Saturday, July 16, 2011

Episcopal sisters plan convent in new location

From ENS-

The Order of Saint Helena is purchasing 28 acres in Aiken County, South Carolina, for a new convent.

The site, which is about 20 minutes north of the present convent in Augusta, Georgia, will be in the city of North Augusta, South Carolina, if the sisters' petition is granted for the property to be incorporated, according to a July 14 press release.

In October 2008, the Episcopal Church-affiliated sisters announced that they would sell their properties in New York State and relocate all of the sisters to the Augusta convent. The move was planned as a temporary step, while they searched for a location in which to build a new convent and a new future, according to the release.

"We have felt that God has been with us throughout this process," Sr. Ellen Francis said in the release. "Even though it has taken longer than we first expected to decide where we would ultimately settle, it seems to me that this is the place where God is calling us to be, to grow, and to thrive."

The Order of Saint Helena has served and ministered in the Augusta area since the 1960s, the release said, and the sisters "hoped to find a location that would be convenient for guests and for the ministries of the sisters, and also be a quiet and natural setting for retreat and contemplation."

Sr. Ellen Francis said that the new property has all of the qualities the sisters were looking for: a beautiful, wooded place close to a major highway, airport, and other facilities.

The sisters plan to design and build an energy-efficient convent that will house the sisters and provide hospitality for guests.

More here-

Church reopening | St. Thomas Episcopal in Northern Cambria planning service on Sunday

From Johnstown-

The pews are polished and the banners have been sent out to be cleaned in preparation for an area church’s reopening on Sunday.

Because of dwindling congregations, St. Thomas Episcopal Church in Northern Cambria merged with St. Luke Episcopal Church in Patton and formed SS. Thomas & Luke in 2004.

“That happened during my tenure, and I hope it (St. Thomas) becomes active and thriving again,” said Ann Staples, who will serve as deacon and Liturgist for the newly reopened St. Thomas.

“The problem began in the 1980s when the coal mines closed,” she said.

When the Episcopal Diocese of Pittsburgh split in 2008, Staples said there were two-thirds of the parishes that left, with one-third belonging to the Episcopal church.

When SS. Thomas & Luke expressed a desire to align with the Anglican church, Staples knew that would mean there would be no Episcopal church presence from Indiana to Johnstown.

“The situation is painful,” Staples said. “I cannot imagine not belonging to the Episcopal church. This parish is the geographic center of the area.

More here-

Episcopal Diocese of Alabama ready to elect new bishop

From Alabama-

There's an election today to pick the next bishop for the Episcopal Diocese of Alabama, and the four candidates include a woman priest at a church in Rhode Island and a suffragan bishop who would only need to move down the hall.

The Rev. Clare Fischer-Davies, rector of St. Martin's Episcopal Church in Providence, R.I., could make history as the first woman to be Episcopal bishop of Alabama.

Or a familiar face, the Rev. Kee Sloan, now serving as suffragan bishop of the diocese, could be elevated from an assistant-level bishop to the head of the diocese.

The Rev. Kenneth L. Chumbley, rector of Christ Episcopal Church in Springfield, Mo., and the Rev. William Charles Treadwell III, rector of St. Paul's Episcopal Church in Waco, Texas, will also be on the ballot. Clergy and lay delegates from around the diocese will gather at Cathedral Church of the Advent today for a 12:30 p.m. communion service, with voting expected to start at 2 p.m. and be done by 4 p.m.

More here-

Friday, July 15, 2011

Nigeria elects four bishops and an Archbishop

From ACNS-

The Church of Nigeria (Anglican Communion) at its Episcopal meeting held at IBRU Centre Agbarha-Otor has elected four new Bishops and an Archbishop.

The new Archbishop for Aba Province is the Rt Rev Ikechi Nwosu, the incumbent Bishop of the Diocese of Umuahia.

He will replace the most Rev Dr Ugochukwu Uwaoma Ezuoke Archbishop Aba Province who is retiring.

The newly elected bishops are Ven Christian Ugwuzor of St James church Egbelu Eziukwu in Aba Diocese, as the new Bishop of Aba. He will replace the retiring Bishop of Aba Most Rev Dr Ugochukwu Ezuoke.

Venerable Monday Nkweagu of Christ church Achi Agu Ngbo Diocese, is the new Bishop for Abakaliki Diocese. He will replace the Rt Rev V.D. Benson the incumbent Bishop who is retiring.
Venerable Marcus Madugu Dogo of St Lukes Cathedral Kebbi Diocese is the newly elected Bishop for Kafanchan Diocese. He replaces the Rt Rev William Diya the outgoing Bishop of Kafanchan.

Very Rev Jacob Kwashi has been elected new Bishop of Zonkwa Diocese. Before his election very Rev Kwashi was the Dean of St Michael’s Cathedral Kaduna. He replaces the Rt Rev Praises Omole-Ekun now of St Francis of Assisi Wusasa Zaria.

Church of Sudan offers Anglicans digital record of historic day

From ACNS-

Anglicans around the world are being offered a slice of history in the form of a new CD of around 450 photos and films recording the independence weekend in South Sudan.

International Co-ordinator for the Episcopal Church of Sudan Rebecca Coleman is hoping that people right around the Anglican Communion will want to own a CD filled with sights and sounds from the day a country was born. Not least because proceeds from the sale of these historical discs will help upgrade the communications systems in the Provincial Office.
"I have produced CDs of the photos and videos I took over the independence weekend in South Sudan," she said. "There are 450 photos and films in total, all fantastic quality, and featuring scenes from the day such as the arrival of President Bashir, the lowering and raising of the flags, the national anthem sung by the enormous crowd, and close-ups, some humourous, of the delegates who attended.

"Bonus features include Independence Eve on Juba's streets, the sound track of the national anthem and thanksgiving prayers in All Saints Cathedral."

"The CD costs just 50SDG, 15USD or 15GBP," said Rebecca, "and all proceeds go towards an urgent upgrade of the communications systems in the Episcopal Church of Sudan offices.
You can get a CD from the ECS Provincial Office, but they are also available in Juba, the USA and the UK. Contact Rebecca at for more details.

Our community attacks hunger in many ways

From Tallahassee Florida-

The idea for this column came from a recent email exchange with Judy Mathews, a member of Holy Comforter Episcopal Church. You see, Mathews wanted to know how to get information published about new developments with the church's food pantry, which is open every Saturday.

The story ran in last Sunday's Chronicle section of the paper.

Holy Comforter's food pantry has been in existence for years. The news was that it recently joined a network of area food pantries affiliated with, a national effort that uses the Internet to connect local gardeners with food pantries. The two-year-old program has received national attention for its efforts to get fresh produce distributed from the estimated "40-plus million Americans" who grow food in home gardens.

More here-

Betty Ford: A first lady's last farewell

From Michigan-

Former first lady Betty Ford was lauded Thursday as a loving, straight-talking and universally admired woman who battled alcoholism, helped her son overcome his alcoholism and helped thousands in their struggles with addictions and breast cancer.

"She was a great liberator," said presidential historian Richard Norton Smith, eulogizing Ford at the church where she and the late President Gerald Ford were married 58 years ago.

"She not only liberated women, she liberated us from the crippling limits of labels. Mrs. Ford was the feminist next door, a free spirit with a dress code. Above all, she was a wife and mother."

Ford's casket was carried to the Gerald R. Ford Presidential Museum, where she will be buried next to her husband. The afternoon of solemn dignity was broken by laughter a few times during eulogies delivered by Norton, family friend Lynne Cheney and son Steven Ford, who told of confronting his disbelieving mother 19 years ago with his own alcoholism.

More here-

Pair of priests ‘model Christian marriage well’

From Central PA

Like many couples, Kate Harrigan and William Alford go to different churches Sunday mornings.

Unlike many couples, both wear clerical collars and officiate at services when they do.

She’s Canon Kate Harrigan, rector of St. Paul Episcopal Church of Harrisburg for 1½ years, dean of the Episcopal Diocesan School of Christian studies for 21 years and board member of the Episcopal seminary at Yale.

He’s the Rev. William Alford, rector of both St. Andrew’s Episcopal Church in Harrisburg and St. Andrew’s in the Valley, Susquehanna Township.

Three churches.

Two priests.

One marriage.

The Right Rev. Nathan D. Baxter, who heads the Episcopal Diocese of Central Pennsylvania with 66 parishes in 24 counties, called them “very dedicated pastors who model Christian marriage well.”

More here-

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Breaking: Evidence of Mass Graves in Sudan?

From Sudan-

RD recently reported that Anglican Bishop Andudu Adam Elnail of Kadugli, Sudan thought that if he not been in the U.S. for medical treatment, he might now be in a mass grave back home. A dramatic new report by the Satellite Sentinel Project (SSP) titled: “Crime Scene: Evidence of Mass Graves in Kadugli” reveals that Andudu could not have been more chillingly correct.

Through the forensic use of satellite images combined with credible eye witness testimony, SSP has located and documented at least three mass graves. These 26 x 5 meter trenches (and perhaps others yet to be discovered) may be the final resting places for bodies that had previously been piled in white body bags (or tarps) near the Episcopal Church complex in Kadugli before being loaded onto trucks that had reportedly gone around collecting bodies from systematic killings of Nuban civilians.

More here-

Anglicans fight to keep Bishop

From Swaziland-

The Anglican Church in Swaziland says it continues to have confidence in Bishop Meshack Mabuza despite his quitting the church’s leadership.

As exclusively disclosed by the Times, the news of Mabuza’s resignation was communicated to the members on Saturday during a special Diocese and council meeting held at Thokoza church centre.

The meeting was to officially release a report of an investigation that had been done on allegations levelled against the bishop last year.

As a result of the investigation, Mabuza had stopped from preaching for over seven months until it was delivered.

It is of note that the bishop was cleared of all allegations levelled against him.

The Times can further disclose that this is not the end of the matter. The church has since requested the Archbishop and Metropolitan of the Anglican Church of Southern Africa, The Most Reverend Dr Thabo Cecil Makgoba expressing their desire to have Bishop Mabuza remain in charge until December 31.

It is said during the meeting on Saturday the person who delivered the report said the Archbishop would be in charge of the Swaziland chapter immediately after the retirement before the appointment of a new bishop.

More here-

The Yes-Yes of the Rosary

From Patheos-

I've got a confession to make.

I'm regularly praying the Rosary. There, I said it.

For months now, and daily during the work week.

I'm up at 4:15 a.m. It's still dark. Quite dark. I find my Droid X and the Rosary App I downloaded for free. I find my beads given to me by the angel who ran our RCIA program at St. Joan of Arc's and I head quietly downstairs to my living room, my dog Harley following sleepily and looking at me as if I've lost my marbles, communicating with his eyes that he'd much rather be back in his bed.

I first gather my thoughts. I think about who I want the Rosary to be prayed for. The usual suspects will include family mostly, friends who've communicated a need, and then our political and military leaders. I talk quietly to God about those intentions and then I launch the app. Twenty-five minutes or so later, I'm done and better for it. Believe it.

More here-

Local soup kitchen in need

From Utah-

As many impoverished residents continue to rely on the St. George Soup Kitchen for free meals, representatives from the organization are calling upon members of the community to support their goal of feeding the hungry.

Rich Rivera, executive director of the charitable organization, said community donations for the soup kitchen have declined by about 30 percent from last year.

"We continue to struggle to raise funds," he said. "The kitchen kind of just limps along."

Offering free lunch to members of the community three times weekly at Grace Episcopal Church in St. George, Rivera said the soup kitchen serves as a valuable resource to a number of residents.

More here-

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Archbishop warns of vanishing Christian communities

From AFP-

Archbishop of Canterbury Rowan Williams warned Tuesday that Christian communities in the Middle East were in danger of vanishing, as he launched an appeal for funds to help.

"The overall decline in the Christian population in the Holy Land has been very significant in recent decades and it is accelerating in the West Bank and in east Jerusalem very rapidly," he said.

"The number of Christians in Israel itself remains steady, but we still face the not too distant prospect elsewhere, especially in East Jerusalem, of the disappearance of most of the historic Christian communities.

"Communities that have been there, in some cases, since the days of our Lord."

Williams, the head of the worldwide Anglican church, was launching an appeal for funds for Christian community projects at a meeting of the General Synod in York, northern England.
"I returned from a visit to the Holy Land last year with a very, very strong sense that we had to do more to express our solidarity with the Christian communities there," he said.

His call was supported by Archbishop of Westminster Vincent Nichols, the most senior Catholic in England and Wales.

More here-

Ageing Church of England 'will be dead in 20 years'

From The London Telegraph-

The average age of its members is now 61 and by 2020 a “crisis” of “natural wastage” will lead to their numbers falling “through the floor”, the Church’s national assembly was told.

The Church was compared to a company “impeccably” managing itself into failure, during exchanges at the General Synod in York.

The warnings follow an internal report calling for an urgent national recruitment drive to attract more members.

In the past 40 years, the number of adult churchgoers has halved, while the number of children attending regular worship has declined by four fifths.

The Rev Dr Patrick Richmond, a Synod member from Norwich, told the meeting that some projections suggested that the Church would no longer be “functionally extant” in 20 years’ time.

More here-

Hong Kong Catholics protest illicit Episcopal ordinations

From Asia news-

A group of Catholics in Hong Kong has staged a protest outside the China Liaison Office, the Chinese central government’s office in Hong Kong, calling for a cancelation of illicit ordinations, including the Shantou case on July 14. They also demand a halt to forcing Chinese bishops to attend such events.

Braving heavy rains today, the protest, organized by the Justice and Peace Commission of the Catholic Diocese of Hong Kong, urged Chinese authorities to stop the repeated illicit ordinations of bishops, as such acts are “greatly disrespectful” to the Church and have caused internal divisions and suffering to the Church.

The Chinese authorities have ignored the Holy See’s declaration of July 4 on the Leshan illicit ordination and planned another one in Shantou diocese for Father Huang Bingzhang on July 14.

Hong Kong Catholics said that Chinese authorities even pressured legitimate bishops, forcing them to join the event, thus seriously violating their freedom of religious belief.

More here-

Westboro a no-show at Betty Ford funeral

From The International Business Times-

Controversial Westboro Baptist Church was a no-show at the Betty Ford funeral on Tuesday, throwing the group's creditably further into question.

Westboro phones ran unanswered into the afternoon, while picketers were nowhere to be found at Saint Margaret Episcopal Church in Palm Desert, Calif., where the service was held.

The group had publicly announced on Monday that it would oppose the memorial saying that because Ford was divorced and espoused pre-marital sex, she is now currently "in hell."

"She loved to sit with tawdry muckraking reporters & blather about sex," the group said on its website. "She couldn't wait to have an audience with a reporter to titter about premarital sex, and how much she loved to teach it to her daughters."

The group, run by disbarred lawyer Fred Phelps, and denounced by other Christian churches, said it would picket Tuesday at services at Saint Margaret Episcopal Church in Palm Desert, Calif, and Thursday at Grace Episcopal Church in East Grand Rapids .

More here-

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Texas man arrested in fatal shooting at Ligonier's Fat Daddy's

A little excitement in town last night, We occasionally eat at Fat Daddy's- From The Pittsburgh Tribune Review

A Texas man walked into a Ligonier tavern Monday night carrying a semi-automatic rifle and killed another patron with a single shot after the two had argued, authorities said.

The suspect was held by other patrons until police arrived and arrested him, authorities said.

The victim of the shooting at 6:48 p.m. at Fat Daddy's Pub and Grille was identified as Donald R. Holler of Cook Township.

Within minutes after the shooting, the suspect, Stephen Paul Fromholz, 40, of San Antonio was taken into custody at the tavern by Ligonier Borough Police Chief John Berger.

Berger said he arrived at the restaurant and tavern, located along Route 30 between Grant Street and Hadley Alley, about 30 seconds after he received the call and saw patrons running out of the tavern and motioning for him to go inside. He used his police cruiser as a shield when he drove into the tavern's parking lot.

Two patrons who had wrestled the suspect to the ground held him there until Berger was able to handcuff him, he said.

Read more:

Chinese police seize Catholic bishop as illicit ordination approaches

From Catholic Culture-

Four Chinese Catholic bishops have been seized by police and are being held incommunicado, apparently so that they can be forced to participate in the ordination of a new bishop arranged by the Catholic Patriotic Association.

Bishops Liang Jiansen of Jiangmen, Liao Hongqing of Meizhou, and Joseph Gan Junqiu of Guangzhou—all of them recognized by the Vatican—are being held by authorities. Chinese Catholics loyal to the Holy See expect that the bishops will be brought by police to the scheduled ordination of a new bishop in Shantou on July 14.

Officials of the Patriotic Association have announced that they will proceed with episcopal ordinations, such as the one in Shantou, without Vatican approval. The Vatican has countered with a reminder that anyone who participates in an episcopal ordination without approval from the Holy See is subject to the penalty of excommunication. While noting that his penalty would not apply to those who participate under compulsion, the Vatican has urged Chinese Catholics to resist pressure, emphasizing the the illicit ordinations harm the unity of the Church.

More here-

American Cathedral in Paris dean accepts call to new ministry in Scottish Episcopal Church

From ENS-

The Very Rev. Zachary Fleetwood has announced his decision to resign as dean of the American Cathedral in Paris and to accept a call to become rector of St. Columba's-by-the-Castle, an Episcopal church in Edinburgh, Scotland.

In a pastoral letter to his congregation, Fleetwood said it has been "one of the hardest decisions I have ever made. Serving with you has been one of the great privileges of my life and it will never be possible for me to convey fully my gratitude for these eight years we have shared together."

Fleetwood became dean of the American Cathedral, a congregation of the Convocation of Episcopal Churches in Europe, in 2003 having previously served as rector of St. Peter's Church in Morristown, New Jersey, from 1997-2003 and as rector of Grace Church in The Plains, Virginia, from 1990-97. He also has served on the staff of Christ Church, Georgetown and St. Alban's Parish, both in Washington, D.C.

A native Virginian, Fleetwood holds a bachelor's degree in political science and education from Guilford College in Greensboro, North Carolina, a master's degree in social foundations of education from the University of Virginia, and a Master in Divinity degree from Virginia Theological Seminary in Alexandria. He also completed advanced studies in comparative education at the University of Edinburgh.

"The course of my ordained ministry over the past 25 years has led to increasingly high profile positions in large parishes with complex responsibilities for management, institutional development, and fundraising. I have derived immeasurable joy and satisfaction from the challenges and accomplishments of this work," Fleetwood said in the pastoral letter. "However, it has been my heart's desire for some time now to focus more narrowly on those areas of ministry that first called my soul and spirit to the priesthood. In the years ahead, I envisage a ministry in which I can devote more time as pastor, preacher, liturgist, and teacher."

More here-

Deposed Priest Had Plans to Leave the Country

From Mass.

Prior to his arrest last week at his home in Marblehead, a former New Hampshire Episcopal priest charged with multiple counts of felonious sexual assault had plans to travel to England, according to documents provided by the Hillsborough County Superior Court.

On Thursday, July 7, Franklin Huntress, Jr. was arrested and extradited to New Hampshire and arraigned following an arrest warrant being issued on June 30, the result of secret indictments submitted to the Grand Jury June 17.

Huntress retired in 1995, but had been working until February at the Church of the Holy Name in Swampscott and St. Michael’s Church in Marblehead, the Boston Globe reported earlier this year.

More here-

Betty Ford Death: Westboro Baptist Church Threatens Service Protest

International Business Times-

The notorious Westboro Baptist Church in Topeka, Kan. announced Monday that its members will protest two public services held for former First Lady Betty Ford, who died last Friday at the age of 93.

The church has a history of protesting high-profile burials, often calling deaths a punishment from God. The group has been denounced as radical by many Christian organizations.

"Betty Ford is in Hell!" the Church said in a released statement.

Westboro faulted Ford for having divorced her first husband William Warren and then marrying former President Gerald Ford.

"She divorced him & 'married' Gerald Ford & Betty Ford lived in adultery for 58 years," Westboro wrote.

After her days in the White House, Ford was best known for helping found the Betty Ford Center, a substance abuse and alcohol treatment center often used by celebrities.

More here-

Monday, July 11, 2011

Thoughts on Casey Anthony's acquittal

From ENS-

Casey Anthony is not guilty. A jury of her peers has decided she is not to be held responsible and accountable for the death of her daughter. I do not know if this is a just verdict. I have not followed the case closely, in part because of my distrust that the media can report on this or most anything else justly. I am left to trust that the jurors -- who were actually there in the courtroom -- have done the best they could, weighing evidence and receiving impressions from the various witnesses and Ms. Anthony herself.

I can hardly imagine what it must be like to serve on a jury which is charged with the authority of pronouncing a verdict which may include execution. I do know that it is very easy for those not charged with such responsibility to imagine they would, without second thoughts, give such a verdict.

My hope is that Casey Anthony be saved. Justice is certainly important, but isn't salvation more important? It is not unreasonable to conclude that she is a young woman with many character defects (undoubtedly too tame a term): dysfunction produces dysfunction. Thrown yet more into the media frenzy with her acquittal she may be destroyed both from within and without.

If this happens -- and I fear it may -- her "execution" will only be a longer, more terrible ordeal; not state sanctioned and performed, but self-inflicted and society-driven. For some, prison is the place where they finally surrender to God. It appears this will not be the soil for Ms. Anthony's salvation. I pray God she will find it in her "freedom."

More here-

Bishop of The Anglican Church of The South Has Account Hacked, Used For A Scam

From Georgia-

In October last year, the Rt. Rev. Foley Beach was consecrated as the first Bishop of the Anglican Diocese of the South in front of nearly 800 people, including Archbishop Robert Duncan of the Anglican Church of North America.

Thursday night his Gmail account was hacked and his name used to try and scam thousands of people out of their money.

“The first time I heard about it was 7:30 a.m. (Friday) morning when my phone started ringing off the hook with people phoning to let me know I’d been hacked,” Beach said, adding unfortunately some of the calls were from people checking that he was actually okay.

The scammers used Beach’s Gmail account to send out an email from him claiming to have been mugged while in London. It claimed he had been held up at gun point and all his belongings – cash, cell phone and credit cards – stolen. The email gives a supposed hotel desk phone number in London and a request to send money to help him fly back home because his bank can’t get him the money for two to four working days. Foley’s assistant said the unfortunate thing is it wouldn’t be out the realm of possibility for Beach to be in London since his position in the church requires him to travel extensively. The email correctly lists his church rectory as The Holy Cross Anglican Church in Loganville and many people who received the scam letter were Loganville residents, including Walton County Commissioner Chuck Bagley. It is not known whether only contacts in his email were victims of the scam attempt or others as well.

More here-

Rio Grande, Parish Bury Two Lawsuits

From The Living Church-

A pastoral letter in Eastertide and a subsequent lawsuit have defused a longstanding dispute between the Diocese of the Rio Grande and the El Paso, Texas, parish of St. Francis on the Hill. The parish filed suit against the diocese in 2008 after its members voted to join what is now the Anglican Church in North America.

The Rt. Rev. Michael Louis Vono, Bishop of the Rio Grande, wrote a pastoral letter to the parish April 12 and distributed the letter throughout the diocese.

“The Body of Christ is not determined by litigation,” the bishop’s letter said. “No one will be questioned, judged or unwelcome as the community comes together to begin a new chapter with the Bishop. Your spiritual home has deep roots in family memories, life passages and happy occasions. St. Francis’ has been your spiritual home. It is my prayer you will consider remaining with all your brothers and sisters in the wider community at St. Francis on the Hill. I pastorally assure you that, even with a contrary mind, I will lovingly care for and accept each one of you as members of Christ’s body. A Bishop is called and chosen to be a shepherd for all people, and all includes those who may not be likeminded yet who desire to remain faithful followers of Jesus Christ.”

A lawsuit the diocese filed April 26 confronted a related issue, challenging the legality of the Los Robles Corp., an entity the parish formed after separating from the diocese.

The Rev. Dr. Felix Orji, rector of the parish since 2005, was among four defendants named in the diocese’s lawsuit.

More here-

Bishop Meshack resigns from Anglican

From Swaziland-

Long serving Bishop of the Anglican Church Meshack Mabuza has resigned, this newspaper can reveal.

The news of Mabuza’s resignation was communicated to the church members on Saturday during a special diocese and council meeting held at Thokoza church centre.

The meeting was to officially release a report of an investigation that had been done on allegations levelled against the bishop last year. As a result of the investigation Mabuza had stopped from preaching until its finality.

The report, as exclusively revealed by this newspaper a few months ago, clears the bishop of all the allegations that were levelled against him which were reportedly fuelled by an aggrieved church member.

However despite the investigation reportedly being completed in December last year, Mabuza had been placed on ice until Saturday—seven months later for its official release.

According to our inside sources the period the bishop had been on ice was reported as one of the contributing factors to his resignation.

More here-

Independent South Sudan is jubilant, wobbly a day later

From The LA Times-

On the day after independence in South Sudan, the modest clock tower in downtown Juba read "Free at Last," and the dirt roadsides were littered with countless paper flags bearing the colors of the new republic. Most of the dignitaries in town for Saturday's big ceremony had flown home, and streets that had been jammed for days — bristling with checkpoints and the machine guns of security forces — were easier to navigate.

But the city was far from quiet Sunday, the second official day of South Sudan's sovereign existence, as celebrations continued. The national soccer team played Kenya, and families slaughtered goats they had saved for big occasions and invited neighbors to eat.
Jubilation is everywhere, but in Christian churches, liberation from the mostly Muslim Arab north — made possible by a 2005 peace deal — carried a special resonance. At the Episcopal Church of the Sudan, people danced and chanted, "Salva! Salva! Salva!" — invoking Salva Kiir, the country's first president — and thanked God. At the midday service, the biblical reading was about the Lord delivering his people from bondage to the Promised Land.

More here-,0,5146345.story

Bishop of Sherborne sees 'jubilant' birth of South Sudan

From The BBC-

The Diocese of Salisbury has had links with the region for 39 years and has sent several figures to the region.

Bishop of Sherborne, Dr Graham Kings, said it was important to show support for the new nation.

During the trip he also spoke to religious leaders about the drought in the Horn of Africa.

He has backed an international aid effort.

The Disasters Emergency Committee said £6m was donated by the British public following a television appeal shown in Friday.

Dr Kings said: "It is tragic and it is worth raising the alarm now and raising money now to help them rather than wait for the famine to happen.

More here-

Big day for summer debuts

From Tampa Bay-

Don't let the white collar and priestly garb throw you. "Father Albert" is not a religious talk show.

"Anyone who watches it for a few minutes will see that," says Father Albert Cutie, a former Catholic priest who is now an Episcopal minister for a Miami church.

He says his show may be inspirational and uplifting, and it's open to all topics. Like Oprah Winfrey, he'll be helping people deal with issues and dilemmas. In fact, he's been called "Father Oprah."

Father Albert, 42, enjoyed a successful 12-year run with a secular talk show on Telemundo.

He's being given a summer run on Fox-owned stations such as WTVT, Channel 13, which debuts his show at 11 a.m. today.

Cutie (pronounced Koo-Tee-Ay), says he has lived through some personal dilemmas himself, such as the scandal that caused him to leave the Catholic Church.

More here-

Lobsters Help Church Raise Money for Annie's Hope

From St. Louis-

Thanks to hundreds of live lobsters that recently made a trek from Maine, members of Grace Episcopal Church in Kirkwood were able to raise $1,491 for Annie's Hope.

This is the 10th year the church has held "Lobsters on the Loose," in which buyers place orders in June and pick up the lobsters (live or cooked) at Grace Episcopal.

Church members recently prepared, cooked and wrapped the 328 Maine lobsters. They also sold classic lobster sides, corn-on-cob and new potatoes. The produce was donated by a local distributor, according to a statement from Grace Episcopal.

Originally funds from "Lobsters on the Loose" went to the church's operating fund, but five years ago members turned the sale into an outreach project.

“Over the past five years that we’ve donated to Annie’s Hope, we have raised more than $11,000,” said event co-chair and Grace member Julie Grossman in the statement.

More here-

A prayer for Betty Ford

From California-

The 10 a.m. service that Gerald and Betty Ford used to attend at St. Margaret's Episcopal Church opened on Sunday with a special prayer in memory of Betty Ford.

Members of the church fondly remembered one of their most prominent parishioners as the church staff began preparations to once again be at the center of the national spotlight when Ford's funeral is held Tuesday at the Palm Desert church.

Bob and Peg Leo recalled being shocked when they discovered the former president and his wife sitting in the pew in front of them one Sunday.

Despite their stature, the Fords talked with the Leos just as if they were neighbors, Peg Leo said, and Betty would even play with the children in the front row of the church.

“They're absolutely delightful,” Bob Leo said. “They always shook our hands, and they chatted for a while every Sunday.”

More here-

Episcopal Church joins "Dream Sabbath" Campaign

From World Wide Faith News-

The Episcopal Church has joined other religious denominations and faith-based organizations in supporting the DREAM Act, and asks churches to participate in a Dream Sabbath between September 18 to October 9.

DREAM stands for Development, Relief, and Education for Alien Minors. The DREAM Act 2011 is bipartisan legislation that would grant legalized status to undocumented young people with good moral character who have lived in the U.S. for at least five years and graduated from high school. Permanent resident status would be available upon completion of two years of higher education or military service.

"The Episcopal Church supports the DREAM Act through the approval of General Convention 2009 Resolution B006," noted Alex Baumgarten, Episcopal Church Director of Government Relations and International Policy Analyst. "The DREAM Act would help thousands of youth who came to our country as undocumented to receive legal status, thereby granting untold opportunities on their way to becoming United States citizens."

More here-

Sunday, July 10, 2011

Church marks South Sudan's independence with call for continued peacebuilding

From Christian Today-

As the Republic of South Sudan becomes the world’s newest country today, the Episcopal Church of the Sudan is pinning its hopes on a future of peace.

The country gained its independence today after a referendum in January in which 98% of southern Sudanese voted to break away from the largely Muslim North.

The secession of the mainly Christian South from the North marks the climax of the 2005 peace deal that brought an end to decades of civil war.

Across South Sudan, jubilant crowds are celebrating their freedom and what they hope will be the start of a peaceful and prosperous future.

In a statement, the head of the Episcopal Church in Sudan, Archbishop Daniel Deng said: “We now have a real government and can now be identified as a nation, which has attracted international support.

“These are great achievements which must be recognised, celebrated and guarded carefully.”

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Rosalynn Carter to give eulogy at private service for Betty Ford

From California-

Rosalynn Carter will help the Coachella Valley and the nation bid goodbye Tuesday to her close friend, former first lady Betty Ford.

Carter, the wife of former president Jimmy Carter, will deliver a eulogy during a private service starting at 11:20 a.m. at St. Margaret's Episcopal Church, in Palm Desert.

She will be followed by two other eulogists, journalist Cokie Roberts and former Betty Ford Center board member Geoffrey Mason.

Lynne Cheney, wife of former Vice President Dick Cheney, and historian Richard Norton Smith will eulogize Ford at a separate service Thursday in Grand Rapids, Mich., at Grace Episcopal Church. Dick Cheney served as chief of staff to Gerald Ford during his presidency.

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