Saturday, May 16, 2015

A Memorial to the Church

From The Cafe-

A group of General Convention deputies who came together as “The Acts 8 Moment” have created a “memorial”– a cross between a petition and a manifesto–inspired by TREC calling for the church to act decisively on what they see as a unique moment for a renewed and revitalized Church.

Acts 8 Moment:

A group of General Convention deputies, bishops, and others have released A Memorial to the Church, calling for The Episcopal Church to “act with boldness to proclaim the gospel.” One member of the group, the Rev. Adam Trambley, deputy from the Northwest Pennsylvania said, “We hope this letter to the church will jumpstart significant action both at General Convention and among Episcopalians across the church.”

More here-

Is America losing its religion or are lines more clearly being drawn?

From Charleston SC-

Though still the dominant religious faith in the United States, Christianity is rapidly losing adherents, according to a Pew Research Center study released this week. At the same time, the number of people who identify with no religion at all continues to climb.

“This is happening nationally as well as right here in the Bible Belt,” said Herb Silverman, an atheist who is a retired College of Charleston math professor.

Researchers like to call atheists, agnostics or the otherwise unaffiliated the “nones” because when asked what their religious preference is, they're likely to say, “None.”

More here-

Florida Episcopal Church Agrees to Baptize Gay Couple's Son

From Christian Times-

An Episcopal church in Florida has finally agreed to baptize the son of a gay couple after it initially refused the service due to opposition from some church members.

The baptism of baby Jack, son of Rich and Eric McCaffrey, will take place in the summer after the couple met with Episcopal Bishop Greg Brewer of the Cathedral Church of St. Luke last Thursday to thresh out the issue.

"Bishop Brewer extended an invitation to meet with us and we had the opportunity to speak with him yesterday evening. We spoke frankly and openly about the chain of events. The Bishop acknowledged he learned the Cathedral set a firm date of April 19 for the baptism, but did not support postponing the baptism," Rich posted on Facebook.

More here-

Keep pressing our politicians, bishops urge the Church

From The Church Times-

THE Prime Minister, fresh from his election victory, has been warned not to listen to "harsh, strident voices", but to lighten burdens and "build one nation".

Last Friday, David Cameron celebrated the "sweetest victory of all", defying the polls by securing an outright majority in a General Election that had been widely predicted to be inconclusive.

The Bishop of Sheffield, Dr Steven Croft, in a blog post written at the start of this week, counsels him to "reach out to the whole nation, to connect with the disaffected, to listen to the people and to be their servant".

The Bishop warns: "There will be those who see the Conservative majority as a mandate to fulfil and go beyond the manifesto commitments, blind to the risk of increasing the burdens of those who already bear the heavy load (of sickness, disability or the struggle to find sustainable employment)."

More here-

Episcopal Church to Close Due to Declining Membership

From Massachusetts-

After five decades of serving the community, the Church of the Holy Spirit in Wayland will close its doors.

Rev. Frederick Moser announced that members have voted to close the Episcopal church “because we can no longer provide the services and programs that we would like to offer to Wayland and the surrounding area.”

The parish was incorporated in 1961 and met originally in members’ homes, Happy Hollow School, and Parmenter Health Center. The church building at 169 Rice Road was dedicated in 1963. The church maintained an active schedule of Sunday worship services, Sunday School, youth programs, adult education and musical activities.

More here-

Friday, May 15, 2015

Peter David Eaton consecrated bishop coadjutor of Southeast Florida

From ENS-

Peter David Eaton was ordained and consecrated bishop coadjutor of the Diocese of Southeast Florida on May 9 in a service held at Trinity Cathedral in Miami, Florida.

Eaton will be the fourth bishop of the Southeast Florida, succeeding the Rt. Rev. Leopold Frade, who will retire in January

2016 after 16 years of service to the diocese.

Over 1,200 people witnessed the service in person at the cathedral and via live stream video from a nearby hotel. Bishops from all over the country and the world attended the service. A historic occasion, this was the first time four bishops from churches in full communion with The Episcopal Church and the Anglican Communion participated in a service and together were co-consecrators of an Episcopal bishop. The Old Catholic Churches of the Union of Utrecht in Europe, the Mar Thoma Syrian Church of Malabar in India, the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America and the Moravian Church in North America were all participants.

More here-

Thursday, May 14, 2015

An Inspiring Respite

From Vanity Fair-

Finally, a self-described “urban sanctuary” that lives up to its billing. Though located in the most hopping part of Manhattan’s Chelsea neighborhood, the new High Line Hotel sits within the tranquil, cloistered grounds of the General Theological Seminary, a venerable Episcopal institution that dates from 1817 and occupies a prime block fronting 10th Avenue. Formerly an apple orchard, the property was part of a vast estate that stretched from what is now Eighth Avenue to the Hudson River and belonged to Clement Clarke Moore, a wealthy gentleman who in 1822 penned the Yuletide classic “ ’Twas the Night Before Christmas.” A few years ago, the seminary sold a few of the red-brick, English Gothic–style buildings on its campus. What were once dormitories are now the High Line Hotel. 

While retaining handsome original features such as stained glass and elaborate fireplace mantels, the design firm Roman and Williams came up with a look for the property’s 60 rooms that blends eclectic Americana with European style. Little of the vintage furniture matches. All rooms are equipped with terrariums and Model 202 rotary phones manufactured by Western Electric in the 1930s (now updated with digital technology). There is a bar-cafĂ© in the cozy lobby, and while the hotel lacks a restaurant, its soaring, ornately paneled 3,300-square-foot refectory seems destined to become Manhattan’s next buzzy event space. “Former seminarians and priests have been popping in and pointing out the rooms where they used to party,” says Tyler Morse, a co-developer. “You have to remember, these are Episcopalians. It’s a much more liberal situation than with, say, the Catholics.”

More here-

Religious leaders call for death penalty repeal; 'I hope we will choose to value life,' bishop says

From Nebraska-

Local religious leaders on Wednesday called for repeal of the death penalty in Nebraska, saying it destroys the sanctity of human life and is aimed at retribution.

“Public safety can be assured through other means,’’ Omaha Archbishop George Lucas said during a news conference. “And justice requires punishment, but does not require that those who have committed capital crimes be put to death.”

Nebraskans for Alternatives to the Death Penalty sponsored the news conference at the Omaha Press Club downtown.

Speakers emphasized the sacredness of human life and power of redemption.

More here-

Ex-Anglican leader brings message of Christianity to Detroit

From Detroit-

One of the world’s most prominent Protestant leaders is in Detroit this week, preaching that Christianity is vital for democracy, human rights and fulfilling the human soul. But in order for the Christian faith to survive in the West, it needs to reach out and help society or face continued decline, he said.

Lord George Carey, a former Archbishop of Canterbury, was once the nominal head of about 80 million Anglicans worldwide, the third-largest Christian group after the Catholic Church and the Eastern Orthodox Church. Known for his conservative views, Lord Carey on Wednesday delivered the opening prayer to the state Senate in the Capitol and will speak this weekend at St. John’s Episcopal Church in Detroit, the house of worship near Comerica Park that is hosting him.

More here-

Dear Church: An open letter from one of those millennials you can’t figure out

From Ponder Anew-

A lot’s been made over the millennial generation and their religious life. Why they go to church. Why they don’t go to church. What they want. What they hate.

I’m going to do something different here. I’m not going to cite Barna. I’m not going to quote Rachel Held Evans. I’m not going to link to any articles or blog posts.

I’m just going to tell you what’s true for me, and what I’ve seen to be true of others like me.

I am one of those rascally millennials, by the way. One of those enigmatic, paradoxical, media-dependent, coffee-drinking young people swept together under this millennial umbrella. Except coffee tears up my stomach, so I dropped that stuff.

I was crushed the day slap bracelets were banned from my elementary school. I remember hiding in my room with my five-inch TV to watch Friends and Seinfeld and the Simpsons, and all the other shows I wasn’t allowed to see. I don’t remember what it’s like to not have a home computer. I can barely recall a time before cell phones. I’ve never left home without one.

More here-

Wednesday, May 13, 2015

JNCPB announces no additional nominees

From ENS-

The Episcopal Church Joint Nominating Committee for the Election of the Presiding Bishop (JNCPB) has released the following statement:

On April 27, 2015, the Joint Nominating Committee for the Election of the Presiding Bishop (JNCPB) announced its process for nominating bishops from the floor to the office of the Presiding Bishop of The Episcopal Church at General Convention in June 2015.

The JNCPB is canonically charged with “establishing a timely process for any bishop or deputy to express the intent to nominate any other member of the House of Bishops from the floor at the time the Joint Nominating Committee presents its nominees to the joint session of the two Houses, and for each Bishop so nominated to be included in the information distributed about the nominees”.

The JNCPB outlined this procedure in a message to the Church on April 27, 2015.

The deadline for bishops and deputies to nominate a bishop under this procedure was May 12, 2015. JNCPB announces that no additional bishops were nominated.

More here-


Even Jesus Thinks Your Heaven Travelogues Are a Little Out There

From Pacific Standard-

Earlier this year, it was announced that a young boy named Alex Malarkey had not gone to heaven. Such an announcement may not seem like news, and yet, it was news to the million or so people who had read his memoir The Boy Who Came Back From Heaven: A Remarkable Account of Miracles, Angels, and Life Beyond This World. The book was published in 2010, six years after the accident that put the six-year-old Malarkey into a coma during which he claimed to have gone to heaven and back.

Angels and miracles are popular enough, but so is heaven. Last fall, LifeWay Research, which is affiliated with the Southern Baptist Convention, conducted an online survey of 3,000 adults and found that 67 percent believed heaven to be a real place. Almost half of them said there are many ways to get there. A more significant, though older survey by the Pew Forum on Religion & Public Life in 2007 found that, of the 35,000 adults surveyed, a full 74 percent believed in heaven, while only 59 percent believed in hell.

More here-


From World Religion News-

Questions are being raised about whether the ecumenism between the Catholic and Anglican churches is coming to an end. According to Crux, many ask is there any point in the ecumenism as female bishops and gay bishops are present in Anglican churches, and they are now well-along the path toward same-sex marriage.

Last week, the Anglican-Roman Catholic International Commission (ARCIC) held the fifth meeting of its current third phase at Villa Palazzola in Rome.

Pope Francis recognized the “grave obstacles to unity” Anglicans have created in his opening remarks, but told the commission members not to give up hope by saying: “The cause of unity is not an optional undertaking and the differences which divide us must not be seen as inevitable… Despite difficulties, we must not lose heart, but we must trust even more in the power of the Holy Spirit, who can heal and reconcile us, and accomplish what humanly does not seem possible.”

More here-

Christian fundamentalism is a capitalist construct: The secret history of American religion

From Salon-

Cristian fundamentalism was invented in an advertising campaign, according to a new book by historian Timothy Gloege. The all-American brand of “old-time religion” was developed by an early captain of consumer capitalism—who wanted to sell pure Christianity like he sold breakfast.

In his fascinating narrative of the origins of modern evangelicalism, Gloege traces its close relationship to modern marketing back to the founder of Quaker Oats, Henry Parsons Crowell.

If you asked people for a short list of the most important religious figures in the early 20th century, Henry Parsons Crowell probably wouldn’t be on it. Who was Crowell and why was he important?

More here-

New Assistant Bishop for the Episcopal Diocese of Maryland is a recovering alcoholic

From Baltimore- (with video)

 She's a respected leader in the church, and published author.  Rt. Reverend Chilton Knudsen was just named the new Assistant Bishop for the Episcopal Diocese of Maryland .  She is the chosen replacement for Heather Cook who resigned from her position May 1.

Knudsen also happens to be a recovering alcoholic.

"We have a lot to learn around these issues, and she's going to really help us do that," said Dan Webster, Spokesperson for the Episcopal Diocese of Maryland.

Issues like addiction and recovery, especially alcoholism.    

More here-

Tuesday, May 12, 2015

America’s Changing Religious Landscape

From Pew-

The Christian share of the U.S. population is declining, while the number of U.S. adults who do not identify with any organized religion is growing, according to an extensive new survey by the Pew Research Center. Moreover, these changes are taking place across the religious landscape, affecting all regions of the country and many demographic groups. While the drop in Christian affiliation is particularly pronounced among young adults, it is occurring among Americans of all ages. The same trends are seen among whites, blacks and Latinos; among both college graduates and adults with only a high school education; and among women as well as men.

More here-

Baby With Two Dads Will Get Baptized, Bishop Says

From Central Florida-

A pair of gay Florida dads will have their son baptized this summer, following a soul-searching controversy within their Episcopal church that concluded with a meeting with — and the blessing of — their local bishop.

“We talked about my being a part of the baptism and I told them I would be happy to do so,” said the Rt. Rev. Gregory O. Brewer, head of the Episcopal Diocese of Central Florida, in a statement. “We look forward to celebrating Jack’s baptism at the Cathedral in the near future.”

More here-

Episcopal Diocese Of Md. Announces Replacement For Heather Cook

From Baltimore-

The Episcopal Diocese of Maryland announces a replacement for the bishop charged in the DUI crash that killed a Baltimore cyclist.

The diocese tells our media partner, The Baltimore Sun, the Right Reverend Chilton R. Knudsen, a former bishop of Maine, will replace Heather Cook as assistant bishop.

Knudsen is a recovered alcoholic who counsels those struggling with addiction.

More here-

Monday, May 11, 2015

Archbishop of Canterbury calls on Christian groups to be more tolerant after revealing he receives 'poison pen letters' from co-religionists

From The Independent-

The Archbishop of Canterbury has called on Christian groups to be more tolerant towards each other and other faiths after revealing the worst “poison pen letters” he receives are from his co-religionists.

The leader of the Anglican church made the criticism in a broad-ranging speech in which he called on religious leaders to confront the “profound differences” between their faiths or risk allowing extremism to flourish.

The Most Reverend Justin Welby said there was a mismatch between Britain’s view of itself as an “inclusive” society in which the presence of others is passively accepted and the need for “secure tolerance” in which religions - and communities - were actively engaged with one another.

More here-

Droplets Of Tears As Anglican Church Bids Jonathan Farewell From Government

From Nigeria-

Supporters of President Goodluck Jonathan in the Christendom, Abuja fought back tears on Sunday during a Thanksgiving Farewell Service organised in honour of the President’s family, as the Arch Bishop and Primate of Anglican Church, Most Reverend Nicholas Okoh said the President deserves a glorious exit from power.

He said no one should agonise that the era of Jonathan’s presidency has come to an abrupt end, while Nigerians should rather be rejoicing with him on the basis that he will be stepping into a more fulfilling and glorious future.

The Farewell Service took place at the Cathedral Church of the Advent, Life Camp Abuja drawing attendants from the Presidential Villa.

More here-

Sunday, May 10, 2015

Gay and celibate: Some Christians affirming their homosexuality but pledging to forgo sex

From Pittsburgh-

Wesley Hill is convinced that taking a road less traveled doesn’t have to be a lonely journey.

Mr. Hill, a professor at Trinity School for Ministry in Ambridge, and a small corps of other writers around the country have churned out a small library of books and blog posts, united in a single premise.

They believe gay Christians can and should affirm their sexual orientation — but should also commit to celibacy.

The stance runs counter to the growing American majority that supports legalized same-sex marriage among Americans, including religious progressives, as the U.S. Supreme Court weighs a landmark case on whether to legalize it nationwide.

More here-