Friday, December 31, 2010

Geraldine Doyle, 86, dies; one-time factory worker inspired Rosie the Riveter and 'We Can Do It!' poster

Off topic (as though we had one) but has a Pittsburgh angle.

Geraldine Doyle, 86, who as a 17-year-old factory worker became the inspiration for a popular World War II recruitment poster that evoked female power and independence under the slogan "We Can Do It!," died Dec. 26 at a hospice in Lansing, Mich.

Her daughter, Stephanie Gregg, said the cause of death was complications from severe arthritis.

For millions of Americans throughout the decades since World War II, the stunning brunette in the red and white polka-dot bandanna was Rosie the Riveter.

Rosie's rolled-up sleeves and flexed right arm came to represent the newfound strength of the 18 million women who worked during the war and later made her a figure of the feminist movement.

But the woman in the patriotic poster was never named Rosie, nor was she a riveter. All along it was Mrs. Doyle, who after graduating from high school in Ann Arbor, Mich., took a job at a metal factory, her family said.

One day, a photographer representing United Press International came to her factory and captured Mrs. Doyle leaning over a piece of machinery and wearing a red and white polka-dot bandanna over her hair.

In early 1942, the Westinghouse Corp. commissioned artist J. Howard Miller to produce several morale-boosting posters to be displayed inside its buildings. The project was funded by the government as a way to motivate workers and perhaps recruit new ones for the war effort.

More here-

20-somethings go for old-time Mass

From Michigan-

In a basement chapel at St. Mary Cathedral, the Rev. Jeffrey Robideau, clad in the deep purple vestments of Advent, turned toward the people gathered for Sunday morning worship.

"Oremus," he said, Latin for "Let us pray."

The congregation responded in Latin with the help of an illustrated, Latin-and-English missal.

Most of the 50 or so congregants — members of the recently formed Community of Blessed John XXIII — were too young to remember the days before Vatican II reforms in the 1960s switched the Mass from Latin to English. But, like other 20-somethings from a variety of Christian denominations, they're looking for a deeper connection to faith.

For Christopher Limberg, 24, the Latin Mass helps with that.

"You know this is going to be a very stable, solemn experience," he said.

More here-

News Society Social care Faith groups will not fill gaps left by spending cuts, warns Anglican bishop

From the Guardian-

A senior Church of England bishop has warned that faith groups will not step in to fill the gap left by state spending cuts, saying it would be "completely irresponsible" to leave the care of the vulnerable in the hands of "amateurs".

The bishop of Leicester, Tim Stevens, who has spoken forcefully about David Cameron's proposals for a "big society", said that although faith groups were ready and willing to play a greater part in community life, their enthusiasm and engagement should not mean the government rolled back on its responsibilities to the needy.

The warning follows fears expressed by a leading charity figure this week, David Robinson of Community Links, who said massive public spending cuts threatened to undermine the big society project.

Government ministers have stressed that faith groups are vital to the success of the big society, the flagship policy of the Conservative party's election manifesto, aiming to empower local people and communities to play a greater role in public life.

More here-

Thursday, December 30, 2010

Does conflict or inspiration lead 2010's religion news?

From USA Today-

Ultimately, Pope Benedict XVI beat Sarah Palin in a runoff vote Tuesday among Faith & Reason readers on who was the top "religion newsmaker" of the year. So what were the top religion stories of 2010 -- where faith, or people acting its name, made the headlines? Does coverage of conflict trump coverage of people inspired for good?

Find Faith & Reason blog on Twitter, Facebook
These are questions I see I should have raised earlier. It could have explained how the first F&R quick poll results on Monday put Palin out front of a list of six names. Many see her as a person motivated by faith although her arena was politics (and reality TV).

Meanwhile Imam Abdul Feisal Rauf landed third on both votes by readers although his efforts to build an Islamic Center two blocks from Ground Zero was the clear winner with journalists from the Religion Newswriters Association -- and my vote, too.

More here-

Lausanne 2010: Jesus Walked Among Us

From The Living Church-

Jesus showed up at the Third Lausanne Congress on World Evangelization, which drew 5,000 invited participants in Cape Town in late October.

Jesus showed up on the platform. He was most obviously present as seven men and women from all continents expounded the word of God daily from Ephesians, a letter that declares God’s mission of cosmic reconciliation and the integration of all creation in Christ and calls us to live every dimension of life in that light, in obedience to him.

But Jesus was present too in the many other speakers, morning and evening, who challenged, informed, inspired, rebuked and amazed us all. Jesus was there as we rejoiced with those who rejoice in God’s mighty works around the world. Jesus was there as we wept (for we often did) with those who weep under the suffocating weight of persecution, the devastating loss of loved ones in the service of Christ, and the heartbreaking brutality endured by God’s people — children and women in slavery, the diseased, the disabled, the displaced. Yes, Jesus was there in our midst, speaking unforgettably through the many voices that addressed us.

Jesus showed up at the tables. Imagine all those people seated in groups of five or six around 750 tables in the vast auditorium — the same people meeting at the same table every day. It was a defining mark of the congress for many, as groups studied the Bible and prayed together, shared their lives, discussed every issue coming from the platform, grew in fellowship and love through the week — microcosms of the whole event. The presence of Jesus was almost tangible at times as the great ocean of table groups stood to pray, or sing, or repent, or embrace. Jesus is good at being with disciples round a table.

More here-

Fr. Cutie: What Options Did Fallen Priest Have?

More from The Catholic Register-

In our previous post, we looked at the situation regarding Fr. Albert Cutié, who has written a self-justifying book regarding the scandal he created by having an inappropriate romantic (and presumably sexual) relationship with a woman and, when this relationship was revealed through the press, abandoned his role as a Catholic priest, joined the Episcopalian church, and civilly married the woman, by whom he has subsequently fathered a child.

The previous post looked at the Catholic Church’s general discipline of celibacy (remaining unmarried) for the priests of the Latin Church that exists within it (the celibacy requirement operates differently in many of the Eastern Catholic churches also in union with the pope). In this post we will look at the options that were open to Fr. Cutie at different stages of events and the choices he made.

We will begin with the stage where he first began to be attracted to Ruhama Buni Canellis, the divorced woman with whom he eventually attempted civil marriage. What options did he have at this stage?

More here-

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Fr. Cutie: Fallen Priest Writes Self-Justifying Book

From Catholic Register-

Of course all humans have an impulse to justify their sinful actions. It requires grace and humility to not try to justify them and to acknowledge their sinfulness.

That makes this kind of a dog-bites-man story, but it’s a dog-bites-man story that’s going to be getting a considerable amount of attention in the next few weeks, so we may as well deal with it in advance.

The basics of the story are this: Fr. Albert Cutié (a.k.a., “Padre Alberto,” a.k.a. “Father ‘Oprah’” due to his radio and television appearances), formerly of the Archdiocese of Miami, has now written a book titled, Dilemma: A Priest’s Struggle With Faith and Love, in which he justifies his actions in connection with the scandal that began in May 2009. That scandal has not ended, however. In fact, as we will see, the book continues and has the potential to amplify the scandal—taking “scandal” in its historical and theological sense, meaning that more people may be led into sin as a result of this book.

More here-

Church walks away from Episcopal diocese

From San Diego-

The Rev. Canon Lawrence Bausch expects to surrender the keys to his Ocean Beach church to the Episcopal Diocese of San Diego on Thursday, closing a chapter in an international conflict intensified by the election of an openly gay bishop.

The Rt. Rev. V. Gene Robinson’s consecration seven years ago in New Hampshire underscored a cleft in the worldwide Anglican Communion. About 350 congregations have since voted to leave the Episcopal Church, the U.S. branch of the communion, and align themselves with more conservative Anglican leaders overseas.

The rift has tested personal and professional relationships, spurred protracted court disputes over church property and prompted efforts to create a rival North American province.


The Episcopal Diocese of San Diego sued St. John’s, St. Anne’s and Holy Trinity, arguing that it had held control of the parish buildings for decades. The courts ruled against those congregations.

The St. John’s and St. Anne’s buildings were reclaimed in April 2009 and July of this year, respectively. The diocese also was granted summary judgment against Holy Trinity.

When fledging congregations petitioned to join the Episcopal Church, they agreed to be bound forever to its rules, said Chancellor Charles Dick, chief legal adviser to the local Episcopal bishop.

Holy Trinity was allowed to stay through Friday in exchange for surrendering the property, returning bank accounts and agreeing not to file an appeal, Dick said.

“I think they saw the handwriting on the wall,” he added.

More here-

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

HuffPost Religion's 10 Most Influential People Of 2010

From Huffington Post-

2010 Lists, Christopher Hitchens, Christopher Senyonjo, Daisy Khan, Dalai Lama, Elena Kagan, Feisal Abdul Rauf, Glenn Beck, Karen Armstrong, Patriarch Bartholomew Of Constantinople, Pope Benedict XVI, Religion News 2010, Sister Carol Keehan, Slidepollajax,

Religion News

Religion is by definition a communal endeavor. Yet there are always individuals who by conviction, action or fate are placed in a position to influence our beliefs and our collective lives. At HuffPost Religion we have been following the people in this list for the last year and recognize their extraordinary influence in America and around the world.

First on our list was Daisy Khan and Feisal Rauf, whose proposed Islamic Center Park51 reminded us of the still open wounds of 9/11; and became a lightning rod for a debate on Islam, religious liberty and the value of pluralism.

To those with great influence, comes great responsibility. We hope that all who hold influence within religion will exercise it with inspiration, moderation and concern for the common good.

More here-

Plea to rebel Primates: ‘Bring your wisdom to next meeting’

From The Church Times-

A BISHOP in the Church of Nigeria has urged Primates from the Global South not to boycott the Primates’ Meeting in Dublin in January (News, 26 November).

Writing in the Church Times today, the Bishop of Kaduna, Dr Josiah Idowu-Fearon, who was a member of the Lambeth Commission which produced the Windsor report, pleads with the Primates “not . . . to give room for the Communion to break up, during the time God has given [them] the privilege to represent [their] various provinces”.

“An archbishop may hold a strong position on a particular theological debate, but that should not be a reason to silence those of his colleagues with an alternative opinion as representatives of their dioceses,” Dr Idowu-Fearon writes.

Speaking on Friday, he said that his intervention was not prompted by pressure from any individual, “but by my conviction to work for the unity of this communion”.

He said that he feared that some of the Primates had “not actually consulted properly” before announcing their intention to boycott the meeting. There was “a huge desire” among “ordinary members” of the Church of Nigeria for the Communion to stay together, he said.

Responding to the suggestion made by the Primates that “the current text” of the Anglican Covenant is “fatally flawed”, Dr Idowu-Fearon said: “If those Primates believe they have a superior wisdom than the collective wisdom of those who produced the Covenant, let them meet and present their wisdom and not start throwing tantrums.”

More here-

Court rules in favor of Episcopal Church in El Paso

From Rio Grande-

On December 16, 2010 the district court in El Paso County, Texas signed a final summary judgment in favor of The Episcopal Church and its Diocese of the Rio Grande against a faction formerly with St. Francis Episcopal Church that attempted to control parish property after they left the Church in October 2008. A copy of the Final Summary Judgment is here.

The court's ruling is the second by a Texas district court to grant judgment for the Church and its diocese against former Episcopalians who left the Church but continued to claim title and control of parish property. In the other case a trial court granted a similar judgment on October 9, 2009, regarding Good Shepherd Episcopal Church of San Angelo, in the Episcopal Diocese of Northwest Texas.

The declaratory judgment issued by the El Paso Court tracks the identical positions asserted by The Episcopal Church, Episcopal Diocese of Fort Worth, the Corporation of the Episcopal Diocese of Fort Worth, its parishes and missions, and its church officials in the case pending in the 141st District Court of Tarrant County, Texas, against former Bishop Jack Leo Iker and other former diocesan and parish officials who left the Church and the diocese but continue to claim title and control of church property donated for the use of The Episcopal Church over the last 170 years.

More here-

Obamas go to church in Hawaii Marine base

From "The Underground"-

President Barack Obama and his family attended church last Sunday at a US Marines Corps base in Hawaii where the first family is spending the Christmas and New Year holidays.
This is the eighth public church attendance Obama has made since the start of his presidency in 2009, Fox News said. Obama, First Lady Michelle Obama, and daughters Sasha and Malia went to St. Michael church at 11:00 a.m. and sat at the front row pew, AFP reported.

Some 100 parishioners were at the church when the Obamas arrived, The New York Times said. The Christmas song, Joy to the World was being sung and churchgoers clapped when the first family walked in.

The chaplain expressed thanks for the presence of the Obamas, and delivered a Christmas sermon based on the biblical passages in Matthew 10:29-31, Fox News reported. Afterwards, the first family received communion.

The last time Obama attended church publicly was on September 19, when he went to Sunday service at St. John’s Episcopal Church near the White House. He is said to shy away from public church attendance due to heavy security precautions and so as not to inconvenience other worshippers, the AFP reported.

Instead, his spiritual regimen usually consists of praying with pastors over the phone and reading daily devotionals on his blackberry. He has also gone to private services in Camp David, Fox News said.

A poll this year indicated that some 18 percent of Americans believe Obama is Muslim, which Fox News said is up from preceding surveys. Obama has oftentimes clarified that he is Christian.

More here-

Baby Jesus stolen

From South Africa-

A Kalk Bay priest had to think quickly and alter his Christmas Eve sermon after a figurine of the baby Jesus was stolen from the church’s nativity scene.

The 30cm figure went missing from the Holy Trinity Anglican Church in Kalk Bay. The Reverend Canon Ronald Phillips said the empty crib was discovered just before the Christmas Eve service.

“About three hours before the service, we noticed that all the other figures were there, except the most important - the baby Jesus.”

But rather than panicking, Phillips used the figure’s absence as the central theme of his sermon.

He had told the congregation that Jesus’s absence did not mean a total absence - instead, he was “involved in the life of all the world”.

More here-

Learning from Cuba: Observations and reflections of my pilgrimage, part 3

From Minnesota-

Author's note: From November 27-December 4, 2010 I traveled (legally!) to Cuba as part of a 18-member delegation from St. Mark's Episcopal Cathedral in Minneapolis. We went to celebrate the installation of Griselda Delgado as the new Episcopalian Bishop of Cuba. As one of two non-Episcopalians on the trip, I felt thoroughly included and welcomed by both my fellow travelers and those we met in Cuba.

The Private-Public Conundrum

Our Cuban guide took us to a "private" family-owned restaurant for our supper on Monday evening. Located on the second floor of a building which was ostensibly their residence, I noticed the fancy woodwork design as we climbed the stairs. Named "La Gardenita" or Little Farmer, the décor of this restaurant and ambiance were noticeably different and the wait staff extremely welcoming and friendly in their cowboy hats and plunging necklines. The menu was impressive and the food presentation and quality was excellent.

Unlike the government-owned and run restaurants, this "palador" was an outgrowth of some limited private enterprise now allowed by the government since the Soviet largess dried up after the collapse of many communist economies and governments in 1989. I am a strong supporter of government programs for education, healthcare, social security, and a safety net for the poor -- all of which Cuba seems to do better than the US -- but it appears to me that there seems to allow little incentive in their economy for this kind of initiative. It was refreshing but it also caused me to wonder how far to let it progress lest it fester into the incredible gaps between the rich and the poor so evident in the US today. Tonight was a powerful argument in favor of a mixed economy that also allows room for private initiative and resourcefulness.

More here-

St. Matthew's recovers church bell

From Louisiana-

Construction workers recovered the bell from St. Matthew's Episcopal Church this morning.

Last week, church members and leaders were not sure if the bell would be successfully recovered. Still, when it was recovered this morning, the bell was fully intact.

Beulah Rodrigue, a eucharistic minister at the church and a member since 1947, said she used to ring the bell on many occasions.

“We rang a bell when people died, for every year they lived,” Rodrigue said.

Demolition of the church, destroyed by a fire on Nov. 11, began last week, following a prayer service.

An official cause for the fire has not been determined. Houma Fire Inspector Mike Millet said officials are still investigating. The Rev. Craig Dalferes said he heard the fire was electrical, though he said that wasn't official.

Demolition of the church will continue through the week.

More here-

Monday, December 27, 2010

Top 10 Vatican news stories from 2010

From Rome Reports with video (The formation of the ordinariate is #1)

ROME REPORTS has listed the ten most important news stories from the Vatican in 2010, with its short and long term impacts.

In tenth place is the establishment of a Pontifical Council for the New Evangelization. It is the Pope's reply to the decline in numbers of Christians in Europe and North America. He has also called a synod on the theme for the year 2012. (LINK HERE)

At number 9: The Pope formed a Vatican commission to investigate the alleged apparitions of the Virgin Mary in Medjugorje. Their work is being developed under the strictest of secrecy and their findings will only be given to the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith. (LINK HERE)

Number 8 is the appointment the now Cardinal Velasio De Paolis as the Pope's delegate to bring order to the Congregation of the Legionaries of Christ after the scandals committed by its founder. (LINK HERE)

The seventh story is the exposition of the Holy Shroud of Turin. Two million people visited the most important relic of the Catholic Church during the 44 days it was on display. (LINK HERE)

At number 6, the consistory to create 24 new cardinals. With them, the number of cardinals rises to 203, of which 121 have voting powers, only they could participate in an eventual conclave. (LINK HERE)

Fifth, the Synod of Bishops for the Middle East, during which the religious leaders from the Holy Land met with the Pope to study ways of stopping the exodus of Christians from the land where Jesus was born. (LINK HERE)

The fourth story is the book length interview with the Pope, “Light of the World,” (LIGHT OF WORLD LINK HERE) and the document “Verbum Domini” on the Bible. While the book shows the more personal side of the Pope and his opinion on current issues, in the “Verbum Domini” Benedict XVI writes about the topic he's most passionate about, the Holy Scripture. (VERBUM DOMINI LINK HERE)

More with the links is here-

Christians 'are denied human rights by our courts,' claim bishop and top judge

From The Daily Mail-

An Anglican bishop and Britain’s former top judge yesterday launched an impassioned defence of the rights of Christians in an increasingly secular society.

The Bishop of Winchester, the Rt Rev Michael Scott-Joynt, said judges wrongly discriminate against people of faith because they are ignorant of religious beliefs.

He said failure to support the beliefs of Christians and other religious people could drive them from their jobs and blamed the Human Rights Act for allowing them to be victimised.
The bishop was backed by ex-Lord Chief Justice Lord Woolf, who said the courts had gone ‘too far’ in restricting the rights of Christians in the workplace. He said it was ‘about time the tide turned’.

The two were speaking at the end of a year in which Christian relationship counsellor Gary McFarlane lost his appeal against dismissal after he refused to give sex therapy to a homosexual couple, and nurse Shirley Chaplin lost a discrimination case after she was moved to a back office job because she wore a crucifix.

During the General Election campaign, David Cameron promised to abolish the Human Rights Act and replace it with a British Bill of Rights, which would spell out rights and responsibilities based on British traditions.

Read more:

A Christmas tree experiment gone chemically wrong

From Maryland-

Richard Israel, an Annapolis alderman, historian and storyteller, remembers the year he had two Christmas trees.

It had to do with the fact that Israel's father, Floyd Israel, was a professional chemist.

It had to do with an experiment gone bad.

"I grew up in Hutchinson, Kansas, and we had had a fire in our house," Israel said. "It damaged the house, so we had to vacate, but we had moved back in, in time for Christmas. But it left my parents very fire conscious."

Israel said his family, despite the name, had always been Christian. In fact, his mother's family had been Presbyterians until the local Episcopal church started paying one of Richard Israel's ancestors a dime each week to sing in the choir because of his excellent voice. The family switched denominations.

Israel was an only child, and his parents always put up the Christmas tree on his birthday, Dec. 18.

This particular Christmas season was 1948, when Israel was 5 years old.

"My father decided to fire-proof the Christmas tree. He mixed up some concoction in his laboratory," Israel said.

More here-

'Dirt church' cleaned up in restoration

From South Carolina-

The Rev. Tom Allen might want to cringe when he hears some people describe his Episcopal Church building.

"A lot of people, they call our church 'the dirt church,' " he says. "Well, it's not really the dirt church. It's the brick church."

Forgive people if they don't get it just right. The Church of the Holy Cross is one of a kind among South Carolina churches.

That's because it's made of Pise de Terre, a fancy term for Its 2-foot-thick walls were erected in 1852 by using wooden forms to hold local clay as laborers, probably slaves, tamped it down with a special tool, forcing out the water.

Dr. W.W. Alexander, head of the church's 19th century building committee at the time, had been experimenting successfully with this construction method at his plantation home just across the highway.

He convinced his other committee members that using Pise de Terre would give them more church for the money.

Sunday, December 26, 2010

Anglican leader welcomes Britain's royal wedding

From England-

The Archbishop of Canterbury, leader of the world's Anglicans, welcomed the forthcoming wedding of Prince William and his girlfriend Kate Middleton in his Christmas Day sermon.

In extracts released ahead of his address at Canterbury Cathedral on Saturday morning, Rowan Williams urged people to embrace the meaning of the marriage next year of the second in line to the throne.

"Next year, we shall be joining in the celebration of what we hope will be a profoundly joyful event in the royal wedding," he said, according to extracts.

"It is certainly cause for celebration that any couple, let alone this particular couple, should want to embark on the adventure of Christian marriage, because any and every Christian marriage is a sign of hope, since it is a sign and sacrament of God's own committed love."

Perhaps in the coming year, he added, "we, as a society, might want to think through, carefully and imaginatively, why lifelong faithfulness and the mutual surrender of selfishness are such great gifts."

Prince William, 28, announced his engagement to long-term girlfriend Kate, also 28, last month after proposing during a holiday in Kenya in October. The wedding has been set for April 29 next year at Westminster Abbey.

More here-

Ghanaians urged to use Christmas to pursue peace

From Ghana-

The diocesan Bishop of the Cape Coast Anglican Cathedral, Right Reverend Daniel Sylvanus Allotey, on Christmas day, admonished Ghanaians to use the occasion to pursue peace at all times, because the birth of Jesus Christ signifies peace.

He said Jesus gave his life freely to mankind and therefore His followers must exhibit the same trait and love all people indiscriminately.
Bishop Allotey was delivering the sermon at the Christ Anglican Cathedral in Cape Coast, on Saturday.

He urged all, to solely depend on and seek God in all things, to enable them to succeed in life and also co-exist with their neighbours harmoniously.
At the Wesley Methodist Church, the Superintendent Minister, Very Reverend Ebenezer Abaka-Wilson noted that the purpose of the birth of Christ was to save mankind, adding that, his Kingdom is forever. He said Jesus Christ would deliver the lost soul out of darkness into light.

More here-

Mission to Haiti still fresh on mind of Glen Ellyn's Holding

From Illinois-

After surviving the 7.0 Haitian earthquake Jan. 12, Mallory Holding was still trying to get a handle on things when she returned home to Glen Ellyn that same week in January.

“It’s all just kind of processing,” Mallory, a 23-year-old Glen Ellyn resident, said in January. “Different parts of the day are better than others. It’s just kind of a process.”

Mallory’s family had not heard from her in the 24 hours following the earthquake. On Jan. 13, she was able to contact her mother, Suzi Holding. The conversation was short, but it assured her mother that Mallory was alive.

“All we really got yesterday was a very brief phone call,” said Suzi in January. “She was able to tell me that she was OK — that she was camped out.”

Mallory was in Haiti as part of the National Episcopalian Church’s Adult Services Corps. She worked specifically in an Episcopalian seminary, teaching English to seminarians and helping to secure funds, among other projects.

During the brief call with Suzi, Mallory told her mom she was with other seminarians. She also told her mother, a priest at St. Mark’s Episcopal Church in Glen Ellyn, to let the church know that another young man in her group was OK.

More here-

The world thirsts for peace - Bishop Lungu

From Zimbabwe-

PEACE can only come when there is genuine reconciliation, says Bishop George Lungu.

Bishop Lungu, the Zambia Episcopal Conference president and Chipata Diocese head, said the world today thirsts for peace.

We need peace in our country; peace in our homes and peace in our communities, in our families, in our churches, in politics and peace in our hearts, said Bishop Lungu in his Christmas message on Thursday. When we reconcile with others we immediately experience peace in our hearts. It is this peace that we will bring to others in our families, homes, in our relationships, at our places of work and in our country.

He said people should be recipients of angelic blessing of peace by striving to be of goodwill towards others.

The heavenly choir together with the angel of God sang to the shepherd a hymn in praise of God and a wish of peace to people of goodwill. Why not be a recipient of this angelic blessing of peace by striving to be a person of goodwill towards others this Christmas, he said. Goodwill shown in the choice of words, actions and gestures we use in our homes, in our communities, at our places of work? I wish you all a Christmas celebration with Jesus. May Jesus and peace and reconciliation be born in our hearts and lives, that the world may believe that He, Jesus Christ, is our Saviour. He is the prince of peace and He is our salvation.

More here-

Saturday, December 25, 2010

Merry Christmas!

N.J. clergy aims to instill religious message of Christmas with masses geared to kids

From New Jersey-

The children, dressed as angels, shepherds and farm animals, gathered around the manger on the altar.

Little did they know they were looking down on someone else’s real-life miracle on Christmas Eve.

Miguel and Suzette Batista, of Maplewood, had lost their two-year-old son, Gabriel, in late 2008. Now their five-month old, Noah, was playing Baby Jesus.
"This Christmas is especially special," said Batista of his son. "Having Noah come to us this year; it really was a miracle."

The 25 to 30 other kids performing in the annual Christmas pageant at St. George’s Episcopal Church in Maplewood may not have had a full grasp that the birth of Jesus Christ is recognized as one of the great pillars of Christian faith; a tenet which the Batistas held on to in their darkest hours. And Noah was oblivious to what was going on around him.

More here-

Archbishop of Canterbury's Christmas Sermon

From ACNS-

In his traditional Christmas sermon, the Archbishop of Canterbury, Dr Rowan Williams, focuses on how the birth of Jesus is but one stage of the fulfilment of God's unchanging promise of support in the struggle for human redemption, how 'the story of Jesus is the story of a God who keeps promises'.

So Christmas is a time of coming to terms with God's all embracing and redemptive love for us, despite the cost and the tragedy involved, the human failures and betrayals. God, he asserts, despite our limitations and the humiliation our weaknesses lay on him, realises " we cannot live without him; and he accepts everything for the sake of our well-being"

In this Christmas context, Dr Williams urges us to first of all contemplate our mutual dependence on our fellow human beings - our need for a spirit of fellowship and loyalty to each other in sharing the burdens of adversity in difficult economic times:

"Faced with the hardship that quite clearly lies ahead for so many in the wake of financial crisis and public spending cuts, how far are we able to sustain a living sense of loyalty to each other, a real willingness to bear the load together? How eager are we to find some spot where we feel safe from the pressures that are crippling and terrifying others? As has more than once been said, we can and will as a society bear hardship if we are confident that it is being fairly shared; and we shall have that confidence only if there are signs that everyone is committed to their neighbour, that no-one is just forgotten, that no interest group or pressure group is able to opt out."
And he points to the need for us to work positively together in order to rebuild trust:

More here-

Friday, December 24, 2010

How The King James Bible 'Begat' English Idioms

From NPR-

In Begat, David Crystal sets out to prove that the King James Bible has contributed more to the English language than any other literary source.

If you've ever "fought the good fight" or chuckled at "what comes out of the mouths of babes," you just might agree with him.

Phrases with roots in the King James Bible are everywhere. Crystal tells NPR's Neal Conan that writing Begat began with his curiosity about a simple question: How many English language idioms come from the King James Bible? When Crystal posed this question to people, they guessed a wide range of answers — anywhere from 50 to 1,000. So he decided he'd better read the Bible and figure it out.

"I went through it and looked for every instance of an expression that I thought was current in modern English," Crystal says. "And then I thought: I'd better read it again, just to make sure I haven't missed any." And after that second reading, he had a figure.

More here-

Bishop attacks bankers

From England-

Churchgoers will be urged to fight back against a “brutalised society” in the wake of wide-spread government cuts by Lancashire’s Anglican bishop.

The Rt Rev Nicholas Reade, the Bishop of Blackburn, will tell his congregation that they can fight against job losses and public service cuts made by the coalition Government with a “legitimate Christian protest in the face of continuing injustice.”

The comments will come in his annual Christmas Day sermon at Blackburn Cathedral tomorrow.

He says the annual message will be used to send a message of support to the “broken and disheartened.”

His sermon will say: “Perhaps it will need to be the note of anger in Our Lord’s voice that we hear, and proclaim, in the coming year as we raise legitimate Christian protest on behalf of those losing their jobs, seeing their public services undermined, their hopes for higher education jeopardised, or their fears realised through the creation of what increasingly seems like a less caring, more brutalised society, and where vast bonuses form the contemptuous retort to any mention of restraint, and the black economy of the super-tax dodger is seen as a legitimate moral code.”

More here-

Oklahoma City pastor quizzes members on their Christmas knowledge

From Oklahoma City-

Just how did Mary and Joseph make their famous trip to Bethlehem?

What did an innkeeper tell Mary and Joseph once they reached the city?

The Rev. Joe Alsay, rector of St. Augustine of Canterbury Episcopal Church, asked his congregation these and other questions during the Dec. 19 services at the Oklahoma City church, 14700 N May.

Instead of a traditional sermon, Alsay surprised the church with a “Christmas IQ Quiz.”
The quiz drew some good-natured consternation as folks tried to answer questions about the traditional Christmas story. The short test also drew lots of laughter as Alsay proceeded to answer the questions.

“It certainly caught their attention,” Alsay said. “What it also did is make people wonder. They say ‘I go to church on Christmas I know the story. I hear it every year.’ Well, Scripture itself does not say a lot about these things.”

For instance, Alsay said Scripture does not mention an innkeeper although it may be safe to assume that there was one who spoke to Mary and Joseph about ‘no room in the inn.”

Read more:

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Santa might be a plumber

From Virginia-

NOT ALL the gifts for this year are lying under the Christmas tree.

Some of them are delivered at the most unpredictable times--when water is spouting out of the pantry wall or when a peach pit shuts down the dishwasher.

It's at those times when our friend, teacher, hero and, oh, yes, plumber--W.D. Williamson--arrives on the scene. Whether it's the middle of the night or the middle of the morning, W.D. always finds a way to help us out.

My guess is that most people have W.D.s in their lives. You know who they are: the selfless folks who remind us that friendship and kindness are the greatest gifts of all. They're the ones I'll be thinking about tomorrow night as I take in the beauty of our Christmas tree (actually, a living orange tree, with lights).

Here are just a few of the other "gifts" I'm putting on my thank-you list for this Christmas:

Jim Dannals and Gay Rahn, the clergy at St. George's Episcopal Church, who demonstrate every week how joyous the life of faith can be.

Capt. Catie Hanft, Capt. Michael Smith and their staffs, who have opened doors for me to tell the story of my beloved boyhood home--the Dahlgren Navy base.

More here-

Church prepares, delivers 1,300 turkey dinners to Eastside needy | St. Thomas Episcopal parishioners don’t let a little snow and ice keep them from an

From Washington State-

Despite the ice and snow prior to Thanksgiving, volunteers from St. Thomas Episcopal Church prepared turkey dinners for more than a thousand needy in Bellevue. It is the sixth year for the feeding program.

Hopelink in Bellevue helped identify those needing help.

“Thanksgiving at St. Thomas” began in 2004 when elementary school teacher and parishioner, Tammy Waddell, thought she and a few fellow volunteers at St. Thomas Episcopal Church should help Eastside people who were coming up short at Thanksgiving.

“I was inspired by a bishop of the Episcopal church to invite less fortunate people to Thanksgiving,” Waddell said. “I thought we could do something like that.”

Her crew bought, cooked and prepared complete turkey dinners for 100 people who had signed up through the Hopelink food bank in Bellevue. On Thanksgiving, they waited for people to show up and have dinner. And they waited. And waited.

More here-

Jesus 'Ultrasound' Billboard Turning Heads

From Ohio-

A new group of billboards is turning a few heads in Ohio, Cincinnati TV station WLWT reported.

Cincinnati Right to Life has posted five billboards showing an ultrasound image of a fetus representing Jesus with the slogan, "He Came As a Baby ... Christmas Starts with Christ."
The fetus in the billboard has a halo.

"This simple illustration emphasizes that Jesus Christ came to the world both human and divine, and in so doing, sanctified the birth process for every person. Christmas is the message of Christ’s Love for all, no matter our age, race, ability, poverty or wealth, or place or residence," the group said in a news release.

The signs are produced by, a coalition of Christian churches, including Church of England, Baptist Union, United Reformed Church, Anglican and Methodist churches. The group and a private donor paid for the Cincinnati billboards.

More here-

Dissident Anglicans raised nearly $6 million in donations

From Canada-

A growing group of dissident Anglicans who broke away from the Anglican Church of Canada over opposition to same-sex blessings amassed nearly $6 million in donations in the last fiscal year.

And 22 per cent of those donations were made specifically to the Anglican Network in Canada's (ANiC) legal defence fund, to bankroll the dissidents' continuing battle with the Diocese of New Westminster over who owns the church buildings.

According to financial statements filed with the Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) by the ANiC, the registered charity received $5.9 million in donations in the 2008-09 fiscal year, the most recent data available.

Donors funnelled $1.3 million to the legal defence fund, while the rest of the donations went to the ANiC's general fund and a parish development fund, according to reports The Sun requested from the CRA.

The amounts represent a significant jump over the $1 million in total donations the fledgling organization received the previous year, in 2007-08.

Read more:

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Bishop's sacking revoked

More from Australia-

THE Anglican diocese of Ballarat is still in turmoil, with Melbourne Archbishop Philip Freier writing to all clergy to revoke the sacking of the vicar-general and criticising the retiring Bishop of Ballarat.

Bishop Michael Hough, in his final act before resigning as part of a settlement over bullying complaints, sacked Melbourne Bishop Philip Huggins as vicar-general and replaced him with staunch supporter Arthur Savage.

Bishop Hough returned to work on Saturday after six months of leave to lead a farewell service in the cathedral, during which he dramatically used a hammer to smash a pot made for him by a local artist. On Monday - his last day - an email was sent to all clergy at 10.30pm, telling them that Bishop Huggins had been replaced by Father Savage and making several other appointments. On Tuesday evening, Archbishop Freier, as Metropolitan of Victoria, wrote to all clergy saying that he doubted whether Bishop Hough's actions were legal.

More here-

Around 1,000 Anglicans in Australia could join Catholic Church ordinariate

From Catholic News-

Archbishop John Hepworth of the Traditional Anglican Communion has said that about 1,000 Australians are expected to join the Catholic Church through a special jurisdiction created by Pope Benedict XVI.

Catholics, mainstream Anglicans and members of the breakaway Traditional Anglican Communion established a nine-member committee last week to oversee the transition by June 12, 2011.

The Anglicans believe they will be able to retain their church properties, which removes one obstacle to their entry into the Catholic Church, the Australian newspaper The Age reports.

Archbishop Hepworth said that if Anglican priests and congregations do not resign, they might be able to show “beneficial ownership” and keep their properties. He noted that in England the Archbishop of
Canterbury has allowed departing Anglicans to keep using their properties. The Australian archbishop said he hoped the Australian church would do the same.

More here-

No comment (click the cartoon to see the whole thing)

Pittsburgh Bishop Zubik denies cover-up of files

From The Pittsburgh Tribune-Review

A victims' advocacy group Tuesday called for a federal investigation into claims that Pittsburgh Bishop David A. Zubik ordered the destruction of records detailing pedophilia and other forms of sexual abuse by priests in Green Bay, Wis.

Zubik denied the allegations.

Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests cited a deposition given in November by a high-ranking Catholic Diocese of Green Bay official calling on U.S. Attorney James Santelle to investigate Zubik and Green Bay Bishop David L. Ricken.

"Our first concern is the destruction of criminal evidence," Peter Isely, SNAP's Midwest director, said shortly before a news conference yesterday outside the federal courthouse in Green Bay. "We want (Santelle) to order them to stop doing it. We also want him to look for possible criminal charges."

Dean Puschnig, spokesman for Santelle's office, said Santelle has agreed to meet with SNAP after Jan 1. Santelle had not seen the deposition, Puschnig said.

More here-

St. Luke's hosts 30th "Don't Spend Christmas Alone" dinner

From Arizona-

St. Luke's Episcopal Church will play host to its 30th "Don't Spend Christmas Alone" community dinner from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Christmas Day.

The free event will provide a full Christmas dinner and fellowship for anyone who may be alone on this day. St. Luke's members will also visit and deliver meals to homebound individuals so that they can be a part of this community celebration.

Members of other church organizations, social service agencies and individuals will help St. Luke's members in cooking and serving these meals. Fire personnel from the Prescott Fire Department will help deliver meals to the homebound in Prescott, as they have done in the past.

St. Luke's Episcopal Church is located at 2000 Shepherd's Lane off Ruger Road just north of the Prescott Airport. The church will provide shuttle transportation to those who need it. Shuttles will leave from Albertson's in Prescott from 10:30 a.m. to 1 p.m.

In the long history of this tradition, thousands of people who would have otherwise spent Christmas alone have enjoyed a warm, home-cooked meal on seasonally decorated banquet tables, surrounded by new and old friends. Some were new to the community, others could not be with family members for various reasons, some were homeless and others simply felt alone.

More here-

Jamaica's struggling Grace Episcopal Church shuns costly landmark status

NY Daily News-

A historic Jamaica church is fighting tooth-and-nail to thwart a city landmarks designation that could cost its dwindling congregation thousands of dollars in building maintenance and repairs.

Members of Grace Episcopal Church launched a campaign to persuade local members of the City Council to overturn the city Landmarks Preservation Commission's designation when it comes up for a Council vote next year.

But not a single church member attended the commission's public hearing earlier this year to oppose the plan. The church's Memorial Hall was officially landmarked on Oct. 26.

"We're going to fight the designation," said Grace Episcopal's leader, the Rev. Darryl James. "It siphons off potential funding for ways in which we can really continue to do the work of Jesus Christ."

The congregation's church and cemetery were landmarked in 1967 - and Grace Episcopal has felt the financial pinch of the designations ever since, he said.

Read more:

Episcopal Church of the Nativity celebrates 20 years in Fayetteville

From Georgia-

The Episcopal Church of the Nativity, which began its life as a congregation two decades ago in a storefront space in Fayetteville, celebrated its 20th anniversary last Sunday.

The Rt. Rev. J. Neil Alexander, bishop of the Episcopal Diocese of Atlanta, was on hand to preside at the Eucharist, preach, and administer sacraments of confirmation, and reception of new members. Both he and the Rev. Rita Henault, rector, also officiated at a baptism.

Persons confirmed were Nicole Philips, Ross W. Terry, Kimisha Scarborough, Edward Saha and Shirley Saha. Those received into membership from other churches were Diana Richburg and Gail Kirby. Scarborough’s eight-month-old son, Keymani, was baptized.

More here-

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Not quite Christmas as usual

From RNS-

It's hard to gauge just how many Americans feel broke this Christmas.

Those who feel broke don't want to talk about it. Those who sell to the broke are hoping they don't give in to discouragement. And those who brought about this mess are spending lavish bonuses and catering to the rich.

But as far as I can tell, the broke are legion.

Government employment statistics tend to undercount job-related despair.

They don't report those who have given up looking for work; those who need full-time work but have accepted part-time jobs; those who did find work but at far below their last reasonable paycheck; or those who are ready to retire but are clinging to jobs for as long as they can.

By the time we add those categories to the official unemployment figure of nearly 10 percent, I suspect we are looking at one in four, or maybe even one in three, Americans who approach Christmas 2010 with thin wallets and heavy hearts.

Banks seem to have resumed risky practices and are stuffing our mailboxes with credit card offers, as if they owed nothing to 'We the People' for bailing them out.

More here

A Suspect Is Arrested in Two Bronx Church Burglaries, and Investigated in More

From The New York Times-

At the school at Our Lady of Refuge Roman Catholic Church in Bedford Park, the Bronx, the thief came in through the gymnasium window last month.

At St. James Episcopal Church, a landmark Gothic Revival building on Jerome Avenue, the thief got in on Friday by smashing through a Tiffany stained-glass window.

There have been 10 break-ins at churches and parochial schools in the northwest Bronx since Nov. 6. Among the items stolen was money from an alms box and cash set aside for needy students.

On Sunday, a man who has spent the last 20 years in and out of prison on burglary charges was arrested near the school at St. Philip Neri Roman Catholic Church on the Grand Concourse not long after a burglary. After the man, Nathaniel Linden, 51, of Webb Avenue in the Bronx, was arrested, the police said they had linked him to a second burglary, at Iglesia Bautista Hispana de Fordham on University Avenue on Dec. 13.

More here-

CHELSEA: Ministry team ordained at St. Barnabas Episcopal

From Michigan-

The congregation of St. Barnabas Episcopal Church in Chelsea celebrated the ordination and commissioning of their second generation ministry team on Nov. 20.

The Rev. Wendell Gibbs, the 10th bishop of the Episcopal Diocese of Michigan, ordained David C. Glaser and E. William Stech as priests. Nancy Scott was commissioned for pastoral care and hospitality; Kathy O'Connell was commissioned for Christian education and administration. More than 40 visiting clergy participated, and there was an estimated 190 attendees.

Jan Varady was among the presenters. She was commissioned for pastoral care more than four years ago as part of St. Barnabas' first ministry team. Her two team members, Rev. Doris Case and Rev. Myra Colvin, were ordained as priests at that time, but have both since retired.

Rev. Lew Towler of St. Andrew's in Ann Arbor and Rev. Carol Mader of St. James' in Dexter also presented at the ordination. The two have served the congregation as supply clergy numerous times and have given a great deal of support to the developing team.

More here-

Monday, December 20, 2010

Young Anglicans leave priory to join ordinariate

From Catholic News-

Three British Anglican nuns have left their community after they expressed interest in joining a personal ordinariate.

The nuns from the Priory of Our Lady of Walsingham have began a period of private discernment after they decided that they wanted to join any future English ordinariate, The Catholic Herald reports.

In a joint statement, the nuns explained their situation. They said: “On December 2 2010 Sister Wendy Renate, Sister Jane Louise and Sister Carolyne Joseph left the Priory of Our Lady in Walsingham for a period of discernment with the intention of joining the ordinariate when established. We ask prayers for ourselves and for the Sisters remaining at the Priory of Our Lady.”

The community, which numbered seven nuns belonging to the Society of St Margaret, reportedly voted four to three against joining the ordinariate. The three nuns who left the community are its youngest members. The priory is an autonomous house of the Society of St Margaret and is not linked to the Anglican shrine at Walsingham, which is under the administration of Rt Rev Lindsay Urwin, the former Bishop of Horsham.

Fr Peter Geldard, a former Anglican who has been involved with the ordinariate, said: “Historically Anglican religious are the product of the Anglo-Catholic revival 175 years ago and in the past were very committed to Catholic unity. It has always been a source of surprise to me that so few Anglican religious seem to be interested in Catholic unity or the ordinariate today.

More here-

Just a drill: Firefighters set to burn old rectory in Brooklyn

From Brooklyn CT-

Trinity Episcopal Church in Brooklyn is making plans to give a fiery farewell to its former rectory building.

The church gained approval from the Planning and Zoning Commission Dec. 1 to hold a controlled burn on the dilapidated building at the rear of the church property.

“It looks like it’s falling down,” Zoning Enforcement Officer Chuck Dobrowski said.

An architect for the Connecticut Historical Commission has determined the building is beyond repair and has recommended demolition, he said.

Chris Martin, a church member who oversees maintenance on the buildings, said opinions differ on the age of the building. He said some evidence suggests it was standing when Israel Putnam had his inn on the property, but Martin said he has found building material inside, such as Sheetrock, that dates to the 1960s.

“Right now, it’s an eyesore and a health hazard,” Martin said.

He said the church sought a controlled burn for several reasons: It will be cheaper than demolition; it will decrease the amount of material that will end up in a landfill; and it will give the members of the Mortlake Fire Company a chance for training and practice.

More here-

Sunday, December 19, 2010

Churches try to prepare for the secession of southern Sudan

From Arizona-

With the Sudan referendum just a few weeks away, church and government groups are working hard to make sure Sudanese refugees in the US are allowed to vote while living outside their homeland and to assure the voting doesn’t lead to catastrophe.

In the US, more than 50 people of all ages, races, and nationalities attended the summit in Phoenix hosted by the Episcopal Diocese of Arizona this week. At least 15 dioceses were represented. Attending were the Rev. Angela Ifill, Episcopal Church black ministries officer; the Rev. Anderia Arok, pastor of St. Paul the Apostle Sudanese Church in Phoenix; Judith Conley of the Union of Black Episcopalians; Bishop Samuel Peni of Nzara, Sudan; and the Rev. Canon Petero Sabune, the Episcopal Church's Africa partnerships officer.Bishop Peni told ENS:

I think we in the last few days have discussed many things. We have deliberated over so many concerns, so many challenges," said Peni. "We have looked at where there have been gaps. Those gaps have been identified and we have put them forward and we will put them to the Episcopal Church to see how these gaps can be filled in. To make the community that lives here welcomed fully and that they can serve God here as well as at home.

More here-

Three Christmases The first two are easy; the third is a fearsome challenge to us all

From Pittsburgh Post-Gazette-

The First Christmas

American Christians have three holiday celebration options. The most obvious is the secular option: The Christmas of Santa and Society. There's no escaping it unless you become a hermit or hide your head in the ground. Like fish in water we are immersed in its delightful sights, sounds and fragrant scents emanating from evergreen and kitchen.

This is the Christmas of mistletoe and holly, of chestnuts roasting on an open fire and stockings hung by the chimney with care. It's the season for eggnog and fruitcakes, office parties and feasting. It's Deck the Halls and dreaming of a White Christmas. It's the time for jingle bells and Silver Bells, for jolly old St. Nick and Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer.

Its bottom line is measured mostly by commercial sales and profits. Join the shopping frenzy and you can understand why it sometimes leads to physical and emotional exhaustion. Its upside is that it can be so much fun, especially for little children. Its downside is that it can distract and keep us from something far better. Like a narcotic, it can numb us to our deeper needs and blind us to the season's larger meaning. Sadly, it is the only Christmas some ever know.

The Second Christmas
A second holiday option we can call The Christmas of Faith and Family. This is the Christmas of candlelight, Silent Night and O Holy Night. It's the Christmas of caroling, cantatas and children's charming pageants where everything that can possibly go wrong usually does. It's the Christmas of family gatherings and traditions.

Read more:

Saturday, December 18, 2010

Anglican Bishop calls for more pressure on Gbagbo

From Ghana-

He said everything must be done to ensure that the decision made by the majority of people in the country's presidential run-off was respected and not subverted.

Cote d'Ivoire is in a political stalemate as President Gbagbo refuses to concede power to Mr.
Allasane Ouattara, who has been recognized by the United Nations (UN), United States (US), European Union (EU) and the sub-regional body ECOWAS as the winner of the poll.

Bishop Yinkah Sarfo said true democracy should be allowed to take firm root in Africa and that any talk about power sharing should be repudiated.

He was addressing the opening session of the 15th Synod of the Diocesan Anglican Church in Kumasi on Wednesday. The four-day synod is under the theme: 'God's people for God's mission, Stewardship' and is being held at the Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology (KNUST).

Bishop Yinkah Sarfo said it was important that Ghana drew lessons from what was happening in the sister country and ensure further strengthening of the capacity of the Electoral Commission. He also advised that elections should not become 'a do or die affair', and that those, who put themselves up for elective offices, must accept the reality that there would always be winners and losers.

New Film Explores Challenges Faced By Religious Leaders

From NPR-

This is TELL ME MORE from NPR News. I'm Michel Martin.

We'll hear what stories caught your ear this week in our Backtalk segment. That's just ahead.

But, first, Faith Matters. That's where we talk about matters of faith and spirituality. And today we want to talk about the people most people rely upon, even in this increasingly secular country to sanctify marriages, welcome children and memorialize those who've passed away. They are faith leaders, members of the clergy. And it's a job that can have them on call 24 hours a day, seven days a week, 365 days a year.

And usually, despite what you may have seen and heard about the various scandals, for pretty modest pay. How do you get there, though? How does it happen that people choose this way of life? A new two-part documentary that premieres on PBS on Monday night tells the story of seven young people, both men and women, and how they found and pursued their calling. It is called "The Calling." It's part of the PBS series "Independent Lens."

Joining us to talk more about it executive producer Daniel Alpert. Also with us is one of the seven people profiled in the film. She is Jeneen Robinson, a newly ordained minister in Los Angeles for the African Methodist Episcopal Church. Thank you both so much for joining us.

Ms. JENEEN ROBINSON (Minister, African Methodist Episcopal Church, Los Angeles): Thank you, Michel.

Mr. DANIEL ALPERT (Executive Producer, "The Calling"): Thanks for having us.

MARTIN: So, Daniel, I have to ask you, first, what drew you to this story?

Mr. ALPERT: Well, I think my history with this project goes back a long, long way. When I was a young man, I did consider becoming a rabbi. I woke up about four months before I was to enter a pre-rabbinical program, sitting up - I don't know if this has ever happened to you before - you actually open your eyes, you're sitting up, realizing that that wasn't the path for me. But it certainly always left me with that what if question.

More here-