Saturday, May 14, 2011

Infighting rocks Anglican church

From Swaziland-

A standoff between a reverend and the administration of the Anglican Church in Swaziland is threatening to sow seeds of division as the matter lands at the Archbishop’s office in Cape Town for intervention.

Already a team of investigators were in the country to investigate stinging allegations by Reverend Bhekubuhle Mbatha of the St. Augustine branch in Mpaka against the church and the Bishop of Swaziland Meshack Mabuza.

The tiff includes mismanagement of moneys from the Anglicans of Iowa in the United States for the construction of a church hall, classrooms for orphans and a church structure. Reverend Mbatha, however, believes the entire church project was his brainchild and accuses headquarters of interfering and taking away the running of the affairs of the institution from him.

In a letter dated March 6, 2007 and addressed to Bishop Mabuza, Rev. Mbatha alleges that he had been writing a series of letters to the bishop warning him to stop ‘frustrating, embarrassing, and insulting’ him in public or else he would ‘spill the beans’.

More here-

China's Christians need clergy, says government minister

From Christian Century-

Christians in China need qualified clergy who can contribute to the development of society, China's Minister of State Administration for Religious Affairs (SARA) said in Nairobi, where a delegation from China is visiting the Anglican Church of Kenya.

"In the past, Christianity was treated as a foreign religion, but now we treat it as ours. There are a lot of Christians there, but they lack clergy. They cannot find qualified clergy to carry out development work among them," said Wang Zuo'an on 13 May at a meeting with Archbishop Eliud Wabukala, primate of the Anglican Church of Kenya.

Wang, who is on his first visit to Africa, was accompanied by a delegation of ten officials. During the five day visit, from 12 to 16 May, the group is visiting church missions in Nairobi and Mt. Kenya South dioceses. They are also visiting schools and children's homes, and learning about Mothers Union saving and credit societies.

The minister said the purpose of the visit was to enhance the relationship between the Anglican Church, the Global South Anglican Communion and the Chinese church. The Anglican Church officials had earlier said the delegation wanted to learn about the co-existence of state and religion. Wang will also be going to Uganda and South Africa.

More here-

Presbyterians begin to make sense of new policy

From San Antonio-

In the wake of the decision this week to allow partnered and non-celibate gays and lesbians to serve as clergy in the Presbyterian Church USA, the 158 congregations in the South Central Texas district have begun the difficult task of sorting out the impact.
As expected, given the emotionally charged views of homosexuality and the Bible, some are upset while others are celebrating.

The process to implement the change across the region will be intentionally slow and methodical, many pastors said, to allow for lay and clergy to talk and listen. They are mindful of the discord experienced by their fellow Protestant denominations after opening up the pulpit to include gay people.

For more than a dozen years at national gatherings, the Presbyterian Church USA lacked enough votes to end its ban on church leaders in same-sex relationships. But earlier this week, a majority of supportive presbyteries — the denomination’s regional units — was reached.

Read more:

The painful price of peace

From Boston-

The Society of St. Margaret’s roots in Roxbury go back to the late 19th century, when the small Episcopal order of nuns established a nursing home for poor African-American women near the top of Fort Hill.

Their friendship with the community deepened over the years, as the nursing home was later reborn as the nuns’ residence: They opened their convent for neighborhood meetings and get-togethers. Their neighbors invited them to block parties and contributed to their charitable work.

“When I was in my 20s, the sisters would come and play cards with us,’’ said Donal Fox, a pianist and composer who owns a house next door.

But that relationship has been sorely tested by the nuns’ attempt to sell their serene hilltop convent to a new charter school. After several months of tense meetings, testy correspondence, and a petition drive challenging the sale, the leaders of the fledgling Bridge Boston Charter School terminated a tentative agreement to buy the convent for $3.3 million, concluding that they could not fully address neighbors’ concerns about traffic.

More here-

Episcopal members to join in walk to know their neighbors

From Idaho-

Jesus taught, “love thy neighbour as thyself.”

In an effort to better know who their neighbors are, members of the Episcopal Church of the Ascension will host a neighborhood walk around the church on Tuesday.

“We’re doing this as part of our strategic planning in terms of who are our neighbors,” said Pastor Deb Seles.

She hopes that members will reach out and talk to people they might meet on their walk.
“At the beginning of Lent, when we held our pancake supper, we went and put door hangers at the apartments near the church, inviting people to the supper,” Seles said. “I don’t think we’ve done as much in the way of outreach at those apartments.”

Nor in some of the other neighborhoods near the church, she said.

When members meet Tuesday at the church, they’ll be assigned different routes in a one-mile radius. Members, whom Seles said should invite a friend to join them on the walk, are to be observant as to what they see and who they meet.

More here-

Friday, May 13, 2011

Pittsburghers understand-

The Anglican church in bin Laden’s neighborhood

From Houston-

The Episcopal Church is urging parishioners to pray for Christians living in Abbottabad, Pakistan—the city where Osama bin Laden was located and killed.

Located in the heart of Abbottabad is St. Luke’s Anglican Church, a historic Gothic chapel that holds between 250 and 300 people during Sunday services, according to an article posted by the Episcopal Diocese of Texas. The diocese, headquartered in Houston, has maintained a relationship with the church in Pakistan, called the Peshawar Diocese.

Pakistan’s former bishop the Rt. Rev. Mano Rumalshah and current leader the Rt. Rev. Humphrey S. Peters visited Houston in February.

They donned cowboy hats and met with local bishop the Rt. Rev. Andy Doyle. The leaders discussed the dangers of living in area with the threat of Taliban forces as well as powerful natural disasters.

More here-

Marcia Morrison testifies about alleged shoving incident at St. Luke's Episcopal Church

From Kalamazoo-

A 74-year-old parishioner at St. Luke's Episcopal Church testified today that her pastor forcefully shoved her down the church aisle on March 6 while trying to escape an argument with another congregant after Sunday morning service.

"He shoved me like, 'You're in my way, get out of my way,' " Marcia Morrison said today in Kalamazoo County District Court. "If we had been playing football, I would have anticipated that kind of block. But we weren't playing football."

Morrison testified that she stumbled several feet before regaining her balance by grabbing onto a church pew. She was not seriously injured, she said, although she was sore for several days and her blood pressure was still elevated two days later when she saw her doctor.

Morrison was the first witnesses who testified this morning in the trial of the Rev. Jay R. Lawlor, who was charged with assault and battery as a result of the incident. Lawlor, who has since resigned from the church, requested a jury trial and Judge Vincent Westra is presiding.

More here-

Two provinces align with Anglican Covenant

From ENS-

Two Anglican Communion provinces have aligned with the Anglican Covenant, albeit using different terms to define that decision.

The Church of Ireland's General Synod voted May 13 to "subscribe" to the covenant, noting that it purposely chose that word rather than using "adopt." Meanwhile, the Province of South East Asia, has issued a "letter of accession."

The original request to the communion's primates and moderators was that the member churches should consider the covenant and decide "on acceptance or adoption."

"Subscribing the Covenant is an indication that the Church of Ireland has put its collective name to and aligned with it," the Church of Ireland said in a short press release. "The Covenant sits under the Preamble and Declaration of the Church and does not affect the sovereignty of the Church of Ireland or mean any change in doctrine."

The release said that the synod found that the covenant is "consonant with the doctrines and formularies of the Church of Ireland." The subscribing resolution was passed by a "large majority" of both the House of Representatives and the House of Bishops, according to the release.

In what South East Asia calls a "preamble" to that letter, the province says the covenant "offers a concrete platform in ordering the churches in the Anglican Communion to be a Communion with a clear ecclesial identity."

More here-

Blogger Down

The Blogger website I use was down for most of the morning.

We're back in business now.

Thursday, May 12, 2011

Legendary evangelist Billy Graham, 92, treated for pneumonia at North Carolina hospital

From The New York Daily News-

Evangelist Billy Graham was resting comfortably in a North Carolina hospital Wednesday night where doctors were treating him for pneumonia that hampered his breathing.

Spokesman Larry Ross said Graham's medical team doesn't believe his condition is life threatening.

Two of his children - Franklin Graham and Anne Graham Lotz - had no plans Wednesday to return early from mission trips overseas, Ross said.

The 92-year-old high-profile preacher, who has met or ministered to every US president since 1950, was rushed to Mission Hospital in Asheville near his home early Wednesday after suffering what Ross called "a pulmonary challenge" overnight.

He "had episodes of sweating and coughing," Ross said. "He had a slight fever and experienced difficulty breathing. But he was never in any distress or in an acute situation."

Initial testing suggested pneumonia but diagnostic studies showed Graham's heart was heart was normal.

Read more:

Uganda's anti-gay bill is far from dead

From The London Guardian-

The infamous Ugandan anti-homosexuality bill, which earlier this week was thought likely to be voted upon on Wednesday as the current session of the Uganda parliament draws to a close, does not now appear on the order paper for the day. The bill, which is technically still at the committee stage, could, however, be carried forward into the next session of parliament.


Sadly, local Anglican support for the bill continues, even though on Tuesday of the archbishop of Canterbury issued a statement in which he opposed it, saying: "Overall, the proposed legislation is of shocking severity and I can't see how it could be supported by any Anglican who is committed to what the Communion has said in recent decades. Apart from invoking the death penalty, it makes pastoral care impossible – it seeks to turn pastors into informers."

This was not, in fact, a new statement, but rather a quotation from the interview in the Telegraph that he gave in December 2009 to George Pitcher, who has since become his secretary for public affairs. Pitcher also wrote: "He adds that the Anglican Church in Uganda opposes the death penalty but, tellingly, he notes that its archbishop, Henry Orombi, who boycotted the Lambeth Conference last year, "has not taken a position on this bill."

That lacuna was remedied in February 2010, when the Anglican church of Uganda issued a detailed statement offering strong support for the bill. It has not made any further public statements on the bill since that time. Archbishop Orombi has continued his boycott of Anglican Communion events, including the latest primates meeting in Dublin, and to support the rival church body Gafcon, which has announced plans for expansion. There can be little chance of a change of heart on homosexuality by Orombi.

More here-

Marathon Bible Reading with Renovations the Goal

From New York-

For many of Americans finding time to read a book can become a burden. But for the parishioners of St. John’s Episcopal Church in New Rochelle “hitting the books” is exactly what they had planned.

On Sunday, the Rev. Dr. Rayner “Rusty” Hesse Jr. and a few members of the 80-person congregation kicked of an eight-day Bibliathon. The event is designed to raise funds to complete the outside renovations to the “little white church on the hill.”

Just two years ago, the congregation undertook the task of reading all 27 books of the New Testament. The marathon reading session last around 48-hours and helped raise $7,000 for restorations to the Carpenter Gothic style exterior of the church and grounds.

This year the community will read the 39 books of the Old Testament contained within the New International Version of the Bible, which Hesse believes is more accessible to readers.

Hesse is proud of the outpouring of faith from the community last year, and this year he expects no different.

More here-

An Act of Judgment?

From The Living Church-

The week before the raid that killed Osama bin Laden at Abbottabad in Pakistan, NATO air forces came close to hitting Colonel Gadaffi in a raid on Tripoli and may have killed one of his sons. The suggestion of an assassination attempt was met with a disapproving denial. The targeted building was positively identified as a command-and-control center, the British Prime Minister insisted; the rationale of NATO operations was military, and would not envisage assassination — though, of course, if the colonel had happened to be on-site commanding and controlling when the planes came over, that was his lookout. A compound may house families as well as facilities for military planning, but it does not follow that in targeting the military offices you are targeting families, too. All of which was in conformity with international law and traditional Just War doctrine, which prohibits assassinations but allows attacks on the enemy’s command facilities.

About a week after the raid that killed Osama bin Laden, a parallel account of that operation has begun to emerge. Material recovered from computers has shown that the compound was a center of planning operations. Bin Laden’s continuing role, which experts had for some time discounted, now appeared in a more significant light. And so in retrospect the military reasons for his death have come to seem clear: “an enemy commander in the field,” he was a legitimate target of hostilities. But this is all in retrospect. In the hours and days just after the raid the justifications, doubts and criticisms all bore a very different cast.

More here-

National Cathedral re-envisions its 'ministry at the heart of the nation'

From ENS-

The people who formulated Washington National Cathedral's new strategic plan, its dean says, had to wear at least three different hats; one to inspire vision, one to prompt attention to practicality and one to help recall the bottom line.

The process that resulted in the 2012-2014 Strategic Plan was, in part, about becoming very clear about "precisely the work that we think is financially feasible and fundable in our ministry," the Very Rev. Samuel Lloyd told Episcopal News Service in a telephone interview May 10.

The plan is meant to describe "as succinctly and clearly as possible what we think we're doing for the country and for the Episcopal Church," Lloyd said. It includes mission and vision statements, followed by four goals for living out that mission and vision.

The mission statement harkens to the cathedral founders' intent that it be the spiritual home for the United States. The vision outlined says the cathedral ought to be a "catalyst for spiritual harmony in our nation, renewal in the churches, reconciliation among faiths, and compassion in our world."

More here-

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Stadium vendor's style captivated fans

From Pittsburgh (In our family he was known as the "Lemonade Guy")

Kenny Geidel's distinctive, high-pitched cries at Pittsburgh sporting events were virtually impossible to ignore.

No matter what the score of the game, no matter whether fans cared for the lemonade or cotton candy or other product the popular stadium vendor was peddling, they turned their head in his direction.

"Whenever I would hear him walking up and down the aisles, it made me feel happy," said Olivia Piccolo, 12, of Coraopolis, before the Pirates' game on Tuesday night at PNC Park. "When I heard that he died, I felt sad. Hearing him is something I'll miss when I come to the games."

Geidel, a fixture at games for more than 25 years, was working the Pirates-Astros game on Sunday, his calls resonating among the Mother's Day crowd, when he fell ill.

He was rushed to UPMC Presbyterian in Oakland, where he died Monday after surgery for an intestinal ailment. He was 64.

His wife of nearly 40 years, Janice, recalled his disdain for missing games.

"He burned his hands once so badly that he had to get skin grafts," she said. "The day they released him, he went down to the stadium and worked. He did it with gloves on."

Read more:

CofE clergy make switch to Catholicism

From The UK-

SOUTH West clergy have been ordained into the Roman Catholic Church following their move from the Church of England.

Four of the six clergy being ordained were, until two months ago, full time Church of England ministers.

The clergy were ordained by Bishop Christopher Budd in Plymouth's Roman Catholic cathedral following increased tensions in the Anglican Church.

Their decision to move to the Roman Catholic Church comes after Pope Benedict XVI created 'the Ordinariate' – a section of the Catholic Church specifically for Anglican priests.

Friar Chinery, who was one of the clergy being ordained, said: "We believe that the Church of England has departed from traditional teachings in a number of ways and that it is no longer taking the churches' tradition but is rather following the ways of the world.

"The churches' governing body are making decisions off their own back rather than the teachings of the church."

Ex-Church of England worshippers are also expected to follow in the clergy's footsteps.

Their decision to move to the Catholic Church will mean many of the clergy must give up their homes and guaranteed incomes.

Friar Chinery added: "It was a quiet and intimate service and we were all very happy."

East Tennessee bishop-elect receives church's consent

From ENS-

Bishop-elect George D. Young III has received the required majority of consents from the wider Episcopal Church to his consecration and ordination, according to a press release from the Office of Public Affairs.
Young was elected on Feb. 12. His ordination and consecration service is set for June 25; Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori will officiate.

Under the canons of the Episcopal Church (III.11.4), a majority of bishops exercising jurisdiction and diocesan standing committees must consent to a bishop-elect's ordination as bishop within 120 days of receiving notice of the election.

While Young has already received the necessary majority of consents, consents will continue to be accepted up to and including the July 9 deadline date, the release said.

Young, 55, will succeed Bishop Charles G. vonRosenberg, who will retire upon his successor's ordination. VonRosenberg served the diocese for more than 12 years.

More here-

Growing jobs, gardens Workforce plan aims to keep yoth busy

From CT-

Two years ago, members of St. John's Episcopal Church borrowed an idea from Sharon and began a community garden to supply vegetables to people in need.

Now one of the leaders of that effort has borrowed an idea from Woodbury, proposing a privately funded youth workforce program to employ high school students at the garden and in other environmental projects over the summer.

"There are definitely kids looking for jobs," said Denise Arturi, the head gardener at Judea Garden in Steep Rock Association's Macricostas Preserve off Christian Street. "They need to make some money. The hope is that they'll also learn something. Horticulture, arboriculture, environmental science. Learn about invasives. Things of that nature."

More here-

Presbyterian Church votes to allow gay ordination

From Los Angeles-

A debate that has raged within the Presbyterian Church for more than three decades culminated Tuesday with ratification of a measure allowing the ordination of gay and lesbian ministers and lay leaders, while giving regional church bodies the ability to decide for themselves.

With the vote of its regional organization in Minnesota, the Presbyterian Church USA became the fourth mainline Protestant church to allow gay ordination, following the Episcopal and Evangelical Lutheran churches and the United Church of Christ. The Minnesota vote was closely followed by one in Los Angeles.

"This is an important moment in the Christian communion," said Michael Adee, a Presbyterian elder who heads an organization that fought for gay ordination. "I rejoice that Presbyterians are focusing on what matters most: faith and character, not a person's marital status or sexual orientation."

The change to the Presbyterian Church constitution was approved last summer by the church's General Assembly, its governing body. But under church rules, such changes must then be ratified by a majority of the 173 regional organizations known as presbyteries.

More here-,0,4512750.story?track=rss

First woman Episcopal deacon dies

From Alaska-

The Rev. Virginia C. Thomas, one of the first women to be ordained a deacon of the Episcopal Church in America, died April 30, 2011, at the Northwestern Medical Center in St. Albans, Vt. She was 93.

After raising four children and traveling the world extensively with her husband, the late R. David Thomas Jr., she enrolled in the Lutheran Theological Seminary at Philadelphia. She graduated in 1978 with a Masters of Arts in religion and was ordained shortly thereafter. Following her ordination she organized the Dolphin Program in the Philadelphia area. Modeled on the close-knit behavior of these sea mammals, Dolphins are volunteers who call upon lonely people in nursing homes and become their one-to-one companions. The program spread nationwide during the next 10 years before Rev. Thomas retired from it in 1988. The Thomases then moved to Vermont, building a home in rural Franklin County adjacent to their daughter Betsy and her growing family. Rev. Thomas was deacon of the local parish, St. Matthew's Episcopal Church in Enosburg Falls. Until a month before her death, she regularly preached sermons that were known for their good humor, sound theology and insightful observations of family and the world around her.

Read more:

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Death by Tabloid

From The Atlantic Monthly-

IT’S MID-AFTERNOON when Giles Muhame, 23, finally arrives at the canteen of Kampala’s Makerere University. He first blames the traffic, and then suggests that he was observing me from a distance for some time. Making sure I was not working for them. “These homosexuals are very dangerous, by the way,” he says.

Muhame knows this is true, he tells me, because he investigated homosexuality last year, while he was still a journalism student. After interviewing 20 “ex-homosexuals,” he revealed his findings in Rolling Stone, a sporadically published tabloid newspaper that he and two classmates launched last August. “We Shall Recruit 1,000,000 Innocent Kids by 2012—Homos,” roared the front page of Rolling Stone’s fifth issue, which included a promise to publish 100 pictures of the country’s “top homos.” Two of them, including a gay activist named David Kato, were pictured on the front page, under the words “Hang Them.” Kato, who the paper said “spots [sic] a clean shaven moustache,” took Muhame and Rolling Stone to court, winning an injunction preventing Muhame and the paper from publishing any more pictures or information identifying gays. Three weeks later, shortly before I met Muhame, Kato was bludgeoned to death with a hammer.

After running the story identifying Kato, Rolling Stone published a piece headlined “Homo Generals Plotted Kampala Terror Attacks.” The “intelligence exclusive” alleged that a gay lobby conspired with al-Shabaab, a Somali Islamist group, to plot the July 2010 suicide bombings in Kampala that killed 76 people. Showing me the story, Muhame leans forward and softly says, “See, there’s a link between homosexuals and terror.”

More here-

An Episcopal Double Standard?

From New Jersey-

On Monday, April 25th, former New Jersey governor Jim McGreevey, who admitted his homosexuality and marital infidelity and resigned his office in 2004, was denied admittance to the Episcopal priesthood. McGreevey, a former Catholic who “switched collars” after being forced out of the closet, completed his theological studies at Manhattan's General Theological Seminary in 2007. Though McGreevey graduated last spring with a master's in divinity, the Episcopal Church has not readily embraced him.

According to the, a source at the Episcopal Diocese of Newark denied McGreevey was rejected because the former governor is gay. Reportedly wary of McGreevey's sudden defection to the Episcopal faith, church leaders suspected the former governor of seeking a clerical “cover” through which to re-invent himself. The unnamed source explained the reason for McGreevey's deferral: “It was not (because of) being gay,” the source stated. “but for being a jackass.”

Nicely put, indeed, but do I detect a bit of hypocrisy here?

In 2009, Father Alberto Cutie, a Catholic priest in Miami, admitted to an ongoing affair with a woman after a newspaper published photographs of the two cavorting on a public beach. Father Cutie resigned from the Catholic Church amid great publicity and scandal and promptly joined the Episcopal Church, despite being an admitted liar shamelessly navigating the talk show circuit.

Father Cutie and Jim McGreevey share similarities. Both led secret lives while engaged in clandestine affairs. Both broke sacred vows. Both were in leadership positions in the public eye. Both were forced to admit their ugly transgressions. Both sought refuge in the Episcopal Church - where their similarity ends. The Episcopal Church threw open its doors to Father Cutie, yet shut McGreevey out.

More here-

Breakaway Episcopalian parish gets its day in court to defend property

From California-

The California Supreme Court on May 5 held that St. James Anglican Church can defend its property rights against the claims of the Episcopal Church with evidence in a court of law. The Court confirmed that its 2009 Episcopal Church Cases decision did not end the property dispute in the Episcopal Church's favor as it had claimed. "Further proceedings are still necessary to finally decide the dispute," said the Court.

The decision, titled Rasmussen v. Superior Court (Bunyan), returns the case to the Orange County Superior Court where St. James will now have the right to defend itself with evidence before a court of law, including having motions heard to dismiss church volunteers who have been sued by the Episcopal Church.

Eric Sohlgren, St. James's lead attorney, said, "St. James has been vindicated. The California Supreme Court has soundly rejected the idea that its prior decision required the people of St. James to move off the property they built and paid for over many decades. St. James will, at last, get its deserved day in court to present evidence showing that it has the legal right to the property."

In upholding St. James's right to put on its defense, the California Supreme Court rejected an argument of the Episcopal Church that a 1991 letter issued by a bishop of the Episcopal Diocese of Los Angeles -- which promised St. James that it could hold its property free of any Episcopal interest -- had been declared invalid by the 2009 opinion. The Court said, "We express no opinion regarding the legal significance, if any, of the 1991 letter. We merely hold that a court must decide the question."

More here-

Christ Church case heard in Georgia Supreme Court

From Georgia-

Georgia’s top court is trying to sort out who gets to own Christ Church, the state’s oldest church, in a contest that grew out of conservatives’ disagreement with the national Episcopal denomination’s decision to have an openly gay bishop.

Monday morning, the pews were packed with bishops, clergy and parishioners as the Supreme Court heard oral arguments. The court’s justices peppered lawyers for both sides about which documents to rely on in sorting out ownership of the building.

The church was formed in 1733, and Georgia’s founder, Gen. James Oglethorpe, granted the land where it sits, on the edge of one of Savannah’s shaded squares. Among its early priests was John Wesley, founder of the Methodist denomination.

In 2007, the congregation voted with the conservatives to break from the National Church. They also chose to keep the building and grounds, prompting a lawsuit from the National Church.

During Monday’s arguments in an appeal of that lawsuit, Paul Painter, an attorney for the congregation, tried to put the case into perspective.

More here-

Monday, May 9, 2011

Dangerous Christians Who Teach Us To Live Like Jesus

From Huffington-

Systems resist change. The old joke, "How many _____________ does it take to change a lightbulb? -- What, change!" still gets a laugh precisely because we all have experienced some kind of relational system that has been change-resistant. As things have been, so they always will be. Now, change for change's sake is not always a good thing. Sometimes it can be quite destructive. But all too often the failure of an institution to explore possible adaptation has led to years, even centuries, of setbacks and repression. Individuals who challenge the status quo are viewed as threats, and the system deals with them accordingly.

This is true whether the institution in question is corporate, government, academic, not-for-profit ... or, yes, religious. In fact, an ecclesiastical system can the most difficult, for to suggest change there is to risk being labeled a heretic or apostate who has been (as I once heard with my own ears) "co-opted by the darkness."

Throughout the Christian Church's history, "dangerous" believers have arisen, challenging comfortable definitions of who or what is acceptable to God, who can lead and who needs to keep quiet. Jesus himself was perceived as a threat precisely because he challenged seemingly unchangeable laws about the Sabbath and broke down the boundaries between the pure insiders and the unclean outsiders. It is significant that the followers of Jesus would eventually take as their primary identity marker not the rainbow or the fish, but the cross ... a constant reminder that to embrace the way of Christ is to risk following in his footsteps either figuratively or, at times, literally.

More here-

Hell, Bell and Heresy – A Caution

From Christian Post-

You may not have thought about it before, but no matter who you are or what you believe, you are a heretic!

Or, at least you would have been considered one by some group or another at a certain point in the history of the Christian Church, and been subject to beatings, imprisonment, torture and possibly death. That fact alone should caution us to be careful when we call someone a "heretic" or accuse a Christian brother or sister of teaching "heresy" when they hold views we disagree with.

Heresy is a very serious charge. And, it has resulted in very serious consequences – not the least of which is the fact that excesses by some who have sought to stamp out heresy have led to God's Name being blasphemed among non-believers!

The Eastern and Western Churches each considered the other "heretical" after the Great Schism in AD 1054. The leaders of the Protestant Reformation – Martin Luther, John Calvin, Ulrich Zwingli, and others – were deemed "heretics" by the Roman Catholic Church. Members of the Roman Catholic hierarchy were considered "heretics" by the Reformers. And, both groups persecuted as "heretics" the Anabaptists who didn't believe in infant baptism.

More here-

Kids just can't be kids, says archbishop

From Australia-

THERE is a crisis in childhood so alarming, it is no longer an enjoyable time for many kids, one of Australia's top church leaders says.

Melbourne's Anglican Archbishop Dr Philip Freier said kids were being robbed of the fun of childhood because they were experiencing the problems of adults - including sexualisation, depression and body-image blues - too early.
Dr Freier condemned the diet of sexual images children were being fed and said it was disturbing parents were giving children as young as eight spray tans.

He spoke out ahead of an address to a seminar on child sexualisation this month, being organised by the Australian Council on Children and the Media and Kids Free 2B Kids.
"There's a real crisis in many aspects of wellbeing of young people and children," he said.

Read more:

Finding God In Cyberspace: PW Talks with Adam Thomas

From Publishers Weekly

In his first book, Adam Thomas asks, can God be found in computer games? On Facebook? Is God with us when we tweet? Is God, Thomas wants to know, online?

The 28-year-old Episcopal priest answers that question with a clarion-clear "yes" in Digital Disciple: Real Christianity in a Virtual World (Abingdon, May). But his answer comes with a warning—the faithful must look harder and deeper to find the real spirit of God on the Internet.

"This is a completely human construction unlike anything else, and there is a tendency to forget to look for God there," Thomas says. "But you can't turn that part of your brain off when you go online." With awareness and with prayer, wired seekers can connect to "people you know only virtually on a deeper level."

Thomas was 25 when he was ordained in the Episcopal Church, one of the youngest ever to become a priest, placing him in what he calls "the vanguard of the Millennials," the first generation that grew up with the Internet and constant access to the virtual world. With Digital Disciple Thomas hopes to build understanding between Millennials and older generations while also helping all Internet users nurture their faith when visiting the virtual world.

More here-

We need to establish a South Sudan with the fear of God, says ECS Archbishop

From Sudan (via Uganda)

The archbishop of the Episcopal Church of the Sudan (ECS) Canon Daniel Deng said that the soon-to-be-independent Republic of South Sudan should be established as a country with God fearing people.

The Archbishop made this remark at all Saints Cathedral, Timbiro in Yambio County on Saturday 7th May 2011 upon his arrival in the state capital Yambio.

Sudan’s south, where people mainly practice Christianity and local beliefs, is due to secede from the predominantly Islamic north in July following a referendum.

Archbishop Deng who inaugurated the projects of the ECS Diocese of Nzara County on Sunday May 8 was received by the governor of the state Bangasi Joseph Bakosoro with some of his cabinet members and clergymen.

Addressing the congregation at All Saints Cathedral Timbiro in Yambio County, Deng disclosed that South Sudan should not allow mistakes of other nations as they have learnt a lot in the past years of the struggle.

More here-,38830

Sunday, May 8, 2011

Anglican Church seeks corps members regional posting

From Nigeria-

DISTURBED by the recurring violence that claims the lives of non-indigenes during ethnic clashes, the Bishop of Church of Nigerian Anglican Communion, Akure Diocese, Bishop Michael Ipinmoye has advocated for regional posting of corps members by the National Youth Service Corps (NYSC).

Addressing newsmen in Akure to mark the tenth year of his Episcopacy, Ipinmoye said that the killing of non-indigenes during communal clashes or the post-election crisis has called to question the posting of corps members to serve in other states.

According to him, southerners should be made to serve in any part of the south while the northerners should be made to serve their fatherland in any state in the north if that would stop unnecessary killing and wasting of innocent souls.

“The killing of the young and promising youths in the northern part of the country under the guise of political protest has called to question the aim of setting up the scheme,” he stated.

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Religious leaders aim to bridge denominational divide

From The Pittsburgh Trib-

About 250 representatives of the Roman Catholic, Orthodox and Protestant faiths will discuss how to break down barriers among them during a conference Monday through Thursday in the Sheraton Station Square.

"The purpose is to allow folks to come together to talk about the issues that we can celebrate together, to address some of the issues that continue to divide our churches and to find the means within our respective regional governing bodies to live out our commitment to unity within the church," said the Rev. Donald B. Green, executive director of Christian Associates of Southwest Pennsylvania.

The National Workshop on Christian Unity is sponsored by Christian Associates, a Lawrenceville-based organization of 26 church bodies representing 2,000 local congregations with 1 million members.

Green said some workshop participants will discuss the reception of Anglican clergy in the Catholic Church and Orthodox spirituality.

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Religious leaders aim to bridge denominational divide - Pittsburgh Tribune-Review