Wednesday, July 17, 2019

Religious persecution of Christians gets belated attention

From UCANews-

A few days before Christmas last year, I was invited to a meeting with British Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt to discuss the persecution of Christians around the world. Around the table were the archbishop of Canterbury, a Catholic bishop representing the cardinal archbishop of Westminster, the Coptic archbishop, survivors of persecution from countries such as Pakistan and Iraq, and the chief executives of three religious freedom advocacy organizations.

The day after Christmas — St. Stephen’s Day, when we remember the world’s first Christian martyr — the foreign secretary announced that he was commissioning Anglican Bishop Philip Mounstephen of Truro to lead a review of British foreign policy towards the persecution of Christians. Hunt emphasized that he was concerned that Britain’s Foreign and Commonwealth Office was not responding adequately to the scale of persecution of Christians around the world. While it is vital to advocate for freedom of religion or belief for everyone, and to remember that in many parts of the world Muslims, Buddhists, Hindus, Jews, adherents of other faiths, and people of no faith face severe persecution in many countries, Christians may be the most persecuted religious group in the world, numerically and in terms of the range of sources of persecution. Hunt expressed concern that political correctness had led to a weak response to this global challenge and he wanted this to change.

More here-

Britain relentlessly becoming land of secularists and atheists

From The Tablet-

A “dramatic decline” in Christian belief and practice, along with a “substantial increase in atheism”, are recorded in the latest findings on religion from the British Social Attitudes survey.

“Over time, there has been a dramatic decline in the proportion of people who identify with Christianity along with a substantial increase in those with no religious affiliation, and a steady increase in those belonging to non-Christian faiths,” the report says.

The percentage identifying as Church of England or Anglican fell from 40 in 1983 through 22 per cent in 2008 to 12 per cent last year. Catholicism, however, fared better, with equivalent percentages falling from 10 to just 9 and then 7 per cent last year. One increase over the period was among non-denominational Christians, up from 3 per cent in 1983 to 10 per cent in 1998 and 13 per cent last year – a higher proportion of the population than Anglicans.

More here-

B.C. bishop relieved after Anglican Church gives dioceses choice to perform LGBT unions Social Sharing

From Canada-

Bishop Logan McMenamie was devastated when the Anglican Church of Canada struck down approval of same-sex marriage, but is relieved the church is now granting individual dioceses the right to perform LGBT unions if they wish.

On Friday, the motion for same-sex marriage did not meet the voting threshold among church bishops, causing upset among the LGBT community and leaders like McMenamie who support inclusive marriage in the church.

In response to the outcry, the Canadian Anglican House of Bishops released a statement Monday announcing what it calls a "local option" that lets dioceses choose to proceed with same-sex marriages "according to their contexts and convictions."

More here-

Tuesday, July 16, 2019

The Guardian view on atheism: good without God

From The Guardian-

The latest British Social Attitudes survey paints a picture of organised religion’s continued decline; the more organised it tries to be, the faster it slips. The Church of England, which is established in the sense that it has a formal constitutional role, now claims the allegiance of just 1% of people under 24. Even among the over-75s, only a third identify as Anglican. More than half of British people now say that they have no religion; about two-fifths are Christians of one sort of another; 9% are Muslims.

Across Europe and North America there is a steady rise in the number of “Nones” – people who do not identify with any religion at all. The Pew Global Forum suggests there will be 1.3 billion of them worldwide by 2060, but this figure nonetheless represents a relative decline. The great majority of the present-day Nones are found in east Asia, and especially China, where Christianity and traditional religion are both experiencing phenomenal growth. Meanwhile, demographic growth among Christians and Muslims in the global south suggest that Nones in the world will decline from 16% to 13%.

More here-

The Church of England needs to speak out about Brexit – here’s why

From England-

Central to the Church of England’s understanding of itself as the established church is its vocation to be a “church of the nation” – a public institution ready to bring a theological voice to the national debates of the day. The trauma of Brexit confronts the four nations of the United Kingdom in different ways but – given the centrality to the debate of a resurgent English nationalism – it is most painful for England, which is where the Church of England’s mission is primarily directed.

Since 2016, several individual bishops, some in their capacity as “Lords Spiritual” have sought to contribute to this debate, often with balance and insight. Yet – unlike both the (Anglican) Scottish Episcopal Church and the (Presbyterian) Church of Scotland – the Church of England has so far been unable to bring any authoritative collective voice to the national conversation.

No debate on Brexit has taken place in General Synod (the Church of England’s governing body), either before or since the 2016 referendum. While the House of Bishops was able in 2015 to produce an unusually substantial statement before the general election – Who is my Neighbour? – it has so far delivered no formal public statement on Brexit at all.

More here-

Anglican Church's vote against same-sex marriage troubling

From Toronto-

News that the Anglican Church had voted against same sex-marriage came as a shock and huge disappointment to many churchgoers over the weekend.

In Toronto, it was particularly confusing, since the Diocese of Toronto has an openly-gay bishop — Kevin Robertson — who’s well liked and highly respected and was married in a same-sex ceremony in St. James Cathedral in the presence of at least two bishops and an archbishop last year.

After a general synod vote approved same-sex marriage in 2016, Archbishop Colin Johnson issued guidelines for priests to perform them.

It was welcomed by churchgoers and priests alike.

Many priests are gay. Some of them have spent a lifetime pretending to be someone other than who they are simply because they’re people of great faith who’ve put their personal lives aside in order to serve God and their church.

More here-

Anglicans in Canada elect Linda Nicholls as first woman primate

From Canada-

Linda Nicholls, bishop of the diocese of Huron, was elected fourteenth primate of the Anglican Church of Canada on July 13, becoming the first woman in the history of the church to hold the position.

“You have bestowed on me an honour that I can hardly imagine, and it is terrifying. But it is also a gift, to be able to walk with the whole of the Anglican Church of Canada from coast to coast to coast,” Nicholls said in a brief impromptu speech on her arrival, after the vote at Christ Church Cathedral in Vancouver, where the election was held.

Nicholls will be installed on the final day of General Synod—Tuesday, July 16—succeeding Archbishop Fred Hiltz, who has served the church as primate since 2007.

She was elected on the fourth ballot, with 64.2% of lay votes and 71.1% of votes among the clergy. Jane Alexander, bishop of the diocese of Edmonton, was the only nominee remaining on the fourth ballot. Alexander received 35.8% of laity votes and 28.9% of the votes of the clergy.

More here- 

and here-

Monday, July 15, 2019

"It was a lament": Anglicans in N.S. react to church decision on same-sex marriage

From Nova Scotia-

Many Nova Scotian Anglicans are reacting with dismay and anger to their national church body's decision not to recognize same-sex marriage.

The reaction follows a vote at the church's general meeting in Vancouver on Friday. 
The motion was to change the church's marriage canon to remove references to a union between a man and a woman. This would have effectively rewritten the church's marriage ceremony to include same-sex couples.

"The mood after the vote was very sombre, it was a lament," said Kyle Wagner, the rector of Christ Church in Dartmouth and a delegate to the Anglican Church of Canada's general synod.

"Immediately we heard cries, really wailing. People were so hurt."

The decision falls at the same time as LGBT communities in many parts of Nova Scotia are marking Pride celebrations. 

More here-

L.A. churches declaring themselves sanctuaries for migrant families amid expected ICE raids

From Los Angeles-

Several churches in the Los Angeles area have declared themselves sanctuaries for migrant families.

They condemn potential raids and are welcoming any refugees with open arms. At least a dozen churches in the area are offering sanctuary to immigrants.

"We need to have a way of providing for people who are fleeing violence, who are fleeing when they cannot tend to their families, when people are so desperate they are willing to risk their lives," said Rev. Sunny Kang of the United University Church.

Many church members at All Saints Episcopal Church in Pasadena didn't show up for Sunday services for fear of the raids and possible arrests by ICE agents, according to a member from the congregation's immigration task force.

More here- 

and here-

Texas Episcopal bishops issue joint statement about Border Patrol detention centers

From Texas-

A joint statement signed by eight Texas bishops of six dioceses of the Episcopal Church decries the conditions of detention centers where thousands of migrants are being held.

With Texas accounting for 700 miles of the 2,000-mile U.S.-Mexico border, residents of the state especially feel the impact of the situation, the statement said.

“We call on our state and national leaders to reject fear-based policy-making that targets people who are simply seeking safety, and a chance to live and work in peace. The situation at the border is, by all accounts, a crisis. Refugees come in desperation; border personnel are under stress,” the statement reads.

The statement quotes Matthew 18:2-6, where Christians are called to love their neighbors as themselves.

They also refer to Leviticus 19:33-34, “‘When a foreigner resides among you in your land, do not mistreat them. The foreigner residing among you must be treated as your native-born. Love them as yourself, for you were foreigners in Egypt. I am the Lord your God.’”

More here-

Saturday, July 13, 2019

Marriage canon amendment fails to pass at General Synod

From Canada-

The Anglican Church of Canada will maintain its traditional definition of marriage after a vote to amend the marriage canon failed to pass at General Synod 2019.

The 42nd General Synod voted against Resolution A052-R2, which would have amended the marriage canon to allow for same-sex marriage, after the resolution failed to pass by a two-thirds majority in all three orders. While two-thirds of the Order of Laity (80.9%) and Order of Clergy (73.2%) voted in favour, less than the required two-thirds (62.2%) voted in favour of the resolution in the Order of Bishops.

The final results of the vote, which took place on the evening of July 12 at the Sheraton Vancouver Wall Centre, were as follows: The Order of Laity saw 89 members (80.9%) vote Yes and 21 members (19.1%) vote No, with one abstention. The Order of Clergy had 60 members (73.2%) voting Yes, 22 members (26.8%) voting No, and two abstentions. In the Order of Bishops, 23 members (62.2%) voted Yes and 14 members (37.8%) voted No, with two abstentions.

More here-

New London church places Holy Family in cages to protest border conditions

From Connecticut-

Ahead of the city's big summer festival, Sailfest, members of the St. James Episcopal Church have placed the Holy Family inside two cages off Huntington Street to protest conditions migrants are facing at the southern border.

Per the Gospel of Matthew in the Bible, Joseph, Mary and Jesus were fleeing persecution in Bethlehem when they crossed into Egypt.

“If they were crossing over from Central American countries to the United States today, they would be put in these internment camps like the migrant children and families,” said the Rev. Ranjit Mathews, rector of St. James.

Recent reports from TIME, the New York Times and other national outlets have described deplorable conditions at U.S. migrant detention centers.

Adults and children have been held for weeks without access to soap, toothpaste or places to bathe. Some children have slept on concrete floors, while some adults have had to stand for days in cramped holding areas. Conditions including chicken pox and scabies have spread like wildfire.

More here-

Friday, July 12, 2019

Archbishop of Canterbury denies giving accused bishops 'an easy ride'

From Premier-

The Most Rev Justin Welby was giving evidence to the Independent Inquiry into Child Sexual Abuse (IICSA) investigation into the Church of England on Thursday.

He has featured heavily in evidence over the last nine days as the head of the Anglican Church and has faced accusations of failing to sanction bishops accused of committing or failing to report child sexual abuse.

One survivor, Rev Matthew Ineson, previously criticised Mr Welby and the Archbishop of York Dr John Sentamu for failing to act after he disclosed being abused as a teenager by a priest.

Mr Ineson told the inquiry: "I cannot see the face of Jesus in the Archbishop of Canterbury or York.
"The Archbishop of Canterbury consistently takes no further action and, to me, therefore, condones all these actions."

Speaking on Thursday, Mr Welby said that although he was the head of the Church of England, he had no direct power but "influence" over the other bishops.

More here-

Friendship between Virginia and Palestine churches leads to support for the wider community

From Virginia-

The deep, enduring friendship between the people of Grace Presbyterian Church in Springfield, Virginia, and St. Philip’s Episcopal Church in Nablus, Palestine, has its roots – as so many important things do – in a Sunday school lesson.

When Tim Wilder arrived home in 2002 after serving with the State Department at the U.S. Consulate in Jerusalem, he and his wife, Susan (who is a pastor), were asked to teach an adult Sunday school class on the state of political turmoil between Palestine and Israel. The Middle East Working Group grew out of those conversations as an effort to answer the question: As people of faith, what should our response be to what we’ve learned? 

According to Grace’s current pastor, Ben Trawick, members of the working group put in a great deal of time doing research and exploring possibilities for engagement in Palestine. Ultimately, in 2007, with the help of Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) staffer Doug Dicks, a partnership between Grace and St. Philip’s Episcopal Church in Nablus – a city of 350,000 people in the northern West Bank – was born.

More here-

Column: Christianity, Capitalism and Cuba

From Connecticut-

A group of nine of us recently traveled to Cuba for a week-long visit with leaders of three Episcopal congregations, as well as Bishop Griselda Delgado del Carpio, who will be the guest preacher at Christ Church, in Greenwich, on Sunday, July 28th.  She is the first woman consecrated as a Diocesan Bishop in all of Latin America. 

Although the United States’ government recently cancelled travel visas to Cuba and forbid U.S. cruise ships from visiting, Americans can still travel to Cuba on religious visas, which is what we did, as we were meeting with Cuban religious groups.

The Episcopal Church in Cuba is part of the Anglican Communion, a worldwide body of 80 million Christians living in 165 different countries.  The Episcopal Church in Cuba was founded in 1901 by the Episcopal Bishop of Minnesota, who happened to be traveling by boat to the Dominican Republican when a storm left him stranded on Cuba. When the Minnesota Bishop learned that there was not a single Protestant church on the island, he started one.  Hence, the Episcopal Church of Cuba was born.  Today, there are 46 Episcopal churches served by 24 Episcopal priests.  Many of the churches meet in homes, because hurricanes destroyed their sanctuary, and the Castro government would not allow them to rebuild.  Now, the government is granting them permission to rebuild.

More here-

Thursday, July 11, 2019

Anglican Diocese of Tamale elects new bishop

From Ghana-

Venerable Canon Dennis Tong, Parish Priest of the Saint Cyprian Anglican Church in Bolgatanga has been elected the Bishop of the Tamale Diocese of the Anglican Church.

He takes over from the Right Reverend Dr Jacob Kofi Ayeebo, who died in February this year.

Venerable Tong polled 74 votes out of a total of 111 delegates who cast their votes, to beat his main contestant, Very Reverend Clement Azure, Dean of the Cathedral, who got 37 votes after the two were picked from three contestants to contest the final round, having contested a first round election and failed to meet the constitutional requirement of two thirds of total votes cast.

The election was described by the delegates as wonderfully peaceful, soberly conducted and spirit filled.

The delegates were drawn from the 14 parishes comprising 34 outstations made up of 40 clergy and 81 laity who constituted the Electoral College.

More here-

Attempted takeover of St. Paul’s Darien tossed from court

From Connecticut-

An attempt by former parish leaders to seize control of St. Paul’s Episcopal Church has been thrown out of court.

On July 2, Connecticut Superior Court dismissed a lawsuit that sought to have the property of St. Paul’s relinquished to the control of estranged former wardens and vestry members. The court’s decision stated the accusers had failed to present facts sufficient to invoke the court to try and wrest control of the property.

The dismissal marks the second failed lawsuit brought forward by former church members since April.

Tensions at the church began late in 2017 after allegations that the church’s then-newly hired rector, George Kovoor, had obtained his position with falsified credentials.

Church leaders tried to fire Kovoor, despite orders from Rev. Ian Douglas, bishop diocesan of the Episcopal Church in Connecticut, to keep him in the position. The disagreement between the two parties led to the first of the two lawsuits, as well as the church’s demotion from a parish to a worshipping community.

More here-

Wednesday, July 10, 2019

Cardinal Newman becoming a saint puts Oxford church on pilgrims' trail

From Oxford-

WHEN Cardinal John Henry Newman becomes a saint it will put a Littlemore church on the pilgrims’ trail. 

The Fathers of the Birmingham Oratory have announced that Pope Francis will canonise Blessed John Henry Newman in St Peter’s Square, Rome, on Sunday, October 13. 

This will make Cardinal Newman the first English person who has lived since the 17th century officially recognised as a saint by the Roman Catholic Church. 

The news is being welcomed in Littlemore as Cardinal Newman built St Mary and St Nicholas Church, in Sandford Road, Littlemore, while still an Anglican in 1835.

More here-

Bill requiring priests to report child-abuse confessions to police is pulled

From California-

A bill that would have required members of the clergy to report information to police that they received about child abuse and neglect during private confessions has been pulled by its author, state Sen. Jerry Hill, D-San Mateo.

The action came in the wake of an all-out effort by California Catholics to derail the bill, SB360. In a letter read at every Mass in San Francisco and San Mateo counties on June 23, Archbishop Salvatore Cordileone said, “For Catholics, confession is sacred, and the ability to confess our sins confidentially is essential to our religious belief and practice.” He urged parishioners to mail letters to Hill and other legislators.

Oakland Diocese Bishop Michael Barber was even more direct.

More here-

Tuesday, July 9, 2019

Archbishop of Canterbury says failure on child sexual abuse is "knife in Church's soul"

From The Telegraph-

The Archbishop of Canterbury has told Church of England leaders that their failure to deal with child sexual abuse is "a knife in our soul".

Speaking at the opening of the General Synod in York on Friday, the Most Rev Justin Welby told an audience of hundreds of synod members that there is much more progress to be made in the wake of the safeguarding scandal.

He said that "every time the Archbishop of York or I see another case where there's a falling short of our response, it is a knife in our soul".

The Archbishop of Canterbury, along with Dr John Sentamu, are due to give evidence at the Independent Inquiry into Child Sexual Abuse (IICSA) later this week.

More here-

Nigeria sitting on keg of gunpowder – Anglican Archbishop warns

From Nigeria-

The Chairman, Christian Council of Nigeria (CCN), South-South Zone, His Grace, the Most Rev’d Tunde Adeleye has warned that Nigeria is sitting on a keg of gunpowder and would soon explode.
Addressing a press conference in Calabar on Monday, Adeleye said, “Today, we have countless jobless graduates roaming the Streets. The generations of our young adults are being wasted.

“This is because of the apparent selfishness of our leaders who do not have the future of the young ones in their minds. Consequently, many of these graduates have entered into various crimes including armed robbery, occultism and kidnapping.

“Unemployment of youths, in a nation as big as Nigeria, is like sitting on a keg of gunpowder, one day it will explode, it is a question of time,” he said

Most. Rev Adeleye, who is the Archbishop Ecclesiastical Province of Niger Delta (Anglican Commission), said the problem of Nigeria could only be solved by restructuring.

More here-

Monday, July 8, 2019

Church of England moves towards communion with the Methodist Church

From Christian Today-

The Church of England's national assembly has backed proposals to continue the process towards communion with the Methodist Church. 

Members of the General Synod meeting in York over the weekend agreed to begin drafting a number of texts towards this end, including a "formal declaration" outlining a new relationship of communion between the two Churches. 

The motion approved by Synod also instructs the Faith and Order Commission to work on additional texts for the inaugural services that would take place after communion is agreed, and the guidelines covering how presbyters and priests from each Church could serve in the other. 

The House of Bishops is to report back on the progress being made following elections to the new General Synod taking place next year. 

The Bishop of Coventry, Christopher Cocksworth, said the proposals offered a "historic opportunity" for the two Churches. 

More here-

Anglican church installs first female head

From Uganda-

All Saints’ Cathedral, Kampala (ASCK) will install her first-ever female Provost in the history of the Church of Uganda, Rev. Canon Dr. Rebecca Margaret Nyegenye, and her assistant, Rev. Captain David Serunjogi on Wednesday, July 10, 2019, during the mid-week service.

The service will start at 4:00 pm. The Archbishop of the Church of Uganda and the Bishop, Diocese of Kampala, His Grace Stanley Ntagali, will preside over the function.

The Provost is the Parish Priest who is also the Chief Executive Officer of the Cathedral for providing overall leadership to the Cathedral ministry in articulating and implementing the Vision, Mission, Objectives and entire operations of the Church while maintaining the dignity, heritage, and values of the Anglican Church of Uganda.

Rev. Canon Dr. Nyegenye was born and raised in the eastern district of Busia to the late Rev. James Efumbi and Janet Efumbi, she is the second born of seven.

More here-

Faith-based alliance seeks temporary shelters for homeless

From Colorado-

A Durango faith-based alliance is working to set up temporary day and night shelters to offer homeless residents a refuge next winter.

The Neighbors in Need Alliance plans to set up the shelters by November, said Caroline Kinser, an organizer with the group. The alliance was established this spring by volunteers from St. Mark’s Episcopal Church who are working with about 20 other churches on the effort. 

The need for the shelters “had been simmering for a long time,” Kinser said.

The group came together after a harsh winter left some homeless residents camping in several feet of snow. The shelters would be open November through March and accept homeless residents with substance addictions, she said.

More here-

Saturday, July 6, 2019

General Synod: A Primer

From The Anglican Journal-

More than 350 Anglicans from across Canada—delegates, partners, invited guests, displayers, volunteers and observers—will gather July 10-16 in Vancouver for the 42nd General Synod of the Anglican Church of Canada. While there, delegates will consider resolutions affecting the whole church.

General Synod is the highest governing body in the church. Although the Anglican Church of Canada is a member of the worldwide Anglican Communion, it has final authority over its own affairs. It can pass, alter and strike down its own laws—or, in church parlance, canons.

The General Synod meets every three years, unless otherwise determined by Council of General Synod (CoGS), provided such meetings are not more than five years apart.

More here-

Friday, July 5, 2019

Women present at the altars in early Christianity, argues academic

From The Tablet-

The debate over female ordination inside the Catholic Church hinges on the role of women in early Christianity.  

When he addressed the question of women deacons, the Pope said a commission he set up to look at the historical origins of deaconesses, could not agree over whether they had received sacramental ordination or not.

He told a group of leaders of religious sisters last month: "I cannot make a sacramental decree without a theological, historical foundation.” 

How much emphasis can be given to art or artefacts from the early church? 

Dr Ally Kateusz, a research associate at the Wijngaards Institute and a historian, believes there is plenty of evidence to show women were present at the altars. 

More here-

Professing Faith: The religious foundations that bolstered the Declaration of Independence

From California-

In this week, when our nation celebrates the Declaration of Independence, signed 243 years ago on Thursday, perhaps we may do well to recall some of the religious foundations that rest behind the men who signed that famous document.

In our own day and age it has become fashionable to assert that the United States was never a Christian nation. On Feb. 26, 2015, the online news source, Huffpost righteously declared, “The facts of our history are easy enough to verify. Anybody who ignorantly insists that our nation is founded on Christian ideals need only look at the four most important documents from our early history – the Declaration of Independence, the Articles of Confederation, the Federalist Papers and the Constitution – to disprove that ridiculous religious bias. All four documents unambiguously prove our secular origins.”

More here-

Thursday, July 4, 2019

Anglican same sex marriage debate

From La Croix-

Bishops at the Lambeth Conference in 1930 defined the Anglican Communion as “as a fellowship of churches, provinces and dioceses in communion with the See of Canterbury.” (Photo courtesy of Anglican Communication News Service).

There have been appeals to Anglicans around the world to accept a need for frank and open discussion on the divisive issue of same-sex marriage at the 2020 ten-yearly 'Lambeth Conference.'
This Anglican Communion gathering was first held in 1867.

The Anglican Communion is a consultative and collaborative international association of autonomous national and regional churches with 80 million members rather than a governing body.

In 1998, the 13th Lambeth Conference of Anglican bishops passed a resolution stating that "homosexual acts" are "incompatible with Scripture".

More here-

Pro-Gay Episcopalian Service Moved Off Catholic Parish After Backlash

From The Church Militant-

A parish in the diocese of Lansing, Michigan was originally going to be the venue for a Protestant service honoring a pro-LGBT Episcopalian bishop's retirement, but after pushback was was moved off diocesan property.

The Episcopalian bishop, Wendell Gibbs, an active proponent of same-sex "marriage," is retiring from his role as head of the denomination's Michigan diocese. A service and reception honoring his two decades of leadership were originally scheduled to take place on Nov. 9 at St. Mary Magdalen Catholic Church in Brighton.

But the celebration was later rescheduled for the Episcopalian St. Paul Cathedral in Detroit.
The reasons for the venue change are unclear. But it is known that it comes amid complaints from some Anglicans as well as Catholics.

Conservative-minded Anglicans took exception to Gibbs' retirement taking place at a Catholic parish, owing to Gibbs' open support of same-sex "marriage." A petition opposing the event's venue was filed with Bp. Earl Boyea of the Catholic diocese of Lansing — the diocese in which St. Mary Magdalen is located.

More here-

Wednesday, July 3, 2019

Catholics, Anglicans welcome news of Card. Newman’s canonization date

From Vatican News-

Catholics and Anglicans have welcomed Monday’s announcement that Pope Francis will declare English Cardinal John Henry Newman a saint on Sunday, October 13, at a Mass in St. Peter’s Square in Rome.  

The day of canonization was established on July 1, as the Pope held an Ordinary Public Consistory of cardinals to formally approve the canonization of Card. Newman along with four others: Giuseppina Vannini, Mariam Thresia Chiramel Mankidiyan, Irmã Dulce Pontes and Marguerite Bays.

Newman, a former Anglican priest who became a Roman Catholic in 1845 and eventually a Cardinal, is regarded as one of the most influential figures from his era for both Anglicanism and Roman Catholicism, noted the Church of England in a press release on July 1.

More here-

State Supreme Court denies Episcopal Church petition

From South Carolina-

The S.C. Supreme Court has denied a petition from The Episcopal Church and The Episcopal Church in South Carolina asking the court to enforce its decision about 29 properties currently held by a breakaway group.

The Supreme Court ruled in August 2017 that the Protestant Episcopal Church in the Diocese of South Carolina, which broke away from the national Episcopal Church in 2012, must return the properties, which include St. Philip’s Church on Church Street and St. Michael’s Church on Broad Street.

That ruling, which reversed a 2015 circuit court decision, was written collectively by all five justices, and some of their opinions were contradictory. The task of enforcement then fell to 1st Circuit Judge Edgar Dickson to enforce the Supreme Court’s decision.

The Episcopal Church argued in March that Dickson had “unduly delayed” acting and the Supreme Court needed to step in.

More here- 

also here-

Tuesday, July 2, 2019

Church of England Releases New ‘Ten Commandments’ For The Internet Age

From England-

These commandments were written on a very different type of tablet.

It can be hard navigating the modern world of social media, but thankfully the most modern of organisations The Church of England has decided to step in and help out.

The original Ten Commandments that Moses brought down from Mt Sinai were so helpful in reminding us important lessons like “Thou shalt not murder” and what we should and should not covet.

But those old stone tablet commandments don’t really apply to our online world so we really need some modern twists. Surely, God could speak to a modern Moses and tell him things like ‘Thou shalt not DM an ex after midnight’.

The Church of England have asked Anglicans to pledge to the following online community guidelines, and while it’s not exactly the online ten commandments (because, for one, there are only nine of them), it’s as close as we’re going to get.

More here-

Bishop of Temotu, Leonard Dawea, Elected Primate of the Anglican Church of Melanesia

From Melanesia

The Anglican Church of Melanesia will have a new Primate later this year when the Bishop of Temotu, Leonard Dawea, is installed at St Barnabas Provincial Cathedral on 15 September.

The Archbishop-elect was chosen as the new Primate during a meeting of the Provincial Electoral Board last week.

Bishop Leonard, whose current diocese is in the Solomon Islands, will take over from Archbishop George Takeli, who retired in May. Before training for the priesthood he spent 12 years as a monk with the Melanesian Brotherhood.

Bishop Leonard, who comes from the Reefs islands in Temotu, and his wife Dorah, who hails from Guadalcanal, have two children.

More here-

Women are joining the House of Bishops at unprecedented rate

From ENS-

The first day of June was a historic, if somewhat distracting, day in the life of The Episcopal Church.

While the Rev. Kathryn McCrossen Ryan was being ordained and consecrated as a bishop suffragan in the Diocese of Texas, many people in attendance were surreptitiously checking on the outcomes of two bishop elections happening that day. In both cases, laity and clergy elected women: the Rev. Bonnie Perry in the Diocese of Michigan and the Rev. Lucinda Ashby in the Diocese of El Camino Real.

Perry and Ashby are the seventh and eighth bishops elected in The Episcopal Church this year, and the fifth and sixth women, the most ever elected in one year in the church’s history.

More here-

Monday, July 1, 2019

Anglican Church raises red flag on rise in broken marriages

From Rwanda-

Marriages are crumbling and the trend is growing, raising concern, not only for Rwanda but also for the entire world, Rev. Canon Dr Antoine Rutayisire, a Senior Pastor at St. Peter’s Remera Parish of the Anglican Church has warned.

“All over the world, families are falling apart. People are getting wealthier, people are getting more educated, but families are falling apart, and [getting] miserable,” Rutayisire said.

He used the platform of the Anglican Church’s annual celebration of Father’s Union on Sunday to deliver a warning against rushing into marriage because of the desire for material wealth.

Rutayisire’s warning comes at a time when Supreme Court figures show that cases of divorce have been rising gradually, from 21 cases in 2016, to 69 in 2017, and 1,311 in 2018.

More here-

Elaine Pagels’s lifelong search for the sacred

From Christian Century-

A professor once said to me that religious scholars come in two varieties: those who openly admit the connections between their scholarship and their autobiography, and liars. By this standard, Elaine Pagels is no liar.

Pagel’s autobiographical reflections chronicle her search for the sacred throughout her life, from a fundamentalist Christian congregation in California to graduate studies in religion at Harvard, from a fertility ritual done on her behalf in New York City to a Trappist monastery in Snowmass, Colorado. Two tragic losses inform her search: the death of her son Mark from a congenital heart illness when he was six, and the death a year later of her husband, Heinz, during a hiking accident in the mountains.

More here-

St. Barnabas Episcopal Church celebrates 60 years in Brackenridge

From Pittsburgh-

There was a time, not so long ago, when the congregation of St. Barnabas Episcopal Church had all but disappeared.

When the Rev. Frank Yesko arrived in 2011, he didn’t know if they’d end up closing their doors, but he knew he had to try.

Now, the church has about 100 members.

“It stayed open,” he said, smiling. “We really put our trust in God.”

On Sunday the congregation got to reflect on the history of the church as they celebrated 60 years at its Morgan Street location in Brackenridge. The church moved there in 1959 after outgrowing its first location in Tarentum.

Bishop Dorsey McConnell delivered the sermon for the service.

“60th anniversary — congratulations,” he said. “That’s a beautiful thing.”

More here-

Sunday, June 30, 2019

Closed for 17 years, St. Jude’s in Franklin opens for prayer

From  Connecticut-

When Barbara Burns plays the organ at St. Jude’s Church in Franklin, she thinks about her mother singing with the church’s choir 60 years ago.

“You can almost see your family up here, in the choir, teaching Sunday school,” said Burns, 81, sitting near the pulpit on her familiar cushioned seat at the organ during a recent Thursday service.

Burns, who began going to St. Jude’s as a child, played the organ at the Episcopal Church faithfully for 46 years before it closed in 2002. She said her family shared a love for the old hymns that were played there.

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Saturday, June 29, 2019

‘I do’ – and they have: Couples renew vows, honor Harry and Bess

From Missouri-

Couples from across the United States renewed their marriage vows on the steps of the Truman Library in Independence in celebration of the wedding anniversary of Harry and Bess Truman. The weather was a sweltering compliment to the hot June day when the presidential couple was married 100 years ago at Trinity Episcopal Church, less than a mile away from where the library stands.

Marriages spanning as many as 72 years were renewed following a brief statement by Library Director Kurt Graham.

“We are here celebrating one of the great love affairs in presidential history,” he told the crowd. “They were only married for 53 years ... but it was a lifelong love affair.” That commitment was reflected in the couples gathered for the ceremony.

Pastor Nancy Kerr officiated the ceremony. While most marriage ceremonies feature a few words of advice to the couple, Kerr said no one present needed any.

“It’s pretty apparent there’s a lot of love here today on these steps,” she said.

More here-

Newly Consecrated Gay Bishop Declares God Is A Woman

From New Hampshire-

Rev. Thomas Brown, who is married to a fellow priest, was ordained as a bishop of the diocese of Maine in the Episcopal Church June 22. Immediately following his ordination, Brown referred to God as a “she” twice in the Nicene Creed.

“She is worshipped and glorified. She has spoken through the Prophets,” the just-ordained Bishop Brown said, referring to the Holy Spirit.

The Nicene Creed was written 1,638 years ago and only uses masculine pronouns to refer to God.
The microphones in the Cathedral of St. Luke projected the voice of the celebrant, Bishop Curry, for the duration of the creed, barring the line where Bishop Brown used female pronouns for God. It is unclear if the microphones were intentionally switched to project Bishop Brown’s female-gendering of God.

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Friday, June 28, 2019

Gunmen abduct senior Anglican priest in Rivers

From Nigeria-

Reverend Canon Bernard Hanson, the Vicar of St Jude’s Anglican Church Odiemerenyi in Ahoada Diocese of the Anglican Communion and also the Clerical Synod Secretary of the diocese has been kidnapped.

He was traveling in the company of Rev.Canon Umegbewe Jerome who managed to escape in the confusion that ensued at the scene of the abduction.

The senior Anglican priest was abducted along Umuapu-Elele-Owerri-Port Harcourt road axis on Wednesday, June 26, 2019, at about 8 pm.

Confirming the kidnap, the Bishop of Ahoada Diocese, Rt. Rev. Clement Nathan Ekpeye described the abduction of the cleric as a sign of the end time

The bishop who was reacting to the incident disclosed that the senior priest was abducted Wednesday evening along the Umuapu area of Owerri-Port Harcourt road. 

More here-

Comedic Web Series ‘Ashes to Ashes’

From Santa Barbara-

The cast of Ashes to Ashes, a hilarious new web comedy available for viewing now at, will be familiar to the city’s theatergoers from dozens of productions by Lit Moon Theatre Company, the Theatre Group at Santa Barbara City College, the UCSB theater department, Genesis West, and more. Even if you’ve seen Mitchell Thomas, Jenna Scanlon, Annie Torsiglieri, Brian Harwell, Stanley Hoffman, Irwin Appel, and Tom Hinshaw onstage in everything from Shakespeare to Beckett, you most likely haven’t seen how well they adapt to the small screen, and in particular to the archetypal situation comedy. Now is your chance.

As written by Mitchell Thomas and Michael Bernard, these eight short episodes (they average about five minutes apiece) distill the eternal verities of the sitcom worldview to a highly concentrated essence. Thomas plays Father Ben, the doofus pastor of an Episcopal church in a town much like Santa Barbara. He encounters plenty of classic sitcom obstacles in his eight-episode story arc, some of them quite harsh. He gets no respect from his staff. Secretary Judy (Jenna Scanlon) clearly looks down on his slacker work ethic and lack of originality or responsibility, and his sexton Rob (Stan Hoffman) smokes pot on the job. Add to that the fact that his wife, Marcia (Ailish Dermody), tells him to his face that she’s sleeping with sleazy pinot honcho Sean the Winemaker (Brian Harwell). 

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Responding to the Drought in Namibia

From Relief Web-

Episcopal Relief & Development is supporting the Anglican Diocese of Namibia in response to the ongoing drought devastating the country. The organization is in contact with the diocese’s development arm, the Namibia Anglican Community Development Organization (NACDO) as it prepares to respond to the needs of impacted communities.

Over the past four years, Namibia has been dealing with a drought affecting crops and drinking water for both people and livestock. Many people have no access to clean water and travel long distances to find water sources. According to the local government, the lack of rain has caused food shortages, leaving one in five Namibians without access to enough food. At least 60,000 domestic animals have died in the past six months.

Working with the diocese and its development agency, Episcopal Relief & Development is helping marginalized communities in the northern part of Namibia. Based on a community assessment, NACDO has identified 1,060 vulnerable families in the Ohangwena and Omusati regions. They will receive critical food supplies and other support. Two communities, Eembindi and Enghandja, will also receive a four to five km pipeline connecting them to a safe accessible water source. In addition, Episcopal Relief & Development and NACDO will provide support for community and home gardens, poultry farming training and the rehabilitation of wells and dams for water sources in six villages.

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On Madison Avenue, an Episcopal priest blesses passersby

From RNS-

Russell Lupis stopped mid-jog when he saw the Rev. Adrian Dannhauser standing outside her Madison Avenue church with her “Ask Me For a Blessing” sign.
As she finished blessing someone else, Lupis stepped forward for a short conversation.
There was something on his mind — a tiff with his sister over their parents’ gravesite. 

Dannhauser listened intently. Then she locked hands with Lupis, closed her eyes and prayed. She ended by making the sign of the cross on his forehead.

Lupis is not a member of Dannhauser’s Church of the Incarnation, where she serves as associate rector. He’s not even an Episcopalian. But he welcomed the chance to receive a blessing.

“She’s worth waiting for,” said Lupis, who has received her blessings before. “People like that have an even closer connection than the norm.”

More here-

Thursday, June 27, 2019

Evangelical bishops call for humility and unity ahead of Lambeth 2020

From Christian Today-

Evangelical bishops have issued an appeal for humility and unity ahead of a major conference next year that has laid bare divisions between liberals and traditionalists in the Anglican Communion.

In a letter, published on the Episcopal Diocese of Dallas' website, the bishops write that it is an "acceptable time" to articulate their vision of Lambeth 2020, a gathering of bishops in the Anglican Communion taking place in Canterbury, Kent, next year.

The Lambeth Conference takes place around once every 10 years but some orthodox bishops have revealed plans to boycott the meeting because of differences over homosexuality.

The evangelical bishops in their letter plead with their fellow bishops to refrain from "harsh disagreement" and see each other "in the best light possible" in spite of their differences.

More here-

Episcopal church starts work on inclusive playground, invites public

From Texas-

A local Episcopal church is building one of the city’s first inclusive playgrounds, and the space is slated to be open to the public before the end of summer.
Holy Spirit Episcopal Church, 1624 Wooded Acres Drive, is renovating one of its playgrounds to be an all-inclusive playground for children between the ages of 2 and 6, designed to accommodate disabilities of any kind. The Rev. Jason Ingalls, the church’s rector, said the project is a reflection of Episcopalian beliefs and values.
“We think that we have a responsibility to God not only for the people who come here, but for the neighborhood around us,” Ingalls said.
Renderings depict an open space with a trail, a climbing mound and stationary percussion instruments for kids to play. The turf will be safe to fall onto, the ground will be flat and meet Americans with Disabilities Act standards, and all surfaces will be static-proof to protect hearing aids and other devices.

More here-

Seitz Named Canon of Episcopal Diocese

From West Virginia-

The Rev. Mark E. Seitz, rector of St. Matthew’s Episcopal Church in Wheeling, has been named canon to the ordinary for the Episcopal Diocese of West Virginia.

A canon to the ordinary serves as an assistant to a diocesan bishop. 

“I am happy to welcome Father Mark aboard,” said the Rt. Rev. W. Michie Klusmeyer, bishop of the Episcopal Diocese of West Virginia. “He brings tremendous gifts to our diocese. We are blessed to have him accept this call to serve our church in this capacity.”

Seitz has served as rector of St. Matthew’s since 1995. He has served a total of 36 years in parish ministry.

“It has been anw honor to be in Wheeling,” Seitz said. “My dad served in the diocese as rector of several parishes; I grew up here in West Virginia and have served here at St. Matthew’s for 24 years. 

More here-

Wednesday, June 26, 2019

America seems to be on a death trip. We can’t fix it by demonizing one another.

From The Washington Post-

When Paula White, who’s often described as President Trump’s personal spiritual adviser, railed in her invocation at his reelection kickoff rally last week against “every demonic network who has aligned itself” against Trump, her words bothered me, personally and spiritually.

I’ve written critically about Trump, but I don’t consider myself a tool of the Devil, and I didn’t like it when a prominent religious leader seemed to be making that accusation about millions of Americans. We have enough problems in this country without the president’s pastor literally demonizing political opponents.

But it’s a good rule in journalism (and in politics and religion, too) to try to understand what motivates disturbing comments. And as it happens, I know a faithful supporter of Pastor Paula, as her followers call her, who could explain her theology. He’s the Rev. Paul F.M. Zahl, an Episcopal minister who was my closest friend in high school and with whom I still regularly correspond. He is a frequent attendee of Pastor Paula’s services.

More here-

Tuesday, June 25, 2019

Keep your clergy well by encouraging creativity and crafting

From Austin-

“Jesus was a carpenter,” I point out.

“Yes, but God is a potter,” my wife, Madeline, counters.

We are discussing the limited room in our shed. She has a kiln she wants to keep there, and I have a new drill press I want to setup. Since we’re both Episcopal priests, these decisions tend to take on biblical proportions.

“God created humanity from clay, and that’s not just in Genesis, that’s in the Quran too. ‘Clay is the source of life on this planet. The first DNA was formed in the crystals of clay!’” Maddie plays the interfaith card and ends with a quote from Paulus Berensohn, the iconic ceramist and dancer she studied with at the Penland School of Craft.

“The way of carpentry is the way of the Buddha,” I retort.

“Who said that?” she calls my bluff.

“Nick Offerman,” I admit, “but I’m pretty sure he got it from his Zen Buddhist mentor.” For those unfamiliar, Nick Offerman is the actor who plays Ron Swanson on the sitcom “Parks and Recreation”. The kiln stayed in the shed, but because my wife recognized our overall wellness depends on each of us having a creative outlet, she helped me clear a space for the drill press in the garage.

More here-

Maine Episcopal Diocese Consecrates 1st Openly Gay Bishop

From Maine-

The Episcopal Diocese of Maine has consecrated an openly gay bishop for the first time.

The diocese says Rev. Thomas James Brown was ordained and consecrated its tenth bishop on Saturday in a ceremony that drew more than 900 people to St. Luke's Cathedral in Portland. Twenty-seven Episcopal bishops and more than 100 clergy from Maine participated in the service.

Gene Robinson, the retired Diocese of New Hampshire bishop and the first openly gay bishop, says Brown "stands on the shoulders of many other LGBTQ priests."

Brown is originally from Michigan and trained at parishes in California and his home state. He has also served in Vermont and Massachusetts. Brown says he is "especially grateful to be welcomed by loving and wise bishops in New England."

More here-

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