Saturday, December 3, 2011

In budget matters, let's remember 'the least of these'


An Ecumenical Statement from Houston- (Including Bishop Doyle)

For decades, presidents and congressional leaders have struggled to break the political gridlock that perpetuates federal deficit spending. Success has been elusive - especially when trying to strike the right balance between living within our means and protecting our poorest and most vulnerable.

The federal government's latest failure to address the deficit problem came at the hands of the recently disbanded Congressional Joint Committee on Deficit Reduction, more commonly referred to as the supercommittee. This bipartisan group had been tasked with identifying $1.5 trillion in deficit-reduction measures over the next 10 years or face automatic across-the-board cuts in 2013. Despite the dramatic risks involved, neither side ultimately demonstrated collective responsibility to control government expenditures while passing a sustainable spending plan for future generations.

More here-

http://www.chron.com/default/article/In-budget-matters-let-s-remember-the-least-of-2340926.php

Sir Mark Tully: The Christian who believes in karma


From The London Telegraph-

Most mornings, Sir Mark Tully, the celebrated veteran BBC India correspondent and still one of Britain’s favourite broadcasters, can be seen walking his two Labradors in New Delhi’s ancient Lodhi Gardens. Cane in hand, dressed in crisp, white kurta pyjamas, he is every inch the English gentleman journalist who has given his heart to his adoptive country.

He is known, affectionately and respectfully, as “Tullysahib”. The epithet reflects not only admiration for his 46 years spent reporting from the sub-continent, from the assassinations of Indira and Rajiv Gandhi and the Bhopal gas disaster to the destruction of the Babri mosque by Hindu nationalists at Ayodhya, but also recognition that time has given an Indian accent to certain words, and a Hindustani aspect to some gestures.

However much of him India has claimed, he has always clung resolutely to his Christian faith, as devoted to the Anglican Church today as he was as a schoolboy at Marlborough, a theology student at Cambridge, and at Lincoln Theology College, where he once hoped to become a priest. He remains a regular worshipper at Cathedral Church of the Redemption in the Indian capital.

Yet now, at the age of 76, Sir Mark appears to have embarked on a spiritual journey that few of his fellow worshippers there, and almost one million devoted listeners of his Sunday evening programme Something Understood on BBC Radio 4, would consider recognisably Christian: he has accepted the eastern religious ideas of karma and reincarnation.

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/lifestyle/8931394/Sir-Mark-Tully-The-Christian-who-believes-in-karma.html

Collection of Anglican Prayer Books, dating to 1592, to be unveiled at UK


From Kentucky-

The Abbitt-DuPriest Collection of Anglican Prayer Books at the University of Kentucky will be unveiled as part of a dedication ceremony scheduled for 5 p.m. Tuesday, Dec. 6, in the Great Hall, of the Margaret I. King Building. The dedication ceremony is free and open to the public.

This collection of prayer books, dating to 1592, is a gift to the UK Special Collections from the Rev. Travis T. DuPriest, former director of the Dekoven Retreat and Conference Center in Racine, Wis., and UK alumnus.

DuPriest inherited the collection from his uncle, the Rev. Raymond Edgerton Abbitt, an Episcopal priest who served in the Philippines, St. Thomas and St. Croix in the Virgin Islands, and in the Diocese of Dallas.

Starting in the 1930s, Abbitt set out to acquire at least one prayer book from the reign of each English monarch.

In conjunction with the dedication, an exhibition selected from more than 100 examples of Anglican prayer books is currently on display in the lobby of Special Collections in the King Building. The exhibition, which runs through the month of December, is also free and open to the public.

More here-

http://www.kyforward.com/our-faith-and-values/2011/12/02/collection-of-anglican-prayer-books-dating-to-1592-to-be-unveiled-at-uk/

Church stands at original location


From California-

It might not be the oldest church in Willows, but parishioners believe it is the oldest one standing in its original location.

Holy Trinity Episcopal Church celebrates its centennial anniversary Dec. 11 with an open house and tours beginning at 2 p.m.

The beautiful church at the corner of East Sycamore and Sonoma streets was dedicated on Dec. 10, 1911, by the Rev. William Hall Moreland, church officials said.

It is built of redwood and has withstood time well — aging gracefully through the past 10 decades.

The Rev. Greg Nolta, who serves as its resident Episcopal priest, said at least four different churches grew up with Willows, but he thinks this one is the only original church left from the past century.

The other churches moved or were destroyed by fires and age, Nolta said.

In Holy Trinity's early days, parishioners met in private homes to worship, he said, before eventually moving to the Palace Hotel that no longer exists.

More here-

http://www.willows-journal.com/news/church-7622-oldest-dec.html

Friday, December 2, 2011

AMiA denies resignation rumours: The Church of England Newspaper, December 2, 2011, p 6.


From George Conger and the Church of England Newspaper.

The Anglican Mission in America (AMiA) has denied speculation that its chairman, Bishop Chuck Murphy, has offered to step down in the wake its dispute with its parent church, the Province of Rwanda.

On 28 November 2011, a spokesman for the AMiA told The Church of England Newspaper that a report in the Christian Post that stated Bishop Murphy was going to retire was incomplete.

The resignation of AMiA Bishop Terrell Glenn coupled with a show of no confidence in Bishop Murphy over the planned reorganisation of the American church group by the Rwandan Church had led to speculation the American leader would step down. Sources in the AMiA told CEN they also had been briefed by senior leaders that Bishop Murphy was going to retire, however, the AMiA’s spokesman stated this was incorrect.

“While Bishop Murphy has indicated for quite some time that he plans to step down as Chairman of the Anglican Mission sometime around December 2013, he has not made any ‘formal announcement’ either internally or externally,” spokesman Cynthia Brust said.

More here-

http://geoconger.wordpress.com/2011/12/02/amia-denies-resignation-rumours-the-church-of-england-newspaper-december-2-2011-p-6/

No alternative to the Covenant: Dr Williams’s Advent message


From The Church Times-

THE Archbishop of Canterbury, in his Advent letter to Anglican Primates, published on Wednesday, has commended the Anglican Covenant — “as strongly as I can”.

Dr Williams acknowledges that the Anglican Communion “still lives with numerous tensions”. He says that, despite some Primates’ feeling “unable in conscience to attend the Primates’ Meeting in Dublin earlier this year” (News, 28 January), it produced “a number of strong statements” and “a carefully considered statement on what those present believed was the proper role of a Primates’ gathering”. It was clear from the discussions, he writes, “that the position and powers of the Primate were very different in different Provinces.

“These differences affect opinions over the sort of powers a Primates’ Meeting could and should have. They still need more careful and dispassionate discussion, and a sustained willingness on the part of all Provinces to understand the different ways in which each local part of the Anglican family organises its life.”

Dr Williams said that how and when decisions were made about the Covenant “vary a lot from province to province. We hope to see a full report of progress at next year’s Anglican Consultative Council meeting.”

Dr Williams then launched a strongly-worded defence of the Covenant: “In spite of many assurances, some Anglicans evidently still think that the Covenant changes the structure of our Communion or that it gives some sort of absolute power of ‘excommunication’ to some undemocratic or unrepresentative body.

“With all respect to those who have raised these concerns, I must repeat that I do not see the Covenant in this light at all.

http://www.churchtimes.co.uk/content.asp?id=121527

Pantry gives 430 Thanksgiving meals to Clifton families


From New Jersey-

St. Peter's Community Food Pantry provided Thanksgiving turkey dinner to hundreds this holiday weekend and also refilled its emptying shelves.

Clifton's only food pantry located on Clifton Avenue was able to provide 430 families with a Thanksgiving turkey dinner last year, along with gravy and cranberry sauce, thanks to donations made by local residents, said Rev. Peter DeFranco, priest at St. Peter's Episcopal Church and a director of St. Peter's Community Food Pantry.

"We anticipated 330 turkeys coming in," said DeFranco, explaining some were provided and some were donated. "The variable was donations. We anticipated 100 and we got 200. We were overwhelmed by that."

With St. Peter's serving about 2,100 persons and most of them interested in receiving the Thanksgiving dinner works, pantry operators compiled a list and randomly chose from recipients that had been utilizing St. Peter's services for at least three months.

More here-

http://www.northjersey.com/community/134887193_Pantry_gives_430_Thanksgiving_meals_to_families.html

St. Mark's Cathedral 'healing' and looking for new dean


From Seattle-

The "Holy Box" atop Capitol Hill -- St. Mark's Cathedral -- has devoted three long years to a "healing process" after the tumultuous departure of its last dean, and is at last ready to fill one of the principal pulpits in very secular Seattle.

"It has been a long time," said Roger Valdez, a member of the governing vestry of the Episcopal cathedral, which has been one of Episcopalians' best-attended churches in America.
In becoming head pastor of this Seattle institution, the new dean will need the wisdom of Solomon and the patience of Job.

Or as the parish profile puts it, he or she must bring "a vision for urban ministry," a "heart for pastoral case," plus "a sense of the worldwide church unfolding in this 21st century." And there's this description of worship:

"While we are specifically a Christian and Episcopal community, we pride ourselves on our interfaith events, which draw Buddhists, Muslims, Jews and Native Americans to celebrate a deep and broad understanding of God."

Read more:

http://www.seattlepi.com/local/connelly/article/St-Mark-s-Cathedral-Heeling-and-looking-for-2338515.php#ixzz1fNadvpVa

Chrish Church property transfer settled


From Georgia-

The breakaway congregation at Christ Church on Johnson Square will return possession of the church to the Episcopal diocese and its local congregation at noon Dec. 12, a diocesean spokesman said Thursday.

The agreement, reached in accordance with a Nov. 21 state Supreme Court ruling, will transfer the property to the Diocese of Georgia and Christ Church Episcopal, the Rev. Frank Logue said.

“Christ Church Episcopal will hold its first service in its historic home on Johnson Square on Sunday, Dec. 18, with two services,” Logue said.

Christ Church Episcopal left the church property four years ago in a flap with the breakaway group that remained after a dispute with the national church over the affirmation of an openly gay bishop, Gene Robinson, in New Hampshire.

Chatham County Superior Court Judge Michael Karpf and a three-judge panel of the State Court of Appeals ruled with the Episcopal Church group in litigation.

On Nov. 21, the Georgia Supreme Court ruled with the two lower courts that the local church and its property belonged to the Episcopal Church and not the local congregation.

“Despite the lawsuit, the departing congregation has been very gracious about this, and we want to be as well,” Logue said.

More here-

http://savannahnow.com/news/2011-12-02/chrish-church-property-transfer-settled#.TtjBvWDMcVk

Also here-

http://washingtonexaminer.com/news/2011/12/breakaway-group-return-church-after-court-loss/1966611

Thursday, December 1, 2011

Billy Graham lands in hospital


From the Charlotte Observer-

Evangelist Billy Graham was resting comfortably Wednesday night in an Asheville hospital after being admitted with a possible case of pneumonia.

A statement from the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association said Graham was admitted Wednesday morning to Mission Hospital for respiratory problems. It's Graham's fifth hospital stay since 2007. In May, he spent five days at Mission, also for pneumonia.

Pulmonologist Mark Hellreich was treating the 93-year-old Graham.

Larry Ross, Graham's longtime spokesman, said the evangelist recently developed a cough, congestion and a slight fever. Doctors decided to keep Graham overnight for observation as a precaution.

According to the statement, Graham was alert when he was admitted, smiling and waving at hospital employees.

Meanwhile in Charlotte, several well-wishers gathered at the Billy Graham Library to pray for his recovery.

Read more:

http://www.charlotteobserver.com/2011/12/01/2816851/billy-graham-lands-in-hospital.html#ixzz1fIHDubXW

Why do Catholics become Anglicans?


From The UK- (Catholic Herald)

My last posting about those Catholics who attend Anglican services thinking that they are Catholic services generated rather a lot of comments, one of which gave me pause. I am unable to find this comment in the plethora of contributions, but it was from an Anglican vicar who said that up to half of the congregation in one of his churches consisted of former Roman Catholics.

Indeed this is a recognised phenomenon and I too have come across it: people who swim the Tiber in reverse. We are not talking here of those tourists in London who go to a service in an Anglo-Catholic Anglican Church which they assume is High Mass, but rather those Catholics who live here and who have joined Anglican parishes, effectively becoming ex-Catholics.

Some, I think, would rather like to ignore this trend, or claim that the numbers are too few to be worth talking about; but I think it would make sense to ask ourselves why this happens, and see if there is anything we can do to improve our own parishes, if indeed people are leaving because of dissatisfaction with their parishes.

Here are a few reasons why Catholics become Anglicans, in my experience:

Firstly, marriage, and in recent times, civil partnerships: Because the Anglican church will often bless unions the Catholic Church does not recognise, some people have gone to the vicar for weddings or services of blessing and then stayed with the vicar’s community.

More here-

http://www.catholicherald.co.uk/commentandblogs/2011/11/30/why-do-catholics-become-anglicans/

Albion soup kitchen straining to serve all in need


From New York-

A local soup kitchen which has served as many as 32 meals a week since it opened 17 years ago is now seeing that number jump to 300 or more.

The Rev. Cynthia Sever, pastor of Christ Episcopal Church, and Faith Smith, director of its Community Kitchen, are scrambling to feed more with less — considerably less.
“We are looking at Jesus performing the loaves and fishes miracle here,” the Rev. Sever said.
Up until a year ago, 20 to 30 was the average number who would come to the church on Friday nights to receive a free meal.

Most of the food served by the soup kitchen comes through a grant from Foodlink in Rochester, and when the numbers started to climb, the Rev. Sever said she contacted Foodlink and asked if they could increase the grant.

More here-

http://thedailynewsonline.com/news/article_26c69370-1bde-11e1-bed5-001cc4c03286.html

San Rafael man arrested after clash at church


From California-

A San Rafael man was arraigned Tuesday on charges he attacked police after refusing to leave a downtown church he claimed he owned, authorities said.

Wyatt Andrew Bishop, 53, was arrested Sunday at St. Paul's Episcopal Church at 1123 Court St. Police said Bishop tried to punch the face of one officer who asked him to leave the church, but the officer dodged the blow.

Two officers then deployed stun guns against Bishop, but both charges were "ineffective," according to a police report. Another officer arrived, and Bishop was handcuffed and taken to jail.

Bishop was charged with assault on a peace officer as well as obstructing and resisting a peace officer, Deputy District Attorney Kevin O'Hara said Tuesday. Both charges are misdemeanors.

Bishop remained in custody at the county jail Tuesday in lieu of $3,000 bail. A judge ordered a mental health examination and set another hearing for Monday.

http://www.marinij.com/sanrafael/ci_19434932

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Archbishop of Canterbury's video message for World AIDS Day


From ACNS-

The Archbishop of Canterbury has recorded a video message for World AIDS Day in which he talks about the part sexual violence plays in the spread of HIV, calling it ‘one of the most shameful facts of our day’.

Dr Williams recorded the video message during a recent visit to the eastern part of the Democratic Republic of Congo which he describes as having been at ‘the epicentre of a great deal of appalling violence in recent years.’ He talks specifically about the use sexual violence as a tool of war - something which is used to ‘humiliate and subdue others’ and the extent to which the people in the DRC have suffered from this particular type of brutality, which has become endemic in many communities.
In his message Dr Williams highlights the crucial role that the Church has played in supporting survivors of such abuse, and especially in combating the stigma that they so often face in their own communities as a result of this violence:

“Trauma is something which cannot be overcome overnight but when people feel they’ve been abandoned by families, by communities, because of the shame and stigma of HIV/AIDS, the church in this part of Congo has been there for them. For these people, who have been abused systematically, been raped, violated, abducted often at the youngest of ages – for these people, the church has been the family that mattered.”

Churches, and other faith communities, need to show leadership to end a culture of silence and fulfil their potential to help reverse the prevalence and devastating impact of sexual violence. In praising the vital work of the Anglican Church of Congo, the Archbishop expresses his hope that the campaign against sexual violence and associated stigma will continue both in the DRC as well as in other parts of the world.

More here-

http://www.anglicancommunion.org/acns/news.cfm/2011/11/30/ACNS4993

Episcopal, ELCA presiding bishops issue World AIDS Day letter


From ENS-

"World AIDS Day is an opportunity for each of us to reflect on God's call to lift up the dignity and value of each person."
Episcopal Church Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori and Presiding Bishop Mark Hanson of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA) have issued a joint letter for World AIDS Day 2011, Dec. 1.

The text of the letter follows:

World AIDS Day is December 1, 2011. This annual commemoration is an opportunity for us to remember the 30 million lives that have been lost to the deadly pandemic over the past three decades, to rededicate our energies in support of those 34 million living with HIV and AIDS today and to work toward building a future without AIDS.

World AIDS Day is an opportunity for each of us to reflect on God's call to lift up the dignity and value of each person. We are called to confront this pandemic -- whose scale has no precedent in human history -- through prayer, by speaking out to eliminate stigma and discrimination against those living with HIV and AIDS, by caring for those afflicted by the virus in our own communities, by advocating for strong government support of life-saving programs, and by supporting the global effort to alleviate the global systems of poverty within which HIV and AIDS is so endemic.

More here-

http://www.episcopalchurch.org/79425_130615_ENG_HTM.htm

North Palm Beach church may split from Presbyterian group that OK'd gay clergy


From Florida-

First Presbyterian Church of North Palm Beach tonight will begin discussing whether it should split from the Presbyterian USA group, which recently approved openly gay clergy and lay leaders, and join another Presbyterian group, which does not.

First Presbyterian has about 1,100 members, among them golf legend Jack Nicklaus and former GE head Jack Welch.

Ken Kirby, one of the members that organized the meeting at the church, said that it would be oversimplifying to reduce the decision to the issue of gay clergy. He is part of a growing group of Presbyterians who feel that the Presbyterian Church USA has taken a radical step away from traditional beliefs.

In July, Presbyterian Church USA put in place a "new form of government."

Also this year, it allowed the first openly gay clergy to take the pulpit. The change was approved by a majority of the church's regional bodies in May and was the source of a fierce debate inside the 2.8 million-member denomination.

The Presbyterians follow the Episcopal, Evangelical Lutherans and the United Church of Christ as the fourth mainline Protestant denomination to allow gay ordination.

But they also risk the schism that resulted after 2003, when the Episcopal Church allowed an openly gay man to serve as a bishop in New Hampshire. The worldwide Anglican-Episcopal community was rocked by dissension and many have distanced themselves from the American Episcopal organization.

More here-

http://www.palmbeachpost.com/news/north-palm-beach-church-may-split-from-presbyterian-2002607.html

Episcopal diocese under fire over Bement Camp funds


From Western Mass-

As the Episcopal Diocese of Western Massachusetts prepares to close on the sale of the Bement Camp and Conference Center near Worcester this week, a group of camp alumni has called on the state attorney general to investigate the handling of funds held in trust by the diocese.

In a statement Tuesday, the diocese said it was both "surprised and disappointed" by the development and said the funds entrusted in its care have been handled properly.

"All diocesan funds, including those to support the Bement Camp and Conference Center, are invested, managed and expended in compliance with the directions of the donor, if any, church canons and applicable Mass. and federal laws," Steven Abdow, administration and finance officer, wrote to the Gazette on behalf of the diocese.

Situated on more than 300 acres in Charlton and Spencer, the camp closed in 2009 after 60 years of operation. The sprawling grounds, which once drew nearly 1,000 summer campers from New England and various countries, has been on the market and is expected to change hands this week, according to the diocese.

Given the impending sale, former camp alumni under the Bement Alumni Association are pressing the AG's office to investigate what they describe as "appearances of irregularities" in the management of money held in trust by the diocese. On Tuesday, a spokesperson for the AG's office said it was not yet aware of an official complaint from the group and therefore could not say whether a review is under way.

More here-

http://www.gazettenet.com/2011/11/30/episcopal-diocese-under-fire-over-camp-funds

Bishop Lawerence writes his Diocese


November 29, 2011

Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ,

I write to you in this season of Advent when we await with eagerness the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ in great glory to judge both the living and the dead, even while we prepare to celebrate his birth among us so long ago in that unlikely place and with an unimaginable wonder and unspeakable grace—the Word made flesh. In this season of hope we also rejoice in his daily visitation. To that end it is with such hope that I report to you that late yesterday afternoon I received a phone call from Bishop Dorsey Henderson, President of the Disciplinary Board for Bishops, regarding their ruling on my case which has been before them for several months. In a conference of the board members on November 22nd the Disciplinary Board was unable to certify that I had abandoned the Episcopal Church.

While the statement leaves many questions unanswered—frankly, to my mind it appears to read like a complex statement of a complex decision in a complex time within a complex church. Nevertheless, I believe it is best to take it at face value (even while noting that this diocese has not recognized the constitutionality of the new disciplinary canon). For now given no more allegations from anonymous sources within the diocese it is my hope we can all get back to focusing our full attention on proclaiming the Good News of Jesus Christ in the power of the Spirit and to Glory of God the Father that the Church here in the Diocese of South Carolina may add daily to its number those who are being saved.

http://www.dioceseofsc.org/

Now closed, historic church awaits next chapter


From Chicago-

The Episcopal Church of the Epiphany on the Near West Side was built in 1885 and has a firm place in Chicago history.

After Chicago Mayor Carter Harrison Sr. was assassinated in October 1893, a wake was held at the church at 201 S. Ashland Ave. In 1969, a memorial service was held there for slain Black Panther Party leader Fred Hampton.

But after services Sunday, the church was closed, a decision made by its few remaining congregants. Now, the future of the striking stone and wood building is in question.

"They will never build this kind of a structure again," said Bill Lavicka, a member of the church and well-known city preservationist.

Designed by Edward Burling and Francis Whitehouse, the Church of the Epiphany was one of the first Chicago examples of Richardsonian Romanesque, a dominant architectural style in the latter half of the 19th Century.

More here-

http://www.chicagotribune.com/news/local/ct-met-church-of-the-epiphany-20111130,0,167928.story

Round up on Mark Lawrence



Associated Press-

http://www.google.com/hostednews/ap/article/ALeqM5jS4sCbwYx02-wBtQta9aRQ7bRpgg?docId=69184485dc2a4fbd935f54934e41703f

Washington Post-

http://www.washingtonpost.com/national/on-faith/episcopal-bishop-cleared-of-abandonment-charge/2011/11/29/gIQABfKi9N_story.html

Reuters-

http://www.reuters.com/article/2011/11/29/us-religion-episcopal-idUSTRE7AS1WF20111129

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Haiti elects Ogé Beauvoir as bishop suffragan


From ENS-

The Rev. Canon Ogé Beauvoir, dean of the Episcopal Theological Seminary in Port-au-Prince, was elected Nov. 25 to be the Episcopal Diocese of Haiti's first bishop suffragan, pending the required consents from a majority of bishops with jurisdiction and standing committees of the Episcopal Church.

Beauvoir was elected on the second ballot with 68 lay votes and 25 priest votes, according to an email from the Rev. Kesner Ajax, executive director of the Bishop Tharp Institute in Les Cayes and coordinator of the diocese's partnership program. All 95 of the lay delegates and 48 of 52 priests eligible to vote were present for the convention, Ajax said.

The election took place at a special diocesan convention at Ascension Church in Carrefour, a suburb of Port-au-Prince.

Beauvoir, 55, will assist Bishop Diocesan 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.

More here-

http://www.episcopalchurch.org/79425_130602_ENG_HTM.htm

Disciplinary Board dismisses abandonment complaint against South Carolina bishop


From ENS-

The Episcopal Church's Disciplinary Board for Bishops Nov. 28 said it cannot certify that Diocese of South Carolina Bishop Mark Lawrence has abandoned the communion of the church.

"Based on the information before it, the board was unable to make the conclusions essential to a certification that Bishop Lawrence had abandoned the communion of the church," the Rt. Rev. Dorsey F. Henderson Jr., board president, said in a statement e-mailed to Lawrence and reporters. (Henderson said he informed Lawrence of the board's conclusion by telephone as well.)

The board met Nov. 22 via conference call to consider information given it by a group of communicants in the diocese.

Under Title IV, Canon 16, a bishop is deemed to have abandoned the communion of the Episcopal Church by an open renunciation of the doctrine, discipline or worship of the church; by formal admission into any religious body not in communion with the church; or by exercising episcopal acts in and for a religious body other than the church or another church in communion with the church.

"Applied strictly to the information under study, none of these three provisions was deemed applicable by a majority of the board," Henderson said in his statement.

More here-

http://www.episcopalchurch.org/79425_130606_ENG_HTM.htm

A Very British Anomaly


From The New Statesman-

One thing above all stood out from Rowan Williams's evidence yesterday evening to the Parliamentary committee looking at proposals to reform the House of Lords, and that is that the Church of England is very keen to maintain its peculiar historic privilege of having bishops in the legislature. Indeed, he and the church he leads see it as a vital part of their wider role in British society.

The present situation might be seen as anomalous, he conceded (albeit "a constructive anomaly"). There were no ecclesiastical representatives deputed from Scotland (where the Presbyterian church also has official status) or from Wales or Northern Ireland, where there are no established churches. In a multi-faith society the absence of automatic representation for other religions might also be seen as problematic. Williams wouldn't object were some mechanism found for incorporating Jewish, Muslim or Hindu leaders, though he foresaw problems in identifying such leaders. But he didn't seem to think of this as much as a priority, in any case, since the religious voice was so well represented already by himself and by his fellow Anglican prelates.

It's at times like these that you realise the centrality of its legal establishment to the Church of England's sense of itself. The word is not ill-chosen. The church is indeed part of the British Establishment, and it shares vital characteristics with other parts of the country's ruling elite: an air of benignity and good intentions, impeccable good manners, a ready espousal of progressive ideals (more recently coupled with an enthusiasm for fashionable jargon), above all a sense of unshakable entitlement to its own historic privileges and a rat-like cunning in preserving them.

More here-

http://www.newstatesman.com/blogs/nelson-jones/2011/11/bishops-church-lords-leaders

Mark Lawerence has not abandoned the Communion


From The Disciplinary Board of Bishops

http://www.scribd.com/doc/74075141/Disciplinary-Board-for-Bishops

Monday, November 28, 2011

The Gospel According to Jim Henson


From Christianity Today-

Seems like a lot of franchises have been getting reboots in recent years. Add the Muppets to the list, with a new film releasing this week. After a number of years in the wilderness/swamp, Kermit and Co. are back on the big screen—opening in theaters everywhere on Wednesday—brought to you by the promising team of screenwriter-actor Jason Segal and director James Bobin. Some of us find this prospect stupendously exciting, while others, no doubt, will shrug in indifference, writing it off as the latest example of Hollywood's increasingly lazy insistence on shilling nostalgia.

So why the Muppets and why now? Aren't they irrelevant cultural relics? Never mind the fact that they represent the vanguard of "family entertainment"—child-friendly entertainment that neither excludes nor talks down to adults, nor resorts to lewd cynicism. In other words, intelligently wholesome media. Never mind their loveable makeshift quality, the refreshing scruffiness amidst the increasingly pristine world of kid pop culture, or the way they conjure such life and energy without help from the virtual world. Never mind the obvious imagination at the center of it all. We would do Jim Henson's creations a serious disservice to align them with "culture war" concerns. Yet there is a moral vision at the heart of the Muppets that transcends those lines, and it is one that Christians, for the most part, can affirm.

More here-

http://www.christianitytoday.com/ct/movies/commentaries/2011/gospeljimhenson.html

Interview with the Bishop of Oxford


From Oxford-

Revd John Pritchard is far from your average man of the church. Whilst guiding his flock back here in Oxford, he’s caused national controversy with his calls for church reform, in the process becoming the ultimate bogey-man for CofE traditionalists. Yet to some he is a leading progressive voice in a church plagued with doubt about its place in the world, an institution which in the eyes of many is fast descending into irrelevance.

So who is this robed reformer?Despite hailing from Salford in Manchester, under the shadow of the Manchester Utd spotlights, Bishop John was educated right here in Oxford. Rather then reading Theology at some obscure Private Hall, the younger Pritchard was in fact a somewhat run-of-the-mill lawyer at St Peter’s. Of course this was before he received his ‘calling’. “While I was putting all my ideas in the melting pot” the Bishop recounted “I encountered a Christian faith that was intellectually credible and emotionally satisfying”.

From then on it was a matter of taking the relevant qualifications, at Oxford, Cambridge and Durham, eventually being ordained in 1972. Having successfully ascended the Anglican equivalent of the greasy pole, in 2007 he found himself returning to where it all began.

More here-

http://oxfordstudent.com/2011/11/28/interview-with-the-bishop-of-oxford/

Dunwoody Community Garden's Thanksgiving Harvest Has Special Meaning


From Georgia-

Of the weekly rain-or-shine harvests at the Dunwoody Community Garden in Brook Run Park, the one last week is the most meaningful of the year.

On Tuesday, two days before Thanksgiving, volunteers donated 122.5 pounds of fresh produce – mostly greens for salads and cooking, onions, peppers, and herbs – to Malachi’s Storehouse, an outreach mission of St. Patrick’s Episcopal Church on North Peachtree Road across from the park.

Most of the produce came from the from the hillside plots where the sidewalk ends in Brook Run. Some came from a member’s personal garden and Community Garden volunteers assisted families in need in picking the rest from the Garden of Eatin’ in back of St. Pat’s.

The produce was especially welcome at Malachi’s because of the large crowd St. Pat’s volunteers knew would begin lining up on line Wednesday morning for the weekly afternoon food distribution. St. Pat’s normally feeds an average of 90 families a week with an average of 4.5 persons per family. On the day before Thanksgiving they provisioned for 240 families.

In addition to the produce, St. Pat’s volunteers handed out turkeys, potatoes, stuffing, canned veggies, breads and desserts.

More here-

http://dunwoody.patch.com/articles/dunwoody-community-garden-s-thanksgiving-harvest-has-special-meaning

Catholics Adjust To Season With New Liturgy


From NPR (with audio)

Catholics across the country are celebrating the start of their annual Advent season in an unfamiliar way. For the first time in four decades, the wording of the official Catholic liturgy has changed. Weekends on All Things Considered guest host Rachel Martin talks with Father Carmen D'Amico of Our Lady of the Miraculous Medal Church in Meadow Lands, Penn., after he performs his first mass with the new translation.

More here-

http://www.npr.org/2011/11/27/142828562/catholics-adjust-to-season-with-new-liturgy

Lee County churches unite for the needy


From Florida-

Fewer people will be going home hungry next year in south Fort Myers.

A coalition of 15 local churches, organized to feed the hungry, broke ground on a 1,200-square-foot pantry Sunday at Cypress Lake Presbyterian Church. The pantry, which will replace the 8-by-40-foot container the South Fort Myers Food Pantry Coalition has used to feed more than 40,000 people for the past three years, is set to be completed May 1.

Cypress Lake Presbyterian Church is funding the $469,000 project for the new 3,200-square-foot facility, which will include the pantry that distributed more than 1 million pounds of food last year. The expansion will allow the hungry to walk through the pantry and select fresh vegetables and frozen meats from shelves and tables.

More here-

http://www.news-press.com/article/20111128/NEWS0117/311280020/Lee-County-churches-unite-needy?odyssey=tab%7Ctopnews%7Ctext%7CHome

Sunday, November 27, 2011

New Liturgy Reanimates Catholic Music


From NPR-

When Catholics arrive at church for the beginning of Advent this weekend, they may find themselves stumbling over not only the words, but also the music.

The Vatican has changed the English-speaking Mass to make it more faithful to the Latin — and as a result, the sung portions of the Mass often don't work.
It's the most dramatic change in more than 40 years, and it has Mike McMahon working overtime with his choir. The music director of St. Agnes Catholic Church in Arlington, Va., leads the singers through the Sanctus, or Holy Holy, tweaking until the new words and rhythms become second nature.

The choir has been rehearsing for weeks, and McMahon says it's been an adjustment.
"Things that we're familiar with, that we know by heart, suddenly have a different sound to them," he says. McMahon says that when the Vatican changed the words of the liturgy to adhere more closely to the Latin, the sung portions of the Mass suddenly had a different sentence structure and cadence.

"Some parts are a little more poetic; some are a little more awkward," he says. "But one of the things that happen with music is that even things that are a little more awkward suddenly become a little more graceful when they're put to music."

More here-

http://www.npr.org/2011/11/26/142664983/new-catholic-liturgy-reanimates-catholic-music

Christians under siege?


From The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette-

The Roman Catholic Church feels oppressed. Religious liberty is under siege. At this month's meeting of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, the group's president, Archbishop Timothy Dolan of New York, declared, "We see in our culture a drive to neuter religion," which he attributed, ambiguously and ominously, to "well-financed, well-oiled sectors."

Archbishop Charles Chaput of Philadelphia gave a speech to college students declaring that the "America emerging in the next several decades is likely to be much less friendly to Christian faith than anything in our country's past. It's not a question of when or if it might happen. It's happening today."

When the Catholic Church declares that everything's going to hell, you have to take it seriously. Nevertheless, complaints about oppression of Christians in American society always amaze me. Practically everyone in the country is a Christian. (Jews are about 2 percent, Muslims the same.) Yes, of course, Archbishop Chaput is referring to believing, or at least to observant, Christians. But the United States is among the most observant countries in the world. Almost half of all Americans tell pollsters that they go to church at least once a week.

If anyone is trying to oppress Christians, he or she is doing a pretty lousy job of it. Christians -- believing Christians -- are everywhere you look. And even if you limit the discussion to oppression of Roman Catholics, I defy Archbishop Chaput to find much of this in our country in 2011.

Read more:

http://www.post-gazette.com/pg/11331/1192462-109-0.stm#ixzz1euHDigiB

Orlando's new Episcopal Bishop Greg Brewer made trip from nonbeliever to church leader


From Florida-

Greg Brewer grew up in a family where his father went to the Catholic church and his mother went to the Baptist church. Neither seemed to fit Brewer. He tried other churches, and none of them seemed to speak to him either.

Brewer went to college thinking religion was for people who needed a crutch. A chance religious retreat with a college group changed his mind, and his life — forever.

Last week, Father Greg Brewer was elected the fourth bishop of the Episcopal Diocese of Central Florida. His consecration is March 24, 2012, when he takes over from Bishop John W. Howe, who is retiring.

"For me, it's another step in the adventure," said Brewer, 60.

Brewer is currently rector of Calvary-St. George's Church in New York City, a small, multicultural church in downtown Manhattan. He previously served as rector of the Church of the Good Samaritan, a growing, affluent congregation in suburban Philadelphia.

But for 16 years, Brewer was an Episcopalian priest in Central Florida. He was ordained into the priesthood in Winter Park after completing seminary in 1976 at 24. In Winter Park, he joined a group of young people called YES — Young Episcopal Singles — where he met Laura Lee Williams, an Orlando native. They've been married 30 years.

More here-

http://articles.orlandosentinel.com/2011-11-26/news/os-new-episcopal-bishop-greg-brewer-20111126_1_church-leader-episcopalians-episcopal-diocese