Saturday, September 22, 2012

Bishops condemn attack on church compound, request Communion prayers

From ACN-

Thousands of people today broke into a church compound in Pakistan, burnt down the church, and destroyed the homes of two priests and the school headteacher.

The motivation behind the attack in Mardan, near Peshawar, is not yet clear, but the school was looted with newly installed computers being stolen and the building was set alight. No-one is reported to have been injured in the attack.

The Bishop of Peshawar Rt Rev Humphrey Peters has appealed for support from the Anglican Communion condemned the attack: “The damage has been very severe, and we will need to rebuild. We are asking for people around the world to keep us in your prayers.”

The Moderator of the Church of Pakistan, Most Rev Samuel Azariah Samuel condemned the attack: “This news is very damaging to relations between the communities in Pakistan and around the world.
“The government and faith leaders in Pakistan have a role to play in education people that they have the right to protest, but to damage property and terrify people in this way is completely wrong. The government and faith leaders should provide the lead in preventing attacks.”

More here-

Whittaker: Do all dogs go to heaven?

From MA-

One of my favorite children’s questions to God comes from a recent Boston Globe comic strip where a little boy wants to pray for his ailing dog. He asks his mother, “Can I go directly to God? Or do I ask for someone in the pet department?”

The question brings to mind the theological debate among Christians as to whether animals have souls. Generations of Christians have pondered whether animals have souls and can thus go to heaven. The issue is particularly acute for those of us who have beloved companion animals like dogs, and find it hard to conceive heaven without them.

The bishops of the Episcopal Church found themselves making their own contribution to this long-standing discussion at this past summer’s General Convention.
The question of prayers for the souls of animals was brought to the convention by the Standing Committee on Liturgy and Church Music, which had prepared for approval a text with rites and prayers for animals.

More here-

Amended women-bishops clause speaks of ‘respect’

From The Church Times-

CAMPAIGNERS for women bishops cautiously welcomed the amend­ment made to the draft legislation by the House of Bishops on Wednesday of last week. Traditionalist and con­servative Evangelical groups ex­pressed concern about the amend­ment.

The "Appleby amend­­ment" was suggested by the Revd Janet Appleby, a Team Vicar in the Willing­ton Team Min­is­try, and Vicar and Minis­ter in the Church of the Good Shep­herd Local Ecu­menical Pro­ject in Wallsend, Tyne & Wear; and it won "over­whelming sup­port" from the House of Bishops, the Arch­bishop of Canterbury said on Wednesday. The House welcomed "the simplicity of the new text, its em­phasis on respect, and the pro­cess of dia­logue with par­ishes that it will promote".

The wording states that the Code of Prac­tice attached to the Measure should cover "the selection of male bishops and male priests in a manner which re­spects the grounds on which Par­ochial Church Coun­cils issue Letters of Re­quest under sec­tion 3". Letters of Re­quest are the means where­by a parish could ask for a male priest or for episcopal oversight by some­one other than the diocesan bishop.

More here-‘respect’

Friday, September 21, 2012

Church welcomes Moravian pastor in historic example of communion

From ENS (Western North Carolina)

On Sept. 16, the Rev. Carl Southerland was installed as rector of St. John’s Episcopal Church in Franklin, North Carolina, becoming the first Moravian pastor of an Episcopal parish since the two denominations inaugurated a full-communion relationship in 2011.

“It is an exciting day for the Moravian Church and the Episcopal Church,” said Southerland. “My appointment into the Episcopal Church has been a wonderful process. To come into the Episcopal Church, I’ve felt so welcome. It’s been a real blessing for me, and I’m very excited to be here.”
Southerland served in various positions with the Moravian Church in North Carolina for 41 years before joining St. John’s, including positions as pastor at First Moravian, Greensboro, Fries Memorial, Winston-Salem, and Unity Moravian, Lewisville; and associate pastor at Home Moravian in Winston-Salem.

The two denominations formalized the communion on Feb. 10, 2011. The official text of the agreement included a statement explaining, “We seek this relationship of full communion so that our mission as Christ’s church will be more effectively fulfilled and each of our communions might be more complete because of the spiritual treasures of the other.”

More here-

Thursday, September 20, 2012

Maine clergy divided over gay marriage

From Maine-

Standing together outside the Cathedral Church of St. Luke in Portland, a dozen religious leaders-Episcopal, Congregational, Lutheran and Methodist - made the case for legalizing gay marriage in Maine.

"This is about love, mutual respect," says Rev. Allen Ewing-Merrill.

Not according to the Roman Catholic Diocese or the Christian Civic League whose leaders say the Bible defines marriage as the union of a man and a woman.

"It says homosexuality is unnatural and wrong," says Rev. Bob Emrich.

For Emrich, who chairs the Christian Civic League and is the longtime pastor at the Emmanual Bible Baptist Church, marrying a gay couple would be unthinkable. 

"I would never do it..could never be compelled to do it," says Emrich.

These member of the religious coalition against discrimination say that's fine, because question one affirms clergy's right to refuse to marry couples for all kinds of reasons.

"Saying yes on one does not take away religious freedom. It increases and celebrates the freedoms we share," says Rev. Ben Shambaugh. 

More here-

Episcopal youth group walks in steps of St. Patrick

From Ireland-

As he climbed Ireland’s holy Mount Croagh Patrick, Donovan Tokuyama gained a greater appreciation for St. Patrick, who often walked the rocky hills in bare feet.

“ It was really hard with shoes,” the 14-year-old said of the rainy trek. “And we didn’t even go all the way to the top.”

But with great effort came great reward.

“The sun came up, so there was a rainbow right in the valley,” Donovan said. “ It was beautiful.”

At Sunday’s service, he and eight other teenagers from St. Patrick’s Episcopal Church in Thousand Oaks shared stories about their 10-day pilgrimage to Ireland in June.

The group traveled with three chaperons throughout the north and south countries on the island, visiting cathedrals, castles, memorials and other historical landmarks, many connected to Ireland’s most famous saint.

KC Robertson, one of the group’s chaperons, said the voyage was eye-opening.

More here-

Episcopal Diocese of Fort Worth nominates provisional bishop

From Ft. Worth-

The Rev. Rayford High, who recently retired as bishop of the Episcopal Diocese of Texas, has been nominated as the next provisional bishop for the Episcopal Diocese of Fort Worth.

He will be formally elected at the 30th Diocesan Convention on Nov. 3 at Tarleton State University in Stephenville.

"I am deeply honored and humbled by the fact that the Episcopal Diocese of Fort Worth would ask me to be their provisional bishop," High said in a statement.

"I am thrilled and I am excited about it and I look forward to working with laity and clergy of the diocese. I'm really grateful for the laity of the church."

High lives with his wife, Pat, in Lake Jackson, where he oversees the chaplains for retired clergy and clergy spouses for the Diocese of Texas.

He will remain on the board of St. Luke's Episcopal Hospital in the Texas Medical Center in Houston.

He will replace the Rev. C. Wallis Ohl, retired bishop of the Episcopal Diocese of Northwest Texas, who will retire as provisional bishop at the Nov. 3 convention.

Ohl has served since November 2009, when he succeeded the Rev. Edwin F. Gulick Jr.

Read more here:

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Sewanee-Westcott Partnership

From The Living Church-

The School of Theology, the University of the South, Sewanee, Tenn., has entered into a partnership with Westcott House, Cambridge, U.K. These two historic seminaries, both established in the 1800s, have created a student exchange program for seminarians to experience prayer, study, and community life abroad in their middler year. The program takes place during the advent semester in Sewanee and the fall term in Cambridge.

The Rev. Dr. Benjamin King, assistant professor of Church history, and the Rev. Dr. James Turrell, associate dean for academic affairs, both of The School of Theology, felt that an integral part of a seminary education is the ability to experience Anglicanism in its many traditions. Looking to the Church’s English heritage, and with the benefit of an existing academic relationship, Westcott House was a great place to start.

Westcott House is dedicated to “pastorally and liturgically growing in compassion, creativity, and imagination to live the Gospel in every place to which God calls us.” The School of Theology shares in this formational process developing “leaders who are learned, skilled, informed by the Word of God, and committed to the mission of the church, in the Anglican tradition of forming disciples through a common life of prayer, learning, and service.” The two schools share a sense of mission to prepare clergy for service in the parish and beyond. That formed the basis for a conversation that quickly became a course of action.

The first exchange began in the summer of 2012 to allow time for the students to settle in before matriculation of the Advent/Michaelmas term. The School of Theology welcomed Lewis Connolly of Westcott House to Tennessee Avenue in Sewanee. In exchange, Alice Hodgkins, T’14, has ventured across the pond to Jesus Lane in Cambridge.

More here-

Eau Claire diocese announces 4 nominees for bishop

From ENS-

The Episcopal Diocese of Eau Claire announced a slate of four candidates for its sixth bishop. They are:

The Rev. Robert B. Clarke, priest-in-charge, Holy Apostles’ Church, Oneida, Wisconsin (Diocese of Fond du Lac);

The Rev. Richard E. Craig III, former rector, St. John the Baptist, Portage, Wisconsin (Diocese of Milwaukee);

The Rev. Arthur B. Hancock, vicar, Episcopal Church of the Ascension, Hayward, Wisconsin (Diocese of Eau Claire); and

The Rev. W. Jay Lambert, rector, St. James Episcopal Church, Leesburg, Florida (Diocese of Central Florida).

The search process has run exclusively by application. There will be no nomination process and no petition process.

All candidates will be in the Diocese of Eau Claire for public gatherings, known as “walkabouts,” during the week starting Oct. 7.

The election is scheduled for Nov. 9 during a meeting of the Diocesan Convention in Chippewa Falls.

Under the canons (111.11.4) of the Episcopal Church, a majority of bishops exercising jurisdiction and diocesan Standing Committees must consent to the bishop-elect’s ordination as bishop within 120 days of receiving notice of the election.

More here-

Liberia: Council of Churches Inducts New Leadership

From Liberia-

The Liberia Council of Churches has inducted into office a new corps of officers headed by Right Reverend Jonathan B. Hart, Presiding Bishop of the Episcopal Church of Liberia at the close of a two-day 28th General Assembly of the Liberian Council of Churches (LCC).

During the elections which were characterized by a conference with twelve member churches and organizations attending alongside twelve fraternal and associate members, the new leadership replaced the leadership of Bishop David R. Daniels, Jr. of the African Methodist Episcopal Church of Liberia.

Inducting the new leadership of the LCC into office, United Methodist Church/Liberia Annual Conference Bishop John G. Innis challenged the new officers to look up to God Almighty and lead with vision in accordance with confidence reposed in them by the delegates.

In a remark, Right Reverend Dr. Hart lauded the delegates for the peaceful conduct of the process in electing the new corps of officers to serve for the next two years.

He underscored the need for the leadership to work together in championing the work of the church to higher heights as the leadership will strive to be transparent.

More here-

Tiffany baptismal font in transit from Pomfret to New York City

From Norwich CT-

When representatives from New York City’s Museum of Biblical Art visited Christ Church in Pomfret last year, it was expressly to view the chapel’s six Tiffany stained glass windows.

But soon after entering the church, they spied something more exciting and quickly moved to the rear of the sanctuary, said Linda Goodwin, a member of the congregation’s historic preservation committee.

“They went to the font like bees to honey,” she said.

The 4-foot, 900-pound marble baptismal font was quickly identified as another piece designed by artist Louis Comfort Tiffany. And on Tuesday, after months of discussion and planning, the 104-year-old font was broken down into two sections, packed and shipped to New York City for display in an upcoming exhibit titled, “Louis C. Tiffany and the Art of Devotion.”

“The point of the show is to let visitors experience Tiffany pieces they might never see, like the font,” said Tricia Pongracz, co-curator of the show. “This is the first time it’s leaving the church and we’re very grateful the church wants to share it with us.”

Although Tiffany is best known today for his glass pieces, Pongracz said he also produced hundreds of ecclesiastical decorations and memorials. She said his output dovetailed with an “explosion” in church construction in the late 1800s.

More here-

Outreach gives unused, unwanted medical supplies new life

From Upper South Carolina-

It's like a library for medical equipment.

That's the idea behind Spartanburg Shares, a new volunteer-driven outreach program that will open its doors Oct. 13.

People and medical facilities can donate their unused or unwanted crutches, wheelchairs, walkers, cast boots, bedside commodes and more to the Episcopal Church of the Advent. Others in need can rent them for free — like a library book — and return them when their need expires.

You don't have to file an insurance claim, fill out an income statement or make any sort of down payment. And you don't have to be uninsured to borrow equipment.

“All you need is a need,” said Bea Bruce, chairwoman. “This will be a great asset to the community.”

Bruce, a parishioner at St. Christopher's Episcopal Church, helped bring the idea to Spartanburg, drawing inspiration from a similar facility that has operated for more than 45 years.

More here-

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Christchurch cardboard cathedral tubes arrive

From New Zealand-

Construction of Christchurch’s cardboard cathedral is about to get underway, with the arrival of its 320 giant cardboard tubes.

But it's already running behind schedule, and the Anglican Church is $1 million short for the project, so it's asking for volunteers to paint the tubes.

At 6m in length and weighing 120kg each, the cardboard tubes look more like giant over-sized toilet rolls than a ceiling.

Project manager Johnny McFarlane is feeling positive about the structure.
“Three of these cardboard cores will make a single core," he says. "The final height of the cardboard cathedral is 6m, so it is a big structure, and imposing, and it is going to look beautiful when it is finished.”

A total of 2km of cardboard tubes, 320 in total, are required. Each will have laminated wood inserted for strength and covered by a clear corrugated roof.

“They will sit on top of containers and the containers will form some little chapels on the side of the cathedral and some office space and some kitchens. It’s going to be a great looking structure,” says Mr McFarlane.

Read more:

New York's Financial District in Chaos on 'Occupy Wall Street' Anniversary

From US News and World Report-

There was sound and some fury — and dozens of arrests — Monday as the Occupy Wall Street movement marked its one-year anniversary by trying to bottle-up the fat cats in the Financial District.

But the demonstrators quickly found themselves penned-in by cops, who arrested 63 people as of 10 a.m., police sources said — including retired Episcopal Bishop George Packard, a decorated Vietnam vet who served as a military chaplain during the Iraq War.

There was plenty of raging against the man, but no reports of serious violence between police and protesters.

Demonstrator Robert Cammiso said the activists’ goal is to be heard — not necessarilly get arrested.

"This may be the last opportunity we have before the election to have the voices of the people heard," said Cammiso, 47, a construction worker from Brooklyn.

More here-

Clerics sometimes break the law in the pursuit of justice

From ENS-

The Rev. Jack Stanton is a veteran of civil rights and Vietnam War demonstrations. But he went one step further in May when he volunteered to be arrested during a protest on behalf of casino workers fired for union organizing in Hallandale Beach, Florida.

Other clergy, including Episcopalians, also marched in the demonstration. “I took the extra step of volunteering to be arrested because I thought it would call more attention to what we were doing, and it proved to be so,” said Stanton, 75, priest associate at Trinity Episcopal Cathedral in Miami. He was arrested along with the Rev. Richard Aguilar, another priest in the Diocese of Southwest Florida who since has left parish ministry to work as a union organizer. “We were a photo op.”

More here-

Monday, September 17, 2012

Anglican Cathedral in Orlando Becomes Catholic

From Orlando-

It’s been five years in the making, and this morning the Cathedral of the Incarnation in Orlando, Florida will become Catholic.

At a Mass of Reception at 10:15 a.m. Sunday, September 16, the Cathedral of the Incarnation, which was formerly associated with the Anglican Church of America, will become the Parish of Incarnation—joining about twenty other former Anglican or Episcopal congregations to be accepted in the Personal Ordinariate of the Chair of St. Peter, the personal ordinariate established as a home for Anglican converts to Catholicism in the United States and Canada.

Monsignor Jeffrey N. Steenson, a former Episcopal bishop who now leads the Personal Ordinariate, will confirm the parishioners as Catholic during the Sunday service.
Bishop John Noonan, head of the Roman Catholic Diocese of Orlando, will participate in the liturgy, but the Parish of Incarnation will not become part of Orlando’s diocese. Carol Brinati, spokesperson for the Orlando Diocese, explained, “While we recognize them as part of the Catholic church, they have their own services. We share our beliefs, but everything else is separate.”

More here-

West Harlem church embraces sustainable urban farming

From Harlem-

For years, the only plants that grew in the polluted gardens of St. Mary’s Episcopal Church on West 125th Street were some scattered shrubs, trees, and flowers.

Today, Billy Adams, the gardener for St. Mary’s, can barely recite every flora inhabiting the church’s small plot of land.

There are carrots, snap peas, strawberries, beets, arugula, grapes, and eggplants. There are herbs and flowers, some of which adorn the garden with unclear purpose. There is even catnip, which was planted by a volunteer who never returned for it—the plant may end up going to a local stray cat that roams the churchyard.

“The chard is good,” Adams said. “Lots of lettuce, tomatoes, strawberries.” He notes with delight the tomatoes, which get the most sunlight and are flourishing.

St. Mary’s Urban Farm, as the garden is now called, signals a trend of religious institutions embracing the local food movement. The garden’s 28 soil beds are mostly supported by volunteers, including Columbia students and members from an Occupy Wall Street contingent in Harlem.

More here-

Protecting "a gift from God," Episcopal priest works for prairie preservation

From South Dakota-

From a craggy limestone ledge above the place called Pe' Sla, Linda Kramer admired the land she loves.

"This is it," the 65-year-old Episcopal priest said with a sweep of the hand. "This is Pe' Sla, the holy place."

Her gesture took a visitor's eyes down the slope of Flag Mountain, out over a ponderosa pine forest speckled with beetle-killed trees and on to the tawny prairie beyond. There, the undulations of grass and thicket and occasional pine spread out across the high prairie north of Deerfield Reservoir for roughly 4,000 acres.

To most non-Native people, the place is known as the Reynolds Prairie, even though the ranch family of that name owns only part of the massive high-country meadow. The Reynolds' land, however, is a big part, and one that has made news far beyond this quiet hideaway in the Black Hills.

The announcement that Leonard and Margaret Reynolds were planning to sell about 2,000 acres of the prairie sent shock waves through Northern Plains tribes who hold the land here sacred. Among them are the Dakota, Nakota and Lakota people who believe Pe' Sla holds many of the truths of their creation. Many come to the place to pray and reflect and believe.

More here-

Egypt: Episcopal Church Calls for UN Blasphemy Declaration

From All Africa-

The Bishop of the Episcopal Diocese of Egypt with North Africa and the Horn of Africa, Mouneer Hanna Anis, on Saturday 15/9/2012 called on UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon to issue a declaration that prohibits blasphemy.

In a letter to Ban, Anis said such a declaration will not run counter to freedom of speech, but it prevents using this right to insult religious sanctities.

"We believe that mutual respect and brotherhood are the only ways for peaceful coexistence," Ani said in the letter.

Anti-US protests erupted across the Muslim world against a US-produced film deemed insulting to Prophet Muhammad. The film is said to have been produced by US pastor Terry Jones and co-produced by some Egyptian Coptic expatriates.

More here-