Saturday, May 11, 2019

PLATELL'S PEOPLE: Don't blame Prince Charles for sex abuse bishop Peter Ball - I was duped by Rolf Harris

From The Daily Mail-

Over the years, I have been a fierce critic of Prince Charles. Yet now an inquiry has ‘damned’ him over his misguided backing for a bishop exposed as a serial paedophile, I find myself in the unusual position of being his defender.

Peter Ball, the former Bishop of Gloucester, was convicted in 2015 of abusing 18 boys and young men. 

By then, he had been a friend of Charles for more than 20 years — despite Ball having been cautioned by the police in 1993 for gross indecency and resigning from the Church in disgrace.

Charles saw him regularly and corresponded with him, telling him he was the victim of ‘monstrous wrongs’ and giving him money. The bishop prayed with the Prince at Highgrove and became Charles’s long-term mentor.

The Prince claimed that he never realised Ball’s 1993 caution carried an admission of guilt. But that seems na├»ve, particularly for a future head of the Church of England.

More here-


Tennessee Episcopal bishops join push to spare death row inmate Donnie Johnson's life

From Tennessee-

Two Episcopal bishops in Tennessee are joining calls from other religious leaders in the state for the governor to spare the life of death row inmate Donnie Johnson

In a letter appealing to Gov. Bill Lee, Bishop Brian L. Cole, who leads the Episcopal Diocese of East Tennessee, said the life Johnson has lived behind bars demonstrates the power of faith and forgiveness. 

"Ending his life now would only show a violent world that more violence is an answer," Cole said in the May 8 letter. "I believe there is another way available to you — to show our state that forgiveness and mercy is the true measure of mature authority and a wise measure of executive power." 

Johnson, who was sentenced to death for the 1984 murder of his wife, Connie Johnson, is scheduled to be executed Thursday at Riverbend Maximum Security Institution in Nashville.

More here-


Friday, May 10, 2019

Next Lambeth Conference — and its rival

From The Church Times-

THE Lambeth Conference next year will be bigger and shorter than before — but possibly no less contentious, it emerged this week.

On almost the same day that the CEO of the Lambeth Conference, Phil George, was giving details of Lambeth 2020 to members of the Anglican Consultative Council, the Primates belonging to GAFCON, a conservative grouping formed in 2008 in protest at liberal moves on sexuality, were formulating an alternative gathering.

The 2020 Lambeth Conference will begin with a seven-day hospitality initiative, Mr George said. Every bishop and his or her spouse will visit churches around England and Wales. They will travel to Canterbury on Wednesday 22 July, and Thursday and Friday will be spent in retreat. There will be a separate retreat for spouses.

The two Sundays will centre on opening and closing services in Canterbury Cathedral. Thus the conference proper will last only from Monday 27 July to Saturday 1 August, including a London day. Bible studies will focus on the text of 1 Peter.

More here-

https://www.churchtimes.co.uk/articles/2019/10-may/news/world/next-lambeth-conference-and-its-rival

In Good Faith: The soundtracks of our lives

From Akron-

Whenever I watch a show on Netflix or see a movie, I’m always struck by how dramatic the scenes are - the courtroom encounters, the romantic professions of love, the stirring chase scenes. And then I contrast this with my own life, and the interactions I have on a daily basis feel somehow ... lacking.

It finally struck me one day, that it’s less about the drama in my life. I mean, sure, I don’t engage in many high-speed chases with guns blazing, like some sort of clerical version of James Bond. And my wife wouldn’t take kindly to my living as though I was starring in a romantic comedy. Nor would my bishop.

But I realized the thing that’s really missing is the accompanying soundtrack. What makes so many of these moments tug at the heartstrings or get the heart pumping, is the music that matches the movement.

That training scene in “Rocky” set to “Gonna Fly Now” just wouldn’t fly if Sylvester Stallone was doing one-armed pushups and punching raw meat if it was set to, say, “The Sound of Silence” or simply silence. Or Darth Vader entering a scene from “Star Wars” without composer John Williams’ iconic accompanying “Imperial March” theme, wouldn’t create that same sense of impending doom, than if he just appeared from stage left. Music sets the mood and heightens the drama and intensifies the emotions that go with the script.

More here-

https://www.ohio.com/opinion/20190509/in-good-faith-soundtracks-of-our-lives

Thursday, May 9, 2019

What happened to U.S. evangelicals? In early America, they were our freedom fighters.

From The Washington Post-


In a span of three days, Jerry Falwell Jr., a close ally of President Trump, has been in the national news twice — neither time for good reason. Over the weekend, Falwell said the president was the victim of a “failed coup” and deserves two more years tacked onto on his term. Then on Tuesday, Reuters reported that Trump fixer Michael Cohen helped Falwell get rid of some racy “personal” photos of the Liberty University president.

In the past two years, comments and actions by evangelical leaders close to the president have made it easy for many Americans to conclude that evangelicals are the foremost enemies of democracy and freedom.

As someone who writes about American religious history, I think this is truly unfortunate, because no one group has arguably done more — in the past — to advance religious freedom than evangelicals. Understanding the crucial evangelical role in crafting religious freedom makes the position of folks like Falwell all the more tragic, but it also hints at a better way forward for the evangelical movement as a whole.

More here-

ONE ANGLICAN PRIEST'S JOURNEY INTO CONTROVERSY

From Sight Magazine-

It’s no secret to those who have seen the signs he places outside the Gosford Anglican Church in New South Wales that Fr Rod Bower is a man of strong convictions. 

So it’s no surprise to find his memoir is called Outspoken, and while the first half of the text devoted to telling the narrative of his life, it’s the second half of the book that we encounter Bowers in full flight while we’re taken through an exploration of his, at times, controversial views.

Bower had an difficult start to life in the New South Wales city of Newcastle – his was an unplanned birth and his 16-year-old mother felt she had no choice but to give him up. His adopted family soon moved out to a farm at Warakeela in the Hunter Valley and it was there he spent the first 14 years of his life.

More here-

https://www.sightmagazine.com.au/reviews/books/12189-books-one-anglican-priest-s-journey-into-controversy

Guatemalan woman prepares to mark two years in sanctuary

From North Carolina-

A woman from Guatemala has been living in sanctuary longer than anyone else under the Trump administration. Juana Ortega is staying at St. Barnabas Episcopal Church in Greensboro to avoid deportation. Thursday marks two years since she's taken up sanctuary there. 

Though there is a language barrier, Ortega has made friends at St. Barnabas. Church members distract her from a harsh reality. Her immigration case is closed, and she can't stay in the country outside of this building. Ortega said, "I'm feeling a little desperate honestly, because I didn't realize I'd be here this long."

Speaking through a translator, Andrew Willis Garces, Ortega explained that what she misses most is her family. She has a husband, four kids ages 30-17, and two granddaughters. Their lives are the subject of a documentary airing Thursday at the church on the two-year anniversary of her stay there. 

More here-

https://www.wxii12.com/article/guatemalan-woman-prepares-to-mark-two-years-in-sanctuary/27413039

Wednesday, May 8, 2019

Exorcists of the world unite: 250 clerics from different Christian denominations gather in Rome for classes in driving out the devil

From The Daily Mail-

Hundreds of clerics from different Christian denominations have gathered in Rome to exchange tips and to attend classes on exorcism for the first time.

As many as 250 members of the clergy are expected in the Italian capital this week for the conference that comes at the end of a week's training.

Those who believe in exorcisms say a priest tries to draw out an evil spirit that has taken over a person's body - which can take hours or even years to work.

The event, which started yesterday at Ateneo Pontificio Regina Apostolorum - a Vatican-linked university, has classes such as 'Angels and Demons in the Sacred Scripture, The Historical Origins of the Rite of Exorcism' and 'The Symbology of Occult and Satanic Rituals'. 

More here-

Anglican Church sacks two priests over alleged homosexuality

From Nigeria-

The Arochukwu/Ohafia Diocese of the Church of Nigeria (Anglican Communion) in Abia State has dismissed two priests for allegedly indulging in homosexuality.

A letter entitled: “Notice of dismissal from ministry”, dated April 29, 2019, and signed by Bishop of the Diocese, Rt. Rev. Johnson Onuoha, circulated to all archbishops and bishops of the church said an investigation by the diocese after it got wind of the allegation, confirmed that the two men were neck-deep in the act.

The memorandum which was also copied to the Metropolitan and Primate of All Nigeria and Bishop of Abuja, the Most Rev. Nicholas Okoh, warned any persons dealing with the expelled clerics to be mindful as such could dent the image of the church.

The letter reads in parts: “We wish to inform you that the following clergy have been dismissed from the diocese of Arochukwu/Ohafia. They are Rev. Chukwuemeka Duru and Rev. Solomon Chukwuzubelu Okonkwo.

More here-

https://dailypost.ng/2019/05/07/abia-anglican-church-sacks-two-priests-alleged-homosexuality/

Lambeth 2020, the once in a decade gathering of the Anglican Communion, will show the division between Anglicans worldwide. The Global Anglican Future Conference (Gafcon) announced in a statement after a meeting of representatives in Sidney (Australia) that a large number of Anglican leaders from Global South countries will not attend the gathering organised by the Archbishop of Canterbury. The reason is the invitation to Lambeth 2020 of partnered gay bishops from Anglican provinces which openly support LGBT practices. “As it currently stands”, a statement issued by the Gafcon Primates Council says, the Lambeth 2020 conference is to “include provinces who continue to violate Lambeth Resolution I.10 thereby putting the conference itself in violation of its own resolution: failing to uphold faithfulness in marriage and legitimising practices incompatible with Scripture. This incoherence further tears the fabric of the Anglican Communion and undermines the foundations for reconciliation”.
See more: http://evangelicalfocus.com/world/4433/Anglican_crisis_deepens_as_GAFCON_leaders_confirm_they_will_not_attend_key_Lambeth_2020_gathering

Lambeth 2020, the once in a decade gathering of the Anglican Communion, will show the division between Anglicans worldwide. The Global Anglican Future Conference (Gafcon) announced in a statement after a meeting of representatives in Sidney (Australia) that a large number of Anglican leaders from Global South countries will not attend the gathering organised by the Archbishop of Canterbury. The reason is the invitation to Lambeth 2020 of partnered gay bishops from Anglican provinces which openly support LGBT practices. “As it currently stands”, a statement issued by the Gafcon Primates Council says, the Lambeth 2020 conference is to “include provinces who continue to violate Lambeth Resolution I.10 thereby putting the conference itself in violation of its own resolution: failing to uphold faithfulness in marriage and legitimising practices incompatible with Scripture. This incoherence further tears the fabric of the Anglican Communion and undermines the foundations for reconciliation”.
See more: http://evangelicalfocus.com/world/4433/Anglican_crisis_deepens_as_GAFCON_leaders_confirm_they_will_not_attend_key_Lambeth_2020_gathering
Lambeth 2020, the once in a decade gathering of the Anglican Communion, will show the division between Anglicans worldwide. The Global Anglican Future Conference (Gafcon) announced in a statement after a meeting of representatives in Sidney (Australia) that a large number of Anglican leaders from Global South countries will not attend the gathering organised by the Archbishop of Canterbury. The reason is the invitation to Lambeth 2020 of partnered gay bishops from Anglican provinces which openly support LGBT practices. “As it currently stands”, a statement issued by the Gafcon Primates Council says, the Lambeth 2020 conference is to “include provinces who continue to violate Lambeth Resolution I.10 thereby putting the conference itself in violation of its own resolution: failing to uphold faithfulness in marriage and legitimising practices incompatible with Scripture. This incoherence further tears the fabric of the Anglican Communion and undermines the foundations for reconciliation”.
See more: http://evangelicalfocus.com/world/4433/Anglican_crisis_deepens_as_GAFCON_leaders_confirm_they_will_not_attend_key_Lambeth_2020_gathering

Yo, New York Times editors: The Episcopal Church's leader is The Most Rev. Michael Curry

 From Get Religion-

The question: Why are more and more reporters and copyeditors ignoring Associated Press style rules when it comes to the formal titles of ordained religious leaders? In this case, I will go ahead and add a question that I have asked many times (one example here): Why do formal titles that have existed for decades (or in some cases centuries) seem to vanish when journalists write about (a) African-American clergy and/or (b) ordained women?

Here is the passage in question, in which someone at the Times (I will not assume the reporter) was caught up in informal Meghan-and-Harry fervor and, well, forgot to give a certain American clergy person the R.E.S.P.E.C.T. that he deserves. Here is the reference, in context:
The baby is sure to be the object of uncommon fascination, adored and criticized as a symbol of the modernization of Britain’s royal family.
Harry, 34, and Meghan, 37, have shaken up the royal family in a number of ways: The duchess is an American and a former actress, and their wedding last May featured a gospel choir, a freestyling African-American bishop and a gaggle of Hollywood celebrities.
They continued to set aside convention after the wedding, opening their own Instagram account and offering little access to the royal-obsessed British news media. In April, they announced they were canceling the traditional photo opportunity outside the Lindo Wing at St. Mary’s Hospital in the heart of London, curtailing the ritual hullabaloo that usually surrounds royal births.

More here-

https://www.getreligion.org/getreligion/2019/5/7/yo-new-york-times-editors-the-episcopal-churchs-leader-is-the-most-rev-michael-bruce-curry

Episcopal Bishop Breaks Race, Gender Barriers

From Afro-

“Now, let me get this straight. You are a successful attorney, making a good salary, and you are about to make partner, which will give you even more money,” Phoebe Roaf’s mother said. “But you want to leave all that, go to seminary for three years with no salary, and pay $100,000 because you know it’s got to be paid for. That’s really what you want to do?”

Roaf’s mother was incredulous about Roaf’s next career move.

“My mother was just being a mother,” said Roaf. “But I told her, “Yes, Mom, that’s just what I want to do. It makes me happy. The ministry will make me happy.’ After a while, my mother began to understand and support me in my position.”

Roaf’s life-changing direction culminated when Bishop Elect Phoebe Roaf became the first female and the first African American elected to lead the Episcopal Diocese of West Tennessee. Her Consecration Service was Saturday, May 4th, at Hope Church.

“This is so exciting because I will be consecrated by my boss. Well, God is my boss, but my earthly boss is the Presiding Bishop of The Episcopal Church, The Most Rev. Michael B. Curry,” said Roaf. “You remember, he is the one who preached the sermon at the royal wedding of Prince Harry and Meghan Markle. Bishop Curry is, himself, the first African American to hold the presiding bishop’s office.”

More here-

https://www.afro.com/episcopal-bishop-breaks-race-gender-barriers/

Tuesday, May 7, 2019

Gafcon calls alternative conference of worldwide Anglican bishops

From Christian Today-

The global network emerging as an alternative to the Anglican Communion has called a conference open to all orthodox bishops around the world.

In a new statement today, Gafcon (the Global Anglican Futures Conference) announced the gathering, which will be held next June – just a few weeks before the Archbishop of Canterbury's own Lambeth Conference of worldwide bishops.

The declaration also indicates that the organisation is moving towards a traditionalist position on episcopal ministry by being inclined towards reserving the role of bishop for men.

In relation to Justin Welby's Lambeth Conference, the communique, from Gafcon's Council of Primates, says: "We have no interest in attempting to rival Lambeth 2020.

"On the other hand, we do not want our bishops to be deprived of faithful fellowship while we wait for order in the Communion to be restored.

More here-

https://www.christiantoday.com/article/gafcon-calls-alternative-conference-of-worldwide-anglican-bishops/132367.htm

The Radically Inclusive Christianity of Rachel Held Evans

From The New Yorker-

Late on Friday evening, as Rachel Held Evans, a thirty-seven-year-old Christian activist, lay in a coma, in her hospital bed, in Nashville, Tennessee, her friend Nadia Bolz-Weber, a progressive pastor, anointed her forehead with frankincense. “Lord, let your servant go in peace,” Bolz-Weber intoned, beginning the liturgy of last rites. She couldn’t believe that she was performing them for her friend, and she told me later, “In times that we are collapsing, these are words that have been worn smooth by generations of the faithful.” To Bolz-Weber, and to Held Evans’s millions of fans, her sudden illness was inconceivable. She had two small children, and, just a month earlier, she and Bolz-Weber had been laughing about the challenges of motherhood. But soon after, while hospitalized for complications from the flu, doctors realized that she was experiencing seizures and placed her in a medically induced coma. Later, after weaning her off the coma medication, the medical team found that swelling of her brain had caused extensive damage from which she could not recover. She died on Saturday morning.

More here-

https://www.newyorker.com/news/postscript/the-radically-inclusive-christianity-of-rachel-held-evans

Reflecting on Rachel: Why She Mattered

From Christianity Today-

Yesterday, Beth Moore tweeted:
Thinking what it was about @rachelheldevans that could cause many on other sides of issues to take their hats off to her in her death. People are run rife with grief for her babies, yes. But also I think part of it is that, in an era of gross hypocrisy, she was alarmingly honest.
I noticed the same thing—people everywhere, from multiple streams of thought and faith, were expressing personal grief and often showing her honor.

Like many others, I am praying for Dan and her small children. But, I’m also reflecting a bit on her influence and our interactions.

More here-


Jonathan Folts elected 11th bishop of South Dakota

From ENS-

The Diocese of South Dakota elected the Rev. Jonathan H. Folts as its 11th Bishop at its Special Election Convention in Pierre on May 4.

One of four nominees, Folts was elected on the fourth ballot. Folts, the rector of St. John’s Episcopal Church in Essex, Connecticut, received 40 votes in the clergy order and 103 votes in the lay order. Thirty-eight clergy votes and 96 lay votes were necessary for election on that ballot.

Folts earned his Master of Divinity and his Doctor of Ministry degrees (in Missional Church Development) at Virginia Theological Seminary. He is married to the Rev. Kimberly Folts; they have three children.

“Thank you for your perseverance, thank you for your trust, thank you for being so open to the Holy Spirit,” Folts said in addressing the convention via telephone. “Thank you for your generous invitation to serve Christ with you. I am deeply honored, deeply humbled, deeply grateful – and very, very excited for what lies ahead of us!

More here-

https://www.episcopalnewsservice.org/2019/05/06/jonathan-folts-elected-11th-bishop-of-south-dakota/

Monday, May 6, 2019

Calm urged as Anglican split over sexuality threatens to deepen

From Premier-

Anglicans on both sides of the sexuality debate are being encouraged to calm the rhetoric ahead of a very important meeting next year.

Bishops from across the world are due to come together for the once a decade Lambeth Conference but there's concern many will boycott.

Conservative group GAFCON says its bishops won't attend due to the fact gay bishops will be permitted to attend.

Conservatives within the Church are also unhappy at how they've been portrayed by the Anglican Communion.

More here-

https://www.premier.org.uk/News/World/Calm-urged-as-Anglican-split-over-sexuality-threatens-to-deepen

Remembering Rachel Held Evans: #BecauseOfRHE

From Christian Post-

Michael Curry, presiding bishop of the Episcopal Church, wrote in part, "She was a fearless seeker of truth and servant of Jesus, and her witness will inspire and heal generations to come."

John Dickerson, co-anchor of "CBS This Morning," shared on Twitter, "You may not know of @rachelheldevans, you may not believe, or you may believe & disagree with her, but there is a heaving river of testimony & love rolling today that is a marvel. May grace, or its pursuit, rush through the doors her light opened & her memory is opening still."

The hashtag #BecauseOfRHE was trending on Twitter among her fans and friends. Many shared how Evans had touched their lives.

Evans was known for sending encouraging private messages to people she knew.

Jack Jenkins, a reporter for Religion News Service, noted that Evans "was a religion writer, and would periodically reach out to many of us reporters — unsolicited — with random words of encouragement. Just because. Even if she disagreed. People don’t do that. It’s hard to overstate how beloved she was."

More here-

https://www.christianpost.com/news/remembering-rachel-held-evans-becauseofrhe.html

Christian persecution 'at near genocide levels'

From BBC-

The persecution of Christians in parts of the world is at near "genocide" levels, according to a report ordered by Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt.

The review, led by the Bishop of Truro the Right Reverend Philip Mounstephen, estimated that one in three people suffer from religious persecution. 

Christians were the most persecuted religious group, it found.

Mr Hunt said he felt that "political correctness" had played a part in the issue not being confronted.

The interim report said the main impact of "genocidal acts against Christians is exodus" and that Christianity faced being "wiped out" from parts of the Middle East.

It warned the religion "is at risk of disappearing" in some parts of the world, pointing to figures which claimed Christians in Palestine represent less than 1.5% of the population, while in Iraq they had fallen from 1.5 million before 2003 to less than 120,000.

"Evidence shows not only the geographic spread of anti-Christian persecution, but also its increasing severity," the Bishop wrote.

More here-

https://www.bbc.com/news/uk-48146305?fbclid=IwAR2zY2N_jzoEUTzqHAQu2E4G6mIPAhlFnsxi3uwXdOFWjv9WaQHcn_gnpVg