One pulpit, shared by two part-time ministers who happen to be married.
The temporary arrangement has been the answer to a prayer for Christ Episcopal Church, whose members had been searching for a part-time priest to lead them spiritually without strapping them financially.
For the Revs. Randall Balmer and Catharine Randall, whose careers as college professors, writers and public speakers keep them plenty busy, the arrangement with this small but devoted congregation satisfies a spiritual need the couple have longed to fill.
"What is so great about it is immediately, they understood that we were a team ... working together," said Balmer, a prize-winning historian who has written a dozen books on faith and religion and is professor of American religious history at Barnard College in New York City and a visiting professor at Dartmouth College. "I love being a professor and a priest. For me, one informs the other."
"It's wonderful; I'm so happy," said Catharine Randall, a professor of French at Fordham University in New York and the author of eight scholarly books and several articles and publications related to religion and spirituality. "I love doing this with Randy. I think it works well. We are very much in love with each other, and we are very compatible and very in tune with what each other is thinking."
Even their lengthy commutes — between their home in Woodbury, university teaching jobs in New York and New Hampshire, and the church in East Hampton — don't get in way of their commitment.
Once in a while, amid the random assignments I follow each week, a pattern emerges. During a five day stretch I might interview a rodeo cowboy, a priest and city official. It almost sounds like the beginning of a joke, doesn't it? But, sometimes, the narrative thread emerges in bright brilliance, like the Aurora Borealis.
I started last week by opening a conversation with Tupelo's first formal gathering of Muslims.
I'd known for two months that they were here, and I'd been looking for a chance to get out and meet them. As this week's feature indicates, they received me with open arms and even invited me to pray alongside them.
A few days later I was invited behind the scenes at the 183rd Annual Council of the Episcopal Diocese of Mississippi.
Before the opening of the council, Bishop Duncan Gray III was holed up in a quiet room deep in the arena, going over his notes and trying to avoid being hassled by media types like me.
He was very gracious, and when I saw him leading his diocese later that night during the opening service I was thankful to have spent some quiet time with him. We talked about everything from football to the philosophy of Friedrich Hegel.
A week later I was once again in the arena for the 47th Annual Charity Ball. My friend Scott Morris had done most of the heavy lifting for the story and all I had to do was go and enjoy myself and get a little scenery for the article.
From the "You Can't Make This Stuff Up" Department- (Vatican Division)
The Vatican's once-stodgy daily newspaper, "L'Osservatore Romano" has published a list of the best rock albums of all time. They are as follows:
The Beatles' "Revolver"
Pink Floyd's "The Dark Side of the Moon"
Oasis' "(What's the Story) Morning Glory?"
Michael Jackson's "Thriller"
U2's "Achtung Baby"
Fleetwood Mac's "Rumours"
Donald Fagen's "The Nightfly"
Carlos Santana's "Supernatural"
Paul Simon's "Graceland"
David Crosby's "If I Could Only Remember My Name"
The inclusion of “Revolver” on the list comes as a bit of a surprise, since John Lennon once ruffled some ecclesiastic feathers by remarking, “The Beatles are bigger than Jesus.” However, the Vatican music critic may have been swayed by the fact that George Harrison was raised Catholic, and Paul McCartney included a reference to a priest on the Revolver track, “Eleanor Rigby.” Of course, Father McKenzie may have been an Anglican priest, but McCartney nevertheless portrayed the cleric in a sympathetic light.
Besides Harrison, several other rock stars on the Vatican’s list were baptised into the Roman faith as infants. Liam and Noel Gallagher (of Oasis) were brought up Catholic, as was Carlos Santana. U2’s Bono was deliberately raised both Catholic and Protestant by his well-meaning Irish parents, and he is too politically correct to align himself directly with either church. But he has been known to hang out with popes and carry rosaries.
Michael Jackson’s inclusion of zombies in his “Thriller” video irked some members of his own church, the Jehovah Witnesses. But apparently, Rome takes a gentler view of the late genius’ cinematic work.
Surprisingly, some notable (or nominal) Catholic musicians did NOT make the Vatican’s list, including Bruce Springsteen, Mick Jagger, Ray and Dave Davies (of the Kinks), Elvis Costello, Eddie and Alex Van Halen, and Johnny Rotten of the Sex Pistols. But then again, they really don't need the attention. They’re all rock gods anyway.
The Archbishop of Canterbury is starting a four-day visit to Jordan, Israel and the Palestinian territories.
Dr Rowan Williams will meet Anglicans in Jerusalem and lead the latest talks with the Chief Rabbinate of Israel.
He recently called for tolerance on all sides within the Anglican Communion on divisive issues. He told the General Synod "megaphone tones" were being used, and said it was easy in such debates to use careless language and cause damage.
The Archbishop will be accompanied for the duration of the visit by the Rt Rev Bishop Michael Jackson, the Anglican chair to the Anglican-Jewish Commission. The trip will last until Tuesday. Earlier this month the President-Bishop of the Episcopal Church province of Jerusalem and the Middle East, the Most Revd Mouneer Anis, resigned.
He stepped down from the Standing Committee of the Anglican Communion accusing those who "sing praises of inclusiveness" of double standards.
He said: "While emphasising the importance of caring for the marginalised in our communities, like the LGBT [lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender] community, the orthodox Anglicans are being marginalised."
Volunteers and USD-379 officials want to include more kids in the Back Snacks program and the Episcopal Church wants to feed more kids over the summer in the Kids Cafe, Episcopal Church volunteer Donna Long said. Both programs are supported by Episcopal Church volunteers and Harvesters Food Bank of Kansas City.
"There has been a lot of interest in it, (Back Snacks) has been very well received, and that's great," Long said.
Back Snacks provides individual servings of shelf-safe food for kids to take home to eat over the weekend.
The church is hoping next year to increase the allocation of kid-friendly food to give to kids to take home. This year they've received as much as last year, but see a great need there, Long said.
More than 50 percent of kids at Lincoln Elementary are on free or reduced lunches, according to school district, and Garfield Elementary also has a significant number of kids eligible for free and reduced lunches.
While being on free or reduced lunches is not the sole criteria for receiving Back Snacks - teachers can give them to kids who aren't on free or reduced lunches if they see a need - the large number of kids on free or reduced lunches illustrates a large need there.
Some people give up something for Lent, like a favorite food.
Alabama Episcopal Bishop Henry N. Parsley brings something extra with him during Lent. "I carry a stone in my pocket," Parsley said on Ash Wednesday as he opened the Lenten preaching series at Cathedral Church of the Advent. He held it in his fingers and showed it to the congregation as he stood in the pulpit. "It reminds me I have no right or need to cast the first stone. I'm no less a sinner than anyone else."
Lent is the penitential season leading up to Easter, which will be celebrated by most Christians this year on April 4. It's a season of 40 days, not counting Sundays, in which the church urges penitence and self-examination.
"The season of Lent is meant to bring us to review our sinfulness," Parsley said. "It's simply knowing that you're mortal and fallible and not God."
Giving up meat or chocolate or carrying a stone are practices meant to serve as reminders.
The Episcopal Church's Executive Council began its four-day meeting here Feb. 19 by getting briefings on the work it faces and by hearing a renewed call for the church to stand with its Diocese of Haiti. Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori also told the council that tension is mounting in the Diocese of South Carolina over efforts to ascertain the diocese's plans for dealing with disaffected Episcopalians.
The Feb. 19-22 meeting at the Omaha Hilton is taking place in the seat of the Episcopal Diocese of Nebraska. Council will hear about the mission and ministry of the diocese on the evening of Feb. 21.
Council members spent the morning of Feb. 19 in plenary session and broke into committees in the afternoon. Those committee meetings will continue all day on Feb. 20. Council reorganized itself during its last meeting in Memphis, Tennessee, into five new standing committees: Local Mission (LM), Advocacy and Networking for Mission (A&N), World Mission (WM), Governance and Administration for Mission (GAM) and Finances for Mission (FFM).
In her opening remarks to the council, Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori, council president, told the members that relatively few people, including Episcopalians, know that the Diocese of Haiti is the numerically largest diocese in the Episcopal Church with some 200,000 members.
"Our destinies and, I would say, our salvation are tied up with each other," Jefferts Schori said of Haiti and the rest of the church, especially since the devastating Jan. 12 earthquake. "How we continue to respond in solidarity and partnership and in Christian fellowship with the people of Haiti in the coming years is of immense importance."
We've been waiting several months now for this new "reconfiguration of Lutheranism in North America" promised us by Lutheran CORE, which is overseeing the formation of an alternative to members of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America. The ELCA, as you may remember from last August, voted back then to allow gay clergy and opened the doors to same-sex unions further down the road.
Today, on the anniversary of Martin Luther's death (in 1546), CORE has announced the denomination-to-be will be called the North American Lutheran Church (NALC). More concrete deliberations will happen during Lutheran CORE’s 2010 convocation Aug. 26-27 in Columbus, Ohio, so for now the proposal is on the table for discussion. Read CORE's press release here.
It appears as though they'll have at least some congregations willing to sign up with the NALC. Congregations around the country are already taking votes on whether to leave the ELCA. A widely circulated e-mail from ELCA Secretary David Swartling reports that, as of Feb. 3, 220 congregations in 49 of the ELCA’s 65 synods have taken votes to leave the ELCA. Of that 229, 156 congregations had attained the necessary two-thirds majority on the first ballot.
Note: Two votes at least 90 days apart — each receiving a two-thirds majority — are required for a congregation to leave the ELCA. All of those votes attained the two-thirds majority for the congregation to leave the ELCA. However, 28 congregations is a drop in the bucket compared to the many times larger ELCA, as pointed out in this blog.
So it's true NALC's beginnings may be humble. But detractors should take note of what's happened to the breakaway Anglican Church in North America that has pulled away from the Episcopal Church. The ACNA is gaining members; the Episcopal Church is about to drop below 2 million as early as next year. So, don't write off the NALC yet.
From The "You Can't Make This Stuff Up" Department. Uganda division-
A cross section of Christians in Uganda have protested against the showing of pornography in churches as one way of making the public get aware of what gays do. This follows the chairman of national task force against sodomy, pastor Martin Ssempa launching a programme of showing ’gays in action’ videos in churches.
Wednesday pastor Ssempa showed a video to over 100 Christians in a church located in a Kampala suburb called Kisenyi located 4 kilometers from the city centre. The pictures were showing gay couples playing sex..
Anglican church senior priest, Rev Canon John Kapetwa said that showing such video in church is outrageous. "It is unbelievable that a pastor is showing Christians such videos in church. Although most of us do not support homosexuality, it is not fit to show their dirty activities to Christians in Church," he said.
A Muslim leader in eastern Uganda, shiek Abdul Twawula said that although he is a Muslim, he is aware that a house of God of any religion should be respected. He said, "Ssempa should not show such pictures in the Church. The house of God should be respected."
Catholic priest, Father Richard Mujumba said that it is the first time he is learning of a pornographic video being shown in church. "I have never heard about such a thing in my life. Church leaders should always think twice before taking any action. I condemn the showing of such videos in Church."
Several prominent Anglican British bishops are urging Christians to keep their carbon consumption in check this Lent.
The 40-day period of penitence before Easter typically sees observant Catholics, Anglicans, and Orthodox Christians give up meat, alcohol or chocolates.
But this year's initiative aims to convince those observing Lent to try a day without an iPod or mobile phone in a bid to reduce the use of electricity - and thus trim the amount of carbon dioxide spewed into the atmosphere.
Bishop of London Rev. Richard Chartres said that the poorest people in developing countries were the hardest hit by man-made climate change.
He said Tuesday that the "Carbon Fast" was "an opportunity to demonstrate the love of God in a practical way."
Meanwhile, Pope Benedict XVI marked the start of the solemn Lenten season by sprinkling ashes on the bowed heads of faithful in a Roman Catholic tradition.
Ash Wednesday services for Roman Catholics worldwide usher in a period of penitence and reflection that leads up to Easter Sunday, this year being celebrated on April 4.
Benedict pinched a bit of ash from a silver-colored bowl held out to him by an aide, and then distributed the ashes to prelates, other clergy and lay people, including children, who approached him one by one in St. Sabina's Basilica on Rome's ancient Aventine Hill.
Delegations consisting of leaders from Anglican, Shi'a, Sunni and Catholic faith traditions will convene March 1-3 at Washington National Cathedral to discuss reconciliation between Islam and the West.
Four principals from each faith, along with five eminent religious leaders and experts from each of their respective religious communities, will strategize on how to use their influence within their governments to promote peace efforts worldwide.
The four principal leaders are:
Ayatollah Dr. Seyyed Mostafa Mohaghegh Damad Ahmadabadi, professor of law at Shaid Beheshti University in Tehran; Professor Dr. Ahmad Mohamed El Tayeb, president of Al-Azhar University in Cairo, Egypt; His Eminence Jean-Louis Cardinal Tauran, president of the Pontifical Council for Inter-religious Dialogue; and The Rt. Rev. John Bryson Chane, eighth bishop of Washington. Chane has traveled to Iran on numerous occasions as an invited guest of former President Mohammad Khatami, speaking to and studying with numerous religious leaders at seminaries and universities in the cities of Tehran and Qom.
On the evening of March 3 at 7 p.m. the Christian-Muslim Summit will conclude with a public dialogue among the participants for invited guests in the cathedral nave.
Detailed biographies of the four participants, a list of "The Twenty" delegates and more information on the summit are available here.
The Anglican Communion delegation includes:
Clare Amos, director of theological studies in the Anglican Communion Office, London; The Rt. Rev. Suheil Dawani, Anglican bishop in Jerusalem; The Rt. Rev. Josiah Idowu-Fearon, Anglican bishop of Kaduna, Nigeria; and The Rt. Rev. Pierre W. Whalon, bishop of the Convocation of Episcopal Churches in Europe.
The Honorable Kjell Magne Bondevik, founder and president of the Oslo Center for Peace and Human Rights and the former prime minister of Norway, will also join the Anglican delegation. Bondevik is an ordained priest in the Lutheran Church of Norway, which through the Porvoo Agreement, is in full communion with the Anglican churches in the U.K. and Ireland.
Reports are emerging confirming the prospect of 16 Anglican parishes in Australia converting to Roman Catholicism.
Ecumenism has been actively pursued in Australia since the 1950s. The highest profile activity has been among certain non-Anglican Protestant groups forming the Uniting Church of Australia. But Rome has also been active reaching out to those in Australia’s largest Protestant denomination, the Anglicans, or Church of England as it is more traditionally known Down Under.
Roman Catholics comprise 26 percent of the total Australian population, slightly edging out Anglicans, who make up 24 percent, with other Protestants over 17 percent. Up to World War ii, Anglicans were by far in the majority. However, a great influx of European migrants swung the pendulum toward a Roman Catholic majority after the war. Catholics are highly organized within Australian society, enjoying a high profile in the civil service, the legal profession, education, and medical and hospital services, plus having quite a degree of clout in Australian politics.
The pro-Catholic Anglican movement is riding on the coattails of similar moves toward Rome made in Britain following Pope Benedict’s issue three months ago of the apostolic constitution Anglicanorum Coetibus. This allows for Anglicans to obtain corporate union with Rome.
The precedent for the pro-Catholic Austro-Anglican move is that set by the Traditional Anglican Communion in Britain. It has already broken away from the corporate body of the Anglican Church having declared that its members will become Catholics under the apostolic constitution. The main driver of the Australian Anglo-Catholic movement is, as it is with the British Traditional Anglicans, the endorsement by the Anglican Church of homosexuals and female priests.
THREE Ugandan bishops were injured in a car accident this week on the Fort Portal to Kyenjojo road, and the wife of one of them was killed. Last week, on the same stretch of road, the Bishop of Rwenzori, the Rt Revd Patrick Kyaligonza, aged 46, who had been tipped as a future archbishop, died in an accident.
The Rt Revd Patrick Gidudu, of Mbale, the Rt Revd Augustine Salimo, of Sebei, and the Rt Revd Daniel Gimadu, of North Mbale, were taken to hospital on Tuesday after their vehicle crashed. They were on their way to Bishop Kyaligonza’s funeral. Bishop Gimadu’s wife died instantly, Amanda Onapito, the director of communications for the Church of the Province of Uganda, told Episcopal Life Online.
Bishop Kyaligonza, who was consecrated on 22 February 2009, had been travelling to an aunt’s funeral when he died. His wife, Rose Kabahita Mujungu, suffered fractured legs in the crash, and his chaplain, Moses Tembo, was critically injured, Uganda’s news website The New Vision reported. The driver, Patrick Isingoma, received minor injuries.
The Archbishop of Uganda, the Most Revd Henry Orombi, who was visiting Uganda Christian University on Monday, where Bishop Kyaligonza had studied theology, said: “We thank God that we have a person to pray for and remember. In life, people come and go. We shall always remember the legacy left behind.”
The diocese of Bristol is linked with the Church of the Province of Uganda. Last week, the Bishop of Bristol, the Rt Revd Michael Hill, said: “My wife, Anthea, and I were with Bishop Patrick and Rose and their dear family three weeks ago in Fort Portal. News of his death and Rose’s injuries is a very deep shock.
The Episcopal Diocese of Northern Michigan has chosen an 11-member committee to guide the search for its next bishop, and laid out a timeline for the search.
"The Standing Committee was committed to having a search committee that is representative of our diocese's geography and diversity," said Linda Piper, chair of the Standing Committee. "With this committee, we have achieved that goal. We are grateful to all of its members for agreeing to serve."
The diocese's previous search for a bishop ended in July 2009, when the Rev. Kevin Thew Forrester, a priest of the diocese, did not receive the necessary consents from the wider church. The diocese has been without a bishop since Bishop James Kelsey died in an automobile accident in June 2007. Bishop Tom Ray, who preceded Kelsey, now serves as assisting bishop.
Diocesan Convention met in October 2009 and set out the framework for conducting a second search for the diocese's next bishop.
The Search Committee's regional representatives were chosen after each congregation discussed potential candidates with their congregational representatives, and identified up to two candidates per congregation. Congregational representatives then met by region to discuss and vote on the names brought forth.
The Diocesan Council and Standing Committee followed a similar process, discussing potential candidates at an initial meeting and then later electing a representative. Diocesan Convention gave the Standing Committee the authority to appoint additional members to the committee to insure that it was representative of the diocese.
The members of the search committee are: Mary Sullivan and Gladys Dompierre from the North Central region; Carol Clark and Kim Moote from the South Central region; Warren Maki and Leonard DeWitt from the Western region; Pam Finkel and Phil Schaffer from the Eastern region; Pat Micklow, representing the Diocesan Council; Arlene Gordanier, representing the Standing Committee; and the Rev. Charlie Piper, representing the diocese's ministry developers, or its five seminary-trained priests.
Parties to one of the longest-lasting legal disputes involving the Episcopal Church have asked the U.S. Supreme Court to hear the matter on appeal.
The petition for a writ of certiorari asks the Supreme Court to rule in a legal battle involving All Saints, Waccamaw, S.C., which separated from the Diocese of South Carolina after its rector, Charles H. “Chuck” Murphy III, became a founding bishop of the Anglican Mission in the Americas.
The petition involves the consolidated cases of All Saints Parish, Waccamaw v. Protestant Episcopal Church and Green v. Campbell.
The Rt. Rev. Edward L. Salmon, Jr., Bishop of South Carolina from 1990 to 2007, was a party to All Saints v. Protestant Episcopal Church. The Rt. Rev. Mark Lawrence, who became Bishop of South Carolina in 2008, has never been a party to the dispute.
Meanwhile, the Diocese of South Carolina’s former chancellor, Thomas T. Tisdale, has sent a series of letters to its current chancellor, Wade H. Logan III, regarding four other parishes, some of which have distanced themselves from the Episcopal Church.
In the letters, which he began sending on Jan. 25, Tisdale identified himself as “South Carolina counsel for the Episcopal Church.” Bishop Lawrence challenged this description in an open letter to the diocese on Feb. 9 [PDF].
“He may be an attorney retained by the Chancellor for the Presiding Bishop, but it is hardly accurate in regards to the polity of this Church to claim to be an attorney of The Episcopal Church, as if the parishes, Standing Committee, and Bishop of South Carolina are somehow something other than The Episcopal Church,” the bishop wrote.
The most populous diocese in the Episcopal Church doesn't sit along the Eastern seaboard; it's not a notch on the Bible Belt; and it lies nearly 3,000 miles from California's golden shores. It's in Haiti, a fact that escapes even many Episcopalians. Asked how many members of her church know about the Diocese of Haiti's leading status, Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori said, “Actually, too few.”
But last month's devastating earthquake may change that, as Haiti has moved to the center of the world's attention. Recently returned from a pastoral visit to the Caribbean island, Jefferts Schori would like to keep the focus there.
Haitians are still struggling to meet basic needs, all while caring for or mourning loved ones pulled from the rubble, she said. Rebuilding the country — and the diocese — will likely take a decade or longer. The death toll, according to Haiti's government, is about 230,000 people. “The destruction on the ground is as bad as you have seen on the news,” Jefferts Schori said in a video message to Episcopalians. Not one diocesan building in the capital city of Port-au-Prince is usable.
The Episcopal Diocese of Haiti is no Johnny-come-lately in the 110-diocese strong Episcopal Church. With roots as a mission church, the diocese will celebrate its 150th anniversary in 2011. And while an estimated 80 percent of Haiti's population is Catholic, Episcopalians count about 100,000 members in 170 congregations and maintain a network of 250 schools. The next-largest Episcopal diocese is Texas, with about 80,000 members, according to church statistics.
In the earthquake's aftermath, many believers, including Christians, have struggled with trying to understand God's role in the suffering and deaths of so many people.
Former Pirates pitcher Jim Bibby, who started Game 7 of the 1979 World Series against the Baltimore Orioles, has died. He was 65.
Community Funeral Home in Lynchburg said Wednesday that Bibby died Tuesday night at Lynchburg General Hospital. The cause was not disclosed, and Bibby's family asked for privacy but said a statement would be released later.
Bibby is survived by his wife, Jacqueline, and daughters Tamara and Tanya.
"All of us at the Pittsburgh Pirates are deeply saddened by the passing of Jim Bibby," Pirates president Frank Coonelly said. "Jim was a well-respected member of the Pirates family, both as a player and as a coach."
Bibby spent five of his 12 major-league seasons with the Pirates, going 50-32. In 1979, he started Game 4 of the World Series against the Orioles, then came back on three days' rest to start the decisive game and "put the Pirates in position to take home their fifth World Series Championship," Coonelly said.
Bibby gave up one run and three hits in four innings and received a no-decision in the Pirates' 4-1 victory over the Orioles.
In 1980, Bibby enjoyed his finest season, going 19-6 with a 3.32 ERA. He was named to the National League All-Star team and was third in the Cy Young voting.
Bibby spent 12 seasons in the majors, also pitching for Texas, St. Louis and Cleveland. He went 111-101 with a 3.76 ERA and pitched the first no-hitter in Rangers' history, defeating Oakland, 6-0, on July 30, 1973.
They will come into full communion with the Catholic Church while maintaining aspects of their liturgical distinctives and Anglican Ethos.
It has been an historic week for the Church in Australia and around the world. The move of many Anglican Christians into full communion with the Catholic Church has taken a decided move forward.
In an interview with the Daily Telegraph, Bishop David Robarts OAM, the chairman of Forward in Faith Australia, explained that members of that Anglican association in Australia have decided they could no longer move forward in faith as a part of an Anglican Church in Australia which was not being faithful.
The Bishop explained that the Anglican Church was moving away from orthodox Christian belief and practice and leaving them behind: "In Australia we have tried for a quarter of a decade to get some form of episcopal oversight but we have failed… We're not really wanted any more, our conscience is not being respected."
The Bishop continued, "We're not shifting the furniture, we're simply saying that we have been faithful Anglicans upholding what Anglicans have always believed - and we're not wanting to change anything, but we have been marginalized by people who want to introduce innovations. We need to have bishops that believe what we believe."
So, on Sunday, February 13, 2010, Forward in Faith Australia voted unanimously to accept the invitation extended by Pope Benedict XVI in his historic Constitution, Anglicanorum Coetibus. They will now take the next step in entering into the full communion of the Catholic Church.
Just weeks after stepping down from his post as the Assistant Bishop of Newcastle, Paul Richardson crossed over to Rome.
He has moved from the north-east to London and is now a regular worshipper at St George’s Cathedral in Southwark.
However he denied his conversion was influenced by the Church of England’s move towards ordaining women bishops, which many traditionalists say is pushing them out.
Mr Richardson said: “I was received into full communion with the Catholic church in January. “It’s nothing to do with the ordination of women, it’s really a journey I’ve been on for some time. It’s just like coming home.”
Ordained in 1972, he spent much of his ministry overseas and served as the Bishop of Aipo Rongo in Papua New Guinea from 1987 until 1995 and Bishop of Wangaratta in Australia for the following two years. He was Assistant Bishop of Newcastle from 1998 until the end of last year. Last summer, he claimed that the dramatic fall in church marriages and baptisms suggested that Britain is no longer a Christian nation, and predicted the end of the Church of England as the established religion within a generation.
On Monday, Anglo-Catholics across England will be holding a day of prayer to help their bishops, clergy and laity decide how to respond to the Pope’s provision of a self-governing Ordinariate for former Anglicans. Many members of our Church will be praying with them; in Oxford, Anglicans are joining the members of the Oratory for a Holy Hour in front of the Blessed Sacrament.
There is a lot to pray about, and a lot to pray for. Anglo-Catholics interested in the Holy Father’s offer will be praying for gifts of discernment not only for themselves but for their fellow Anglican Catholics and Catholic Anglicans. (The two terms are not quite interchangeable, which gives you some idea of the complexity of the situation.)
But I’m guessing that top of the list of requests to the Almighty will be for the Catholic Church, in consultation with the Anglo-Catholic leaders, to get it right. That is, to offer a carefully designed model for the Ordinariate, together with detailed instructions for constructing it. And they will have to be detailed, because people will be joining what is, in effect, a non-territorial diocese from different starting points, bringing with them different aspects of the Anglican “patrimony”, and – at least initially – different expectations.
In his address to the English and Welsh bishops earlier this month, Pope Benedict urged them to be generous in their implementation of Anglicanorum coetibus, the Apostolic Constitution that will create Ordinariates worldwide as a permanent provision for ex-Anglicans. Why did he single out this subject? One rumour is that the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith is puzzled by the small numbers of members of the Church of England planning to join the Ordinariate, and are worried that elements in the Bishops’ Conference are pouring cold water on the project.
Words like "peace" and "mercy" are vital to talking about Christianity. They're just two of many English words difficult to translate smoothly as an evolving Episcopal congregation tries to create a Hmong version of the denomination's Book of Common Prayer.
"Lord have mercy. Christ have mercy. You can see it is important," said Cher Lor, a member of the congregation at Holy Apostles, an Episcopal church in St. Paul that is the only Hmong-majority congregation across the entire denomination. "But the word mercy itself, we don't have in Hmong. So we are using 'hulb,' which is a concept something like love. We believe that is the closest." The Book of Common Prayer is the foundational text of the Episcopal Church and the worldwide Anglican Communion. Its roots trace to the Church of England's split from Roman Catholicism in the 16th century, and ever since it has dictated morning and evening prayers, the rites of Holy Communion, baptism, marriage and funeral services, and much more. It typically runs to about 1,000 pages.
"Far more than a service manual, it's an embodiment of our life and our faith," said the Rev. William Bulson, the former pastor at Holy Apostles who continues to lead the translation effort. For Hmong Episcopalians to enter fully into the church's fold, it's important that they have a Book of Common Prayer to call their own. It's been a long and painstaking process, but necessary for a mainline denomination struggling for relevance to new generations of U.S. immigrants.
The unique status of Holy Apostles, a modest wood-and-concrete parish on the working-class east side of Minnesota's capital city, has earned special attention in the wider Episcopal Church. James Jelinek, the Episcopal bishop of Minnesota, is retiring in February, and he recently chose Holy Apostles as the site of his last Sunday parish visit as bishop. Katharine Jefferts Schori, the presiding bishop of the U.S. Episcopal Church, has also visited.
In his Feb. 8 Op-Ed article, “Have Faith in Love,” Eric Lax writes that the election of “the Rev. Mary Glasspool, a priest who has been in a committed relationship with another woman for more than 20 years, as a suffragan (assistant) bishop of the Episcopal Diocese of Los Angeles, has brought added turmoil to the Episcopal Church in the United States and to the worldwide Anglican Communion.”
Later he adds, “In protest, several dozen parishes have aligned themselves with conservative Anglican bishops in Africa, and the Roman Catholic Church has offered to take in disaffected Episcopalians.”
I have read similar comments recently but never the other side of the story, which could easily read, “In protest of the Roman Catholic Church’s regression, many disaffected Catholics have aligned themselves with the Episcopal Church.”
As the associate for music ministry at St. Timothy’s Episcopal Church in Danville, Calif., a fairly conservative town, I know a number of new parishioners who have joined our church in their quest for a traditional liturgy that does not refuse to enter the 21st century. The Episcopal Church continues to open its arms to people of any faith, age, economic status and sexual orientation who are seeking a meaningful relationship with God.
Raymond P. Parr II Castro Valley, Calif., Feb. 8, 2010
To the Editor:
“Have Faith in Love” is an excellent illustration of why the Episcopal Church and all other liberal churches in America are in a state of serious decline. Liberal Christians have a remarkable talent for bending the Bible so that it will justify the prevailing anti-Christian moral and intellectual fashions of the day.
The Rev. Robert Certain, 62, rector of St. Peter and St. Paul, Marietta, Ga., has been nominated by petition to join the slate for sixth Bishop Suffragan for Federal Ministries. Certain is a retired Air Force chaplain.
For the first time in the 45-year history of the office, the House of Bishops will elect its occupant. The bishops will vote during their meeting at Camp Allen, Navasota, Texas, in March. Presiding Bishops have appointed the previous bishops serving in the post.
The six other nominees, who were announced on Feb. 9, are:
The Rev. Carl Andrews, 61, a U.S. Air Force colonel and chaplain stationed at Lackland Air Force Base near San Antonio, Texas.
The Rev. James “Jay” Magness, 63, canon for mission and diocesan administration, Diocese of Southern Virginia.
The Rev. Babs Meairs, 59, field coordinator in the Office of the Bishop Suffragan for Federal Ministries.
The Rev. C. Christopher Thompson, 56, rector, Eastern Shore Chapel Episcopal Church in Virginia Beach, Virginia.
The Rev. John Weatherly, 58, Joint Force Headquarters (Virginia) chaplain and rector, St. Mark’s Episcopal Church, Alexandria, Va.
The Rev. Carl W. Wright, 50, a lieutenant colonel in the U.S. Air Force and chaplain, Air Force Global Strike Command, stationed at Barksdale Air Force Base in Bossier City, La.
A narrative profile [PDF] of the office says that the bishop will, ideally, visit all 137 military chaplains in a three-year tour of duty. The bishop is responsible for 18,000 Episcopalians in military service and prison chaplaincies.
After another week of debates, motion, amendments,votes and all the obscure etiquette that is the modern governing body of the Church of England, it is now all over, and many observers will be asking what, if anything, was accomplished?
There was no groundbreaking new resolution passed – no ordination of women, no Methodist/Anglican covenant, no Fresh Expressions. It seemed to be a synod of ‘wait and see’; a decision to not make any decisions.
The report on Women Bishops was postponed, as it seems no final arrangement can be found; Fresh Expressions and other initiatives from Mission Shaped Church were given a pat on the back and told to carry on; the BBC were let off the hook in the emasculated ammendments to the debate about religion in the media; amendments also sanitised the potentially explosive debate about the ACNA – they were ‘recognised’ and ‘affirmed’ but anything else was put off until 2011. The only real decisions were to grant equal pensions rights to surviving partners in civil partnerships as married couples and various other financial issues.
More here- including links to the texts of resolutions passed.
An extraordinary correspondence has fallen into my hands showing some of the detail of the Anglo-Catholic intrigues about their departure from the Church of England. It shows the Anglican "flying bishop" of Ebbsfleet, Andrew Burnham, conspiring with a sympathetic Roman Catholic bishop in Australia to work behind the back of the Catholic bishops here. He talks about his "cloak and dagger" correspondence with a sympathiser in the Vatican, and suggests that he can write personally to Pope Benedict XVI to smooth things over if his correspondent is caught. This may come as news to the pope.
The Australian bishop, Peter Elliott, is himself an Anglican convert, and is in charge of the pope's outreach to Anglican opponents of women priests in Australia. Most of these are grouped in a body called the Traditional Anglican Communion, which claims to have half a million members world wide: Burnham warns Bishop Elliott against complete confidence in their leader, Archbishop Hepworth ("clearly a charming man … but not everything he says … synchronises fully with what we know from other sources").
But the passage which will cause discomfort in this country is this:
"I am taking the liberty of mentioning, in confidence and with his permission, that we are in touch with Mgr Patrick Burke at the CDF [the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith]. It has all felt a little bit like Elizabethan espionage but, truly, the informal contact with the CDF has been invaluable, and, if ever Mgr Burke got into trouble, I should write to the pope and say how splendidly helpful he has been.
This is not known about fully in England and Wales because we are trying to ensure that the whole Anglicanorum Coetibus project, which will begin in small ways, is not smothered by the management anxieties of a hierarchy, some of whom think that Anglicans are best off doing what they are presently doing and some of whom think the project would impact adversely on the Catholic Church in England. Needless to say Fr Pat's help, and the support of Archbishop DiNoia, need, to a lesser extent, to be protected from disapproval at higher levels of the dicastery [Vatican department]. Hence the cloak and dagger."
Forward in Faith Australia, part of the Anglo-Catholic group that also has members in Britain and America, is setting up a working party guided by a Catholic bishop to work out how its followers can cross over to Rome.
It is believed to be the first group within the Anglican church to accept Pope Benedict XVI’s unprecedented offer for disaffected members of the Communion to convert en masse while retaining parts of their spiritual heritage.
So far only the Traditional Anglican Communion, which has already broken away from the 70 million-strong Anglican Communion, has declared that its members will become Catholics under the Apostolic Constitution.
The Rt Rev David Robarts OAM, chairman of FIF Australia, said members of the association felt excluded by the Anglican Church in Australia, which had not provided them with a bishop to champion their conservative views on homosexuality and women bishops. "In Australia we have tried for a quarter of a decade to get some form of episcopal oversight but we have failed," he told The Daily Telegraph.
"We're not really wanted any more, our conscience is not being respected." Bishop Robarts, 77, said it had become clear that Anglicans who did not believe in same-sex partnerships or allowing women to be ordained as bishops had no place in the "broader Anglican spectrum".
Today marks the first day of Lent, and many Pitt County citizens will attend Ash Wednesday services at a variety of churches. Lent is a traditional Christian period of prayer, penitence and giving leading up to Easter, said Bob Hudak, rector at St. Paul’s Episcopal Church.
“We are to be generous to our neighbors, and many people give up things,” Hudak said. “I follow the idea of fasting from selfishness and feasting on service.” Ash Wednesday, the first day of Lent, occurs 46 days before Easter and is observed by the practice of placing ashes on the foreheads of believers as a sign of repentance. The ashes are traditionally worn on the forehead until they wear off.
“The ashes are a symbol of our mortality, that we are given the gift of life and eventually need — not on our own timetable and not in our control — to give that life back to God,” Hudak said. “Ashes in rituals have meant a new time and start of religious renewal. The rituals of Ash Wednesday in the Episcopal church are about acknowledging our sinfulness personally and communally.”
Many churches burn the palm crosses used in the previous year’s Palm Sunday services. At St. Paul’s, church members gathered Tuesday to burn palms and enjoy a pancake dinner, marking the beginning of a time of fasting and the giving up of certain comforts and addictions, Hudak said.
Ash Wednesday and Lent are observed by many denominations including Catholics, Lutherans, Churches of God, United Methodist churches and some Baptist and Presbyterian churches.
The Episcopal Church has responded to the devastation caused by the magnitude-7 earthquake in Haiti with unexpected and astonishing generosity.
Building upon a partnership that began before the Jan. 12 earthquake, Episcopal Relief & Development has experienced a generosity of giving from Episcopalians that has enabled its relief effort to secure food, water, vehicles for supply deliveries, fuel and shelter.
Many congregations in the Episcopal Church have forged important and mutually supportive relationships with congregations and individuals in Haiti over the years. It is natural for these congregations in the Episcopal Church to want to do everything possible to assist their brothers and sisters in Haiti. However, Haiti Bishop Jean Zaché Duracin asked in a Jan. 21 letter that, unless the people who want to come and help are "certified professionals in relief and recovery, they must wait."
In his letter to Robert Radtke, Episcopal Relief & Development president, Duracin added: "We will need them [people who want to come to Haiti] in months and years to come, but at this point, it is too dangerous and too much of a burden for our people to have mission teams here."
Duracin has appointed a 15-member commission that is assisting him in coordination and organization of the diocese's rebuilding effort as well as its response to current needs.
In addition to continued generous giving to Episcopal Relief & Development, we need to be advocates for Haiti. It is important to understand that, just as the relief and rebuilding effort will unfold in stages over the coming months and years, so will the advocacy effort, and that is where Episcopalians can assist best, right from home.
THE Archbishop of the Church of Uganda, Henry Luke Orombi, his predecessor Livingstone Mpalanyi Nkoyoyo and other bishops have mourned the Rwenzori Diocese Bishop, Patrick Kyaligonza, who perished in a motor accident last week.
Orombi said it was unfortunate that Kyaligonza died less than a year after his consecration as bishop of the diocese.
“We thank God that we have a person to pray for and remember. In life people come and go. We shall always remember the legacy left behind,” he said.
Orombi asked God to strengthen the deceased’s family during this challenging period and to provide for them.
He then led a short prayer for Kyaligonza’s soul to rest in eternal peace and asked God to receive his spirit with open hands.
The archbishop was at Uganda Christian University in Mukono where he had gone to attend a ground-breaking ceremony for the university’s library.
The retired archbishop, Nkoyoyo, described Kyaligonza’s death as a tragic experience that was hard to explain.
“But we thank God for his life. He was a committed bishop gifted with preaching,” Nkoyoyo said, adding that the church had lost a great leader.
The vice-chancellor of Uganda Christian University, Prof, Stephen Noll, described Kyaligonza as a brilliant student who was inspirational to others. The late bishop studied theology at the university.
The accident in which the bishop died occurred on Fort Portal road opposite St. Simeon Catholic Church Miranga at Kayihura near Kyenjojo town.
The bishop was travelling with his wife Rose Kabahita Mujungu, the chaplain, Moses Tembo and their driver, Patrick Isingoma.
Mujungu and Tembo sustained serious injuries and were admitted at Kyenjojo Health Centre IV.
Some of her favorite authors are Deborah Crombie, Faye Kellerman and Aaron Elkins — each a masterful yarn-spinner.But Maulden will have to keep them all on a shelf come Wednesday. She's giving them up for Lent.
Plainly put, Lent is the Christian season beginning with Ash Wednesday and culminating with Easter. As it's traditionally a period of fasting and penitence, many folks equate it with a time to relinquish habits or make a change in their lives.So, from Ash Wednesday through April 4, it will be more "substantial" fare for Maulden, a pastor at Trinity Episcopal Church.
For instance, she'll lead a weekly group discussion through Lent on "The Last Week," a book about Jesus Christ's final days on Earth.A time of introspection and prayer, Lent prepares for the celebration of Christ's resurrection, said Rector Steve McKee of Trinity Episcopal. Over time, people have associated Lent with giving up something in their lives, which kept them focused on readying for Easter.
Often, people give up something such as eating chocolate, smoking cigarettes or drinking alcohol, he said.Diann Stapleton, who's Catholic, already knows what she's giving up.Well, "maybe not so much give up something but to give something," said Stapleton, who sees Lent as a new beginning — an invitation from God to slow down and be more in tune with the little miracles that enter our lives on a daily basis.
From Episcopal Life Online- (Brian is a good friend and I wish him God's blessings)
Several thousand well-wishers packed the Minneapolis Convention Center Feb. 13 mid-way into a three-day celebration of the Rt. Rev. Brian N. Prior's consecration as the ninth bishop of the Diocese of Minnesota, in a ceremony rich with diversity and rife with history. Fragrant smoldering sage filled the convention center as Ojibwe and Dakota Native Americans drummed and danced. A variety of musical traditions were represented, including Hmong choristers, Fran McKendree's four-piece folk rock ensemble, and a 200-voice "Massed Intergenerational" choir as well as a hand-bell choir from local congregations.
Prior, 50, paid tribute to that history and diversity. "I know I stand on the shoulders" of many who preceded him, he told the joyous gathering. At his request, the service was crafted as a celebration of the diocese's next chapter, not just of its next bishop.
Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori presided over the consecration. During the service retiring Bishop James Jelinek placed the Bishop Whipple pectoral cross, named after Henry Whipple, Minnesota's first Episcopal bishop, on Prior.
"Every bishop since the 1860s has worn that cross," Prior had said in an earlier interview. "I feel incredibly blessed to be able to serve here. It's a phenomenal place. It's got such a richness of diversity, and the history is amazing."
Prior's gold, green and blue vestments symbolized the plains, the forests and the waters of the state, whose name derives from the Dakota language and means "sky water" or "cloudy water." It refers to the state's more than 11,000 lakes, rivers and streams.
In order to current arguments about the structure of The Episcopal Church and its relationship to the other members of the Anglican Communion, it may be may be useful to reflect on earlier periods in which the Constitution and Canons of The Episcopal Church have changed significantly. It could be argued that the three most important such periods in the history of The Episcopal Church in which such change took place were: the American Revolution, the early 20th century, and the 1960s. The first of these three periods was perhaps the most radical, an attempt to revise English canon law in light of American democratic ideals. The second of these periods of reform was perhaps the most sweeping; Episcopalians of the early 20th century attempted to replace a set of individual provisions with a comprehensive code of canon law. The third period of revision—during the 1960s—is an important realignment made in recognition of the increasing complexity of the Anglican Communion.
Constitution and Canons for a new Democracy
Later in this volume other authors will write about the precise details of the Constitution and Canons that were adopted by the Episcopal Church in the period from 1785 to 1789. At this point I do not want to enter into that very important conversation. What I would like to do is to step back and simply consider the importance of the fact that a set of constitutions and canons were adopted at all.
It is easy for contemporary Americans to overlook the degree to which William White (1748-1836), the first bishop of Pennsylvania and the longest serving Presiding Bishop (1789, 1795-1835), and his colleagues departed from the English model of church organization that they inherited. Americans, after all, declared their interest in preserving “the religious principles of the Church of England,” and they continued to use much of the same terminology as their English co-coreligionists.1 Nevertheless, they created a church quite unlike that of England.
The Rt. Rev. D. Bruce MacPherson spoke about Communion Partners on Feb. 6 at Church of the Incarnation, Dallas. The text that follows is a condensed version of his remarks. — The Editors
Communion Partners is a growing international fellowship of Anglican and Episcopal primates, bishops, rectors, cathedral deans and theologians dedicated to mission partnership in the Anglican Communion and Christian theological formation in the Anglican Tradition. Communion Partners seeks to enable Episcopalians and Anglicans to emphasize Communion life and accountability as fundamental to our identity, particularly in those areas within the Episcopal Church that have torn the fabric of the Communion.
The vision of Communion Partners originated with a conversation over these very issues and concerns. In 2007, a group of 13 bishops — who are all committed to remaining in the Episcopal Church, but with a strong commitment to maintaining a continued relationship with the wider Communion — gathered to talk. Our concern was borne out of serious concern with the actions of the Episcopal Church and disregard of the Windsor Process and associated pronouncements of concern that were being made by portions of the Anglican Communion. Through all of our meetings and work dating back to General Convention 2003, we have been supported by leadership of the Anglican Communion Institute.
Out of continued concern for the state of the Episcopal Church as related to our place within the larger Communion, the Communion Partners plan was framed into an outline that ultimately four bishops — John Howe (Central Florida), Jim Stanton (Dallas), Michael Smith (North Dakota) and I — sought to share with the Presiding Bishop, Katharine Jefferts Schori.
A union of Methodism and the Church of England is not only inevitable, it is absolutely consistent with John Wesley’s view of the proper relationship between the “Connexion” that he founded and the Anglican Communion that he never left. Wesley did not set out to create a new protestant denomination. He aspired first to reinvigorate the Established Church, then to reform it and eventually to rebuild it in his own image. That aspiration reveals he was a megalomaniac — but not an apostate. He was living proof of Bernard Shaw’s belief that the world is changed by unreasonable men. Without him the “Great Awakening” would not have shaped modern Britain.
Critics complained that Wesley’s behaviour made a split inevitable. But the worst that his brother Charles — an Anglican loyalist — could say about him was that he did not fight hard enough to avoid the schism and that his paper to the Leeds Conference in 1755 rejected separation on grounds of expediency rather than principle. And even Charles — the contented rural rector and hymn writer — accepted that the Church he served and loved was at best torpid and at worst corrupt.
When Wesley began to spread the message of redemption throughout England, the Archdiocese of York included 393 incumbencies in which the clergy were strangers to their parishes. In another 335, priests enjoyed income from more than one benefice. Patronage and plurality were not the prerogative of the North. The Bishop of Winchester, distributed 30 incumbencies between his sons and sons-in-law. Wesley was a great phrase maker – an important attribute in an insurgent. But his complaint that the shepherds neglected their sheep — stolen from Milton – was a statement of fact as well as a slogan.
The Church of England stopped short of recognising a new conservative church in North America on Wednesday, avoiding possible embarrassment for the main Anglican church in the United States.
But some evangelicals in the Anglican Church in North America (ACNA) said they were encouraged by the decision of the General Synod, the CoE’s parliament, for the archbishops of Canterbury and York to report back on the break-away church’s progress next year.
Some members of ACNA, formed in opposition to pro-gay members of the official Anglican body in North America, said they had not expected any kind of recognition from the Anglican mother church for another five years.
“We are hopeful on this,” Kevin Kallsen, an ACNA member from Connecticut, told Reuters.
The synod voted to “recognise and affirm” the desire of those who have formed ACNA to remain within the Anglican family, amending a private member’s motion brought by Canadian-born CoE lay member Lorna Ashworth.
She had called for the synod to “express the desire” that the CoE be in communion with ACNA, saying its members had been unfairly treated for maintaining the Anglican faith in doctrine, practice and worship as they saw it while opposed to those who have embraced “erroneous teaching”.
AN Anglican priest allegedly sold his dead mother’s house and pocketed the money, leaving his siblings homeless.
David Dhlomo (52), a priest at St Martin’s Parish in Hatfield, allegedly sold the house in the same suburb in December 2008 without his brothers and sisters knowledge.
It is said his siblings were supposed to also benefit from the estate and Dhlomo is facing fraud charges before a Harare magistrate.
His trial opened this week before regional magistrate, Mr William Bhila, after the priest’s sister Zondiwe Dhlomo sought legal recourse.Prosecutor Ms Tinashe Kanyemba said the priest was one of the 10 children born to Ms Njini Sizi who died in 2002.
She left behind six children: the priest, the complainant Zondiwe, Rebecca, Richard and Jonathan Dhlomo, and Livingstone Mutimukulu.
The State says in 1999 Ms Sizi gave the deed of grant of the house to Zondiwe so that she could safeguard it in the event of her death.
Members of the choir at St. Michael's Episcopal Church in Lexington started singing hymns Friday night.
They sang for three hours Friday. And they sang for 12 hours Saturday.
By the time the Hymn-athon resumed at 3 p.m. Sunday, the choir members had sung almost 500 hymns. And they planned to push their total to about 780 before finally quitting sometime Sunday night.
There was a method to all this musical madness. The marathon was to help raise money for St. Michael's choir to travel to New York City, where it will sing at the Cathedral of St. John the Divine on April 25. The choir has 25 members, about 20 of whom will be making the trip. "It's a great honor to be invited to sing at the cathedral, but these kinds of trips are not cheap. So we have to raise some money," said music director Ruth Witt.
Choir members recruited donors from within and outside the church, each of whom pledged at least a penny for each song sung during the Hymn-athon. Some people pledged more than that, Witt said.
Singers involved in the Hymn-athon ranged in age from 10 to 70.
About 1,000 clergy and lay delegates from throughout the state ended the 161st annual council of the Episcopal Diocese of Texas at midafternoon Saturday in what the Rev. Paul Moore, rector of the host St. Christopher's Episcopal Church of Killeen, called the most efficiently-run council he had ever seen.
"It's just unheard of to get through with our business and adjourn this early," he said as delegates were exiting the Killeen Civic and Conference Center, which had been filled up with official activities and display booths. "And I hardly did anything. I just turned it over to Don (event chairman Don Christian) and his volunteers and got out of the way."
Possibly the highlight of the two-day council was the signing of an agreement of partnership between the Texas diocese and the Diocese of Southern Malawi in Africa by the dioceses' bishops, C. Andrew Doyle of Texas and James Tengatenga of Malawi, Saturday afternoon. All the delegates stood for the ceremony.
The dioceses have elaborate plans for cooperation in several ways, including helping the people of Malawi to grow food, mutual visits between the dioceses, malaria control, partnering in prayer and fostering "pen pal" projects for children, gifts to care for AIDS orphans and helping to develop safe water sources in the African country.
Addressing the convocation before the signing, Tengatenga drew chuckles when he said, "Praise to God for y'all."
An unholy war is raging in the Lagos West Diocese of the Anglican Communion, with the combatants threatening fire and brimstone as the crisis gets messier.
At the centre of the conflict are the Bishop of the Lagos West Diocese, Peter Adebiyi, and the 14-member senior church council of St Paul’s Anglican Church, Mushin.
At a press conference on January 30, the church council accused Bishop Adebiyi of ethnic sentiments, insensitivity and high-handedness.
The parish is dominated by Igbo-speaking members, which is reflected in its name and description as St Paul’s (Igbo) Anglican Church.
But the name is not the bone of contention. Rather the members are at war with the Bishop because, among other allegations, the latter dissolved the church council, an action the feuding members consider as illegal and had ethnic colouration.
“Within the past eight years, we as a congregation have suffered silently and borne the weight of concealed hate, tribalism and unguarded discriminatory attitude and utterances of this bishop, who has roundly failed us both as a bishop and father. Bishop Adebiyi has at every opportunity demonstrated dictatorial nepotism and characteristic tribalism in handling affairs that impact our congregation at St Paul’s Church, Mushin,” the council said through Mr Richard Agbamisere.
The church council said trouble started on July 5, 2009 when the bishop through Venerable C.T Arowolo of the Isolo Archdeaconry dissolved the duly elected council, citing the way the church was administered between 2005 and 2008 as reason for his action.
But, the council wondered why the sins of the 2005 – 2008 executive should be visited on the 2009 executive and sought further explanation from the bishop, who said he received telephone calls and text messages from faceless persons informing him that church funds were not properly managed.