I was at Hammicks bookshop in London's Fleet Street on Wednesday to hear Michael Nazir-Ali launch a book on sharia law, Sharia in the West. I don't think I will ever be able to take him as seriously again. Politically, of course, his project is entirely serious. It's part of an attempt to take over Christianity in this country. For some rightwing Anglicans, Nazir-Ali is the shadow Archbishop of Canterbury.
He has moved out of the official Anglican communion and aligned himself decisively with the conservatives evangelicals of Gafcon, which last week launched its latest attempt to disrupt the Church of England, the "Anglican Mission in England". Charles Raven, one of the leaders of that project, was at the Nazir-Ali book launch, too.
Gafcon is normally defined in the media by its campaigns against homosexuality but its members hate much more than that. Reform, the movement's branch in England, is also fundamentally opposed to women priests, and internationally they take a strongly anti-Muslim line.
The rich and influential Nigerian Gafcon church sees itself fighting a cold jihad across the centre of the country. Nazir-Ali, who comes from a convert family in Pakistan, has always been hostile to, and suspicious of Islam but in recent years he has increasingly come to talk of it the way that rightwing Americans used to talk about global communism.
I have myself argued in favour of Caroline Cox's bill to make plain the limits of sharia law in this country. Sharia can reinforce injustice and some parts of it codify some loathsome attitudes. But sharia arbitration operates by consent; and it will wither in this country if that consent is withdrawn. Talking about Muslims as if they were an alien species makes this far less likely to happen. And that is how many people were talking last night.
I'm thinking of starting an "Only in New Zealand" category.
A billboard designed to challenge the Anglican Church's view on gay and lesbian priests has already been vandalised.
Auckland Anglican Church has put up a billboard outside its church, displaying a "Gay-Dar" meter that shows "Straight" on one side and "Gay" on the other and suggests the Anglican Church uses this to assess potential priests.
The church, which offers same-sex blessings among its services, has courted controversy with previous billboards, including one that depicted Mary and Joseph in bed with the caption: "Poor Joseph. God was a hard act to follow."
The latest "Gay-Dar" billboard had been vandalised by midday today with the cross ripped off it.
Reverend Clay Nelson said the damage appeared to be sabotage, which was frustrating.
The Church of England has said it is reviewing its approach to same-sex relationships and whether gay priests in civil partnerships should be allowed to become bishops, its most significant work on the subject for years.
According to a statement from the House of Bishops, there is a "theological task to be done to clarify further understanding of the nature and status of these partnerships".
The bishop of Norwich, Graham James, said the "last substantive engagement" with the issue of homosexuality was in 2005.
"Contrary to popular perception the House of Bishops has spent very little time in recent years discussing homosexuality. The House has now agreed the time has come to commission two new pieces of work."
Gay clergy in civil partnerships should not be nominated as bishops "to avoid prompting the outcome of the view".
The review will glean information from an initiative launched in 1998 designed to listen to the experiences of gay and lesbian Anglicans around the world.
Or Arnold Schwarzenegger? Or Jim Tressel? Or Tiger Woods? Or any of a score of figures whose moral lapses have become painfully public?
If recovery of public status is a measure of forgiveness, then Eliot Spitzer has certainly been forgiven. The former New York governor is now a commentator on CNN.
What, then, is forgiveness? Clearly something has changed after scandal broke. Spitzer is no longer described as "disgraced" or even as the "former governor." Nor are there apparent hesitations about his new media presence. Yet his dalliances with call girls were more than enough to cause him to leave office.
When this aspect of his private life became known, he was morally weakened and forced to resign. Has he now been forgiven? How? Why? Is there something we can learn about forgiveness from his moral lapse and from the lapses of other public figures?
Along a stretch of wooded Maryland road – about an hour from the nation's capitol – stands a colonial church with ties to two presidential families that played roles in Coweta County's history.
Louisa Catherine Johnson was married to John Quincy Adams, America's sixth president, and the signer of the treaty that ceded Creek lands to Georgia – including what is now Coweta County. Sarah Knox Taylor was married only a few months to a Louisiana planter named Jefferson Davis before they both contracted malaria. She died in 1835.
Jefferson Davis survived to become president of the Confederate States of America. In that role, he reviewed troops at Palmetto on Sept. 25, 1864.
The Episcopal Diocese of Pittsburgh will resume ministry in three communities that had lacked an Episcopal parish at least since the diocese split in 2008.
"Just as the Diocese of Pittsburgh has been rebuilding over the last few years, we are now turning our attention to rebuilding congregations in the areas where Episcopalians have been underserved," Episcopal Bishop Kenneth Price Jr. said.
Services are scheduled to start Sunday at St. James Episcopal Church in Penn Hills, on July 17 at St. Thomas Episcopal Church in Barnesboro, Cambria County, and later this summer at St. Christopher's Episcopal Church in Marshall. If all three are accepted at the diocesan convention this fall, the diocese will have 32 parishes. The majority of parishes in the original diocese left the denomination in 2008 and are now part of the Anglican Diocese of Pittsburgh. All three of these buildings were vacated by congregations that are now Anglican, and the Episcopal diocese owns the property.
The Barnesboro parish had closed in a merger several years before the split, and the merged parish joined the Anglican diocese. The Warrendale parish moved into a formerly Catholic church last year, and the congregation of St. James announced this week that it was turning its building over to the Episcopal diocese and would rent space nearby.
A NEW conservative Evangelical group, the Anglican Mission in England (AMiE), already has three newly ordained clergy waiting to minister in the UK.
The Society, launched at the end of last week, offers alternative episcopal oversight when diocesan bishops “are failing in their canonical duty to uphold sound teaching”.
The three unnamed clerics were ordained in Kenya on 11 June by the Archbishop of Kenya, Dr Eliud Wabukala, who chairs the GAFCON Primates’ Council, formed after the Global Anglican conference in Jerusalem in 2008. All three come from the diocese of Southwark. The diocese said on Wednesday that it had received no request for permis sion to officiate there.
Dr Williams was in Kenya last week. A Lambeth spokeswoman was unable to say this week whether the two had discussed this development.
The Revd Charles Raven, the director of the Society for the Prop agation of Reformed Evan gelical Anglican Doctrine, wrote on the organisation’s website on Thursday of last week that the three men had gone to Kenya to be ordained “be cause the English diocesan bishop con cerned had refused to give any assur ances that he would uphold bib lical teach ing on homosexual practice”.
The chairman of the AMiE steering committee is the Revd Paul Perkin, Vicar of St Mark’s, Battersea Rise, and the group’s secretary is Canon Chris Sugden.
Dr Sugden said that the group was awaiting a response from Dr Williams to Dr Wabukala’s request that the three clergy be granted per mission to officiate under the Over seas Clergy Measure. The chairman of Reform, the Rt Revd Rod Thomas, said that “episcopal oversight” of the three men “has been delegated to the AMiE bishops”.
On Saturday, Sept. 10, Los Angeles city hall will host One Light, a vigil for peace on the eve of the 10th anniversary of the devastating events of Sept. 11, 2001.
Under the leadership of Episcopal Bishop Jon Bruno, the three Abrahamic faiths have partnered with LA city council to hold the vigil at 7: 15 p.m. “People of all faiths are invited and people of no faith are invited,” says Suffragan Bishop Mary Glasspool. Saturday evening coincides with the end of the Sabbath for Muslims and Jews and the beginning of the Sabbath for Christians.
“We proactively wanted to say ‘one light, one peace, one world’ to have a visible sign of unity for peace to preempt any kind of terror or fear,” says Glasspool.
The religious leaders, who include Rabbi Mark Diamond and Imam Shaquile Sahid, intentionally picked a secular venue so that no one religious group would appear to be favoured. Some 5,000 people are expected, and 500 symbolic glass light globes will be given out.
“The idea is for a representative from each house of worship—whether it’s a church, a synagogue, a mosque, an ashram or a temple—to take a globe back to their home house of worship,” says Glasspool. “It will be a huge celebration.”
The Episcopal Diocese of Haiti will elect its first bishop suffragan on Aug. 5, according to a press release.
The bishop suffragan will assist Diocesan Bishop Jean Zaché Duracin as he serves the people and clergy of the diocese, numerically the largest diocese in the Episcopal Church. The new bishop suffragan will be headquartered in the Greater North Region of Haiti.
Duracin requested the position, and in late May his request received the canonically required consent (Canon III.11.10(b) (2)) of the majority of bishops with jurisdiction and diocesan standing committees, the press release from the Episcopal Church's Office of Public Affairs said.
Nominations are due by July 5 and a special commission created by Duracin to plan the election must offer a list of candidates no later than 22 days before the election (that is, July 13), according to the rules established for the election. Nominees must "canonically have lived and/or had known links with the Diocese of Haiti over the past 10 years," be at least 35 years old on Aug. 5, have been ordained at least 10 years and been in charge of "an organized mission or institution of the church," the rules say.
The consecration is set for Nov. 15.
For more information about the election, contact Bishop Clay Matthews of the church's Office of Pastoral Development at email@example.com.
The diocese continues to recover from the devastating magnitude-7 earthquake that struck just outside of Port-au-Prince, the country's capital, on Jan. 12, 2010.
The Episcopal Diocese of Pittsburgh is reopening the first of three parishes closed for several years, diocesan officials announced Thursday.
"What we're doing is making sure people who want to worship in the Episcopal tradition have a place to do so," said Rich Creehan, diocese spokesman.
The first service at St. James Episcopal Church, 11524 Frankstown Road in Penn Hills, which closed in 2008, will take place at 9 a.m. Sunday. The congregation will be led by the Rev. Vicente Santiago.
St. Thomas Episcopal Church, 1201 Chestnut Ave. in Barnesboro, Cambria County, will hold its first service after a seven-year hiatus at 10 a.m. July 17. Deacon Ann Staples and Chris Baumann, parish administrator and preacher, will rebuild the church. Baumann is in the process of becoming a deacon.
Members of an Anglican parish in Penn Hills have quietly handed over their building to the rival Episcopal Diocese of Pittsburgh, saying they couldn't accept the ground rules for property negotiation and believed it was better to rent space in a different church nearby.
It's the latest development in a split and legal dispute between the Episcopal Diocese of Pittsburgh and the Anglican Diocese of Pittsburgh. The Episcopal diocese said it didn't ask the congregation to vacate St. James Church on Frankstown Road but will start its own services there. The Anglican pastor said he hoped to maintain good relationships with Episcopal colleagues.
"We'll have a positive attitude about this move," said the Rev. Doug Sherman, rector of St. James Anglican Church, which will now worship in Faith Community Church. "We made the right decision, and we're excited. It's hard leaving a building that you've been in for 50 years and that people have paid for. But we look forward to continuing our ministry in Penn Hills."
The Rt. Rev. Andudu Elnail, an Episcopal bishop for the Nuba Mountains area, told me that the Sudanese government has targeted many Nuban Christians. Armed forces burned down his cathedral, said Bishop Andudu, who is temporarily in the United States but remains in touch daily with people in the area.
“They’re killing educated people, especially black people, and they don’t like the church,” he said. Women are also being routinely raped, Bishop Andudu said, estimating that the death toll is “more than a few thousand” across the Sudanese state of South Kordofan.
This isn’t religious warfare, for many Nubans are Muslim and have also been targeted (including a mosque bombed the other day). The Sudanese military has been dropping bombs on markets and village wells.
The airstrip that I used when I visited the Nuba Mountains has now been bombed to keep humanitarians from flying in relief supplies; the markets I visited are now deserted, according to accounts smuggled out to monitoring groups. At least 73,000 people have fled their homes, the United Nations says.
Forty years ago, then-Episcopal Church Presiding Bishop John Hines appeared at a General Motors stockholders meeting to ask the company to quit doing business in South Africa because of that country's policy of apartheid. Today, the church continues to make its voice heard in company boardrooms and in legislative chambers on issues of financial ethics and economic justice.
Episcopalians in several states are battling what they say are predatory lending practices that perpetuate poverty. Various dioceses and the wider church also support investment opportunities such as credit unions, which offer alternatives to payday lenders and foster community development.
Members of the church's Social Responsibility in Investments Committee, with the approval of Executive Council, routinely file stockholder proxies to be voted on at corporations' annual meetings and meet with company representatives on issues ranging from diversifying boards to stopping mountaintop removal in Appalachian mining. And the Episcopal Network for Economic Justice provides education and advocacy on a range of issues, from community investing to employment practices, immigration and health care.
More than 800 local, national and ecumenical guests gathered at Church of the Ascension in Knoxville on June 25 for the two-hour ordination service of the Rt. Rev. George Dibrell Young, III as fourth bishop of the Episcopal Diocese of East Tennessee.
Among the 21 bishops who were present for Young's ordination and consecration were the Rev. H. Julian Gordy, bishop in the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America, with which the Episcopal Church is in full communion, and the Most Rev. Richard F. Stika, bishop of the Roman Catholic Diocese of Knoxville.
Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori was chief consecrator. Among the co-consecrators were bishops John C. Bauerschmidt of Tennessee; Don Edward Johnson of West Tennessee; the Rt. Rev. Frank Stanley Cerveny, sixth bishop of the Diocese of Florida; the Rt. Rev. Samuel Johnson Howard, eighth bishop of the Diocese of Florida; the Rt. Rev. Charles Lovett Keyser, assisting bishop of the Diocese of Florida; and the Rt. Rev. William E. Sanders, first bishop of the Diocese of East Tennessee.
Several years ago, Christ Episcopal Church property warden Stanley Stanley was working on the gas furnace in the dirt basement when he felt a poke in the back.
He reached around and pulled a human femur out of the dirt, then a rib bone.
"I didn't go digging around there anymore," said Stanley, now retired at age 82.
On Tuesday, several volunteers were in the church basement, but instead of digging up bones they were after some of the best-preserved Colonial-era headstones in New England. Under the direction of historical cemetery expert David Oat, volunteers from the church and the Norwich Historical Society combed through the Christ Church cellar with flashlights and a hand truck.
Dozens of bodies were buried in a parish cemetery on that land over the century before the current church was built from 1846 to 1848, and the hand-carved headstones now stashed in the cellar at one time marked their graves.
A pamphlet on church history offers a succinct version of the story. The land on lower Washington Street where Christ Church now stands was donated to the parish in 1734 by Benijah Bushnell. The first church was built there, but eventually the parish moved to Main Street. In 1847 the parish decided - in a vote that literally split the parish in two - to move back to the original plot "once the burying ground was removed."
Three tents offered temporary relief from the mid-day sun sucking energy from all things breathing.
There was still half a day’s work ahead for the volunteers from St. Luke’s Episcopal School before they would climb back on the air-conditioned charter bus Monday for the cushioned ride home to Mobile.
A little lunch and some cold water gave the 33 volunteers helping with tornado recovery a needed boost of energy.
Even one day of their time proved valuable as wreckage remained very visible in all directions two months after the April 27 disaster.
“They still have a lot to do,” said Monique Hawkins, a 16-year-old junior at St. Luke’s. “There’s just tons of stuff that has to be cleared.”
Compare it to a giant Erector Set project, except that each assembly step has to be performed 30 feet in the air.
In front of a crowd of its own parishioners and interested area residents, St. Luke's Episcopal Church completed one of the final steps in its exterior renovation project: installation of a new bell tower.
One by one, during a six-hour period, a crane lifted a half-dozen separate pieces of the belfry onto the roof of the church.
The bell tower replacement is part of the $700,000 renovation of the 175-year-old church building, the oldest of the four churches in downtown Granville.
There have always been Anglicans "on the journey" to the Catholic Church and many have come into full communion over the years. With the exception of a handful of parishes that entered through the Pastoral Provision, most had to come in through a solitary journey and those who were clergy wondered if there might ever be another opportunity to offer the sacraments.
The Anglican Ordinariate, however, through to the terms of the apostolic constitution, Anglicanorum coetibus, has given pilgrims a real sense "welcome" and expectation while they are on their way." Catholic parishes are opening their doors to Anglican Use liturgies and inviting Episcopalians and other Anglicans to come and see.
One such example took place on Sunday evening at Holy Spirit Catholic Church in Annandale, Virginia. I was present with 140 other attendees for Solemn Evensong and Rite of Benediction (for the Solemnity of Corpus Christi), sponsored by the St. Thomas of Canterbury Anglican Use Society of Washington, DC and Northern Virginia (STCS).
The Episcopal Church of Sudan (ECS) consecrated Stephen Dokolo as the new Rt. Rev Bishop for the Diocese Lui in Mundri East, Western Equatoria stae, South Sudan, on Sunday.
The consecration came after his appointment by Archbishop Daniel Deng Bul to succeed the late Bishop Bullen Doli.
The co-consecrators were bishops from all the Episcopal dioceses in Western Equatoria, including Bishop Peter Munde of Yambio and Bishop Samuel Enos Peni of Nzara. Foreign church leaders included Swiss missionaries and the World Gospel Mission from Arua, Uganda.
This is third bishop to be ordained in Lui diocese, the first Bishop was Ephraim Nathana, followed by Bishop Bullen Doli, who passed away last year.
Corn farmers in a remote community here are lucky to have been chosen recipients of two postharvest facilities from the Episcopal church to complement government efforts in improving their lives.
Around 24 farmers producing corn in Daram, Cudal are beneficiaries of the Community-Based Development Program (CBDP) of the Episcopal Diocese of Northern Luzon (EDNL) with the on-going construction of a warehouse and multi-purpose drying pavement.
Development officer Fr. Allen Aligo of EDNL said the 20 feet by 30 feet warehouse and the 500 square meter drying pavement is funded by the United States of America Episcopal church and is expected to be completed this year.
He said the lot was donated by Juliana Salibad, a corn farmer. “The project is the progressive type wherein the beneficiaries can expand the edifice and convert it into a multi-purpose one that could be used as a barangay assembly place or council office and the pavement to have a stage for public occasions,” Aligo said.
Three more former Anglican priests have been ordained into the Roman Catholic Church at the weekend.
The latest priests to turn their backs on the Anglican Communion and join the specially established Catholic Ordinariate are Father David Elliott, of Reading, Berks, Father Jonathan Redvers Harris, of the Isle of Wight and Father Graham Smith, of Christchurch, Dorset.
Earlier this month The Christian Post reported how seven former Church of England clergy were ordained into the Ordinariate, as part of a series of ordinations taking place over Pentecost.
The latest group of former Anglican priests to complete their defection to the Catholic Ordinariate did so at a ceremony at Portsmouth Cathedral in south England, which saw about 250 congregants gather to celebrate the ordinations.
A number of those joining the new Ordinariate have said they were forced to take action following the Church of England’s increasing acceptance of same-sex blessings and gay clergy. Others have also cited the Church’s movement towards accepting women bishops as a reason to defect to the Catholic Church.
The third Anglican–Lutheran International Commission (ALIC) held its sixth and final meeting in the holy city Jerusalem between 18 and 25 June 2011, under the leadership of the Most Reverend Fred Hiltz, Primate of Canada, and of the Reverend Dr Thomas Nyiwé, Bishop of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Cameroon.
The meeting was hosted by the Anglican Communion with the generous assistance of the Episcopal Diocese of Jerusalem.
Jerusalem was chosen as the venue for this meeting at the Stuttgart Assembly of the Lutheran World Federation (LWF), at which Bishop Dr Munib Younan, Bishop of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Jordan and the Holy Land, was elected President of the LWF. In his address to that Assembly, the Archbishop of Canterbury had made a plea for greater cooperation between Anglicans and Lutherans in the Middle East, and the Commission met here to learn of the hopes and cares of the two churches in Jerusalem in particular. Bishop Suheil Dawani, the Anglican bishop, hosted an ecumenical reception for local church leaders, and the Commission was addressed by His Beatitude Theophilos III, the Greek Patriarch of Jerusalem. The Commission spent one of its sessions with Bishop Dawani and Bishop Younan.
At both this session and at the reception, members of the Commission heard of the struggles of Christians in Jerusalem and Palestine: of the strain of living a restricted life, of the lack of jobs and opportunities particularly for young people, and of lacking peace with justice for all in society, all of which lead many Christians to leave the holy land and diminish the witness of Christianity in the very places of its birth. At the same time, they heard of the dedication of the local churches to be the hands and feet of Christ: to advocate for a just peace among all, to seek good relations among all the faith communities, and to offer high quality education and health care to the whole society.
Pundits often say that Wall Street has little in common with the rest of the country, but don’t tell that to the folks at All Souls Episcopal Church in the lower 9th Ward of New Orleans. Since Katrina-related levee breaks inundated the neighborhood in 2005, All Souls has forged a strong musical connection with one of the best known Anglican churches in America: Trinity Wall Street.
Choristers from the landmark Manhattan church have traveled to New Orleans for the past two summers, leading a music workshop for children in the downtown neighborhood. The 2011 workshop kicks off at 7:30 p.m. Tuesday with a free, pass-the-hat benefit concert in the Garden District’s historic Trinity Church, 1329 Jackson Ave.
About half of the New York ensemble will be present, led by its recently appointed music director, composer Julian Wachner. The a cappella program mixes American pieces, traditional work by Bach and Byrd, and a composition by Wachner.
It may be the best-selling book of all time, but its battles, bloodletting, and "begats," its many laws, rituals, and tribes, and those chewy names like Oholiab and Eliphelehu and "Joshbekashah son of Heman" don't make for easy reading.
Yet when the rector of St. Thomas Episcopal Church in Whitemarsh invited his congregants in January to join him in reading the Bible cover to cover in a year, the response surprised him.
"It's taken on a life of its own," the Rev. Marek Zabriskie said last week.
More than 150 of his 1,300 congregants, and 85 others, have turned his "Bible Challenge" into a far-flung community of readers, Zabriskie said. The project has also taught him new ways to conceive of "church" in the electronic age.
Connected at first by e-mail, recently by Facebook, and soon by Twitter, folks as far away as Mali, some of whom "never darken the door of a church," have joined in reading the Good Book and sharing their responses.
The Rev. Canon Carol L. Wade, former canon precentor at the National Cathedral in Washington, will be the new dean and rector at Lexington's historic Christ Church Episcopal Cathedral. She is the first woman to hold either position at the downtown church.
Wade will assume her new duties in September. Her selection was announced Sunday during both worship services at Christ Church.
"I am overjoyed," Wade said in a telephone interview. "I cannot tell you how much I look forward to partnering with the wonderfully gifted people at the cathedral and working with the diocese, the people of Lexington and beyond.
"Christ Church is an extraordinary place. When you come there you can experience the majesty and mystery of God in a setting that values a beautiful and thoughtful and generous Christianity."
With hands clapping, bodies swaying and beach balls flying, the singing voices of nearly 1,100 Episcopalians filled Benson Great Hall on the campus of Bethel University in Saint Paul, Minnesota, for the opening worship service of the 2011 Episcopal Youth Event (EYE) on June 23. The triennial event — the second-largest gathering in the Episcopal Church — attracted delegations from nearly all dioceses in the United States as well as the Dominican Republic.
Gathered around the theme "Come Together: Intimately Linked in this Harvest Work," 730 high school youth, 310 adults and 50 bishops are spending three days on the Bethel campus, learning together and sharing stories and skills so that, as Bronwyn Clark Skov, officer for youth ministries of the Episcopal Church, said in her welcome, "we might all be enriched and empowered as we go forth from here transformed and eager to fulfill our call as Episcopal Christians in this world."
“We are facing the nightmare of genocide of our people in a final attempt to erase our culture and society from the face of the earth.”
That’s the warning of African Episcopal Bishop Andudu Adam Elnail (pictured) in northern Sudan’s Nuba Mountains. His warning is echoed by Operation Broken Silence.
“Due to the ongoing, targeted attacks against civilians in the South Kordofan region of Sudan,” says the Nashville-based group, which is dedicated to raising awareness to international issues, “a new genocide is beginning to be committed by government of Sudan forces and their proxy militias.
Episcopal churches in three communities are merging for the summer in an effort the rectors hope will save money and strengthen bonds between them.
Calvary Episcopal Church in Danvers, Grace Church in Salem and St. Paul's Church in Peabody will take turns hosting combined weekly services for the three congregations. St. Paul's hosted the first joint service Sunday and will continue to host each Sunday until July 10; Calvary will then host through Aug. 7, and Grace will take over and host until Sept. 4.
"It's an experiment, something we're trying, to get us working together," said the Rev. Joyce Caggiano, who was recently installed as rector at St. Paul's after three years as interim rector.
"We're so close together in geography, we hope that by combining resources we can get a lot more done, and it will be less expensive in terms of time and money."