Saturday, October 18, 2008

Just liked the photo

Chilean magicians
(AP Photo/Santiago Llanquin / October 15, 2008)
Chilean magicians Nicolas Luisetti, left, and Jean Paul Olaverry perform during a show in Santiago (my sisters "hometown"). How do they keep their hats on?

Baltimore archbishop tells woman to stop delivering messages she says come from Virgin Mary

HAGERSTOWN, Md. (AP) _ The Roman Catholic archbishop of Baltimore told a Pennsylvania woman to stop disseminating messages that she claims she receives from the Virgin Mary.

The warning, in a pastoral advisory from Archbishop Edwin O'Brien, marks an escalation of the church's efforts to silence Gianna Sullivan of rural Fairfield, Pa.

It warns Sullivan not to talk or write about the alleged apparitions anywhere within the archdiocese, which includes Baltimore and nine Maryland counties.

The archdiocese concluded in 2000 that the alleged visions were not divine and barred Sullivan from delivering them at an Emmitsburg church. The Vatican upheld that decision in 2003.

Sullivan had been delivering her messages at monthly gatherings at a conference center in Frederick County. After O'Brien's statement, she canceled her scheduled appearances there.,0,2187300.story

Diocese clears priest of charges

Michael Ruk served in the Diocese of Pittsburgh and I beleive was ordained here. (Think I'll skip a picture on this one.)

The Episcopal Diocese of Pennsylvania said it has cleared one of its Bucks County priests of any wrongdoing after finding no truth to allegations that he offered massages “with something extra afterwards” on an online classified site.

Allen Bartlett, assisting bishop of the diocese of Pennsylvania, said a diocesan committee conducted a lengthy investigation into Michael Ruk, 34, the priest-in-charge of two churches in Falls — St. Paul's in Levittown and All Saints in Fallsington.

“Our church attorney looked into it with great thoroughness and talked to all parties that she could find,” Bartlett said. “She made a report and the committee received it and they decided that there are no charges that need to be considered.”

Deposed Episcopal Bishop Warns Traditionalists Against 'Illiberal Takeover'

Fromthe Christian Post Web site.

Duncan also spoke of his opposition to plans for a pastoral forum, agreed by bishops at Lambeth, that would act as a "holding bay" for disaffected dioceses and congregations.

The proposal was, he said, “a bridge too far and something that none of the people were any longer open to.”

Addressing plans for the breakaway diocese in Pittsburgh, he said he expected around 20 congregations to choose to remain with The Episcopal Church. Duncan also confirmed plans to retain “Episcopal” in the title of the breakaway diocese, despite the potential for confusion with The Episcopal Church's diocese, which will also include “Episcopal” in the title.

“TEC has no lockup on the name Episcopal," said Duncan.

He added that TEC’s breach with historic faith and order had been so significant that senior bishops in the Church of England, as well as primates of major provinces, were unprepared to recognize TEC’s discipline in deposing Duncan. They include the Bishops of Rochester and Winchester and primates who took part in the June meeting of orthodox Anglicans in Jerusalem, the Global Anglican Future Conference (GAFCON).

More here-

Anglicans and Episcopalians move on

From the Fresno Bee-

Next weekend's local diocesan conventions for Anglicans and Episcopalians will be times for celebrations -- and not to look back at the rift that led the Anglicans to break away from the U.S. Episcopal Church. Spiritually, both sides are getting past the split and moving in new directions.

"It's a lot more celebration; a lot less business," says the Rev. Bill Gandenberger, a spokesman for the Anglicans.

A spokesman for the Episcopalians, the Rev. Mark Hall, says, "People now are talking and having a good time building for unity and good conversation."

More here-

Realigning clergy are charged with abandonment of communion

From Epsicopal News Service

The Standing Committee of the Episcopal Diocese of San Joaquin determined October 17 that 16 deacons and 36 priests who opted to realign with the Southern Cone have abandoned the communion of the Episcopal Church.

The decision paves the way for Bishop Jerry Lamb to inhibit the 52 clergy unless they recant and return to the Episcopal Church (TEC) within six months. In issuing its ruling, the committee said the clergy violated church constitution and canons both by supporting efforts to remove the Central California Valley diocese from TEC and by repudiating the ecclesiastical authority of TEC and the continuing diocese.

“It’s in the bishop’s hands,” said Nancy Key, diocesan communications director, on Friday. Inhibition would mean the clergy would not be allowed to function as Episcopal priests or deacons, or be employed by an Episcopal congregation. Clergy who do not recant will be removed from the ministry of the Episcopal Church.

“This action does not imply a moral judgment of an individual clergy person,” Lamb said Friday. “It speaks only about the person's relationship to the Episcopal Church. I recognize that these people may have many wonderful gifts for ministry, and perhaps these talents could be used in another Christian denomination.”

Friday, October 17, 2008

Just saw this for the first time

"I don't know what the pitch was (to Bill Mazeroski in game seven). All I know is it was the wrong one." - Ralph Terry (who threw the pitch).

For all you soccer fans out there we celebrated the Pirates improbable win over the Yankees in 1960 on October 13th.

Lemming Pledge #1

Reinstate banned priests, orders court

We have a controversy in Botswana- Bishop Trevor Mwamba is pictured

Anglican Diocese of Botswana's Bishop Trevor Mwamba revoked their licences late last year, accusing them of contravening the Constitution and Canons of the Church of the Province of Central Africa. On the other hand the priests contended that he was pushing them out to pave way for foreigners, mostly from Zambia and Zimbabwe.

"The decision by the bishop to withdraw and revoke applicants' licences to practise as priests of the Anglican Church is hereby set aside as being contrary to the Acts of Diocese of Botswana and or the Constitution and Canons of the Anglican Church," Justice Dingake said. The costs were not awarded to any of the

Anglicans out to connect

Probably a different Sidney

AN INITIATIVE of the Sydney diocese of the Anglican Church to spread the word, called Connect09, will involve more than 600,000 Bibles being printed, as well as CD and DVD resources.

Anglicans will hear about the plans for the campaign at synod - the annual meeting of the diocese - which starts tomorrow. The year-long, $1.5 million "make Jesus known" campaign aims to connect churches with their communities.

The Right Reverend Bill Flagg, Dies at 79

From the Telegraph. Flagg was Presiding Bishop in what is now referred to as the Southern Cone.

Firmly rooted in the Evangelical tradition, Flagg made an indelible impression wherever he went, often travelling on horseback for several days across the continent's vast open spaces to minister to small isolated Christian communities and often to start new ones, particularly among the Mapuche Indians. He had taught himself Spanish on his first sea crossing to South America and acquired the ability to preach in several local languages. Inseparable from his preaching was a humble and inspiring personality who brought many to faith.

As a bishop, he recognised that the days of importing church leaders to South America from England were numbered, and he devoted a good deal of time to the training of indigenous clergy who would soon assume responsibility within their own parishes and dioceses. He also saw the importance of bringing the separate South American dioceses to work together and relate more closely to the rest of the worldwide Anglican Communion. He was himself a member of the Anglican Consultative Council from 1974 to 1979.

Christians and Muslims condemn violence

From The Church Times. Archbishop of Canterbury Rowan William was a participant in this. (Ok, someone tell me, who sells these hats?)

ISLAMIC and Christian leaders and scholars condemned religious violence in a communiqué issued on Wednesday at Lambeth Palace, at the end of a three-day conference to mark the first anniversary of the Muslim letter “A Common Word”.

In a two-page text, 17 religious leaders and scholars from Europe and the Middle East say they are “deeply troubled” by the threats to the Christian community in Mosul, northern Iraq.

“We find no justification in Islam or Christianity for those promoting the insecurity or perpetuating the violence evident in parts of Iraq.”

The conference, entitled “A Common Word and Future Muslim-Christian Engagement”, built on the letter sent by Muslim scholars to Western and Eastern church leaders last year. It proposed that the two faiths draw together on the basis of all that they had in common.

In the communiqué, they also announce that in the coming year they will translate “significant texts” from each tradition to be used by the other; promote educational material that provided “a fair reflection of our faiths”; and link academic institutions together to work on shared values.

There's more including the full text of communiqué-

Reorganization Underway in Pittsburgh

The Living Church report on Pittsburgh. Will the real committee please "stand" up? (Isn't Kitty Carlisle gorgeous?)

Fr. Simons and two new members he appointed were subsequently recognized by Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori as the ecclesiastical authority and charged with reorganizing a diocese of The Episcopal Church in that region. (The constitution and canons of the diocese permits the standing committee to appoint new members to fill vacancies.)

Bishop Jefferts Schori also wrote the other seven members of the standing committee on Oct. 9. Citing Title 1, Canon 17, Section 8, she said that she no longer “recognize[d]” them as the ecclesiastical authority.

“Any person accepting any office in this Church shall well and faithfully perform the duties of that office in accordance with the constitution and canons of this church and of the diocese in which the office is being exercised,” the passage states. It does not identify who decides whether a person has failed in that capacity, or specify a procedure for determining whether a breach of fiduciary duty has occurred. This point was raised by the Rev. David Wilson, president of the standing committee of the continuing Diocese of Pittsburgh and rector of St. Paul’s, Kittanning. Fr. Wilson responded to Bishop Jefferts Schori on Oct. 16.

“The only reason we are the ecclesiastical authority for the Episcopal Diocese of Pittsburgh is because of your illegal ‘deposition’ of Bishop Robert W. Duncan,” Fr. Wilson said. “Your effort to take advantage of this illegal action by following it with a subsequent illegal action (i.e., seeking to ‘recognize’ members of a diocesan standing committee despite the fact that you have no jurisdiction or authority to do so) is wholly improper.”

The rest is here-

What Ty Cobb Really Wanted

From Christianity Today. The "Georgia Peach" shown tipping his hat.

I had been alerted that Ty Cobb would come, but when I opened the door I was surprised to see an extremely fragile-looking man. It wouldn't be the only surprise of the evening.

He had come to me because of severe gastric pain. In the examining room, I took a medical history, examined his abdomen, and gave him some medicine to quiet his stomach.

"Ty," I said, "you have a number of serious health problems, and you have been under the care of some of the best physicians in the country. Have you been doing what they tell you to do?"

"Naw, they're nothing but a bunch of truss fixers. They don't know what to do for me."

"What do you want them to do?" I asked.

"Get rid of this pain. It's with me all the time."

"I'm not sure I can do any better than they can. Is there something else bothering you?"

He looked at me suspiciously and then a shadow of hopelessness clouded his rugged features. "I've had a hard life but a successful one, and now I'm nearing the end."

"Would you like to tell me about it?" I asked.

For the next hour and a half, Cobb poured out his pain, frustration, and bitterness. When I asked if I could pray with him, Cobb got on his knees. I asked God to help him find peace and for relief from his pain. When Cobb got up, he asked if he could see me again.

The rest is here-

Protests expected as woman leads Muslim prayers in Britain for first time

I guess its not just the Church of England who's struggling with the role of women.

Professor Amina Wadud is to give the sermon at a centre in Oxford today in what is being called a "leap forward" for equality in Islam.

But there are expected to be objections to the sermon at the Oxford Centre in Banbury Road, with opponents understood to be planning protests.

The move is controversial as the tradition is that Imams - always men - hold mixed services, with some believing it to be against Islam for a woman to do so.

Mokhtar Badri, vice-president of the Muslim Association of Britain is opposed to the sermon.
"With all respect to sister Amina, prayer is something we perform in accordance to the teachings of our Lord," he said.

"It has nothing to do with the position of women in society. It is not to degrade them or because we don't think they are up to it.

"This is something divine not human. We have to do it in the way it has been ordained by God to do it.

Ex-Yankee Tom Tresh dies at 71

Tom Tresh, the 1962 AL Rookie of the Year and part of three New York Yankees teams that reached the World Series, has died. He was 71.

Tresh died Wednesday after a heart attack, according to the funeral home handling the arrangements.

Tresh was an 1962 All-Star as a shortstop and made the team again in 1963 as a center fielder. He later earned a Gold Glove in the outfield.

“Tommy was a great teammate,” Yankees great Yogi Berra said in a statement. “He did everything well as a ballplayer and was an easy guy to manage.”

The Yankees were nearing the end of their decades-long dominance in the AL when Tresh became a regular, taking over at shortstop when Tony Kubek went to serve in the Army. He hit .286 with 20 homers and a career-high 93 RBIs in 1962.

Tresh joined a powerful lineup that already boasted the likes of Mickey Mantle and Roger Maris and helped the Yankees reach the World Series from 1962-64.

The switch-hitting Tresh homered in the Game 5 victory over San Francisco in 1962, and made a running, backhanded catch on Willie Mays’ drive to left field in the seventh inning in a 1-0 win in Game 7.

More here-

Episcopalian split questioned

From the Washington PA Observer Reporter.

After the convention vote, Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori, who oversees the national Episcopal Church, issued a statement recognizing those who voted against the realignment as the "true church."

The Rev. James Simons, the standing committee's one member who opposed seceding, said other parishes may eventually decide to remain. In the absence of a bishop, the standing committee becomes the ecclesiastical authority. In September Schori removed Robert Duncan, bishop of the Pittsburgh Diocese, from office. A previous committee had determined that Bishop had abandoned the communion of the church.

Simons, of St. Michael's in the Valley Church in Ligonier, said the diocese that has chosen to remain with the Anglican Province now has an office in Brackenridge. It will hold a reorganizational meeting Dec. 13. An informational meeting was held Thursday in Trinity Cathedral in Pittsburgh.

Like Frank, Simons would like to see the two sides talk the separation through and avoid litigation.

Full story here-

Boston comes back from seven runs down to win Game 5

One of the best playoff games I've ever seen. It ended with Kevin Youkilis hitting a walk off home run after the Sox were down by seven runs in the seventh inning. For you soccer fans out there, this sends the series back to Tampa.

Keep your vistas of the Charles River, the rectangular monolith of the Prudential Center sparkling from the Back Bay and the tree-lined pathways crackling with vibrant shades of orange and red. The most beautiful sight in the entire city of Boston, at least as far as the Red Sox were concerned, was a battered yellow "4" sliding into place on the Green Monster on Thursday night. Four runs -- three of them on David Ortiz's towering bash -- and there was a renewal of October life at Fenway Park.

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Good Stuff in TEC: Utah

Youth join forces to fight homelessness

For the Saint James' Episcopal Church senior high school youth group The Road Home project, which donates money annually to Salt Lake City's The Road Home homeless shelter, began merely as a way to increase church attendance.

Two years later, the group has become volunteer fundraisers and spokespersons for The Road Home via the creation of a youth organization, Youth for Youth, which cuts out bureaucracy and replaces it with motivated teenagers on a mission to eradicate homelessness.

Recently while speaking to a youth group, Ashton Palmer, a member of Youth for Youth, recalled the roots of her commitment to help the Road Home.

While serving a meal at the shelter, Palmer encountered a grateful man who screamed after her, "God bless you! We're so appreciative.

God bless you! God bless!" as tears formed in his eyes.

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Gerorge Werner: On Being a Steward

The Very Rev. George Werner former Dean at Trinity Cathedral Pittsburgh and former President of the House of Bishops sent the following.

Stewards of the Church

I reluctantly, and with sadness, find I must reply to an argument being offered concerning the Property of the Diocese of Pittsburgh. The claim has been made that the property belongs to those who are currently tending it. One of the clearest of principles in the Episcopal Church (and many others) is that we are stewards, not owners. It is a scriptural concept, that we are the temporary managers whose job description is to maintain and enhance (see Parable of the Talents Mt. 25:14-30) that to which we have been entrusted and then pass it on to our successor.

It has worked brilliantly for centuries. Clergy are entrusted with Church buildings, land, chalices, vestments, linens and other appointments of worship and community. Our generous forebears have left behind dedicated funds for music, for scholarships, for endowments, for personnel positions and maintenance of all the above.
Unfortunately, from time to time, some group makes the judgment that “this time is special and that we are more able, more effective, more holy, more scriptural, more just or more righteous than others. Therefore, we must take ownership of that we once accepted in trust as stewards.” But I would think that such a self praising judgment needs to be left to the One true Judge, who will separate the sheep from the goats and the wheat from the chaff.

I question neither the sincerity or the commitment of such folk. I understand that I am a dinosaur who actually believes that vows should be taken seriously. At my Ordinations to Diaconate and Priesthood, not only did I respond orally and positively to accept the doctrine, discipline and worship of the Episcopal Church but signed the documents of that vow before the ceremony could be continued.

I believe in the Communion of Saints. For me that includes the hundreds and the thousands of wonderful lay people who gave so much of their time, talent and treasure, to build these communities and then passed them on to another generation. In both our sacred and secular worlds, there are too few voices of gratitude for those who given us so much and too many shouts of “mine” in this difficult moment of God’s history.

This is my thirtieth year as part of this Diocesan family. When I arrived, we were just completing the last significant Diocesan fund raising for mission. Though other campaigns were proposed, none came to fruition. So the property and funds in question were the product of decades and centuries. (I was a steward for Trinity Cathedral for more than twenty years of Trinity’s twenty-five decades of history.)

Serving as a steward was a great honor and privilege for me and I never felt the need or desire to be an owner of such a treasured place and gloried history. But then, I am a dinosaur who believes in vows and commitments, and Dinosaurs are best known for being extinct.

Sri Lanka's escalating war takes toll on civilians

Churches in Sri Lanka say they are “deeply perturbed by the humanitarian crisis in the country” that coincides with an all-out offensive by government forces to capture remaining areas under the control of ethnic Tamil rebels.

“The present situation is totally inimical to the fostering of peace with justice and ensuring the well being of all the people,” said the National Christian Council (NCC) of Sri Lanka in a statement on Oct.13.

The statement was signed by officials of the eight Protestant churches that constitute the NCC as well as five ecumenical institutions that are associate members in the church council.

3,000 Church of England worshippers may defect to overseas provinces

From the Telegraph. Note: The Church of England claims 25 million members, a number which does not represent the number worshipping on any given Sunday. But even if it were only a tenth of that they're talking about 3000 out of 2.5 million.

The Rev Rod Thomas, chairman of the Reform network of evangelicals, said some clergy and congregations may make the "radical" move of secession from the established church because of the liberal direction in which it is moving on women bishops and homosexuality.

He claimed the differences are now so great that there effectively two religions within the church, one liberal and one conservative, and that at least 25 parishes are already seeking "alternative oversight" because their bishop does not share their beliefs in tradition and the Bible.

He said he hoped this could be provided by creating new "religious communities", by getting conservative bishops from other dioceses to provide oversight, or by employing retired English bishops to take over the care of those who did not want to be led by a liberal prelate.

Parishes urged to rise against liberal bishops

From the London Times

Church of England parishes unhappy at liberal teachings on homosexuality have been urged to seek alternative oversight from another bishop if their own diocesan bishop expounds “unbiblical” teaching from the pulpit.

Evangelicals at a conference in Central London were told that the Church of England now consists of two religions, one liberal and pro-gay and the other conservative and strictly biblical.

The Rev Rod Thomas, the chairman of Reform, the conservative evangelical grouping that represents dozens of Anglican congregations, told parishes that they should go ahead and seek alternative oversight, even if the Church of England fails to accommodate this solution through its General Synod.

However, English Anglicans do not want a split in the Church comparable to that in the United States, where two dioceses have voted to leave the Episcopal Church.

Mr Thomas urged conservatives to mobilise to take over the General Synod by making sure that evangelicals stand for election whenever possible.

Episcopal Bishop Heistand, 84, dies

Bishop Joseph Heistand, the 11th bishop of the Episcopal Diocese of Arizona, died Tuesday at his home in Richmond, Va., after a long illness. He was 84.

Heistand led the diocese from 1979 until his retirement in 1992. Prior to that, he had been the rector of St. Phillip's in the Hills Episcopal Parish in Tucson.

A high point of Heistand's 13-year tenure as bishop was the diocese hosting the denomination's General Convention in 1991, a national meeting of Episcopalians held every three years and drawing about 10,000 people.

The Phoenix convention became controversial because of threats by black Episcopalians and others to boycott it because Arizona was one of three states that did not have a Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. civil rights holiday.

More here-

Good Stuff in TEC: ERD

Episcopal Relief and Development is awarded grant from USAID for child survival program in Uganda

Episcopal Relief & Development is proud to announce the receipt of a grant from the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID). This award is part of the USAID Child Survival Agenda which was established to focus attention on the dire health needs of children in developing countries.

Episcopal Relief & Development announces the receipt of this grant as we commemorate World Food Day on October 16th and the International Day for the Eradication of Poverty on October 17th. The theme, "working together out of poverty" highlights the need for a global anti-poverty partnership between both developed and developing countries. These commemorative days are a reminder of the Millennium Development Goals which aim to combat disease, inequality, hunger and cut the number of people living in extreme poverty in half by the year 2015.

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Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Why Can’t Religion Be “Pay to Play”?

Andy Muhl sent this along. No more stewardship committees?

The most annoying volunteer job I’ve ever had is that of treasurer at my synagogue; three years at one place, and I was dumb enough to volunteer for three years at another.

Trying to eke dues out of the small number of delinquent members had bad effects on my blood pressure.

Synagogues and other religious organizations are public goods; it’s easy to enjoy the services offered (pun intended) without paying your fair share of the costs.

Many European countries do it differently. When you move to a town in Germany, for example, you are asked to state your religion at the city office. Unless you say none, you are then assessed a surtax of 8 percent on your income tax liability, and the funds are paid directly to your religious community.

With a progressive income tax, this means that the rich pay a greater share of their incomes to support religious institutions than the poor do.

No need to go harassing delinquent members; it’s pay to play.

As a synagogue treasurer, I would have loved that; as a U.S. citizen, I realize that this is inconsistent with the separation of church and state in the United States (but any more so than Bush’s faith-based initiatives?).

And I realize that it might be difficult to determine what constitutes a religious organization — a problem that has arisen in Germany.

Bishop of Conn. Says No to Gay Marriage

From a web site called The Edge out of Boston An interesting quote is included from Bishop Smith.

And though some Episcopalian churches and clergy have celebrated same-sex unions, the Episcopal Diocese of Connecticut cannot take the step of pronouncing two men or two woman as married, according to Bishop Andrew Smith, who was cited in the article as saying that the faith’s Book of Common Prayer views marriage as "a solemn and public covenant between a man and a woman in the presence of God." Said Smith, "For us to change that practice in terms of having clergy officiate at gay or lesbian marriages, we have to change the prayer book."

That is something that can only be done at the national level, through two conventions.

Priest inhibited as a result of her conversion to Islam

From Episcopal News Service-

Bishop Geralyn Wolf of the Diocese of Rhode Island has inhibited the Rev. Ann Holmes Redding for publicly professing her adherence to the Muslim faith.

The notice states that the diocesan “Standing Committee has determined that Dr. Redding abandoned the Communion of the Episcopal Church by formal admission into a religious body not in communion with the Episcopal Church. The bishop has affirmed that determination.”

The inhibition prevents Redding from “exercising the gifts and spiritual authority conferred on her by ordination and from public ministry” and is in force until March 31, 2009. In accordance with Episcopal canons, unless Redding “reclaims” her Christian faith, said Wolf in an interview, the inhibition will automatically lead to a deposition, ending Redding’s priesthood.

Court rules church's land belongs to departed paris

From The Washington Times. No other state has a "Division Statute".

To date, Judge Bellows has dealt three consecutive defeats to the diocese and the denomination in their bid to retain millions of dollars of property held by the nine churches. A Civil War era statute unique to Virginia known as the "division statute" - which allows a departing congregation to hold onto its property - has been key to the AD's victories. The most dramatic testimony may be given Thursday, when the diocese will argue that the Falls Church, a 276-year-old congregation attended by George Washington shortly before he became president, belongs to the Christ Episcopal Church in Alexandria.

Rest is here

Episcopal meeting set on reorganized diocese

From The Pittsburgh Tribune Review

The Episcopal Diocese of Pittsburgh will offer an update Thursday on its reorganization in the wake of a vote by a number of parishes to join a more conservative branch of the Anglican Church.

The gathering -- which will take place from 7 to 9 p.m. in Trinity Cathedral, 328 Sixth Ave., Downtown -- will address the legal and financial steps necessary for a parish to participate in a diocese of the U.S.-based Episcopal Church.

A discussion will include plans to offer clergy and pastoral care to congregations that want to remain in The Episcopal Church but whose parish priests have left the church. Nineteen of the 66 parishes in the diocese have voted to remain loyal to the national church.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Good Stuff in TEC: West Texas

Good Samaritan Community Services-

Since 1951 Good Samaritan Community Services has addressed the desperate living conditions of the impoverished communities of San Antonio's west side. Over the years our agency has become known as a place of change and hope for the individuals and families who strive to overcome the impact of poverty. Now greatly expanded to serve not only San Antonio, but Bexar County and its contiguous 11 rural counties, Good Samaritan Community Services is committed to changing lives through excellent community services through programs that foster education, character development, self-sufficiency and healthy living.

More here-

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Good Stuff in TEC: Rhode Island

For the troubled, an oasis amid bustle of the state airport

Amid all the happy travelers at T. F. Green Airport –– many leaving with suntan lotion and returning with mouse-eared Disney caps –– there are people making sadder pilgrimages as they rush to reach ailing relatives and friends.

Until recently, there was no special place at the airport for people to gather their thoughts, say their prayers or have a moment of peace as they arrive or depart. In April, however, the doors of the Hope Reflection Room opened –– a project that was started more than eight years ago by members of Episcopal churches in the West Bay area.

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Once upon a time in Forbes Field, a ball cleared a wall

Brian O'Neill's reflection on the party at the wall yesterday-

It happened yesterday afternoon, as it does every Oct. 13 at almost exactly the same time. Bill Mazeroski led off the ninth inning with a home run and a raucous crowd of Pirates die-hards erupted rapturously.

There are no turnstiles at the remnants of Forbes Field's brick center field wall, and so no accurate crowd count. Call it 300 or 400 fans. They came to listen to every pitch of the deciding seventh game of the 1960 World Series because they wanted to relive a 48-year-old memory some were too young to have even had.

A handful of former Pirates -- Dick Groat, Elroy Face, Bob Friend, Nellie King, Frank Thomas and Dave Giusti -- were there, and old baseball stories were told well. But this was a day for fans, not players, and youthful stories passed back and forth on a day as perfectly sunny as the one back when.

More here

Iraqis flee after 10 Christians killed in Mosul

Pray for the church in Iraq. Sort of puts things in perspective.

With the killing of at least 10 Christians this month alone, according to police, thousands have abandoned their homes in Mosul to seek refuge in churches and with relatives in neighboring villages or in relatively safe Kurdish-controlled areas nearby.

Faraj Ibraham, a 54-year-old power station employee who moved in with relatives in the village of Burtulla, said he was worried about his two daughters who had to leave school. "We left in a hurry, and they forgot to bring even their books. It will be a heavy burden for them, even if we get to return home soon," he said. Islamic extremists have frequently targeted Christians and other religious minorities since the 2003 U.S. invasion, forcing tens of thousands to flee Iraq -- although attacks slowed with a nationwide decline in violence.

Good Stuff in TEC: Episcopal Relief and Development

In Congo, ERD responds to civil unrest

Episcopal Relief and Development (ERD) is providing critical emergency assistance to more than 200 displaced people from the Province de L'Eglise Anglicane in the north-east region of the Democratic Republic of Congo.
Bishop Henri Isingoma
and Anglicans from the Diocese of Boga were forced to flee their homes last week after a recent upsurge of rebel violence. They were able to circumvent the rebels by traveling for two days through the forests to seek refuge in Bunia, the capital of the Ituri province.

More here-

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Trial about church property

It just goes on and on and on and on....

The petitions were filed under a Virginia law that lets a state court determine whether a division exists within a denomination and gives a congregation the right to disaffiliate itself and retain its property.

The 1867 law was intended to enable congregations after the Civil War become independent from parent denominations in the North, said William Hurd, a lawyer for the Episcopal Diocese of Virginia. Fairfax Circuit Judge Randy I. Bellows ruled previously that the congregations properly invoked the statute, and he has ruled that the statute is constitutional.

But whatever Bellows decides likely won't end the dispute. Officials with the Diocese of Virginia have said that once the judge enters his final order, they plan to appeal the case on all available grounds.

Monday, October 13, 2008

Good Stuff in TEC: Louisiana

Jericho Road Episcopal Housing Initiative is a faith-based nonprofit organization, providing working families and individuals affordable housing opportunities in New Orleans neighborhoods.

With the guidance and support of the community, Jericho Road is working with other non-profits, private businesses, governmental agencies and faith-based groups to create long-term housing strategies which include new construction and rehabilitation of existing homes.

More here-

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Good Stuff in TEC: Chicago

Matthew 25 Ministries

An umbrella offers protection from adversity. St. Mark's Matthew 25 ministries offer that umbrella of protection for those in need within our local communities. "I tell you the truth, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers of mine, you did for me." Our motives for social action are obedience to Scripture as well as gratitude for all God has done for us. Gratitude and obedience, linked with compassion, enable us to live out the "two commandments" of our Lord -- to love God with all our heart, and to love our neighbor as ourselves.

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Good Stuff in TEC: Pennsylvania

Sacred Dance/Good Samaritan Dance Academy

Sacred Dance expresses our love for Jesus Christ through worshipful movement. A comprehensive program of dance instruction and rehearsal is offered in the church dance studio at the Good Samaritan Dance Academy during the week for ages 4 through adult. There are four dance choirs: Adult, Teen, Children and Cherub, that minister in the Good Samaritan Sunday services, at nursing homes and other area churches. A class is also offered for teens and adults interested in learning to use worship dance for their prayer life and personal devotions.

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Religion and sex in Uganda: The power of the pulpit

From the Manchester Guardian

"Christianity reaches more people than healthcare," Stephen Waititi, a former church deacon and the medical director of Milmay Centre, an HIV/Aids clinic in Kampala, pointed out recently.

What the churches say matters: not just because of their reach, but because of their authority. The message from the pulpit shapes the climate. The role of the church in the HIV/Aids epidemic is central.
From the first recognition of the threat posed, above all, to the poor of the developing world, the churches have been at the forefront of the effort to provide care for the sick and to educate the healthy. The exception was the Christian evangelical movement, which by 2000 claimed not just the Ugandan president and his wife, Yoweri and Janet Museveni, but George W Bush, the president of the United States.

Good Stuff in TEC: Iowa

From Episcopal News Service

If kids can't read, they can't excel.

That simple premise led the Diocese of Lexington (Kentucky) to create a summer reading camp seven years ago. Now the Diocese of Iowa has picked up the idea. And half a dozen other U.S. dioceses and churches as far away as South Africa are studying the literacy-camp model.

The Lexington and Iowa programs are examples of Episcopal Church Jubilee Ministries, a network of more than 600 social-justice ministries at the local and diocesan levels, coordinated by the office of Jubilee Ministries at the Episcopal Church Center in New York.

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Lecture at St. Andrews Higland Park

FRIDAY October 17th

HIGHLAND PARK: Historian and author Jeremy Bonner presents the free St. Andrew's Lecture, titled "Episcopal Dawn, Anglican Sunset: A Scholar's Reflections on Pittsburgh's Episcopal Experience," at 8 p.m. at St. Andrew's Episcopal Church, 5801 Hampton St. A reception honoring the speaker follows. For more information, call 412-661-1245

A Day To Remember

Today is the anniversary of one of the greatest moments in baseball. On October 13, 1960 Pittsburgh Pirate Bill Mazeroski stepped up to the plate in the bottom of the ninth inning of the seventh game of the World Series.

The Yankees were the dominant team of the series with Mantel, Maris, Kubek and Richardson the star players. (It would be the only World Series where a player for the losing team (Bobby Richardson) would be selected as the MVP). The Pirates weren't supposed to last four games and the fact that they got to the seventh game was a miracle considering that during the series they were out scored 55 to 27. The seventh game went back and forth with the apparent star being Hal Smith who hit a three run homer for the Pirates in the bottom of the eighth to put the Pirates ahead. But the Yankees came back and tied it in the top of the ninth 9-9.

Mazeroski (a .260 career hitter) was the first batter in the bottom of the ninth. Yankee pitcher Ralph Terry's first pitch was a ball, but the next pitch Maz connected with and sent it over Yogi Berra's head, and the ivy covered wall, for the first World Series winning walk off home run in history. The event is so famous locally that when usher "Woo" Varratti (running behind Maz in the picture) died, it made the front page of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette.

For you soccer fans out there a "walk off" home run is one that ends the game so the batter rounds the bases and walks off.

I expect everyone to pause at 3:35 today and give a moment of thanks.

Sunday, October 12, 2008

Good Stuff in TEC: Long Island

St Albans Church enjoys 'rebirth'

FOR EPISCOPALIANS or Anglicans the death of a parish or mission church occurs when its congregation is so small that keeping the doors open is impractical. That was the situation in which St Albans Church at 9408 Farragut Road, a large West Indian Episcopal parish in the heart of Brooklyn's Canarsie community, found itself in the early 1980s.

"Actually, St Albans was scheduled to be closed by the Long Island Diocese of the Episcopal Church," explained Reverend George Bonner, the rector. "It was felt that little could be done to merit keeping it alive. On Sundays, the church often had less than 20 worshippers in its pews. "

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Episcopal bishop announces retirement plans

At the annual Episcopal Diocese of Wyoming convention in Rock Springs last week, the 8th Bishop of Wyoming, the Rt. Rev. Bruce E. Caldwell, announced his intention to retire. The Standing Committee of the Diocese has called for the election of the Ninth Bishop of Wyoming, a transition process that is expected to be complete in 18 months.

Bishop Caldwell is beginning his 12th year of ministry as Bishop of the Diocese. He holds a Masters of Divinity and a Doctor of Divinity, both from General Theological Seminary in New York. After retirement, he and his spouse, Rev. Brenda Caldwell, plan to reside in Shell.

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Faith and the Red Sox Hat

Didn't seem to help Bill Buckner much !

"My dad, Rt. Rev. William H. Clark was the Episcopal Bishop of Delaware from 1975 to 1985. After retiring from that post, he and mom moved to Cape Cod, and he acted as an assisting bishop in the Episcopal Diocese of Massachusetts. He was often asked to visit parishes to perform confirmation services. Dad was very much "low church” and had never bothered to order, much less wear, the mytre, a pointed “bishop’s hat”.

However during a visit to a “high church” parish in suburban Boston during October 1986, the local priest was very concerned about having a hatless bishop confirm the new candidates. The matter was easily settled when a parishioner, agog with Red Sox fever because of the Mets-Sox world series going on at the time, kindly donated the Red Sox cap he had worn to church that day so that dad could wear it during the service. A long time Red Sox fan himself from his time as a parish priest at Trinity Church in Concord, and Saint Andrew’s Church in Wellesley, dad was happy to oblige."

Zach Simons reflects on going home

My son Zachary (who will be 23 in a few weeks) waxes nostalgic about his home town and Fort Days.