He said everything must be done to ensure that the decision made by the majority of people in the country's presidential run-off was respected and not subverted.
Cote d'Ivoire is in a political stalemate as President Gbagbo refuses to concede power to Mr. Allasane Ouattara, who has been recognized by the United Nations (UN), United States (US), European Union (EU) and the sub-regional body ECOWAS as the winner of the poll.
Bishop Yinkah Sarfo said true democracy should be allowed to take firm root in Africa and that any talk about power sharing should be repudiated.
He was addressing the opening session of the 15th Synod of the Diocesan Anglican Church in Kumasi on Wednesday. The four-day synod is under the theme: 'God's people for God's mission, Stewardship' and is being held at the Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology (KNUST).
Bishop Yinkah Sarfo said it was important that Ghana drew lessons from what was happening in the sister country and ensure further strengthening of the capacity of the Electoral Commission. He also advised that elections should not become 'a do or die affair', and that those, who put themselves up for elective offices, must accept the reality that there would always be winners and losers.
This is TELL ME MORE from NPR News. I'm Michel Martin.
We'll hear what stories caught your ear this week in our Backtalk segment. That's just ahead.
But, first, Faith Matters. That's where we talk about matters of faith and spirituality. And today we want to talk about the people most people rely upon, even in this increasingly secular country to sanctify marriages, welcome children and memorialize those who've passed away. They are faith leaders, members of the clergy. And it's a job that can have them on call 24 hours a day, seven days a week, 365 days a year.
And usually, despite what you may have seen and heard about the various scandals, for pretty modest pay. How do you get there, though? How does it happen that people choose this way of life? A new two-part documentary that premieres on PBS on Monday night tells the story of seven young people, both men and women, and how they found and pursued their calling. It is called "The Calling." It's part of the PBS series "Independent Lens."
Joining us to talk more about it executive producer Daniel Alpert. Also with us is one of the seven people profiled in the film. She is Jeneen Robinson, a newly ordained minister in Los Angeles for the African Methodist Episcopal Church. Thank you both so much for joining us.
Mr. DANIEL ALPERT (Executive Producer, "The Calling"): Thanks for having us.
MARTIN: So, Daniel, I have to ask you, first, what drew you to this story?
Mr. ALPERT: Well, I think my history with this project goes back a long, long way. When I was a young man, I did consider becoming a rabbi. I woke up about four months before I was to enter a pre-rabbinical program, sitting up - I don't know if this has ever happened to you before - you actually open your eyes, you're sitting up, realizing that that wasn't the path for me. But it certainly always left me with that what if question.
A former Episcopal priest removed from the church after accusations of involvement with druidic activities has resurfaced with his own small, non-denominational congregation.
The Rev. William Melnyk, former rector of St. James Episcopal Church in Downingtown, resigned from the church in late 2004 amid investigations that he and his wife, the Rev. Glyn Ruppe-Melnyk, wrote two druidic ceremonies as suggestions for women's liturgies. The druids were a Celtic sect that predates Christianity.
At the conclusion of the investigation, Bishop Charles E. Bennison declined to suspend the two priests from the church.
Ruppe-Melnyk still serves as the rector of St. Francis-in-the-Fields Episcopal Church in Willistown.
Melnyk said recently that Bishop Bennision agreed to reinstate him if Melnyk could agree to not write or speak about Celtic spirituality. Melnyk said he could not agree to those terms and that it became evident earlier this year that his reinstatement was not going to happen.
"So I then thought, here's an opportunity to do church the way I think it ought to be done," Melnyk said.
So in July, Melnyk began St. Brendan of the Ninth Wave, where he practices what he calls Celtic Christianity.
Re: Susan Martinuk's Dec. 3 column, Anglican Church abandoned its parishioners.
There is an old saying there are two sides to any story.
Susan Martinuk's column "Anglican Church abandoned its parishioners" unfortunately tells only one side of the story of the parish of St. John the Evangelist in Calgary, which has been making news with its decision to leave the Anglican fold and join the Roman Catholic Church.
I am expressing a personal viewpoint, but one as a lifetime Anglican, with Anglo-Catholic roots who experienced eight formative years as a lay leader at St. John's in the 1970s and '80s. From 1981 to 1985 I was the religion writer at the Calgary Herald.
I have kept in touch with the parish since then, and preached the sermon at St. John's Centennial in 2005.
While Martinuk suggests St. John's departure from the Anglican Church of Canada might represent a reverse Protestant reformation, that gives it far more significance than it deserves.
I am sad for a parish that has been ill-served by some of its clergy in recent years and has moved to a very narrow conservative theology which is not in keeping with Anglicanism or Anglo-Catholicism.
St. John's can hardly be said to be thriving, yet there are much larger, thriving Anglo-Catholic parishes in Toronto and Vancouver which remain within the Anglican Church of Canada.
An Anglican Church Disciplinary Board says it cannot understand why criminal proceedings were not taken against a New South Wales priest, they think should be defrocked.
The Newcastle Anglican Diocese Professional Standards Board is recommending Reverend Andrew Duncan be defrocked for alleged sex acts with a 14 year old boy in 1979.
The Board found the alleged abuse continued for seven years, mainly in the Riverina in southern New South Wales.
Reverend Duncan refused to take part in the Board's hearing, despite repeated requests to do so.
In handing down his findings, the Board President, Colin Elliott said the alleged victim's evidence was so compelling and profound that the Board found it difficult to understand why criminal proceedings were not taken.
In addition to Reverend Duncan, the Board is recommending two other priests, and a church worker be stripped of their holy duties in relation to their alleged dealings with the same teenager.
Police referred the matter to the Director of Public Prosecutions but a criminal investigation has been ruled out at this stage.
Meanwhile, Newcastle's Anglican Bishop, Brian Farran has been stopped from acting on a recommendation to defrock Reverend Graeme Sturt, until Supreme Court proceedings are finalised.
Reverend Sturt contested the Professional Standards Board's recommendation that he be deposed for watching alleged sex acts against the same teenager in a motel room at Narrandera in southern New South Wales.
Reverend Sturt denies the misconduct allegations and says he has no memory of even being at the Riverina conference where the alleged incident is said to have occurred.
His lawyer argued that the Board failed to observe the requirements of procedural fairness when recommending the sanction.
TWO Anglican priests, including retired dean of Newcastle Reverend Graeme Lawrence, will mount damages claims against Newcastle Anglican diocese in February after a NSW Supreme Court judge agreed yesterday that the diocese had a case to answer over its handling of disciplinary proceedings against the two men.
The diocese agreed to an order not to proceed further with sanctions against Reverend Lawrence and Reverend Graeme Sturt until a hearing of the issues in February, following professional standards board hearings against four clergy and a church worker this week.
The hearings against Reverend Lawrence and Reverend Sturt related to breach of trust issues. Both men denied the allegations.
In the Supreme Court yesterday before Justice Patricia Bergin, SC, the two priests filed a claim seeking an order quashing professional standards board determinations made against them on Wednesday.
They will seek to have the determinations ruled invalid, a declaration that the professional standards board failed to observe procedural fairness, that the diocese be permanently restrained from giving effect to the determination, and damages.
The solicitor for the two men, John Woodward, said the damages claim related to the publishing and distribution of the board's determinations to the public and media after Wednesday's hearing.
AFTER seven years of service as bishop of the Ballarat Anglican diocese, Michael Hough will conduct his final Ballarat service this afternoon.
Yesterday, the 57-year-old recalled some of his highlights during his ministry.
"I think Anglicans are prouder for being Anglican now than they were seven years ago," Bishop Hough said.
"The old reputation of the Anglican church in Ballarat was as an old- fashioned, conservative, traditional and male-dominated church and I think while we're still traditionalist we're very modern as well and that's what I take great pride in," he said.
The bishop experienced a number of challenges this year with calls for him to resign after concerns his leadership had failed.
He said his departure from the diocese was to save the church from its ongoing battles.
He said he was not satisfied with the way in which the church had handled the situation.
"We don't need to fight those things," Bishop Hough said.
"The church should be focused on the poor and the marginalised, not on internal fighting.
"At the last general synod the church said it had done it all wrong."
The heads of Christian churches in Jerusalem, including Anglican Bishop Suheil Dawani, have issued a joint Christmas message for 2010 condemning violence in any form and saying that peace and reconciliation requires the active participation of people of faith.
DIPLOMATIC fears that the creation of the Ordinariate might lead to violence against Roman Catholics in the UK are “completely wrong” and a misreading of the situation, said one of the Bishops leaving the Church of England.
The WikiLeaks website published secret cables revealing details of a conversation between the British ambassador to the Vatican, Francis Campbell, and the United States’ deputy chief of mission to the Holy See, Julieta Valls Noyes.
The pair spoke after the Arch bishop of Canterbury met the Pope in November 2009 (News, 27 November 2009), after the Vatican’s surprise invitation to traditionalists to secede to the Roman Catholic Church while retaining their Anglican “patrimony”.
The Bishop of Ebbsfleet, the Rt Revd Andrew Burnham, announced last month that he was leaving the Church of England to join the Ordinariate, together with four other bishops. He said this week that he thought from the WikiLeaks disclosures that Mr Campbell was either joking or “he feared for a bigger reaction than was going to happen.”
The cables report Mr Campbell — a Roman Catholic who has been ambassador at the Vatican for five years — as saying: “The crisis is worrisome for England’s small, mostly Irish-origin, Catholic minority. There is still latent anti-Catholicism in some parts of England and it may not take much to set it off.” He allegedly warned: “The out come could be discrimination or in, isolated cases, even violence against this minority.”
Prosecutors say they are seeking about $291,000 in restitution from the pastor of a dissident Anglican church.
Don Armstrong of St. George's Anglican Church in Colorado Springs previously led Grace Episcopal Church and St. Stephen's Parish but left the Episcopal Diocese of Colorado in 2007 after allegations of financial misconduct surfaced.
He was accused of stealing about $400,000 from his former church to fund his children's education. Armstrong has said it was a bookkeeping issue and that no money disappeared.
He pleaded no contest to felony theft in September and entered an Alford plea to a misdemeanor theft count, acknowledging a jury might convict him. He and his new church still say he's innocent.
Episcopal News Monthly, a newspaper printed in conjunction with diocesan partners, and Episcopal News Quarterly, a supplement to certain diocesan quarterly news magazines, will cease publication with the January 2011 issues.
The final issues of both publications, which will be produced before Christmas, mark the end of the Episcopal Church's 50 years as a newspaper publisher. Episcopal News Service will continue to operate online, offering a mix of news stories, commentary, photos and video reports. The ENS website is due for a major redesign in 2011.
ENS, a descendant of the Diocesan Press Service that once mailed Episcopal Church news releases to communicators, also offers an e-mailed daily digest of the news that was posted online that day, along with other daily features. Reader can subscribe here.
"Diversion of our very limited staff and resources to support these publications is now impacting the news gathering and dissemination for the wider church," said Anne Rudig, director of the Episcopal Church's Office of Communication. "Discontinuing the print publications will allow the news team to ramp up the coverage for the online news service."
The Rev. Mary Frances Schjonberg, outgoing ENM and ENQ editor, thanked the publications' subscribers and other readers.
"I am grateful for their participation in this first and last year of the two publications and we hope to see them all online," she said. "I and my colleagues also appreciate the relationships we have had with our printing partners and communicators. We look forward to continuing to collaborate on our mission to tell the church's story and help spread the gospel."
PRIESTS in Australia's new Anglican Ordinariate will celebrate mass facing east, away from their congregations, using 500-year old liturgies.
Archbishop John Hepworth, Primate of the Traditional Anglican Communion, said the traditional sacred liturgies -- more in the language of Shakespeare than modern vernacular -- would be held in parishes in all capital cities, the Gold and Sunshine coasts, Rockhampton and Torres Strait.
The process took a major step forward yesterday when Archbishop Hepworth and Catholic Bishop Peter Elliott announced the establishment of an Australian Ordinariate implementation committee comprising senior Catholic, Anglican and TAC clergy. The committee will finalise details of the Ordinariate at a two-day meeting at St Stephen's College, Coomera, on the Gold Coast, in early February. The Ordinariate will be established by Easter or Pentecost, in accordance with the invitation Anglicanorum Coetibus (on groups of Anglicans) issued by Pope Benedict.
The mass-conversions in Britain, Canada, the US and other English-speaking countries have been spurred on by conflicts within the Anglican church over women priests and bishops and controversies over traditional doctrines such as the divinity of Christ and the virgin birth.
From Cleveland- (He was a terrific man and one of the greatest pitchers of all time)
Bob Feller, the brilliant pitcher who is the only Cleveland pro athlete to be immortalized with a statue, died Wednesday night of complications from leukemia at age 92. Feller died at 9:15 p.m. on Wednesday night, according to Bob DiBiasio, the Indians vice president of public relations.
The Hall of Famer hurled 266 victories, most in Indians history, from 1936 to 1956, despite losing almost four years at the peak of his powers after enlisting in the Navy during World War II.
Before free agency, great players such as Feller could spend their whole careers with one team. Feller spent most of his life with the Indians. He put on an Indians uniform for the first time at 17 when he made his big league in 1936. He was still wearing one as late as June, when he attended an old-timers game in Cooperstown, N.Y. Every March he threw out the first pitch to start the Indians' spring training schedule.
The Episcopal Church Standing Commission on Liturgy and Music is inviting input and comments about a possible revision of The Hymnal 1982.
According to a press release from the church's Office of Public Affairs, an online survey is now available to engage the entire church in a discussion of whether the church's main hymnal needs revision, the Rev. Ruth Meyers, commission chair, said in the release. The survey is here.
"We have established this survey as part of the Episcopal Church's ongoing work with liturgical materials and in compliance to Resolution B004 as approved at General Convention 2009," Meyers said. "This is important work in the life of our church and we are grateful for participation as our church embraces this task."
Resolution B004 "authorize(s) Church Publishing Incorporated, working with the Standing Commission on Liturgy and Music, to conduct a feasibility study on the need for revision of The Hymnal 1982 by speaking to congregations, dioceses and all seminaries of this church, and to report its findings to the 77th General Convention."
Church Publishing, which began as the Church Hymnal Corp., is the authorized publisher of worship materials and resources for the Episcopal Church. Its first title was The Hymnal 1918, which is still in print, according to Church Publishing's website.
The survey, coordinated by the Church Pension Fund's Office of Research, will be available online until January 31.
An Episcopal clergyman, the Rev. Prince T. Wreh, says unlike other institutions where the heads expect people to serve them, leaders of the Episcopal Church should serve as servants of those they lead.
In his message to seven ordained leaders including deacons and priests of the Good Shepherd Episcopal Church in Paynesville, outside Monrovia, on December 21, 2010, Clergyman Wreh said, it was a difficult undertaking for one to be a leader in a church.
“Remember that as a leader in a church, some of the members will falsely implicate you and despise you,” Rev. Wreh pointed out.
He asked: “Are you ready to face these enormous conditions as you are forsaking other things that would make life better for you”?
The Episcopal Clergyman also cautioned that for anyone to serve the church, it does not necessarily require the person's academic intellectualism.
“It depends on one's willingness to adhere to meeting the needs of the congregation,” he stressed.
In addition, Rev. Wreh said a called minister always remembers his ordination vow and walks in chalk line with it in order to keep him/her on track.
He told the newly ordained Deacons and Priests that the call of God was not in agreement with traditional culture of people but has its own obligations.
“I am not frightening you as you become leaders. The world is full of troubles, while serving as a deacon or priest, you will face some of the challenges,” he added.
Imagine if President Barack Obama decided to drop in on the Middle Keys. That's That's what Rev. Debra Maconaughey, minister at Marathon's St. Columba Episcopal Church, is likening to this Sunday's visit from Katharine Jefferts Schori.
Jefferts, 56, is the presiding bishop of the Episcopal Church in the U.S. and the first woman elected as a "primate" of the Anglican Communion in this country. She'll be arriving in Marathon Saturday evening and preaching at the church's worship service Sunday morning.
"The first thing is we're really excited. We were very surprised and happy that she is coming. Even though we're a very small church we thought she'd be interested," Maconaughey said. "This is a huge deal."
Maconaughey says Jefferts' visit to the Keys is more like the president than the pope in that the office is an elected position and applies only to the U.S.
Maconaughey said the idea to invite Jefferts has been six to seven months in the making. It began when church members were discussing recent projects the church has taken part in.
The Anglican Bishop of Newcastle has been urged to strip two priests of their holy orders, including one who has served in the upper echelons of the church.
The Newcastle Diocese Professional Standards Board is holding hearings focussing on an alleged sex incident in a motel room in Narrandera in 1984.
The Board found the former Dean of Newcastle, The Very Reverend Graeme Lawrence was involved in sex acts with a 19 year old boy.
The Board found another priest, Reverend Graeme Leslie Sturt watched on, before making advances to a 17 year old boy.
But the 17 year old told the Board he has no memory of the incident because he was drunk. The Board has recommended that the Reverend Sturt and the Very Reverend Graeme Lawrence be deposed from holy orders, saying both have brought disgrace to the church.
The Reverends Lawrence and Sturt refused to take part in the hearings, but deny the allegations. The President of the Professional Standards Board, Colin Elliot said the Very Reverend Lawrence is seen as a pillar in the community but stressed profound consequences must flow for his conduct, which he says also involved sending explicit letters.
The community held a fundraiser for the former Dean when he retired in 2008.
The Anglican Bishop of Newcastle, Brian Farran is considering the Board's recommendations and has declined to comment.
Rev. KEVIN FLYNN is an Anglican priest and director of the Anglican studies program at Saint Paul University.
No. What Christians, and Anglicans in particular, do believe in is that God is the God of life. The book of Genesis describes God as blowing the breath of life into the nostrils of the human creature. That is, life is a gift from God. With life comes the gift of freedom. The God who gives these gifts is a faithful God, one who will never abandon the creation.
The Christian believes that in Jesus’ dying and rising from the dead an altogether new dimension has been added to what we have understood life to be. We believe that God is faithful not only in life, but also in death and beyond death.
Clearly we have a distinct shortage of accurate information about what might await us on the other side of death. We can say that what counts is that we meet anything now in life or in death along with Christ.
Whatever comes next for us, comes with him. A human being is an indivisible combination of matter and spirit. We do not know this combination will be preserved and changed. We do believe that the loving and faithful God will not abandon us.
Historically, belief in ghosts covers beings variously described as revenants, angels, devils, fairies, will-o’-the-wisps, etc. Cultural context, with its prevailing philosophy, theology and science, determines much of how people experience and describe the sense of connection with the dead. The Christian belief that the whole person is to receive life in final and definitive form means that our co-existence with other people is also part of eternity. Christian imagination, prayer and reflection focus on this communion of the saints. Rather than disembodied spirits, shades or bits of psychic detritus, we are nourished by images of eternity as a banquet or a wedding party.
The Anti-Defamation League called the plan to build a Muslim community and prayer center two blocks from ground zero “counterproductive to the healing process.” Catholic Archbishop Timothy Dolan suggested the mosque’s developers find another site. But while some in the religious world equivocated, the leaders pictured here unambiguously defended the project. Some supported the mayor at his August 3 press conference denouncing opposition to the mosque. Others joined in an interfaith statement made in Washington, D.C., in September. They all spoke from their pulpits.
“All of a sudden it was respectable for people to be attacking Muslims as a part of the political debate leading up to an election,” says Rabbi Eric Yoffie, president of the Union for Reform Judaism. “To me, that was an extraordinary change.” “I think it’s an extremely dangerous thing to create divisions between people,” says Bishop Mark S. Sisk, of the Episcopal Diocese of New York, who believes most of those who opposed the mosque were non–New Yorkers. If anyone could be expected to have a problem with the Park51 plan, it might be Father Mark Arey, the ecumenical officer of the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America. His church, St. Nicholas, was crushed by the collapse of the World Trade Center’s South Tower on September 11, 2001, and the Port Authority has yet to clear the way for it to be rebuilt. But when Arey started getting calls asking, “Aren’t you people outraged that they’re building a mosque, and you can’t rebuild your church?” his answer was always the same: “We support freedom of religion, period.”
St. Matthew's Anglican Church in Abbotsford is among four parishes that are filing an appeal with Canada's highest court.
Trustees from the four churches have instructed their legal counsel to file an appeal to the Supreme Court of Canada, in response to a B.C. Court of Appeal decision reached on Nov. 15. The application must be submitted by Jan. 14.
Last month's decision removed the parishes' rights to use their church buildings, because they are using their properties outside the jurisdiction of the Diocese of New Westminster.
The two sides have been in conflict over the issue of same-sex blessings. The churches have maintained that the blessings are contrary to core Anglican doctrine, while the diocese supports them.
The churches broke away from the Anglican Church of Canada – to which the diocese belongs – to join the Anglican Network in Canada in February 2008.
Nominations for membership on seven bodies or positions to be elected at the Episcopal Church's General Convention in 2012 are now being accepted by the Joint Standing Committee on Nominations.
Bishops, priests, deacons and lay persons may be nominated, according to a press release from the church's Office of Public Affairs. The nominees are not required to be current or former General Convention deputies.
The elections will be held during the 77th meeting of General Convention July 5 - 12, 2012 in Indianapolis, Indiana.
Deadline for nominations is February 22, 2011.
The positions up for election are: Disciplinary Board for Bishops: two lay persons and two priests or deacons elected by the House of Deputies; 10 bishops elected by the House of Bishops; six-year terms.
Executive Council: six lay persons, two priests or deacons, two bishops; six-year terms. General Board of Examining Chaplains: three lay persons, three faculty members of theological seminaries or other educational institutions, three priests or deacons with pastoral cures or specialized ministries, two bishops; six-year terms. (House of Bishops elects; House of Deputies confirms.)
Secretary of the House of Deputies: one position; three-year term. Treasurer of the General Convention: one position; three-year term. Trustee of the Church Pension Fund: twelve positions; six-year terms. Trustee of General Theological Seminary: two lay persons and two priests or deacons, elected by the House of Deputies; two bishops elected by the House of Bishops; three-year term. More information about each office and details about service in each office are available here.
Bishop Louis Muvunyi, was, yesterday, consecrated as the next Anglican Bishop of Kigali Diocese at a colourful event that was attended by all members of the Rwandan Protestant Council and top government officials.
Munvunyi, who has been the principal of Kigali Anglican Theological College replaces, Emmanuel Kolini, who retired at the age of 65, as required by the Canterbury constitution.
Reading out the Bishop's Charge, Muvunyi congratulated his predecessor for his achievements and vowed to carry on the cross to spur the church further.
"I will emphasize the expansion of the Anglican church in Rwanda through construction of new churches and preaching the gospel of God," Muvunyi said.
"We will continue promoting unity and reconciliation among Rwandans, fight against HIV/Aids and poverty as well as promoting education and empowering youth."
The outgoing bishop, Kolini, thanked the team he worked with for the time he spent in office and attributed much of his success to his wife and children.
"Much has been done but we couldn't accomplish everything; whatever is remaining will be accomplished by Muvunyi," he said.
President Obama’s visit to Forsyth Technical Community College in Winston-Salem, N.C., gave a priest a short-notice opportunity to pray the invocation.
Gary Green, president of Forsyth Tech, is a member of St. Timothy’s Church, Winston-Salem, and invited his rector, the Rev. Stephen C. Rice, to offer the prayer. Fr. Rice wrote about the experience on his weblog, theologia habitus est.
“The student body president of FTCC was to lead the Pledge of Allegiance,” he wrote. “She was nervous and the staffer kissed her on the head and said, ‘You’ll be fabulous.’ When it was my turn, I looked at him and asked, ‘Are you going to kiss me?’ He looked at me and said, ‘No, Father, I’m not.’”
During his visit to the school Dec. 6, President Obama warned of a possible new “Sputnik moment” in which the United States lags behind other nations in science and technology. Obama noted that Forsyth Tech offers programs in biotechnology, mechanical engineering technology and nanotechnology.
“When Forsyth Technical opened 50 years ago, it was known as Forsyth County Industrial Education Center,” Obama said. “Of course, back then, you didn’t even need a degree to earn a decent living. You could get a job at a local tobacco or textile plant and still be able to provide for yourself and your family.”
In his invocation, Fr. Rice compared Winston-Salem to the Salem described in Genesis:
“In our story of faith, Abraham, the father of many, greeted the King of Salem and was blessed by him; for he was a priest of the Most High,” he prayed. “This vision of Salem is still our hope. The promise for all to have a home of peace and love is made alive in our longing. We are thankful, O God, to live in a country where hope is not crushed, peace is pursued, and where faith is fostered. We are thankful, O God, to live in a city that bears the name Salem, that place that patriarchs and psalmists viewed as a holy hope. As Abraham went to the King of Salem seeking blessing, we have come here, honored by the visit of our President, seeking your blessing, O Lord. Bless with your guidance and wisdom our President, our Congress and all in authority in this and every land. And bless, we beseech you, this city of Salem. May we long for all that is good, right, and just. And in our longing, may we have the strength and courage to seek it. This we ask in you who is always with us. Amen.”
Hall of Fame pitcher Bob Feller has been transferred from Cleveland Clinic to a Cleveland hospice.
Feller, 92, was given a diagnosis of acute myeloid leukemia in August and has had numerous health problems, Bob DiBiasio, the Indians' vice president of public relations, told the Cleveland Plain Dealer. He experienced vertigo during chemotherapy and, in October, was given a pacemaker. He recently entered Cleveland Clinic with pneumonia and thrush, an infection of the mouth and throat.
Feller, who was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 1962, won 266 games and pitched three no-hitters.
On Saturday afternoon organist James Lenney fired up Trinity Episcopal Church's renovated organ, an added row of pipes now allowing the instrument to emit dramatically lower tones, as well as softer, lighter sounds.
With the church music in the background, around a dozen Cranford residents toured the renovated sanctuary, a project that took several years to complete, at an open house event. The sanctuary officially opened for services on Dec. 5.
"It feels like you're back home again when you're in the church," said Warden Marion Nechuta, adding that the congregation attended services in the hall adjacent to the sanctuary for the past few years, prayer books and hymnals balanced on their knees.
Jeff Henry's long journey of faith has brought him full circle, not only back to the church in which he was baptized as an infant but also back to serving God. When he's ordained at the Cathedral of the Blessed Sacrament on June 4, he will become the Sacramento Catholic Diocese's first converted, married priest.
"This will be new for us," said Bishop Jaime Soto. "I announced it to our priests on Monday, and they're very excited. They were curious but very welcoming of the idea. I think it will be an adventure not just for Jeff and his wife but for us."
With Peg, his wife of 26 years, at his side, Henry called their grown daughter when he learned two weeks ago that the Vatican has approved his application to become a Roman Catholic priest.
"I said, 'Guess what? I'm going to be a father again,' " said Henry, 51, a former Lutheran minister who lives in Vacaville.
The ordination of gay clergy continues to create tension within Christian denominations in America.
The Presbyterian Church (USA), United Methodist Church, United Church of Christ, Episcopal Church, Lutheran Church Missouri Synod and the American Baptist Church USA have experienced tremendous internal discord over the issue.
But perhaps the most dynamic schism today involving gay ordination is within the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA).
Last month, St. Luke’s Lutheran Church in Colorado Springs publicly announced it had left the ELCA. Bethel Lutheran and Faith Lutheran have also quit the denomination.
“The ELCA was going in a different direction,” Bethel Lutheran pastor John Witkop said. “The ordination of gay clergy got us talking (about leaving).”
The ELCA has about 10,000 U.S. churches, and since early 2009, 291 have left to align with other Lutheran denominations, according to ELCA records.
While the number is relatively small, ELCA defectors have moved faster than any other dissenting group to re-organize.
In October, Archbishop Jerome Listecki ordained Russell Arnett, a married former Episcopal priest, to the deaconate.
Next spring, Arnett will be ordained a priest of the Roman Catholic Church. I am confident he will be as effective in his ministry as a Catholic priest as he was as an Episcopal priest.
Such ordinations are no longer unusual. Since the 1980s the Catholic Church in the United States has ordained more than 100 such married men — all clergy from other denominations: Lutheran, Episcopal, Methodist and Presbyterian.
This welcome development in acknowledging the possibility that the Holy Spirit can call an individual to both marriage and priesthood begs the question as to why this dual vocation is not possible to a man who is born and baptized as a Catholic. I wonder.
Celibacy for clergy began in monasticism, as men and women took vows of poverty, celibacy and obedience in order to give themselves completely in a life of service to Christ and his Church, while forming religious orders (communities), like our beloved Capuchin brothers and priests, and Agnesian sisters. Celibacy was mandated for secular (diocesan) priests in the Middle Ages.
Chances are that if you are in your 20s or 30s, you are not hanging around a church.
Polling is now a highly sophisticated industry, and religious organizations are being fed some irrefutable numbers about what is happening among their constituents.
In a single generation, the Christian church dropout rate has increased fivefold. The Barna Group, a leading research organization focusing on the intersection of faith and culture, says 80 percent of the young people raised in a church will be "disengaged" before they are 30.
In the past 20 years, the number of American people who say they have no religion has doubled and has now reached 15 percent. Those numbers are concentrated in the under-30 population. The polling data continue to show that a dramatic exit is taking place from American Christian churches.
Beyond the polls, denominations across the board are acknowledging loss of membership, but it is worse than they are reporting. Many churches report numbers based on baptized constituents, yet Sunday morning attendance doesn't come close to those numbers.