Saturday, February 12, 2011

Episcopal Church Presiding Bishop’s office notifies Diocese of West Missouri of successful canonical consent process

From West Missouri-

The Office of Episcopal Church Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori has notified the Diocese of West Missouri that Bishop-Elect Martin Scott Field has received the required majority of consents in the canonical consent process.

Ordination and Consecration of
The Very Reverend Martin S. Field

Saturday, March 5
11:00 a.m. - Ordination and installation service
1:00 p.m. - Post-ordination reception

Sunday, March 6
10:15 a.m. - Welcome and seating at
Grace and Holy Trinity Cathedral

More here-

Colchester vicar happy to remain with Church of England

From The BBC-

An Anglican priest has been explaining his reasons for not defecting to the Roman Catholic Church.

In January it was revealed up to 300 Essex Anglicans and seven vicars could join the Ordinariate set up by Pope Benedict XVI for disaffected clergy.

Father Richard Tillbrook of St Barnabus Church in Colchester said he had thought long and hard about the offer.

"I have made my decision to stay because I love the Church of England," he said.
"I pray the new synod may well understand more fully the need to have provision within the Church of England for our sacramental surety and what it's all about."

Anglicans, some opposed to developments including women bishops, gay clergy and same-sex blessings, can enter the Ordinariate to convert to Rome while maintaining many of their own traditions.

Anglican diocese asks for end to costly property battle

From Vancouver-

The Vancouver-area Anglican diocese asked the Supreme Court of Canada on Friday to end a bitter legal dispute over church property and Christian theology that was first heard in 2008.

The Diocese of New Westminster asked the nation's top court to refuse to hear an appeal launched by conservative dissident Anglicans at four congregations, including the large parish of St. John's Shaughnessy in Vancouver.

Three B.C. Appeal Court judges ruled unanimously last year to uphold a lower court decision that the defecting Anglicans do not have the right to control the sanctuaries and property, since the churches properly belong to the national denomination.

Charging that the dissidents' lawsuit is costing the Anglican Church hundreds of thousands of dollars in wasted legal fees, the Vancouver-area diocese said the property battle does not have national significance, since it does not set a precedent for other religious organizations.

Read more:

Pastors Propose Church Split

From Florida-

As surely as the sun comes up, religious folks are going to feud with one another. The feuds are often fiercest within denominations, among people who are supposed to be on the same doctrinal page.

The so-called mainline Protestant denominations -- Episcopal, Evangelical Lutheran, United Methodist, Presbyterian (USA) churches -- have had internal feuds for more than 30 years now over the role of gays. They agree that gays can be members of congregations, but when it comes to placing them in leadership roles or performing marriage (or blessing) ceremonies for them, then the shooting starts.

By and large these denominations officially have held to traditional teachings, prohibiting the ordination of gays or the blessing of their relationships, although they have not always been enforced. But over the years many or most of their more conservative pastors and congregations have given up the fight and split off. They either became independent or joined more conservative denominations.

In the case of the Episcopal Church, a group of conservative pastors and churches recently organized themselves into a new denomination. Now, it appears, a group within my own denomination, the Presbyterian Church (USA), is poised to do the same.

Last week, an informal group of 45 pastors, most from large churches, issued an open letter to the denomination, accompanied by a white paper. In the documents, they gave an account of their complaints, their despair over resolving the issue, their longing for theological consensus. And they laid out a proposal that sketches the outlines of a new "fellowship," which looks very much like a loosely connected denomination.

More here-

Amid music and prayer, Episcopalians, Moravians inaugurate full communion

From ENS-

With an evening Eucharist Feb. 10 that blended elements of the liturgical and musical practices of both traditions, representatives of the Episcopal Church and the two provinces of the Moravian Church in North America formally inaugurated a full-communion relationship between the denominations.

The service at Central Moravian Church in downtown Bethlehem, Pennsylvania, the seat of the Moravian Church's Northern Province, included a newly written Liturgy for Christian Unity from the Moravian Book of Worship and an Eucharistic prayer adapted from the 4th century liturgy attributed to St. Basil the Great (The Book of Common Prayer's Eucharistic Prayer D). Most of the hymns came from the Moravian Book of Worship and while some hymns are also found in the Episcopal Church's 1982 hymnal, many were unique to the Moravian tradition.

For a video report from the inaugural Eucharist, click here. A photo gallery is here.

Close to a dozen Episcopal bishops, bishops of the Northern and Southern Provinces of the Moravian Church, members of the Episcopal Church's Standing Commission on Ecumenical Relations and the Moravian-Episcopal Dialogue (the group that guided the development of the full-communion proposal), and representatives from ecumenical partners and from the Anglican Church of Canada participated in the Eucharist. A near-capacity congregation filled Central Moravian Church.

Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori and Moravian Provincial Elders Conference presidents, the Rev. Dr. Elizabeth D. Miller (Northern Province) and the Rev. David Guthrie (Southern Province) officiated at the service.

More here-

The Episcopal Church recognizes Southern Sudan

From The Examiner-

With nearly 99% of the vote going for independence for the southern part of Sudan, Southern Sudan will now wait for the referendum in July to solve the details. But the Episcopal Church, which has been trying to prepare for the vote, is working to keep the peace while the planning continues. According to ENS, the Episcopal Church of Sudan, with four million members mostly in the south, “is considered one of the largest non-government organizations in Southern Sudan and is strategically placed to serve its people as the country looks towards the future.”

On Feb 8th, Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori said that the Church:

. . . is deeply grateful for the peaceful outcome of the referendum in Sudan. We rejoice with our brothers and sisters in both Southern and Northern Sudan as they work for peaceful co-existence. Our partnerships with the Episcopal Church of Sudan, which will remain united as one church body, will continue . . .

More here-

Episcopal bishop to receive award at Oklahoma Conference of Churches event

From Oklahoma-

The Rt. Rev. Edward J. Konieczny, bishop of the Episcopal Diocese of Oklahoma, will receive the Oklahoma Conference of Churches’ Advocacy Award Monday as part of the organization’s 28th annual Day at the Legislature at the state Capitol.

The organization is recognizing Konieczny, a former California police officer, for his commitment to social justice and his strong stance against all forms of inequity, discrimination, injustice and unfairness.

The award will be presented to Konieczny at 9:15 a.m. during the Day at the Legislature opening ceremonies.

In other business, the conference will hear from guest speakers including David Blatt, director of the Oklahoma Policy Institute; Janet Barresi, state schools superintendent; Maureen Kelley, director of the SKILL Program for Youth Services of Oklahoma County, which supports youths in independent living; and the Rev. Stan Basler, chairman of the Conference of Churches’ Impact committee.

Read more:

Friday, February 11, 2011

Chuck Tanner dead at 82

He was a great guy-

Former Pirates manager Chuck Tanner died today. He was 82.

Tanner, a New Castle native, led the Pirates to the 1979 World Series title and had a 711-685 record with the club from 1977-1985.

"Chuck was a class act who always carried himself with grace, humility and integrity. While no one had a sharper baseball mind, Chuck was loved by his players and the city of Pittsburgh because he was always positive, enthusiastic and optimistic about his Bucs and life in general," Pirates president Frank Coonelly said in a statement released by the team this afternoon.

Mr. Tanner also managed the Chicago White Sox, Oakland A's and Atlanta Braves in a managerial career that spanned from 1970-1988.

Mr. Tanner had been working in a senior advisory position to the Pirates in recent seasons.

Read more:

Bishop To Be Laid To Rest Next Week

From The Bahamas-

Plans have been made and the date has been set for the funeral service of retired Archbishop Michael Hartley Eldon.
Plans have been made and the date has been set for the funeral service of retired Archbishop Michael Hartley Eldon.

The Anglican Eucharist in celebration of the life of former leader of the diocese will be held on Tuesday at 11:00 a.m. at Christ Church Cathedral, George Street.

Bishop Eldon died at the age of 79 in hospital early Monday, after a long battle in a comatose state.

The service will be moderated by Barbadian Archbishop of the West Indies John Holder and Anglican Bishop Laish Boyd will be assisting.

Other persons of interest expected to be in attendance are the Prime Minister Hubert Ingraham, Cabinet ministers, representatives from the College of The Bahamas (COB), where the bishop served on the board for over 20 years, persons from Bishop Michael Eldon School in Grand Bahama and representatives from every parish and all members of the clergy.

More here-

Peru Anglicans set up own ordinariate for RC priests

From The Church Times (Talk about a permeable membrane !)

AN “Ordinariate of Postulants” has been set up by the diocese of Peru in the Anglican Church of the Southern Cone to host a growing number of Roman Catholic priests who are keen to join the Anglican Church.

In contrast to the situation in England, where three former bishops recently joined the Ordinariate for former Anglicans established by Rome, clerics are making the reverse journey in South America.

The Bishop of Peru, the Rt Revd William Godfrey, said that, so far, about ten RC priests had joined the new group to explore the possibility of switching denominations. Some may bring congregations with them.

About half of them are from churches that have become indepen dent from the RC Church, often because the priests have got married.

Bishop Godfrey said that he had also received requests from RC clergy in Uruguay, Ecuador, and Argentina, to join the Anglican Church.

He said that it was not entirely new for Roman Catholics to make this journey, as “the Anglican Church in Latin America would not exist if it wasn’t for ex-Roman Catholics”, but priests were now leaving on a larger scale.

He said that many of these priests were looking for stability in their ministry, and that the Postulate was “some sort of body where these people can draw close to the An glican Church and experience its liturgical and pastoral tradition and theology, before taking the final step of being received. It provides a buffer zone in which we can prepare to receive them.”

Bishop Godfrey believes that some priests may have been encouraged by Pope Benedict XVI’s positive words about Anglicanism when setting up the Ordinariate, when he was “extra ordinarily positive” about the An glican tradition.

More here-

Environmentalist Episcopal priest to speak at Brooks

From Massachusetts

At age 55, Sally Bingham went back to college, then to seminary, and eventually became an Episcopal priest dedicated to standing up for the environment and motivating other religious leaders to do the same. She is a Canon for the Environment in the Diocese of California.

Rev. Canon Bingham says she was inspired to become an advocate for the environment during her 25 years as a trustee of the Environmental Defense Fund.

“At every board meeting scientists came before us giving speeches on what human beings were doing to the planet – telling of over-fishing, deforestation, lead in paint, coral reefs dying,” says Bingham. “I saw an amazing void. Why aren’t ministers talking about saving creation? I felt it was a call from God to be a religious person who stepped up to call on people to have a reverence for the earth.

“Something happened inside of me and there was no alternative. I didn’t have any choice. It was as if Mary said, ‘No God, I’m not having your son.’ If faith, and in my case Christian faith, is about love, peace and justice, for me it’s also about the integrity of creation. You can’t be a person of faith and trash creation. If you sit in a pew and say you love God, you need to be responsible to love what God loves … and God loves the world so much he gave his only begotten son.”

Bingham will bring this passionate belief to Brooks School in North Andover, in a free public presentation at 7 p.m. on Wednesday, Feb. 16. She plans to talk about several environmental efforts already underway by businesses in the Merrimack Valley.

More here-

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Four decades of Anglican-Roman Catholic dialogue

From The Anglican Journal-

Last month, the national Canadian ARC Bishops’ Dialogue celebrated 40 years of bringing Anglican and Roman Catholics closer together. “The Canadian Anglican-Roman Catholic dialogue is one of the longest running in the word,” says Bishop Michael Ingham of the Anglican diocese of New Westminster in Vancouver.

Unity headed the agenda as five Roman Catholic and four Anglican bishops (one was absent due to illness) met over three days in Pickering, Ont., to discuss--among other things--Growing Together in Unity and Mission, a document produced by the International Anglican-Roman Catholic Commission for Unity and Mission.

Growing Together encourages practical co-operation at local levels between Anglican and Roman Catholic churches and visible signs of religious unity. “For example, it recommends that the two churches consider offering baptismal preparation together, using the same baptismal certificates or making public professions of faith together at Pentecost or on other significant occasions,” says Bishop Ingham.

It also encourages other joint ventures such as non-Eucharistic worship, pilgrimages and social justice initiatives. Religious collaborations are not common now, but Bishop Ingham is optimistic that they may become so. “We discussed how to develop this co-operation in Canada. The bishops will be taking the recommendations back to the House of Bishops. If the bishops are supportive, then they have to go out to the dioceses and encourage the clergy there.”

More here-

Episcopalian dispute goes to Conn. Supreme Court

From The Boston Globe-

Lawyers for a local parish and the Episcopal Church clashed before the Connecticut Supreme Court on Wednesday over whether the parish can keep its building and land after breaking ties with the national church. Similar disputers are playing out across the country.

The high court heard the case of the Bishop Seabury Church in Groton, which like dozens of parishes nationwide split from the national Episcopal Church after the 2003 appointment of a gay bishop in New Hampshire and what they call other liberal changes in the church's theology.

The justices didn't rule Wednesday. They could take several months to issue a decision. Courts in other states have sided with the national church and its dioceses in nearly all cases, while the U.S. Supreme Court refused to hear a similar case in October 2009 involving a California church.

The 135-year-old parish along the southeastern Connecticut shoreline is asking the state Supreme Court to overturn the decision of a lower court judge who ruled last year that the church and land belong to the state diocese and the national church. The congregation has been allowed to continue worshipping at the site while its appeals are pending.

About 60 parishioners from the Bishop Seabury Church rode a bus to Hartford and attended Wednesday's arguments.

More here-

also here-

and here-,0,440192.story

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

ATLANTA: Bishop says he'll return to teaching

From ENS-

Episcopal Diocese of Atlanta Bishop J. Neil Alexander has announced he plans to step aside next year after 11 years to join the faculty of Candler School of Theology at Emory University in Atlanta.

According to a story posted Feb. 8 on the diocesan website, Alexander, 57, told the diocesan Standing Committee and clergy of his intentions Feb. 7. The bishop intends to resign upon the ordination and consecration of his successor.

"I believe it is reasonable to expect an election in the spring of 2012 and the ordination of the next bishop of Atlanta late that summer or early in the fall," he wrote in a letter to clergy of the diocese.

The bishop's move will return him to the academic life he left when he was elected 10 years ago as the ninth bishop of Atlanta. Alexander served at the General Theological Seminary and the School of Theology at the University of the South, both Episcopal Church-affiliated seminaries, during that time.

"I am richly blessed," he said in the diocesan news story. "These years in the Diocese of Atlanta have been a wonderful season in my vocation."

At Emory, his primary duties will be as a professor of liturgy, focusing on the practical disciplines of ministry: liturgy, preaching and pastoral theology. He also will direct Candler's Anglican-Episcopal Studies program.

The Rev. Dena Bearl, rector of Grace-Calvary Church, Clarkesville, and president of the Standing Committee, said: "We give thanks to God for having provided this diocese with such a capable and dedicated bishop. Bishop Alexander has fulfilled his vows as bishop with great devotion to the church."

More here-

Mark Sisk and the crisis of the communion

From The Spectator-

Before meeting the Episcopal bishop of New York I nose around the massive cathedral. On a wall, between two side chapels, is a brass plaque, inscribed in copper-plate with some august words of sacred scripture: When in the course of human events it becomes necessary for one people to dissolve the political bands, blah blah blah, We declare these truths to be self-evident, and so on. Maybe the Declaration of Independence should be more prominently displayed, for this Church has recently got in touch with its revolutionary side. In a sense the whole crisis in the Anglican Communion originates in its awkward propensity for democracy (bishops are elected).

Mark Sisk doesn’t look like a revolutionary. He looks like an older thinner Bill Bryson: round specs, light beard and genial smile. He has no lordly airs: my pompometer stirs not. His hobby, appropriately for a follower of Jesus, is carpentry: he has built himself a house in the Catskills. He is seen as an old-fashioned liberal, a pragmatist.

He was raised in the Episcopal Church, ‘from the ground up’, and ordained in 1967, the time of Vietnam and civil rights. Did the Church get too closely involved in these trendy political causes, and alienate a lot of its members? For wasn’t it at this time that attendance started falling? ‘Attendance began to fall in many denominations at that time, and not all were equally involved in those issues. What I would say is that the Church at that time was less articulate about its motives than it might have been. I think the concern for civil rights and for peace came out of Christian understandings, but it was too often assumed people knew about that. The Church was at fault for failing to articulate the Christian motivations for those concerns.’

More here-

Episcopalian dispute goes to Conn. Supreme Court

From ABS News

The Connecticut Supreme Court is set to hear arguments in a dispute that arose when an Episcopal parish split from the national church and tried to keep the building and other properties.

The court on Wednesday is scheduled to hear the case of the Bishop Seabury Church in Groton, which is appealing a lower court ruling declaring the church building and land the property of the U.S. Episcopal Church.

Similar lawsuits have been waged across the country as local parishes attempted to keep properties after breaking from the national church. The splits were caused by disagreement with national leadership on theology and the appointment of a gay bishop in New Hampshire in 2003.

The Groton church and others nationwide have joined the more conservative Convocation of Anglicans in North America.

Social Networking Transforming the Way Churches Interact with Parishioners

From Benzinga-

Churches have over the last two decades faced dramatically declining memberships, but that trend may be reversing with the increasing use of social media.

The Episcopal Divinity School in Cambridge, Massachusetts is a pioneer in social networking among churches. In 2002, it received the first of two grants from Lilly Endowment, Inc. for a Pastoral Excellence Project. The project sought innovative ways to support and develop pastoral leaders, lay and ordained, especially those in remote communities. EDS staff decided to think big: how could they reach across America?

They have developed web-conferencing and DVD's, to transmit important speeches, classes, and courses to those interested in a deeper understanding of theology across the United States. It has transformed the way some teach. Professor Fredrica Harris Thompsett, a globally recognized historian and theologian, says she loves using video as a teaching mechanism, “It's a whole new way of engaging with students.”

Read more:

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Christian Morality and the Murder of David Kato

From Huffington- (Bishop Whalon and I were ordained to the deaconate together)

David Kato paid the ultimate price for being gay in Uganda. A leader of Sexual Minorities Uganda, which seeks to change fellow citizens' minds about lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgendered people, he was murdered in his home in Mukono, Uganda, on Jan. 26. He had been targeted as a "top homosexual" in a national newspaper last October.

The fear and hatred that inspired David's killers are not confined to the uneducated. Recently, a lawmaker proposed legislation that would make homosexual sex a capital crime in certain cases. The churches in Uganda have been slow to act. In fact, reports from David Kato's funeral affirm that an Anglican priest loudly interrupted the service to condemn "ungodliness," which led to the villagers refusing to bury his body. His friends had to haul his body to the grave and inter him themselves.

It would be easy to point fingers at "those Ugandans" but we cannot exempt ourselves. Gay people continue to be targets of violence across Europe and Asia, as well as the Americas. It is not enough to insist on the rights of people to live free from fear and harassment, though that is necessary. We Christians need to go further.

Followers of Jesus are to work at living a new kind of life that allows us, among other things, to conquer our fear and hatred of "the Other" -- whatever that Other is like. This must happen in order to honor the God who became one of us that we might become like God (2 Peter 1: 3-9). Jesus, the supreme Other, came so that we would reject him in fear and loathing, and kill him. In his death and resurrection, Jesus overcame fear with joy, dissolved hatred with love and conquered death with everlasting life, for you and me. Through the power of his Spirit, given in baptism, we can and we must give the Other not only justice but also love.

More here-

Royal wedding: Could Kate and William switch you on to marriage?

From The BBC-

Marriage is in the doldrums in 21st Century Britain - with many couples preferring to cohabit than tie the knot. But could the wedding of Prince William and Kate Middleton in April help change that? The Church would like to think so.

Prince William and Kate Middleton may have chosen to take the plunge, but they're among a dwindling cast. Latest figures show the number of couples in the UK tying the knot has reached a historic low.

This week, senior Church of England members are brainstorming ways to boost the popularity of church weddings, and baptisms. And on Tuesday, Iain Duncan Smith, the Work and Pensions secretary, will launch Marriage Week UK with a defence of his idea to provide cash incentives for married couples.

Yet, the Church is also pinning its hopes on the events of a day in late April this year - the wedding of Prince William to his long-term girlfriend Kate Middleton.

Marriage rates have declined by a third in the past 30 years, and of those who did get hitched in 2008 - the most recent year for which figures are available - two-thirds had a non-religious ceremony.

More here-

Where faith meets science fiction

From The BBC-

Isaac Asimov, Arthur C Clarke, Ray Bradbury: these were the young Joanna Ray's literary heroes.

They fired her imagination, and prompted her to write her own tale of an undiscovered planet while still in her teens.

Her fascination with science first led her to a career in microbiology, but by her late twenties she was ordained as an Anglican priest.

For her faith and science - and even science fiction - are all compatible.
The now Reverend Joanna Z Ray is used to the sharp intake of breath which tends to follow the revelation that she writes sci-fi novels.

Her latest: "One of the Good Guys" is the fourth in her Sikharan sequence, following alien warriors who are on the side of Earth in the seemingly mandatory galactic space war.

More here-

PITTSBURGH: Appeals court upholds diocesan asset ruling

From ENS (a couple of days old but I just found it)

The Commonwealth Court of Pennsylvania has upheld a lower court ruling that said the Episcopal Diocese of Pittsburgh is the trustee of diocesan-held property and assets.

The court, a statewide intermediate appeals court, said in a Feb. 2 opinion that Allegheny County Court of Common Pleas Judge Joseph M. James had correctly ruled Oct. 6, 2009 that all diocesan assets must be held by the Episcopal Diocese of Pittsburgh that is recognized by the Episcopal Church. James' opinion and order are here.

"We are pleased with the court's findings and hope that this will be the final legal challenge concerning this issue," said Pittsburgh Bishop Kenneth L. Price Jr. in a statement posted on the diocese's website.

On Oct. 4, 2008 a majority of the delegates to the diocese's 143rd annual convention approved a resolution by which the diocese purported to leave the Episcopal Church. The leaders who departed formed the Anglican Diocese of Pittsburgh that is part of the Argentina-based Anglican Province of the Southern Cone. And they say that in that capacity they control all the assets that were held by the diocese when they left.

Those assets include more than $20 million in cash, cash equivalents, receivables, and investments, including about $2.5 million in pooled parish investments and real estate and other real property. The ruling does not involve the ownership of parish property.

The suit arose out of a 2003 complaint by Calvary Episcopal Church in Pittsburgh after a special diocesan convention passed a resolution stating that all property in the diocese, which under Episcopal Church canons must held and used for the mission of the church, would be held free of that obligation.

The proceedings in the suit led to an October 2005 stipulated court order in which Duncan and the other then-leaders of the diocese agreed that the "Episcopal Diocese of Pittsburgh of the Episcopal Church of the United States of America" would continue to hold or administer property "regardless of whether some or even a majority of the parishes in the diocese might decide not to remain in the Episcopal Church of the United States of America."

More here-

Cardinal Wuerl: ‘We’re a little ways off’ from establishing an ordinariate

From Catholic Culture-

Cardinal Donald Wuerl of Washington, the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith’s delegate for the implementation of Anglicanorum Coetibus in the United States, said in a recent interview that “we’re a little ways off yet” from the establishment of a personal ordinariate of former Anglicans in the United States.

Issued in late 2009, Pope Benedict’s apostolic constitution Anglicanorum Coetibus sets forth the terms for the corporate reception of Anglicans into the Catholic Church. The document allows for the establishment of ordinariates—roughly the equivalent of non-geographical dioceses—to serve the pastoral needs of Anglicans who wish to become Catholic while preserving their own liturgical heritage.

“We’re hearing from those Anglican communities and those Anglicans who wish to explore more fully what the ordinariate will mean and who wish to be a part of it,” Cardinal Wuerl said.

“Questionnaires have gone out asking them to identify more clearly who they are and what the nature is of their current community,” he added. “The goal is to determine whether there is a response substantial enough to warrant the establishment of an ordinariate here in the US.”

“Our next step now is to have the Holy See determine whether there are sufficient numbers and sufficient response to establish an ordinariate.”

More here-

The Super Bowl's faithy moments

From CNN-

From rejected religiously-themed TV ads to players kneeling in prayer, Super Bowl XLV had no shortage of faithy moments.

Even before opening kick off there were faith-based controversies.

An ad uploaded in a make-your-own-Super-Bowl-ad competition featured a priest swapping out communion bread for Doritos and wine for Pepsi - which owns Doritos and sponsored the contest – in hopes of boosting church attendance.

USA Today reported that the ad was widely criticized and pulled from the competition's website.

Next came, a political novelty t-shirt company that had dueling bobble heads of Jesus and Obama. The company said Fox rejected its ad. Fox didn't comment.

The Fixed Point Foundation, a group that promotes Christianity in the public square, told CNN that Fox rejected its proposed Super Bowl ad last June.

In the ad, people watching a football game spy the phrase John 3:16 - a New Testament verse popular among evangelical Christians – on a player's eye black. A man in the ad says he's going to look it up, with the ad directing viewers to

Fixed Point Executive Director Larry Taunton said Fox told him his commercial was rejected because it contained "religious doctrine," though he said the ad avoided featuring the actual words of the verse.

More here-


From Dallas/ Ft Worth

Official dialogue between the Catholic Church and the Anglican Communion, which began forty years ago, has concluded its first two phases, according to a communique released by the Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity.

The dialogue is undertaken by the Anglican-Roman Catholic International Commission (ARCIC), sponsored by the Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity, and the Department for Unity, Faith and Order of the Anglican Communion.

The co-chairmen and co-secretaries of this new third phase of the Anglican- Roman Catholic International Commission have drawn up a plan for their first meeting, which will be held by the monastery of Bose in northern Italy, from 17 to 27 May. The new phase of ARCIC’s work was mandated by Pope Benedict XVI and the Archbishop of Canterbury, Dr Rowan Williams, at their meeting in Rome in November 2009.

The co-chairmen of the commission – which is made up of ten Anglican and eight Catholic members – are Archbishop Bernard Longley of Birmingham, England (Roman Catholic), and Archbishop David Moxon of the New Zealand dioceses (Anglican).

“The task of this third phase of ARCIC will be to consider fundamental questions regarding the ‘Church as Communion – Local and Universal’, and ‘How in communion the Local and Universal Church comes to discern right ethical teaching’. These interrelated topics emerged from the Common Declaration of the Pope and the Archbishop of Canterbury”, the communique says.

More here-

Obama's Faith-Based Advisers: Round Two

From Huffington-

President Obama has named top U.S. church leaders to an advisory council on faith-based programs, but the list of appointments is also drawing questions about a lack of diversity from minority faiths.

The 15 names released late Friday (Feb. 4) include top officials of prominent organizations -- from the Episcopal Church to the National Association of Evangelicals to the United Way.

The list included no prominent Muslim or Hindu leaders; the White House says the list will be expanded later with 10 additional names.

The Rev. Welton Gaddy, president of the Washington-based Interfaith Alliance said he was "shocked" the initial names for the panel did not include known leaders outside the Christian and Jewish faiths.


The new panel members include four denominational heads -- Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori of the Episcopal Church; Presiding Bishop Mark Hanson of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America; Greek Orthodox Archbishop Demetrios; and the Rev. Nancy Wilson, moderator of the predominantly gay Metropolitan Community Churches.

Evangelical leaders include Leith Anderson, president of the National Association of Evangelicals and Lynne Hybels, co-founder with her husband Bill of Willow Creek Community Church, a suburban Chicago megachurch.

more here-

Whittier church's soup kitchen back in business following emergency plumbing repairs

From California-

The Soup Hour at St. Matthias Episcopal Church is back in business following $10,000 in emergency plumbing repairs that put its kitchen out of commission for several weeks.

Every weekday afternoon, the church provides a hot meal during its Soup Hour to more than 100 homeless people - a program started nearly three decades ago by volunteer Stan Jamieson, who still runs it.

But in late December, a portion of the water line that runs to the church's kitchen had completely rotted out on the bottom, prompting repairs that would have wiped out the church's savings for emergencies.

That's when the church appealed to the community for donations to help offset the cost of the repairs. And over the past four weeks, St. Matthias received enough donations to fully cover the $10,000 in repairs.

Episcopal mission partner leaves Egypt temporarily

From ENS-

At the request of the Episcopal Church and due to the heightened security risks for Westerners residing in Egypt, the Rev. Paul-Gordon Chandler has temporarily left Cairo, where he has served as priest of an international Episcopal church since 2003.

Chandler says he hopes to return soon to his home in the Maadi district of Cairo, once the situation becomes less volatile.

On Feb. 7, anti-government demonstrations continued into their 14th day as the country's leaders and members of opposition movements met to discuss the possibility of political reform. President Hosni Mubarak announced Feb. 1 that he would not seek re-election when his term ends in November, but opponents and protestors are calling for his immediate resignation.

The government talks have included members of the Muslim Brotherhood, an Islamist political activist movement that is officially banned in Egypt.

Speaking on BBC Radio 4, Anglican Bishop Mouneer Anis of the Diocese of Egypt said, "There is no harm in having dialogue with all the groups and listening to all the groups, including the Muslim Brotherhood." But, he said, the hope is that all people in Egypt would have the freedom to practice any religion. Ani said that it was unclear where the Muslim Brotherhood stood on this issue.

More here-

Monday, February 7, 2011

Iranian Church Grows Amid Persecution

From The Living Church-

Few realize that after the Islamic Revolution, from the late 1970s through the 1980s, Iran’s Anglicans were the most severely persecuted Christians. Iranian Anglicans worshiped in Farsi, which angered Islamists wanting to portray Christianity as a Western, imperialist religion. More important, many Anglicans were converts from Islam.

The first post-revolution martyr was an Anglican priest, the Rev. Arastoo Sayyah. Islamists cut the throat of this Muslim convert in his office in Shiraz, southwest Iran, on Feb. 19, 1979, and confiscated the property of the church he led.

In October of the same year, the Rt. Rev. Hassan Dehqani-Tafti, also a Muslim convert, and his wife, Margaret, survived an assassination attempt in their bedroom. Dehqani-Tafti was the first Persian Anglican bishop.

The following May his son, Bahram, 24, was murdered by Iranian government agents. The bishop could not even attend the funeral of his son, whose body had been found riddled with bullets. He sent a prayer that he had composed, forgiving the murderers. Dehqani-Tafti spent the last ten years of his episcopate in exile.

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A study asks: What's a church's economic worth?

From Philadelphia-

What is the dollar value of a marriage saved? A suicide averted? An addiction conquered? A teenager taught right from wrong?

In short: What is a church's economic worth to the community it serves?

Last summer, a University of Pennsylvania professor and a national secular research group based in Center City took up that seemingly unanswerable question. With a list they devised of 54 value categories, they attempted to calculate the economic "halo effect" of a dozen religious congregations in Philadelphia - 10 Protestant churches, a Catholic parish, and a synagogue.

They added up the money generated by weddings and funerals, festivals, counseling programs, preschools, elder care. They tallied the salaries of staff and the wages of roofers, plumbers, even snow shovelers. They put dollar signs on intangibles, too, such as helping people find work and teaching children to be socially responsible.

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Appeals Court Upholds Diocese in Assets Case

From The Episcopal Diocese of Pittsburgh Feb 2-

The Commonwealth Court of Pennsylvania has affirmed the decision by Judge Joseph James of the Court of Common Pleas of Allegheny County that found the Episcopal Diocese of Pittsburgh of the Episcopal Church to be the rightful trustee of diocesan-held property and assets.

In an opinion issued dated February 2, 2011, Commonwealth Court Judge Renee Cohn Jubelirer addressed and rejected each of the arguments that had been raised by the Anglican Diocese of Pittsburgh.

"We are pleased with the court's findings and hope that this will be the final legal challenge concerning this issue," said Bishop Kenneth L. Price, Jr. of the Episcopal Diocese. Former diocesan leaders agreed in a court stipulation more than five years ago that diocesan assets would remain under the control of a diocese that is part of the Episcopal Church of the United States.

The Commonwealth Court decision comes on the same day the Episcopal Diocese signed a first-of-its kind agreement with St. Philip's Church in Moon Township to amicably resolve issues concerning parish property. The Episcopal Diocese of Pittsburgh looks forward to resolving property issues with members of other congregations who no longer consider themselves part of the Episcopal Church.

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Episcopal Diocese Signs Agreement with St. Philip’s Church

From The Episcopal Diocese of Pittsburgh Feb 2-

On behalf of the Episcopal Diocese of Pittsburgh of the Episcopal Church of the United States and St. Philip's Church, Moon Township, we are happy to publicly announce that we have amicably reached an agreement concerning the parish property at St. Philip's.

The terms of agreement resolve questions over the intended use of the church property and pave the way for the people of St. Philip's to have full title to their place of worship. The agreement follows months of confidential negotiations and intense consideration by representatives on both sides. A summary of the terms is contained with this announcement.

By resolving these issues of ownership and use of church property, our agreement allows the parish and the Episcopal Diocese to continue in their ministry without supporting or engaging in lawsuits involving the other. The Gospels and all of Scripture teach us that when differences arise among believers, our first duty is to seek peace and reconciliation with each other. We believe that both the Episcopal Diocese and the parish have been faithful to those Scriptural lessons in reaching this agreement.

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A Pastoral Letter to the Clergy and People of the Anglican Diocese of Pittsburgh

From The Anglican Diocese of Pittsburgh Feb 4.

Dearest Brothers and Sisters in Christ,

It has been a very distressing week for us. One of our congregations, St. Philip’s, Moon Township, left our fellowship as part of a property settlement with the Episcopal Church Diocese. Then, within hours, the appellate court upheld the decision of the Court of Common Pleas that awarded diocesan property to the Episcopal Church Diocese, including the properties of 24 congregations whose deeds are titled to the Trustees.

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Anglican diocese asks court to rehear case

From The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette Feb. 5-

The breakaway Anglican Diocese of Pittsburgh is asking Pennsylvania's Commonwealth Court to rehear arguments over whether it or the Episcopal Diocese of Pittsburgh holds the title to 24 churches and more than $20 million in endowment assets.

Both the Anglican Diocese and the Episcopal Diocese claim to be the rightful heirs to the old Episcopal diocese, which essentially split in a dispute over church doctrine, a dispute that came to a head after the ordination of an openly gay Episcopal bishop in New England.

The filing, which must be made within 14 days, is not an appeal but an outright request for the same court to hear the case over, citing errors of fact in the ruling which was authored by Judge Renee Cohn Jubelirer.

"There are some points of fact that are incorrect in the ruling," said David Trautman, a spokesman for the Anglican diocese. "We are giving the court a chance to correct those errors."

He did not specify the errors the Anglicans contend are in the ruling.

The court on Thursday ruled that the Episcopal diocese held proper title to the $20 million endowment funds. Both sides had earlier agreed to negotiate ownership of the individual parish properties.

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Assets to stay with diocese, court agrees

From The Pittsburgh Tribune Review-

A state appeals court on Wednesday ruled that $20 million in endowments will stay with the Episcopal Diocese of Pittsburgh.

The Commonwealth Court's decision upholds a 2009 ruling from Allegheny County Common Pleas Judge Joseph M. James, who said that the diocese should retain control of diocesan assets even after dozens of parishes broke away over issues such as abortion and the consecration of a noncelibate gay bishop.

In 2008, conservative Western Pennsylvania congregations led by Robert Duncan, the former bishop of the Episcopal church here, left the church and formed the Anglican Diocese of Pittsburgh.

The legal wrangling over assets might not be over. A spokesman for Duncan said he had not decided whether there would be an appeal to the state Supreme Court.

"The decision of the Appellate Court is deeply disappointing," Duncan said in a written statement. "In the next hours and days, the bishop and standing committee will pray and take counsel about our corporate path forward, both as congregations and as a diocese."

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Episcopal diocese wins a legal round

Post Gazette Feb 3-

The Episcopal Diocese of Pittsburgh has won round two in a fight with the rival Anglican Diocese of Pittsburgh over $20 million in assets.

An appeals court Wednesday upheld a decision that took the money from the Anglican diocese, led by Archbishop Robert Duncan. The two split in 2008 over theological issues.

The ruling covers assets held by the central diocese. Parish property is to be negotiated.

Episcopal Bishop Kenneth Price Jr. welcomed the decision, which arrived the day his diocese reached the first settlement with an Anglican parish. It required that parish to cut ties with the Anglican diocese for five years.

"We are pleased with the court's findings and hope this will be the final legal challenge concerning this issue," he said.

He invited Anglican congregations "to join us in negotiating a settlement to our differences."

Archbishop Duncan, who is also primate of the theologically conservative Anglican Church in North America, hasn't decided whether to appeal.

"The decision of the appellate court is deeply disappointing," he said. "In the next hours and days the bishop and standing committee will pray and take counsel about our corporate path forward."

In response to a court order, the Anglican diocese turned over the assets last year. The Episcopal diocese has sent Anglican parishes income from their endowments. But while the case remains active, potential exists to reverse ownership.

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Moon church to vote on settlement with Episcopal diocese

From the Post Gazette Feb 1.

Members of St. Philip's Church in Moon will vote tonight on a proposed settlement with the Episcopal Diocese of Pittsburgh that would allow them to keep their property but would also require them to cut ties with the rival Anglican Diocese of Pittsburgh for at least five years.

The Rev. Eric Taylor, rector of St. Philip's, said the proposal was the best option for his parish. Since the 2008 split in the original Episcopal diocese, the property of dozens of parishes that voted to leave the denomination and follow Archbishop Robert Duncan into the new Anglican Church in North America has been tied up in legal disputes. The settlement would leave St. Philip's independent.

"I'm happy for the opportunity to negotiate an agreement, given the current climate. What's gone on [between the dioceses] has been mostly beyond my control. I am in favor of the proposed agreement," Rev. Taylor said.

The building was designed to accommodate the evangelical church's outreach to children and youth in the Moon area, he said. But he noted that now-Archbishop Duncan had been instrumental in helping the parish develop its ministry prior to the split.

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I'm back

Well I picked a heck of a week to go on vacation. I'll try to catch up with the most important pieces although I'm sure most of you have seen them.