There's a lot at stake for one Savannah congregation. Nearly two years ago many members of Christ Church pulled away from the Episcopal Church.
Ever since there's been a fight over who the actual church building belongs to, the congregation or the Episcopal Diocese of Georgia.
Today both sides headed to court where a judge will now decide. The hearing was held in Chatham County Superior Court Judge Michael Karpf's courtroom. Close to 100 people packed the room, all very passionate about this issue.
Judge Karpf made it very clear from the start of court Friday afternoon that this is a very complex issue and it will take time for him to make his ruling.
While the decision made by many in the congregation to split from the Episcopal Church was based on religious beliefs, the judge said that will not influence his decision. His decision will be solely based on law.
And there's a lot of history involved. Christ Church is located in Johnson Square on Bull Street. It was established nearly 300 years ago in 1733, before the Episcopal Diocese of Georgia was even formed.
"We predate the establishment of the Episcopal Church so I think this has implications for a whole host of congregations and we hope to get a favorable ruling," said Christ Church Reverend Marc Robertson.
The Episcopalians argue that a lot has happened since 1733. The Episcopal Diocese made Christ Church an official parish, it was consecrated by the bishop, and just as recently as the 1979 the Episcopal Diocese passed new laws for all it's parishes. And until now, no one complained.
Many want to preserve the Episcopal faith, one that passed down to generations in that Johnson Square church building.
St. Paul's Episcopal Church volunteers will provide perishable food to area families free of charge each week beginning next week, Aug. 19.
The program is a continuation of the church's mission of providing food where needed in the community.
The Rural Mobile Food Pantry will provide food from Harvesters, a Kansas City Food Bank and distributed here in Clay County by church volunteers from the Church on the third Wednesday of each month starting Aug. 19, at the Pamida parking lot from 1:30 until 3 p.m.
The food will be distributed from a refrigerated truck that will hold a variety of perishable foods. The food is provided free of charge on a first come, first served basis, to persons based on the number of people in the family. For example, a one person family will receive a bag of food, whereas a four person family would receive a box of food.
"We are so pleased to be able to offer this opportunity to individuals and families in Clay County to supplement their family's monthly groceries with healthy fruits and vegetables, and other perishable products," said Donna Long, the volunteer coordinator for the Clay Center Mobile Food Pantry.
If persons are shut-ins, or do not have transportation to the site at the time of the distribution, they can contact St. Paul's Episcopal Church, 632-3200, and a written authorization form will be mailed to them. The form needs to be completed and returned to the Church prior to the time for distribution, and then volunteers from the Church will deliver the food that day to the person or family's home.
The 76th General Convention, meeting in Anaheim, California, July 8-17, acted on or referred every one of the 419 resolutions it considered. Below is an unofficial, unaudited, abbreviated summary of some of the resolutions passed by both the House of Bishops and the House of Deputies. ENS staff culled it from the General Convention Office's searchable legislative tracking website.
Meanwhile, the church's General Convention office has produced a 25-page summary of convention actions available here. It includes a list of resolutions sorted by their final status; a list of resolutions that deal with the church's constitution, canons and the convention's rules of order; and lists of resolutions referred to dioceses, committees, commission, agencies and boards or church center staff; as well as a list of the appointments and elections made during convention.
The document notes that the convention office is reviewing the final language and final status of each resolution. Once that process is complete the Journal and updated Constitution and Canons will be published as the final and official records of the 76th General Convention. Anglican Communion/Covenant
Commend communication from the February 2009 Mutual Responsibility in Mission Consultation and urge the Joint Standing Committee of the Anglican Consultative Council and the Primates Meeting to encourage ongoing gatherings of Anglican churches in the Americas and charge Executive Council to pursue the possibilities (A189*).
Commend the proposed Anglican covenant to dioceses for study and comment with dioceses reporting to Executive Council; call for the council to report to the next convention with draft legislation concerning the church's response to a covenant (D020).
Acknowledge that the baptized membership of the church includes same-sex couples living in lifelong committed relationships; recognize that gay and lesbian people in such relationships respond to God's call to ministry including ordained ministry and that this call is a mystery the church attempts to discern through the discernment processes in accordance with the Constitution and Canons; acknowledge that Christians disagree about some of these matters (D025).
The Diocese of South Carolina needs to distance itself from the governing bodies of The Episcopal Church, its bishop said Thursday in an address to clergy meeting at St. James’ Church, James Island, Charleston, S.C.
The Rt. Rev. Mark Lawrence, bishop since January 2008, did not urge the diocese to break all ties with The Episcopal Church.
Bishop Lawrence and the standing committee have called for a special convention on Oct. 24 to vote on proposals that Bishop Lawrence presented during the meeting. He and the standing committee discussed these proposals during a marathon meeting on July 28.
The proposals include:
• Reading a letter aloud at every ordination service that specifies what it means to be loyal to the “doctrine, discipline and worship of Christ as this Church has received them.” Bishop Lawrence asked whether this vow includes adhering to the resolutions of General Convention.
• Withdrawing as a diocese from “all bodies of governance of TEC that have assented to actions contrary to Holy Scripture; the doctrine, discipline and worship of Christ as this church has received them; the resolutions of Lambeth which have expressed the mind of the Communion; the Book of Common Prayer (p.422-423) and the Constitution & Canons of TEC (Canon 18:1.2.b) until such bodies show a willingness to repent of such actions.”
• Affirming the latest draft of the Anglican Covenant.
“I believe we ought to sign on to the Ridley Draft of the Covenant as it presently stands in all four sections,” Bishop Lawrence said. “Therefore we need to begin the process of studying the Ridley Draft in every deanery and parish and be prepared to vote on it either in the special convention in October or, if that's too ambitious a time frame, no later than our Annual Diocesan Convention in March 2010.”
A BUSINESSMAN who is a fan of Top Trumps trading cards has laun ched a version that features Old Testament characters instead of TV heroes and sports stars.
Steven Strongman, the promoter of Testament Trumps, is quoted as saying his card game is “fun, but has a serious message”. Many young people who are fans of Top Trumps, he said, are unfamiliar with the Bible and its teaching, and his cards “address that issue”.
Top Trumps cards, laun ched in the 1970s, feature football clubs, and subjects ranging from Star Wars to The Da Vinci Code. Players compare the values of sets of num bers on the cards, and try to trump their opponents. Early versions of the cards have become collectibles.
First Lady Thandiwe Banda, has called on Christian women to bring up strong families with high moral standards that will help fight the HIV and AIDS pandemic.
Mrs Banda said a strong family is a basic foundation for any society to fight the pandemic and mitigate the suffering of those infected and affected in society.
Mrs Banda said this in a speech read on her behalf by Local Government Deputy Minister’s wife, Felicity Musosha, at the official opening of the Anglican Church Mothers Union Conference in Lusaka today.
She said Christian families form the essential component of an ideal society that can survive the devastating effects of temptations and HIV and AIDS. She has commended the Anglican Church for helping government in assisting the less privileged people in society.
The First Lady said such initiatives must be commended by people in the country as they help government in providing social services to its people.
Meanwhile, the Anglican Church Mothers Union president, Fridah Kazembe, disclosed that the church will next year construct a girls’ boarding school in Lusaka West to help bring up girls in a Godly way.
Dr Kazembe said the Mothers Union will also build a multipurpose skills training centre at a cost of K1 billion where women and girls would be trained in various life survival skills.
The bishop of the Episcopal Diocese of South Carolina, increasingly disenchanted with the direction of the national Episcopal Church, on Thursday called a convention to discuss the future of the conservative diocese.
"Frankly, I don't know how to say this in any other way but to tell you that this is a call to action; of mobilization of clergy, parishes and laity," the Very Rev. Mark Lawrence said in a speech released after he delivered it to clergy representing 75 parishes in the lower and eastern part of the state. Last month, the national church, during its California convention, authorized bishops to bless same-sex unions. The Episcopal Church consecrated its first openly gay bishop, V. Gene Robinson of New Hampshire, in 2003.
"We face a multitude of false teachings, which like an intrusive vine, is threatening the Episcopal Church," Lawrence said. "I have called this the false Gospel of Indiscriminate Inclusivity because I see a common pattern in how the core doctrines of our faith are being systematically deconstructed."
In 2006, the Diocese of South Carolina and two others opposing consecration of gay bishops voted to reject the authority of the national church's presiding bishop, but stopped short of a full break with the church.
Among the many doctrines of our Faith to which I might ask you to turn your thoughts this morning it is first to that wonderful doctrine of God’s Providence. It was to this doctrine that my distant predecessor, The Rt. Reverend Robert Smith, first bishop of South Carolina, turned when he addressed the Colonial Assembly which gathered at St. Philips Church in the early months of 1775 as the winds of war were blowing on the eve of the American Revolution. Of course he was not at that time a bishop. There were no bishops on these shores, though Anglicanism was well into its second century on this continent. Nor was he a bishop when he returned to Charleston from imprisonment and banishment in 1783 to give his homecoming sermon, where once again he spoke of an “overruling Providence”. As perhaps you know, his banishment to a northern colony was due to his having taken words and arms against his former king and country—and having thrown in his lot with his adopted home, he risked and lost everything. He was taken to Philadelphia bereaved of wife (she had recently died), and bereft of home and parish. But on that public occasion in February 1775, before he had ever fired a musket towards a British troop, this unlikely patriot declared his deepest allegiance:
“We form schemes of happiness and deceive ourselves with a weak imagination of security, without ever taking God into the question; no wonder then if our hopes prove abortive, and the conceits of our vain minds end in disappointment and sorrow. For we are inclined to attribute our prosperity to the wisdom of our own councils, and the arm of our own flesh, we become forgetful of him from whom our strength and wisdom are derived; and are then betrayed into that fatal security, which ends in shame, in misery and ruin.”
Is it not towards such false peace or fatal security that we are tempted too often and too soon to fling ourselves?
I believe for us to discern God’s purpose and role for this diocese in this current challenge, and then to live it out faithfully, will involve each of us in more struggles and suffering than we have yet invested—for we have invested as yet, so little. This is not a challenge for a bishop or even a Standing Committee to face alone. None of us can afford to keep the members of our parishes uninformed of the challenges that lie ahead. Consequently, since I see struggle and suffering before each of us, it is towards God’s beneficent providence I chose first to turn our attention this morning. And where can we find a text to so focus our thoughts on this strengthening doctrine than that which is found in the prophet Isaiah—spoken to those in exile?
“Do you not know? Do you not hear? Has it not been told you from the beginning? Have you not understood from the foundations of the earth? It is he who sits above the circle of the earth and its inhabitants are like grasshoppers; who stretches out the heavens like a curtain and spreads them like a tent to dwell in; who brings princes to nothing and makes the rulers of the earth as emptiness. Scarcely are they planted, scarcely sown, scarcely has their stem taken root in the earth when he blows on them, and they wither, and the tempest carries them off like stubble.” (Isaiah 40:21-24)
It is under such a godly Providence that we live—and it is under this godly providence, whether we act or merely stand firm in prayerful posture, that we “shall mount up with wings like eagles, [we] shall run and not be weary, [we] shall walk and not faint.”
In our present situation some would counsel us that it is past time to cut our moorings from The Episcopal Church and take refuge in a harbor without the pluralism and false teachings that surround us in both the secular culture and within our Church; others speak to us of the need for patience, to “let the Instruments of Unity do their work”—that now is not yet the time to act. Still others seem paralyzed; though no less distressed than us by the developments within our Church, they seem to take a posture of insular denial of what is inexorably coming upon us all. While I have no immediate solution to the challenges we face—it is certainly neither a hasty departure nor a paralyzed passivity I counsel. Either of these I believe, regardless of what godly wisdom they may be for others, would be for us a false peace and a “fatal security” which in time (and brief at that) would only betray us. Others in their given circumstances must do what they believe God has called them to do.
Slightly off topic (as if we had one) but as a guitar player I've always admired this innovative musician.
Les Paul, who invented the solid-body electric guitar later wielded by a legion of rock 'n' roll greats, died Thursday of complications from pneumonia. He was 94. According to Gibson Guitar, Paul died at White Plains Hospital. His family and friends were by his side.
As an inventor, Paul also helped bring about the rise of rock 'n' roll with multitrack recording, which enables artists to record different instruments at different times, sing harmony with themselves, and then carefully balance the tracks in the finished recording. The use of electric guitar gained popularity in the mid-to-late 1940s, and then exploded with the advent of rock in the mid-'50s.
"Suddenly, it was recognized that power was a very important part of music," Paul once said. "To have the dynamics, to have the way of expressing yourself beyond the normal limits of an unamplified instrument, was incredible. Today a guy wouldn't think of singing a song on a stage without a microphone and a sound system."
A tinkerer and musician since childhood, he experimented with guitar amplification for years before coming up in 1941 with what he called "The Log," a four-by-four piece of wood strung with steel strings.
"I went into a nightclub and played it. Of course, everybody had me labeled as a nut." He later put the wooden wings onto the body to give it a tradition guitar shape.
In 1952, Gibson Guitars began production on the Les Paul guitar.
Pete Townsend of the Who, Steve Howe of Yes, jazz great Al DiMeola and Led Zeppelin's Jimmy Page all made the Gibson Les Paul their trademark six-string.
Principal of the Anglican theological Ridley College, Dr Peter Adam says Christians must consider appropriate recompense to Australia's Aboriginal peoples, who suffered European colonisation, church planting and nation-building.
"God's commandments are clear: 'You shall not murder ... you shall not steal ... you shall not covet.' But we Europeans coveted space for a penal colony, new land, new opportunities and great wealth. We coveted, and so we stole, and so we murdered," Dr Adam wrote in the Sydney Morning Herald, in an extract from a lecture he delivered on Monday.
"Do churches have any responsibilities in these matters? Yes, because the land and wealth of churches came from land stolen from the indigenous people of Australia. The prosperity of our churches has come from the proceeds of crime."
He said European Australians must recognise that "recompense is based on our duty, not the needs of indigenous people, and that no recompense could ever be satisfactory because what was done was so vile, so immense, so universal, so pervasive, so destructive, so devastating, and so irreparable."
SOME Welsh churches are suspending Holy Communion in a bid to stop the spread of swine flu.
Some Anglican and Catholic churches are suspending the sharing of the consecrated wine in a chalice during the pandemic.
Both the Church in Wales and Welsh Catholic dioceses said they had not yet issued any compulsory advice, but acknowledged that some parishes had decided to take their own action.
The move comes as swine flu continued to decline in Wales, although another person – a 24-year-old woman from Cardiff – is being treated in hospital.
The Church in Wales has published Department for Communities and Local Government swine flu guidance for churches. It states that distribution of the consecrated bread at Holy Communion will continue, but that communion should not be given on the tongue and high standards of hand hygiene must be adopted.
The Government advises that the administration of the common cup should be suspended “until the danger has passed”. A Church in Wales spokeswoman stressed this is only advice and it was up to individual priests and parishes to decide what to do.
Members of the congregation at a service led by the Archbishop of Wales at St Mary’s Church, Seven Sisters, in Neath, were told that they could not share the consecrated wine and the bread was placed on the hand rather than tongue.
Tom Marston, who was at the service, said: “Following the advice of the Church in Wales, only sharing of the bread was taken during this Holy Communion, and this practice will continue until the swine flu pandemic is over. This is because of the virulent nature of the virus, which can exist on silver and in wine long enough to infect others, and the hidden nature of the virus which means you could infect others before you knew you had it.”
South African Anglican Archbishop and Nobel laureate Desmond Tutu is one of 16 people receiving the Medal of Freedom from President Barack Obama at the White House Wednesday. Before the ceremony, the retired archbishop and global peace crusader sat down with VOA's Michael Bowman, who has this report.
At 77 years of age, Desmond Tutu remains an energetic and outspoken man who tempers sometimes-sharp commentary with an aura of humility, a playful sense of humor, and an infectious laugh.
Last November, Tutu wrote that Barack Obama's election victory made him want "to jump and dance and shout." Now, he says he has a simple message for the president:
"You have done quite well up to now, man!" he said.
Months ago, Tutu urged Mr. Obama to apologize for the 2003 U.S.-led invasion of Iraq. No such apology has been made, and the Obama administration plans to maintain an American troop presence in Iraq for another two years. U.S. military engagement in Afghanistan has expanded under Mr. Obama, and some experts question whether the president will be able to deliver on his pledge to close the detainee camp at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba by early next year.
Asked if he is disappointed with President Obama, the retired archbishop responded this way:
"It is you people, you Americans who make it so very difficult even for a good person with good policies to prevail," said Tutu.
From a church rector's vision sprouts a garden, which, in turn,
yields opportunities for teachable moments for neighbors in need.
One day last summer, the Rev. Stephanie Nagley noticed that the vast, green lawn in front of St. Luke's Episcopal Church in Bethesda had potential.
She imagined a lush garden, ripe with vegetables, where members of the church could have an outdoor sanctuary to gather, work and give to the needy.
This spring, her idea grew into the LOVE Garden, or Luke's Organic Vegetable Enterprise, by way of loving hands (and a tiller, fertilizer and lots of volunteers working hard to make arid ground arable).
Although Nagley, the church's rector, said she wasn't heavily involved in the production process, a few of her parishioners took the garden from a notion in her mind through the first harvest.
"I'm more the tree-shaker than the jelly-maker," Nagley said.
It was no small task to turn the plot of sod and bad soil into a bountiful garden, the parishioners said.
"I have to tell you the truth," Bob Lewis said earlier this week, as he repaired a grass trimmer in the middle of a sweltering day. "It's a lot of work."
Madison Avenue has long known that word of mouth is the best advertising – a truth regularly played out on Facebook, the popular online social networking site. Brandon Mozingo, 32, of Chattanooga, Tennessee, became a fan of the Episcopal Church on Facebook after noticing a friend became a fan. The same with Ann Redmond, 54, of Tallahassee, Florida, a member of St. John's Episcopal Church and a singer in the choir.
As of August 12 the 2.2 million-member Episcopal Church had 6,950 Facebook fans, and another 841 people follow the Episcopal Church on Twitter, the social network/micro-blogging online instant messenger.
The Episcopal Church created a Facebook presence in early 2009 and began sending "tweets" via Twitter in April. Initially the Facebook page saw a huge spike in fans, but adding new fans now trends toward gradual growth. Tweets from the recent 76th General Convention (http://www.episcopalchurch.org/gc2009.htm) in July in Anaheim, California, spiked the number of followers on Twitter, said web producer Barry Merer.
(The Office of Communication's Media Hub website, with links to Facebook and Twitter, and Episcopal Life Online carried comprehensive online coverage of General Convention.)
Elizabeth Apgar Triano, 45, of Patterson, New York, became a fan through Episcopal Café, an online source of aggregated Episcopal news, blogs, visual arts and spiritual readings produced by the Diocese of Washington.
When I was much younger, I lived in Africa; and I lived there at a time when the British Empire was folding up. I was surrounded by people who had spent their lives in the colonies. These people were faced with a terribly painful and frightening question. What were they to do next? Where were they to go? The government had changed. The rules had changed. The colonial period was over, and their mother land seemed a foreign land that promised only uncertainty.
“What then shall we do?” was the question of the hour; and the answers to that question were as various as the people who asked it. Some simply migrated to another part of the shrinking empire. Others, in fact, went home. One answer, however, still intrigues me. Some said, “I’m staying on. The rules have changed, but I’m going to see this through to the end.” Well, I’ve come to a similar conclusion in respect to the church into which I was born and in which I was formed as a Christian. The rules have changed. The leadership is hostile to the things I hold most dear. The present culture of The Episcopal Church is so unlike that of the church in which I was raised that I feel more like a visiting anthropologist than a native speaker. The gospel of radical inclusion espoused by our present leadership bears only marginal resemblance to the faith into which I was baptized.
What then shall I do is a question I have asked myself on any number of occasions. It is a question on the lips of a man who has become a stranger in his own house. The answer I have given is “I’m staying on!” At various times and in various places I have stated my reasons for this decision. Recently I received an email from a woman who asked me to gather these reasons in one place and send them to her. I confess I sat on her note for over two months without response. I suppose in part because I needed to gather my thoughts. In part, however, the reasons that have convinced me are ones that will hardly seem convincing to many others. I’m a person that takes great pride in being convincing. I’m averse to questions that pose a threat. They take me places I don’t want to go.
I know, however, that the question both demands and deserves an answer. Why stay on?
The Episcopal Church’s Office of Public Affairs said yesterday it has suspended temporarily the search for a director for advocacy, citing the need to examine organizational change as a result of the budget approved at General Convention. The Rev. Canon Brian Grieves, director of the church's advocacy center, will retire in October.
"With the effects of the 2010-2012 budget just beginning to be felt, and with organizational changes that these cuts will require being studied, we believe it is best to temporarily halt the process," said Linda Watt, chief operating officer for The Episcopal Church. "Please note that this is a temporary suspension of the search process. The director of advocacy position has not been eliminated and the search will resume following a decision on the parameters of the position."
Ms. Watt added that the staff at the Episcopal Church Center in New York City "is being reconfigured as a result of the budget approved by General Convention, and we recognize that there are new factors to be considered in selecting a candidate for this very important and visible ministry."
In other announcements, Maureen Shea will retire Aug. 28 as director of the church's Office of Government Relations in Washington, D.C. Alex Baumgarten, OGR international policy analyst, will serve as interim director and Mary Getz, OGR's grassroots coordinator, will oversee administrative work at the Washington office.
From this morning's Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. May God's peace be with his family and friends.
Authorities in Wisconsin have not determined the cause of death of a Beaver County teen and Wheaton College student whose body was found late Saturday in a lake on the college's camp site.
Alexander J. Heidengren, 18, had been reported missing at 10:50 a.m. Saturday in Three Lakes, Wis., a town that is home to the ministry camp operated by Wheaton College of Illinois.
Police in Three Lakes organized an intensive search with various agencies in the region, and search dogs led recovery teams to the edge of Long Lake.
Divers using sonar and underwater cameras located the body at 9:25 p.m., more than 11 hours after Mr. Heidengren was reported missing.
Three Lakes police and the Oneida County, Wis., medical examiner still are investigating the cause of death.
Mr. Heidengren was about to enter his sophomore year at Wheaton College. He had been serving as a camp counselor during the summer.
A graduate of Beaver County Christian School, Mr. Heidengren was one of four children of the Rev. John and Blanche Heidengren. Rev. Heidengren is rector at Prince of Peace Episcopal Church in Chippewa.
Doug Carson, the teen's high school principal at Beaver County Christian, said Mr. Heidengren's parents had been visiting on Saturday with him and his older brother, Jonathan, who is to be a senior this fall at Wheaton.
The parents were on their way home when camp officials notified them that their son was missing.
International leaders, human rights groups outraged over decision to hold opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi under house arrest for 18 months
World leaders are strongly condemning Burma's government for deciding to keep opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi under house arrest for another 18 months, and are calling for her immediate and unconditional release. In an interview with VOA, South African Archbishop Desmond Tutu called Suu Kyi "the Nelson Mandela of Burma." VOA's Cindy Saine reports on world reaction to Tuesday's conviction and sentencing.
Reaction across the world was swift, as demonstrators gathered outside Burma's embassy in London to express their solidarity with pro-democracy leader Aung San Suu Kyi.
A group of prominent global leaders knows as "The Elders" called on ASEAN, the European Union and the U.N. Security Council not to accept Burma's verdict of another 18 months under house arrest for the Nobel Peace laureate.
Retired South African Anglican Archbishop Desmond Tutu chairs the group. He sat down for an interview with VOA at a seminary near Washington, D.C. Tuesday. He said that even under Burmese law, it is illegal to keep sentencing Aung San Suu Kyi again and again.
The people of Grace Episcopal Church in Clayton invite the community to attend a special service of Holy Communion on Sunday, August 23 at 10:30 a.m. Grace will continue an annual tradition, always held the Sunday before school starts, of blessing school book bags. Children and young people are asked to bring their book bags to church to be blessed as we invite God to bless the new beginnings for each of our children and young people. The service will focus on God’s love and concern for children as they begin a new school year.
Grace’s people have planned a fun service that will bring joy to your heart as we give glory to God. They will give thanks to God through their prayers for all their blessings. We will give thanks to God for the opportunity to grow and learn in the coming year as we celebrate the Great Thanksgiving.
The community is invited to participate in the outreach program associated with this service Grace Backpack Buddies. Backpack Buddies is a feeding program for children who might otherwise go hungry over the weekend during the school year. Grace has “adopted” twelve children at Cooper School who receive a backpack full of food they can prepare themselves every weekend during the school year. We are looking for donations of individual servings packaged food i.e. pop-top canned meats and fish; shelf stable fruit cups, applesauce, raisins and dried fruit; pop-top meat based soups and stews; healthy snacks such as graham crackers, pretzels and granola bars; individual packages of grits, cereal and oatmeal; microwavable Cup of Noodles, Easy Mac etc. All food donations can be brought to Grace on Tuesday or Wednesdays or Thursdays 9:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. or on Sunday the 23rd to the 10:30 a.m. service.
Standing in the little parish church in Thwaite in Suffolk you get a sense of the challenge facing religion in the noughties, or at least the established orthodox religion - Anglican Christianity - that has dominated England for 500 years.
For all of those five centuries the church of St George was the spiritual home of the people of this small settlement, amid fields of wheat and barley on the flat lands of East Anglia. But last year it was declared redundant, like more than 200 other Anglican churches in England during the noughties.
Other denominations have closed even more churches and chapels. The decline in Christian influence goes much further than dwindling Sunday congregations. A stern secularism has marked public life during the last decade, with legislation protecting minorities such as gay people against discrimination, which some Christians say undermines their freedom to practice - and even preach - a gospel that considers active homosexuality sinful.
A government that famously did not "do God", introduced civil partnerships and abolished the law against blasphemy. It seemed to reflect a new public scepticism about the influence of organized religion.
Producer Stuart Denman and I spoke to the social commentator Simon Jenkins, an atheist who has nevertheless written one of the leading books about the country's best church buildings. Simon Jenkins says people are ready to question religious beliefs.
"People are now saying 'I want the law to answer to me. I don't want to be told by a hierarchy, by a religious ruler, what I can believe, how I can behave'. Those days are over."
Protestant churches in Kenya are warning that greed is destroying the country's environment, bringing drought, famine, hunger, malnutrition and general scarcity. "We are today reaping the fruits ... greed and imprudence sowed in the past," said the Rev. Peter Karanja, the National Council of Churches in Kenya's general secretary, on August 6. He urged citizens in the east African country to adopt tree planting as an act of religious and social restoration.
Karanja, an Anglican priest, announced the church council's commitment to planting one million trees each year as the Kenyan government unveiled a power rationing program for the forthcoming three months. The country, which relies on rivers to generate electric power, has also been rationing water due to falling volumes in dams. This, according to Karanja, has rendered many businesses useless.
"We are incensed ... this outcome is borne by the politicians and political appointees who, because of greed built on a culture of impunity, deliberately continue to destroy our country's environment by allocating themselves and their cronies land in our water towers," said Karanja.
Kenya's five water towers or reservoirs have been extensively affected by both illegal and legal human settlement. In recent days, churches have joined other groups demanding the government remove the settlers from these towers.
"The government must protect these water towers," Karanja said. "We challenge the government to put in place a comprehensive policy for the protection of the water towers and other wetlands, and implement it."
At same time, Kenya's newly elected Anglican Archbishop Eliud Wabukala, in an August 6 pastoral letter titled "Our Environment, said the Church," confessed that human beings had not always allowed the earth and its creatures to flourish.
The Washington County Prosecutor's office does not intend to file criminal charges against Rev. Bradley Barber.
This weekend, Barber, 53, a Catholic priest, was suspended from his pastoral role at St. Joseph Catholic Church in Fayetteville because of allegations of sexual misconduct. The accuser is a 24-year-old man.
The accuser alleges he went to Barber's home at the St. Joseph rectory about 3:30 a.m. last Tuesday out of concern for Barber's well-being. The two had exchanged e-mail and phone conversations and Barber sounded drunk, according to a Fayetteville Police Department report released Monday by Washington County Assistant Prosecutor Dustin Roberts.
While at the home, the accuser claimed Barber forced him to engage in sexual activity, according to the police report.
Brian Wood, Barber's attorney, would not comment on the accusations.
"He can't comment right now," Wood said when asked if the allegations were true. "Right now we're focused on representing him and defending him."
Barber is a former Episcopal priest. He and his wife and their four children joined the St. Joseph parish in 2007, according to a statement released by the Diocese of Little Rock. He moved to Fayetteville from the Corpus Christi, Texas, Diocese.
Homelessness in the Richmond area increased 11 percent from last summer, according to a count conducted last month.
According to figures released yesterday by the Richmond-based advocacy group Homeward, there were 1,061 homeless people living in metropolitan Richmond on July 23, compared with 958 on July 24, 2008.
Meanwhile, the number of homeless children increased slightly and the area's unsheltered population decreased. The homeless figures include Richmond and the counties of Chesterfield, Henrico, Hanover, New Kent, Powhatan, Charles City and Goochland.
The number of homeless children rose to 155 from 153 last summer, and the population listed as unsheltered dropped from 146 to 135. The unsheltered include those living on the streets or in a car, but not at a shelter.
Kelly King Horne, executive director of Homeward, attributed the region's increase of homelessness to the weak economy; however, she also sees some positives in the figures.
"The good news is, the increase is primarily in sheltered individuals. They are getting access to case management, maybe treatment to recovery, connections to medical or mental-health services," Horne said. "Those are all good things. We like to see that they're connected to services. That will help them end homelessness. Ultimately, that is the point."
The homeless were counted July 23 during the weekly lunch at St. Paul's Episcopal Church in downtown Richmond, which also included a resource fair with medical screenings, HIV testing and counseling, benefits information and free haircuts. Counts also were conducted that day in shelters, and volunteers visited areas in Richmond and surrounding counties where homeless people are likely to congregate.
The Rt. Rev. John B. Coburn, retired 13th bishop of the Diocese of Massachusetts, former president of the House of Deputies and former dean of the Episcopal Theological School in Cambridge, Massachusetts, died August 8 in Bedford, Massachusetts. He was 94. Born September 27, 1914, in Danbury, Connecticut, Coburn graduated from Wooster School in Danbury, an Episcopal independent school founded by his father, and proceeded to Princeton University where he majored in politics and graduated with a bachelor's degree in 1936.
Coburn taught biology at Robert College in Istanbul, Turkey, for three years. In Turkey he met Ruth Alvord. The couple married in 1941 in New York City, where Coburn was a student at Union Theological Seminary and on the staff of Grace Church in Manhattan. He received a bachelor's degree in divinity from Union Theological Seminary in 1942. He later joined the U.S. Navy serving as a W.W. II chaplain aboard a destroyer escort in the Pacific Ocean.
After the war, Coburn began a distinguished career in the Episcopal Church, first as rector of Grace Church in Amherst, Massachusetts, a position in which he also served as chaplain at Amherst College (he also established and coached Amherst's first lacrosse team). He served as dean of the Trinity Episcopal Cathedral in Newark, New Jersey, from 1953-57. He earned a doctorate in divinity from Princeton University in 1955. In 1956 he co-founded the Chapel of Saint James the Fisherman in Wellfleet, Massachusetts, along with James Pike. In 1958 he was elected dean of the Episcopal Theological School, where he served for more than a decade guiding the school through expansion and the inclusion of female students. Coburn became rector of St. James' Church on Madison Avenue in New York City after a year of teaching English in Harlem.
From 1967-1976 he served as president of the House of Deputies, guiding the church through controversial issues of race and social justice, women's ordination and the adoption of a new Book of Common Prayer.
In 1976 he was elected the 13th bishop of the Episcopal Diocese of Massachusetts and served in that position for ten years. He received honorary degrees from a dozen universities, including Harvard University, the University of Kent in Canterbury and Princeton University, on whose board of trustees he served for 20 years.
The Church of England, bidding to keep pace with the changing times, has begun promoting a "2-for-1" service that allows couples to combine a marriage ceremony with the baptism of their children born out of wedlock.
Guidelines for the controversial "hatch and match" liturgy went out to the church's 16,000 parishes this summer.
The church's move is seen as an attempt to deal with the growing trend of couples having children out of wedlock. In Britain, new government figures show that about 44 percent of children are born to unmarried mothers.
The Anglican Church said its own research had found that "one in five couples who come to church for a wedding already have children, together or from a previous relationship."
In a statement issued online, Bishop Stephen Platten of Wakefield welcomed the new initiative, under which "the church can respond pastorally to our changing world if a priest feels it would be advisable to offer this option."
Tim Sledge, vicar of Romsey in the Diocese of Winchester, added that now that the guidelines are available online, "the church can say yes and offer an even warmer wedding welcome to couples with children."
But in a report in the Times newspaper in London, Bishop John Broadhurst of Fulham appeared considerably less pleased, commenting sarcastically, "It is a pity they have not put in a funeral for grandma as well."
Stephen Parkinson, a spokesperson for the conservative Anglo-Catholic group Forward in Faith, added that "it is a shame that what should be a bride's day now stands to be hijacked by screaming kids."
A local Episcopal parish that is defending its property against a claim from the Episcopal Church is filing a brief in a similar California case.
The Church of the Good Shepherd in Rosemont filed an amicus brief in a case against St. James Anglican Church Newport Beach, where the local Episcopal diocese is claiming St. James' property because the church withdrew from communion with the Episcopal Church. The amicus, or friend of the court filing, outlines Good Shepherd's side of the Montgomery County dispute for the court's benefit. St. James has appealed a previous ruling of the California Supreme Court to the Supreme Court of the U.S.
"We see our amicus brief for St. James, Newport Beach as an act of witness to our parish motto – non ministrari, sed ministrare – not to be ministered unto, but to minister," said Bishop David Moyer, the rector at Good Shepherd. Bishop Moyer added that the brief was filed out of "thanksgiving for the many blessings we have received from near and far in our struggles for the Gospel and the Catholic religion."
Earlier this year, the Episcopal Diocese of Pennsylvania filed an action in the Montgomery County Orphan's Court to claim Good Shepherd’s real estate. The diocese asserts that the property “is held in trust for the Episcopal Church and the Diocese,” and accuses Bishop Moyer and the Good Shepherd Vestry of acting outside the discipline of the church. The case against Good Shepherd is unprecedented, since in other property disputes with the Episcopal Church around the country, the parish in question has left the church, but continued to hold the property. Good Shepherd has never left the Episcopal Church, the foundation for the diocese's argument in the property case.
"I think probably the first thing to recognize here is that in many of these cases around the country these cases are dealing with a parish or diocese that has withdrawn from the Episcopal Church," said Paul Danello, a lawyer with Baker and Daniels, a law firm in Washington that is defending Good Shepherd.
The Anglican Diocese of San Joaquin will appeal a California Superior Court ruling that The Episcopal Church is hierarchical and that the Rt. Rev. John-David Schofield had no standing to break the diocese’s ties with the larger church.
Judge Adolfo M. Corona of the Superior Court of California, County of Fresno, issued an order for summary adjudication on July 21. The lawsuit was filed by the Rt. Rev. Jerry A. Lamb, acting bishop of the Episcopal Diocese of San Joaquin, and The Episcopal Church against Bishop Schofield, several bodies formed by the departing diocese, and the investment firm of Merrill Lynch.
“Defendants' right to amend their constitution and canons is not unrestricted and unlimited,” Judge Corona wrote. “The constitution of the diocese has always permitted amendments. … However, from the inception of the diocese as a missionary district, it acceded to the constitution of the Protestant Episcopal Church in the United States of America and recognized the authority of the General Convention of the same.”
Officials with the Anglican diocese did not respond to interview requests by The Living Church.
Bishop Lamb called the ruling “stunning in how detailed it was.”
He said the Episcopal diocese is prepared to appeal to a higher court, should any subsequent ruling go against it.
“We want our property back. We want the properties that belong to The Episcopal Church back under the control of The Episcopal Church,” he said.
“I wish we could bring all this stuff to an end,” Bishop Lamb said. “The pain and suffering and use of resources have been astronomical.”
He said the diocese is open to negotiation with the departing diocese.
“My diocese is always open for conversation, but we need to be very clear that the conversation will be: When do you intend to give our property back? How do you intend to give our property back?”
The question of which entity owns church property will be resolved during a jury trial scheduled for early next year.
For the first time in P.E.I., a married man was to be ordained as a Roman Catholic priest on Sunday.
Martin Carter, 63, said the Pope occasionally grants special permission for married men to become priests in cases where they've converted from other Christian churches.
The former Anglican clergyman said the church has made provisions for some cases, but he doesn't anticipate a shift in the traditional approach to priests marrying.
"Not that there is anything wrong with marriage, it's a status of life, but for the work of the church, the church becomes your bride in a sense," he said.
"That's a church law and there can be some exceptions." Carter's ordination was to take place in an evening mass at St. Dunstan's Basilica in Charlottetown.
He said married men have been able to seek permission to be ordained for about 30 years. About a dozen married men have been ordained in Canada in that time, and there's about 100 cases in the United States, he said.
The exception doesn't just apply to Anglican priests. Carter said he's heard of instances where married Lutheran and Baptist priests became Roman Catholic priests.
However, the father of three grown children said it's still rare, and he doesn't expect there will be a rapid growth in the number of married Catholic priests.
"It's not that common and it probably won't be ever that common," he said Saturday from Charlottetown.
Two experienced Liberians just returning from the United States have committed themselves to helping revamp the country’s educational sector after years of civil war.
Fritz Massaquoi and his niece, Tobertha Hoffman Jackson, in an exclusive interview at the Daily Observer’s MacDonald Street office, spoke to our reporters about plans to help in the construction of at least two primary schools in the country.
Massaquoi, who is also a well known Liberian painter and ballet dancer, has worked in the United States and other parts of the world. He was also one of several prominent Liberians serving at LAMCO, the Liberian, American and Swedish mining conglomerate in Yekepa, Nimba County, and Buchanan, Grand Bassa County.
Massaquoi said he is back in the country with a vast amount of experience in the area of human resource development. He indicated that he will do all in his power to contribute positively his quota to the growth and development of war-torn Liberia. He said the area of primary education will be highly considered during the implementation of their proposed project, considering the huge gap in the country’s educational sector due to the civil conflict.
With the help of the Episcopal Church in the USA, especially the Diocese of East Tennessee, which has expressed unflinching support for the program, she remains optimistic that their dream of helping to educate the children of Liberia can be realized. Jackson maintained that as an expert in human resource development and organizational management, she will use her expertise to help the country’s educational sector, focusing especially on school age children.
Father Bradley Barber, a former Episcopal Church cleric who converted to Catholicism and was ordained to the priesthood in 1994 under Pope John Paul II’s 1980 Pastoral Provision, has been removed from his Arkansas parish following allegations that he assaulted a man in his early 20s on August 4. Father Barber is married and the father of four children.
In a letter read to the parish at Sunday Mass-- “the saddest letter I ever had to write”-- Bishop Anthony Taylor wrote that “Father Barber has violated our trust” and that “it is not clear yet what criminal charges might be filed.”
The diocesan newspaper reported in 2007 that “ordaining women to the priesthood, recognizing same-sex relationships as marriages, and allowing the church to be led by openly gay pastors, those were things that troubled Father Barber in his role as an Episcopal priest.” Father Barber has led the recitation of the Rosary in front of an abortion clinic, and his parish boasts a Gregorian schola.
The wise Anglican priest who instructed me in how to go about hearing confessions closed his lesson with some memorable words: "I've never thought less of someone after hearing their confession."
If only it were generally the same for biographies. Some people's lives have a priestly dimension. That is to say, their struggles have an elevated quality—they are struggles on behalf of us all; their example inspires far beyond the circle of people who directly identify with their circumstances. In short, when the bell tolls for them it tolls for us too—somehow even more than when it tolls for us alone. Rowan Williams is such a person. And the astonishing thing about this biography—this confession, if you like—is that Williams emerges from it with a reputation that is, if anything, more positive than it already was.
It's a commonplace that Williams's job is one you wouldn't wish on your most antagonistic blogger. What is the archbishop of Canterbury for? He's there to represent the life of faith, more specifically the historic catholic and reformed Christian faith, at the heart of the English nation; to be a figurehead guiding the Church of England, its bishops, its institutions and its people; and to be a unifying influence on the worldwide Anglican Communion. When Williams was appointed, there was widespread joy that here was a man who could do these three things like no one else imaginable—a person who epitomized the grace, wisdom, faith and generosity to which Anglicanism aspires. And yet his first seven years in office have seen him beleaguered by controversial events, a constant demand for him to exercise executive power, and a standoff of mutual incomprehension between his office and the secular press.
Archbishop of Canterbury Rowan Williams has suggested that the Episcopal Church may have to accept a secondary role in the Anglican Communion after voting to allow the ordination of gay bishops and blessings for same-sex unions.
Williams, the spiritual leader of the world's 77 million Anglicans, said in a statement from England that "very serious anxieties have already been expressed" about the pro-gay resolutions approved by the Episcopal Church at its General Convention in Anaheim, California.
While "there is no threat of being cast into outer darkness," Williams said, certain churches, including the Episcopal Church, may have to take a back seat in ecumenical and interfaith dialogue because their views on homosexuality do not represent the larger Anglican Communion.
Many of the world's Anglican churches oppose homosexuality as sinful and unbiblical.
"It helps to be clear about these possible futures, however much we think them less than ideal," Williams said, "and to speak about them not in apocalyptic terms of schism and excommunication but plainly as what they are—two styles of being Anglican."
Williams said the mechanics of a two-track system "will certainly need working out," but could well include the kinds of "cooperation in mission and service" that is currently shared between sister churches in the communion.
Episcopal Church officials in New York did not make an immediate response to Williams's statement. But Mark Harris, a member of the church's Executive Council, said on his blog, Preludium, that the archbishop "nicely and in his usual nuanced style essentially said that no one is fooled: . . . the Episcopal Church has strayed from the fold."
TTLS is saddened to learn of the death of Marion Hatchett last night, 7 August.
Anyone who has attended seminary during the past thirty-five years is well acquainted with his work. He and Massey Shepherd were the foremost liturgical scholars of our age.
He was a member of the Standing Commission on Church Music, 1974-1985 Standing Liturgical Commission, 1977-1982 General Board of Examining Chaplains, 1988-1994 Chair of the Text Committee for The Hymnal 1982 Chair of the Committee for the Book of Occasional Services
Among his many publications are Sanctifying Life, Time and Space: An Introduction to Liturgical Study (1976) A Manual for Clergy and Church Musicians (1980) Commentary on the American Prayer Book (1981), and The Making of the First American Book of Common Prayer (1982). He received his B.D. in 1951 from the School of Theology, University of the South. He was ordained deacon on June 13, 1951, and priest on June 25, 1952.
He received his S.T.M. from General Seminary in 1967 and his Th.D. in 1972. Hatchett taught liturgics and church music at the School of Theology from Feb. 1, 1969, until his retirement on May 16, 1999. On Jan. 15, 1991, he was named the Cleveland Keith Benedict Professor of Pastoral Theology.
But, more important than all of the above, he was a gentleman. It was an honour to know him.
I am positive the liturgy in Heaven will improve now that he's there to see it's done correctly.
Eternal Rest Grant Unto Him, O Lord. And Light Perpetual Shine Upon Him.
FOUNDING National Merchant Bank (NMB) chief executive officer Julias Makoni who was forced to skip the country in 2004 after he was accused of externalising foreign currency is now an Anglican bishop. Makoni, who holds the post of Reverend Doctor in Anglican Church, was recently elected Bishop Alert of the Anglican Dioceses (CPA).
Last week he was said to be in the United Kingdom and was not available for interviews.
But former Manicaland acting Bishop Peter Hatendi said Makoni was elevated to the new post at a meeting held by the elective assembly in Mutare on July 24.
He said they did not know of Makoni’s appointment since the whole thing was done behind closed doors.
“Yes he was elected the bishop and it was done in secret by the elective assembly, we were just told later that he was going to be the new bishop,” he said.
Hatendi said Makoni was still on probation and his official appointment as the Bishop Alert will be made after a certain period.
“It is the custom of the Anglican church to monitor someone who has been appointed. After the court of confirmation meet that’s when Makoni will be officially appointed as the Bishop Alert of Manicaland,” he said.
Makoni and three other NBB senior executives, James Mushore, Francis Zimuto and Nicholas Vingirayi, fled the country in 2004 after they were accused of setting up an illegal money transfer agency in the UK called LTB money transfers.
Now that the Archbishop of Canterbury, Rowan Williams, has slapped my church’s wrists for refusing to marginalize homosexuals and has threatened to have us become second-class citizens in the Anglican Communion, I say this to Archbishop Williams:
The Episcopal Church has a life. Not a perfect life. In fact, a messy one, a life that could be more than it is. But we do have a life.
That life preceded the formation of the Anglican Communion. That life will survive our being marginalized within the Anglican Communion.
There’s nothing we do in our congregations that depends on the Anglican Communion. You have become a weapon in a siege war being waged by a minority who has been resisting change in the Episcopal Church for 50 years.
The first votes were close, but the anti-change position has steadily lost ground. Not because the church came under an evil spell, but because people’s minds and hearts shifted and their understandings of God and mission changed. That happens.
The anti-change minority fights on, however, for by now their fretful arguments against changing “Thou” to “You” and “he” to “he or she” have advanced to holy war against homosexuals.
The battle isn’t about God. It’s about fear, control and property.
Attorneys for a bishop deposed by The Episcopal Church say they plan to appeal a judge's ruling recognizing another bishop as the head of the Diocese of San Joaquin.
Though Episcopal leaders say they removed John-David Schofield as the head of the Fresno, Calif.-based diocese last year after he and other conservative church members attempted to remove the diocese from the American arm of Anglicanism, the bishop maintains that he possesses continuing authority as the leader of the diocese, which he claimed simply realigned itself with the more conservative Anglican Province of the Southern Cone in South America.
The Episcopal Church, however, disputes the ability of a diocese to transfer from one province to another without the consent of its original province.
Furthermore, as the Superior Court of Fresno County ruled last month, The Episcopal Church maintains that the Diocese of San Joaquin being led by the TEC-elected Rt. Rev. Jerry Lamb is "not a new organization" but that it is "the older organization from which ([defendant] Schofield and the other) defendants removed themselves."
Therefore, while Schofield may be bishop of the “Anglican Diocese of San Joaquin,” he is no longer bishop of the “Episcopal Diocese of San Joaquin” and has no claim to any of the corporate or ecclesiastical offices of the Diocese.
“The order will greatly expedite the resolution of the remainder of the case, which will ultimately provide for the recovery of the Diocese's properties and assets so that the Episcopal Diocese of San Joaquin can continue to pursue its ministry to the central third of California utilizing these resources,” the Episcopal Diocese of San Joaquin reported after the court’s July 23 ruling.
With a trial is set to begin early next year to decide who controls the diocese's properties, attorneys for Schofield plan to file their appeal to last month’s decision later this month.