“We had some folk in the parish who were looking for a different kind of worship experience than our normal service,” said Christ Episcopal Church Father Mark Meyer. “We’re willing to help provide that.”
As of May, the Episcopal Church began to offer Journey, a community worship service, at 5 p.m. Sundays in the Chapel of Christ Church at Eighth and Harrison.
After looking at several possibilities, they learned of a service at St. John’s Episcopal Cathedral in Denver, which offers a new different worship experience, called The Wilderness after the building’s namesake, St. John in the Wilderness.
“We’ve incorporated some of the elements of that, like the prayer stations,” Meyer said. “Then there were other folk in the parish that wanted a contemplative experience.”
Once a month, the church will offer this experience, where some of the elements from a Taize service also will be incorporated into it.
“One of the things they do at the Wilderness is they allow people to get up and walk around anytime during the service,” Meyer said.
St. Mark’s Episcopal Pro Cathedral will host the election of the Episcopal Diocese of Nebraska’s 11th bishop since the dioceses was established in 1838 at 10 a.m. Saturday.
The private event will include a panel of 261 registered delegates and clergy representing each of the state’s 64 Episcopal churches. Candidates include the Rev. J. Scott Barker of New York, the Rev. Margaret Holt Sammons of Chicago, and the Rev. Sarah J. Shofstall of Maine.
The elected candidate will replace the Rev. Bishop Joe Burnett, who vacated the position in March to seek an Auxiliary Bishop position in Maryland. To date, there has never been a women elected to the position.
The Rev. Catherine Scott, priest-in-charge at St. Mark’s and diocesan standing committee member, said Thursday that both she and her husband, Robert, a retired pastor, will vote in the election. Pastors and deacons both active and retired may vote in the election, along with lay delegates.
Selection is decided by a simple majority vote, provided at least 2/3 of all clergy entitled to vote and all lay delegates entitled to vote are present. Though Burnett’s election in 2003 was decided on the first ballot, the process can take several votes to accomplish, Scott said.
The Episcopal Church Foundation has awarded 2011 Fellowship Partners Program grants to the Rev. James Brian McVey (Brian), Sister Greta Ronningen, the Rev. Sam Dessórdi Peres Leite and Andrew Thompson .
The nearly 50-year-old program identifies and helps to "raise up dynamic and transformational lay and ordained church leaders by providing financial support to individuals engaged in academic study and transformational ministries that address important areas of need in the Episcopal Church," according to an ECFpress release. ECF Fellows have emerged as important leaders, teachers, and scholars at all levels of the church, the release said.
"They are leading the way on important issues and helping to define the future of the Episcopal Church," ECF President Donald V. Romanik, said in the release.
Anne Ditzler, ECF senior program director, said the recipients' "areas of study and ministry speak to a wide range of needs -- from addressing ethical responses to contemporary social issues to renewing hearts and spirits." Awards range up to $15,000 and fellows may apply to renew grants for up to three years (renewal grants are capped at $10,000), according to the foundation's website.
CROWN casino has responded tartly to Anglican Archbishop Philip Freier's criticism of a responsible gambling forum at the casino.
Casino chaplain Father James Grant, an Anglican, last week defended Crown's record with problem gamblers at the event.
"We are people who believe that it is possible to get something for nothing, that our lives are in the grip of fate rather than our own responsibility. None of this is Crown's doing," Father Grant said.
"Rather I would argue that Crown is actually moving into a framework that is going in exactly the opposite direction."
The comments raised eyebrows in Anglican circles, and Dr Freier said: "The choice of a gambling venue for a high-profile event in Responsible Gambling Awareness Week can easily send a confusing signal.
"From the State Government to community organisations that operate gaming machines to a large venue like Crown casino, it is hard to see how those who profit from gambling have any interest in persuading people away from a reliance on gambling."
Catholic and Anglican church leaders in Sudan urged the government to end the deadlock over the disputed area around Abyei and allow resettlement for the tens of thousands displaced by the recent violence.
"We demand that our governments make an immediate concerted effort to agree upon a cease-fire and withdrawal of northern troops from Abyei to allow deployment of a neutral security force, safe passage and speedy resettlement for all the displaced and to work toward a genuine and lasting peace agreement," said the statement sent to Catholic News Service June 1.
It was signed by Archbishop Paulino Lukudu Loro of Juba and Episcopal Archbishop Daniel Deng Bul, primate of the Episcopal Church in Sudan.
Sudan seized Abyei May 21 after accusing troops from the South of attacking one of its convoys. U.N. officials said at least 60,000 people have been displaced by the ensuing violence, in which northern troops burned houses and attacked fleeing civilians.
The fighting comes just weeks before Southern Sudan's official independence date of July 9, after residents voted in January to secede from Sudan.
A CLERIC has recorded an album of his songs, which mix Bollywood film music with Christian lyrics.
The Vicar of Holy Trinity, Biscot, in Luton, the Revd Thomas Singh, recorded Gospel Bollywood: Journey of a Saviour during a three-month sabbatical in Mumbai earlier this year. He raised the money needed to produce the album — about £20,000 — by undertaking a sponsored walk and applying for funding from charities.
Mr Singh began writing songs two years ago, as he waited in his car for his daughter to complete a GCSE exam. “In five or six minutes, I had a full song with melody,” he said. He has gone on to write more than 20 songs, 12 of which are featured on Gospel Bollywood. There are two versions of the album: one in Hindi, containing two CDs with seven songs each; the other in English, featuring eight tracks.
St. Mark's Episcopal Church in Jacksonville will break ground on a $5 million renovation and construction project Sunday that will connect its church and school campuses plus expand and create facilities.
The "We Are One" project will create a campus green that will enclose Oxford Avenue, which currently divides the church and school parcels.
The space will feature a pedestrian thoroughfare, covered walkways, benches and a fountain. Plans also include expansion of the chapel and construction of a new Commons building at the day school that will have a commercial kitchen, performance stage and space for physical education and indoor sports.
Refurbishment of the 2,000-member church's stained glass windows and parking facilities also will be performed during the construction.
This is a couple of weeks old but I just saw it today. (New York Times)
While many speakers at the memorial service for the Rev. David Wilkerson on Saturday spoke of how many lives his ministry had touched, one clergyman spoke from very personal experience.
A video interview of Mr. Wilkerson played while people watched the service in the overflow area on 51st Street.
“Even when it seemed like no one else was there, he was there,” Pastor William Carrol said, describing how he was homeless for more than three years, sleeping in parks and subway cars, before someone convinced him to attend a service at the Times Square Church, which Mr. Wilkerson founded in 1987 and where the memorial service was held. “The witness in me said this man knows what he’s preaching,” Mr. Carrol said, explaining that he was compelled to enter Mr. Wilkerson’s fold.
Mr. Wilkerson, 79, who was killed in an automobile accident near his home in Tyler, Tex., on April 27, had gained some notoriety for his dire predictions of riots, fires and an “earth-shattering calamity” about to befall the planet. Those who spoke at his service, however, chose to focus on his unwavering religious convictions, charismatic appeal and charitable nature.
Time, Talent, and Treasure. These words are so well known to anyone involved with stewardship in the church, but do they really address the challenges that parishes and dioceses have today as they face shrinking congregations, challenging budgetary constraints, and a lack of understanding of the basic concepts of stewardship? Is stewardship, as our members have heard from so many out in the church, just about fundraising? As one said at our first meeting: “We always seem to define stewardship holistically, but end up at annual giving.”
As a part of our initial conversation in November 2009, it became clear that two objectives would inform the Stewardship and Development Commission’s work during this triennium. Both ‘stewardship’ and ‘development’ are part of our name, but they have vastly different reaches, definitions, and outlooks.
First, we would begin an exploration of what is meant by stewardship broadly – stewardship of our churches, our resources, our planet and environment, our time, and our bodies, among other things. Second, we needed to understand and think about ways to provide practical, on-the-ground advice and support to parishes and dioceses that are struggling with very real financial challenges.
After all the bickering, the names of Dr Willy Mutunga and Nancy Baraza are destined to the National Assembly for approval before their formal appointment by the President as Chief Justice and deputy respectively.
The naysayers will have their day but the majority will have the way. The opponents of Kenya's troubled transition to a functional democracy will have lost yet another battle to stop the reform train. Its part of the legacy of social transformation all over the world; history records that at every turn, there are always antitheses of every milestone that are either consumed by the tempest or eventually catch up with time.
But it is a pity, really, that the two nominees should take up their positions in the knowledge that their nomination was opposed by a significant section of this society - the church leadership - that has historically been associated with the reform movement.
A pity because after all these years of collaborating with the civil society in crusading for reforms, the church leadership should be the last to turn around to question the morality of one of its acclaimed leaders. At no time have civil society organisations questioned the morality of the clergy even when allegations of scandals are writ large. If they could hear, the Walls of Ufungamano House would tremble at the things being said now about Dr Mutunga, who as convenor of the crucial Citizens' Coalition for Constitutional Change, spearheaded the reforms that are now finally coming to pass.
Sixteen church-goers have been arrested and priests have been turned out of their homes in Zimbabwe’s Diocese of Harare – where the Anglican Church is facing persecution at the hands of an ex-communicated bishop.
The Rt Revd Chad Gandiya, Bishop of Harare, said the arrests were illegal and that those detained – including a elderly woman – were traumatised.
The diocese is now trying to arrange bail and has asked for prayers for those in prison and their families.
Bishop Chad, a USPG Regional Manager until 2010, said: ‘I am really concerned about this. We shall be running around to try and bail the whole group out today, if the police will listen.’
The Anglican Church in Harare is under attack from an ex-communicated bishop, Dr Norbert Kunonga, a supporter of President Mugabe, who left the Anglican Province of Central Africa (CPCA) in 2007 to try and set up a rival church.
Religion publishers arguably have more trade show options than any other category, with specialized book exhibits for evangelical Christian, Catholic/Episcopal, Jewish, New Age, and academic houses. That’s one reason there were far fewer religion publishers exhibiting at BookExpo this year—21 vs. the more than 50 of a decade ago (“BEA Now a Low (or No) Priority for Many Religion Houses,” PW, May 9).
But those who were at BEA last week were upbeat, and while bemoaning the rapidly increasing costs of exhibiting at the show, they expressed a continued commitment to being there. “It’s still the best place for us to see everyone at one time instead of flying all over the country for meetings,” said David Lewis, executive v-p of sales and marketing for Baker Publishing Group.
The dominant topic in the category these days is clearly the afterlife (see Books Briefly in this issue of RBL). Baker’s Revell imprint has seen its 90 Minutes in Heaven camped on the bestseller lists for nearly four years, and it was joined six months ago by Thomas Nelson’s Heaven Is for Real. But the book drawing the most media attention is HarperOne’s Love Wins. Author Rob Bell has been criticized by fellow Christians for his inclusiveness when it comes to who will go to heaven. He drew more than 100 people to his BEA signing, and while in New York taped a prime-time special for Nightline that will air later this month. Next comes hell—just before the show David C. Cook announced a new book from Francis Chan (Crazy Love) that will deal with the darker side. Erasing Hell: What God Said about Eternity and the Things We Make Up is set to release in July.
The Rev. Scott Gunn has been chosen to lead Forward Movement Publications in its mission to "reinvigorate the life of the church." Gunn, a priest of the Diocese of Rhode Island, has been named by the board of directors and Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori as the organization's executive director.
Forward Movement, the publisher of Forward Day by Day meditations as well as books and pamphlets about spirituality and the Episcopal Church, celebrated its 75th anniversary last year.
Gunn begins his ministry with the Cincinnati-based Forward Movement in late July, according to a June 1 press release.
"Our church is at a critical and thrilling point as we seek to find our way forward in the 21st century," said Gunn in the release. "Forward Movement is positioned well to be a leader in proclaiming the gospel that is at our core."
Lightning struck the tower of The Chapel of the Cross Episcopal Church on East Franklin Street during last week's torrential storm.
The bolt blasted loose some mortar and bricks; knocked out the church's phones, computers and electrical systems; and damaged copper flashing and drainpipes, which let a lot of rainwater into the tower.
"We were in the basement dealing with rising water getting in down there, when there was this huge blast," parish administrator Mary Anne Handy said. "It knocked everything out. But nobody was hurt, and we're getting every thing patched back up."
The Diocese in Europe, meeting in synod May 31, affirmed the proposed Anglican Covenant. The Diocese in Europe is part of the Church of England, which has asked its 44 dioceses to discuss whether the church’s General Synod should adopt the Covenant for the province.
The U.S.-based Episcopal Church is represented by the Convocation of Episcopal Churches in Europe.
Laity supported the Covenant on a 20-3 vote, while clergy supported it 21-1. The Rt. Rev. Geoffrey Rowell, Bishop of Gibraltar in Europe, and the Rt. Rev. David Hamid, Suffragan Bishop in Europe, both voted in favor of the Covenant.
The voting occurred after the synod heard a presentation on the Covenant by the Rev. Canon Alyson Barnett-Cowan, director of the Anglican Communion Office’s Department of Unity, Faith and Order.
Canon Barnett-Cowan discussed the Covenant in a brief audio interview posted on the Diocese in Europe’s website.
The Rev. Alberto Cutie, a former Roman Catholic priest who dramatically departed from the church to get married and continue his priestly ministry in the Episcopal faith, now has his own television talk show.
Minneapolis is among the test markets for “Father Albert," which premieres July 11 for a 5-week test run on six Fox-owned stations, including KMSP. It will be a daily, hour-long show during its test run and airs at 1 p.m.
The show features Cutie’s comments on various topics and current events, in-depth interviews and special guests.
In 1999, Cutie gained recognition as the first priest to host a secular daytime talk show with the popular “Padre Alberto” on the Telemundo network and, three years later, Telemundo International’s weekly talk show, “America en Vivo.”
His self-help book, “Real Life, Real Love,” became a Spanish-language market best-seller and earned him the nickname of “Father Oprah.”
He left the Catholic Church in May 2009 over ideological differences and to marry the woman he loved. They wed in the Episcopal Church, where Cutié now serves as a priest, and celebrated the birth of their daughter in December 2010.
Boston's 'Common Cathedral' doesn't have walls or stained glass windows, but the vistas that it provides are unparalleled.
"Common Cathedral is name of the Ecclesia Ministries' worshipping community, which is primarily a ministry among the homeless in Boston Common," said the Rev. Bob Honeychurch, Episcopal Church officer for congregational vitality, in a press release. "It was founded in 1995 in response to the pressing need to provide services to the homeless in downtown Boston."
Common Cathedral, in the Diocese of Massachusetts, is the focus of the final of five videos in, the "Transforming Churches, Changing the World" series produced by the Episcopal Church's Office of Communication. [The video is available on the Episcopal Church website and on the church's Facebook page.
"We are the church outside," the Rev. Kathy McAdams explains in the video. "We are here in solidarity with people who can't or won't come inside."
Familiar sites of historic Boston are juxtaposed with images of homeless gathered against the cold to celebrate Eucharist.
"There are so many congregations across the church that struggle on how to connect with their community. Here, Common Cathedral IS the wider community. There is a sense of groundedness in the immediate community, and that is something that many churches can learn. Common Cathedral is the least traditional of the churches in the 'Transforming Churches, Changing the World' series, but they are the most intentionally present in their local community," Honeychurch said.
In 1811, at the communion service at Trinity Episcopal Church, the Rev. Samuel Fuller read from the 1789 version of the Book of Common Prayer. The minister wore a black academic robe and no vestments. Most of the worshippers were illiterate.
But the language of the prayers was as beautiful and dramatic as the empire waist dresses worn by the women of the congregation who recited the Our Father, one of the few prayers they knew, said the Rev. Jay North, now the rector at Trinity. It was an "enlightening time," said North, who will lead a traditional 1811 Mass on Sunday to celebrate the church's bicentennial.
He will read from the 1789 prayer book and an 1815 Bible once owned by Philip Van Rensselaer, which was recently discovered in the church. Members of the congregation will don early 19th-century garb.
"In trying to better understand the past, we learn more about where we have come from and this helps us to better understand where we want to go," North said.
Bishop Stacy Sauls, who has headed the Episcopal Diocese of Lexington, Ky., since 2000, has been named the national chief operating officer for the denomination.
The diocese itself will now launch a search for a new bishop. Sauls starts his new job Sept. 1.
Sauls, in his new role, will oversee the staff of the Episcopal Church Center in New York, as well as various satellite offices. He’ll also coordinate work in missions, communications, finance and other areas.
Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori said in a statement that Sauls "brings a unique set of gifts to the next chapter of this ministry."
In a statement, Sauls said:
"This is the most interesting and rewarding time I can imagine to serve the Episcopal Church. I am anxious to collaborate in the transformative leadership being provided by our presiding bishop and the devoted service being offered by Bonnie Anderson, president of the House of Deputies, and to bring my own creativity in challenging situations to the team."
Sauls, a former corporate lawyer, was a candidate for Jefferts Schori’s job in 2006 when the Episcopal Church voted for a new presiding bishop — as was his Bluegrass State counterpart, Bishop Ted Gulick of the Diocese of Kentucky. Both finished far back in the field of seven candidates.
St. Matthew's Church in Abbotsford is among four Anglican churches that have lost an appeal on a ruling that they pay court costs to the Diocese of New Westminster.
Two of three justices on a B.C. Court of Appeal panel on May 19 upheld a B.C. Supreme Court decision from June 2010. That decision said the four parishes were responsible for paying approximately $120,000 in court costs to the diocese.
The two sides have been in conflict over the issue of same-sex blessings and who is entitled to the church properties.
The four churches – which broke away from the Anglican Church of Canada (ACC) to join the Anglican Network in Canada (ANiC) in 2008 – have maintained that allowing same-sex blessings is contrary to core Anglican doctrine.
The diocese continues to operate under the ACC, which favours same-sex blessings, and has won two court battles – in B.C. Supreme Court and the B.C. Court of Appeal – that ruled the parishes are using the church properties outside the jurisdiction of the diocese and must vacate.
Religion, like politics, is often a dangerous business in this country.
As President Robert Mugabe, 87, pushes for an election this year, the harassment of independent churches seen as hostile to his government has intensified.
Truncheon-wielding riot police officers stormed a Nazarene church here in the capital last month to break up a gathering called to pray for peace. Days later, the authorities in Lupane arrested a Roman Catholic priest leading a memorial service for civilians massacred in the early years of Mr. Mugabe’s decades in power.
Mr. Mugabe, a Roman Catholic, recently denounced black bishops in established churches as pawns of whites and the West, singling out for special opprobrium Catholic bishops who have “a nauseating habit of unnecessarily attacking his person,” the state-controlled Herald newspaper reported.
Follow up to a previous story from Mass. (with video)-
State safety inspectors are looking over a carnival ride in Canton after three girls were trapped 50 feet above the ground over the holiday weekend.
The roll a plane ride was shutdown on Sunday due to safety concerns after the girls were stuck at a 45-degree angle for up to a half an hour.
“Essentially it was like a chain coming off the sprocket of a bicycle. The chain came off the gears and that jammed the ride,” said Father Philip Jacobs of the Trinity Episcopal Church. The Trinity Episcopal Church has been running this carnival for more than 20 years with no problems.
On Sunday, Canton fire crews cut the broken chain and lowered the broken car by hand with ropes. The three girls were brought to safety and treated for the heat. One young girl was brought to the hospital for a minor leg injury.
“These are smaller operations - maybe they’re not as safe as the bigger shows,” said David Ford, who attended the carnival.
A Massachusetts congregation welcoming all animals, provided they are properly restrained, is celebrating its one-year anniversary.
The Rev. Thea Keith-Lucas of the Perfect Paws Ministry, which meets at Calvary Episcopal Church in Danvers, said the congregation had its roots in the annual "blessing of the animals" and is a way to celebrate both God and the bond between humans and their pets, The Boston Globe reported Monday. About 40-50 people attend the weekly services.
"I think that relationship can be a way people experience God's unconditional love, and they feel called to look beyond their needs and help another being, and that can help them grow spiritually," she said.
Thousands of pilgrims have started trekking to Namugongo the place where Christians and Muslims were killed for their religion. The annual vent which has developed into an International pilgrimage is marked on June 3, a public holiday in Uganda.
Pilgrims come from around East Africa, Sudan, the DR Congo, South Africa and Nigeria, among many countries. Scores more come from Europe, the US and Asia..
According to Monsignor Dr David Kyeyune, the episcopal vicar for the promotion of devotion to Uganda Martyrs, some of the pilgrims started walking a week ago.
'Pilgrims from other parts of the world like Germany, America, Britain Nigeria, Congo, Burundi and Tanzania have already started coming in,'' said Monsignor Kyeyune. He added that many more others pilgrims are walking to the shrine but their number is not known.
Celebrations are held both at the Anglican and Catholic shrines. At the Catholic shrine, the celebration will be led by Arua Diocese while at the Anglican Shrine, Namirembe Diocese will lead under the theme is "And look I am with you always to the end of time.''
To see the affable, pink-cheeked Gil Avery at his house on the Oakway Golf Course on a drizzly day in Eugene, it’s hard to imagine him as a young, slim cleric in the heat of Jackson, Miss., in fall 1961 — about to get arrested for the offense of trying to eat lunch with fellow priests, some of whom were black.
But 50 years ago, that’s one of several incidents that formed and shaped Avery, who then spent a career working for the poor as the director of large social service agencies in Boston and Philadelphia, before retiring to Eugene in 1991.
This month marks the 50th anniversary of the Freedom Rides, which is being observed in communities across the United States, explored in a Public Broadcasting Service documentary and recounted by those who participated.
Avery was one of 430 “Freedom Riders” who in 1961 traveled from all corners of the United States to the Deep South to ride with blacks and whites, shoulder-to-shoulder, to challenge segregation laws that were still standing despite having been declared unconstitutional by the U.S. Supreme Court multiple times in the previous 13 years.
Avery was a rector at the time at a racially mixed congregation at St. John’s Episcopal Church in Roxbury, Mass. He also belonged to a group of mostly young priests called the Episcopal Society for Cultural and Racial Unity, which was pushing the church to integrate its schools and other institutions in the South.
A year and a half ago, soon after she turned 30, Eva Noisette decided to join St. Mark's Episcopal Church.
She hadn't been a regular churchgoer before that, but she knew about St. Mark's in downtown Charleston from her stepfather, who had been a member, and her mother, Anita Jefferson, who had joined a few years earlier and now serves as junior warden.
"As you get older, you decide you want to get right with everything," Noisette said.
She likes it at St. Mark's. "Everyone is so nice and sweet," she said.
The services are straightforward, the fellowship rewarding. She's joined the Episcopal Church Women's group, which meets once a month.
"I like the fact that it's a mixed church," she said. "It's definitely for everybody, and you can see that as soon as you walk in the doors."
People of many faiths unite in prayer for healing the city of Joplin. The tornado tragedy of May 22 is drawing people together for an interfaith service of healing. The service will be Monday, May 30 at 6 p.m. at Joe Becker Stadium, located at 1301 East Third, Joplin, Mo.
Clergy and faith community leaders from a broad range of faith traditions will pray, read scripture, and speak during the service. Vocal music will be provided by Phi Mu Alpha, the men’s Music Fraternity of Pittsburg State University.
The service of healing will mark the eighth day since the city was divided in half by a swath of destruction just before 6 p.m. on May 22.
The physical destruction, caused by an EF 5 tornado that claimed more than 132 lives and injured at least 900 people, caused just as much spiritual and emotional damage. The eighth day is associated with a new week, the beginning of creation, and a new hope. The public is invited to experience this interfaith journey of spiritual healing and hope. People of faith will unite together to begin the work of resurrecting the city of Joplin.
It’s so easy to make mistakes on the religion beat, especially when covering someone as complicated as President Barack Obama.
The following Haaretz newspaper story is rather old, but it has just come to our attention (care of that lurker named Douglas LeBlanc). The fact that it is several months old, for me, only makes it more interesting — because the editors of this influential Israeli publication have not run a correction. The error in it is rather jarring, almost spit out one’s morning coffee level.
However, before you read the top of the report you need to look at the video with this post and realize the number of times videos and photos such as this have appeared in news reports of various kinds around the globe.