Saturday, January 10, 2009

Good Stuff in TEC: Connecticut

Church offers space for food bank

Kathleen Samela probably would have declined the honor, but her friends and family insist putting her name on a food pantry is wholly appropriate.

The memories of a woman with a kind heart and a giving spirit make it so.
"She was an incredible woman," her daughter Elizabeth Balla said. "I feel so honored that this was done in her name. She loved this church and loved this city."

Nearly two dozen people gathered at Christ Episcopal Church could not agree more. They were all smiles on Friday as the pantry, a branch of the Valley Food Bank system, was officially opened and named for Samela, a former city alderwoman and a long-time member of the church.

Samela, 53, served on the Board of Aldermen. She was also a founding member of Area Congregations Together and helped organize the food bank.

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

Good Stuff in TEC: Texas

Church cares for dementia and Alzheimer’s patients

St. Francis Episcopal Church has started a new ministry called Tuesday’s Solace.

It’s a way for caregivers of people with dementia or Alzheimer’s to get an afternoon of personal time.

“The patients come in for a day of activity,” said volunteer coordinator Ginger Woods of Temple. “We exercise, sing, play bingo and do arts and crafts. It’s good socialization time for them, and it’s a good break for their families.”

Having formed in November, the group cares for eight to 10 people with dementia or Alzheimer’s 1 to 4:30 p.m. every Tuesday.

“Each patient, or member as we call them, is paired with a volunteer,” said Carole McCall, the volunteer director. “That volunteer is the member’s buddy. They go around and do all the activities with the members.”

To date, the group has about 20 volunteers.

“We were all trained with the Alzheimer’s Community Respite of Texas,” Ms. McCall said, mentioning that they modeled their program after the Thursday Club of First Lutheran Church in Temple.

For three years, the Thursday Club has been caring for Alzheimer’s patients from 9:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. on Thursdays.

“The group has really grown there,” Ms. Woods said. “And it’s proved really useful.”

Ms. McCall said St. Francis decided to start its own program when one of its members became a full-time caregiver to her husband.

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

Good Stuff in TEC: Georgia

Church hopes Celtic Mass attracts new worshippers

Incense hung in the air as folk musician Harry O'Donoghue strummed an acoustic guitar and sang "I Will Follow Him."

In the pews Sunday evening, about 75 worshippers swayed or quietly meditated to the song.

The service is an experimental effort by leaders of Episcopal Church of St. Paul the Apostle to draw in worshippers seeking a "high church" experience with unusual, but ancient roots.

Called the Celtic Mass, the weekly, hourlong weekly is centered on Celtic music and spiritual themes, said associate priest the Rev. Liam Collin.

A native of Tipperary, Ireland, Collins said the service infuses Celtic traditions of hospitality, kinship, storytelling, beauty, a love of nature and "a passion for the wild and elemental as a reminder of God's gift."

"Other themes that are not uniquely Celtic but figure very prominent in Celtic spirituality would be hospitality of course, and the theme of listening and the theme of humility and the theme of solitude and silence," Collins said. "We're drawing on some of those themes and developing them and letting them become a part of the environment and atmosphere."

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

Good Stuff in TEC: Florida

Giving a shower for Mary, the mother of Jesus

Her daughter calls Mary Ellington the "Church Lady."

But she's not anything like the smug, pious character with the cat's eye horn-rimmed glasses on the old Saturday Night Live skits.

Nope, Wendy Ellington gave her mom that name because she's always having "epiphanies" that benefit others.

First, there was the baby shower for Mary that the Arlington resident started in 2006 at her church, St. Luke's Episcopal, on University Boulevard North. Her heart went out to the teenage Mary riding a donkey on the arduous trip to Bethlehem for Jesus' birth. She thought of the wise men bringing gifts on the day of Epiphany and of the struggles of pregnant young girls today.

For last week's shower, Ellington had other epiphanies - creating shoebox layettes, knitting caps to keep newborns warm and forming a Guild of the Christ Child to offer hope to "the neediest of God's children at home and around the world" by donating food, clothing and blankets.

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

Members must vacate church after court ruling

From Binghamton NY-

It could be one of the last times a hymn is played by members Church of the Good Shepherd.

"It feels very empty here already. I don't know something feels like it's gone," said parishioner Micah Towery.

Parishioners have been packing and moving out of the Conklin Avenue church since Thursday night. Good Shepherd severed ties with the Episcopal Diocese when the Diocese began to condone gay marriage. The Episcopal Church then sued to get Good Shepherd off their property, which was backed by a recent Supreme Court decision.

"Say you know that a relative is going to die. You might know that and come to terms with that. But when it actually happens, it's still very sad. And I think that's where everyone is at this point," said Father Matthew Kennedy, Senior Pastor at Good Shepherd.

Should I Stay or Should I Go?

From Lakeland Florida - John Stott gets quoted in support of those who stay.

"I think we are seeing both (heresy and schism) actively at work in virtually every mainline denomination today. We have an obligation to stand against both and work instead for a faithful, orthodox witness and a body of believers bound by their common love of the Lord Jesus and one another," he said.

One who shares that view is Bishop John Howe of the Diocese of Central Florida, which includes the parishes here in Polk County. At one time, Howe and his diocese were members of a network that has now become the breakaway Anglican Church in North America. But Howe backed away from that network, and his firm leadership was key in preventing his diocese from joining four other dioceses that have voted to "disaffiliate" from The Episcopal Church.

Howe has told me that he would not be part of any group that is cut off from the Archbishop of Canterbury, the main symbol of unity in the Anglican Communion. In an interview with his diocese's newspaper recently, Howe said, "I share many if not most of (the dissenters') theological commitments and concerns. ... But God has called me to be a bishop in The Episcopal Church ... and I have no intention of leaving it."

All this may seem like a lot of to-do about technicalities, but there is an important principle at stake in these disputes, and that is the nature of the church. The dissidents - those who are going - believe they are upholding its purity. The ones who are staying believe they are upholding its unity. Which is the more important?

Levenson quotes from a conversation he had with British Anglican theologian John Stott, who told him, "Remember what Max Warren said, 'the church is evidence of God's patience.'"

Friday, January 9, 2009

Signs, signs everywhere signs 2

And I thought that Methodists were opposed to assisted suicide

A statement from the Bishop of Jerusalem

From bishop Suheil Dawani (shown with the PB doing that "dueling hats" thing)

At a time when great tragedy is occurring in the Holy Land in Gaza, I want to share some insight into what we are experiencing on a moment to moment basis. Our Diocese has one of 11 hospitals serving a population of 1.5 million residents in the Gaza Strip. The Al Ahli Arab (Anglican) Hospital has been in operation for over 100 years and has a very dedicated medical staff of doctors, nurses, technicians and general services personnel.

During the best of times they are stretched to their maximum meeting the medical needs of this populous community. Now, during the current military conflict with its heavy toll on human life and material, the hospital faces even greater responsibilities and challenges. The result is growing strain on the hospital's resources. Every day since the beginning of military operations, the hospital has received 20-40 injured or wounded patients. A large proportion of them require hospitalisation and surgery. These patients are in addition to those with non-conflict-related illnesses. About one-fourth of the patients are children.

More here-

Man exhumed after being buried in wrong grave

Don't you hate it when this happens? From the London Telegraph-

The Rev Andrew Mannings, vicar of St Mary's Church, Wallasey, Merseyside, noticed that the coffin bore the wrong name and carried the emblem of a crucifix normally associated with Catholic funerals.

But his concerns were over-ruled when a funeral director said the deceased was known by two different names.

A short time later staff at Co-operative Funeralcare, where both bodies had been lying in a chapel of rest, realized Mr Mannings had been right all along.

They hurriedly arranged to transport the correct coffin to Frankby Cemetery. Its occupant was then interred without a service and with neither the vicar nor any relatives present.

The coffin buried by mistake was returned to the chapel of rest and the deceased cremated a few days later.

Wirral Council has since suspended one of its sextons pending an investigation, while the Co-Op is also speaking to its staff about the incident on December 12.

Mr Mannings was unavailable for comment. However, a spokesman for the Chester diocese said: "The Rev Mannings noticed that the coffin brought to the funeral was not the usual type for the burial of an Anglican because it featured a crucifix.

California Ruling in Episcopal Church Dispute Deals Setback to Breakaway Parishes Nationwide

From US News and World Report-

A California Supreme Court decision this week that blocked three breakaway Episcopal Church parishes from holding onto their church buildings and property marks the latest in a string of legal victories for the national church and casts doubt on the efforts of other parishes to keep church grounds as they secede from the Episcopal Church over what they see as its liberal drift on matters like the ordination of gay clergy.

The Episcopal Church, with 2.1 million members, hopes the California ruling also sets a precedent for the property rights of the national denomination as several whole dioceses that have left the church attempt to keep their buildings and property. The ruling's implications for legal fights at the diocesan level are less clear.

"If the court had ruled against the national church, it could have given legal support for the development of the so-called new province," Trinity College religion scholar Frank Kirkpatrick says, referring to a coalition of four U.S. Episcopal dioceses and dozens more parishes that recently announced plans to start a rival denomination.

FORT WORTH: Presiding Bishop will convene special diocesan convention

From Episcopal Life-

Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori said January 7 that she will convene a special meeting of the Episcopal Diocese of Fort Worth convention on February 7.

Jefferts Schori will ask the convention to elect a provisional bishop for the diocese. The agenda will include the election of lay and clergy representatives for various diocesan leadership positions and adoption of a budget. It will also include approval of governance and organizational resolutions, including ones that would declare null and void certain amendments to the diocesan constitution and canons that were advocated by former diocesan leadership as a means to take the diocese out of the Episcopal Church.

Jefferts Schori said that she would call the meeting because there is "no bishop of the Episcopal Diocese of Fort Worth, or any qualified members of the Standing Committee." She said in the announcement that she had consulted with "faithful Episcopalians" who form the Steering Committee of North Texas Episcopalians, the group that has led the effort to keep the diocese aligned with the Episcopal Church.

Supreme Court ruling could affect St. John's dispute

In a ruling that could affect the dispute over the property of St. John’s church in Petaluma, the state Supreme Court unanimously decided on Monday that three Southern California parishes would need to surrender their church buildings to the U.S. Episcopal Church, which they severed relations with in 2006.

The Supreme Court decision pertains to St. David’s Church in North Hollywood, St. James Church in Newport Beach and All Saints Church in Long Beach. When the parishes split from the Episcopal Church in 2004, they claimed that they still owned church buildings and property.

The court ruled that Episcopal Church canons clearly state that property belongs to individual parishes only if they remain part of the larger church.

Californian court rules diocese can keep churches

From the Church Times (England)

CHURCH BUILDINGS and prop erty in the diocese of California do not belong to seceding congregations but to the diocese and the Episcopal Church, the Californian Supreme Court has ruled.

The ruling is a landmark one. It applies to three churches in Newport Beach, Long Beach, and North Hollywood; but it has implications for other dioceses in the United States which are currently in conflict with departing congregations.

The court upheld an earlier decision that the diocese held the property and buildings in trust for the wider mission and ministry of the Church.

The judge ruled that, while the court could not decide on doctrinal matters, it could rule on property disputes using “neutral principles of law”. Governing documents made it clear that church property “is held in trust for the general church, and may be controlled by the local church only so long as that local church remain a part of the general church. When it disaffiliated from the general church, the local church did not have the right to take the church property with it.”

Episcopal Diocese claims $20 million in schism fight (Round up)

The text below is from this morning's Post-Gazette. Links to other stories about this follow-

In papers filed yesterday in Allegheny County Common Pleas Court, the Episcopal Diocese argued that the Anglican group stipulated in October 2005 that if it were to leave the church, all property and assets held by the "Episcopal Diocese of Pittsburgh of the Episcopal Church of the United States of America ... shall continue to be so held ... regardless of whether some or even a majority of the parishes in the Diocese might decide not to remain in the Episcopal Church of the United States of America."

The Rev. Peter Frank, a spokesman for the Anglican diocese, said that's not what his side intended in signing the stipulation.

He said that his organization has the majority of the parishes, and that the group left as a diocese.

"We haven't had to rebuild anything," the Rev. Frank said. "They're the smaller group. They didn't win the vote. Our contention is that we are the Episcopal Diocese of Pittsburgh."

The Rev. James Simons, president of the governing diocesan Standing Committee, said that doesn't make sense.

"They are now the Anglican Diocese of the Southern Cone," he said. "The affiliation is with South America."

It will be up to the court to sort through the issue.

Pittsburgh Tribune Review-

Episcopal Life-

Philadelphia Inquirer-

Associated Press-

Thursday, January 8, 2009


Request Made in Case Which Defined “Episcopal Diocese”

Pittsburgh – Today the Episcopal Diocese of Pittsburgh asked a court for control of church assets still held by former diocesan leaders who have left the Episcopal Church.

The request was made in the context of an existing court order which stipulated that local Episcopal property must stay in the control of a diocese that is part of the Episcopal Church of the United States.

“We’re not asking for anything the court has not already addressed, or for anything former leaders have not already agreed to,” said the Rev. Dr. James Simons, President of the diocesan Standing Committee, the group currently leading the Pittsburgh Episcopal Diocese.

The original court order was issued in October 2005 as a result of a lawsuit filed by Calvary Episcopal Church in East Liberty. The order prohibits any group that separates itself from the Episcopal Church from continuing to use or control Diocesan property. The order specifically defines the Episcopal Diocese of Pittsburgh as being part of “the Episcopal Church of the United States of America.” In negotiations leading to the 2005 Order, former Pittsburgh Bishop Robert Duncan and his attorneys agreed this stipulation would apply regardless of the circumstances surrounding any separation, even if every parish were to leave.

In October 2008, supporters of Bishop Duncan purportedly attempted to remove the entire Diocese from the Episcopal Church. However, the Episcopal Church maintains that parishes and dioceses cannot leave the church, only individuals may do so. Duncan and his supporters are now attempting to organize a competing church entity. The group continues to call itself the Episcopal Diocese of Pittsburgh.

“Whatever Robert Duncan and his followers may claim to be, they cannot claim to be ‘the Episcopal Diocese of Pittsburgh of the Episcopal Church of the United States of America’,” the Diocese argues in its papers filed today.

At issue in today’s request is access to approximately $20 million in diocesan endowments and bank accounts, as well as other resources, some non-financial, used in conducting day-to-day diocesan business. The use of church buildings is not directly addressed in today’s filing, but Diocesan leaders say ownership issues will need to be resolved in the future. Since October, attempts to complete an orderly transition of assets to those who remain in the Episcopal Church have been ignored by those who left it, the Diocese filing contends.

Calvary Episcopal Church joined the Diocese in today’s filing with the Court of Common Pleas in Allegheny County. The request was made to the Special Master overseeing the Calvary case.

Approximately 27 congregations, or about 40% of the Pittsburgh Diocese prior to the October separation, remain active in the life of the Episcopal Church.

For more information about the Episcopal Diocese of Pittsburgh, visit

Good Stuff in TEC: Florida

I'm sure they mean food "pantry" but one never knows. Oh, but the picture possibilities are interesting aren't they? I'll play it safe.

Community shares its generosity with food panty

In the last two months, the response to our appeal to help feed the hungry has been nothing short of amazing.
In total, just over $17,000 has been raised since the beginning of November. Of this amount, $7,700 has come from the people of Calvary Episcopal Church, with an additional $6,000 from community organizations such as the Indian Rocks Beach Rotary Club, the Indian Rocks Beach Homeowners Association, Action 2000, the Indian Rocks Volunteer Firemen’s Association, and the Indian Rocks Professional Firefighters Local 3206. Local businesses and prominent individuals have also responded to our pleas with generosity at a level we could never have predicted.

Calif. court ruling may impact Episcopal Church's property fights

From Salt Lake City-

The Episcopal Church claimed a major legal victory Monday when California's Supreme Court ruled that breakaway parishes do not have the right to keep church property if they secede from the national denomination.

And while the decision technically applies to only one church in one state -- St. James Church in Newport Beach, Calif. -- Episcopal Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori said the high court's "unequivocal reasoning applies generally through the Episcopal Church."

"We are hopeful that this decision will help bring remaining property litigation in California and elsewhere to a speedy conclusion," she said.

Episcopal leaders also hope that Monday's ruling will chill enthusiasm for a new, rival church in North America for dissident conservatives that was launched in early December.

Church of England publishes prayer for the redundant

From the London Telegraph. I think "redundant" has a different meaning there.

The prayer has been written to offer comfort to those who have been sacked as the economy heads into recession, by recognising their fears and suggesting that belief in God can help them cope.

It includes the verse: "Hear me as I cry out in confusion, help me to think clearly, and calm my soul."

The Church has written a second prayer from the viewpoint of someone who has kept their job while others in the same office or factory have lost theirs, describing their feelings of sadness, guilt and worries about the future.

It asks of God: "In the midst of this uncertainty, help me to keep going: to work to the best of my ability, taking each day at a time."

The two prayers have been published on the Church of England's website and are also being printed in a leaflet to be handed out in churches.

The Bishop of Ripon and Leeds, the Rt Rev John Packer, said the prayers show that the Church is there for people in times of crisis.

St. James loses court case

Newport Beach parish’s fight to keep church property it claims belongs to the congregation may go as high as the U.S. Supreme Court after the state Supreme Court rejected its argument, an attorney for parishioners of St. James Anglican Church said Monday.

“I do know that the people of St. James have continued to reflect upon their decision in 2004 to change religious affiliation and still have a very strong view,” said Eric Sohlgren, representing the parish. “We’ll just have to see how it unfolds in the courts and where we go from here.”

The California State Supreme Court ruled Monday that St. James worshipers do not own the church property they’ve worshiped on for more than 50 years because when they decided to split from the general Episcopal Church almost five years ago, it violated an agreement with the larger church and forfeited the rights to the property.

New Information in Rev. Donald Armstrong Case

More on the Don Armstrong case in Colorado Springs-

COLORADO SPRINGS - A Colorado Springs reverend is accused of stealing hundreds of thousands of dollars from a church trust fund. It's new information on a case NEWSCHANNEL 13 has followed for several months.

Police say Rev. Donald Armstrong took the funds to pay for his kids' college tuition. "It has been a very lengthy investigation," says Lt. David Whitlock with the Colorado Springs Police Department, "[investigators] have been putting a lot of hard work into it and they're not done yet."

An affidavit from CSPD states that Armstrong misused $392,000 and that he wrote monthly checks from July 1999 to March 2006. Those were the years Armstrong's children were in college. "There are hundreds upon thousands of pages of information that need to be looked at," says Whitlock of the lengthy investigation, "as well as computer records."

Happy Birthday Elvis

Today would have been Elvis' 74th birthday. Not many people know that during his career he was nominated for 14 Grammies but only won three, all of them for Gospel music. Here's one of the winners.

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

Good Stuff in TEC: Episcopal Relief and Development

Episcopal Relief & Development supports Ahli Arab Hospital in Gaza

Since the recent upsurge on December 27th, the ongoing Israeli-Palestinian conflict has left more than 550 people dead, and 2,500 injured. Episcopal Relief & Development's partner, the Ahli Arab Hospital, reports devastating civilian casualties and a rising death toll in Gaza City.

During this time of crisis, Episcopal Relief & Development remains in close contact with its partner the Episcopal Diocese of Jerusalem. Episcopal Relief & Development has responded to an urgent appeal from the Diocese by sending initial emergency funds to the Ahli Arab Hospital in Gaza.

"We continue to monitor the needs of the Diocese of Jerusalem and are preparing to send additional emergency funds. Please pray for the people of the Episcopal Diocese of Jerusalem and the Ahi Arab Hospital as they risk their own lives to provide lifesaving emergency care to people injured in the ongoing conflict" said Rob Radtke, President of Episcopal Relief & development.

Ahli Arab Hospital, located at the heart of Gaza City, has treated more than 100 injured civilians since the beginning of the December attacks. The hospital continues to provide essential emergency health care to injured civilians. Ahli Arab Hospital has not turned anyone away despite increasingly dire conditions. The staff and volunteers at the hospital desperately need medicine and emergency supplies to continue their life saving work.

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

Church leader accused of misusing trust funds

Trouble in CANA. Can you say "Ellen Cook"?

Authorities say a pastor who is part of a theft investigation used money from a church trust fund to pay for his two children's college education.

A Colorado Springs police detective said in an affidavit released Tuesday that the Rev. Donald Armstrong may have misappropriated $392,000 from a Grace Church trust fund. Police took financial documents and computers from the Grace and Episcopal Church in November after an 18-month investigation.

Armstrong is accused of taking funds from Grace and St. Stephen's, the congregation he headed before he and his followers broke away in early 2007 to affiliate with the Convocation of Anglicans in North American.

After the split, the Episcopal Diocese of Colorado recommended that Armstrong be defrocked and that he could no longer officiate in the Episcopal Church in the United States.

Episcopal Diocese investigating partying priest

More on the Party Priest. You can follow the whole thing by clicking on "Gregory Malia" in the labels below. Incidentally Dom Perignon was a Benedictine Monk who when he first tasted a wine that had been re-bottled discovered it was full of bubbles and is reported to have said "I'm tasting stars".

On Wednesday, Dec. 31, the Rev. Malia defended his actions and said the Episcopal Diocese of Bethlehem rushed to judgement after an article appeared in The New York Daily News on Sunday that reported he spends tens of thousands of dollars on tips and liquor at trendy Manhattan nightclubs.

"I work 98 percent of the time, I don't get much time off at all and I do like to have fun," the Rev. Malia, 43, of Laflin, told The Times-Tribune on Wednesday, Dec. 31.

Speaking by cell phone from a vacation in Florida, the Rev. Malia described the Daily News reports as flawed.

The Daily News reported the Rev. Malia spent $35,000 for a bottle of champagne at one club and tipped waitresses as much as $10,000.

Disputing the accuracy of The Daily News' accounts, the Rev. Malia said he does not spend large amounts of money at night clubs as alleged.

The Rev. Malia suffers from hemophilia and his pharmacy, New Life Home Care, caters to people with similar bleeding disorders.

With an apartment in New York City, the Rev. Malia said he is able to access treatment for his condition he cannot find elsewhere. He said he did not realize spending time with friends at nightclubs would conflict with the church's call to live modestly.

Meanwhile, The Daily News reporter stood by his story Wednesday.
"It's interesting Gregory has chosen to attack The Daily News instead of addressing the allegations against him," reporter Sean Evans said.

Efforts to reach the Pink Elephant - a club the Rev. Malia visited according to The Daily News - were unsuccessful Wednesday.

The alleged $35,000 bottle of Dom Perignon was bought at a discounted price, the Rev. Malia said, and will be used in a fundraiser for an advocacy organization for bleeding disorders, which he would not name.

'Leaving Isn't the Answer'

Christianity Today interviews Russell Levinson a conservative and rector of the largest Episcopal Church in the US. He makes the case for staying in TEC

In four weeks, top Anglican bishops and archbishops will gather in Alexandria, Egypt, to determine the next steps for the worldwide Anglican Communion, deeply divided over gays in the church, women's ordination, and the authority of Scripture.

Presbyterian, Methodist, and other mainline Protestant pastors have been closely watching the Anglican struggles, since many Protestant groups are under many of the same theological pressures.

Among Anglican conservatives, the spectrum of response is widening. Many pastors and churches are joining the new Anglican Church of North America. But not every conservative pastor or church is jumping ship.

Recently, Russell Levenson Jr. contacted Christianity Today on behalf of his church, St. Martin's Houston. The congregation of more than 8,200 members is the largest single parish church within the Episcopal Church (TEC). It's not surprising that it is in Houston, the land of megachurches; it is also no surprise that this church is conservative, evangelical, and healthy. The surprise is that its rector (senior pastor) is staying within the Episcopal Church. He has joined with other conservatives in the Communion Partners Plan.

Members of the plan support the moratoria on additional gay bishops and same-sex blessings, and also views the draft Anglican Covenant as one way to facilitate renewal. Levenson agreed to an exclusive e-mail interview to detail why he and his church are not leaving. (The following transcript has been edited for length.)

Worth the read and it can be found here-

Ruling has implications for Stockton diocese suit

From the Stockton paper implications for San Joaquin-

The California Supreme Court ruling on U.S. Episcopal Church property could set major precedent in a case involving the Episcopal Diocese of San Joaquin.

In December 2007, Bishop John David Schofield led the majority of 47 Valley churches to secede from the U.S. Episcopal Church to align with the Anglican Church of the Southern Cone. It is known as the Anglican Diocese of San Joaquin.

Like the Southern California case, Schofield and his contingent were displeased with the Episcopal church's liberal leanings toward ordination of gay ministers.
The Stockton Paper on the implications for the Diocese of San Joaquin-

After the split, lawsuits over ownership rights of millions of dollars worth of church real estate and other property have been filed.

Schofield's office was not available for comment Monday. A secretary said all clergy able to talk about the case were on retreat.

Leaders of the Episcopal Diocese of San Joaquin, however, said they were pleased with the Supreme Court's decision Monday.

"It certainly establishes the principles that we've been stating all along in our lawsuit that individuals can't just walk away from the church but take the real estate with them," said Rev. Mark Hall, former pastor of St. Anne's Episcopal Church in north Stockton.

All Saints continues legal appeal

The California parishes say they'll continue to fight. From the Long Beach Telegram-

The lawyer representing a local church attempting to retain its property after breaking away from the national Episcopal Church says reports of the demise of the parish in Belmont Heights are premature.

On Monday, the California Supreme Court upheld an appeals court ruling that St. James Parish of Newport Beach, which broke away from the Episcopal Church in conjunction with All Saints of Belmont Heights and St. David's Church of North Hollywood in 2004, did not have the right to retain the property when it disaffiliated.

While that ruling has been widely interpreted as a defeat for all three of the breakaway churches, Lynn Moyer says that's not the case.

"Our case hasn't been heard yet," said Moyer, who represents All Saints and St. David's. "This isn't over by any means."

Although St. James, All Saints and St. David's all appeared together in Orange County Superior Court when legal proceedings first began in 2004, the appeals to the state Supreme Court by St. James and All Saints/St. David's were filed separately.

While the principles of law are the same in all three cases and some believe the rulings will necessarily be the same, Moyer says specific facts in the three cases differ, which could lead to different outcomes.

In its unanimous ruling against St. James, the court wrote "Applying the neutral principles of the law approach, we conclude that the general church, not the local church, owns the property.

Church that split off over gays can't keep property

More on the California Supreme Court decision- (MSNBC)

A breakaway parish that left its parent church because of differences over doctrine and homosexuality can’t take its seaside place of worship with it, the California Supreme Court ruled today.

The justices sided with the Episcopal Diocese of Los Angeles and the national Episcopal Church in the clash with St. James Anglican Church in Newport Beach. The decision is expected to affect other rebel parishes in Long Beach, North Hollywood and La Crescenta, not to mention wholly separate court cases involving disputes over religious property.

And from the Ft. Worth paper

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

Opinion of the California Supreme Court "Episcopal Church Cases"

If you'd like to read the actual curt opinion in the California property case the pdf can be downloaded here. (38 pages)

In this case, a local church has disaffiliated itself from a larger, general church with which it had been affiliated. Both the local church and the general church claim ownership of the local church building and the property on which the building stands. The parties have asked the courts of this state to resolve this dispute. When secular courts are asked to resolve an internal church dispute over property ownership, obvious dangers exist that the courts will become impermissibly entangled with religion. Nevertheless, when called on to do so, secular courts must resolve such disputes. We granted review primarily to decide how the secular courts of this state should resolve disputes over church property.

Church in Wales chooses new bishop

ONE of the most influential figures in the Anglican Communion was yesterday named the fourth new Church in Wales bishop in a year.

Gregory Cameron, former chaplain to Archbishop of Canterbury Rowan Williams, was chosen as the Bishop of St Asaph following a secret debate behind the locked doors of the diocese’s cathedral.

The bishop-elect, who grew up in Llangybi, near Usk, in Monmouthshire, is deputy secretary general of the 80 million-member Communion. His appointment means two thirds of Wales’ Anglican bishops have now been in place for less than a year.

The Rev Canon said that throughout his life he had felt a “vocation from God” to minister in Wales and now he was “coming home”.

Speaking shortly after learning of his selection late yesterday afternoon, he said: “I believe the Christian gospel is exciting, challenging, and is life-changing, and that’s something that’s worth sharing with the people of North-East Wales.”

The rest is here-

Prediction of Schism in Episcopal Church (May 17 1920)

From the New York Times in 1920. I guess some things never change or his prediction was just 88 years early. You can download the pdf of the article at the link

DR. GRANT ASSAILS EPISCOPAL BISHOPS; Ascension Rector Foretells Split and Free Parishes Headed by Independent Men.

Preaching yesterday morning on "Will the Episcopal Church Split in Two?" the Rev. Dr. Percy Stickney Grant, rector of the Protestant Episcopal Church of the Ascension, Fifth Avenue and Tenth Street, declared that in America today the Bishops of the Church were "reaching for more authority," ...

Good Stuff in TEC: Georgia

No ‘hiccups’ in soup kitchen’s new location
Needy people ate for the first time Monday at the Rome-Floyd County Community Soup Kitchen’s new location and gave their opinions on the change.

“It’s better. I like it,” Hope Torres said as she dined on chili and cornbread.

“It’s sorta crowded,” Steve Lorenzo said. “But it’s good. We ain’t got nothing, so …,” he said with a shrug.

The soup kitchen, which serves weekday meals from 11 a.m. to 12:30 p.m., had rotated among five churches, primarily downtown. Volunteer coordinators desired a single location with more kitchen space and leased the former site of Troy’s Barbecue at the corner of North Broad Street and Calhoun Avenue. The site is also on the city bus line.

Meal volunteers will rotate among the churches, but St. Peter’s Episcopal Church will
continue to serve meals from its kitchen on the third week of each month.

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Camden Fire Department rescues baby Jesus

From the "You Can't Make This Stuff Up" Department". This time from Maine. More pictures at the link.

When the baby Jesus figurine went missing from a nativity scene at St. Thomas' Episcopal Church on Chestnut Street in Camden over Christmas, the Rev. John Rafter said he was not interested in trying to search for who did it or why, he just hoped the figure would turn up and be safely returned to the church.

Rafter's prayers were answered Monday afternoon, when the figure was discovered by a passerby among the holiday decorations above Surroundings on Main Street.

Camden resident Maria Bradeen said she was walking along Main Street with her family over the weekend when she noticed something peculiar hiding behind one of the snowman figurines above the Surroundings sign. At the time, she said, she thought it was rather odd, but didn't think much more about it until a friend mentioned Monday morning in passing that the figurine of the baby Jesus had been taken from the manger scene at St. Thomas' Episcopal Church over the Christmas holiday.

Bradeen said she decided to take a drive by the store just to be sure the baby Jesus was still there. "I looked up and said, well my goodness, it is the Christ Child," Bradeen said.

The evolution of a partying priest Greg Malia

The New York Daily News has more on the "Party Priest" in its gossip column. (So far no photos have surfaced of him in Belushi's hat.) You can follow the saga by clicking on Malia in the labels below.

The Dom Perignon-swilling, big-tipping party priest from Pennsylvania doesn’t just drop bank in NYC nightclubs, as the Daily News reported last week: Father Gregory Malia’s been spending up a storm in his own backyard.

Two weeks before Christmas, the Episcopalian man of the cloth (r.) shelled out some cash at an 18-and-up Wilkes-Barre, Pa., club called Evolution, inside the Woodlands Resort.

“Greg came in with a group of four older women, who approached the deejay booth and asked him to put on a Rihanna song,” says local radio jockey Ralphie Aversa of 97 BHT, who sometimes hosts at Evolution.

“One girl said Greg would take ‘very good care’ of the deejay if he helped them out. We thought that was odd.”

Bishop disappointed in split

Seems odd that a parish would leave without first talking to the bishop. Incidentally, the math on this is - one congregation left and 63 are staying.

The bishop overseeing the splintered congregation of Saint John's Episcopal Church said Monday he was saddened and shocked upon learning most of its members have left the Episcopal Church.

The pastor of the North Augusta church and a majority of the 90-member congregation cut ties with the national denomination on Sunday in a dispute over church teachings on gay clergy and the authority of scripture.

"It was a complete surprise to me," said Bishop Dorsey F. Henderson of the Episcopal Diocese of Upper South Carolina.

It is shocking, he said, that the Rev. Rob Hartley would lead a congregation away from the church without first discussing the decision with church leadership.

"I ordained Father Hartley. I saw him through the process of ordination," he said. "I wish we could have talked and prayed about this, but I respect if this is what their conscience requires."

California Supreme Court says breakaway parish can't take national church's property (Roundup)

Big News from California. This is from the LA Times. My understanding is that Pennsylvania property law is similar to that of California. More links to other stories follow -

Reporting from San Francisco and Los Angeles -- Rebellious congregations that part ways with their denominations may lose their church buildings and property as a result, the California Supreme Court said Monday in a unanimous ruling.

The state high court decision came in a case involving the Episcopal Church, but lawyers said it would apply to other denominations as well.

Several Protestant denominations, including United Methodists and Presbyterians, have faced upheaval over gay rights issues. Monday's ruling, along with similar victories that the church leadership has won in other states, is expected to dampen enthusiasm for such separations.

In a decision written by Justice Ming W. Chin, the court said the property of St. James Anglican Church in Newport Beach was owned by the national church, not the congregation. The congregation split away after the national church consecrated a gay man, V. Gene Robinson, as bishop of New Hampshire in 2003.

"When it disaffiliated from the general church, the local church did not have the right to take the church property with it," Chin wrote for the court.,0,1820285.story


Associated Press -

Washington Post-

Palm Springs Desert Sun

Fresno Bee-

Monday, January 5, 2009

Former major league pitcher Dock Ellis dies at 63

Doc Ellis the big righthand pitcher who played for my beloved if hapless Pirates back in the seventies when they were neither, died last month. He pitched in the 1971 Wold Series for the Pirates. He started game one, lasted 2 1/3 innings, and emerged with an ERA of over 15. Well anyone can have a bad day. He's probably best known for pitching a no hitter and later claiming he was high on LSD at the time. For you soccer fans out there a no hitter is when the opposing team doesn't get a hit. There have been only 256 in the history of the game.

Dock Ellis, who infamously claimed he pitched a no-hitter for Pittsburgh under the influence of LSD and later fiercely spoke out against drug and alcohol addiction, died Friday. He was 63.
Ellis died in California from a liver ailment, former agent Tom Reich said.

"I've been in this business for 40 years and there was never a more standup guy," Reich said.
Ellis' death was first reported by

Ellis went 138-119 with a 3.46 ERA from 1968-79, spending most of his career with the Pirates. He went 19-9 in 1971 when Pittsburgh won the World Series, and made his only All-Star appearance that summer — and what a show it was. Ellis was tagged for one of the most memorable home runs in All-Star history, Reggie Jackson's monster shot off the light tower at Tiger Stadium.

Good Stuff in TEC: Georgia

Soup kitchen to open Monday at former barbecue spot

Tomorrow marks the beginning of what volunteers call a better way of serving the hungry in the community.

The Rome-Floyd County Community Soup Kitchen is scheduled to open in the former site of Troy’s Barbeque, located at the corner of North Broad Street and Calhoun Avenue in Rome.

The hours of operation will be from 11 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. and, on Monday, First Methodist volunteers will serve chili, corn-bread and an assortment of desserts.

Four local churches in the community will act as good neighbors and rotate management of the facility for the first, second, fourth and fifth week of the month. On the third week, St. Peter’s Episcopal Church will open the doors for the hungry at their church.

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Good Stuff in TEC: West Virginia

Epiphany service celebrates twelfth day of Christmas

“Epiphany, January 6, is the traditional time of the visit of the wise men to the baby Jesus,” Father Russ Hatfield, pastor of St. Mary’s Episcopal Church said. “Epiphany means an awakening or understanding; taking the light into the world. Epiphany Eve, (today) is the twelfth day of Christmas. The Tazewell Cluster of Episcopal Parishes will be celebrating Epiphany (at 6:30 p.m., today) at St. Mary’s Episcopal Church with the reading of scripture, singing, a message, Holy Communion followed by a feast of delicious food and drink.”

Hatfield came to St. Mary’s in 2001, and as a result of a suggestion made by his wife Debbie, the church started hosting Epiphany Eve services on Jan. 5, 2002. This year will mark the cluster’s seventh Epiphany service during Hatfield’s tenure, although he said the church may have been holding Epiphany services in the past.

“This church was built in 1910,” Hatfield said of St. Mary’s, located at 708 Tazewell Avenue, about a block away from historic downtown Bluefield, Va. The beautiful brown stone structure that will celebrate its centennial next year, also has an interesting historical feature inside. The pulpit was a gift (in 1910) from R.E. Lee Memorial Episcopal Church in Lexington, Va., and was the same pulpit that Confederate General Robert E. Lee preached from as Senior Warden at (then) Grace Episcopal Church in Lexington, according to Hatfield.

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St. John's members bolt Episcopal flock

If you're going to leave this is the way to do it. From the Diocese of Upper South Carolina-

Members of North Augusta's St. John's Episcopal Church severed ties with the national congregation Sunday, rejecting a shift toward a more progressive theology that has led to the blessing of same-sex marriages and gay leaders in the church.

They are now calling themselves the Church of the Holy Trinity and are aligned with the Anglican Church in North America, an alliance created in December that presents itself as a conservative alternative to the Episcopal Church.

To avoid a legal dispute with the Diocese of Upper South Carolina, the Holy Trinity congregants abandoned the St. John's sanctuary on Belvedere-Clearwater Road and will hold their first service next Sunday in a converted warehouse near Interstate 20.

Sunday, January 4, 2009

Signs, signs, everywhere signs

Good Stuff in TEC: Piisburgh

Lunch on McCain a lasting memory

The family settled in Carnegie, eventually moving to Library, where the children attended South Park High School and were involved in the usual activities, including wrestling, tennis and chess. The latest move was to Peters.

He now works in maintenance at St. Paul's Episcopal Church in Mt. Lebanon and has been pastor for 13 years at the Slavic Baptist Church in Dormont.

Every winter for the past 10 years, St. Paul's has helped gather more than 10,000 pounds of used clothing to ship to needy people. Some of it is shipped to Ukraine. The Slavic church has raised funds for items such as wheelchairs and computer equipment in Mr. Ivashchenko's homeland.

He said he's happy to give back after others were so generous to him.

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Good Stuff in TEC: Wisconsin

Temporary shelter in the works St. Matthias to open doors for overflow of homeless

Every night since late October, walking into any emergency shelter in Waukesha has involved tiptoeing over bodies scattered in hallways and living rooms.

The tableau may look like a slumber party, but these sleepovers aren't about movies and junk food.

They're the result of a consistent overflow of homeless men dropping into shelters operated by the Salvation Army of Waukesha and Hebron House of Hospitality, and the inability of those organizations to do much more than offer a sympathetic smile and floor space.

But that should change by the middle of this month, when the lower-level fellowship hall of St. Matthias Episcopal Church, 111 E. Main St., becomes a temporary drop-in shelter for 30 to 50 men each night.

"This need is not stopping," said Rachel Fjellman, social services director at the Waukesha Salvation Army. "We needed more of a long-term solution. We didn't want to get to the point of having to turn them away."

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