Saturday, January 14, 2012

Buffalo's blogging bishop

From Buffalo-

Bishop R. William Franklin, the lifelong theologian and esteemed academic who was installed as the 11th Episcopal bishop of Western New York last spring, has 894 Facebook friends.

"That's a pretty good number," says the jovial Franklin during an interview at the diocese's Tonawanda offices. "My children say that I have more Facebook friends than they do."

But Facebook is just one of the modern media that Franklin uses to communicate with his flock. His personal website,, includes links to email for comments, questions or prayer requests. Franklin writes longer pieces and appears in video chats on a popular blog,, named for the Jerusalem Cross he has chosen as his bishop's cross.

And, just for fun, Franklin is also the star of an award-winning short film titled "Stair Dance," made when he was associate director of the American Academy in Rome to commemorate the 100th anniversary of the academy's main staircase.

Comments on the YouTube video of "Stair Dance," which has been watched by more than 3,380 people, include, "I still can't believe that, that is my bishop!!!!!" "Go Bishop! LOL," and "I think the whole Episcopal diocese of WNY has seen this ... hahahaha!"

More here-

Prayerful Discernment Shapes Selection of Bishop Candidates

From Pittsburgh-

Fifteen months after Diocesan Convention approved a call for an election, and after long periods of listening to hundreds of people across the diocese, after considering scores of potential candidates, and after much deliberation, discernment and prayer, the diocese is taking a tangible step in identifying those who will be on the ballot to be the next Bishop of Pittsburgh.

The diocesan Standing Committee is about to release a preliminary slate as unanimously recommended by the Nominating Committee. The Standing Committee was also unanimous in accepting the slate.

The naming of that slate, which will be made public after 5:00 p.m. on Sunday, January 15, 2012, is the culmination of the first of two steps in the process to determine those who will stand for election. The second begins immediately, as the Episcopal Diocese enters a period in which additional candidates could be added to the ballot by petition.

"We've come to an important point in time, where the diocese as a whole is going to receive the results of the first phase of the process, and where we give real reflection and discernment about whether to engage in the second part," said the Very Rev. George L. W. Werner, Dean Emeritus of Trinity Cathedral and president of the Standing Committee.

Dean Werner calls the work of the Nomination Committee "extraordinary."

The committee began that work exactly one year ago this weekend, when they gathered in retreat. "Our task is not too big; it is the Lord's doing," they were reminded then, and throughout, by their chaplain, the Rev. Don Youse.

More here-

Judge rules in Episcopal property case

From Virginia-

A ruling in a five-year legal battle between the Anglican District and Episcopal Diocese of Virginia — that already has been heard by the state's highest court — has been issued by a Fairfax County judge.

Eleven churches broke away from the Episcopal Church in early 2007 to join a more conservative Anglican Church under the auspices of the Convocation of Anglicans in North America. The Angican churches, however, kept the Episcopal Church properties.

On Tuesday, Fairfax County Circuit Court Judge Randy Bellows reversed his original 2008 ruling that the breakaway congregations were entitled to the properties under a Civil War-era law called the "Division Statute."

The statute, Va. Code § 57-9, provides that when a religious denomination or diocese experiences a "division," member congregations may determine by majority vote which branch of the divided body they want to join. It also states this determination governs the ownership of property held in trust for that congregation.

More here-

Erie-based Episcopal diocese continues efforts to prevent sexual abuse

From North West PA-

The double doors at the end of the hall leading to the League Room at the Episcopal Cathedral of St. Paul used to be solid.

Now there's a window in the door on the right that looks into the parlorlike room where two couches and a love seat have been taken away.

The addition of the window and the removal of the furniture are among efforts to protect children and adults from sexual abuse in the Episcopal Diocese of Northwestern Pennsylvania.

The Erie-based diocese recently revised its Policy for the Protection of Children and Youth from Abuse and Policies for the Prevention of Sexual Exploitation of Adults and of Sexual Harassment of Church Workers.

"They're trying to create an environment and an awareness that makes the churches as safe as we can make it for children and for anyone with regard to matters of sexual abuse, sexual misconduct, sexual harassment," said the Rev. John Downey, dean of the cathedral.

The cathedral at 134 W. Seventh St. is the mother church of the 34-parish diocese that includes about 4,700 Episcopalians in 13 counties. Its bishop, the Right Rev. Sean Rowe, said the revised policies are the latest generation in a local effort that stems back to the 1990s.

More here-

Allentown's Episcopal Church of the Mediator to celebrate its 100th re-birthday in 2012

From Bethlehem-

Some institutions have 100th birthdays, 200th birthdays and even 250th birthdays. But Allentown’s Episcopal Church of the Mediator at West Park and Turner Street is one of those few organizations that next year will be celebrating its100th re-birthday.

Founded in the late 1860s in the city’s industrial Sixth Ward, Mediator went into a state of dormancy from 1880 to 1911. Re-opening at its current location in 1912 the revived church once more became an active part of the city’s religious and social life. Among many other things, it was where the city’s first Boy Scout Troop, partially funded by General Harry C. Trexler, was formed in 1914.

Episcopalians have been few and far between in the religious landscape of the Lehigh Valley. Easton boasted Trinity Episcopal Church, the denomination’s mother church in the region in the early 1800s. In the 1840s St Mark’s Episcopal Church was founded in Mauch Chunk, now Jim Thorpe, by members of the Sayre family. It’s best known congregant was Lehigh Valley Railroad founder Asa Packer, who is said to have been rejected for membership by the Presbyterians when he refused to sign a temperance pledge to abstain from drinking alcoholic beverages.

More here-

Friday, January 13, 2012

Albert Cutié: It's time to talk about sex at church - and marriage for clergy

From CNN-

I remember one of the stories shared about an old, revered Cuban pastor in the most popular Roman Catholic parish in Little Havana, near downtown Miami. He was often recognized as an outstanding local hero in the first stop for thousands of Cuban refugees, an area that is now home to thousands of Central American immigrants who also seek a better life in the United States.

One afternoon in the old dark church, 100 or so 7- to 12-year olds from the religious instruction classes known as “catecismo” were preparing to make their Lenten confession. The priest went through a list of the commandments and asked the children to think of any sins they may have committed so they could mention them once they sat face to face with a priest.

He spoke on each commandment for about 10 to 15 minutes. When he got to “You shall not commit adultery," he simply stated, “No hagan cositas feas” - don’t do ugly or dirty things. That was it. The explanation or reflection that had to do with sex lasted less than 15 seconds.

But let’s not blame the old monsignor for his curt approach. When it comes to sex, many Latinos still consider it a taboo subject, especially when there’s a religious component involved. We have the spiciest media, telenovelas, magazines and are perceived as less “prude” than our Anglo counterparts. But when it comes to religion and sexuality, we prefer not to connect the two - and never let them touch. We simply do not feel comfortable talking or dealing openly with sex and religion.

More here-

For Priests’ Wives, a Word of Caution

From The New York Times-

WHAT will life be like for the wives of Roman Catholic priests?

On Sunday, the Vatican announced the creation of the Personal Ordinariate of the Chair of Saint Peter, a special division of the Roman Catholic Church that former Episcopal congregations and priests — including, notably, married priests — can enter together en masse. The Vatican has stressed that the allowance for married priests is merely an exception (like similar dispensations made in the past by the Vatican) and by no means a permanent condition of the priesthood. If a priest is single when he enters the ordinariate, he may not marry, nor may a married priest, in the event of his wife’s death, remarry.

Nonetheless, the Roman Catholic Church is prepared to house married priests in numbers perhaps not seen since the years before 1123, when the First Lateran Council adopted canon 21, prohibiting clerical marriage.

Now as then, the church’s critics and defenders are rehashing arguments about the implications of having married priests in an institution that is otherwise wary of them. But in the midst of these debates, we should pause to ponder the environment that the priests’ wives might expect to encounter. After all, the status of the priest’s wife is perhaps even more strange and unsettling than that of her ordained Catholic husband.

More here-

Seven Anglican Parishes in Virginia Lose the Fight to Retain Property

From Catholic Online-

A Fairfax County Circuit Court ruled yesterday that the seven congregations, who have chosen to leave The Episcopal Church (TEC), must leave their buildings behind. Judge Randy Bellows delivered the decision in a 113-page document that returned control of the church properties to the Diocese of Virginia and The Episcopal Church.

Among the seven, two are among the most famous Episcopal parishes in the country - Truro Church, Fairfax and The Falls Church, Falls Church. The other five are Church of the Apostles, Fairfax; Church of the Epiphany, Herndon; St. Margaret's Church, Woodbridge; St. Paul's Church, Haymarket; St. Stephen's Church, Heathsville.

Judge Randy I. Bellows stated that the diocese and the Episcopal Church "have a contractual and proprietary interest in the property of these Episcopal churches." He indicated that, while the parishes had the right to separate themselves from The Episcopal Church and the diocese, "they had no right to take these seven Episcopal churches with them."

Tuesday's ruling was the culmination of a detailed review of the case after a June 2010 Virginia Supreme Court decision overturned Bellows' previous conclusion. Earlier, he had favored awarding the property to the separating congregations.

More here-

Thursday, January 12, 2012

Remembering Is Important: The Second Anniversary of the Earthquake in Haitie

From The Bishop of Ohio-

Today as we mark the second anniversary of the 7.0 earthquake that leveled the Haitian capital of Port-au-Prince and its surrounding areas, it is important that we remember this natural disaster in which hundreds of thousands were killed, countless injured and one of the poorest countries in the world was sent deeper into poverty, if that is possible.

More than simply recalling the day, it is important that we quite literally re-member -- that we reconnect and attach ourselves again to that part of the body of humanity that was severed from the rest of the world by the initial, catastrophic event and has been continually isolated by the resultant health, economic and infrastructural devastation.

Of course there are many governments, faith organizations, relief agencies and others working hard to address the ongoing needs of the Haitian people and assist in the Herculean task of recovery. But for the vast majority of us, Haiti has been replaced in our consciousness by the subsequent natural disasters in Japan, New Zealand, Turkey and here at home, or by whatever today's news cycle presents. That is the problem. Once a disaster is off the front page, even one as colossal as the 2010 earthquake in Haiti or the 2011 tsunami in Japan, we tend to detach from it. And when we detach from it, the isolation recurs and the companionship declines. We move on, while the victims have nowhere to go. That is why remembering is so important.

More here-

Monroe Episcopal church invites community to Taize service

From Georgia-

A unique worship service with roots tracing back to Europe's recovery after World War II will take place at St. Alban's Episcopal Church in Monroe on Jan. 22 at 5 p.m. Known as a Taize (pronounced "tah-zay") service, this worship experience is open to all people of faith or even those without any and is noted in particular for its unstructured design.

"Sometimes people will light a candle," St. Alban's music director Dan Marineau said. "Some are used to kneeling and others prefer to sit. It's really very unstructured as far as what you should do at (any given) moment. There are periods of meditation. Scripture will be read. There'll be songs. We'll take it all in. It's an inward thing we're trying to do."

Marineau, who has held such services at St. Alban's for the past four years, also held similar services in Covington when he was at Good Shepherd Episcopal.

"It's a very contemplative kind of service," he said. "There's no sermon or communion. There is prayer... I think when you look inside of yourself and in a contemplative nature, you have a different perspective on worship and your relationship with God."

More here-

Episcopal Church wins long-fought lawsuit over control of historic churches in Virginia

From The Washington Post-

The Episcopal Church should be restored as the owner of several historic churches in Virginia, a judge has ruled, years after the denomination was essentially evicted by local congregations dismayed with Episcopal leadership’s liberal theology.

In a 113-page ruling issued Tuesday night, Fairfax County Circuit Court Judge Randy Bellows reversed a ruling he made in 2008 giving custody to the conservative congregations. The Virginia Supreme Court overturned that ruling and ordered a new trial.

At issue is ownership of seven Virginia churches, including two prominent, historic congregations that trace their roots to George Washington: Truro Church in Fairfax and The Falls Church, for which the city of Falls Church is named.

The disputes within the Episcopal Church have raged openly since 2003, when the denomination consecrated an openly gay bishop in New Hampshire. The issues have since broadened to a range of theological issues, including fundamental interpretations of Scripture.

More here-

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Mutual Cooperation Extended As Properties Are Returned

Fbrom Pittsburgh-

Two additional church properties have been returned to the Diocese of Pittsburgh of the Episcopal Church, as diocesan officials and the clergy of the vacating congregations worked together to allow for an amicable hand-off.

The clergy and parishioners of St. Martin's Church of Monroeville and Good Samaritan Church in Liberty Boro informed the Episcopal Diocese that they had decided on their own to leave those churches and property behind and to make a fresh start as new entities elsewhere. Those decisions came after the courts affirmed the Episcopal Diocese’s right to hold and administer the real property of the two churches. Both congregations relinquished the church properties as of January 2, 2012.

The Episcopal Diocese had informed these and other congregations that they were welcome to stay in place for the immediate future. No demands were made on them as a condition for staying, other than to remain good stewards of the property. For those still choosing to leave, the diocese further offered the time and cooperation necessary for an orderly relocation and transition of the property.

More here-

God save the Queen

From The New Statesman-

The Church of England has announced its plans to celebrate the Diamond Jubilee later this year. It is hoping that all its 13,000 parishes will involve themselves with initiatives including The Big Jubilee Lunch, which "will see millions across the country joining together to have lunch on the afternoon of Sunday, June 3rd", and The Big Thank-You, in which churches and cathedrals will invite members of the congregation to add their names to a collective thank-you letter to the monarch. Containing an introductory paragraph by diocesan bishops, the letters "give the public a chance to say a few words in appreciation of 60 years of loyal service."

In some ways, this is the Church of England doing its job. The Establishment "deal", as conceived centuries ago, gave the Anglican church immense privileges within society (bishops in the House of Lords, for example) in exchange for the church giving its moral backing to the state. The monarchy remains the most visible symbol of the church-state link. As Supreme Governor of the Church of England, the Queen receives the "homage" of bishops on their appointment and even ordinary parish priests are expected to swear an oath of allegiance to her. Prayers for members of the royal family are offered daily in every C of E church in the land. (Francis Galton, the Victorian scientist and inventor of eugenics, once did a statistical analysis of the life-expectancy of members of the royal family and concluded that the prayers didn't work.)

More here-

VA Anglicans Remain Prayerful Amid Church Property Ruling

Press Release from Falls Church-

Seven Anglican congregations in Virginia that are parties to the church property case brought by The Episcopal Church and the Episcopal Diocese of Virginia are reviewing today’s ruling by the Fairfax County Circuit Court that the property should be turned over to the Episcopal Diocese.

The Circuit Court heard the case last spring after the Virginia Supreme Court remanded it in June 2010. The congregations previously had succeeded in their efforts on the Circuit Court level to defend the property that they bought and paid for.

“Although we are profoundly disappointed by today’s decision, we offer our gratitude to Judge Bellows for his review of this case. As we prayerfully consider our legal options, we above all remain steadfast in our effort to defend the historic Christian faith. Regardless of today’s ruling, we are confident that God is in control, and that He will continue to guide our path,” said Jim Oakes, spokesperson for the seven Anglican congregations.

The Rev. John Yates, rector of The Falls Church, a historic property involved in the case, stated, “The core issue for us is not physical property, but theological and moral truth and the intellectual integrity of faith in the modern world. Wherever we worship, we remain Anglicans because we cannot compromise our historic faith. Like our spiritual forebears in the Reformation, ‘Here we stand. So help us God. We can do no other.’”

More here-

Court Rules for Diocese of Virginia Vs. Breakaway Group on Church Properties

From Falls Church VA-

Tuesday night, the Fairfax Circuit Court issued its ruling in favor of the Diocese of Virginia and the Episcopal Church in litigation seeking to recover Episcopal church property, according to a report from the Diocese of Virginia. "Our goal throughout this litigation has been to return faithful Episcopalians to their church homes and Episcopal properties to the mission of the Church," said the Rt. Rev. Shannon S. Johnston, bishop of Virginia.

The court ruled that the Episcopal Church and the Diocese of Virginia have "a contractual and proprietary interest" in each of the properties subject to the litigation. The court ordered that all property subject to its ruling be turned over to the Diocese.

"We hope that this ruling will lead to our congregations returning to worship in their church homes in the near future, while finding a way to support the CANA congregations as they plan their transition," said Henry D.W. Burt, secretary of the Diocese and chief of staff.
Bishop Johnston added, "While we are grateful for the decision in our favor, we remain mindful of the toll this litigation has taken on all parties involved, and we continue to pray for all affected by the litigation."

The decision had enormous consequences for the historic Falls Church located in downtown City of Falls Church. Since the congregation there voted in December 2005 to defect from the Episcopal Church, USA, and align with the new Council of Anglicans in North America (CANA) under the leadership of a Nigerian Anglican Bishop, the breakaway group led locally by the Rev. John Yates has continued to occupy the church property, being unwilling in the process to share it with those traditional Episcopalian members of the original congregation who did not vote to defect.

More here-

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Interfaith Voices: Public officials need humility

From Alabama-

As a student at the General Theological Seminary preparing for ordination in the Episcopal Church, I often made several visits a day to the Chapel of the Good Shepherd as the community took a break from class and gathered for worship.

The chapel is a neo-gothic structure built in the late 19th Century. Day after day of entering the chapel for services, the architecture, the stained glass, and other features of the chapel began to sink into my soul and shaped my understanding of God.

On the floor of the chapel were a series of tile mosaics of the words of the seven virtues, written in Latin.

Many of us are familiar with the so-called seven deadly sins but are less familiar with their positive opposites, the seven virtues.

Among this list appearing on the floor of the chapel is humilitas, or humility.

More here-

Local doctor survives plane crash and continues mission

From Alabama-

A Bessemer doctor and his daughter are back to doing charitable work in Haiti after their plane crashed into the Atlantic Ocean near the Bahamas.

Dr. Richard Mcglaughlin and his daughter, Elaine, took off Saturday on a mission trip to Haiti.

Ever since his first trip to Haiti with the Episcopal Diocese of Alabama, Dave Drachlis says Mcglaughlin has been hooked. "He's an energetic, very caring person with a lot of interests," said Drachlis.

The two men traveled to Haiti back in May of 2010 to help earthquake victims. Since that trip, Mcglaughlin has made it his mission to continue the visits.

So much in fact, he setup his own lab at the St. Damians Hospital in Haiti.

Drachlis says, "he's been going once a month since then for a week on his own down there to help out." You might think twice about hopping back on a plane after what happened to Dr. Mcglaughlin.

His plane with his daughter on board, went down Saturday in the Bahamas, crashing into the ocean. On his way back onto a commercial flight in Miami Monday morning, Mcglaughlin says, "It leaves you a little shaky for a while and not entirely sure what to do next."

His daughter, by his side, is still processing Saturday's crash. "I have just been going over the events of Saturday and it just seems really surreal," said Elaine.

Preserving Anglican Patrimony

From The National Catholic Register-

Father Jeffrey Steenson, who was named by Pope Benedict XVI on New Year’s Day as the first to lead the Personal Ordinariate of the Chair of St. Peter, said that the new ordinariate for former Anglicans and Episcopalians must be true to both the Catholic Church and its Anglican patrimony.

An obviously overjoyed Father Steenson, 59, who according to one report sported cufflinks with the motto “Keep Calm & Carry On,” said that Pope Benedict, who authorized ordinariates for former Anglicans and Episcopalians in 2009, had charged them to preserve certain elements of Anglican worship.

The Personal Ordinariate of Our Lady of Walsingham — the first one to be created — was established in the United Kingdom in January of last year. The Chair of St. Peter is the second ordinariate to be erected, though Anglicans in Australia also hope to have an ordinariate established there.

“The establishment of the Personal Ordinariate is a historic moment in the history of the Church,” Father Steenson said. “For perhaps the first time since the Reformation in the 16th century, a corporate structure has been given to assist those who in conscience seek to return to the fold of St. Peter and his successors.”

Read more:

Grace Episcopal Church offers 'Warmth in the Night'

From The Diocese of Bethlehem-

If you are down and out — as so many seem to be lately — Grace Episcopal Church wants to help.

Now in its second year, the parish is offering ‘Warmth in the Night’ to those in need in the community.

Though the church does open its doors and offer a warm place to sleep during this (normally) cold season, Father Edward Erb says that is just the tip of iceberg.

“What we’re offering here is really more of a ‘ministry of hospitality,’” Erb said in an interview Friday. “We measure our success less in terms of how many people are staying here overnight and more through how we can help people in other ways.”

As an example of this, Erb points to a young couple his parish recently helped by getting them bus fare back to their family in Pittsburgh when the job the husband had come to town for fell through.

There are many other examples.

In one, Erb says last year a woman who had been sleeping in an ATM booth for four days came to the shelter with her contact lenses crusted onto her corneas. Fortunately, with two eye doctors in the parish, Erb says the woman was able to have the problem dealt with and one of the doctors was able to set her up with a sample package of disposable contacts.

More here-

Former Episcopal Bishop Clarence Pope, Jr. Dead at 81

From Catholic Online-

Clarence Pope, former bishop of the Episcopal Diocese of Fort Worth, gained the reputation over the years for being an orthodox Anglo-Catholic. He made the news in the 1994 and 1995 regarding his entrance and subsequent exit from the Roman Catholic Church. He re-entered in 2007.

The Right Reverend Clarence C. Pope, Jr, the second bishop of the Episcopal Diocese of Fort Worth, died in his sleep on Monday in a Baton Rouge, LA hospital where he was battling pneumonia. He was 81.

According to George Conger, on his blog "Anglican Ink," his wife, Dr. Martha Pope, and other members of the family had visited the former bishop this past week.

Pope gained the reputation over the years for being an orthodox Anglo-Catholic. He made the news in the 1994 and 1995 regarding his entrance and subsequent exit from the Roman Catholic Church.

Upon his retirement in 1994, he announced that he and his wife would be entering the Roman Catholic Church. After his reception by Cardinal Law in Boston, the former bishop sought re-ordination in the Diocese of Baton Rouge. He was subsequently turned down and, with urging from some fellow Episcopal bishops, re-entered the Episcopal Church in 1995 and was reinstated to the House of Bishops.

More here-

Monday, January 9, 2012

Barry Larkin Elected to the Hall of Fame

From Cooperstown-

Barry Larkin, a 12-time All-Star, nine-time Silver Slugger and three-time Gold Glove winning shortstop, was elected to the National Baseball Hall of Fame by the Baseball Writers' Association of America in balloting verified by Ernst & Young.

Larkin, 47, will be inducted into the Hall July 22 at the Clark Sports Center in Cooperstown, N.Y., along with the late third baseman Ron Santo, who was elected last month by the Golden Era Committee. Also to be honored over Induction Weekend will be Bob Elliott of the Toronto Sun with the J.G. Taylor Spink Award for baseball writing and television analyst Tim McCarver, the former major league catcher, with the Ford C. Frick Award for broadcasting.

A total of 573 ballots, including nine blanks, were cast by BBWAA members with 10 or more consecutive years' service. Players must be named on 75 percent of ballots submitted to be elected. This year, 430 votes were required.

Larkin, who was in his third year of eligibility, received 495 votes, for an 86.4-percent plurality. His vote total reflected a 24.3-percent gain from the 2011 ballot, the largest jump in one year to gain election since 1948 when pitcher Herb Pennock received 77.7 percent of the vote after having tallied 53.4 percent in 1947. Larkin's jump is the largest for any Hall of Fame election in which at least 400 ballots were cast. The previous highest was the 16.4-percent jump by first baseman Tony Perez from 1999 (60.8) to 2000 (77.2).

Anglican Archbishop Orombi to retire in June

From Uganda-

Archbishop Henry Luke Orombi has called for the election of the next Archbishop of the Church of Uganda. The announcement came during a regularly scheduled meeting of the House of Bishops on Saturday, 7th January, in Mbarara.

Orombi confirmed the announcement in Ntungamo on Sunday, 8th January, during the consecration and enthronement of the new Bishop of South Ankole Diocese, the Rt. Rev. Nathan Ahimbisibwe.

The election of the next Archbishop will take place in June 2012 by the House of Bishops. The enthronement of the new Archbishop will take place in December 2012.

More here-

DEL MAR: Church ministry helps homeless in affluent coastal city

From San Diego-

Homeless people are a common sight in downtown San Diego, Grape Day Park in Escondido and other places in the county, but pastors at a church in Del Mar know that even the more affluent areas have their share of people in need.

"There are people who are homeless in Del Mar and have been homeless in Del Mar for decades," said the Rev. Paige Blair, rector at St. Peter's Episcopal Church in Del Mar. "It's not a new thing at all."

Blair, who has been at St. Peter's for 2 1/2 years, said she would like the church to expand its services for the area's homeless.

"It's a hard reality," she said. "We might not want to think about it, or we might want to avoid having to see this kind of poverty, but we can't. It's real."

The church began its Helping Hands ministry in 2008 to give food and clothes to the homeless, and it is part of a network of churches that each provide shelter for two weeks during the winter.

Read more:

Woman makes stand at altar by leading local Mass

From Minnesota-

Mary Frances Smith realizes what she is doing is shocking to some or blasphemous to others.

Smith risks being excommunicated by the Catholic Church for celebrating Mass on Sunday at St. John’s Episcopal Church in St. Cloud.

“We’re always encountering people who are surprised by what we’re doing,” said Smith, a deacon and a priest who is part of the Midwest Region of the Roman Catholic Womenpriests movement.

The Archdiocese of St. Paul-Minneapolis issued a statement that “women who claim to have been ordained Catholic priests in fact have no relationship to the Catholic Church because their ordination is not valid.”

“To have women being denied their calling to do that, and for them to have the bravery to do this ... that’s very inspirational,” said Kelly Doss, a Catholic from St. Cloud.

More here-

Sunday, January 8, 2012

Anglican Primate calls on Mugabe to stop worshippers' persecution

From Zimbabwe-

THE Anglican Church Primate for Southern Africa called on Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe to stop the ongoing persecution of Anglican worshipers following police action halting a retreat by clerics in Marondera, Mashonaland East.

Police said the meeting contravened a ruling last year by Chief Justice Godfrey Chidyausiku that said excommunicated Bishop Nolbert Kunonga was the true Bishop of the Harare diocese, not Bishop Chad Gandiya, recognized internationally.

Anglican Archbishop Thabo Makgoba of Cape Town deplored the police action and urged Mr. Mugabe to “ensure that the religious freedom of all Zimbabweans and especially persecuted Anglicans is respected.”

He also urged "ecumenical friends and our partners in the Anglican Communion to ask their governments to put pressure on Zimbabwe to end the persecution."

“The forthcoming season of Epiphany speaks of our hope that the incarnate Christ breaks all boundaries," Makgoba said. "And that he will ultimately break the power of President Mugabe and those of his supporters who carry out these deeds, and bring freedom to Zimbabwe.”

More here-

Three Kings Day a post-Christmas treat

From New Jersey-

t was a post-Christmas celebration with a Latin flair Saturday night as Sussex County's Spanish-speaking community came together at Christ Episcopal Church to celebrate "Día de los Tres Reyes," or Three Kings Day. The event, in its seventh year at the church, is organized through immigrant outreach program El Refugio as a means of promoting Latino cultural traditions, Father Robert Griner said.

Attendees were treated to dinner, music, games and gifts. A trio dressed as the iconic Three Kings -- the dignitaries who visited Jesus Christ after his birth -- handed out a gift apiece from under a Christmas Tree to each of the 96 children who came to the celebration.

Three Kings Day is traditionally held on Jan. 6 but was rescheduled for Saturday to accommodate prospective attendees' work schedules, said Mauricio Soperanes, who emceed the event. As Soperanes explained, in many Spanish-speaking cultures the Three Kings are considered the foremost figureheads of the Christmas season, rather than Santa Claus.

More here-

New bishop of Ala. Episcopal Diocese takes office

From Alabama-

The Rt. Rev. John McKee Sloan was seated as 11th bishop of the Diocese of Alabama on Saturday, Jan. 7, at the Cathedral Church of the Advent in Birmingham.

Officiating at the service was the Most Rev. Katharine Jefferts Schori, presiding Bishop of the Episcopal Church, who had presided at Sloan’s consecration in 2008.

The Rt. Rev. Henry N. Parsley Jr., the 10th bishop of Alabama, presented Sloan with the symbol of office, a silver-tipped crozier first carried by Alabama Bishop Richard Hooker Wilmer in the 19th century.

The Rt. Rev. Duncan Gray III, bishop of Mississippi, preached. He jokingly called Sloan, originally from Mississippi, a missionary to Alabama who “went native.”

Noting Sloan’s reputation as a storyteller, in the tradition of so many Mississippi authors, he called upon Sloan to continue telling the story of Christ and his people: “Who we are, where we come from, and what we are called to become.”

“Continue to tell the stories of human foibles and God’s holy and mysterious grace,” he concluded. “Tell the stories, my brother, so that the Word becomes flesh and dwells among us.”

More here-