Saturday, November 26, 2011

Open for Comments

FYI I turned the comments function back on. I turned it off a year ago becasue I was getting too much spam. We'll see how this goes.

Sam's Club Removes Lego Bible From Shelves Over 'Mature Content'

From The "You Can't Make This Stuff Up" Department.

(At right is a scene from the Parable of the Wicked Tenants)

Sam's Club stores are no longer selling The Brick Bible: A New Spin on The Old Testament, which tells Bible stories through 1,400 images of toy Lego pieces, after “numerous concerns” were received about some of the book's content.

“Sam's Club received numerous concerns from our members and parents about the mature content in what is perceived as a children's book. Accordingly, Sam's Club made a business decision to discontinue sales,” a Sam's Club spokesperson told The Christian Post via email on Friday.

Although parents might have a problem with the book, its creator says he was only trying to be true to the Word.

“From the start, my goal was to create an illustrated Bible that stood out from all others – not just because it was illustrated in LEGO, but because I would be using only direct quotes of scripture to retell the stories just as the Bible tells them,” the book's illustrator, Brendan Powell Smith, told CP in an email.

“I also endeavored not to water down the stories or censor them for content. If it was in the Bible, my thinking was, it was worth illustrating,” he said. “That decision has meant, though, that not everyone considers The Brick Testament appropriate for all children, since the Bible is chock full of graphic violence throughout, and contains a few stories with sexual content.”

More here-

The link to the Brick Testament is here-

Why It's Absurd For Britain To Allow Catholics To Marry The Monarch

There will always be an England-

British Prime Minister David Cameron passed a law allowing the British monarch to marry a Catholic. This has been widely praised as a move to modernize the institution of the monarchy and end an anachronic discriminatory policy.

In reality, the policy is absurd.

But isn't it just desserts after centuries of anti-Catholic discrimination in the UK?

That legacy of British discimination is real. Up until the 19th century, if you wanted to join the British civil service, you had to swear an oath that the Eucharist was a symbol, and not the real Blood and Body of Christ. But that's largely over now. So we don't need to worry about it so much.

Can the Monarch be a Catholic? Why not?

No, the Monarch cannot be a Catholic. And the reason is obvious: the King or Queen of the United Kingdom is also the head of the Church of England. You cannot be the head of a church and belong to another church. It's not discrimination. It's not even common sense. It's basic logic.

Ok, maybe, but can't an Anglican fall in love with a Catholic? Or a Catholic with an Anglican? What's wrong with that!

There's nothing wrong with that. But there is a problem if the Anglican in question is the Monarch of the Church of England, and here it is: when they get married, Catholics swear an oath to raise their children in the Catholic faith. It's what my wife and I did. It might be fine for the head of the Church of England to be married to someone who's not an Anglican. But it would be absurd for him or her to be married to someone who has taken a sworn oath to raise the NEXT head of the Church of England Catholic.

Read more:

Bishop condemns system based on ‘ethics of greed’

From England-

THE Bishop of Sheffield has spoken out against an economic system “shaped by the ethics of greed and everyone for themselves”.

As the ‘Occupy Sheffield’ protest continued on the forecourt of the Cathedral, the Rt Rev Dr Steven Croft said: “We may want to agree with the questions which are being raised whilst disagreeing with the methods of the protesters in raising them.”

Addressing the Sheffield Anglican Synod last Saturday, the Bishop said the Church’s voice needed to be heard as the economic crisis continues and deepens.

His comments came against a sometimes fraught relationship between the Cathedral authorities and anti-capitalist campaigners. The Cathedral, which says the protesters do not have permission to use the forecourt but respects their right to make the protest, has raised a number of issues to protect access to the building and the people who use it.

The demonstrators have accused the authorities of being “confrontational” and “exaggerating” concerns about health and safety.

Dr Croft said the Church had “a vital contribution to make” in the debate on key themes of justice and priorities that have been “forgotten in society at large.

More here-

Archbishop John Hepworth to return to Catholic fold as Indian, not chief

From Australia-

ARCHBISHOP John Hepworth will be forced to relinquish his role as the primate of the Traditional Anglican Communion if he is to reconcile with the Catholic Church, after being informed he will only be accepted as a layperson.

Archbishop Hepworth has been notified by the Catholic Church that his bid to reunify the TAC with Rome has been successful, but his own case is conditional.

Australian Catholic Bishops Conference general secretary Brian Lucas confirmed that under the Anglicanorum coetibus -- guidelines created by the Vatican two years ago -- Anglicans and members of the TAC would be welcomed.

"Each Anglican bishop or each group of Anglicans who apply are treated individually, so we anticipate there will be some groups within the TAC that for their reasons do not want to join the Catholic Church," Father Lucas said.

He said the document confirmed any Catholic priest or bishop who became an Anglican and then wanted to return to Catholicism would only be able to do so as laity.

More here-

'A passion for ministry'

From Savannah-

“Success is not defined by how far away you can get from home.” So says the Rev. J. Sierra Wilkinson, and she ought to know. Her path to the pulpit has taken her to Africa (twice), through Harvard Divinity School and now to within a few miles of where she grew up, as the new assistant rector at Christ Church Episcopal.

Wilkinson, who is African American, earned her Master of Divinity degree at Harvard this May, and the Savannah posting is the first position in her clerical career. It lands her at a congregation that is largely white and rooted in Old Savannah, and one that is caught up in a bitter denominational schism — but she said the church has greeted her warmly. “Christ Church has been so welcoming and so willing to embrace me,” she said. “Michael (the Rev. Michael White, rector of Christ Church Episcopal) has such a non-anxious approach and he has such a prayerful attitude.”

“I feel excited about the situation that this church is in, within the moment, with what they are doing at a very difficult time. They are learning about being a church without a building,” she said.

More here-

Grace Episcopal to conspire for Advent

From North Dakota-

A conspiracy is afoot at Grace Episcopal Church in Jamestown this holiday season, but it’s not about ruling the world.

Instead, the Advent Conspiracy is all about taking back Christmas by spending less, giving more, worshiping fully and loving all people.

“I hope they can get folks to get back to the meaning of Advent and Christmas… and kind of remember what the whole season is about,” said the Rev. Kevin Goodrich, pastor at Grace.

The Advent Conspiracy is a national grassroots movement involving more than 1,000 churches in 17 countries. Its theme is that Christmas can still change the world.

Advent, the historic beginning of the Christian year and the season centered on preparing for the arrival of Christ, begins Sunday.

The Christmas shopping season has already begun.

More here-

Friday, November 25, 2011

Tens of thousands respond to invitations to Back to Church Sunday

From ACNN-

Congregations increased by nearly a quarter at more than 4,200 churches on Back to Church Sunday on 25th September 2011 – an average of 19 extra people per church.

Overall 18 per cent of participating churches reported that nearly 14,000 extra people attended church on Back to Church Sunday 2011 in Great Britain; over 10,000 of these attended Church of England churches. Based on these numbers it could be estimated that:

  • An extra 77,000 people attended church on Back to Church Sunday 2011 (over 58,000 in the Church of England)
  • Since the first Back to Church Sunday in 2004, nearly 230,000 people have come back to church.

The Bishop of Hertford, the Rt Revd Paul Bayes, said: “Back to Church Sunday is a fantastic opportunity for growth. We know that three million people in England say they'd come back to church if they had an invitation*, and I encourage even more churches to register in 2012. It's a simple initiative that really does work.”

St Mary the Virgin, Yaxley, in the Diocese of St Edmundsbury and Ipswich, is an example of a church where Back to Church Sunday is part of a successful mission strategy: regular Sunday attendance has nearly quadrupled from nine to a viable 35, thanks to personal invitations from church members, and the pioneering work of the Revd Tiffer Robinson, who knocked on every door in the village of 400 people to personally invite everyone back to church.

More here-

Dividing the faithful: S.C. bishop being investigated amid Episcopal schism

From South Carolina-

The conservative leader of the Episcopal diocese of South Carolina, which has roots stretching to before the American Revolution, is the first bishop facing discipline from the national church over the ongoing schism over the ordination of gay ministers.

While some conservative congregations left the national Episcopal church to join a new Anglican denomination over the issue, the South Carolina diocese has stayed in, while pushing back on theological differences and what it calls the increasing centralization of the church.

Now Bishop Mark Lawrence is facing discipline under new national church rules that took effect last summer - rules that give the national church a greater role in disciplining of priests and bishops. Depending on the outcome, Lawrence could be deposed as a spiritual leader in a church to which he has given his life.

"Personally, I'm not afraid, I'm concerned for the diocese," the 61-year-old bishop told The Associated Press in his first interview since the allegations were announced this fall. "What's at stake here is the worldwide Anglican community: the third largest body in Christendom."

Read more:

The giving in Thanksgiving: Spirits and bellies filled at church dining rooms

From California-

In the poorest of circumstances, an abundance of generosity, compassion and community is found.

In the dining room of All Saints Episcopal Church in Palo Alto on Thanksgiving Day, a band played soft acoustic music and people of all ages, mostly men, sat in groups at candle-lit tables, sharing conversation and a homemade turkey dinner.

The majority are homeless.

"I come here every year," said one man with short dreads and a graying beard. He offered only his first name, Eddie. "I don't have family and all that stuff. I like the gathering."
The 53-year-old former chef, who lost his last job seven years ago and hasn't found full-time work since, relished a piece of apple pie. At night, he'll lay his head down, "under the stars," he said, sleeping on a local front porch with the homeowners' permission.

About 450 dinners will be served between Thursday and today, according to Eileen Richardson, one of the organizers of the InnVision Estelle Chaflin Thanksgiving Day Community Dinner. The holiday tradition is named after the former owner of Palo Alto's Captain Cosmos sandwich shop, who started serving a sit-down dinner for homeless people about 28 years ago.

More here-

Blessing of the Hounds Ceremony at Grace Episcopal

From Virginia- (with video)

Grace Episcopal Church in Keswick is giving thanks in a different way Thursday. For the 83rd consecutive year, the church celebrated the Blessing of the Hounds - the oldest ceremony of its kind in the country.

Grace Episcopal Church began their Blessing of the Hounds ceremony on Thanksgiving 1929 as a way of encouraging fox hunters to come to church.

Now, almost a century later, the tradition continues. More than 1,000 people packed the courtyard in front of Grace Episcopal Church Thursday morning.

Some came from as far away as Shanghai, China to watch as riders and foxhounds from the Keswick Hunt Club assembled for the blessing ceremony. For many, it's part of what their Thanksgiving tradition is all about.

Grace Episcopal Church Rector Julie Norton said, "It's colorful, it's spectacular, the weather is wonderful. It's just a good way to begin to celebrate Thanksgiving."

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Rep donates motorcycles, building materials to churches

From Nigeria -

A member of the House of Representatives, Ambassador Kingsley Ebenyi, has donated motorcycles and building materials worth millions of naira to Anglican churches in Isi-Uzor Local Government Area of Enugu State.

The building materials, including bundles of roofing sheets, bags of cement and iron rods, are to support the building of a parish church at Ugwuotinkpu, Neke, while the motorcycles are to be used by the entire Anglican Communion in the Eha-Amufu Dioceses for the propagation of the gospel to the rural communities.

Speaking while making the donation, Ambassador Ebenyi noted that the place of churches in nation building could not be over-emphasized.

Ebenyi, who represents Enugu East/Isi-Uzo Federal Constituency, said the church had contributed immensely in helping to reshape the society.

Receiving the donations on behalf of the church, Anglican Bishop of Eha-Amufu Dioceses, Bishop Daniel Nkemjika Olinya, thanked Ebenyi for the gesture, noting that he had virtually built the church for the Parish.

More here-

Former colonel and his wife join forces with volunteers to feed an army

From South Carolina-

Deep fried turkeys, pineapple covered baked ham, and pumpkin pie -- these were just a few of the items served on Wichman Street in Walterboro.

Four fryers bubbled with turkeys injected with hot sauce and garlic and cooked to perfection.

Gale Doggette hauled around a tray of ham and yelled "long line." People were already waiting to come into St. Jude's Episcopal Church for their annual Thanksgiving feast, free of charge.

Don't even think for a second Doggette or any other volunteers cut any corners with the meal.

"We put the brown sugar and everything in the sweet potatoes. We put the ham bones in the green beans and make homemade gravy. (We've) got pumpkin pie that's homemade, so we try our best to make it taste like what you've got when you're at home," she said.

The several Walterboro church members fed 900 people this year.

"We deliver probably 500 of them, people who are shut in or don't have any transportation, and we deliver to the whole county," Jim Doggette said.

The former Air Force colonel was armed with dozens of volunteers. The church and it's helpers have been serving the community for the last nine years and the turkeys and fixings had a very special ingredient.

More here-

Rising from ashes: Saugatuck feast shares bounty

From Connecticut-

Four days after a fire wreaked heavy damage to Saugatuck Congregational Church, more than 100 volunteers cooked, carved and served 36 turkeys to more than 200 attendees Thursday at the church's 41st annual Thanksgiving community feast.

"This is the first year we're not hosting the dinner in our church," said Mary Ann West, spokeswoman for the 179-year-old house of worship. "But it's only because so many in the community stepped up that we're having it at all."

Within the first 60 minutes of the six-hour blaze Sunday, West said church officials received multiple offers from others to host the free community dinner at alternate locations in town.

Church leaders chose Christ and Holy Trinity Episcopal Church at 75 Church Lane, West said, partly because it's nearby the landmark church on Post Road East.

More here-

Thanksgiving in America - 2011

From "American Thinker". So what he's saying is that William Bradford (my 12th great grandfather) started out as a communist?

In large part, the first Thanksgiving Day, which was celebrated in 1623, was a celebration of the abundance arising from the pursuit of individualism and incentives associated with free markets, amazing as that may seem.

The background for understanding Thanksgiving Day is found in records kept by the governor of the Plymouth colony, William Bradford. He informs us that the colonists' English sponsors had arranged for all crops and goods to be held "in the common stock," from which they would be supplied to each family according to its needs (sound familiar?).

As with many other recorded instances of collectivism in the history of mankind, there were disastrous results. Governor Bradford wrote that this experiment reflected a belief of his that common ownership of property would allow the colony to flourish. Instead, it was soon found that communal sharing resulted in unintended consequences. The colonists, as many others have discovered over time, found that individuals work harder within an incentive system that allows them to maintain and enjoy the fruits of their own labor.

Read more:

Pupils revolt at Kunonga school

From Zimbabwe-

Hundreds of girls at the Anglican Church-run Bonda Mission in Mutare on Monday protested over plummeting standards at the school that was seized by Anglican Bishop Nolbert Kunonga’s faction last year.

Sources said the girls walked kilometres to Nyamadzi River, before they were stopped by the school’s authorities, on their way to Mutasa district’s Ministry of Education, Sport, Arts and Culture offices.

The girls reportedly wanted to air their grievances that included alleged poor quality of food, sexual harassment and interference by Kunonga’s faction in the school’s affairs.

Kunonga forcibly took over the school from the main faction led by Bishop Chad Gandiya in the fight for the church’s assets.

More here-

Happy Thanksgiving

Collect for Thanksgiving Day

Almighty and gracious Father, we give you thanks for the fruits of the earth in their season and for the labors of those who harvest them. Make us, we beseech thee, faithful stewards of thy great bounty,
for the provision of our necessities and the relief of all who are in need, to the glory of thy Name; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who liveth and reigneth with thee and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever.


Church of Sudan Synod Condemns Violence, Reiterates Commitment to God's Mission and Anglicanism

From Sudan-

An outspoken statement from the Episcopal Church of Sudan's Provincial Synod has called for an end to aerial bombings, the executions of civilians, and armed conflict - particularly the "cancer of the Western Equatoria State...the Lord's Resistance Army".

In the statement, released today after its three-day meeting, the Synod called repeatedly called for peace, and an end to conflict, and stressed its role in the life of the two countries.

"We strongly condemn the persistent aerial bombardment of civilian territories, summary executions of innocents, and combat in civilian areas in the Nuba Mountains, Southern Blue Nile, Upper Nile State and Unity State. The bombs that fall are indiscriminate; they kill and maim young and old, man and woman, Christian and Muslim. In short, innocent civilians have become a target and their suffering has become political currency.

More here-

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

SC bishop being investigated amid Episcopal schism

From San Jose-

The conservative leader of the Episcopal diocese of South Carolina, which has roots stretching to before the American Revolution, is the first bishop facing discipline from the national church over the ongoing schism over the ordination of gay ministers.

While some conservative congregations left the national Episcopal church to join a new Anglican denomination over the issue, the South Carolina diocese has stayed in, while pushing back on theological differences and what it calls the increasing centralization of the church.
Now Bishop Mark Lawrence is facing discipline under new national church rules that took effect last summer—rules that give the national church a greater role in disciplining of priests and bishops. Depending on the outcome, Lawrence could be deposed as a spiritual leader in a church to which he has given his life.

"Personally, I'm not afraid, I'm concerned for the diocese," the 61-year-old bishop told The Associated Press in his first interview since the allegations were announced this fall. "What's at stake here is the worldwide Anglican community: the third largest body in Christendom."
Lawrence said the national Episcopal Church is threatening the unity of the Anglican communion. He said in the diocese "while we are in the vast minority of the Episcopal Church, we hold positions that Anglicans have held for the past 400 to 500 years."

more here-

Alberto Cutie: Post-Catholic Padre

From Miami-

What's it like to have your name be forever associated with the word canoodling? Father Alberto Cutié — priest, television personality, man who doesn't mind getting a little sand in his shorts when he makes out on the beach — seems to be taking it in stride.

In case you haven't spoken to your Hola!-subscribing abuelita since spring 2009, we'll fill you in. Roman Catholic Miami padre Cutié, who rose to Latin American superstardom — and acquired the dubious nickname "Father Oprah" — by hosting a series of television and radio shows, was snapped by a Mexican tabloid photographer, well, canoodling with a woman on South Beach sands. Cutié admitted to a two-year affair with the woman, and within a month he had ditched the Archdiocese of Miami for the Episcopal Church. That beach lover — Ruhama Buni Canellis — is now his wife and mother to their new daughter.

The uproar that ensued in the meantime, including a Time magazine feature about the scandal, suddenly made the eloquent, personable, and blandly handsome priest all things to all people. To fervent supporters — who at one point defended his honor with tabernacle fisticuffs — his plight only highlighted the unrealistic and dooming Vatican finger trap that is the priest's vow of celibacy. To detractors, he was just another hypocritical priest leading a double life of sexuality. This publication opined that he "dumped Jesus for his girlfriend."

More here-

George Gallup Jr., of Polling Family, Dies at 81

From The New York Times-

George Gallup Jr., who led the firm that his father made all but synonymous with polling and expanded it to become a barometer of Americans’ views on religion as well as their political attitudes, died on Monday in Princeton, N.J. He was 81 and lived in Princeton.

He learned he had liver cancer a year ago, his daughter Alison said.

Mr. Gallup had once considered becoming an Episcopal priest, and after graduating from Princeton with a degree in religion in 1953, he went to Texas to work in a ministry on Galveston Island. But the pull of the family enterprise proved stronger, and he joined his older brother, Alec, at his father’s firm, serving as an executive from the mid-1950s until his retirement in 2004.

While Mr. Gallup lamented late in his life that politicians follow polls rather than their conscience, he echoed his father in arguing that polling was vital to democracy. “It’s removed power out of the hands of special interest groups,” he said in an interview on PBS a few years ago. “It’s given people who wouldn’t normally have a voice a voice.”

More here-

Soup kitchen plans holiday feast

From Utah-

The supplies and donations may fluctuate, but Rich and Jessica Rivera have spent the past three years making sure the St. George Soup Kitchen has fed Southern Utah's needy, especially during the holidays.

Though the economy has struggled since the couple took over the soup kitchen in 2009, they have managed to navigate difficult financial waters to continue helping the growing number of people who need a warm meal during the holidays.

"The economic climate adds another layer of clientele," Rich Rivera said Monday while stocking supplies in a food pantry at Grace Episcopal Church. "There's a lot more working poor, and you get more children. You never want to see that."

On Wednesday, the soup kitchen will host its third Thanksgiving feast at Grace Episcopal Church, a gathering where about 200 to 250 people are served a free Thanksgiving meal consisting of turkey, potatoes, stuffing and all the other fixings.

More here-

Dorchester church food bank gives away 125 turkeys

From Massachusetts (with video)

Members of St. Mary’s Episcopal Church in Dorchester have been handing out turkeys to members of their food pantry each Tuesday during the month of November, said Sarah Borgeson, food pantry director. By the end of the month, they hope to have donated a total of 400 turkeys to families in need.
Josey Corvett of Dorchester was one recipient. “It’s definitely going to help me out,” she said. “It’s a blessing.”

Most members of the food bank are not parishioners, Borgeson said. They come from Dorchester, as well as Mattapan and South Boston, she said.

More here-

The right ingredients deliver holiday meals

From New Jersey-

After 25 years of serving free meals, the Manna House community soup kitchen was tired.

It's pizza oven doors wouldn't close. One lacked spring in the hinges, making for what could be an interesting, or even slightly dangerous, cooking experience. The floor was soft underfoot. The island counter needed repair.

At the start of this month, renovation work began on the kitchen. But that's not really the story.
The story is about people pitching in so Manna House would be able to serve its 25th Thanksgiving Day meal to about 60 expected guests; and about people stepping up so more than 80 homebound Meals on Wheels clients will be delivered a holiday meal and a smile from a visitor on Thursday, a tradition that almost didn't happen this year.

"Since the day we have opened our doors, this community has always been anxious to help," said Linda Zwart, president of the Manna House Board of Directors. "It is always spontaneous. It just comes to us," she said.

The First Presbyterian Church of Newton has been home to Manna House since it first opened on Nov. 15, 1987. A sign was put outside the church to announce the opening, and the kitchen served one man that day.

With the help of nearby Christ Episcopal Church, Manna House has not missed serving one lunch. Preparations and meal service have been moved to the Episcopal church parish hall on Main Street, which is where the free holiday meal will be served Thursday from 11:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. Manna House volunteers fill a shopping cart with supplies and food from the refrigerators and cupboards at the Presbyterian Church on High Street to walk daily to the Episcopal church a block away to prepare the free lunch.

More here-

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

The Church (Anglican Communion) Set for Seven-Day Fasting and Prayers

From Nigeria-

The Anglican Church has declared a seven-day fasting and prayers for Nigeria and its leadership, Primate of Nigeria (Anglican Communion), Most Rev. Nicholas Okoh, has said.

Okoh disclosed this at the 2011 Carnival for Christ, a gathering of all Anglicans in the diocese of Abuja.

He said that the prayers and fasting would begin from Nov. 28 to Dec. 3 and that the prayers would be directed at God's intervention for peace to return to the country.

Okoh said that the forces of evil that had taken over some parts of the country could only be defeated through prayers to God.

"It was decided during the general synod that a seven-day prayer and fasting be organised for the president and for the whole country.

"To pray for peace; to pray for the cessation of attacks; that God should intervene in our affairs because this new dimension of throwing bombs we have never seen it before and it's almost killing the psyche of the people of the country.

More here-

Alameda church to offer free Thanksgiving dinner

From California-

More than 1,000 people are expected to attend a Thanksgiving dinner Thursday at Christ Episcopal Church in Alameda, according to its rector.
The annual event -- an Alameda tradition that began more 30 years ago -- will take place from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. It's open to the public and there is no charge.

The Rev. Kathy Crary, rector of the church, describes the annual dinner as "a miracle in it is own right." It was launched more than 30 years ago to help the families of the men and women who were stationed at the former Alameda Naval Air Station.

Jim Franz, a longtime church member and former head of the Alameda Red Cross, will oversee this year's dinner, where about 55 turkeys, 35 hams, 100 pies and more than 300 pounds of mashed potatoes are expected to be served.

Crary said she wished to thank her congregation for making the annual event possible.
She also singled out the "other churches and groups who contribute food, money and countless volunteer hours to show the love of God, to provide delightful companionship and a traditional Thanksgiving dinner companionship and a traditional Thanksgiving dinner to those who come with many needs.

More here-

Statement from Christ Church Savannah

Christ Church, The Mother Church of Georgia in Savannah, has learned that the Georgia Supreme Court (GSC) has issued a ruling concerning Christ Church’s appeal to that body. On November 21, 2011 the GSC declared that the property of Christ Church is held in trust for the national Episcopal church and its Georgia diocese.

The litigation has been ongoing since 2007 when 87% of the Christ Church (CC) members in good standing voted to uphold the unanimous decision of its board to disaffiliate from The Episcopal Church (TEC) because of its revisionist theological trends over the last several decades. In an effort to seize the property TEC subsequently sued Christ Church, its rector and individual board members personally. TEC’s 1979 passage of the Dennis Canon claimed a unilateral trust over all property of Episcopal churches nationwide without regard to title or state property laws. Christ Church has owned the Johnson Square property since the 1700s, first by land grant from the English Royal Council and after the Revolutionary War by a charter of incorporation from the 1789 Georgia state legislature.

“Christ Church has always maintained clear title to the property and has never agreed to hold its property in trust for any entity. We are reviewing the ruling and will meet to determine our next course of action which could include an appeal to the U.S. Supreme Court if warranted,” stated Jim Gardner, CC legal counsel. “At its core this case is about fundamental property rights of individual congregations in hierarchical churches,” he continued.

More here-

Monday, November 21, 2011

Georgia Supreme Court upholds property ruling

From ENS-

The Georgia Supreme Court has affirmed a lower court ruling that the real property and other assets of Christ Church Episcopal in Savannah are held in trust for the Diocese of Georgia and the Episcopal Church.

The text of the 6-1 opinion, as well as the dissenting opinion, is here.

The court's opinion, issued Nov. 21, said that two lower courts properly applied the "neutral principals of law" approach, previously adopted by that court and approved by the U.S. Supreme Court as a constitutional method for resolving church property disputes.

The "neutral principles" approach requires courts to resolve church property disputes by examining deeds, state statutes, and the governing documents of the local and general church in order to discern whether local church property is held subject to any obligations to the larger church.

Supreme Court Justice David E. Nahmias, writing for the majority, said that "the record shows that at all times during the 180 years before this dispute began, Christ Church acted consistently with the Episcopal Church's canons regarding its property, demonstrating the local church's understanding that it could not consecrate, alienate, or encumber - much less leave with - its property without the consent of the parent church."

The opinion also said "the First Amendment allows Christ Church and its members to leave the Episcopal Church and worship as they please, like all other Americans, but it does not allow them to take with them property that has for generations been accumulated and held by a constituent church of the Protestant Episcopal Church in the United States of America."

More here-

Savannah roundup

Georgia Voice-

Savannnah Morning news (with link to text of the opinion)

The Republic-


Atlanta Journal Constitution

GA high court sides with national Episcopal Church in property spat with Savannah congregation

From Georgia-

Georgia's highest court has sided with the national Episcopal Church in a property dispute with the oldest church in Georgia.

The Georgia Supreme Court voted six to one to uphold a lower court's October 2009 ruling confirming the national Episcopal Church's claim to historic Christ Church in Savannah.

The dispute arose after members of the local congregation decided in 2007 to leave the Episcopal Church, which they said was straying from Biblical teachings. After the split, the Georgia diocese and the national church claimed ownership of the church building.

In the 45-page majority released Monday, Justice David Nahmias writes that the Episcopal Church passed the "Dennis Cannon" in 1979, which says any property held by a local congregation is held in trust for the national church and diocese.

More Here-

Iron Gate raises record $170,000

From Oklahoma-

Iron Gate's annual fundraiser Cooking for a Cause brought out supporters who helped raise a record $170,000 in a year of record-breaking hunger.

Gala chairwoman Susan Fuller Palmer told the crowd of some 200 people at Metro Appliances & More that "Our theme 'We Feed Kids' touched your hearts and you responded with generosity and compassion."

"This is such an important step toward meeting our $800,000 budget. I can't thank you enough," said Iron Gate Executive Director Connie Cronley.

Last year, Iron Gate fed 201,000 people through the soup kitchen and distributed 10,400 emergency bags of groceries. In this bleak economy, an escalating number of hungry homeless and low-income people are coming to Iron Gate for the daily hot meal, for emergency groceries from the pantry and for healthy, kid-friendly snack packets, said Cronley.

"Every social service agency is stretched to the maximum and the Food Bank has a food shortage. This is why the gala revenues are critical to Iron Gate," she said.

More here-

Interfaith Thanksgiving services help to strengthen understanding

From New Jersey (and no, there's no relation)

Rabbi Jim Simons instructed those attending a Thanksgiving interfaith service Sunday night in Haworth to treat the holiday as a beginning — a chance to begin to become the people they can be.

Simons, of Temple Beth-El in Closter, gave the sermon at St. Luke’s Episcopal & Our Savior Lutheran Church, and was joined by clergy from Cresskill, Demarest, Hackensack and Haworth. The Northern Valley service has been held about five years.

Simons compared Sukkoth, which he called the Jewish Thanksgiving, to the secular Thanksgiving. He said Sukkoth and Thanksgiving are different holidays, and somewhat higher holidays, because “Sukkoth is the one holiday that we give thanks for the blessings we have right now, not 3,000 years ago,” Simons said.

Imam Musab Sasa, of the Bergen County Islamic Center in Hackensack, read a short selection from the Quran that focused on appreciation — that Allah would multiply what you have.

“If you always look at what someone else has in their hand,” Sasa said, “you will live your life in misery because you will always be comparing what that person has and you don’t.”

A reading from Jewish scripture focused on charity, and a reading from Christian scripture focused on listening to the word of God.

More here-

S.C. Episcopal Diocese releases property claim

From South Carolina-

The distance between The Episcopal Church and the Episcopal Diocese of South Carolina widened last week when the diocese relinquished its legal oversight of all church property, sending what’s called a quitclaim deed to each parish.

The move merely formalizes an arrangement already in place, according to Bishop Mark Lawrence. “A quitclaim deed isn’t giving someone something they don’t have if they already own the deed,” he said.

Some observers say the move could heighten the risk of litigation or other challenges by national church authorities and provide additional evidence to a disciplinary committee now evaluating allegations that Lawrence has abandoned his responsibilities.

“This kind of action, along with participating in the conventions that severed legal ties to the national church, I think those are real problems,” said Melinda Lucka, an attorney critical of recent diocese actions. “On a diocesan level, this further opens the door to parishes that are considering leaving the Episcopal Church.”

But it is the duty of parish and diocese leaders to uphold the canons of the national church, she said. When those laws are cast aside or ignored, it can trigger a response from the church. “Though the church might not want to, it sort of has to,” Lucka said.

The quitclaim deed effectively ends any obligation of the diocese to hold property in trust for The Episcopal Church, as require.

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Sunday, November 20, 2011

Rev. Gregory O. Brewer Is New Head Of Episcopal Diocese Of Central Florida

From Orlando

Episcopal pastors and lay leaders have elected The Rev. Gregory O. Brewer, rector of Calvary-St. George’s Church in New York City, to head the Episcopal Diocese of Central Florida.

Fr.Brewer replaces Bishop John Howe, who will retire early next year. The diocese says Brewer’s selection is “… pending the required consents from a majority of bishops with jurisdiction and standing committees of the Episcopal Church.”

The diocese reports Brewer was chosen on the 4th ballot from the seven nominees for the position. He got 141 votes of 241 cast by lay order and 110 of the 192 votes by the clergy. An election on that ballot required 125 in the lay order and 95 in the clergy order.

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New York diocese elects the Rev. Canon Andrew M.L. Dietsche as bishop coadjutor

From ENS-

The Rev. Canon Andrew M.L. Dietsche was elected on Nov. 19 as bishop coadjutor of the Episcopal Diocese of New York, pending the required consents from a majority of bishops with jurisdiction and standing committees of the Episcopal Church.

Dietsche, 57, who currently serves as the diocese's canon for pastoral care, was elected on the third ballot out of a field of seven nominees. He received 131 votes of 233 cast in the lay order and 176 of 262 cast in the clergy order. An election on that ballot required 122 in the lay order and 132 in the clergy order.

The election was held during a special convention at the Cathedral of St. John the Divine.

Pending a successful consent process, Dietsche will succeed the Diocesan Bishop Mark S. Sisk, who will retire on or before his 72nd birthday in August 2014.

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

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New Catholic missal garnering mixed reviews

From Pittsburgh

When Helen Hull Hitchcock first held a bound copy of the new English translation of the Roman Missal in her hands, the advocate for faithfulness to the Latin text was awed. When the Rev. Louis Vallone beheld the same book of liturgy, the priest who has brought renewal to flagging parishes was worried.

The new missal, to be used in English-speaking Catholic parishes worldwide starting next Sunday, is a literal translation from Latin. It replaces a simpler, more free translation from 1973. Advocates say it will add reverence and theological depth to the Mass. Critics call its language awkward and obscure.

Father Vallone, pastor of St. John of God in McKees Rocks and St. Catherine of Siena in Crescent, compared it to writing a novel in Shakespearean English.

"They say that the language is more poetic, but it's Latin poetry, not English poetry," he said. "I'm not sure something is true reverence if it lacks understanding."

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