From Anglican News- Below is the Archbishop of Canterbury's opening speech in the House of Lords debate he is leading today on the role of soft power and non-military options in preventing conflict. My Lords, I am most grateful for the opportunity to introduce this debate on a subject of great importance to the role of the United Kingdom in a world increasingly characterised by conflicting values which end in violence. I am particularly grateful for the interest shown by so many here today and to those Noble Lords who have put their names down to speak and I look forward very much to hearing them.
From Australia- The Rev Lynn Arnold, who was Labor premier from September 1992 to December 1993, was one of seven deacons ordained to the Order of Priests at a ceremony at St Peter’s Cathedral on Saturday.
Mr Arnold can now authorise baptism, be solely responsible for Holy Communion, pronounce Absolution (God’s forgiveness after confession) and give the blessing.
Priests may be placed in charge of parishes or can do other forms of ministry, such as chaplaincy.
Mr Arnold, 65, who will continue his role with the “Faith in the Public Square” project at St Peter’s Cathedral, said he felt the same sense of awe as when he was ordained as a deacon last year. More here-
From The Living Church- The Rt. Rev. Eugene Taylor Sutton, Bishop of Maryland, writes in email to his diocese:
Please join me for a town-hall style discussion that will take us beyond events in Ferguson, Missouri, to a broader discussion on topics that are emblematic of larger issues that are polarizing our society — race, class and violence. I will to listen to the concerns among our people, and share my own thoughts on this important topic.
You can also join the conversation via live-streaming webcast. The link and details will be available on the diocesan homepage on Dec 16.
The members of the III Christian-Muslim Summit of Religious Leaders and Scholars released a statement after their 3-day meeting this week in Rome. The theme was “Christians and Muslims: Believers in Society”. The statement said the meeting was "characterised by mutual respect, opening and listening to each other; this constitutes a message of reconciliation, peace and fraternity of which our world is in great need."
From The Church Times- THOUSANDS of churchpeople resigned their membership of the Finnish Lutheran Church last week in protest at its Archbishop's support for same-sex marriage.
In a vote in the Finnish parliament on 28 November, prompted by a citizens' petition, legislators voted in favour of gay marriage - the last Nordic country to do so.
The Archbishop of Turku & Finland, the Most Revd Kari Mäkinen, Primate of the Evangelical Lutheran Church of Finland, to which 75 per cent of Finns belong, wrote on Facebook: "I know how much this day means to the rainbow community.
The Standing Committee of the Episcopal Diocese of the Central Gulf Coast
has announced a slate of four nominees to stand for election as bishop
of the diocese. The nominees were presented to the Standing Committee by
the Bishop Search Committee on Dec. 3. The nominees announced are:
The Rev. James Russell Kendrick, 54, rector, St. Stephens Episcopal Church, Birmingham, Alabama (Diocese of Alabama);
The Very Rev. Edward Francis O’Connor, 47, dean, Cathedral Parish of St. Andrew, Jackson, Mississippi (Diocese of Mississippi);
The Rev. Canon E. Daniel Smith, 58, canon to the ordinary, Diocese of Missouri, St. Louis, Missouri (Diocese of Missouri);
Episcopal Relief & Development will expand its maternal and child health programs in Ghana, Kenya and Zambia through the Empowering Rural Communities to Improve Child and Maternal Health project. The project’s goal is to end preventable child deaths by promoting life-saving behaviors and increasing the availability and use of high-impact health services in areas where people live far from medical facilities. This expansion is made possible in part by a $1 million grant from the Margaret A. Cargill (MAC) Foundation.
From South Carolina- The Episcopal Church in South Carolina has reached a settlement with The Church Insurance Company of Vermont of its insurance coverage lawsuit. The settlement brings to an end a dispute in U.S. District Court between TECSC and the insurance company, which is a captive insurance company affiliated with The Episcopal Church. Under the terms of the agreement, details of the settlement are confidential.
“We are pleased with the outcome of the settlement and grateful to have this matter resolved,” said the Right Rev. Charles G. vonRosenberg, Bishop of TECSC.
From RNS- Rob Bell was once the evangelical It Boy, the hipster pastor with the thick-rimmed glasses and the skinny jeans whose best-selling theology was captured in books with names such as “Velvet Elvis” and “Sex God.”
By 2006, the Chicago Sun-Times wondered aloud whether the Michigan megachurch pastor could be the next Billy Graham.
And then he went to hell.
In 2011, his book “Love Wins” pushed the evangelical envelope on the nature of heaven, hell and salvation. Many dismissed him as a modern-day heretic, unwilling to embrace traditional evangelicals beliefs about the hereafter.
A judge Tuesday issued a 30-day stay on Fort Lauderdale’s enforcement of new restrictions on feeding homeless people and ordered all sides into mediation to resolve an issue that has brought the city a storm of unpleasant international attention.
The decision came in the case of Arnold Abbott, the 90-year-old World War II veteran and retired jewelry salesman who has been feeding homeless people at the beach for years.
From The Boston Globe- One of the state’s most outspoken casino opponents, the Right Rev. Douglas John Fisher, bishop of the Episcopal Diocese of Western Massachusetts, has set up a task force to reach out to church leaders in states that already have casinos to research ways to help people who may be negatively affected.
“As followers of Jesus, we need to embrace this new reality and do what we can to address human suffering and be a source of healing and compassion,” Fisher said in a statement last month.
If you’re a believer, thank God. If you’re not, thank Her anyway, because it’s now official that Henry VIII’s Church of England will be getting its first female bishop. The news came after an overwhelming show of hands at the church’s General Synod, in November, and provided the one bright spot in an otherwise dismal month for women’s rights—a month in which American feminists, still reeling from the strong likelihood of a fresh assault on Roe v. Wade, in January, when the Senate changes hands, read about revelations involving a noxious culture of campus rapes, including an alleged fraternity gang rape at the University of Virginia, that for years had gone unpunished by college administrators and were never reported to the police. (And let’s not forget the feminists in Turkey, where President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan took the podium at a women’s conference last week to declare that “women are not equal to men” and that to pretend otherwise was “against nature.”)
Statistics published by the Church of England's Church House show that attendance at services on Monday to Saturday at cathedrals in England and Wales doubled between 2003 and 2013, from 7,500 to 15,000.
Cathedral deans in the (Anglican) Church of England have attributed the rise in attendance at cathedrals to different factors, the Church Times reported on November 28. Sunday attendances remained fairly static, climbing from 15,600 to 15,900. Overall the yearly number of visitors increased from 9.4 million in 2010 to 10.2 million in 2013, down on the 2003 figure of 10.8 million.
From South Sudan- The Episcopal Church of South Sudan and Sudan has consecrated nine new bishops following a leadership conference in which they resolved to preach against revenge and war.
At a ceremony held at All Saints Cathedral in Juba on Sunday the Episcopal Church consecrated new leaders for its dioceses at Malek, Athooc, Kongor, Duk, Ayod, Malek-Ruuup, Abyei, Pariang and Nasser.
This is the biggest number of bishops ever consecrated by the church at one ceremony. It follows a meeting of the Episcopal House of Bishops held at Kajo-Keji last week.
According to the communiqué of the Kajo-Keji conference, bishops discussed the ongoing political crisis in South Sudan, among other issues. The bishops were briefed by their own Bishop Enock Tombe, who has been an observer at Addis Ababa peace talks.
Episcopal Church Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori and Presiding Bishop Elizabeth Eaton of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA) have issued a joint statement for World AIDS Day 2014.
World AIDS Day 2014
Every year on December 1, Episcopalians and Lutherans join with people around the world to commemorate World AIDS Day. This day serves as a time to remember those whose lives were forever changed because of HIV and AIDS. It also offers an opportunity to recommit ourselves to building God's Kingdom by working to bring the AIDS pandemic to an end. This year, World AIDS Day falls on the second day of Advent, a time of hope and anticipation of the new life Jesus' birth brings. As does Advent, World AIDS Day invites us to live with the joy that is to come by continuing to lift up the vision of a new life free of HIV and AIDS.
From Nigeria- Former Head of State, General Yakubu Gowon (rtd) and the Primate of All Nigeria, Anglican Communion, the Most Revd Nicholas Okoh, Sunday, called on Nigerians not to lose hope in the ability of the Federal Government to contain the current insurgency in some parts of the country.
They maintained that Nigerian troops were capable and experienced to handle Boko Haram fighters, adding that security operatives only need cooperation of the general populace.
The Personal Ordinariate of Our Lady of Walsingham is launching an appeal in order to buy a Methodist Church in Torquay, Devon.
If the appeal is successful, the Church will be the first one purchased by the order since it was established by Benedict XVI in 2011.
In a message released to potential supporters by Mgr Keith Newton, Ordinary of the Ordinariate, he said: “If we are to grow and flourish in the way that Pope Benedict intended when he set up the Ordinariate, we need to acquire buildings of our own so that we can establish them as centres for our particular mission and purpose. More here-
From St. Louis- At worship services around this region, clergy on Sunday called for recovery and healing after a week that began with an announcement that a grand jury would not indict a white police officer who shot an unarmed black teenager in Ferguson and that then careened through looting, fires, and tense standoffs with the police and National Guard soldiers.
Yet in many of the messages, there were also calls to continue a movement raising questions about race and police behavior that followed the shooting of 18-year-old Michael Brown. That momentum and those concerns, some clergy members said, should not be allowed to fade away or be forgotten.
At the Episcopal cathedral in downtown St. Louis on Sunday morning, the Rev. Michael D. Kinman did not immediately begin a sermon, but instead led his congregation in a song from South Africa’s anti-apartheid movement. “Oh, yes, I know, freedom is coming,” the mostly white parishioners sang along with him.
From Southeast Florida- Hungry for change, about 100 protested Saturday in front of the downtown federal courthouse against city leaders and their ordinance to restrict outdoor feedings for the homeless.
The most coveted speaker: Arnold Abbott, 90, who has grown into an iconic figure in the movement to "decriminalize homelessness."
Abbott appeared before a rowdy crowd that chanted his name and cheered for the leader of the Love Thy Neighbor nonprofit that holds weekly feedings. He was welcomed like a local celebrity of sorts.
From The Pittsburgh Post Gazette (via the LA Times)- Humans have had quite a ride in the 500 years since Copernicus. We’ve built and tested a rational vision of the universe in which our circumstances, and those of the Earth, are unexceptional and insignificant in the grand scheme of things. We are fleeting specks on a crumb of cosmic dust, among countless other crumbs in the briefest sliver of a far bigger story.
This perspective has guided us to the innermost sanctums of matter and to the origins and nature of space and time itself — an expanding fabric that has no spatial center, in which all places are shining examples of unimportance.