Saturday, November 8, 2008


The Bishop of Jamaica was at Calvary Church Pittsburgh for The Feast of St. Michael's and preached the following sermon. He speaks eloquently about the Anglican Covenant and the responsibility we all bear towards one another in the communion.

Let me say something about the proposed Anglican Covenant as a way of "affirming the bonds of affection." There was large support at Lambeth for the idea of a Covenant and this awaits further fine tuning from the design group. A covenant is not a contract and therefore any suggestion of a covenant becoming some kind of legal instrument, enforceable by the threat of exclusion from the Communion, if one does not conform, must be resisted. This was the general feeling at Lambeth. Rabbi Sir Jonathan Sacks suggested a way in which we could think of Covenant in non-legalistic terms. In a greatly appreciated address at one of our plenary sessions he said in part:

"In a contract, two or more individuals, each pursuing their own interest, come together to make an exchange for mutual benefit A covenant is something different. In a covenant, two or more individuals, each respecting the dignity and integrity of the other, come together in a bond of love and trust, to share their interests, sometimes even to share their lives, by pledging their faithfulness to one another, to do together what neither can achieve alone. A contract is a transaction. A covenant is a relationship. Or to put it slightly differently: a contract is about interests. A covenant is about identity. It is about you and me coming together to form an 'us'. That is why contracts benefit, but covenants transform" (Sacks).

Nathan Humphrey dissects Bishop Iker's letter To The Diocese of Ft. Worth

The fourth (and final) diocese to vote on realignment will be Ft. Worth, next weekend. Bishop Jack Iker wrote to the Diocese describing The Episcopal Church with the same sort of distortions we have heard in Pittsburgh. Nathan Humphrey, a priest in the Diocese of Washington DC goes through it section by section. Its a little long but helpfully accurate. (Thanks to Bruce Robison for sending this along)

•Iker :Our Diocese believes that heretical teaching by the church causes separation and division, that unity and truth must go together. TEC believes we should tolerate heresies and false teaching for the sake of remaining together.

Humphrey: Some elements within TEC may see the comprehensive nature of Anglicanism as being accommodationist. My own view is that heresies and false teaching exists everywhere, and within every Christian soul. We should follow the parable of the Wheat and the Weeds. Heresy does not in itself cause schism. Schism causes schism. The remedy for schism is choosing to maintain a faithful, stable, kenotic witness and to proclaim the truth as one understands it in love, constantly praying for patience and perseverence and the grace of conversion for oneself and others, and the gift of joy and thanksgiving under all circumstances, whether positive or negative. This remedy is edifying to the Church and contributes to its reform. Schism simply multiplies sects and confirms heresy where it already grows. Schism is heresy's greatest handmaiden. Heresy flourishes when people are deluded into thinking that separation will ensure pure doctrine and right order.

Diocese to sell roomy Shadyside mansion

I found this rather inspiring. It looks like Bishop Zubik understands the simplicty of the faith. From the front page of the Pittsburgh Tribune Review.

The Catholic Diocese of Pittsburgh will sell a Shadyside mansion that housed five of its leaders.

The diocese has begun storing the contents of the 24-room home, which overlooks the 5000 block of Fifth Avenue.

"We're definitely going to sell it," said diocesan spokesman the Rev. Ron Lengwin. The clearing of the contents is the first step in the process. A real estate agent has not been hired.

The sale of the property -- donated to the diocese in 1949 by David I.B. McCahill -- was made possible by Bishop David A. Zubik's decision to live elsewhere. Zubik, who was installed last year, chose to live in St. Paul's Seminary.

Cardinals John Dearden, John Wright and Anthony Bevilacqua and Bishops Vincent M. Leonard and Donald Wuerl lived in the red brick home with stone trim and a stone fountain. Its Jacobethan Revival architecture has a gabled roof and a symmetrical facade with bay windows. The arched entranceway has a double glass door with decorative wrought iron over glass.

Good Stuff in TEC: Michigan

We hear so much about the "bad" stuff in the Episcopal Church. I think we need to remember that there are thousands of Episcopal Parishes doing effective ministry. This from Holland Michigan.

Grace Episcopal offers two programs

Grace Episcopal Church will launch two short-term programs — a three-week course beginning Sunday morning on “Parenting in the Early Years” and an issue-oriented movie and discussion series on Wednesday evenings.

Jean Russner, a child and adolescent specialist for Holland Hospital’s Behavioral Health Services, will lead the parenting course, focusing on what has been called the “critical behavioral intersection” for child development. Parents and grandparents of young children in the community are invited to participate.

Good Stuff in TEC: Tennessee

St. Paul’s Episcopal Provides Funding For Bus For St. Barnabas

St. Barnabas Senior Living Services has received a $15,000 grant from St. Paul’s Episcopal Church towards the purchase of a transportation bus to serve the residents of its two downtown campuses.

The funds were provided as a grant from St. Paul’s Endowment Fund and has made possible the purchase of a 15-passenger bus that will also accommodate one or two wheelchairs.

“The bus will make it so much easier to arrange group outings,” said Chris Tarziers, St. Barnabas interim CEO. “Our residents will greatly benefit from St. Paul’s generosity.”

St. Barnabas has enjoyed a long-standing relationship with St. Paul’s. Beyond its instrumentality in establishing St. Barnabas as Chattanooga’s first quality elder care organization, St. Paul’s Episcopal Church congregants have been regularly involved in the furtherance of its mission and operations.

Climate change pushing lemmings over the edge

While we're on the topic of realignment. I found this interesting article.

Once famous for their numbers, Norwegian lemmings are disappearing, say scientists, who point an accusing finger at global warming.

The hamster-like rodents burst forth in massive numbers from their sub-Arctic homes every three to five years in a frantic search for food.

The mad dash sometimes causes them to race over clifftops and plummet into the sea, thus giving rise to the theory -- now discounted -- of mass suicide.

Quincy members vote to leave Episcopal Church, align with Southern Cone

The tiny diocese of Quincy in Illinois (one of the three remaining dioceses that refuse to ordain women) has voted to affiliate with the Southern Cone.
This from the Chicago Tribune-

The Diocese of Quincy's governing synod has voted resoundingly to leave the national Episcopal Church.

The announcement came Friday afternoon during the group's meeting at Quincy Country Club. In the past five years the Peoria-based Diocese of Quincy and some of the other conservative-leaning dioceses around the nation have threatened to leave the Episcopal Church to join other Anglican bodies.

The diocese has 24 churches and missions and about 1,800 members in its Quincy, Rock Island and Peoria deaneries.,0,4087555.story

And from Episcopal New Service-

Members of Quincy's leadership, including former diocesan bishop Keith Ackerman, who retired on November 1, have been at odds with the wider church over such theological issues as the church's attitude toward homosexuality.

The vote on the resolution to leave the Episcopal Church was taken by orders. Members of the clergy voted 41 to 14 in favor of the resolution. Lay delegates voted 54 to 12 in favor of the resolution.

The second resolution stated that the Diocese of Quincy "wishes to accept the gracious invitation extended by the Anglican Church of the Southern Cone in November, 2007, to offer membership to extra-provincial dioceses on an emergency basis."

On the resolution to join the Southern Cone, clergy voted 46 to 4 in favor. Lay delegates voted 55 to 8 to approve the resolution.

Duncan elected bishop of breakaway Episcopalians

From this morning's Post Gazette. In the words of Louie Renault "I'm shocked, shocked!" (Louie's in the hat).

By the way its interesting that there were 91 fewer lay deputies and 81 fewer clergy than at the Oct. 4th Convention. That's basically half.

He was the only candidate, receiving all 100 lay votes and all but one disqualified ballot from 79 clergy.

"It's not often you get to vote for the same bishop twice," said an elated Rev. Ann Paton, associate rector of the Church of the Ascension, Oakland.

Bishop Duncan was first elected here in 1995. He became a champion of Episcopalians who believe their denomination no longer upheld biblical authority, salvation through Jesus or Christian sexual ethics. Because of his efforts to remove the diocese from the Episcopal Church and realign it with a theologically conservative Anglican province in another country, the Episcopal House of Bishops voted on Sept. 18 to remove him. On Oct. 4 the majority of the diocese voted to secede and realign with the Anglican Province of the Southern Cone, based in Argentina.

Friday, November 7, 2008

Lemming Pledge #9

See them all by clicking on "lemmings" in the labels below.

San Joaquin Earmarks All Assessments for Legal Fees

I've heard through some reliable sources that San Joaquin has not earmarked its entire budget for legal expenses. We'll see it there's a correction in the future.

All of the $260,000 the reorganizing Episcopal Diocese of San Joaquin expects to collect next year in assessment income will be allocated to its ongoing court battle with the leadership of the Anglican Diocese of San Joaquin. Delegates approved the measure during the diocese’s Oct. 24-26 convention.

The diocese, one of several that are reorganizing or expected to reorganize after a majority of their diocesan conventions vote to leave The Episcopal Church, will receive financial assistance from the national Executive Council. Resolution A&F075, approved during council’s meeting in Helena, Mont., Oct. 21-24, authorized up to $700,000 in 2009 for clergy salaries and other expenses in San Joaquin and other similarly situated dioceses. The budget approved by San Joaquin delegates assumes receiving $597,611 in funding from the program budget of General Convention.

Primates Meeting Set for Jan. 31-Feb. 6

This just in from the Living Church. What happened to the pointy hats?

The next meeting of the primates of the Anglican Communion will be Jan. 31 through Feb. 6, in Egypt, The Living Church has learned.

Among the topics expected to be discussed are the proposed Anglican Covenant and the three-fold moratoria proposed during the Lambeth Conference by the Windsor Continuation Group.

In a letter written shortly after Lambeth, Archbishop of Canterbury Rowan Williams proposed using the indaba discussion process used during Lambeth for at least part of the primates’ meeting.

The primates will meet almost exactly two years after their last meeting, which was held in Tanzania.

Obama win is good for Africa, Kenyan church leaders say

From the Anglican Journal in Canada. And I thought the East African Bishops were conservatives.

Nairobi Kenyan church leaders have hailed the election on Nov. 4 of Sen. Barack Obama as the 44th president of the United States of America, saying it is a positive turn for Africa that can help steer good governance on the continent.“I want congratulate Obama. I think his winning will bring hope and healing to the whole world,” said Anglican Bishop Joseph Wasonga. “His election has shown that America is truly democratic.”

Mr. Obama will be the first mixed-race president in the United States. He was born in Hawaii to a white mother from Kansas and a Kenyan father.

In Kogelo village, in the Siaya district of western Kenya, where the president-elect’s father came from, hundreds of local people converged to celebrate with Mr. Obama’s Kenyan grandmother and other members of the extended family. Clan members were preparing to slaughter cattle and chickens for a feast.

“It is a positive turn for Africa,” Bishop Wasonga told Ecumenical News International from his diocese of Maseno West. “He has allowed a school to be named after him. We hope he will find ways of supporting it.”

Chocolates for the elect show Calvin’s soft centre

From the "Truth is Stanger than Fiction" Department. In the Church Times. (Where do buy an orange top hat?)

CHOCOLATE BON-BONS have been created by a Swiss chocolatier to honour the 500th anniversary of the birth of the Reformer John Calvin The chocolates were ordered by the Federation of Swiss Protestant Churches.

“It was an interesting challenge,” said Blaise Poyet of the Maison Poet company. “It’s not easy to represent theological ideas by using the taste buds,” he told Ecumenical News International. Getting the taste right took weeks of discussion and research. He has included ingredi ents local to Geneva which were available 500 years ago. They include lemon verbena, which was used to represent the reformer’s ability to plant new ideas and to see them flourish.

The first layer of the sweet was based on a smooth, runny praline mix. “But we have reformed it,” Mr Poyet said. He had used crunchy caramelised hazelnuts, and salt from the Alps, to make the praline slightly savoury. He also used a “chocolate grand cru from Bolivia”, made from 68-per-cent cocoa paste, to signify Calvin’s theology of perfection.

St. Francis El Paso leaves TEC

I ran piece on this sevral days ago, but here's more. For those who may not know, Bishop Frey is the former Dean of Trinity Seminary in Ambridge.

A statement released by the diocese said that the acting Bishop William Frey --- who had been appointed bishop following the resignation of former Bishop Jeffrey Steenson who last year left the Episcopal Church for the Roman Catholic Church ---- informed the parish that ”if they made the decision Linkto leave the Episcopal Church, they could not take their property with them."

However, the parish stated it would contest the diocese’s claim of ownership. “As early as 2004, we let it be known that our by-laws clearly outlined how and why we owned our own property,” Mr Munden said. “We built this church with money from our parishioners --- not one dime came from the Episcopal Church or from the Diocese. This church and grounds belong to St Francis on the Hill.” St Francis is the second El Paso Episcopal parish to quit the diocese. In 2008 St Clements, one of the largest parishes in the diocese, seceded from the Episcopal Church, and was permitted by Bishop Steenson to take its property with them.

A long way from Rome

From the Guardian in London. Reflections on interfaith dialogue and living in community.

While some engage in dialogue to the point of self-sacrifice it is worth noting that dialogue is not the exclusive preserve of the church or other faith communities. Nor is it to be limited to high-level relations and negotiations. In recent years, university departments have called together representatives of different faith communities to work on shared analyses of their texts, to which the Cambridge University "Common Word" project pays eloquent testimony. Identifying what separates and is difficult in a tradition's texts is as significant as recognising shared scriptures.

But essentially, the most crucial dialogue is the daily interaction of community living. Across the world more and more people are living in cities, some of them of more than a million inhabitants. And it is in our cities that all faith communities are predominately present. In my own inner-city neighbourhood of Leeds West, we have Anglican churches, Catholic parishes, Methodist chapels (John Wesley personally visited our neighbourhood on his journeys), new Pentecostal churches, Baptist chapels, Sikh gurdwaras, Hindu temples, a community of Buddhists, Muslim mosques as well as the presence of some Jews. In other words, it is truly multifaith.

Thirteen Books That Shaped America

When I heard about this book in a teaser on NPR I was trying to guess which one's were listed. It never occurred to me that one of them would be in the family. William Bradford is my 12th great grandfather. Apparently he wouldn't be too pleased with me right now as the excerpt about reforming the church below points out. (Maybe if he had a bigger hat he wouldn't look so cranky.)

Bradford's account of the early Pilgrim adventures offered an alternative reality, a world in which fiercely united and determined men and women put their faith firmly in the will of God. They reveled in their independence from the Church of England and its hierarchies, which had forced them into exile in Holland. Unlike other Puritans who settled in New England (mostly in Massachusetts), these were the hard core, known as Separatists. They did not believe in trying to reform the Anglican church from within, as did most Puritans. They might well have remained in Leyden, where most of them were concentrated, had poverty as well as the prospect of Holland being overrun by Spanish Catholics not prompted them to set off for the New World.

Jubilant bishops (and others) greet first black US president

From the Church Times in England.

The Rector of Calvary Episcopal Church, Dr Harold Lewis, author of a book on the African American struggle for recognition in the Epis copal Church, said he was delighted and elated. “It signals a new day in American history. The rules have to be rewritten.”

Dr Lewis was the first African American rector in a parish he described as “historically moneyed, old steel barons, pretty straitlaced”. But more than three-quarters of the population were Obama supporters, he said. “The important thing is, he didn’t do business as usual. A lot of his supporters looked beyond his race as an impediment and saw the man, saw his major contribution as an ability to bring people together.

“He got votes from what until now would have been considered unlikely sources. Before the Iowa caucus, there was a foregone conclusion that blacks would get support in black areas, but there are virtually no blacks in Iowa. He has transcended the racial stereotypes and racial applications, and really has done much to fulfil Dr King’s dream. . .

“He is a black man who doesn’t make black the issue. He has trans cended race, while at the same time using it.

Thursday, November 6, 2008

Good Stuff in TEC: Texas

Students help those in South America

One-hundred and fifteen boxes filled with candies, toys, paper, colors and pencils were stacked up in Jody Brown's math classroom at Trinity Episcopal Middle School.
The school's student council partnered with the Trinity Episcopal Church to take part in the Samaritan's Purse project.

The students' initial goal was to collect 40 boxes, but that number was quickly surpassed when the student council was able to encourage their peers to collect items to put in the boxes.

"It was amazing how we all came together to help out these children in another country," Theodore Boozalis, eighth-grader and student council representative, said.

A Christian vision of life after death

The Rev. Samuel Gregory Jones reflects on a Christian understanding of the afterlife and what it means to be a citizen if the Kingdom now. Sounds pretty orthodox to me.

As an Episcopal priest, I consider one of my primary ministries to be pastoring to folks in life and death. To be sure, as Christians we believe the Gospel is good because of what it has to say to us about our mortality and our hope for eternal life in Christ.

We proclaim that Jesus was the incarnation of grace, the embodiment of God's self-giving love, the Son of God made flesh, who died for our sins on the cross, who rose from the dead, and who ascended to "sit at the right hand of the Father." We pin all our hopes on the basic message of Christ: who he was, what he said and what he did.

The rest is here.

Edifice a 'green vocation'

A report on the environmentally friendly administrative building in the Diocese of Utah. Its not easy being green.

The first book of the Old Testament inspired the Episcopal Diocese of Utah's new administration building built next to St. Mark's Cathedral to give solid support to loving the Earth.
The building is the brainchild of the diocese's 10th bishop, Carolyn Tanner Irish, an expression of her dedication to the holiness of the Earth.

"The Earth is a gift to us. It is a garden. It is our home," she says while leading a tour of the building. "We can't be thoughtless about how we treat the planet."

The building is made of sustainable brick and cultured sandstone. A cool roof of light-colored membrane reflects heat. Massive windows and clerestories bring in the outdoors. All of the plumbing fixtures are low-water. The insulation is thick, and the wood framing the deep-set windows is sustainably farmed in Brazil.

Real transformation evident in an unlikely area

A report from South Africa about an Anglican congregation embracing diversity in a healthy way.

In the pews I find white and black Tukkies students, some of whom provide the youth leadership at St Hilda’s . There are working-class whites in those pews alongside African immigrants. Black and white, middle class and poor, South African and foreigner, young and old worship freely in this church.

Are there struggles here? Absolutely, for I am asked to talk about racism and community. Transformation means grappling with difficult issues, and the leadership of St Hilda’s is up to the challenge. These are the places where people try to make sense of our apartheid legacy even as they insist on building a hopeful future. Their faith is practical: it means finding ways of living together in ways that capture the meaning of that sacred word, the church.

My next shock comes with the announcement: “The church offering will be given away.” What? Imagine millionaire preacher Benny Hinn or one of those other fake American evangelists saying: “Everything we collect today will be going directly to the women’s prison as a gift.”

Local churches are feeling the financial crunch as demands get greater

From the Lehigh Valley in Eastern PA.

It makes sense that churches are starting to feel the sting from a slumping economy and the Wall Street meltdown. Often churches are where people show up for help. And at Trinity Episcopal Church in Bethlehem more people have been showing up at the church's soup kitchen.

The church's Soup Kitchen Coordinator Liz Miller says the church has served more than 1,500 meals for this year through September than during the same period in 2007.

Nate McClouth wins the Gold Glove

My beloved, if hapless Pirates need some good news and they got it yesterday as center fielder Nate McClouth wins the Pirates first Gold Glove since 1993. For you soccer fans out there, the Gold Glove is awarded for defensive excellence and there is only one awarded for each position in each league.

A year ago, the Pirates considered Nate McLouth and Nyjer Morgan the competition for their regular center-field job.

At the same time, the Pirates weren't sure McLouth would hit enough to be their regular left or right fielder if Morgan won the center-field spot in spring training.

And, truth be told, all along the Pirates considered McLouth a fourth outfielder at best.

A year later?

Nate McLouth is a Gold Glove center fielder.

"This kind of came out of nowhere," McLouth said.

As did McLouth.

Recently turned 27 years old, McLouth was the Pirates' 25th-round draft pick in 2000. Perhaps undersized at 5 feet 11, 180 pounds, he nevertheless worked his way steadily through the minor league system but always seemed in the shadow of Chris Duffy.

And now, McLouth is the first Pirates center fielder to win a Gold Glove since Andy Van Slyke in 1992.

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Happy Guy Fawkes Day !

Its not everyday that someone tries to blow up Parliament and kill the King! (I suppose he hid the gun powder under his hat)

The Gunpowder Plot was organized by Robert Talshem, a Catholic Englishman attempting to avenge his father’s persecution by Queen Elizabeth I for not becoming a member of the Church of England.

Guy Fawkes aided this event by planting barrels of gunpowder beneath the Houses of Parliament the night before Nov. 5, 1605. After another member of the Catholic group alerted a relative in Parliament of the plot, the tunnels under the building were searched and Fawkes was found lurking around the barrels of powder.

They planned to blow up Parliament on that day because King James I was present, overseeing the government body’s affairs and, with him and the Anglican government gone, it was hoped a new Catholic government could be established.

Fawkes was tortured after he was arrested until he revealed all of his fellow conspirators in the scheme. They were all executed for their roles in the attempt. While making his way up to the deck where he was to be hanged, Fawkes jumped from a ladder to his death.

England enforced a holiday to remember the events of Nov. 5, 1605 the following year to impose a view of Catholic inferiority and Anglican supremacy.

SRI LANKA Anglican Church Calls For End To War As Rebels Bomb Capital

From Union of Catholic Asia News. A report on the Anglican Church and the continued violence in Sri Lanka. (Got to love those hats.)

Bishop Duleep de Chickera of Colombo issued the statement on Oct. 29, following a meeting of 400 Sinhalese and Tamil laypeople and clergy, including the Church's diocesan councilors from around the country. They gathered at the Cathedral of Christ the Living Saviour in Colombo.

The annual meeting of the Diocesan Council of the Church of Ceylon, held Oct. 26-27, discussed the current problems of war and violence in the country, as well as parish work. At one session they discussed how their diocesan councilors could promote peace.

Bishop de Chickera, saying the harrowing experiences of victims of this war prompt God's people to take action, called in his statement for "wider ecumenical intervention."

The bishop released his message the day after Tamil rebels carried out an air attack on a government military base in Mannar, dropping three bombs. Three soldiers were injured and two buildings slightly damaged, according to state media reports. One rebel aircraft flew south to Colombo and dropped two bombs on the capital's main power station, in Kelanitissa. State media said that attack injured four workers and damaged two turbines.

Notes from a leaf pile -- you gotta love November!

Former Pirate pitcher Steve Blass waxes eloquent on November with a closing flourish from Canonsburg's own Perry Como.

November gives us a chance to slow down and catch up with ourselves. The pressure is off -- from the summer, with all its many options (sometimes, too many) and October when I feel the pressure to see every beautiful leaf in the framework of 10 days or two weeks. Does anyone else feel like summer gets a little stale after July?

And the air ! It's cool and crisp and clean and the best it is all year. Thanks, November, for giving us reason to invent flannel. It doesn't get much better than putting on a plaid flannel shirt and going for a walk down a leaf-covered path when the late afternoon sun casts those beautiful long sideways shadows. The added bonus is that you know there's the guarantee of a cup of cocoa or a glass of wine in front of a fire just to top off your day.

In terms of beauty, the only thing that can compete with that image is a back yard that's been raked for the last time with big leaf piles scattered around it, highlighted by that same, November-only, angle of sunlight. When I've done that, I sit looking out the kitchen window and have a wonderful feeling I've given the yard a good final back-scratching. It's the closest thing I'll get to being a farmer at harvest.

Read it all -

Good Stuff in Canada

Unionville congregation builds bridges with Africa.

Anglican church's outreach to Tanzanian parish battles ideological split in communion.

The most precious gift Rev. Canon Philip Bristow ever received was three eggs and a handful of crushed nuts. The three other people he was with that day each got three eggs, as well, and one also got a hen.

"It was a widow's mite," Bristow says, thinking back to the day last August in Tanzania. "A dozen eggs and a hen was a fortune to that poor woman."

The gifts were thanks for the work done and the money raised by Bristow and his congregants at Unionville's St. Philip's On-the-Hill Anglican Church for the elderly woman's parish in the village of Lugala.

In three years, St. Philip's has raised $177,000, built a school, church halls, a hostel, a meeting centre, a rectory, dug three wells and bought bags of maize, AIDS medicines, mosquito nets and school uniforms.

More here -

Anglican head to visit Hindu temple in England

LONDON (ICNS): In a gesture of peace and love the Archbishop of Canterbury Rowan Williams has decided to visit a Hindu temple in central England.

Archbishop Williams, who is also the head of the Church of England is to visit the Shri Venkateswara (Balaji) temple Nov. 15. Archbishop Williams said he accepted invitation of the trustees of the temple, Europe's largest Hindu place of worship, as a sign of the "celebration of friendship and the facing of challenges with hope".

The “friendship move” assumes significance in Britain as it comes after a series of anti-Christian violence in Orissa.

The Archbishop had written to the Hindus in Britain in his Diwali greetings, urging them to work for "reconciliation where there has been division and hurt" and for "peace and the rejection of all resort to violence.”

Archbishop Williams will also plant an olive tree, a symbol of peace, - on the temple hill. The temple spreads over 22 acres in the suburbs of the city of Birmingham in west-central England. Its Authorities said the visit will reinforce the temple's multi-faith approach.

PENNSYLVANIA: Hearing set on bishop's request for modified sentence

Episcopal News Service reports on the ongoing Philadelphia Story.

An ecclesiastical court will convene November 12 in Philadelphia to consider a request from inhibited Diocese of Pennsylvania Bishop Charles E. Bennison Jr. that it modify its call for Bennison to be deposed.

The Episcopal Church's nine-member Court for the Trial of a Bishop, which spent four days in June hearing the case against Bennison, determined later in the month that the bishop had engaged in conduct unbecoming a member of the clergy. The court ruled September 30 that deposition was appropriate "in recognition of the nature of the offense and because [Bennison] has failed to demonstrate that he comprehends and takes responsibility for the harm that he has caused."

Bennison had 30 days to ask for a modification of the court's sentence and the court was required to hold a hearing on his request, according to Canon IV.5.30(b).

According to an order from the court, Bennison will have two hours to makLinke his case to the court and his attorneys may call witnesses during the presentation. The court refused Bennison's claim that the Episcopal Church should not be allowed to respond to his request for sentence modification.

FALLBROOK: Church battle leaves congregation in limbo

More on the effects of the California ruling that congregations may not leave the Episcopal Church with their property.

A small Fallbrook church is waiting to see what will come of a court battle with the Episcopal Diocese of San Diego after an unfavorable appeal court ruling, in a property rights dispute that will determine who gets to use the church building.

Several of the 100 to 125 people who attend what is now St. John's Anglican Church said last week that they intend to meet every Sunday at their Iowa Street sanctuary, as they always have, until someone says otherwise.

"We would be kind of foolish to not do some 'What if'-type of things," said Rick Crossley, who has attended the church for 10 years and served as a spokesman since the congregation voted to leave the Episcopal church in 2006. "We're not going out looking at leases, though."

While the lawsuit is an attempt to sort out who has the authority to run the church's board of directors, the underlying issue is property ownership.

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

I think John Newton Would like this.

The Amazing Grace Project

The idea behind the Amazing Grace Project is simple: all Canadian Anglican congregations are invited to sing the hymn “Amazing Grace” on Sunday November 23rd 2008. You can sing at a time that works for you, either within the regular service or at a separate event that day. This is a time to get creative! Why not host an Amazing Grace community party, or invite a harpist, a banjo player, or liturgical dancers to join in?

The best part about the Amazing Grace Project is that we’re doing it together. All parishes are encouraged to videotape their rendition of “Amazing Grace” and to send that video to the national office of the Anglican Church of Canada by December 1, 2008. The tapes will be edited together into one big, amazing “Amazing Grace” video and put up on the web for all to enjoy by Christmas.

Names of war dead to be illuminated

This is a nice idea in anticipation of Veteran's Day - Honoring WW I veterans.

As the sun sets on Grand Parade tonight, the names of the 68,000 Canadian soldiers who died during the First World War will burn brightly against the facade of St. Paul’s Anglican Church in downtown Halifax.

The illuminated names will appear from sundown to sunrise every night this week, a vigil intended to symbolically repatriate the bodies of those soldiers who, by law, had to be buried in Europe.

Canadian actor R.H. Thomson and lighting designer Martin Conboy came up with the fitting tribute, sponsored by Democracy 250, Canada’s National History Society and Veterans Affairs Canada.

Similar tributes will be held this week in Fredericton, Toronto, Regina, Edmonton and Ottawa.

"This vigil is not only an act of remembrance, but also a calling into life again of each of the young men who lost their lives during the horrendous battles of 1914 to 1918," Mr. Conboy said in a recent news release.

Cardinal Newman's remains are transferred to the Birmingham Oratory

The Newman saga continues. You can follow the previous stories by clicking on John Henry Newman in the labels below the link. (I got a hat like that once at Disney World.)

John Henry Newman, the Victorian Cardinal tipped to become England’s next saint, was heralded this week by distinguished academics and bishops as a “terrifying thinker,” a “towering figure of Christian life” and a theological writer whose words are “absolutely relevant today”.

“He was a terrifying thinker because of his great clarity of mind,” the Most Rev Vincent Nichols, the Roman Catholic Archbishop of Birmingham told The Times. “Today we tend to go with the flow but Newman was not afraid to go against the tide. The inscription on his tomb, and his motto, reads ‘From shadows and images into the Truth’. Sometimes we do live in shadows and have to feel our way, and this is the example Newman leads by, that we must strive for integrity and truth."

Forward in Faith reacts to recent news from Sydney

Trouble in River City! Forward in Faith is an Anglo Catholic organization opposed to women's ordination. Sydney has voted to allow Deacons to celebrate the Eucharist and came close to allowing lay people to do the same. This does not bode well for the unity of GAFCon.

Forward in Faith regrets the recent decision of the Synod of the diocese of Sydney with regard to lay and diaconal presidency at the Eucharist, both of which are clearly contrary to the foundational documents of Anglicanism. It trusts that the Archbishop of Sydney will use those powers available to him to ensure that such innovations are not set forth, in order that further division is not thereby introduced into the life of the Communion.

All involved in Pittsburgh split are saints, Presiding Bishop tells Pittsburgh Episcopalians

Episcopal News Service on the Presiding Bishop's visit to Pittsburgh.

Preaching to a much-larger-than-usual congregation at Calvary Episcopal Church in Pittsburgh on All Saints Sunday, Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori said that people on all sides of the tension in the Episcopal Church are saints.

"There are saints among the folk who voted to leave The Episcopal Church," she said November 2. "There are saints among those who have clearly stayed. There are saints who haven't yet made up their minds. They are saints because they've been baptized into this fractious Body of Christ, and there are saints among them whose holiness of life is abundantly evident. We dishonor them and God when we refuse to see their blessedness."

Jefferts Schori's sermon was the first of a three-part visit to Calvary, a parish that has been a leader among those Episcopalians who opposed efforts to lead the Diocese of Pittsburgh out of the Episcopal Church. The Presiding Bishop also spent about an hour answering questions from an estimated 350 people who returned to Calvary's nave for the session after a reception that followed the Eucharist. About 645 people attended the Eucharist compared with the average 250 who attend a typical 11 a.m. Sunday service at the parish in the Shadyside section of Pittsburgh.

The rest is here-

Court Upholds Ruling for Megachurch To Surrender Millions in Real Estate

An interesting piece from the Washington Post. Its about a church that broke from the denomination but tried to keep the same name as well as its property. Looks like they are going to lose both. Interesting parallel to what the Pittsburgh Diocese of the Southern Cone is claiming. Read it all.

A Prince George's County congregation that split from its denomination about 10 years ago must turn over tens of millions of dollars in property to its original church, an appeals court ruled in a lawsuit that has been closely watched by other pastors and denominations concerned about the control of church assets in such cases.

The Maryland Court of Special Appeals affirmed a 2006 ruling by Prince George's Circuit Judge Sheila Tillerson-Adams ordering From the Heart Church Ministries, a megachurch founded by the Rev. John A. Cherry in 1999, to surrender almost $40 million in real estate, including three sanctuaries, houses and a large tract of property the ministry owns, to the African Methodist Episcopal Zion Church.

Its all here-

Bishop Jones to Make Visit to Pittsburgh

The Rt. Rev. David Colin Jones will visit St. Andrew’s Church, Highland Park, on Sunday, November 9 — his first Episcopal Visit to a parish since being named “Consulting” Bishop to the reorganized Episcopal Diocese of Pittsburgh.

Bishop Jones will preside and preach at St. Andrew’s 9 a.m. Holy Communion service and also preach at the 11 a.m. Choral Morning Prayer. He also will be the guest at a 10 a.m. "Coffee and Conversation" adult forum.

Members of the wider diocesan family are invited to meet Bishop Jones during a gathering at St. Andrew’s from 2 p.m. - 3:30 p.m. Sunday. He will be speaking about his role in our diocese during this transitional period, and those attending can share their thoughts and concerns.

Lemming Pledge #8

Good Stuff in TEC: Rhode Island

Volunteers reopen St. John soup kitchen

It didn’t take long at all for the word to get out.

Five months after closing its doors for want of a new leader, the soup kitchen at the Episcopal Cathedral of St. John has reopened, offering up the same kind of full-course meal that had long made it one of the city’s most popular meal sites among the destitute and the hungry.

The food program closed in May when Tom Veronneau, the executive consultant who was the volunteer director, moved on after 10 years of volunteering, and no one could be found at the time to replace him. But now a new cadre of volunteers and organizers has come forward to reopen the meal site. Veronneau, who said he would remain on board as executive director for another month or so, is helping them get started.

“A couple of students from Brown University called me a couple of months ago and said their research showed that there was a clear need for a soup kitchen on Tuesday nights and they wanted to see what they could do,” Veronneau said. “I had to agree that in these troubled times, people need this more than ever.”

The rest is here-

Canada's Anglican bishops delay action on gay issues

From USA Today

Bishops of the Anglican Church of Canada say they are unlikely to act on requests from several dioceses to approve blessings for same-sex unions or marriages, deferring the issue until the church's General Synod in 2010.

At least four dioceses — Ottawa, Montreal, Niagara and Huron — have asked for permission to bless same-sex relationships in Canada, where same-sex civil marriages were legalized in 2005. Those moves, along with similar action by the Episcopal Church, have angered more conservative members of the worldwide Anglican Communion.

On Friday (Oct. 31), the Canadian church's House of Bishops agreed to delay "with the greatest extent possible" any action on same-sex blessings until the entire church can weigh in at the 2010 convention.

Its all here-

Monday, November 3, 2008

Vatican to launch Muslim-Christian dialogue

London Times- (lots of funny hats)

Cardinal Tauran has also called for "reciprocity", with Christians allowed to worship in churches in Muslim nations just as Muslims in the West have the right to worship in mosques.

The Anglican Communion has also actively promoted Christian-Muslim dialogue. Last month Dr Rowan Williams, the Archbishop of Canterbury, and Ali Gomaa, the Grand Mufti of Egypt, agreed to strengthen links between Western and Muslim universities at a meeting at Lambeth Palace following an interfaith conference at Cambridge University.

At the weekend the Moroccan government banned an issue of the French magazine L'Express International, claiming it had insulted Islam in articles exploring the Muslim-Christian relationship and previewing the Vatican conference, under the headline The "Jesus-Mohammed Shock".

CANADA: Bishops moved by refugee's story; PWRDF plans to sponsor 50 additional refugees

From Episcopal News Service-

Annie Kashamura-Zawadi arrived in Toronto with her five children, aged between 9 and 19, on October 6, 1999. She only had $20 in her pocket, but her heart was bursting with hope and possibilities.

Before arriving in Canada, Zawadi recalled that she "had nothing left but my faith." She had fled an abusive relationship and, in response, her husband had taken their children away from her and had made sure she was rendered jobless and homeless. This happened while war was raging in her home, the Democratic Republic of the Congo.

Zawadi had been told by the office of the Canadian High Commissioner for Refugees that she and her children did not qualify as refugees, but she refused to give up. Her persistence paid off and she was told that they could emigrate to Canada if someone sponsored them.

"I knew only a miracle could save me," said Zawadi. Her prayers were answered, she said, "when the Anglican church signed that magic paper." That same week, they left for Canada.

Churches see drop in weekly donations, investment income

Pittsburgh Business Times on giving to Churches and investments.

Investment income is a concern at Calvary Episcopal Church in Shadyside, where the value of the church’s endowment has fallen $600,000 this year, said Harold Lewis, rector. Lewis declined to disclose the size of the endowment, but the church has an annual budget of around $1.6 million, and Lewis said one quarter of the church’s total budget is funded by investment income.

The church’s annual pledge appeal is underway, but Lewis didn’t see any big reductions.

“People by in large have continued to honor their commitment to the church,” he said. “We’re prudent people who know nothing lasts forever and plan accordingly.”

Churches assess impact of financial crisis

Christian Century on the Financial crisis and the mainline churches. It's not as bad in the Episcopal Church as is being reported in some places. The sky is not falling.

Both Episcopalians and Presbyterians are grappling with possible budget shortfalls at the national level because of reduced income from endowment funds.

The Episcopal Church's Executive Council, meeting October 20-23 in Helena, Montana, approved a 2009 budget that has a projected deficit of about $2.5 million. But treasurer Kurt Barnes told the council that in part because of $2.2 million in surpluses the last two years and other features of a triennial budget, the church "could suffer a deficit of $2.8 million" and still have a balanced budget, according to the Episcopal News Service.

Barnes also reported that the value of the church's endowment funds decreased by 30 percent this year. If the stock market goes into a long decline, the losses will climb.

Presiding Episcopal bishop speaks of joy, diverse opinions

She does get around - from the St. Petersburg Times an interview with the Presiding Bishop.

The Most Rev. Katharine Jefferts Schori, head of the Episcopal Church, visits the Diocese of Southwest Florida this week. Jefferts Schori, who leads more than 2.4-million Episcopalians worldwide and 34,000 in the bay area, is coming to Tampa for the biannual meeting of the National Association of Episcopal Schools. It's her first visit as presiding bishop. We talked with her Friday as she prepared for her trip.

Q. What's the state of the Episcopal Church?

A. Most every place I visit, congregations and dioceses are energetically engaged in serving their neighbors both nearby and far away. What gets reported in the media is a matter of a relatively few people who are exceedingly unhappy and very noisy.

Q. You've been in office for almost two years. Describe the landscape of the church.

In some sense, I think we're past the worst of the current controversies. I think most people are realizing that there are a variety of opinions in this church about the current hot-button issues as there have always been a variety of opinions about matters of great interest in the church. I'm fond of reminding people that in the late 1800s people were arguing vehemently about whether or not you could put candles on the altar.

Back to doing God's work

A hopeful report from the Diocese of Florida about the return of health after division and lawsuits. (I didn't have the heart to show a dead fish so think of it as a sort of resurrection fish.)

Two years ago, the Rev. Kurt Dunkle's ministry involved waging legal battles with current and former Episcopalians intent on leaving the Episcopal Church.

Dunkle was Bishop Samuel Johnson Howard's right-hand man in a struggle over the future of the Jacksonville-based Episcopal Diocese of Florida.

Today, Dunkle's life couldn't be more different.

He's rector of Grace Episcopal in Orange Park, a parish that saw close to 100 percent of its members leave on Easter 2006. Tuesday found him leading a morning service for about 150 elementary day-school children. His homily utilized toy hands and feet to symbolize the body of Christ and ended with one child's prayer for "all pets including Luke's fish, who died."

The change in mood and job description struck Dunkle as he left the sanctuary.

Presiding Bishop Vists Pittsburgh

Two reports on the Presiding Bishop's visit to Pittsburgh. First from the Post Gazette-

Vested in a magenta and lavender miter, the presiding bishop of the Episcopal Church made her first official visit to Pittsburgh, where she had been unwelcome until the majority of congregations in the Episcopal Diocese of Pittsburgh voted to secede from the denomination and join the Anglican Province of the Southern Cone in South America.

Yesterday, Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori was more than welcome at Calvary Episcopal Church in Shadyside, the flagship of the remnant she has recognized as the true Episcopal Diocese of Pittsburgh. The crowd of at least 750 -- triple normal size -- applauded as the Rev. Harold Lewis gave her a voucher for her next flight to Pittsburgh

And the from the Tribune Review-

"It's a great joy for us to welcome Bishop Katharine," Lewis said "We knew we had the support of the Episcopal (Church), but to have her here in the flesh is to have an outward and visible sign of that support."

Jefferts Schori's visit occurred one month after a majority of clergy and lay deputies in the Episcopal Diocese of Pittsburgh voted to break with the church she leads. Along with former Pittsburgh Bishop Robert Duncan, 50 of the region's 74 churches have aligned themselves with the more theologically conservative Anglican Province of the Southern Cone, based in Buenos Aires.