheduled to take place July 8-17 in Anaheim, California.
Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori and House of Deputies President Bonnie Anderson will host the event, to be called "Christian Faithfulness in the Global Economic Crisis" at the Anaheim Hilton from 6:15 to 7:30 p.m. PDT (10:30 p.m. EDT).
"I am delighted that the General Convention will have the opportunity to focus on global economic issues and, in the process, consider how our stewardship may be exercised for the benefit of the larger world," said Jefferts Schori, who will provide an overview of the economic crisis and introduce Williams.
Following Williams' presentation, Anderson will moderate a panel discussion, including church center program staff:
• Dr. Stephen Dzisi, technical director for NetsforLife®, an Episcopal Relief and Development program partnership focused on malaria prevention in Africa. • Sarah Eagle Heart, program officer for Native American/Indigenous Ministries. • Michael Schut, economic and environmental affairs officer for the church and an environmental activist.
"For the Episcopal Church, the global economic crisis is also understood as a humanitarian crisis and the 76th General Convention is poised to accept the challenge and choose the side of the poor," Anderson said. "The General Convention theme is ubuntu -- a word that conveys the concept of interdependence – 'I am because you are.'"
General Convention, held every three years, is the bicameral governing body of the church, and the second largest legislative body in the world. It is comprised of the House of Bishops, with more than 200 members, and the House of Deputies, which includes about 850 lay and clergy representatives from the church's 110 dioceses.
"Where does God need me most?" For the Rev. Lauren Stanley, this question has led her to the most populous diocese of the Episcopal Church and the poorest nation in the western hemisphere -- Haiti.
An Episcopal priest from the Diocese of Virginia, Stanley will move to Port-au-Prince in August to begin a three-year placement as an Episcopal Church missionary in what she identifies as one of "the neediest places in the world."
The Episcopal Church of Haiti is one of the U.S.-based Episcopal Church's 12 overseas dioceses and part of Province II. Haiti is the least-developed country in the western hemisphere, with more than half of its people living on less than $1 per day. One-third of its children are malnourished and 500,000 cannot go to school. The unemployment rate is estimated to be 60 percent.
In April, Stanley met with Bishop Zache Duracin of the Episcopal Church of Haiti "and we talked about partnership and building up the kingdom of God," she said. "The more I thought about it, the more Haiti kept screaming at me. It has tremendous need and it's about building relationships."
Initially, Stanley will assist with communications work and several programs that will help to develop training for Haitians. "I believe missionaries need to work themselves out of a job," she said. "My hope is to help build the idea that the kingdom of God cannot be done individually."
The Rev. David Copley, mission personnel director for the Episcopal Church, has no doubt that Stanley is the right person for this placement, describing her as "an experienced priest, missionary, teacher and a gifted communicator."
Readers will note that this interview with Sharon Ely Pearson is the result of several questions, answers, and responses over a period of separate days. The title for this piece on “Sunday School,” suggested by Sharon, says a great deal about where 2009 brings us in formation of members of The Episcopal Church in the United States, part of the worldwide Anglican communion of 77 million. Her title for the interview is contained in this email response by her:
As far as title (suggested by me), "Sunday School with Sharon" (you reply that it) is rather demeaning to the ministry of Christian formation and I prefer you not use it. A title such as "Christian Formation: No Longer Your Grandmother's Sunday school" if you need to use the term Sunday school (which is not used in the Episcopal Church very often anymore). It is LIFE LONG formation and education into living out one's baptismal promises.
Tell us then, is Christian Formation or what was called Sunday school, for children only?
Christian formation is life long, so it includes all ages. This is occurring across denominational lines, and is not new to Christianity. It is reclaiming the understanding of how Christians were “formed” in the early Church
Sunday school is no longer seen as a separate component of education just for children. We like to use the term, “Christian formation” to describe the continual lifelong process of deepening one’s understanding of his or her faith.
In the Episcopal Church it involves all aspects of our life together – worship, service to others, mission, pastoral care, evangelism, fellowship, AND education. Education is comprised of learning and reflecting, integrating holistically all of our experiences with God’s Word, connecting faith and daily life.
Seated on the dais at the inaugural assembly of the Anglican Church in North America, alongside Archbishop-elect Robert Duncan, evangelical mega-pastor Rick Warren and Metropolitan Jonah of the Orthodox Church in America was a woman in a clergy collar.
The Rev. Mary Hays, canon to the ordinary -- chief of staff -- of the Episcopal Diocese of Pittsburgh (Anglican) had one of the most visible roles of an ordained woman in this assembly representing 100,000 people who broke with the Episcopal Church and the Anglican Church of Canada. She moderated a discussion among 900 people and led them in prayer for the Rev. Warren, a Southern Baptist who addressed the gathering.
Once a prominent leader within the conservative movement in the Episcopal Church, she is the sort of woman who might have been called to be a bishop. But her new church, which hopes to join the 80-million member global Anglican Communion, forbids female bishops pending some future consensus by the Anglican Communion to permit them. Each of the 28 dioceses in the Anglican Church in North America can choose whether or not to ordain women as priests and deacons. Most don't do so.
"Leadership is not about ordination. Leadership is about service to Christ and service to others in his name," said the Rev. Hays, who was ordained in 1983.
"Of course there is disappointment that there is less openness to the ordination of women among some. But we are agreed on the essentials of the faith," she said.
Christians must show love to all people, even if they don't support their values, evangelical megachurch pastor Rick Warren on Tuesday told breakaway Episcopalians and other Anglicans splitting from their national church over gay clergy and other issues.
"We are to love the people of the world no matter what they believe; we are to not love the value system of the world. And the problem today is lot of Christians are getting that reversed. They love the value system and hate the people," Warren told the crowd of 800 under a large tent on the lawn of St. Vincent's Episcopal Cathedral Church in the Dallas-Fort Worth suburb of Bedford. "God has never met a person he didn't love."
This week's meeting is the first national assembly for the Anglican Church in North America, formed by theological conservatives as a rival to the U.S. Episcopal Church. On Monday, delegates approved a constitution and church law for the new group.
Warren, who opposes gay marriage, sparked a protest by gay-rights supporters after President Barack Obama selected him to deliver a prayer at his January inauguration.
Warren did not mention gay relationships or other issues that caused the conservatives to break away, but he said he "jumped" at the chance to speak to the assembly and called it historic. He encouraged the new group and offered advice on how churches could reach out with ministries.
"The church — God's family — is going to go on forever and ever and ever and ever and ever," Warren said. "If God has called you to serve in a local church ... don't you ever step down to become the president of the United States or anything else for that matter, because nothing matters more ... (than) the privilege of guiding and guarding and shaping and sharing and encouraging and helping the flock of God."
Warren has extended support before to conservative Episcopalians and Anglicans and has offered space to seceding Episcopalians at his Saddleback Church in Lake Forest, Calif. But his appearance Tuesday, at a key organizing meeting for traditionalists, was his highest-profile statement of solidarity with them so far.
As a result of developments in the Diocese of Springfield, Bishop The Rt. Rev. Peter Beckwith, Bishop of Springfield, will not be attending the Anglican Church of North America (ACNA) Assembly which is scheduled to begin tomorrow at St. Vincent’s Cathedral in Bedford, Texas.
Bishop Beckwith was previously reported to be among the list of attendees at the meeting composed largely of former members of The Episcopal Church and the Anglican Church of Canada by Episcopal News Service. The group is seeking official recognition as another North American province of the Anglican Communion. Bishop Beckwith said he had been invited and that he had intended to attend solely as an observer and that his association with the AAC was limited to being a “liaison to the Ecumenical Relations Task Force,” adding that “[i]n no sense is he a structural part of either the Task Force, or the ACNA.”
In a statement released June 19, Bishop Beckwith sought to clarify his association with the ACNA: “Notwithstanding suggestions to the contrary, Bishop Beckwith remains a faithful Christian within The Episcopal Church (TEC) as the Bishop Diocesan of Springfield, and intends to keep that status intact. Bishop Beckwith has also served as the vice president of the American Anglican Council (AAC) for a number of years. A majority of [the] AAC’s membership consists of communicants of The Episcopal Church. It is in this capacity that he has been involved in the Anglican Communion Network (ACN) and the Common Cause Partnership (CCP). Any involvement in the Anglican Church of North America (ACNA) Assembly scheduled for next week in Bedford, Texas, would be limited to being an observer.”
We have followed closely the continuing work being done on the cause of John Henry Cardinal Newman.Now we are pleased to report that there is word out of the “Congregation for the Causes of Saints” that the investigation of the latest miracle is finally complete.
The Congregation has confirmed the latest miracle attributed to Cardinal John Henry Newman, the healing of a severe spinal disorder suffered by Deacon Jack Sullivan from the Archdiocese of Boston. The Boston, Massachusetts Deacon told the London Times: "If it wasn’t for Cardinal Newman’s intercession … it would have been virtually impossible to complete my diaconate formation and be ordained for the Archdiocese of Boston...Nor would I have been able to continue in my chosen profession as a magistrate in our court system to support my family.”
Deacon Sullivan insists that through the late Cardinal's intercession he has developed “a very deep sense of the reality of God’s love for each one of us, especially during times of immense difficulties and suffering....I have developed a very real relationship with Cardinal Newman in frequent prayer and I try to pass on what marvelous gifts I have received to those I meet."
The Anglican Church, Ghana, on Sunday announced it is paving a way to consecrate “women as priests” for the firs time in the church history.
Most Reverend Dr Justice Ofei Akrofi, Provincial Archbishop of West Africa said: "Women will now be ordained as members of the priesthood,” Ghana news agency reported.
The announcement came after the 20th synod, the highest decision making body of the mission resolved to consecrate women as priests. Earlier, women could only serve as chalices; that is administering wine during communion.
And also a tribunal in Australia ruled that there was nothing in the Church's constitution that prevents the consecration of a woman priest.
The rule made reference to the law of the Church of England Clarification Canon 1992 and paved the way in 2007 for the ordination of women as priests in the Anglican mission.
The Most Rev. Dr. Akrofi said since the Diocese has accepted to train women as Priests, they will work on the modalities to ordain them as active members of the priesthood. He urged members to contribute towards the building of a hostel for a retreat centre and the Anglican Technical University. He also called on parents to strengthen family life education to enable children to become responsible adults who will help in nation building.
The synod also inducted into office Madam Sabina Ofori Boateng, a legal practitioner, Chancellor for the Accra Diocese, Mr Bliss Nii Amartey Espur as the Registrar of the Accra Diocese and Mr Ebo Selby as his Assistant Registrar.
Religious leaders in Nigeria have abdicated their primary responsibility and are now extorting money from politicians through blackmail, Senate President, David Mark has said.Senator Mark made the allegation at the weekend during the opening session of the 19th Synod of the Anglican Diocese of Kaduna, insisting that he was speaking from experience.
He narrated his experience with "a certain reverend gentleman" whose religious activities he had been supporting over the years. "Recently our life-long friendship suffered a minor setback when he received my support towards one of his causes. To my utmost surprise his reaction on receiving my widow's mite was short of rejecting it outrightly, without recalling my previous support or hoping for better days ahead."
Maintaining that the clergy from across the religions and sects have abdicated their primary responsibility of preaching the gospel, the Senate President said the high level of corruption in Nigeria was because religious leaders failed to execute their duties with the fear of God at heart.
"The truth of the matter is that our religious sermons on Fridays and Sundays have become mere messages of convenience", he added. According to him, the action of some clergy men has left him in a dilemma because "if I am to answer to the numerous requests from religious bodies that besiege my office on a daily basis, this may lead to a disconnect in my behaviour and the belief I profess. "
The posts of dozens of bishops, archdeacons and cathedral deans could disappear under proposals for cuts in the Church of England to be debated next month.
The General Synod, the Church’s parliament, will be asked to consider cutting the number of senior clergy in the established Church to bring them into line with falling clergy numbers.
The call appears to stand a good chance of winning backing from clergy and laity amid a feeling that a reduction by nearly a third in the number of stipendiary clergy over just two decades has left the Church top heavy.
Maintaining the episcopal apparatus in just one diocese, if a bishop’s house and support staff are taken into account, costs an average of £500,000.
Added up across dioceses, these are fast becoming costs the Church can ill afford as parishioners are asked to find more cash for clergy pensions and historic assets of the Church fall in value because of the recession.
The Rev John Hartley will, on behalf of the Bradford diocesan synod, ask the General Synod at its meeting at York University in mid-July to “formulate proposals for reductions in the numbers of episcopal and senior clergy posts”.
In a Texas cathedral where the liturgical nuances of Anglo-Catholicism mingled with the joyous shouts of Pentecostalism, Archbishop-elect Robert Duncan of Pittsburgh called together a body representing 100,000 people who had left the Episcopal Church and the Anglican Church of Canada.
Yesterday they adopted the constitution of the new Anglican Church in North America, which they hope will eventually be recognized as a province of the 80 million-member global Anglican Communion. The 2.1 million-member Episcopal Church is the U.S. province of the communion.
"There is a great reformation of the Christian Church under way. We North American Anglicans are in the midst of it," their new archbishop told a standing-room only crowd gathered in St. Vincent Cathedral in Bedford, Texas. It was the cathedral of the Episcopal Diocese of Fort Worth which, like the Diocese of Pittsburgh, had broken with the Episcopal Church, taking the majority of its parishes with it.
The new body unites four such dioceses, many additional parishes that had been under the protection of Anglican bishops on other continents, and some older splinter groups. About 900 people are at the four-day meeting, including 300 voting delegates.
They believe the Episcopal Church has failed to uphold biblical authority and traditional Christian doctrine on matters ranging from the divinity of Christ to sexual ethics.
"While much of mainline Protestantism is finding itself adrift from its origins of submission to the word, there is an ever-growing stream of North American Protestantism that has re-embraced scriptural authority just as we have," the archbishop-elect said. This includes people in evangelical and Pentecostal churches seeking a deeper connection with ancient Christian practices, he said.
His ratification as archbishop-elect had taken place hours earlier in a closed meeting of bishops, but the delegates cheered and applauded when he briefly mentioned it.
Are these dissidents and their leader heroic rebels or pesky schismatics?
In the ongoing power struggle and doctrinal melodrama taking place in the Anglican Communion, the latest act happens this week in Texas at a “provincial gathering”, where representatives of former Episcopal parishes are coming together as the Anglican Church in North America.
I’ve written one sentence, and already we’re hip deep in controversy. For the group, which claims 100,000 members, is not (yet?) a recognized province in the Anglican Communion. While the group has been recognized by some pretty heavy hitters in the Anglican Parthenon (pantheon?), what this means is still highly arguable. Check out this press release from the Primates Council of GAFCON (Global Anglican Futures Council) and, just for fun, this riposte from American Episcopal blogger and priest, Mark Harris.
Veteran professional Cathy Lynn Grossman has done a nice job of writing the story behind the meeting at USATODAY.com. I do have one big question, however, and it focuses right on the lede.
Hundreds of formerly Episcopal parishes are meeting this week to unify as a new national church: the Anglican Church in North America.
Organizers, led by former Episcopal Bishop of Pittsburgh Robert Duncan, expect 300 delegates, including 50 bishops, in Bedford, Texas, for a three-day gathering that begins Monday.
The group is scheduled to adopt church laws that will exclude women and homosexuals as bishops. It also is expected to elect and install Duncan as archbishop.
Several hundred former Episcopalians, meeting in a school gym near the Dallas-Fort Worth airport, ratified a constitution Monday for the fledgling Anglican Church in North America as a direct challenge to the Episcopal Church USA and the Anglican Church of Canada.
About 800 people jumped to their feet and sang the Doxology, a hymn of praise, after the ACNA's new leader, Archbishop-designate Robert Duncan, told the group that it had "done the work."
"The Anglican Province of North America has been constituted," he said.
Six years after the Episcopal Church approved the election of an openly gay man, V. Gene Robinson, as the new bishop of New Hampshire, a large chunk of the conservatives in the denomination are taking final steps to form a 39th province of the worldwide Anglican Communion.
"There is no one here who would go back," Bishop Duncan said during a Communion service. "Though the journey took its toll, we know that we have been delivered, and have found that deliverance very sweet, indeed."
Although Archbishop of Canterbury Rowan Williams, the global head of the Anglican Communion, has not recognized the new province, he did send a representative, Bishop Santosh Marray, the retired bishop of the Seychelles. Nine of the world's 38 Anglican provinces sent official delegations.
In a cathedral overflowing with hundreds of Christians who broke from the Episcopal Church and the Anglican Church of Canada, Bishop Robert Duncan of Pittsburgh said the new Anglican body they are forming must stay focused on Jesus.
"It's a new day," he told 900 people who had gathered for the organizing assembly of the 100,000-member Anglican Church in North America, which hopes to eventually be recognized as part of the 80-million member global Anglican Communion.
Anglican churches trace their roots to the Church of England, and the 2.1 million-member Episcopal Church is the U.S. province of the Anglican Communion.
Bishop Duncan is about to become archbishop of these groups who believe that the Episcopal Church and its Canadian counterpart have failed to uphold biblical authority and traditional doctrine on matters from the divinity of Christ to sexual ethics. Many of those present at the gathering are at risk of losing their church buildings, or have already lost them, in property disputes with their former denominations.
"I think there is no one who would go back," Bishop Duncan said, to cries of "No! No!" from the congregation in St. Vincent Cathedral, the seat of the Diocese of Fort Worth, which, like the Diocese of Pittsburgh, voted to break with the Episcopal Church.
"I hear this everywhere I go. There is no one who would go back. There has been suffering and loss. Some of it was very wounding. But we are so much better off than we were before."
He quoted the late baseball player and manager Casey Stengel, saying, "the main thing is to keep the main thing the main thing." He promised that the new church would be more mission-minded and less legislative and bureaucratic than what they had left behind.
"Jesus is he main thing. The sharing of his Gospel is the main thing. Being agents of his transforming love is the main thing," he said.
From Bruce Robison Rector of St. Andrew's Highland Park (Pittsburgh TEC)
So, what does all this mean? I think we at this point can have only a very preliminary view.
One thing that seems clear is that many of the various individuals and groups that have separated from the Episcopal Church in the past will now have a church structure within which to attempt a more orderly common life. This new organizational identity may thus be a real enhancement to the well-being of their Christian life and ministry.
There is some uncertainty here, though. The members of the ACNA have in common a desire to continue in some form of Anglican ministry while at the same time not being a part of the Episcopal Church. But within this group there is much diversity of churchmanship, culture, and theological perspective. Concerns about the ordination of women, the role and authority of bishops, and the importance of an eventual, formal acceptance within the Anglican Communion, for example, reflect a range of backgrounds from Protestant Evangelical to traditional Anglo-Catholic. It will be interesting to see if the new ACNA will struggle successfully (as certainly the Episcopal Church has struggled and continues to struggle) to live together in the midst of these differences.
It is probably the case as well that if an orderly common life does emerge within the ACNA, and if that life reflects a strong spirit of Anglican identity, the presence of the ACNA may further complicate the already very complicated role and status of the Episcopal Church within the wider Anglican world and within the formal bodies of our increasingly fragmented Anglican Communion.
Hundreds of formerly Episcopal parishes are meeting this week to unify as a new national church: the Anglican Church in North America. Organizers, led by former Episcopal Bishop of Pittsburgh Robert Duncan, expect 300 delegates, including 50 bishops, in Bedford, Texas, for a three-day gathering that begins Monday.
The group is scheduled to adopt church laws that will exclude women and homosexuals as bishops. It also is expected to elect and install Duncan as archbishop.
The new group, which says it represents 100,000 believers, calls itself a province, echoing the language of the worldwide Anglican Communion, the third largest Christian denomination. The Anglican Communion is a loosely governed collection of 38 regional and national churches, including the 2.1-million-member U.S. branch, the Episcopal Church, and the Anglican Church of Canada. However, it may take years for the new group to be recognized as a member of the Communion.