Saturday, September 20, 2014

Arctic reverend brings Ulster humour to Inuit

From Ireland-

Whatever the dubious delights of the Northern Ireland weather, it’s probably safe to say only one local clergyman is dependant on a snowmobile to minister to his congregation.

The Rev Darren McCartney - who left the lush countryside of Co Armagh to become Anglican Bishop of the Diocese of the Arctic - now looks after the spiritual needs of a flock of Inuit people in the 1.5 million square miles of freezing desolation.

A new one-hour documentary has been made about his remarkable transition from the Church of Ireland parish of Knocknamuckley near Portadown to the Canadian northland.

More here-

The Vicar of Baghdad

From West Palm beach (with video)-

He is called the Vicar of Baghdad, though his life couldn’t be more different from the average English vicar.

The Reverend Canon Andrew White leads St. George’s Church, the last Anglican church in Iraq. He also runs a clinic that sees thousands of patients a month, and a food program that feeds hundreds every week – regardless of their beliefs or religious affiliation.

But though this work is much admired, it is not what has made Rev. White famous. As president of the Foundation for Relief and Reconciliation in the Middle East, White has forged personal relationships with the heads of opposing Muslim groups in Iraq. He is one of the precious few people in the world who has the trust of both Sunni and Shia leaders.

More here-

We Need an Additional Way to Credential Pastors

From Christianity Today-

The normal track for credentialing pastors includes college, seminary, and an ordination council. But what about credentialing pastors who take non-traditional routes? Is there space in your denomination for that? Should there be?

Furthermore, is there a biblical way to respect the office of pastor while providing additional paths to pastoral ministry?

I think the obvious answer is yes.

I want to consider an Alternative Credentialing Track (ACT).

Anglican team eases to victory against Vatican XI

Cricket results-

The long-awaited cricketing showdown between the Church of England and the Vatican has ended in a comfortable victory for the Anglican team.

The Anglican XI scored 108 for 4, winning with 5 balls to spare. St Peter’s XI had earned 106 for 4 from their 20 overs. The match was close until the 18th over, when the C of E team gained the advantage.

The Archbishop of Canterbury, the Most Rev Justin Welby, presented the trophy to the winners as night fell at St Lawrence Ground in Canterbury.

More here-

and here-

Friday, September 19, 2014

Archbishop of Canterbury statement on Scotland referendum result

From Anglican News-

The Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby has issued a statement after the Scottish people voted to remain within the United Kingdom.

The Archbishop said:

"Over the past few weeks the campaign has touched on such raw issues of identity and been so closely fought that it has generated profound questioning and unsettlement far beyond Scotland.

More here-

Religious education 'too weak' in Anglican primary schools

From The Telegraph-

More than half of Church of England primary schools are delivering poor quality religious education lessons that give pupils little more than a “superficial” grounding in the subject, according to official Anglican research.

A study by the Church’s education division found that under-11s were being fed a “narrow diet of Bible stories” rather than in-depth classes designed to boost their understanding of Christianity.
Researchers found that RE was “not good enough” in 60 per cent of primary schools and officially “inadequate” in one-in-six of those inspected.

More here-

Scotland votes 'No' and Cameron promises to deliver

From The Church Times-

SCOTTISH voters have rejected the opportunity to become an independent nation: 55 per cent of them chose to remain within the UK in the referendum yesterday.

The result became clear shortly after 6 a.m. today, as the returning officer in Fife - the third largest electorate in Scotland - announced that the No side had won there, meaning that it was mathematically impossible for the Yes votes to win. The final tally was: No - 2,001,926; Yes - 1,617,989. The turnout was 84.5 per cent.

More here-

Returning SC priest reinstated through new path for reconciliation

From ENS-

Bishop Charles G. vonRosenberg of South Carolina has welcomed a returning member of the clergy back into good standing as a priest, hailing the reinstatement of the Rev. H. Dagnall Free, Jr. as an important day for The Episcopal Church and an encouraging step toward reconciliation in South Carolina.

On Tuesday, in a brief liturgy led by vonRosenberg, Free reaffirmed the vows he took at his ordination in 2010 and signed a formal declaration promising to conform to the doctrine, discipline and worship of The Episcopal Church.

More here-

Episcopal Church House of Bishops Fall 2014 meeting

From Anglican News-

The House of Bishops of The Episcopal Church is meeting in the Diocese of Taiwan from September 17 to September 23. The following is an account of the activities for September 19.

The theme for the fall meeting of the Episcopal Church House of Bishops is Expanding the Apostolic Imagination.

The day began with Eucharist, celebrated by Bishop Robert Fitzpatrick of Hawaii and Bishop-in-Charge of the Church in Micronesia (Guam and Saipan). Preacher was HOB Chaplain the Rev. Simon Batista, Canon Missioner for Latino Ministries and Outreach of the Diocese of Texas.

More here-

Thursday, September 18, 2014

St. Peter’s Basilica Renamed “Tiber Creek Community Church”

From The Humor Department-

Pope Francis has changed the name of St. Peter’s Basilica to “Tiber Creek Community Church,” Vatican spokesperson Fr. Federico Lombardi announced this morning.

“The greatest church of Christendom, built on the holy grave of the martyr-prince of the Apostles, has been known as ‘St. Peter’s Basilica’ for 1700 years,” Fr. Lombardi explained. “It was long overdue for a rebranding.”

He continued that this was just the next step in Pope Francis’ greater program of trying to make the church more relatable to the average person.

More here-

How temporary 'cardboard cathedral' rose from the ruins to become most recognised building in Christchurch

From The Guardian-

Carolina Izzo runs her fingers over the edges of a coffee table. It is made from wood recycled out of the broken homes of Christchurch’s earthquake. “You can feel this has history,” the conservator says. “You can feel that time has imprinted on it. You cannot manufacture that.”

A short walk away sits the Christ Church Cathedral where time has imprinted a different feel. The front of the structure, completed 110 years ago, hangs open and loose like a broken jawed boxer. Steel support structures, raised in the aftermath of the 2011 earthquake, seem to support nothing. The building, once the epicentre of the city and its namesake, has sat unused and embroiled in legal battles. It is cordoned off, much of it hidden by large containers stacked up to protect the public in case of another shake.

More here-

Communion Rites May Be Putting Nigerians At Risk For Ebola

From Huffington-

Nigerian Christians are fearful that practicing one of their religion’s most sacred rites might lead to death by Ebola.

In response to the spread of the deadly virus, prominent Nigerian churches have asked parishioners to stop taking the Communion elements in the mouth and refrain from shaking hands as a ceremonial sign of peace.

Nigeria’s Catholic and Anglican churches issued statements in August asking priests to deliver communion elements into parishioner’s cupped palms, instead of placing the wafers on the tongue. The churches also approved the practice of “intinction,” or dipping the communion wafer into the cup of wine before placing it in the mouth.

More here-

Archbishop of Canterbury admits doubts about existence of God

From The Guardian (with video)-

The archbishop of Canterbury has admitted to having doubts about the existence of God and disclosed that on a recent morning jog with his dog he questioned why the Almighty had failed to intervene to prevent an injustice.

In a light-hearted but personal interview in front of hundreds of people in Bristol cathedral last weekend, Justin Welby said: "There are moments, sure, where you think 'Is there a God? Where is God?'"

Welby quickly added that as the leader of the world's 80 million-strong Anglican community this was "probably not what the archbishop of Canterbury should say".

More here-

When women bishops come, here's where conservative Anglicans will go

From The Spectator UK-

Anglicans aren’t the sort of church-goers who set much store by miracles, signs and wonders. Yet their own church is one of the greatest miracles of our society: it has managed to hang together, in spite of raging differences, for centuries.

Since 14 July, that miracle has been under threat. For most, it was a great leap forward when the General Synod finally approved the ordination of women bishops. A delighted Archbishop of Canterbury was ‘grateful to God and to answered prayers’. David Cameron called it a ‘great day for the church and for equality’.

More here-

Anglican dean blames Islam for rise of Islamic State

From Australia-

The Anglican Dean of Sydney, Phillip Jensen, has described Islam as "false" and attacked the religion for the rise of Islamic State.

"It's time to face the truth that Islam itself is part to blame," Dean Jensen wrote last week in his blog titled "From the Dean".

"Islam is false."

Despite the possibly inflammatory comments, the Sydney Anglican Church has stood behind the 70-year-old minister's comments.

Read more:

Organized religion does a lot of good for the needy

From Mississippi-

I sometimes hear folks argue that organized religion does no good. Religion has started wars they say, and witch-hunts, The Inquisition, all in the name of God.

Some of that’s true, but religion has also started hospitals, schools and homeless shelters. Believing that organized religion still does much good, I recently embarked on a three state speaking itinerary in search of that good.


The next day, Chaplain Tom Baker of Baxter Regional Medical Center had me speak to a packed hospital auditorium. After delivering a speech about battlefield trauma ministry, I toured the hospital floors where Baker provides pastoral care to nearly 220 patients (a population served by five chaplains at my hospital).

This middle-aged Episcopal priest also DJ’s at a pizza party every Friday night for 200 teens come to dance and hang out – even with retired adults. Baker says it’s “a safe place where ‘church’ isn’t all about recruitment. It’s about love.”

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

The Church of U2

From The New Yorker-

A few years ago, I was caught up in a big research project about contemporary hymns (or “hymnody,” as they say in the trade). I listened to hundreds of hymns on Spotify; I interviewed a bunch of hymn experts. What, I asked them, was the most successful contemporary hymn—the modern successor to “Morning Has Broken” or “Amazing Grace”? Some cited recently written traditional church hymns; others mentioned songs by popular Christian musicians. But one scholar pointed in a different direction: “If you’re willing to construe the term ‘hymn’ liberally, then the most heard, most successful hymn of the last few decades could be ‘I Still Haven’t Found What I’m Looking For,’ by U2.

More here-

Gay rector faces backlash in pews over ‘wedding’ plans

From The Telegraph-

An Anglican clergyman is facing opposition from parishioners over a service in his local church to bless his same-sex civil partnership.

The Rev Dominic McClean, the Rector of 13 parishes around the village of Market Bosworth in Leicestershire, invited parishioners to the special service this weekend to mark his civil union with his partner, Tony Hodges.

The service, taking place in the 14th Century St Peter’s Church in Market Bosworth on Saturday next week was given a go-ahead by the Bishop of Leicester, the Rt Rev Tim Stevens, who led the Church of England’s opposition in the House of Lords to the legalisation of same-sex marriage.

But Aubrey Chalmers, a member of the Parochial Church Council in nearby Shackerstone, one of Rev McClean’s parishes, has written in protest both to Bishop Stevens and the Archbishop of Canterbury, the Most Rev Justin Welby, describing the service as “deeply divisive and repugnant to many people”.

More here-

Nigerian Anglican Church Now Has 167 Bishops

From Nigeria-

The Church of Nigeria Anglican Communion yesterday added  two new bishops to the number of bishops they have in the country. Also the are Venerable, Prince Asukwo Antai who is now the Bishop of Uyo Diocese and Venerable Williams O. Aladekugbe who is now the Bishop of Oyo Diocese. Before the consecration of the two new bishops, the Anglican Church of Nigeria had 166 bishops. Whereas Oyo had a bishop, the new bishop would be replacing him thereby making the number of bishops to 167.

More here-

Episcopal Relief & Development celebrates 75 years

From ENS-

Episcopalians, friends and partner agencies around the globe are joining together to celebrate Episcopal Relief & Development’s 75th Anniversary.  The 75-week celebration, which will continue through the end of 2015, invites supporters to learn more about the organization’s programs and get involved in campaigns to raise $7.5 million to sustain its vital work.

In 1940, the National Council of The Episcopal Church established Episcopal Relief & Development – originally the Presiding Bishop’s Fund for World Relief – to respond to the needs of European refugees fleeing World War II.  Now, working on behalf of the Church with partners in nearly 40 countries, the organization continues its legacy of bringing together the generosity of Episcopalians and others to help communities overcome challenges and create lasting change.

More here-

Yale Episcopal Chaplain Steps Down After Letter To N.Y. Times

From Hartford-

An Episcopal priest from Groton serving as chaplain of the Episcopal Church at Yale University stepped down this month after a furor over a letter he wrote to The New York Times.

The Rev. Bruce Shipman, interviewed Friday at his Groton City home, wrote a letter that appeared in the Times on Aug. 26, in response to an article expressing an opinion about a rise in anti-Semitism.

Within two hours of the publication of the letter, which included a line at the end identifying him as the Episcopal chaplain at Yale, Shipman said, "there was an avalanche of hate mail calling me every name imaginable, and an anti-Semite, [saying] I was a disgrace to my calling and I ought not to be in any public office."

More here-,0,2480440.story

Tuesday, September 16, 2014


From Religion Dispatches-

Mark Achtemeier has been a minister with the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A) since 1984, and for much of his ministry he characterized himself as a “conservative anti-gay activist.” As a pastor and an associate professor of theology and ethics at the University of Dubuque Theological Seminary, Achtemeier wrote and spoke against the ordination of gay and lesbian ministers and co-wrote a declaration of faith that an anti-ordination coalition adopted.

That began to change in 2001, Achtemeier says when he made friends with some gay and lesbian Christians, some of whom had tried everything in their power to “change” their sexual orientation or had embraced a life of celibacy.

“It was producing broken people,” he told me, “and it wasn’t just isolated instances of this. I saw more and more of this and came away from these experiences thinking something is wrong with this picture. That got me writing and asking questions.”

Archbishop of Canterbury reflects on the "pilgrimage of justice and peace"

From Anglican News-

Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby generously granted an interview on the subject of “the pilgrimage of justice and peace” last week in São Paulo, Brazil. His visit to Brazil was part of a personal journey that has taken Welby to 31 Anglican provinces around the world since his enthronement as archbishop in March 2013.

The Archbishop of Canterbury is primate of the Church of England, a founding member church of the World Council of Churches (WCC).

The concept “pilgrimage of justice and peace” is found in a call to Christians and others of good will from the 10th Assembly of the WCC, an event in the Republic of Korea addressed by Welby in November 2013.

More here-

Vatican cricket team ready to tackle Church of England XI in Canterbury

From Ecumenical News-

When India hosts a cricket international match at Eden Gardens in Kolkata and Australia does the same at the Melbourne Cricket Ground the grounds can draw more than 100,000 spectators.

When a Vatican cricket team challenges the Church of England in a match at the picturesque Kent County Cricket Club in Canterbury on Friday, the organizers are expecting a smaller crowd.

"Realistically, we are rank underdogs with a very outside chance, but that's okay," said the Rev. Eamonn O'Higgins, spiritual director and manager of the Vatican club in remarks carried by the Holy See's website.

More here-

Demolition - Bishop Wants Anambra Govt. to Be Fair to All Churches

From Nigeria-

Rev. Owen Nwokolo, Anglican Bishop of Diocese on the Niger, has advised Gov. Willie Obiano of Anambra, to be fair to all Christian denominations in ensuring peace and religious tolerance.

The bishop made this known to newsmen at a news conference in Onitsha on Monday.

According to him, the governor as a high profile public officer should be fair to all manner of Christian denominations in the state.

Nwokolo was reacting to the demolition of the Ebenezer Anglican Church, Oyolu-Oze, Nkwelle Ezunaka by some unidentified persons.

He urged the government and the security agencies in the state to fish out those behind the demolition of the place of worship.

More here-

Monday, September 15, 2014

What the Church Can Learn from the U2/Apple Mistake

From Danielle Shroyer-

Two days ago, Apple and U2 came together to upload U2’s new album free to its 500 million users. It magically showed up in our iTunes libraries, where all one had to do was download it from the Cloud. Despite the fact that I’m what easily could be called U2’s core audience, even I found this to be invasive. So I wasn’t surprised when it got immediate pushback. 

My brother and I laughed this morning about how this entire debacle is an indication of how old we are, because most people who tweeted about the matter had absolutely no idea who U2 was, and certainly didn’t want their album in their iTunes folders. (You can get an idea of the overall reaction from this New York Magazine article.) I wondered how U2 must feel about this: they just spent all this time and effort and gave 500 million people a free gift. How can that backfire?

I’ll tell you why. Because they didn’t stop to ask themselves if this was a gift anyone actually wanted. 

They simply assumed that people did. And they. were. wrong.

More here-

Arrests in church thefts

From Washington State-

The first time the thieves broke into St. Philip's Episcopal Church in Marysville they mainly grabbed expensive musical equipment.

The congregation was told not to expect to see their property again. It would be difficult to track down. The equipment likely was going to be sold to make some quick cash, a means to pay for a drug addiction.

The parishioners looked on the bright side. No one was hurt, the equipment could be replaced and the thieves had left behind the more meaningful items used in worship.

Three days later church members filed in for Sunday services. The thieves had been back.

More here-

Skirving to be ordained bishop of the Episcopal diocese of East Carolina

From East Carolina-

The Most. Rev. Robert Skirving will be ordained and consecrated Nov. 8 as the eighth bishop of the Episcopal diocese of East Carolina.

The diocese includes 68 parishes in New Hanover, Brunswick, Pender and other counties stretching from Virginia to South Carolina.

The Most Rev. Katharine Jefferts Schori, presiding bishop and primate of the Episcopal Church in the United States, will preside at the ceremony, which will begin at 11 a.m. at the Rock Springs Center in Greenville. All people of God are invited to attend.

More here-

Sunday, September 14, 2014

Thousands watch as new Episcopal bishop is consecrated

From Boston-

Clad in the bright orange regalia of his office for what he called his last public appearance, retired bishop M. Thomas Shaw said goodbye Saturday to thousands of faithful at the consecration of his successor to lead the Episcopal Diocese of Massachusetts, marking the end of a nearly 20-year tenure during which he fought for social justice and the church’s relevancy.

Shaw, who became bishop in 1995, is succeeded by the Rev. Alan M. Gates, previously a rector at St. Paul’s Episcopal Church in Cleveland. A Massachusetts native married with two adult sons, Gates cuts a different figure than Shaw, a celibate monk who came out as gay a few years ago. Shaw announced last year that he had cancer and would be stepping down.

More here-

Dear Parents With Young Children in Church

From Huffington-

You are doing something really, really important. I know it's not easy. I see you with your arms overflowing, and I know you came to church already tired. Parenting is tiring. Really tiring.

I watch you bounce and sway trying to keep the baby quiet, juggling the infant car seat and the diaper bag as you find a seat. I see you wince as your child cries. I see you anxiously pull things out of your bag of tricks to try to quiet them.

And I see you with your toddler and your preschooler. I watch you cringe when your little girl asks an innocent question in a voice that might not be an inside voice let alone a church whisper. I hear the exasperation in your voice as you beg your child to just sit, to be quiet as you feel everyone's eyes on you. Not everyone is looking, but I know it feels that way.

More here-