Saturday, September 21, 2013

House of Bishops Day 2 (Fall 2013)

From Dan Martins-

After breakfast in the hotel restaurant with our friends Bishop Marty and Donna Field of West Missouri, the work day for bishops began at 9am with Morning Prayer at our meeting room tables, while the spouses headed out for a field trip to Thistle Farms.

We then got into our morning session, which featured four presentations followed by a panel discussion around the themes of justice and reconciliation. The presenters and panelists were Bishop Suheil Dawani of the Diocese of Jerusalem and the Middle East, Hisham Nassar, MD, also of that diocese; Rabbi Steven Gutow, Executive Director of the Jewish Council for Public Affairs; and Canon David Porter, the Archbishop of Canterbury's Director of Reconciliation. The Diocese of Jerusalem is in fund-raising mode, mostly to help fund their expansive educational and medical social ministry in four countries, mostly among non-Christians, and the presentations were aimed at supporting that project. 

I was particularly struck by one of Bishop Dawani's slides that quantified the decline of Christian numbers in the Holy Land over the past century. As recently as the end of World War II, Syria was one-third Christian and the city of Bethlehem has a solid Christian majority. Now, for a combination of reasons, there is a danger that Christianity will disappear from the land where Christianity was born. Rabbi Gutow was a compelling advocate for a fearless tenacity in the struggle for reconciliation between Israel and the Palestinians, and a two-state solution. Canon Porter, who is Scots-Irish from Belfast, brings impressive credentials to his new position on the Archbishop's staff. He ended with the sobering reminder that peace and reconciliation are usual quite costly. Usually, somebody who deserves justice doesn't get it. But embracing that difficult truth is preferable to perpetuating the cycle of violence, and lies at the very heart of gospel ministry.

More here-

My gender is no big deal, says first female CoI bishop

From Ireland-

THE Church of Ireland's first ever woman bishop has said she is "having trouble digesting" the groundbreaking news.

Speaking to the Irish Independent following the announcement yesterday, Rev Pat Storey (53) said her priority in her new role as Bishop of Meath and Kildare would be to do a lot of listening.

"I happen to be a woman but gender is not an issue for me, although I appreciate it may be an issue for other people," she said.

More here-

A Martyr’s Theology

From The Living Church-

Christian de Chergé was a Trappist monk who, with six of his monastic brothers, was killed in Algeria in 1996. The exact circumstances of their deaths remain disputed. They were abducted by a band of radical Islamists, in the midst of a horrendously violent period of civil-religious strife. Only their severed heads were subsequently recovered. To what degree did the Algerian army play a role in their deaths, and with what assistance from French security advisers, wittingly or unwittingly?

Rather, de Chergé gave his life as a reconciling gift thrown into the midst of the hostility and violence associated with antagonistic diversities. His was a witness made quintessentially within our late modern culture of fragmented “globalized” hopelessness.

More here-

Madison Bishop Morlino says media misunderstands Pope Francis' message

From Wisconsin-

Sharyn Stumpf likes what she hears from Rome. A lifelong Catholic, the 67-year-old retired teacher was delighted to hear Pope Francis this week say that the Church should put less of an emphasis on divisive social issues, such as homosexuality and contraception.

“I think to me it’s a more authentic message consistent with the gospel,” she says. “I’m certainly heartened and it’s very refreshing to see this Pope.”

Stumpf, who went to parochial grade school in New Holstein as a child, says she used to be a “dyed-in-the-wool” Catholic but has since become a more “critical Catholic,” only going to mass occasionally. She says the Church’s treatment of women has pushed her away from the institution and she now prefers to attend a womens’ spirituality group. She knows many other women who have left the Church in recent years.

Because Catholicism doesn’t allow women to enter the clergy, some of her formerly devout Catholic friends have joined the Episcopal Church, which more closely mirrors Catholic theology and tradition than other Protestant sects. Some of them have even gone on to become Episcopal priests.

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Former church member devastated by Epiphany Episcopal fire

From Florida- (video)

A Westside church community is picking up the pieces after their Sunday school building went up in flames.

Former Sunday school teacher Rebecca Rodgers saw the damage firsthand Friday morning.

"This place meant so much to me when I was here," said Rodgers.

According to the Jacksonville Fire and Rescue Department, 15 fire trucks were dispatched to Epiphany Episcopal Church in the 5200 block of Harlow Boulevard about 4:30 a.m.

Investigators believe the fire started in the utility room. According to JFRD spokespman Tom Francis, it does not appear to be suspicious, but the cause is still under investigation.

Much of the building was gutted by the fire; the flames left a gaping hole in the roof.

According to Rodgers, the fire is yet another sad chapter in the church's 55-year history after it fell on hard times earlier this year.

More here-

Friday, September 20, 2013

Episcopal Church House of Bishops Fall 2013 retreat meeting: Daily Account for Thursday, September 19

From The Episcopal Church Public Affairs Office-

The House of Bishops of the Episcopal Church is meeting in Nashville, TN (Diocese of Tennessee) from September 19 to September 24.  The following is an account of the activities for Thursday, September 19.

The theme for the fall meeting of the Episcopal Church House of Bishops is Transforming Loss into Possibilities.

The emcee for the day was Bishop Sean Rowe, Diocese of Northwestern Pennsylvania

Following morning table discussion, Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori welcomed all to the House of Bishops, and introduced guests:

Bishop Tilewa Johnson of  the Province of West Africa (Gambia)
Bishop Suheil Dawani of the Episcopal Diocese of Jerusalem
Greg Palmer and Mary Anne Swenson of the United Methodist Church
Bishop Miguel Tamayo, former bishop of  Cuba and Uruguay
Bishop David Rice of the Diocese of Waiapu in the Anglican Church in Aotearoa, New Zealand and Polynesia
The Rev. Gay Clark Jennings, President of the House of Deputies

More here-

House of Bishops Day 1 (Spring 2013)

From Bishop Martins-

We gathered at 9am, with words of welcome from the Presiding Bishop. Then it was time for our customary "check-in" time with our table-mates. Table assignments are shuffled and re-dealth for the first meeting after every General Convention, then remain in effect through the next General Convention. So this is our second meeting with the current table assignments. I am with the Bishops of Missouri, Western North Carolina, El Camino Real, and Northwestern Pennsylvania.

After some further brief words from John Bauerschmidt, Bishop of the host diocese of Tennessee, and Gay Jennings, President of the House of Deputies, who is here as an invited guest, we adjourned to a nearby room for the Eucharist, commemorating the lesser feast of St Theodore of Tarsus, at which the Presiding Bishop was celebrant and preacher. All the liturgies at meetings of the House have, in my experience, tended to be wildly multi-lingual in text and song. Today we jumped between Spanish, French, Creole, Swahili, and, occasionally, English. I understand and endorse the motivation to be hospitable toward those in our midst who are not fluent in English, but I wish we would do so differently. Making every occasion of worship completely polyglot is distracting to the point of annoyance.

More here-

Archbishop Welby warns about 'large-scale' rent arrears

From The BBC-

The Archbishop of Canterbury, Justin Welby, has warned about the possibility of "large-scale" and "growing" rent arrears.

In a speech in Birmingham, he also said that "vast increases in fuel costs" were squeezing people's incomes.

The Archbishop was speaking at the annual conference of the National Housing Federation (NHF).

Earlier this week, the NHF said that more than half of council tenants had been unable to keep up with their rent.

It blamed the changes in housing benefit, described by the government as the end to the spare room subsidy, and by critics as "the bedroom tax".

More here-

'Open your eyes to capital's underclass'

From Australia-

St John's Care director Sue Jordan has scoffed at the idea Canberra is largely a comfortable and middle-class city as her organisation prepares to team up with youth homeless service YouthCARE Canberra.

''Come and spend a day with me - that would change your mind. Canberra is not middle-class,'' Mrs Jordan said.

Each weekday, St John's Care volunteers give out donated food to the needy in its ''supermarket without a register'' in the hall behind the church in Reid, at the coalface of the national capital's underclass.

''These are people who come in and say, 'I cannot feed my family','' Mrs Jordan said.

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Church of Ireland appoints first woman bishop

From Ireland-

The Church of Ireland has appointed its first woman bishop. Rev Pat Storey was yesterday elected as the new Bishop of Meath and Kildare, to succeed Most Rev Dr Richard Clarke, who last December was appointed Church of Ireland primate and Archbishop of Armagh.

Rev Storey, who is the also the first woman bishop in Ireland or Britain, is 53 and has been rector of St Augustine’s in Derry since 2004. Married to Rev Earl Storey they have two adult children, Carolyn (25) and Luke (22).

Having grown up in Belfast and studied French and English at Trinity College Dublin,Rev Storey trained at the Church of Ireland Theological College (now Institute) in Dublin and was ordained deacon in 1997 and priest in 1998.

More here-

Chaplains visit site of killings

From The Church Times-

CHAPLAINS rushed to comfort the injured and grieving at the Washington Navy Yard, where 12 people were killed by a gunman this week.

A former US Navy serviceman, Aaron Alexis, died after a gun-battle with police at the Navy Yard on Monday morning. Reports suggest that he had mental-health problems, and was known to police for two previous gun-related incidents.

Naval chaplains on the base, and others from bases near by, were brought in to assist those affected by the incident. Washington Cathedral offered prayers throughout the day for the victims, their families, and those treating them.

The Dean, the Very Revd Gary Hall, said: "All of us at Washington National Cathedral heard the news of this morning's shootings at the Washington Navy Yard with a mixture of shock and sadness. We mourn for those who have died, and we continue to grieve the persistence of gun violence in our nation."

More here-

Mozart and French cars: What we know about the pope's likes — and why it matters

From NBC-

Pope Francis plunged headlong on Thursday into some of the most divisive issues in Catholicism — speaking expansively about how the church must lighten its emphasis on fighting abortion, contraception and gay marriage.

But buried deep in a 12,000-word interview with a Jesuit journal was a more personal nugget: The man loves Mozart. He finds Wagner impressive and Bach sublime, but the Holy Father will take Mozart any day.

“The ‘Et incarnates est’ from his Mass in C minor is matchless. It lifts you to God!” Francis gushed. “Mozart fulfills me. But I cannot think about his music. I have to listen to it.”

More here-

Thursday, September 19, 2013

Presiding bishop’s opening Eucharist sermon

From ENS-

I promise you that the planning committee did not examine the lectionary before they chose this theme of Transforming Loss into New Possibilities.  ButTheodore of Tarsus is a most appropriate witness to that kind of hope and faithfulness.  He was born in Tarsus, what is today southeastern Turkey, in 602, and educated there and in Athens.  He was a speaker of Greek and Latin, and a highly educated monk – a layman.  Strife in the form of Muslim conquests drove him into exile in Rome.  He was living there in 668 when Pope Vitalian started looking for a new Archbishop of Canterbury.

Five others had served in that post since Gregory sent Augustine to care for Anglo-Saxon Christians in 595.  The last Archbishop, Deusdedit, died in 664, in the same year as the Synod of Whitby, and neighboring kings selected Wighard to travel to Rome and seek consecration as his successor.  

Wighard and his party made it to Rome, but died there of plague, and Pope Vitalian began to seek a replacement.  He asked Hadrian, abbot of a monastery in Naples, twice, who resisted.  Vitalian offered to let him off the hook, but only if he would find a substitute. 

 Eventually he settled on Theodore the refugee.  Theodore was ordained subdeacon immediately, but had to wait four months for his hair to grow out enough for a suitable, western tonsure.  He was consecrated at the age of 66, on 26 March 668, and was sent off to England, together with Hadrian and a translator.  Hadrian was something of a custodian, told by Vitalian to guard against eastern innovations that might be introduced by this Greek!  It took them a year before they finally landed in England, having been detained in part by a French bishop who suspected them of political intrigue.

More here

Pope Francis 'clarifies' on gays, but conservatives won't be happy

From The LA Times-

It's a familiar cycle: Pope Francis says something that seems to soften the Roman Catholic Church’s attitude toward hot-button issues; liberals (Catholic and otherwise) rejoice; conservative Catholics rush to remind gleeful Francisphiles that the pope really didn’t depart from orthodoxy.

But that sort of spin has become progressively more difficult.

This summer, Francis unforgettably said: "When I meet a gay person, I have to distinguish between their being gay and being part of a lobby. If they accept the Lord and have goodwill, who am I to judge them?" A writer for the National Catholic Register first offered a "nothing new here" gloss, speculating that the pope was referring to "people with same-sex attraction who strive to live chastely (even if they sometimes fail)."

But the Register acknowledged that the pope might also have been extending a hand to "individuals who are not living chastely but who are not actively lobbying a homosexual agenda." The Register added, "It would be nice if he'd said a little more to clarify the point further."

More here-,0,5087717.story

Joint Nominating Committee elects new co-chair

From ENS-

The Episcopal Church Joint Nominating Committee for the Election of the Presiding Bishop (JNCPB) announces a change in leadership with the resignation of Bishop Tom Shaw as co-chair and the election of Bishop Ed Konieczny to that post.

Recently JNCPB Co-chair Sally Johnson of the Diocese of Minnesota contacted the 29-member committee, noting, “It is with sadness that I read an email from Tom Shaw on Wednesday resigning as Co-Chair of the Joint Nominating Committee for the Election of the Presiding Bishop as a result of his need to focus on his continued treatment.”  Bishop Shaw, of the Diocese of Massachusetts, was diagnosed with a brain tumor last spring and has been receiving treatment following surgery in May. He will remain on the committee.

Following the protocol of other Episcopal Church Commissions, Committees, Agencies and Boards (CCABs), the Rev. Canon Michael Barlowe, Executive Officer of the General Convention, contacted committee members with the invitation to submit nominations for a new co-chair.

On Tuesday, September 17, Bishop Konieczny, of the Diocese of Oklahoma, was elected to serve as co-chair. He joins co-chair Johnson, and committee secretary, the Rev. Ruth Lawson Kirk of the Diocese of Virginia, on the executive leadership team of the committee.

More here-

Archbishop urges Catholics to support the ordinariate

From England-

The Archbishop of Westminster has written to every parish in England and Wales encouraging them to welcome the Personal Ordinariate of Our Lady of Walsingham and praising the “beauty” of its Anglican heritage.

Archbishop Vincent Nichols’s letter, which will be read to parishioners in England and Wales on Sunday, encourages the faithful to read another letter written by the ordinary of the ordinariate, Mgr Keith Newton, to mark the Feast of Our Lady of Walsingham on Tuesday.

Archbishop Nichols’s letter says: “I warmly encourage you to take home a copy of Mgr Newton’s letter and to welcome and support the clergy and faithful of the Personal Ordinariate of Our Lady of Walsingham, both for the part they play in the life and mission of the Catholic Church in this country and for the particular gifts they bring which add to our rich diversity.”

More here-

Nigeria Police lied about their role in my freedom- Kidnapped Anglican Archbishop

From Nigeria-

The Nigerian police lied when it claimed it helped free a kidnapped Anglican cleric, the cleric has said.

The Archbishop of the Niger Delta Province of the Anglican Communion, Ignatius Kattey, was freed on September 14 after he was kidnapped on September 6 in Eleme, Rivers State. His wife, Beatrice, kidnapped at the same time with him, had been freed earlier.

The police had stated that it played a major role in the cleric’s release. The Rivers police spokeswoman, Angela Agabe, had claimed in an interview with Punch Newspapers that “the police eventually rescued him.”

But, while speaking to journalists on Wednesday at his home in Alode, Eleme Local Government Area of Rivers State, Mr. Kattey said the police’ stance was complete falsehood. He said he only saw the police on Monday after his releaseon Saturday night.

More here-

Colorado Floods: Churches are drying out, finding ways to help

From ENS-

Devastating floods up and down Colorado’s Front Range have impacted several communities and Episcopal churches. As those churches – none of which suffered catastrophic damage – dry out, they are making contact with parishioners, and will be working to help in their communities in days to come.

The staff in the [Diocese of Colorado] Office of the Bishop has been contacting clergy in affected areas, and has determined they are all safe and accounted for, although some of them have experienced some personal property damage and loss. Clergy and other leaders continue to get in touch with their parishioners to determine their safety and immediate needs. In some places this has been much more difficult than in others. Based on initial assessments, while many church buildings have had some flooding damage, none has catastrophic damage.

Several churches have already begun to reach out to those least likely have personal resources to deal with the disaster. St. Aidan’s in Boulder has already been working through their existing partnership with Boulder Outreach for Homeless Overflow to provide overnight shelter for the homeless in these adverse conditions. The St. Aidan’s community is also reaching out through their Canterbury ministry to University of Colorado students who suffered losses.

More here-

Bishop asks judge to reconsider in Episcopal case

From South Carolina-

U.S. District Judge C. Weston Houck has been asked to reconsider his dismissal of a federal lawsuit arising from the Episcopal schism in eastern South Carolina.

Houck last month dismissed the action brought by Bishop Charles vonRosenberg and ruled that the legal issues should be settled in state court. The bishop represents parishes remaining with the national Episcopal Church following last year’s schism.

vonRosenberg had asked the court to block Bishop Mark Lawrence, heading parishes that left, from using the name and symbols of the Episcopal Diocese of South Carolina.

Lawrence and many parishes in the conservative diocese separated from the more liberal national church. Those parishes then sued in state court to protect use of the diocesan name and a half billion dollars in property.

In court documents filed Monday, vonRosenberg asks Houck to reconsider his decision dismissing the federal case.

More here-

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Pope Francis gives cohabitation a nod

From RNS-

Speaking to the clergy of Rome a couple of days ago, Pope Francis took a characteristically soft line on how to deal with cohabiting couples. And, characteristically, he did it in his usual adroit way.

“Always speak the truth,” he said, and then pointed out that “the truth does not exhaust itself in the dogmatic definition” but “in the love and in the fullness of God.” Priests ought to “accompany,” just as Jesus “accompanied and warmed the hearts” of the disciples on the road to Emmaus.

Advocates of a hard line on cohabitation will say that the pope did not deny the church’s teaching that cohabitation is wrong. But his approach is profoundly at odds with that of a hierarch like Archbishop Michael J. Sheehan of Santa Fe, who two years ago issued a letter instructing the faithful that cohabiting couples cannot receive the sacraments. And, declared Sheehan, that goes for those married only in civil ceremonies, whether previously unmarried or previously married.

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Gay head priest shows how far Canadian military has come

From Canada-

In his new job as head chaplain in the military, Brig.-Gen. John Fletcher will be overseeing the religious needs of Canada’s troops, shoring up what the Defence Department calls its chaplaincy’s “inclusive, welcoming culture.”

As an openly gay member of the military and Anglican priest for more than two decades, it’s an environment Fletcher has benefitted from firsthand.

His recent appointment is in sharp contrast to past military policy, which allowed discrimination against gays and lesbians. Fletcher said he came out not long after a landmark court decision struck down the rule in 1992, alleviating his fears about what could happen to his career if he did come out.

More here-

Communiqué from the Anglican-Orthodox Theological dialogue

From ACNS-

In the name of the Triune God, and with the blessing and guidance of our Churches, the International Commission for Anglican-Orthodox Theological Dialogue (ICAOTD) met in Novi Sad, Serbia during 4-11 September 2013 at the invitation of Patriarch Irinej of the Serbian Orthodox Church. The Commission is grateful for the generous hospitality extended by Bishop Irinej and the Diocese of Backa of which Novi Sad is the see city.

Bishop Irinej and Bishop David of Krushevac, on behalf of Patriarch Irinej, warmly welcomed the members of the Commission to Novi Sad. The bishops offered engagement with the work of the Commission, noting in particular the spiritual dimensions of the study of theological anthropology, and sharing with members an understanding of the experience of Christians in Serbia.

More here-é-from-the-anglican-orthodox-theological-dialogue.aspx

Deputies: Man threatens pastor with chainsaw

From Florida-

After weeks of alleged threats to the Pastor at Christ Episcopal Church and years of allegedly peering into its preschool windows at children, 29-year old Andrew Hahn is back behind bars.

Action News has learned police previously arrested Hahn in 2008 for snapping photos of children showering at the Ponte Vedra Inn and Club.

That's when Christ Episcopal banned him from stepping foot on its campus.

But just last week, police say Hahn threatened the church pastor with a chainsaw, his neighbors aren't surprised.

"There's always police cars around," said neighbor Stan Herndon.

Herndon says recently he's watched Hahn act recklessly on his street.

"We're just concerned he's riving cars fast down the street and some yelling and screaming going on down there it's disturbing other neighbors," said Herndon.

More here-

As denominations decline, numbers of unpaid ministers rise

From RNS-

The 50 members of All Saints Episcopal Church in Hitchcock, Texas, are looking forward to December, when Mark Marmon will be ordained their priest.

One reason for the excitement? They won’t have to pay him.

A 57-year-old fly fishing guide, Marmon, whose wife is a lawyer, says he doesn’t want or need a church salary. He belongs to a growing breed of mainline Protestant clergy who serve congregations in exchange for little or no compensation.

“We’re the frontline,” Marmon said. “If it weren’t for us, these churches would just roll up and die.”

Though small evangelical congregations have long relied on unpaid pastors, mainline churches haven’t. They’ve generally paid full-time or nearly full-time salaries, said Scott Thumma, a Hartford Seminary sociologist of religion.

More here-

Parishioners say goodbye to St. James

From Los Angeles-

Parishioners from St. James Anglican Church in Newport Beach wiped tears from their eyes as they exited the church after its final service Sunday, leaving behind a building that housed many memories for them and their families.

Jim Dale, 63, said he has been attending church at St. James since he was a young boy, making the move a particularly difficult one for him.

"Being in there today, all the memories came flooding back," he said. "There are so many memories: my communion, meeting my wife, marrying my wife. It all happened here."

Future St. James church services will be held at Mariner's Christian School in Costa Mesa after an Orange County Superior Court judge granted property ownership rights to the Episcopal Diocese of Los Angeles in July.

Judge Kim G. Dunning's ruling ended nine years of litigation following disputes between St. James members and the Episcopal Church about the ordination of a gay bishop and other issues that led to St. James disaffiliating with the Episcopal Church and aligning with the Anglican Church.

More here-

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Japan's newest bishop consecrated

From ACNS-

From Nippon Sei Ko Kai (the Anglican Episcopal Church in Japan)

More than 300 people from countries including Taiwan, Hong Kong and the Philippines recently travelled to Okinawa for the consecration of Japan's newest bishop.

The Rt Revd David Eisho Uehara became Bishop of the Diocese of Okinawa, Japan, on Saturday 7 September at All Souls’ Church, Chatan, Okinawa.

Guests from overseas included the Rt Revd David Lai, Diocese of Taiwan in The Episcopal Church; the Rt Revd Andrew Chan, Diocese of Western Kowloon in Hong Kong Sheng Kung Hui; the Rt Revd Dixie Taclobao, Diocese of Central Philipinnes in the Episcopal Church in the Philippines; and representatives from 11 dioceses of Nippon Sei Ko Kai (NSKK).

More here-

In Sudan, Anglican bishop works to end LRA militia violence

From ENS-

Samuel Enosa Peni, bishop of the Diocese of Nzara in the Episcopal Church of the Sudan, is the deputy chairman of an interfaith group of religious leaders from South Sudan, Uganda, the Central African Republic, and the Democratic Republic of the Congo. The group, led by the Catholic archbishop of Kinsangani in the DRC, is working to end the violence caused by the Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA).

For Peni, the threat posed by the LRA is real. When he became bishop in 2010, thirty-three of his parishes—a quarter of the total—were closed after people fled their rural villages because of violence caused by the LRA. The LRA came into existence in the late 1980s as part of a civil war in northern Uganda, but has since transformed into a rebel army with a reputation for particular brutality.

Shortly after Peni moved to Nzara from nearby Yambio to become bishop, the LRA killed two families in a village close to Nzara. Peni remembers hearing the news in his new home. With the diocesan secretary, he decided to go to where the bodies were being kept, and where many people had begun to gather. As he got out of the car, he remembers, “I could hear people whispering, ‘Oh, he is the new bishop.’ The secretary motioned the people to stop wailing and listen. Then I had to give a message of encouragement, of comfort. I had to cry with them.” Since that time, he has had success in encouraging people to return to their villages and resume their lives of subsistence agriculture. This, in turn, lessens their dependence on international assistance.

More here-

The Tears of Things

From First Things-

I’ve been talking recently with an Episcopal priest about the ongoing agonies of the Anglican Communion. Although he and I find ourselves in different places on the questions of the hour, he and I were also a bit surprised to see each other struggling to articulate a very similar posture towards the questions. We have both ended up describing, in our different ways, our reluctance to try to relieve the tension and unsettledness and anguish we feel.

Shouldn’t those who are pressing for the “full inclusion” of “practicing” gay and lesbian Christians in the church (to use the jargon) give more indication that they feel the weight of what they’re asking? That’s what my priest friend asks. Shouldn’t there be a little more fear and trembling and reverence for the historic teaching of the church? Of course they may end up disagreeing with Bernard of Clairvaux, Augustine, and Barth about the moral significance of our being created male and female, but shouldn’t they be a little less sanguine about it and a little more deferential, to the point of saying, “We believe the tradition made a grave mistake in its disallowance of gay partnerships, but at the same time we acknowledge our deep indebtedness to that tradition for giving us the theological and ethical vision to even make our argument for inclusion”?

More here-

Libertyville's St. Lawrence Episcopal Church infuses worship with jazz

From Illinois-

St. Lawrence Episcopal Church in Libertyville is marrying an unlikely duo: the sultry sounds of Chicago jazz with traditional worship.

A group known for its Chicago version of Dixieland jazz will take the stage 7 p.m. Sunday, Sept. 22.

Unlike the New Orleans style, the Windy City All-Stars ensemble brings a more collective improvisation, Dave Hibbard said. Members of the group have performed alongside jazz greats like Count Basie and Louis Armstrong.

“It’s a very important link in the history of jazz,” he said.

The Lindenhurst man plays the trumpet and teaches at the College of Lake County. He decided to bring a jazz vespers service to St. Lawrence, sitting on Church Street in the heart of downtown Libertyville.

More here-

Legal loss for Ontario ACNA parish

From Anglican Ink-

An Ontario parish of the Anglican Church in North America has lost its appeal of a lower court ruling that awarded its parish property to the Anglican Church of Canada’s Diocese of Huron.

Last week the Court of Appeal of Ontario upheld a 15 August 2011 ruling of the Superior Court that held the property and assets of St Aidan’s Church in Windsor, Ontario did not belong to the parish, but were held in trust by a congregation on behalf of the diocese and the Anglican Church of Canada.

In the trial court decision, Judge David Little held the terms “parish” and “congregation” referred to a “distinct separate unit, rather than a compilation of its congregants at any one time", and that the separate entity in this case was the "St Aidan's Parish of the Diocese of Huron". The appeals court ruled the parish property and investments were the property of the diocese, and awarded partial costs to the diocese in the amount of C$100,000.

On 28 September 2008, the parishioners of St Aidan's voted unanimously to realign with the Anglican Network in Canada, quitting the Anglican Church of Canada. The vote was prompted by the General Synod passed a resolution stating same-sex unions were not in conflict with the church’s core doctrine and the Huron Diocesan synod requested its bishop permit clergy to bless gay civil marriages.

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Monday, September 16, 2013

Prayers Follow Shootings

From The Living Church-

Washington National Cathedral is offering prayers throughout the day in response to the shootings reported at the Washington Navy Yard this morning. The Very Rev. Gary Hall, dean of the Cathedral, has released the following statement:

All of us at Washington National Cathedral heard the news of this morning’s shootings at the Washington Navy Yard with a mixture of shock and sadness. We mourn for those who have died, and we continue to grieve the persistence of gun violence in our nation. The Cathedral will hold the victims, first responders, and the Navy community in prayer, while also making the Cathedral’s space and its ministries available today to all who seek consolation and refuge from this loss.

The noonday service of Holy Eucharist, as well as the Choral Evensong service at 5:30 p.m. Monday, are open to all. Cathedral clergy intend to offer special prayers for the victims and first responders in both services.

More here-

Catholic priest: Why celibacy is right for me

From The Washington Post-

There has been much talk recently about priestly celibacy. Italian Archbishop Pietro Parolin, the Vatican’s new Secretary of State, gave an interview to the Venezuelan newspaper El Universal, in which he discussed continuity and change in the Catholic Church. The interviewer raised the question of celibacy, and the archbishop replied that celibacy “is not a church dogma and it can be discussed because it is a church tradition,” dating to the early centuries of the church.

There was nothing new in Parolin’s comments. Celibacy is a church discipline, very different than a dogmatic teaching like the resurrection or doctrines defending the sanctity of all human life. Such teachings go to the heart of the faith and thus cannot be changed. Celibacy is a different kind of rule, open to change.  While celibate priesthood became the universal norm in the Roman Catholic Church in the Middle Ages, the Vatican has always respected the practice of married priests in the Eastern Churches united with Rome, and in recent decades has made special provision for married, Anglican clergy who convert to Catholicism.

More here-

Upper Hunter man Newcastle's Anglican bishop-elect

From England-

Former Upper Hunter man Greg Thompson has been chosen as the new bishop of the Anglican Diocese of Newcastle.

The church's Synod gathered at the weekend to replace retired bishop Brian Farran.

Bishop Thompson, who went to school in Muswellbrook, is currently the bishop of the Northern Territory diocese.

He was the only candidate vying for the Newcastle role after a vote earlier this year failed to reach consensus.

Assistant bishop Peter Stuart has been the interim leader and says he's looking forward to the new bishop starting in February next year.

More here-

Minnesota Archbishop John Nienstedt Claims Satan Behind Gay Marriage, Condoms And Porn (VIDEO)

From Minnesota-

Fornicators beware: sodomy, condoms and pornography are the work of the devil.

That's the message of a speech posted online last week by the Catholic Archbishop of St. Paul and Minneapolis, John C. Niendstedt. A controversial religious leader with a stridently anti-gay stance, Niendstedt originally made the comments while speaking to the conservative Napa Institute Conference on August 2. The speech detailed the importance of family, as well as the devil's multiple attempts to weaken the institution of heterosexual marriage.

"Today, many evil forces have set their sights on the dissolution of marriage and the debasing of family life," Niendstedt said. "Sodomy, abortion, contraception, pornography, the redefinition of marriage, and the denial of objective truth are just some of the forces threatening the stability of our civilization. The source of these machinations is none other than the Father of Lies. Satan knows all too well the value that the family contributes to the fabric of a good solid society, as well as the future of God’s work on earth."

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Meet Father Dad: How married priests would change the Catholic Church

From NBC-

More students in seminaries, more people in the pews, and the pitter-patter of little feet padding through the rectory.

Is that what the Catholic Church would look like if it scrapped centuries of tradition and allowed priests to be married? Or would it lead to higher costs for parishes, conservatives running for the doors, and really awkward divorces? "So we're not only paying for family expenses, college, and all of that — now we're paying alimony, too?" Catholic author Mark Shea wondered.

When Pope Francis' No. 2, Archbishop Pietro Parolin, said last week that the church's policy on celibate clergy is up for discussion, some analysts saw it as a shift in Vatican thinking.

Catholics have divergent views of what would happen if priests could accessorize their vestments with wedding rings.

Sunday, September 15, 2013

Largest Presbyterian Church in Texas Filing Suit to Keep Property Should They Leave Denomination

From Christian Post-

Presbyterian Church USA's largest congregation in Texas has filed a lawsuit to seek legal protection for their property should they seek dismissal from the denomination.

The Highland Park Presbyterian Church, a Dallas-based congregation with approximately 4,000 members, filed the suit on Tuesday in Dallas County District Court.

Mark Annick of Androvett Legal Media in Dallas is working with Highland Park Presbyterian on the suit over the property.

"Regarding the status of the lawsuit, the court granted the temporary restraining order…and set a hearing date on the matter for September 23," Annick told The Christian Post.

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Kidnapped Anglican Bishop Kattey Regains Freedom

From Nigeria-

The kidnapped Dean of The Church of Nigeria (Anglican Communion) and Archbishop of the Province of Niger Delta, Most Rev. Ignatius Kattey, has regained freedom after a week in captivity.

Kattey, who was abducted alongside his wife, Beatrice, on Friday, September 6, along Aleto-Eleme in Eleme Local Government Area of River State, was freed last night at Eleme.

The kidnappers had earlier abandoned his wife   before escaping into the bush with the cleric
His release by his abductors was confirmed by the Public Relations Officer of the state  Police Command, DSP Angela Agabe, last night. While details of his release remained sketchy when filling this report last night , it could not also be confirmed if any ransom was paid.

The Church of Nigeria (Anglican Communion) had earlier in the day expressed dissatisfaction with the police handling of the matter.  The position of the church was made known by the  Archdeacon, Eleme Archdeaconry of the Church, Ven. Israel Omoisioni, while speaking on a live radio phone-in programme monitored in Port Harcourt.

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Husbands define new roles with increase in women clergy

From Tennessee-

Quick. What do you call the husband of a rabbi?

“Lucky,” says Ross Sadoff, whose wife, Susan Tendler, is rabbi at B’nai Zion Congregation.

An investment adviser, Sadoff is one of a growing number of men who can claim the mantle of clergy husband. Only 17.5 percent of Conservative Jewish rabbis are female, according to the Conservative movement. In Protestant denominations, 10 percent of ministers are female, according to the Barna Group, a research and training firm for churches. But the number for both — and clergy spouses — is growing.

Clergy wives, traditionally, especially when almost all ministers were men, have been expected to sing in the choir, teach Sunday school, act as secretary, play the organ, lead vacation Bible school and be dutiful wives and mothers.

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Robert F. Capon, Who Wrote of God and Food, Dies at 87

From The New York Times-

Robert F. Capon, an Episcopal priest, author, theologian and food writer best known for “The Supper of the Lamb,” a sui generis book about cooking and metaphysics that has remained in print almost continuously since it was first published in 1969, died on Sept. 5 in Greenport, N.Y. He was 87.

His death was confirmed by his wife, Valerie.

Mr. Capon, who lived for many years on nearby Shelter Island, wrote 27 books from 1965 to 2004, most of them works of theology or New Testament interpretation that gave voice to a passionate, entertaining and sometimes unorthodox view of Christian teachings.

In books like “The Third Peacock: The Goodness of God and the Badness of the World” (1971) and “Between Noon and Three: Romance, Law and the Outrage of Grace” (1996), Mr. Capon (pronounced KAY-pun) dismissed most forms of conspicuous religious piety, construed the Gospels as a radical manifesto for freedom, and for better or worse championed what he called “the astonishing oddness of the world.”

When two become one: Marriage, separated from procreation, loses it meaning

From The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette- (David Zubik, Roman Catholic Bishop of Pittsburgh)

It's no secret that Rabbi Aaron Bisno of Rodef Shalom Congregation in Oakland, his wife, Michelle, and I are very good friends. (For proof, check the front page of this week's Pittsburgh Catholic.)

We have traveled to Rome and the Holy Land together. Each year, Rabbi Bisno comes to the Christmas Eve Mass at Saint Paul Cathedral. Each year, I go to Rodef Shalom to commemorate the Jewish High Holy Day, Yom Kippur. We have shared everything from good meals to even better conversation. We trust each other with our struggles and our joys.

We both realize that, while our friendship is personal, it also means more than that. Publicly representing the Jewish and Catholic communities, our friendship is within a much larger context. We have been able to use our friendship to further enhance Jewish and Catholic relations in Pittsburgh, while working together, we hope, for the good of the whole community of southwestern Pennsylvania.

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