Saturday, March 31, 2012
A Northeast Valley Episcopal church plans to resurrect the shell of an unfinished office building in north Scottsdale and transform it into a house of worship.
If all goes well, the Episcopal Church of the Nativity will hold services by Christmas in its new church at 22405 N. Miller Road, which is southeast of the former Rawhide theme park.
A monument to the recession, the foundation and walls of the 24,500-square-foot two-story building have been an eyesore in the Sonoran Hills neighborhood.
"It will be a wonderful home for the Christmas celebration," the Rev. Susan Snook said. "We're excited about being part of that neighborhood."
The Episcopal Church of the Nativity, like other commercial and residential buyers, has found a silver lining in the real-estate collapse of four years ago with far more affordable prices for property in Scottsdale.
The church paid $700,000 for the unfinished building, Snook said.
A developer started construction on the office building in 2007, but it came to a halt after the foundation and walls were erected, and the property went into foreclosure.
From Ft. Worth
The Rev. Carlye Hughes never dreamed that she would return to her hometown and become rector of one of the city's most prominent Episcopal churches.
Hughes was chosen from 28 applicants to become the 18th rector of Trinity Episcopal Church, just south of Texas Christian University.
She has resigned as rector of St. Peter's Episcopal Church in Peekskill, N.Y., and is expected to preach her first sermon at Trinity on June 2.
"I'm very excited about coming back home, and especially to Trinity," she said.
Hughes and her family -- including her father, legendary retired Dunbar High School basketball coach Robert Hughes; mother, Jacqueline; brother and current Dunbar coach, Robert Jr.; and sister, Robin Hughes -- all attended St. Simon of Cyrene Episcopal Church in Fort Worth's Stop Six neighborhood.
"Back then in Fort Worth, women were not ordained," she said. "Girls were not on the altar at all. We could sing in the choir. I never thought much about it. I knew what a priest looked like, and he didn't look like me."
She also credits Our Lady of Victory Catholic School and Nolan Catholic High School for nurturing her spiritually.
Read more here:
Friday, March 30, 2012
From Christian Post-
First proposed in 2004 amid the controversy surrounding some member churches' acceptance of homosexuality and female clergy, the covenant laid a process to deal with any church seen as possibly disrupting the unity of the 77 million member Anglican Communion.
Championed by outgoing Archbishop of Canterbury Dr. Rowan Williams, the covenant was declared defeated after the 23 nay votes had been cast out of the 44 Dioceses of the Church of England.
Howard Dobson, media officer for the Church of England Council of the Archbishop, told The Christian Post that the vote has a wide-reaching effect on the attempted "unity covenant."
"The Covenant is clearly now not going to receive the support of the majority of synods and as a result the General Synod will not be able to give it final approval once the diocesan reference process is complete," said Dobson.
"The Synod will need to debate the diocesan results either in July or February and that will provide an opportunity for reflection on the implications, not least in the context of the progress of consideration of the Covenant elsewhere in the Communion."
Dobson believes that "it is too early at the moment to offer views on what the diocesan decision means. This is something for further discussion both within the [Church of England] and within the Communion itself."
From The Church Times-
THE Archbishop of Canterbury warned this week that challenges in the Anglican Communion “will not go away”. Dr Williams was speaking after a majority of diocesan synods rejected the Anglican Covenant.
Last weekend, three more diocesan synods — Lincoln, Oxford, and Guildford — voted against the Covenant. Three others — Blackburn, Exeter, and Peterborough — endorsed it. This brought the total number of diocesan synods in favour of the Covenant to 15, and the total number against to 23.
Since a majority of dioceses have voted against, it will not return to the General Synod during this quinquennium (2011-15).
Speaking on Monday, Dr Williams said: “This is, of course, a disappointing outcome for many of us in the Church of England and many more in the Communion. Unfortunately, the challenges the Covenant was meant to address will not go away just because people vote against it.
"We shall still have to work at vehicles for consultation and managing disagreement. And nothing should lessen the priority of sustaining relationships, especially with some of those smaller and vulnerable Churches for whom strong international links are so crucial.”
The Bishop of Oxford, the Rt Revd John Pritchard, a patron of the Yes to the Covenant Coalition, said on Tuesday that he was “disappointed”; but “we have to trust the mind of the Church. I simply hope that the Anglican Communion can flourish a different way, without what I thought was its best hope.”
The Bishop of Buckingham, Dr Alan Wilson, who voted against the Covenant in Oxford diocesan synod, said that its defeat in the C of E was an “opportunity to grow up, to take stock, and to get real. It’s very sad that a large number of bishops were out of touch on this one.”
From The Washington Post-
May the members of a congregation leave a hierarchical denomination and take the church property with them?
At great cost in time, effort, money and friendship — on both sides — the answer for the Episcopal Church in Virginia is no.
Many have followed this case and shared their opinions, both supporting and criticizing our effort to return Episcopal properties to the mission of the Episcopal Church. It’s tempting for this dispute to be about property, or politics, or just plain money. But the essence of the dispute is about theology itself.
Many denominations have a governance (“polity”) that allows for congregational self-determination. For hierarchical bodies, such as the Episcopal, Roman Catholic, Lutheran, United Methodist and Presbyterian churches, it is quite a different matter. In these churches, local congregations represent and witness to the larger structure. Our polity has been established and codified for almost 2,000 years and is the result of a theological view of what the Church is and how it should be governed.
From Central Florida-
Two days after he was consecrated as bishop of the Episcopal Diocese of Central Florida, Gregory Brewer was marching Monday with the crowd demanding justice for Trayvon Martin.
He was the only white clergyman to address the Sanford City Commission inside the Civic Center that evening, urging city leaders to address the concerns of the black community.
"I thought it was very courageous," said Andy Searles, a pastor with Aloma United Methodist Church in Winter Park. "It would have been very easy for him to sit in his office and organize the paperwork on his desk, but he made a statement of what the church should be."
Brewer characterized it not as an act of courage but as one of faith and commitment to his diocese, which covers 15 counties and has 31,000 Episcopalians. It was the most direct way for him to make a public statement about what kind of Episcopal bishop he intends to be.
"Part of what I'm trying to do is chart a course of what my role is as bishop in Central Florida. I don't want to hide out with my local churches. My role is to be involved in the life of my community as a Christian presence," said Brewer, 60, who remembers Klan marches growing up in Richmond, Va.
Brewer, who was ordained in Central Florida and spent 16 years here, was rector of a small, multicultural church in downtown Manhattan when elected to succeed Bishop John W. Howe, who retired after serving 22 years. Apart from his opposition to ordaining gay priests, Howe was a low-key leader given more to intellectual study than community involvement.
Thursday, March 29, 2012
From New Zealand- (Watch the video)
A provocative Auckland church known for stirring up debate has unveiled its new billboard in the lead-up to Easter.
The billboard erected at the front of St-Matthew's-in-the-City today depicts a Facebook photo album with Jesus on the cross as the main image. Directly below, the image is "liked" by Judas Iscariot.
"We decided to make a joke about the propensity of Christians to lay blame," said Reverend Glynn Cardy.
"When Jesus died people sought blame. They blamed Judas, they blamed the Jews and they blamed each other. Today, people still blame themselves because of the idea that Jesus died for our sins."
Cardy believes the new billboard isn't as risqué as previous offerings.
In the lead-up to Christmas, St Matthew's erected a billboard featuring the Virgin Mary with a shocked expression as she looks at the result of a pregnancy test.
The billboard was vandalised by Catholic Action Group member Arthur Skinner who said at the time the image caused "outrage" among "half a million Catholics in New Zealand".
"People were upset when we did the Virgin Mary billboard - so this one is tamer in the sense that there's not much conflict and it doesn't push the same kind of buttons," Cardy said.
"The only controversial thing about Easter is if people literally believe that Jesus rose from the dead. Some people might be upset, but it creates an argument.
"We believe argument is healthy because there is more than one view and we listen to each other's views. I don't think that's negative."
From Christian Century-
With the Anglican Covenant aimed at ensuring its unity now apparently in ashes and the archbishop of Canterbury who backed it on his way out, the 77 million-strong Anglican Communion faces an uncertain future and the danger of fragmentation.
The covenant, born of an idea in 2004 to try to retain the Christian alliance's union, now appears buried in the decision of its mother church, the Church of England, by a majority "no" vote in its 44 dioceses to ditch it.
With results still being counted, Covenant supporters effectively lost their battle when the Diocese of Lincoln cast the 23rd vote against it last week.
The Lincoln vote meant that more than half of the Churcn of England dioceses had turned thumbs down on the Anglican Covenant, which apparently also means it will not go back to the General Synod for reconsideration, diocese officials said.
Reaction was swift. "The covenant is either buried or disabled," said Simon Barrow, co-director of the religious think tank Ekklesia, in the aftermath of the decision.
Diarmaid MacCulloch, professor of the history of the Church at Oxford University, said: "It seems to me the scheme is dead in the water throughout the Anglican Communion. "There really would be no point in other provinces signing up to it, since already some are most reluctant to do so."
The Anglican Covenant had been billed widely as a way to heal the growing splits in the Anglican Church over a range of issues that center on same-sex unions and homosexual bishops.
One of its firmest supporters was Archbishop of Canterbury Rowan Williams, who backed the covenant's call to members of the Anglican Communion to guard against acting in a fashion that could antagonize Anglicans in other countries.
The heavens opened, the skies poured torrential rain but it didn’t dampen spirits as more than 600 people packed St. James Episcopal Church for a March 25 live-streamed Solemn Festival Eucharist joyously celebrating the congregation’s century of ministry in downtown Los Angeles.
The Rev. Dr. Paul Kowalewski, St. James’ rector, said he had joked with Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori , who was preacher and celebrant, that “we all know it never rains in Southern California, so she assured me it was holy water, indeed.
“So we are blessed with God’s holy water for the next hundred years,” he said amid laughter.
“Today’s celebration is about a century long conversation between God and God’s people in this place,” the presiding bishop told the congregation during her sermon (full text here). “God planted an invitation in the heart of Bishop [Joseph Horsfall] Johnson (the diocese’s first bishop), a newly minted priest named Noel Porter (the first rector), and a small band of disciples in this city of angels.
“It is just possible that the diversity of St. James today has some roots in Porter’s history, for he was born in India to an English father and a mother from the West Indies. He did go to USC, which was enough to make this immigrant an honorary Californian and an Angeleno – and the tradition of welcome into this community continues!”
Wednesday, March 28, 2012
Something very significant in the history of the Church of England happened on Saturday. An absolute majority of dioceses in the Church of England, debating diocese by diocese, voted down a pernicious scheme called the Anglican Covenant. This was an effort to increase the power of centralising bureaucracy throughout the worldwide Anglican communion. However much the promoters denied it, the principal aim was to discipline Anglican churches in the United States and Canada, which had the gall to think for themselves and, after much prayer and discussion, to treat gay people just like anybody else.
Diocesan synods voted against the covenant, often in the face of great pressure from the vast majority of English bishops, who frequently made sure that the case for the covenant dominated proceedings. The bishops also exerted a certain amount of emotional blackmail, suggesting that if the scheme didn’t pass, it would be very upsetting for the archbishop of Canterbury (cue for synod members to watch a podcast from said archbishop, looking sad even while commending the covenant).
Well, it didn’t work, and now those particular bishops need to consider their position, as the saying goes. Principally, they need to consider a killer statistic: as the voting has taken place in the dioceses (and there are still a few to go), the pattern has been consistent. Around 80% of the bishops have voted in favour of the covenant, but the clergy and laity votes have split around 50-50 for and against, with votes against nudging ahead among the clergy. That suggests an episcopate that is seriously out of touch, not just with the nation as a whole (we knew that already), but even with faithful Anglican churchgoers and clergy in England.
From ENS (Roger served in Pittsburgh years ago)
At historic meetings this month, the boards of Seabury Western Theological Seminary in Chicago and Bexley Hall in Columbus unanimously voted to federate and to elect the Rev. Roger Albert Ferlo, Ph.D., D.D., as the Federation’s first president. Ferlo, who is currently the associate dean and director of the Institute of Christian Formation and Leadership at Virginia Theological Seminary, where he also serves as professor of religion and culture, will take up his duties on July 1.
“As we searched for a new president, we asked ourselves what kind of leaders the Episcopal Church of the 21st century needs,” said the Rev. Gwynne Wright, chair of the Seabury Board of Trustees and co-chair of the presidential search committee. “Roger embodies that ideal, and we are eager for him to lead the formation of our next generation of students.”
Since 2007, Bexley and Seabury have worked to assess their compatibility for possible partnership in serving the Episcopal Church in the Midwest and beyond. In 2010, the boards of the two schools began to hold joint meetings. Between February 2011 and March 2012, they operated according to an interim joint partnership agreement under which their boards have met jointly. During that time, the two seminaries have begun the process of combining communications, development programs and financial services. The votes earlier this month brought the Federation into being.
From The Washington Post-
A proposed “Covenant” aimed at ensuring unity across the worldwide Anglican Communion appears to have failed, leaving the world’s third-largest Christian body facing an uncertain and likely fragmented future.
The covenant, born of an idea in 2004 to try to set boundaries in belief and practice for the Communion’s 40 members churches, appears dead after a majority of dioceses within the Church of England voted to reject it.
With results still being counted, supporters of the Covenant effectively lost their battle within the Church of England when the Diocese of Lincoln cast the 23rd vote against it last week.
“The covenant is either buried or disabled,” said Simon Barrow, co-director of the independent British think tank Ekklesia, in the aftermath of the decision.
Diarmaid MacCulloch, professor of church history at Oxford University, chimed in: “It seems to me the scheme is dead in the water throughout the Anglican Communion. There really would be no point in other provinces signing up to it, since already some are most reluctant to do so.”
MARK Saturday, March 31, 2012, as a “purple letter” day in all the colourful, and at times stormy, 224-year presence of the Anglican Church in Australia.
For this is the day when the Church’s NSW province finally sees a woman consecrated as a bishop, and thus wear the distinctive purple of episcopal office.
But, all too true to Anglican form in NSW, when a newly-consecrated Assistant Bishop Genieve Blackwell walks from Goulburn’s St. Saviour’s Cathedral accompanied by upwards of 20 other bishops – all men – her elevation will not be without controversy.
With her in the long procession of church dignitaries leaving the Cathedral will be the other bishop consecrated that day, Ian Lambert. But - unfair to both - most eyes, cameras, interviews, and conjecture will centre on Genieve Blackwell.
Usually, such an important landmark in Anglican history as a women’s consecration would see the Archbishop of Sydney, as Metropolitan of NSW, and Consecrator of all bishops in the province, presiding at the ceremony.
However, Sydney under Archbishop Peter Jensen, is now one of a minority of dioceses in Australia implacably opposed to the ordination of women priests, let alone consecration of female bishops.
Tuesday, March 27, 2012
From The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette-
The congregation of St. David's Anglican Church in Peters will hand over its property, its name and its debt of nearly $1 million to the Episcopal Diocese of Pittsburgh and start over in a former Catholic church in Canonsburg.
The move is the latest in a property dispute between the Episcopal Diocese of Pittsburgh and the rival Anglican Diocese of Pittsburgh. The diocese split in 2008, with a majority leaving the Episcopal Church for the theologically conservative Anglican Church in North America.
St. David's is among a number of Anglican congregations whose deed was held by the Episcopal diocese, which had guaranteed bank loans for a $3 million construction project in 2002. Although the Episcopal diocese had announced a plan to negotiate over the property of such parishes last year, talks have been on hold while the diocese completes a strategic planning process.
The 250-member congregation was paying $10,000 a month on a remaining $990,000 mortgage, which will now become the responsibility of the Episcopal diocese.
"The congregation was very interested in trying to reach a negotiated settlement but was unable to do so. It wasn't that they were happy to be dumping this [debt] on the diocese. They tried to negotiate and were unable to do that successfully," said David Trautman, spokesman for the Anglican Diocese of Pittsburgh.
From The New Yorker-
If you don’t like living in a drafty palace, being Archbishop of Canterbury is a no-win job. Rowan Williams—who earlier this month decided that he would leave that palace for the cozier precincts of Magdalen College, Cambridge, in December—would probably admit to knowing this when he took the job, ten years ago, with a flock already on the brink of schism.
He wanted to mend fences, and he was famously respectful, or, as he called it, “democratic.” He said repeatedly that Lambeth Palace was not the Vatican, and that he was “not a pope.” He was being accurate. He may have been the head of the Church of England (Primate of All England is the official title), not to mention the spiritual leader of an international Anglican Communion of eighty million Christians, but he liked to remind you that his only formal authority was in his own Archdiocese of Canterbury and its cathedral. The rest, he told me, during a particularly bad moment in the church’s battle over elevating women bishops and ordaining openly gay priests, was guidance. No one was forced to listen.
Williams is a scholar (philosophy and theology), a teacher (Oxford and Cambridge), and a writer (more than thirty books, including a poetry collection, a biography of Dostoyevsky, and a luminous reflection on the nature of art and love, called “Grace and Necessity”), as well as a priest. In other words, he is a thinker in a world of increasingly harsh theologies. His critics liked to compare him to Barack Obama, because he saw “three sides of any argument” and, as often as not, chose none. The comparison was apt, because, like the President, Williams “reached out” across the aisle—or the transept—to the people most likely to ignore him. He believed that with reason, compassion, and accommodation, he could reconcile a warring clergy.
A majority of dioceses in the Church of England have voted down the proposed Anglican Covenant, a set of principles intended to bind the Anglican Communion provinces despite theological differences and cultural disputes.
The six diocesan synods meeting and voting on the covenant this past weekend brought the current figures to 23 against and 15 in favor, out of a total of 44 dioceses throughout the Church of England. The church’s General Synod, in November 2010, voted in favor of continuing the process towards adopting the Anglican Covenant and asked the church’s dioceses for their input.
Following the recent news, the Rev. Canon Kenneth Kearon, secretary general of the Anglican Communion, issued a statement “to clarify the current situation across the Anglican Communion,” he said, noting that seven out of 38 provinces have “approved, or subscribed” to the covenant, with the Anglican Church of Southern Africa having adopted the document pending ratification at its next synod meeting later this year.
The seven provinces, Kearon said, are the Anglican churches of Ireland, Mexico, Myanmar, Papua New Guinea, South East Asia, Southern Cone of America, and the West Indies.
Meanwhile, the Episcopal Church in the Philippines bishops have formally rejected the covenant and Maori action in the Anglican Church in Aotearoa, New Zealand and Polynesia last November means that it will be voted down when it comes before the province’s General Synod in July 2012.
In the U.S.-based Episcopal Church, the Executive Council agreed at its October 2011 meeting to submit a resolution to General Convention that would have it state that the church is “unable to adopt the Anglican Covenant in its present form.”
The Rt. Rev. M. Thomas Shaw, SSJE, Bishop of The Episcopal Diocese of Massachusetts announced the selection of artist Donald Lipski to complete the long-unfinished pediment of the Cathedral Church of St. Paul at 138 Tremont St, in Boston, as part of major renovation plans in celebration of the 100th anniversary of its dedication as the diocesan cathedral. Lipski’s proposal incorporates a non-traditional sculpture depicting a cross-section of a chambered nautilus placed against a blue field, to be dramatically lit at night.
The installation of the sculpture is planned to coincide with the rededication and celebration of the 100th anniversary as the diocesan Cathedral on October 7, 2012. The projected budget for the pediment sculpture is integrated into a major comprehensive campaign by the Diocese for the Cathedral renovation and a number of other programs. The pediment has been empty since the building’s completion in 1820. St. Paul’s occupies an important location, fronting the Boston Common, the nation’s oldest park. The church’s original founders commissioned Alexander Parris and Solomon Willard in 1818 to construct a building that embodied the new nation’s democratic ideals.
From that vision came the Church of St. Paul, the city’s first Greek revival building, consecrated in 1820. Its dedication as a cathedral took place in 1912, making it the only Greek revival cathedral in North America. Donald Lipski is an internationally recognized artist specializing in public art projects. His career spans over 30 years and includes major works in many cities across America. A resident of Philadelphia, Lipski states, “As an artist, I feel great responsibility for every sculpture I place in the public sphere. However, this particular project calls upon every aspect of my creative force and I welcome such an exciting challenge.” Bishop Shaw noted, “We are doing something bold and extraordinary with the front of our cathedral church because what God has given us to share with the world in Jesus Christ is bold and extraordinary.
This sculpture is a major contribution to the public art life of Boston, and it is also a profound one, because the simple beauty of it conveys complex symbolism broadly to anyone passing by, while also being deeply Christian in the way it draws us into the mystery and creativity of the Divine. I’m especially proud of our cathedral church for doing the work of Jesus Christ, feeding the hungry and welcoming the stranger, and now our façade will invite everyone into the beauty of that.”
Monday, March 26, 2012
One question facing the Episcopal Diocese of Pittsburgh is its relationship with Trinity School for Ministry in Ambridge, which remains chartered as an Episcopal seminary although it dropped "Episcopal" from its name several years ago.
Founded as an evangelical alternative to liberal Episcopal seminaries, its graduates filled local pulpits and some Episcopalians blame it for hostilities that led to the diocesan split. Archbishop Robert Duncan of the Anglican Church in North America, the former Episcopal bishop of Pittsburgh and leader of the rival Anglican Diocese of Pittsburgh, is a vice-chairman of its board.
But Trinity graduates continue to have prominent roles in the Episcopal diocese, the Rev. Scott Quinn among them. On Tuesday he was among three candidates questioned about the seminary.
Rev. Quinn spoke well of the education he had received there, but said that after his decision to remain in the Episcopal Church, "I feel I am not welcomed" on campus. He called the idea of a diocesan ban on Trinity graduates "ridiculous."
"That's just like saying any other discriminatory thing," he said. "But if the people there want to be part of the Episcopal Church, they have to understand it is a diverse group."
The immediate future of the Anglican Communion Covenant is now uncertain. Rowan Williams, Archbishop of Canterbury, hoped that by setting down some simple rules for the worldwide Anglican Communion he might prevent it breaking up.
Each of the forty-four Provinces, spread across one hundred and sixty five countries and more than eighty million people, were requested in December 2009 ‘to consider it for adoption according to their own internal procedures’.
Although the Scottish Episcopal Church has roots that are different, nearly all the Communion owes its origins to the Church of England and so the outcome of its internal procedures, as the Mother Church, carries great significance.
The Church of England’s General Synod accepted the Covenant and sent it to each of its forty-four dioceses for a decision - an unusual procedure in England more familiar to the Church of Scotland and its presbyteries. Only if a majority of the dioceses agreed to the Covent would it come back to the General Synod.
One by one Diocesan Synods have been meeting across England and now about three quarters have made their decision. By this past week some twenty-three have turned it down. And that’s more than half. General Synod rules say that without a majority the matter cannot return to the Synod during its lifetime. Synods last five years and this one expires in 2015.
The Scottish Episcopal Church is a Province of the Anglican Communion. So what is the Scottish Episcopal General Synod to do when it meets in June?
From North Carolina-
Patricia Lee-Pirog's voice trembles and she chokes back a tear as she gives a tour of the simple yet invaluable treasures her group will send to America's armed forces overseas — and photos of those who are enjoying them.
“Look at their faces opening the boxes,” Pirog, pointing to one of several photo collages. said Sunday before adding, “As you can imagine, this is very emotional.”
Pirog is the chairwoman for the local chapter of Operation Toasty Toes, a national volunteer program that supplies knitted and crocheted comfort items to U.S. troops. On Sunday, her group hosted its 10th anniversary celebration in the community building at St. John in the Wilderness Episcopal Church.
“A lot of people think I do it because I have children in the service, and I don't,” Pirog said. “I was brought up for God, family, country. When I found out about the program and I know how to knit and crochet ... I realized I found my real niche, and this is what I had to do. It's my way of giving back to our country, and the troops have to know there are people at home who care about them.”
Those being served their meals may not have noticed, but a lot has changed behind the scenes at St. George's free public soup kitchen.
While the soup kitchen still provides hot meals to the needy three days a week at Grace Episcopal Church, its management has undergone some significant changes in recent weeks. Those changes, organizers say, will foster stability and provide certainty to what was previously an uncertain future.
"It's as strong now as it was," said Jim Roberts, who has been serving as the soup kitchen's co-director for the past two weeks. "By the first of May, we'll be twice as strong."
Earlier this month, nonprofit shelter and food pantry Dixie Care and Share took over operation of the soup kitchen, which had been operated by local restaurant owners Rich and Jessica Rivera since 2009. The Care and Share will ensure the soup kitchen keeps its nonprofit, tax-exempt status and will support the kitchen's management by funding the position of soup kitchen director.
The historic St. George's Church in Schenectady's historic Stockade neighborhood made some notable history on Sunday.
The parish had its first Mass under a new arrangement never before tried in the Episcopal Church in which a unit of a conservatively led diocese breaks away to be coached by a more liberal one.
The goal is to open the church to more ideas, such as allowing gays to become pastors or feel more welcome or the words of the Scripture to be read for modern interpretation.
The congregates of the more than 250-year-old church, a modest stone building near the Mohawk River, did something no other group anywhere in the Episcopal world has done before, according to church leaders.
The St. George worshipers creatively used a process called "Delegated Episcopal Pastoral Oversight," or DEPO, to roam from the theological orientation of the Episcopal Diocese of Albany, a bastion of conservative thinking, according to church elders.
Sunday, March 25, 2012
From The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette-
Three years after a traumatic split took the majority of its parishes, the Episcopal Diocese of Pittsburgh is poised to become the first of four such fractured dioceses to elect a permanent bishop.
Five candidates visited the 11-county diocese last week. They have diverse convictions on some issues that led to the split. But all pledged to avoid imposing their own agenda on the 32 parishes, which range theologically from evangelical to moderately liberal. All have experience with mediation or reconciliation among feuding Episcopalians. All have led the revival of tiny parishes similar to many here.
And all intend to spend more time in parishes than in an office.
"The next bishop will have to be a missionary bishop, not an administrator," said the Rev. R. Stanley Runnels, 60, rector of St. Paul's Church in Kansas City, Mo., in a view expressed by all candidates.
The Rev. Scott Quinn, 57, rector of the Church of the Nativity in Crafton since 1983 and a top aide to the interim Bishop Kenneth Price, displayed his knowledge of the diocese, while the others focused on their desire to listen and learn. The Rev. Michael Ambler, 47, and rector of Grace Church in Bath, Maine, is a former attorney and self-described theological centrist whose professional training in mediation has been utilized by congregations in crisis. He emphasized his high view of scripture, describing a visit to the site where Jesus is said to have fed 5,000 from five loaves and two fish.
Andudu Adam Elnail, an Episcopalian bishop from the Nuba Mountains region of Sudan, and George Tuto, a resident of the Nuba Mountains area, will be speaking three times Sunday at St. Stephen’s Episcopal Church.
They will be at the 9:30 a.m. Holy Eucharist and in the Parish Hall for a program from 11 a.m. to noon. Elnail and Tutu will also be at the 1 p.m. Sudanese Arabic language service.
The two men will be talking about the medical mission that has just been completed and the teaching mission they hope to begin.
Elnail has spoken at St. Stephen’s Episcopal Church previously.
He also has spoken at numerous locations around the United States about the continued violence in his homeland.
A YouTube video of Elnail speaking at The Episcopal Academy in Pennsylvania shows him tracing the long history of the conflict in Sudan, which he said has its roots in the year 1956, when the British ended colonial rule of Sudan.