Saturday, January 3, 2009

It's time to appoint Britain’s first woman bishop, says Canon Jane Hedges

From The London Times-

Senior politicians are in favour of breaking up the all-male enclave of the 26 bishops in the House of Lords, the cleric tipped to become Britain’s first female Anglican bishop believes.

Canon Jane Hedges says that there is increasing discomfort at the highest levels of the Establishment that the power wielded in the Lords by bishops is entirely in the hands of men.

As Canon Steward at Westminster Abbey, she is in a position to know. She has access to the corridors of power and has met nearly everyone at the highest levels of the Establishment, from the Queen and the Prime Minister down.

In an interview with The Times, Canon Hedges, 53, said: “We pick up from parliamentarians that there would be strong support for women bishops.”

Good Stuff in TEC: Maine

Clothes closets overwhelmed

So many people are getting clothes at local clothing banks that one of the facilities may soon run out.

Addie’s Attic, a free clothing bank in the basement of St. Mark’s Episcopal Church, had clothes on its racks Friday but nothing in storage.

About 60 to 70 families come in looking for clothing on a typical Tuesday, say organizers, who fear running out of items to give away.

“Within a week, we could be out,” said manager Linda Stortz, of Pittston. “We have nothing left to put out.”

Stortz figures the number of people using Addie’s Attic, on Summer Street, has tripled in the last six months.

“A lot of people are out of jobs,” she said. “We’re getting three times as many people. It’s increasing so much we can’t seem to keep up with the demand.”

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

Legislation drafted for women bishops

From the Church Times in England - more on the women bishop's controversy. (Will the "flying bishops" get hats like sister Bertrille ? )

FLYING BISHOPS would remain in the C of E in all but name to serve those who cannot accept the ministry of women bishops, under a draft Measure and Code of Conduct pub lished on Monday. Critics of the legislation fear it would lead to a series of petitions for judicial review.

The drafts have been produced by the group chaired by the Bishop of Manchester, the Rt Revd Nigel Mc Culloch (minus the Revd Jonathan Baker, who resigned from the group after the General Synod rejected any structural provision for traditional ists last July).

The draft Bishops and Priests (Consecration and Ordination of Women) Measure states that “The archbishop of each province [Canter bury and York] shall, from time to time, nominate one or more suf fragan sees in his or her province from which the holders (being men) may be selected by diocesan bishops of that province to exercise, in relation to parishes in their dioceses whose parochial church councils have, on grounds of theological conviction, requested arrangements to be made . . ., episcopal functions.”

Its all here-

'Prickly, obnoxious' bishop must go, say alienated priests

Trouble down under. If "Prickly and Obnoxious" were chargeable offenses there'd be a whole lot of empty sees and parishes ! (Ok, who gets the picture?)

ANGLICAN clergy in Ballarat are trying to depose their bishop — a first in the church's Australian history — accusing him of bullying and harassment that have damaged relations beyond repair.

The clergy say at least half the diocesan priests have made formal complaints, while Bishop Michael Hough says it is "five and a half — five full-time priests and one part-time".

Australia's Anglican leader, Brisbane Archbishop Philip Aspinall, has sent the complaints to the new Episcopal Standards Commission, which will decide whether there is a case to answer. If so, it will go to a tribunal which can remove the bishop.

The rest is here-

Good Stuff in TEC

Tom Ehrich an Episcopal priest in New York offers some practical advice for the new year. From a paper in Oklahoma.

Start the new year in right direction

• Don’t believe in "something for nothing.” We cannot continue to suspend skepticism and careful evaluation just because we want things to be a certain way.

• Don’t shop on credit. This is the year to tear up credit cards, stop drawing down home equity loans, and stop using debt to finance our lifestyles.

• Be generous even when you feel strapped. True community depends on people looking out for each other, especially when danger or distress looms.

• Learn to can vegetables and to make repairs. It isn’t about saving money, but about self-reliance and making-do. As we stagger into the second year of a worsening recession, it is important that we each feel capable and not rendered powerless by a complex world.

• Learn from failure. The greatest shortcoming among recent leaders hasn’t been their mistakes, bad guesses and faulty information, but their refusal to admit failure, to accept accountability for failure, and to learn from failure. We the people, in turn, need to stop pouncing on failure.

More here-

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

Honoring Christ's baptism

A nice piece on Christmas and Epiphany from the Salt Lake paper-

The Rev. Rick Lawson hates the sight of discarded Christmas trees in the gutter as he drives home from church on Christmas Day. He winces at the day-after rush to the stores.

"Nothing is more shocking to me," says Lawson, dean of St. Mark's Episcopal Cathedral in Salt Lake City. "So many people see it as the end of the festivities, but in the church it is just the beginning of a celebratory season."

For many branches of Christianity, that season culminates on Jan. 6, which is known variously as Epiphany, or Twelfth Night. Taken from the Greek for "manifestation," Epiphany began in the Eastern Orthodox Church in the third century to honor Jesus' baptism. In that tradition, the Epiphany service includes a blessing of water as a symbol of renewal and regeneration. Individual members can take some of the blessed water to their homes to drink and to use for healing.

More here-

Pictures surface showing partying priest Gregory Malia with lots of lovelies

The Party Priest saga continues, this time with pictures! If you want to see all of the posts and follow the saga click on "Gregory Mailia" in the labels below.

Say cheese, Father Malia.

On the day the Episcopal church opened an investigation into his nightclub crawls, new pictures surfaced of a Pennsylvania priest getting his party on.

The candid camera caught the Rev. Gregory Malia living it up with lithe lovelies at one of his favorite haunts, Pink Elephant.

He's seen drinking Perrier Jouet pink champagne that costs $550 a bottle and doing shots with the gals, all wearing identical minidresses.

The club-hopping cleric is dressed casually, sporting jeans and a long-sleeved T-shirt.
The photos came to light after a story about Malia's extravagant spending in clubland prompted church elders to launch a probe.

Read it all-

Friday, January 2, 2009

Happy Birthday J. D.

Yesterday was the 90th birthday of J. D. Salinger one of my favorite authors. Although best known for the coming of age story "Catcher In The Rye", I think his best book (which is really two long short stories) is Franny and Zooey". This book is about prayer and where it is that we really find Jesus. A good friend of mine decided that he was going to become a priest after reading it. Also worth your time is "Nine Stories" which is exactly what it sounds like.

He's been reclusive but writing for decades and hasn't published anything since the early sixties. There a nice little bio at the link.

Jerusalem Christian leaders seek day of prayer, halt to Gaza violence

From the Anglican Journal in Canada-

The heads of Christian churches in Jerusalem have denounced continuing hostilities in the Gaza Strip as well as "all forms of violence and killings from all parties" and have called for a world day of prayer for peace in the Holy Land.

In a joint statement, made available on 30 December, the church leaders noted that "this bloodshed and violence will not lead to peace and justice but breed more hatred and hostility". It followed days of Israeli air strikes said to be in retaliation for continuing rockets attacks by Hamas and the Islamic Jihad from Gaza into Israel.

The Christian leaders called on the world to keep Sunday, Jan. 4 as a day of prayer for justice and peace, "in the land of peace". This came after five days of violence had left more than 360 people dead, while the U.N. Relief and Works Agency said at least 62 of those killed were civilians.

Good Stuff in TEC: Virginia

Helping hand for Sudan

Chol Deng is being kept out of harm's way in Africa as much as possible by a group of people he's never met — the members of Christ Episcopal Church in Smithfield.

Such an outreach is nothing new to the congregation, which church member Betsy Egan describes as being "such a warm group of people."

Chol (the "ch" is pronounced as in "church") is a 13-year-old boy from Sudan now going to boarding school in neighboring Kenya. Were it not for the support of the church and the Outreach Africa: Lost Boys Foundation, he would likely be in danger of enslavement, forced military service or even death in his war-ravaged native land.

In the past few decades, Sudan has experienced a civil war. The U.S. State Department has labeled the violence as genocide, particularly for residents in the Darfur region in the western part.,0,5738747.story

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

Official Anglican Web Page Finally Updated

As many of you are probably aware the, Official Anglican Web Page for the Diocese of Pittsburgh has been incorrect for months now. The information was reflective of the Diocese before October 4, 2008. Thanks to many complaints, the persistence of Lionel Deimel, and probably Mark Harris' blog, the information is finally correct.

Bishop seeks probe of hard-partying priest Gregory Malia

Further update on the Party Priest from Bethlehem. From the New York Daily News-

An Episcopal bishop will formally ask a church committee Friday to open an investigation into club-hopping priest Gregory Malia's nightlife romps.

The Right Rev. Paul Marshall of the Diocese of Bethlehem, Pa., said he was troubled by reports of Malia dropping tens of thousands of dollars at trendy boites, in apparent violation of his vows.

Malia - who has been suspended from his priestly duties - could be permanently defrocked if the so-called standing committee rules against him.

The Jaguar-driving priest has denied doing anything improper and predicted the church committee will clear him and let him return as vicar of a small summer parish.

He insists wild spending on visits to clubs like Pink Elephant were connected to fund-raising efforts and his for-profit company - a pharmacy for hemophiliacs.

Women bishops: get over them

Opinon piece in the guardian writen by an ordained woman

When I was ordained a deacon in 1992, a few months before the historic vote on women priests, I was like most people shortly to be ordained: overly anxious and overly serious. Added to that I had recently finished my doctorate on an aspect of the English Reformation. This meant, unlike most Anglican ordinands, I had actually read the 39 Articles to which one must assent before being ordained in the Church of England. I had scruples.

I told my diocesan bishop that although most of the thirty-nine were fine, one or two were a real problem. Article 37 for example, endorses capital punishment, a position I find incompatible with the Christian gospel – a fact that seems to have been overlooked (or has it?) by those who wish to impose the Articles as a touchstone of orthodoxy and morality on the whole of the Anglican Communion. I received from my bishop just the right response for the occasion: he told me that by 'assent', I was saying 'Yes bishop, those are the 39 Articles'. His pastoral, intelligent and humane response to my somewhat precious scrupling carried me through the day.

The draft legislation to consecrate women as bishops published on Mondayand the supporting documentation makes a great deal of Anglicanism's gift for holding together diverse, at times, contradictory points of conviction in a wider context of pastoral common sense. Often derided by others for this as the fudge producers extraordinaire of Christianity, we Anglicans tend to make a virtue of it and if it makes us less prone to witch-hunts and the gleeful doctrinal purges of the purity police, I'm all for it. Human beings, let alone God, are rather complicated.

Archbishop of Canterbury's New Year Message - the treasure that is our fellow human beings

Report on the address plus the full text available at the link.

On January 1st 2009 The Archbishop of Canterbury, Dr Rowan Williams, will deliver his New Year Message on BBC One at 1.30pm and again on BBC Two at 6.55pm.

In the message, Dr Williams asks us to consider the importance placed on material wealth, to 'turn outwards' and appreciate the treasure that is our 'fellow human beings' during this time of financial crisis.

The Archbishop recognises that people are entering the New Year with “anxiety and insecurity” and “fears about disappearing savings, lost jobs, house repossessions and worse” but sees recent months as having provided an opportunity to “think about wealth and security and about where our ‘treasure’ is”.

He encourages us to consider ‘treasure’ and question the importance placed on material wealth. “Jesus said that where our treasure is, there our hearts will be. Our hearts will be in a very bad way if they are focused only the state of our finances. They’ll be healthy if they’re capable of turning outwards - looking at the real treasure that is our fellow human beings”.

Dr Williams also talks about the plight of children, who are “damaged by poverty, family instability and abuse, street violence and so much else”, noting that “one of the most damning things you could say about any society is that it’s failing its children.” He remarks that “children need to be taken seriously, not just as tomorrow’s adults but as fellow-inhabitants of the globe today”.

Clinging to Hope

Nice think piece on the relationship between religion (hope) and materialism. By Tony Blankley.

As we enter one of America's bleaker winters -- though not so bleak as the winter of 1777-78 at Valley Forge nor the winter of 1941-42 after Pearl Harbor and then Wake Island -- please permit me to lapse for a moment from the secular and the material to an old memory.

I was out Christmas shopping with my 11-year-old daughter in empty stores last week, when the refrain of an old hymn, un-summoned, played in my head. It was a song from my youth that is not sung these days in the smart suburban churches we have attended (nor on the mall's Muzak):

"So I'll cherish the old rugged cross till my trophies at last I lay down; I will cling to the old rugged cross and exchange it someday for a crown."

Perhaps those words will remind you of the homely but touching melody that George Bennard composed to support this beloved hymn, "The Old Rugged Cross," almost a hundred years ago now, in 1913.

Thursday, January 1, 2009

May We All Have A Blessed 2009 !

Jerusalem Bishop 'Grieved' by Gaza Crisis

The Rt. Rev. Suheil S. Dawani sounds off on the Gaza violence. (Can't tell if their taking his hat away or putting it on for him)

The Anglican Bishop in Jerusalem has expressed his dismay at the latest conflict to hit the Holy Land.

The Rt. Rev. Suheil S. Dawani said in a statement that his diocese was “stunned and saddened” as well as “grieved by the severity” of the ongoing military operations in Gaza.

As Israel indicated on Wednesday that the conflict could run on for weeks, Bishop Dawani reaffirmed the “unbroken commitment” of the Diocese of Jerusalem to the wellbeing and peace of people in Gaza, particularly through its Al Ahli Arab Hospital.

At least 373 Palestinians have been killed in the four days since Israel began its aerial attack in retaliation to rockets fired into its territory by Hamas militants last week. Gaza medics estimate that at least 1,700 people have been wounded.

Dawani called on both sides to halt the violence.

“The heavy loss of Palestinian lives and the serious wounds and injuries to many hundreds of innocent bystanders require the immediate cessation of hostilities for the well being and safety of both the Palestinian and Israeli communities, and especially for Gaza and the nearby Israeli population centers.

“The gravity of the situation threatens to engulf this entire region and we ask the Palestinians and Israelis to return to active negotiations for the well being and safety of both communities.”

Brown Says ‘Energetic’ Government Will Help U.K. in Recession

Criticism of Gordon Brown's economic plan continue. From Bloomberg-

Earlier this week, Conservative leader David Cameron and five Anglican bishops, who hold seats in the House of Lords, said Brown’s decision to lift government borrowing was immoral and risked long-term damage to the economy.

Neil McCulloch, the bishop of Manchester, told the Sunday Telegraph the Labour government was “beguiled by money” and “morally corrupt” for encouraging a surge in debt. Brown rejected those criticisms.

“We will eventually look back on the winter of 2008 and 2009 as another great global challenge that was thrown Britain’s way, and that Britain met,” Brown said. “We had the right values, the right policies, the right character to meet them.”

A pew more religion-themed 2009 predictions

Some looking ahead at "Get Religion" dot com.

*Anglican Archbishop Rowan Williams has been giving Labor Party P.M. Gordon Brown fits, likening his financial stimulus plan to “an addict returning to the drug.” The New Year will see Williams continue his public tongue-lashings, leading Brown to call for the disestablishment of the Church of England.

*Not content with making the P.M. long for the good old days when bishops stayed in the House of Lords and kept quiet, Williams will also give secessionist Anglicans in America, Canada, Africa and Asia agita by neither endorsing or disapproving their plans for a separate province. This prediction will be repeated in 2010.

Looking at both sides of the coin — or snowflake

A nice piece by a Florida youth minister reflecting on out desire to with God.

A friend of mine sent me an article about "Reasons to be Episcopal." He had reasons like "Just like being Catholic only without the Hail Mary's and poor people." Another was "Changing hearts and lives but leaving your brain intact." Maybe those weren't as much "reasons to be Episcopal" as much as they were "shots at other denominations."

If we put aside the squabbles over denominations and all the other individual windows that look in on faith, I think we'll see the bigger picture here. God wants a connection to take place. God is in all things at all times in all places and isn't going to come out and give us a dope slap and say, "Here I am." We have to do whatever we can to make the connection with Him.

As a youth minister, I often lead my group in a game called Sardines. (For you non-youth ministers, this is the opposite of hide and seek. ) One person hides and everyone else goes to find them. Here's the trick. When you find them you squeeze in with them. Hence the name. Some times the "seekers" go alone. Sometimes they go in pairs. Some take it very seriously and some just happen to find what they are looking for.

We are all out there looking for God: the Catholics, the Presbyterians, the screaming preachers, the quite talkers, the young-lifers, you and me and the guy who made the list about Episcopals. We're all out there. When we find God we want to squeeze in there with him. All of us. Eventually we will all be with him, and that, just like in Sardines, is when it becomes the most fun.

A Wondrous Cross Still Beckons the Faithful from Mount Calvary’s Ashes

Update about the Episcopal Monestary in southern California that burned in the wild fire last November.

But it wasn’t just the Brothers of the Order of the Holy Cross who lost their home. For many of the faithful in the Santa Barbara community and throughout the world, Mount Calvary was a spiritual home, a place to take refuge from the bustle of the day-to-day grind, or to work out life’s problems, or to simply meditate in silence, the quiet broken only by the breeze or by the piercing cries of hawks soaring high above. When news of the monastery’s destruction spread, there was an outpouring of sympathy for the brothers and grief over the devastation.

But not everything is lost.
Amid the ashes and the rubble, one icon of Mount Calvary remains standing, a silent symbol of salvation and triumph: the wrought-iron cross that was erected in 1949, shortly after the monastery was established.

Looking worse for wear from the firestorm that consumed everything around it, the cross nevertheless continues to tower over the burned-out courtyard. Its bronze ornamentation is tarnished, maybe even melted, but the flames of the Tea Fire were not strong enough to undo the delicate lacework of the body of the cross. Surrounded by charred, collapsed walls and burned-out debris, the cross still commands a reverence, perhaps even more so for having survived one of the most devastating wildfires in recent history.

Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Goodbye, 2008; Hello, 2009

Boston Globe lists the top ten religious stories of 2008 and the schism is again number 4 (see posts below) and lumped in with Jeremiah Wright.

4. Mainline Protestant denominations continued to be roiled by debates over homosexuality, and continued to grapple with declining participation and aging congregations. The split in the global Anglican Communion since the election of an openly gay bishop in New Hampshire began to formalize in 2008, as conservatives announced that they were establishing a separate North American province that would compete with the existing Episcopal Church in the U.S. and Canada. African American Protestant churches reflected on the state of black liberation theology after the incendiary preaching by Jeremiah Wright (a pastor in the mainline United Church of Christ) called attention to the risks of rhetoric in the age of Youtube.

Pa. priest denies impropriety for NYC club outings

The "party priest" responds in the Philadelphia Inquirer. See the first post of the day if you haven't been following the story -

A part-time Episcopal priest said allegations of extravagant night-clubbing that led to his ouster from a northeastern Pennsylvania church have been greatly exaggerated.

The Rev. Gregory Malia defended himself against a pair of stories published earlier this week in the New York Daily News. The newspaper, relying on unidentified club workers, depicted Malia as a denizen of Manhattan's hottest clubs and a big spender on top-shelf liquors who leaves five-figure tips.

"I think the whole thing has been blown way out of proportion and misconstrued," Malia told the Wilkes-Barre Times Leader in a story posted Wednesday on its Web site. "It's so twisted."

The Daily News stories raised enough concerns that Malia has been inhibited from performing his priestly duties by Bishop Paul V. Marshall of the Bethlehem diocese.

Marshall posted a note on the diocese Web site saying that the allegations, if true, "constitute a serious violation of ordination vows to be 'a wholesome example' to a priest's people."

"If true, they may also violate other canonical provisions and certainly portray an unacceptable idea of Christian stewardship," Marshall wrote.

Requiem for Roberto

Today is the 36th anniversary of the death of Roberto Clemente. I have fond memories of going to Forbes Field and later Three Rivers Stadium to watch the best right fielder to ever play the game. This is the Jan. 15th Time Magazine article about his tragic death.

Then there were the endless demands for public appearances that "I just couldn't say no to." Among other charitable projects, Clemente last week led Puerto Rico's efforts to aid earthquake victims in Managua, Nicaragua, a city where he had coached and played with Puerto Rican teams during the offseason. Not satisfied with merely lending his name to the mercy mission, Clemente insisted on going along to Managua to see that some 26 tons of food and $150,000 in relief money were properly distributed.

Minutes after takeoff from San Juan international airport, the cargo plane developed engine trouble and crashed into heavy seas one mile off the coast.

Rescue boats and helicopters combed the crash area, but by dawn only bits of debris had been recovered. Clemente, three crew members and another passenger had perished. Governor-elect Rafael Hernandez Colon immediately canceled the formal ball that was to have followed his inauguration last week, and three days of mourning were declared. "Roberto died serving his fellow man," Colon said. "Our youth loses an idol. Our people lose one of their glories.",9171,906761,00.html

Top 10 religion news stories of 2008

Scripps lists their top ten religous stories for 2008. The schism is number 6 here

6. Backed by Anglican traditionalists in Africa, Asia and Latin America, conservatives alienated from the U.S. Episcopal Church appeal to the Anglican Communion to create a parallel jurisdiction -- the Anglican Church in North America. This open split follows decades of doctrinal fighting in the Episcopal Church, including the consecration of a noncelibate gay priest as a bishop five years ago.

The other nine are here-

Ten for the History Books from 2008

A Southern Baptist lists the 10 most important news stories (not just religous ones) of 2008. The schism is number 4 here too. (See below for the Catholic take)

4. Controversy in the Episcopal Church leads to schism. Pressures in the Episcopal Church USA reached a breaking point as more congregations and dioceses voted to leave the denomination over its actions and policy positions on homosexuality -- most centrally the election of an openly homosexual bishop in 2003. Several churches had taken refuge under Anglican churches in Africa and the Southern Cone of South America, but as the year came to a close a new Anglican Church in North America had been declared. Court battles over church property continued, but conservatives won a major decision in Virginia in late December.

They're all here-

Good Stuff in TEC: Vermont

Church hosts prayer service tonight

This year's First Night Ecumenical Prayer for World Peace will take place this evening at the Cathedral of St. Paul (Episcopal) at the intersection of Battery and Cherry streets in Burlington.

The service, from 6 to 6:45 p.m., consists of Scripture, reflection, congregational singing accompanied by harp and chants from the Taize Community.

Pax Christi Burlington, the First United Methodist Church and the Cathedral of St. Paul are sponsoring the event with other area churches and The Sisters of Mercy Northeast Community.

No First Night Burlington button is required. Call for more information at 862-0068.

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

Top 5 News Stories That Will Keep Making News

Top five stories for the year according to American Catholic. The schism in the Episcopal church is #4

4) The on-going divisions within the Episcopal Church illustrate a much-discussed dynamic in recent years: Denominational differences are less indicative of voting behavior than ideological differences. That is, a conservative Catholic and a conservative evangelical are more likely to have the same outlook than a conservative Catholic and a liberal one. This dynamic must become the focus of sustained attention by the Catholic hierarchy if we are to avoid the kinds of schisms the Episcopalians are witnessing. Unlike most Protestant denominations, the Episcopal Church did not split apart during the Civil War, but they are splitting now. Ecclesiology must be given renewed prominence if we are to keep the differences of opinion, often legitimate differences, within the Church from breaking it apart.

The rest are here-

Pennsylvania Priest Ousted for Partying at New York City Nightclubs

Follow up on a story I posted Sunday which can be found here-

An Episcopal priest at a rural northeastern Pennsylvania parish has been ousted from priestly ministry for flamboyant partying at New York City nightclubs.

When a New York newspaper reported on his lavish lifestyle, the Rev. Gregory Malia told the Daily News: "I work hard. I make good money. How I spend it — that is my business."

The paper reported Sunday that Malia was a fixture in fashionable nightclubs, spending thousands of dollars on liquor and tips.

The Right Rev. Paul Marshall says the Episcopal Diocese of Bethlehem took the action because priests are supposed to observe "normal standards of modest living."

Malia is a businessman who served part-time in the clergy, most recently at St. James Episcopal Church in Susquehanna County.,2933,474344,00.html

Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Good Stuff in TEC: Kentucky

Warming shelter ministry set

Pastors of five Murray-Calloway County churches are planning to open a warming shelter ministry for local residents needing temporary shelter, food and other necessities inside the First United Methodist Church Christian Life Center.

The Rev. Richard Smith, pastor of First Methodist, said following a meeting of organizers late last week that the effort is the translation of Christian ministry from Bible teaching to service of those in need in Christ's name.

“In the love of Christ to provide warmth, shelter, food, and a caring experience for those who are homeless or who find themselves without functioning utilities on extremely cold nights,” Smith said. “It is a cooperative plan of defined churches, community resources, and dedicated volunteers.”

Smith said the ministry is based on the words of Christ in New Testament book of Matthew; Chapter 25.

“For I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you welcomed me, I was naked and you gave me clothing,” Smith quoted in a news release to the Murray Ledger & Times. “I was sick and you took care of me...Truly I tell you, just as you did it to one of the least of these who are members of my family you did it to me.”

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

Women bishops demonstrate the Anglican tradition of compromise

From the London Telegraph-

The second link is to a story in the Guardian.

The week between Christmas Day and the New Year is traditionally when the clergy take a break after the rigours of Advent and the great feast. It's a hiatus in the life of the Church, a kind of Pinteresque pause: a time for reflection and the re-charging of spiritual batteries.

Not this year. Last Sunday, five English bishops independently told the Sunday Telegraph how dissatisfied they were with the Government's economic policies. The Rt Rev Nigel McCulloch, the Bishop of Manchester, went so far as to call Gordon Brown's regime "morally corrupt" for encouraging instant gratification through the racking up of personal debt.

Then, hardly a day later, the Church of England let it be known that it intends to press ahead with the introduction of women bishops , while providing "complementary" male bishops for those clergy who are opposed to the change.

The Guardian

Good Stuff in TEC: Florida

Resale shop for a good cause

Whether it's traditional jewelry, fine china or collectible soft drink bottles with the beverage still inside, the St. Edward's French Boutique offers both antique and modern items at fair prices.

Located behind St. Edward's Episcopal Church, the boutique features upscale items donated for resale for interested collectors or someone looking to redecorate their home, said church senior warden Sandy Morgan.

"Whether people are looking for colorful jewelry or something to place in their kitchen, it's literally an assortment of valuable and semi-valuable items for them to choose from," Morgan said.

Church parishioners and local residents donated all of the items for sale in the boutique, she said. Even local antique stores and businesses drop off items from their larger shipments.

The church is looking at the boutique to house items that are both precious and valuable to someone.

"All of the items here are too good to throw out or give away," she said. "We want to know that everything available here will find a good home somewhere and not be destroyed. The right person has to want it."

Sale proceeds from the boutique fund the church's outreach programs.

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

EPISCOPALIANS: Pressing on after a split in the local church

Update on the TEC diocese in Fort Worth from the local paper- The Star Telegram. (I guess that's where Santa goes to unwind. That hat doesn't fool me)

North Texas Episcopalians and those observing recent activities in our diocese can be forgiven for some confusion.

A quick update is that the Episcopal Diocese of Fort Worth is alive and well and doing ministry and mission everywhere from Gainesville to Wichita Falls to Brownwood to Hillsboro and back.


While those who have gathered themselves around Iker still insist they are the Episcopal Diocese of Fort Worth, it is simply not possible to leave the Episcopal Church and then claim to be still part of it. And while they still occupy property that belongs to the Episcopal Church, they have no legal rights to it, according to the church’s canons.

All this will in due course be sorted out, most likely in the courts.

Meanwhile, the Episcopal Diocese of Fort Worth continues its ministry as an integral part of the Episcopal Church.

Married Man to be Ordained to Priesthood in Texas

Well here's another way to go. From Catholic Online News Service.

Where's Waldo? Probably in church. Another married man, a convert, is about to become a priest.

The local paper in San Angelo, Texas, has the scoop on a cleric named Waldo:

"Waldo Emerson "Knick" Knickerbocker, a married former Episcopalian minister, will be ordained as a Roman Catholic deacon at 11:15 a.m. Sunday at St. Theresa Church in Junction. The ceremony will be conducted by Bishop Michael Pfeifer, OMI .

A month later, on Jan. 28 at Sacred Heart Cathedral Church in San Angelo, Knickerbocker will be ordained a priest for the Catholic Church.

Knickerbocker will be the first married man to be ordained a priest for the Diocese of San Angelo, according to a news release.

In 1993-94, Knickerbocker and his wife, Sandie, became members of the Roman Catholic Church. After review and prayer, Knickerbocker asked to become a Roman Catholic priest in September 2005. Knickerbocker taught church history and Christian spirituality for 32 years on the faculty of the Memphis Theological Seminary, a Cumberland Presbyterian school in Memphis, Tenn.

Monday, December 29, 2008

Bishops put forward as solution to Church of England row over women clergy

From the London Telegraph.

The priests, known as complementary bishops, will be allowed to hold church services including Holy Communion, conduct baptisms and consecrate burial grounds in parishes that do not want the controversial innovation of female bishops.

However the compromise move is unlikely to win over those who are strongly against the historic reform.

Complementary bishops must be male and must agree not to take part in ceremonies to make women priests or bishops. Parishes or individuals can "petition" to have a complementary bishop provide services and pastoral care for them if either they cannot accept women priests or bishops under any circumstances, or if they just do not want female clergy in their local churches.

The arrangements are described in a new Code of Practice drawn up by a Church committee, in order to prevent a mass exodus of Anglo-Catholic and conservative evangelical clergy and worshippers who believe that scripture and tradition hold that bishops must be male.
More than 500 clergy left the Church, with many converting to Rome because of its complete ban on female ministers, after the first women priests were ordained in 1994.

Lemming Pledge #14

For all of you who have asked where the Lemmings have gone.

Women Reach for Bishops' Chairs in Church of England as last barriers fall

From the London Times. (Hear Me Roar ?)

When traditionalists mutter that dark forces are plotting to undermine the tradition of men-only bishops in the Church in England, they are closer to the truth than they know.

The first woman bishop is likely to be drawn from a group of senior Anglican women priests that goes by the name of Darc - deans, archdeacons and residentiary canons - and meets twice a year to offer mutual support.

Since women were first ordained in 1994, about 4,000 have been priested. Of those, nearly 3,000 are still active in the ministry, representing about a third of the total number of serving priests. Women priests are likely to outnumber men within a few years.

To these women, and many of the worshippers who have experienced their ministry, an episcopacy without women is unthinkable. One by one, the provinces of the Anglican Communion are succumbing. In 1988 the first women bishops were elected in the United States and New Zealand. Barbara Harris, the American bishop, turned up to that year's Lambeth Conference.

Chritian Leaders Speak out About Gaza

Christian leaders are starting to speak out on the situation in Gaza, where Israeli forces, retaliating for rocket attacks against Israel, today attacked Hamas targets for the third day in a row, bringing the death toll in Gaza to over 300.

On Saturday I posted comments from Jewish leaders here; on Sunday I posted comments from Muslim organizations (updated this morning) here. Today comes the following statement from Episcopal Church Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori:

"Yesterday afternoon in New York, outside the Episcopal Church Center, a demonstration took place in front of the Israeli consulate. The demonstrators included orthodox Jews. All were calling for an immediate end to the attacks in Gaza. I join my voice to theirs and those of many others around the world, challenging the Israeli government to call a halt to this wholly disproportionate escalation of violence. I challenge the Palestinian forces to end their rocket attacks on Israelis.

I further urge the United States government to use its influence to get these parties back to the negotiating table and end this senseless killing. President-elect Obama needs to be part of this initiative, which demands his attention now and is likely to do so through his early months in office. I urge a comprehensive response to these attacks. Innocent lives are being lost throughout the land we all call Holy, and as Christians remember the coming of the Prince of Peace, we ache for the absence of peace in the land of his birth.

Immediate attention should focus on vital humanitarian assistance to the suffocating people of Gaza. In March of this year, I spent a day in Gaza visiting religious and community leaders and the Al Ahli Arab Hospital in Gaza City, run by the Episcopal Diocese of Jerusalem. Since that visit, the situation, which was already devastating, has only worsened, with supplies of food, fuel, power, and medical supplies either cut off or indefinitely delayed. Our hospital must now try to treat the wounded under the most impossible circumstances.

I ask all people of faith to join with the Episcopalians in Jerusalem who this Sunday dispensed with their usual worship services and spent their time in prayer for those who are the objects of this violence. I pray for leaders who will seek a just peace for all in the Middle East, knowing that its achievement will only come when they have the courage to act boldly. But they must do so now, before the violence escalates further. It is only through a just and lasting peace that the hope of the ages can be fulfilled, that hope which we mark in the birth of a babe in Bethlehem."

Now That's a Hat !

Some of you have noticed that one of the running jokes on 3RE has to do with hats. I'm struck by how many funny ones there are out there, especially worn by clergy and royalty. A friend sent this picture to me today. The couple is Thai King Bhumibol Adulyadej and Queen Sirikit. Actually her hat is something too.

Good Stuff in TEC: South Dakota

Cornerstone filling more needs than food, housing

Emmanuel Episcopal Church members served the meal Sunday night at the mission, and member Karen Psiaki read from the Bible, sang a hymn and prayed with the people gathered.

At the end, she asked for prayer requests, and several hands waved in the air, asking for continued sobriety, reduced bail for a family member, and healing from a sickness. One man asked for prayers for his daughter and pressed his fingers to his eyes to catch tears before they came.

Some volunteers at Cornerstone focus primarily on just that - the spiritual needs of the people coming for help.

Sunday service supervisor Ben Holstlaw was up at 4 a.m. Sunday, his mind reeling with scripture to add to his weekly message. He has been volunteering at the mission for almost a decade, ministering to those in need and giving a sermon Sunday mornings to a packed cafeteria.

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

Good Stuff in TEC: Wyomng

St. John’s Episcopal Church members raised almost 5 tons of food for a local food bank, the church’s rector said.

Church raises 5 tons for valley food bank

The Rev. Ken Asel challenged the membership to raise one ton of food to restock the Jackson Cupboard, which has seen a run on its resources since the valley’s economy has taken a downturn. He said he had hoped to reach the mark by early 2009, but the congregation surpassed that in eight days.

In the two weeks of the drive, Dec. 7 through 21, the congregation raised 9,435 pounds, almost 5 tons.

Others in the community have also contributed thousands of dollars to purchase fresh food items.

Jackson Cupboard is an independent agency that started through the St. John’s ministry and is still located on the church campus.

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

Sunday, December 28, 2008

Canadian Church ‘approves’ Anglican Covenant

Missed this earlier in the week. Looks like the Anglican Covenant isn't dead after all (even on Canada). Oh Canada.

The Anglican Church of Canada’s Council of General Synod (CoGS) has given its cautious approval to the principle of an Anglican Covenant, but has reserved judgment pending a review of the final text.

At its Fall meeting in Toronto last week, CoGS, the Canadian church’s governing body between meetings of the triennial General Synod gave an affirmative response to the question posed by the ACC/Primates Joint Standing Committee whether it cold “give an ‘in principle’ commitment to the covenant process at this time, without committing itself to the details of any text.”

The 38 provinces of the Anglican Communion have been asked to respond to the current “St Andrew's Draft” of the covenant by March. The Covenant Design Group is scheduled to hold its final meeting in London next April and issue a final revision for presentation to the May meeting of the ACC in Jamaica.

Though retired as Primate of the West Indies, Archbishop Drexel Gomez of the West Indies will continue as chairman of the Covenant Design Group through the March meeting. Organizers hope the April draft of the Covenant will be approved by the ACC and released to the Communion for approval soon after.

In hard times, residents seek solace at Boston churches

A report from Bston about the church meeting the stress of the financial crisis in people's lives.

Across religious lines, clergy are preparing to meet new spiritual needs in 2009 as their flocks lose their jobs, watch their savings disappear and struggle to pay for basics including food and heat.

“We all know God is at His most faithful when people are in need,” said the Right Rev. M. Thomas Shaw, bishop of the Episcopal Diocese of Massachusetts. “The gospel tells us that we’re supposed to come to God when we’re burdened and heavy-laden and God will give us refreshment.”

Clergy from the Christian, Jewish and Muslim faiths said they see anecdotal evidence that more people are showing up for worship as new support programs are starting for followers hurt and isolated by the financial crisis.

Episcopal property dispute heads to Va. Supreme Court

A long-awaited property- settlement decision in Fairfax Circuit Court apparently will not be the end of a two-year-long conflict between a minority group of conservative congregations in the Episcopal Church that broke away from the church to join the Anglican District of Virginia.
On Dec. 19, Fairfax Judge Randy Bellows upheld the long-debated Division Statute, which was the backbone of the Anglican Church's case.

The break-away congregations include several from Fairfax and Loudoun counties. They had decided to break off from the parent organization after determining that church leadership was not following a proper reading of Scripture, particularly on the issue of homosexuality.
The Civil-War-era statute is the key factor in determining the property dispute over the ownership of The Falls Church. The statute governs the ownership of property held in trust for the congregation.

An appeal to the Virginia Supreme Court is being prepared by the Episcopal Diocese of Virginia. Both sides have spent so far about $2 million each in court costs.

Episcopal priest makes a name for himself in New York City nightclubs

From the "You Can't Make This Stuff Up" Department. In the New York Post.

The mystery man whose bottomless pockets have made him a legend in clubland is a young Episcopal priest from northeastern Pennsylvania.

"I work hard. I make good money. How I spend it - that is my business," the Rev. Gregory Malia, 43, told the Daily News. "I haven't done anything inappropriate."

There's no suggestion that Malia - a hemophiliac who owns a specialty pharmacy dedicated to blood disorders - has done anything wrong on his visits to the city.

Still, the clergyman's free-spending ways boggle the mind, even at Manhattan hot spots where staffers are used to seeing hundreds thrown down.

"All the waitresses in the clubs know who he is and smile and scream, 'Father Greg!' when he walks in the door because he's such a good tipper," one club waitress said. "He'll overtip ... on top of an automatic 20% gratuity."

Pink Elephant on W. 27th St. is a favorite haunt, but he also has spread the wealth at the Flatiron lounge Citrine and other pricey party spots.

Churches cutting back as donations dwindle

From this morning's Pittsburgh Tribune-Review. (Front page)

Water from the leaking roof of the Door of Hope Community Church in Lawrenceville has damaged plaster on some interior walls, but the cost of repairing the slate and tin roof is beyond the church's means.

"I don't know what we can do, or how we're going to get it fixed. We need a miracle," said the Rev. Steve Ramsier, pastor. The church was built in 1881, destroyed by fire in 1908 and rebuilt in 1918.

In addition to a roof, the church's wish list includes a copier, storage containers, projector, laptop computer and a 144-square-foot tent. But donations are down at Door of Hope, and at churches across the country, a study shows.

Americans are passing on their financial pain to churches and other nonprofits by cutting back substantially on giving during the fourth quarter, according to the study by Barna Group, a California-based company that tracks church trends.

During the past three months, one of every five households, or 20 percent, has decreased its giving to churches, Barna said.