Saturday, April 9, 2011

First African American female ordained from the Episcopal Diocese of Texas

From Virginia (I believe)

On Jan. 13, Petersburg native Glenice Robinson-Como was ordained the first African American female from the Diocese of Texas at Christ Church Cathedral, Houston, Texas. As a Petersburg native, Glenice stands on the shoulders of many who paved the way to her priesthood.

Every Sunday she would pass St. Stephen's Episcopal Church, the oldest African American Episcopal Church in Virginia, while heading to First Baptist Church. Although she never imagined becoming a priest, she reflects upon the rich history of the Episcopal Church in Virginia, realizing God supplied her with the best foundation for service.

The Bishop Payne School of Theology, (a branch of the Virginia Seminary in Alexandria), was formed in Petersburg to prepare African American males for sacred ministry. Como says. "So many brave men stepped out on faith so that I may stand today as a woman of color and as a priest in the Episcopal Church. I am honored to have lived in Petersburg because of its role in the progression of African Americans in the Episcopal Church."

A student of Petersburg Public Schools, Glenice graduated from Virginia Commonwealth University and later moved to Los Angeles, Calif., where she would marry and start a family. She always hoped of returning to Virginia, but "God had other plans."

Read more:

Church youth focus on environment for Lent

From Georgia-

Most years, the youth at St. Bartholomew's Episcopal Church resolve to make sacrifices during Lent.

This year, they set out to gain.

Instead of giving something up for Lent, the church season that leads to Easter, the youth set out to collect other people's trash -- specifically, their electronic waste.

Over the past several weeks, varieties of old televisions, computer monitors and gadgets have been collected from church members and recycled.

It's part of a 40-day effort to educate youth on ways to be better stewards of the Earth, said David Henson, the church's youth director.

To cap off the youths' Lenten focus and kick off area Earth Day activities, the church will hold a free screening of the documentary DIRT! on Friday.

The film, narrated by Jamie Lee Curtis, explores the social, economic and political effects on the Earth.

Henson says the film echoes the conversations of youth on the relationship between creation and environmental stewardship.

More here-

New bishop to visit St. John's Episcopal

From San Joaquin-

The new bishop of the Diocese of San Joaquin will meet the congregation at St. John's Episcopal Church, where he will preside at both services on Sunday.

The Rt. Rev. Chester Talton, who became bishop during the first week of March, replaces Jerry Lamb, the diocese's first bishop after the diocese split two years ago when Episcopal Church USA appointed V. Eugene Robinson, an openly gay man, as bishop of the New Hampshire Diocese.

It was a bitter divorce, and Talton said in a phone interview Thursday that his goal is to rebuild and strengthen the diocese. Although St. John's is a large church, several in the diocese are very small and don't even conduct services in church buildings.

More here-

Russell Palmore dies at age 64

I worked with Russ at General Convention. He was a good man and will be missed.

Russell V. Palmore Jr., a Richmond attorney and chancellor of the Episcopal Diocese of Virginia, died Thursday after eye surgery. He was 64.

"Russ was a tremendous example of loyalty and dedication to the Episcopal Church," the Rt. Rev. Shannon S. Johnston, the diocese's bishop, said in announcing Mr. Palmore's death. "We are mourning the loss of one of our greatest leaders."

Mr. Palmore was instrumental in the diocese's legal fight to retain the property of several Episcopal parishes in Northern Virginia that broke away because of disagreements, including the role of gays and lesbians in the church and the 2003 consecration of an openly gay bishop.

"Russ maintained an unparalleled involvement in church leadership throughout his life, back to the time that he served as a counselor and assistant director at St. George's Camp at Shrine Mont," Johnston said.

More here-

Friday, April 8, 2011

Kenya Christians and Muslims debate hijab in schools

From Kenya-

Muslim leaders in Kenya are calling for government action on Christian schools that have banned students from wearing hijab, the head covering traditionally worn by Muslim girls and women. Church leaders have defended the ban, saying head teachers have the right to determine dress code in the schools, according to a denomination's religious traditions, discipline and philosophies.

"The problem has been with us for some time. In our private schools, we do not encourage or allow hijab. We insist the children have to be children just like the others. These are our laid-down procedures," Roman Archbishop Boniface Lele of Mombasa told ENInews on April 6, six days after the Muslim leaders issued the demand in the coastal city.

The leaders alleged some children had been expelled from school over their dress and called for their re-admission. Their demands are based on the provisions of a new national constitution, adopted in August, 2010, that grants the right to education to all children. The Muslim leaders said they also want the traditional dress allowed in schools countrywide.

More here-

After brief encounter — ‘not derailed’

From The Church Times-

THE Archbishop of Canterbury said this week that there was “no for-ever-and-a-day prohibition” on Anglican and Ordinariate congregations’ sharing buildings, but “pastoral sensitivities” meant that it was too early to happen yet.

Speaking after the fourth bilateral meeting of Anglican and Roman Catholic diocesan bishops, which was held at St George’s Roman Catholic Cathedral, Southwark, on Monday, Dr Williams said: “I don’t think there’s any objection in principle [to sharing buildings], but if you have a congregation that’s just divided, it’s not ideal that they’re sharing the same church.”

The Roman Catholic Archbishop of Westminster, the Most Revd Vin cent Nichols, reiterated his view (News, 19 November) that “the simplest solution” was best, “and the simplest solution is that those who are coming into the [Roman] Catholic Church come and use our buildings”.
Dr Williams said that “the routine work of contact and exchange between our two Churches has gone on without being in any sense derailed” by the Ordinariate. The meeting had received “a report from the liaison group that we’ve already set up on questions that arise in connection with the Ordinariate”.

Archbishop Nichols said that the Ordinariate was “not some kind of alternative ecumenism” and would not be a distraction from “the overall ecumenical aim of full visible communion”.

More here-

Parishioners shattered by window thefts

From Canada-
Every Sunday Wendy Crooks hauls her suitcase to St. Paul's Anglican Church in Dunany and unpacks the cross, brass candle holders and collection plates in preparation for the service, only to pack them back up again for another week after the parishioners have gone home.

Extraordinary measures to ensure someone doesn't break into the tiny rural church near Lachute and take them. And yet overnight on Monday someone, or several people, broke into the church and stole the only thing of value left: a three foot by seven foot stained glass window of the church's namesake.

The parishioners were devastated at the loss, but they were also perplexed. Who would do such a thing and why? Little did they know it was the second time in a week a rural Anglican church was targeted and stripped of its stained glass.

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Royal Wedding Prayers: Anglicans, Catholics Publish Official Blessings for Will and Kate

From Huffington-

The Church of England has published a special prayer in anticipation of the wedding of Prince William to his fiancee, Kate Middleton.

The prayer is designed for use by groups and individuals who wish to bless the royal couple ahead of their impending nuptials. The prayer asks for God's help in strengthening the will of the couple so that they may keep their wedding vows and remain faithful to one another. (Scroll down for full text.)

Additionally, the Church has issued a prayer specifically intended for schoolchildren who wish to pray for the royal couple. This prayer forgoes the more mature subject of fidelity in favor of a generic wish for the couple's safety and happiness.

This sort of topical prayer is common practice for the Anglican Church, which has recently offered prayers in response to current events in Libya, Japan and New Zealand, as well as the global economic crisis.

The Catholic Bishops Conference of England and Wales has also issued a special prayer for use around the time of the Royal Wedding, which is slated for April 29 at Westminster Abbey. The Catholic prayer strikes a broader tone, wishing the couple strength to serve God and country throughout their lives.



Volunteers keep Manna Meal kitchen running

From West Virginia-

Sometimes when a task seems overwhelming, many helpful hands can achieve the job flawlessly.

Manna Meal, which serves two meals a day to the homeless and those who are struggling to make ends meet, has been without a kitchen since Feb. 21. Housed at St. John's Episcopal Church in downtown Charleston, the kitchen will be under renovation until mid-June.

However, food has been served without a hitch thanks to groups of volunteers who cook and deliver.

"It's amazing," said Jean Simpson, executive director. "No matter what happens, Manna Meal always pulls through. God is always taking care of us."

The renovation project began thanks to a $500,000 gift from the H.B. Wehrle Jr. family. The renovation will convert a 1930s church kitchen to an industrial facility.

More here-

Presiding bishop's 2011 Easter message

From ENS-

The Resurrection must be understood in significantly different images and metaphors in the southern hemisphere, when Easter always arrives in the transition from summer to winter. Even as a hard, hard winter lingers on in northern climes, with unaccustomed April snow in many places, we yearn for the new life we know is waiting around the corner. As Christians, we're meant to have the same hunger for the new creation emerging all around us.

We can see the broken places of our world either as complete and utter disaster, or as seedbeds -- graves, even -- in which God is doing a new thing. The situation in Haiti is dire, yet day by day and person by person hope lightens and leavens. Plans are emerging for civic reconstruction in Port-au-Prince that would bless the nation with pride in its heritage and more effective government. The Episcopal Church is a partner in those possibilities, as the vision for a rebuilt cathedral takes form. The graves are becoming gardens, at Cathédrale Sainte-Trinité and Collège St. Pierre. New and more life-giving relationships are emerging between development ministries and the lives of the people. Resurrection is happening in many places, even if one must search for it, like looking for the first buds on the trees as ice and snow give way to the warmth of spring.

More here-

New apartments for the homeless open today in Allentown

From Bethlehem PA-

New Bethany Ministries today opened its first facility for the homeless in Allentown. The Bethlehem-based organization is partnering with the Lehigh County Conference of Churches and Grace Episcopal Church on the six-person facility dubbed Grace House.

Grace House is located at 112 N. Fifth St. and will provide housing specifically for the chronically homeless, the organization said in a news release. The center is part of Allentown’s 10-year plan to end chronic homelessness.

New Bethany will own the facility and provide case management. The Lehigh County Conference of Churches will provide rent subsidies and refer eligible chronically homeless individuals. Grace Episcopal Church will provide additional services, such as groceries and classes for the general education development test.

New Bethany operates a hospitality center on Bethlehem’s South Side. It also operates three housing facilities for the homeless in Bethlehem and one such facility in Coplay.

More here-

Thursday, April 7, 2011

Anglicans cross about pizza firm's bun adverts

From New Zealand- (and yes its for real)

A pizza company has upset people over an advertising campaign that compares its limited-edition hot cross buns to Jesus.

Hell Pizza has put billboards around Auckland's CBD that advertise its hot cross buns with the tagline: "For a limited time. A bit like Jesus."

Anglican Church media officer Lloyd Ashton said the campaign was disrespectful to many religions and the people who followed them.

"They [the billboards] join a long line of advertising that's in questionable taste that slings off [at] things that lots of people hold precious.

"It's disrespectful to what a lot of people hold very dear."

Mr Ashton said he was tired of advertising agencies using blasphemy and religious controversy to sell products.

"Their buns are stale.

Thieves return stolen, 600-pound bronze moose

From the "You Can't Make This Stuff Up" Department -San Diego Division-

A 600-pound bronze moose stolen from a Ramona yard about six weeks ago has mysteriously returned.

Sheriff’s investigators are still looking for the thief and figure there are at least 25 other unsolved cases of statues plucked from homes and one church around San Diego County since September. The statues have a total value of up to $200,000.

“There is definitely something going on countywide,” said Ramona sheriff’s Sgt. Christina Bavencoff. “It’s a huge problem right now and it’s growing.”

A menagerie of metal, concrete and wooden animals, including the moose, a dolphin, deer, and several horses, have been stolen as well as a baby Jesus, women and children in various poses, and a Virgin Mary that was taken from St. Mary’s-In-The Valley Episcopal church in Ramona.

“A lot of these weigh a significant amount,” Bavencoff said.

More here-

Candler in the running for bishop of D.C. Episcopal diocese

From Atlanta-

The Very Rev. Samuel G. Candler of Atlanta is among five finalists for the ninth bishop of the Episcopal Diocese of Washington, D.C.

Candler is dean of The Cathedral of St. Philip, where he has served for more than a dozen years. He was ordained in the Diocese of Atlanta in 1982.

Candler was born in Coweta County. In his bio, Candler said he had dreams of being a jazz musician before he was called into the priesthood.

The election is scheduled for June 18 at the Washington National Cathedral.

Other nominees are: the Rev. Ron Abrams, rector, St. James Parish, Wilmington, N.C.; the Rev. Mariann Edgar Budde, rector, St. John's, Minneapolis, Minn.; the Rev. Jane Soyster Gould, rector, St. Stephen's Memorial Episcopal Church, Lynn, Mass.; and the Rev. Canon John T. W. Harmon, rector, Trinity Episcopal Church, Washington, D.C.

More here-

Items stolen from New Haven church returned in a grocery bag left on front steps

From New Haven CT

An altar cross and candlestick stolen from a New Haven church during a vandalism spree have been returned.

The New Haven Register reports that the priest in charge of the Episcopal Church of St. Paul and St. James reports that the items were found Wednesday night by a church maintenance worker in a grocery bag on the church's front steps.

The Rev. Alex Dyer says the items were stolen early Saturday by one or more vandals who broke into the 19th-century church and broke four stained-glass window panes, two of them in the main window over the front doors. The linens on the altar and other items were strewn about, and a Bible was torn in half.

Dyer preached forgiveness for the persons responsible in his Sunday sermon.

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Anglo-Catholic parish that will cross the Tiber

From England-

At an Anglican theological college in Oxford two 25-year-olds were sitting by a computer. They had the Vatican website up and were clicking “refresh”. They had an inkling that a document was being published that day, reports the Catholic Herald.

Eventually, the words “Apostolic Constitution Anglicanorum coetibus” popped up on screen. They clicked on it and read, for the first time, the details of Pope Benedict XVI’s historic offer to Anglicans.

The document was issued on November 4 2009. Then, the two young men – Daniel Lloyd and James Bradley – were studying to become Anglican priests. Two weeks ago they joined the Personal Ordinariate of Our Lady of Walsingham. They are the only Anglican deacons – they were ordained last year – to do so. And they will both be putting themselves forward for the priesthood.

James Bradley, a bright, sincere and rather priestly guy, is with a group in Sevenoaks, Kent. There are 39 of them, all from St John the Baptist Anglo-Catholic parish. They range from a woman in her 80s to newlyweds and teenagers. Many of them have worshipped at St John’s all their lives; they were baptised or married or have family buried there. Yet they are willing to give it all up because they feel that this is what they need to do.

More here-

Only the best for the west!

From Australia-

Just go to Melbourne’s Western suburbs and see the new Anglican church in Sunshine!

Holy Apostles’ Church, Sunshine Braybrook, will be officially opened by the Archbishop on Saturday 30 April, but it has already become a spiritual home to the parishioners. And by all accounts, they are thrilled with it.

“There is a real buzz here on a Sunday morning,” their Vicar, Fr Stuart Soley, told TMA. “They don’t want to go home!” No wonder. The new church is something for any congregation to be proud of, from its stunning boat-shaped profile soaring into the sky as you approach it along Sun Crescent to its rich light-filled contemporary interior.

For a parish that has, over the past decade, had to watch its old church demolished because it was unsafe, and then come to terms with a merger of two congregations and the sale of another parish site, the new parish centre is a powerful symbol of new beginnings. The old St Mark’s Sunshine, built in 1959 on the site of an earlier church, had begun to crack within a few years as its foundations gave way. The builders had not taken into account the highly reactive soils in the area. It had to be closed four years after Fr Soley came to the parish, with the congregation relocated to St Peter’s and St Andrew’s, Braybrook. The vicarage suffered a similar fate.

More here-

Leave Your Church

Not quite sure where this is from- Patheos

I've left a lot of churches in my short life—from the Pentecostal church of my childhood, to the Assemblies of God church that took its place when I was in high school. I left that church when I entered college and it didn't seem quite "smart" enough. Then, in college, my friends and I discovered a church staffed by, and rife with, seminary students. For a long time, this felt like the right place to be. My wife and I were married in this church, but we eventually left it too, when it became clear that a few stodgy elders were holding back women from access to church leadership.

When we moved to New York City we, of course, headed straight for Manhattan's megachurch, but despite everybody's best intentions we were swallowed up in the enormity and, as artists who couldn't afford to live on the island, we always felt like outsiders. From there we tried a smaller plant of the mother church where, in that microcosm of Presbyterianism, our hunch that we simply weren't Presbyterians, or reformed in our theology at all, was confirmed.

Despite all of this, I wouldn't say we were ever church shopping, so much as intentionally exposing ourselves to the rich variety of Christian traditions. The Pentecostal church of my youth was where my parents' Jesus Movement conversion landed them, for a while. My 20s were spent experiencing as many traditions, theologies, and orthodoxies as possible, and figuring out where I belong. This inter-Christian multiculturalism has tremendous value, as does all multiculturalism, despite the recent hyperbole-laden screed against it by World Magazine's Joel Belz.

More here-

House churches deepen community, provide intimate hospitality

From ENS-

Regular Thursday evening worship involves "the Lord's Supper in three courses" at Holy Spirit Episcopal Community, a house church in Silver Lake, California, in the Diocese of Los Angeles.

House churches, or small groups of believers who gather and worship in homes, sometimes by necessity and other times independent of mainstream religious institutions, are considered to emulate the earliest Christian community, and more recently are growing in popularity as a way to reach out to the unchurched.

At Holy Spirit, Fabian Rodriguez serves up the evening's first course, arranging crab-broccoli dip and other appetizers, salads and freshly baked chicken pot pie on the altar.

He'd spent much of the day in court, at the trial of the accused murderer of his best friend. And for Rodriguez, 38, a chef, it felt comforting to offer a homemade meal to "a community where I feel accepted, where I feel so comfortable that even when I'm uncomfortable I'm allowed to express it in a safe environment.

More here-

Father Albert Cutie to discuss Catholic celibacy requirement

From Orlando-

Father Albert Cutie's upcoming talks just happened to fall on Lent, he says. But he adds that it's a good time for reflection and "transformation" — like his newsmaking shift from Catholic priest to married Episcopal priest.

"The news [media] reports in a negative way, but I always saw beyond the storm, to the liberating hand of God on my life," Cutie, once the best-known Catholic in South Florida, said as he prepared to speak at two local churches in the next week. "I'm a better human being now. I don't have to hide something that is good and God-given."

Cutie, 41, will speak Thursday at St. Gregory's Episcopal Church in Boca Raton. He'll then speak Tuesday at St. Mark the Evangelist in Fort Lauderdale. The topic for both talks is "Dilemma," the title of his new book on the clash of his priestly celibacy with his love for a woman.

That conflict burst into public view in 2009, when paparazzi caught him at a beach with a divorced mother named Ruhama Canellis, whom he later married. The photos led to his exit from the Catholic Church and into the Episcopal Church.

More here-,0,3288232.story

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

A Prophet Against the Empire

Book Review from The American Spectator-

Almost every article about Duke University ethicist Stanley Hauerwas references Time magazine's having named him America's "best theologian" in 2001. So it's natural that Hauerwas starts his own memoir with it, slightly tongue in cheek. He may not be America's "best" theologian, but he certainly is among its most influential.

A Methodist who now attends a "peace" oriented Episcopal church, Hauerwas is the chief popularizer of the growing neo-Anabaptist movement among today's Protestants and Evangelicals. He is the premier disciple of the late Mennonite theologian John Howard Yoder, who reinterpreted the Cross of Jesus Christ into primarily a rejection of all violence. If Yoder was the architect of the modern neo-Anabaptist surge, Hauerwas is its most effective evangelist. In surely a divine irony, Hauerwas was acclaimed by Time just in time for 9-11, which enhanced his rejection of all military force, no matter the provocation, not to mention nearly all things pertaining to the American "empire."

More here-

Presiding bishop, House of Bishops issue letters requesting support for Bishop Dawani of Jerusalem

From ENS-

Following the March 25 - 30 meeting of the House of Bishops, Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori and the house have written letters requesting support for Anglican Bishop in Jerusalem Suheil Dawani, who has been denied the customary residency permit allowing him to live in Jerusalem.

Jefferts Schori's letter is addressed to the Episcopal Church; the letter from the House of Bishops is written to Israel's ambassadors serving in nations where the Episcopal Church has dioceses or presence.

"Change is likeliest when the leaders of our governments know of our urgent concern," wrote Jefferts Schori to members of the church, asking them to contact government officials on Dawani's behalf. "In every part of The Episcopal Church, your response is most likely to be effective when directed to Israel's ambassador to your nation, to your national leader – President and/or Prime Minister, and/or to your legislative representatives in your national government."

More here-

Monday, April 4, 2011

Court denies Anglican diocese appeal on property

From The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette-

State Commonwealth Court has denied a request for a rehearing from the Anglican Diocese of Pittsburgh, which is seeking to overturn a 2009 ruling by Allegheny County Judge Joseph James awarding all of its central assets to the Episcopal Diocese of Pittsburgh.

The diocesan rivalry stems from the October 2008 convention at which the majority of the Episcopal Diocese of Pittsburgh voted to leave the national Episcopal Church. According to an earlier series of court decisions and stipulations, the ownership of parish property is to be negotiated. At least two parishes that left the Episcopal Church have already reached agreements with the Episcopal diocese.

A spokesman for the Anglican Diocese of Pittsburgh said that its leaders intend to appeal the March 29 decision, but that the appeal will not stop parish property negotiations.

"What we are really looking for is a settlement or settlements which allow our parishes not only to survive but to thrive," David Trautman said.

The Anglican parishes that were part of the Episcopal diocese prior to the split have all written to Episcopal Bishop Kenneth Price "accepting their call to negotiation while reserving their full legal rights," he said.

Read more:

Episcopal diocese, parishes consider church property issues

From The Pittsburgh Tribune Review-

The Pittsburgh Episcopal diocese and 41 breakaway Anglican parishes scattered throughout Western Pennsylvania are ready to discuss their financial differences.

"At this point, negotiations are the way forward," said Bishop William Ilgenfritz of St. Mary's, the Anglican parish in Charleroi, which is waiting for the Episcopal diocese to set a starting date for talks.

Negotiations over property issues are expected to take place on a parish-by-parish basis, church leaders said, although it's not clear when negotiations will begin.

The split in the Pittsburgh diocese developed over disagreements involving biblical teaching on salvation and other issues, including homosexuality. The diocese called a special convention after the election of V. Gene Robinson, an openly gay priest, as bishop of New Hampshire in 2003. Clergy and lay members of the Pittsburgh diocese voted overwhelmingly in 2008 to cut ties with the theologically liberal national church.

In February, Episcopal Bishop Kenneth Price Jr. invited the individual Anglican parishes to "contact me to begin a conversation seeking an amicable resolution" of property issues.

Read more:

Episcopal diocese, parishes consider church property issues - Pittsburgh Tribune-Review

Sunday, April 3, 2011

Medical update

I'm having knee surgery tomorrow for a torn medial miniscus in my right knee. Out patient but I probably won't post again until Tuesday. But you never know.


Appeals Court Order Lets Decision Stand

From The Episcopal Diocese of Pittsburgh-

The Commonwealth Court of Pennsylvania has turned down a request made by former diocesan leaders to reargue their appeal of a lower court’s ruling concerning diocesan property.

On February 2, 2011, Commonwealth Court 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, based on a Stipulation the former diocesan leaders agreed to in 2005. Those former leaders had appealed Judge James’ decision to Commonwealth Court, and two weeks after the appeals court affirmed Judge James, they asked the appeals court to reconsider its ruling.

More here-