Saturday, October 25, 2008

Sydney votes for diaconal and lay presidency

Meanwhile Sydney is doing its own thing with the sacraments and the Church Times reports that it may effect GAFCON relationships.

SYDNEY DIOCESAN SYNOD has affirmed that deacons — including women deacons — may preside at holy communion. In a motion moved by a Sydney regional bishop, Dr Glenn Davies, the synod accepted arguments that there was no legal impediment to deacons’ presiding, given that, under a 1985 General Synod canon, deacons are authorised to assist the priest in the administration of the sacraments.

A report accompanying the mo tion argued that, because deacons can administer the sacrament of bap tism “in its entirety”, and because “no hierarchy of sacraments is ex pressed in describing the deacon’s role of assisting the presbyter,” deacons are therefore authorised to “administer the Lord’s Supper in its entirety”.

Bishop Davies told the Synod that the Archbishop could not prevent a deacon’s “administering the Lord’s Supper”. But the motion, though it also affirmed lay presidency, could not approve lay people’s presiding at Sunday services, as the Archbishop would need to license them, Bishop Davies said. “The Archbishop will not license a lay person at this time.”
This reluctance is believed to relate to Sydney’s relationship with the Global Anglican Future Conference (GAFCON) bishops.

Another Sydney regional bishop, the Rt Revd Peter Tasker, supported an attempt to remove general af firma tion of lay and diaconal presid ency from the motion out of concern for a potential adverse GAFCON re sponse, but the amendment was lost.

Clergy numbers up, but laity down

From the weekly "Church Times" of London.

MORE CLERGY are being trained and ordained in the Church of England than for a decade, but the numbers worshipping have con tinued to drop, says the Church Statistics report for the year 2006-07, which was issued this week.

There were also more younger clergy (under 40) being accepted for training. Over three years, their numbers rose from 188 in 2004 to 243 last year. The Church recom mended 595 candidates for training during the year — the greatest number in a decade. In 1994, only 408 candidates were recommended for training.

To support these and other in creasing costs, the average parish ioner gave £5.38 a week to the Church in 2006 (the figure based on the numbers on parish electoral rolls). But parish expenditure grew faster than giving.

In the nine years between 1998 and 2006, recurring expenditure in creased by 49 per cent, but recurring income increased by 45 per cent. Over the same period, the amount the Church spent on capital costs increased by 70 per cent, while its “one-off income” (for instance, from appeals to meet those costs) increased by 66 per cent.

In 2006, PCCs had a total income of £826 million, and expenditure of £792 million — £46 million of which went to other charities and missions.

The report gives a total of 20,355 licensed ministers — clergy, Church Army officers, and Readers — and, in addition, 1568 chaplains, as well as about 7000 retired ministers with permission to officiate.

On the lowest-attended Sunday in October 2006 — the month on which the report’s churchgoing statistics are based —622,000 adults were in church, com pared with 660,000 in church on the lowest-attended Sunday of the four recorded in October 2005.

Sid Hudson, 93; Pitched For Senators in 1940s- Dies

Mr. Hudson began his professional baseball career in 1939 with the Sanford Lookouts of the Class D Florida State League. He was 6-foot-4 with a good fastball, and he posted a 24-4 record and an earned-run average of 1.79. He also hit .378.

The Senators bought his contract in 1940 for $5,500. Washington Post columnist Bob Considine described Mr. Hudson as "the million-dollar beauty Clark Griffith found in the 10-cent store of baseball, the Florida State League."

Manager Bucky Harris called him "the cleverest young fellow I've seen come along since Schoolboy Rowe broke in under me with the Tigers in 1931. Fellows like him don't learn how to pitch in a couple of years. He's in an advanced stage because he's just naturally a pitcher."

More Here -

Chance of a ghost in church

From the "You can't make this stuff up" department. "Researchers" are looking into a report of "ectoplasmic activity" at a Staten Island Church !

STATEN ISLAND, N.Y. -- Does more than just the Holy Spirit inhabit a Richmond church?

That's the question that Staten Island-based Eastern Paranormal Investigation Center (EPIC) seeks to answer after returning last night to St. Andrew's Episcopal Church to continue an investigation begun in May, when the team encountered some unusual ectoplasmic activity during its first visit.

"You literally heard sobbing," said Arthur Matos, 38, of Port Richmond, the group's co-founder, of the earlier findings. "There were footsteps as if someone was walking past. You felt like you were being watched. And these chimes kept moving and then stopping very quickly."

After such a spook-tacular first examination, Matos was determined to further explore the possibility of a specter at the 300-year-old church.

Jury finds Episcopal bishop did not commit fraud in defrocking of priest

During the four-day civil trial, Moyer's attorney, John Lewis, presented documents suggesting Bennison concealed from Moyer his plan to remove him without a church trial. However, the 12-member jury never got to deliberate whether that constituted fraud.

Instead, Judge Joseph Smyth instructed jurors to first determine if the diocese engaged in fraud when it asserted that Moyer "abandoned the communion of the Episcopal Church" in 2002.

That question was the "gateway" to all the other questions, Smyth told them, and trumped the question of whether Bennison deceived Moyer about a trial.

If they decided fraud did not "pervade" the diocese's decision process regarding the abandonment of communion, Smyth said, the case was over.

In less than three hours - including lunch - the jury announced that it had reached a verdict. When it returned, the forewoman told the judge that only two jurors had found fraud on the critical question.

The verdict seemed to shock Moyer, who shook his head slightly and then gazed down at the table.

The judge smiled broadly as the courtroom began to empty. On Wednesday, after Bennison's attorney, Mary Kohart, asked him to throw the case out on constitutional grounds, Smyth said from the bench that he was uncomfortable with civil courts' judging the internal workings of a church. The jurors had been in recess at the time of those remarks.

More here-

Episcopal Diocese wins appeal of Fallbrook case

In California if you leave the Episcopal Church you leave the property. The California Supreme court is expected to rule in the Los Angeles cases by the end of the year.

The civil lawsuit claimed that the leaders of what became St. John's Anglican Church are not the legitimate officers because they are no longer Episcopalians. According to the lawsuit, new officers elected by members who did not break away from the congregation should have authority over the property.

Vista Superior Court Judge Jacqueline Stern disagreed in her November 2006 ruling.

On Tuesday, the appeals court determined that under church law, once the breakaway group renounced its membership in the Episcopal Church, group members could no longer serve as members of the congregation's governing council or as directors of the corporation that holds the church's assets.

The rest is here-

Friday, October 24, 2008

Lemming Pledge #4

Game 2- Rays 4, Phillies 2

The Rays took an early lead and Upton showed up to play as the series is now tied at one game a piece. Carlos Ruiz holds on to the ball for a great play at the plate in the second. For you soccer fans out there the series ends when one team wins four games.

The Rays showed a lot Thursday night. B.J. Upton rebounded from his poor opener to have a hand in their first three runs. James Shields proved worthy of his nickname of "Big Game" with a stellar start when they needed it most. David Price displayed that well-beyond-his-years ability to get the biggest outs at the end of the game. And the Rays showed again they could come back from a big loss with a bigger win, beating the Phillies 4-2 in Game 2 to even the best-of-seven World Series at a game apiece. "I think we showed what we showed the whole season," Cliff Floyd said. "This is how we play. I'm hoping at the end of the season nobody has a heart attack around here because it's just so intense, so tight. Every situation comes up — eighth inning, ninth inning, there's always something going on with us." Thursday that meant taking a 4-0 lead without really hitting the ball hard (seven hits, all singles), scoring on two groundouts; a single on which the trail runner was thrown out at the plate, and a safety squeeze to score Floyd, 35.

Good Stuff in TEC: Ohio

Volunteers warm to Toledo 'blanket blitz'

One piece of fabric at a time, one snip of the scissors at a time, and tying one knot at a time, Mary Wabeke and Judy Meeks - and about 150 volunteers - are hoping to make enough blankets in the next few days to keep 500 people warm this winter.

It's called the "Blanket Downtown with Love" event, organized by Trinity Episcopal Church in Toledo. And it's actually easier than it sounds - they're "no sew" blankets made by taking two pieces of fleece, cutting a fringe along the edges, and then tying the fringe of the two pieces together.

"It's very simple," said Bud Gartz, a volunteer who was helping at the church yesterday. "All you've got to do is tie knots.

You can read all of the good stuff posts by typing good stuff into the blogs search engine.

Executive Council Responds to San Joaquin and Pittsburgh

Episcopal News Service on Executive Council (General Convention at rest) responding to the situation in the two remnant Dioceses.

During the closing sessions of its four-day meeting in Helena, the seat of the Diocese of Montana, the council passed four resolutions that speak to various aspects of its commitment to the new leadership of the dioceses of Pittsburgh and San Joaquin, as well as to other "similarly situated dioceses."

* Agreed (via Resolution A&F075) to make available up to $700,000 in 2009 for clergy salaries and other expenses in San Joaquin and other similarly situated dioceses, joined the Presiding Bishop in recognizing the current members of the San Joaquin and Pittsburgh standing committees; and "commend[ed] the work of all those involved in supporting the efforts by Dioceses to exercise their pastoral and fiduciary responsibilities in regard to the ownership of properties and funds."

* Recognized (via Resolution NAC039) "the extraordinary challenges" presented by the departure of the bishops and numerous clergy and laity in San Joaquin and Pittsburgh; commended Jefferts Schori, Anderson, and the staff of the Episcopal Church Center for the "pastoral care and support offered the clergy and people of those dioceses as they work to restructure their dioceses in order to continue to minister to the Episcopal Church in their areas;" supported the depositions of William Cox, John-David Schofield and Robert M. Duncan; and commended Jefferts Schori's request that Episcopalians to pray for all persons departing or remaining in those dioceses and for God to "lead us to new paths of reconciliation and common mission."

* Committed (via Resolution CIM035) to "being proactive in assisting dioceses whose leadership has chosen to leave the Episcopal Church" including asking the presiding officers appoint a strategy response team to assess needs, determine appropriate responses, report to council; and to meet with diocesan leaders and other interested persons in the Diocese of San Joaquin during the council's January 30-February 2 sessions in Stockton, California.

* Expressed (via Resolution NAC042) a desire to seek reconciliation with those who have left the Episcopal Church.

All here-

Local Papers on Bishop David Jones

The Pittsburgh Post Gazette

"Bishop Jones' experience in Virginia, especially his pastoral care for congregations that continued with the Episcopal Church, provides us a great resource and guiding hand," said the Rev. James Simons, president of Pittsburgh's diocesan Standing Committee, which will continue to govern the diocese until another bishop becomes the ecclesiastical authority. One of Bishop Jones' duties will be to help search for an interim bishop to serve here for a year or two.

Bishop Jones was born in Youngstown and raised in West Virginia. In his youth he often shopped in Pittsburgh and "rooted for the Pirates and the Steelers," he said.

More here-

And The Tribune Review

Jones will have no ecclesiastical authority in Pittsburgh. He may, on occasion, be asked to perform sacramental duties. Jones will continue as Virginia's bishop suffragan and maintain his residence there, spending time in Pittsburgh as needed.

Jones has close connections to the Pittsburgh area, but never had an official tie to the diocese. Born in Youngstown, Ohio, and raised in West Virginia, he often visited Pittsburgh.

"I bought my first suit at Kaufmann's ... and rooted for the Pirates and Steelers," he said.

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Bishop Bennison’s defense rests case

So much litigation so little time (in Philadelphia).

Montgomery County Court Judge Joseph Smyth, who is overseeing a (sic) unusual civil lawsuit brought by an Episcopal priest against his bishop, sent jurors home this afternoon after defense lawyers representing Bishop Charles E. Bennison Jr. rested their case.

John Lewis, who is representing the plaintiff, the Rev. David Moyer, told Smyth he was surprised by the suddenness of the defense's action and was not prepared to make closing arguments today.

Smyth ordered the trial to reconvene at 9 a.m. tomorrow for closing arguments and his instructions to the jurors, after which they will start deliberations.

Moyer is suing Bennison, head of the five-county Diocese of Pennsylvania, on grounds that he wrongfully defrocked Moyer six years ago. Bennison's lawyers have argued that the First Amendment bars civil courts from intervening in the internal affairs of a religious institution.

NY court: Episcopal diocese owns church building

The Episcopal Church wins the property fight in New York (Rochester). From Newsday. (Lt. Kaffee didn't even argue the case. ).

In a property dispute stemming from the national Episcopal rift over the ordination of a gay bishop, New York's top court ruled Thursday that the Rochester Diocese can keep the building once occupied by the breakaway All Saints Anglican Church.

Trial and midlevel appeals courts sided with the diocese, concluding it was entitled to the property under the rules of the church. The Court of Appeals agreed unanimously Thursday, saying All Saints had agreed years earlier to abide by a trust agreement covering ownership of the property.

With about 100 similar cases around the country, diocese attorney Thomas Smith said this appeared to be the first to reach a state's top court, though a midlevel California court reached the same conclusion this week. "Hopefully this will serve as the binding precedent in New York and a valuable precedent in other states," he said.


and here -

Bishop David Jones to be "Consulting" Bishop for Pittsburgh

This just in -

The Rt. Rev. David Colin Jones, the bishop suffragan of the Episcopal Diocese of Virginia, has accepted an invitation from the Episcopal Diocese of Pittsburgh to serve as a “consulting bishop” as it rebuilds.

Bishop Jones will provide the Pittsburgh diocesan Standing Committee — the current leadership team — practical advice on the details of diocesan administration, clergy deployment, and support for congregations remaining in the Episcopal Church in the United States.

“Bishop Jones’s experience in Virginia, especially his pastoral care for congregations that continued with the Episcopal Church, provides us a great resource and guiding hand,” said the Rev. James Simons, President of Pittsburgh’s Standing Committee.

The Diocese of Virginia, like Pittsburgh, has seen a handful of parishes seek to “realign” with other Anglican churches outside of the United States. As the bishop suffragan, or assisting bishop, in Virginia, Jones’s primary responsibility is for missions and church planting, and he is known to be passionate about church growth.

More here-

And from ENS

When Christian groups reunite, watch out for the next split

From the Economist. An article about how "splitting" gets into a church's DNA.

Some of the issues at stake are familiar from other Christian battlegrounds, such as the Anglican Communion, where the question of gay rights has split southern-hemisphere conservatives from northern liberals. The Dutch traditionalists reject female pastors and same-sex unions. But the Dutch old-timers’ deeper objection is to sloppy mixing of two traditions: their own Calvinism, stressing the “depravity” of mankind, and the Lutheran view, which is a bit gentler. “We pledged to follow the original Reformist path, and it is a biblical calling that you must continue to do what you promised,” says Willem van Vlastuin, a “restored” church pastor who serves 1,300 souls in the coastal town of Katwijk.

Before 2004, conservatives in the Netherlands’ reformed churches (there were two with similar names) could rub along with the liberal camp because they still belonged to bodies that claimed, at least, to be Calvinist. Once the waters were muddied by throwing in a new, Lutheran set of beliefs, the conservatives marched out. Just as happened with the Russian reunion, some clerics hovered between the amalgamated body and the dissidents, in a few cases switching sides more than once.

World Series- Phillies open with victory

The Phillies win a squeeker in Tampa Bay. For you soccer fans out there this is the first world series game Philadelphia has won since 1993.

There is no telling how this journey will end, but this is the start a championship-starved franchise and city had been searching and hoping and praying for.
The Phillies waited 15 years, and seven long days, to play again in the World Series. They didn't disappoint as Cole Hamels and Chase Utley seized the moment in a 3-2 victory over the Tampa Bay Rays at Tropicana Field.

Hamels continued to elevate his status as one of the best big-game pitchers in Phillies history. Utley came through with a two-run home run in the first inning to silence a boisterous crowd.

"Maybe he doesn't even realize where he is right now," lefthander Jamie Moyer said of Hamels. "But at some point he will."

"If you want to take the wind out of the sails and shut up the cowbells, get some home runs," manager Charlie Manuel said of Utley. "That will do it. Except at Citizens Bank Park. If you hit enough there they ring the bell. They ring the Liberty Bell."

Judge decides to keep hearing church case

More on the Bennison Moyer feud in Philadelphia.

Midway through a civil trial in which a priest is suing the Episcopal bishop who defrocked him, the judge hearing the unusual case suggested yesterday that the dispute might belong in a church court, and he appeared close to throwing it out of Montgomery County Court.
The Rev. David Moyer, rector of the Church of the Good Shepherd in Rosemont, alleges that Bishop Charles E. Bennison Jr., suspended head of the Episcopal Diocese of Pennsylvania, "fraudulently" removed him from the priesthood six years ago without a hearing before diocesan officials. Moyer seeks unspecified damages for loss of employment and mental suffering.

The case could establish a legal precedent allowing clergy in hierarchical religious institutions to sue their superiors in civil court. American courts have a long tradition of not intervening in churches' internal affairs.

Judge Joseph Smyth said the case, already in its third day, raised "important" legal issues regarding separation of church and state, but he decided to allow the trial to proceed.

Church needs time to consider covenant, says Presiding Bishop

But apparently the Presiding Bishop wants to go slowly. (See previous post) Danger- danger!

But the Presiding Bishop said that if the ACC decides to do that, "my sense is that the time is far too short before our General Convention for us to have a thorough discussion of it as a church and I'm therefore going to strongly discourage any move to bring it to General Convention," Jefferts Schori told the Executive Council. "I just think it's inappropriate to make a decision that weighty" that quickly, she added.


Covenant Design Group publishes Lambeth Commentary; provinces have until March 2009 to respond

The Covenant is coming. The Windsor process is moving onward.

The Covenant Design Group has published a document "which sets out the responses of the bishops at the Lambeth Conference in their discussions of the St. Andrew's Draft for an Anglican covenant," an October 22 news release from the Anglican Communion Office announced.

The 33-page Lambeth Commentary, compiled at the Covenant Design Group's recent meeting in Singapore, has been sent to all 38 provinces of the Anglican Communion "to assist in their discernment and response to the St. Andrew's Draft," the news release said.

The provinces have until March 9, 2009 to respond to the St. Andrew's Draft, which will also be sent -- along with the Lambeth Commentary -- to ecumenical partners of the Anglican Communion, inviting their reflections and responses.

The Covenant Design Group says it hopes that the Lambeth Commentary "will stand alongside the St. Andrew's Draft as a critique and as a stimulus for study and response. We are grateful to the bishops at the Lambeth Conference for the honesty and wisdom of their responses, and the opportunity that it has given us to address some commonly voiced concerns."

Conflict resolution methods recommended for warring bishops

From the London Times- (Don't think even Danny Devito will help much).

Warring Anglican bishops could be forced to confront each other in divorce-style "mediation" or conflict resolution, under proposals published today.

Theologians and canon lawyers responsible for drawing up the drafts of a new covenant, a document which is intended to re-unite the divided Anglican Communion around agreed practices and beliefs, have proposed that different forms of conflict resolution be examined to see if any might be suitable for use by Anglican bishops.

The document, drawn up after consultations with the bishops attending Lambeth Conference earlier this year, discusses the various types of conflict resolution that might be suitable.

Possible models include professionals involved in arbitration, mediation and reconciliation.

More here-

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Local congregation finds new hope

South Dakota moves to make sure another parish is secure

A New Hope

This year, meeting places for the congregation varied between the FIS Chapel and Eastman Hall. Just when its members started to lose hope in ever having their own facility again, and wondering what to do with the windows, Barnhardt gave them the good news.

“He just said to me, 'how would you like a church to worship in?'” said Margo Zephier, senior warden of lay ministry of the Episcopal Church of Flandreau.

By way of an anonymous donation of $35,000, a United Thank Offering grant of $15,000 and a $50,000 loan taken out by the Episcopal Diocese, a new church facility is being built for the small, hopeful congregation. And in other good news, The Rev. Charlie King was appointed to serve St. Mary's in a permanent basis, the first permanent minister that the church has seen in four years. In another bit of good news for the congregation, all seven of the refurbished windows from the old facility will be used in the construction of the new facility. And Barnhardt promised the congregation that it would have its facility in time for Christmas Eve services.

Its all here-

Bishop Donovan named Deputy for Anglican Communion Relations

From Anglican Communion News Service. Herb will do a wonderful job in this position.

Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori announced on October 20 the appointment of the Rt. Rev. Herbert A. Donovan, Jr. as Deputy to the Presiding Bishop for Anglican Communion Relations.

In this newly-developed position, Bishop Donovan will serve as the liaison for the Episcopal Church to the other 37 Provinces in the Anglican Communion, as well as to international groups, organizations and partners.

"I am honored to be asked by our Presiding Bishop to assist in the work of the Church within the Anglican Communion at this important time in our life together," noted Bishop Donovan.

"I am delighted that Bishop Donovan has accepted the call to serve as Deputy for Anglican Communion Relations," commented Presiding Bishop Jefferts Schori. "His experience and relationships within the Anglican Communion will be of immense help in this work, though his own manner of leadership is the greatest asset. I am grateful for his willingness to aid and augment our work around the Communion by putting his abundant gifts to work yet again."

"I am delighted that the Presiding Bishop has decided to appoint Bishop Herb Donovan as Deputy for Anglican Communion Relations," said the Rev. Dr. Ian Douglas, Professor of Mission and World Christianity at Episcopal Divinity School. "Because of new relationships engendered between bishops at the Lambeth Conference of 2008, The Episcopal Church is poised to move forward in God's mission with sister and brother Anglicans around the world in new ways at this time."

Lemming Pledge #3

Church work ‘can’t replace public sector’, bishop warns

English Bishop reflects on the role of the church as a social agency.

Churches and voluntary agencies are not a “backstop for the public sector,” the Anglican Bishop of Chelmsford has told the Government.

Bishop John Gladwin raised the issue during a debate he initiated in the House of Lords on the role the Government envisages for churches and faith communities in delivering welfare services.

He told peers: “The strength of the churches and, indeed, of other voluntary agencies is in their being local and offering a faith that motivates people to action.

“They have historically been the stimulators of prophetic and innovative action in the field of neighbourly care.”

He said debate should focus not on “filling gaps in state provision but on the positive role that these communities can play in meeting the needs of our society”.

Bishop Gladwin said: “The 20th century, with the development of the welfare state, saw the growing marginalisation and privatisation of religion and the increasing dependency of people on the state for social provision.

“You and I live in a double bind as a result of that experience. On the one hand, religion is viewed as a private and personal matter rather than something primarily of public concern. Religion is a hobby, a leisure-time pursuit outside the framework of public life.

More here-

PBS to feature U2charist and other local aid efforts in York

From the New Hampshire coast -

"Religion and Ethics Newsweekly" will feature St. George's Episcopal Church as part of an upcoming episode examining faith and humanitarian aid in the United States. The PBS program took interest after learning about the church's U2charist — a communion service featuring the music from the Irish rock band U2, dancing, and a call to help end global poverty — and the work of York residents Tom and Jane Sweeney. The Sweeneys recently returned from Ethiopia where they adopted their 6-month-old son Gus.

"We were looking for places that illustrate how people of faith help out people all over the world," said Kim Lawton, managing editor of "Religion and Ethics Newsweekly."

"The rector here put us in touch with a family here that has been very involved in outreach and we thought they would be great illustrations for the story," she said.

When first contacted about the television interview, Sweeney was excited about the opportunity to spread the message about global outreach.

"I think it's important to get the word out, and this is one avenue for us to do that," she said. "The extreme poverty in this world is just not necessary, and we can make an impact on that by just one person doing one thing. Our thing was to adopt Gus."

Appeals court sides with Episcopal Church

A California court awards the property to the Episcopal Church.

An appeals court sided with the Episcopalian Church on Tuesday in its dispute over who runs a Fallbrook congregation that two years ago decided to end its affiliation with the larger entity.

St. John's Parish broke away from the Episcopal Church USA in July 2006 and aligned with an Anglican diocese in Uganda. After the change, the congregation continued to meet in the same church.

The Episcopal Diocese of San Diego and some members of St. John's who did not want to break away from the Episcopal Church sued St. John's Anglican in September of that year, claiming the Anglican congregation did not have the authority to claim ownership of the building.

A trial judge ruled in favor of the breakaway members. But the 4th District Court of Appeal ruled Tuesday that the breakaway members "lacked the power and authority" to change the bylaws and articles of incorporation in place when it affiliated with the Episcopal Church in 1973.

Washington D.C. attorney David Booth Beers, who represents the Episcopal Church, said in an e-mail he had not yet read the ruling and thus declined to comment.

Eric Solhgren, the attorney for the breakaway members, said his clients are "seriously considering" asking the state Supreme Court to review the case.

"Our view is that the ruling is in error," Solhgren said, adding that the state's highest court is already considering a similar case.

The ruling does not take effect for at least 30 days. In the meantime, Solhgren said, the church is "still meeting, active, and growing."

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

History muddies battle over church

An update on the Virginia property dispute. Christ Church will deed its property to the dioceses.

And on Sunday in Alexandria, members of the historic Christ Church voted overwhelmingly that, should it be proved their parish owns part of the Falls Church land, they wish to deed it to Virginia Episcopal Bishop Peter J. Lee. When asked about the nature of the vote and an exact tally of "yes" and "no" votes, senior warden Rawles Jones said "no comment." The court hearing - and the church vote - is part of a multi-trial lawsuit that has lasted a year and is thought to be the largest property lawsuit in Episcopal Church history.

When conservatives left the denomination in late 2006 and early 2007, they took millions of dollars of property with them, including property dating back to Colonial times.
Circuit Judge Randy I. Bellows has ruled against the diocese several times, saying the conservatives have a right to the property, thanks to a unique Virginia state "division" statute dating back to the Civil War. The diocese, in turn, has reached back to Colonial times to help establish a claim to the land.

'Stand up and speak up,' Bonnie Anderson urges Grace Cathedral congregation

Episcopal News Service-

House of Deputies President Bonnie Anderson encouraged a Grace Cathedral congregation October 19 to "get into trouble, not stay out of trouble" by exercising moral authority and leadership through keeping baptismal promises.

"That is the way of the cross. It is from Jesus, a servant, a troublemaker that we take our moral leadership direction," said Anderson, while preaching at the San Francisco cathedral's Sunday morning service. "And if we follow it, if we keep our baptismal promises, we are willingly vulnerable and we will get into trouble.

More here

The Right Rev Richard Wood--Campaigner against black oppression, Dies

From the Guardian-

The Right Rev Richard Wood, who has died aged 88, was one of several English-born Anglican clergymen to be expelled from Namibia (formerly South West Africa) for standing up to the brutal treatment of the colony's black people. In a celebrated case in 1974, he initiated an action in the South African courts that halted the flogging of South West Africa People's Organisation (Swapo) freedom fighters by the black puppet regime in Ovamboland. For his sins, South Africa's then prime minister, John Vorster, kicked him out.

Wood was born in Oldham, Lancashire, the son of a cotton-mill engineer. He trained as an electrical engineer, and at the outbreak of the second world war joined the RAF, working on Fairey Battle light bombers at an airfield in Épernay, France. After the war, while working in India, he was inspired by a Tamil priest to become a devout Christian. He was ordained in 1953 and emigrated to South Africa two years later.

There's a God-shaped hole in Westminster

Opinion piece from the London Times on the lack of faith in governement in Britain.

Certainly, politicians find it easier to “come out” as atheists than to profess that they have a religious faith. Nick Clegg, David Miliband and George Osborne have all said recently that they do not believe in God - something that would be unthinkable in the United States, where presidential candidates compete to win over religious voters. Although David Cameron sends his daughter to a church school, he describes his faith as being “like Magic FM in the Chilterns”, something that fades in and out, as if he is rather embarrassed by the whole idea.

There is a curious mismatch here. MPs place their hands on a Bible when they swear the Oath of Allegiance on taking up their seats; prayers are said every day in Parliament - and yet the favourite book for politicians on holiday last year was The God Delusion, Richard Dawkins' atheist tract. It would be hard to find an MP who prefers the God-fearing C.S. Lewis to the divinity-baiting Phillip Pullman.

On a mission from God

An Episcopal minister turns a West Side church into a vibrant cultural center—with a little help from her rock & roll friends.

Inside the Epiphany Episcopal Church on the city’s Near West Side—the newest space being booked by Empty Bottle Presents—the Rev. Meigan Cameron watched as her pews filled with beer-guzzling twentysomethings and a tech crew set up guitar amps and a drum kit near her altar in preparation for indie-rock trio Low to preach its gospel of slow-burning doom. Cameron didn’t flinch or seem the least bit flustered. After all, making Epiphany a part-time rock venue is all part of Cameron’s larger plan to mold her church into an active cultural hub.

Perhaps the interest generated among the crowd can be attributed to the fact that Cameron conversed with all the shaggy-haired hipsters as if they were already a part of her flock. “When people try to contrast Saturday night as secular and carnal and Sunday morning as holy and spiritual, I think we’re creating a false dichotomy,” she says. “If I can’t treat the people around me at a concert on Saturday night with decency, then I’m not living how I profess on Sunday.”

Its all here-

Ancient traditions for a modern world

Episcopal News service piece on a "new" religious order.

Companion of St. Luke re-interpret Benedict's Rule

Sixteen years ago, Michael-John Austin approached his parish priest in Chicago about the possibility of founding a new type of religious community in the Episcopal Church.
"He said he thought I could do it -- and then added that I was out of my mind," Abbot Michael-John, as he is now known, remembers with a smile.

The Companions of St. Luke, he says, has become one of the fastest-growing religious communities in the United States. From its beginning in Chicago to its current location in southeast Iowa, it draws on ancient traditions of Benedictine spirituality interpreted in innovative ways.

"Our charism is to make monastic life available to everyone: single, married, with children or without, whether they are able to live at the abbey or not," says Abbot Michael-John, 57.

The community is one of three Episcopal Benedictine orders in the United States. It combines characteristics of an order (typically made up of vowed, celibate members) and a community (which can include married people and usually has no mother house). Its members range in age from 35 to the late 70s. Many work in the health field, in part because of the community's connection to St. Luke, the patron of physicians.

The rest is here -

Good Stuff in TEC: Delaware

Youth are on a mission at
St. Peter's Episcopal Church in Lewes

Puerto Rico fit the requirements of a Spanish-speaking nation where the Episcopal Church had a strong presence, where poverty was high and where some residents spoke English. The other candidate countries, Mexico and Dominican Republic, would have required passports, making the Caribbean island all the more appealing.

Harris said he was proud of the group for the way it handled the Puerto Rico trip. “There wasn’t any abrasion, even when we were desperately tired, confused and encountering cultural difficulties,” he said.

Youth group members helped clean up a local church, and they also went on a scavenger hunt though a San Juan market as part of a two-and-a-half-day crash course in culture.

“The first missionary role is to learn,” said Harris, who charged students with tasks to test their language skills. At the market, they had to purchase two vegetables they had never seen before and learn their names in Spanish. Sounds simple enough, he said, with a bit of a grin, but an easy task becomes more difficult in a strange place combined with language barriers.

More here-

You can read all of the Good Stuff posts by typing good stuff into the blog's serach engnine.

Civil trial opens for embattled Episcopal bishop

The Bennison trial opened yesterday. A report form the Inquirer.

Lawyers in the civil trial of suspended Episcopal Bishop Charles E. Bennison Jr., who is being sued by a priest he defrocked, painted sharply different pictures yesterday of villain and victim in a decade-long feud.

The unusual trial could establish a precedent for clergy in hierarchical religious institutions to turn to civil courts to challenge their superiors over personnel matters.

In his opening statement at the Montgomery County Courthouse, lawyer John Lewis portrayed his client, the Rev. David Moyer, as the target of a cynical plot by Bennison to "fraudulently" remove him from the priesthood.

Bennison sat in the courtroom wearing a dark suit and red-striped tie instead of the traditional clerical collar and purple vest of a bishop.

Early this month, a special church court had ordered him stripped of his clerical status on the ground that he failed to intervene in his brother's sexual abuse of a girl in Bennison's California parish about 35 years ago.

Bennison has said he would appeal that sentence to a higher church court. Although he remains the nominal bishop of the diocese, the Episcopal Church USA suspended him in October from exercising the duties of his office when it ordered his church trial.

Monday, October 20, 2008

Ultimatum given to Christian/Muslim priest

More on the "Muslim Episcopal Priest" flap

The Episcopal Church’s Muslim-Anglican priest has been given six months to recant of her profession of Islam, or be defrocked.
Last week, the Bishop of Rhode Island, the Rt Rev Geralyn Wolf affirmed the decision of a diocesan review committee that the Rev Ann Holmes Redding had “abandoned the Communion of the Episcopal Church by formal admission into a religious body not in communion with the Episcopal Church.”

In an interview with the Seattle diocesan newspaper in June 2007, Dr Redding stated that she was both a Christian and a Muslim. “The way I understand Jesus is compatible with Islam,” she said. “I was following Jesus and he led me into Islam.”
Islam and Christianity were complementary, she had told the Episcopal Voice. The Muslim profession of faith, “there is no God but God and Mohammed is the prophet of God,” did not contradict anything in Christianity, nor did the professions made at a Christian baptism contradict anything in Islam, Dr Redding said.

California Clerics Ousted for Leaving Episcopal Church

Religious News Service article on the depositions in San Joaquin. Abandon Communion !

An Episcopal Church committee voted Friday (Oct. 17) to oust more than 50 California clerics who left the denomination last year to join a more conservative province in the Anglican Communion. The 16 deacons and 36 priests have six months to recant and return to the Episcopal Church before they are defrocked by Bishop Jerry Lamb of the Fresno-based Diocese of San Joaquin, according to Episcopal News Service. Charged with "abandoning" the Episcopal Church, the 52 deacons and priests would no longer be allowed to function as Episcopal clergy. Diocesan spokeswoman Nancy Key said two clergy have decided to rejoin the Episcopal Church since the committee began considering charges against them.

Kevin Foster, who pitched for Phillies and Cubs, dies at 39

Kevin Foster, who spent seven years in the majors pitching mostly for the Chicago Cubs, has died of cancer. He was 39.

He died in an Oklahoma City hospital Saturday after a six-month bout with renal cell carcinoma, brother Mark Foster said.

"He loved baseball, he loved people and people loved him," Mark Foster said. "He was a happy person who got along with everybody, and we will miss him."

Foster was drafted by the Montreal Expos in the 29th round in 1987 as an infielder. He converted to pitching three years later. The right-hander was traded to Seattle and then Philadelphia, where he made his first major league appearance in 1993.

His best season with the Cubs came in 1995, when he was 12-11 with a 4.51 ERA. Foster tied Brad Radke for the most home runs allowed (32) in the majors that year, and he also hit his only homer in the big leagues.

The rest is here -,0,6405424.story

The Vicar of Dibley could be making a return to our TV screens - as a woman bishop

Further update on women Bishops in England !

She told an audience at Cheltenham Literature Festival that she believes writer Richard Curtis has a new series about her best loved character up his sleeve.

When the Vicar of Dibley ended with Geraldine's wedding, the plan was that it would all be so final that there could never be any revival, French told an audience of about 1,000 at Cheltenham Town Hall.

But she discovered after the end of series party that Richard Curtis had asked for the Dibley set to be kept in storage and not destroyed.

An Interview with the Rector of Trinity Wall Street

Rev. James Cooper, rector of Trinity Church on Wall Street talks about the financial crisis, 9-11 and faith.

Located on Wall Street and Broadway in the heart of Manhattan's Financial District, and believed to be the wealthiest parish in the United States due to its large landholdings of prime Manhattan real estate, Trinity has served as the spiritual home of the city's rich and poor for centuries.

Church buildings were used as hostels and soup kitchens during the Great Depression. On 9/11 people fled to the church, which is located just four blocks from where the towers once stood, to escape the pandemonium on the streets. They received spiritual comfort but shelter was short-lived, as they sang hymns, the first tower collapsed and the church was filled with the choking dust that blanketed much of lower Manhattan, forcing the evacuation of the church and its nearby preschool.

Trinity is now trying to help people who have been affected by the brewing financial crisis, offering free spiritual and psychological counseling, stress management tips and assistance with job searches. I spoke with the Rev. Dr. James H. Cooper, 17th rector of the Parish of Trinity Church, about what he and his parish have learned about getting through difficult times.

Interview is here-

Springs churches finding new life after trails, tribulations

Don Armstrong is quoted here as saying that the parish will be joining a newly created province in the Anglican Church and that his vestry is being "interrogated"! I wonder if they still wear fedoras in Colorado Springs?

Grace Church & St. Stephen's: This gothic landmark has had it all: prestige, prosperity, a storied history - and now, a fight to the death with its former mother church, the Episcopal Diocese.

Out of the limelight for a year, the Rev. Don Armstrong had some fresh news Sunday about the legal battle over who owns this stately property.

The rupture, as in many dioceses around the country, revolves around conservative parishes rejecting the increasingly malleable doctrines of the Episcopal Church for strict, traditional Anglicanism.

Armstrong announced that three former vestry members are being deposed today in the ongoing civil lawsuit, which goes to trial in February. (He'll be deposed soon.)

Still master of the dramatic quote, Armstrong asked for prayers for the vestry members. "Interrogations by the other side are not pretty - pray they can face the enemy who challenges us," he said.

After losing one-third of his parishioners, membership is now back up to 1,400, he told me. Later this year the parish will be joining a newly created province of conservative Anglican churches. And how will he feel if the diocese gets the property? Armstrong shrugged: "Our community is not defined by a building."

Church move in the works- LA

A report on saving an historic church in Los Angeles. Abandoned because it was too small. Why they would have two Bishop's chairs is beyond me. Most of us find one to be plenty.

The 1884 structure - San Pedro's first house of worship that housed St. Peter's Episcopal Church - has not been used in years and has fallen prey to vandals and thieves. It sits isolated in the largely abandoned Harbor View Cemetery at 24th Street and Grand Avenue.

After moving into their new campus on Ninth Street, the St. Peter's congregation signed the care of the old church building over to the Los Angeles Department of Recreation and Parks.
But city officials have been unable to properly secure and care for the old church, to the distress of congregation members and local historians.

It's been the target of repeated break-ins, thefts and vandalism. Several items of furnishing have been stolen from the church over the years, but the original pews and other items remain intact.

Among the missing items: two bishops' chairs, the lectern, an ornate candelabra, a 5-foot-tall carved angel, the wooden figure of Christ that once adorned the pulpit and a cross that was hacked from the wooden altar.

The rest is here -

Unusual civil trial reflects Episcopal divide- Philadelphia

From the Philadelphia Inquirer. My we are a litigious lot aren't we ?

Just three weeks after a church court ruled that he should be removed from office, Episcopal Bishop Charles E. Bennison Jr. (pictured) faces the start of an unusual civil trial today that could cost the financially struggling Diocese of Pennsylvania millions of dollars.

Bennison, 63, is being sued for damages in Montgomery County Court of Common Pleas by the Rev. David Moyer, who alleges that Bennison used fraud and deception to defrock him as a priest of the diocese six years ago.

Moyer's attorney, John Lewis, said that Moyer v. Bennison appears to be the first trial in American jurisprudence involving "the ecclesiastical discipline of a priest in a hierarchical church."

Bennison's lawyer, Mary Kohart, of the Center City law firm Drinker, Biddle & Reath L.L.P., fought hard to block the trial, arguing repeatedly in county court that the First Amendment bars civil courts from deciding the personnel matters of religious institutions.

But after hearing four pretrial motions to dismiss, Common Pleas Court Judge Thomas Branca last year sided with Moyer, who had argued that he had no other remedy because Bennison had improperly denied him a church trial.

Its the Rays and the Phillies in The World Series

Tampa Bay Rays beat Boston Red Sox 3-1 in Game 7 to advance to World Series.

When the biggest game in franchise history ended Sunday night, the Tampa Bay Rays sprinted in from all areas of Tropicana Field -- from their positions, from their dugout, from their bullpen -- and converged on pitcher David Price.

Flashbulbs popped. The sellout crowd of 40,473 screamed, clapped and rang cowbells. It was a celebration few people thought possible when the season began.

Led by the power pitching of Matt Garza, Price's relief work and timely hitting from Evan Longoria, Rocco Baldelli and Willy Aybar, the Rays had defeated the Boston Red Sox 3-1 in Game 7 of the American League Championship Series and catapulted themselves into their first World Series.

"For us to beat them under these circumstances is really special," Rays Manager Joe Maddon said, close to tears at his postgame news conference.

For you soccer fans out there the World Series is seven games and starts Wednesday.

More here-,0,7920486.story

Sunday, October 19, 2008

New Link: This day in baseball- Today "Harry the Hat"

Found a nice site for all of you Baseball buffs out there. It takes today's date and tells what happened on it in the past. For example " October 19 1964 Harry 'the Hat' Walker is named as manager of the Pirates."

Harry was the National League Bartting Champ in 1947 and the year before it was Walker who hit a single on which Enos Slaughter made a "mad dash" and scored from first to win the World series. He managed the Pirates in the mid sixties.

The link is to the right near the top.

Lemming Pledge #2

Good Stuff in TEC: Central Gulf Coast

Diocese of Central Gulf Coast has a place for needy children. Where does an orphan get a top hat ?

Wilmer Hall

In a perfect world all children would grow up in caring and loving homes. Unfortunately, we live in a sinful and broken world where many young people long for a place to call home, or to obtain services to help them get through the problems of life. We do not understand all things, but by God’s saving grace we respond to the needs of others. We seek to serve Christ in all persons and to love our neighbors as we love ourselves.

Bishop Richard H. Wilmer recognized the needs of his neighbors and responded by establishing a home for children whose families had been ravaged by war, poverty, or disease. Since 1864, the Episcopal Church has been faithful to Bishop Wilmer’s vision to minister to children and youth in need regardless of religion, class, race, or ethnic background.

As we look to the future, we anticipate doing great things for children in Christ’s name. We will continue residential services; help children learn; provide therapy and life skills counseling; and help teenagers on the brink of adulthood make a successful transition. We are also exploring options in community-based services and locations outside Mobile county.

To do all this we need your help. First, we ask for your prayers -- that God will lead us where we need to go. Second, we need your interest, moral support, and participation in our activities. Third, we urge you to support us financially and in-kind.

Jesus said, “Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of heaven belongs to such as these.” May we, by word and action, follow his command.

In God's hands

A report on how the economic crisis is effecting churches on Long Island. They call it prayer. (The hat is divine)

Reverend George Bonner, Rector of St Albans Episcopal Church, a mainly West Indian parish in Canarsie in Brooklyn where scores of Barbadians join Jamaicans, Guyanese, and other West Indians every Sunday to worship, gave a similar reaction.

"People are worried, no doubt about it," he said.

"Throughout our community, there is considerable uncertainty," said Bonner. "Mortgage payments are escalating as rates reset and in this mainly middle-class home-owning community where people take pride in their homes and see homeownership as an indication of success as immigrants, for instance, the fear is real as jobs are threatened. We are uncertain about the future. But people remain committed to their church and are praying more."

More here -