Saturday, November 15, 2008

Fort Worth Diocese officially breaks away from Episcopal Church

This just in...the last one, Ft. Worth, votes to leave.

The Episcopal Diocese of Fort Worth broke away from the Episcopal Church today, becoming the fourth U.S. diocese to withdraw since late last year.

Fort Worth Bishop Jack Iker championed the move, arguing that the Episcopal Church has strayed from orthodox Christian faith in various ways, including allowing women priests and approving an openly gay bishop.

'“The Episcopal Church we once knew no longer exists. It’s been hijacked,” Bishop Iker said.

Clergy and lay delegates, by about an 80 percent margin, approved the secession at the diocese's annual convention, held in a packed school gym in Bedford.

They were to decide later today on whether to realign with a conservative, Argentina-based province of the worldwide Anglican Communion.

Bishop Iker has said that five to six of the diocese’s 55 churches, and perhaps 4,000 of its 19,000 congregants, will remain with the Episcopal Church.

A legal showdown with the Episcopal Church is likely over church buildings and other assets.

Communion Partner Rectors Meeting

Chris Seitz reports on the Communion Partners meeting in Texas, The Communion Partners is a group of clergy (Priests and Bishops) who are committed to staying in the Episcopal Church and working for orthodoxy.

The Communion Partner Rectors met at St Martin’s Episcopal Church in Houston 5-7 November. Forty Rectors were able to be present. We were supported by the Bishops of Texas, Western Louisiana, Western Kansas and Central Florida, who were able to be present as representatives of the fifteen Bishops involved with Communion Partners.

The spirit of our gathering was high and encouraging. We are aware of the latitude that is afforded to us to differentiate from trends in the Episcopal Church we do not share. We rejoice in the mission linkages we have nurtured in the past and that we will work to forge in our present season. Our main concern is building up these mission links, reinforcing our Anglican theological identity, and identifying ways to build up the next generation of theological leadership.

Bishop Bennison: ‘A Monstrous Sin,’ But ‘Charges Are Not True’

The Charles Bennison saga continues. From the Living Church-

The Rt. Rev. Charles E. Bennison, Jr., Bishop of Pennsylvania, has expressed remorse for the emotional trauma inflicted on a teenage girl who was sexually abused by his brother at a California parish where Bishop Bennison served as the rector in the 1970s. But he maintains the charges against him “are not fair and are not true.”

A nine-member church court ruled unanimously in October that Bishop Bennison should be deposed from ministry in The Episcopal Church for failure to report his brother and to protect the girl.

“This was a terrible, monstrous sin,” Bishop Bennison told The Living Church. “I have always expressed remorse for my direct responsibility in this tragedy, especially hiring my brother as the youth director, inadequately supervising him and not thoroughly investigating the situation when it was first brought to my attention in 1976.”

LOS ANGELES: Dangerous 'sundowner' winds fan flames, destroy Episcopal monastery

From Episcopal News Service. Wildfires in California.

Dangerous 70-mile-an-hour winds known as "sundowners" exploded fire across parts of Southern California on November 13-14, injuring at least four people, destroying an estimated 100 homes, and leveling an internationally known monastery of the Episcopal Order of the Holy Cross.

Residents of the picturesque Montecito area of Santa Barbara were evacuated as firefighters battled flames after the winds had died down. The "sundowner" effect results from the violent clash of hot air from the Santa Ynez Mountains and the cool air of the Pacific Ocean.

Property losses were estimated in the millions and climbing in the scenic area, where many celebrities, such as Oprah Winfrey and others, have homes.

Good Stuff in TEC: Chicago

Lombard church buys mosquito nets to fight malaria in Africa

The numbers are staggering.

Each year, as many as 500 million people will contract malaria. About a million of them will die. Most of the victims will be children - as many as 3,000 children a day.

And just about all of it is preventable.

Malaria is rampant in sub-Saharan Africa, where a huge population of mosquitoes carry the parasites that cause the disease. The mosquitoes do their damage at night, biting and infecting victims while they sleep.

The first line of defense is nets that have been treated with a long-lasting insecticide. The nets are hung around beds and sleep mats, protecting three people for five years and helping to dramatically cut the number of mosquitoes in the community.

Calvary Episcopal Church in Lombard, as part of the Episcopal Diocese of Chicago, helps raise money to buy mosquito nets through the NetsforLife program.

"We are a healing community. Providing malaria nets is a tangible and real way to provide assistance, save lives and contribute to the healing of the world," said Joyce Crowe, who is helping run Calvary's NetsforLife drive.

You can see all of the good stuff posts by clicking on good stuff in the labels below.

Good Stuff in TEC: California

Nothing says love like a Water Buffalo

The economy is tight and as the holidays approach, every penny becomes more valuable as shoppers try to find just the right gift for loved ones.

St. Stephen's Episcopal Church in Santa Clarita is giving locals an opportunity to buy gifts that carry some extra this weekend at an "Alternative Gift Fair" from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. today and noon to 3 p.m. Sunday at 24901 Orchard Village Road.

"We all have a need, a capacity, a yearning to give and help somebody," said Mary Jo Higginbotham, gift fair chairperson. "The Alternative Gift Fair is a celebration of our abundance and in our generosity we can give to people who need it most."

Whether it's a water well, shelter, a tree, food package, beehive or water buffalo, the fair will offer numerous gifts of "peace and justice" that can be bought for the less fortunate in honor of a purchaser's loved one.

You can see all of the good stuff posts by clicking on good stuff in the labels below.

If we are fortunate, much good might come from doing without

An Interesting Opinion piece on the possible spiritual benefits of the current financial crisis. Tom Ehrich is an Episcopal Priest in Indianapolis.

I am telling church leaders that it is time to let go of old anxieties, especially self-centered fussing and stale traditions, and to focus instead on being lean, efficient and self-sacrificial enterprises that are dedicated to serving others. Too many congregations are strangling on yesterday's bickering and priorities.

There are so are many families and businesses with arguments that don't end and business models that don't work. We all need fresh starts.

In fact, when we stand back, I think we will see why we ran up $2.3 trillion in personal debts: We were trying to escape ourselves and the difficult decisions that we needed to make in order to have peace and meaning in our lives.

We have tried to live without God. We have tried not to see our skills, blessings -- indeed, our very existence -- as God-given assets entrusted to our care, but rather as economic engines for amassing worldly wealth. In our world-view, we weren't engaged in a dynamic transaction with a living God. We were living as we chose, and if we turned to God at all, it was only as a last resort.

Fort Worth Diocese to officially split from Episcopal Church today over social issues

From the Dallas Morning News - I think this is interesting mostly for the quotes from neighboring Dallas Bishop Jim Stanton a conservative who says leaving is not the right thing to do. Ft. Worth will be the last diocese to leave TEC.

"There's been this huge disinformation campaign," said Ms. Sherrod, a Fort Worth writer active in local groups advocating loyalty to the Episcopal Church. "Voices that would offer a counterpoint have not been heard."

Ms. Sherrod points to Bishop James Stanton of the Diocese of Dallas as a conservative leader who, after a survey and listening tour of the diocese, decided against secession.

Bishop Stanton, who has sided with Bishop Iker in many church controversies, said that 80 percent of his parishioners had concerns about the direction of the national church. But 80 percent of them weren't troubled enough to want to leave.

The Dallas Diocese has seen some conservative churches leave on their own, including the large, influential Christ Church in Plano. But Bishop Stanton is disinclined to follow the lead of his close friend Bishop Iker.

"We're not going anywhere," Bishop Stanton said. "If I've heard it said once, I've heard it said a thousand times: You don't win a battle by leaving the battlefield."

Friday, November 14, 2008

Group Calls For Bishop's Resignation

More trouble in the Anglican Church in Africa-

Last Friday afternoon, the Anglican Cathedral in Gaborone was turned into hostile territory as disgruntled faithful demanded the resignation of Bishop Trevor Mwamba (pictured).

The congregation's planned march from the South Ring Mall to the cathedral did not materialise as they failed to secure the required police escort.

However, the determined placard-waving group assembled in the church premises and chanted anti-Mwamba slogans. After about 20 minutes of song and dance, they handed a petition to churchwardens, Lorato Manthe and John Melamu because Mwamba was not available.

In the petition, the group talks about 'dirty dealings' with church finances. They say how the handling of money in the church is a closely guarded secret as the last audit report was done for the 2005 financial year.

They demanded answers for P8.8 million which the church failed to account for when the qualified audit report was held at the last diocesan Synod in 2006. The group alleges that the bishop has not shared information on the sale of a church residence for around P1 million and the subsequent purchase of another in excess of P3 million. "The sales of church property seems to be on the rise and we are concerned at the rationale and authority for these transactions which are suspect," the petition said.

Conservative clergy unveil new plan

The Canadian take on the proposed parallel province. The Toronto Star reports what others have that it will not be recognized by Canterbury.

Breakaway conservative Anglicans hope to set up a new entity within the church to rival the established power structure in Canada and the U.S. within the next three months. And they say failure to recognize their efforts could irrevocably divide the communion.

"If this new province doesn't work, there's probably going to be a much bigger split than just North America," Bishop Don Harvey told a news conference yesterday.

Harvey, moderator of the conservative Anglican Network in Canada, said the new entity would offer a conservative alternative to the liberal national churches in Canada and the U.S. While provinces in the Anglican communion are traditionally set up along geographic boundaries, the Network is working with dozens of U.S. congregations to break new ground by setting up a new North American province along theological lines.

Harvey concedes the communion has no process in place for the Network's request. Nonetheless, he hopes the proposal will be on the agenda of a meeting of the church's 38 primates, representing 75 million Anglicans worldwide, this February in Egypt.

Leaders of the church in both countries, as well as Archbishop of Canterbury Rowan Williams, Anglicanism's spiritual leader, have said they oppose such a new province being part of the Anglican Communion.

Herb Score, Indians Pitcher Dies at 75

Herb Score died a few days ago. His career was so promising until Gil McDougald lined a ball into his face. Another reason to root for anyone but the Yankees. For you soccer fans out there, there is one rookie of the year in each league each year.

Herb Score, the Cleveland Indians pitcher and former broadcaster whose promise on the mound was shattered by a line drive, died Tuesday. He was 75.

Score died at his home in Rocky River, Ohio, the team said in a statement. He had been in a wheelchair since suffering a stroke in 2002, four years after he was seriously injured in a car accident.

A hard-throwing left-hander with a big fastball and big heart, Score pitched for the Indians from 1955-59. He was named the American League Rookie of the Year in 1955 after going 16-10. He went 20-9 in 1956 and was twice named to the All-Star team.

However, Score's career took a sad and nearly tragic turn on May 7, 1957, when Gil McDougald of the New York Yankees lined a ball off Score's right eye, breaking his nose and a number of bones in his face. As Score lay fallen on the field covered in blood, the public address announcer asked the crowd at Municipal Stadium, "If there is a doctor in the stands, will he please report to the playing field."

Fort Worth on verge of secession

This will be last diocese to make the decision to realign. That makes it four out of 110 dioceses. Of the four three are opposed to women's ordination.

Delegates to the Diocese of Fort Worth’s annual synod will decide this Saturday whether to quit the Episcopal Church, a move which would make it the fourth American diocese to secede and affiliate with the Anglican Province of the Southern Cone.

The stronghold of the Anglo-Catholic movement in the Episcopal Church, Fort Worth has long been at odds with the Episcopal Church over innovations of doctrine and discipline championed by its liberal hierarchy. One of only three dioceses that did not ordain or license women clergy, Fort Worth now remains alone within the American church in rejecting women’s orders, after Quincy quit this past week and San Joaquin left in 2007.

Fort Worth bishop the Rt Rev Jack L Iker said he was “confident” the second reading of the secession bill would pass this week’s synod on Nov 15. The “only question is by how much” he told

At its 2007 synod Fort Worth passed the first reading by a four to one majority of six constitutional amendments that ended its accession to the constitution and canons of the Episcopal Church. Canon lawyer and Assistant Bishop of Fort Worth, the Rt Rev William Wantland told the 2007 synod that claims proffered by Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori that people could leave the Episcopal Church, but dioceses could not lack historical or legal foundation.

Suspended bishop asks church court to reverse ruling

From the Philadelphia Inquirer - the saga continues.

In hopes of salvaging his career, suspended Episcopal Bishop Charles E. Bennison Jr. yesterday asked a special church court convened in Philadelphia to reverse its recent sentence removing him from holy orders.

Defrocking a priest or bishop is "the ecclesiastical equivalent of the death penalty," Bennison's attorney, James A. Pabarue, told the nine judges. Their sentence, he said, was "unduly harsh and unsupported by the evidence."

In June, following a four-day trial here, the Court for the Trial of a Bishop unanimously found Bennison, head of the Diocese of Pennsylvania, guilty of failing to intervene in his brother John's sexual abuse of a teenage girl more than 30 years ago in a California parish where Bennison was rector.

Stewardship in a time of financial crisis challenges congregations

From Episcopal News Service-

Stewardship season, the time when Episcopal congregations ask their members to decide how much of their income they will give to support the church's mission, coincided this year with a global economic crisis that caused layoffs, home foreclosures, shrunken investment portfolios and retirement accounts, and mostly dire predictions about the future.

While some Episcopal congregations advocate the biblical tithe of 10 percent and others suggest proportional giving (setting an initial percentage of income to pledge and then increasing it each year), both models – and all the variations in between – depend upon givers knowing or being able reasonably to predict the income upon which to pledge. The current uncertainty makes that predicting harder.

Yet the Rev. Brad Whitaker, rector of Christ Church in Grosse Pointe Farms, Michigan, said, "I don't feel it's appropriate to go into panic mode." He won't be preaching "arm-twisting" stewardship sermons, he added.

Grosse Pointe Farms is close enough to Detroit to be feeling the downturn in the automobile industry and some of Christ Church's more than 350 pledging members have lost their jobs – or are worried about them. In the midst of that anxiety, Whitaker's message is that pledging must be "an honest reflection of my thankfulness for what God has already given me."

Tom Gossen, executive director of the Episcopal Network for Stewardship (TENS), said in an interview that a traditional stewardship message of "what I believe, why I give and what difference it makes" is still the best way to approach the season, no matter its context. "It's got to be giving out of love," he said.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Cleveland Indians pitcher Cliff Lee wins AL Cy Young

Lee was the favorite going into the voting. For you soccer fans out there, the Cy Young award is named after Cy Young. He pitched from 1890 to 1911 and holds the record for most wins at 511. Today 300 wins is considered extraordinary. Coincidentally he pitched in Cleveland from 1890-1898 but the team was called the "Spiders".

Indians pitching coach Carl Willis saw it in Cliff Lee's first bullpen session in spring training at Chain of Lakes Park in Winter Haven, Fla. Every pitch Lee threw -- fastball, cutter, curveball, slider and change up -- came from the same motion and the same release point.

"I told Cliff after that session, 'That's what we're talking about,'" said Willis.

Today, 10 months later, it's one of the biggest reasons why the Baseball Writers Association of America voted Lee the American League 2008 Cy Young winner this afternoon. Lee finished with 132 points, followed by Toronto's Roy Halladay.

Lee received 24 of 28 first-place votes. Halladay received four first-place votes and 71 points. Two BBWAA members in every AL city voted for the top three pitchers in the league.

More here-

The "E" is gone

I received the following email today. Those of you who are trying to contact the seminary after December 1 should take note. I wonder if the TESM sweatshirts are on markdown?

On November 26 from 7:30 a.m. – 10:00 a.m., Trinity will be changing the web address from to and the email address from to During this time period, the network will be down for a couple of hours as the changes occur. With the change, you will still be able to receive email at your current email address, so no email should be lost.

If individuals from outside of Trinity try to contact you at you will still receive this email. If people try to go to they will still go to our current web site. However, to make things uniform, starting on December 1, when giving out the web site address please use and when giving out your email address please use your new email address, with the ending.
If you have any questions please don’t hesitate to ask. Thank you in advance for your cooperation.

Russian Orthodox church stolen — brick by brick

From the "You Can't Make This Stuff Up" Department.

MOSCOW – Wanted: One missing Russian church. Last seen in July. Reward for its return.

Orthodox officials in a central Russian region say an abandoned church building that was to be put back into use has been stolen by local villagers.

Orthodox priest Vitaly of the Ivanovo-Voskresenskaya diocese says officials last saw the two-story Church of Resurrection intact in late July. Sometime in early October, however, people from the nearby village of Komarovo, northeast of Moscow, dismantled the building, he said.

Villagers apparently sold it to a local businessman, one ruble (about 4 cents) per brick, Vitaly said. Orthodox priests use only one name.

"Of course, this is blasphemy," he told The Associated Press. "These people have to realize they committed a grave sin."

Vitaly said police were investigating the theft.

The 200-year-old building, which no longer had its icons and other religious valuables, was a school for disabled children during the Soviet era before it was closed down in 1998 and turned over to the church.

Vitaly said the diocese was thinking of reopening it for services.
The Orthodox church has experienced a major resurgence in Russia and has restored or built thousands of churches.

In poorer, rural regions, vandals or petty thieves regularly steal gilded icons or donations from churches and sell them for alcohol or drugs.;_ylt=AnRUJtorS4Ym9oiksiZCLIJbbBAF

Dr Rowan Williams to visit Auschwitz with Chief Rabbi

From the London Times-

The Archbishop of Canterbury, Dr Rowan Williams will tomorrow visit the Auschwitz-Birkenau Nazi death camp for the first time, accompanied by the Chief Rabbi, Sir Jonathan Sacks.

The Archbishop and Chief Rabbi will be joined also by leaders of the Muslim, Hindu, Buddhist, Baha’i, Sikh and Zoroastrian faiths for the day-long visit, the first of its kind.

The faith leaders will visit the site of one of the worst mass exterminations carried out against the Jewish people as guests of the Holocaust Educational Trust’s Lessons from Auschwitz Project. They will accompany a group of 180 school students aged 16 or more along with their teacher.

“The visit by the UK’s faith leaders will demonstrate their solidarity in standing against the extremes of hostility and genocide which Auschwitz – Birkenau represents and which are represented in Cambodia, Bosnia and Rwanda in modern times,” said a spokesman for the trust.

Related article on the Chief Rabbi Sir Johnathan Sacks and his perspective is here-

Catholic bishops unveil new prayer for babies in the womb

From Religous Intellengence -

A new prayer of blessing has been approved by American Bishops for babies in the womb, commenting that the new prayer filled a gap in existing prayer books.

The new liturgical service, which is in both English and Spanish, was approved overwhelmingly yesterday.

Archbishop Joseph E. Kurtz of Louisville, Ky., praised the new blessing as "a tangible way to witness pastorally and sacramentally to the life of the unborn child" and said it could also serve as an opportunity for parishes to bring together expectant couples for mutual support.

Bishop Michael D Pfeifer of San Angelo, Texas, said the document could present "a great catechetical moment for all of us." He said he hoped it might lead the bishops to declare an annual day of prayer for the unborn in the future. The document required the approval of two-thirds of the Latin-rite members of the US Conference of Catholic Bishops and must be sent to the Vatican Congregation for Divine Worship and the Sacraments for "recognitio," or confirmation. The English-language version was approved 223-1 and the Spanish-language version 224-0.

Bishop Arthur J Serratelli of Paterson, NJ, chairman of the bishops' Committee on Divine Worship, introduced the document Nov 10, the first day of the USCCB fall general assembly in Baltimore.

Good Stuff in TEC: Minnesota

Making a difference

Another local example of giving will touch people miles away from Borderland. Holy Trinity Episcopal Church of International Falls, with the help of the larger Borderland community, led the state in a shoe drive.

Soles4Souls distributes the shoes to victims of impoverished areas of the world. This year, it will concentrate on victims of the hurricane season.

Diocesan organizer Wendy Johnson said shoes are a basic element of humanity. She’s right. Shoes are an important aspect of every life. Having a pair of shoes can provide the confidence to get someone to a job interview or get a child to school.
Providing a pair of shoes that didn’t fit or weren’t the right style is a small action that can have meaningful impact on someone who has no shoes, regardless of fit or style.

Small actions by Borderland residents have influenced and changed lives, making a difference in the world and in our view of it.

You can see all of the Good Stuff posts by clicking on Good Stuff in the labels below.

Brooklyn Dodgers pitcher Preacher Roe dies

Preacher Roe best known as a Dodger but who also played with my beloved if hapless Pirates has died. For you soccer fans out there, the spit ball was declared illegal in 1920. Preacher is on the far right with Jackie Robinson and Pee Wee Reese. From Newsday-

Preacher Roe, a five-time All-Star and central character on Brooklyn's storied "Boys of Summer" teams, who was known for a pitching resourcefulness that included use of the banned spitball, died Sunday. He was 93, according to most sources, though his Web site listed him as 92. Roe, who long ago settled in West Plains, Mo., near his childhood home of Viola, Ark., had undergone colon surgery recently and never fully recovered.

For years, he operated a small grocery store in West Plains on Preacher Roe Boulevard.
A skinny 6-foot-2, 170-pound lefthander, Roe starred for the Dodgers in the late 1940s and early 1950s alongside such familiar greats as Jackie Robinson, Pee Wee Reese and Gil Hodges. He pitched for the St. Louis Cardinals and Pittsburgh Pirates before joining Brooklyn in 1948, Roe had a 127-84 record in 12 major league seasons.

He pitched in three World Series games, all against the Yankees, winning two.
He prided himself in keeping hitters off balance by throwing a slider and a "Beech-Nut slider." Players regularly chewed Beech-Nut gum at the time, and Roe used the juice to illegally wet the ball, causing it to dip dramatically. Roe acknowledged using the spitter in a Sports Illustrated story a year after his retirement, saying he had no regrets and wanted to see the pitch legalized.,0,3768728.story

Former Episcopalian elected head of Orthodox Church

From the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. Episcopalian to Orthodox Primate ? I guess you could say he went from Cosmopolitan to Metropolitan. Does any other religion besides Christianity have a wider variety of odd hats?

Hundreds of clergy and laity of the Orthodox Church in America wept for joy yesterday as a monk who had become an auxiliary bishop just 12 days earlier was elected to lead their scandal-plagued church into the future.

Auxiliary Bishop Jonah of Dallas, a 49-year-old convert, was chosen by clergy, laity and his fellow bishops to be Metropolitan Jonah of All America and Canada at the All American Council held at the Hilton Pittsburgh.

His predecessor retired suddenly in September as the church released an internal report detailing the disappearance of more than $4 million in church funds under two successive administrations.

"We have to work together with one mind and one heart and one soul, striving with all our might to bear witness to Jesus Christ and the kingdom of God. Nothing else matters," the new metropolitan said.

Chant revival

From Episcopal News Service an article about the increasing popularity of 6th century plain song. Pope Gregory is shown looking over the music in a hat that looks suspiciously like a cone.

It doesn't have much of a beat, the kids can't dance to it, and it's sung in a dead language, but Gregorian chant seems to be the hottest thing in sacred music right now.
Nearly 200 scholas -- choirs that sing plainsong -- have emerged around the country, many in the last five years, according to the Church Music Association of America. Sacred music seminars that once drew few people now lure musical directors, organists and singers who want to learn more about Gregorian chant, said CMA president William Mahrt.

Religious publishers are stocking and selling large collections of plainsong books and music. Paraclete Press, the Massachusetts publishing house of the Community of Jesus, a monastic, Christian community in the Benedictine tradition, sold 5,000 copies of its "Gregorian Melodies" CD in the first half of this year -- more than it did all of last year.

The style of chant is named for the sainted Pope Gregory I (circa A.D. 540–604) in what was probably an early exercise in brand marketing. Musicologists say the pope most likely didn't invent plainsong, but his name was used to help it spread from monastery to monastery in medieval Europe.

The rest is here-

Good Stuff in TEC: Washington DC

Church of the Deaf Perseveres In Face of a Changing Culture

When the Rev. Barbara Allen begins to sing "Sweet Holy Spirit," many in the pews cannot hear her voice. But they follow along through the gentle rise and fall of her hands and eyes.

"The whole church can feel it," said Beth Hill-Holst of Bowie, one of 10 people who attended a recent Sunday service at St. Barnabas' Episcopal Church of the Deaf.

She signed her words to Ed Knight of Rockville, who is fully hearing but has been going to the church for 25 years.

"My dad was tone deaf, and it didn't stop him from singing," Knight responded aloud as he signed the joke to his fellow worshipers, who laughed or clapped in appreciation.

You can see all of the Good Stuff posts by clicking on Good Stuff in the labels below.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Lemming Pledge #10

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

Archbishop of Canterbury praises Zimbabwean Anglican leader

Rowan (shown in a very large hat) sings the praises of Bishop Bakare who has won an international peace prize. From Ecumenical News Service.

The archbishop of Canterbury, Rowan Williams, has described the bishop of Harare, Sebastian Bakare, as a "deeply respected and courageous leader who has spoken out not only against injustices in his community but also against corruption within his own Anglican church". The head of the 77-million worldwide Anglican Communion was speaking from Lambeth Palace, London, before the 10 November presentation to Bishop Bakare in Stockholm of the 2008 Per Anger Award. The award, founded by the Swedish government, has been given to the bishop for his committed work and leadership of an important branch of the Christian community and his battle for human rights in Zimbabwe.

Said Williams: "His continued integrity, for which he has placed himself at considerable personal risk, has brought hope to countless people in Zimbabwe and internationally."

The Living History Forum in Stockholm has been commissioned since 2004 by the Swedish government to award the prize in the spirit of ambassador Per Anger who, during the Second World War, took the initiative to write a series of protection letters which saved the lives of thousands of Jews in Budapest.

Good Stuff in TEC: Kansas

Bishop Seabury to spend night outside as part of food drive

Students at Bishop Seabury Academy are preparing for a chilly night outside to raise awareness for their annual food drive.

Thursday night, 17 members of the school’s Student Senate will wrap up in blankets and sleep outside in boxes to kick off the community service project.

Student Senate sponsor and teacher Bill Gollier said this is the third year that students have slept outside and on Friday morning, the students give a presentation to get the entire student body involved.

“It gets the student body energized, gets the kids excited about it, gets the word out to the community about it so we can collect more items,” he said.

You can read all of the Good Stuff posts by clicking on Good Stuff in the labels below

Good Stuff in TEC: West Virginia

The Rev. Zach Drennen will speak at St. Matthew's Episcopal Church in Charleston on Sunday about his work in Kenya.

CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- A passion for young people led the Rev. Zach Drennen to missionary work in Africa. Now the Charleston native is reaching back home to connect students and educators on opposite sides of the world.

As an Episcopal Church missionary in Kenya, Drennen has spent the last year developing a project to partner schools in the United States and East Africa.
The Elewana Education Project, named for the Swahili word for understanding, will give Kenyan schoolchildren a better chance for education through scholarships and facility improvements.

"The backbone of what we're trying to do is create some interesting relationships, so the faculties and administrations feel invested in their partner school," Drennen said. "Africa sort of gets in your blood. You want to be part of it. You, yourself, can't help being changed by making a positive impact on others.

You can see all of the Good Stuff posts by clicking on good stuff in the label below.

Lincecum captures NL Cy Young

The Cy Young for the National League has been announced. I heard on the radio that Lincecum is so young looking that when he reported to the Giants last year the security guys thought he was a bat boy! For you soccer fans out there the Cy Young is awarded to the best pitcher in baseball (one in each league) as voted on by the baseball writers,

San Francisco Giants right-hander Tim Lincecum has been named the 2008 National League Cy Young Award winner by members of the Baseball Writers' Association of America.

Lincecum placed first on 23 of the 32 ballots cast by two writers from each NL city to become just the second hurler in Giants history to win the award and the first since lefty Mike McCormick in 1967. Lincecum finished second on seven ballots and third on one, as he received 137 points based on the 5-3-1 tabulation system.

Arizona's Brandon Webb, the 2006 winner of this award, finished second for the second straight year with 73 points, placing first on four ballots, second on 15 and third on eight others. New York's Johan Santana received four first- place votes and was third with 55 points.

Lincecum was dominant in just his second big league season, going 18-5 for the 72-win Giants. He led the majors with 265 strikeouts, was second in the NL with a 2.62 earned run average and had the highest winning percentage in the Senior Circuit (.783).

Breakaway Anglicans to form own body

This will be the six GAFCON Bishops (in mid-December) unilaterally deciding to "form" a new province in North America. It won't be recognised by Canterbury or by the ACC which is the elected body which represents all 38 provinces in the Anglican Communion. Strange quote - first its stated that Rowan Willimas has no effect on what happens then he says the lack of Rowan's blessing will make it more difficult.

Parishes that have left their national churches over the issue of same-sex marriage and a general trend toward liberalism want to create a single "province" that would report to a conservative North American bishop who shares their values.

"I believe the next year will be critical," said Rev. Peter Frank, a spokesman for the Episcopal Diocese of Pittsburgh, which voted last month to leave the U. S. Episcopal Church. "The first proposals will be formed in the very near term, in a matter of weeks, frankly."

Mr. Frank said that any opposition from Rowan Williams, the Archbishop of Canterbury, will be moot because the spiritual head of Anglicanism has lost his moral authority.

"Frankly, [he] is not in a position to do anything. At this point, the leaders of a majority of the world's Anglicans are going to recognize us when we [separate]."

But he added it would make it more difficult if Mr. Williams did not give his blessing.

Here's the Canadian take-

But Archdeacon Paul Feheley, principal secretary to the Archbishop of the Anglican Church of Canada, says creation of a new "province" is only recognized by a special council in the global Anglican body that meets every few years.

Referring to a letter the archbishop of Canterbury, the head of the global church, sent to a Manitoba diocese in February, Feheley says the head has already made clear "he recognizes one body in Canada as the member of the communion and that's the Anglican Church of Canada ... I can't see him going back on what he said in that letter."

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Veteran's Day WWI Vets remember

From the London Times. Only three of them left in Britian.

Today, as Henry Allingham (pictured) struggled in vain against the infirmities of old age as he attempted to rise to his feet, it told a powerful story of remembrance and loss.

Almost everyone knows the name of Henry Allingham now - and Harry Patch and Bill Stone, Britain’s surviving veterans from the First World War. The last living reminders of a generation that sustained such terrible losses, they are the symbols of a suffering that modern generations find hard to understand.

But for Mr Allingham and his comrades, the memories of what happened are real, and personal, and theirs; and when, just before 11am today, and 90 years to the minute after the signing of the Armistice, he attempted stand up in front of a crowd of thousands and lay a wreath at the Cenotaph, his gesture said more about war and grief than any prayer or salute.

The three of them were lined up in their wheelchairs in front of the memorial to lay their wreaths, each representing the armed service they belonged to - the Royal Air Force for Mr Allingham, 112, the Army for Mr Patch, 110, and the Royal Navy for Mr Stone, 108.

Veteran's Day

A wonderful photo from the London Times of President elect Obama greeting a war veteran.

Veterans, citizens-These new Americans already have defended their nation

From the Post-Gazette. Remember to thank a veteran today.

Lost among the countless stories covering the historic election of the next leader of our nation was the account last Tuesday of 186 men and women in Baghdad who were awarded what Justice Louis Brandeis once termed "the only title in our democracy superior to that of president"-- citizen.

Given a brief respite from their daily duties braving innumerable dangers to bring peace and stability to cities and towns across Iraq, a remarkable group of foreign-born soldiers, sailors, airmen and Marines converged on Baghdad for a ceremony at the U.S. headquarters in one of Saddam Hussein's former palaces. Before an American flag hanging from the ceiling of the palace's cavernous rotunda, they held up their right hands and swore allegiance to a nation for which they already were risking their lives. They came from 60 different countries across the globe and, standing together in a formation surrounded by Saddam's marbled columns, they became the newest additions to the beautiful mosaic of American citizenry.

Bishops draw slavery/abortion parallel

From The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette.

Cardinal Francis George told the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops yesterday to rejoice that the nation has changed enough to elect a black president, but he drew parallels between the laws that once made slavery a right and those that make abortion a right.

"The common good can never be adequately incarnated in any society when those waiting to be born can be legally killed at choice," the president of the group said to long applause from nearly 300 bishops gathered here for their regular meeting.

"If the Supreme Court's Dred Scott decision that African Americans were other people's property, and somehow less than persons, were still settled constitutional law, Mr. Obama would not be president of the United States. Today, as was the case 150 years ago, common ground cannot be found by destroying the common good."

In 1857 the Supreme Court ruled, 7-2, that Dred Scott, a slave who had lived with his master in free states, could not be free after his master died. It declared that no slave or descendent of slaves could ever be a U.S. citizen.

Opponents of abortion draw parallels between that case and Roe v. Wade, the 1973 decision legalizing abortion.

Fort Worth Diocese will vote on breaking away from Episcopal Churc

From the Fort Worth Star-Telegram. Ft. Worth will be the fourth and last Diocese to vote to leave.

Delegates of the Fort Worth Episcopal Diocese will decide this weekend whether to sever ties with the Episcopal Church — a move that both sides agree would be spiritually devastating and would create conflict over who controls church properties.

At last year’s annual meeting, about 80 percent of the delegates, under the leadership of Fort Worth Bishop Jack Iker, gave initial approval to leaving the Episcopal Church.

The Episcopal Church, with 2.1 million members in the United States and 16 other countries, is part of the worldwide, 77-million-member Anglican Communion. The Episcopal Church is more liberal than the Anglican Communion on issues ranging from same-sex unions to interpretation of Scripture regarding salvation.

Three other U.S. dioceses have voted to leave The Episcopal Church. The most recent was in Quincy, Ill., last weekend.

Episcopal Church split might turn into conflict over property

From the Quad-City Times. Litigation is inevitable.

Fallout from the weekend decision by the Diocese of Quincy, Ill., to leave the Episcopal Church of the United States may include litigation over millions of dollars’ worth of property and assets.

“We pray there will be no litigation,” the Rev. Ed den Blaauwen said Monday. Den Blaauwen, the rector of Christ Church in Moline, is also the newly appointed vicar general of the diocese that is now aligned with the Anglican Province of the Southern Cone, based in Argentina.

Church resources would be better used for Christian activities than in the courts, he added.

The Episcopal Church will protect its history and heritage, said the Rev. Charles Robertson, canon to the presiding bishop of the national church in New York City. Church officials will not give away property to a foreign province, he said, adding, “This is our heritage and, more than that, the heritage of those who have not even come our way yet.”

The Episcopalian Church still exists in the Quincy Diocese, Robertson stressed. “Our first concern for followers is that they know that our church continues,” he added.

Monday, November 10, 2008

Rowan Williams: September 11

Very interesting excerpt from a biography of Rowan Williams- He was at "Groud Zero".

The London Times

On September 11, 2001, Rowan Williams was due to address 22 spiritual directors from across the US in a church-owned building next to Holy Trinity, Wall Street [New York], on “the shape of a holy life”, and reached the venue, 74 Trinity Place, at 8.35am. His host was the Rev Fred Burnham, director of the Trinity Institute, an educational foundation attached to the neighbouring church. The two went up to the 21st floor. Burnham was sitting in his office when the World Trade Centre's north tower was hit at 9.03am; and even though Flight 11 came from the opposite direction (Trinity Place is south of Ground Zero), the noise sounded like a sonic boom. Burnham raced to the room where Rowan was and cried that “some cowboy” had just gone through the sound barrier. Then came a scream: one of the secretaries could see what had happened through her window. Burnham, Rowan and the others joined her to look. Though aghast, they assumed that the crash was accidental.

Its all here- (and worth the read)

Good Stuff in TEC: California

Two Calif. midwives saving babies in Sierra Leone

Retirement is anything but slow for two Episcopal deacons saving lives a half a world away.

Each year, the Revs. Christie McManus, 60, and Patricia Ross, 57, journey to from San Francisco to Sierra Leone to help deliver babies in remote villages with some of the highest infant mortality rates in the world.

"Doing this fits in with my core values -- I have the knowledge and money and if I don't share it, that's not doing what I was created to do," said Ross, a certified midwife.

Both women, who worship at St. John's Episcopal Parish in Clayton, Calif., wanted to do something useful with their golden years. So they became MOMS -- Midwives on Missions of Service, which is a nonprofit helping West African women deliver healthy babies.

Together, the pair turned MOMS from a distance-learning course for midwives into a traveling midwifery and maternal health education program. MOMS has a board of directors and a few volunteers, but it's largely a nonprofit of two -- McManus and Ross travel several times a year to Sierra Leone for six-week stints to lead the courses and meet with government officials. Their next trip is in January.

In the past two years, the San Francisco women have trained 97 women in 33 villages in basic prenatal care, birthing techniques and postpartum procedure. They rely on small individual and corporate donations and donated medical supplies, and they host baby showers in the San Francisco area to collect baby blankets, clothes and toys.

Monks Brawl at Christian Holy Site in Jerusalem

From the "You can't make this stuff up" department.

Israeli police rushed into one of Christianity's holiest churches Sunday and arrested two clergyman after an argument between monks erupted into a brawl next to the site of Jesus' tomb.

The clash between Armenian and Greek Orthodox monks broke out in the Church of the Holy Sepulcher, revered as the site of Jesus' crucifixion, burial and resurrection.

The brawling began during a procession of Armenian clergymen commemorating the 4th-century discovery of the cross believed to have been used to crucify Jesus.

The Greeks objected to the march without one of their monks present, fearing that otherwise, the procession would subvert their own claim to the Edicule — the ancient structure built on what is believed to be the tomb of Jesus — and give the Armenians a claim to the site.
The Armenians refused, and when they tried to march the Greek Orthodox monks blocked their way, sparking the brawl.

Good Stuff in TEC: Ohio

Group makes plans to help with homelessness

There is no longer a question about whether Knox County is “home” to homeless people.

Workers at local social service agencies, charitable organizations and food pantries know. Church staff and pastors know. Those who work with at-risk youth know. The Knox County Sheriff and Mount Vernon’s mayor know. They see the faces of homelessness every day.

But what all these people want to know is ... what can be done about homelessness in Knox County?

An ecumenical group of church members, social service personnel, homeless people and interested others plans to open a nighttime homeless shelter in early December in St. Paul’s Episcopal Church Parish House or another suitable location. In its initial phase — tentatively planned for December through April — the shelter will house only men; volunteers decided to serve first the portion of the homeless population they believe is most critically in need.

The Episcopal Church of the Sudan reburies its first Archbishop in Juba

From Anglican Communion News Service. Sahdes of the Cardinal Newman saga !

On Saturday 8th November 2008 the Episcopal Church of the Sudan (ECS) reburied the remains of its first Archbishop, the late Most Rev. Elinana J. Ngalamu, in a grave behind All Saints’ Cathedral, Juba, Southern Sudan. The first Archbishop’s coffin, originally buried in Khartoum in October 1992 following his death there on 29th September 1992, was exhumed on Thursday 6th November 2008 and flown to Juba with an accompanying delegation on Friday 7th.

On the morning of Saturday 8th a brief burial ceremony was conducted by the current Archbishop, the Most Rev. Dr. Daniel Deng Bul, accompanied by the bishops of Khartoum, Rokon, Lainya, Rumbek, Ibba, Rejaf, Mundri and Lui, the assistant bishops of Torit, Bor and Juba, and the retired bishop of Mundri. Archbishop Daniel, sighting Moses’ reburial of Joseph’s bones in Canaan after his return to the Promised Land from exile in Egypt, prayed that Archbishop Elinana’s “homecoming” be symbolic in the hearts of Sudanese Anglicans in all marginalised areas as a final homecoming. He pleaded that never again should the Church have to flee from these areas as Archbishop Elinana fled from Juba to Khartoum in the 1980s to die in exile in 1992. He thanked God for the Comprehensive Peace Agreement (CPA) that ended the 21-year civil war in 2005 and allowed the homecoming of the first Archbishop.

Maine flocks tighten belts

A report from Maine about how the economy is affecting church budgets especially as winter approaches.

For some churches on the edge, this could be a winter of final reckoning.

"We are all on survival mode," said the Very Rev. Benjamin Shambaugh, dean of the Episcopal Cathedral Church of St. Luke in Portland.

Like many congregations with drafty pre-energy crisis buildings, St. Luke's is feeling the squeeze that comes from heating its soaring interiors. Shambaugh expects St. Luke's to have spent $40,000 on oil to heat its State Street building by the end of this year, a big chunk of the church's $578,000 annual budget.

Shambaugh said that prompted his church to take out a loan to remove its elderly oil-burning heating system and replace it with an energy-efficient natural gas system.

Shambaugh also is girding for scantier giving in the coming year, as congregation members feel the pinch in their own pockets. Members are being urged to help out through increased volunteering at the church's Alexander charitable endeavors, including a pantry that provides food and household goods.

Bishops' journey from obscurity, The Bishop of St Albans has retired

From the London Times. Bishop Christopher Herbert retires after 13 years. (Careful, don't want to get that hat wet!)

Bishop Herbert said endings could be equally challenging. “Whilst there is a sense of relief at being able to lay down the burdens of office, the sense of loss is immense . . . and yet Christ is not only deeply present in all beginnings, he is also deeply present in endings, whether those be temporary goodbyes or those heart-wrenching endings of death. Christ is there, right in the midst of them.”

Bishop Herbert, whom The Times described as a “cleric plucked from obscurity” since he was one of the few diocesan bishops appointed from outside the ranks of the suffragan bishops, leaves office anything but obscure. He is recognised almost anywhere he goes in the diocese, has contributed regularly to debate in the House of Lords and has written a bestselling pocket book of prayers.

Presiding Bishop says church laments Quincy departures

From Episcopal News Service-

Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori said November 8 that the church “laments the departure from the Episcopal Church of some individuals in southern Illinois" after members of the Diocese of Quincy voted on November 7 to leave the Episcopal Church and realign under the jurisdiction of the Anglican Province of the Southern Cone.

“The Episcopal Diocese of Quincy remains, albeit with fewer members, and we are working to assist in the reorganization of diocesan affairs,” she said. “We assure all, both Episcopalians and former Episcopalians, and members of their surrounding communities, of our prayers for clarity and charity in their spiritual journeys. May all be reminded that the Gospel work of healing this world will take the best efforts of every person of faith.”