Cal Oren was threading his way through the Santa Cruz Mountains of California early one evening in 1993, driving his wife, brother and three tired children back from a day of hiking amid the redwoods. As their car neared the town of Ben Lomond, Mr. Oren said, his brother pointed to a church on the roadside and said: “I’ve been inside this. It’s really neat.”
So Mr. Oren pulled to a stop, and as the children stayed in the car, the grown-ups gingerly padded into the sanctuary of Saints Peter and Paul Antiochian Orthodox Church. A lifelong Presbyterian, Mr. Oren knew virtually nothing about the Antiochians or, for that matter, Orthodox Christianity in general. He had always associated Ben Lomond with hippies, geodesic domes and marijuana fields.
As he entered, a vespers service was under way. Maybe two dozen worshipers stood, chanting psalms and hymns. Incense filled the dark air. Icons of apostles and saints hung on the walls. The ancientness and austerity stood at a time-warp remove from the evangelical circles in which Mr. Oren traveled, so modern, extroverted and assertively relevant.
“This was a Christianity I had never encountered before,” said Mr. Oren, 55, a marketing consultant in commercial construction. “I was frozen in my tracks. I felt like I was in the actual presence of God, almost as if I was in heaven. And I’m not the kind of person who gets all woo-hoo.”
Then, growth in church membership led to a division in the early 1900s into two dioceses: Erie and Pittsburgh.
Now, with numbers declining, some members of the Episcopal Diocese of Pittsburgh are interested in studying a reunion with its northern neighbor, known today as the Episcopal Diocese of Northwestern Pennsylvania.
But the Erie-based diocese isn't in any rush to rejoin with Pittsburgh.
"It's something we might be willing to discuss in this diocese eventually," said the Right Rev. Sean W. Rowe, bishop of the Episcopal Diocese of Northwestern Pennsylvania.
Rowe said he was notified that the issue was on the agenda of Pittsburgh's Oct. 16-17 diocesan convention.
The Archbishop of Canterbury has welcomed an endorsement of the first three sections of the Anglican Covenant by the Diocese of Central Florida’s board and standing committee.
On Sept. 17, the diocesan board and standing committee adopted a resolution stating that they “affirm sections one, two and three of the Ridley Cambridge Draft of the Anglican Covenant, as we await the final draft of section four.”
Central Florida also asked the Archbishop of Canterbury to “outline and implement a process by which individual dioceses, and even parishes, could become members of the Anglican Covenant, even in cases where their provincial or diocesan authorities decline to do so.”
In a Sept. 28 letter to the Rt. Rev. John W. Howe, Bishop of Central Florida, Archbishop Williams called endorsement from the diocesan bodies a step in the right direction. “As a matter of constitutional fact, the [Anglican Consultative Council] can only offer the covenant for ‘adoption’ to its own constituent bodies (the provinces),” the archbishop noted. But “I see no objection to a diocese resolving less formally on an ‘endorsement’ of the covenant.” Such an action may not have an immediate “institutional effect” but “would be a clear declaration of intent to live within the agreed terms of the Communion’s life and so would undoubtedly positively affect a diocese’s pastoral and sacramental relations” with the wider Communion, he said.
The fragility of human life is evident again with the most recent tragedies in the Philippines, in Samoa and now in Indonesia. Natural forces beyond most of our imagining have killed many and destroyed livelihoods in each of these countries.
Our hearts go out to those who mourn the loss of family members and even whole communities. AngliCORD has commenced an Appeal for emergency assistance to rebuild the lives of people and I commend it to you for your support.
My condolences go out to all in Australia who are receiving the sad news of death or injury to loved ones at this time.
To support the AngliCORD Appeal please visit www.anglicord.org.au or phone 1800 249 880
With multiple natural disasters striking the Asia-Pacific region this week, Episcopal Relief and Development (ERD) is responding through its program partners in the Philippines, Samoa and Indonesia. On September 26, Typhoon Ketsana pounded the Philippines, including the Metro Manila region, with a month's worth of rain in just six hours. The resulting floods have killed an estimated 240 people and destroyed more than 2,000 homes.
ERD will support the Iglesia Filipina Independiente (IFI, or Philippine Independent Church), which is in full communion with the Episcopal Church. According to the Office of the Obispo Maximo (head bishop), many IFI churches, particularly in the dioceses of Rizal and Pampanga, have become evacuation sites. Numerous churches have also had members impacted.
"The IFI is planning to focus on several thousand families in the hardest-hit areas near its churches," said Julie Petrie, ERD's program officer for Asia. "Priests and lay volunteers will use churches as bases to distribute essential food and water, along with medicine, blankets and clothing as possible, to low-income communities in Metro Manila."
Target cities for the distributions include Pasig, Taguig, Mandaluyong, Malabo, and Marikina, where at least five church members lost their lives.
The Episcopal Church of the Philippines (ECP) is ERD's primary program partner. With local diocesan support, ECP is partnering with Trinity University and St. Luke's Medical Center to respond with medical care and other critical supplies. Churches in areas such as Quezon City, which has not received much relief, are providing food and cleaning materials to affected members and the local community.
The consecration of The Reverend Lawrence C. Provenzano as Bishop Coadjutor of the Episcopal Diocese of Long Island took place on Saturday, September 19, 2009 at 11 a.m. at the Tilles Center on the campus of C.W. Post University. The Tilles Center was packed and overflowing with Episcopalians from all over Long Island who came to welcome their new bishop. There was also a large representation from Bishop Provenzano’s former parish, St. Andrew’s Episcopal Church in Long Meadow, Massachusetts and from the Long Meadow Fire Department where he served as Fire Chaplain. The new Bishop was also the Fire Chaplain for the state of Massachusetts. After the consecration, the attendees broke into a thunderous applause that lasted from many minutes in approval of their new diocesan leader.
The Reverend Lawrence C. Provenzano was elected Bishop Coadjutor of the Episcopal Diocese of Long Island at the diocesan election convention March 21, 2009, which convened at the Cathedral of the Incarnation, Garden City, NY. The bishop coadjutor-elect received the consent of the General Convention (the House of Deputies and the House of Bishops) when it met this July in Anaheim, California. The diocese is preparing for the consecration of the bishop-elect, who will serve as Bishop Coadjutor, with the right of succession, until the retirement of the present Diocesan Bishop, the Right Reverend Orris G. Walker, Jr. on November 14, 2009.
NEW ORLEANS (AP) - The field for the next bishop of the Episcopal Diocese of Louisiana has been narrowed to six candidates, and includes an Australian priest, a former Roman Catholic priest and the bishop of North Dakota.
The diocese announced on Thursday that the candidates - who were nominated by local clergy and lay people - are all white and all married men with children.
1 of the candidates will succeed Bishop Charles Jenkins, who will retire at the end of the year.
After a series of public receptions introducing the candidates in November, the diocese's clergy, with lay representatives, will elect 1 of the six as Louisiana's 11th Episcopal bishop in balloting Dec. 5 at Christ Church Cathedral.
So, Benedict XVI has appointed a relatively junior man as Archbishop of Birmingham and Vincent Nichols' successor.
In a move that will stun many, several talented alternative candidates were passed over in favour of Longley, who will hold the second highest office in English Catholicism. One seasoned observer told me today that Pope Benedict may have started in England a European pattern of jumping a generation in key episcopal appointments to advance a new and more conservative team. He insisted that Longley's appointment marks such a shift.
And yet for those who have known Longley for many years his promotion will come as no surprise. Ordained by Cormac Murphy O'Connor to work in the English south-east, he spent nearly 10 years in Surrey teaching in a seminary with the now Archbishop Peter Smith of Cardiff. Given the closeness of these two men to the Papal Nuncio (who has a key role in episcopal appointments), Longley will not have wanted for patrons. Meanwhile, the outgoing senior management of the Catholic Bishops' Conference secretariat was overflowing with enthusiasm at news of his appointment earlier this week. Bishop Longley's preferment, however, is not simply down to his clerical friendships. It also rests on assiduous pastoral work at the local level.
Last week he and I shared a conference platform to discuss pastoral and policy responses to the needs of the UK's new migrant workers, and the rapidly increasing ethnic minority presence in urban Catholic parishes. He was on good form, expressing the sorts of kind, encouraging and thoughtful sentiments that I had seen when we had both been trustees of the Cardinal Hume Centre for the young homeless.
The Episcopal Diocese of South Carolina, with 72 active churches in the lower part of the state, has been growing steadily since 1990, according to Nancy Armstrong, assistant treasurer.
Church operating income did not grow in 2008, likely because of a terrible fourth quarter, she said.
The diocese is projecting an 11 percent decline in operating income for 2009, from about $34.4 million the year before to $30.95 million, Armstrong said, calling the change a reflection of the general economy. "We have not seen a discernible drop in Sunday attendance," she added.
In the last two years, one Episcopal church closed, but plans to start two others are well under way, she said.
"We're still in much better shape than most Episcopal dioceses," she said. "It's not great, but we have a lot to be thankful for."
Episcopalians can expect new rituals in the order of service this flu season in an attempt to mitigate the spread of the seasonal and H1N1 viruses (AKA "swine flu"). At St. George's Episcopal Church in Germantown, Tennessee, a simple bow or nod has replaced the passing of the peace's handshakes and hugs. At Grace Cathedral in Topeka, Kansas, vodka-moistened gauze is used to wipe the communion chalice rather than cloth. Stanford University's Memorial Church has temporarily suspended use of the communal cup in favor of intinction, or dipping the bread in the wine.
"Though a common practice by most, during Holy Communion congregants are asked to dip the bread in the chalice and refrain from drinking from the cup," said the Rev. Joanne Sanders, Memorial Church's Episcopal associate dean and liturgical officer.
In early 2009, the H1N1 virus caused the first global outbreak of influenza in 40 years, infecting more than 300,000 people in 191 countries, and killing 3,917, according to the most recent data issued by the World Health Organization (WHO). Twenty-six U.S. states have reported widespread influenza activity, according to FluView, the Center for Disease Control (CDC) and Prevention's weekly flu report.
Influenza, or the flu, is a contagious respiratory illness caused by influenza viruses. It spreads from person to person and can cause mild to severe illness, and in some cases, can lead to death. In the United States, flu season typically begins in the fall and continues into early spring. In addition to the regular seasonal flu, the H1N1 flu virus also is circulating, according to Flu.gov, a federal government information site operated by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HSS).
A Los Angeles County Superior Court judge Wednesday ordered leaders of a former Episcopal church in La Crescenta to turn over church property by Oct. 12 to the Episcopal Diocese of Los Angeles, marking the latest wrinkle in a long-running legal dispute.
St. Luke's Anglican Church and the diocese have been feuding since 2006, when a majority of the parish's congregants voted to pull out of the diocese and the 2.1-million-member Episcopal Church because of differences over biblical authority and interpretation, including the national church's decision to consecrate an openly gay bishop.
After the La Crescenta church left, the diocese sued to retain its property.
St. Luke's argued that the parish remained the rightful owner because it held the deed.
In 2007, Los Angeles County Superior Court Judge John Shepard Wiley Jr. ruled in the diocese's favor.
In June, a state appellate court affirmed the judgment, saying the property was held in trust for the diocese and the national church.
The three Bills set to radically transform the family, property and rights triggered a storm on Tuesday with religious groups and the civil society taking extreme positions.
A section of the religious fraternity vowed to oppose the Bills even as gender activists and human rights organisations welcomed them.
In separate interviews, Muslims vowed to reject the draft Bills while the Anglican Church of Kenya (ACK) called for wider consultations. But the Kenya National Commission on Human Rights and gender activists welcomed the Bills, saying they were "long overdue".
The reactions followed the tabling of the Marriage Bill, the Matrimonial Property Bill and the Family Protection Bill before the Cabinet by Gender Affairs minister Esther Murugi last Thursday.
The Cabinet, chaired by President Kibaki, deferred House debate on the three Bills reportedly to allow for "further consultations" between MPs and other stakeholders, amid concerns from gender activists that the ministers had shot them down.
Two ministers, who we cannot name because they are not allowed to disclose Cabinet secrets, have since allayed such fears, saying that the Cabinet had only suggested that the Bills be consolidated into one piece of legislation because they are related.
In the richer countries of the world, churches of the Anglican Communion are facing dwindling congregations but it is a different story in one of the poorest areas of the globe, in Mozambique.
"Something that is not growing is not alive, and we are growing," U.S.-born Mark van Koevering, the bishop of Niassa in the African country, said at a service in London on September 19.
Speaking at St. John's Church in Waterloo to mark the 103rd anniversary of the Mozambique and Angola Anglican Association, van Koevering said, "Almost 150 years ago, Charles Frederick Mackenzie came to Niassa ... He died within six months of arriving, having established four churches. There are now 136 Christian communities and 8,000 to 9,000 Christians in the diocese."
In a briefing after the service to supporters of the Mozambique and Angola association, known as MANNA, the bishop said that although his parishioners were some of the poorest people in the world, "they are all courageously facing up to the enormous challenges which followed destructive wars in which the Anglican church played a prominent role in establishing peace."
Van Koevering's wife, the Rev. Helen van Koevering, also serves as a priest in Mozambique.
The bishop said that within the Portuguese-speaking parts of Mozambique in the main urban areas, the Anglican church is growing fast and is only being held back by a lack of funds for training clergy and lay people, as well as for church building and transport.
"We are catholic [universal] but evangelism is absolutely central, and we are charismatic," he added. "We can't sit still. We have to get up and sing and dance. It helps to remove divisions between church people."
Earlier this year, Father Alberto Cutié, a popular radio and television personality in Miami, found himself the subject of tabloid headlines when he was photographed relaxing on the beach with a woman who turned out to be his longtime girlfriend. Shortly afterward, he announced that he was leaving the Catholic Church to become an Episcopal priest, and in June he and his girlfriend were married in a civil ceremony. The reasons Cutié gave for his conversion to the Anglican Communion were not theological in nature; his primary motivation seemed to be to free himself from the celibacy requirement that the Catholic Church demands of its Latin Rite priests.
How unique is Cutié’s story? How many other Catholic priests have left the church for another denomination in order to marry? Could Cutié’s conversion signal the beginning of another wave of men leaving the priesthood? Until November 2008, when I completed my dissertation on the transition of celibate Catholic priests into married Protestant ministry, it would have been impossible to address these questions. The data I collected over the course of a year allowed me to conduct the first-ever analysis in this field.
Though many social scientists (including my granduncle, sociologist Joseph Fichter, S.J.,) had studied the phenomenon of priests leaving ministry since the late 1960s, I could not find a single research project that dealt with this specific subset. Not even the most elementary demographic data were available. How many Catholic priests chose to become Protestant ministers? From which branch of the priesthood (diocesan or religious) did they originate? What Protestant churches did they choose to join? All of these questions were unanswered.
Colombo’s Anglican Bishop Duleep de Chickrea slammed continuous delays in repatriating Tamil refugees after the war between the Sri Lankan military and Tamil Tiger rebels ended back in May.
He said that “co-ordination amongst State authorities” leaves a lot to be desired. Demining and reconstruction, for example, are proceeding at a slow pace.
Yet the government stated that refugees could go home on the condition that they are housed by relatives in conditions of security. For the prelate this patent contradiction is humiliating to internally displaced persons (IDPs).
De Chickrea reminded the government that IDPs are not war prisoners, but people who left their homes for camps on the urging of the military, who put their trust in their promises.
The bishop wants the Mahinda Rajapaksa administration to provide information and clarity on the real situation in the areas once under the control of Tamil Tigers. The government should “demonstrate transparency in its management of the crisis” and in the reintegration of 250,000 refugees, he said.
De Chickrea is concerned about the refugees’ conditions since the “anticipated rain is an added factor that calls for responsible action with speed.”
A member diocese of the Anglican Church in North America (ACNA) will consider a resolution that maintains the diocese’s ties with the Anglican Church of the Southern Cone.
The resolution is being proposed by the Diocese of Fort Worth’s standing committee. The diocese’s convention will meet on Nov. 6 and 7 in Arlington, Texas. The resolution commits the diocese to continued participation in the ACNA, but also “maintains its status as a member diocese in the Province of the Southern Cone while the formal process of recognition of [ACNA] continues in the Anglican Communion.”
“At this point, the Anglican Church in North America is not yet fully recognized as a province of the Anglican Communion,” the standing committee said in an explanation. “We are working towards that goal, but it is a lengthy process involving the primates, the Archbishop of Canterbury, and the Anglican Consultative Council.”
The standing committee also says it is important for the diocese to remain within ACNA, in order to “support and encourage an authentic Anglican witness in North America.”
Another resolution urges the diocese to adopt the Ridley Cambridge draft of the Anglican Communion’s proposed covenant. A third resolution would inform Metropolitan Jonah of the Orthodox Church in America that the diocese shares his vision to “live, to actualize, and to participate in the full integrity of the Catholic Church—the full integrity of Orthodox Catholicism.”
In other diocesan news, the reconstituted Diocese of Pittsburgh will consider a resolution that authorizes a study of reuniting that diocese with the Diocese of Northwestern Pennsylvania. Northwestern Pennsylvania has not planned a study of its own, although the Pittsburgh resolution would invite participation by that Northwestern Pennsylvania's bishop, the Rt. Rev. Sean Rowe, and other diocesan leaders.
The reunion study is one of 20 resolutions presented for Pittsburgh's diocesan convention, which is scheduled for Oct. 16 and 17 at Trinity Cathedral. Another resolution encourages congregations to submit their responses to the draft covenant “as a preliminary to a response by the diocese.” Fifteen more resolutions would offer the first of two necessary votes to reverse constitutional changes that were made as previous diocesan conventions prepared to separate the diocese from the Episcopal Church.
The diocesan bishop of Kootenay, John Privett, 53, is the new metropolitan (senior bishop) of the ecclesiastical province of British Columbia and Yukon. He was elected at the provincial synod Sept. 25, and installed at the closing Eucharist Sept. 27.
Archbishop Privett becomes the 11th metropolitan of the youngest of four ecclesiastical provinces in the Anglican Church of Canada. Founded in 1914, the province includes the dioceses of British Columbia, Caledonia, New Westminster, Yukon, Kootenay and the Anglican Parishes of the Central Interior.
Archbishop Privett was born in Saskatoon and grew up in Whitehorse, Yukon, where his father served as rector of Christ Church Cathedral. “A lifelong Christian and child of the rectory,” he was ordained a deacon in 1981 and a priest in 1982, at the diocese of Edmonton. He was elected bishop of Kootenay in 2005.
Describing himself as “passionate about the life of parishes,” Archbishop Privett is interested in congregational development, dialogue, Christian formation and spiritual direction. He is also a strong supporter of camping ministry. On the national level, he serves on the planning and agenda team for the Council of General Synod (CoGS), as well as on the shared ministries committee and the youth initiatives task force.
A KEELBY chaplain accused of immigration offences after allegedly marrying his wife twice has been suspended from his job at the port of Immingham.
Samuel Bisaso, originally from Uganda, had been working for the Mission To Seafarers as a chaplain for the Immingham Seafarers' Centre since 2006.
A spokesman for the Mission To Seafarers, a missionary society and charity which is part of the Anglican Church, confirmed that Bisaso had been suspended but declined to comment further.
Bisaso faces immigration charges and his wife, Proscovia Nakamya Bisaso, faces immigration and bigamy charges following their arrest by the UK Border Agency at their home in Victoria Road, Keelby.
The pair are due to appear at Grimsby Crown Court on October 16.
Samuel Bisaso, 43, is charged with: Signing a false declaration for procuring a marriage on September 1, 1998; having a false passport, on July 13 this year; and two counts of obtaining leave to remain in the UK by deception, by saying he was lawfully married, on June 20, 2001, and May 14, 2002.
Mrs Bisaso, 29, is alleged to have entered into a bigamous marriage of convenience in order to remain in Britain.
She has been charged with: Bigamy, on September 23, 1999, by, during the life of her husband, going through a form of marriage with Crispine Ateesa; signing a false declaration for procuring a marriage on September 1, 1998; obtaining leave to remain in the UK by deception, by saying she was Proscovia Kasozi, on June 10, 1997; and having a false passport on July 13 this year.
The former Archbishop of the Sudan, Dr Joseph Marona has died in Khartoum after a long illness on Sept 18. His body will be taken to Juba and laid to rest at the cathedral.
Elected the third Primate of the Episcopal Church of the Sudan and Archbishop of Juba in 1999 during a meeting of the House of Bishops in Limeru, Kenya, Dr Marona’s eight-year tenure as primate saw the end to the 22-year civil war between the Muslim-Arab north and Christian-African south, and the prospects for the first sustained period of peace in South Sudan since the end of Anglo-Egyptian rule in 1956.
The church has also weathered the spectre of tribalism and the schism of the former Bishop of Rumbek, Gabriel Roric Jur, who, after being defrocked as bishop, established the rival Reformed Episcopal Church of the Sudan with the backing of the Islamist government in Khartoum.
Born in 1941 in the Western Equatoria province of Sudan, Dr Marona was educated at the Yei Teachers Training College and taught Arabic in Talia and Lui primary schools from 1962 to 1966. In 1966 he went into exile in Uganda and continued his education at Makere University.
Following the signing of the Addis Abba Peace Agreement he returned to the Sudan and served as a school headmaster in South Sudan from 1975 to 1978 when he entered the Bishop Gwynne College for his theological training. Ordained in 1982, he was appointed head of department of Christian education at Maridi Teachers Training Institute and in 1984 was appointed the first bishop of Maridi. In 1999 he was elected Primate of the Sudan and translated to Juba, but retired due to ill health on Dec 31, 2007.
RELICS of the saints have been venerated by the faithful in the Catholic church since time immemorial (“Saints alive, all this religious tolerance has gone too far”, Comment, last week), as have the places where, in their belief, miracles have occurred (Lourdes, Santiago, Fatima, Lisieux, Avila, and so on).
The Anglican church also finds solace in and designates special places for veneration and worship — the Martyrdom in Canterbury Cathedral and the shrine at Walsingham, for example. The case of St Thérèse of Lisieux is far from being the “bamboozling of frightened, suffering, suggestible people”: Catholics are free to choose whether they visit and pray before her sacred relics.
As to Minette Marrin’s point that relics should not be taken into Wormwood Scrubs, why not? Christ was the first to forgive sinners. Why should prisoners be denied some hope because of misguided political correctness about the laws on equality or the view that “beliefs [that] are not merely irrational but sometimes dangerous and unacceptable”.
If personal belief directs the faithful towards veneration, then it is to be respected and accepted. The adulation of celebrity is tolerated by a far greater number than the “thousands of the faithful” who queued “patiently in Portsmouth”.
A must read from Bishop Ed Little and the Living Church-
Four years ago I wrote an article, “Living With Tares,” responding to an editorial in the evangelical magazine Christianity Today that had described schism as sometimes necessary and offered the Episcopal Church as its primary cautionary tale. I argued that I remain in the Episcopal Church because biblical faithfulness requires me to do so; because Jesus is Lord of the Church, and it’s up to him—and not us—to sort things out in the end.
In light of the actions of the 76th General Convention, I find myself revisiting that article and asking the question again: Why do I stay? Does our Lord have a continuing purpose for people like me, a bridge-building conservative and evangelical Catholic, in the Episcopal Church? If so, what is it? And what are the conditions required for continuing and faithful engagement with the church?
I ask these questions with a heavy heart. The bonds of affection in this church are deep. I minister, and gratefully so, to gay and lesbian parishioners all around my diocese. Many of my most beloved friends are colleague bishops who vote on the opposite side of the issues that divide us. I see Jesus in them, and I pray they see him in me. They are brothers and sisters in Christ.
Yet reality forces hard questions. General Convention took definitive action. Resolutions D025 and C056 answered two questions with clarity. The first has to do with human sexuality. “[S]ame-sex couples living in lifelong committed relationships ... have responded to God’s call and have exercised various ministries in and on behalf of God’s One, Holy, Catholic and Apostolic Church. ... God has called and may call such individuals to any ordained ministry in the Episcopal Church” (D025). “[T]he Standing Commission on Liturgy and Music ... [shall] collect and develop theological and liturgical resources”; and, in the meantime, “bishops, particularly those in dioceses within civil jurisdictions where same-gender marriage, civil unions, or domestic partnerships are legal, may provide generous pastoral response to meet the needs of members of this Church” (C056).
We have made our decision. The restraint called for in B033 of the 75th General Convention has been set aside. Bishops may authorize blessings (that’s the clear implication of the “generous pastoral response”), and liturgies are on their way. Our course has been inexorably determined. The conversation about human sexuality is effectively over.
We answered a second question at General Convention as well: The question of the Anglican Communion, and its life and ministry. The Windsor Report presents a nuanced and balanced picture of the Church, a Catholic vision of interdependent life, carefully weighing the need for autonomy on one side of the scale and the need for accountability on the other. Our actions put us clearly on the autonomy side of the spectrum. In approving Resolutions D025 and C056, we have said No to the Anglican Communion. We have rejected two of the three moratoria requested by the Windsor Report and the four Instruments of Communion (most recently, at its May meeting, by the Anglican Consultative Council), and ignored the plea of the Archbishop of Canterbury in his General Convention sermon that we do nothing to exacerbate our divisions. The trajectory of the Episcopal Church propels us to the fringe of the Anglican Communion. Again, the conversation about ecclesiology is effectively over.
With 28 venues in a single month, it's a punishing schedule. This week, her fans will be queueing round the block in Newcastle and Leeds before she starts heading south - via a prison - to take central London by storm in mid-October.
It's an itinerary to make Madonna or the Stones look positively idle. And you won't hear any absurd diva-style demands from this travelling star.
There will be no tantrums if her dressing room is not painted a certain shade of mauve or if her vase contains the wrong sort of orchids.
Her limo is nothing more glamorous than a converted Citroen people carrier and her road crew consists of a Falklands veteran and a Somerset undertaker.
Her only requirement is a modest one: she likes to have a couple of clergy with her at all times. Considering she doesn't charge a bean for her appearances, it's not a particularly onerous demand. And she certainly gets around - as you would if you could somehow find a way of being in five places at once.
This has to be one of the most unusual travelling shows in this country since the Middle Ages. I have certainly never witnessed anything quite like the St Therese of Lisieux tour.
The summer harvest brought in by St. Paul's Episcopal Church in downtown Brighton goes well beyond picking cucumbers from the vine.
What started as an idea for a small garden in front of the church has turned into an incredibly successful organic garden. In one summer, the church garden, which sits on a 25-acre plot at the Emerich Retreat Center in Hamburg Township, harvested 1,700 pounds of produce for Gleaners Community Food Bank.
"One of the goals of the (Episcopal) Diocese of Michigan is to eradicate hunger and promote healthy eating," the Rev. Deon Johnson of St. Paul's Episcopal Church said. "Literally, I said, I want a small garden to start," he joked.
What was supposed to be a small garden is having a major impact on the community.
More than 70 volunteers have helped plant and pick produce at the farm. Businesses, local residents and parishioners have donated more than $5,000 to get the garden growing.
None have been more helpful than head volunteer gardener Joannee DeBruhl, who spearheaded the project and often spends entire days picking produce.
"She has executed a huge project this summer," said Michelle Ounanian, Livingston County Gleaners programs coordinator. "We're excited that someone was happy to start a brand-new garden with Gleaners in mind."
Finding enough chaplains to minister to troops has become a difficult task.
The Kansas Air National Guard has two of its six chaplain positions unfilled, while the Kansas Army National Guard is faring worse, with nine of 15 slots vacant.
Officials with the Kansas Army National Guard describe the high vacancy rate as typical of other units across the country.
They said efforts to address the shortage, including a $10,000 sign-on bonus, $4,500 in tuition assistance and extending the age limit for new enlistees, had done little to help so far.
The approaching retirement of many chaplains promises to compound the problem in the future.
The job of a military chaplain is to ensure that the spiritual needs of troops are met — a task that involves leading religious services and Bible studies and providing individual counseling.
But a host of reasons are making recruitment a challenge, including the danger of serving in war-torn areas and the reluctance of churches to stick with pastors who are deployed for several months at a time.
The Rev. Don Davidson, rector of St. David’s Episcopal Church in Topeka and the head of the Kansas National Guard’s chaplain program, said the shortage had resulted in chaplains facing repeated deployments.
“There is a definite need, but it comes at a price,” said Davidson, who doesn’t face deployment in his current position but has been deployed in the past.
“Not every church, not every clergyperson, wants to do that.”
The Rev. Jerry Kramer, a hyper-energetic Episcopal priest who transformed a small neighborhood church into a powerhouse that helped drive the post-Katrina recovery of the entire Broadmoor neighborhood, stunned his parishioners last week with news that, sick and exhausted, he has resigned.
In an accompanying e-mail message, Kramer said that if he recovers after several months on a temporary medical disability, he hopes next year to return to missionary work in Tanzania with his wife and two children.
"But I have to get well to do that, " he said last week. "I need some rest. I absolutely need some rest.
"I haven't been able to put in a full day (of work) in over a year."
In the four years since Katrina, Kramer developed a reputation as a innovative priest who, from the moment he paddled up to his flooded church on South Claiborne Avenue, merged its recovery with the recovery of the surrounding neighborhood.
"I think before he arrived, we were trying to figure out what our mission was, " said Martha McKnight, the head of the vestry at Kramer's Free Church of the Annunciation.
The chants are stuff of childhood memory for today's middle-aged Catholics, but a ritual that has lately been resurrected and restored in the Archdiocese of Seattle -- the Tridentine rite Latin high mass.
In what he calls a "personal parish, not a geographic parish," Archbishop Alex Brunett a year ago authorized patient advocates of restoring the Latin liturgy to form North American Martyrs parish in Seattle.
About 500 people packed into its temporary home, St. Alphonsus Church in Ballard, on Friday night as Brunett presided over a stirring, deeply spiritual high mass. Saber-bearing Knights of Columbus in full regalia escorted the procession. Gregorian music wafted down from the choir loft, while sweet-smelling incense filled the air.
Many women's heads were draped in lace. Young children, present in large numbers, were quiet as, well, church mice. There were no response readings by the congregation. No laypeople walked to the microphone to read scripture.
The congregation's participation could be described in two words, prayerful and contemplative.
Only to the once-familiar words "Dominus vobiscum" (May the Lord be with you) did the congregation deliver a full voiced reply, "Et cum spiritu tuo" (And with thy spirit).
The priests, as in pre-Vatican II days, faced the altar. Why? "The same reason a bus driver faces the road and not the passengers: The priest is leading the congregation to the Mount of Calvary," explained Fr. Gerard Saguto, the parish pastor, who arrived from Indiana a year ago.
Fr. Seguto hails from the Priestly Fraternity of St. Peter, an order of priests founded by Pope John Paul II in 1988 to minister to the increasing demand for the mass in its older form.
An Episcopal Church court has rejected a defrocked Pennsylvania bishop's bid for a new church trial based on a recently discovered cache of letters related to his case.
Charles E. Bennison Jr. was removed from his post last year after a church trial in Philadelphia found he covered up his brother's sexual assaults of a teenage girl in the 1970s. Bennison's lawyers argued that more than 200 letters recently found contradict witness testimony and show the victim tried to hide the relationship, hampering any intervention by the bishop.
The church court ruled that the letters "would not have changed the outcome of the trial." No date has been set for an appeals hearing by a panel of bishops that could reverse the decision or impose a milder sentence such as suspension or reprimand.