A CONFERENCE of leaders from the Global South has emphasised the strength of the worldwide Anglican Church.
In a communiqué that focused on mission, it was agreed that the strength of the Anglican Church lay in its presence throughout the world, and its unity.
The final statement said: "The nature of the global Anglican Church affords us an opportunity to serve, work, and learn together. This is a gift from God to the world. . . Our unity is both a witness and a conduit by which this work and witness flow."
Delegates, including some from what the communiqué describes as "orthodox Anglican churches in the West", attended the five-day conference in Bangkok, on the theme of mission and networking. They agreed "we can expect a resurgence of traditional religious-cultural groups on the one hand, and hardened secularism and materialism on the other. In the face of these challenges, our greatest need is for discipleship to take root and go deep."
The conference statement said that the Global South was committed to a "strong society marked by the rise of a civil society, political stability, sustainable economy, reduction of poverty, and the eradication of all forms of violence, endemic diseases, and corruption".
The tone of the statement was different from previous communiqués issued after Global South conferences, which have attacked moves by the US Episcopal Church, in particular, to ordain gay clergy.
From the time Susan E. Goff was a little girl, she aspired to a role that women weren't allowed to fill.
"I grew up wanting to be a priest for my entire life, as long as I can remember," she said.
Four years after the Episcopal Church voted in 1976 to allow females to be priests and bishops, she was ordained as a priest at St. John's Church in Tappahannock.
After serving in that role in Virginia for 32 years, Goff this weekend will be ordained as the first female bishop of the Episcopal Diocese of Virginia, breaking through what she called the "stained-glass ceiling."
"It feels a little awesome, terrifying, a huge responsibility and a great privilege," said Goff, 59, of Richmond, sitting in the church's offices in the Mayo Memorial Church House in Richmond.
Goff, formerly the chaplain of St. Catherine's School, said she is excited that when she begins serving with two male bishops, the Rt. Rev. Shannon S. Johnston, the bishop of the Diocese of Virginia, and the Rt. Rev. Edwin F. "Ted" Gulick Jr., the assistant bishop, "no one is left out."
"People are going to look at the altar … and women and girls will see a reflection of themselves," said Goff, noting that the church historically has excluded women from leadership roles.
From Central Florida (if he's working at New Covenant Anglican Church (an AMiA parish) its doubtful that he's an Episcopal Priest)
The State Attorney's Office released video of investigators interviewing Brian Shriner, 46, a former Geneva School teacher and Episcopal priest at New Covenant Anglican Church in Winter Springs, shortly after his arrest.
Shriner was arrested in June, after he was accused of chatting with a detective posing as a 14-year-old girl online, investigators say he then traveled to Winter Springs to meet the minor for sex, instead he was met by deputies.
"I can guarantee nothing like this will ever happen with me again," said Shriner during the interview. "I was just planning on sitting and talking to her, I know this sounds crazy," he said.
During the interview Shriner gives investigators an explanation for what happened, telling them he's writing a novel, and he was meeting the girl for research.
"This is one aspect of the book," Shriner said. "This guy goes through a mid-life crisis where he works for California Soft -- there's a level of lust and there's several stories that develop on the level of lust, and I wanted to look at one of them to deal with this," Shriner said in the video.
THE worldwide Anglican Church risks a permanent split unless someone committed to traditional values is chosen as the new Archbishop of Canterbury, the leaders of 55 million churchgoers have warned.
In a major intervention in the selection process, an alliance of archbishops and bishops from four continents has written directly to the selection committee urging them to choose someone prepared to halt a drift towards liberal values on issues such as homosexuality.
The next Archbishop must be willing to “uphold the orthodoxy of the Christian faith” in order to secure the “future and unity” of the church “at a foundational level”, they say in a letter seen by The Daily Telegraph.
Only someone with an understanding of the more traditional views of Anglicans in Africa and elsewhere and the ability to gain their “respect” would be acceptable they add. The warning comes in a letter to Lord Luce, the chairman of the Crown Nominations Commission, which is selecting the next Archbishop, by the leaders of the Church in the so-called "Global South", who met earlier this week in Singapore.
One year ago, six interns from Dallas, Atlanta, Indianapolis, Boston, Baltimore and Jewett, Ohio, came to Cleveland to participate in the inaugural year of Trinity Urban Service Corps, a project of Trinity Episcopal Cathedral in downtown Cleveland.
The goal of the program is to engage young people in nonprofit service work that improves the City of Cleveland. It also seeks to build community among members, stimulate faith development and help young people discern their career paths.
Adam Spencer, who organized the program for Trinity Cathedral, says it has been successful and is expanding to eight interns in its second year. A new crop of service corps members are scheduled to arrive in town next month.
"This program is all about working to make the city a better place," says Spencer, a Northeast Ohio native who loves playing the role of tour guide in his hometown. "The service corps members help to do the work we desperately need done in Cleveland. The program also gets young people interested in the city and its issues, and it shows them all the wonderful stuff that's going on here."
Members of the historic St. Thomas’ Episcopal Church in Croom have struggled to come up with the funds to repair their more than 200-year-old church in the wake of August’s earthquake, but they found help in some initially unwanted guests that became all the buzz in helping address the fundraising issues.
The church, which was built in 1745 with some additions in the late 19th century and serves about 65 people each Sunday, became inhabited by a swarm of bees in August that took up residence in a recess in the roof near the church’s bell tower, the Rev. Debbie Brewin-Wilson said.
“We actually found two separate hives up there,” Brewin-Wilson said. “We knew we had to clear them out before we could start work on the bell tower.”
Brewin-Wilson said the earthquake caused damage to the church, especially to the bell tower, making the church unusable. Church members have been meeting in their neighboring parish hall, she said, while repairs to the mortar of the bell tower and addition to the church move forward.
Ross Douthat's recent column concerning the future of "liberal" Christianity ("Theology Lite," July 17) is a flawed view of Christianity in general and the Episcopal Church in particular. As an Episcopalian nee Catholic who came to understand God in the light of Vatican II, I believe the Episcopal Church is the fulfillment of Pope John XXIII's vision for Christianity.
Is it liberal to want to see justice for all humanity? Is it liberal to witness to the worth and the value of every person, regardless their color, creed, age, handicap, sex or sexual orientation? Is it liberal to minister and give voice to the poor? No, it is eminently Christian to stand up for the dignity of all humanity. It is not "liberal" Christianity to make the bromide "Jesus loves you" a reality and not a marketing slogan. It is Christianity.
Mr. Douthat also points to the membership decline in Episcopalian and other "liberal" Christian groups as evidence of their failure to be relevant. This is an irrelevant criticism since Christianity began with 12 men and a woman.
One of the more interesting responses to my column on liberal Christianity came from the Huffington Post’s Diana Butler Bass, whose new book, “Christianity After Religion,” considers many of the same trends I take up in “Bad Religion” but sees a spiritual awakening (or at least the possibility of one) where I see decline and disarray. Here is Bass, putting the waning of liberal churches in what she considers the proper context:
"Forty years later, in 2012, liberal churches are not the only ones declining. It is true that progressive religious bodies started to decline in the 1960s. However, conservative denominations are now experiencing the same. For example, the Southern Baptist Convention, one of America’s most conservative churches, has for a dozen years struggled with membership loss and overall erosion in programming, staffing, and budgets. Many smaller conservative denominations, such as the Missouri Synod Lutherans, are under pressure by loss. The Roman Catholic Church, a body that has moved in markedly conservative directions and of which Mr. Douthat is a member, is straining as members leave in droves. By 2008, one in ten Americans considered him- or herself a former Roman Catholic. On the surface, Catholic membership numbers seem steady. But this is a function of Catholic immigration from Latin America. If one factors out immigrants, American Catholicism matches the membership decline of any liberal Protestant denomination. Decline is not exclusive to the Episcopal Church, nor to liberal denominations–it is a reality facing the whole of American Christianity."
THE Archbishop of York has dismissed claims he is ineligible to become Archbishop of Canterbury after documents emerged suggesting he could be too old for the role.
Dr John Sentamu’s date of birth is given in Who’s Who as June 10, 1949, while his registration document at Makerere University, in his native Uganda, also states he was born that year, meaning he is 63.
But three forms, including Dr Sentamu’s registration as a director of the Church’s central board of finance after his appointment as Archbishop of York and ones signed by him, show his birth date was originally given as June 10, 1947.
Two of the documents, which date from his appointment as Bishop of Stepney in 1996, appear to have stated Dr Sentamu’s was born in 1947, but the seven has been changed to a nine, with the nine repeated in the margin for clarity, before the documents were filed.
Two National Youth Service Corps, NYSC, members died, yesterday, while four others are in critical condition at a hospital in Gwer Local Government Area of Benue State, following an accident involving a 14-seater bus, which crashed into a farmland on Makurdi-Aliade Road.
The ill-fated vehicle, a Volkswagen bus belonging to the Anglican Communion, Diocese of Otukpo, plate number Benue AE 135 JUX, was conveying the corps members from the Benue State Orientation Camp in Wannune, to their places of primary assignment in Otukpo.
An eyewitness told Vanguard that the driver of the bus, conveying the 14 corps members apparently fell asleep while on top speed, "and all we saw was that the bus skidded off the road and somersaulted several times in the bush."
He said members of the Igbor community rushed to the scene to rescue the victims.
He said: "When we got there, we alerted the Federal Road Safety Commission, FRSC, which also rushed to the scene.
"As we axed the bus, we discovered that two of the occupants were dead, while others were rushed to Saint Vincent Hospital Aliade for treatment."
After more than five decades of marriage and four children, Anglican Archbishop Emeritus Desmond Tutu and his wife, Leah, are as affectionate with each other as playful newlyweds.
One of SA’s most beloved couples, the Tutus celebrated their 57th wedding anniversary this month. And on Tuesday the pair marked the milestone publicly at the launch of the Ubuntu in the Home project, held at the City of Cape Town’s Civic Centre.
This a joint project launched by the Desmond and Leah Tutu Legacy Foundation and the SA Faith and Family Institute, and is aimed at teaching faith leaders how to deal with cases of domestic violence.
Cape Town mayor Patricia de Lille presented the Tutus with a celebratory cake, which they fed to one another – just like newlyweds at their wedding reception.
Daughter Mpho Tutu said her parents’ marriage was a “partnership in the truest sense of the word”.
The Rt. Rev. Shannon Johnston, Bishop of Virginia, reflects on the 77th General Convention:
Even during the most controversial matters at hand, in which profound disagreements were voiced and significantly split votes resulted, both sides remained respectful and reached out to one another after all was said and done.
For example, with regard to one of the most publicized and momentous resolutions, the authorization of a “provisional” rite for the blessing of same-sex couples, strong conscience-clauses were inserted to protect clergy and congregations whose convictions will not allow for such liturgies. I can tell you first-hand that some of the most vocal support for the conscience-clauses came from those who staunchly supported same-sex blessings. This, for me, is important evidence that Episcopalian inclusivity can indeed embrace both left and right.
… A large majority of the House of Bishops rejected proposals that weakened the requirement of baptism prior to receiving communion, and the House of Deputies concurred. In this, I wholeheartedly agree. I am aware of places that make exceptions to this requirement and I quite understand what people are hoping for in allowing the communion of those not baptized. There are other ways to achieve hospitality and inclusion within a community of faith. Baptism is specifically a part of the Great Commission from Jesus (Matthew 28:19-20) and it remains primary in our discipleship of the risen Lord.
The recent General Convention of the Episcopal Church has prompted a broader discussion of the fate of liberal Christianity. No surprise—the Episcopal Church has been one of the most aggressively liberal influences in American Christianity in the past few years, pushing hard against the traditions of the broader Anglican Communion. In The New York Times, Ross Douthat goes so far as to ask, "Can Liberal Christianity Be Saved?" But that question necessarily prompts two others: What is Liberal Christianity, and Should it be saved?
Liberal Christianity is dying on the vine. Mainline denominations are taking big hits across the board. According to The Pew Forum on Religion and Public Life, among Methodists, Lutherans, Presbyterians, and Episcopalians, more adults are leaving the church than entering it. Methodists, Presbyterians, and Anglicans are retaining less than half of their children. And in these denominations, no one is sitting in the pews! Gallup reported in 2005 that weekly and near-weekly church attendees made up less than 45% of self-identifying Methodists, Presbyterians, and Lutherans, with Episcopalians at a dismal 32%. And the numbers aren't getting any better.
Christian evangelical groups in the US are attempting a "cultural colonisation" of Africa, opening offices in numerous countries to promote attacks on homosexuality and abortion, according to an investigation by a liberal thinktank.
American religious organisations are expanding their operations across the continent, lobbying for conservative policies and laws and fanning homophobia, argues the Boston-based Political Research Associates (PRA).
The groups include the American Center for Law and Justice (ACLJ), founded by the televangelist Pat Robertson, which has established bases in Kenya and Zimbabwe.
"The religious right [in effect] claims that human rights activists are neocolonialists out to destroy Africa," the report states. Groups named in it vehemently rejected the claims.
Entitled Colonising African Values: How the US Christian Right is Transforming Sexual Politics in Africa, the study analysed data from seven African countries and employed researchers for several months in Kenya, Malawi, Zambia and Zimbabwe.
Twenty-two local teenagers and 12 adult volunteers have recently returned from a week in West Virginia where they worked to help restore homes that were in need of repair. The group, most of whom are members of St. Martin’s Episcopal Church in Bridgewater, joined with teens from St. Mark’s church in Basking Ridge to be part of the volunteer program, Appalachia Service Project.
The program is a Christian home repair ministry focused on helping make the homes of needy families in Appalachia warmer, safer and dryer. The group replaced walls and floors in houses that had been made uninhabitable by floods while others worked on replacing a roof, redoing siding, removing carpeting and replacing a rotting floor.
A Nashville church that broke away from the Episcopal Diocese of Tennessee is asking the state Supreme Court to hear a dispute over who owns the church property.
St. Andrew's Parish left the diocese in 2006, joining a breakaway Anglican diocese based in Quincy, Ill.
Three years later, the Diocese of Tennessee sued to reclaim the St. Andrew's property, which it claims was held in trust by the congregation. The St. Andrew's congregation contends it owns the property outright.
After a court-ordered mediation failed, a Nashville judge ruled in favor of the diocese in 2010.
In April of this year, St. Andrew's lost an appeal at the state level.
The Episcopal Church USA at its recent general convention set a new standard for Christian secularism. At the meeting they created a liturgical rite for the blessing of same-sex couples — not a surprising move given how many individual dioceses have been performing the ceremony for years. But another issue took the idea of inclusiveness to an entirely new level. At the meeting in Indianapolis it was decided that “gender equality” extended to “transgender equality,” and in particular with regards to the clergy.
As reported by Religion Dispatches, the church amended its canon law to read:
“No one shall be denied rights, status, or access to an equal place in the life, worship, and governance of this Church because of race, color, ethnic origin, national origin, marital status, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity and expression, disabilities, or age…”
In plain language, there is now no impediment to transgender people becoming ordained ministers. There was no official impediment before but clearly the church felt it had to make a statement to tell the world where its heart resides.
Ephraim Radner, an Episcopal priest and a professor of historical theology at Wycliffe College, an Anglican theological school in Toronto, thinks the message is not one to celebrate but to mourn.
“This is crazy. They are getting their priorities wrong and it’s killing the church.”
In 2006, the Episcopal Church's presiding bishop, Katherine Jefferts Schori, told the New York Times that Episcopalians were not interested in "replenishing their ranks by having children." Instead, the church "[encouraged] people to pay attention to the stewardship of the earth and not use more than their portion."
"Stewardship of the earth" and having children are not incompatible, but if Schori's goal was a principled extinction, she's about to succeed. The Episcopal Church, you see, is in a statistical free-fall.
Since 2000, the Episcopal Church has lost 23 percent of its members. At this rate, there will be no Episcopalians in 26 years.
My friend and New York Times columnist Ross Douthat noted that the collapse occurred at the same time that the church was transforming itself "into one of the most self-consciously progressive Christian bodies in the United States.
To My Brother and Sister Clergy of the Diocese of New York:
In 2009 the General Convention urged “generous pastoral oversight” with respect to the question of offering Blessings for same-sex couples. It also created a Special Committee to study implications of the issue, and to develop, for consideration at the 2012 General Convention, a liturgy for the conduct of Blessing rites. New York State’s happy decision to adopt the Marriage Equality act intensified this already crucially important conversation. In a very real sense, this State’s action advanced the conversation dramatically by shifting the frame of reference itself.
Over the course of the past years I have tried to “thread the needle” between conflicting opportunities and demands: The General Convention’s undefined offer of “generous pastoral oversight”; The Book of Common Prayer’s largely unchallenged expectation that marriage was between a man and a woman; and the State of New York’s requirement that a cleric officiating at a marriage do so in compliance with his or her denomination’s teaching. It was in recognition of these shifting and conflicting demands that I gave permission for clergy to bless couples who had already had a civil marriage, but not to perform that marriage service themselves.
The gay movement in Kenya is posing greater threat to Christianity than terrorism.
Mombasa Anglican Church of Kenya Bishop Julius Kalu told a congregation including Gachoka MP Mutava Musyimi that Christians are confronted by “the enemies of the Church” mainly homosexuals and lesbians and terrorism was a lesser threat.
“Our greatest fear as Church should not be the grenade attacks, but the new teachings like same sex marriages,” Kalu said, urging Christians to be “spiritually fully armed” to confront the challenges. Kalu has been out of the country for about two months during which the debate on gay sex unions has raged across Coast Province where the practice is prevalent. In April, a grenade attack on Christians killed one worshipper in Mombasa and on July 1, armed men massacred 17 people including a Muslim policeman in a hail of bullets on two churches in Garissa.
Contractors will begin digging the foundations for the Anglican Church's new base in Christchurch, popularly known as the Cardboard Cathedral, on Tuesday.
A spokesperson for the earthquake-damaged ChristChurch Cathedral, Reverend Craig Dixon, says he heard on Monday building consent for the foundations of the temporary replacement has been granted. Rev Dixon says work on the foundations of the transitional cathedral will begin on Tuesday morning.
He says it was originally thought the foundations would cost $150,000, but as details of the design emerged it became apparent the cost will be closer to $600,000.
Rev Dixon says fundraising for about $1.2 million will be necessary for the entire building, in addition to the $4m already set aside.
He says help is coming from as far away as Adelaide and Britain, and he is confident the transitional cathedral will be standing by Christmas.
At the end of my 2004 faith crisis, when I realized that I didn't want to be identified as evangelical, I felt lost. Nobody likes to be labeled, but it's scary to not know where you belong.
It was around this time that I began visiting the local Episcopal church, where friends I respected -- smart, bespectacled types with good taste in books and music -- had already found their places in the pews. There, I was surprised to find that I loved the liturgy. I grew up in charismatic churches, attended by an inordinate amount of former Catholics who left the faith of their families, declaring it stale, spiritually dead and too ritualistic to allow for any movement of the spirit. I grew up among ex-Catholic Catholic bashers.
When I began attending Catholic high school and was forced to attend mass semi-regularly, I was prepared to be bored and maybe even a bit offended. But I wasn't. I remember talking to my mom one day after school and telling her that I might have felt the spirit there in that multi-purpose auditorium where the services were held. Sometime between the short homily and communion, where I sat awkwardly with the Asian kids as our Catholic friends climbed over us to reach the aisle, I felt something like the hair-raising tingle that I knew only from prayer services and youth rallies.
Local members of the Episcopal Church have a new leader as of today. Shreveport's St. Mark's Cathedral was alive with ceremony this morning. Hundreds of Episcopalians gathered at the cathedral to welcome a new bishop.
Reverend Jacob Owensby was ordained and consecrated fourth bishop of the Western Louisiana Diocese, which reaches from Arkansas to the Gulf of Mexico. It's a title many church members are glad to see him receive.
"He is a very spiritual man and a good leader and wonderful things are going to continue to happen in this diocese," member Susan Sparks said.
Owensby was elected back on April 21 by diocese committees.
St. Stephen's Episcopal Church in Montrose has a long history of firsts. Its day school was the first to desegregate in the 1950s. In 1981, it was the first church in its diocese to appoint a female rector.Now the church is adding another: Beginning in November, it will perform blessings for same-sex couples — the only Episcopal church in Houston and one of two in the Diocese of Texas selected to do so.
Supporters of the blessings insisted it is not a marriage ceremony, despite the similarities. Called “The Witnessing and Blessing of a Lifelong Covenant,” it includes prayers and an exchange of vows and rings. Parishes can decide whether or not to perform the blessing.
The Episcopal Church this month overwhelmingly approved such ceremonies at its national convention, following a decade of furious division over the issue that has prompted thousands to flock to other churches. The move makes the church the largest U.S. denomination to officially sanction same-sex relationships, and comes on the heels of high-profile support for same-sex marriage, including from President Barack Obama.
The leader of Upstate Episcopalians said this week he remains in prayer and open talks with his fellow bishop in the Lowcountry in hopes of staving off a fracture within the state and the national church over gender issues.
The national church earlier this month approved a same-sex blessing rite and expanded ordination to include transgendered persons.
Bishop W. Andrew Waldo has tried to keep his diverse Episcopal Diocese of Upper South Carolina – which includes churches in York, Chester and Lancaster counties – unified despite theological differences over the controversial issues.
He said this week he hopes his friend, Bishop Mark J. Lawrence, leader of the more conservative and traditional Episcopal Diocese of South Carolina, in the Lowcountry, will remain on that same path.
“The times are tense,” Waldo wrote in a letter to the 29,000 members of the upper diocese. “Our brothers and sisters in the Diocese of South Carolina are in deep pain struggling with the decisions of General Convention 2012.”
An Episcopal bishop in Alabama has refused to allow priests in his diocese to bless same-sex unions for the time being despite voting in favor of such blessings at the national level.
Bishop Kee Sloan leads the Episcopal Diocese of Alabama, part of the larger Episcopal Church, and voted in favor of a new liturgy blessing same-sex unions during a national convention held by the denomination this month. But he will not allow that blessing locally because he said the issue is too divisive for Alabama.
“Theology is an ongoing revelation,” Sloan told The Birmingham News. “It’s influenced by context. There are parts of the country that are more conservative and traditional, and there are parts of the country that are more liberal. In Alabama, it would be divisive within the Episcopal Church. We are deeply conflicted about this. I’d like for us to work through and pray about it.”
Under the glimmer of a fingernail moon, Christopher Kelley tiptoed toward a two-story, Spanish mission-style building in Los Feliz. He and his crew were jittery. What if a security guard spotted them?
A few blocks away, late-night revelers mingled in trendy bars. But Kelley's target was dark and hushed — exactly as he wanted.
The building's front door was protected by a padlocked, wrought-iron gate. So the crew crept around back, sidestepping a few jugs of rainwater and a tomato plant. They strained to hear whether anyone had followed them.
Then a locksmith pried open the door.
Motion-sensitive lights flickered on. Kelley felt a rush of joy. For the first time in weeks, the priest was back inside his church.
St. Mary of the Angels is an Anglican parish embroiled in an odd sort of holy war.
On one side are the Rev. Kelley and his supporters, who say their rivals are resisting the parish's efforts to join the Roman Catholic Church. On the other: parishioners and Anglican authorities who accused Kelley of wrongdoing, took him to court, ran him out of the church and changed the locks.
This year marks the 100th anniversary of St. Timothy’s Church in Tanacross. The church was one of a string of missions the Episcopal Church established along the Tanana River in the early 1900s to serve the area’s Athabascan Indians.
Tanacross is located in Eastern Interior Alaska, about 13 miles west of Tok. When the Episcopal Church decided to start a mission there, Tanacross — then called Tanana Crossing — didn’t amount to much. Located along an existing Native trail, which the Eagle-Valdez Trail (blazed in 1899) followed, it was simply a place along the Tanana River shallow enough for horses to ford, and consequently the place where the Eagle-Valdez Trail crossed the river.
A telegraph station, part of the Washington-Alaska Military Cable and Telegraph System, was built there a few years later, as well as a trading post. The telegraph station and trading post were abandoned by 1911. (This is the site where E.T. Barnette wanted to set up his trading post. It seems fortuitous for Barnette that he was forced to disembark at the Chena River instead.)