In a rare sign of peace since a bitter break in 2008, the Anglican Diocese of Pittsburgh has welcomed an offer from the Episcopal Diocese of Pittsburgh for the Anglican parishes to negotiate for their property.
On Thursday, Pittsburgh Episcopal Bishop Kenneth Price Jr. wrote to 41 parishes that followed Archbishop Robert Duncan out of the Episcopal Church at the October 2008 diocesan convention. Pre-emptive property litigation began in 2003. The Episcopal proposal includes eight guidelines for negotiations.
"My first hope, of course, is that we be reconciled in a way that your parish can share in the life of the Episcopal Diocese again. If that is not possible at this time, I reiterate my invitation that you contact me to begin a conversation seeking an amicable resolution of these property issues," Bishop Price wrote to rectors and lay leaders of Anglican parishes.
On behalf of those parishes, the Anglican diocese "welcomes the invitation of Bishop Price to begin a conversation about seeking an amicable resolution to outstanding property issues facing our parishes," said a statement from the Anglican diocese.
The Episcopal Diocese of Pittsburgh has sent Anglican parishes that left the Episcopal Church an eight-point proposal for negotiations over parish property, and the Anglican diocese has welcomed the invitation to talk.
The letter was sent Thursday to 41 congregations that were part of the Episcopal Diocese of Pittsburgh before the diocesan convention voted in October 2008 to leave the denomination. The two dioceses have been in litigation over property issues since before the split occurred. Two Anglican parishes made property settlements with the Episcopal diocese this month.
"We have said all along that we want, as Scripture teaches, to seek to reconcile our differences directly with each other," said the letter from Episcopal Bishop Kenneth Price, Jr., to the rector and lay leaders of the Anglican parishes.
The negotiation proposal states that those parishes that have not paid assessment to the Episcopal diocese for two years could be declared "transitional parishes" as of March 13. Transitional parishes have their assets vested with the trustees of the diocese
Building on two recent amicable agreements that settled parish property disputes, the Episcopal Diocese of Pittsburgh has invited all other local congregations leaving the Episcopal Church to begin conversations aimed at reaching similar negotiated settlements.
In a February 17th letter mailed to the rector, wardens, and vestry of each congregation, Bishop Kenneth L. Price, Jr. of the Episcopal Diocese offered a Pastoral Direction for resolving property issues, including an 8-point overview of what would be involved in those conversations.
The documents were sent to 41 parishes that have not participated in the Episcopal Diocese since October 2008. Copies were sent as a courtesy to the many parishes that have remained active in the Diocese. The bishop’s letter also pointed to consequences required by church law for parishes that keep themselves removed from the Diocese for a prolonged time.
Both the letter and the Pastoral Direction state that while a reconciliation and return are hoped for, where that is not be possible, an amicable resolution of differences can be achieved.
“[We] understand that some from our community feel compelled to disaffiliate from the Episcopal Church and our Diocese,” reads the introduction to the Pastoral Direction. It continues, “We seek to respect those who feel called to leave.”
Camila Victoria Cutié was born with her eyes open.
They're a steely blue, like her father's.
Her father, the priest.
His eyes were the first thing she saw when she was born two months ago. Now, their eyes meet again as Alberto Cutié kisses her on the forehead, gives his wife, Ruhama, a quick peck on the lips and rushes off to say Mass on a recent Sunday at the Episcopal Church of the Resurrection in north Miami .
Later, they will gather with his family across town to celebrate the two months since his daughter's birth. A pair of paparazzi will follow them, at a distance, with video cameras.
Life has never been the same for The Rev. Alberto Cutié, the former Roman Catholic priest, since that infamous day on the beach almost two years ago when paparazzi caught him kissing the woman who would become his wife. And that, as it turns out, is a good thing.
"When I was 17, I expected something very different from life than when I turned 41," he says, as he dresses in a cream-colored vestment in a room behind the altar. "You have to give yourself permission in life to change your mind."
The Diocese of Cyprus and the Gulf will now be able to ordain women as priests and appoint them to single charge chaplaincies. The announcement was made at the annual Synod of the Diocese last week, and was warmly welcomed by members.
The bishop, Rt Rev Michael Lewis, reported that his request to have permission to ordain and appoint women had been granted by the Province of Jerusalem and the Middle East. The other dioceses of the Province: Egypt, Iran and Jerusalem will not be affected by the change.
The first ordination of a woman priest is likely to take place in June, when the Rev Catherine Dawkins, currently serving as a deacon and assistant in the Yemen chaplaincy, will be ordained in Bahrain cathedral. The diocese has one female ordinand in training.
Bishop Lewis said, “this is something that Synod has wanted to see for some time, and I am delighted to have this new opportunity. The diocese is currently advertising for a Chaplain for South East Cyprus, and it will be good to be able to invite applications from a full range of candidates.”
The diocese of Cyprus and the Gulf covers ten political jurisdictions, and operates at the interface between Anglican and Orthodox on the one hand, and between Christian and Muslim on the other. Synod congratulated Rev Andy Thompson recently moved from Kuwait to Abu Dhabi, on being awarded the MBE for his services to the communities in which he had worked, and for furthering inter-faith relations.
"40 Days of Prayer" is a common theme this time of year. As Anglicans, as Christians, we devote a period of 40 days during Lent to many things.
This year, we at the Anglican District of Virginia (ADV) invite you to join us for 40 Days of Diocesan Prayer during the 2011 Lenten season beginning Ash Wednesday, March 9. This season leads up to an important ADV Constitutional Convention May 20-21, 2011, during which we will adopt our new constitution and canons (governing documents) and elect our new bishop as we seek admission as a new diocese of the Anglican Church in North America (ACNA).
Our new Bishop will be selected from a slate of up to three candidates who will stand for election immediately after adoption of the new ADV governing documents at the Constitutional Convention.
As we move towards the May 20-21 Constitutional Convention, ADV invites the attention, prayer and involvement of our 42 member congregations—40 Days of Diocesan Prayer—to guide our application to ACNA, consideration of our new governing documents, and the selection of a Bishop to lead us as a new ACNA diocese. The following weeks and months mark a pivotal time for ADV, as we articulate our growth and formation—essentially your growth and formation—into an Anglican diocese for the mid-Atlantic region of the United States. We continue to be humbled by the details and requirements for this growth, and look forward to God’s provision through your prayers and discernment.
He removes his grey hat, closes his eyes and bows his head, humbling himself before Archbishop Henry Luke Orombi of the Anglican Church of Uganda, who asks God for the President’s protection ahead of tomorrow’s election and its aftermath.
President Yoweri Museveni is deeply immersed in the prayer and if the Holy Spirit came at that point, he would be the first to be thrown off balance. Yet a few hours earlier, Museveni had sat in Mandela National Stadium Namboole where he prayed with traditional healers who predicted a landslide victory for him.
“The spirits have told us you will win by 87%,” Patrick Mudungu, vice president of the Traditional Healers Association, told him.
Sitting in the pavilion surrounded by his security detail, Museveni smiled at the traditional healer who looked like he was about to be possessed by demons. His display of undying love for Museveni was resounded in the stadium as another traditional healer thanked the President for his support to their work.
Two days before that meet, Museveni had sat at Nakivubo Blue in the heart of Kampala, with the faction of the Muslim community headed by Sheikh Zubair Kayongo, seeking their prayers, blessing and support.
Such has been the President’s schedule in the last two weeks, as he winds up his campaigns for a fourth term. He has been meeting religious leaders, firmly aware of the command they have over their flock.
A study guide and a Questions & Answers document was published today to assist people exploring the Anglican Communion Covenant.
The study guide (available as a pdf document) from the Anglican Communion website (www.anglicancommunion.org) is intended for parishes, deaneries, dioceses or groups of individuals wishing to explore the Covenant and the way it describes Anglican identity. It contains the text of the Anglican Communion Covenant interspersed with summaries of the material. Communion members are invited to download the guide and to adapt it for their own context. There is also a set of Questions & Answers about the Covenant that seeks to address some commonly asked questions. Neither is a definitive commentary on the Covenant.
These resources were produced as a result of a meeting of the Inter-Anglican Standing Committee on Unity Faith and Order (IASCUFO) in 2009. A working group of IASCUFO has now completed this commission. There is a suggestion that people may be interested in including some of the material for use in parish bulletins, diocesan newspapers or other church communication channels.
The working group of IASCUFO includes the Rt Revd Victoria Matthews, Bishop of Christchurch New Zealand (convenor); the Rt Revd Kumara Ilangasinghe, recently retired Bishop of Kurunagala, Church of Ceylon; and the Revd Dr Simon Oliver, Associate Professor of Systematic Theology, University of Nottingham.
Orlando Diocese Episcopal Bishop John W. Howe announced at the end of January his intention to retire in 2012, setting in motion the selection of his successor. Howe has served as the 15-county Diocese’s bishop since 1990.
The standing committee of four lay people and four clergy will oversee the selection process. They have established the following timetable:
February — The standing committee selects committees for the Diocean Profile (which establishes the criteria for the new bishop’s selection) and Transition Process.
March — A survey will be discritubed to members of the Diocese of Central Florida asking them what they want in a new bishop in terms of gifts, skills and vision.
April — Deans and presidents hold forums to gather more information on what qualities the next bishop should possess.
May — From the surveys and forums, a “Profile” is created of the kind of bishop the people of the Diocese desire
June — The Profile and nomination instructions are sent to Episcopal Convention delegates who serve, in effect, as the Search and Nominating Committees.
July-August — Nominations are submitted.
September-October – Background screenings of nominees are completed and the names of nominees are submitted to the electing Convention.
Nov. 19 – Delegates to the Convention elect a new bishop.
April 21, 2012 – The new bishop is consecrated and Howe officially retires.
Did you know there is a Google Map that is tracking Anglican parishes entering the Ordinariate? You can visit it the Ordinariate Google Map  anytime to look at the latest statistics.
According to the recent count, the United States leads with 36 groups, Canada has 30 and the United Kingdom has 18. The originator, Shane Schaetzel, is currently looking for collaborators in Australia and the United Kingdom to help him keep track of those coming in.
Br. Stephen Treat, O.Cist., a monk of the Cistercian Abbey of Our Lady of Spring Bank in Wisconsin provided an interesting statistical comparison of American Ordinariate parishes with the current Episcopal Church (TEC) in the United States.
A frequent contributor for The Anglo-Catholic which is moderated by Christian Campbell, Brother Stephen posted the following observations based on the number of parishes remaining stable at 36 with an Average Sunday attendance (ASA) of 2500 - a very modest estimate.
Jim Yeakey spent his work life in pursuits that'd seem dizzyingly technical to most ordinary mortals: aeronautical, aerospace and manufacturing engineering.
"Oh," the 84-year-old says offhandedly, "I worked on a few things here and there."
Press him a bit further, and you learn that those things included designing jet turbo engines and cruise missiles. And a little project called the space shuttle.
But now that he's retired, Yeakey has a new passion (please, no jokes about it not being rocket science), but one he finds equally challenging: stained-glass windows.
Working in his Cape Coral garage, Yeakey fashions intricate and luminous glass window panels for churches.
After learning how to cut, assemble and solder stained glass at an adult education class, Yeakey got to work in earnest. His first set of 10 went into his home parish in Cape Coral, the Episcopalian Church of the Epiphany, in 1990.
When the Rev. Michael P. Milliken comes knocking on the door of Christ Cathedral on Sunday, it will be to take his seat as the new bishop of the Diocese of Western Kansas.
The Hutchinson-based Episcopal priest is being consecrated as bishop during a ceremony Saturday at First Presbyterian Church in Hutchinson.
Milliken replaces retiring Bishop James Adams, who served the Diocese of Western Kansas for eight years.
At 10 a.m. Sunday, Milliken will arrive at Salina's Christ Cathedral, 138 S. Eighth, to participate in Mass and the traditional seating of the bishop.
"The new bishop knocks on the door with the bishop staff," said the Very Rev. Benjamin Thomas, dean of Christ Cathedral. "He then is escorted into the building by lay members of the cathedral. He is introduced and welcomed and shown his throne, which is called the Bishop's Cathedra."
The seating ceremony and Mass will be celebrated by Katharine Jefferts Schori, presiding bishop of the Episcopal Church of the United States, based in New York City.
"Numerically, we're the smallest diocese in the Episcopal church," Thomas said. "To have the presiding bishop here is a big deal for us."
Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori is among five members elected to serve on the Primates Standing Committee. The elections, which were held during the Jan. 25-30 Primates Meeting in Dublin, Ireland, have only just been announced because the Anglican Communion Office was awaiting acceptance from Episcopal Church of Sudan Archbishop Daniel Deng Bul, who was unable to attend the meeting. Deng was elected to represent Africa on the committee.
Jefferts Schori first was elected to represent the Americas and the Caribbean on the Primates Standing Committee during the February 2007 Primates Meeting in Tanzania. She will now serve a second three-year term on the committee, which meets once or twice a year along with members of the Anglican Consultative Council Standing Committee.
The memberships of the two committees combine to form the Standing Committee of the Anglican Communion, which oversees the day-to-day operations of the Anglican Communion Office and the programs and ministries of the four instruments of communion -- the archbishop of Canterbury, the ACC, the Primates Meeting and the Lambeth Conference of bishops.
Jefferts Schori is the only primate to be re-elected to the committee for the next triennium.
"I am grateful to my colleagues in the Americas for their confidence, and look forward to working with partners around the communion as we seek to heal a broken and hurting world," Jefferts Schori said, according to a release from the Office of Public Affairs. "I have every hope that the primates can be models and leaders of that work, as variously-gifted members of the Body of Christ."
Episcopal Church missionary Paul-Gordon Chandler is returning to Cairo on Wednesday after a 10-day respite from Egypt’s political uprising.
“Speaking with our friends on the telephone in Cairo, it is clear that they feel empowered, and that the culture of fear that they have lived under within an authoritarian government has disappeared,” Chandler wrote in a letter to friends and supporters. “There is a sense of profound hope in the streets and a common feeling of good will towards each other. Of course the journey to true representative democracy is a long journey.”
Chandler wrote that, based on his experiences with members of the Muslim Brotherhood, he does not share the concerns of some other Westerners about that group.
“It is important to remember that the Muslim Brotherhood is not militant as some have tried to portray them, but rather a group that not only renounced violence many years ago (hence it has been denounced by Al Qaeda), but that has advocated publicly for the rights of Egypt’s Christian minority,” he wrote.
“At the same time, as Egypt is considered one of the most religious countries in the world, of which the dominant religion is Islam, everyone’s prayer at this time is that as the country is reshaped there will hopefully end up being much more freedom of religious expression through a more democratic governing structure.”
One of the leaders of the post-denominational Protestant churches in China recently met with the presiding bishop and others in the Episcopal Church to explore the possibility of future seminary education partnerships and exchanges, and to ask for support for an upcoming Bible exhibition.
"We came here to renew friendship with Episcopal Church and explore possibilities where we can cooperate in the future," said Elder Fu Xianwei, chairman of the National Committee of the Three-Self Patriotic Movement, following a Feb. 9 meeting with Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori at the Episcopal Church Center in New York.
"We talked about theological education and also we're going to have a Bible ministry exhibition. The hope is that it can be supported by the presiding bishop and the Episcopal Church," he added, as translated from Mandarin Chinese by the Rev. Lin Manhong, interim dean of Nanjing Union Theological Seminary, the national seminary of the China Christian Council.
There was a day -- not too long ago -- when news of the election of a new Anglican bishop of Ontario would have been front page news, regardless of his roots or where he happened to be working at the time of his election.
Today, that news is relegated to the inside pages, three days after the fact, and frankly only given the space it is because the individual involved is one of our own. Well, at least, he is here currently if not born and raised.
Canon Michael Oulton, of Christ Church in Belleville, was elected on the third ballot at an electoral synod at St. George's Cathedral in Kingston Saturday. His consecration will take place June 11 at St. George's as he replaces Bishop George Bruce, who announced last October that he would retire effective Aug. 31, 2011.
Bishop-elect Oulton takes the helm of the diocese of Ontario, which has about 13,000 Anglicans in 44 parishes and which encompasses the counties of Frontenac, Prince Edward, Hastings, Lennox and Addington and Leeds and Grenville, at a time of struggle, not just for the Anglican church but for most mainstream churches.
Membership and attendance at Canadian churches have been in freefall for decades now. Statistics Canada reports that from 1985 to 2004, the number of Canadians who either have no religious affiliation or who have a religion but don't attend religious services increased from 31 per cent to 43 per cent.
Bethlehem, Pennsylvania, February 14 (ENInews)--Representatives of the Episcopal Church and the two provinces of the Moravian Church in North America on 10 February formally inaugurated a full-communion relationship with a service that blended elements of the liturgical and musical practices of both traditions.
The service at Central Moravian Church in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania included a newly written Liturgy for Christian Unity from the Moravian Book of Worship and an Anglican Eucharistic prayer, reports Episcopal News Service.
Episcopal 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.
The service's prayers for Christian unity, which were said to conform to classical Moravian ecumenical theology, focused on the unity of faith, hope and love that exists among all Christians.
"We know that the strength of this full-communion relationship depends ... upon our continuing to discover what God is calling us to as his people, allowing God's uniting spirit to work in us," Episcopal Diocese of Milwaukee Bishop Steven Miller, co-chair of the Moravian Episcopal Dialogue, said during his sermon.
"We say in our full communion document that full communion is not merger ... But can it not be something more than advancing the ecumenical ball a little bit further down the field?" Miller asked.
Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori has written to all congregations in the Episcopal Church asking for their continued support for the Good Friday Offering, an annual churchwide collection that assists mission priorities in the dioceses of Jerusalem and Cyprus and the Gulf.
The funds come from pledges made during Good Friday services at Episcopal Church parishes, congregations, cathedrals and missions. In 2011, Good Friday will be observed on April 22.
Now in its 89th year, the Good Friday Offering "offers us the opportunity to join in deepening the bond we have with the churches and people in the land of the Holy One," Jefferts Schori said in her letter.
"For almost a century, the Good Friday Offering has been a source of support, love, and hope for our brothers and sisters in the Episcopal Church in Jerusalem and the Middle East," said Jefferts Schori, noting that she has been "deeply moved by the stories of pain that conflict and division bring to the lives of every person in that province of the Anglican Communion."
According to a release from the Episcopal Church's Office of Public Affairs, past Good Friday offerings have supported projects such as the Episcopal Diocese of Jerusalem's St. Peter's Elderly Home for Christian seniors, St. Andrew's Clinic for diabetes, educational scholarships, and St. Andrew's Housing Projects for young Christian couples; and in the diocese of Cyprus and the Gulf, the many medical ministries of Ras Morbat Clinic based at Christ Church in Aden, Yemen, such as a clinic for mothers and babies, eye care, a vocational school, and ministry to seafarers.
While attending an inauguration gala for Ronald Reagan in January 1981, Steve Russell noticed baseball legend and fellow Western Pennsylvanian Stan Musial walking unattended and unnoticed.
"Nobody was bothering him," recalled Russell, whose dad, Jimmy, was a big league ballplayer and close friend of Musial's. "I could tell people around him didn't know who he was."
Musial certainly could draw a crowd, especially in St. Louis, where he played 22 years for the Cardinals and established himself as a first-ballot Hall of Famer and beloved figure. But at more distant venues, such as a fancy party in Washington, he was just another guy in a suit.
"He didn't have that aura about him because he played in the West," said Russell, the Belle Vernon School District superintendent and general chairman of the Mid-Mon Valley Hall of Fame. "And St. Louis was the West then. He was just kind of constant. He was there. He was dependable."
He was Stan the Man, as modest in size -- 6 feet, 180 pounds -- as in temperament; yet, a towering figure nevertheless. Accordingly, Musial today is back in the nation's capital with Lil, his wife of nearly 71 years, to receive the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the nation's highest civilian honor. He will be joined at the White House by, among others, former President George H.W. Bush, basketball great Bill Russell and cello virtuoso Yo-Yo Ma.
In September 2007, Episcopal Bishop John W. Howe ushered four members of his Central Florida diocese into his small office on Robinson Street. The four men made the 64-year-old bishop an offer: step aside, retire now, and we'll pay off the mortgage on your lakeside home and the difference between what you make now and what your pension would be at the mandatory retirement age of 72.
There's a train wreck headed your way, they said, and we're offering you the chance to step out of the way.
The conservative, evangelical bishop who took over the 15-county diocese in 1990 was deeply embroiled in the issue of gay clergy in the Episcopal Church. He led a group of bishops who opposed the same-sex marriage and ordination of openly gay V. Gene Robinson as bishop of the Episcopal Diocese of New Hampshire in 2003.
The ordination of Robinson resulted in a split within the Episcopal Church that extended to the diocese in Orlando, where members and clergy in nine congregations were planning to leave and take their church property with them.
Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori, the first female presiding bishop of the Episcopal Church, will be in Fort Worth this week with other national Episcopal leaders.
She will speak at 7 p.m. tonight at Congregation Beth-El, 4900 Briarhaven Road. The event is sponsored by the Episcopal Diocese of Fort Worth and TCU's Brite Divinity School. Jefferts Schori will also preside at meetings of the Executive Council on Wednesday through Friday at the American Airlines Training and Conference Center, 4501 Texas 360 South. "The Executive Council is the major governing body of the denomination between general conventions," said Katie Sherrod, director of communications for the Episcopal Diocese of Fort Worth and an elected member of the Executive Council.
Bishop C. Wallis Ohl, provisional bishop of the 24-county Episcopal Diocese of Fort Worth, and other diocesan leaders will host a reception for the 40-member Executive Council on Thursday night at Theatre Arlington. It will be followed by a dinner next door at the Arlington Museum of Art.
Members of St. Alban's Episcopal Church who have remained loyal to the U.S. church have been meeting at Theatre Arlington since 2008. They had to find another meeting place after a majority of St. Alban's members joined Bishop Jack Iker and other Fort Worth-area Episcopalians in voting to leave the Episcopal Church three years ago.
For the second time in two weeks, the Episcopal Diocese of Pittsburgh has announced an agreement resolving parish property issues with a group of former Episcopalians. The diocese announced the agreement Feb. 14 with the Somerset Anglican Fellowship.
According to a diocesan press release, the agreement allows the Somerset Anglican Fellowship to remain part of the Anglican Diocese of Pittsburgh or any religious body of its choosing. The congregation agrees to return all property provided for its use by the Episcopal diocese and to not support any property litigation brought by anyone else against the Episcopal diocese.
The membership condition differs from the one settled on in a Feb. 2 agreement with St. Philip's Church in Moon Township. That agreement requires St. Philip's to "no longer be affiliated with the Anglican Diocese of Pittsburgh or any similar group outside the Episcopal Church for a minimum period of five years."
St. Philip's members must pay off an existing mortgage; repay the diocese the amount of a 2007 distribution from a diocesan endowment fund; and pay the diocese an additional cash amount which the diocese will finance, with interest, for up to 15 years. The diocese will continue to hold the deed for the property until these payments have all been made, according to the summary.
A summary of the Somerset agreement says it resolves all potential legal disputes between the diocese and Somerset Anglican Fellowship and allows both "to go forward with their respective principal missions," according to the press release. The summary of the agreement was issued jointly by Pittsburgh Bishop Kenneth Price and the Rev. J. Mark Zimmerman, pastor of the Somerset Anglican Fellowship.
The Somerset Anglican Fellowship resolved a three-year dispute with the Episcopal Diocese of Pittsburgh Monday.
Property and legal disagreements arose in 2008 after members of St. Francis-in-the-Fields Episcopal Church decided to break apart from the diocese because of theological differences. St. Francis is located in Somerset.
Under the supervision of the Rev. Mark Zimmerman, the Somerset Anglican Fellowship formed and began holding services in a suite at Georgian Place.
“When we left St. Francis, we left everything,” Zimmerman, who was ordained in 1986, said. “We found ourselves without chalices, without Communion materials — so we went to the diocese, found some items we needed and brought them to the new facility.”
Zimmerman and his followers left the church in order to pursue a stricter interpretation of biblical Scriptures.
“Churches have two choices: They can seek to impact culture with the Gospel or allow culture to influence the Gospel message,” he said. “Once you start whittling away at the Gospel, where do you stop?”
Under the terms of Monday’s agreement, the congregation must return all diocese property and promise not to support any litigation other churches may bring against the diocese. Zimmerman said the church has 30 days to return all diocese property, such as hymnals and other church materials.
The Episcopal Diocese of Pittsburgh has reached a property settlement with a second parish of the rival Anglican Diocese of Pittsburgh.
Somerset Anglican Fellowship, which broke off from nearby St. Francis-in-the Fields Episcopal Church before the majority at the 2008 Episcopal diocesan convention voted to leave the Episcopal Church, will remain part of the Anglican Diocese of Pittsburgh. An agreement announced two weeks ago with St. Philip's Church in Moon required that parish to break all ties with the Anglican diocese for at least five years.
Somerset Anglican Fellowship currently meets in a rented storefront at the Georgian Place development, but is planning to buy a former Presbyterian church. The settlement requires the congregation to give back everything it received from the Episcopal diocese, mostly liturgical items used in worship.
The agreement also "acknowledges the existence" of the so-called Dennis canon, which says that all property of an Episcopal congregation is held in trust for the denomination. The congregation promised not to support any litigation that other parties might bring against the Episcopal diocese. In return the Episcopal diocese promised not to stake any claims against the purchase of the Presbyterian church.
"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 o seek peace and reconciliation with each other," said a statement signed by Bishop Kenneth Price Jr. of the Episcopal Diocese of Pittsburgh and the Rev. J. Mark Zimmerman, rector of Somerset Anglican Fellowship.
The Episcopal Diocese of Pittsburgh and the Somerset Anglican Fellowship announced today (February 14, 2011) that they have signed an amicable agreement resolving parish property issues.
It is the second such agreement in recent weeks between the Episcopal Diocese and a group of clergy and laity who left the Episcopal Church in 2008.
The agreement allows the Somerset Anglican Fellowship to remain part of the Anglican Diocese of Pittsburgh or any religious body of its choosing. The congregation agrees to return all property provided for its use by the Episcopal Diocese and to not support any property litigation brought by anyone else against the Episcopal Diocese.
“The agreement will resolve all potential legal disputes between the Diocese and Somerset Anglican Fellowship and allow both to go forward with their respective principal missions,” states an Executive Summary of the agreement issued jointly by Bishop Kenneth Price of the Episcopal Diocese and the Rev. J. Mark Zimmerman, pastor of the Somerset Anglican Fellowship.
The terms are subject to court approval and both parties will seek that approval together.
The Somerset agreement comes less than two weeks after the Episcopal Diocese reached its first settlement of parish property issues through an agreement with St. Philip’s Church in Moon Township.
For $3, Livingston County residents can help provide equipment that will save children in Africa from a preventable disease — a cause the leader of St. John's Episcopal Church in Howell is drawing attention to with a new documentary film, "Malawi and Malaria: Fighting to Save the Children."
The Rev. Sue Carter, who is a faculty member at Michigan State University's journalism school and former journalist, spent a few weeks in March of last year filming the documentary with a fellow faculty member, Bob Gould.
"I came to the project through Dr. Terrie Taylor, a faculty member at MSU in the school of osteopathic medicine," Carter said. "She spends half her year in Malawi and half in Michigan, and has done this for a quarter-century, working with children who have malaria."
The particular problem Taylor works on treating is cerebral malaria, an advanced form of the disease to which children are particularly susceptible and can cause blindness and paralysis.
While in Malawi, Carter and Gould stayed with an acquaintance from her seminary time, Justice Sini, who is an archdeacon of a diocese in Malawi.
The Right Reverend Derek Rawcliffe, who has died aged 89. was Bishop of the Scottish Episcopal Church's diocese of Glasgow and Galloway from 1981-91 and before that spent more than 30 years in Melanesia, becoming the first Bishop of the New Hebrides, now Vanuatu, in 1975.
None of this excited any great interest, though his devoted work in the islands of the Pacific earned him an OBE in 1971. But in March 1995, when he was four years into his Yorkshire retirement, he created a stir by revealing in the course of a television programme that he was homosexual – the first Church of England bishop to be open about his homosexuality. Moreover, when he was 50 he had fallen in love with a young Melanesian man and come to believe that his homosexuality was "a gift from God".
None the less, four years later, in 1977 he had married Susan Speight who had been a teacher of ballet and domestic science but was then confined to a wheelchair, the result of diabetic neuropathy. Although much the younger of the two, she was thought to be close to death, but as a result of a shared mystical experience she had a remission and lived for another 12 years. After her death he realised "I was still gay, always had been".
In 2006, when Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori became the first woman to lead the 2.4 million-member Episcopal Church, the denomination was embroiled in a bitter controversy over the ordination of homosexuals and the blessing of same-sex unions.
Although some individuals and congregations have since left the denomination, tensions have eased somewhat in the 4 1/2 years since, Bishop Jefferts Schori said before the Winter Convocation of the Episcopal Diocese of Ohio.
"Clearly, some people hold their positions as firmly as they ever have, but I think most everyone is recognizing that these aren't life or death issues for most people," she said in her first visit to the Toledo area since beginning her nine-year term.
The only places where the issue is literally a matter of life or death is in some parts of Africa, where governments have criminalized homosexuality, or in nations such as Pakistan with the "misapplication of legal codes," she said.
Of more concern to people in developing nations are basic survival issues such as having enough food to eat, combating malaria and other diseases, and avoiding the perils of war in one's own community. Jobs and the economy are also of primary concern worldwide, she said.
Since the late 19th century, the Society of St. Margaret, an order of Episcopal nuns, has maintained a quiet but steady presence in Boston, nursing the sick, caring for the poor, and welcoming travelers in need of a quiet place to stay, all while keeping a rigorous schedule of prayer and silent contemplation.
For more than 100 years, the nuns lived in four brownstones in Beacon Hill’s Louisburg Square, worshiping at the nearby Church of the Advent and the Church of St. John the Evangelist. In 1992, they sold their quarters — one of the buildings is now home to Senator John F. Kerry — and converted a nursing home they had previously run on Fort Hill in Roxbury into their convent.
But in recent years, the sprawling 35,000-square-foot convent has become too expensive and difficult to maintain for the 17 women who live there, many of them elderly, and the order has decided it is time to move again — to a retreat center the sisters operate in Duxbury.
Selling the convent, said Sister Carolyn Darr, the superior, would allow the sisters to devote more money and energy to their charitable and spiritual work — in particular, their small mission in Haiti, which the order has run since the 1920s and which suffered severe damage in last year’s earthquake.
The Rev. George D. Young, III, was elected on Feb. 12 as fourth bishop of the Episcopal Diocese of East Tennessee, pending the required consents from a majority of bishops with jurisdiction and standing committees of the Episcopal Church.
Young, 55, rector of St. Peter's Episcopal Church, Fernandina Beach, Florida, was elected on the eighth ballot out of a field of five nominees. He received 107 votes of 142 cast in the lay order and 59 of 84 cast in the clergy order. An election on that ballot required 95 in the lay order and 56 in the clergy order.
The election, held at St. John's Cathedral in Knoxville, took place during the 27th Annual Convention of the diocese. Pending a successful consent process, Young will succeed Bishop Charles G. vonRosenberg, who will retire upon his successor's ordination. VonRosenberg served the diocese for more than 12 years.
Under the canons (III.11.4) of the Episcopal Church, a majority of bishops exercising jurisdiction and diocesan standing committees must consent to the bishop-elect's ordination as bishop within 120 days of receiving notice of the election.
For years, debates over homosexuality have dominated headlines on divisions within mainline Protestantism.
First Evangelical Lutheran Church in Redlands began splitting apart shortly after its national denomination approved the ordination of noncelibate gay and lesbian ministers in 2009, and most of the people who left nearby Trinity Episcopal Church in 2006 opposed the Episcopal denomination's consecration of a gay bishop.
But, reflecting what religious experts say is true nationally in mainline Protestantism, current and former members of the Redlands congregations said homosexuality is only part of far broader theological differences that are the real root of the divisions. Local congregational matters such as a pastor's personality and worship style also factor in, they said.
"It's a much bigger picture than one issue," said the Rev. Greg Wallace, who left First Lutheran and the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America denomination in November to form a more conservative congregation. "It really comes down to a theological split between the left and right in mainline Protestantism."
Mainline Protestantism encompasses the establishment churches that were at one time dominant in the United States, including denominations now known as the United Methodist Church, the Evangelical Lutheran Church, the Presbyterian Church (USA) and the Episcopal Church.