Saturday, January 9, 2010

News Updates Home » News Updates » 2010 » January » 8 Royally in Denial

From The Living Church-

Theologian Walter Brueggemann tells the story of Toots Shor, the famous New York saloonkeeper who died of cancer, who said just days before he died, “I don’t want to know what I have.” That’s the impression I sometimes have of our church: We don’t want to hear that we are in danger of terminal decline.

In The Prophetic Imagination, Brueggemann writes of a “royal consciousness” as he describes the conflict between the prophets and the government of Israel that had solidified royal power in Solomon. He uses Jeremiah as an example of a faithful prophet and talks extensively about the Solomonic regime, naming it the dominant or royal consciousness.

The prophets were continually calling Israel back to faithfulness. Their job was to remind the people of their death and the end of an age. They grieved the end of the age, the death of their people, and that what was so transparent to them was not so clear to anyone else.

Brueggemann describes the royal consciousness as “numbness,” “denial,” and “self-deception.” The task of the prophet is “to cut through the numbness, to penetrate the self-deception, so that the God of endings is confessed as Lord.”

More here-

Ancient labyrinths enjoying a resurgence

From the Denver Post-

A labyrinth is a narrow, circuitous, complicated, highly structured and unchanging pathway that is nevertheless said to be uncannily relaxing and profoundly playful.

Advocates say walking a labyrinth will quiet the mind, feed spiritual hunger, heal suffering, release the ego, bring order to chaos, amuse, amaze, transform the psyche and give firsthand experience of the divine.
It seems a tall order for a pattern on a floor.

Unlike a maze, designed to confuse, a labyrinth has no dead ends, or even choices. The path, though not obvious in all its twists and turns, leads only to the center.
"The labyrinth reflects back to you whatever you need to discover," said psychotherapist and Episcopal priest Lauren Artress, who will anchor a conference on following sacred paths in Arvada on Jan. 15-16.

As a member of two professions dedicated to changing people, Artress considers the labyrinth to be one of the most powerful tools of transformation she has encountered.

"We're always told what to believe, what to do. We're told. We're told. We're told," she said. "The labyrinth evokes our own deep intuitive wisdom about ourselves. "

Artress is largely credited with reviving the ancient spiritual discipline in contemporary Christian experience after it had largely slipped from awareness for some 350 years.
The labyrinth had re-emerged in the early 1980s, here and there, in relatively small circles of geomancers, dowsers and New Age adherents, said David Gallagher, executive director of the New York- based Labyrinth Society.

Read more:

Bishop and union clash over bullying

From The Church Times-

THE Bishop of Ripon & Leeds, the Rt Revd John Packer, has rejected claims by the Unite trade union that bullying among the clergy is “rife”.

The allegation is based on figures released by the union, which says it deals with 150 cases of bullying among the clergy a year. Unite currently has 2500 members in its faith-workers branch, the majority of whom are ministers of religion.

Last month, the union backed the Revd Mark Sharpe in his case against the diocese of Worcester. Mr Sharpe said that he had been the victim of a four-year campaign of harassment in the Teme Valley South benefice (News, 18/25 December). Unite described the benefice as “toxic” (see below).

Rachael Maskell, a national officer at Unite, said that cases of bullying among the clergy they were dealing with were becoming nastier, “to the point of criminal activity.

“Clergy are becoming seriously ill as a result of bullying, and some even suicidal. We want to see the Church being pro-active in stopping these cases in the first place, but there is a denial there’s an endemic problem.”

She said that bullying ranged from verbal, physical, and even sexual harassment, and called for a comprehensive new system to be brought in. The clergy should be granted the same employment rights as secular workers.

The Revd Gerry Barlow, a former Baptist minister who chairs the faith-workers branch, said that he had heard of several cases involving bishops. One example was the withdrawal of clergy licences “as a whole sale way of getting rid of clergy be fore common tenure is introduced”.
When he had worked on the Unite helpline four years ago, it received three calls a fortnight from clerics; this had gone up to three a week.

The rest is here-

Episcopal Relief and Development celebrates 2009 accomplishments

From Episcopal Life Online-

Episcopal Relief and Development said Jan. 7 that its two major achievements in 2009 were the implementation of a new strategic plan and the adoption of Episcopal Relief and Development Sunday.
That assessment came as the agency "express[ed] thanks for the generosity of Episcopalians in 2009," which it called "a challenging year."

It said in a press release that "fundraising efforts have been a great success, as donors continued to contribute despite the tough economic climate."

ERD launched its new strategic plan in the spring of 2009 after 18 months of consideration. The plan identified five goals for the organization: international programs, US disaster preparedness and response, visibility and awareness, funding and church engagement.

"These goals are crucial to Episcopal Relief & Development's continued success as they set organizational priorities through the triennium," the release said. "In particular, the increased focus on church engagement will bolster the agency's relationships with congregations by increasing networking, providing churches with tools and resources and utilizing social media to keep supporters informed and involved."

The 76th General Convention, meeting in Anaheim, California in July, officially designated Lent as a time to encourage the church to work with Episcopal Relief & Development. Resolution A178 "encourage[d] dioceses, congregations and individuals to remember and support the life-saving work of Episcopal Relief and Development during Lent through prayer and a special offering that will help heal a hurting world."

More here-

Friday, January 8, 2010

Archbishop of York Would Not Qualify as Clergy under Labour’s Equality Bill

From England-

One of the Church of England’s most prominent churchmen has said that under Labour’s proposed Equality Bill, he would fail to meet a government definition of clergy for purposes of protection against anti-discrimination lawsuits.

John Sentamu, the Archbishop of York, told the House of Lords during a debate on the bill, “The movers of the bill may be of the view that archbishops and other clergy work only on Sundays, but if one looks at my diary, you will find that most of my days and evenings are not filled with preaching or taking services.”

“The same would go for most clergy and ministers and, I am sure, for leaders within other religious communities as well. The exemption is flawed,” he added.

Wording in the bill includes a definition of the phrase “for the purposes of organised religion,” saying the exemption from employment discrimination law applies only when “the employment wholly or mainly in-volves (a) leading or assisting in the observation of liturgical or ritualistic practices of the religion, or (b) pro-mo-ting or explaining the doctrine of the religion (whether to followers of the religion or to others).”

The Labour government has claimed that the bill does nothing more than consolidate existing legislation and regulations. Last month, Michael Foster, Labour's minister for Equality admitted, however, that passage of the Equality bill could lead to a flurry of legal actions against Christians who retain the traditional beliefs and practices of their faith.

More here-

Making way for women bishops

From Christian Today-

In the lead-up to legislation to approve women priests in the Church of England, a package was put before the then Archbishop of Canterbury which would have effectively created a “church within a church” for opponents.
Runcie is said to have rejected it out of hand. “I don’t want to go down in history as the Archbishop who presided over the break-up of the Church of England.”

The spotlight has moved to women bishops but the issue of how to make provisions for a minority which is unable to accept them continues to snag progress. The next sessions of the General Synod to be held in February 2010 may well be decisive.

In July 2008, the Revision Committee on Women in the Episcopate met to draft legislative proposals for debate in February. To the consternation of those in favour of women bishops they announced a way forward which on the face of it seemed contrary to what they had been instructed to do by the July sessions.

More here-

The church fights back against Islamification

From The London Telegraph-

We have had to wait decades for this moment, but it has finally happened. A leading British clergyman has said something sensible about immigration.

Lord Carey of Clifton, the former Archbishop of Canterbury, this week signed a declaration by the Cross Party Group on Balanced Migration calling for an urgent tightening of borders to stop the British population reaching 70 million by 2029. He also gave an interview yesterday in which he called for a tougher Church. "We Christians are very often so soft that we allow other people to walk over us, and we are not as tough in what we want, in expressing our beliefs, because we do not want to upset other people," he said.

Tougher church … people walking all over us … controls on immigration: it really is not all that difficult to join the dots. Later in the interview, Lord Carey almost joined them for us, suggesting that there might be a "points system" based on respect for Britain's Christian heritage.
Some of Lord Carey's critics will accuse him of blowing a dog whistle to racists. That is nonsense. Lord Carey is a veteran anti-racist: he enjoys the sort of following among African evangelicals that Bill Clinton did among black Americans. But if Lord Carey were accused of whistling to Christians worried by the prospect of millions of dogmatic Muslims in Britain, then he would find it difficult to rebut the charge. Politicised Islam is at the forefront of his mind: he knows that Britain's evangelical Christians are fed up with being told to develop ever closer ties with their Muslim neighbours.

More here-

Uganda Lawmaker Refuses to Withdraw Anti-Gay Bill

From The New York Times-

The Ugandan lawmaker who proposed a bill that would give some gays the death penalty said Friday he will refuse any request to withdraw the legislation after a minister said the government would ask him to.

Lawmaker David Bahati said he felt the bill is necessary in the conservative East African country. On Thursday, Minister of State for Investment Aston Kajara said the government would ask Bahati to scrap the bill because they fear backlash from foreign investors. The bill, which Bahati proposed in September, has provoked criticism from gay-rights groups and protests in London, New York and Washington.

''I stand by the bill,'' Bahati said. ''I will not withdraw it. We have our children in schools to protect against being recruited into (homosexuality). The process of legislating a law to protect our children against homosexuality and defending our family values must go on.''

The proposed legislation would toughen Uganda's already strict laws against homosexuality, which are bolstered by Uganda's conservative society.

The draft of the new bill says anyone convicted of a homosexual act -- which includes touching someone of the same sex with the intent of committing a homosexual act -- could face life imprisonment. The death sentence could apply to sexually active gays living with HIV or in cases of same-sex rape. The new law also expands its scope to include Ugandans living abroad, who can be extradited and punished.

More here-

Elvis Fans Mark 75th Birthday at His Beginning

Completely off Topic (as if we have one)

The simple white shotgun shack where Elvis Presley was born is so tiny it could easily fit inside a single room in the opulent Graceland mansion where he spent his final years — maybe in the Jungle Room with its green-carpeted ceiling.

While the focus on Elvis' 75th birthday Friday will be on Graceland, the international tourist attraction in Memphis that has become synonymous with the legend since his death in 1977, about hundreds of fans are expected to converge on his birthplace in northeastern Mississippi for a different perspective on the man who reshaped popular music by blending elements of black and white, blues and bluegrass, gospel and rockabilly to become arguably its most popular figure, the King of Rock 'n' Roll.

The 15-by-30-foot home in Tupelo, built in 1934 by Presley's father, grandfather and uncle, was on the poor side of town, and his family only stayed in the home until Presley was 2 1/2 because they couldn't afford the payments.

"We are presenting the unknown Elvis, the little boy Elvis," says Dick Guyton, director of the foundation that runs the Elvis Presley Birthplace in Tupelo, a city of 36,000 that sits 100 miles southeast of Memphis.

More here-

Thursday, January 7, 2010

Church of England to consider communion with conservatives in US

From The Times on line-

The Church of England is to consider recognising a new conservative church in the US in a move that will place further pressure on the Archbishop of Canterbury, Dr Rowan Williams, as he struggles to keep his fracturing Communion in one piece.

The General Synod will debate a private member’s motion next month calling for the Church of England to declare itself “in communion” with the Anglican Church in North America, formed in opposition to the pro-gay liberals in the official Anglican body in North America.

The synod, dominated by evangelicals, could pass the motion by a 50 per cent majority, adding to the pressure on the primates and bishops to recognise the new church.

The motion, put down by Lorna Ashworth an evangelical from the Chichester diocese, comes after The Episcopal Church in the US elected a lesbian priest, Mary Glasspool, to be a suffragan bishop in the Los Angeles diocese.

More here-

For Pete's sake, Hill family seeks truth

From the Pittsburgh Tribune Review-

Ron Hill showed little interest in his family tree, at least not until learning his great uncle was a former Negro Leagues star inducted into the National Baseball Hall of Fame in July 2006.

Pete Hill of Homewood, who died more than a half-century ago, entered the Cooperstown, N.Y., museum with little fanfare and no family present — and with a glaring error that his descendants are determined to correct.

Recent research has revealed the Hall of Fame plaque honoring their uncle bears the wrong first name. Hill, who played under the nickname Pete, is identified as Joseph Preston Hill instead of John Preston Hill, a mistake that could be unprecedented in a museum that honors the hall's 291 members.

The discovery of his Hall of Fame relative has revitalized Ron Hill, a retired major at the Allegheny County Jail who hasn't been the same since his 23-year-old son — coincidentally, named Joseph Hill — was killed in 2004.

"Ever since my son died, I've been standoffish," said Hill, 62, of Penn Hills. "Since this came up, it gave me a new outlook. I have a relative who is forgotten and no one to speak for him, so I'm speaking for him."

Ron Hill has made rectifying the error in his uncle's plaque a passion project. Pete Hill blazed a trail for Negro Leagues greats despite coming from a family only a generation removed from slavery, and Hill sees his great uncle as representative of the American dream.

Pete Hill starred for the Pittsburgh Keystones at the turn of the 20th century, is called "the catalyst and captain of the great Chicago American Giants clubs of the 1910s" on his Hall of Fame plaque and was described as "the greatest hitter in black baseball history" by baseball historian Phil Dixon.

His descendants, however, knew of their great uncle only as John Hill.

"His family didn't know who this 'Joseph' was, and he has a lot of family," said Pete Hill's great niece, Leslie Penn, 65, a Peabody High graduate who lives in Los Angeles. "The family history is a passion for me. Pete Hill is an obsession for my cousin Ron Hill."

More here-

Signs, signs every where signs #25

Way to go Sonny!

Confidence in the Covenant?

From Ruth Gledhill-

In spite of all that I have written, it seems to me that schism in the Anglican Communion is not a fact. I would argue that it has not actually taken place. The Anglican Communion is still ‘teetering on the brink’, still ‘looking over the precipice’, but it hasn’t jumped. I base this conclusion - journalists are trained from the cradle to start not end stories with their conclusions - on all there is to base it on, the ‘instruments’ of the Communion.

We are used to hearing about the ‘music of the spheres’ but now there is a stranger song, the ‘music of the schism’.

In spite of the boycott of one instrument of communion, the Lambeth Conference, by some provinces in 2008, the last two Primates’ meetings have been fully attended apart from absentees explicable for reasons other than those at the root of the present debate. The next meeting will be in 2011, so perhaps we won’t have formal schism until then. But even that might not count. The ultimate arbiter might have to be the Archbishop of Canterbury, Dr Rowan Williams, himself one of the four instruments of unity.

So far the instruments have been remarkably in tune with each other. They have produced the fourth ‘movement’, or draft, of that strange symphony that is the orchestration of the Anglican Covenant. It’s had its jarring Stockhausen moments along the way, to be sure, but the overall effect, now it is finished, is of pleasing moderation, even harmony. In post-modern Anglican fashion, and to mix musical metaphors, we might yet get a ‘middle eight’, if the Anglican Church in North America finally decides to apply for membership of the Anglican Consultative Council. The primates, a source tells me, have been expecting this application at the last two meetings but it has never arrived.

The sense I get is that, were they to go ahead, they would certainly be in with a chance of being recognised, either alongside or even in place of The Episcopal Church. Then I’d have to execute one of those complicated ‘coda al fine’ manoeuvres in print and the last movement would last a little longer. But as yet there is no sign of that happening.

More here-

Anglican body backs blocking of lesbian bishop

From Religious Intelligence-

A communiqué released at the close of the first meeting of the newly constituted Inter-Anglican Standing Commission on Unity, Faith and Order (UFO) has backed the Archbishop of Canterbury’s call for the Episcopal Church to reject the election of a partnered lesbian priest as suffragan bishop of Los Angeles.

On Dec 8 the commission said it was their “fervent hope that 'gracious restraint' would be exercised by the Episcopal Church” and the election of Canon Mary Glasspool be rejected.

Meeting in Canterbury from Dec 1-8 the commission set out five “immediate tasks.”

To reflect on the “Instruments of Communion”; to define what an Anglican Church might be; to promote the Anglican Covenant; to study the ‘reception’ process for innovations in the life and witness of the church; and to look at how local ecumenical agreements affected the wider communion.

The brainchild of the Archbishop of Canterbury, the UFO commission builds upon the previous work of Inter-Anglican committees on ecumenical relations and doctrine and the Windsor Continuation Group.

Critics have charged the commission has come rather late in the game to have any meaningful affect on preserving the Communion.

The formal communiqué also makes reference to the “Anglican Communion Office” and the “Standing Committee of the Anglican Communion” two legally non-existent bodies. Under Archbishop George Carey, attempts by the staff of the Anglican Consultative Council to operate under the name of the “Anglican Communion Office” were discouraged.

Under Archbishop Rowan Williams the ACC staff have taken on the working name of “Anglican Communion Office”, but as the review of the finances of Lambeth 2008 noted, this was not its legal identity, but a nickname.

More here-

Bishop Griswold’s Next Chapter

From The Living Church-

The Most Rev. Frank T. Griswold III, the Episcopal Church’s 25th Presiding Bishop from 1998 to 2006, fills his days with teaching and writing, international travel — and babysitting his granddaughters.

With his wife, Phoebe, Bishop Griswold has returned to Philadelphia, which has played an important role throughout his life. He was born in Bryn Mawr in 1937 and served three area churches before his election as the Diocese of Chicago’s bishop coadjutor in 1985. He was elected Presiding Bishop by the 72nd General Convention, which met in Philadelphia in 1994.

Bishop Griswold spoke with The Living Church at Daylesford Abbey, where he and former staff member Barbara Braver led an Advent retreat.

He has written a book centered on prayer and the sacramental life. Praying Our Days: A Guide and Companion, which the bishop describes as a “contemporary manual of prayer,” is now in its second printing. He is considering a request to write a book focused on varied dimensions of pastoral and liturgical ministry for clergy and those considering the possibility of ordination.

But when his older daughter, Hannah, and her husband call from New York City with a request for babysitters, the smitten grandparents drop their projects and come running, he said.

“One of the blessings of living close by in Philadelphia is the possibility of frequent visits back and forth with our family,” he said. “Phoebe and I find that our two granddaughters are a special joy. They have led me to revive an interest in puppetry, and making up stories, particularly about naughty children.”

More here-

The Rt Rev Mgr Graham Leonard

From The London Telegraph-

The Right Reverend and Right Honourable Monsignor Graham Leonard, who died on January 6 aged 88, was the most senior Anglican churchman to convert to the Roman Catholic Church since the Reformation.

During 10 years as Bishop of London, the third most senior see in the Church of England, he proved a controversial figure because of his strong conservative views on most aspects of faith, morals and Church order at a time when there were proposals for many changes in all Churches.

With considerable skill in the realm of Church politics, he also led an effective assault in the House of Lords on the 1988 Education Reform Bill, which secured the strengthening of the place of religious education in schools. He checked plans to unite the Church of England and the Methodists, and ensured that the formal ban on divorced people being remarried in church was maintained.

As the representative of a minority, he succeeded in these efforts by the careful organisation of votes rather than by powerful advocacy in debate; and he acted in a mood of increasing exasperation with what he saw as Archbishop Robert Runcie's efforts to hold the Church of England together at the expense of doctrinal considerations.

Unlike one of his suffragans, Leonard agreed to ordain women deacons – a decision about which he was to remain uneasy. But he could not avoid forever his Waterloo, in the form of women priests. As the issue loomed at the Lambeth conference of 1988, he was sufficiently concerned one night to ask Cardinal Cardinale, the former apostolic nuncio, who was in London, to come to see him; Cardinale calmly told him to remain where he was, for the sake of ecumenicism.

The rest is here-

McCardell named Sewanee president

From Chattanooga-

Trustees at Sewanee: The University of the South named a university president Wednesday to succeed Joel Cunningham, who led the campus for more than a decade.

John McCardell is a former president of Middlebury College, a top-ranked, liberal arts college in Vermont. He will take office July 1 as the 16th president and vice chancellor of Sewanee, an Episcopal liberal arts college.

"I look forward to working with the entire Sewanee community to advance what I consider one of the true gems of American higher education," Dr. McCardell said in a statement.

"The prospect of serving a unique institution whose history and traditions are so inextricably tied to the American South and to the Episcopal Church, and where the academic attainment of its faculty, students and alumni is so distinguished, was one to which I felt particularly drawn."

Dr. McCardell, 60, served as Middlebury president from 1992 until 2004. He has worked as a historian specializing in 19th-century U.S. history and advocate to lower the legal drinking age from 21 to 18.

In 2006, Dr. McCardell founded Choose Responsibly, which promotes debate about the effects of a legal drinking age of 21. Two years ago he co-sponsored the Amethyst Initiative, a statement signed by 135 college and university presidents that challenges drinking-age laws.

"He is an inspirational leader who will strengthen Sewanee's historic commitment to excellence in the liberal arts and service to the Episcopal Church," university Chancellor J. Neil Alexander said in a statement. "We are delighted that he has answered this call to service."

More here-

Presiding Episcopal Bishop Pays Courtesy Call on President

From Liberia-

The presiding bishop of The Episcopal Church of the United States of America, the Most Reverend Dr. Katherine Jefferts Schori, has told the Liberian leader, President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, that the “healing of the country will be best for Africa and the rest of the world”.
Schori made the observation Tuesday, January 5, at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, where she paid a courtesy call on the President.

The Episcopal Bishop acknowledged the partnership that has existed between the Episcopal Church in Liberia and the Government. She said the Episcopal Church in Liberia has remained committed, faithful and persevering to the partnership with the Liberian Government over the years.
Schori said her visit to Liberia and her meeting with the first female president of Africa was a privilege.

“We are your partner in prayers; we commend you for the level of transformation in Liberia,” she told the President, adding that the Episcopal Church in Liberia is grateful to the current leadership of the President and the people of Liberia.

In response, Sirleaf recounted the history of the partnership that has existed between the Episcopal Church in Liberia and the Government, which goes as far back as the 1800s.
She named the areas of health, education, national healing and prayers, among others, as major contributing factors to the growth and development of the country.

The Liberian leader congratulated the Episcopal Bishop for her ascendency as first female bishop of the Episcopal Church.

The Liberian leader told the visiting Episcopal Bishop that after many years of civil unrest, Liberia is on the path to regaining its status once more among the comity of nations.

More here-

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Dawson earns long-awaited Hall call

From MLB_

On the sixth day of the new decade, "The Hawk" took flight.

After waiting eight long years to make it to the National Baseball Hall of Fame, Andre Dawson is this year's sole electee, it was announced on Wednesday. Roberto Alomar and Bert Blyleven, who came oh so close, will have to wait another year.

Dawson, an outfielder with power, who played most of his career on injured and fragile knees, made it on his ninth try, earning 77.9 percent of the votes cast by eligible members of the Baseball Writers' Association of America, with his name included on 420 of the 539 ballots. Last year, he missed the cut with 67 percent of the vote.

"If you're a Hall of Famer you're eventually going to get in," said Dawson, whose first 16 of 21 seasons were played with the old Montreal Expos and the Cubs. "It was well worth the wait. I can't really describe the elation when my family and I got the call."

Dawson will be inducted on July 25 in Cooperstown, N.Y., along with manager Whitey Herzog and umpire Doug Harvey, who were elected in December by the Veterans Committee.

More here-

Happy Epiphany!

Migrants should understand Christian heritage, says former Anglican leader

From The London Telegraph-

Lord Carey, the former head of the Anglican church, said anyone wanting to come to Britain should be aware of the nation's history and language.

He said the points based system governing immigration could even reward those who understand and espouse our heritage but insisted he was not calling for such a move.

It comes a day after a cross party group of public figures, including Lord Carey, warned a failure to limit immigration could put "social harmony" at risk.

The group has called for all main political parties to make manifesto commitments to keep the population under 70 million by slashing net immigration.

Lord Carey said: "What I think we must call for is an understanding on the part of those who come into our country that they are coming into one which values parliamentary democracy, which is built upon our Christian heritage.

"They have got to understand our commitment to the English language and espouse it, and they must understand our history."

More here-

BERMUDA: Church celebrates first female priest

From Episcopal Life Online-

Although the Rev. Joanna Pauline Hollis was ordained to the priesthood in Santa Barbara, California, Anglicans in her native Bermuda have recently seen her ministry showcased in their local media.
Hollis, 34, preached on Jan. 3 at St. James Church in Somerset, Bermuda, where her father is the priest-in-charge and in which she grew up.

"I preached about spiritual blessings," she told the Royal Gazette newspaper for a Jan. 4 article. "Basically I talked about God's love and grace is all around us and if we pay attention to what God is doing around us then we can recognize this love and this grace. I spoke about the spiritual blessing in Ephesians and I kind of compared that to the blessings of my mother."

The article about Hollis in the Hamilton-based newspaper was its second in two days.

Hollis' Dec. 10 ordination at Trinity Episcopal Church in Santa Barbara, where she serves as associate rector, is thought to be the first of a Bermudian woman in the Anglican faith, according to an earlier Gazette report. The Anglican Church of Bermuda only recently voted to ordain women.

"I think at this point, I haven't wrapped my head about it because you know in California, where I am, I'm not thinking about it because there's females all over the place. But I am coming to realize the significance and the importance," Hollis told the newspaper. "It doesn't have anything to do with me personally, but it's important for the women of the Anglican Church in Bermuda and in general. It's pretty significant and I am honored to be the one who's representing this movement."

More here-

From Liberia-

Cuttington University, founded in 1889 by the Protestant Episcopal Church of the United States as Cuttington College and Divinity School, yesterday conferred the honorary degree Doctor of Divinity on the church’s presiding bishop, Most Rev. Dr. Katherine Jefferts Schori.

The bishop arrived in Liberia last Saturday on a weeklong visit as guest of Episcopal diocesan Bishop Jonathan B.B. Hart and his wife, Frances Amanda Hart.

Schori is the first woman to be elected presiding bishop. She is also the first Episcopal presiding bishop in recent memory to visit Liberia.

In his citation, read before the honorary degree was awarded, Cuttington’s president, Dr. Henrique Tokpa, described Schori as “a multi-talented individual” who is also an active, instrument-rate pilot, a skill which she applied when traveling between congregations of the Diocese of Nevada during her episcopacy there.

Schori grew up in the Seattle, Washington area, and spent most of her life in the West. She was married in 1979 to Richard Miles Schori, a retired Mathematician (Topologist), a marriage that was blessed with a daughter who is a captain and pilot in the U.S. Air Force. Having obtained a Bachelor of Science (BSc.) degree in Biology from Stanford University, Schori proceeded to obtain a Master of Science (M.S.) degree and a Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.) degree in Oceanography from Oregon State University.

“Your career as an Oceanographer was therefore well grounded,” Tokpa told the honoree.
“Still in quest of knowledge, however, you proceeded to obtain a Master of Divinity degree (M.Div.) from Church Divinity School of the Pacific and was ordained priest in 1994 and in 2000, elected Bishop of Nevada. At the time of your election as Bishop of Nevada, you were not only a priest, but a university lecturer and hospice chaplain in Oregon.”

More here-

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

No Logic in Hall of Fame Voting

From ESPN (Tomorrow is the HOF vote)

Baseball Hall of Fame voting is kind of like Tiger Woods: the more you try to analyze it, the less sense it makes.

For example, Jim Rice received 29.8 percent of the vote his first year on the ballot. His support slowly increased, and in his 15th and final year he received 76.4 percent and was elected. Don Mattingly -- similar in many regards to Rice: played for a big-market team, won an MVP award, never won a World Series -- started about the same place as Rice, with 28.2 percent of the vote. But his support has fallen to 11.9 percent.

And consider these two players:

Player A: .388 OBP, .459 SLG, 135 HR, 1383 runs, 1139 RBI, 319 SB, one top-5 MVP year

Player B: .385 OBP, .425 SLG, 170 HR, 1571 runs, 980 RBI, 808 SB, one top-5 MVP year

The two players were nearly exact contemporaries. Both were outfielders. Player A scored 100 runs just twice; Player B scored 100 runs six times. Player B actually reached base more times in his career. According to, both players finished with 1,636 runs created, using a near identical number of outs.

Not a whole of difference between the two, is there? Now, I left out one piece of information: Player A finished with 3,141 hits, while Player B had 2,605. Player A is Tony Gwynn, who was elected with 97.6 percent of the vote. Player B is Tim Raines, who received just 22.6 percent last year.

Here's another one:

Player A: .279 AVG, .323 OBP, .482 SLG, 438 HR, 1591 RBI, 1373 runs, 2774 hits, three top-5 MVP years

Player B: .290 AVG, .339 OBP, .471 SLG, 339 HR, 1493 RBI, 1272 runs, 2712 hits, five top-5 MVP years

The two players were nearly exact contemporaries and spent most of their time in the National League before going over to the AL. Both won MVP awards. Both won multiple Gold Glove awards. Both had cool nicknames. Player B won two World Series; Player A never appeared in one.

More here-

Archbishop Praises MDGs

From The Living Church (includes video)

The Archbishop of Canterbury used his New Year message to commend the Millennium Development Goals as a continuing focus for relieving the suffering of people across the world.

“The truth is that there are fewer and fewer problems in our world that are just local. Suffering and risk spread across boundaries, even that biggest of all boundaries between the rich and the poor,” Archbishop Rowan Williams said in the video, which depicts him taking a brief stroll along the banks of the Thames River.

“If we look back, quite a bit has been achieved,” the archbishop said. “There is hope but so much remains to be done: each year, nine million children still die before reaching their fifth birthday — from avoidable disease, from violence and undernourishment.”

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Pro-Mugabe bishop locks out faithful

From Zimbabwe-

Thousands of Zimbabwean Anglicans are being locked out of churches and cathedrals, and forced to hold services in the street, amid a worsening row between two Church factions that mirrors the country's political crisis.

The Archbishops of Canterbury and York have condemned Zimbabwean authorities for siding with Nolbert Kunonga, the dismissed former bishop of Harare. Archbishops Rowan Williams and John Sentamu said the "unprovoked intimidation of worshippers" reflected the ongoing oppression of those perceived to be sympathetic to the opposition.

Mr Kunonga, who claims to be a fervent supporter of President Robert Mugabe, was sacked in February 2008 by his superiors in the Church of the Province of Central Africa. He claimed to be unconvinced by the province's stand against Anglican moves to ordain homosexuals.

But critics of Mr Kunonga say he is simply power-hungry and is using the homosexuality issue as an excuse to ingratiate himself with President Mugabe, even though Mr Mugabe is a Catholic. Mr Kunonga has claimed his opponents are supporters of the Movement for Democratic Change, which they deny.

The scene on a recent Sunday on the corner of Baker Avenue and Second Street, where the stone cathedral of St Mary's and All Saints has stolidly stood since 1934, is being replicated at churches all over the country. Congregants, two drummers and members of the choir arrived in dribs and drabs and gathered around the heavy oak doors, waiting for someone to turn up with the key.

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Presiding Bishop urges Liberian Anglicans to 'help each child in this nation'

From Episcopal Life Online-

Precious Johnson, 22, arrived at Trinity Cathedral here Jan. 3 expecting to see the presiding bishop of the Episcopal Church. Johnson didn't expect to see a woman.
"I was expecting a man," she said outside the cathedral following the Eucharist. "I was excited to see a woman."

Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori preached and celebrated solemn high mass for more than 1,500 people on the second Sunday after Christmas at the cathedral in central Monrovia, the capital of Liberia, a nation of nearly 3.5 million people on Africa's west coast.

At the invitation of the Episcopal Church of Liberia, Jefferts Schori arrived there Jan. 2 for a weeklong stay. The visit marks the first time Jefferts Schori has been the official guest of an African church.

In his announcements during the Eucharist, Liberia Bishop Jonathan B. Hart extended an official welcome to Jefferts Schori and dozens of native-born Liberians, including the Rev. Theodora Brooks, vicar of St. Margaret's Episcopal Church in Bronx, New York, who were visiting the country and the cathedral.

For the first time in 20 years, William Tobah, 37, a member of St. Mark's Cathedral in Minneapolis, made the trip home to Liberia.

"Me and a bunch of friends who left came back," he said, adding that when he heard news reports that Jefferts Schori would be celebrating at Trinity Cathedral, he decided to take the opportunity to see her.

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Monday, January 4, 2010

Bishop praises emergency services after Shrewsbury explosion

From The Dicese of Lichfield-

The Anglican Bishop of Shrewsbury has today praised the county’s emergency services following yesterday’s major explosion in Shrewsbury town centre which injured 12 people.

The Right Revd Mark Rylands said: “Like most people in the town I have been following developments with great concern and I am relieved that so few people have been injured.

“My thoughts and prayers are with those who have been hurt as a result of this explosion, especially the young man and women with the most serious injuries.

“But I would also like to express my admiration and gratitude for the bravery and hard work of the emergency services who have worked tirelessly throughout the day yesterday to ensure that nobody was trapped in the rubble. It is all too easy to take our emergency services for granted. Their immediate reaction to the explosion demonstrates just how fortunate we are to be supported by so many dedicated people working for the police, fire and ambulance services. We should hold them all in our prayers.”

He added: “There is bound to be considerable disruption in the next day or so and access to familiar routes through the town is likely to be blocked by road and pavement closures. I urge people to show understanding and co-operate with the emergency services and council officials as they work to find the cause of the explosion and bring life back to normal.”

Armed men storm church

From Nigeria-

Service was brought to a halt yesterday at the St Paul Anglican Church, Sodubi, Abeokuta when thugs, armed with dangerous weapons, invaded the church because the priest was allegedly being too blunt in his preaching. Some of the words he used were said to have offended some highly placed individuals who attend the church.
The crisis, which pitched a section led by a former senator and Baba ijo (father of the congregation), Femi Okunrounmu against those in support of the Venerable of the Church, Olumuyiwa Ilekoya, led to the suspension of service at the church as the worshipers who gathered for the first Sunday service of the new year scattered.

NEXT gathered that the crisis started after Mr. Ilekoya was prevented from entering the church by the camp allegedly opposed to his preaching. The offence of the cleric was traced to his sermon on the New Year eve, which a source said was not well received by some church elders. Mr. Ilekoya, at the service, warned political leaders to mend their ways or face the wrath of God.

It was said that shortly afterwards, a meeting was held where retaliatory measures were allegedly planned against the priest, to be executed in yesterday's service.

In a twinkle, what started like child-play quickly degenerated with the emergence of thugs numbering about six who came to man the church entrance and prevent the cleric and other supposed opponents of the angry elders' faction from entering the church.

Sensing danger, many worshippers left the church in droves, while the Venerable and some other elders of the church in his support relocated to Mission House, which is situated directly opposite the church.

More here-

Nigeria:Primate Akinola Tasks Politicians On Poverty Alleviation

From All Africa-

Most Rev. Peter Akinola, Primate of the Church of Nigeria, Anglican Communion, on Saturday urged Nigeria's political leaders to work toward the reduction of poverty in the country. Akinola made the call in Ile-Ife during the interdenominational service held to commemorate the 80th birthday anniversary of the Ooni of Ife, Oba Okunade Sijuwade, Olubuse II.

He noted that Nigeria had abundant resources that could be harnessed and used to enhance the citizens' living standards, adding that the bane of the country was crass mismanagement, corruption and other forms of malfeasance."In the midst of abundance, Nigerians now use second-hand clothes, cars and other materials, as they cannot afford to purchase new products due to hardship," he said

Akinola, however, warned those in authority to exhibit the fear of God in their daily interactions and repent from their evil ways to avoid God's wrath.

The primate extolled the virtues of Sijuwade and urged him to move closer to God,

"You have accomplished your mission in life; if there is excess luggage, be it money, women, tradition or anything that can block your way to heaven, please let it go, shake it off, so that you can enjoy eternal life," Akinola said.

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Sunday, January 3, 2010

Anglican Primate Akinola extols Ooni’s virtues

From Vanguard (Nigeria)

THE Primate, Anglican Communion, Rt Rev Jasper Akinola, has described the Ooni of Ife, Oba Okunade Sijuwade, as a humble monarch, who has the fear of God at heart.

Akinola, who preached during an interdenominational church service organised to commemorate the Ooni’s 80th birthday ceremony, yesterday in Ile-Ife, said Sijuwade maintained a good relationship with God despite the allure of royalty.

He urged Nigerians to emulate the virtues of the traditional ruler, which he listed as humility, godliness and compassion.

The primate recalled that the Ooni removed his crown and went down on his knees during a prayer session, stressing that the act exemplified the traditional ruler as God-fearing.
Dignitaries from the public and private sectors graced the ceremony, which was the climax of a two-day celebration that witnessed presentation of chieftaincy titles to distinguished Nigerians and non-Nigerians.

Provost, College of Humanities, Osun State University, Ikire Campus, Professor Siyan Oyeweso, reviewed a book entitled, Ile-Ife, to commemorate the occasion.

Oyeweso, a professor of history, warned that Nigeria must not lose sight of its past in charting a course for the future. President of Republic of Benin , Dr Thomas Boni Yayi, was the guest of honour while the Asantehene of Kumasi, King Otumfuo Osei Tutu, was the chairman of the occasion.

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