Saturday, October 4, 2008

Dioceses Changes Constitution and Canons Attempting to Realign

The Diocese of Pittsburgh passed constitutional amendments and canons attempting to remove the Diocese from the Episcopal Church and realign it with the Province of the Southern Cone. The constitutional amendments needed to pass by majority votes of the lay and ordained orders voting separately. The vote as reported at the convention was

Clergy - Votes Cast 160 Needed to Win -81 Yes - 121 No - 33
Abstentions - 3

Lay - Votes Cast -190 Needed to Win- 96 Yes- 119 No- 69 Abstentions- 3

The following is the statement I read to the Press after the vote

This is a sad day. A majority of deputies to the diocesan convention voted for schism. They took the convention’s theme, “A House Divided Against Itself Cannot Stand,” and today caused the Episcopal Church in Pittsburgh to be divided indeed.

But – we still see a hopeful tomorrow.

Already, at least 16 parishes are on record as remaining united with the Episcopal Church. We expect many more parishes to stay. And we know that many individuals – in some cases large groups – will be joining with us from congregations that realign.

The good work of the Episcopal Church will go on.

The work of reorganizing the diocese within the Episcopal Church becomes an immediate priority. Members of “Across the Aisle” have already laid the groundwork for this task. As one member of the Diocesan Standing Committee -- the group in charge of the Diocese since Bishop Robert Duncan was deposed – I will seek to determine with certainty if any other Standing Committee members remain committed to the Episcopal Church. With them, or alone if necessary, I will appoint new members to the Standing Committee, which will appoint other diocesan leaders. All of us who remain in the Episcopal Church will look after those who are suffering because of this split. We will find someone to minister to us as a Bishop. We will be recognized by the national church. We will have a diocese, and it will be healthy and faithful.

In the coming months, every parish will need to make known where it stands. I believe this will happen sooner rather than later. We pray for our brothers and sisters as they decide where they stand, just as we pray for those who have left. We will always welcome anyone – at any time – who wishes to bear faithful witness to Jesus Christ in a reorganized Episcopal Diocese of Pittsburgh.

The Rev. Dr. James B. Simons
Standing Committee Episcopal Diocese of Pittsburgh (Episcopal Church USA)
Chair of the Steering Committee for Across the Aisle

PITTSBURGH: Convention could create four parishes in midst of realignment vote

Episcopal News Service on the admission of new parishes to vote for realignment.

While the resolution (Resolution A located here) notes that the diocese has a goal of planting ten new congregations by 2010, at least one of the parishes-to-be is a community formed earlier this year after some members of St. Francis-in-the-Fields Episcopal Church in Somerset followed the then-rector, Mark Zimmerman, out of the parish. A January 22 diocesan statement said that Zimmerman and the others "desired immediate action to separate from the national church" while others in the parish "while deeply disturbed with the direction of the national church, wished to take a slower course."

So you have to ask why do they want to be admitted to the Episcopal Church now?

Pittsburgh Post-Gazette on Today's Convention

Ann Does a good job but if the vote passes the forming of a new Standing Committee will not be "immediate".

Bishop Duncan, now a bishop-at-large of the Southern Cone, is a diocesan consultant. He will sit with other staff but will not lead worship or the business meeting, said Deacon Peter Frank, spokesman for the diocese. If the majority secede, they will give 30 days notice for another convention at which they are expected to re-elect Bishop Duncan, he said.

Meanwhile, the sole person on the eight-member Standing Committee known to oppose secession will become the default authority of a continuing Episcopal diocese. The Rev. James Simons, rector of St. Michael of the Valley in Ligonier, said he will immediately appoint at least two others to join him on the continuing Standing Committee and give 30 days notice for a diocesan convention to elect new leadership. But he believes the vote to secede could fail.

"I've talked to deputies [to the convention] who haven't wanted to be disrespectful to Bishop Duncan and have never said anything publicly. But they've confided to me that they can't vote for it a second time around," the Rev. Simons said.

Pittsburgh Tribune Reports on Today's Convention

Hundreds of clergy and lay leaders in the Episcopal Diocese of Pittsburgh are scheduled to vote today on whether to leave the New York-based church for a more conservative affiliation.

The voting at St. Martin's Episcopal Church in Monroeville would occur about two weeks after a group of Episcopal bishops representing the U.S. church removed Bishop Robert Duncan as head of the Pittsburgh diocese for supporting efforts to split from the church.

If a majority votes to leave the Episcopal Church, the Pittsburgh diocese will become a member of the more conservative Anglican Province of the Southern Cone in Buenos Aires, Argentina, "as soon as the gavel falls," said Deacon Peter Frank, a diocesan spokesman.

Friday, October 3, 2008

Good Stuff in TEC: Minnesota

Shoe drive succeeding

Holy Trinity Episcopal Church of International Falls has so far collected around 600 pairs of shoes for charity.

Lee Grim, an ordained deacon at Holy Trinity, said local residents from the Falls, Littlefork and all around the area have joined the Episcopal Diocese in the largest statewide shoe collection program of its kind in Minnesota history.

You can see all the Good Stuff posts by clicking on the link to the right or by typing good stuff into the blog's search engine.

Good Stuff in TEC: California

From the Diocese of El Camino Real - Daughter's of the King (Prayer and Evangelism)

"I am looking forward to working together in this unique ministry of prayer, study and service," he said. "This is no small thing for us here at St. Stephen's. We are building a strong congregation here, and anything or anyone who intends to serve the Lord must be built on and sustained by prayer. This is an important beginning for us."

The Order of the Daughters of the King was founded in 1885 by Margaret J. Franklin and her women's Bible study at the church of the Holy Sepulcher in New York City.
Its original goal was "to spread the Kingdom of Christ among young women."

You can see all the Good Stuff posts by clicking on the link to the right or by typing good stuff into the blog's search engine.

Episcopal Church to apologize for slavery

From the Philadelphia Daily News

In part, the resolution declared that the "peculiar institution . . . was and is a sin and a fundamental betrayal of the humanity of all persons who were involved."

The Episcopal Church's apology comes in the wake of several apologies made by government and religious entities recently.

In 1995, the Southern Baptist Church was the first religious organization to denounce its role in slavery. Last year, Virginia became the first state to issue a public apology; several states, including New Jersey and Maryland, followed. Last July, Congress issued an apology.

Andrew Doyle Gets Consents

Andrew Doyle, Bishop elect of the Diocese of Texas has written me to say that he has received the necessary consents from Bishops and Standing Committees. This is significant because while Andy would not see himself as a "conservative" he has been clear that he will not allow same sex blessings or ordain non celibate homosexuals. He received one no vote.

We keep hearing that people with such views will never be able to get the consents but it just not true.

A previous post with Andy's answers to questions can be found here.

Thursday, October 2, 2008

Rays win first post season game ever

Longoria actually hit two of the first three pitches he saw for home runs. For you soccer fans out there, Tampa Bay was a new team in 1998 and they've never been in the playoffs before.

Evan Longoria led a 6-4 Rays win over the White Sox Thursday afternoon in Game 1 of the American League Division Series.

A raucous sellout crowd of 35,041 at Tropicana Field watched as the rookie hit home runs in his first two at-bats. Longoria set off a roar when he deposited Javier Vazquez's first pitch of the second inning into the left-field stands to give the Rays a 1-0 lead.

Good Stuff in TEC: Western Massachusetts

Cars for Liberia, Relief for Haiti, and Nuns. Where do you get a hat like that?

The Sisters of St. Margaret in Haiti are doing their best to cope with the incredible devastation that has occurred in their country in the past few months. They struggle daily to respond to the needs of the people who have been left homeless, orphaned, unemployed and without adequate water, food, or clothing due to the recent hurricanes and subsequent flooding. They have asked for your help. They desperately need the following items:

Local Lutheran Bishop Reflects on Episcopal Diocese of Pittsburgh Actions

A Letter from Bishop Kusserow of the Southwest Pennsylvania Lutheran Synod reflecting on the actions of the Diocese of Pittsburgh.

But there is more to be said than that. There is a deeper relationship that concerns us. In my conversations with him, Bishop Duncan has spoken with passion about his relationship with Jesus Christ, known through the scriptures, the sacraments, and the Church. He is convinced that to remain faithful to that deeper relationship, he must leave the formal structure of the Episcopal Church USA. To find the right words to express his strong feeling about this, Bishop Duncan has called to mind the image of Martin Luther’s “Here I stand” moment – clinging to his faith in Jesus Christ as known through scripture even if it meant falling out of relationship with the formal institution of the Roman Catholic Church.

This touches a deep nerve for Lutherans. For while we celebrate wholeheartedly Luther’s stand, we grieve the schism in the Church that resulted from it. More than this, we continue to struggle with the question of what makes authentic Church. We rally around the solitary Luther who stood firm against Emperor and Inquisition and who could “do no other,” but we do not therefore affirm as axiomatic the idea that everyone’s personal conviction is equally reflective of the truth of the Gospel of Jesus Christ.

25% of congregations in Pittsburgh Already Declare that they're Staying

The list of Pittsburgh congregations committed to staying in the Episcopal Church continues to grow. The pre-convention journal lists 68 congregations and 17 have so far said they are remaining in the Episcopal Church. That's exactly 25%. As I've stated previously this is a remarkable number because the Diocese claims that parishes have two years to decide and the vote hasn't even happened yet. More are sure to follow after the vote. The updated list can be found here -

Pittsburgh Episcopalians Weigh Division

The New York Times reports on the upcoming convention -

Representatives on both sides in Pittsburgh say there will be no outright winners, particularly because a lengthy legal battle over ownership of church property is almost certain if the diocese votes to secede.

“No one goes to church to fight,” said the Rev. Peter Frank, a spokesman for the diocese, whose conservative leader, Bishop Robert W. Duncan, was removed by the national church on Sept. 18 for pushing for secession. “It’s going to be difficult. And, at the same time, there’s hope in this. It’s time to move on.”

Last November, the Pittsburgh Diocese took a required preliminary vote on the issue; the clergy voted 109 to 24 to leave the diocese, and the laity voted 118 to 58 to do so. “But it’s one thing to say you’re going to do something, and it’s another thing to actually do it,” said the Rev. James Simons, rector of St. Michael’s in Ligonier, Pa., and the only member of the diocese’s eight-member Standing Committee who opposes secession.

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Can religion be a force for good in Africa?

An opinion piece from the Manchester Guardian about religion in Africa

Hatred, violence and war are also shaped by religious beliefs and institutions. In European history the Crusades and the Spanish Inquisition demonstrate some of Christianity's darker justifications. In Africa, most rebel movements, such as the Lord's Resistance Army, almost always claim religious or spiritual guidance in their work.

Whether religion is a force for good or not, it dominates life in Africa. A walk down any street in any town or trading centre will reveal some sort of place of worship. If people own only one book it will be the Bible or the Qur'an. These two texts are a source of spiritual and moral guidance, a way of making sense of the world.

It is all too easy to view religion in Africa as something static and unchanging, bound up with ideas of what is "tradition" or culture. Christianity, in particular, suffers in this regard. It is viewed by many outsiders with suspicion, a thing that is inauthentic, un-African.

The truth is very far from this. The clergy is almost entirely made up of Africans and has been for most of the past century. Few of the people I know in Teso would regard Christianity as a "European" religion.
Instead many of my friends point out to me that it now falls to Africans to do missionary work in Europe. The average Anglican is a 24-year-old African woman.

Episcopal property trial resumes Oct. 14

News on the property dispute in Virginia. Remember, the commonwealth has a special statute to deal with such disputes and the trials still go on and on and on.

At least nine of the 11 Virginia churches that broke away from the Episcopal Church and affiliated themselves with the Convocation of Anglicans in North America in will be back in court on Oct. 14.

On Friday, Sept. 26, Fairfax County Circuit Court entered an order stipulating that the nine Anglican District of Virginia congregations that filed petitions under the Virginia Division Statute have satisfied the voting requirements of that statute.

Fairfax County Circuit Court Judge Randy Bellows ruled April 3 that the congregations, which now comprise the ADV, properly invoked the Civil-War-era Virginia statute stating that church majorities are entitled to church property when there is a division within their denomination.

Bishop of Pittsburgh at Feud with Rector

Apparently controversy is nothing new in the Diocese of Pittsburgh. Here's a New York Times article from 1913. Is it possible that its in our DNA ?


Head of Pittsburgh Diocese Boycotts
Dr. Arundel as a Socialist
Special to The New York Times

PITTSBURGH, Feb.9, 1913 – Bishop Cortlandt Whitehead, head of this Episcopal diocese, is boycotting St. Mark’s congregation, the biggest and most influential on the South Side. The Bishop declines to have any official dealings with the church because of his feud with the Rev. Dr. Alfred W. Arundel, rector of St. Mark’s.

For nearly twenty years Dr. Arundel was rector at Trinity, the richest Episcopal church in Pittsburgh. Two years ago he resigned when his continued incumbency threatened to disrupt the congregation. His radicalism and frank profession of Christian socialism shocked Bishop Whitehead’s conception of what a pastor should discuss in the pulpit. Dr. Arundel devoted more than a year to platform lecturing, principally in New England. He was called to St. Mark’s last July and accepted the call.

Bishop Whitehead cabled from Europe counseling the congregation of St. Mark’s against calling Dr. Arundel. His warning was not heeded. The Trustees of Trinity offered a very large sum for St. Mark’s property, seeking by purchase to keep Dr. Arundel out of the parish. St. Mark’s refused to sell.

Dr. Arundel was asked tonight if the Bishop had refused to sanction confirmation ceremonies at St. Mark’s.

“No, the Bishop has not refused, because his participation in or approval of confirmation is not essential,” said Dr. Arundel. “Perhaps if we should ask it there would be a refusal.”

Truth Squad: Diocese of California

In the June 15th edition of the Living Church Dean Morrison of Bexley Hall stated that many churches in the diocese of California (specifically San Francisco) were no longer using the Nicene Creed on Sundays. Some of them with the expressed permission of the Bishop. Below is the response from the Diocese of California's communication officer. Morrison's claim are another example of the way the truth gets distorted to make the Episcopal Church look bad. Sean sent me a copy of his letter which is not available on the LC web site and unfortunately neither is the original article.

I read with astonishment the letter written by John E. Morrison [TLC, June 15], in which he reported that (the Very Rev. Dr.) John Kevern, Dean of Bexley Hall, had stated “that 12 parishes in San Francisco do not use the Nicene Creed on Sundays -- some with episcopal permission.”

There are 13 parishes in the city of San Francisco. If the statement were true only one of our parishes would recite the Nicene Creed. I have now called nine of the thirteen and of those, two told me that they did not say the creed on Sunday and seven said they say it every Sunday. The two told me that they had not received episcopal permission to omit it.

At last year’s clergy conference, Bishop Andrus told the clergy that there were two congregations that he knew of not saying the Creed on some Sundays. He said it was his wish that all churches in the diocese recite the Nicene Creed at every celebration of the Eucharist as an act of catholicity and communion with our sister churches throughout the Anglican world. When I told Andrus of Kevern’s claim, he told me that he has never given permission not to use the Creed.

So, why is it that a seminary dean would report an untruth to a conference in such a public way, and why is it that a member of the clergy would repeat an unsubstantiated claim in order to make a larger point? And why is it that some members of The Episcopal Church and her seminaries seem to think that it is perfectly fine to operate within the confines of a culture of lies in order to make their points against a culture that elevates women, works to eliminate poverty, and respects the dignity of every human being? Which of these two cultures is closer to the Gospel of Jesus Christ?

Sean McConnell Communications Officer Episcopal Diocese of California

Tuesday, September 30, 2008

White Sox Win ! Great plays by Thome (at bat) & Griffey Jr ( in the field)

Jim Thome hits a home run in the 7th that lands somewhere in Indiana and Griffey throws out Mike Cuddyer in the fifth at the plate. It was a pitcher's duel with John Danks getting the win in what was a great 1-0 game. For you soccer fans out there, Thome didn't really hit the ball to Indiana. That was just a way of saying it went very very far.

CHICAGO -- With most of the 40,354 in attendance at U.S. Cellular Field sporting dark colors, the White Sox got their "Sox Pride" blackout as requested.

Through the immense power of Jim Thome and a spectacular start from John Danks, the White Sox then proceeded to turn the blackout into the knockout punch delivered to Minnesota in a well-played, exciting 1-0 victory over the Twins during a tiebreaker to decide the American League Central title. Ozzie Guillen's crew claimed its second division title in four years and will face Tampa Bay in the American League Division Series, with Game 1 starting at 1:30 p.m. CT Thursday at Tropicana Field.

Griffey's throw is here-

Thome's Homerun here-

List of Non-Realigning Parishes

This is the partial list of who has so far declared themselves to be staying in the Episcopal Church. Information is still being collected and there will probably be additons before Saturday. This is a significant list as the Diocese has said that congregations have two years to decide. These parishes have decided even before the vote. There'll be more.

For rector, an anthem of dreams

Who says that there's no overlap between baseball and the Episcopal Church ? (I was 16 before I realized the final line of the Star Spangled banner wasn't "Play Ball"!) For you soccer fans out there the National Anthem has been sung before every Major League baseball game since 1918. Would you please rise and gentleman remove your hats...

It began at a Havertown sushi bar, where he confessed his dream to a parishioner. Then, last November, his adoring congregation celebrated his 10th anniversary as rector of St. David's Episcopal Church in Wayne by surprising him with the chance to realize his dream.

Tonight at Citizens Bank Park, before the Phillies match bats with the Atlanta Braves, the Rev. Frank Allen's dream will come true when he sings the national anthem. "I couldn't be more thrilled," says Allen. "I'm very patriotic and I'm a baseball nut."

Story here -

video here-

Statement from All Souls North Versailles (Pittsburgh)

September 29, 2008

The Rev. David Wilson
President, The Standing Committee
% The Episcopal Diocese of Pittsburgh
535 Smithfield Street
900 Oliver Building
Pittsburgh, PA 15222

Dear Father Wilson,

I am honored to inform you that the people of All Souls will not leave the Episcopal Church and realign with anybody. Our parish is small and diverse in its opinions, but it treasures the great Anglican tradition of unity in diversity. The Vestry, Wardens and I speak for the parish when we say that we intend to seek the truth of Christ within the context of the Episcopal Church.


The Rev. John Fetterman
Priest in Charge

(Posted with permission)

Good Stuff in TEC: Kansas

Check out the youth program that the Diocese of Kansas has . Eleven different offerings including Happening, Summer camps, Urban mission, a Diocesan praise band, training for youth ministers, and something called "MIQRA". Very impressive.

You can see all of the good stuff posts by clicking on the link to the right or by typing good stuff into the blog's search engine.

Finally an Episcopal Priest in a different kind of Jeopardy

From WILX in Michigan. Pretty nice she's giving her winnings away.

You could say being on "Jeopardy!" is in Pastor Kit Carlson's DNA. "My cousin did this in the '80s and he won five days in a row. My mother used to tell me 'You should go on that show, you should go on that show, you're just as smart as your cousin," Carlson, known to her congregation as "Pastor Kit" tells News10.

Well, that game-show family tree is growing Monday night, as the pastor from All Saints Episcopal Church in East Lansing makes her TV debut.
"The game was great," she says. "The game had categories I really, really knew, but the worst one was Ancient Greek Writers where I knew every answer and could not buzz in, it was making me crazy! I kept saying, 'I know that! I know that one too!!'"

Pastor Kit says the buzzers were tough to work, the make-up was thick, but the experience was unreal. "This was a once-in-a-lifetime thing," Pastor Kit says. Whether you win or not, everyone walks away from the famed game show with money in their pocket-- but Pastor Kit's pocket book isn't bursting.

"I'm giving money to the Haitian Outreach Mission," she says, explaining that a group of Episcopal and Catholic churches in Michigan have set up an orphanage and clinic in Haiti. "Why should I keep this for myself?" Pastor Kit says of the money. "Others need it more than I do." You have to watch the show to find out if Pastor Kit wins or not. It airs at 7:30 p.m. on WILX Channel 10. But she guarantees us: "I did not embarrass my family or my church."

There's no question about that.

White Sox slam Tigers, force 1-game playoff with Twins

And it ain't even October yet ! The Sox and Twins are tied for a single game play off for the AL central division. For you soccer fans out there, a grand slam is when the batter hits a home run with the bases loaded - ah, with runners on all three bases.

Alexei Ramirez had a borderline chance of making the team's Opening Day roster.

Ramirez made a last-ditch effort for the AL Rookie of the Year Award by smacking his fourth grand slam of the season, which broke a 2-2 tie in the sixth.,0,528964.story

Monday, September 29, 2008

A Statement from All Saints Brighton Heights (Pittsburgh)

All Saints Episcopal Church
3577 McClure Avenue
Pittsburgh, PA 15212

Attn: The Rev. Dr. James Simons

Dear Fr. Simons:

A poll of the members of All Saints Church, Brighton Heights, was taken September 20 and 21. All but one vote was cast against realignment. We therefore wish to state that our church will stay with the Episcopal Church of the USA.

Our vestry was dissolved by Bishop Duncan in 2006. A Bishop’s Committee was designated, but met only once in 2006. We write as the two delegates to the October diocesan convention.

Our intention is to keep our diocesan assessment in an escrow account beginning October 1, 2008 until further notice.

Sincerely yours,

Marcia King

Elva Matous

Cc: Episcopal Diocese of Pittsburgh

(posted with permission)

Letter to the Editor

In today's Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

Defending the faith

Wendy Scott Paff and others planning to leave the Episcopal Church are blatantly wrong when they claim the church no longer teaches that Jesus Christ is God and Savior ("Leaving the Episcopal Church").

Those who find fault with some aspects of a church should not declare the entire body corrupt. We who remain committed to the Episcopal Church know that in most places in this country, the church is vibrant and, above all, faithful.

Never has the national church asked or required us to teach, practice or believe anything that is contrary to the faith passed down to us. Rather, we proclaim Jesus is Lord and we recite the creeds, without reservation, and with full knowledge and acceptance of what they mean. Our Book of Common Prayer reflects these beliefs.

We believe the Episcopal Church continues to minister to the poor and needy, worship in spirit and truth and proclaim the saving power of Jesus Christ. We wish to stay and be a part of that faithful witness.

The writer is rector of St. Michael's of the Valley and chairs the steering committee of Across the Aisle, a theologically diverse group of Pittsburgh clergy and lay people committed to remaining in the Episcopal Church.

Wendy's original article is here-

Good Stuff in TEC: East Tennessee

Mission opportunities and Outreach in Appalachia.

Our mission efforts originally were concentrated in the northern part of Campbell County, Tenn., which is in our diocese. This isolated mountain area is located between LaFollette and Jellico, just an hour from Knoxville. The poverty in this area is so severe, nearly 96 percent of children qualify for the schools' free lunch program. Mission projects support the 15 schools or the local community service agencies already operating in the area.

However, all of the Diocese of East Tennessee is in the Appalachian region, and our churches and ministry groups are discovering more opportunities for mission and ministry.

You can see all of the Good Stuff posts by clicking on the link to the right, or by typing Good Stuff into the blog's search engine.

The wages of sin are debts

An interesting piece by Margaret Atwood on the spiritual implications of debt. She draws a parallel between sin and debt. Lord's Prayer Anyone?

Between the 1940s and now, the search engine has providentially come into being, and I've recently been trolling around on the web, looking for an explanation of the discrepancy between the two translations of these Lord's Prayer lines. If you do this yourself you'll find that “debts” was used by John Wycliffe in his 1395 translation and “trespasses” in Tyndale's 1526 version. “Trespasses” reappears in the 1549 English Book of Common Prayer, though the King James 1611 translation of the Bible reverts to “debts”. The Latin Vulgate uses the word for “debts”. But it's interesting to note that in Aramaic, the Semitic language that was spoken by Jesus, the word for “debt” and the word for “sin” are the same. So you could translate this word as “Forgive us our debts/sins,” or even “our sinful debts”; though no translator has chosen to do this yet.

Sunday, September 28, 2008

Para troops welcomed home

Love the pitcure so here's the story-

3rd Battalion returns from Afghanistan without losing any soldiers.

White Sox win, survive to play another day

Could it get any more exciting? Make up game and a tie breaker ? For all you soccer fans out there the White Sox last won the World Series in 2005 - the first time since the 1919 Black Sox scandal. (When they threw the series to the Reds)

The White Sox still trail the Twins by a half-game after Minnesota beat Kansas City 6-0, meaning they must play a makeup game at home Monday against Detroit.

If the White
Sox win that one, Chicago would host a tiebreaker game against the Twins on Tuesday for the division title.

"You play 161 games and today is supposed to be the last day of the year,"
Buehrle said. "Everybody is going home, a lot of people are going to the playoffs and here we got to play another game that matters for us and not for the other team.",0,553018.story

Churches get ready to welcome back 30,000

The same story as below from this side of the pond (Christianity Today) .

In the last week, Church of England clergy went to special lengths to invite former churchgoers to their Back to Church Sunday service.

The Bishop of Sherwood, the Rt. Rev Tony Porter, headed down to Welbeck Colliery on Tuesday to hand out special Back to Church invitations to miners coming off their shifts.

“The coal mines are an important part of our heritage and many of our communities were established around the local pit … Our message this year is that everyone is a VIP and important to God – we are trying to extend our invitations as widely as possible,” he said.

Churches open doors for 'guests'

The BBC reports on evangelism efforts in the Mother Church.

Some 3,000 churches are taking part in Back to Church Sunday to encourage people who once attended to return. Bishops have travelled to football grounds, shops and even down a mine in a bid to boost their congregations.

In Nottinghamshire, Bishop of Sherwood, the Rt Rev Tony Porter, went underground to meet miners at Welbeck Colliery.

Bishop of Doncaster, the Rt Rev Cyril Ashton, donned his motorbike leathers and rode to four areas of the Diocese of Sheffield to promote the Church to fellow bikers.

Diocese found breaking up hard to do

From the Pittsburgh Post- Gazette today

In California's Central Valley, 10 months after Bishop John-David Schofield led most of the 8,000-member Episcopal Diocese of San Joaquin out of the Episcopal Church into an Anglican province in South America, he still occupies the same Spanish mission-style headquarters in Fresno.

Some 125 miles north in Stockton, Bishop Jerry Lamb, who has been recognized by the Episcopal Church -- the U.S. branch of Anglicanism -- as the legitimate heir of the Diocese of San Joaquin, works from a rented office; most of his flock of nearly 1,800 worships in rented rooms.

Each says it's the only true Diocese of San Joaquin.

As in a bitter divorce, each claims to be noble but wronged. One has the house, the other, at least for now, rents an apartment with help from Mom. Though children struggle with loss, each spouse is glad to be free.

A Statement from Holy Cross, Homewood

Holy Cross is on the record as opposing the vote to realign the Diocese of Pittsburgh to the Southern Cone, and if the diocese is realigned, she will continue to serve her mission as a proud member parish of the Episcopal Church. We are a diverse parish with many views pertaining to the recent actions of the Episcopal Church, pro and con. However, the congregants of this parish believe that separating ourselves from the Episcopal Church in order to realign with another Church in the Anglican Communion is wrong.