Saturday, January 21, 2017

Consecration of first woman Bishop in Wales this weekend

From Anglican News-

Wales is consecrating its first woman bishop this weekend.   The Revd Canon Joanna Penberthy is being consecrated as Bishop of St Davids at Llandaff Cathedral on Saturday, by the Archbishop of Wales, Dr Barry Morgan, with the five other Welsh bishops. The Church took the decision to ordain women bishops in 2013.

Dr Morgan said:  “This is an historic occasion for the Church in Wales as well as being a hugely significant moment for Canon Joanna. It is marvellous that it is possible for us to appoint women as well as men to all three orders of ministry and to regard that as now being the norm.  What matters is not gender but suitability, character, gifts and that was why Joanna was elected as bishop.”

More here-

Anglican Church will issue apology to victims of former minister

From Toronto-

The Anglican Church of Canada announced Friday that it will make a formal, national apology to all the victims of notorious pedophile Ralph Rowe.

It is estimated the former Anglican minister Ralph Rowe abused hundreds of victims. The Anglican Church has never issued a formal apology. One of the communities Rowe targeted was Wapekeka First Nation.

Wapekeka is struggling after two 12-year-old girls died by suicide earlier this month. The community has tried to manage youth mental health issues and suicide epidemics for decades.

“Yesterday, Jan. 19, the Grand Chief of the Nishnawbe Aski Nation (NAN), Alvin Fiddler, noted that the Anglican Church of Canada shares responsibility for the crisis in the communities he serves and especially for the tragic number of young people who have died by suicide,” said Michael Thompson, the church’s general secretary, in a statement.

More here-


From The Living Church-


Thank you. This is the right question:

I think about what it would look like for an Auden — or for me, or any other modern-day Anglican — to a tell a “Canterbury trail” story in such a way that the scandal of Christian disunity wasn’t deepened but rather, somehow, acknowledged and, if not transcended, then at least put into a hope-giving perspective.

I would, however, quibble with you and George Hunsinger on your account of “Roman” views of justification as generally falling short of due richness, complexity, and true Christocentrism, such that they provide a reason not to become Roman Catholic. Presumably Augustine didn’t fall short on these counts: Luther and Calvin didn’t think so. And we should look closely at, say, Aquinas (with the help of, e.g., this volume), where we would find the full suite of classic Protestant desiderata on grace carefully laid out and guarded avant la lettre. We’d thus conclude, I think, that we don’t need churches/communities founded in and formed out of the 16th-century Reformation in order to lay claim to evangelical truths not otherwise available — even, arguably, at the time (cue more nuanced study and delving into various texts, including Trent itself).

More here-

Read the Sermon Donald Trump Heard Before Becoming President

From Time-

Before attending the inauguration ceremony, President Trump attended a private religious service at St. John’s Episcopal Church, across the street from the White House, as part of a modern Inauguration Day ritual.

The service was led by the Rev. Robert Jeffress, a Southern Baptist who campaigned hard for Trump during the closing months of the election.

Here is an exclusive transcript of Jeffress’ sermon, which drew on the story of Nehemiah, a historical figure described in the Old Testament for rebuilding Jerusalem.

More here-

Friday, January 20, 2017

Eliud Wabukala expected to restore faith in EACC

From Kenya-

Retired Anglican Church of Kenya Archbishop Eliud Wabukala can now take over as the chairman of the Ethics and Anti-Corruption Commission (EACC), where his main task appears to be to restore confidence in the agency charged with fighting corruption, which has given Kenya a bad name.

While the commission has been running somewhat smoothly in the absence of a chairman, it is an agency that needs more of a moral than an administrative head in the fight against corruption, going by what the MPs who approved the nomination of Rev Wabukala said during his vetting and approval by the National Assembly.

Its last chairman, Mr Phillip Kinisu, left office when it was discovered that he co-owned a company that did business with the scandal-hit National Youth Service.

More here-

Poll uncovers obstacles for conservative Evangelical women

From The Church Times-

ALMOST no conservative Evangelical women are training, or being put forward for ordination, even to be permanent deacons, a Church Times survey has found.

Reports had been received that conservative Evangelical women who took a complementarian (headship) view of the sexes — and would be unlikely to seek ordination to the priesthood, but might be interested in the diaconate — were being advised not to explore ordination, because no posts were available to them.

At least two had been told that they would have to reimburse their dioceses after training, unless they found a stipendiary position within two years.

More here-

Judge denies bond for former Virginia Beach youth leader charged with sexual assault

From Virginia Beach-

A judge on Thursday denied bond for a former Virginia Beach youth leader indicted earlier this week on a sexual assault charge stemming from an incident 15 years ago.

Circuit Judge James C. Lewis called Jeffrey Bondi “a stand-up guy” with strong family, work and community ties. But he said the severity of the offense with which he is charged and the lengthy prison sentence that it carries made him uncomfortable granting bond. The judge said he would be willing to reconsider the decision later.

Bondi, 47, is a former youth minister at Galilee Episcopal Church near the Oceanfront and was area director of Young Life Virginia Beach. He was arrested Wednesday after a grand jury indicted him the day before on a single charge of felony object penetration. The crime is punishable by up to life in prison.

More here-

Praying at the inaugural service: An imam, a rabbi, a Hindu priest and an abundance of pastors

From The Washington Post-

The morning after he becomes president of the United States, Donald Trump will hear prayers at Washington National Cathedral from more than two-dozen spiritual leaders of a wide variety of faiths.

The National Prayer Service, an inauguration tradition that has come to include clergy from many religions, will this year feature representatives of the Muslim, Jewish, Hindu, Sikh, Baha’i, Navajo, Mormon, Greek Orthodox and many other faiths.

Some of the clergy, all of whom were announced as participants on Thursday, supported Trump during his campaign for president, such as prosperity gospel preachers Bishop Harry Jackson of Maryland and the Rev. Darrell Scott of Ohio.

More here-

Trump Stacks Prayer Service Lineup with Evangelicals

From Christianity Today-

Donald Trump has tapped a record number of evangelical leaders to participate in the interfaith prayer service held at the Washington National Cathedral the day after his inauguration.

The National Prayer Service, hosted at the Episcopal cathedral Saturday morning, will feature two former presidents of the Southern Baptist Convention, the granddaughter of Billy Graham, and Greg Laurie, the evangelist behind the popular Harvest America crusades, among a total of 26 faith leaders.

Representatives from Catholic, Greek Orthodox, Mormon, Jewish, Muslim, Sikh, Buddhist, and Bahá’í traditions are also participating in the event [full list below].

Jack Graham, Ronnie Floyd, and David Jeremiah are all Southern Baptists and members of the president-elect’s evangelical advisory board, and Cissie Graham Lynch stated during the election that she would be “unapologetically voting for Trump.” Her father, Franklin Graham, is among the clergy praying at the inauguration ceremony held at the National Mall on Friday. Trump opted to include a half-dozen religious leaders in the official Capitol lawn ceremony, instead of the customary one or two.

More here-

Episcopal diocese to consider same-sex marriage at convention

From Tennessee-

Part of the Episcopal Diocese of Tennessee's members want to change Bishop John Bauerschmidt's divisive decision barring clergy from marrying same-sex couples.

Clergy and lay members from the Middle Tennessee diocese will take up the issue this week during their Annual Convention, which is Friday and Saturday at Christ Church Cathedral in downtown Nashville. Two resolutions related to the Episcopal Church's long-simmering, same-sex marriage debate are before the body.

"Episcopalians continue to be divided on this issue. Last year, we appointed a diocesan task force to promote prayer, reflection, and conversation about these matters," said Bauerschmidt, in an email to The Tennessean.

Gay marriage remains divisive issue in Episcopal Church

More here-

Thursday, January 19, 2017

Anglican Bishop’s shocking affair

From Zimbabwe-

Nasty rumours are once again dogging St Agnes' Anglican Church in Chikanga. This time it involves Bishop Erick Ruwona and his alleged, adulterous affair with a married woman who is also a member of his congregation.

A resulting feud between supporters and non-supporters of the bishop has broken out, taken control of the parish and is now threatening to tear the, already fragile, diocese apart.

Church members have, via whatsapp, called for the expulsion of both Ruwona and the lady involved, Portia Magada, accusing the bishop of failing to execute his duties in the Anglican Manicaland Diocese.

Worshippers have also appealed to the Zambia based Archbishop of the Church of the Province of Central Africa, Archbishop Albert Chama and the Episcopal Synod of the Anglican Church to intervene in the matter on their behalf.

More here-

Robert E. Lee, a remarkable American immersed in his faith and controversy

From California-

Today is the birthday of a remarkably famous American, and one of the most controversial.

President Theodore Roosevelt said of him, “His noble presence and gentle, kindly manner were sustained by religious faith and an exalted character.”

President Franklin Roosevelt said of this American, he is “one of our greatest American Christians and one of our greatest American gentlemen.”

He said of himself that he was “nothing but a poor sinner, trusting in Christ alone for salvation.”

Historians have noted that he killed more Americans than any other single military commander in history.

This was Robert E. Lee, who was born on this day, Jan. 19, in 1807.

Lee’s career as an officer in the United States Army and as a general in the Confederate Army have been described in considerable detail by many historians. However, his religious views are less well known and show us much of the piety of his age.

More here-

Of course the National Cathedral should participate in Trump’s inauguration

From Patheos-

As Inauguration Week presses on, our debate about the role of religion in public life reaches a quadrennial peak. This year, the Washington National Cathedral is under fire from some of its Episcopalian constituency for its participation in the Trump Inaugural.

Designated by Congress as our “national house of prayer,” the Cathedral has often played a role in the inauguration of presidents, as well as significant national events such as state funerals, memorial services for American heroes, and services following national tragedies. Should the Cathedral shirk its historic role in 2017 because the incoming president is an obnoxious fool? A larger-than-usual number of people are upset about the Cathedral’s participation, and I understand why.

There are also people who would prefer that religious institutions, leaders, and symbols be completely excluded from these kinds of events. For them, no president – no matter how personally worthy or godly – should receive public prayers, blessings, or any manifestations of religion. It’s simply not proper, helpful, or appropriate to incorporate the trappings of faith, or even of civil religion, into government.

But that’s not the argument we’re having.

More here-

Why we need inaugural prayers

From The Hill-

The selection of prosperity gospel preacher Paula White as one of the clergy saying prayers at Friday's presidential inauguration has ignited some controversy.

Evangelical critics cite her flamboyant exaltation of material riches and her alleged rejection of Christianity's traditional understanding of the Trinity. White, who's a friend and neighbor to President-elect Donald Trump, insists she affirms Christian orthodoxy as defined in the Nicene Creed.

Inaugural prayers have become one of the rites of American civil religion. And the extent to which Christian orthodoxy or specificity should be expected from them and their delivering clergy is debated. Franklin Graham and Rick Warren, both evangelical, were criticized for citing Jesus Christ in their prayers for George W. Bush's inauguration.

More here-

Roberts: Will you pray for Donald Trump?

From Arizona-

It is all the rage these days to shun America’s soon-to-be president.

Democrats in Congress are boycotting his inauguration. A-listers in Hollywood, too.

Some of the Rockettes would like to do it but likely would lose their hoofing jobs if they’re no-shows.

Meanwhile, the National Cathedral in Washington D.C., home of the Episcopal Church, is taking heat because its choir plans to participate in Friday's inauguration festivities and not only that, the cathedral will host its traditional Inaugural Prayer Service on Saturday.

The Rev. Gary Hall, former dean of the cathedral, is among the critics who believe the cathedral should ignore Trump’s inauguration.

“I think the faith community should be a center of resistance against Donald Trump’s vision in America,” Hall told the Washington Post.

More here-

Alleged victim of sexual abuse steps forward

From Rhode Island-

Meg Yarbrough will join the Women's March on Washington on Saturday as a personal statement against sexual abuse; and against a president whom she opposes.

The 48-year-old registered nurse is also shedding anonymity in her own allegations against former Episcopal priest Howard W. "Howdy" White Jr. Previously quoted anonymously in The Providence Journal, Yarbrough says she wants to use her name because "hiding implies I did something wrong, which I certainly did not."

White, ex-assistant chaplain at St. George's School in Middletown, was one of six named alleged perpetrators in a scandal involving widespread sexual abuse dating to the 1970s, that roiled the elite Episcopal school last year. He was charged last month with sexually assaulting a St. George's student in Boston in 1973.

More here-

Wednesday, January 18, 2017

'Unity' call on Reformation anniversary

From The BBC-

A statement from the Archbishops of Canterbury and York has said the split caused "lasting damage" to the unity of the Church - something that contradicted the teaching of Jesus and left a "legacy of mistrust and competition".

It went on to say: "Such repentance needs to be linked to action aimed at reaching out to other churches and strengthening relationships with them."
'Call to all Christians'

Coming during the annual Week of Prayer for Christian Unity, it is a further sign that these two Churches are seeking to repent of past failings and find more ways in which they might work together.

The historic rupture, which began in October 1517 when the German monk Martin Luther nailed his 95 theses to the door of Wittenberg Cathedral, led to centuries of violence, where rulers of one Church would frequently execute communicant members of the other.

More here-

Washington’s National Cathedral should not bestow a blessing on Donald Trump

From RNS-

Washington National Cathedral was founded in 1907 and envisioned as a “Westminster Abbey for America,” which, in part, is why it finds itself at the center of controversy about its role in President-elect Donald J. Trump’s impending inauguration.

For more than a century, the cathedral has tried to stand in two worlds at once, attempting to be both a practicing Christian church and a gathering place for American civic expression. As the cathedral’s former dean, I believe that fidelity to the former role now requires rejecting the latter.

For much of its life, the cathedral experienced the tension inherent in playing two roles as creative but not potentially destructive.

But much has changed in American religious life over the past 110 years, and the cathedral has found it increasingly difficult to have it both ways.

More here-

Norfolk art exhibit aims to curb gun violence

From Southern Virginia-

The Rev. John Rohrs sees art as a way of opening up a conversation about difficult subjects.

That's the reason the rector of St. Andrews Episcopal Church in Norfolk helped organize  "Under the Gun," a new exhibit at Work | Release on Granby Street. The show opened Jan. 12 and runs through Feb. 4.

Disturbed by mass murders across the country over the past several years, Rohrs became interested in hosting an event or several events that could bring people together to peacefully discuss the ramifications of gun violence. He hopes the exhibit will also serve as a launching pad to address mental health topics, gun safety education and more.

More here-

A Word From Dean Randy Hollerith

From The National Cathedral-

As the new Dean of Washington National Cathedral, I have seen firsthand the Cathedral’s singular ability to draw the nation’s attention to an issue or a cause. Many of my predecessors harnessed the power of the Cathedral during important moments in our country’s history. Dean Francis Sayre, for one, set the standard with his vocal opposition to poverty, segregation and the war in Vietnam. Bishop John Walker, a personal hero of mine, led the way in the fight against apartheid and racial injustice.

I have stepped into this position during a very polarized moment in our nation’s history. The 2016 election divided our country in a way that I have never seen in my lifetime, and its aftermath has only deepened those divisions. Many people in our country are angered by the exclusionary and divisive rhetoric that too often surrounds the incoming administration. I understand that anger; indeed, I have felt it myself. At the same time, I also understand that many good people across this country voted for the President-elect out of a deep sense that the American dream has passed them by.

More here-

Tuesday, January 17, 2017

Religious freedom: It’s a core American principle, and it doesn’t mean what right-wingers want it to mean

From Salon-

Forget the “War on Christmas.” Although far less known to the general public, Religious Freedom Day, which falls on Jan. 16 — coinciding this year with the Martin Luther King Jr. Day observance — has become one of America’s most-contested commemorative days. In most ways that’s a good thing, because of the need to shed light on what’s at stake: the very foundations of our most cherished freedoms.

Since 1992, Religious Freedom Day publicly celebrates the enactment of the Virginia Statute for Religious Freedom, drafted by Thomas Jefferson in 1777 and passed into law by his protégé, James Madison, in 1786. It disestablished the state power of the Anglican Church, and ensured religious freedom for all.

More here-

Cathedral's future could be decided before February earthquake anniversary

From New Zealand-

An announcement on the future of the earthquake-damaged Christ Church Cathedral could be made before February 22, a restoration campaigner says.

Great Christchurch Buildings Trust (GCBT) co-chairman Philip Burdon said in a letter that Anglicans and the Government were in "broad agreement".

"All parties are in broad agreement on a solution that incorporates the old and the new and we are hopeful that an appropriate announcement can be made not later than the 22nd of February, being the sixth anniversary of the earthquake," he wrote.

More here-

We Will Not Pray For Donald Trump By Name Because He Is A 'Trauma Trigger' Says Christian Minister

From Christian Today-

An Episcopal church in California in the US has stated it will not pray for Donald Trump by name.

This is because the name of Trump is considered to be a "trauma trigger" - and a risk to health and safety.

It is traditional in Anglican churches worldwide to pray for a nation's leaders. Church of England parishes regularly pray for the Queen and Episcopal churches in the US pray for the President and the Government.

"We are in a unique situation in my lifetime where we have a president elect whose name is literally a trauma trigger to some people – particularly women and people who, because of his words and actions, he represents an active danger to health and safety, says Mike Kinman, Rector of All Saints Pasadena in his blog.

He defends the Trump name boycott as justified because his church must be kept as "a place of safety from harm".

More here-

Praying for our new leaders is on the horizon

From Kansas-

For sure, new leadership is on the horizon; Friday is Inauguration Day, when America will formally install a new president. What will ultimately develop from this new, untried leader remains a mystery. Because of his cantankerous behavior and often offensive speech, a number of prominent personalities have refused to participate in any honoring of the new president on his special day. I’m proud and thankful that Washington National Cathedral (an Episcopal cathedral) has accepted its traditional role in the inauguration of a president, with appropriate prayer and worship services, including its world-renowned choir.

The Episcopal leadership proclaims that “God’s house is a house of prayer for all people.” The election is over. Let us pray for the president who has been chosen. Let us pray that the president prays and that he listens carefully to his God. Let us pray that the president obeys God. With presidential power, a truly prayerful president could insure the pathway to peace throughout the world. Prayer is our hope. Prayer works. Prayer is good. Let us pray!

More here-

Monday, January 16, 2017


From The Living Church-

It was Good Friday, April 12, 1963, that an open letter, “A Call for Unity,” written by seven white Christian and Jewish leaders in Alabama, appeared in The Birmingham News. It was during the days of the Civil Rights Movement, and these seven men shared the view that the demonstrations occurring in Birmingham were creating unnecessary havoc and discord. They hoped that their letter would dissuade Birmingham’s African-American community from going forward with an illegal march on Birmingham’s City Hall, planned for the same day as the letter’s publishing, in protest of the city’s segregation laws.  The clergymen also hoped that the letter would move city officials to work toward racial progress through peaceful negotiations and nonviolent resolutions. But despite their hopes, the march went on, with arrests and media attention coming along with it.

On Easter Sunday, April 14, Southern Christian Leadership Conference Executive Director Wyatt Walker went to the Birmingham Jail to give a copy of the white ministers’ letter to an “outsider” arrested two days earlier. His name — Martin Luther King, Jr.

More here-

A New Martin Luther King Jr. Parade Divides a Virginia Town

From The New York Times-

For years, the weekend leading up to the observance of the Martin Luther King Jr. holiday has been overshadowed here by a celebration and a parade honoring two Confederate generals whose birthdays fall within days of the civil rights icon’s: Robert E. Lee and Stonewall Jackson.

But this year, a group seeking to march in honor of King obtained the sole permit available on Saturday, the day that a Lee-Jackson parade is typically held.

After a presidential election that has left the country sharply divided and emotions raw, some people in the town feared the worst, with town officials warning of “unintended consequences” if the King parade went ahead. But on Saturday, both groups held peaceful observances.

Part of that, he said, involved making peace with monuments and references to Lee and Jackson, which seem to exist on nearly every block. John Leland, a retired English professor who taught at Washington and Lee and the Virginia Military Institute, remembers walking into the Robert E. Lee Memorial Episcopal Church for the first time.

Judge sides with Morris County for historic preservation of churches

From Newark-

Morris County can continue awarding historic preservation grants to churches in Morristown and across the county, a state judge has ruled.

Sitting in Somerset County, Superior Court Judge Margaret Goodzeit last week dismissed a lawsuit by the Freedom from Religion Foundation and Madison resident David Steketee, who charged that millions of grant dollars since 2002 have violated separations of church and state outlined by the state and federal Constitutions.

“Excluding historical churches from receipt of reimbursements available to all historical buildings would be tantamount to impermissibly withholding of general benefits to certain citizens on the basis of their religion…and would be inconsistent with the spirit of our state and federal Constitutions,” ruled state Superior Court Judge Margaret Goodzeit, sitting in Somerville.

The Morris freeholders welcomed the decision in a statement:

“In Morris County, as in all counties in New Jersey and across the nation, churches and other religious buildings are a vital part of the historic fabric of where we live, interwoven with the history of how our county developed.

More here-

Person 2 Person: Bishop Scott B. Hayashi of The Episcopal Diocese of Utah

From Salt Lake-

Bishop Scott B. Hayashi is the spiritual leader of the Episcopal Diocese of Utah, which covers the entire state of Utah and a little bit of Arizona.

Hayashi has been a clergy person in the Episcopal Church since 1984.

"I enjoy the work very much, mainly because of working with people," he said.

You can imagine that his role keeps him very busy; he considers managing time as the most challenging part of his job.

"I think with any professional position, the demands can be pretty intense," Hayashi said. "And then to find the personal time that all of us need to recreate, to exercise, to read, to be with family--all of those things need to be attended to."

Hayashi's family and his staff help him maintain balance in his life. He and his wife have been married since 1981.

More here-

Sunday, January 15, 2017

Are martyrs of 500 years ago really a burning issue for Welby?

From The Daily Mail-

It was one of the bloodiest periods in English history, with thousands brutally put to death, often burned at the stake for their religious beliefs in the Reformation.

But even though Henry VIII’s war with the Pope began 500 years ago, the Archbishop of Canterbury, Justin Welby, is expected to express his remorse this week.

The move was ridiculed by former Conservative Minister Ann Widdecombe, an Anglican who converted to Catholicism.

‘These gestures are pointless. The Archbishop has not put anyone to death, as far as I know,’ she said.

‘Modern Christians are not responsible for what happened in the Reformation.

More here-

Church 'deeply distressed' by Koran offence, says primus

From The BBC-

The head of the Scottish Episcopal Church says the Church is "deeply distressed" at the offence caused by the reading of a passage from the Koran in a Glasgow cathedral.

The comments of the Church Primus, the Most Rev David Chillingworth, follow criticism that Islamic verses were read during an Epiphany service.

In his blog, he also condemned the abuse received by St Mary's Cathedral.

Police are investigating offensive online messages aimed at the church.

The primus, who is also Bishop of St Andrews, Dunkeld and Dunblane, said the church wanted to bring together people involved in interfaith relations.

More here-

State NAACP chief attacks Trump in King sermon in Wilmington

From North Carolina-

The president of the North Carolina NAACP delivered a long-distance sermon of defiance Saturday evening at Wilmington's annual interfaith service for the Martin Luther King Jr. holiday.

"Bowing down is not an option,' the Rev. Dr. William J. Barber II told a packed audience at St. James Episcopal Church, criticizing President-elect Donald J. Trump and many of his Cabinet appointees.

Barber, who could not reach Wilmington, delivered his remarks by telephone, played over loudspeakers in the sanctuary. He still drew applause and "Amens" from the crowd, however, for such assertions as "We're still going to be a witness for justice, we're still going to be a witness for love."

More here-