Friday, September 24, 2010

Pope 'could not say no' to Anglican inquiries, recalls Archbishop Koch

From Catholic News Agency-

The head of the Vatican's department for Christian unity said that with the new Anglican ordinariate, Pope Benedict is merely opening the door, to those "who knock." Reflecting on the recent trip to the U.K., he added that the possible mass conversions are not an impediment to the continued dialogue between the Anglican and Catholic Churches.

In an interview published in Wednesday's edition of L'Osservatore Romano (LOR), Archbishop Kurt Koch, president of the Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity spoke of the "great success" of the Pope's trip to the U.K. and answered some questions raised by the existence of the Apostolic Constitution "Anglicanorum coetibus."

Archbishop Koch's presence in the papal party, as just one of just a dozen of the closest Vatican advisors to accompany the Holy Father for the entirety of the trip, is a testament to the importance that was put on unity within the visit's scope.

The archbishop pointed out in the interview that there was great emphasis on ecumenism during the visit. It was evident, he said, in the fact that in each of Benedict XVI's 18 discourses he called European faithful "continuously back to the Christian roots of the continent."

More here-

Parish asks worshipers to take off, donate shoes

From Jacksonville FLA-

St. Elizabeth's Episcopal Church will host a special event on Sunday morning aimed at collecting shoes for those in need.

"The mission of 'Barefoot Sunday,' also known as All Soles Day, is ... to collect new and gently worn shoes to donate to victims of natural disasters and those living in poverty," according to a news release about the event.

Participants are encouraged to leave their own shoes at home and wear a pair that can be donated during the 10:30 a.m. service.

The church is at 1735 Leonid Road. Visit or call (904) 751-2626 for more information.

Meditation center celebrates anniversary

The World Community for Christian Meditation Center in Neptune Beach will celebrate its one-year anniversary with a special celebration from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m Saturday.

The center offers daily Christ-centered meditation sessions and is open to people of all faiths or none. It also provides yoga classes, workshops and meditation sessions geared to 12 Step programs, as well as volunteer opportunities.

More here-

Episcopal bishop asked to resign over alleged abuse cover-up

From USA Today-

Episcopal Church leaders have asked for the resignation of a Pennsylvania bishop accused of covering up sexual abuse by his brother more than 30 years ago.

The House of Bishops of The Episcopal Church said in a resolution late Tuesday, issued after a meeting in Arizona, that it was asking the Rev. Charles Bennison Jr. to step down as Bishop of the Diocese of Pennsylvania.

"We have come to the conclusion that Bishop Bennison's capacity to exercise the ministry of pastoral oversight is irretrievably damaged," the statement said. "Therefore, we exhort Charles, our brother in Christ, in the strongest possible terms, to tender his immediate and unconditional resignation as the Bishop of the Diocese of Pennsylvania."

Spokeswoman Anne Rudig said the church had not gotten a response from Bennison, who released a statement to The Associated Press on Wednesday.

"Resigning my position as Bishop of Pennsylvania will not ease (the victim's) pain or remove the sting of the abusive relationship," he said in the statement. "Instead, I hope that the suffering I have endured during the past three years has strengthened me and will enable me to work for reconciliation within the Diocese."

But the Rev. Glenn Matis, president of the standing committee of the Episcopal Diocese of Pennsylvania, said he hopes Bennison "heeds the advice of his brother and sister bishops" and tenders his resignation.

"I think that would go a long way toward helping the healing process in the Diocese of Pennsylvania," Matis said.

More here-

Fort Worth's Vann put on Vatican panel working with Anglicans

From Ft Worth-

The Vatican announced Thursday that Bishop Kevin Vann, leader of the Fort Worth Catholic Diocese, has been named to a committee that will lay the groundwork for the incorporation of U.S. Anglican groups into the Roman Catholic Church. But the announcement received a muted response from the group of churches led by Bishop Jack Iker, which split from the national Episcopal Church last year over issues including same-sex unions and gay bishops.

That group calls itself the Episcopal Diocese of Fort Worth, as does the group of Episcopal churches that remained with the national Episcopal Church.
"As you know, the Episcopal Diocese of Fort Worth has cordial relations with Bishop Vann and members of his diocese, but today's announcement doesn't have an impact on those ongoing talks about the sharing of resources and fellowship," said Suzanne Gill, spokeswoman for the Iker-led churches. "And it certainly does not portend any formal linkage of the two dioceses." Iker was out of town and unavailable for comment.

Vann will be part of the ad hoc committee announced by the Vatican Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith. It will be led by Archbishop Donald Wuerl of Washington and will include Bishop Robert McManus of Worcester, Mass. The Rev. Scott Hurd, who was ordained an Episcopal priest in 1993, served in Fort Worth and joined the Catholic Church in 1996, will also assist Wuerl.

Read more:

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Wuerl to lead incorporation of Anglicans into Catholic Church

From The Pittsburgh Post Gazette-

The Vatican Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith has named Archbishop Donald Wuerl of Washington D.C. to guide the incorporation of Anglican groups into the Catholic Church in the United States.

According to a news release today from the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, Archbishop Wuerl will lead the American effort to implement Pope Benedict XVI's plan for Anglican groups who seek to enter into full communion with the Catholic Church.

Archbishop Wuerl is a Pittsburgh native and former bishop of Pittsburgh.

Under the plan, Anglicans can be part of the Catholic Church while maintaining aspects of their Anglican heritage and liturgical practice, according to the release.

Archbishop Wuerl will head a committee that includes Bishops Kevin Vann of Fort Worth, Texas, and Robert McManus of Worcester, Mass. The committee will be assisted by Father Scott Hurd, who was ordained an Episcopal priest in 1993, joined the Catholic Church in 1996, and was ordained a Catholic priest for the Archdiocese of Washington in 2000.

Read more:

Church needs new vision, says Jensen

From Australia-

AUSTRALIA'S Anglican Church is merely papering over the cracks of serious internal fractures and is running out of time, the Sydney Archbishop, Peter Jensen said.

Dr Jensen said the triennial General Synod (national parliament), which ended in Melbourne yesterday, was a missed opportunity.

''It's a business meeting, but we needed a vision meeting,'' he said. The church needed to bring together visionaries with fresh ideas about how to minister to people, not politicians from the various dioceses.''

He said he had proposed that the synod be replaced with such a meeting and several bishops were interested, but the idea ran out of steam.

''Synods have their place, but they don't do the vision,'' Dr Jensen said.

He said the synod was superficial, ignoring fundamental problems that had to be addressed: ''We are losing time to bring together Australian Anglicans of different ages to grapple with the problems and how to do Christian ministry.''

More here-

SOUTH CAROLINA: Group asks church leadership for investigation

From ELO- (with links)

Members of an Episcopal Church advocacy group in the Diocese of South Carolina have asked the church's leadership to "investigate" a series of actions which they say "are accelerating the process of alienation and disassociation" of the diocese from the Episcopal Church.
The Episcopal Forum of South Carolina Sept. 22 sent a five-page letter to Executive Council and the House of Bishops that lists a series of what are called "recent actions and inactions on the part of the diocesan leadership and leaders in parishes and missions within the diocese."

In one such instance, the letter says the diocese has "taken no disciplinary measures or legal action" against the leaders of St. Andrew's Church, Mt. Pleasant, since they claimed in March to have led the parish out of the Episcopal Church.

The letter says that the diocese and more than half of its 44 parishes have removed references to the Episcopal Church from their names and websites, and that some list links to breakaway Anglican organizations.

The letter also lists past diocesan convention actions as well as the six proposed resolutions the diocese will consider on Oct. 15.

The diocese has said that each of the six proposed resolutions "represents an essential element of how we protect the diocese from any attempt at un-constitutional intrusions into our corporate life in South Carolina." That explanation also said that the resolutions come in response to the General Convention's 2009 passage of revised Title IV canons on clergy discipline, which were approved (via Resolution A185).

Episcopal Church asks Pa. bishop to step down

From AP-

Episcopal Church leaders have asked for the resignation of a Pennsylvania bishop accused of covering up sexual abuse by his brother more than 30 years ago.

The House of Bishops of The Episcopal Church said in a resolution late Tuesday, issued after a meeting in Arizona, that it was asking the Rev. Charles Bennison Jr. to step down as Bishop of the Diocese of Pennsylvania.

"We have come to the conclusion that Bishop Bennison's capacity to exercise the ministry of pastoral oversight is irretrievably damaged," the statement said. "Therefore, we exhort Charles, our brother in Christ, in the strongest possible terms, to tender his immediate and unconditional resignation as the Bishop of the Diocese of Pennsylvania."

Spokeswoman Anne Rudig said the church had not gotten a response from Bennison, who released a statement to The Associated Press on Wednesday.

"Resigning my position as Bishop of Pennsylvania will not ease (the victim's) pain or remove the sting of the abusive relationship," he said in the statement. "Instead, I hope that the suffering I have endured during the past three years has strengthened me and will enable me to work for reconciliation within the Diocese."

But the Rev. Glenn Matis, president of the standing committee of the Episcopal Diocese of Pennsylvania, said he hopes Bennison "heeds the advice of his brother and sister bishops" and tenders his resignation.

More here-

Episcopal bishops visit Douglas

From Arizona-

On the evening of Tuesday, September 14, about 40 bishops from all over the country gathered at St. Stephens Episcopal Church to hear different perspectives from community members about immigration issues. More than 80 special guests made it to the meeting.

Bishops were in Douglas and Agua Prieta for three days to gather information on the border situation before holding a regular session of bishops in Phoenix, at the House of Bishops, September 16-21. During that meeting, they will make a national agreement and take action on immigration issues.

Among special guests were Douglas Police Department Chief Alberto Melis; Dr. Heidi Lodge, physician from SAMC; Border Patrol Tucson sector Chief Victor Manjarrez; local rancher Guy Hudson; Rev. Mark Adams, U.S coordinator for Frontera de Cristo, and Border Action Network executive director, Jennifer Allen.

Speakers spoke about what they do and the kind of challenges they face every day concerning immigration and the border.

Chief Melis said regardless of their appearance, if someone is assaulted or domestic assaulted for example, he doesn’t ask for papers.

More here-

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

US fundamentalists "fight proxy war" in Uganda, Rwanda

From Africa-

Fundamentalist "evangelical" Christian congregations in the US have plaid a strong role in radicalising Anglican and Protestant communities in Africa, in particular Uganda and Rwanda. New reports document their real motives as imperialistic.

A three-day seminar held in Kampala in March 2009 by the US extremist Scott Lively called "Exposing the Truth behind Homosexuality and the Homosexual Agenda" was to have a great impact on politics in Uganda.

Attended by leading Ugandan politicians and religious leaders, the seminar laid the foundations for Uganda's controversial - now stalled - anti-gay legislation that foresaw the widespread use of the death penalty for sexual minorities. It also led to a great public witch hunt against homosexuals in Uganda and the public acceptance of calls to kill gays and lesbians.

Mr Lively, author of the Holocaust denying book "The Pink Swastika", only provided the well-orchestrated last drop in a decades-long radicalisation of Christian communities in Africa. Conservative "family values", elitism and foremost the fight against homosexuality are cultural values being exported to Africa.

More here-

Anglican bishop shops for parishioners on street

From Canada-

Anglican Bishop Sue Moxley is determined to get more people into church, even if she has to go out and get them.

Moxley, leader of the Anglican church in Nova Scotia and P.E.I., handed out invitations to passersby on the Halifax waterfront Wednesday morning. In full bishop's regalia, she certainly stood out.

Moxley is hoping to attract the attention of people who've never been to church, as well as former parishioners.

"Lots of people have said, 'Oh, I used to go, I just got out of the habit.' So this is a way to kind of say come back and try it again," she told CBC News.

"What some people remember as boring and tiresome is now quite lively and energetic. So a number of people need a chance to see what the new church looks like."

The church made headlines earlier this month when it blessed BlackBerry, laptops and other gadgets.

The blessing at St. Timothy's Anglican Church in Hatchet Lake, near Halifax, was a modern take on Plough Monday, where parishioners of old brought their farming tools in to be blessed.

Read more:

Benedict will bounce Anglicans into the Roman Catholic Chur

From The London Telegraph-

We’ll have to see whether the Pope’s visit will lead to a “Benedict bounce” of new vocations, as Cardinal Keith O’Brien predicts. But I’m pretty sure it will bounce more Anglicans into the Catholic Church – some of them under cover of the Ordinariate scheme, which Benedict XVI made clear is to be given a high priority by the English bishops.

Perhaps we need to change the way we think about the Ordinariate. It’s a structure that will be built from the ground up on the Catholic bank of the Tiber. I don’t see many C of E parishes converting en masse: even the most Anglo-Papal congregations contain diehard Anglicans who simply cannot face the prospect of becoming “Romans”. There isn’t much of a future for them in any Church unless they change their beliefs.

One thing the Church of England is good at is taking spiky Anglo-Catholic congregations, merging them with a more mainstream parish, shipping in a less “extreme” vicar – and, 10 years down the line, a woman is celebrating the Eucharist (amid clouds of incense, naturally). There will be a lot of that. (Incidentally, if certain ultra-Caaaartholic north London parishes decide to stay Anglican, I think the least they can do is take down their pictures of the Pope.)

More here-


From The Pittsburgh Post Gazette- Steve was a professor when I was at Trinity a greta teacher and man. He will be missed.

Age 70, passed away September 19, 2010 in the Passavant Retirement Home, formerly from the Sewickley area. Dr. Smith was born in Pasadena CA. ,Oct. 16, 1939, as a youth he earned his Eagle Scout Badge at the age of 14. He was predeceased by his parents Horace Osbun Smith Jr. & Jeanne Louise Schwarzkopf Smith. Dr. Smith was a Graduate of Stanford University where he was a member of Delta Tau Delta Fraternity, he was a graduate of Fuller Theological Seminary and obtained his Doctorate at Claremont Graduate University in 1980.

Dr. Smith was a Professor of Theology & Ethics at Trinity Seminary in Ambridge Pa. for 22 years retiring June 30, 2003. He is survived by his wife, Joyce C. (Whitney) Smith whom he married June 21, 1963 , also his children; Rebecca (John ) Ford Greenwich CT, Elizabeth Avrigean of Pittsburgh, & Andrew Mc Cray (Maura) Smith of Pittsburgh, also a sister Antonia Smith (Paul) Fletcher of Altadena CA. also surviving are 3 grandchildren; Cameron, Ethan & Lucy. "The Smiths owned the Whistlestop Bed and Breakfast in Leetsdale for 17 years".

A Memorial Service will be held at St. Stephens Church Sewickley Pa by Rev. Geof Chapman on Saturday ; September 25, 2010 at 10AM a Reception will follow in Grace Commons at St. Stephens Church. Arrangements by COPELAND'S of Sewickley, PA. If desired contributions to Passavant Retirement Community Benevolent Fund, Parkinson's Foundation Research or to Trinity Seminary will be appreciated.

PENNSYLVANIA: House of Bishops calls on Bennison to resign

From ELO-

The Episcopal House of Bishop has called on its colleague, Diocese of Pennsylvania Bishop Charles Bennison to "tender his immediate and unconditional resignation."

The bishops announced their request at the end of their Sept. 16-21 fall gathering in Phoenix, Arizona, by releasing a lengthy "mind of the house" resolution that said they were "profoundly troubled by the outcome of the disciplinary action" against Bennison, and had concluded that his "capacity to exercise the ministry of pastoral oversight is irretrievably damaged."

"Therefore, we exhort Charles, our brother in Christ, in the strongest possible terms, to tender his immediate and unconditional resignation as the bishop of the Diocese of Pennsylvania," the bishops said. "For the sake of the wholeness and unity of the body of Christ, in the Diocese of Pennsylvania and in the church, we implore our brother to take this action without further delay."

Bennison was present during the discussion leading up to the passage of the resolution, but did not comment, according to Episcopal Church Public Affairs Officer Neva Rae Fox.

As of 10:30 p.m. EDT, Bennison had not officially responded to his fellow bishops' request. He did not reply to a request from Episcopal News Service for comment.

Saying the matter had "has weighed heavily upon the hearts of every member of the House of Bishops," the bishops vowed to continue to pray for "Charles, his family, and every person who has been hurt by the church."

More here-

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

One Step Closer to a Universal Primacy

From The Living Church-

When Robert Runcie visited Pope John Paul II in Rome in October 1989 one of his concerns was to elucidate the theme of universal primacy. Just over a decade before in 1977 the third Agreed Statement of the Anglican-Roman Catholic International Commission proposed that a unified Christian Church needed a universal primacy, and the Bishop of Rome was the obvious choice for the role.

The Anglican co-chairman of ARCIC was the Archbishop of Dublin, Henry McAdoo. A couple of years later his fellow Irish Archbishop, John Armstrong, called the Agreed Statement “a time bomb.” But Archbishop Runcie saw potential in the ARCIC statement. Runcie had a vision of a different, reordered papacy exercising a primacy of love and service. Just how much John Paul II comprehended is hard to say.

Pope Benedict XVI’s Sept. 16-19 visit to the United Kingdom, however, offered a series of tasters on what a universal primacy might look like. To begin, even if the British press tried to be cynical, it still gave the visitor acres of coverage. Only a papal visitor on a once-in-a-lifetime journey could achieve that. Inevitably media pundits were talking about how there were things Benedict XVI could do that Rowan Williams could not.

There are other signs that this new kind of papacy is emerging.

Benedict offered apologies. He apologized for the undiplomatic language of Walter Cardinal Kasper, who had told Focus magazine in Germany: “England is a secularized, pluralistic country nowadays. When you land at Heathrow you sometimes feel as though you were in a third world country.” It didn’t mean that he avoided the intent Kasper expressed. He simply found effective ways of putting across the message not to put trust in materialism and secularist ideology.

More here-

Vatican Bank Officials Under Investigation

From NPR-

Just when the Catholic Church didn't need another scandal, Italian magistrates have frozen $30 million from the Vatican bank and are investigating top bank officials for alleged violations of European money laundering rules.

The Vatican said Tuesday it was "perplexed and surprised" and expressed full trust in bank Chairman Ettore Gotti Tedeschi and director-general Paolo Cipriani.

Italian financial police seized the money as a precaution from a Vatican bank account being held at the Rome branch of Credito Artigiano SpA following two recent suspicious transfers. News reports said the bulk of the money was destined for JP Morgan in Frankfurt, with the remainder going to Banca del Fucino.

According to the reports, the Vatican bank had neglected to communicate to financial authorities where the money had come from. The reports stressed that Gotti Tedeschi wasn't being investigated for laundering money himself, but for a series of omissions in financial transactions.

More here-

Archbishop consecrates new bishop for mid, north and east Staffordshire

From Diocese of Lichfield-

The Archbishop of Canterbury and other bishops from the Church of England and Anglican Communion will today consecrate the new bishop for north and east Staffordshire.

The Revd Canon Geoff Annas, who has been Vicar of Thornhill in Southampton, will be made a bishop during a special service in St Paul’s Cathedral in London, at 11.00am this morning.

Several hundred people are expected at the service which will also see two other priests being consecrated as bishops.

The service will have a distinctly Staffordshire flavour with a former Bishop of Stafford, the Rt Revd Michael Scott-Joynt, present as Bishop of Winchester for the consecration of his new Suffragan Bishop of Basingstoke, the Ven Peter Hancock. And the former Archdeacon of Stoke and Bishop of Shrewsbury, the Rt Revd Dr Alan Smith, will be present as Bishop of St Albans for the consecration of the Revd Canon Paul Bayes as his new Suffragan Bishop of Hertford.

Consecration as a bishop marks the third tier of the three-fold ordained ministry in the Church of England, which includes Deacons and Priests.

Geoff Annas, who moved to Barlaston with his wife Ann at the end of August, will officially begin his new role at 3.00pm on Sunday (26th September) when he is welcomed to the diocese and installed as an honorary canon in Lichfield Cathedral.

More here-

Pope Benedict on the True Fruits of Ecumenism

From Catholicism-

In October 2009, when Pope Benedict XVI established new procedures through which entire congregations of Anglicans can be reunited to the Catholic Church, Rowan Williams, the archbishop of Canterbury and the spiritual head of the Anglican Communion, was none too pleased. Yet in a joint press conference with Catholic Archbishop of Westminster Vincent Nichols, the archbishop of Canterbury all but conceded that the game is over for the Church of England. Those in the Anglican Communion who truly believe that the Church is meant to be one, and to have one visible head, will increasingly make their way to Rome; those who remain in the Anglican Communion will continue to move further away from orthodoxy.

At the time, I wrote that "Despite the attempt to put a good face on the matter, today's announcement makes it clear that the ecumenical dialogue of the past 40 years has failed."

Yet a prominent churchman has now disagreed with my assessment: not Rowan Williams, but Pope Benedict himself, during his September 2010 visit to the United Kingdom.
I based my assessment on the observation that, "At every turn, the Anglican Communion as a whole has moved away from Rome, not toward her." But the Holy Father, in his address to Catholic and Anglican bishops after his fraternal visit to the archbishop of Canterbury, focused on something that I had neglected to consider: "the action of the Holy Spirit, who ceaselessly renews the Church and guides her into the fullness of truth," and who works in the lives of individual Christians as well as church bodies.

More here-

Rwanda: Anglicans Gets New Archbishop

From All Africa-

THE House of Bishops of the Anglican Church in Rwanda has elected the Bishop of Byumba Diocese, Onesphore Rwaje, as the replacement of the Archbishop Emmanuel Kolini, who retires in January next year.

Archbishop-elect Rwaje will also relocate to Kigali where he will head a newly established Gasabo Diocese.

He was elected by 10 bishops during a retreat last weekend which was chaired by the Archbishop of Burundi, Bernard Ntahoturi. Also present was Bishop Charles H. Murphy from USA who oversees Rwandan Anglican missionary outreach in America.

Kolini, who will, on December 12, 2010, hand over the leadership of Kigali Diocese to Bishop Louis Muvunyi, has served as the Archbishop of Rwanda for the past 12 years.

"I will put emphasis on what I have been doing, which is spreading the gospel, promoting community development initiatives, and fighting poverty in general," bishop Rwaje told The New Times after his election.

The Archbishop-elect promised to lead the House of Anglican bishops for the next five years with humility and spiritual guidance.

More here-

House of Bishops Daily Account for Monday, Sept. 20

From ELO-

The House of Bishops of The Episcopal Church is meeting in Phoenix, Arizona (Diocese of Arizona) from Sept. 16 to Sept. 21. The following is an account of the activities for Monday, Sept. 20.

The day began with a celebration of the Holy Eucharist, keeping the feast of James Coleridge Patteson and the Martyrs of Melanesia, after which the bishops gathered with the bishops of their provinces for conversation on a variety of topics.

The House reconvened in the afternoon and discussed "The Changing Contexts for Evangelism in the Third Millennium: Developing Leadership for Evangelism." During this portion of the program, the bishops heard from the following:

Bishop Diane Bruce of Los Angeles addressed the changing demographics of congregations, stressing that what is necessary is the three-fold welcome of radical hospitality, listening, and love. Time is needed to learn about the community, to "honor and welcome those among us" through language needs as well as community needs, such as a communal meal after services (important in the Asian populations).

Bishop Michael Smith of North Dakota said his diocese is racially diverse, with six First People congregations on four reservations, as well as those of Swedish descent and Sudanese; one-quarter of the clergy are people of color, 50-50 split of men and women. He believes people need to grow in their own sense of discipleship He further believes there needs to be an invitation to grow as disciples, which requires people willing to be transformed from church members to actual disciples of Jesus Christ.

More here-

Church reacts to vandalism

From Michigan-

Police in Greenville say they have identified two teenagers they say are responsible for a recent church break-in.

Officers say last week the kids broke into St. Paul's Episcopal Church on South Clay Street. They stole holy oil, wine, crosses and other religious items and the pastor says they also left behind about $30,000 in damages.

On Monday, Newschannel 3 spoke to a church member who said those same teems may be responsible for two other break-ins.

Members of the church have heard that two other locations were hit the same night they were. Meanwhile, the church is preparing to serve its first soup kitchen meal for those in need on Tuesday following the vandalism.

The vandals threw BBQ sauce and sprayed fire extinguishers throughout the church. Thanks to an army of volunteers, the church looks a lot different than it did.

“They came from everywhere,” said church member Bill Thiedeman, “I think every church in town called, we had donations.”

More here-

Priest and Pueblo attorney general interpret plea agreement in different ways

From Denver-

The Rev. Don Armstrong, who founded St. George's Anglican Church after he and his congregation lost the battle for the Grace Church building in Colorado Springs, called the disposition Friday of his criminal theft case "divine intervention."

Pueblo District Attorney Bill Thiebaut, whose office provided a special prosecutor, called the disposition "just." And the Episcopal Diocese of Colorado, which last year took back Grace Church in civil court from Armstrong after he became an Anglican priest, said the end of the criminal case would bring "healing to all those harmed by Armstrong's actions."

Yet reports and interpretation of the plea deal have created confusion.

Since 2009 Armstrong had faced 20 counts of felony theft, totaling $392,000, allegedly taken from his own Grace Church and St. Stephen's Parish.

The diocese accused him of criminal conduct, but most St. Stephen's parishioners supported Armstrong's denials of wrongdoing. Most also joined him in breaking away from the Episcopal Church in May 2007 to join theologically conservative Anglicans opposed to the ordination of openly gay or lesbian priests and same-sex marriage.

Armstrong, 61, and his attorney, Dennis Hartley, have said in statements and interviews recently that the charges were reduced to one "fictitious" count of misdemeanor theft. They called it close to a dismissal.

"It is still his contention he did nothing wrong," Hartley said Monday.

Read more:

Monday, September 20, 2010

An Anglican writes: Let's not run away with the idea of an all-powerful Pope

From The London Telegraph-

We Anglicans have a problem with authority. We variously accept the authority of God (well, most of us do), of scripture and even of Church tradition. But the authority of Church leaders tends to be a fairly pick-n-mix affair, with Anglican congregations tending to choose the authority that suits their desires and prejudices best. It’s why the Anglican Communion is an uneasy confederation of faith or even, at times, a sack of fighting ferrets.

Anglicans tend to assume that the Pope, by contrast, enjoys an absolute authority. Some, indeed, yearn for an equivalence in this schismatic, reformist tradition; a firm hand on the tiller of Anglican ecclesiology.

As it happens, I’ve been more than unusually busy on Anglican business over the past three days. While His Holiness has been on the exhausting round of an audience with our Supreme Governor (or was it the other way round?), an audience in Hyde Park that would have satisfied Sir Mick Jagger and the beatification of Cardinal Newman, I’ve been about rather more mundane church tasks – three eucharists, one memorial service, a sermon and a committal of ashes.

Where congregants have remarked on the Pope’s visit, it has usually been in the context of his authority: He should have done more about the child-abuse horror, he stops the developing world using condoms or he should tell his billion-plus followers to sort out the world. That sort of thing.

More here-

Anglican leaders to meet in Dublin

From Ireland-

The Archbishop of Canterbury, Dr Rowan Williams, who last week met Pope Benedict in England, has invited senior bishops from more than 160 countries to attend the primates’ meeting.

It will take place at the Emmaus retreat and conference centre in Swords, Dublin, between January 25 and 31, 2011.

The late Archbishop Donald Coggan of Canterbury established the primates’ meeting in 1978 as an opportunity for ‘‘leisurely thought, prayer and deep consultation’’.

Recent primates’ meetings have been held in Dares Salaam, Tanzania, in 2007 and Alexandria, Egypt, in 2009.

The last time Anglican leaders met in Ireland, some primates refused to take communion with others because of their deep divisions over issues such as the ordination of women bishops, the appointment of practising homosexuals as bishops and the blessing of same sex relationships.

Since the last meeting, the Episcopal Church of the United States has approved the election of a lesbian bishop in California, and several North American dioceses have authorised rites for the blessing of same-sex unions.

More here-

In a perilous time, president returns to a personal tone

From The LA Times-

An old cast of characters will appear in President Obama's speeches throughout the rest of the political season and beyond, an array of figures like his war veteran grandfather, his resourceful single mother and his physically disabled yet triumphant father-in-law.

Also appearing will be Barack Obama himself — not just the president intent on explaining his policies and plans, but also the man who introduced himself and his life story to Americans two years ago.

It's a subtle shift for White House message makers as they begin working more of the president's personal reflections into his speeches and appearances.

The strategy reflects an acknowledgement that the historic voter coalition that elected Obama in 2008 has frayed as his approval ratings have sagged. At the same time, as he spends more of his public time explaining national policies and problems, critics have moved in to try to define his personal story line, perhaps stoking unfounded suspicions that he is a Muslim or is not American-born, aides feel.

More here-,0,41486.story

Former Point Breeze teen still wonders about lost Mazeroski ball

Talk about a sad story - From The Pittsburgh Tribune-Review-

Andy Jerpe did not see Bill Mazeroski's home run, at least the part where Maz connects with Ralph Terry's second pitch in the bottom of the ninth inning of a tied Game 7 at Forbes Field. He did not see the squat form of Yogi Berra drifting back in left-centerfield, turning to play the ball off the wall, then watching forlornly as it sailed away to give the Pirates a stunning World Series victory over the mighty New York Yankees. He did not see Mazeroski rounding the bases, joyfully waving his helmet.

What Jerpe did see nearly 50 years ago was the ball materialize from the sky like a UFO and plunk down about 15 feet to his left from where he stood amid some cherry trees outside the ballpark, adjacent to Schenley Park.

"I picked up the ball and thought, 'Huh. Somebody hit a home run,' " Jerpe recalled over the phone from his home in Greenbelt, Md., last week. "Then I could tell something major happened by the reaction of the crowd. It was almost deafening. Everything was reverberating."

It was 3:36 p.m. Oct. 13, 1960, and Andy Jerpe had history's most famous World Series home run ball — and the whole wide world — in his 14-year-old hands.

More here-

Sunday, September 19, 2010

NFL players still turn to religion for solace

From The Pittsburgh Tribune review-

Adoring fans carried star safety Troy Polamalu on their shoulders — passing him off, one to another, as though they could live through his efforts.

Such adulation during the parade downtown honoring the Steelers after their victory in Super Bowl XL in 2006 might have given someone else a bloated sense of entitlement.

Polamalu? He flew to Greece, living for four days in a 1,500-year-old monastery with Greek Orthodox monks.

Polamalu, who is Greek Orthodox, had stepped back to wonder what the victory and accompanying fame meant. He was unimpressed.

"Oh, OK, I won a Super Bowl," he said. "So what? I didn't have that fulfillment like what God could provide for me."

Polamalu is one of several Steelers who make religion and prayer a way of life while engaging in a sport that rewards brutality. It is such a part of the Steelers' culture that Polamalu and other defensive backs pray in a huddle between each series. Back in the locker room, a small carton of scripture books, entitled "Our Daily Bread," sits on a shelf next to a box of footballs.

"Nowhere in the Bible does it say that followers of Christ are soft," safety Ryan Clark said. "If you think of some of the stories in the Bible, some of the strongest, hardest and most sacrificial men were men of Christ."

More here-

House of Bishops Daily Account for Saturday, September 18, 2010

From ELO-

he House of Bishops of The Episcopal Church is meeting in Phoenix, Arizona (Diocese of Arizona) from Sept. 16 to Sept. 21. The following is an account of the activities for Saturday, Sept. 18, 2010

Bishop Tom Ely of the Diocese of Vermont presented a meditation on "What is God up to in our midst concerning same-sex blessings." Noting Vermont was the first state to recognize civil unions, an event that happened prior to his consecration, he never knew a time as bishop when blessings were not permitted. Not all were comfortable but the diocese has maintained mutual respect, education and pastoral care. "If we live in the spirit, let us walk in the spirit," he cited.

Bishop John Bauerschmidt of the Diocese of Tennessee pointed out that Nashville is sometimes called "the buckle in the bible belt." Nonetheless, the diocese is comprised of a diverse population, with support as well as concern about same-sex blessings. In Tennessee there is awareness that no consensus is apparent in society. Most pressing to most people in Diocese of Tennessee, he said, is the need to remain together in common life in the midst of difference, realizing it will be hard work, "but the commitment is made."

The Rev. Dr. Ruth Meyers, chair of the Standing Commission on Liturgy and Music, spoke of [General Convention Resolution] C056, which directs SCLM to consult with the HOB as it collects and develops resources for same-sex blessings. A report on resources gathered will be presented at General Convention 2012. SCLM is working on four areas: Theological resources; Liturgical resources; Pastoral and Teaching resources; and Canonical and Legal considerations.

More here-

New bishop picked for Episcopal diocese

From Springfield-

The Rev. Daniel H. Martins was chosen as the 11th bishop-elect of the Springfield Episcopal Diocese after the third ballot Saturday.

Martins received 38 clergy and 42 laity ballots in the third round of voting, needing 25 and 38 in each respective category to be bishop-elect. However, the process is far from finalized.

“There is a process, which is in our constitution and canon, that he now goes through the consent process,” said the Rev. Christopher Ashmore, rector of Trinity Church in Jacksonville.

The process calls for a majority of U.S. bishops and Standing Committees to consent to the vote during a 120-day period following Martins’ election, Ashmore said.

Martins may have difficulty getting consent if he sticks with his conservative views on same-sex unions and gay clergy.

Ashmore said there was an overarching feeling of doing God’s work within the Cathedral Church of St. Paul, 815 S. Second St., where the election took place.

More here-

election results are here-

Bishop's return puts church in a quandary

From The Philadelphia Inquirer-

The pews were filling at Boothwyn's Trinity Episcopal Church last Sunday when the rector and vicar found themselves in a quandary.

Bishop Charles E. Bennison Jr. was making his first parish visit in the Diocese of Pennsylvania since 2007, when he was suspended for ignoring his brother's sex abuse of a teen girl decades ago. Acquitted by a church appeals court over the summer, he was back in charge.

Minutes before Bennison was to process into the sanctuary, the two priests lugged the oak bishop's chair across the chancel and placed it at the bottom of the altar steps.

They studied it, exchanged whispers, then hoisted it up the stairs to the altar.

Again they studied it, scratched their heads, and carried it back down.

The scene was emblematic of the question vexing many in the Episcopal Church:

Where does Bishop Bennison belong?

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