Saturday, March 20, 2010

Episcopal Diocese is ruled owner of Bishop Seabury Church in Groton

From Connecticut-

A Superior Court judge has ruled that the Episcopal Diocese of Connecticut is the rightful owner of Bishop Seabury Church in Groton and that the congregation now occupying the 6.5-acre site must turn over the church and all of its property to the diocese.

The Rev. Ronald Gauss, who retired from the Episcopal church after three decades and led his parish away from the church, said the parish plans to appeal. The split involves Gauss' disagreement over several issues, including the church's approval in 2003 of the ordination of an openly gay Episcopal minister in New Hampshire.

Gauss said Friday that he would be telling the congregation of the court's decision prior to Sunday's service. He added that he would not be surprised if this court battle, and similar ones taking place around the country involving conservative parishes that have split with the church, end up in front of the U.S. Supreme Court.

For now, the case will go to the state appellate court.

"As far as I'm concerned, God is going to take care of it," Gauss said Friday.

Gauss was deposed, or removed as a priest, after the church determined he had formally abandoned it. In 2007, Gauss' congregation became affiliated with the Convocation of Anglicans in North America.

In granting the diocese's motion for summary judgment - a request for a decision without trial - Judge Barry K. Stevens cited a 1993 U.S. Supreme Court decision and state law that required him to examine the church's system of government to determine whether the diocese held authority over the parish.

"The constitutions and canons of the Episcopal church create a hierarchical religious structure that evidence the general church's interest in local parishes," Stevens wrote.

Stevens wrote that Bishop Seabury Church is held in trust by the diocese and Episcopal church.

More here-

In the Pews: Episcopal churches team up to support Hatian relief fund

From South Carolina-

Last Saturday's In the Pews featured an announcement about $30,000 recently raised to benefit the Bread and Water Relief Fund in Cange, Haiti.

Money not only was contributed by members of St. Christopher's Episcopal Church. The congregation at St. Matthew's Episcopal Church donated much of the $15,000 raised by church members, clarified the Rev. Joseph Smith, vicar of St. Christopher's.

The fundraiser was a joint effort of both Spartanburg churches.

The money was matched dollar-for-dollar by an anonymous donor in the Episcopal Diocese of Upper South Carolina and contributed to the Bread and Water Relief Fund in honor of Rogers S. Harris and his wife, Anne. Harris was priest of St. Christopher's for several years before he was elected suffragan bishop of the Episcopal Diocese of Upper South Carolina.

Friday, March 19, 2010

Akinola tackles Gaddafi over divisive comments

From The Punch (Nigeria)-

The outgoing Primate of the Church of Nigeria, (Anglican Communion), Most Reverend Peter Akinola, has described a call by Libyan leader, Mmammar Gaddafi, that Nigeria should split along religious lines as “unreasonable.”

Akinola made the remarks in an interview with newsmen in Ilorin on Thursday shortly after he performed the dedication of the St. James Anglican Church and the first phase of the Diocese of Kwara Guest House complex.

But Akinola said that Gaddafi’s suggestion was irrational and advised Nigerians to ignore him.

He said, “How can you be calling for the splitting of Nigeria into separate Christian and Muslim countries when you have Christians who are indigenes of the north and Muslims who are indigenes of the south and vice versa within the country.”

“I have said it many times that Gaddafi is not a reasonable person, and I want to advise that we should ignore him,” he added.

He maintained that the Libyan leader was not worth giving any attention, noting that in most parts of Nigeria, both Christians and Muslims were interrelated within families and communities.

He advised Gaddafi to keep quiet instead of making inciting remarks on sensitive matters.

“Gadafi is known for making outrageous and inflammable remarks. I think it will be better if he sits down quietly.”

The child abuse by Catholic priests was sickening. The fact they acted without shame is terrifying

From The London Guardian-

There are two distinct aspects to the sex abuse scandal in the Roman Catholic church. First, there is the abuse itself, inflicted by priests, monks and nuns on children in their care; and second, there are the cover-ups of which church authorities have subsequently been accused. It may well be true, as Andrew Brown has argued in his Guardian blog, that there is more child abuse outside the Catholic church than within it. But given the trust that the Catholic faithful traditionally place in their pastors, and the church's insistence on the need to protect the innocence of children, it seems particularly shocking when priests are involved in it.

For that reason, one might expect a bishop to act decisively against the evil of child abuse when it is discovered among the priests in his diocese; and while the occurrence of the abuse itself is obviously the greater abomination, the failure of many bishops to do this may be even more damaging in the long run to the authority of the church. To cover up what Pope John Paul II called "a grave sin", and to ignore his assertion that "there is no place in the priesthood or religious life for those who would harm the young", seems a serious dereliction of episcopal duty.

It also makes the church look more interested in its own reputation than in the welfare of its flock. And that, indeed, was what the Murphy commission, set up by the Irish government to investigate abuse in the Dublin archdiocese, concluded last year when it said that the church authorities had engaged in "the maintenance of secrecy, the avoidance of scandal, the protection of the reputation of the church, and the preservations of its assets". This was a terrible verdict, but the reluctance of the church to admit fault or to hang out its dirty washing in public is, however reprehensible, not difficult to understand. A hierarchical institution claiming to have the sole right to interpret the Word of God does not lightly jeopardise its authority in such ways.

More here-

EL SALVADOR: IARCA primate, two others survive gunfire

From Episcopal Life Online-

The Anglican Episcopal Church of El Salvador March 18 publicly denounced the attempted murder of Bishop Martín Barahona and two others, according to a news release issued by the church.

The incident happened in Santa Tecla, El Salvador, on March 17 when an unknown man approached and fired upon Barahona, a church musician and Francis Martínez, the bishop's driver, according to news reports. Barahona was unharmed, but Martinez was hit in the stomach and his arm was broken by one of the gunshots. He is in "grave but stable condition," said the Rev. Lee Alison Crawford, rector of Trinity Church in Rutland, Vermont and a member of the Episcopal Church's Executive Council, in a telephone interview with ENS.

"At this point we don't know if there was a particular motivation or whether this was random, which is symptomatic of the pervasive violence that affects all sectors of daily life in El Salvador," she said.

Crawford, who is the canon missioner of the Anglican Episcopal Church of El Salvador, said she had been in touch with church members in El Salvador after receiving word of the shooting.

The ongoing violence in the country, she said, comes from a "complex combination" of factors, including gang and other criminal activity, a "profusion of arms floating around the country" since the end of the civil war in the early 1990s and the country's economic stresses.

More here-

The Separation: Bishop Mary Glasspool, Sola Scriptura, and the Episcopal Church

From Casper Wyoming (Via Philadelphia)

Mary Glasspool is an open, avowed, and active lesbian living in California and an active member of the Episcopal Church. She is now also the new assistant bishop for the Episcopal Diocese of Los Angeles.

Her recent election to the new position has national and even international ramifications. Local Episcopal churches, priests, knowledgeable lay members, and thousands of average members, find themselves on the front lines of a debate.

Episcopal churches in Casper, WY, are no different. Here too the debate is in full throat and people on both sides are feeling the pain of the issue in their personal and spiritual lives.

Pamela Kandt, a lay member of the Episcopal church in Casper, feels deeply about the schism which is currently ongoing in the church. She is clearly passionate about scripture and the context of it; desiring a serious, honest, and open, debate about what is found in the Word of God.

Pamela sees the context of the Bible in terms of what Jesus taught as superseding, or being superior to the Petrine and Pauline doctrines (doctrines evinced by Apostles Peter and Paul), in understanding what God wants for believers.

This paradigm in which she believes with such great conviction, applies in her view to any doctrinal questions/discrepancies between what the Apostles taught and what Jesus taught: therein lies the core of the dichotomy between the two sides.

More here-

Dr Rowan Williams criticises election of lesbian bishop, Mary Glasspool

From The London Times-

The Archbishop of Canterbury's office yesterday described the election of an openly lesbian bishop in the United States as "regrettable" and warned that it could further threaten the unity of the Anglican Communion.

The London office of Dr Rowan Williams responded to the election of Canon Mary Glasspool to a suffragan see in Los Angeles by warning of "important implications". The statement from Lambeth Palace said that further consultations would now take place and regretted that calls for restraint had not been heeded.

The Episcopal News Service reported that Canon Glasspool, who held from the start that her sexuality was not an issue, had received the necessary consents from bishops and standing committees in the US for her consecration by Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori to go ahead in May.

Her election comes after that of the Anglican Communion's first openly gay bishop, Gene Robinson of New Hampshire, whose election in 2003 took the worldwide Church to the brink of schism, where it remains. Both Bishop Robinson and Bishop-elect Glasspool have been with their current partners for many years.

More here-

Suspended Episcopal bishop to have last chance in May

From The Philadelphia Inquirer-

Suspended Episcopal Bishop Charles E. Bennison Jr. will get his last chance to make a case for reinstatement as head of the Diocese of Pennsylvania when he goes before a church appeals court in May.

In September 2008, a lower church court found Bennison guilty on two counts of failing to respond adequately when, as a new rector decades ago, he learned that his younger brother was having sexual relations with a minor.

John Bennison had been youth minister at St. Mark's Episcopal Church in Upland, Calif. The abuse began when the girl, a member of the parish, was 14.

After a four-day trial, the Court for the Trial of a Bishop ruled unanimously that Bennison should be removed from his post in the 55,000-member Pennsylvania Diocese, which comprises Philadelphia, Bucks, Montgomery, Delaware, and Chester Counties. The panel also ordered him stripped of all ordained status for "conduct unbecoming a member of the clergy."

During his appeal, Bennison has remained a bishop but relinquished administrative control of the diocese to a 10-person committee.

On May 4, the Court of Review for the Trial of a Bishop will meet at the Cathedral of St. John in Wilmington to hear two hours of arguments. The court, the final stop in the appeals process, will consist of nine diocesan bishops from as far away as Texas.

In his petition for an appeal, Bennison's lead attorney, James Pabarue, asserted that the girl had willfully concealed her relationship with John Bennison from his brother. He also contends that letters she wrote to John Bennison while she was in college suggest she remained devoted to him, contrary to her testimony.

John Bennison served as a priest in the San Francisco diocese until 2006, when news reports of the abuse - which he does not deny - led him to resign.

More here-

Also from the Living Church-

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Lambeth Regrets Consents for Canon Glasspool

From The Living Church-

A March 18 statement from Lambeth Palace has expressed the Archbishop of Canterbury’s concern about the confirmation of the Rev. Canon Mary Glasspool as a bishop suffragan for the Diocese of Los Angeles.

The statement notes that the Standing Committee of the Anglican Communion affirmed the call by the Anglican Consultative Council and Archbishop Rowan Williams for continued restraint regarding partnered gay and lesbian bishops; public blessings of same-sex couples; and cross-jurisdiction border crossings.

Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori and Ian Douglas, bishop-elect of the Diocese of Connecticut, attended the December meeting of the standing committee, which was formerly known as the Joint Standing Committee of the Primates and the Anglican Consultative Council.

Episcopal News Service quoted portions of the statement, and the Rev. Canon Kendall Harmon posted the full 80-word text on his weblog.

This is the full statement from Lambeth Palace:

It is regrettable that the appeals from Anglican Communion bodies for continuing gracious restraint have not been heeded. Following the Los Angeles election in December the archbishop made clear that the outcome of the consent process would have important implications for the communion. The Standing Committee of the Anglican Communion reiterated these concerns in its December resolution which called for the existing moratoria to be upheld. Further consultation will now take place about the implications and consequences of this decision.

Sewanee's School of Theology among six sites chosen to host communion-wide Bible project

From Episcopal Life Online-

The School of Theology at Sewanee: The University of the South has been chosen as one of six sites worldwide to host the Anglican Communion's "Bible in the Life of the Church" project.

The project, which was launched in December 2009 during the steering committee's first meeting in London, "aims to explore how Anglicans in different contexts actually use the Bible by exploring Scripture together and reflecting on the encounter; to produce resource materials for use at all levels of Christian education; and to re-evaluate the ways in which Anglicans have heard, studied, and received Scripture," according to a news release from Sewanee, an Episcopal Church-affiliated seminary in Tennessee.

"The School of Theology will host the North American group that will be part of a new exploration of the ways the Bible functions in the life of the church," the release says.

The Rev. Robert MacSwain, instructor of theology and Christian ethics at Sewanee and a member of the Bible project's steering committee, has been named the coordinator of the regional group, which will organize the project's case study work within Canada and the United States.

The Very Rev. Dr. William S. Stafford, dean of the School of Theology, said, "With our faculty, who all think hard and care deeply about the Scripture's use in the church, and with Education for Ministry spreading particularly effective ways for adults to reflect on the Word and their lives, Sewanee is a natural site for a project such as this. We are honored to serve the Anglican Communion in this way."

The other regional groups are located in East Africa (St. Paul's University, Limuru, Kenya), Southern Africa (University of KwaZulu-Natal and the Anglican House of Studies), Southeast Asia (Trinity Theological College, Singapore), Oceania (drawing on the resources of the theological colleges in Melbourne, Australia) and Europe (Queen's Foundation, Birmingham, England).

More here-

10 minutes with … Jean Zache Duracin

From Religious News Service-

It’s been more than two months since a 7.0 earthquake demolished Haiti’s capital. The rubble’s been pushed aside to make room for roadways, but that’s about the extent of the clean up.

Destruction surrounds Episcopal Bishop Jean Zache Duracin. His wife is being treated for injuries in the U.S., the rectory he called home is a pile of shattered bricks, and his car and office are buried beneath the rubble.

Yet Duracin remains buoyant, and says members of the Haiti diocese—the Episcopal Church’s largest—remain faithful.

Some answers have been edited for length and clarity.

Q. Where were you when the earthquake struck?

A. I was in my house. I can tell you that it was a miracle of God that I was saved and so I can talk today. I was in my car, in the garage, listening to the news, and then someone came to my house. I left the car and went to greet him. Some minutes after that, the earthquake came and even now, we cannot see the car. It’s a miracle, God’s miracle.

Q. People here seem to be resilient and hopeful. How do you sustain that hope?

A. Usually Haitian people are people of hope. They hope for a better future. The church has lost everything that it has; all the buildings are down. In all this, at the site of churches, you can go every Sunday and find many people gathered for worship. The church is there even though there are no buildings. We are there, the people are there.

Q. Where is God in all of this?

A. I think God is there. We’ve always been taught that we live in a fragile world. Our existence is fragile; that’s why we always ask God to be with us, to protect us. Even in the Lord’s Prayer we ask God to deliver us from evil --it is not that there is no evil just because God is there. God is there, and that’s why I think we have hope and why I think many people are alive, because God is with us and God has his plan for us.

More here-

Churches aim to help homeless families

From Montana-

A group of volunteers from area churches has agreed to take part in a new program aimed at helping homeless families find shelter and get back on their feet.

The city’s lack of a family emergency shelter and a place for women with sons has served as a point of contention for years. While solutions once seemed close at hand, few if any have materialized.

“Homelessness is so multifaceted, there isn’t a single answer,” said Liz Moore, chairwoman of the Helena Action Coalition on Homelessness. “If there was, we would have already come up with it.”

But a new program known as Family Promise and the volunteers it has enlisted could finally put a dent in homelessness in Helena. Five area churches have signed into the program to provide food and shelter to homeless families.

Under the program, each church would take a weeklong shift offering breakfast, dinner and a place to sleep to those accepted into the program. Ideally, Moore said, the program needs 10 local churches for the model to work, though 12 churches would be ideal.
“It’s one piece of the puzzle,” Moore said. “There are many folks who this program wouldn’t be an option for.”

The program is intended for families needing a fresh start. It’s not intended for people with untreated chemical dependency or mental illness. Nor can participating churches serve as a safe house for women fleeing new cases of domestic violence.

More here-

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Los Angeles Bishop-elect Glasspool receives church's consent to ordination

From Episcopal Church Online-

Diocese of Los Angeles Bishop-elect Mary Douglas Glasspool has received the required number of consents from diocesan standing committees and bishops with jurisdiction to her ordination and consecration as a bishop, the presiding bishop's office confirmed in a March 17 announcement.

Glasspool was elected on Dec. 5, 2009, the second of two bishops suffragan elected at the 114th annual convention in the Diocese of Los Angeles. In an unofficial tally, the diocese had announced on March 10 that Glasspool had received 61 consents, five more than the 56 required, from the church's diocesan standing committees.

Her consecration, along with that of the Rev. Canon Diane Jardine Bruce, who was elected a day earlier, are planned for May 15. Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori will be the chief consecrator.

The daughter of a priest, Glasspool was one of two openly gay candidates on the Los Angeles slate but maintained that her sexual orientation was "not an issue" in the election. She is the second openly gay partnered priest to be elected a bishop in the Episcopal Church. The first was Bishop Gene Robinson of New Hampshire, who was elected in 2003.

Bishop Jon Bruno of Los Angeles issued a statement giving thanks for the standing committees and bishops who consented to the two elections, saying they "have joined the Diocese of Los Angeles in recognizing and affirming the many gifts and skills of these highly qualified and experienced clerics."

An announcement of completion of a successful consent process for Bruce was made March 8.

"These historic elections bring the first women to the episcopate in the Diocese of Los Angeles. I give thanks for this, and that the standing committees and bishops have demonstrated through their consents that the Episcopal Church, by canon, creates no barrier for ministry on the basis of gender and sexual orientation, among other factors," Bruno said.

More here-

Pope to visit UK in September

From The Financial Times-

Pope Benedict will be received by Queen Elizabeth in Edinburgh in September, the UK government confirmed on Tuesday, announcing details of his historic visit to Britain which risks being overshadowed by a snowballing sexual abuse scandal engulfing the Catholic church.

Although the German-born pontiff will not receive the usual trappings of a full state reception, such as residence at Buckingham Palace and a banquet with the Queen, the September 16-19 visit has been accorded “the status of a state visit”, the first for a pope. His predecessor, John Paul II, came on a “pastoral visit” to the UK in 1982.

But its diplomatic significance – in the context of the 16th century schism between the Anglican and Roman Catholic churches and the excommunication of King Henry VIII – risks being lost amid mounting protests over Pope Benedict’s handling of cases of sexual abuse of children by priests across Europe.

The Vatican at the weekend responded forcefully to reports in Germany linking the pope to a case of a paedophile priest during Benedict’s tenure as archbishop of Bavaria 30 years ago.

Father Federico Lombardi, the Pope’s spokesman, denounced what he called the “aggressive” attempts to smear the 83-year-old pontiff, and said accusations of a papal cover-up were defamatory. The spokesman said the Pope wanted an ”absolutely rigorous and transparent line” on the scandals.

More here-

Cardinal Newman’s Beatification Set During Papal Visit

From The Living Church-

Queen Elizabeth II confirmed Tuesday that she has invited Pope Benedict XVI to visit the United Kingdom in September.

During the visit, set for Sept. 14-19, the pope will be received by the Queen at Buckingham Palace; meet with the Archbishop of Canterbury at Lambeth Palace; and preside at a beatification service for John Henry Cardinal Newman at Coventry.

Archbishop Rowan Williams issued a brief statement that welcomed confirmation of the papal visit.

“The pope’s visit will be an opportunity to cement ties not only between the Holy See and the United Kingdom but also the Roman Catholic Church and other Christian churches in Scotland, England and Wales,” the archbishop said.

In the United States, the Cardinal Newman Society has announced a partnership with the Coventry Oratory to promote the case for declaring Cardinal Newman a saint. The partnership will include a pilgrimage of Americans to England for the beatification service.

Last year the society published a paper, “Newman’s University in Today’s American Culture,” by the Rev. C. John McCloskey III. While watching McCloskey’s television series about Newman on the Eternal Word Television Network, Deacon Jack Sullivan of Boston prayed for healing through Newman’s intercession.

The Vatican considered the result of that prayer a miracle, which led to Newman’s beatification.

The Episcopal Church’s Holy Women, Holy Men: Celebrating the Saints — formerly known as Lesser Feasts and Fasts — designates Feb. 21 as a feast day for Newman. The 76th General Convention approved Holy Women, Holy Men in July 2009.

More here-

Trinity Wall Street awards $500,000 in grants

From Episcopal Life Online-

The Trinity Grants Program awarded more than $500,000 in funding for the first quarter of 2010, focusing on peace programs in Burundi and Sudan, and workforce development in New York City.

"For more than 300 years, Trinity Wall Street has been blessed to be able to provide funding for essential programs throughout the Anglican Communion and we are grateful to have been able to continue our giving in 2010," said the Rev. James H. Cooper, rector of Trinity Wall Street. "Through our grants program we are committed to nurturing social transformation and reconciliation around the globe through job creation and training, community development, and more."

Trinity awarded the Province of Burundi $175,000 to be distributed over two years to train women in micro-enterprise development. The grant will allow for the development of 10 women's loan groups that will include training in business planning, financial management and group management. Trinity has previously provided funding in Burundi to train peace officers and purchase heifers for needy families, according to a news release from the parish.

The Province of Sudan will receive a total award of $146,000 for continued support of the Kampala office of the Episcopal Church of the Sudan, and to fund a peace conference between Greater Bahr El-Ghazel and Western Equatoria community leaders. The Kampala office is located at the gateway to Southern Sudan and provides church leaders a central communications base. The peace-building and reconciliation conference will prepare church and community leaders to become community-based trainers in conflict analysis using indigenous conflict management practices adapted to contemporary local circumstances, according to the release.

"Through funding in these areas, the Trinity Grants Program seeks to support the Anglican Communion in Africa to be self-sustaining, engaged in deeply mutual partnerships and acting for and with the next generation as agents of change in local communities," said the Rev. Canon James G. Callaway, deputy for Anglican partnership and faith formation at Trinity Wall Street.

More here-

Could Anglican Ordinariates be the Real ´Anglican Middle Way´?


As an Anglican seminarian from an Evangelical background I was introduced to the concept of the via media or 'middle way.' It was explained that the Anglican faith was a 'middle way' between the extremes of Protestantism and Catholicism. Anglicans were meant to be open to the truths to which both Protestants and Catholics witnessed. In matters of liturgy, sacred music, spirituality and doctrine the Anglican was meant to be informed by both the Catholic and the Reformed traditions. While this was good in theory, as Cardinal Newman observed, in practice the via media was no more than a good idea.

It was no more than a good idea because no one actually practiced the Anglican via media, or if they did, they did not do so for long. That's because Christianity is a dogmatic religion. We need to have a firm set of beliefs to undergird our religious practice, and everything else in our religion needs to be an outgrowth of what we believe. Unfortunately for those who wish to follow the Anglican 'middle way' Protestant and Catholic beliefs contradict more often then they complement one another.

Therefore, while it may be possible to worship in a way that combines Catholic and Protestant traditions, it is impossible to hold to both Protestant and Catholic beliefs at the same time. Consequently Anglicans end up being either Anglo Catholic or Evangelical. The only stream of Anglicanism which, it might be argued, holds to the via media are the mainstream liberals, but that is not because they hold the Catholic and Protestant beliefs in balance, but because they don't really believe in either. Their via media is really more of a via negativa--not a middle way, but a negative way.

More here-

Archbishop of Canterbury welcomes papal visit set for September

From Episcopal Life Online-

Archbishop of Canterbury Rowan Williams on March 16 welcomed the official announcement that His Holiness Pope Benedict XVI is to visit the United Kingdom in September at the invitation of Her Majesty The Queen.

"The pope's visit will be an opportunity to cement ties not only between the Holy See and the United Kingdom but also the Roman Catholic Church and other Christian churches in Scotland, England and Wales," he said. "I look forward particularly to welcoming Pope Benedict to Lambeth Palace on behalf of the Church of England."

The Sept. 16-19 visit will be the first official papal trip to the U.K. since Benedict became pope in April 2005.

During his visit, the pope is expected to conduct a prayer vigil in London, pray with other church leaders at Westminster Abbey, hold a public mass in Glasgow, and beatify the 19th century theologian and educationalist Cardinal John Henry Newman at a public mass in Coventry.

More here-


From Jamaica-

THE leader of Haiti's Anglican Church has said that the January 12 earthquake that killed over 200,000 people, left millions homeless, and destroyed much of Port-au-Prince has not shaken the faith of his flock.

The Rt Rev Jean Zache-Duracin was giving the leadership of the Anglican Diocese of Jamaica an update on the current conditions in his country, following the magnitude 7.0 earthquake that triggered an outpouring of international assistance to Haiti.

"The earthquake has not destroyed our faith in the future," said Bishop Duracin in a letter to the Rt Rev Dr Alfred Reid, Lord Bishop of Jamaica and the Cayman Islands.

"The earthquake of January 12 was our baptism, now is our new creation," said Bishop Duracin. "We pray to all work together and we ask that you give us the time we need, first to care for our people, then to rebuild the Kingdom."

He said that "millions of Haitians still have nowhere to live. Many are sleeping in the streets in tents and some still have not found any shelter at all. All the infrastructure of the country as well as the key institutions of our Diocese have been destroyed, especially in Port-au-Prince".

More here-

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Canadian Anglican Church move toward Rome part of 'worldwide movement,' says bishop

From Canada-

On March 12, leaders of the Traditional Anglican Communion (TAC) in Canada sent a letter to the Holy Father formally requesting to become unified with the Catholic Church. This initiative, says a leading bishop, is what he believes to be part of a “worldwide movement.”

Bishop Peter Wilkinson of the TAC Diocese of British Columbia, who authored the March 12 letter, discussed Pope Benedict XVI's publication of the Apostolic Constitution “Anglicanorum coetibus” with CNA in a phone interview on Monday. The document was released last year and addressed measures planned by the Vatican to allow Anglican communities to enter into communion with the Catholic Church.

When the Pope's document first came out, said Bishop Wilkinson, “I had Lutherans calling me saying, 'how do we get in on this?' And Orthodox (Christians) saying, 'how do we get in on this?'”

“It is a worldwide movement largely brought about by the vision of John Paul II” and “the wonderful, gentle firm, intellectual vision of Pope Benedict, who is such an inspiration to us,” noted the Anglican bishop.

More here-

Minnesota bishop helps coach basketball team to state championship

From ENS-

He may be known as Bishop Brian Prior in the Diocese of Minnesota but to the Freeman High Scotties he's "Coach."
Prior, 50, was consecrated bishop a month ago. But he was courtside back in Yakima, Washington, March 6 to help lead the girl's varsity basketball team to their first state championship.

"They've been waiting a long time for this. Those girls worked very hard. They deserved it. We've been there five times in the last five years," said Prior about the team he has mentored for six years.

"The other team, Granger, was the hometown favorite," he added. "Everybody, all the media had talked about Granger, how they had incredible three-point shooters and no way was Freeman able to defeat them. But we shut down their offense."

His own love of the game led Prior to first coach his two sons, who are now teenagers. It seemed a natural evolution when he was invited to help coach the Scotties about six years ago, he said.

Then, he was serving as rector of the Episcopal Church of the Resurrection in Spokane, a congregation he founded in 1996. Adding coaching to his activities meant summer basketball camps and out-of-town weekend tournaments in the off-season.

More here-

Haiti bishop comes to US for respite, House of Bishops meeting

From Episcopal New Service-

Episcopal Diocese of Haiti Bishop Jean Zaché Duracin recently joined his wife, Marie-Edithe, in Florida where she is recovering from injuries suffered in the magnitude-7 earthquake that struck Haiti on Jan. 12.

His visit is meant to be a time of respite as well as a reunion with his wife and their son, James, who has been in Florida since Feb. 9 when he accompanied his mother, who was evacuated to the U.S. for medical treatment, according to the Rev. Lauren Stanley, an Episcopal Church-appointed missionary to Haiti and Duracin's liaison in the U.S.

From Florida, Duracin plans to travel to Camp Allen, Texas, for the House of Bishops' annual spring retreat, Stanley said. Duracin will then return to Haiti in time for Holy Week and Easter, she added.

Duracin brought with him the couple's two daughters, Marie-Edza and Manuschca, and a grandchild. A second son, Jean Richard, remains in Haiti, Stanley said.

It has been weeks since Duracin has seen his severely injured wife, whom he and others rescued from their earthquake-destroyed home in the Haitian capital of Port-au-Prince. Until their reunion in the Diocese of Southwest Florida over the past weekend, Duracin had seen his wife only three times since she was evacuated from Port-au-Prince a few days after the earthquake.

Her injured leg was initially treated at Zanmi Lasante in Cange and later on the USNS Comfort hospital ship. From there, she and son James were transported Feb. 9 by the U.S. Navy and U.S. Air Force to the Veterans Administration hospital in Tampa.

Diocese of Southwest Florida Bishop Dabney Smith coordinated pastoral care for the Duracins and later arranged for Marie-Edithe and her son to continue her recovery at the diocese's Dayspring Episcopal Conference Center, according to Stanley.

More here-

Monday, March 15, 2010

Brain unable to understand existence of God: expert

From Canada-

One of the world’s foremost neuroscientists is about to tell some of the world’s foremost theologians the bad news: God may exist, but the human brain is simply not capable of knowing that for sure.

Georg Northoff, research director of Mind, Brain Imaging, and Neuroethics at the University of Ottawa’s Institute of Mental Health Research, will speak March 23 to several hundred theologians at the University of Marburg, in Germany. The 500-year-old school has produced such towering intellects as theologian Paul Tillich and philosopher Martin Heidegger.

Northoff, internationally recognized for his research into brain function, will be the only scientist to speak to the group.

“We will never be able to answer the existence of God,” he said this week from his office at the Royal Ottawa Mental Health Centre. “There is a limit because of the way the brain functions. (That) limit . . . is the price we to pay for consciousness.

“We can research the neuro-mechanism into belief, but we cannot say anything about God. That’s where we have to go to philosophy.”

To any theologian, or simple man of faith, the fact that science doesn’t have all the answers seems laughably self-evident.

More here-

Former Archbishop of Canterbury, Lord George Carey, Addresses St. John's Cathedral in Albuquerque

From Pakistan (?)

For many, a Friday evening is a time for movies, dinner with the family, or hanging out with friends. As great as these activities may be, my wife, Melanie, and I elected to attend an Evensong service at the Cathedral of St. John in downtown Albuquerque, New Mexico, on a recent Friday evening.

The reason for our visit to the beautiful cathedral was to hear the former Archbishop of Canterbury, Lord George Carey (b. November 13, 1935), address the congregation on Africa and the state of the Anglican Communion.

For those not familiar with an Evensong (evening prayer), it is a service composed entirely of music, Scripture reading, and prayer. The service structure is quite beautiful and majestic.

The last time Melanie and I attended Evensong together was in Canterbury, England at Canterbury Cathedral. The year was 2005, and I had just finished graduating from Canterbury Christchurch University.

Now five years later, we are back at an Evensong service, enjoying an evening of worship and music.

After the Invitatory and Old Testament lesson, taken from Hosea 14: 1-9, Lord Carey read from Mark 12, focusing on loving God with our mind, heart, body. His baritone voice and articulate inflection rang out throughout the sanctuary.

The choir, directed by Maxine Thevenot, led the congregation through the Apostles Creed, Nunc Dimittis, hymns of praise (O Gladsome Light and O Trinity of Blessed Light), and prayers, all as the organ blared the music of Buxtehude, Ned Rorem, and Thomas Noble.

After the service it was time for Lord Carey, now a member of the British House of Lords, to address the people.

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Celibacy exceptions puzzle priests

From Catholic News-

Exceptions to celibacy for priests in the Roman Catholic Church can be puzzling, including for young priests enthusiastic about their vocation.

The Pontifical University of the Holy Cross, run by Opus Dei in Rome, held a theological conference on priestly celibacy on March 4-5 and while no-one challenged mandatory celibacy, there were repeated questions about the exceptions made in some of the Eastern Catholic churches and for clergy coming from the Anglican Communion.

"If celibacy is so tied theologically and spiritually to priestly identity, why the exceptions?" the questioners asked.

Speakers at the conference, attended mostly by priests and seminarians, acknowledged the confusion caused by the exceptions and by the frequent statement that celibacy is a discipline, not a dogma, and so conceivably could change.

"In the eyes of many, the church hierarchy and especially the Apostolic See seem to hold contradictory positions on priestly celibacy," said Father Laurent Touze, a professor of spiritual theology and author of a book on the future of priestly celibacy.

"On the one hand, there is a firm insistence on the non-negotiability of celibacy," he said, while at the same time there are granted "exceptions to celibacy," including Pope Benedict XVI's provisions in late 2009 for ordaining as Catholic priests married former Anglican ministers.

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Bishop calls on clergy to be 'good examples'

From Trinidad-

Members of the clergy were reminded on Saturday that their lives should be good examples, if they wanted their congregation and the population to become true people of God.

The reminder came from Anglican Bishop Calvin Bess as he delivered the sermon at St Peter’s Anglican Church, Pointe-a-Pierre, to mark the 50th year of the ordination to the priesthood of retired Bishop Rawle Ernest Douglin.

Bess in his sermon said: ’Priests are called to serve by example, to lead the people of God and they are reminded that they should be examples in every community.’

Best said the church expects its priests to be examples of Christ.

’You were called upon to become members of the clergy by virtue of ordination, and once a priest you will always be a priest, and your life should be what God expects,’ said Bess.

Bess, who along with a number of other priests presided over an ecumenical service, said the national community expects priests to be leaders in their own community, setting proper standards for the population to follow.

Speaking about the 50-year service to the clergy given by Douglin, he said: ’Priesthood belongs to God and in His wisdom he has given us Rev Douglin as the perfect example of what a priest should be.’

He said during Douglin’s life in the priesthood he had encountered many problems and challenges but ’by the Grace of God he prevailed and has survived the priesthood for so many years’.

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Haiti's religious ground rumbles

From Haiti-

The iron gates that lead from the small chapel to the main church have been chained shut.

Paper signs in Creole and French plead for help with rebuilding.

The main part of St. Pierre Catholic Church is still standing, unlike some other places of worship. Both the Anglican and Catholic cathedrals in Port-au-Prince now lie in ruins.

But St. Pierre was damaged enough by the earthquake that services are now conducted in the adjacent chapel, leaving congregants to spill out into two courtyards to sing the traditional Peuple d'Haïti, ton Dieu te fait signe.

Haiti was already a deeply religious and spiritual country.

It's a place where, at 5 a.m. on a Sunday, the massed roosters of Petionville vie with evangelical preachers on loudspeakers, a predawn duet of murder and salvation.

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Sunday, March 14, 2010

Value and values: an Anglican priest’s take on business

From Malta-

Fortunately for it, the Anglican Church not only allows its priests to get married and still be involved in the ministry; it also allows them to continue with their professional jobs and careers even after they are ordained priests.

It came as a surprise to many people to find out, on Friday evening, that the Group Chairman of HSBC Holdings, Stephen Green, is an ordained Anglican priest who on Sundays still performs his ministerial duties – baptisms, weddings and even funerals – at his local church.

At a presentation of his latest book, Good value: reflections on money, morality and an uncertain world, held at The Palace in Valletta in the presence of President George Abela, one could see that this unlikely combination had many people fascinated.

This is not the first book Mr Green wrote. He said he decided to write this book in April 2008 when he was at a bankers’ conference at Lago di Como. Already then, the clouds were gathering, there was a storm coming, and a sense of foreboding could be felt across the world. We now know what came later: the world crisis unleashed by banking mistakes leading to a worldwide recession.

In his book, Mr Green speaks highly of globalisation, without letting it become an ideology for him. Over the past years, before the crisis, hundreds of millions of people raised themselves out of poverty and all the disruption that poverty brings with it.

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Vatican issues statement on sex abuse scandal

From Independent Catholic-

Holy See Press Office Director Fr Federico Lombardi SJ today issued a note entitled: 'A clear route through stormy waters'.

"At the end of a week in which a large part of the attention of the European media has been focused on the question of sexual abuses committed by people in institutions of the Catholic Church, we would like to make three observations:

"Firstly, the line being taken by the German Episcopal Conference has shown itself to be the right way to face the problem in its various aspects. The declarations of the president of that conference, Archbishop Zollitsch, following his meeting with the Holy Father, recap the strategy laid down in the conference's recent assembly and reiterate its essential operational aspects: recognition of the truth and help for victims, reinforcement of preventative measures and constructive collaboration with the authorities (including the judicial authorities of State) for the common good of society. Archbishop Zollitsch also unequivocally reiterated the opinion of experts according to whom the question of celibacy should in no way be confused with that of paedophilia. The Holy Father has encouraged the line being followed by the German bishops which - even taking account of the specific context of their own county - may be considered as a useful and inspiring model for other episcopal conferences that find themselves facing similar problems.

"Furthermore, an important and wide-ranging interview given by Msgr Charles J Scicluna, promoter of justice of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, gives a detailed explanation of the significance of the specific canonical norms established by the Church over the years to judge the heinous crimes of sexual abuse of minors by members of the clergy. It is absolutely clear that these norms did not seek, and have not favoured, any kind of cover-up of such crimes; quite the contrary, they initiated intense activities to confront, judge and adequately punish the crimes in the context of ecclesiastical legislation. And it must be remembered that all this was planned and set in motion when Cardinal Ratzinger was prefect of the Congregation. The line he followed was always one of rigour and coherence in dealing with even the most difficult situations.

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