Saturday, October 11, 2008

Bragging on my "Kids"

One of the highlights of Fort Days is the selecting of "Miss Ligonier" the weekend before. Each year one High school Jr. or Sr. is selected and receives a $2500 college scholarship. This year all of the former winners were invited back and twenty-five of the 50+ returned. They all rode together on a float in the parade (pulled by a John Deere). Pictured are three former winners who have been at St. Michael's their whole lives. They're like my own kids - well, actually one of them is ! Left to right Kayla Rodd 2002, Amy Pompelia 2006 and Jeanne Simons 2004.

The British are Coming !

It's Fort Ligonier Days here in my small town. Fort Ligonier was built by the British in 1758 (250 years ago) and there was a small battle which took place there one October day. In fact the French and Indian War started not far from here in Jumonville. The Borough of Ligonier has a population of 2000 and over this weekend 100,000 people will come through. Food, music, activities at the fort and one of the best parades in the country (over two hours long).

CONGO: Anglicans arrive in Bunia after two-day trek through Equatorial forest

Bishop Henri Isingoma and a group of Anglicans from the Diocese of Boga have arrived safely in Bunia after a recent upsurge in rebel activity forced them to travel for two days through the bush in eastern Congo.

The threat of rebel attacks initially left 150 delegates stranded in Boga at the conclusion of their September 30-October 5 diocesan synod following reports that militia were stationed in Bukiringi, a village about 10 miles away.

Isingoma said in an October 9 statement that the synod members traveled in convoy "using an unusual routing which is in the Equatorial forest…because the usual road from Boga to Bunia is still impassable [due] to militia forces."

According to reports, the rebels' motives are to oppose the central Congolese government and to uproot Ugandan rebel leader Joseph Kony, who heads the Lord's Resistance Army, a militia group that has terrorized the region for more than two decades through widespread massacres and child abductions.

More here-

S.C. church to get bell after nearly 100 years

After all the bell ringer jokes on a past similar post, I couldn't resist.

For nearly a century, a church bell tower in downtown Rock Hill has stood silent — never actually holding a bell. That changed Monday when a 1,000-pound brass bell was hoisted into the tower of The Episcopal Church of Our Saviour.

A small crowd of church members attended the bell-raising on the sidewalk at the intersection of Caldwell and White streets.
Colin Okey, 2, the son and grandson of members, was the first to strike the bell with a metal striker while it sat on the sidewalk before it was raised. After Colin, several 3- and 4-year-olds from the church’s day school class took turns striking the bell with wooden spoons.

Ex-President Of Finland Is Awarded Peace Prize

I don't suppose anyone out there would have this guy's phone number ?

PARIS, Oct. 10 -- Martti Ahtisaari, the former Finnish president who has been a tireless mediator in conflicts around the world for more than three decades, was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize on Friday and expressed hope that the prize will help him raise funds for further peacemaking in hot spots to come.

Leaving aside headline-grabbing figures, the committee honored a corpulent former schoolteacher and diplomat known for indefatigable persistence in negotiations to bring peaceful closes to wars in countries including Namibia, Indonesia, Yugoslavia and Northern Ireland.

Rest is here-

Church of England's parliament is 'sinful' over women bishops vote, says Bishop of Fulham

Meanwhile the fight over women Bishops goes on across the pond. (Now that's what I call a hat!) Has anyone else noticed, or is it just me, but it seems like a bishop's ability to extend grace is inversely proportional to the size of the mitre ?

The Rt Rev John Broadhurst, the Bishop of Fulham, condemned the General Synod for going against the Bible and tradition by voting to introduce women bishops without making provision for opponents to the historic reform.

In a strongly-worded speech, he also declared the 80 million-strong Anglican Communion "finished" and likened the organisation of its once-a-decade meeting, the Lambeth Conference, to Stalin's Russia.

His comments come amid continuing turmoil in the Church of England over the ordination of female bishops.

In July the Synod, the 467-member "parliament" which is made up of lay members as well as clergy and bishops, voted that women should be admitted to the episcopate with only as unwritten code of practice to cater for Anglo-Catholics and conservative evangelicals who are bitterly opposed to the innovation.

The rest is here-

Episcopal division expected to carry over to property dispute

More from Ann Rodgers at the Post-Gazette

The Episcopal Church has recognized a remnant of about 20 churches that refused to secede with more than 50 others. Both sides claim to be "The Episcopal Diocese of Pittsburgh of the Episcopal Church of the United States of America" that in 2005 signed a legal stipulation saying that it owned diocesan property.

The same stipulation said parishes wishing to disassociate from that diocese could apply to it for parish property. This week the Episcopal Diocese of Pittsburgh (Anglican) wrote to churches aligned with the Episcopal Diocese of Pittsburgh, telling them to apply to the Anglican diocese for their property.

That's backward, said the Rev. James Simons, president of the Standing Committee governing the Episcopal diocese until it elects an interim bishop.

"It's a bit like Alice in Wonderland," he said of the Anglican claim to be the diocese named in the court stipulation.
"That stipulation specifically says that it's about parishes wanting to leave 'the Episcopal Diocese of Pittsburgh of the Episcopal Church of the United States of America,'" he said. "By their own decision, they are no longer a part of the Episcopal Church of the United States, which is what the stipulation is about."

Bruce Dal Canton / Former Pirates pitcher Dies

From the Post-Gazette

Bruce Dal Canton spent four decades in professional baseball as a pitcher, coach, mentor and ultimately a teacher, sharing his knowledge of pitching with All-Stars and those who labored in minor league obscurity.

For any kid with a glove and an armful of dreams who came of age in the tumultuous 1960s, he was the prime example that the son of a coal miner who pitched on the sandlots of southwestern Pennsylvania could make it to the major leagues.

Friday, October 10, 2008

Regulate churches - religious leaders

Another troubling report about the church in Africa.

Kenya urgently requires laws to govern church operations, say clergymen.

They say the lack of regulations made it easier for the mushrooming of denominations for use by their founders as centres of corruption and avenues to quick riches. Father Vincent Wambugu, the secretary-general of the Catholic Church’s Kenya Episcopal Conference, says: “We are guided by certain rules right from the top to the grassroots. You just do not get someone diverting church money to personal coffers.” Since it is the faithful who contribute money to finance church projects, he says, they should question when things go wrong. “The faithful are cowed and never ask questions. Church leaders must be held accountable by members.”

Rest is here-

Pittsburgh Standing Committee fills vacancies, seeks Presiding Bishop's assistance

Episcopal News Service artcle on the events of the past few days. Good job Mary Frances !

Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori October 9 recognized the continuing Standing Committee as the ecclesiastical authority in the diocese to lead those efforts, which include calling a special meeting of the diocesan convention for December 13.

And the leadership in 19 of the diocese's 74 congregations have now said they will remain in the Episcopal Church. Observers expect that number could increase to about 25-28, in addition to Episcopalians who transfer their memberships out of realigning parishes.

The Rev. James Simons, rector of St. Michael's of the Valley in Ligonier and the only remaining member of the diocese's Standing Committee after October 4 convention's realignment vote, announced October 9 that he has appointed two others to fill vacancies on the Standing Committee.

Simons said that Mary Roehrich and the Rev. Jeff Murph, the rector of St. Thomas Episcopal Church, Oakmont, had accepted his request to join him on the committee. The Standing Committee then appointed Andy Roman as chancellor, Rich Creehan as director of communications, Joan Gunderson as treasurer, Scott Quinn as director of pastoral care, and Alice Ramser as office administrator.

More here-

Pittsburgh diocese votes to secede from Episcopal Church

The Church Times report on last weekends vote. The Times is a weekly publication.

Dr Simons, a conservative, described the vote as “ironic and sad”, since the convention theme had been, “A house divided against itself cannot stand”. As the only member of the standing committee opposed to re alignment, he will proceed to appoint other members to what the Episcopal Church now recognises as the ecclesiastical authority of the diocese.

“Personally, I am excited about the days that are before us. Twenty-five per cent of the parishes in the diocese have already contacted us about their desire to remain in the Episcopal Church, and we know that over the next months, more will follow. I see a diocese of Pittsburgh which will be diverse, vibrant, and, most of all, getting back to the work of pro claiming the gospel of Jesus Christ,” he said.

The Presiding Bishop of the Episcopal Church, Dr Katharine Jefferts Schori, said the vast majority of Episcopalians and Anglicans would be intensely grieved. “I have repeatedly reassured Episcopalians that there is abundant room for dissent within this Church, and that loyal opposition is a long and honoured tradition within Anglican ism. Schism is not, having frequently been seen as a more egregious error than charges of heresy,” she said.

More here-

Mixed legal signals in US Church disputes

More property disputes. This decision will be rendered in 90 days

The California Supreme Court gave mixed signals on how it might rule on the Episcopal Church’s lawsuit against a Los Angeles parish that had quit the church for another province of the Anglican Communion. In questions to the attorney for a parish that had quit the Diocese of Los Angeles for the Province of Uganda, the justices of the Court appeared to defer to church canons that place parish property in trust for the diocese and national church.

However, in questions to the attorneys for the Diocese and national church, the justices indicated a desire to avoid entanglement in doctrinal disputes, and look solely to the underlying legal documents --- the deeds to the property --- that were at issue.

It's all here -

Episcopal priest given ultimatum

Who says there's no discilpine in the Episcopal Church?

In a letter mailed last week to national and local church leaders, Bishop Geralyn Wolf of Rhode Island, who has disciplinary authority over the Seattle priest, said a church committee had determined that Redding "abandoned the Communion of the Episcopal Church by formal admission into a religious body not in communion with the Episcopal Church."

Wolf has affirmed that determination, barring Redding from functioning as a priest for the next six months.
According to church law, unless Redding resigns her priesthood or denies being a Muslim during those six months, the bishop has a duty to defrock — or depose — her, as the process is formally known.

Minority recognized as 'true' Episcopal Diocese

Friday, October 10, 2008

By Ann Rodgers, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

Episcopal Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori has recognized as the true Episcopal Diocese of Pittsburgh those who refused to secede Saturday with the majority of local Episcopalians into the Anglican Province of the Southern Cone in South America.

She confirmed the Rev. James Simons and two others as the "rightful Standing Committee of the Episcopal Diocese of Pittsburgh." The Standing Committee governs in the absence of a bishop. The Rev. Simons, rector of St. Michael of the Valley, Ligonier, was the only member of the previous Standing Committee to oppose secession.

Both dioceses now call themselves "the Episcopal Diocese of Pittsburgh."

"The presiding bishop's word today was certainly welcome news," said Rich Creehan, spokesman for the U.S.-based Episcopal Diocese of Pittsburgh.

The Episcopal Diocese of Pittsburgh (Anglican) called her decision irrelevant.

"Though Presiding Bishop Schori's actions aren't surprising, they are without effect. We continue to be the same Episcopal Diocese of Pittsburgh we've always been, in the same churches, pews and offices, with the same commitment to Anglicanism rooted in biblical truth and witness," it said.

The split was led by those who believe many Episcopal bishops have abandoned classic Christian doctrine. So far, 19 of 74 congregations have said they will not secede.

The Rev. Simons has appointed two others to the Standing Committee: the Rev. Jeffrey Murph of St. Thomas, Oakmont, and Mary Roehrich, a member of St. Andrew's, Highland Park. Like the Rev. Simons, the Rev. Murph is theologically conservative, while Ms. Roehrich is more liberal.

He also named the Rev. Scott Quinn of the Church of the Nativity, Crafton, "director of pastoral care" for those from divided parishes. The Rev. Quinn will hold a meeting Thursday at 7 p.m. in Trinity Cathedral, Downtown. The cathedral serves both dioceses.

The Episcopal diocese will hold a convention Dec. 13.

The Episcopal diocese is at

Fake courier makes off with church deposit

From Ft. Worth Texas

The same morning, St. Phillips Episcopal Church in Frisco reported to police that a man in a blue collared shirt, khaki shorts and I.D. badge around his neck falsely identified himself with the same courier service for the same bank and was handed the bank bag by church staff.

"This is the first we know of that anything like this has happened," said the Rev. Doug Walker, the pastor who, along with his congregation, was shocked at the idea someone would steal from a church.
More than 200 checks were in the bag given to the imposter Sept. 29. It contained only $2,740 in cash, according to a police report.

The rest is here-

More on the Virginia Property Case

Remember that the Commonwealth of Virginia has a specific statute to deal with church property disputes and the lawsuits just go on and on and on...

But while they left the Episcopal denomination, they did not leave the church property, and have continued to occupy it while the protracted court proceedings have been played out in the courtroom of Fairfax Circuit Court Judge Randy Bellows.

Those who did not defect have been banned by the defectors from worshiping on the historic property, but continued to function as an Episcopal denomination, benefiting from worship, fellowship and classroom space offered them by the Falls Church Presbyterian Church, located across the street.

Thursday, October 9, 2008

New Leadership for Reorganized Episcopal Diocese

From WDUQ (The NPR affiliate in Pittsburgh)

Following the vote to secede, at least 20 parishes voted to remain with the U.S. Church. Today the national leadership recognized a Standing Committee to serve as the ecclesiastical authority of the reorganized Pittsburgh Diocese in the absence of a bishop. The Reverend Doctor James Simons, rector of St Michael's of the Valley, chairs that committee.

Dr. Simons told DUQ News that the first task is pastoral...reaching out to those parishes and members who are in pain because of the split.
Simons says that they will hold a reorganization convention December 13 at which an interim bishop will be chosen to serve for a year or two until a selection committee is formed and conducts the process for electing a new bishop. Reverend Simons says he believes that sometime in the future there will be reconciliation in the Pittsburgh Diocese.

Rest is here-

Busy last 24 hours !

If you want to see what the last twenty-four hours have been like look here -

Good Stuff in TEC: New York

Trinity Wall Street develops programs to help those who have lost a job or fear losing one. Right in the heart of the financial district.

Help in Uncertain Times

Many people who work in Lower Manhattan have recently lost their jobs or are afraid they will lose their jobs in the coming days. Trinity is here to offer help, free of charge, to our neighbors.

Coping with Stress

Are you or someone you know finding it difficult to cope in these uncertain times? Do you find yourself stressed or overwhelmed financially, psychologically or spiritually? Come share your experiences and bring your questions to a compassionate and helpful space. Facilitated by Dr. Mary Ragan of the Psychotherapy and Spirituality Institute.

Web page here -

You can see all of the good stuff posts by typing good stuff into the blog's search engine.

Good Stuff in TEC: Louisiana

Horns for Guns Collecting Donations

A group of New Orleans Episcopal churches, led by St. Anna’s, is working in cooperation with Bishop Jenkins and the New Orleans Police Department on Horns for Guns, a gun buyback and mentoring program that could take up to 300 guns off the streets of New Orleans.

On November 1, 2008, the Horns for Guns program will allow youth to trade firearms, no-questions asked, and select a musical instrument or photography equipment in return. The youth will have the opportunity to receive training from respected and renowned musicians within the New Orleans community. The event will take place from 2-5 p.m. at two different locations—one at the Treme Community Center, 900 North Villere, and the other at Progressive Baptist Church, 1214 South Robertson.

Full story here-

You can see all of the good stuff posts by typing good stuff into the blog's search engine.

Protestors Push for Women's Ordination in Sydney

Supporters of ordination of women used projectors to display images of female priests on the outer walls of St. Andrew’s Cathedral in Sydney, Australia, Oct. 4 after they were not permitted to meet in the cathedral's square.

The Sydney Movement for the Ordination of Women wanted to mark its 25th anniversary by meeting in the square of Australia’s oldest cathedral, but organizers said they were banned by Dean Phillip Jensen and the cathedral chapter. The Diocese of Sydney is one of four dioceses of the Anglican Church of Australia that do not ordain women as priests.

Organizer Patricia Brennan said the diocese has suppressed debate on the issue, and said the group will continue to push it to the top of the church’s agenda. She estimated that 50 women have left Sydney to be ordained in other Australian dioceses since ordination of women was approved by the Church of Australia in 1992.

MIDDLE EAST: In Qatar, construction commences on Anglican center

From ENS -

Qatar's ruler and Emir, Sheikh Hamad bin Khalifa Al-Thani (pictured), granted permission and donated land for Christians to build churches in the Arab emirate about five years ago. "There have not been church buildings in this area since the coming of Islam 1400 years ago," said the Rev. Bill Schwartz, rector of Church of the Epiphany in Doha and an appointed missionary who has served in the Diocese of Cyprus and the Gulf (Province of Jerusalem and the Middle East) for more than 30 years.

The rest is here-

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Rowan Williams and Dostoevsky

Manchester Guardian interview with the Archbishop of Canterbury about his new book.

Dostoevsky is renowned for his remark, "Without God, everything is permitted." Does the archbishop agree? "He's saying not so much that without God everyone would be bad, as without God we have no way of connecting one act with another, no way of developing a life that made sense. It would really be indifferent whether we did this or that. And it's that sense of God being part of what you draw on to construct a life that makes sense."

I take that to be a "yes", not least because Williams writes in the book, glossing Dostoevsky: "Only love directed towards the transcendent can generate effective unselfish love in the world." Is that his view? "At the end of the day, yes it is because I believe that's how the universe is. I believe that God has made the world such that this is what we're for. Even when [people] reject that at the ideas level, they can sense that's how it is, they can act as if there were an infinite. That's one of the things that keeps the world going."

Opponents of realignment move immediately towards reorganization

From the Anglican Communion News Service (they got it right!)

"We understand that one member of the Standing Committee remains, and once he determines that he is indeed the sole remaining member, he will appoint others to join in the leadership of the Diocese of Pittsburgh, in accordance with diocesan canons," Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori told ENS. "As the Ecclesiastical Authority, the Standing Committee will set a schedule for the reconvening of the Convention, electing members to fill offices, and eventually calling a bishop to serve in Pittsburgh. My office will work to provide support and counsel to Pittsburgh, in service to the leadership of the Ecclesiastical Authority."

Good Stuff in TEC: Maine

This is a wonderful project and many Episcopal parishes including my own will be sponsoring Crop Walk.

Immediately following the walk, at 4 p.m., St. George's will hold a U2charist, a ministry with the theme of ending world poverty. A portion of the donations received in the U2charist will support the CROP Hunger Walk. All are invited to attend. "The CROP Hunger Walk is part of our community's response to the needs of suffering families in our own country and abroad, " said Ted Little, coordinator of this year's CROP Hunger Walk and a member of St. George's Episcopal Church. "Last year's CROP Hunger Walk raised nearly $7,000, and we hope to do as well or better this year."

Va. Episcopal church joins land dispute

The court cases just go on and on and on.....

Circuit Court Judge Randy I. Bellows has dealt three consecutive defeats to the diocese and the denomination in their battle to retain millions of dollars of property held by 11 churches that fled over issues of biblical authority and the 2003 election of the openly gay Bishop V. Gene Robinson of New Hampshire.

The diocese will cite 18th-century cases to argue that the Falls Church, a 276-year-old congregation that is the oldest of the departing parishes, cannot lay claim to its property on 5.5 acres in the city of Falls Church. Attorneys have produced two 18th-century land deeds that say Christ Church possesses the property.

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Outspoken Dean of National Cathedral Dies

Francis B. Sayre Jr., who as dean of Washington National Cathedral for 27 years oversaw much of its completion and used his pulpit to confront McCarthyism, racial tensions and the Vietnam War, died Oct. 3 at his home on Martha's Vineyard, Mass. He was 93 and had diabetes.

Sayre, whose grandfather was President Woodrow Wilson, was appointed to the cathedral in 1951 and quickly became a leading national voice of conscience. As the church's fifth dean, he also presided over daily operations and focused on finishing the massive Gothic structure whose cornerstone had been placed in 1907.

Who rang that Bell?

In Miami

For 60 or so bell ringers in town this weekend, there's nothing quite like the feeling of pulling a long rope and hearing the glorious, melodic sound that results.
That aural experience, which dates back to the 1600s, will continue over the next few days as the North American Guild of Change Ringers holds its annual meeting at Miami's Trinity Episcopal Cathedral.

''It's a centuries-old tradition, and we're trying to keep it alive for future generations,'' said Rob Bannister, bell tower captain of the Miami Guild of Change Ringers.

Department of Corrections

What they're try to say is that the Episcopal Diocese of Pittsburgh (USA) will reorganize itself.


Published: October 7, 2008
An article on Thursday about a scheduled vote by the Episcopal Diocese of Pittsburgh on whether to secede from the national church misstated the process for selecting a new administration for the diocese in the event of secession. Because the diocese did indeed vote to secede on Saturday, the remaining local church members — not the national church — will now choose the administration.

Original article here

Cardinal Newman Update

Another piece of the puzzle falls into place. Apparently he wanted it that way ! (You might want to see yesterday's post.)

"When the rites had been achieved, the crowd without the gates was suffered to enter by batches and see the grave; and then the coffin was covered with mould of a softer texture than the marly stratum in which the grave is cut.

"This was done in studious and affectionate fulfilment of a desire of Dr Newman's which some may deem fanciful, but which sprang from his reverence for the letter of the Divine Word; which, as he conceived, enjoins us to facilitate rather than impede the operation of the law 'Dust thou art, and unto dust shalt thou return'."

A church divided: The pain of Episcopalians is for all to feel

Post-Gazette Editorial today.

But divorce -- the most apt analogy -- is most frequently painful. In a church, no less than in a marriage, there is pain when those who loved each other are put asunder.

Bitterness is a likely outcome of the various strands of unraveling in this union -- through arguments about who was right and who was wrong, legal disputes over church property and perhaps even uneasiness over what the dissident party wishes to call itself. Both will say they are the Episcopal Diocese of Pittsburgh, but one will add -- confusingly to outsiders -- "of the Anglican Province of the Southern Cone." Bishop Robert Duncan, deposed last month by the Episcopal House of Bishops, is likely to become leader of the breakaway congregation.

Yes, it is not for others to take sides, but it is for others to join their hands in prayer for a faith community divided.

Threat of rebel attacks leaves Congolese Anglicans stranded

A recent uprising of rebel activity in the war-torn Democratic Republic of the Congo has caused Bishop Henri Isingoma and 150 delegates of the Province de L'Eglise Anglicane du Congo to be stranded in Boga following their September 30-October 5 diocesan synod.

Fears of a fresh wave of violence have forced thousands of people in the eastern region of Africa's third largest country "to run for their dear lives in various directions," Frederick Ngadjole, liaison officer for the province, said in an October 5 email to the Africa desk of Episcopal Relief and Development (ERD). "Some have gone towards Bunia town, others towards [the] Ugandan border and others are still wandering in the bush trying to find their way out to a safe zone."

14 Catholic parishes to close; another 28 to merge, partner

Pittsburgh Post-Gazette article on the Roman Catholic Diocese of Greensburg PA. That's just east of Pittsburgh over in the next county.

Citing a dire shortage of priests, the Catholic Diocese of Greensburg will close 14 parishes and merge or partner 28 others, reducing the total from 100 to 85. Just 45 will remain freestanding parishes with a pastor to call their own.

After three years of consultation with more than 9,000 parishioners and clergy, "there is a consensus in this diocese about what we need to do in the future," said Bishop Lawrence Brandt. Catholic Charities will offer free counseling for grief and loss to affected parishioners, he said.

Tampa Bay goes to the Playoffs.

The Tampa Bay Rays will be taking on the Boston Red Sox for the American League Championship. B. J. Upton hit two Home runs last night and Andy Sonnanstine pitched well for 5 1/2 innings and the Rays beat the White Sox 6-2. This is one of the most remarkable turn-arounds in baseball.For you soccer fans out there the Rays had the worst record in baseball last year.

In the split second after Grant Balfour's pitch sailed past Ken Griffey's bat and into Dioner Navarro's glove for the final out, and before the massive pileup formed around the mound, the sound of the Rays' AL Division Series-clinching victory over the White Sox was stunning silence. As if it were collective disbelief. But onward the amazing Rays very much go, into the American League Championship Series, starting Friday against the Red Sox at the Trop, just four wins from the World Series, and another four from a world championship. "Somebody just said it's eight more wins, and that's the first time I heard that," principal owner Stuart Sternberg said, on the fringe of the clubhouse mayhem.

Monday, October 6, 2008

Church Leaders Counter Economic Crisis With Faith

National Public Radio on the economic crisis and the church's response. (Print piece)

Trinity Church on Wall Street sits smack dab at the epicenter of the financial cosmos. Brokers, traders and "masters of the universe" fill its pews. The Rev. Anne Mallonee says the Episcopal church — with a 900-household membership — is seeing a definite increase in attendance.

Especially on weekdays, when people from the financial district drift in for services, for solace and for solitude.
The church is offering a number of different programs — including extra prayer sessions and career counseling — to help people cope with the great unease. The first wave included support staff, such as secretaries and administrative staffers. "This week we are seeing more executives," she says. "Someone who was here for 9/11 says this is the closest thing she has seen to that time," Mallonee says.

Bruce Robison Writes a Pastoral to His Parish

The afternoon of the convention Bruce sent me his wonderful pastoral response to what had happened. He now has it posted on his blog.

I would also note that the leadership of the Episcopal Church and the Presiding Bishop have been engaged, supportive, and respectful in their work with us thus far, and they have promised their continuing support as we make the decisions locally that will reconstitute the orderly life of our diocese.

As of Monday morning there will be a new office, mailing address, and phone number for the Episcopal Diocese of Pittsburgh, and the "Across the Aisle" website will soon become our official diocesan website. You may wish to click on that link and bookmark the URL for future reference. There is information on the site now that may answer many of our questions about how the reorganization will take place. An important feature, on the "front page" of the site, is a letter from the Rev. Jim Simons, Rector of St. Michael of the Valley Church in Ligonier. As a member of our diocesan Standing Committee Jim will have a key leadership role in the coming days, as the diocese begins to reorganize according to our continuing Constitution and Canons.

Are we still in the salvation business?

We hear a lot about how far the Episcopal Church has strayed from orthodoxy. Here's a piece by an Episcopal Priest in Washington D.C. which seems to suggest otherwise. Incidentally his answer to the title question is "yes".

A church that means business speaks to this crisis of meaning head on and is unafraid to talk of being saved. It encourages people to articulate their doubt, not just about this church teaching or that, but about the value and ultimate meaning of our fragile human lives on this little blue planet circling as a speck in a galaxy that is merely one of billions.

When I hear the gospel addressed to me in the midst of this vertigo of doubt, and accept its poignant insistence that our lives are meaningful because they are what God meant, and that we mean everything to him, and that he means to take us into his life by uniting us to the one who suffered with us and for us, whom he raised from the dead, I can say “This is what it means to be saved, and I want others to receive the same gift.”

Cardinal Newman has Disappeared

From the "You couldn't make this stuff up " department .The Newman drama comes to a close with the discovery that after all these years bodies really do decompose. You'd think we really didn't believe the ashes to ashes stuff. From the London Times.

Please - enough of this ghoulish sideshow

For on Saturday they sulkily confirmed that since the great man never had a lead-lined coffin, he is all gone. “Brass, wooden and cloth artefacts” were recovered, but “there were no remains of the body... in the view of medical professionals in attendance, burial in a wooden coffin in a very damp site makes this kind of total decomposition unsurprising.” Indeed; though they do say that saints Cuthbert, Guthlac and Alphege, Edward the Confessor, Hugh of Lincoln, Teresa of Avila and St Bernadette all remained miraculously incorrupt, and in some cases smelling literally of roses. St Francis Xavier is said to have survived quicklime; Blessed Margaret of Metola allegedly still has eyelashes. Not every holy corpse is pleasant to the eye: when (against his relatives' wishes) the Vatican dug up Padre Pio this year they had to commission mask-makers to do him a more seemly face for the faithful to file past.

Women bishops face 'flying bigots'

Meanwhile in England their still having a row over women bishops. From the London Telegraph.

Last Friday, I was locked in St Paul’s Cathedral with a couple of hundred of my fellow clergy from the Diocese of London for what was styled a “Sacred Synod”. We sat under Sir Christopher Wren’s giddying dome to hear the Rt. Rev. Dr Richard Chartres, Bishop of London, invite carefully selected colleagues to reflect on something called The London Plan and how it could be re-invigorated to take account of the prospect of women bishops.

This much we know: There will be women bishops in the Church of England as soon as legislatively possible. But the fight is not yet over from those within the Church who oppose them. There is clearly an Anglo-Catholic and Evangelical rearguard action, against the will of the Church’s executive, to enshrine men-only Episcopal oversight in law for dissenters – and a good deal of positioning, some posturing and not a little psychological denial among those who wish to secure such provision.

What I did the day After Convention

The annual Blessing of the Animals (held on the Sunday closest to the Feast of St. Francis) was yesterday afternoon. The local Lutheran pastor and I met in Mellon park with forty two dogs and a solitary (and somewhat understandably nervous) cat and over sixty people for the service. This is me with a West Highland Terrier named "Bonnie". (I gotta get a different hat.)

After Theological Split, a Clash Over Church Assets

Follow up article in the New York Times

After an overwhelming vote here over the weekend by the Episcopal Diocese of Pittsburgh that created the second schism with the national church since the 2003 election and consecration of an openly gay Episcopal bishop, both sides were hoping for a simple resolution.

“If the national church would stay out of it, we could work it out,” said the Rev. Jonathan Millard, who favored secession and led the convention on Saturday. “And I think 90 percent of the churches here would agree with me.”

Mr. Millard was referring to that most secular of issues: resolving who owns what among the millions of dollars’ worth of diocesan and parish property.