Wednesday, November 20, 2019

Archbishop Justin Welby urges parties to make reassuring Jews and Muslims who are 'living in fear' an 'absolute priority' during the general election

From The Daily Mail-

The Archbishop of Canterbury yesterday urged all parties in the General Election to make 'an absolute priority' of reassuring minority groups.

The Most Rev Justin Welby said politicians must 'avoid anything that increases the perception of fear'.

His intervention, which is backed by the Archbishop of York, the Most Reverend John Sentamu, followed accusations from Jewish groups of anti-Semitism among Jeremy Corbyn's supporters.
The Church of England's two most senior archbishops said that 'several groups, especially in Jewish and Muslim communities, feel threatened and are in much anxiety. 

More here-

Philadelphia’s Christ Church preserves historic steeple

From Philadelphia-

A centuries-old artifact of architectural, church and American history is being restored.

Philadelphia’s Christ Church steeple design dates back to 1754 when Scottish immigrant and architect Robert Smith completed the project.

“It was the Comcast Tower of its time,” said Christ Church rector, Rev. Tim Safford. “It put Philadelphia on the map. It proved to the European world that Philadelphia was a first-class city.”
It was America’s tallest structure until 1810, with a weather vane reaching 196 feet.

Church officials knew in the early 2000s that the tower and steeple would need work. It’s leaning almost two feet. That’s bothered Rev. Stafford every time he crossed the Ben Franklin Bridge. The restoration will stabilize the structure from further deterioration, though it won’t straighten it. Pulling it on one side of the structure would threaten the structural integrity of the entire building. 

Scaffolding was erected around the tower and steeple in August, and restoration — including repointing, shingling, and reinforcement with steel beams to prevent further leaning. This is all being done with help from a grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities.

More here-

Longtime member of St. John’s Episcopal Church ordained to priesthood, installed as new rector

From New York-

A longtime member of St. John’s Episcopal Church was ordained to the priesthood and installed as the church’s new rector during ceremonies on Saturday afternoon.

Sonya A. Boyce was ordained by William Love, bishop of Albany, during the ceremony, which was attended by a full church of family and friends.
Among those in attendance was the Rev. Elizabeth Papazoglakis, who led St. John’s from 2013 to 2015.
“I cannot begin to tell you what a joy it is to be here today at St. John’s in Massena,” the Rev. Mrs. Papazoglakis said.
The Rev. Mrs. Papazoglakis said she had sensed that the Rev. Mrs. Boyce was a perfect candidate for the ministry.

More here-

Tuesday, November 19, 2019

Bishop decries fraudulent clerics

From Uganda-

Bishop of Soroti Diocese Hosea Odong has criticised what he called the extortionist behaviour among fellow bishops who fleece their flock to live a luxury life.
While preaching at the Iteso annual Church service at Namugongo Anglican Shrine yesterday, Bishop Odong said there are bishops whom Christians adore because they are living larger than life by fleecing their flock. He did not name the culpable bishops.
He also said many Christians nowadays attend Church but when they return home they revert to their satanic ways. 

More here-

Sowore: Archbishop of Canterbury replies SERAP

From Nigeria-

The Archbishop of Canterbury, Most Revd Justin Portal Welby, has responded to an open letter by Socio-Economic Rights and Accountability Project, (SERAP) urging him to use his good offices and leadership and his “friendship with President Muhammadu Buhari to prevail on him to obey court orders most recently involving activists Omoyele Sowore and Olawale Bakare, who remain in arbitrary detention despite a court order for their release.”

This development was disclosed on Tuesday in a press release by SERAP deputy director Kolawole Oluwadare.

SERAP had in the letter to Archbishop Welby expressed “serious concerns about the disturbing trends by state governments and federal government to use the court as a tool to suppress citizens’ human rights.”

Responding on behalf of the Archbishop through an email last night, Dominic Goodall, the Chief Correspondence Officer at the Lambeth Palace, said: “Thank you for your recent letter. Much as he would like to, the Archbishop is unable to respond personally in detail, so I have been asked to reply to you on his behalf.”

More here-

Are Church of Ireland bishops about to fail their vast middle ground?

From Ireland-

On Wednesday the House of Bishops will decided whether to affirm the appointment of Archdeacon David McClay as Bishop of Down and Dromore, the largest diocese in the Church of Ireland.

Although respect is due to his work as a rector, his election as bishop is deeply troubling, and many people from all over the island have written to the bishops to express their grave concern.

Archdeacon McClay is a member of the council of Gafcon (Global Anglican Future Conference) Ireland, an organisation which opposes amongst other things same-sex marriage and the ordination of homosexuals.

So why object to Archdeacon McClay’s appointment? Because the policy and doctrine of the Church of Ireland are decided by the General Synod.

That the Church of Ireland is Irish seems a truism. Currently we are celebrating the 150th anniversary of disestablishment or break from the Church of England. An Ireland-wide synodical structure was hewn out to give representation to every church member from Belfast to Ballybunion.

More here-

Scranton Church Launching Bakery to Help Former Prisoners

From Pennsylvania-

A church in Scranton is getting into the bakery business. It is who the bakery will employ that makes this project unique.

St. Luke's Episcopal Church has been on Wyoming Avenue in downtown Scranton since 1852. Its basement hasn't been occupied for at least the last 15 years of its storied history, but the church has plans to turn the space into a commercial bakery.

It won't be a revenue source for the church. Instead, it will be a nonprofit that hires only former convicts.

"We've got to work through the stereotypes so that we can start welcoming folks back into society that really want to come back and support themselves and their families," said Helen Wolf.
They're modeling the bakery on a similar nonprofit in California. The idea is to provide jobs and training to former convicts who are having trouble getting back into the workforce.

More here-

Monday, November 18, 2019

Church of Ireland clergy object to conservative bishop’s appointment

From Ireland-

Thirty-six senior Church of Ireland clergy have put their names to an open letter objecting to the appointment of the newly elected Bishop of Down and Dromore due to his involvement with a conservative Anglican group.

In a letter to the church’s House of Bishops, the signatories say they are concerned Archdeacon David McClay may not be an appropriate choice due to his membership of the Gafcon (Global Anglican Future Conference) Ireland movement.

They believe the group’s policies are “antithetical” to the principles a Church of Ireland bishop must commit to in the rite of consecration. These include “fostering unity, care for the oppressed, and building up the people of God in all their spiritual and sexual diversity”.

Gafcon was founded in 2008, originally to oppose same-sex marriage and the ordination of LGBTQ+ people. It has proclaimed itself as a unique upholder of biblical orthodoxy and as “a global family of authentic Anglicans standing together to retain and restore the Bible to the heart of the Anglican Communion”.

More here-

Episcopal deacon finds home in Savannah homeless camp

From Georgia-

Kevin Veitinger’s pulpit is not in one of Savannah’s ornate Episcopal churches.

Instead, the newly ordained Episcopal deacon holds forth on Sundays in one of Savannah’s homeless camps off Louisville Road as part of his “street church” ministry.

It is part of his journey that has taken him from his United Methodist Church roots to finding a church home in the Episcopal Diocese of Georgia where he will become a priest in about six months.

“I’ve done work with people in poverty most of my career,” Veitinger, 43, said during a chat at the diocesan office on East 34th Street in Savannah. “Homelessness is not about lack of having a paycheck, it’s about a lack of relationships. It boils down to relationships.”

When Bishop Scott Anson Benhase and the Rev. Frank Logue presented him with the homeless ministry option last year, Yeitinger said it seemed like a perfect fit.

“This opportunity presented itself,” he said. “I really think it’s kind of a God thing.”

Saturday, November 16, 2019

Christianity is declining at a rapid pace, but Americans still hold positive views about religion’s role in society

From The Washington Post-

Despite public concerns about religious groups and a loss of respect for clergy in general, a new poll from the Pew Research Center suggests many Americans still see religion generally having a positive role for Christianity.

Christianity has been rapidly declining in the United States while the number of Americans who are religiously unaffiliated is growing. Gallup polls have found a massive, three-decade fall in confidence in “organized religion” from as high as 66 percent in the mid-1980s to 36 percent in 2019. Pope Francis’s image has declined in multiple surveys in the wake of new revelations about sex abuse scandals.

But Pew’s survey, published Friday, finds that Americans hold more positive views of religion’s role overall and concerns about it declining. Fifty-five percent say churches and religious organizations do more good than harm in society (compared with 20 percent of people who think it does more harm than good). Similar majorities say religious organizations strengthen morality in society (53 percent), and 50 percent say they bring people together.

More here-

Friday, November 15, 2019

Rev. Katharine Jefferts Schori speaks about women in leadership

From Ohio-

On Nov. 11, Rev. Katharine Jefferts Schori of the United States Episcopal Church spoke in front of an audience of students and faculty. The event, which was the latest in the year-long Women at Kenyon celebration, took place in the Gund Gallery Community Foundation theater. Following an introduction by Priest-in-charge of Harcourt Parish and College Chaplain Rachel Kessler ’04, Jefferts Schori took the stage to deliver a speech about women, power, and the fight to be recognized.

Jefferts Schori had particular insight into the struggles women in positions of power face: when she was elected as Presiding Bishop of the Episcopal Church in 2006, she was the first woman ever to serve as primate in the worldwide Episcopal communion. During her tenure, she shepherded the Episcopal church through a number of changes, one of which was the acceptance of LGBTQ+ members into the church. Prior to her time as bishop, Jefferts Schori taught subjects such as fishery, religious studies and philosophy at Oregon State University, where she holds a Ph.D. in oceanography. 

More here-

Diocese of Lexington elects Bishop Mark Van Koevering as bishop diocesan

From ENS-

On Nov. 1, at the Special Convention for the Diocese of Lexington held at Emmanuel Episcopal Church, Winchester, Kentucky, the first order of business was the election of the eighth bishop of Lexington.

The Rt. Rev. Mark Van Koevering was duly elected and was greeted joyously by the convention. Van Koevering has been serving as the bishop provisional since being appointed by the diocesan convention in February 2018. As such, he continues as the ecclesiastical authority of the diocese, but now also is bishop diocesan-elect.

More here-

Redlands’ Trinity Episcopal Church to hold annual Native American worship service

From Los Angeles-

Trinity Episcopal Church in Redlands will hold its 11th annual Native American worship service, celebrating Native American Heritage Month, at 10:15 a.m. Sunday, Nov. 17.

The liturgy for the service is based on the Red Lake Mass set by Monte Mason, a nationally known composer and arranger of sacred music, according to a press release from the church.

Mason created this musical setting in 1996 based on tunes compiled by Frances Densmore, an early ethnomusicologist who noted and recorded music from various Northern American tribes. The service uses spoken text from the Creek, Dakota, Chippewa and Choctaw nations.

At the beginning of the service, Native American guests will gather in the church’s garden for prayers and smudging, led by Theresa Paine, Cherokee, and drummer Rudolph Medina, Apache, aka Singing Bird.

More here-

Thursday, November 14, 2019

Nigerians facing hard times, says Anglican Primate

From Nigeria-

Considering the rise in insecurity, killings by bandits and kidnapping for rituals and ransom, this is not the best of times for Nigeria.

Primate, Church of Nigeria (Anglican Communion), Rev. Nicholas Okoh, said this at the opening of the 2019 Divine Commonwealth Conference (DIVCCON) in Abuja.

Stressing that the ills would have been enough to ignite an internal war, he expressed hope of the country surviving the hard times and evil people.

Okoh, who expressed concern over the alleged rift between President Muhammadu Buhari and Vice President Yemi Osinbajo, urged Nigerians to pray against any challenge facing the present administration and the seed of discord at Aso Villa.

More here-

Pope, Anglican archbishop affirm desire to visit South Sudan together

From Crux-

Pope Francis and Anglican Archbishop Justin Welby of Canterbury, spiritual leader of the Anglican Communion, said they would travel together to South Sudan if the country’s leaders fulfill their promise to form a transitional government by late February.

The pope and Welby met at the Vatican Nov. 13 while the Anglican leader was in Rome to install a new director of the city’s Anglican Centre.

“During the friendly discussions, the condition of Christians in the world was mentioned, as well as certain situations of international crisis, particularly the sorrowful situation in South Sudan,” the Vatican press office said in a statement later.

More here-


From Northern California-

In Northern California, St Paul’s Episcopal Church in Walnut Creek would like to open its affordable housing complex in December or January.

It’s called St Paul’s Commons and will be a mixed-use development with community spaces operated by St Paul’s Episcopal Church. It’s also where the non-profit Trinity Center will have a physical space to serve people who are homeless.

The project will include 45 affordable apartments. The church leased its land to Berkeley-based developer Resources for Community Development, which used a property management company to perform background checks, call references and conduct interviews for apartment applications.

The development is taking over a single-family home where Trinity Center provided services to the homeless. Rev Krista Fregoso said they were already assisting people who were homeless and later thought, “What if we became a part of the solution, too?”

To Fregoso, “This is just one part of how we live out our faith. We hope to be a model for other faith communities who might see their property in a different way.”

More here-

Wednesday, November 13, 2019

'Dire' report projects near end of Anglican Church in Canada

From Canada-

By 2040, there may be no Anglican Church members left in Canada. 

That’s the finding a new report commissioned by the Anglican Church of Canada and delivered to leaders at the Council of General Synod meeting last week in Mississauga, Ont. 

The document by Rev. Neil Elliot, an Anglican priest in Trail, B.C., shows the church running out of members in 20 years at the current state of decline. 

"Projections from our data indicate that there will be no members, attenders or givers in the Anglican Church of Canada by approximately 2040," the report says. 

More here-

Episcopal Church inviting public to join in $1M match for disaster relief

From Oklahoma-

St. Matthew's Episcopal Church, 518 W. Randolph, is inviting the community to join with the church in making tax-deductible donations to a $1 million matching campaign for disaster relief and development.

"For over 75 years, Episcopal Relief & Development has been working together with supporters and partners for lasting change around the world," according to a press release. "Each year the organization facilitates healthier, more fulfilling lives for more than 3 million people struggling with hunger, poverty, disaster and disease."

Episcopal Relief & Development hosts an annual holiday match campaign, offering supporters and donors the opportunity to double the impact of their donations. For the second year in a row, private donors have pledged funds to double others' donations, dollar-for-dollar, up to $1 million.

More here-

Tuesday, November 12, 2019

Anglican Church names new Bishop for Jerusalem

From Jerusalem-

Michael Augustine Owen Lewis, diocesan bishop of Cyprus and the Gulf has been named as the new president bishop of the Episcopal Church in Jerusalem and the Middle East.

Archbishop Michael, as he will be known henceforth, succeeds the Most Reverend Suheil Dawani. 

Michael will take up his duties on Sunday 17 November 2019, according to a statement by provincial secretary, Georgia Katsantonis.

Lewis has held the position of diocesan bishop of Cyprus and the Gulf for the past twelve years.
Prior to that he was for eight years Bishop of Middleton in the Province of York in the United Kingdom.

More here-

Perhaps The Time Has Come

From The Living Church-

It is an idea which has been mooted on each side of the marriage debate aisle. It has in the main garnered no popular support. But the time has come once more within the Church to debate whether we should cease to perform any marriages—whether same-sex or traditional—which are also legal acts of the State. Should we cut the final Constantinian tether by which the priest serves simultaneously as civil agent? Should we “go European” such that the couple would be declared to be married when they go to get their license, and then receive a blessing, with vows and rings, in a nuptial liturgy in Church.

Let me clear up some immediate misunderstandings. Yes, your child can have the very same service (and reception), except for a few small liturgical emendations. And no, this does not really change much the divide between traditionalists and progressives on marriage.

More here-


From Boston-

Just over a year ago, the day after the deadly mass shooting at Pittsburgh’s Tree of Life Synagogue, more than a thousand locals gathered together on the Boston Common to mourn and pray.

As Rev Amy McCreath, dean of the historic St Paul Cathedral that overlooks America’s oldest park, watched people of various faiths unite once again to mourn another national tragedy, she was hit with an emotional realisation.

“I looked out over the crowds of people, and it was so clear that all of them really want a peaceful future,” she remembered. “We want to work together against violence, but we don’t even know each other. Unfortunately, the odds are good that something like that will happen again, and we need to be prepared to support one another and defend one another."

That’s part of the reason the Episcopal cathedral agreed to host a new interfaith art exhibit that explores the faith and life of Abraham, the shared spiritual forefather of the world’s three largest monotheistic religions - and launched an accompanying interfaith book study to spotlight Abraham’s wives, Sarah and Hagar.

More here-

Emmanuel Episcopal holds Underground Railroad program


The spire of Emmanuel Episcopal Church is a beloved landmark at the top of the hill that overlooks Cumberland downtown.

According to local oral history, Emmanuel was an important landmark for African Americans escaping slavery.

The tunnels under the church were a station on the Underground Railroad and provided refuge for those on their way to Pennsylvania.

Emmanuel held a celebration of the Underground Railroad in the local area as well as a commemoration of the anniversary of Emancipation Day on Nov. 1. Maryland was one of the earliest states to abolish slavery — a full year ahead of the 13th Amendment.

More here-

Monday, November 11, 2019

Maine’s Episcopal bishop praises St. Philip’s Church’s community work

From Maine-

“Serving others is a particular strength of St. Philip’s” Episcopal Church in Wiscasset, Bishop of Maine Thomas Brown told attendees at the Hodge Street church Sunday.

Brown told them their work for others is one of the ways they are living their lives without regret and worry. Too often people spend too much time thinking about life after death and not enough on living their lives right now, he said.

Missions based at St. Philip’s include Help Yourself Shelf (HYS) food pantry, Bargain Basement and – with First Congregational Church of Wiscasset as an equal sponsor – Feed Our Scholars and Feed Our Scholars/Set for Success, longtime member Gretchen Burleigh-Johnson said. First Congregational also heavily supports HYS, she said. And from 4 to 5 p.m. Nov. 14, a Souper Supper of broccoli cheese soup, breads, dessert and drink is planned. “All are welcome, no charge. There is a can for donations if people choose to support the events,” she said about the suppers held the second Thursday of the month, through March. St. Philip’s members and other volunteers put on the suppers at the church, 12 Hodge St., St. Philip’s senior warden Jon Young said.

More here-

Caswelll Cooke seeking to 'save a church in decline' with new book

From Connecticut-

Concerned about the survival of the Episcopal Church and alarmed by the downward trends in church attendance, a local man felt the need to sound the alarm and "save a church in decline."

Caswell Cooke Jr., who serves as junior warden on the vestry at Christ Episcopal Church in Westerly and is a seven-term member of the Westerly Town Council, just completed his first book, "The Death and Resurrection of the Episcopal Church (And other Mainline Protestant Denominations) — How to Save a Church in Decline."

Next Sunday, following the 10 a.m. service at Christ Church, Cooke, a lifelong Episcopalian, will talk about his book and sign copies for people interested in buying a copy and learning how to help save churches.

More here-

Sunday, November 10, 2019

‘Wake-up call’: CoGS hears statistics report on church membership decline

From Canada-

The Anglican Church of Canada’s first reliably-collected set of statistics since 2001 show the church running out of members in little more than two decades if the church continues to decline at its current rate, the Council of General Synod (CoGS) heard Friday, Nov. 9.

“We’ve got simple projections from our data that suggest that there will be no members, attenders or givers in the Anglican Church of Canada by approximately 2040,” the Rev. Neil Elliot, a priest for the diocese of Kootenay seconded in 2016 by the national church to collect a new set of statistics, told CoGS. Elliot, who reported on 2017 data collected from all of the church’s dioceses, also told the group about ongoing efforts to expand and diversify data collection.

More here-

Saturday, November 9, 2019

Church of England explains 'official position' on yoga ban

From England-

The Church of England has reacted officially to a  Devon yoga teacher being banned from giving classes in a local church hall for religious reasons.

Yoga teacher Atsuko Kato, 54, said she was told yoga was "not compatible with Christian beliefs".
Atsuko,  who has been teaching yoga for 25 years, was trying to book the church hall at Pilton in Barnstaple last week for a new class.

The Reverend Nigel Dilkes of Pilton Church said: "Pilton church hall is a church property and under the terms of the Trust Deed it is to be used for activities which are compatible with Christian faith."

More here-

Clergy visit highlights Pittsburgh-Ireland ties

From Pittsburgh-

Pittsburgh’s connections with Ireland may not seem apparent at first, but they are deep and ongoing — well beyond the late Pittsburgh Steelers President Dan Rooney’s stint as U.S. ambassador.

An Ireland Institute of Pittsburgh event at the Duquesne Club in Downtown Pittsburgh on Nov. 6 provided an introduction to that relationship with a visit from an Irish delegation.

The visitors were the Rev. Gregory Dunstan, dean of St. Patrick’s Cathedral Armagh, and Francis “Frank” Costello, an American historian and author who has lived in Belfast for 21 years.
“Pittsburgh’s been a really important place on what is the long traditional, cultural and economic link [with Ireland],” Costello said.

The Ireland Institute of Pittsburgh has been organizing student and professional exchanges between Pittsburgh and Ireland since 1989. “We’re forever bringing people in, helping people from Pittsburgh go there, on different kinds of projects,” said James Lamb, institute president.

More here-

Friday, November 8, 2019

Be careful who you call ‘Anglican’

From The Church Times-

THERE is a long history in common-law jurisprudence attached to the idea of “genericisation”: that tipping-point moment when a name one has applied to a specific type of something (usually a brand name) becomes the generic stand-in for all examples of that type. Think of Hoovering up something, or using a Kleenex

In the coming months, as the next Lambeth Conference approaches, “Anglican” is a word in peril of being genericised — and drained of whatever meaningful content it hopes to retain. The basic problem is simple and sharp: “Anglican” is a word without any police to guard it or boundaries to contain it. The result is that it is opportunistically used, loosely applied, and fiercely (and often falsely) claimed.

By now, it is at least clear what “Anglican” is not. It is not a word that describes unity of theological thought or interpretation. It does, perhaps, describe certain theological emphases, or paths of interpretation. It does not (at all) describe a common pattern of ecclesiastical governance or arrangements for polity. And, even in this moment of dreamy, Brexit-induced visions of British cultural superiority, it is not an accurate shorthand for describing one Church more accurately known as the Church of England.

More here-

Pathways out of homelessness, serving the community

From California-

On any given day in San Francisco, roughly 8,000 people experience homelessness. The pathway that individuals and families embark to this situation is as varied as people themselves. People experiencing homelessness not only come from all education levels, races and ethnicities, ages, family structures, sexualities, and genders, but they also arrive at homelessness for a variety of reasons, including eviction, health and medical changes, loss of income, abuse, and abandonment. 

Founded in 1983, Episcopal Community Services of San Francisco (ECS) creates innovative models for addressing homelessness that honor the innate dignity of all people. ECS is San Francisco's largest provider of supportive housing and homeless services. Its continuum of care includes crisis intervention, supportive housing, senior services, workforce development, and soon re-entry.

More here-

Episcopal Diocese of Maryland presents dialogue on reparations

From Maryland-

The Episcopal Diocese of Maryland Truth and Reconciliation Commission hosted the “2019 Trail of Souls Dialogue on Reparations” on Saturday, Nov. 2 at the Saint Michael and All Angels Episcopal Church. 

Featured speakers included: Morgan State University School of Community Health and Policy Associate Professor Lawrence Brown; President of the D.C. chapter of the Union of Black Episcopalians Rev. Gayle Fischer-Stewart; and Messiah College Assistant Professor of Theology Rev. Drew Hart.

Episcopal Bishop of Maryland Eugene Taylor Sutton and Maryland Institute College of Art Professor of Spoken Word Kenneth Morrison also spoke at the event.

Sutton opened the discussion on reparations by arguing for the need to reframe slavery as a form of thievery that continued long after the Fourteenth Amendment was passed. 
He contended that reconciliation will never occur unless large-scale restitution to black individuals occurs first. 

More here-