Saturday, October 10, 2009

'Frasier' star returning to NY hometown for event

From the AP-

Emmy and Tony-winning actor David Hyde Pierce is returning to his upstate New York hometown to play a rebuilt organ in the church he attended while growing up.

Pierce and his three siblings donated the funds to rebuild the 1920 Skinner organ at the Bethesda Episcopal Church in Saratoga Springs, 25 miles north of Albany.

Pierce will perform during a service dedicating the instrument on Sunday. He was an assistant to the church organist as a teen.

The rebuilt organ will be named the George and Laura Pierce Gallery Organ in memory of Pierce's parents.

Pierce was a four-time Emmy winner during his 11-year role as Dr. Niles Crane on TV's "Frasier," and he won a Tony in 2007 for his role as a musical-theater-loving detective in the Broadway musical, "Curtains."

Bishop Lawrence clarifies position of Episcopal diocese

From South Carolina-

While I appreciate Adam Parker's attempt to understand the larger issues surrounding the upcoming Special Convention of the Episcopal Diocese of South Carolina, his recent article titled "Diocese to vote on split" in the Oct. 4 Post and Courier was unfortunately marred by errors of fact.

These errors are all the more troubling because they relate to the effect of the proposed resolutions, should the convention vote in favor of them.

The errors are doubly troubling because a simple phone call to the bishop or the diocesan staff could have quickly corrected any misunderstanding.

The issues are so complicated that I can understand why such errors might be made. Nevertheless, I believe that it is important to correct misimpressions that the article may have produced.

First, should the Special Convention on Oct. 24 approve these five resolutions, their passage does not mean that the diocese will leave the Episcopal Church or, as stated in the article, withdraw from "the mother church."

For the sake of historical accuracy, the Diocese of South Carolina actually preceded the existence of what is today known as the Episcopal Church; our diocese was one of the dioceses that founded and ratified the Episcopal Church after the American Revolution.

The proposed resolutions are not intended as a withdrawal from the church. Rather they are a means for the Diocese of South Carolina to more fully engage the challenges that surround us, in both the contemporary culture and the Episcopal Church, without withdrawing from the national church.

More here-

Conservative Episcopalians prepare for their exodus

From The LA Times-

The people of St. Luke's Anglican Church have called their La Crescenta parish home for 85 years. Generations of families have grown up within its historic stone walls.

On Sunday, the Rev. Rob Holman will deliver his final sermon there, an epitaph to a bruising legal fight the congregation waged and lost to practice its conservative brand of Christian theology and hold on to the church.

On Monday, St. Luke's leaders will hand over its keys to the Episcopal Diocese of Los Angeles.

The diocese sued to retain St. Luke's property after the congregation voted overwhelmingly in 2006 to leave it and the national Episcopal Church over theological differences, including the consecration of a gay bishop in New Hampshire.

After rounds of costly litigation, the courts ruled in the diocese's favor, concluding that St. Luke's property was held in trust for the diocese and the national church. Last week, a judge ordered St. Luke's congregation to leave by Monday.

For those who were baptized and married and have mourned within its walls, the impending departure is liberating and heart-wrenching at once.

More here-,0,6123571.story?track=rss

Friday, October 9, 2009

Swine Flu Spells the End of the Common Cup

Wall Street Journal-

In many Roman Catholic churches across the country, lay people no longer receive wine at Communion, and some Catholic clergy have advised congregants not to shake hands or hug at the moment of the liturgy known as "the passing of the peace," when parishioners typically greet someone in, and offer embodied signs of, the peace of Christ. In my own Episcopal parish, I was greeted by a neighbor last Sunday with an elbow bump. At a United Church of Christ congregation in the suburbs of Chicago, Communion servers now slice up bread into bite-sized bits before distributing Communion; they no longer offer congregants a loaf from which to tear a hunk of bread. In the interest of keeping fingers away from communion wine, communicants at All Saints' Chapel in Sewanee, Tenn., are now instructed not to dip their Eucharistic bread into the cup but rather to sip the cup directly, since hands are often more infectious than mouths.

At Cornell University, the Episcopal chaplain, Clark West, has reminded worshippers that they will receive the fullness of the Eucharist if they receive only "one kind"—that is, the wafer and not the wine. "We have alcoholics among us for whom this has been the practice for years without any noticeably adverse effects," quips Mr. West. To emphasize this, he has, on occasion, used a longer liturgical formula, which names the host as itself both "the body and blood of our Lord Jesus Christ." Less reverently, Mr. West has taken to calling the bottle of Purell hand sanitizer, which now sits prominently on the credence table, the post-modern lavabo. (A lavabo is the bowl a priest uses to wash his or her hands in the Eucharist.)

More here-

Covenant would not be Anglican, says Selby

From the Church Times-

BASING full membership of the Anglican Communion on compliance with the text of a covenant may send unintended messages about exclusion, Dr Peter Selby, the former Bishop of Worcester, said this week.

Speaking at the Inclusive Church conference, Dr Selby offered a detailed critique of Communion, Covenant, and our Anglican Future, the statement issued by Dr Rowan Williams after the recent General Convention of the Episcopal Church in the United States. (News, 31 July,)

Dr Selby said that both of the main arguments made in the Archbishop’s paper had a two-edged character. The requirement that, in order to be recognisable, Anglicans needed patterns and convictions such as those proposed in the Anglican Covenant, raised the fundamental biblical question “recognisable to whom?” Being recognisable to “the least of the brothers and sisters” (Matthew 25) mattered at least as much as being recognisable to other provinces, Dr Selby contended.

“The bullying, the threats, the withdrawal of communion, the unilateral invasions of others’ territories, have made Anglicanism quite unrecognisable to a significant number of people,” he said. Moreover, the history of Anglicanism did not support the way of sanctioning developments proposed in the Covenant draft.

“When the C of E changed its practice [on divorce and remarriage], we did not wait to decide the principle until we had consulted with other provinces; we did not await ecumenical consensus.”

The same two-edged character applies, he went on, to the making of appointments. “If the Church must avoid incongruity, what is to be said about representative rejections? There is no doubt that the decision not to allow the appointment of a gay person as a bishop is seen also as a representative action, giving a message far wider than one about the admissibility of a particular individual.”

The rest-

Thursday, October 8, 2009

London prepares to greet St. Therese de Lisieux

From Spero-

The relics of Saint Thérèse of Lisieux, are due to arrive in London on October 11. They are expected to draw thousands of pilgrims during their five day stay in the UK capital. Pilgrims will be able to see and venerate the relics, housed in a casket which contains bones from the thigh and foot of the Carmelite nun who died at the age of 24 in France in 1897.

The relics will arrive at the Church of Our Lady of Mount Carmel and St Simon Stock in Kensington on the evening of October 11 and then taken to Wormwood Scrubs Prison on the next day where prisoners will be able to venerate the relics. The bones will then be moved to Westminster Cathedral – the see of the Catholic archbishop to be blessed on the steps of the Cathedral by Auxiliary Bishop of Westminster John Arnold. There they will remain until an October 15 Mass of Farewell, celebrated by the Archbishop of Westminster Vincent Nichols.

Westminster Cathedral is preparing to welcome up to 100,000 pilgrims who are expected to venerate the relics, and attend special services and an all night vigil. Already, 100,000 candles have been ordered fas well as 50,000 pink roses to honor St. Thérèse, who is also known as the 'Little Flower of Jesus'. Among Latin Americans, she is sometimes known as Saint Teresita.

St Thérèse died of tuberculosis in 1897 aged 24 and came to wider attention after her autobiography 'Story of a Soul' was published. It was her seemingly unremarkable life that has made her such a remarkable figure, demonstrating that an extraordinary spiritual life can be lived through ordinary tasks. The relics arrival in London mark the end of a month long tour around England and Wales.

More here-

Good Stuff in TEC: Central PA

Taize service to inspire prayer and meditation at Chambersburg's Trinity Episcopal Church

Trinity Episcopal Church in Chambersburg will conduct a Taize service at 4:30 p.m. Oct. 18.
The service will be representative of a typical service in the international ecumenical community of Taize, France.

Taize (pronounced teh-ZAY), located in southern France, was founded in 1940 by Swiss-born "Brother Roger."

Intended as a place for Christian men of Protestant, Catholic and Orthodox backgrounds to live in a contemplative community, it became a place for pilgrimage by Christians all over the world.
The brothers commit their lives to material and spiritual sharing, celibacy and a simple life.
Since its beginnings, music has been a major part of the daily prayer life of the community.

A Taize service uses the music written at or for the community. The music is chant-like, meditative, joyful, prayerful and repetitive, allowing the gathered group to enter into prayer that is corporate and individually centering.

The service usually begins with opening songs, followed by a psalm with a simple sung response, Bible readings, silent meditation, prayer of intercession or adoration, the Lord's Prayer and a concluding prayer.

Additional easy to learn music is sung by the group during the service.
Trinity Episcopal Church is located at 58 S. Second St., Chambersburg.

You can see all of the "Good Stuff" posts by clicking on the tag below.

US bishops' statement on Jewish relations

From Spero News-

Cardinal Francis George of Chicago, president of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB), and four other bishops issued on October 5 a “Statement of Principles for Catholic-Jewish Dialogue.”

The cardinal and bishops also said in a letter that the June 18 document titled, “A Note on Ambiguities Contained in ‘Reflections on Covenant and Mission’” would be amended by removing two sentences that might lead to misunderstanding about the purpose of interreligious dialogue.

The Note addressed issues related to evangelization and the Jewish covenant that were discussed in an article written in 2002 by a group of Catholic scholars who were consultants to the USCCB and the National Council of Synagogues. Intended “as a clarification of Church teaching primarily for Catholics,” the Note “led to misunderstanding and feelings of hurt among members of the Jewish community,” the bishops said in their statement.

In addition to announcing the revision, the bishops also issued a Statement with Six Principles for Catholic-Jewish Dialogue that draw on Church teaching and Catholic understanding of the dialogue process. Among the principles is the acknowledgment that “Jewish covenantal life endures till the present day as a vital witness to God’s saving will for His people Israel and for all of humanity.” The bishops also affirmed the responsibility of Catholics to bear witness to Christ as “the unique savior of humankind.” At the same time, they noted that lived context shapes the form of that witness.

More here-

Judge says diocesan property belongs to the Episcopal Church's Diocese of Pittsburgh

Episcopal Life Online-

A judge ruled October 6 that the organization headed by former Bishop Robert Duncan that left the Episcopal Church's Diocese of Pittsburgh in 2008 cannot continue to hold any diocesan assets.

On October 4, 2008 a majority of the delegates to the diocese's 143rd annual convention voted to approve a resolution by which the diocese purported to leave the Episcopal Church. The leaders of the diocese who departed have said that they remain in charge of an entity they call the Episcopal Diocese of Pittsburgh (Anglican) that is now part of the Argentina-based Anglican Province of the Southern Cone. And they say that in that capacity they control all the assets that were held by the diocese when they left.

The court, however, ruled that all diocesan assets must be held by the Episcopal Diocese of Pittsburgh that is recognized by the Episcopal Church.

The suit arose out of a 2003 complaint by Calvary Episcopal Church in Pittsburgh after a special diocesan convention passed a resolution stating that all property in the diocese, which under Episcopal Church canons is held in trust by the diocese for the entire church, instead belonged to individual congregations or the diocese itself. The proceedings in the suit led to an October 2005 stipulated court order in which Duncan and the other then-leaders of the diocese agreed that the diocese would continue to hold or administer property "regardless of whether some or even a majority of the parishes in the Diocese might decide not to remain in the Episcopal Church of the United States of America."

That order defined "diocese" as the Episcopal Diocese of Pittsburgh of the Episcopal Church of the United States of America.

In its October 6 opinion Allegheny County Court of Common Pleas Judge Joseph M. James (pictured) explained that "regardless of what name the defendants now call themselves, they are not the Episcopal Diocese of Pittsburgh of the Episcopal Church of the United States of America." He ruled that the Episcopal Diocese of Pittsburgh "did not cease to exist" because it was created by the Episcopal Church and the church now recognizes that those Episcopalians who did not follow Duncan now make up the Episcopal Church's continuing diocese.

The rest is here-

Duncan Issues Pastoral Letter

We lost. In human terms we lost. Bishop and Standing Committee, together with Board of Trustees, thought we understood the document that was signed on our behalf in 2005 that ended the first phase of the Calvary lawsuit. But yesterday, the judge found against us on the basis of that document.

The team that has provided extraordinary legal counsel to us, and to others in similar cases across the country, has issued the following statement: "We believe the opinion and order is contrary to applicable law, disregards the agreed assumption of valid withdrawal by the Diocese from TEC, violates the assurances given us that the issue of the 'true diocese' was not part of this proceeding and denies us due process of law." Accordingly we reserve all of our rights to appeal.

We will take a time for further counsel and prayer, seeking God's guidance on whether to file an appeal. After that, we will, of course, fully comply with the court's order to facilitate an orderly transfer of DIOCESAN assets to the Episcopal Church Diocese. We have mostly lived without benefit of these assets since January. We have demonstrated that we can live without them. It will be sad not to have the resources left by previous generations to draw on, but God will be faithful. Two hundred and fifty years ago the first Anglicans at Fort Pitt had nothing. One hundred and forty five years ago the Anglicans who first organized our diocese had nothing. God was faithful to them. He will be faithful to us.

More here-

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Judge Favors TEC Diocese in Pittsburgh Property Case

From The Living Church-

A county judge has ordered the Episcopal Diocese of Pittsburgh (Anglican) to surrender diocesan property and assets to the Episcopal Diocese of Pittsburgh of the Episcopal Church in the United States.

Calvary Church, Pittsburgh, filed the lawsuit against the Rt. Rev. Robert W. Duncan, then the Episcopal Church’s Bishop of Pittsburgh, and the Episcopal Diocese of Pittsburgh in October 2003.

Pittsburgh’s diocesan convention voted in 2008 to leave the Episcopal Church and join the Anglican Church of the Southern Cone, based in Argentina. The Episcopal Church has reconstituted the diocese, which consists of approximately 40 percent of its previous membership.

Judge Joseph M. James of the Court of Common Pleas in Allegheny County ruled on Oct. 6 that a court-approved agreement from 2005 requires that property remain with a diocese of the Episcopal Church.

“Regardless of what name defendants now call themselves, they are not the Episcopal Diocese of Pittsburgh of the Episcopal Church of the United States of America,” the judge wrote.

“The Episcopal Diocese of Pittsburgh of the Episcopal Church of the United States of America did not cease to exist when the defendants chose to withdraw,” the judge added. “The defendants could not extinguish an entity that was created and recognized by the intervenors.”

The judge’s order does not include buildings among congregations that followed Bishop Duncan out of the Episcopal Church.

Episcopal Leaders Refrain from Disciplining Breakaway Clergy

From Christian Post-

In an announcement on Monday, the Episcopal Diocese of Pittsburgh said it will not take disciplinary action against the approximately 100 priests and deacons who left to join a conservative Anglican group.

"We’re doing this for pastoral reasons," said the Rev. Dr. James Simons, president of the diocesan Standing Committee, in a statement. "We do not want to see our priestly brothers and sisters deposed." Rather than defrock the priests, the diocese has chosen to simply release them from their ministerial ties to The Episcopal Church – the U.S. arm of Anglicanism.

By doing so, the breakaway clergy are able to "move their holy orders" to any entity they want to, including the Anglican Church in North America – a conservative province that was established in June for disaffected Anglicans.
"We're trying to be as pastoral as possible," Simons said, according to the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette.

"We don't want to deprive anybody of their holy orders. We don't think that's necessary, but we had to find some way to get them off the list of clergy in the Episcopal Church."
The move is a departure from actions taken by other dioceses in The Episcopal Church. The Diocese of San Joaquin deposed 61 clergy earlier this year from ordained ministry after they voted to split from the national church. They were charged with abandoning the church's communion.

Seceding Episcopal diocese told to surrender its assets

From The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette-

An Allegheny County court awarded the Episcopal Diocese of Pittsburgh more than $15 million in endowments, bank accounts and other assets that a secessionist diocese had sought to retain.

Judge Joseph James of the Court of Common Pleas in Allegheny County ruled yesterday that the assets -- although not necessarily buildings and land titled in the name of the parishes that seceded -- belong to the Episcopal Diocese of Pittsburgh of the Episcopal Church of the United States of America.

The secessionist church, the Episcopal Diocese of Pittsburgh (Anglican), is in violation of its October 2005 agreement with the Episcopal Church of America, Judge James ruled.

Many pages of the parties' briefs, he noted, were spent explaining the meaning of Paragraph One of the agreement, which describes what must be done with the diocese's centrally owned assets.

"However, I find that the language is clear and unambiguous and, therefore, requires no further explanation," the order states. "The property is to be held or administered by the Episcopal Diocese of the Episcopal Church of the United States of America. Regardless of what name defendants now call themselves, they are not the Episcopal Diocese of the Episcopal Church of the United States of America."

Assets must be detailed within 30 days and transferred within 20 days after that, the order states.

More here-

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Judge James Issues Decision Pittsburgh

The Episcopal Diocese of Pittsburgh of the Episcopal Church of the United States of America is the rightful trustee of the Paragraph One property, subject to the terms of the Stipulation of October 14, 2005. The Episcopal Diocese of Pittsburgh, affiliated with the Anglican Province of the Southern Cone, led by Bishop Duncan, cannot continue to be the trustee of the Paragraph One property.


Pittsburgh Offers Release to Clergy Who Departed TEC

From The Living Church-

The standing committee of the Episcopal Church’s Diocese of Pittsburgh has issued a letter that offers to release former clergy of the diocese without deposing them.

“It has now been a year since the 143rd Diocesan Convention of the Episcopal Diocese of Pittsburgh,” the standing committee said in the letter, which it made available. “At the conclusion of that convention, ‘letters of transfer’ to the Province of the Southern Cone were issued to every member of the clergy. It is our understanding that some have understood themselves to have accepted these ‘transfers.’”

The Episcopal Church’s diocese, however, still counts these clergy on its rolls. “We are seeking to remedy this in a way that does not involve deposition,” the standing committee said.

More than 100 priests and deacons had transferred to the Anglican Church of the Southern Cone. They are now poised to become clergy of the Anglican Church in North America, which is led by the Rt. Rev. Robert W. Duncan, the seventh Bishop of Pittsburgh, who has been deposed as a bishop of the Episcopal Church. ACNA leaders have said repeatedly that they intend to seek ACNA’s recognition as a province of the Anglican Communion.

Bishop Duncan refers to the clergy and people who left with him as the Episcopal Diocese of Pittsburgh, and its diocesan website adds (Anglican) as a suffix. The non-separating diocese identifies itself as “the Episcopal Diocese of Pittsburgh of the Episcopal Church in the United States.”

The letter refers to Canon III.9.8 but does not cite it by title: “Renunciation of the Ordained Ministry.” That language has proven a stumbling point, in recent years, as other priests have received occasional offers for release without deposition.

The canon applies to any priest who wants to resign from the Episcopal Church’s holy orders, “acting voluntarily and for causes, assigned or known, which do not affect the priest’s moral character.” The canon’s wording sometimes has left priests uncertain of whether they are being asked to renounce only their ministry within the Episcopal Church or their future ministry as priests.

The standing committee’s letter makes the diocese’s intentions more explicit.

“This does not affect your ordination, which you may register with whatever entity you choose. This is simply a way for us to gain clarity around the issue of who is licensed to practice ordained ministry in the Episcopal Church,” the standing committee said. “Please know that this release can be reversed in the future if you so choose but that the Diocese of Pittsburgh hopes that all of you will decide to remain with us.”

The standing committee asks clergy to respond by Oct. 19.

“We’re doing this for pastoral reasons,” said the Rev. Dr. James Simons, president of the standing committee. “We do not want to see our priestly brothers and sisters deposed.”

The Rt. Rev. Kenneth Price, who has been nominated to become the diocese’s provisional bishop, supports the standing committee’s decision.

“As the Standing Committee worked through this necessary action, I was painfully aware that they were not just talking about a list of clergy, but friends of long standing,” he said. “For this reason I am grateful the canons provide this ‘softer’ method of allowing those who wish to depart from the Episcopal Church to do so legally without us making a judgment on their ordination.”

Natural disasters prompt Anglican responses

From Melbourne Austrailia-

Anglicans have rallied to meet the needs of victims of natural disasters in Asia and the Pacific, with three appeals launched in recent days following the tsunami, typhoon and earthquake disasters.

AngliCORD, an overseas relief and development agency of the Anglican Church of Australia, has made an urgent appeal for donations to assist victims of the tsunamis in Samoa, American Samoa and Tonga on 29 September that have claimed more than 150 lives and left thousands of others homeless.

Both Samoa and Tonga have declared a State of Emergency, with Samoa's National Disaster Council predicting that infrastructure damage would exceed $41 million. The tsunami, caused by an 8.0-magnitude undersea quake, is believed to have destroyed at least 20 villages, with many islanders now living in fear of landslides and disease.

The agency said on its website that it would be working closely with the Polynesian Diocese of the Anglican Church to ensure that AngliCORD’s response met the highest priority needs of the local population. Its focus would be on helping families in the region to rebuild their lives.

AngliCORD chief executive officer Misha Coleman said: “I’ve been told about children’s shoes being washed up on the shoreline and scattered through the debris.

“I picture that in my mind and think, ‘How can we not act?’ ”

Donations can be made at, by mail at AngliCORD, PO Box 139, East Melbourne Victoria 8002 or by phone, on freecall 1800-249-880 or (03) 9495-6100.

More here-

Executive Council begins new term by learning about its job, call to ministry

From Episcopal Life Online

The Episcopal Church's Executive Council opened its first meeting of the 2010-2012 triennium here by considering how it will live out its role and responsibility.

The Executive Council carries out the programs and policies adopted by the General Convention, according to Canon I.4 (1)(a). The council is composed of 38 members, 20 of whom (four bishops, four priests or deacons and 12 lay people) are elected by General Convention and 18 (one clergy and one lay) by provincial synods for six-year terms, plus the Presiding Bishop and the President of the House of Deputies. Twenty-one of the 38 members are new to the council with this meeting, having just been elected by General Convention and the provinces.

The October 5-8 meeting at the Holiday Inn at the University of Memphis Fogelman Conference Center is taking place in the seat of the Episcopal Diocese of West Tennessee. Council will hear about the mission and ministry of the diocese and of Province IV on the evening of October 6.

Council members spent all of October 5 in plenary session learning about their role in the governance of the Episcopal Church. Those discussions are due to continue October 6, and will include considering whether its four standing committees -- Administration & Finance (A&F), Congregations in Ministry (CIM), National Concerns (NAC) and International Concerns (INC) -- still serve the needs of the council and the church, and how to clarify their individual responsibilities.

Whatever shape the committees take, they will meet for most of the day on October 7 (with the exception of time for disability sensitivity and anti-racism training).

In their opening remarks to the council, both Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori, council chair, and Bonnie Anderson, president of the House of Deputies and council vice chair, called on the members to be creative and innovative as they discern how to lead the church in the coming three years.

More here-

Pope Welcomes New U.S. Ambassador

From The Living Church-

On Oct. 2, as Pope Benedict XVI welcomed the United States’ new ambassador to the Holy See, he also took the opportunity to reiterate Roman Catholic teaching about the sanctity of human life.

The pope welcomed Miguel H. Díaz, who previously served as professor of theology at St. John’s School of Theology-Seminary in Collegeville, Minn.

“The United States profoundly respects the Holy See as a sovereign entity, as a humanitarian actor, and as a unique moral voice in the world,” Ambassador Díaz said when presenting his credentials to the pope. “The United States and the Holy See have partnered in the cause of noble objectives. Together we have spread peace, supported religious freedom and other human rights, fostered democracy, denounced terrorism, addressed poverty and world hunger, prevented human trafficking, and combated the spread of HIV/AIDS and other terrible diseases.”

Pope Benedict said he was pleased to accept the new ambassador’s credentials, adding that he “[recalled] with pleasure my meeting with President Barack Obama and his family last July, and willingly reciprocate the kind greetings which you bring from him.”

Toward the end of his response, the pope reflected on how the Church’s teaching on the sanctity of life informs all its other teachings on social justice.

“Here I think particularly of the need for a clear discernment with regard to issues touching the protection of human dignity and respect for the inalienable right to life from the moment of conception to natural death, as well as the protection of the right to conscientious objection on the part of health care workers, and indeed all citizens,” the pope said.

“The Church insists on the unbreakable link between an ethics of life and every other aspect of social ethics, for she is convinced that, in the prophetic words of the late Pope John Paul II, ‘a society lacks solid foundations when, on the one hand, it asserts values such as the dignity of the person, justice and peace, but then, on the other hand, radically acts to the contrary by allowing or tolerating a variety of ways in which human life is devalued and violated, especially where it is weak or marginalized.’ (Evangelium Vitae, 93; cf. Caritas in Veritate, 15).”

Ambassador Díaz, who was born in Havana, Cuba, in 1963, is the author of On Being Human: U.S. Hispanic and Rahnerian Perspectives (Orbis, 2002) and an editor of From the Heart of Our People: Latino/a Explorations in Catholic Systematic Theology (Orbis, 1999).

He holds two graduate degrees from the University of Notre Dame: a master of theology (1992) and a doctor of philosophy in theology (2000). He has taught at St. John’s since 2004. The ambassador is married to Marian K. Díaz, former director of Companions on a Journey at the College of St. Benedict. They have four children.

Clergy who left Episcopal Church won't be defrocked

From the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette-

The Episcopal Diocese of Pittsburgh says that clergy who left the Episcopal Church with Archbishop Robert Duncan will not be deposed -- defrocked -- by the Episcopal Church.

They will, however, be removed from the roll of clergy licensed to serve in that denomination. Of four dioceses that voted to secede, Pittsburgh is the only one in which the continuing Episcopal diocese has not moved to strip the ordinations of those who left.

There are two bodies called the Episcopal Diocese of Pittsburgh. A letter was sent yesterday from the standing committee that governs the 28-parish continuing Episcopal diocese to clergy in the 57-parish Episcopal Diocese of Pittsburgh (Anglican). It said that clergy who didn't ask to stay in the Episcopal Church would be released to serve in "whatever entity you choose." The letter contrasted this with deposition, in which clergy are found to have "abandoned the communion" and are stripped of ordination.

"We don't want to deprive anybody of their holy orders. We don't think that's necessary, but we had to find some way to get them off the list of clergy in the Episcopal Church," said the Rev. James Simons, president of the Episcopal standing committee.

The letter was sent one year and one day after the diocesan convention voted to secede because members believed the denomination failed to uphold biblical teaching on matters from salvation to sexuality. The seceding diocese and clergy were received by the Anglican Province of the Southern Cone in South America. It's a part of the 80 million-member global Anglican Communion, as is the Episcopal Church. The Anglican diocese is also a founder of the new Anglican Church in North America, which hopes to be recognized as an Anglican province. It is already acknowledged as such by bishops representing a majority of the world's Anglicans. The two dioceses share a cathedral, but the Episcopal diocese is suing the Anglican diocese for property and assets. The letter affects about 100 local clergy, but not Archbishop Duncan, who was deposed by the Episcopal House of Bishops in September 2008.

More here-

Clergy who left Episcopal Church won't be defrocked

From The Pittsburgh Tribune Review-

Officials from the Episcopal Diocese of Pittsburgh offered Monday to release about 100 priests and deacons from the diocese rather than strip them of their ordinations.

The offers go to people in 47 parishes that voted to leave the national Episcopal Church based in New York last year and become founding members of the Anglican Church of North America based in Ambridge.

When similar splits have occurred elsewhere, diocesan officials chose to defrock clergy who left, said the Rev. James Simons, rector of St. Michael's of the Valley Episcopal Church in Ligonier. Simons is the president of the diocesan standing committee.

"It's a pastoral move," Simons said. "These are people we were once in ministry with. We want them to go where they believe God is leading them."

Shawn Malarkey, spokesman for the Western Pennsylvania churches that now are part of the Anglican Church of North America, said the church law cited in the offer "refers to clergy who willingly give up their ordination to return to being lay people.

"It would be wrong to ask our vital and active ordained ministers to renounce 'the right to exercise the gifts and spiritual authority as a Minister of God's Word and Sacraments' as a means to simplify someone's bookkeeping," he said.

Bishop Robert Duncan led last year's revolt from the Episcopal Church. Duncan and the 47 parishes that followed him chose to align themselves with more theologically conservative churches that belong to the Anglican Province of the Southern Cone in Buenos Aires, Argentina.

The Rev. Mary Hays, canon of Pittsburgh's Anglican Episcopal diocese, said she appreciated Simons and his colleagues' "desire to find a way forward in the midst of our unhappy division."

More here-

U.S. Supreme Court declines to hear Episcopal property case

From the LA Times

The U.S. Supreme Court has declined to intercede in a long-running property dispute pitting the Episcopal Diocese of Los Angeles and the national Episcopal Church against a breakaway local congregation, St. James Anglican Church of Newport Beach.

The court on Monday refused to hear St. James’ appeal of California Supreme Court and appellate court decisions that the parish’s property was held in trust for the diocese and national church and not owned by the congregation.

St. James is among a number of parishes and four dioceses that have split away from the Episcopal Church since the national church’s 2003 consecration of an openly gay man as bishop of New Hampshire.

The Episcopal Church has argued that although anyone may leave the denomination, those who do so are not allowed to take church buildings and other property with them. In response, St. James and other breakaway groups have argued that they hold title to the properties and have spent years and money maintaining them.

The Episcopal bishop of Los Angeles, the Rt. Rev. J. Jon Bruno, applauded the court’s decision and called for reconciliation.

But St. James’ senior pastor and attorneys said they would pursue the legal struggle with a return to trial court in Orange County. “Our battle is far from over,” the pastor, the Rev. Richard Crocker, said in a statement.

Monday, October 5, 2009

Diocese To Release Inactive Clergy

From the Diocese of Pittsburgh-

The Episcopal Diocese of Pittsburgh has begun informing scores of priests that they can be released from their ministerial ties to the Episcopal Church to become licensed in any entity they choose.

The move affects approximately 100 priests and deacons who have not been active in the Episcopal Church since October 2008.

The release alleviates a situation where the clergy could otherwise be at risk of disciplinary action for “abandonment.” If that occurred, the penalty would likely be defrocking – officially called deposition – which would bar them from ministry not only in the Episcopal Church in the United States, but also in the world-wide Anglican Communion.

The Episcopal Church is the U.S.-based member of the Communion.

In a letter from the diocesan Standing Committee dated October 5, the clergy are given an option of stating their desire to remain active in the Episcopal Church or to allow the release to proceed.

“We’re doing this for pastoral reasons,” says the Rev. Dr. James Simons, the Standing Committee president. “We do not want to see our priestly brothers and sisters deposed.”

Critical Timing

This action comes one year after former diocesan leaders purportedly removed the Episcopal Diocese of Pittsburgh from the Episcopal Church to join the Province of the Southern Cone, part of the Anglican Communion based in Argentina.

Many of the ordained involved in the purported realignment assumed their licenses were also “transferred” to the Southern Cone, but those priests and deacons remain on record as clergy of the Episcopal Church in the United States.

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No joke: Pirates finish with 99 losses

Less than 24 hours after being satirized on a "Saturday Night Live" skit, the Pirates, now formally christened a laughingstock by the nation's arbiter of such things, suffered their final indignity with a 6-0 silencing by the Cincinnati Reds yesterday at Great American Ball Park.

That was loss No. 99.

And that, mercifully, will be all.

"It's over," center fielder Andrew McCutchen said, packing at his stall in another quiet clubhouse setting. "It stinks, with all the moves and everything else, that all this happened this year. Really, you just want to have a fresh start, and we're going to have that next spring. For this season ... hey, nothing you can do now."

Other than maybe add up all the ugly numbers for the Pittsburgh Baseball Club's 123rd season one final time:

• The 62-99 record marked the eighth time in franchise history with that many losses or more. The Pirates have lost at least 94 each of the past five years, and this was their second-worst mark during the record 17-year losing streak.

• The 22-58 road record marked the franchise's fewest road victories under the 162-game schedule, which began in 1962. The Pirates won just three of their 26 series away from PNC Park.

• The last-place finish -- 28 1/2 games behind the St. Louis Cardinals -- was the fourth in five years, the ninth in these 17 years.

• The team's run total of 636 ranked 29th of 30 teams in Major League Baseball, with the .252 batting average 28th.

More here if you can bear it.

Editorial: Toward a Better Way

Living Church Editorial-

During the past decade, the Episcopal Church has participated in approximately 60 court cases concerning property ownership. These cases involve, to one degree or another, the Dennis Canon, named for the late Rt. Rev. Walter Dennis, former bishop suffragan of the Diocese of New York. The Dennis Canon says this:

“All real and personal property held by or for the benefit of any parish, mission or congregation is held in trust for this church and the diocese thereof in which such parish, mission or congregation is located. The existence of this trust, however, shall in no way limit the power and authority of the parish, mission or congregation otherwise existing over such property so long as the particular parish, mission or congregation remains a part of, and subject to, this church and its Constitution and Canons.”

The Supreme Court of South Carolina ruled in September that the Dennis Canon does not apply to the formerly Episcopal parish of All Saints Church in Pawleys Island, S.C., because that parish predates the Episcopal Church. Many conservatives have greeted that ruling with joy, and they hope it sets a legal precedent across the nation.

We are not ready to join the celebration. Conservatives who expect the South Carolina ruling to establish a widespread precedent ought to ponder the legal differences between a congregation founded in the Colonial era and one founded since the establishment of the Episcopal Church.

Further, the Dennis Canon accurately describes the relationship between a congregation and a diocese, at least within a church that strives, however imperfectly, for catholic order. Conservatives cannot afford to play a semantic game that salutes catholic order as a concept (as in the Anglican Communion’s nascent covenant) but rejects it in daily practice because expensive property is at stake.

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His home is a church found on eBay

From North West PA.

John Pierce Archer, a devout Christian, feels right at home living in a former church in Mount Jewett, about 75 miles southeast of Erie and 20 miles south of Pennsylvania's border with New York.

"This feels cozy and comfy," Archer said as he showed off his home in the former St. Margaret Episcopal Church. "It's my Fortress of Solitude."

Archer, a world-renown art curator whose primary home is in Palm Beach, Fla., purchased the Mount Jewett church on Dec. 30, 2006.

"I'd been looking for churches to buy for years before I found this one listed on eBay," Archer said. An Episcopalian, Archer said finding the church in Mount Jewett was an "epiphany."

"Frankly, I never knew where Mount Jewett was on the map," Archer said. The town of little more than a thousand residents turned out to be on U.S. Route 6, just east of the Allegheny National Forest. "I've never been in this neck of the woods before. It's not on my radar."

Archer said he traveled to Mount Jewett to see the church for the first time on a bitterly cold snowy day. He completed the deal to buy the church "in two hours" and began making plans for extensive renovations and cleaning to convert the building into what he calls the favorite of his three homes in the U.S.

A native of Scarsdale, N.Y., Archer received an academic scholarship to attend the University of Wisconsin where he majored in business and minored in art history.

His college minor "ended up being my vocation in life," Archer said.

For nearly 30 years, Archer headed his own company — Pierce-Archer LTD of New Canaan, Conn. Pierce is a family name.

More here-

New Anglican diocese inaugurated

From South Africa-

CAPE Town Archbishop Thabo Makgoba inaugurated a new Anglican diocese at a ceremony in Queenstown at the weekend.

The new diocese has been named Ukhahlamba Diocese, and lies north of Grahamstown.

Diocesan spokesperson Maggy Clarke said it was named after the Drakensburg mountain range.

“The new diocese will include congregations around Aliwal North, Burgersdorp, Sterkspruit, Barkly East, Dordrecht, Sada, Queenstown, Cathcart, Lady Frere, Lanti, Bholothwa and Tarkastad,” said Clarke.

She said the inauguration process took place in the context of a festive service of Holy Communion.

It was celebrated in the Queen’s College Recreation Grounds , with the Archbishop presiding.
She said in March 2007, the Synod of the Diocese of Grahamstown agreed in principle to divide the Diocese of Grahamstown into two dioceses.

In May the same year, the bishops of the Anglican Church of SA gave their approval.
At the beginning of this year Reverend Lawrence Ndzwana was appointed Bishop’s Vicar for the new Diocese of Ukhahlamba.

More here-

Buyback nets 41 weapons

From Massachusetts-

Police and local clergy said the 41 firearms they collected during Sunday's gun safety exchange program included everything from an old rifle with mold on the stock to a loaded sawed-off shotgun and many working handguns.

But they said it is not the age or the type of the weapon that matters.

They said what is significant is that there are 41 fewer guns on the streets and less chances of accidents in the home from a loaded firearm.

David Lima, executive director of the Inter-Church Council, said that every gun turned in also means there is less of a chance it will fall into the wrong hands and be used in the commission of a crime.

Lima said 26 guns were collected at Grace Episcopal Church; and five each at Our Lady of the Assumption Church, Potter House and the Union Baptist Church, as conclusion of the three-week faith-based initiative aimed at increasing awareness and attacking the gun violence problem in New Bedford.

"I think we did well," he said.

Lima said he feels it made a difference that the churches were involved. "Some people brought things out they never would have brought," he said.

Sunday's program was the wrap-up of the program that saw religious leaders preaching from their pulpits against gun violence; a peace covenant signed by religious, police, community and elected officials to work toward an end to violence; and a workshop on how guns are trafficked.

More here-

Episcopal Church split, mostly over gay clergy

From the Diocese of Albany-

Clair "Toby" Touby and others are concerned that Bishop William Love is trying to lead the Diocese of Albany out of the Episcopal Church altogether.

"He says he is not going to leave, but actions speak louder than words," Touby said.

Touby, who lives in Saranac Lake, is the president of Albany Via Media, a group of moderate to liberal Episcopalians. He has been urging parishioners to attend a series of meetings Love has held throughout the diocese in the past few weeks.

Love will be at Trinity Episcopal Church in Plattsburgh at 5 p.m. Tuesday for a prayer session and to discuss the Episcopal Church's General Convention, which took place in July in Anaheim, Calif.

"We have sincere questions about what (Love) means by 'not leaving the church,'" Touby said.

More here-

Sunday, October 4, 2009

Papal-visit announcement expected

From the Church Times-

THE VATICAN is expected to con firm that Pope Benedict XVI will visit the UK next autumn. It would be the first papal visit to Great Britain in 30 years, and the second since the Reformation. News of the visit seems to have emerged from a briefing for lobby journalists in New York during the Prime Minister’s visit to the UN and the G20 meetings.

An announce ment of this kind would usually be made by the Vatican first.
The Archbishop of Canterbury responded “with delight” when he heard about it on Wednesday of last week, during his visit to Japan.

“Some time ago, following similar invitations from Roman Catholic bishops and the British Government, I personally expressed my hope to Pope Benedict that he would accept the invitation to visit Britain,” Dr Williams said. “I am therefore delighted to hear today that there is every possibility that the Pope may indeed visit Britain in the course of the next year. I’m sure I speak on behalf of Anglicans throughout Britain, in assuring him that he would be received with great warmth and joy.”

The Archbishop of Westminster, the Most Revd Vincent Nichols,
who is President of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of England and Wales, said: “We are encouraged and pleased at the news which has emerged about the possible official visit of Pope Benedict XVI to the UK next year.

More here-

Make noise until appeal is readmitted, Bishop Kamukwamba urges Zambians

From Zambia-

ANGLICAN Diocese of Central Zambia Bishop Derek Kamukwamba has said Zambians must make noise until the appeal against former president Frederick Chiluba's acquittal of corruption charges is readmitted.
And Roman Catholic Fr George Kaoma has said civil society organisations' resolve for Zambians to honk and whistle against Chiluba's acquittal sends a clear message to those who blocked the appeal against chiluba that citizens are not satisfied with the outcome of the case.

Commenting on civil society's demand for the appeal against the acquittal of Chiluba, Bishop Kamukwamba said a higher court should be allowed to clear the air regarding Chiluba's acquittal.

“It is necessary that the law should be exhausted and there should be no shortcuts,” Bishop Kamukwamba said. “We need to move forward until we reach the last stage to the highest court.”

He said blocking the appeal against Chiluba in the manner the government did raised a lot of questions.

“The desire is that the only institution that can clear the air should be allowed to do so,” said Bishop Kamukwamba.

And Fr Kaoma, who spoke in his individual capacity, said what was on the ground with regard to the acquittal of Chiluba was different from President Rupiah Banda's supposition that Zambians had accepted the outcome of the case.

“People have a right to demand justice whenever they feel that things haven't been done accordingly,” Fr Kaoma said. “This will send a clear message to those in authority and those who blocked the appeal ... that what is on the ground is different.”

More here-

Queen 'appalled' at Church of England moves, claim Vatican moles

From the London Telegraph-

According to informants quoted in The Catholic Herald, the Queen has "grown increasingly sympathetic" to the Catholic Church over the years while being "appalled", along with the Prince of Wales, at developments in the Church of England.

The usually well-informed newspaper adds that the Queen, who is the Supreme Governor of the C of E, is "also said to have an affinity with the Holy Father, who is of her generation".

In July, The Sunday Telegraph disclosed that the Queen had told the heads of a traditionalist group, formed in response to the liberal direction of some parts of the Anglican Communion, that she "understood their concerns" about the future of the 80 million-strong global church.
One leading evangelical said: "We found the letters very supportive."

Her intervention was predicted to have surprised many because the group, called the Fellowship of Confessing Anglicans, was feared by some to be a divisive force and one of its senior figures was this accused of being homophobic.

The then Bishop of Rochester, Dr Michael Nazir-Ali, called on homosexuals to repent. He said the Church of England must stick to the Biblical teaching that marriage should only be between a man and a woman.

"We want to hold on to the traditional teaching of the Church," he said. "We don't want to be rolled over by culture and trends in the Church," said the bishop, who was one of the most senior religious figures in England.

A Buckingham Palace spokesman declines to comment.