Saturday, September 5, 2009

Tougher rules ordered for Dallas Episcopal clergy; another stockbroker-priest may be suspended

Dallas Morning News-

Dallas Episcopal Bishop James Stanton is responding to the scandal surrounding stockbroker-priest William Warnky with new rules for his clergy.

Effective immediately, priests are "barred from soliciting, providing or selling secular products or services to parishioners," a diocesan press release says. It quotes Stanton thusly: "This new policy is designed to eliminate any conflicts of interest, and we hope these changes will raise the level of confidence in our clergy and that of the people under their care."

Diocesan leaders previously told me that priests had long been prohibited from financial involvement with parishioners. But it turns out that the policy was pretty vague -- it read, according to the press release: "The relationship of members of the clergy with fellow clergy and with members of the laity must be of the highest moral and professional character."

Stanton recently suspended Warnky from the ministry after financial regulators barred him from selling securities. The regulators acted because Warnky failed to pay a former parishioner, D.R. Marshall, $50,000 for stock fraud.

More here-

Friday, September 4, 2009

More Trouble for High-Roller Priest

From The Living Church-

A priest who was inhibited by the Bishop of Bethlehem in January after he spent thousands of dollars on champagne and tips for cocktail waitresses at New York City nightclubs now faces a fraud investigation of the pharmacy business he used to bankroll his leisure activities.

The Rev. Gregory Malia, 44, gained infamy last December when a New York Daily News article described Fr. Malia as a “man whose bottomless pockets have made him a legend in clubland.” One nightclub employee recounted how Fr. Malia once paid $35,000 for a bottle of champagne and then left a $17,000 tip.

According to an article posted on the website of his company, New Life Homecare, Inc., Fr. Malia founded the company in 2000 and serves about 50 patients, primarily hemophiliacs. But in late August, agents from the Pennsylvania Attorney General’s insurance fraud division executed search warrants at the company’s Pittston, Pa., headquarters. The company also is being sued by Blue Cross for improper billing, the Daily News has reported.

This follows an incident in July in which Fr. Malia aimed a gun at men who attempted to intervene in a late-night fight outside a Jenkins Township, Pa., bar between one of his two female companions and his 23-year-old daughter. Fr. Malia was arrested and charged with aggravated assault, reckless endangerment and disorderly conduct.

What the Heck


Here's a funny web site with an ecclesiastical bend. So far my picture's not on it. (Thanks to Bruce Robison for sending this along)

When I saw this, my first thought was that this bishop resembled some kind of garden tool or obscure cooking utensil. Then I thought that those things on his miter were Christmas lights that blinked in some kind of coordinated manner. Beyond that, I have no idea what this man might have been thinking.

See if you've been posted here-

Army defuses gift to thrift shop

From The Church Times-

BOMB-DISPOSAL experts carried out a controlled explosion near a church in County Durham after a live hand grenade was found in a card board box.

The box of kitchen utensils had been donated to Woodhouse Close Church in Bishop Auckland, an Anglican-Methodist LEP, for its twice-weekly furniture scheme and thrift shop for local residents.

The Revd Linda Dodds, OLM at the church, called the police after two volunteers, Vera Barber and Shirley Richard son, found the grenade. “The ladies were sorting through the items when they came across the grenade in the box. Ironically, Vera used to be an ‘Aycliffe angel’, working in the munitions factory in Newton Aycliffe during the Second World War,” Ms Dodds said.

“She thought the grenade was decommissioned, and showed it to me for a second opinion, and I told her to put it down, as it still had a pin and a fuse at the bottom. I called the police, who then evacuated the building and cordoned off the estate.

“Army bomb-disposal experts then were called in from Catterick, who carried out a controlled explo­sion in a field. It made a really loud bang.”

Ms Dodds believed that the person who had handed it in was probably “not aware it was there. It all ended well in the end.”

Letter from the Church of the Province of Central Africa

From Zimbabwe-

The Church of the Province of Central Africa has asked that the following letter from the Dean of the Province be circulated by ACNS:

It is with increasing concern that we, the Bishops of the Anglican body of the Church of the Province of Central Africa (CPCA) note the ongoing involvement of the Law Courts in Zimbabwe in respect of numerous cases instituted about the status of Nolbert Kunonga vis-à-vis the CPCA and his rights to our property.

We are not alone in expressing concern. The Council of Anglican Provinces in Africa (CAPA) voiced their astonishment at a meeting held in Alexandria, Egypt, in February 2009 and recorded their earlier views, stating:

"As representatives of the Anglican Communion, we re-iterate that we do not recognise the status of Bishop Norbert (sic) Kunonga and Bishop Elson Jakazi as bishops within the Anglican Communion, and call for the full restoration of Anglican property within Zimbabwe to the Church of the Province of Central Africa".

This statement reflects the true and lawful position. It also echoes the sentiments of the Anglican Communion worldwide, members of whom are frankly shocked by the conclusions and decisions given in some of the judgments of the courts in favour of Kunonga, a man who has abandoned the Anglican faith and the CPCA. It would seem a few of the learned judges (and magistrates) are either under some misconception or unwittingly ignore the true situation.

More here-

Archbishop O’Brien welcomes 10 Episcopal nuns, priest into Catholic Church

From The Catholic Review-

A spiritual journey that began seven years ago ended in the sanctuary of a Catonsville convent Sept. 3 when 10 Episcopal nuns and their priest chaplain were received into full communion with the Catholic Church.

In administering the sacrament of confirmation, Archbishop Edwin F. O’Brien traced a cross on the foreheads of each candidate as he anointed them with sacred chrism oil and called on them to be sealed with the Holy Spirit. The sisters then renewed their vows of poverty, chastity and obedience as some 120 worshipers looked on.

Ten of the 12 members of the All Saints’ Sisters of the Poor joined the Catholic Church during the liturgy. The two nuns who have decided to remain Episcopal will continue to live, pray and work in community with their now-Catholic sisters.

Father Warren Tanghe, former chaplain to the All Saints’ Sisters of the Poor, was also confirmed and has applied to become a Catholic priest for the Archdiocese of Baltimore.

In his homily, Archbishop O’Brien welcomed the newcomers and extolled the sisters for their dedication to the consecrated life.

“In the successor of St. Peter and vicar of Christ, Pope Benedict XVI, you find fulfilled your desire for full, visible and spiritual unity with and in the universal church – one Lord, one faith, one baptism,” Archbishop O’Brien said.

More here-

Episcopal bishop from Ohio nominated for Pittsburgh job

From The Post-Gazette-

Bishop Kenneth L. Price Jr. has been nominated to serve as a full-time interim bishop of the Episcopal Diocese of Pittsburgh that remained in the Episcopal Church after last year's diocesan convention voted to secede.

Bishop Price, 66, is the suffragan -- assistant -- bishop of the Diocese of Southern Ohio. He's also a graduate of West Virginia University who was a priest in Wheeling for many years.

"Pittsburgh was the town we always escaped to," he said.

He has been a bishop for 15 years, with a higher profile than his suffragan status might imply. He is secretary of the Episcopal House of Bishops and in 2005 was appointed by the Archbishop of Canterbury to a committee working toward the resolution of serious divisions in the 80 million-member global Anglican Communion. As secretary of the House of Bishops, he co-signed last September's order removing Pittsburgh Bishop Robert Duncan from ministry in the Episcopal Church.

In October the diocesan convention voted to secede from the Episcopal Church, saying it had failed to uphold biblical teaching on matters ranging from salvation to sexual ethics. Archbishop Duncan now leads the 57-parish Episcopal Diocese of Pittsburgh (Anglican), which is affiliated with the new Anglican Church in North America.

The diocese that Bishop Price has been nominated to serve has 9,833 members in 28 parishes. It is governed by a standing committee of clergy and laity, with the part-time assistance of retired Bishop Robert H. Johnson, who commutes from North Carolina.

If elected at the Oct. 17 diocesan convention, Bishop Price will be a "provisional" bishop, with the authority of a diocesan bishop. He will serve a few years until a permanent bishop is elected.

More here-

Episcopal Diocese of Pittsburgh to vote on provisional bishop

From The Pittsburgh Tribune review-

The Episcopal Diocese of Pittsburgh wants to name a provisional bishop, the next step in remaking itself after a split last year, officials said.

The church will vote on appointing the Right Rev. Kenneth L. Price Jr., an assisting bishop of the Diocese of Southern Ohio, at its convention Oct. 17.

"It's the next logical step in the path that we're on," said the Rev. James Simons, president of the diocese's Standing Committee, which recommended the appointment.

If approved by the church, Price would assume full ecclesiastical authority and responsibility as chief pastor and overseer of diocesan administration and finances for 9,833 Pittsburgh area Episcopalians for the next two years or until a permanent bishop is found, Simons said.

"It's an opportunity to move beyond the split and rebuild the diocese," Price said from his office in Columbus. He would replace assisting Bishop Robert Johnson, who shared some ecclesiastical duties with the Standing Committee.

Johnson was appointed last year after a group of about four dozen parishes led by then-Bishop Robert Duncan broke from the national church and realigned with more theologically conservative churches in South America.

Bishop Katherine Jefferts Schori, presiding bishop of the Episcopal Church, recognized the remaining 19 parishes as the legitimate Episcopal Diocese of Pittsburgh. The diocese now includes 28 parishes.

More here-

Thursday, September 3, 2009

ENGLAND: Canterbury hosts seven Episcopal bishops for private meeting

From Episcopal Life Online-

Archbishop of Canterbury Rowan Williams held a private meeting September 2 with seven Episcopal Church bishops at Lambeth Palace, his London residence.

The bishops attending the meeting were Mark Lawrence of South Carolina, Gary Lillibridge of West Texas, Edward Little of Northern Indiana, Bill Love of Albany, Michael Smith of North Dakota, James Stanton of Dallas, and Bruce MacPherson of Western Louisiana.

A spokesperson in the Lambeth Palace press office confirmed that Williams had hosted the seven Episcopal bishops, but said that the meeting was private.

When asked for his reflections on the meeting, MacPherson told ENS that the bishops will have "something forthcoming soon."
The seven bishops are all signatories to the Anaheim Statement that reaffirms their commitment to requests from Anglican Communion leaders to the Episcopal Church for moratoria on the blessing of same-sex unions, the ordination of openly gay persons to the episcopate, and cross-border interventions.

The statement, so-called because it was released in Anaheim on July 16 as General Convention was drawing to a close, said that while some bishops tried to modify the wording of some of the convention's actions, "it is apparent that a substantial majority of this convention believes that the Episcopal Church should move forward on matters of human sexuality."

"We recognize this reality and understand the clarity with which the majority has expressed itself," the bishops said. "We are grateful for those who have reached out to the minority, affirming our place in the church."

The signers said they were committed to membership in the communion and to the doctrine, discipline and worship of the Episcopal Church.

More here-

Bishop Nominated To Lead Pittsburgh Diocese

From The Episcopal Diocese of Pittsburgh-

A bishop from a neighboring diocese has been nominated to lead the Episcopal Diocese of Pittsburgh for the next several years until a permanent bishop can be elected.

Today the Standing Committee, the diocese’s current leaders, announced that it has chosen the Rt. Rev. Kenneth L. Price, Jr. and is recommending to the diocesan convention that the Southern Ohio bishop serve here as provisional bishop.

In that role, Bishop Price would assume full ecclesiastical authority and responsibility as chief pastor and overseer of diocesan administration and finances.

“With his 15-years experience as a bishop, and having been the interim ecclesiastical authority in Southern Ohio, he knows what needs to be done for a diocese in transition,” says the Rev. Dr. James Simons, President of the Standing Committee.

From January 2006 through April 2007, Bishop Price led the Southern Ohio diocese upon the retirement of its bishop until the election of a successor. He has served there as the bishop suffragan, an assisting bishop, since 1994.

Bishop Price’s nomination comes as the Pittsburgh diocese is about to begin its second year of rebuilding after many former diocesan leaders left the Episcopal Church in October 2008.

“I would see myself coming to Pittsburgh as part of a collaborative effort,” says Bishop Price. “My job is not to create policy, but to work with the people of the diocese, to lift up their vision of who they want to be, and bring them to a place where they can elect the person they want to lead them as their diocesan bishop,” a process likely to take two to three years.

Provisional bishops are also elected by the diocesan convention, the governing body of an Episcopal diocese. Typically, only one name is put forward in such elections. The convention meets on October 17.

If elected, Bishop Price would spend all but a few days each month in Pittsburgh serving diocese. He will continue with a limited number of parish visitations in Southern Ohio.

As the bishop suffragan there, he had devoted special attention to congregational development, youth and outreach ministries, and various governing bodies.

More here

and here-

Episcopal Life story here-

Jones launches Pirates' 10,000th homer

A little good news for my beloved if hapless Pirates-

It was fitting that Garrett Jones, the only legit big bopper in the Pirates' lineup, would swat the 10,000th home run in the history of the franchise.

Wednesday afternoon, Jones launched an 0-1 pitch from the Cincinnati Reds' aptly-named right-hander, Homer Bailey. The ball traveled 375 feet before crash-landing in the right-field seats.

"It's a big number," said Jones, who Tuesday hit the Pirates' 9,999th homer. "It's a tremendous honor. It feels good to get it, but it would feel a lot better if we'd gotten the win."

The Pirates lost the game, 5-3.

Jones, a 28-year-old rookie, has gone deep 18 times in 55 games since his June 30 call-up from Triple-A Indianapolis.

"He's had a great couple months, and I'm looking forward to the future with him," manager John Russell said. "He's got tremendous power to all fields. I saw it in the minor leagues and again in spring training. He's a definite threat."

The Pirates agreed to swap an autographed bat and ball with the Reds fan who caught Jones' home run.

"For the organization, it's something that means a lot," Jones said.

Three innings after Jones homered, Brandon Moss knocked out his seventh homer of the season.

"Aw ... I was that close," Moss said, grinning.

Although Moss put the Pirates on the path to their next milestone, nobody will remember who hit No. 10,001. Moss joked that he was going to pore through old boxscores until he found a home run that was overruled.

More here-

Sudanese Archbishop Says Anti-Peace Forces Behind Killings in South

From Voice of America-

The archbishop of the Episcopal Church in Sudan says some of the tribal killings in South Sudan are not from cattle raids as reported, but are well-organized attacks against villagers. The archbishop says he fears the militias are being funded by outsiders who wish to to see the South's independence referendum fail.

Juba-based Archbishop Daniel Deng told VOA some of the recent attacks have been executed by well-trained, uniformed militias carrying automatic weapons.

He accuses enemies of Sudan's peace agreement of being behind the killings.

"This is not a tribal fight. It is somebody somewhere organizing these people to disturb the [Comprehensive Peace Agreement]. Those not interested in peace are the ones doing this," he said.

The archbishop warns the peace agreement signed between the North and South could be in danger if the attacks continue escalating. The peace deal calls for national elections to be held next year, followed by a Southern independence referendum in January 2011.

"It is a way of telling the people, 'Well, there is insecurity in the country, so we can not go for elections,'" he added.

A U.N. official in South Sudan says inter-tribal violence had killed 1,200 and displaced 250,000 since January.

Archbishop Deng specifically pointed to a raid late last week in the Wernyol town in Jonglei state in which 40 people were killed, including a church official who was shot at the altar during a morning service.

The rest is here-

Third Bahamian Anglican Bishop appointed

From Nassau-

With the memory of the appointment of the third Bahamian priest to be inducted as Archbishop of the local Anglican community still fresh in Bahamian minds, Anglicans within the Archdiocese of The Bahamas and the Turks & Caicos Islands have yet another reason to celebrate as Archdeacon Cornell Jerome Moss, rector at the Church of the Ascension in Lucaya, Grand Bahama has been selected as the Bishop-designate of the Diocese of Guyana.

Moss, who became rector at Church of the Ascension in 1993 and then archdeacon of the Northern Bahamas in 1998 was surprised at his selection as the new bishop of the Diocese of Guyana.

He says that it took him a few days to fully digest the news, but that he quickly got over his minor confusion and retrained his mind on what his new appointment would entail and what he would need to do in preparation for it.

"The news of the decision by the House of Bishops came as a definite surprise," said Moss at the announcement on Tuesday, Sept. 1.

"There is no question that there will be changes that I and everyone I have known during my priesthood. I have been in my present parish [in Grand Bahama] for 16 years and I have seen many children baptized, young people confirmed and later married, and I've even buried some members of families. So, I have been an integral part of the lives of people in my church and community and my taking up of my appointment will be a change for us all."

More here-

FORT WORTH: Breakaway bishop seeks challenge to authority of Episcopal bishop, others

From Episcopal Life Online-

Attorneys for Jack Iker have asked a Texas court for permission to challenge the authority of Provisional Bishop Ted Gulick Jr. and the standing committee of the Episcopal Diocese of Fort Worth.
Iker, who left The Episcopal Church in 2008 but refused to relinquish church property or assets, is responding to a pending lawsuit filed by The Episcopal Church and the continuing Diocese of Fort Worth in April to establish the authority of the new diocesan leadership and to recover diocesan assets, according to chancellor Kathleen Wells.

He and his attorneys are "still operating under this façade that they're the Diocese of Fort Worth which, of course, is easily refutable," added Wells in a telephone interview on August 31.

A September 9 hearing has been set to consider Iker's motion, filed in 141st District Court in Tarrant County, Texas. The motion seeks "the court's permission to bring in Bishop Gulick and members of our standing committee as third party defendants," Wells said.

Basically, Iker and his attorneys are asking the court to declare that Gulick and the current standing committee "are not the real bishop and standing committee of the Diocese of Fort Worth which, of course, they are," she added.

Another motion challenges the authority of Jon Nelson and Wells to serve as diocesan attorneys.

Iker disaffiliated from TEC in November 2008, citing longstanding theological differences over the ordination of women and gays, a fact omitted in the court filings, according to a statement released by the Episcopal Diocese of Fort Worth.

More here-

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Update of popular 'NIV' Bible due in 2011

From USA Today-

The scholars and publishers behind the world's leading English language evangelical Bible announced Tuesday that they would publish a updated translation in 2011.
"And we'll make sure we get it right this time," says Keith Danby, president and chief executive officer of Biblica, once known as the International Bible Society.

FAITH & REASON: Every word counts in Bible politics
Biblica, the Committee on Bible Translation and evangelical publisher Zondervan jointly announced the newest New International Version Bible — and acknowledged they were still singed by the fire and brimstone cast down on earlier update efforts.

'NIV' BIBLE: Publisher puts it in Americans' handwriting
The NIV, now in pews and homes in 46 countries, was originally published in 1978; it was updated in 1984. A plan to revise it in 1997 died when word got out that it would use "inclusive language" — code for largely eliminating masculine pronouns.

The scholars and publishers tried again, releasing an accessible updated translation in 2005. This Bible had a slightly different name, Today's New International Version, or TNIV It eliminated masculine or feminine usage they said was unsupported by original manuscripts or unclear in modern lingo.

More here-

Casserole sale, swing concert coming back around

From Macon Georgia-

Mark your calendars now and circle the dates in red ink, because it will be a whole year before you get to enjoy these two Warner Robins traditions again: All Saints’ Episcopal Church Women’s Casserole Sale (orders taken from Sept. 21 to Oct. 9) and the Les Still “Still Swinging” Concert at 7 p.m. Sept. 19 at the Homer J. Walker Civic Center.

Unless you’ve sampled the casseroles prepared by the All Saints Episcopal Church Women, you just can’t appreciate not only how delicious they are, but how filling your freezer with the casseroles will get you through the holiday season with less stress.

As always, orders will be limited in number, so be sure to get your orders in early. They will only be preparing 150 chicken casseroles and 100 each of the squash, broccoli and sweet potato casseroles.

Each casserole is $12, and orders may be placed in several ways: By mail to All Saints’ Church, 1708 Watson Blvd., Warner Robins, 31093; by calling Linda Christie at 953-4046, then mail your check to the church before the deadline; or by placing your order with any Episcopal Church Women member or in person at the church during office hours, 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday through Thursday.

The completed casseroles will be available for pick-up at the church Parish Hall from 1-5 p.m. Nov. 15 or 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Nov. 16.

Proceeds from the casserole sale are used to fund various Episcopal Church Women projects. Last year’s funds supported Cherished Children’s day-care facility, the Phoenix Center and Gateway Cottage. The church women also contributed funds to the principal’s discretionary fund at eight local elementary and middle schools and the Crossroads Center for assistance to children and families at their schools facing emergency situations.

Bishop warns of South Sudan war

From the BBC-

One of Sudan's most senior church leaders has warned that violence in the south is threatening the peace deal that ended the 21-year civil war.

Archbishop Daniel Deng Bul Yak said recent clashes had been called "tribal conflicts" over cattle but were really deliberate attempts to cause unrest.

Some 2,000 people have died in such clashes this year, the UN says - more than in Darfur.
Southern leaders have blamed the north - accusations denied by Khartoum.

In a rare statement, the head of the Episcopal Church of Sudan warned that the 2005 peace deal was in "grave danger" unless more is done to prevent conflict.

'Unknown forces'

His warning statement follows an attack in Jonglei state on Friday in which some 42 died, including a two church officials the archbishop said were "shot at the altar of the church".

More here-

LOS ANGELES: Fighting fires is outreach for Sierra Madre priest

From Episcopal Life Online-

The Rev. Michael Bambergerwas on high alert September 1 as Los Angeles County's "Station Fire," which had already charred an area the size of Las Vegas, roared unchecked within four miles of his Sierra Madre church.
Bamberger, a priest for 28 years and a volunteer firefighter for 20, had spent the last several days juggling both vocations.

While praying for families of two firefighters killed battling the blaze, he also substituted briefly as acting fire captain and served as volunteer battalion chief in Sierra Madre, about 20 miles northeast of Los Angeles.

His Chevy Suburban was parked at the curb outside his office at the Church of the Ascension, loaded with fire-fighting gear in readiness in case "I have to go physically fight the fire," he said.

He also fielded concerns from anxious residents and helped coordinate contingency plans with local city officials should evacuation become necessary. The fire had already destroyed at least 50 homes and forced evacuations of residents from more than 10,000 others in Los Angeles County.

"We're in a wait-and-see mode," said Bamberger, during a telephone interview. "The fire would appear to be moving in our direction. I've been dealing with a lot of concerns in the community about that."

Record triple-digit heat in some areas and shifting weather patterns also made it "a dangerous day, a critical day in terms of being cautious because the weather patterns are changing and that can mean changes in the fire's behavior," he added.

More here-

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Top 10 worst Bible passages

From the London Telegraph-

Readers of the humorous Christian website were asked to submit their 'favourite' worst verses to compile the list, in a light-hearted project called Chapter & Worse.
Topping it was St Paul's advice in 1 Timothy 2:12, in which the saint says: "I do not permit a woman to teach or to have authority over a man, she must be silent."
The extract is often used to justify opposition to women priests.

Next was this worrying verse endorsing genocide, from 1 Samuel 15:3: "This is what the Lord Almighty says ... 'Now go and strike Amalek and devote to destruction all that they have. Do not spare them, but kill both man and woman, child and infant, ox and sheep, camel and donkey.' "
Third was Moses's call to kill witches, in Exodus 22:18: "Do not allow a sorceress to live."
Another gruesome verse to make the list was Psalm 137, which celebrates this terrible revenge: "Happy is he who repays you for what you have done to us / He who seizes your infants and dashes them against the rocks."

A more controversial inclusion was that of St Paul's thoughts on homosexuality, from Romans 1:27, currently an extremely divisive matter with the Anglican church: "In the same way also the men, giving up natural intercourse with women, were consumed with passion for one another. Men committed shameless acts with men and received in their own persons the due penalty for their error."

Others on the list included God's test of Abraham in Genesis 22, in which Abraham is made to offer his son Isaac as a sacrifice; this endorsement of female subservience in Ephesians 5:22, "Wives, submit to you husbands as to the Lord"; and similar advice for slaves in 1 Peter 2:18: "Slaves, submit yourselves to your masters with all respect, not only to the good and gentle but also to the cruel."

The list is here-

Nigeria: Bishop Chides Igbo Politicians

From All Africa-

Bishop of the Anglican Diocese of Egbu, Professor Emmanuel Iheagwam, has chided Igbo politicians for what he termed "the damaging statements on the character and reputation of their own people in or out of government".

The fiery Anglican cleric made the condemnation while speaking to the faithful at Emmanuel Church, Upe-Na-Umunam, Imerienwe, Ngor Okpala local government area of Imo State.

He was particularly irked by the remarks credited to some Igbo politicians in a number of national dailies, pointing out that "such statements do not portray Ndigbo as a people that can be entrusted with the leadership of the country at any time".

He advised those concerned to exercise restraint in what they say in their desperate bid to find relevance in the politics of the nation.

"Igbo politicians should learn to stop dissipating their energy in pulling down their own. They should emulate other tribes in their unity of purpose and humble themselves in whatever position they find themselves", Iheagwam pleaded.

The Bishop urged Igbo politicians to work together as a people from one ethnic block, not for their personal interests but for that of the entire race.

Ghana: Problems of Leadership And Corruption Hinder Country's Development

From All Africa-

The Deputy Eastern Regional Minister, Mr Mohammed Baba-Jamal, on Thursday said Ghana was not a poor nation but rather problems of leadership and corruption had affected her development

He noted that Ghanaians were living in poverty in the midst of abundance due to the inaction of their leaders and the silence of the voices of justice at the appropriate time made it possible for evil to triumph in the country.

Mr Baba-Jamal made the observation at the formal opening of the Third Session of the Ninth Synod of Anglican Diocese of Koforidua at Koforidua.

The four-day synod is under the theme "Put Your Thoughts into Action".

He expressed government's appreciation to the contributions of the Anglican Church and other religious organizations towards Ghana 's socio-economic development.

Mr Baba-Jamal gave the assurance that government would never harass its political opponents because it recognized the role of the minority in Ghana 's democratic dispensation.

He advised the leadership of the minority political parties to offer constructive criticisms to the ruling government always with the national interest at heart.

The Anglican Bishop of Koforidua Diocese, Right Reverend Francis Benjamin Quarshie, urged politicians to stop the glorification of poverty in the country.

The Rest is here-

Ecumenical officer Christopher Epting announces retirement

From Episcopal Life Online-

The Rt. Rev. C. Christopher Epting, Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori's deputy for ecumenical and interreligious relations, has announced his retirement at the end of 2009, according to a release from the Episcopal Church's Office of Public Affairs.

"It has been a distinct privilege to serve two presiding bishops and this church in the ongoing quest for Christian unity," Epting said. "As we move into the future, ecumenical and interreligious work will have to be done differently, and fresh thinking will be necessary to see how this might best be accomplished."

"I am very grateful for Bishop Epting's abundant and effective gifts in ecumenical and interreligious work over the last several years," said Jefferts Schori. "We will miss him and his gifts."

According to the Presiding Bishop's office, the Rev. Dr. Thomas Ferguson, associate deputy for Ecumenical and Interreligious Relations since 2001, will serve as interim ecumenical officer after Epting's retirement.

"It's been a pleasure to work with Bishop Epting, and I am glad to serve as interim," Ferguson said. "Serving as associate deputy for the last eight years brings important continuity to our ecumenical partnerships. I have a strong commitment to the ecumenical and interreligious engagement of the Episcopal Church."

Epting was elected Bishop of the Diocese of Iowa in 1988, following 16 years as a parish priest in the Diocese of Central Florida. During his tenure in Iowa, Epting focused on the ministry of all the baptized, the renewal of the diaconate, spiritual formation, and ecumenical relations both locally and nationally. He was a leader in the state council of churches, Ecumenical Ministries of Iowa, and chaired the Episcopal Church's writing team for "Called to Common Mission" effecting full communion between the Episcopal Church and the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America.

More here-

Episcopal Head Tries to Clarify 'Salvation' Speech

From Crosswalk-

Episcopal Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori on Thursday (Aug. 27) tried to tamp criticism she received last month after she denounced the "heresy" of individual salvation.

In a statement issued by church headquarters in New York, Jefferts Schori tried to clarify her remarks at the church's General Convention in Anaheim, Calif., saying that individualism is "basically unbiblical and un-Christian."

"If salvation is understood only as 'getting right with God' without considering 'getting right with (all) our neighbors,'" Jefferts Schori said in a statement, "then we've got a heresy (an unorthodox belief) on our hands."

In her opening speech at the Anaheim convention, Jefferts Schori called the belief that "we can be saved as individuals, that any of us alone can be in right relationship with God," the "great Western heresy."

Conservative Christians, particularly evangelicals, blasted Jefferts Schori's remarks as minimizing the role of personal faith in salvation.

Some also called her church "severed from Scripture" because of its progressive stance on gay rights.

Jefferts Schori acknowledged Thursday that "there have been varied reactions" from people who weren't at the General Convention "who heard or read an isolated comment without the context."

In Thursday's one-page statement, Jefferts Schori sought to put her remarks in a biblical context, saying that both Jesus and the Hebrew prophets criticized believers who claim to be worshipping correctly, but "ignore injustice done to their neighbors."

More here-

Monday, August 31, 2009

Longtime Lay Leader Betty Connelly Dies

From The Living Church- (I worked with Betty at several General Conventions. She was a wonderful woman and she will be missed).

Betty Connelly, a national leader among Episcopalians during the 1980s and 1990s, died early Thursday in Newport Beach, Calif. The Rt. Rev. Jon Bruno, Bishop of Los Angeles, announced Mrs. Connelly's death in a letter to clergy and lay leaders of the diocese.

Mrs. Connelly represented the diocese as a six-time deputy to General Convention (from 1982 to 1997) and was appointed an honorary canon of the Cathedral Center of St. Paul in 1993. She was a member of Executive Council (1982-88) and of the Church Pension Fund’s board of trustees.

She was a leader in the Anglican Fellowship of Prayer and one of the diocese's representatives of the Presiding Bishop's Fund for World Relief (now Episcopal Relief and Development). She was president of Episcopal Church Women and presided at its Triennial in 1979.
“Many of us knew Betty as a trusted friend and adviser for many years, and she will be greatly missed,” Bishop Bruno wrote.

Mark Pinsky wrote about Ms. Connelly for the Los Angeles Times during the General Convention of 1985, noting how Ms. Connelly drafted a resolution calling for a committee to study the status of women, and how that resolution passed on a voice vote.
“Women have indeed come a long way on the road to equality” in the Episcopal Church, Mr. Pinsky quoted her as saying, “and it will be interesting to get an idea of just how far.

However, even more important, it is very necessary for our church to hear from those who do not feel affirmed in their ministries, and to discover ways to help them find their place in the Body of Christ.
“I would hope that the members of this House would make their wishes known so that there will be no delay in the appointment of this commission and they may begin work.”

Ms. Connelly, who was born in Los Angeles in 1924, was a graduate of Pomona College.
She is survived by Dan Connelly, her husband of 63 years; two sons, Richard of Shell Beach, Calif., and Patrick of West Chester, Pa.; one daughter, Kathi Liebermann of Newport Beach; nine grandchildren; and seven great-grandchildren. A memorial Eucharist is scheduled for 11 a.m. September 12 at St. Michael and All Angels’ Episcopal Church in Corona del Mar.

Re-thinking how we do church Is it possible to grow the Anglican Church in Canada today? Rev. Gary Nicolosi’s response is an emphatic ‘yes.’

From the Anglican Journal-

THE FIRST THING you notice about Rev. Gary Nicolosi is that he speaks in sound bytes. He’s a passionate, articulate man and when he talks, people listen. “This is the number one issue for the church today,” he tells a roomful of diocesan editors at the recent Anglican Editors Association conference in Victoria. “Yes, the stats are grim but we have to keep hope alive.”

Even for this somewhat cynical crew, you can hear a pin drop.
Mr. Nicolosi is talking about the fact that the Anglican Church in Canada has lost more than half of its membership in the past 50 years. People just aren’t coming to church the way they used to.

As a result, the number of people in the pews has plummeted by 53 percent, from 1.3 million in 1961 down to 658,000 in 2001. Citing statistics from Reginald Bibby’s Project Canada, The Yearbook of American and Canadian Churches, Statistics Canada and The Living Church, a U.S. Episcopal Church magazine, Mr. Nicolosi calls the drop in membership “precipitous.” When the census is taken in 2011, he warns, “I think the numbers are going to be under 600,000. I think people are going to be shocked.”
Tell people the truth, Mr. Nicolosi implores us, no matter how painful or humiliating. “God is a new god of transformation and death is not the end of the Christian story. We can move on.”

More here-

Pittsburgh bishop to visit Somerset

From the Somerset PA paper-

Pittsburgh Bishop Robert H. Johnson of the Episcopal Diocese of Pittsburgh will visit Somerset this weekend to preach and preside at the reception of new members into the Episcopal Church.

The service will take place at 9 a.m. Sunday at St. Francis-in-the-Fields Episcopal Church, 2081 Husband Road.

Members of several Somerset-area churches might recognize Johnson, not by name, but as a character in a widely read series of novels. He is the inspiration for the bishop depicted in the collections known as “The Mitford Years” and “The Father Tim Novels,” both written by Johnson’s long-time friend, author Jan Karon.

The books center on the life of an Episcopal priest and the mountain community he serves. Karon set her tales in the fictional village of Mitford, N.C. Before coming out of retirement to serve the Pittsburgh diocese, Johnson was bishop of the Episcopal Diocese of Western North Carolina.

This will be Johnson’s second trip to Somerset this year. On May 9, he and his wife, Julie, were present at the Episcopal Church Womens United Thank Offering Ingathering and annual meeting, which the women of St. Francis-in-the-Fields hosted.

St. Francis is one of 28 parishes of the Episcopal Diocese of Pittsburgh of the Episcopal Church in the United States.

Chula Vista Park View comes from behind to win Little League title

From the LA times-

When pitcher Kiko Garcia struck out the final Taiwanese batter Sunday, several hundred exuberant fans at Oggi's Pizza and Brewing Co. were quick to pick up the chant: "We are the champions."

Chula Vista's Park View Little League team, dubbed the Blue Bombers, beat Taoyuan, Taiwan, 6-3, to climb the tallest mountain in Little League: the world championship at the annual tournament at South Williamsport, Pa.

It did so with a come-from-behind victory, snappy fielding, poise and sportsmanship.

For a city that often feels overshadowed by more glamorous neighbors, and was dissed by a national magazine as boring, the victory was particularly sweet.

No San Diego County team had won a championship at Williamsport since the La Mesa-El Cajon team of 1961 (two members of which were at Oggi's to cheer for Park View). The last California team to win the world championship was Long Beach in 1993.

"This never happened before in Chula Vista," said Alexjandra Pacheco, 17, at Oggi's with other members of the cheering squad from Otay Ranch High. "This is once in a lifetime."

More here-,0,3570027.story

Labryinth at Pontiac church to help people find their way

From Michigan-

A Pontiac church is offering something popularized in the Middle Ages to enhance the spirituality of people.

Grace Episcopal Church, 900 S. Manlove St., recently painted a labyrinth on a patio behind the building. The labyrinth is a 24-foot diameter mural that features a curving path leading to the center.

The church's pastor, the Rev. Carolyn Bavaro, said labyrinths have been used in churches for centuries as a tool for meditation and prayer.

"It's like a maze but there are no barriers or tricks." Bavaro said. "It's just a metaphor for life, with the twists and turns, and for Christians it's like following in Jesus' path."

Labyrinths rose to popularity during the Middle Ages, Bavaro said, when people could no longer make a religious pilgrimage to Jerusalem. Instead, they used a metaphor of the labyrinth to maintain their spirituality. Although popular centuries ago, Bavaro said that she knows of only two other churches in Central Illinois that have one now -one in Danville and another near the Twin Cities.

"It's very calming and peaceful," said Marie Pulliam, junior warden for the church. "And I think that (with) the flowers and the garden around, it's just very relaxing and brings you closer to God."

The labyrinth was paid for by a donation from church member Dorothy Scott and the piece was done by the Diaz family, owners of Diaz Sign Art in Pontiac.
When the project was completed earlier this month, Bavaro said that the church held a ceremony where the labyrinth was blessed.

Sexuality resolutions don’t defy moratoria: TEC

From Canada

The U.S. Episcopal Church (TEC)may have to accept a secondary role within the worldwide Anglican Communion, Archbishop of Canterbury Rowan Williams has suggested.

This follows resolutions pas-sed at the recent General Convention that were widely interpreted to be a lifting of moratoria on the election of gay bishops and the blessing of same-sex unions.

In a reflection posted on his Web site, the spiritual head of the 77-million strong Communion wrote that “very serious anxieties have been expressed” by many about the resolutions despite assurances made by Episcopal church leaders.

“A realistic assessment of what Convention has resolved does not suggest that it will repair the broken bridges into the life of other Anglican provinces...” said Archbishop Williams.

The presiding officers of the U.S. convention have written two letters to Archbishop Williams and to the 38 primates of the Anglican Communion clarifying the two resolutions on human sexuality. Resolution D025 affirms that “God has called and may call ‘gay and lesbian people’ to any ordained ministry in the Episcopal Church” and is “more descriptive than prescriptive in nature,” said U.S. Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori and Bonnie Anderson, president of the house of deputies.

The rest is here-

Episcopalians should just agree to disagree

From Salt Lake City-

Before the Episcopal Church suffers further fracture, the denomination might wisely take a cue from President Barack Obama by summoning its leading antagonists to a summit.

Recently, the president successfully reconciled a black professor and the white policeman who arrested him over beer in the White House rose garden. Sherry, rather than beer, might be preferred at a summit of Episcopalians.

The 2.3 million-member Episcopal Church is the U.S. branch of the 77 million-member worldwide Anglican Communion. In recent years four Episcopal dioceses and many individual parishes have severed ties with the national body, maintaining that its approval of openly gay Bishop Gene Robinson of New Hampshire and its wish to bless same-sex couples runs contrary to the Bible.

Despite pleas by the Archbishop of Canterbury and a majority of Anglican churches around the world, Episcopal delegates this summer ended a three-year moratorium on ordaining gay bishops and blessing gay couples.

The lines are drawn.

More here-,5143,705326870,00.html

Sunday, August 30, 2009

Cleric’s wife sues for support

From South Africa-

The man who filled Nobel laureate Desmond Tutu’s shoes as South Africa’s Anglican archbishop is being sued for maintenance by his wife of 22 years.

Two years ago, Archbishop Njongonkulu Ndungane announced to his family that he would be resigning from the church and would be going on a 10-day retreat in Polokwane, Limpopo, to “meditate”. But the clergyman never returned.

Now his estranged wife, Nomahlubi Vokwana-Ndungane, who had kept her husband’s disappearance “in the family”, has turned to the courts in a desperate bid to force him to support her financially. The shocking allegations surfaced this week when the couple was called to the Family Court in Cape Town for mediation.

The archbishop, who heads the Historic Schools Restoration Project since removing his mitre , did not attend the hearing. Instead, he sent a lawyer to ask for a postponement.
In an exclusive interview, his 69-year-old wife told the Sunday Times that she could barely support herself. Holding back tears, she said in the past two years her only source of news about her husband was the media. She said they had only met once during this period, when she had swallowed her pride to ask for assistance “on something”.

More here-

Biloxi service memorializes victims

From Biloxi-

Mayor A.J. Holloway reminded the crowd gathered at the Town Green for an 8 a.m. Katrina service, “At this exact time four years ago, we’d be standing in water over our heads.”
Under clear blue skies, four students from Biloxi schools recited the names of the 51 people who perished in the storm. The oldest was 96; the youngest 22.

“Today we pause to remember the victims,” Holloway said, and also to look forward to the day when visitors to the Coast will comment on Biloxi’s remarkable recovery rather than the devastation of Katrina.

Offering a prayer for the first responders was the Rev. Harold Roberts of the Episcopal Church of the Redeemer, who returned to the beach late on the day on Aug. 29, 2005, to find his church and his home gone.

“Today again I say thank you,” he said to the police, firefighters, National Guard, the Navy and all the others who he said made order out of chaos.

Also remembered were the volunteers. “To me it was the clearest evidence of God at work,” said Milt Grishman, lay leader of Congregation Beth Israel. “It was a miracle. They came from everywhere.”

Mike Womack, executive director of the Mississippi Emergency Management Agency, said everyone thought Camille was the worst hurricane until Katrina hit and he cautioned Katrina may not be the worst storm Biloxi will ever see.
He was at the Mississippi State Emergency Operations Center four years ago.

More here-

New rift may shift Lutherans

From St. Louis-

A controversial decision about homosexual clergy by the country's largest Lutheran denomination had some of the church's conservatives knocking on the door of the Kirkwood-based Lutheran Church-Missouri Synod last week.

Missouri Synod officials fielded dozens of calls and e-mails from pastors and lay members of the Evangelical Lutheran Church of America after its biennial meeting in Minneapolis, when delegates voted 559-451 to allow gay clergy in committed relationships to serve as pastors.

That decision disappointed conservatives in the theologically liberal denomination. Callers after the ELCA's Aug. 21 vote wanted to know about the Missouri Synod's teaching and application process, according to the church's first vice president, the Rev. William Diekelman.

But that surge in interest could put the Missouri Synod in an awkward position. Although new members would be welcome, church leaders would like to avoid the charge of sheep-stealing.

More here-