Church of England clergy will tomorrow meet a senior Roman Catholic bishop to discuss conversion on the very day the General Synod attempts to reach a compromise over the ordination of women as bishops, the issue at the heart of their possible defection.
Holy Cross Hall in Leicester provides the first formal encounter between a bishop from the Catholic Church in England and Wales and Anglican clergy who want to join a personal ordinariate – a Vatican initiative that will allow entire communities to cross over to Rome while maintaining elements of their own spiritual heritage. Pope Benedict stunned many last October when he issued a decree opening the gates of Rome to disaffected Anglicans.
The meeting coincides with the Church of England General Synod, which faces the impossible task of balancing the needs of traditionalists, who want protection from female ministry, and supporters of women's ordination, who say there should be little or none.
Its 484 members, gathered in the muggy debating chamber at York University, will know within days whether they have succeeded in holding the church together or tearing it apart.
Tomorrow they will spend more than eight hours thrashing out what compromises there should be for traditionalists. The subject, which has proved to be an emotive one, will continue to be the focus on Monday and Tuesday.
St. Nicholas Episcopal Church in Kapolei was looking for a new leader who was young, vibrant and a bit of "a rock star" to draw young people.
Enter Paul K. Klitzke, who at 30 is the youngest priest in the youngest church in the Episcopal Diocese of Hawaii. He plays electric guitar in the church band. He sports an earring and tattoos. He zooms about Kapolei on a red motorcycle.
Someone he met here told him he looked more like a biker than a vicar.
(Indeed, he is planning a Blessing of the Bikes service later this year.)
Klitzke came from Wasilla, Alaska, where he served as priest of St. David's Episcopal Church and developed activities for youth the last five years. He arrived in March and will be ceremoniously installed tomorrow by Bishop Robert Fitzpatrick. Established in 2002, the congregation meets at Island Pacific Academy, 909 Haumea St.
"We were looking for ... someone said 'a rock-star priest,' somebody who would draw families, attract a lot of people ... exciting," said Cheryl Chee, a member of the St. Nicholas committee that interviewed Klitzke for the job. "He seemed to fit what we were looking for, his experience and appeal to young people."
Here's the full text from the Georgia Court of Appeals-
This appeal involves a dispute over church property between the National Episcopal Church[ 1 ] and Rector, Wardens and Vestrymen of Christ Church in Savannah [hereinafter "Christ Church"], a parish of the National Episcopal Church that has sought to disaffiliate and that has retained control of church property.[ 2 ] At issue is whether the church property is impressed with a trust in favor of the National Episcopal Church. Both parties filed motions for summary judgment. The trial court granted the National Episcopal Church's motion for summary judgment and denied Christ Church's motion for summary judgment, finding that even though the parish owns its real estate, the discipline, canons, and constitutions of the National Episcopal Church and the Diocese of Georgia established an implied and express trust over the property for the use of the National Episcopal Church. We find no error and affirm the trial court's order. In fact, Superior Court Judge Michael Karpf, in his twenty-one page order, thoroughly and correctly detailed the history of Christ Church and the National Episcopal Church, and he properly analyzed the relevant statutes and church documents. We have incorporated much of his order in our opinion.
The state's Court of Appeals issued a ruling Thursday in favor of the Episcopal Diocese of Georgia and the national church in their two-and-a-half year property dispute with a breakaway congregation.
A three-judge panel upheld Chatham County Superior Court Judge Michael Karpf's 2009 decision naming the Episcopal Church the rightful owners of Christ Church in Savannah.
Church members and leaders have continued occupying the historic Johnson Square house of worship since voting to leave the denomination in September 2007, when they accused the national church of straying from the Bible.
They now have until July 18 to notify the courts whether they will continue with the appeal.
Christ Church attorney Neil Creasy expressed dismay with the ruling.
"It's unlikely the state Supreme Court will take the case," Creasy said. "It's obvious they didn't want to hear it, and so they sent it down to the Court of Appeals."
The Right Rev. Scott Anson Benhase, bishop of the Episcopal Diocese of Georgia, released a statement Thursday praising the "sound judgement and wisdom of the court."
The Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) would become the largest denomination in the nation to allow same-sex marriage if it follows a recommendation made Tuesday by a church legislative committee. And another church committee, gathering for the Louisville-based church's week-long legislative General Assembly in Minneapolis, recommended the church begin ordaining non-celibate gays and lesbians.
The assembly's committee on Civil Union and Marriage Issues voted 34-18 to change the definition of marriage in the church constitution to describe marriage as a covenant between "two people" rather than between "a man and a woman."
This "would recognize committed, lifelong relationships that are already being lived out by our members," said a committee statement.
WHETHER the General Synod throws a lifeline to traditionalists this weekend or not, a 37-page notice paper will be the members’ lifeline as they tackle the clause-by-clause revision of the draft women-bishops legislation.
In the face of numerous amend ments, including those from the Archbishops of Canterbury and York, the Synod Office has taken steps to prevent order from turning into chaos, by setting out the amendments that make the most changes to the draft legislation (as revised by the revision committee) in separate appendices.
Thus Appendix I sets out the amendments from Canon Simon Killwick of the Catholic Group and the Revd Simon Tillotson, which provide for additional dioceses for traditionalists. These rid the Meas ure of the existing Clauses 2 (Duty of diocesan bishop to make ar rangements) and 3 (Parish re quests). The new dioceses would include the sees of Ebbsfleet, Rich borough, and Beverley. Parish res olutions would enable PCCs to vote themselves into or out of the new dioceses.
Appendix II contains amend ments from Canon Killwick and the Revd Rod Thomas which provide for “complementary episcopal ar range ments”, for which parishes could petition by resolution. This is a less structural option, but provides for statutory transfer of episcopal functions.
If these amendments are not carried, and the Synod votes for delegated oversight, Appendix III contains an amendment from Tom Sutcliffe. This would set up a four-member Review Commission (in clud ing two opponents of women bishops, and one supporter) to look at any such scheme, and “to make and publish any comments on the scheme which appear to be ap propriate”.
The Archbishops’ amendments for “co-ordinate jurisdiction” are brief. The main change is in Clause 2, where, instead of delegation, they speak of episcopal ministry “exer cisable by virtue of this section and [which] shall not divest the bishop of the diocese of any of his or her functions”.
The Episcopal Diocese of San Joaquin is suing the former members of St. Paul’s, Visalia, seeking return of church property to the diocese.
Members of St. Paul’s are among those former Episcopalians who broke away from the national church and joined a more conservative arm of the Anglican church. The San Joaquin Valley churches were the first diocese to break away from the Episcopal Church in a schism over the church’s stand on various issues. Not all churches joined the revolt and the diocese has since been reconstituted.
This lawsuit against the Visalia church is a continuation of the Diocese’s litigation efforts seeking the return of property to the Diocese and its congregations that is currently occupied by former members of the Episcopal Church. Similar cases are currently pending against the former members of St. Francis, Turlock St. Michael’s, Ridgecrest, St. John’s, Porterville, St. James, Sonora, Holy Redeemer, Delano, and St. Columba, Fresno.
“It is particularly disappointing given the recent and unequivocal decisions of the California Supreme Court and Court of Appeals’ rulings that the properties and assets are held for the Episcopal Church and its Dioceses,” says Diocesan Chancellor Michael Glass.
The litigation is focused on returning the properties and assets to the Episcopal Church and the Episcopal Diocese of San Joaquin. Mr. Glass says that the litigation will not be initially seeking monetary judgments against individual defendants “unless it becomes evident that such defendants have diverted parish assets to other purposes or parties.”
Initial reports that a volunteer LGBT activist in Uganda was found beheaded by search parties looking for a missing pro-gay priest appear to be false, but there is no doubt that a horrific murder occurred.
Jim Burroway of Box Turtle Bulletin reported the beheading Monday based on a report by the Reverend Colin Coward in the Anglican blog Changing Attitude. Coward claimed that a search team found the head of Pasikali Kashusbe, whom he identified as a volunteer with the pro-LGBT group Integrity Uganda, in a pit latrine on a farm in the Wakiso District. According to Coward, the searchers were looking for the Reverend Henry Kayizzi Nsubuga, who disappeared last month after delivering a sermon supporting gay people. A mutilated torso also believed to be Kashusbe's was found near the farm.
Burroway said he supported Coward's claims with two separate reports in Ugandan media outlets, including video from NTV and an article in the Daily Monitor, which named the victim as Pascal Kashushu. However, on Wednesday he wrote that the gay elements in the story now appear to be a “hoax,” although it is true that a horrific murder took the life of a young man. Read his update at Box Turtle Bulletin.
St. Peter's Episcopal Church in Medford, New Jersey, recently blessed a new 50,000-watt solar-panel system on the roof of its building that will eventually generate between 75 and 80 percent of the electricity the parish needs. The pattern of the panel array leaves the shape of a cross on the roof.
The idea of switching the church to solar power grew out of presentations made at the parish's 2008 annual meeting, according to an e-mail from St. Paul's rector, the Rev. Canon Donald J. Muller.
Two parishioners, Brad Denn and Don Powell, went on to form Hartford Power Associates as a for-profit corporation to fund, build a solar electrical system on St. Peter's roofs and supply St. Peter's with the resulting power, Muller explained. The parish signed a "power provider agreement" between St. Peter's and Hartford Power.
He estimated that that while the initial cost of power will be the same as that the parish paid to its local utility, PSG&E, future annual increases will be set at two percent. The panel array will also protect the church's roof and help insulate the building, Muller said.
Hartford Power will sell the solar installation to St. Peter's after it is paid for and when that happens the parish will be able to cut its electricity costs by about two-thirds and be able to sell the remaining solar renewable energy credits.
When my family began going to the Episcopal Church when I was about 10, women and girls were still expected to cover their heads in church with little lace caps that looked like doilies. (I’m sure there is some arcane ecclesiastical word for those things.)
I don’t remember when the doilies disappeared, but by the time I was a teenager they were gone, and females went bare-headed in God’s house. Somehow the church survived.
Now, four decades later, women’s headgear is making ecclesiastical headlines again. Or to be more precise, one woman’s headgear in church — or lack thereof — is making news on both sides of the Atlantic Ocean.
The brou-ha-hat, which has been dubbed “mitregate,” involves Episcopal Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori and Archbishop Rowan Williams, head of the Church of England, who have already been involved this year in one theological smackdown (as writer Diana Butler Bass aptly called it).
A mitre is the pointy hat that bishops wear. It is not the most flattering of headgear. But flattering or not, the pointy hat is a symbol of a bishop’s office and authority; they are expected to wear them.
An openly gay cleric has been blocked from becoming a Church of England bishop, amid fears the controversial ordination could have further strained the Anglican movement, reports said Thursday.
Jeffrey John had been tipped to become Bishop of Southwark, in London, after making the shortlist with strong support from the local diocese, The Times and Telegraph newspapers reported.
But a selection committee, which included Archbishop of Canterbury Rowan Williams -- the head of the 77 million Anglicans across the globe -- rejected calls for John's ordination, said the papers.
John, currently the Dean of St Albans, is openly gay and entered a civil partnership in 2006, but lives a celibate life.
Traditionalists had previously warned that his appointment could damage the Church of England.
"We think that if this were to happen, then the sort of split that has happened in America would be precipitated here," said Rev Paul Dawson, spokesman for Reform, the conservative evangelical group.
John's rejection came against the backdrop of Williams struggling to hold together the worldwide Anglican communion, amid tensions over the ordination of gay and female bishops. The archbishop has spoken out against the ordination of gay bishops in the US, fearing the strains it could place on the Anglican movement.
Ugandan police have identified the severed head of a young Christian and gay rights worker, according to a blog post from the Rev. Colin Coward, a Church of England priest and director of U.K.-based gay and lesbian advocacy group Changing Attitude.
A search team had been looking for a missing pro-gay priest, the Rev. Henry Kayizzi Nsubuga, when they discovered the decapitated head of Pasikali Kashusbe in a pit latrine on a farm in Makindye Sabagabo, Wakiso District, where he worked.
Kashusbe was a volunteer worker for Integrity Uganda, a group that campaigns for gay rights. He went missing in early June during the Ugandan Martyrs Day commemorations.
Coward said in his blog post that a mutilated torso, which was found a few days earlier less than a mile from the farm, likely belonged to Kashusbe.
Nsubuga has been missing for three weeks since he delivered a speech at St. Paul's Church, Kanyanya, in support of homosexuality in Uganda.
Bishop Christopher Senyonjo, chairperson of Integrity Uganda who was excommunicated by the Church of Uganda in 2006 for his support of homosexuals, lamented Kashusbe's murder as "absurd," adding in Coward's post that "clearly, the values of tolerance and social inclusion are sadly being sacrificed on the altar of state ignorance, ineptness and good old colonial stupidity."
Fifty years ago, Harper Lee had the kind of success that most writers would die for: Shortly after her novel, To Kill a Mockingbird, was published on July 11, 1960, it hit the best-seller lists. In 1961, it won a Pulitzer Prize, and in 1962, it was made into an Academy Award-winning film. It has never gone out of print.Lee stepped out of the limelight and stopped doing interviews years ago — and she never wrote another book.
Still, her influence has far outlasted most writers of her generation.For the high-schoolers reading To Kill a Mockingbird today, America is a very different place than it was when Lee wrote her novel 50 years ago. Lee's story of Scout Finch and her father, Atticus — a small-town Southern lawyer who defends a black man unjustly accused of rape — came out just as the nation was fighting over school desegregation.Today, in a 10th grade English class at T.C. Williams High School in Alexandria, Va., students of many different races and ethnicities are studying the book together. Their teacher, Laurel Taylor, says that the story still resonates — and with students of all backgrounds.
The sun beat down on Uphams Corner yesterday; by midmorning it was more than 90 degrees. But a few blocks away, in cool shade beneath tall trees, children frolicked on a brand-new playground. St. Mary’s Episcopal Church, which sits in the heart of a neighborhood often torn by shootings and stabbings, offered its backyard yesterday as a safe space for children to play.
“I think, honestly, it’s a sanctuary,’’ said Liz Meffen, 23, who serves as teen staff coordinator for the B-SAFE summer program, run by St. Stephen’s in the South End, a mission church of the Episcopal Diocese of Massachusetts.
For years the church’s backyard was littered with dirt, broken glass, and matted patches of grass. The playground equipment was so old and broken that the children in the preschool housed in the church basement could not use it, said the Rev. Cathy H. George, the priest in charge of St. Mary’s.
George, who two years ago left her affluent suburban parish in Lincoln, St. Anne’s in the Fields Episcopal Church, to spend three years in Dorchester, resolved to fix it.
“I said, ‘When I leave, no matter what else I fail at or accomplish, we’re going to have a playground in this backyard,’ ’’ she said yesterday.
But St. Mary’s, with just 40 to 60 congregants on an average Sunday, could not do it alone. So a few months ago George enlisted help from individual donors as well as St. Anne’s, Grace Episcopal Church in Newton, and the Parish of All Saints in Dorchester’s Ashmont neighborhood. Together they raised about $25,000.
A disgruntled Catholic priest was charged Tuesday with raiding church coffers to finance a double life befitting a mogul - and to pay for male escorts.
The Rev. Kevin Gray, former pastor at Sacred Heart in Waterbury, Conn., was charged with first-degree larceny, which carries up to 20 years in prison.
He allegedly stole $1.3 million over seven years and spent some of the cash on designer duds and luxury Manhattan hotels and restaurants.
Gray, 64, stayed at the W Hotel and the Waldorf-Astoria, ate at Tavern on the Green and bought Armani and Brooks Brothers suits, cell phones and laptops, said Waterbury police Capt. Christopher Corbett.
He opened credit card accounts for two men he had met - one at a male strip club and another through a male escort service, according to court papers.
One of them racked up $67,000 in charges - including $5,410 for tuition at LaGuardia Community College in Queens. The other charged almost $50,000 to the card, including Louis Vuitton merchandise and $9,000 in Crunch gym fees.
A Mount Lebanon mother who was struck and killed while pushing two of her children in a stroller was laid to rest Tuesday. Funeral services were held for 36-year-old Lisa Styles at Saint Paul's Episcopal Church on Washington Road.
Styles was struck by an SUV while pushing a jogging stroller across Beadling Road where it intersects with Washington Road. She died the next day.
Slideshow - Photos From Crash Scene
According to police, the driver -- identified as Benjamin Cope, 20, of Mt. Lebanon -- did not stop at a stop sign before turning right from Beadling onto Washington and hitting Styles.
Styles' children, who were in the stroller at the time of the incident, were not seriously hurt. Photo Slideshow: Prayers, Memories Shared At Lisa Styles Vigil
Cope is facing a charge of driving under the influence. Police said they suspect he smoked marijuana before the crash. He remains free while he awaits a court hearing on Sept. 2.
The latest – and, arguably, the most important – meeting of the Church of England’s General Synod will start this Friday in York.
I may be speaking too soon on this one, considering the Synod’s history of prevarication and issue-dodging, but it’s looking likely that fireworks are on the agenda – this is one of the more eagerly (or bitterly, depending on your point of view) awaited sessions of recent times.
There is plenty of meat on the agenda, but the biggest issue at stake surely has to be the consecration of women bishops, one of the most divisive subjects ever to face the Anglican Communion, and one that could ultimately end in schism.
The General Synod of the Church of England meets three times a year, and issues such as this are discussed without fail during each session, but the reason this particular meeting is quite so important is that draft legislation on women bishops – the actual words that will inform Church practice – is due to be debated in its final form for the first time. The hope is that the wording will be agreed by vote, and that the new legislation can then enter the revision stage – the final stage before it is formally referred to the dioceses.
The debate has been bubbling fiercely away since the Synod first agreed in 1992 to allow women priests to be ordained, and it’s a fearsomely complicated one. I’ll be looking at the issues in more depth tomorrow in another blog, but for the moment, suffice it to say that the spectre of female bishops is more likely to do damage to the Anglican Communion as a whole than any issue other than the ordination of homosexual bishops.
Conservative Anglican leaders have warned that parishes who oppose Dr Jeffrey John’s ordination would be prepared to leave their south London diocese and seek “alternative episcopal oversight”.
This could mean them being led by orthodox clergy elsewhere in England or even by those in Africa or South America as has happened in the USA, triggering bitter legal disputes over the ownership of their church buildings.
They believe Dr John, currently Dean of St Albans, should not be appointed a bishop as he has a civil partner and has previously admitted being in an active homosexual relationship, which they believe goes against the teaching of Scripture. He is a divisive figure in the church as exactly seven years ago he was appointed Bishop of Reading but was forced to withdraw following protests.
In addition, there is meant to be a “moratorium” within the Anglican Communion on the ordination of openly homosexual clergy. Clergy are also supposed to refrain from “border-crossing” into other, more traditional provinces.
The Rev Paul Dawson, a spokesman for the evangelical conservative group Reform, said: “If Jeffrey John were to be appointed, [some] would be looking for alternative oversight. “There would be a number of parishes who would say we would like alternative oversight, preferably in the UK.”
So, here's the scenario. Rowan Williams, just turned 60, eight years into the job at Canterbury, decides, at long last, to start throwing his weight around. People are always grumbling about the need for some strong leadership, so, right, he says, let's give it a go.
First, he gives a kick up the backside to the Anglican Covenant, the first-ever constitution for the worldwide Anglican Communion, designed to define what the Church is for, and how it should hold together. It's like introducing the rules of football 100 years after the start of international tournaments. According to the Covenant text, part of what holds the Communion together is the knowledge that, if a province, let's say, oh, I don't know, the United States, decides to introduce a theological innovation, let's say, um, gay bishops, the rest of the Communion can acknowledge that province's decision to walk apart, i.e. tell it to get stuffed.
For a while, the Covenant stuff was all "in the fullness of time", as each province slowly worked itself round to debating it internally. The result is that only Mexico has so far adopted it: what you might call a low-key start. The conservatives in Africa and the US have been getting impatient, because until the Covenant is ratified, there is nothing to beat the Episcopal Church in the US over the head with. So, in his Pentecost Letter in May, New Rowan ruled that anybody from a province that appears to be erring, e.g. the US and Canada, should be thrown off the Communion's central committees. More than this, he actually set about doing it.
A leading conservative Anglican has warned the Church of England could split if an openly gay man is appointed Bishop of Southwark.
Dr Jeffrey John, the Dean of St Albans, is said to be among a number of clergy nominated for the post.
His supporters say Dr John is the right man for the job in a liberal diocese.
But traditionalist Canon Chris Sugden said his appointment would lose the allegiance of orthodox parishes and clergy.
The conflict over homosexuality and the ordination of gay clergy has threatened to split the Anglican Communion for years, with critics saying it may cause a similar breakaway to that in the US Episcopal Church.
Conservatives insist the Bible unequivocally outlaws homosexuality, while liberals believe the Bible should be reinterpreted in the light of contemporary wisdom.
'Outrageous' The argument has been reignited after it was revealed Dr John is on a list of candidates being considered by the Crown Nominations Commission (CNC) to replace the Rt Rev Dr Tom Butler, who retired earlier this year as Bishop of Southwark.
Downtown’s homeless people soon won’t have to trek across town for lunch. Instead, they can dine in convenient, Gucci-inspired ambience, thanks to a unique private initiative.
In a combination of self-interest and compassion, the Downtown Council has teamed with Episcopal Community Services to build a new dining facility at 1444 E. Eighth St., scheduled to open in September.
And it’s as chic as any bistro, thanks to the donated talents of Jennifer Bertrand of Olathe, winner of Home and Garden Television’s “Design Star” competition.
“You have all these people, possibly at the worst moments in their lives, and I want to at least improve this place aesthetically,” Bertrand said.
“I’m trying to make it the happiest community kitchen ever and design it like I would for the rest of my clients.”
The 2,200-square-foot dining room, capable of accommodating 96 people per sitting, is decorated in tranquil shades of burnt orange and avocado green, and softly illuminated with indirect cove lighting.
The Episcopal Diocese of San Diego reclaimed its Oceanside church on Sunday with its first service since a conservative faction seized control of the building four years ago.
“It’s like a homecoming,” church member Jack Plummer said Sunday as he stood outside St. Anne’s Episcopal Church. “In the Old Testament, you read about a time of jubilation, and it’s one of those times.”
In 2006, a majority of the congregation at St. Anne’s voted to break off from the Episcopal Church while maintaining possession of the building because of objections over the direction the denomination was taking nationally to ordain gays and women, among other issues.
The Oceanside church’s rector announced in January 2006 that St. Anne’s would leave the diocese and come under the jurisdiction of Anglican Bishop Frank Lyons of Bolivia. The group planned to keep the church building at 701 West St. and rename it St. Anne’s Anglican Church.
It's midday in Westminster Abbey and a robed priest is presiding at communion – holding the chalice aloft, bowing before it. It's a small congregation, just five or six tourists, but high-church ritual is still meticulously observed. In this 1,000-year-old building, tradition is the stock-in-trade.
In the cloisters behind the Chapter House lives Rev Jane Hedges, Canon Steward at the Abbey, and one of the most senior women in the Church of England. The 54-year-old, who cares for the Abbey's tens of thousands of visitors, was among the very first intake of women priests to be ordained in 1994. "People asked then: 'When do you think the first women bishops will be?'" says Hedges. "And I remember replying: 'I don't think there will be women bishops before I retire.'"
Yet Hedges is now being touted as the first woman to get the job. She is one of a growing number of women – archdeacons, deans and canons – with both the qualifications and the experience to take up the position. And this month, after several years of wrangling, the General Synod, which meets in York from 9-13 July, will try to pass the final piece of legislation allowing them to do so.
For those outside the church, and many within it, it may seem curious that after 16 years of women in the priesthood promotion to bishop is still denied them. "I think many of the bishops themselves find it uncomfortable that when they meet, it's an all-male environment," says Hedges. "It's not at all representative of how the Church of England is."
There is no greater lesson than the one Edgar Guest shared in his poem:
I'd rather see a sermon than hear one any day; I'd rather one should walk with me than merely tell the way. . . .
The 42 children who attended the weeklong Vacation Bible School at Akron's St. Paul Episcopal Church got an excellent lesson for life, to say nothing of the opportunity to show their faith last week.
Sheila Svoboda, St. Paul's director of family ministries, led a riveting hands-on lesson for the children — ages 4 through young teens — ''on the concept of neighborhoods and what it means to be a good neighbor.''
On Thursday, they were escorted by their parents and other instructors to an inner-city neighborhood on Seventh Avenue, where a Summit County Habitat for Humanity house is under construction.
The two-story house is being sponsored by five churches — St. Paul's, St. Luke's Anglican, St. John's Episcopal in Cuyahoga Falls, Church of Our Savior Episcopal and First Congregational Church of Akron.
Some of their parents are donating labor to the two-story house, which when completed this fall will be the home of Pam Banks and her developmentally disabled daughter, Naomi.
In their own way, the children donated labor to the house, making and delivering sandwiches to those working there.
When he was taking his first cuts in the business of selling baseball bats 10 years ago, Mike Gregory visited the spring training complex of the Minnesota Twins to extol the virtues of a maple instrument handcrafted from his family's stands of Pennsylvania hardwood.
"I went everywhere to get the word out," he said, aware that bat-making giants such as Louisville Slugger and Rawlings had long established themselves among the fickle and fussy clientele of major league baseball players.
One player who had just been drafted by the Twins -- he was Canadian-born and wore the No. 33 of hockey goalie Patrick Roy -- liked what he heard. He liked the feel, and he especially liked the results after taking his whacks.
That first customer was Justin Morneau. And in the ensuing decade, while swinging lumber made by BWP Bats LLC, he has won an American League MVP award, two batting titles and the home run derby at the 2008 All-Star game.
"We knew we could make a nice bat," said Mr. Gregory, 35. "It's all in the wood. We can paint it and make it pretty. It all comes down to the wood."
In addition to Mr. Morneau, who receives six dozen BWP bats a year, the company provides bats to former batting champion Freddie Sanchez and Detroit's Johnny Damon, who formerly played with the Red Sox and Yankees. Manny Ramirez also uses BWP, although he relies on several manufacturers.