Saturday, May 30, 2009

Anglican Catholic Church Primate Declines Invitation to attend ACNA Provincial Assembly Ordination of Women is stumbling block

I don't post much from David Virtue because he's not always accurate. But I thouht this was interesting although I don't know where he might have gotten the letter.

To put matters another way, already now at the beginning of your enterprise, your dioceses and bishops are only in a state of impaired communion with each other. Some of your bishops do not recognize the validity of the priestly ministry of a significant body of clergy in other dioceses. Such divisions and problems at the beginning will not resolve themselves in time, but rather will grow. Ambiguity, or local option, or silence cannot undo the damage of essential disagreement concerning Holy Orders and authority in the Church.

In summary, then, we see in the ACNA the fundamental alterations in traditional Anglican faith, worship, order, and practice that led to the formation of our own Continuing Church in 1978. We would be glad to establish conversations with your ecclesial body in hopes that you may, having freed yourselves of the Episcopal Church, continue further on the same path by decisively breaking from a corrupt Anglican Communion and by returning to the central tradition of Christendom in all matters, including the male character of Holy Orders, the evil of abortion, and the indissolubility of sacramental marriage. We recommend to your prayerful attention the Affirmation of Saint Louis, which we firmly believe provides a sound basis for a renewed and fulfilled Anglicanism on our continent.

We suspect that any Anglican body that permits the ordination of women, or otherwise fails to return to the central tradition of Christendom, will soon move from what we might call neo-Anglicanism, which is already removed in ministry and worship from classical Anglicanism, and will eventually merge into the general stream of evangelical Protestantism. While faithful Protestantism of that sort is far preferable to what the Episcopal Church has become, it is not the Catholic Faith which we hold, it is not the Anglicanism that formed us, and it does not seem to us to have a bright future.

Its all here-

Good Stuff in TEC: Iowa

Parishioners rally to educate Sudanese man

Education is a privilege easily taken for granted in the United States where public and private schools offer education for all.

Parishioners at Trinity Episcopal Cathedral in Davenport are dipping into their pocketbooks and donating funds to make sure Betres Peni, a young man from the Sudan, receives an education.
Peni’s brother, the Rev. Samuel Peni, shared his thoughts about their country’s needs and hopes for the future during a soup supper at the cathedral May 21.

“Samuel came here in December for a visit on a Sunday. I talked to him afterward and he told me a little about himself and his brother, Betres, and Betres’ desire for education,” Trinity Episcopal Deacon Fred Berger said.

The question was how much would it take to make that education possible for Betres, Berger wondered.

Samuel just graduated from Wartburg Theological Seminary in Dubuque, Iowa, and plans to use his education to help others in the Anglican Diocese of Yambio, in southern Sudan.

The cost of an education in a neighboring country like Uganda is surprisingly modest, about $350 for tuition, entrance examinations and admission fee, Samuel said. However that does not include room and board and currently Betres walks five miles to school and back on dirt roads.

Rest is here-

FORT WORTH: Bishop asks clergy to verify decision to leave

Episcopal Diocese of Fort Worth provisional Bishop Edwin F. Gulick Jr. has asked 72 members of the diocesan clergy to meet with him to verify their decision to leave the Episcopal Church with former bishop Jack Iker.

"It is not my intention in writing you this letter to trespass upon your conscience in this matter or to offer any new arguments or words of persuasion," wrote Gulick, who is also bishop of the Diocese of Kentucky, in a May 26 letter. "However, before I begin to exercise certain canonical responsibilities regarding the status of those who have left the Episcopal Church, I feel compelled to offer to meet with you, if you wish, for a conversation related to your own discernment and decision."

The clergy and Iker aligned themselves with the Anglican Province of the Southern Cone by way of a series of votes at a November 15 diocesan convention. Six days later Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori inhibited Iker from exercising his ordained ministry and on December 5 announced that she had accepted what she said was Iker's renunciation of his Episcopal Church ordination. Iker has denied that he renounced his orders.

Gulick in his letter thanked the clergy "for your service as a priest or deacon in the Episcopal Church" and acknowledged that "many of you have searched your hearts and conscience and have come to a decision to join with Bishop Iker to realign your allegiance with Anglicans in the Southern Cone."

The letter noted recent meetings of the primates, or leaders, of the Anglican Communion's provinces and the Anglican Consultative Council as well as various state court legal decisions "that may well affect decisions made here in Texas."

More here-

Five things to know about Pentecost

I've heard of "Tiffany" parishes but "Cashmere" ?

As minister of two Cashmere churches — Grace Lutheran Church and St. James Episcopal Church — the Rev. Rob Gohl is well-versed in the liturgical calendar. The Christian holiday of Pentecost, which commemorates the birth of the church, is this Sunday.

"For our churches, Pentecost is probably the third most-celebrated holiday behind Easter and Christmas," says Gohl. "It’s a celebration of the Holy Spirit."

Gohl shares the Pentecost story below:

Good Stuff in TEC: South Carolina

Florence’s Christ Episcopal Church to celebrate 150th year

Christ Episcopal Church will celebrate its 150th anniversary at 10 a.m. June 7.

S.C. Bishop Mark Lawrence of Charleston will lead the service at the quaint church, which is listed in the National Register of Historic Places.

Father Michael Burton is the rector of Christ Episcopal, located at 2305 U.S. 327. He is assisted by Deacon Hiram Moseley.

Christ Episcopal’s building is in the shape of a cross, originally painted white. The outside walls are boarded and battened. The boards are 10 inches wide running up and down, every seam covered with a beveled board about four inches wide and two inches in the center.
Florence’s Christ Episcopal Church to celebrate 150th year

The inside walls are hard-finished plaster, while the woodwork is a variety of pines and the pews are heavy heart pine.

A Gothic design door opens into each transept and the rear of the nave. Gothic windows, originally glazed in ground glass, were replaced with clear glass.

The furniture is handmade of walnut, except for the white marble font. Instead of an altar, there is a communion table. The first instrument was a melodeon placed midway in the nave.

The church at first had no heat. Members provided themselves with hot soapstones in little flannel jackets. And the rugs from the carriages — some of them fur — were brought in to ensure comfortable feet during the services.

More here-

Good Stuf in TEC: Alabama

Trinity Episcopal Church celebrates 175 years

When Trinity Episcopal Church was founded in 1834, Demopolis was in its 17th year as a city. Andrew Jackson was President, and there were only 24 states in the Union.

On Jan. 31, 1834, Trinity Episcopal Church, one of the oldest churches in Demopolis — if not the oldest church — was founded. The membership decided to mark its 175th anniversary on June 7, which is marked as “Trinity Sunday” on the Episcopal calendar, an appropriate day for a celebration.

“On Sunday, we will have a special service of baptisms and confirmations,” said the Rev. John David Barnes, the rector of the church. “In the Episcopal Church, the bishop has to be present for confirmation services, so this will be his yearly visit.”

Bishop Henry Parsley of the Archdiocese of Alabama will be on hand to help the church mark its anniversary celebration.

The church will have a reception on Saturday and another on Sunday, with the Sabbath reception being an on-grounds picnic.

The rest is here-

World's 'cutiest' priest becomes an Anglican

From the London Times-

Father Alberto Cutié, the Roman Catholic priest who has been a cause of some international scandal since captured on film cuddling his girlfriend, now his fiancé, on a beach, has been accepted into The Episcopal Church in the US. It is likely he will go on to become an Episcopal priest. As The Lead reports, Father Cutié and his fiance were received into the worldwide Anglican Communion by the Bishop of Southeast Florida, the Right Rev Leo Frade, a fellow Cuban.

Frade explained why he had done this: 'We have been talking to him as friends. We've known each other from the year 2000. We are both Cubans, and dealing in ecumenical and also trying to bring a peaceful change in Cuba. And he became more and more interested in our church, and showed that interest, and with time, about two years, it has been a long search for him, because he did not want to leave the Catholic faith.'

Father Cutié's former Archbishop, Miami's Most Rev John Favalora, is disappointed by his priest's actions. He is also disappointed by TEC's response. He says he was not told by Father Cutie of his intention to defect. He said the new Episcopalian remains a Catholic priest but cannot exercise his ministry as a priest and further, is not released from his vow of celibacy.

In a statement he said: 'Catholic faithful of Saint Francis de Sales Parish, Radio Paz and the entire Archdiocese of Miami, I again say that Father Cutié’s actions cannot be justified, despite his good works as a priest. This is all the more true in light of today’s announcement. Father Cutié may have abandoned the Catholic Church; he may have abandoned you. But I tell you that the Catholic Church will never abandon you; the Archdiocese of Miami is here for you.

More here-

Friday, May 29, 2009

Independents ‘can restore credibility’ to political life

TERRY WAITE, the former special envoy to the Archbishop of Canter bury, said this week that he would consider standing as an independent MP.

Writing in The Times on Wednesday, he said that he had been asked to do so “frequently”, but had always so far refused. If he changed his mind, it would be to encourage reform.

Referring to the Archbishop of Canterbury’s warning on Saturday that MPs were being unduly humiliated by the publicity over their expenses claims, Mr Waite said: “Much as I applaud the Archbishop of Canterbury’s personal concern for individuals, he must also be aware that this crisis, no matter how unpleasant, could be just the very thing the country needs.”

On Saturday, Dr Williams said that the issues raised by the controversy over MPs’ expenses were “as grave as could be for our parliamentary democracy”. Writing in The Times, he asked whether the “continuing systematic humiliation of politicians” now threatened to ex tract a heavy price by reducing public confidence in democracy.

Regulating MPs’ expenses, im port ant though it was, could not be the whole answer. Regulation took the place of virtue, and was an excuse for not encouraging intelligence and good will among the MPs (“or bankers or whoever”) in the first place, Dr Williams wrote.

“If we are to recover trust in our political class, we need to know some thing about what they are glad to do for its own sake — because, though we often forget it, this is one of the surest tests of virtue.”

Jonathan Bartley, the co-director of the Christian think tank Ekklesia, said last week that independent politicians could do much to restore credibility to British politics. A survey commissioned by Ekklesia found that 78 per cent of the 1010 voters it questioned said that inde pendent candidates should stand at the next General Election against MPs who had behaved unethically.

More here-

Covenant Working Group Announced

The task force charged with revising the problematic fourth section of the proposed Anglican Covenant will consist of four members from the previous 12-member task force, according to an announcement made May 28 by Archbishop of Canterbury Rowan Williams and the Rev. Canon Kenneth Kearon, secretary general of the Anglican Consultative Council.

The Most Rev. John Neill, Archbishop of Dublin in the Church of Ireland, will serve as chairman. The other three members are: the Most Rev. John Chew, primate of the Church of the Province of South East Asia; Eileen Scully, coordinator for faith, worship and ministry for the Anglican Church of Canada; and the Rt. Rev. Gregory Cameron, Bishop of St. Asaph in the Church of Wales.

In addition to the four appointed members, staff support will be provided by Neil Vigers, administrator for ecumenical affairs for the ACC, and the Rev. Canon Joanna Udal, the Archbishop of Canterbury’s secretary for Anglican Communion affairs.

The proposed covenant failed to pass during the Anglican Consultative Council (ACC) meeting May 1-13 meeting in Jamaica. Representatives from The Episcopal Church were among the most vocal in expressing concerns about the fourth section during debate on the covenant. Neither of the Episcopalians on the original Covenant Design Group—the Rev. Ephraim Radner, professor of historical theology at Wycliffe College in Toronto, and the Rev. Katherine Grieb, professor of New Testament at Virginia Theological Seminary—was included on the new working group.

Under the timetable proposed in the announcement, the so-called Ridley Cambridge draft text that was rejected by the ACC in Jamaica has been sent to provinces for comment on Section 4. Responses are due by Nov. 13. The working group is scheduled to meet Nov. 20-21 in London and will report its findings and recommendations to the Joint Standing Committee of the ACC and the primates, which meets Dec. 15-18.

Priest Accused Of Embezzlement Faces Arrest Again

A local priest, accused of embezzling money from his church, is now wanted again by police, according to court documents. Father Donald Armstrong didn't show up for court Wednesday and an arrest warrant has been issued. It was his first court appearance since he was indicted by a grand jury last week.

Armstrong faces allegations of stealing money from Grace and Saint Stephen's Episcopal Church in downtown Colorado Springs. According to the grand jury indictment obtained by 11 News, from July 1999 until March of 2006, court documents say that Father Armstrong used parish money ($392,000) for personal expenses, like his children's college education. He is now facing 20 counts of theft.

11 News stopped by St. George’s Anglican Church, where Armstrong works now, to ask him why he didn’t show up for court. A church worker said he wasn’t there, even though his car was still in the parking lot.

A minute later, his secretary told us Father Armstrong was at the church, but was on the phone. When asked if he forgot about his court date she replied, “No” and went onto say that this was all a misunderstanding.

When leaving the church, Armstrong’s car was gone.

He was indicted last week and had turned himself in to police. Wednesday was supposed to be his first court appearance on the theft charges.

Armstrong and hundreds of his followers left the Episcopal Diocese and became Anglican back in 2007. His congregation continued to practice at Grace and Saint Stephens until they were recently forced out by a court order, which was the result of a lawsuit from the Episcopal Diocese.

Bishop returns to birthplace

The first female presiding bishop of the Episcopal Church arrives in Pensacola today for a three-day Gulf Coast visit.

The Most Rev. Katharine Jefferts Schori, who was born in Pensacola, leads the church's 2.4 million members.

She's the first woman to lead one of the 38 worldwide provinces of the Anglican Communion, which originated with the Church of England in the 16th century.

Jefferts Schori, 55, who is based in New York, will lead a retreat for clergy today at St. Francis of Assisi Episcopal Church in Gulf Breeze. After that, she will lead an afternoon service at Christ Church in downtown Pensacola. On Saturday and Sunday, she will be at various churches and events in Mobile and Daphne, Ala.

Jefferts Schori is visiting at the invitation of Bishop Philip M. Duncan II, who leads the Episcopal Diocese of the Central Gulf Coast, which includes Pensacola and Mobile.

"I've known her for nine years," Duncan said. "She is very bright, and she is a gifted theologian. She is a deeply spiritual person who spends a great amount of time in prayer and meditation each day."

More here-

Episcopal leaders oust clergy over Valley split

Leaders of the Episcopal Church have ousted more than 50 clergy members who aligned with a former bishop from the Episcopal Diocese of San Joaquin leading the movement to break with the national church.

Bishop John-David Schofield led the local Anglican breakaway in December 2007 over differences with the national body's approval of same-sex blessings, the ordination of a gay bishop, the role of women in the church and how to interpret the Bible over such issues.

The Episcopal Church removed Schofield as head of the Fresno-based diocese in 2008 and barred him from performing any religious rites. He is now an Anglican bishop under the worldwide church.

After Schofield's removal, the Episcopal Church named Jerry Lamb as bishop of the Episcopal Diocese of San Joaquin, based in Stockton. In October, Lamb charged that 36 priests and 16 deacons who aligned with Schofield and an Anglican group in Argentina had abandoned the Episcopal Church. Lamb gave them six months to return to the Episcopal Church or request release from their ordination vows.

Lamb said he took final action this week to depose the clergy who had failed to respond.

More here-

CANADA: Court begins to consider property issues in Diocese of New Westminster

The Supreme Court of British Columbia has begun hearing arguments to decide who owns disputed church buildings and resources: the Vancouver-based Diocese of New Westminster or parishes that have left the Anglican Church of Canada.

Two lawsuits were filed against the diocese and its bishop, Michael Ingham, by clergy who cut ties with the national church and individuals who say they are the lawful trustees of church properties and resources for several congregations that also voted to leave the church. Other hearings have resulted in decisions about interim possession and sharing of church buildings in British Columbia as well as Ontario, but this trial, which is scheduled to last three weeks, will be the first in Canada to decide who owns the buildings and resources.

The clergy left their ministries with the Anglican Church of Canada in 2008 over theological differences, including issues such as the blessing of same-sex unions, and they were asked to vacate their former parishes. Many of their parishioners voted to leave the church and join the more conservative Anglican Network in Canada(ANiC), which is now a part of the proposed Anglican Church in North America (ACNA).

The proposed new Anglican entity would be comprised of clergy and laity that have left the Anglican Church of Canada and the Episcopal Church in the U.S. Its leaders hope that the entity will be recognized as a new, theologically-defined province in the worldwide Anglican Communion. Meanwhile, the Canadian churches have aligned themselves with the Argentina-based Anglican Province of the Southern Cone. However, the leaders have not begun the formal process that could lead to such recognition.

Court documents show that the plaintiffs seek a ruling that they should "hold parish property in their trust for their congregations for the purpose of ministry consistent with historic, orthodox Anglican doctrine and practice."

The diocese is arguing that it has not departed from its faith, and in its court documents states that the "current dispute over homosexuality is the latest in a long series of debates within Anglicanism as it adapts to social change. Other recent debates include the remarriage of divorced persons and the ordination of women."

Cutie joins the Episcopal Church

'Father Oprah' Joins Episcopal Church

Video is here-

Thursday, May 28, 2009

Miami priest joins Episcopal church after scandal

A popular Miami priest and media personality says he is leaving the Catholic Church and joining the Episcopal church after he was photographed cavorting on the beach with his girlfriend.

The Rev. Alberto Cutié (KOO'-tee-ay) was removed from his Miami Beach church after photos of him kissing and embracing a woman appeared in the pages of a Spanish-language magazine earlier this month.

A ceremony will take place at Trinity Cathedral on Thursday afternoon. He is also expected to announce that he will marry his girlfriend, which is allowed in the Episcopal church.

Cutie earned the nickname "Father Oprah" for his relationship advice and previously hosted shows on Telemundo. He is also a syndicated Spanish-language columnist and author.

Chinese Calvinism flourishes

John Calvin was a Frenchman, but he is being remembered in Geneva this week because it was here that he built Calvinism. Invited to reform the city in 1541, almost as what would now be called a management consultant, he formed an alliance with the city fathers. Over the next 20 years of preaching and pastoring they turned this tiny city, with a population then of only 10,000, into a model of church government and theology which has changed the world.

His followers now form the third-largest Christian grouping in the world. The world alliance of reformed churches claims 75 million members, and while this is a lower headline figure than the Anglican Communion's 80 million, it is not inflated by 25 million nominal Anglicans in Britain.

Although Calvinism is shrinking in western Europe and North America, it is experiencing an extraordinary success in China. I spent some time on Monday talking to the Rev May Tan, from Singapore, where the overseas Chinese community has close links with mainland China. The story she told of the spread of Calvinist religion as an elite religion in China was quite extraordinary. There may be some parallels with the growth of Calvinism in South Korea, where the biggest presbyterian churches in the world are to be found, but it's absolutely unlike the pattern in Africa and Latin America. There, the fastest growing forms of Christianity are pentecostal, and they are spreading among the poor.

More here-

Bishop Challenges Church on HIV/AIDS

The Bishop of the Anglican Diocese in Namibia, Right Reverend Nathaniel Nakwatumbah, has urged his church to double its efforts in the fight against the HIV and AIDS pandemic even in the face of financial problems.

Nakwatumbah was addressing the Diocesan Synod 2009 last Friday comprising all clergy (priests and deacons) of the Anglican Church in Namibia together with lay representatives from across the country. The Synod is held every three years.

In the address, known as the ‘Bishop’s Charge’ Nakwatumbah touched on the challenges facing the Namibia Diocese, which includes the HIV and AIDS pandemic in the country, the difficulties facing the Clergy of the Anglican Diocese in Namibia and financial problems of the church.

He said the church should double its efforts towards its vision of a future generation without AIDS.

He said the Diocese HIV/AIDS programme was going through a difficult time because of lack of funds. The church was receiving funds through Siyafundisa and Siyakha, which have come to an end, resulting in one of the HIV/AIDS officers leaving the programme. The remaining donor to the programme is the Episcopal Relief Fund (ERF).

More here-

Bishop Rivera Pioneers ‘New Model of Episcopate’ in Olympia

The Rt. Rev. Bavi “Nedi” Rivera, Suffragan Bishop of Olympia since 2004, was installed as provisional Bishop of Eastern Oregon May 23 at Ascension School Camp and Conference Center in Cove, Ore. She had been serving as Assisting Bishop of the diocese since March 1.

Eastern Oregon has been without a diocesan bishop since the resignation of the Rt. Rev. William O. Gregg in 2007.

Because church canons call for a provisional bishop to be elected and because an electing convention requires considerable advance planning, the diocesan standing committee opted to bring Bishop Rivera in first as an assisting bishop. The installation service was preceded by an abbreviated convention held in the context of a Eucharist.

“We did not want to wait any longer,” said the Rev. Nancy Sargent Green, standing committee president. “It was much more important to get her into this chair, into the hearts and lives of the people of Eastern Oregon, and let her be our bishop.”

Under the terms of the agreement, Bishop Rivera will serve a minimum of 64 days in Eastern Oregon in 2009. The diocese will reimburse the Diocese of Olympia for the time that she spends in Oregon.

“They look at it as a missionary partnership, giving of their wealth to the beloved brothers and sisters who are not quite so wealthy,” Ms. Green said.

Bishop Rivera said the diocese was in the midst of a transition and would need to consider new ways of doing ministry.

“None of us know yet what that will be,” she said. “They have called a bishop who they believe can (among other things) think creatively and explore new models of the episcopate, strengthen lay leadership, understand and embrace shared ministry and area ministry models, understand the culture of the Church in the West and collaborate with other small and rural dioceses. This first step of ministry sharing between two dioceses is a first ‘new model of the episcopate’.”

3 Bishops, ACI Call for Email Investigation

Allegations of conduct unbecoming a member of the clergy will be lodged by three bishops against a member of the national Executive Council and the president of Integrity in response to the misappropriation and publication of private correspondence.

Bishops John Howe of Central Florida, Mark Lawrence of South Carolina, and D. Bruce MacPherson of Western Louisiana, along with other leaders of the Anglican Communion Institute (ACI), are concerned about a possible “dirty tricks” campaign waged against the ACI by the Rev. Canon Mark Harris, the Rev. Susan Russell, and an unidentified member on the staff at the Diocese of Washington.

Priests “publishing the private emails of bishops is a matter of grave pastoral disorder,” said the Very Rev. Philip Turner, former dean of Berkeley Divinity School at Yale and a member of the ACI. The publication of the correspondence also may violate laws concerning attorney-client privilege, Bishop MacPherson said.

The dispute involves the misappropriation of emails and a draft of an ACI paper titled “Bishops’ Statement on the Polity of The Episcopal Church.” Most of the private correspondence contained a standard legal disclaimer noting that the information was privileged and intended solely for those to whom it was addressed.

On April 21 Canon Harris published snippets from the bishops’ statement and 13 email messages exchanged among the ACI leaders and their lawyer. The following day, Ms. Russell published the bishops’ statement along with extracts from the emails and the Washington Blade, a secular gay-interest newspaper, published an expurgated version of the email exchange.

“Since when do we have priests publishing the private correspondence of bishops to each other?” Bishop Howe asked.

Writing on an internet blog maintained by Integrity Ms. Russell applauded the “outing” of the ACI because she said it was advocating an “unprecedented power grab by anti-gay bishops.”

A spokesman for the ACI said the organization did not contemplate pursuing civil or criminal remedies for the misappropriation of the private documents. One of the bishops said that formal ecclesiastical charges have not been preferred against either Ms. Russell or Canon Harris, but the matter has been brought to the attention of Bishop J. Jon Bruno of Los Angeles, which is where Ms. Russell is canonically resident, and the Bishop Wayne Wright, where Canon Harris resides.

Bishop MacPherson said it was a sad commentary of the current state of the church that such correspondence would be published, but he was more distressed by the damage the leaked information had done to the point the 14 bishops who signed the statement were trying to make.

“My prayer is that we will be able to find our way back as a church to following the constitution and canons that have been handed down to us,” he said. “The current leadership is moving away in another direction.”

another piece here-

Anglican-Lutheran commission continues ecumenical dialogue

The third Anglican - Lutheran International Commission (ALIC) has issued a communiqué outlining the work it did during its fourth meeting, held in Lilleskog, Sweden, May 20-27.
This commission was established by the Anglican Consultative Council and the Lutheran World Federation to continue a dialogue between Anglicans and Lutherans on the worldwide level that has been in progress since 1970. It is made up of five Lutherans and six Anglicans, including the Very Rev. William H. Petersen, professor of ecclesiastical and ecumenical history at Bexley Hall, the Episcopal Church-affiliated seminary in Columbus, Ohio.

This ALIC is building upon the work reflected in the 1987 Niagara Report, which focused on the mission of the church and the role of the ordained ministry; the 1995 Hanover Report, subtitled "Diaconate as Ecumenical Opportunity," and the 2002 Growth in Communion Report from the Anglican-Lutheran International Working Group (ALIWG), which reviewed regional agreements which have established close relations between Anglican and Lutheran churches in several parts of the world. The Episcopal Church and the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America formed one such agreement, Called to Common Mission, in 1999.

This commission has previously met in Tanzania, Canada, and India. The group will shape its own report when it meets next in Columbus, Ohio, April 17-24, 2010.

The text of the communiqué, which includes a list of members, is available here.

61 priests in San Joaquin Valley dropped by Episcopal diocese

The Episcopal Diocese of San Joaquin on Wednesday deposed 61 clergy from Lodi to Bakersfield because they have left the national Episcopal Church and aligned themselves with the worldwide Anglican Communion.

Episcopal Bishop Jerry Lamb, who called the action "heartbreaking," said from his Stockton headquarters that such clergy will have their retirement assets frozen and no longer can participate as Episcopal priests. But, he added, "this action is not taken for any ethical or moral concerns."

The news didn't seem to matter to the priests, who now are under Anglican oversight.

"Really, this doesn't impact us," said the Rev. Michael McClenaghan of St. Paul's Church in Modesto, who hadn't yet received word of his deposition Wednesday afternoon. "We have been transferred to either the Southern Cone (in South America) or in our case, Anglican Missions through Rwanda. So we're still priests."

The 61 deposed priests are from parishes that have followed Bishop John-David Schofield as he led the country's first diocese to leave the Episcopal Church in December 2007 over issues related to the interpretation of Scripture, including acknowledging Jesus as the only way to heaven and opposing the ordination of gay clergy. Such parishes include St. Matthias in Oakdale, St. Luke's in Merced and the historic Red Church in Sonora, St. James.

More here-

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Bishops and the BNP

AS a communicant of the Church of England, I am often in despair at the woolly, muddle headed leadership given by the prelates. This weekend, the two archbishops in England decided to intervene in the political process by advising voters not to support the BNP in next week's European elections.

Whatever your views on the BNP, it is surely setting an appalling precedent for the Church - the established Church no less - to jump into party politics. It was bad enough when the Church 25 years or so ago blamed the Conservative government of Margaret Thatcher for the breakdown in society in Britain's inner cities. But even then, there was no attempt to tell people not to vote Conservative.

The established Church was created out of the Roman Catholic Church so that the monarch could divorce. In the Church's eyes, divorce is bad and so it surely follows that the Anglican church itself is illegitimate.

Over the weekend, the Archbishop of Canterbury tried also to suggest that the media stop publishing stories about MPs and their expenses because of the damage being done to democracy. Poppycock, Your Grace: Democracy has not been damaged by the media, but by the MPs and their bloated expense claims.

More here-

Sotomayor Ruling Ended Baseball Strike

From NPR- Audio available at 9 AM

President Obama noted as he introduced Supreme Court nominee Sonia Sotomayor that she may be credited with saving baseball. Sotomayor, as a federal trial judge, ruled with the Major League Players Association in a 1995 labor dispute.

UK expenses row delivers wake-up call to politicians

There just seems no end to the shame and embarrassment facing UK politicians. For 19 consecutive days, the story of the Westminster expenses trough has dominated the headlines of every newspaper over here, as well as the news and current affairs programmes on radio and television.

Sadly for the political class, the European parliamentary election on June 5 and local elections on June 4 will ensure that the subject of the greed of politicians remains uppermost in citizens' minds for at least the next 10 days.

But beyond the elections, the heated public discussion to date indicates that the scandal will have a dramatic impact on how this particular parliamentary democracy is run in the future. There is much talk of what appears to be a partial suicide or a culling operation, with the suggestion that the number of members of parliament be reduced.

There is also talk of the need to implement major changes to the party system.

At the weekend Anglican bishops took the unprecedented step of urging their congregations not to vote for the British National Party, a xenophobic fascist party whose rise to prominence might mark the beginnings of a return to the terrifying 1930s for Europe.

More here-

Good Stuf in TEC: Alabama

New Alabama Camp Chapel Dedicated

More than 400 people gathered May 2 to celebrate the completion of the new chapel at Camp McDowell, a retreat, conference center and summer camp of the Diocese of Alabama.

The 500-seat, $2.7-million Chapel of St. Francis of Assisi more than doubles the worship capacity of the Winston County camp’s Ascension Chapel, which was completed in 1957. Use of the old chapel had tripled during the past 12 years, and many events drew more than its 200-seat capacity.

The new chapel was dedicated during a two-hour service led by the Rt. Rev. Henry N. Parsley, Jr., Bishop of Alabama; the Rt. Rev. John McKee Sloan, Bishop Suffragan; and the Rt. Rev. Robert O. Miller, Bishop Suffragan of Alabama from 1988-1998. A window in the north transept, given by people of the diocese, was dedicated in honor of Bishop Parsley in thanksgiving for his life and ministry.

“Camp McDowell is at the spiritual heart of our diocesan community, and our new chapel provides a visual and physical reminder that Christ is the center of our lives,” Bishop Parsley said.

Bishop Parsley noted that the new chapel was designed to be very “green.”

“With the use of a great deal of glass and natural wood, the grace of nature and the grace of worship come together as one,” he said.

The Eucharist was followed by a barbecue picnic lunch and an afternoon of games and bluegrass entertainment.

The new chapel also features a downstairs conference area for meetings and fellowship events.

Communion meeting faced challenges By Katharine Jefferts Schori

The Anglican Consultative Council met in Jamaica for two weeks in early May. Most of the Anglican Communion's 38 provinces were represented, as well as Cuba and Spain (dioceses not belonging to a province).
You will, by now, know of the headline-attracting decisions of this ACC meeting, but you will undoubtedly have heard much less about mission around the communion. I am convinced that the work of mission is where the Anglican Communion really "lives" – where it has its incarnate reality.

The various networks of the communion focus on mission work with youth, women, indigenous peoples, French speakers; in health care, education, environmental issues and the nascent Anglican development alliance. The Anglican Communion engages God's mission to heal this world in the incarnate realities of feeding, educating, housing and healing people, equipping them for ministry and pursuing reconciliation in contexts of war, division and discrimination. One Sunday, the members of the ACC dispersed for worship and conversation in parishes around Jamaica.

I visited a parish in Black River, about 100 miles west of Kingston. St. John's is one of the oldest congregations in Jamaica, dating from the mid-1600s. The town of Black River had electricity before New York! It is a sleepy old port, no longer used for cargo, but it still supports a local fishery. St. John's has been educating youngsters for centuries. There are two marble plaques at the front of the sanctuary that remember gifts of land to the parish in the early 1800s, to be used for the education of poor children. Two schools founded at that time continue to this day, and the parish began a major local high school in the early 1960s.

Excellent education for all is a pervasive mission of the Diocese of Jamaica and the Cayman Islands. Yet I also heard from parishioners and clergy that claiming their status as Anglicans often is difficult. Some don't want to be publicly identified with what is perceived as the rich, colonial church – which was also the church of many former slave owners. We talked about how the mission identity might be shifted, particularly through work with the poorest, perhaps in adult literacy endeavors.

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Good Stuf in TEC: Florida

Congregations combine to feed the hungry in St. Lucie County starting June 1

How does an Arlo Guthrie concert at the Lyric Theatre in March turn into a Port St. Lucie community kitchen serving hot meals to the hungry in June?

Bob Carey, retired Episcopal priest and Episcopal Church of the Nativity member, knows.

When he heard Guthrie, famous for his 1967 song “Alice’s Restaurant,” conclude his Lyric show with a few words about people caring for one another, Carey said he began thinking how he could make the “little bit of a difference” that Guthrie was calling for.

He quickly realized that an interfaith community kitchen serving a free hot meal once a week could help hundreds of people who are down on their luck because of a job loss, pay cuts, foreclosure or other misfortune, he said.

The result was Sarah’s Kitchen, formed by the congregations of the Episcopal Church of the Nativity, First United Methodist Church, Grace Lutheran Church, New Jerusalem Worship Church, St. Andrew Lutheran Church and Temple Beth El Israel, all in Port St. Lucie.

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Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Trial involving suit brought against Diocese of New Westminster begins

The trial before BC Supreme Court Justice Stephen Kelleher over the lawsuit brought by members of four dissident congregations against the Diocese of New Westminster began today (May 25) in Vancouver.

Those bringing the suit, 22 leaders in the four congregations, including three former diocesan priests, have left the Anglican Church of Canada, but want to keep their parish buildings, which the Diocese of New Westminster says it owns.

In court the lawyer for the plaintiffs, Geoff Cowper, QC, took the morning on his opening statement. The crux of the dissident’s position is that, as church leaders, they hold the properties pursuant to a trust for “historical, orthodox Anglican doctrine and practice.”

Cowper argued that same-sex blessings, begun in the diocese in 2003, were a violation of the trust they hold. They also can’t live with the vote of the Anglican Church of Canada’s General Synod in 2007 that blessings were not in conflict with its “core doctrine.”

The diocese’s lawyer, George Macintosh, QC, will get to present the diocese’s arguments at the beginning of next week (June 1), but in a preliminary session he said that the Anglican Church of Canada’s “sophisticated governance structure supersedes any trust.”

Much of Cowper’s argument centred on the “Solemn Declaration,” a document adopted by the Canadian Church’s founding first synod in 1893, which the lawyer called “the DNA of the Anglican Church of Canada. It states that the Canadian Church is to be “in full communion with the Church of England throughout the world.”

“It was central to its identity that it would remain in full communion with the Anglican Communion throughout the world,” said Cowper.

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Online pay-to-pray draws reaction from religions

From the Pittsburgh Tribune Review-

God listens, but does he listen to a computer?

A Boston-based company hopes He does.

Information Age Prayer sells prayers for a fee on its Web site, For $3.95 a month, for example, people can ask for financial help -- and a computer-generated voice in Boston will appeal to the Almighty through a set of speakers.

The 23-year-old lab worker who started the company in March studied math, not theology, at the New Jersey Institute of Technology. Still, James Mcarlos knows enough to acknowledge that his service is a supplement, not a savior. His Web site warns prospective customers that the Prayer for Financial Help is "not an alternative to fiscal responsibility."

"You can't expect to simply sign up for this service and never pray again," Mcarlos said. "This service is a way of just letting people relax a little more, if they feel like they should be doing something else, or praying more."

Pastors, priests and rabbis scoffed at the idea, saying that prayer must come from the heart, not the hard drive.

"It's rather ridiculous. That's not God's intention," said the Rev. Bill Themelaras, prayer pastor at Covenant Church of Pittsburgh, a nondenominational church in Wilkinsburg. "Paul tells us that the fervent prayer of a righteous man avails much. That's the prayer of a man or a woman, not a computer."

Mcarlos said the for-profit company donates 10 percent of revenue to charity, though he would not provide figures. He said he was inspired by a story he heard about a Dutch artist who had an answering machine for God. He declined to reveal how many prayers he has sold, but said people from 155 countries have visited his Web site.

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For Jaeger, the Point Is Love

It's a long way from Wimbledon's Centre Court to southwest Colorado. For Andrea Jaeger, the spiritual journey has been even longer.

At 14, she was a pig-tailed phenom, brandishing every stroke in the tennis repertoire with a swagger that rivaled Jimmy Connors's.

Most times, nothing thrilled her like winning -- especially if she felt she had a point to prove. Other times she was so tortured by the cost of success that she didn't try -- including, she says, intentionally losing the 1983 Wimbledon final.

Now 43, Jaeger rarely picks up a racket or reflects on the era when she toppled legends of the game but had no friends, traveling the world with a father-turned-coach who believed that discipline, often in the form of a firm whack, was the most effective teacher.

Today, the teen once ranked No. 2 in the world and on track to unseat Chris Evert atop the sport is an Anglican Dominican nun, ordained in 2006, and devoted to helping children with cancer.

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Civil War graffiti in Berkeley church called 'quite a find'

Paint flaked away from the walls of a former Berkeley County church, and suddenly, history emerged.

W. Michie Klusemyer, bishop of West Virginia's Episcopal Diocese, said workmen were called in recently to help renovate a Bunker Hill church known as the Morgan Chapel. What they found, he said, was beyond anyone's expectations.

"I believe it's quite a find," he said.

As workmen scraped the walls, paint peeled away in chunks, revealing what appeared to be graffiti left behind by soldiers from the Civil War. The more they scraped, the more writings appeared.

The graffiti appears to have been left behind by both Northern and Southern troops who served during the Civil War, he said. It covers much of the inside of the building.

"It appears to be as high as people could reach," Klusemyer said. "It's down low. It's up high. It's just everywhere."

Many of the writings were simply names with dates scribbled nearby. Klusemyer said the dates hailed from the days of the Civil War and they were accompanied by the artists' regiments.

Other comments that lined the walls were more extensive, he said.

Klusemyer said one soldier wrote, "I should not have written on the walls of the house of God. I would not have done so if it had not already been marked up." Another stated, "It's not our rebellion," and a third comment read, "Down with traitors, treason and copperheads."

More here-

Good Stuf in TEC: Florida

Church thrift store opening is a success

In today's economy, people need every little bit of help they can get.

That's why the Episcopal Church of the Redeemer in Avon Park decided to open a thrift store, said the Rev. Joyce Holmes.

"We're living in some tough times," Holmes said. "In this particular county, it's tougher than most. This isn't intended to buy another acre of land, just reach out to our neighbors."

Last Saturday about 100 people attended the opening day of the church's thrift store.

"There were people waiting at the door at 7:30 a.m.," said Blanche Chafe, parishioner.

About 35 percent of the items available were sold by volunteers. Clothing was a top-seller, although other needed goods were snapped up quickly. Most clothing items went for $2 a piece or two items for $3, Chafe said. Money earned from the event will go toward a church building fund, Holmes said.

"We want to build a real church," Chafe said.

When Holmes arrived in Avon Park eight years ago, there were just 16 parishioners on the church roster.

The congregation worshipped in a building "that hadn't been attended to in 67 years," she said.

Now there are 150 people who worship in a 6,000-square-foot metal, multi-purpose building. And the church has long-term plans to build a larger 450-seat building.

The rest-

Harvey Haddix perfect through 12.

It was the greatest pitched ball game in the history of baseball, and it was a loss. Harvey Haddix pitches 12 perfect innings fifty years ago today. The original story is below. For you soccer fans out there a perfect game is when no batter reaches a base.

MILWAUKEE, May 26 -- Harvey Haddix made baseball history here tonight in County Stadium but lost a ball game, 2-0, in 13 innings to the Milwaukee Braves.

The little Buc southpaw, pitching magnificently, had a perfect game for 12 innings. No one in the major leagues had even ever gone over nine without an opponent reaching base.

The climax to the tense situation became a confusing one when Joe Adcock hit the ball over the fence and was credited with a double.

Previously four pitchers had worked perfectly through nine inning victories but none had gone longer.

The last was Don Larson of the Yankees with his 2-0 victory over the Dodgers in the 1956 World Series.

In the clubhouse the mighty little Buc southpaw said -- "all I wanted to all night long was to keep them from scoring."

And in the 13th inning the leadoff batter for the Braves reached base on a throwing error by Don Hoak. Hoak fielded a routine grounder by Felix Mantilla, fired low to first and Rocky Nelson failed on a pickup of the ball.

Eddie Mathews sacrificed and the Bucs passed Hank Aaron. Joe Adcock, who had stuck out twice and grounded out two other times, hit what Haddix described as "a high slider," and it fell over the fence in right centerfield.

Eight for Burdette
In the joy of winning the eighth victory for Lew Burdette, Adcock passed Aaron between second and third bases and was ruled out, eliminating his homer. The umpires ruled that Mantilla's and Aaron's runs counted. One enough though.

Haddix, in reeling off his pitching masterpiece, fanned eight Braves and it wasn't until the 12th inning that he got behind a batter on the count. The first two pitches to Andy Palko were balls, then he retired the Braves outfield.

The Pirates with their 12 hits off Burdette, had numerous chances to win the ball game, but failed, as they suffered their third shutout of the season. That snapped a five game winning streak.

Gay issues may splinter churches

From LA Times

The nation's mainline Protestant denominations have quarreled for years over the role of gay men and lesbians in church life, but those debates promise to grow even more intense and acrimonious this summer.

The conflicts, which come as California and other states wage legal fights over same-sex marriage, could well influence whether some of the religious denominations remain intact or splinter into smaller factions.

California's Supreme Court is expected to rule today on the constitutionality of the state's ban on same-sex marriage. For the faithful in a number of American churches, the hard-fought legal battle over civil marriage for gay and lesbian couples runs parallel to religious struggles that are strikingly similar and often just as heated.

One of the most visible denominational skirmishes will occur in July, when leaders of the 2.2-million-member Episcopal Church consider proposals at their national convention in Anaheim to sanction a religious rite for blessing same-sex unions and ease restrictions on the ordination of gay and lesbian bishops.

If approved, the steps could further alienate theological conservatives, giving them reason to join four Episcopal dioceses and hundreds of parishes that split last year to form a separate church.

The country's largest Lutheran denomination, meanwhile, is scheduled in August to consider a long-anticipated statement on human sexuality that, among various elements, says that Christian tradition recognizes marriage as a covenant between a man and a woman.

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Monday, May 25, 2009

Joint Statement from the Archbishop of York and Archbishop of Canterbury

"The European Parliamentary and local elections on June 4th will take place at a time of extraordinary turbulence in our democratic system. It is a time for great vigilance over how to exercise our democratic right to vote.

"The temptation to stay away or register a protest vote in order to send a negative signal to the parties represented at Westminster will be strong. In our view, however, it would be tragic if the understandable sense of anger and disillusionment with some MPs over recent revelations led voters to shun the ballot box.

"Those whom we elect to local councils and the European Parliament will represent us and our collective interests for many years to come. It is crucial to elect those who wish to uphold the democratic values and who wish to work for the common good in a spirit of public service which urgently needs to be reaffirmed in these difficult days.

"There are those who would exploit the present situation to advance views that are the very opposite of the values of justice, compassion and human dignity are rooted in our Christian heritage.

Christians have been deeply disturbed by the conscious adoption by the BNP of the language of our faith when the effect of those policies is not to promote those values but to foster fear and division within communities, especially between people of different faiths or racial background.

"This is not a moment for voting in favour of any political party whose core ideology is about sowing division in our communities and hostility on grounds of race, creed or colour; it is an opportunity for renewing the vision of a community united by mutual respect, high ethical standards and the pursuit of justice and peace.

The rest is here-

Political unity crucial to reforms: ACK

The Anglican church of Kenya (ACK) has called on political leaders to immediately start efforts to build consensus on contentious issues in the constitution review process.

Nyahururu ACK diocese Bishop Rev. Charles Gaikia says the committee of experts should work with political leaders to ensure a common approach to expedite the realization of a new constitution.

“My proposals are informed by the fact that politicians have in the past been the major stumbling block to the enactment of a new constitution,” he said.

Rev. Gaikia has appealed to the lawmakers to put national interest first while working on a new law.

“This is the only way to ensure the new constitution will benefit the nation and ensure justice for all,” he said.

The ACK prelate urged political leaders and the civil society to support the Nzamba Kitonga led team of experts so that they can successfully conclude constitution writing process.

He said the new constitution should ensure equitable distribution of national resources.

"Some of our MPs in the past did not show commitment towards realization of a new constitution and that is why many areas are still lagging behind in terms of development due to bad politics," said the clergyman.

Speaking during Sunday Service at the Nyahururu ACK Cathedral church, Rev. Gaikia also called on other religious leaders and organizations to recognize their role in uniting the country.

“They should undertake actions which will promote peace, justice and social harmony,” he said.

“The government and the civil society need to immediately begin investing in efforts geared towards achieving the Millennium Development Goals and the Vision 2030 to help Kenya become self reliant.”

Priest plans book about Vietnam experience

From North Carolina-

The faces drift back to Houston Matthews from across four decades.

Marines he fought beside in Vietnam are with him always, especially on Memorial Day, when he salutes fellow riflemen killed at such places as Con Thien and Khe Sanh.

It was during the 1968 Siege of Khe Sanh – one of the most controversial battles of the Vietnam War – that Matthews received the wounds that cost him an eye and a leg.

A retired Episcopal priest from Gastonia, Matthews kept the war bottled up inside for years, haunted by memories of friends who didn't come back.

About nine years ago, he first got professional help for post-traumatic stress. Recently, he started counseling soldiers back from Iraq and Afghanistan. Now, he's about to launch a project friends have been urging him to do for years: Write a book that blends his experiences in war and the ministry.

“I want to encourage any veteran who is still struggling,” said Matthews, 62. “I want to help broken people get in better shape emotionally, psychologically and spiritually. To help them get things under control.”

More here-

Financial probe baffles rector of local church

The rector of an Anglican church is "surprised and baffled" by a judge's decision that a regional diocese investigate whether a local parish mishandled money after it withdrew from the Episcopal denomination.

"The judge's statement is absolutely not true," said the Rev. Matthew Kennedy, pastor of Church of the Good Shepherd in Binghamton. "We have nothing to hide. I want to answer their questions."

Supreme Court Judge Ferris D. Lebous, who earlier this year ruled the central New York diocese was entitled to Good Shepherd's property, said diocesan allegations the parish misused an endowment should be investigated.

Lebous said the diocese has "every right" to investigate and directed Kennedy and the church's treasurer to appear for deposition.

Kennedy said the diocese advised him of its intent to investigate.

A diocesan official in Syracuse refused to comment in reply to a reporter's question for specific information.

Instead, the Rev. Karen C. Lewis wrote in an e-mail, "I'm not sure if we want to do anything with this inquiry - this guy (reporter) is not known for his accurate and fair reporting."

Neither Lewis nor Bishop Gladstone Adams replied to a subsequent e-mail requesting specific information about the Press & Sun-Bulletin's reporting.

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Have blessed Memorial Day. Give thanks for those who gave their lives for our freedom.

Sunday, May 24, 2009

Pastor charged in parish theft

The conservative Colorado Springs pastor who broke away from the Episcopal Church to form a new Anglican congregation in May 2007 now is accused of stealing $291,000 from Grace Church and St. Stephen's Parish.

The Rev. Don Armstrong was indicted on 20 counts of felony theft by an El Paso County grand jury Wednesday. He surrendered to authorities Thursday but was soon free on bond, according to the Colorado Springs Police Department.

Armstrong's spokesman did not return calls Friday.

Police and a special prosecutor conducted a two-year investigation into allegations of Armstrong's financial wrongdoings at the church.

In the indictment, Armstrong, 60, is accused of using the Clarice Bowton Trust, a scholarship fund for new ministers, to pay his own children's college expenses, including rent and tuition bills.

The trust was activated after Bowton's death in the late 1970s, and its terms were never amended.

The indictment further states that Armstrong's use of the trust was eventually questioned by a trust officer, who terminated its distribution to the church as of December 2001.

Once Armstrong's access to the trust was cut off, the indictment said, the pastor began using the general funds of the church to pay for his son's and daughter's educations. Court records say Armstrong siphoned $291,000 from the church and the trust over a 7 1/2-year period.

When Armstrong left the Episcopal Church, he said the split was over theological differences, such as his opposition to gay marriage and the church's ordination of openly gay clergy.

The rest is here-

Bishops fight for right to criticise gay lifestyle

Church of England bishops are on a collision course with the government over its plans to amend the incitement to hatred laws, claiming they will stifle what they believe is legitimate criticism of homosexual lifestyles.

In what is being portrayed in some parliamentary quarters as a battle for free speech, a coalition of Anglican bishops, Conservative peers, Labour malcontents and leading crossbenchers have united to block the proposals.

"No reasonable person supports the stirring up of hatred of any kind," said Andrea Williams, director of Christian Concern For Our Nation, which is helping co-ordinate opposition to the plan. "However, in 21st-century Britain we must find a way of being able to live peaceably alongside one another allowing for free and robust debate around every aspect of life, including reasonable criticism and discussion of all forms of sexual behaviour."

More here-

Last year's Criminal Justice and Immigration Act created the criminal offence of "incitement to hatred on the grounds of sexual orientation". But a group of peers, led by the Tory Lord Waddington, forced the government to accept an amendment stipulating that people should not be taken to court for stating that homosexual sex is wrong or for trying to persuade gay people to remain celibate. The clause read: "The discussion or criticism of sexual conduct or practices or the urging of persons to refrain from or modify such conduct or practices shall not be taken of itself to be threatening or intended to stir up hatred."

Diocese tries to help Swat refugees

THE UN’s refugee agency, UNHCR, has warned that the humanitarian crisis in Pakistan has become “one of the most dramatic of recent times”. Hundreds of thousands of civilians have been fleeing from fighting in the Swat valley, northern Pakistan (News, 15 May).

Ron Redmond, a UNHCR spokes man, said on Monday: “It’s like trying to catch something that’s moving ahead of us, because the number of people on the move every day is so big and the response is never enough.”

He estimated that it would cost hundreds of millions of pounds to keep up with the influx. A financial appeal for the region was expected soon. It was reported that large numbers of civilians remain in the disputed areas, some of whom cannot afford to leave, and are at risk as the fighting intensified.

Dr David Gosling, Principal of Edwardes College, University of Peshawar, said on Monday that students from the college, both Christian and Muslim, were working with the refugees.

Last week, the Bishop of Peshawar, the Rt Revd Mano Rumalshah, said that 200 people walked the 100 miles to the diocesan relief camp set up at the Christian Vocational Centre in Mardan. Among them were three pregnant women. The diocesan weekly paper reported that two of the women had given birth and were being cared for by the diocesan medical team.

“Most [of the refugees] are arriv ing on foot with little or no money at all. In view of the prevailing security situation in their home towns, af fected families will require rehab ilitation through employment opportunities and education.”

The diocesan relief camp needed bedding, medicines, food, clothes, and prayers, it said.

Detroit Cathedral Seeks Prayer, Aid for Plight

The landmark Cathedral Church of St. Paul in Detroit has cash reserves for only six to eight weeks of operation and needs a cash infusion of some $200,000 in order to balance the 2009 budget, according to the Very Rev. Scott Hunter, dean of St. Paul’s, who met with diocesan council on May 9.

“I pulled no punches with them,” Dean Hunter told The Living Church. “The cathedral belongs to the entire diocese and we are facing either a hard landing zone or a high mountain, take your pick.”

Dean Hunter said that the cathedral began trying to bring expenses more in line with income about two years ago and that “painful sacrifices” by the entire congregation helped reduce its annual operating budget by $225,000. But the state’s rapidly declining economic situation and the sharp downturn in the financial markets brought the cathedral’s situation to a crisis stage within a relatively short time beginning last fall. The sudden nature of the downturn was the chief reason the cathedral leadership was not able to give diocesan council more advance notice of its plight.

“The gap has to close,” Dean Hunter said. “We will have to identify ways to generate additional revenue because it will be difficult to make more cuts that will have an immediate impact on finances for this year. These decisions will not be made without pain.”

During the past two years, the cathedral eliminated two full-time staff positions and reduced two other full-time positions to part time. When asked during the council meeting if there were more staff cuts that could assist the cathedral in reducing the financial shortfall, Dean Hunter was pessimistic.

“Even if we release people this year, their departure expenses will equal what we would be paying for them for the rest of the year,” he said. “The bottom line is, if this doesn’t happen, my brothers and sisters of council, what are your plans for selling and closing the complex and ceasing the ministry of the cathedral that is 100 years old and is by congregational age, older than the diocese itself?”

More here-

An act of faith restores church

POTTERSVILLE A simple cross, blackened by an arsonist's flames, has a new home atop a new church.

Almost three years to the date after a zealot set fire to Christ Episcopal Church, Bishop William Howard Love, the leader of the Albany Episcopal Diocese, will consecrate the new church Saturday.

It is nothing less than remarkable that the small, elderly congregation persevered to see their church rebuilt, said Richie Henzler, a musician who plays the recorder at services. The dozen or so active members of the congregation never doubted it would happen, he said, even though at a time when new Episcopal churches are rarely built, there was no full-time priest to advocate for them because pastors rotate among the small North Country churches.

"We couldn't leave in ashes something burned in hate," Henzler said.

June Watson, whose husband, John, is the lay leader of the congregation, said the little church is important in the history of the Warren County community and its residents, even if they don't attend services there.

Coin drops popped up in local stores, the Hometown Deli and the Nice 'n' Easy gas station down the road. Donations and expressions of support came in from as far away as Alaska.

The rest is here-

The Episcopal Bishop of Virginia recalls Episcopal priest from her missionary position in the Sudan

The Diocese of Virginia reports today that Bishop Peter James Lee recalled the Rev'd Lauren Stanley from her missionary position in the Diocese of Renk in the Sudan following a request from the Archbishop of the Sudan for her removal last March.

The Diocese in an official statement released today stated that the Archbishop of Sudan, the Most Rev. Dr. Daniel Deng Bul Yak, requested that she be removed from her position after her public comments at the most recent Annual Council of the Diocese of Virginia "were deemed offensive to partners of the Diocese in the Episcopal Church of Sudan."

Bishop Lee complied and ordered Lauren Stanley in March to return to Virginia.
Last January a resolution came came before the Annual Council that opened the door to the blessing of same sex unions in the Diocese of Virginia. It included an amendment that was moved from the floor stating that the Annual Council "affirms the inherent integrity of and blessedness of committed Christian relationships ..."

Russ Randel, a long-time advocate for overseas mission in the southern Sudan, rose in opposition to the amendment, warning that such an amendment would do irreparable harm to the long-standing mission relationship between the Diocese of Renk and the Diocese of Virginia.

More here-