Saturday, March 7, 2009

Good Stuff In TEC: Texas

Episcopal mission honors Dr. Seuss legacy

For more than 70 years, Dr. Seuss's whimsical stories have fascinated children around the world.

El Buen Samaritano Episcopal Mission in South Austin celebrated "Dr. Seuss Week" to give young children the chance to experience American literature.

Rev. Ed Gomez of El Buen Samaritano said honoring Dr. Seuss is an effort to help young children acclimate to the United States.

"We want to teach them about what are the American popular literature that's going to be part of their upbringing and culture, so that these children – children of immigrants – come and acclimate to the U.S. will be able to successfully deal with and understand the different aspects of literature," he said.

Some local lawmakers read "Green Eggs and Ham" and "The Cat and the Hat" to the children at the mission.

In addition, the 2 to 4-year-olds got a special breakfast, a chance to try their very own green eggs and ham.

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

Remorseful stranger's money gives East Dallas church a 'miracle month'

A mysterious stranger with a conscience left a cashier's check for $3,255 at Dallas' Episcopal Church of the Resurrection, explaining in a note that he was trying to atone for crimes of his past.

Two other times this year, the financially strapped church has had scatterings of $20 bills turn up unexplained in the vestibule, apparently stuffed through a gap in locked front doors.

Though no note came with those donations, the Rev. Canon Victoria Heard speculates they were from the same man.

Regardless, she's grateful.

"It was a godsend, especially in the middle of the winter when our fuel bills are the highest," said Heard, canon-in-residence at the Far East Dallas church.

An envelope containing the cashier's check, $13 in cash and the note was discovered in a back pew on Jan. 11.

The man signed his note with a barely legible "Michael." His last name was on the check, but Heard declined to share it, saying she could not violate a "confession situation."

Anglican Churches in the Americas meet to talk about mission

From the Aglican Journal in Canada-

Delegates from the Anglican Church of Canada recently met with their counterparts from other Anglican Communion provinces for the first Conference of the Anglican Churches in the Americas in Mutual Responsibility and Mission in San José, Costa Rica.

Archbishop Fred Hiltz, primate of the Anglican Church of Canada, said, “It was just a wonderful opportunity for all of the provinces in the Americas to come together and talk about mission.” Primates from the provinces of the Anglican Church of Brazil, the Anglican Church of the Central Region of America (IARCA), The Episcopal Church, and the Anglican Church of Mexico were all in attendance along with other clergy and lay representatives. The primates of the West Indies and the Southern Cone of America did not come to the conference but gave their permission for individual dioceses to attend, and the dioceses of Uruguay, Peru and Cuba sent delegates. The province of the West Indies is in the process of electing a new primate and did not send its acting primate or other delegates. Archbishop Gregory Venables has accepted clergy and congregations leaving the Anglican Church of Canada and The Episcopal Church – largely over the controversy surrounding the blessing of same-sex unions and the ordination of a gay bishop – into his jurisdiction in the Southern Cone and has been accused of cross-border interventions in other provinces.

But the Canadian delegation reported that controversy was not given much attention. “The fact that we met – and the focus was mission – sends a really wonderful signal to the rest of the Anglican Communion that the churches in all of the Americas are really wanting to focus their energy on mission,” said Archbishop Hiltz. “I just think that, given the tensions in the communion and particularly the way that The Episcopal Church and the Anglican Church of Canada are sometimes viewed by other folks in the communion, it just sends all kinds of good signals that mission is our top priority.”

Anglican women find strength at network meeting

No not that "network"-

While political and social concerns topped the agenda at a meeting in New York February 22-27 of the International Anglican Women's Network, members said that merely meeting in person for the first time gave them renewed courage to advance women's issues in sometimes-hostile environments.
They came from 30 of the worldwide Anglican Communion's 38 provinces (national or regional groupings of national churches) and talked about the places where girls receive less education then boys, where women bear a greater burden of care for AIDS patients, where poverty affects more women than men and where women are not well-represented in the councils of the church.

They talked about issues affecting women in all countries, developed and developing, such as domestic violence, and how to organize best to bring these concerns to the attention of secular and church leaders.

"I am going to carry with me the message and what we have learned together. I am going to go back home to the primate [Archbishop Justice Ofei Akrofi] and his wife and tell him we are going to make the voices of women heard," Evelyn Lamptey of Ghana (in the Province of West Africa) told the group at the meeting's closing dinner.

"I have learned so much from all of our sisters. I go home enthused," said Doris Clements of Ireland. For Ruth Choi of Korea, the gathering meant she "felt empowered to strengthen women's voices," which means "we can strengthen the Anglican Church."

As previously reported on Episcopal Life Online, the network released a statement supporting greater roles for women in decision-making church bodies. The 12-year-old network, which lay fallow for several years and was rejuvenated in 2006, also emphasized the unity of Anglican women even in the midst of controversy over theological issues such as homosexuality.

Grace church trial update: the week in review

THE LATEST: In the past week, the defense, led by attorney Martin Nussbaum, presented its case by calling, among other witnesses, Bishop Robert O'Neill and experts in Episcopal canon law and church polity.

The highlight of the week was Wednesday's cross examination of O'Neill, bishop of the Colorado Episcopal diocese, by Gregory Walta, attorney for the breakaway congregation.

Walta attempted to characterize the bishop as unfamiliar with the nuances of property law within his own diocese, and ignorant of the property history, financial situations and most decisions at Grace Church & St. Stephen's.

O'Neill, who was consecrated as Colorado bishop in October 2003, testified that he had never seen Grace Church's 1973 Articles of Incorporation, the bedrock of the plaintiff's case. He also said nothing was done when an attorney in 2003 informed the diocese that Grace Church's 1973 corporation did not conform to Episcopal canon law.

When Walta showed O'Neill documents that Grace Church bought and sold property without the consent of the diocese, a violation of canon law, O'Neill blamed Grace Church rector Don Armstrong for the vestry's failure to seek approval of property transactions. "The rector is failing to educate the vestry in canonical responsibility," O'Neill said.

The trial, presided over by Judge Larry Schwartz, will continue next week in Fourth Judicial Court.

Va.'s Departing Episcopal Bishop on Church Changes

This fall, the Rt. Rev. Peter James Lee will leave Virginia after a quarter-century as bishop of the Episcopal Diocese of Virginia, one of the largest dioceses in the national Episcopal Church, encompassing the northern and central parts of the state and including 80,000 members and 181 congregations.

Lee, 70, is one of the longest-serving bishops in the country. A fan of murder mysteries, blues music and the beach, he will head next, with his wife, to San Francisco, where he will become interim dean for a year at Grace Cathedral, the third-largest Episcopal cathedral in the country. The Washington Post's Michelle Boorstein spoke with him recently about the impact of technology on faith, the roots of current Anglican upheaval and why he wants to leave Virginia.

Friday, March 6, 2009

Anglican community settles into new home

From Canada-

It has been a long journey, and one that parish priest the Venerable Vicars Hodge believes has forged a bond that will carry the Church of the Resurrection into a successful new era.

The 13,200-square-foot church has a congregation of 700 families, many of them faithful Anglicans from way back, while others are newcomers finding their way back to church.

"Being where we are has taken more work than I have ever known, yet it's been the most exciting thing I have ever done," Hodge said.

"We did it. We are here. Spirits are high."

The Church of the Resurrection held its opening for the community on Sunday, and on April 19, the church will hold its dedication ceremony with community officials and Rt. Rev. Dr. Claude Miller, Bishop of Fredericton on hand.

Five and a half years ago the Anglicans attending the eight tiny churches within the parishes took a brave, long, hard look at the future. And it wasn't pretty, Hodge admitted.

The congregations decided to amalgamate to pursue the bigger, more important picture of building a manageable house of worship, and to do that they brought Hodge on to lead the endeavour.

"Parishes had to look at whether they were better together or apart," Hodge said.

The new parish of Nerepis and St. John was forged and worshipping as one began at the River Valley Middle School.

"We were a church in a suitcase for a long time," Hodge said.

Meanwhile, the churches were being sold off to generate capital for the new $2-million church envisioned for Grand Bay-Westfield.

Today's church on the new Macdonald Avenue is big enough for the ministries important to the community, Hodge said.

Anglican women commit to spreading 'whole Gospel'

A group of 35 Anglican women theological educators from across the globe have affirmed their commitment to promote theological education for women in order to spread “the whole Gospel”.

The women, from as far afield as Fiji and Myanmar, reaffirmed their commitment at a meeting at the International Study Centre in Canterbury.

At the conclusion of the gathering earlier this week, the women said they felt challenged to help “change the world”.

They referred to the words of clergyman the late Max Warren, who once said, “It takes the whole world to know the whole Gospel”.

With those words in mind, the women said they felt that the theological perspective of women was essential and needed to be shared as part of proclaiming the “whole Gospel”.

The conference was also briefly attended by the Archbishop of Canterbury, Dr Rowan Williams, as well as representatives of UK organisations which joined to “hear and reflect … on the opportunities and problems that women may encounter in their roles as theological educators".

As well as discussing the various issues and concerns that women face as theological educators around the world, the conference ended with “a strong commitment to work together to develop and improve theological education for women in the Anglican Communion”.

The women committed to improving mentoring, networking and standards for women theological educators, and the goal of setting up a global Anglican theological academy for women in leadership.

Dioceses receive reassurance from Church Commissioners

From The Church Times in England-

THE Church Commissioners wrote to every diocese last Friday to allay fears over funding levels, after the Church of England suffered an estim ated 22 per cent loss.

Andrew Brown, Secretary to the Church Commissioners, confirmed that this loss equated to about £1.2 billion, based on the last valuation of its assets in late 2007, which totalled £5.6 billion. He said that this reduction was not as severe as losses on the FTSE 100 index, which had fallen by an average of 30 per cent.
In a letter to every diocesan board of finance, Mr Brown said that the Church Commissioners would be able to maintain planned levels of support for dioceses until the end of 2010, and might be able to continue until 2011-13.

He said this was possible because the Commissioners had paid out less to dioceses “in good years, in order to keep something in hand to cover leaner years”.

He mentioned that, over the past decade, the total return on the Commissioners’ investment fund — which includes a portfolio of assets of commercial, residential, and rural property investments, as well as stock market investments — had averaged 5.4 per cent per annum. This figure takes into account unaudited figures for 2008.

It also shows the effect of the financial crisis, as the ten-yearly average return, until the end of 2007, had been 9.5 per cent per annum.

The Church’s return still remained significantly better than the profits of 200 similarly sized funds, which had averaged just 3.7 per cent, and meant the Commissioners had been able to distribute about £21 million more each year to the Church over the past decade.

Craig Ferguson and Jimmy Fallon, the Archbishop Desmond Tutu and Cameron Diaz: not just another late night

Meanwhile, Craig Ferguson's guest last night was Archbishop Desmond Tutu, not exactly a mainstay of late-night entertainment. Ferguson's conversation with the clergyman was by turns serious, funny, and sometimes both simultaneously ("When you don't forgive, frequently you feel it in your tum-tum," said the Archbishop, patting his own tummy) as they talked about race, God, good and evil. And nagging wives. All without reading from cue cards or notes. "I think you're crazy!" Tutu chuckled at one point. Craig also told an excellent chess joke involving bishops.

Now, I am not for a second suggesting that late-night hosts should start booking more serious guests to boost their cred -- even Ferguson said this hour contained "all the stuff that you don't come to the show for." Nor am I saying Fallon was the lesser host for yukking it up with Diaz while Ferguson chatted up a Nobel Peace Prize winner. These guys both make their living being, as Craig described himself last night, "a vulgar lounge entertainer."

What I am saying is that Ferguson did a damn fine job interviewing Bishop Tutu without being intimidated or fawning, and in so doing, demonstrated the range of tones and subject matter that can be addressed on late-night TV to which Fallon can only aspire. No, I'm not sitting here hoping Fallon books the Archbishop of Canterbury on his show to demonstrate his chops and competitiveness (although, Jimmy, there's a goldmine of comedy in all that some-churches-seceding-from-the-church thing going on in the Episcopal church).

Christian Salt Developed in Response to Kosher Salt

Tired of TV chefs recommending kosher salt in recipes, retired barber Joe Godlewski decided to develop a Christian variety of salt. Next week, the Cesaptown, MD, businessman will roll out Blessed Christians Salts, sea salt that's been blessed by an Episcopal priests and packaged in containers bearing bright red crosses.

For Godlewski, the trademarked salts, which are made by Ingredients Corporation of America, are meant to help the Christian faith: "I said, 'What the heck's the matter with Christian salt?' This is about keeping Christianity in front of the public so that it doesn't die. I want to keep Christianity on the table, in the household, however I can do it."

Godlewski plans to sell the salt in religious bookstores and as a fund-raising tool for religious groups, pointing out that a share of the proceeds will be donated to Christian charities. If the salt proves to be successful, the entrepreneur is planning an entire line of Christian-branded foods, including rye bread, bagels, and pickles.

When I first learned of this, I practically did a double take to make sure I wasn't reading the Onion. It's somewhat entertaining to follow, since I admittedly take the whole issue with a grain of salt. In fact, I'm rather surprised nobody has come up with this already. What do you think about the whole concept of Christian salt?

Split leads to new Homer City church

When a majority in the Pittsburgh Diocese voted last fall to break away from the Episcopal Church -- USA, expressing concern over what they see as growing liberal attitudes of the parent church, the decision sent ripples through congregations across 11 Western Pennsylvania counties.

In Indiana County, two small Episcopal congregations in Blairsville and Indiana were among those that opted to remain with the original parent church rather than following the lead of the newly realigned Episcopal Diocese of Pittsburgh -- Anglican. Those decisions, in turn, triggered a reaction: some members from each local flock formed a new church in Homer City, the Harvest Anglican Fellowship, that is affiliated with the realigned Pittsburgh Diocese.

The fledgling Homer City church is led by deacon-pastor Harold Hicks, who had joined Blairsville's St. Peter's Episcopal Church last summer as an assistant to the priest in charge there, the Rev. Arthur Dilg of Indiana.

When the Blairsville congregation decided to stay with the Episcopal Church -- USA, Hicks thought he might return to serve as a deacon at the church where he'd worshiped: St. Alban's Church in Murrysville, which has joined the realigned Pittsburgh Diocese.

Instead, he was asked to take charge of a new Anglican congregation in Indiana County, and he agreed to do so.

Thursday, March 5, 2009

Episcopal Split

"Deja Vu all over again" (as Yogi liked to say). From Time Magazine Feb. 13 1978. Notice the name of the new province.

Ever since the Episcopal Church's General Convention voted in favor of women priests and a modernized Prayer Book in 1976, angry U.S. traditionalists have been laying plans for a breakaway. All efforts at Episcopal peacemaking proved unavailing, and now the schism is a fact.

The break became final when four new bishops were consecrated in Denver's Augustana Lutheran Church on Jan. 28 to lead the self-styled "Anglican Church of North America." Staying in the Episcopal Church, said one of the four later, "is like giving mouth-to-mouth resuscitation to a corpse." The fiery consecration sermon by the Rev. George Rutler of Rosemont, Pa., compared the new bishops to Moses for leading their people out of the Episcopal Egypt. After a service of nearly three hours, the solemn congregation burst into applause as the resplendently robed and mitered clergymen were declared to be bishops.

But are they? Since the Council of Aries in 314, tradition has called for three existing bishops to perform new consecrations. Only two appeared in Denver: Albert A. Chambers, retired Episcopal bishop of Springfield, Ill., and Bishop Francisco J. Pagtakhan of the Philippine Independent Church, which is furious with its U.S. cousins for ordaining women priests. Without the customary three, the consecrations are under a cloud. There have been exceptions, but only in emergencies. Augustine, who became the first Archbishop of Canterbury in 597, was told by the Pope to consecrate bishops by himself because there were no others to assist him in England.

The rest is here-,9171,915926,00.html

Good Stuff In TEC: Northern Indiana

Dear brothers and sisters,

I have asked Tim Skimina of St. Timothy’s, Griffith to share with you the experiences of the recent mission team we sent to our companion Diocese of Honduras.

Yours in Christ,

+Ed Little

Compañeros en Cristo

The purpose of our mission trip was get to know the villagers of Delicias del Norte - a small village in the mountains near San Pedro Sula , Honduras . A secondary purpose was to work along side the villagers building stoves, pillas (above ground cisterns with a scrub board and faucet) and a latrine. We spent the first two days visiting the churches, daycare center and clinics we helped to build or support over the years. As we traveled across the country, we visited the people we worked with on past trips.

On a hill in the village stands San Lucas an Episcopal Church in the Diocese of Honduras. The people in the village are kind and filled with the spirit of Christ’s love. That is evident to any who come into contact with them. One day while Rev. Dan Layden was working on a stove, his work group ran out of cement to mix. He recalls, “My shoulders are still sore from mixing cement with a shovel all week, but that is another story.

Anyway, I was glad for a little break. In our down time, I struck up a conversation through the translator with Bonifacio the local mason in charge of our work group. I asked him a simple question, ‘How do you like your Church?’ To my surprise he told me of how the Church had come to the village a few decades earlier and how he had been baptized. He went on to say that the church changed his life. As he told his story I could see the deep feeling in the man. I thought to myself, ‘Thank God for those who brought the Gospel here to this village some years ago.’ I further thought how amazing God’s love is. Here I sit in a place I have no business otherwise being and the love of God shines to me through a man with which I have so little in common.”

(The rest is here)

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

EDS Cuts Tuition by 25 Percent

The board of trustees of Episcopal Divinity School (EDS) in Cambridge, Mass., has voted to roll back tuition by 25 percent for its master of divinity and master of arts degrees in theological study programs next year.

“This decision reflects EDS’ commitment to making theological education accessible to a wide range of students,” said the Rev. Randall Chase, acting president in a release. “For several years we have been looking for ways to address the problem of access to an Episcopal seminary education: our distributive learning master’s program makes access possible for students unable to relocate for two to three years; reducing tuition for our fall and spring master’s students, in combination with our financial aid program, helps to reduce seminarian debt, which often serves as a barrier to studying at EDS.”

Concerned about the effect of the nation's economy on the ability of prospective students to access a theological education, the trustees rolled back tuition from $16,500 to $12,500. The cuts will be effective from fall 2009.

Last March, EDS announced its partnership with Lesley University. While EDS has not been immune to the financial realities facing other endowment-driven institutions, the Lesley partnership has helped to offset these losses.

Noted Playwright Horton Foote, 92, Dies In Hartford

The screenwriter of my favorite movie, To Kill a Mockingbird, died yesterday. "Miss Jeane Louise, stand up. Your father's passin'"

Horton Foote, the Pulitzer Prize-winning playwright and Oscar-winning screenwriter who took the lives of ordinary Americans and with simplicity, honesty and grace made their stories important, too, died in Hartford on Wednesday afternoon. He was 92.

Foote was in town staying with his daughter, actress Hallie Foote, who is in the current Hartford Stage production of "To Kill A Mockingbird." She performed her role as the adult Jean Louis "Scout" Finch at Wednesday night's performance.

"He was a wonderful father and a fine man, but I can hear him say, 'Get to the theater, darling,'"said Hallie Foote on Wednesday afternoon.

The Texas-born Foote won his first Oscar for the screenplay of 1962's Harper Lee's "To Kill a Mockingbird," which starred Gregory Peck as the honorable lawyer Atticus Finch, and his second for 1983's "Tender Mercies," starring Robert Duvall as a struggling country singer. Both actors won Oscars for their roles.,0,6022937.story

Dead rabbit is pinned to church door in what is thought to be pagan attack

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

POLICE are investigating after a dead rabbit was pinned to the front door of a church at Grantown in what some believed to be a pagan attack.

The gruesome discovery, with a note attached to its body, was made at Grantown Baptist Church in High Street, on February 25.

The congregation says the incident is the latest in a string of attacks, which has seen churchgoers arriving to find notes written in pink ink attached to the door.

Yesterday, a Northern Constabulary spokeswoman said a second Grantown church – St Columba’s Episcopal in South West High Street – had also been targeted.

She said there were “similarities” between notes left at both churches, but would not comment about whether pagans were responsible.

Chief Inspector Donald Henderson said: “We are taking this grossly offensive incident very seriously and are making every effort to detect and report the perpetrators of this despicable crime.”

Church deacon Bob Fishwick could not be contacted yesterday, but was reported as saying there had been a series of “pagan-style notes” over the past year.

He said the last note was a warning that they shouldn’t bring in the authorities.

The note said: “We are always watching you.”

Good Stuff In TEC: Indiana

One amazing fish fry in Jeffersonville

Though a Friday fish fry during the month of March sounds pretty commonplace, one held by St. Paul’s Episcopal Church produced some amazing numbers Friday.

The event — held in conjunction with Jeffersonville’s Fraternal Order of Police — raised more than $20,000 to benefit two officers injured in a shooting last month. Generally, St. Paul’s fish fries bring in about $3,000, according to Wendy Walker, spokesperson for the church.

“It was really great to see the community come out,” said John Grimm, senior warden at the church. More fish fries are planned on Friday nights later this month.

Jeffersonville Police Cpl. Dan Lawhorn and Patrolman Keith Broady are recovering after being shot while responding to a suspicious activity call at Jeffersonville’s Motel 6 on Feb. 19. Broady was shot in the chest. Lawhorn was shot in the leg. Both are in fair condition.

The community came out to support the officers in a big way during Friday’s event. So much so that it was still the talk of the town during a Jeffersonville City Council meeting Monday night.

“The fish fry was absolutely amazing,” Mayor Tom Galligan said during the meeting.

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

Church calls for TB badger cull

Another candidate for the "You Can't Make This Stuff Up" department-

Church leaders say a badger cull is "necessary" to stop the out-of-control TB virus ruining the West's farming industry.

The Anglican Church in Somerset has now called for urgent talks to help solve the problem of TB in cattle.

And the Bath and Wells Diocese has made it clear it considers a cull an essential move – despite campaigners' pleas that it is not the answer.

Chairman Tom Done said: "No one, including most farmers, wants to see a mass cull of all badgers but in the interest of cattle, badgers and farmers it will be necessary to control the badger population so that we can have healthy setts and herds."

TB is out of control across the South West and is threatening to engulf the rest of the country.

There have already been devastating consequences for livestock: last year 20,000 cattle had to be slaughtered on the region's farms, 2,816 new TB cases were reported – a 40 per cent increase on 2007 – and at the end of the year there were 4,000 herds under restrictions.

Farmers are compensated for animals compulsorily slaughtered but the Government has imposed lower payments in an attempt to reduce the millions of pounds it spends on the disease each year. One Somerset farmer recently received £200-a-head less for a group of slaughtered animals than he had paid for them at auction weeks before.

Signs, signs everywhere signs #9

Believe it or not there are three places named "Flippin" - in Arkansas, Tennessee, and Kentucky.

Economists say Catholic ethics could benefit global economic policy

Economists from Catholic institutions worldwide may differ in their approach to solutions for the economic crisis, but all agree a global strategy is required.

The same economic scholars from U.S., Canadian and Australian Catholic universities also said while the Catholic Church may not be able to direct economic policy it can contribute most effectively by leading the charge in philanthropic endeavors that will ease the suffering of the most vulnerable caught up in the international crisis.

"The key concern of the Catholic Church should be, as always, to look out for the poor and vulnerable, both at home and in poor countries," said Linda Nielsen, an economics professor at St. Mary's University College in Calgary, Alberta.

"The church has lobbied local, provincial and federal governments effectively in the past, has been a kind of 'social conscience,' and hopefully this will continue," she said.

Though a few of the economic scholars believe Christian theology should be considered by world governments when charting policy to address the global fiscal crisis, at least one thinks the Vatican should refrain from endorsing a specific plan.

Science Weekly: Olivia Judson on the importance of daring experiments

On this week's podcast, why scientists experiment and how a career in particle physics doesn't mean you can't believe in God.

Biologist and author Olivia Judson tells us where scientists are missing out in their quest for knowledge. They should take more risks and never assume they know anything, she says – experimentation is always the answer.

Particle physicist turned theologian John Polkinghorne tells Ian Sample how he quantifies his religious beliefs. John's scientific work was on elementary particles, and he played a significant role in the discovery of the quark. But in 1979 he left physics to become an Anglican priest and he has since published books on how religion and science can co-exist. His new book – Questions of Truth – proposes answers to questions such as, can you prove God exists, and is he actually a delusion?

In the Newsjam, we discuss why the word "dirty" is most in danger of going the way of the dodo, Nasa's doomed Orbiting Carbon Observatory and why doodling while you listen to this podcast shows that you ARE paying attention.

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Rev. Vunagi is new Anglican archbishop

LEADERS of the Anglican Church of Melanesia yesterday elected a new archbishop.

He is the Rt Rev David Vunagi who is currently the Bishop of the Diocese of Temotu. Bishop Vunagi was elected to the highest Episcopal position by the Provincial electoral board.

The election was held at Tetete Ni Kolivuti; headquarters of the Sisters of the Church, east of Honiara.

This election became necessary following the retirement of former archbishop, Sir Ellison Pogo December 9 last year.

Bishop Vunagi, who has served in the Episcopal ministry in the last eight years in the Diocese of Temotu will be enthroned as the fifth Archbishop of Melanesia on 31 May 2009 in Honiara.

Prior to serving in the Church as a Clergy, and then as a bishop, he was a teacher by profession teaching at the government school at KGVI and the Anglican Church of Melanesia school Selwyn College.

Bishop Vunagi from Samasodu in Isabel Province was educated at KG VI Secondary School from 1968 to 1973.

He obtained a Diploma of Education in Science from the University of the South Pacific in Fiji in 1976, and later a Bachelor of Education in Biology from the University of Papua New Guinea in 1982.

In his theological training, the Archbishop-elect obtained Bachelor of Theology from St. John’s College in Auckland, New Zealand in 1990.

Traditional Anglicans want to join Catholic Church

Ready to swim the Tiber ?

The Vatican is considering welcoming into the Roman Catholic Church a group of traditional Anglicans who broke away from the global Anglican Communion nearly two decades ago over women's ordination and other issues, officials say.

Vatican officials stress that no decision has been made and no announcement is imminent. Still, Anglicans across the spectrum of belief are closely watching for any signs of movement.
Absorbing the breakaway Traditional Anglican Communion would be a small but notable victory for Pope Benedict XVI, who has made unifying Christians a goal of his papacy.

At the same time, any invitation by the Vatican is likely to upset leaders of the 77 million-member Anglican Communion and would hurt the Vatican's decades-long efforts to strengthen ties with that fellowship of churches. Anglicans split with Rome in 1534 when English King Henry VIII was refused a marriage annulment.

The Traditional Anglican Communion formed in 1990 as an association of orthodox Anglicans concerned about what they considered the liberal tilt in Anglican churches, including the ordination of women. Members of the group are generally Anglo-Catholic, emphasizing continuity with Catholic tradition and the importance of the sacraments. The fellowship says it has spread to 41 countries and has 400,000 members, although only about half are regular churchgoers.

The traditional group aims to unify the Anglican and Catholic churches, according to Archbishop John Hepworth of Australia, who is the leader, or primate, of the Traditional Anglican Communion. They have accepted the ministry of the pope, but also want to maintain their Anglican traditions — one of several potential impediments to unification.

"We seek a communal and ecclesial way of being Anglican Catholics in communion with the Holy See," the group wrote, in a letter Hepworth presented two years ago to the Vatican's Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith.

Details of Provincial Assembly Announced

Beloved in the Lord,

The purpose of this letter is to give formal notice of the Provincial Assembly to be gathered from noon, Monday, June 22nd, to noon, Thursday, June 25th, 2009. This meeting is being convened under the Provisional Constitution of the Anglican Church in North America. The place of gathering is St. Vincent’s Cathedral, Bedford, Texas.

The agenda of the Provincial Assembly will include:

1) Worship;
2) Presentations in support of the mission of the Province;
3) Scripture teaching;
4) Addresses by international leaders;
5) Consideration for ratification of the (Provisional) Constitution;
6) Consideration for ratification of a Code of Canons;
7) Reports from committees and task forces.

Each diocese, cluster or network will have representation as provided for in the provisional constitution and initial canons set out by the Common Cause Leadership Council (acting as Provincial Council) on December 3rd, 2008. The actual apportionment cannot be accomplished until the April meeting of the Council, so this notice is being distributed widely for initial planning purposes. The actual selection and certification of voting members of the Assembly are to be done diocese by diocese. Most will be represented by their bishop(s), two clergy and two lay persons. Representation is, however, proportional; linked to each additional thousand Average Sunday Attendance.

Sudan bishops hold first retreat in 25 years

The Episcopal Church of the Sudan held its first Bishops’ retreat in a quarter century last week, with the former Archbishop of Canterbury, Lord Carey and other guests leading workshops to strengthen the church’s episcopal ministries.

From Feb 11-16 the bishops met in the South Sudan city of Yei, close to the border with the Congo and participated in a series of Bible studies, prayer meetings and classes. Retired Assistant Bishop of Virginia the Rt Rev Frank Gray spoke of the need for forgiveness and reconciliation in the wake of 24-year civil war and on-going conflicts in Darfur and with the Lord’s Resistance Army along the border with the Congo.

Taking as his text, Acts chapter 20, Lord Carey lectured on the principles of episcopal ministry, while Archbishop Henry Orombi of Uganda addressed issues of the acculturation of Anglicanism in an African context.

While physically devastated by the war between the Muslim north and Christian south, the Episcopal Church of the Sudan has seen tremendous growth in recent years and has an estimated 4 million members spread across 25 dioceses.

Archbishop Daniel Deng of Juba welcomed the opportunity of gathering the church’s bishops to learn from Lord Carey and the other foreign guests, saying closer links with the Church of England and Church of Uganda would benefit all Christians in the Sudan.

Good Stuff In TEC: Iowa

'Rise and Shine' fundraiser Saturday

The "Rise and Shine" breakfast fundraiser benefiting the Agape Café will be from 8 to 11 a.m. Saturday at the Old Brick Church, 26 E. Market St.

The Agape Café has provided fresh food for 16 years to low-income and homeless residents in Iowa City.

Café volunteers invite the community to come experience the breakfast they serve every Wednesday morning for a free-will donation. A donation of $40 would buy the café groceries for a week.

The menu will include pancakes, eggs benedict, biscuits and gravy, eggs any style, bacon or sausage, home fries, fresh fruit, juice, milk and Café del Sol coffee.

The Agape Café is a mission of the Episcopal Campus Ministry at the University of Iowa.

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

SOUTH AFRICA: Archbishop visits storm-drenched communities, pledges support

Archbishop Thabo Makgoba of Cape Town has visited scenes of flooding in Soweto, and sent messages of support to areas of KwaZulu Natal where heavy storms have caused fatalities and mass destruction.
Makgoba, primate of the Anglican Church of Southern Africa, said he was shocked at the scale of the damage, and assured those he met of his prayers and the support of the Anglican church, including financial aid through its relief and social development organization, Hope Africa.

The archbishop spoke of the need for greater sensitivity to the environment, at every level from national government to local community planning, pointing out that many factors from the disappearance of wetlands to the concentrations of urban developments can contribute to greatly increased risks of flooding, even from normal volumes of rainfall. He added that human responsibility -- "a God-given gift, which we must choose to use wisely" -- was relevant in South Africa too, and not only in the wider problem of global warming and climate change.

Rwanda: Hundreds Receive Bishop Rucyahana

A nice story about my good friend Bishop John Rucyahana-

Bishop John Rucyahana was yesterday welcomed by hundreds of people, most of them members of his congregation, friends and fans on his return from the US where he received the William Wilberforce Award.

Rucyahana is the first African to receive the William Wilberforce Award. Accompanied by his wife Harriet, the Bishop of Shyira Diocese of the Anglican Church in the Northern Province, was given the award in recognition of his efforts in reconciling Rwandans after the 1994 Genocide against Tutsis.

Upon arrival, there was a virtual stampede at the airport by well wishers who turned up to welcome the Bishop. A large number of people, who had waited patiently at the airport for Rucyahana for about three hours, cheered him as he emerged out of the terminal to the beat of drums and gospel music.

In a brief interview at the airport tarmac, the elated Rucyahana excitedly explained that he received the award for his commitment in fighting for people's rights and his role in reconstructing the Rwandan society.

"It's a great joy that I share with people of my country; it's an encouragement because this award has always been going to famous people in the world, including American Senators."

Joint Anglican-Catholic Confirmation service canceled

Ecumenists, like liturgists, should never be left unsupervised with sharp tools in reach. Bad things will happen. Case in point: some Aussie ecumenists thought it'd be a great idea to throw a joint Anglican-Catholic Confirmation service this May. It seems not to have occurred to the organizers that the spectacle of persons gathered to commit to different bodies with a different hierarchy, a different church law, and a different notion of sacramental validity is more a celebration of schism than of unity.

The Holy See was not afraid of playing bad cop. From The Herald:

The Vatican has put a stop to a joint Pentecostal service planned by the Newcastle and Maitland Catholic and Anglican bishops. The confirmation service was scheduled for May 31 at Christ Church Cathedral, and was promoted as a "very exciting and special" event.

Parishes encouraged church members to consider being confirmed on that day.

But Rome intervened, forcing its cancellation, citing the possibility of "confusing messages" being given to churchgoers. It is unclear how the headquarters of the Catholic Church learned of the service, as no formal notification was given.

Nigeria: Anambra - Anglican Priest Kidnapped

An Anglican priest, Venerable Emmanuel Ejianya, has been abducted by unknown gunmen in Anambra State.

A police source told Daily Champion that the clergyman was kidnapped last Sunday when his abductors trailed him from Eziowelle in Idemili North Council area to his official residence at Anglican Church, Ogidi in Idemili North Area Council of the state.

The incident is coming barely two weeks after his brother, Mr. Mike Ejianya, slumped and died while preaching on the pulpit. Mike is yet to be buried. It was gathered that Venerable Ejianya was returning from a one-day crusade organized by members of the Anglican community at Eziowelle late in the night when the unidentified hoodlums trailed him to his official residence and abducted him.

Good Stuff In TEC: North Carolina

Free dental clinic planned Friday and Saturday

A free dental clinic will be held in Burlington Friday and Saturday.

The Missions of Mercy Clinic is scheduled to start at 6 a.m. and run until capacity is reached both days at the Episcopal Church of the Holy Comforter at 320 E. Davis Street in Burlington.

Anyone whose family income does not exceed 200 percent of the National Poverty Guidelines is eligible for free treatment. Find the guidelines on the frequently asked questions page at

Tough economic times could make for a large crowd.

"It's always a problem, access to dental care, but with the economy it's even worse," Dr. Steven Slott, the Burlington dentist who heads up the effort, said.

Slott said about 50 dental providers will work the clinic over two days

The clinic, which is normally held locally in October, was moved to March this year. Volunteer dentists and dental hygienists, along with dental students from UNC-Chapel Hill and help from students from Elon University, offer free dental work to those who can't afford it.

The portable clinic is part of the Open Door Dental Clinic of Alamance County.

"In 2008 approximately 5,400 patients received free dental treatment valued at $1.7 million. The total number of patients receiving free care since 2003 is in excess of 17,000 with a dollar value of $5 million," according to the Missions of Mercy Web site.

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

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Jerome Sacharski, T-ball pioneer from Albion, dies at 93

As a youngster growing up in Albion, Dave Egnatuk knew that Jerome "Jerry" Sacharski had a huge impact on the development of T-ball.

As an adult, he was able to pick the brain of Sacharski, a pioneer of T-ball. Sacharski died Friday of natural causes at age 93 at his home in Albion.

"As I recall, he mentioned that he thought there had to be a way for a stationary ball for the kids to learn the game," Egnatuk said. "He was a really nice guy, and he was very energetic."

While the true origin of T-ball is unclear, there is no doubt Sacharski played a big part in Albion becoming one of the first communities in the nation to have T-ball.

Sacharski was teaching at Albion High School in 1954 when he took over as the head of the recreation department's summer baseball program, and there were few opportunities for youngsters ages 6 to 10 to participate.

Two years later, he eliminated the pitcher and the catcher and substituted a batting tee.

Nigerian Anglicans embrace ‘signs and wonders'

Signs and wonders” should become the mark of the Anglican Church in Africa, the Archbishop of Lagos, Dr Ephraim Ademowo said last month at service marking the collation of two archdeacons.

He urged a “return to apostolic tradition practiced in the early church characterized by miracles, signs and wonders;” saying it should become “the new direction of the Anglican Church today.”

The Anglican Communion’s largest church with an estimated 18,000,000 active members, the Church of Nigeria has been challenged by the equally fast-growing Pentecostal churches of West Africa. In recent decades it has taken on board many of the elements of the charismatic renewal movement as well embarking on a programme of African enculturation, drawing upon African resources for liturgical renewal.

One of the pillars of the Gafcon movement for the reform and renewal of the Anglican Communion, the Church of Nigeria’s cultivation of charismatic gifts, critics charge, will lead to splits with Gafcon’s Anglo-Catholic and conservative evangelical wings.

Bishop Marshall of Bethlehem Recuperating

The Rt. Rev. Paul V. Marshall, Bishop of Bethlehem, has been advised by doctors to discontinue episcopal activities until May 1.

Bishop Marshall, 61, underwent open-heart surgery on Jan. 22 and was hospitalized afterward for four days in the coronary intensive care unit. He was discharged on Feb. 2 to continue his recuperation at home.

Can a Hat Charge Your iPod?

What if you could paint something on your hat and it would charge your iPod?

Nathan Monroe has a patent pending for the concept.

Is Nathan a veteran NASA scientist? A highly-paid R&D guy with some big corporation?

Maybe someday. But not now.

Currently, Nathan is a senior at Episcopal High School in Jacksonville.

His research on solar paint has impressed researchers at the University of Florida.

In fact, he is already working with scientists at UF on increasing the efficiency of the solar paint. And this fall he's been accepted at the prestigious MIT.

Nathan's vision for solar paint goes way beyond the brim of a baseball cap.

He explains, "You could paint it on a solar panel on a car as a replacement for the original paint and use the panel to power the car."

Network members support expanded role for Anglican women

No not that network. From Episcopal Life Online-

Noting that women make up just six percent of the Anglican Communion's top decision-makers, the International Anglican Women's Network urged at its February 22-27 meeting in New York City that the worldwide church study the role of women and find ways to empower female leadership.

Representatives of 30 of the 38 Anglican provinces (national or regional groupings of national churches) and the network's steering committee met in person for the first time since the network, which represents 40 million Anglican women in 165 countries, was formed in 1996.

They said the network supports implementation of a resolution passed at the 2005 meeting of the Anglican Consultative Council, the communion's main legislative body. Resolution 13/31 recommends "a study of the place and role of women in the structures of the Anglican Communion" and requests that each province consider the establishment of a "women's desk." However, such a study has not yet taken place and only a few provinces have women's desks or departments, said Kim Robey, program officer, Women's Ministries and Leadership, at the Episcopal Church.

Episcopal Diocese of Quincy regroups

The Episcopal Diocese of Quincy is moving ahead with plans to reorganize, despite the defection of a number of clergy and church members who voted in November 2008 to pull out of The Episcopal Church and join a foreign province of the worldwide Anglican Communion.

The diocese, which represents 24 churches and about 1,800 parishioners in a geographic area of west-central Illinois bounded roughly by Quincy, Peoria and the Quad Cities -- including St. Peter's Episcopal Church in Canton and St. James Episcopal Church in Lewistown -- has named three clergy and five laypeople from the area to an Executive Steering Committee, which met in New York City on Feb. 9 and 10 with Episcopal Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori.


During the committee’s meeting with the presiding bishop,committee members were introduced to the Right Rev. Keith Whitmore, assistant bishop in the Diocese of Atlanta, Ga. Whitmore is the retired bishop of the Diocese of Eau Claire, Wis., and a graduate of Nashotah House Seminary. After consulting with him and with the presiding bishop, the committee invited Whitmore to serve as a consultant as it plans for the reorganizing meeting of the Diocesan Synod. Whitmore is serving in this capacity as part of the outreach mission of the Diocese of Atlanta.

The committee’s main order of business is identifying and offering support to parishioners who wish to remain Episcopalian rather than follow former diocesan leadership to a foreign province. The dissenters have indicated they are “realigning” with the Province of the Southern Cone, headquartered in Argentina.

Court asked to remove renegade Episcopal priest

After biding its time for years, the Episcopal Diocese of Pennsylvania has asked a civil court to remove the Rev. David Moyer as rector of the Church of the Good Shepherd in Rosemont, and to declare the diocese as owner of the renegade parish's property.
Moyer, a vocal critic of liberal trends in the Episcopal Church, has served as the parish's rector and lived in its rectory since 1989, even though he was deposed as a priest nearly seven years ago.

Last week, the diocese informed him and Good Shepherd's vestry that it had petitioned Montgomery County Orphans Court to order the parish to transfer the title to its buildings, as well as all other assets, to the diocese.

It also asked the court to "restrain and enjoin" Moyer "from further use and occupancy" of the site, which fronts on Lancaster Avenue.

Monday, March 2, 2009

Pastoral Visitors Briefing Seminar

Lambeth Palace Press Release-

Monday 02 March 2009

Following the Report of the Windsor Continuation Group to the Archbishop of Canterbury (which was published at the Primates Meeting in Alexandria, Egypt, in February 2009) the initial group of Pastoral Visitors called for by the Windsor Continuation Group in their Report and commended by the Primates Meeting in their Communiqué (para 15) met for a briefing session at Virginia Theological Seminary from 25-28 February.

Those appointed by the Archbishop of Canterbury to the Pastoral Visitors team are: the Rt Rev'd Santosh Marray, the Rt Rev'd Colin Bennetts, the Rt Rev'd Simon Chiwanga, Maj Gen (ret'd) Tim Cross, Canon Dr Chad Gandiya, who all participated in the briefing seminar, and the Very Rev'd Justin Welby, who was unable to attend.

The meeting was facilitated by the Rt Rev'd Peter Price, Bishop of Bath and Wells, England, and received briefings from the Rev'd Dr Ephraim Radner (Wycliffe Theological Seminary, Toronto) the Rt Rev'd Gary Lillibridge (Bishop of West Texas, TEC and member of the Windsor Continuation Group), The Rev'd Canon Dr Chuck Robertson (Canon to the Presiding Bishop, The Episcopal Church), the Rt Rev'd Herbert Donovan (Deputy to the Presiding Bishop for Anglican Communion Relations, TEC) and the Ven Paul Fehely (Principal Secretary to the Primate, the Anglican Church of Canada) and members of the Faculty at VTS.
The Pastoral Visitors team will now report to the Archbishop of Canterbury.

Pastoral visitors appointed by Archbishop of Canterbury

From Episcopal Life Online-

An initial group of pastoral visitors has been named by Archbishop of Canterbury Rowan Williams to assist in healing and reconciliation given the current tensions in the Anglican Communion.

Those appointed by Williams to the pastoral visitors team are:

the Rt. Rev. Santosh Marray, bishop of Seychelles (Indian Ocean);
the Rt. Rev. Colin Bennetts, retired bishop of Coventry (England);
the Rt. Rev. Simon Chiwanga, retired bishop of Mpwapwa (Tanzania) and former chairman of the Anglican Consultative Council;
Major General Tim Cross, a retired British soldier who was the U.K.'s senior-most officer involved in the Pentagon's post-war planning in Iraq;
Canon Chad Gandiya, Africa desk officer for the U.K.-based mission organization USPG; and
the Very Rev. Justin Welby, dean of Liverpool Cathedral (England).
The Anglican primates, at their February 1-5 meeting in Alexandria, Egypt, affirmed the recommendations of the Windsor Continuation Group and called for the development of a "pastoral council" and the appointment of "pastoral visitors."

Both the primates and the continuation group supported Williams' plan to appoint an interim group of "pastoral visitors" who could be called upon in any dispute or situation of tension until the May 1-12 meeting of the Anglican Consultative Council, the communion's main legislative body. Despite that time limit, the continuation group noted that Williams suggested an initial 12-month appointment.

The group's recent report, which was presented to the primates at their February meeting, also noted that the visitors would be required to act in a manner "consistent with the constitutions and canons of those provinces" in which they operate. Further, the group said it welcomed what it called Williams' decision that the visitors "would not have any authority to make dispositions or proposals for structural solutions to any situation, unless expressly authorized to do so by the primate or other lawful authority of the particular provinces with which they have been asked to work."

Living Church is here-

P.B. Consults with White House on Energy Issues

Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori and other members of the National Council of Churches Eco-Justice Program recently met with Carol M. Browner, who is Assistant to the President for Energy and Climate Change.

Energy conservation and climate change are just two of many topics about which the new administration has sought out the views of The Episcopal Church and other faiths, a policy Bishop Jefferts Schori said was “refreshing and exceeding hopeful.”

Advocacy work is seen by Bishop Jefferts Schori and other leaders in The Episcopal Church as a function of living out the church’s Baptismal Covenant which includes a promise to “strive for justice and peace.” Based on resolutions passed at General Convention and by Executive Council, staff members from The Episcopal Church’s Office of Governmental Relations (OGR) advocate on behalf of social justice policies with the White House and with the U.S. Congress. Maureen Shea is the director of OGR.

“One way we seek to fulfill our Baptismal Covenant is by pursuing broad social change through public policies that will bring about a more just and peaceful world,” she said. “We use our networks and our expertise, both with the administration and Congress, to change those policies and to have a strong voice in the public square.”

The Episcopal Church believes there is a strong connection between energy policy and concerns about climate change, according to DeWayne Davis, domestic policy analyst for the OGR.

Orombi orders Ssekadde to quit

ARCHBISHOP Luke Orombi has ordered Bishop Samuel Balagadde Ssekadde to hand over the episcopal jurisdiction of Namirembe diocese and abdicate as bishop on Sunday.

The directive follows a meeting by the Anglican House of Bishops in Fort Portal on February 21.

Ssekadde has spent 16 years as Namirembe bishop. In a December 2007 interview with Sunday Vision, Ssekadde said he was planning to officially retire on December 6. However, some Christians were opposed to his continued stay in office beyond January 31, when he attained 65 years, the retirement age for Anglican bishops.

The Christians accused Ssekadde of mismanaging the diocese affairs.

The House of Bishops elected Wilberforce Kityo Luwalira as the new bishop last month. He will be consecrated on May 31.

In a February 23 letter, the provincial chancellor, Barnabas Tumusingize, told Ssekadde to hand over on Sunday at Namirembe Cathedral during the 10:00am service.

“In the same service, you will read and sign your oath of abdication. This is in line with the provisions of Article 13(f) of the provincial constitution that requires all bishops to retire upon attaining the age of 65 years which you did on the 31st day of January 2009,” said Tumusingize.

“You are accordingly requested to make arrangements to ensure the above exercise takes place in the service,” he added.


A contemporary retelling of the biblical story of King David will premiere on NBC this month as “Kings.”

Created by Michael Green (“Heroes,” “Everwood”), it centers on the drama surrounding David Shepherd, a young soldier in the war-torn country of Gilboa, who will rise to fame after inspiring the nation through his fearless rescue of the king’s son.

Amid Shepherd's thrust toward destiny and peace for the kingdom, however, the country's power players will go to great lengths to see him fall, blurring the line between his allies and enemies.

The series is expected to draw the religious and the non-religious – the latter because of epic style and dramatic feel, and the former because it is expected to stick closely to the Old Testament, which Green says provides enough material to shape at least several seasons.

The story of King David itself, as Green points out, is one that has transcended religion and has become a part of several different cultures.

Sunday, March 1, 2009

Starvation and Strife Menace Torn Kenya

Ethnicity and the country’s lingering Balkanization are topics studiously avoided in Parliament. Few of Kenya’s politicians seem ready to tackle land reform, constitutional reform or the dangerous culture of impunity, all of which were called urgent priorities after the bloodshed last year. Many Kenyans are urging the International Criminal Court in The Hague to get involved, because they have no faith that the Kenyan justice system will prosecute the well-known political figures suspected of orchestrating last year’s killings.

“This country hasn’t healed,” Mr. Kiai said, “because we haven’t done anything to heal it.”

Many victims of last year’s violence feel totally abandoned. On a recent morning, Mary Macharia stood in a long line of sick people at a hospital near Nairobi, Kenya’s capital, her eyes on the floor.

A shiny, bubbly scar stretches from her ear to her lips. The right side of her face looks melted. A glance in the mirror jolts her mind back to the burning church where her daughter was killed a year ago, along with 30 others.

“Some days,” she said, “I hate myself.”

Across Kenya, near the western town of Kisumu, Millicent Awino is all alone, a young woman who used to have two children and a decent job packing flowers. She is essentially a serf now, her time, her sweat and her body at the beck and call of her ex-husband’s family, the only people who would take her in after she fled the violence that consumed her son and daughter and the ethnically mixed town where she used to live. She recently had another child, by the ex-husband who came into her hut one night, but the baby died of malaria.

“I think I’m done with children,” she said.

She also said she would never return to her former home.

Burundi archbishop supports Canadian church in opposing cross-border interventions

Archbishop Fred Hiltz, primate of the Anglican Church of Canada, has thanked his Burundian counterpart, Archbishop Bernard Ntahoturi, for the Anglican Church of Burundi’s stance against cross-border interventions, notwithstanding its opposition to more liberal views on homosexuality in some churches in Canada.

“I am very grateful for the position that the Anglican Church of Burundi has taken,” said Archbishop Hiltz who met with Archbishop Ntahoturi during the course of his solidarity visit hosted by the diocese of Bujumbura Feb. 12 to 15. “We value our relationship with Burundi and it’s part of the reason why there are young people in our delegation; we would like a building and renewal of relationship.”

Archbishop Hiltz was responding to opening remarks made by Archbishop Ntahoturi, who underscored that his province “doesn’t want the crossing of borders.” (Some primates in Africa and South America have exercised episcopal oversight over conservative parishes in North America that are opposed to the blessing of same-sex unions and the election of a gay bishop.)

“We walk in different contexts but we value our communion as human beings,” said Archbishop Ntahoturi, who added that he would like to “open more doors” of partnership between the Burundian and Canadian churches.

VTS Faces $1 Million Budget Cut

Faced with significant losses to its investments, the board of trustees of the Virginia Theological Seminary has ordered the largest Episcopal seminary to cut $1 million from its budget.

For the past four months, the seminary, which draws 67 percent of its operating income from its endowment, has had the value of its portfolio decline 36 percent, from $144 million to $97 million. The Very Rev. Ian S. Markham, dean and president, has been asked by the board to produce a restructuring plan in time for the next meeting of the board’s executive committee on March 11.

While some immediate steps to cut personnel costs already have been taken, such as the suspension of faculty and staff searches and the launch of an early retirement plan for seminary employees, additional steps are likely to include plans to revive focus on the school’s annual fund and other legacy gifts, the seminary said in a news release.

Vatican conference a sign church, evolution co-exist

From this morning's Pittsburgh Post-Gazette-

A conference on evolution to be held this week at the
Vatican is a sign that for many devout Christians, there is no conflict between the ideas of Charles Darwin and faith in God.

Devout Christians often are portrayed as if they view evolutionary biology as an attack on the Bible's account of creation, and scientists are portrayed as atheists. While there are high-profile examples of both, a truce was reached long ago in most major Christian traditions, including some streams of evangelicalism.

The Vatican conference, which marks the 150th anniversary of Darwin's "On the Origin of Species," is one example of scientists and theologians working together to transcend the culture wars and forge a lasting peace.

At the conference, which runs Tuesday through Saturday, scientists and theologians will discuss how to collaborate without trespassing in each others' area of expertise. Locally, Duquesne University will mark the anniversary with an address by Francisco Ayala, a professor of biology and philosophy at the University of California, Irvine. He will address similar issues at 7 p.m. March 18 in the Power Center ballroom. The Catholic Church has never had a rigid reading of Genesis. The third century theologian, Origen, pointed out that the Bible says God created light three days before creating the sun, moon and stars.

And Now The Rest Of The Story

Paul Harvey, a Chicago radio man whose melodious voice and hearty "Hello, America" were cherished by millions for more than 57 years on national broadcasts that were an entrancing mix of news, storytelling and gently persuasive salesmanship, died Saturday. He was 90.

Called "the voice of Middle America" and "the voice of the Silent Majority" by the media for his flag-waving conservatism, Harvey died surrounded by family in a Phoenix hospital, an ABC Radio Networks spokesman said. The cause of death was not immediately available.

"Paul Harvey was the most listened to man in the history of radio," said Bruce DuMont, president of the Museum of Broadcast Communications and host of the nationally syndicated "Beyond the Beltway." "There is no one who will ever come close to him."

Paul Harvey Jr., who after he was struck by a car in 1976 began writing his father's show, "The Rest of the Story," offered condolences, even amid his own loss, to those who loved to listen.,0,2571109.story