Saturday, January 21, 2012

Will 'Dean Jennifer' and his chaplain boyfriend tear the Church apart?

From The London Daily Mail-

From the ornate pulpit of the vast and ancient cathedral where fire and brimstone have reverberated down the decades, the sermon that Sunday morning took on a very different, intimate tone.

The Dean of St Albans, the Very Reverend Dr Jeffrey John, was preaching to the congregation about his own personal anguish and the challenge of finding the strength to meet it.

His uplifting message, as he surveyed the absorbed faces of worshippers in St Albans Cathedral, was that all those who faced difficult challenges should be supported by their fellow men and women.

This was a fine Christian message, but it may not have been quite what it seemed.
For Dr John, who is openly gay and living in a civil partnership with a fellow cleric, is threatening to sue the Church of England for failing to appoint him a bishop.

Twice the controversial cleric has been the favourite to become one, first at Reading in 2003 and then at Southwark in 2010. And twice — despite a brilliant career — he’s been rejected.
Dean Jeffrey has now instructed specialist employment lawyers to consider suing the Church under the Equality Act 2010, which bars discrimination on the grounds of sexuality.

Such action, whatever the result, could catastrophically deepen the schism that threatens an Anglican church already dangerously divided worldwide over homosexuality.

It would almost certainly require the Archbishop of Canterbury, Dr Rowan Williams, to give evidence under oath, as he is said to have blocked John’s promotion on both occasions.

Read more:

Outdoor ministry strives to serve the homeless

From The Boston Globe-

It’s Sunday around noon and a line forms that winds around the towering bronze Brewer Fountain in a corner of Boston Common. Weary-looking men and women shuffle forward, making their way toward the folding card tables, where a dozen teenagers hand out carefully wrapped sandwiches and bags of potato chips. It is the end of the month, and many of these people’s food stamps have run out.

Walking by, you might mistake the whole thing for a soup line. The cast of characters seems right: the long line of the downtrodden, carrying their belongings on their backs or in tattered bags; the suburban youth group bused in from some parish outside of Boston, offering sandwiches from their perches behind the tables; a few clean-cut, middle-aged men and women overseeing everything, stopping to chat with the people waiting for their lunch. But then around 1 p.m., something altogether different unfolds. A woman with short blond hair and wearing a clerical collar steps forward.

“I’d like to invite all of you to form a circle,’’ she says. And in the space in front of the fountain, most of the 30 or so people who had stuck around to eat come together with the teenagers who had handed them their sandwiches, while a few remain standing at a distance.

More here-

Good Shepherd helps launch diaper bank

From Chicago-

As part of its faith-based ministry, Advocate Good Shepherd Hospital has joined with other local agencies to launch the new Diaper Bank Partnership of Lake County.

This program is an extension of the St. Paul Diaper Bank Partnership started in 2009 in McHenry County by The Rev. Jim Swarthout, former rector of St. Paul Episcopal Church in McHenry. Swarthout now serves as the secretary for the National Diaper Bank and is the executive director of the Samaritan Interfaith Counseling Center of the Northwest Suburbs.

Swarthout said he began organizing a diaper bank after an individual came into the food pantry of his church. While the person was getting food, Swarthout held the baby and noticed the baby needed to be changed. He told the woman and she said her family could only afford two diapers a day, so she had to clean out the diaper and put it back on the baby. Swarthout began doing research and came across a diaper bank in New Haven, Conn., which he used to start a bank in McHenry County.

“The idea of a diaper bank is to support a person in need during a difficult time,” Swarthout said.

Chaplain Sam Martinez of Advocate Good Shepherd Hospital, also congregational coordinator and Hispanic liaison, said the need for diapers in Lake County was brought to attention by the community. The whole coalition, which includes social service agencies and churches in Wauconda, Barrington, Ela and Cuba townships, will host diaper drives and fundraisers throughout Lake County to stock the bank. Diapers will be stored in an empty warehouse at The Nut and Candy House, next door to the Wauconda Township offices.

More here-

God still is speaking, but are we listening?

From Alabama-

I couldn't sleep for about two weeks after the move.

The horns, sirens, voices and general clattering of New York formed an undecipherable jum­ble of noise. It's amazing how much sound seeps through a window five floors above the street. I was used to the silence of an Alabama night and now all I could hear was noise. This posed a problem as it would be my family's home for the next several years while I was in seminary.

A funny thing happened aft­er a few weeks of the noise. My ears adjusted. Soon, I didn't simply hear a bunch of racket. I heard the rhythm of life.

I could identify and decipher the different sounds. I heard people talking and the notes of songs playing on car radios. I could tell when the man who pushed a shopping cart around our neighborhood arrived to collect bottles in the alley, be­cause I could pick out his voice.

More here-

From Texas to Tanzania - Anglican Hospitals Link Up

From AllAfrica-

Senior management and medical officers from St. Luke's Episcopal Health System Houston and Baylor College of Medicine will visit the hospital of the Diocese of Morogoro in Berega at the end of February. This is the first step in a programme to develop links between Anglican hospitals in different parts of the world. These links are designed to provide conduits for the supply of medical equipment, provision of clinical training, and development in hospital management systems.

"The profile of Anglican hospitals is rising both within the church and amongst health policy makers", said Lee Hogan, co-chair of the Anglican Health Network and organiser of this trip. "Strengthening links between these hospitals will support our common mission to bring improved health care to those communities that Anglicans serve."

Following a trip to Berega in May 2011, Lee recruited officers from St. Luke's and Baylor who can provide key skills and experience to address priorities outlined by hospital director Isaac Mgego. At the top of the list is the development of maternal and newborn services. A high percentage of women in this rural district give birth at home without any medical supervision. Dr. Kjersti Aagaard, Professor of Fetal and Maternal Health at Baylor College of Medicine has extensive experience throughout Africa and will give attention to this challenge.

More here-

The Last Sermon of Mr. Fix-It

From The New York Times-

HIS work here is done. His reinvention of a dying church with ratty old wooden pews is emblemized by the 900 brand-new chairs — bought by parishioners for $900 apiece, engraved plaques included — arrayed in the exquisite mosaic, marble and stained-glass sanctuary. With a congregation of nearly 3,400, up from a foundering flock of just a few hundred when he took over in 1994, the Rev. William MacDonald Tully, 65, is retiring from active duty at St. Bartholomew’s Episcopal Church on Park Avenue and 50th Street. His final sermon is on Sunday.

His exit is voluntary and — contrary to that of his predecessor, who left after a decade of debilitating infighting and litigation — uncontroversial.

“I’m not going to preach on a Biblical lesson for my farewell sermon,” Mr. Tully emphasized last week, ensconced in a wood-paneled conference room because he had already ceded his cozy upstairs office to his hand-picked successor, the Rev. F. M. Stallings Jr., commonly known as Buddy. “It’s going to be personal. When I came here I had to create a new reality and not fight the old battles. People told me, ‘We need to fix this building,’ and I said, ‘No, let’s fix the congregation first.’ I was selected because I had a vision of fairly raw growth, a doctrine of radical welcome.”

The church building, with its triple portal entry by Stanford White grafted onto Bertram Grosvenor Goodhue’s main structure, was in need of fixing. It had been bankrolled by Astors and Vanderbilts, but they were long gone. Mr. Tully’s predecessor as rector was the Rev. Thomas D. Bowers, whose grand vision for his ministry revolved around the construction of a glass tower to provide enduring fiscal security for the church. In 1980, a British developer offered to buy the church and its property for $100 million, setting into motion a plan to use the church’s air rights to build a tower as many as 59 stories tall on the site of its community house.

More here-

St. Thomas Episcopal Church has survived despite struggles, challenges

From Tennessee-

The St. Thomas Episcopal Church is one of the oldest congregations in Elizabethton and meets in one of the oldest churches in the city.

According to a history of the church compiled and written by former Vicar David Michael Doty in 1993, the earliest record of Episcopal church activity in Elizabethton comes from the diary of the Rev. William E. Skiles, a deacon associated with the Order of the Holy Cross in Valle Crucis, N.C. Traveling far and wide on his horse Henry, Mr. Skiles was instrumental in the founding of schools and churches throughout western North Carolina. In 1859 in a report to the Diocese of North Carolina he wrote about visiting a church in “Elizabethtown” in Tennessee.

However, Doty notes that the first documentation of Episcopal church services in Elizabethton occurs in the 1892 diary of Bishop Quintard, printed in the journal of the 1893 convention. It notes that Rev. C.F. Berry and the bishop visited the town of Elizabethton and had night services in the Presbyterian Church after having services in Johnson City.

More here-

Friday, January 20, 2012

Montana clergy wage campaign that could save Canadian killer

From Montana-

While Canada’s Conservative government is still weighing whether to comply with a Federal Court order and resume efforts to seek clemency for the only Canadian on death row in the U.S., a coalition of Montana religious leaders has launched its own bid to help abolish capital punishment in their state.

The Montana clergy are backing a bill that would save Alberta-born killer Ronald Smith from execution.

Renewed debate over capital punishment and the fate of Smith produced oddly divergent arguments in the two countries last week, with the Conservative government here accusing opposition MPs of being too sympathetic to killers while the alliance of Montana clergy decried the “morally corrosive” effects of state-sanctioned executions.

Anglican Women gather in New York to consider Communion's advocacy efforts

From ACNS-

Twenty Anglican women from countries1 including Australia, Bangladesh, Uganda and India are visiting the Anglican United Nations Office (AUNO) next month to engage with the UN’s 56th Commission on the Status of Women, which this year has ‘empowerment of rural women’ as its priority theme2.

“Members of the Anglican Communion have always been involved with speaking out for and with those suffering injustice and the effects of poverty,” said Rachel Chardon, Special Assistant at the Anglican United Nations Office. “Increasingly Anglicans around the world are recognising that they share particular issues common to all their Provinces: promoting birth registration, the impact of climate change and environmental degradation, the abuse of women and girls.

“One key Communion-wide initiative that has been endorsed by a range of Primates and bishops—including the Archbishop of Canterbury—is the campaign to end sexual violence. Anglicans and Episcopalians worldwide are already working with other Christian traditions and the World Council of Churches address violence against women.“

More here-

Pope hits out at 'radical secularism'

From USA Today-

Pope Benedict XVI says Roman Catholics in the U.S. need to understand the "grave threats" to their faith posed by what he calls radical secularism in the political and cultural arenas.

He addressed visiting U.S. bishops Thursday and used the same language in warning that attempts are being made to erode their religious freedom.

Benedict did not explicitly mention it, but the bishops have complained their religious freedom is eroding in the face of growing acceptance of gay marriage and attempts to marginalize faith. The U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops has recently formed a committee on protecting religious liberty and hired attorneys and a lobbyist to work on the issue.

The pope said many of the bishops have complained about attempts to deny conscientious objection with regard to cooperation in "intrinsically evil practices." U.S. church leaders have been pressing for a broader religious exception to part of President Obama's health care overhaul that mandates private insurers pay for contraception. The Obama administration has not yet made a decision on the policy and the timing is uncertain.

More here-

£1m intact as Ordinariate asks for cash

From The Church Times-

THE UK Ordinariate, which celeb­rated its first anniversary on Sunday, is to refrain from spending a £1 million grant until the Charity Commission has completed an investigation.

The Charity Commission said last year that concerns had been raised about the grant, which was made by the Confraternity of the Blessed Sacrament (CBS), a registered charity founded in 1862 to support the Catholic revival in the Church of England (News, 8 July). The trustees of the CBS said that the objectives of the Ordinariate were compatible with the charitable objects of the Confraternity.

On Tuesday, a spokesman for the Ordinariate said that the £1 million had been received, but would not be spent until the outcome of the Charity Commission investigation was known. “It is a dispute between the group of people disputing it [the donation] and the Confraternity. We are waiting to hear what the resolu­tion will be.”

A spokeswoman for the Charity Commission said: “The Commission has met with the trustees of the Con­fraternity and also received a sub­stan­tial amount of other information representing a range of views. We intend to provide a public statement on the outcome of our engagement in due course.” She said that it was likely to be “a matter of months, not weeks” before the investigation was concluded.

The Ordinariate spokesman said that it needed “at least £1 million a year” to operate, and that it was “still a struggle because we are setting everything up from scratch”. He said that some financial help had been provided by groups such as the St Barnabas Society and the Catholic League.

More here-

Book review: 'The Unlikely Priest'

From Florida-

Father J. Perry Smith, former vicar at Historic St. Cyprian’s Episcopal Church in St. Augustine, and now Canon for Pastoral Care at St. John’s Episcopal Cathedral in Jacksonville, admits that finally, “I’m just who I want to be.”

The 67-year-old priest was ordained in 2002 after decades of soul-seeking and adventure, according to his book, “The Unlikely Priest.”

It was Halloween in 1954 — a night that changed the path of life for a 10-year-old. While trick or treating near his home in rural West Virginia, Perry Smith and his brother David knocked on the door of a recluse who was reputed to be the richest woman in Logan County. The woman opened the door and before giving out treats asked the boys their names. She then inquired, “Which of you is the oldest?” Perry volunteered that he was 10 and his brother was 8.

“Oh you’re the adopted one,” she informed Perry.

More here-

What's next for Episcopalians, Catholics?

From NW PA-

Two recent events mark a significant change in the ecumenical relationship of Roman Catholics and the Episcopal Church.

First, a new translation of the Mass was introduced at the beginning of Advent. Then, on New Year's Day, the Anglican Ordinariate for the United States was officially launched. The Ordinariate will serve much like a diocese created especially for Episcopalians and others of Anglican heritage who wish to be in full communion with the Pope. Such folk would fully accept Roman Catholic teaching and authority while retaining some aspects of their former life in the Episcopal Church such as liturgical texts, married priests, and (limited) democracy in governance.

With regard to worship, the recent change is a departure from decades of working together along with other ecumenical partners to provide common worship texts in the various churches and denominations.

The new Mass translation was undertaken unilaterally by the Roman Catholic Church, apparently with no ecumenical consultation. Other Christian bodies, including Episcopalians and Lutherans, made major liturgical changes after Vatican II with ecumenical optimism and a commitment to shared translations among themselves and Roman Catholics. This hopeful project has been abandoned by Rome and we have the curious situation that the "old" Mass texts can now be found in Lutheran and Episcopal churches!

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Thursday, January 19, 2012

Pittsburgh Nominates Four

From The Living Church-

No clergy within the Diocese of Pittsburgh appear on the slate as the diocese seeks its eighth bishop.

The diocese announced four nominees Jan. 15:

The Rev. Canon Michael N. Ambler, Jr., 47, rector, Grace Church, Bath, Maine;

The Rev. Dorsey W.M. McConnell, 58, rector, Church of the Redeemer, Chestnut Hill, Mass.;

The Rev. R. Stanley Runnels, 59, rector, St. Paul’s Church, Kansas City;

The Rev. Ruth Woodliff-Stanley, 49, rector, St. Thomas’s Church, Denver.

“Several priests from the Pittsburgh diocese decided before the nomination process began that they did not have a calling at this time to the ministry of bishop and would not allow their names to be submitted,” said a diocesan announcement of the nominees. “For others, that discernment became clearer later on in the search process.”

The diocese will accept nominees by petition until Feb. 5. “A nomination by petition requires ten signatures from individuals representing at least three parishes,” the announcement said. “Four of those signing must be canonically resident clergy, and of the six lay communicants in good standing in parishes of the diocese, three must be deputies to the diocesan convention. The petition must also include the consent signature of the person being nominated.”

The diocese will release biographical information on all nominees March 1, after reviewing and adding any nominees by petition. The election is scheduled for April 21.

More here-

Court orders occupiers out of St. Paul’s Cathedral

From The Washington Post-

Britain’s High Court on Wednesday (Jan. 18) ordered anti-corporate protesters evicted from a camp they have occupied for three months outside London’s iconic St. Paul’s Cathedral.

The demonstrators, identifying themselves as the Occupy London Stock Exchange movement, set up their camp on Oct. 15 as part of a global “Occupy” campaign targeting corporate greed.

But after a lengthy legal battle, High Court Justice Keith Lindblom granted possession orders and injunctions against the protesters to the City of London Corporation, which owns the land, calling the action “entirely lawful and justified.”

When the encampment, which eventually included some 200 tents, was set up, it forced the closure of the 17th-century St. Paul’s for the first time since World War II.

At first, cathedral authorities told London police to stay back while allowing some protesters inside the premises. The protests triggered debate within the cathedral’s clergy, leading to the resignations of Dean Graeme Knowles and Canon Chancellor Fraser Giles when the corporation pushed initially to get the demonstrators moved.

More here-

Be humble, Anglican cleric tells leaders

From ACNS-

An Anglican cleric, Ven Ugochukwu Ekeada of the Cathedral Church of All Saints, Egbu in Owerri North Local Government of Imo State, has challenged leaders at all levels, to humble themselves in their services to the nation and mankind.
In his sermon, Ven Ekeada said Nigerians and their leaders should imbibe the humility of Jesus Christ for having condescended to be baptized by John the Baptist, who had described Him as mightier than himself and whose shoes, he was not worthy to untie. He said Jesus Christ has exemplified humility by presenting himself to John the Baptist to be baptized despite his exalted position.

On the nation’s deregulation in the down stream petroleum sector, Ekeada commended President Goodluck Jonathan for cutting the salaries of the Executive arm of government and other measures which is aimed at reducing the cost of governance.

In a statement made available by the Diocesan Press Secretary, George Best Okoroh, Ekeada urged the government to ensure that these measures were not only seen to be sustained but pursued transparently in order to win the confidence and trust of skeptical Nigerians because of their perception of past governments in the country in matters of this nature. He said Mr. President, through the broadcast, was still conscious of the fact that he was elected and supported by the ordinary Nigerians and had the duty, on oat, to improve the economy to better the lot of the common man.

more here-

Working for unity between Catholics and Anglicans

From Vatican Radio-

During this week of prayer for Christian unity, the different denominations present here in Rome are hosting a full programme of liturgical and other events that can foster greater understanding of the common values and unique heritages of each tradition.
On Thursday, Rome's Centro Pro Unione and Lay Centre are holding a lecture by the editor of America Magazine, Jesuit Fr Drew Christiansen, followed by an ecumenical Celebration of the Word presided over by the director of the Anglican Centre, Canon David Richardson. The preacher at that service is Msgr Mark Langham, in charge of relations with the Anglican and Methodist Churches at the Pontifical Council for Christian Unity. Philippa Hitchen spoke with him about progress in these dialogues and about the theme for this annual week of prayer........


“It’s an extremely appropriate theme for us in the Catholic Church this year because the Holy Father has so underlined the importance of our faith in providing that ‘new look’ on the world - how faith can provide us with a way of turning what seems to be frail and weak and not going too well, into something that is wonderful and hopeful and glorious. So with the Year of Faith that he’s announced it’s a wonderful way of leading into that through this week of prayer for Christian unity…

We’re looking forward to the Synod of Bishops on the new evangelisation and that has a particularly ecumenical aspect because the Archbishop of Canterbury, Dr Rowan Williams, has been invited out to speak at some length and lead a discussion during that synod…

More here-

Christ Episcopal Church in Lynbrook has new life with the arrival of the Rev. Walter V. Hillebrand

From Long Island-

When people need help in their lives they may turn to their place of worship and seek the guidance of its staff members. But if a place of worship is in need where can those staff members turn to for help?

The Christ Episcopal Church in Lynbrook was on the verge of collapse a few months ago due to financial woes. The parish located on Blake Avenue, between Peninsula Blvd. and Merrick Road, has approximately 15 current members. Things were looking grim for Christ Church, but then a prayer was answered.

Trinity-St. John’s Episcopal Church in Hewlett was looking to branch out into other communities to aid parishes in need. Bishop Larry Provenzano has resided over the Diocese of Long Island for two years and it is his belief that all parishes should come together as one. This belief led Trinity-St. John’s to reach out to Christ Church and sent the Rev. Walter V. Hillebrand to Lynbrook. Hillebrand transferred to the Lynbrook parish in the middle of December after working the past two years at Trinity-St. Johns.

“It’s a great [opportunity] for both churches to work together and redefine how churches should (operate) in the 21st century,” Hillebrand said of the recent collaboration. He is fond of Christ Church’s diverse community and close proximity to trains and buses.

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Christian denominations in Central Louisiana cite need to work together

From Louisiana-

The Rev. Fred Tinsley of St. James Episcopal Church in Alexandria said Christians must be united in the church in order to spread the word of God.

"At our church, (during International Week of Prayer for Christian Unity), we do talk about how important it is for the church to be unified," Tinsley said. "We would love to see all Christians working together to reach non-believers of Christ."

The Rev. Wayne Carter of St. John's Episcopal Church in Minden, ecumenical officer for the Diocese of Western Louisiana, said he's been working to have more areas host Christian-unity services.

"It's extremely important for Christian churches to come together for a united-in-Christ presence," Carter said. "When we can worship together in Christ, we can present the message of Christ together."

The Rev. Ronald Herzog, bishop of the Catholic Diocese of Alexandria, presented a gift, "The Third Edition of the Roman Missal," to the Rev. David Bruce MacPherson, bishop of the Episcopal Diocese of Western Louisiana.

Chemino said MacPherson will retire this summer. Carter accepted the gift on behalf of MacPherson.

More here-

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Catholic priest brings baggage from Anglican past

From Catholic News-

Be fruitful and multiply. There is one man in England who has taken this old biblical call too seriously. His name is Ian Hellyer and together with his wife Margaret is raising not one but nine children. He is also more than well acquainted with the Holy Scriptures, being a Roman Catholic pastor, reports Vatican Insider.

Yes, that is right, he is both a father and a priest, and yet there is no excommunication on the horizon for him. The Fr Ian affair is no theological trick. The father of nine, 45, was an Anglican priest until last year and following a spiritual journey and a course of study, he decided to convert to Catholicism.

Fr Ian belongs to the Ordinariate of Our Lady of Walshingam in England and Wales. Ordinariates were established two years ago by the Holy See: they are essentially new organisations and canonical structures that allow Anglican “defectors” who wish to join the Catholic Church, to keep some of their liturgical traditions.

Above all, however, the Ordinariate grants former pastors special “permission” that authorises them to stay married. According to information obtained by the Vatican Insider from the Ordinariate and the English Episcopal Conference, there are currently 57 former Anglican pastors who have joined the Catholic Church. Forty two of these are married and Hellyer is one of them.

More here-

Nominees For Episcopal Bishop Of Pittsburgh

From the local NPR affiliate-

Four priests will stand for election as the next Bishop of the Episcopal Diocese of Pittsburgh April 21. A 16-member Standing Committee announced the slate of candidates Monday.

“Three of the final eight were from the state of Pennsylvania,” said the Very Reverend George Werner, Dean Emeritus of Trinity Cathedral and president of the nominating committee. “All the four that emerged for our particular unique situation, none of them happen to be [from] Pennsylvania.”

The four candidates are:

The Rev. Canon Michael N. Ambler, Jr., Rector of Grace Episcopal Church, Beth, Maine
The Rev. Dorsey W. M. McConnell, Rector of Church of the Redeemer, Newton, Massachusetts
The Rev. R. Stanley Runnels, Rector of St. Paul’s Episcopal Church, Kansas City, Missouri
The Rev. Ruth Woodliff-Stanley, Rector of St. Thomas Episcopal Church, Denver, Colorado
According to the Very Rev. Werner, the four have strong academic backgrounds. “They are very, very bright, but they’ve also had interesting experiences,” he said.

Members of the diocese have until February 5 to nominate additional candidates. The petitions must have ten signatures from four clergy and six lay members representing three parishes, and, of course, the approval of the proposed candidate.

More here-

Bible used to fight, defend Alabama immigration law

From Alabama-

The Bible tells its readers to obey the law, but it also tells them to welcome strangers and foreigners.

That’s left Christians divided over the issue of immigration reform, and the fight has come to Middle Tennessee.

Members of Nashville-based Clergy for Tolerance say that any new immigration laws have to mix justice with compassion. They hope to prevent Tennessee from passing immigration laws like the one in Alabama, which they say is too harsh.

But supporters of the Alabama measure say the Bible teaches that the government’s job is to enforce the law, and those who break it should be punished. The American Center for Law and Justice, a Christian legal group with local attorneys, filed a brief in federal court supporting the Alabama law.

More here-

Good Shepherd joins Lake County diaper bank effort

From Illinois-

Advocate Good Shepherd Hospital will join with other local agencies to fulfill a community need by launching the new Diaper Bank Partnership of Lake County.

This program is an extension of the St. Paul Diaper Bank Partnership started in 2009 in McHenry County by the Rev. Jim Swarthout, former rector of St. Paul Episcopal Church in McHenry. Swarthout now serves as the secretary for the National Diaper Bank and the executive director of the Samaritan Interfaith Counseling Center of the Northwest Suburbs, Barrington.

A ribbon-cutting ceremony will be at 10 a.m. Jan. 25 at the Wauconda Township Building, 505 W. Bonner Road, Wauconda.

Local social service agencies are invited to attend along with those they have helped who might have an interesting story to share.

Diapers will be supplied to the diaper bank through individuals donations, diaper drives held at local organizations such as hospitals, schools and YMCAs, and from large organizations such as Huggies, who has made a sizable donation as part of its Every Little Bottom campaign.

More here-

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

4 candidates for Episcopal bishop chosen

From The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette-

A former lawyer and a mediator are among four preliminary candidates for bishop chosen by a search committee of the Episcopal Diocese of Pittsburgh.

Members of the 32 parishes in the 11-county diocese have three weeks to petition for other names to be considered before the April 21 election. The preliminary slate is:

The Rev. Michael N. Ambler, Jr. rector of Grace Episcopal Church, Bath, Maine; the Rev. Dorsey W.M. McConnell, rector of the Church of the Redeemer, Chestnut Hill, Mass.; the Rev. R. Stanley Runnels, rector of St. Paul's Episcopal Church, Kansas City, Mo.; and the Rev. Ruth Woodliff-Stanley, rector of St. Thomas Episcopal Church, Denver.

"One of the major emphases in the search was finding people who have worked through difficulties and major problems, and helped others to work through them. All four have had experience in that," said the Rev. George Werner, president of the diocesan standing committee.

The diocese is recovering from a 2008 split, when a majority at its annual convention voted to follow its former bishop out of the Episcopal Church. There are property disputes with the resulting Anglican Diocese of Pittsburgh and, since many theological conservatives remained in the Episcopal diocese, there are also significant internal differences of perspective. Bishop Kenneth Price Jr. has served as an interim "provisional" bishop since 2009.

Read more:

CIO blocks Anglican Church meeting

From Zimbabwe-

Security forces have once again reportedly barred a meeting by Bishop Chad Gandiya of the Anglican Church, that had been scheduled to take place at Jamaica Inn just outside Harare last Friday.

The crackdown came despite Gandiya’s petition to Police Commissioner-General Augustine Chihuri condemning police action blocking Anglican Church gatherings in Mhondoro and at Peterhouse near Marondera last month, on allegations the meetings were not sanctioned.

Gandiya said the woman running Jamaica Inn had notified them members of the Central Intelligence Organisation (CIO) had instructed her not to host his members.

“She claims she was visited by members of the CIO last night, who instructed her to cancel our women’s booking.

“She was distraught and in great fear. She told our women what had happened and that they could no longer use the centre,” he said in a statement yesterday.

Last month Gandiya wrote to Chihuri expressing concern over the treatment he and other church officials received at the hands of the police after their confirmation service was interrupted at St Bernard’s School in Mhondoro.

More here-

The long Anglican Road to Rome

From The Press Republican-

In the fall of 1979, a cluster of Episcopalians made another trip to Rome seeking a haven for Anglo-Catholic believers anxious to exit their increasingly divided church.

Vatican officials agreed that it was time to petition their new leader, the young Pope John Paul II. The document was prepared and then signed on the altar of the North American Martyrs at Rome's North American College. In it, members of the Society of St. Augustine of Canterbury and other like-minded clergy made a blunt request.

"We pray and beseech your Holiness to receive and accept us into the Roman Catholic Church," they wrote, "for we are sheep not having a shepherd and would return to the care of that Holy Apostle singularly commissioned by the Divine Lord to feed his sheep."

The pope soon said "yes." But that simply opened another chapter in a long, long, story, one that continues decades later.

More here-

Altar from St. John's Episcopal Church in Jersey City ends up on eBay for $49,500

From New Jersey-

An altar from the shuttered St. John’s Episcopal Church in Jersey City has turned up on eBay, for sale by a New York importer at a nearly $50,000 price tag.

The eight-foot-high altar has an inscription on the bottom in memory of Edward F.C. Young, a banker and power broker who was one of the most influential people in Jersey City at the end of the 19th Century.

Young attended St. John’s, where he was a vestryman, and he and his family were major church benefactors, said Dennis Doran, the former senior warden at St. John’s and a current member of the Jersey City Landmarks Conservancy.

The inscription to Young on the altar, donated to the church when Young died in 1908, makes it of inestimable historic value, according to Doran.

“It ought to be in Jersey City, along with the pulpit and the lectern, which were also memorials to Young,” he said.

More here-

Monday, January 16, 2012

Science Finally Demonstrates Four Specific Ways Prayer Transforms the Human Brain

From Newsmax-

Millions of Americans believe in the power of prayer. In fact, a recent poll found that 84% of U.S. adults claim they’d prayed in the past week.

And written evidence of prayer dates back at least 5,000 years.

However, many people believe prayer has no scientific basis.

The Newsmax Health team wanted to identify what is really known about prayer, scientifically speaking.

How does prayer affect the human brain?

And does praying offer people any real benefits — mentally, physically, or emotionally?

To this end, they went out to the scientific and medical community to determine the potential benefits of prayer.

The results were so surprising that they created a free video presentation on the science behind prayer to share what they found.

Read more on Science Finally Demonstrates Four Specific Ways Prayer Transforms the Human Brain

More here-

4 candidates for bishop of Episcopal Diocese of Pittsburgh

From the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette-

The Episcopal Diocese of Pittsburgh has announced a preliminary slate of candidates for the bishop election to be held April 21.

All are parish rectors, none of them in Pennsylvania. They were chosen from 125 names submitted to a 16-member nomination committee.

The four candidates named by the committee are:

The Rev. Michael N. Ambler, Jr., rector of Grace Episcopal Church, Bath, Maine.

The Rev. Dorsey W.M. McConnell, rector of the Church of the Redeemer, Chestnut Hill, Mass.

The Rev. R. Stanley Runnels, rector of St. Paul???s Episcopal Church, Kansas City, Mo.

The Rev. Ruth Woodliff-Stanley, rector of St. Thomas Episcopal Church, Denver, Colo.

Read more:

Why Did AMiA Break Away from the Anglican Province of Rwanda?

About the AMiA Break from Rwanda-

By Dan Claire, Chuck Colson and Tommy Hinson of RenewDC

On December 5, 2011, after 11 years as a mission of the Anglican Province of Rwanda, the Anglican Mission in America (AMiA) abruptly broke away from the Church of Rwanda, thereby severing its ties to the worldwide Anglican Communion. This article and the appended timeline are an effort to summarize what happened from the perspective of the Rwandan House of Bishops, based on extensive interviews with the bishops as well as public documents.

How Did the Conflict Begin?

During the past year, the relationship of Bishop Chuck Murphy, Chairman of the AMiA, and the Rwandan House of Bishops broke down. Under new leadership last January, the House of Bishops sought to understand their working relationship with the AMiA for the sake of providing better accountability and oversight. Murphy, however, preferred to maintain the autonomy he had enjoyed under Emmanuel Kolini, the former Rwandan Archbishop. Kolini retired at the end of 2010 but has sought to remain the primary Rwandan liaison with Murphy and the AMiA. Onesphore Rwaje, the new Archbishop of Rwanda, values collaborative and collegial leadership, and has endeavored to include the entire House of Bishops in overseeing the AMiA.

More here-

Women bishops central to General Synod agenda that includes debates on assisted dying, health care

From ACNS-

The General Synod will meet at Church House from 2.15 pm on Monday 6 February until late-afternoon Thursday 9 February.

The Synod will be spending a significant amount of time on the major legislative process designed to make it possible for women to be bishops while also making some provision for those who, for theological reasons, will not be able to receive their ministry. This will be the present Synod’s first opportunity to engage with that process since it was elected 18 months ago.

There will be four separate items of business dealing with different aspects of this complicated process, on the Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday. These include fine-tuning of the draft Measure and consideration of making specific requests to the House of Bishops in relation to the next stage of the process in May. In addition, the Synod will have a presentation and opportunity for questions on the report from a working group on an illustrative draft Code of Practice that would be made once the legislation had been approved. These debates lead towards a possible final debate in July.

Other items of legislative business include the approval of an Order that completes a new framework for the charging of fees for weddings, funerals etc and the revision of a draft Measure amending aspects of the Clergy Discipline Measure 2003.

More here-

Ugandan Anglican leader has drawn both praise and criticism

From Ekklesia-

He is described as charismatic, intelligent and humble in Uganda and the Global South, but Anglican Archbishop Henry Orombi, who will be leaving office this year, has also been criticised in the Anglican Communion for his hardline stance concerning homosexuality - writes Fredrick Nzwili.

On 7 January 2012 Orombi told the Church of Uganda's house of bishops to prepare to elect his successor in June. His ten-year term was set to expire in January 2014 before he turned 65. His decision to seek early retirement comes after serving for seven years.

The Christians he serves say Orombi has transformed his church, but his hard-line stand concerning issues within the Anglican Communion also earned him criticisms.

"I think he is the best Archbishop the Church of Uganda has ever had. He has been a faithful servant of God. He had charisma and development-oriented spirit. He will terribly be missed," Bishop Edward Muhima of North Kigezi, who retired last June, told ENInews in a telephone interview on 11 January.

Despina Namwembe, regional coordinator of United Religions Initiative, a Ugandan organisation with members from Christianity, Islam, Baha'i and Buddhism, said he was an example for secular politicians. "Most of the political leaders decline leaving power ... but this is a good precedent," she was quoted as saying in the Daily Monitor newspaper on 10 January.

However, Bishop Christopher Ssenyonjo, the Anglican cleric whom the church defrocked in 2006 over his ministry to homosexuals, said he hoped the bishops would elect a leader who is more understanding on issues of human sexuality.

More here-

I have a dream

Let us not wallow in the valley of despair, I say to you today, my friends.

And so even though we face the difficulties of today and tomorrow, I still have a dream. It is a dream deeply rooted in the American dream.

I have a dream that one day this nation will rise up and live out the true meaning of its creed: "We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal."

I have a dream that one day on the red hills of Georgia, the sons of former slaves and the sons of former slave owners will be able to sit down together at the table of brotherhood.

I have a dream that one day even the state of Mississippi, a state sweltering with the heat of injustice, sweltering with the heat of oppression, will be transformed into an oasis of freedom and justice.

I have a dream that my four little children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin but by the content of their character.

I have a dream today!

I have a dream that one day, down in Alabama, with its vicious racists, with its governor having his lips dripping with the words of "interposition" and "nullification" -- one day right there in Alabama little black boys and black girls will be able to join hands with little white boys and white girls as sisters and brothers.

I have a dream today!

I have a dream that one day every valley shall be exalted, and every hill and mountain shall be made low, the rough places will be made plain, and the crooked places will be made straight; "and the glory of the Lord shall be revealed and all flesh shall see it together."2

This is our hope, and this is the faith that I go back to the South with.

With this faith, we will be able to hew out of the mountain of despair a stone of hope. With this faith, we will be able to transform the jangling discords of our nation into a beautiful symphony of brotherhood. With this faith, we will be able to work together, to pray together, to struggle together, to go to jail together, to stand up for freedom together, knowing that we will be free one day.

Entire speech here-

Fond du Lac, Eau Claire Episcopal dioceses may combine some programs

From Wisconsin-

Two of the three Episcopal dioceses in Wisconsin voted narrowly to remain separate dioceses last year but are studying ways they can combine programs.

Delegates of the dioceses of Fond du Lac and Eau Claire, at their conventions in October, turned down the opportunity to merge their administrative functions under one bishop.

But Bishop Russell Jacobus of the Diocese of Fond du Lac said discussions are ongoing about cooperative ministry.

"The decision to become one diocese has not been approved so it's no longer on the table," Jacobus said. "However, one of the things we discovered was the possibility of doing ministry together."

He said youth ministry and renewal programs are among the programs that could work together. A combined vestry school for both dioceses will be held in March.

The Diocese of Milwaukee is the other Episcopal diocese in the state.

more here-

Sunday, January 15, 2012

Diocese Announces Preliminary Slate for Bishop Election

From Pittsburgh-

The Standing Committee of the Episcopal Diocese of Pittsburgh takes great joy in presenting its preliminary slate of four priests who will stand for election in April to become the next Bishop of Pittsburgh.

The slate is preliminary because the diocese now enters a short period during which names may be added to the ballot by petition.

The preliminary slate was unanimously recommended by the Nominating Committee and unanimously accepted by the Standing Committee. The candidates, in alphabetical order, are:

More here

Courting Episcopalians

From The LA Times-

In a provocative act with religious and cultural implications, Pope Benedict XVI has created an ordinariate — similar to a diocese — for disaffected Episcopalians who are converting to Roman Catholicism. It will be headed by a married former Episcopal bishop, and it will allow congregations that make the switch to retain aspects of the Anglican liturgy, including the majestic Book of Common Prayer. The defection of Episcopalians en masse might seem of interest only to students of religion, but it illustrates a larger point: that the culture wars that rage outside stained-glass windows have come to dominate debates within and among Christian churches.

The alleged "poaching" of Episcopalians — and Anglicans in Britain — would have been unthinkable in the 1970s when, in the aftermath of the Second Vatican Council, a commission of Roman Catholic and Anglican bishops and theologians reached "substantial agreement" on issues that had divided the churches since the Reformation: the meaning of Holy Communion and the ordained ministry. The hope was that Roman Catholics and Anglicans would eventually achieve corporate reunion in which Anglicans would retain many of their traditions, including a married priesthood.

More here-,0,6437551.story

Episcopal dioceses may combine programs

From Wisconsin-

Two of the three Episcopal dioceses in Wisconsin voted narrowly to remain separate dioceses last year but are studying ways they can combine programs.

Delegates of the dioceses of Fond du Lac and Eau Claire, at their conventions in October, turned down the opportunity to merge their administrative functions under one bishop.

But Bishop Russell Jacobus of the Diocese of Fond du Lac said discussions are ongoing about cooperative ministry.

"The decision to become one diocese has not been approved so it's no longer on the table," Jacobus said. "However, one of the things we discovered was the possibility of doing ministry together."

He said youth ministry and renewal programs are among the programs that could work together. A combined vestry school for both dioceses will be held in March.

The Diocese of Milwaukee is the other Episcopal diocese in the state.

More here-