Saturday, April 17, 2010

New Bishop elected for the Diocese of Tarime

From Tanzania- ACNS

The General Secretary of the Anglican Church of Tanzania Dr Mwita Akiri (50) has been elected to be the first Bishop of the Diocese of Tarime (east of Lake Victoria and west of Serengeti National Park) within the Anglican Church of Tanzania.

The election was carried out by a special Electoral Synod which consisted of all clergy and lay representatives from 28 parishes in the new Diocese of Tarime numbering 79 in total, of which 77 delegates voted for Dr Akiri. The election took place on Thursday 8 April 2010 at St Luke’s Anglican Church in Tarime town and District, Mara Region. The election was chaired by Bishop Charles Ngusa of the Diocese of Shinyanga on behalf of the Archbishop of Tanzania. Also present was Rev Bethuel Mlula, the Acting Administrative Office of the Anglican Church of Tanzania Head Office in Dodoma who assisted Bishop Ngusa. The Anglican Diocese of Tarime has been carved from the Diocese of Mara.

Following his election, Dr Akiri will be consecrated and enthroned as Bishop on Sunday 4th July 2010 at St Luke’s Anglican Church in Tarime. Anyone who wish to congratulate Dr Akiri may do so through his own email address:, or by fax to +255 26 23 24 565.

Dr Mwita Akiri was born on 19th March 1960 at Kigunga Village in Rorya District in Mara Region. He did his secondary education at Nsumba Secondary School in Mwanza city south of Lake Victoria from 1976 to 1979. In a general government training allocation, he was offered a place to study accounts at Cooperative College in Shinyanga in 1980 but declined the offer. Instead he heard God’s calling and joined church ministry.

He first served as an evangelist before joining St Philip’s Theological College, Kongwa in Dodoma to train for ordination from 1982 to 1985. He was made Deacon in August 1985 in the Diocese of Victoria Nyanza and served at St John’s Cathedral Church in Musoma while also offering administrative assistance to the first Bishop of Mara. He was ordained Priest in December 1985 in the Diocese of Mara and became the Parish Priest of Mogabiri Parish outside Tarime town from 1985-1988.

More here-

Episcopal Diocese to consecrate bishop

From Connecticut-

The state will be the shining star of the Anglican Communion today when the Rev. Ian T. Douglas is consecrated the 15th bishop of the Episcopal Diocese of Connecticut.

Douglas sits on the Anglican Consultative Council, which represents Anglicans worldwide, so he is well known outside the Episcopal Church. He asked a friend, Archbishop Desmond Tutu of South Africa, a Nobel Peace Prize winner, to be the preacher today.

Douglas, formerly professor of world mission at Episcopal Divinity School in Cambridge, Mass., said his connections will benefit the diocese, and vice versa.

“I’m not afraid to call in favors around the world to help us in Connecticut,” he said recently. “I have a pretty good Rolodex that I would hope to utilize.”

As for his new flock, “The Diocese of Connecticut has so much to offer,” he said. “I think we need to be generously making those resources available to those beyond our boundaries.”

According to tradition, bishops are consecrated by having three other bishops lay hands on them, extending a succession said to go back to the Apostles.

Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefforts Schori will be chief consecrator, joined by Bishop Michael Curry of North Carolina and Edward Little of northern Indiana. Douglas said he chose them because they are diverse in race, sex and theology, and so represent “the catholicity of the church.”

More here-

Mixed verdicts for Peter Rabbit at St. Mark's Episcopal Day School in Ortega

Thought this was cute from Jacksonville FL-

St. Mark's Episcopal Day School students in fourth, fifth, and sixth grades recently learned about the judicial system and court procedures by holding mock trials for the fictional character Peter Rabbit, who was accused of stealing vegetables from Mr. McGregor's garden.

Students read "The Tale of Peter Rabbit" by Beatrix Potter together in class and then were assigned parts as the defendant, jurors, witnesses, the prosecution or defense teams, court reporters and bailiffs. The trials were led by the school's Academic Support Center teachers, whose goal was to enrich the students' understanding of the story as well as to teach a civics lesson in an interactive way.

The verdicts? The fourth-grade jury was hung; the fifth-grade jury acquitted Peter; the sixth-grade jury found him not guilty of theft, but guilty of criminal trespassing and sentenced him to 60 days of planting crops for underprivileged families.

The Rev. Canon Herbert J. Beadle Jr., Episcopal priest who headed addiction recovery center

From Atlanta-

In his four decades as an Episcopal priest in Atlanta, the Rev. Canon Herb Beadle distinguished himself in many ways.

He was director of St. Jude's Recovery Center for alcohol and drug addiction treatment. He was a canon at the Cathedral of St. Philip. He was vicar at Emmaus House, a neighborhood ministry. He was a chaplain at Lovett School. He was a baritone soloist at All Saints Episcopal Church. Even in retirement, he led services at churches when their pastors needed a Sunday off.

In all these roles, he remained upbeat yet realistic, advocating for the disadvantaged and poking fun at pomposity and sanctimoniousness. "Herb practiced a sleeves-rolled-up, let's-confront-challenges-honestly Christianity," said Bob Simpson, former St. Philip's music director now at Houston's Christ Church Cathedral.

Herbert J. Beadle Jr., 86, of Atlanta died March 16 at Hospice Atlanta of complications from a heart attack. A memorial service will be 2 p.m. Saturday at the Cathedral of St. Philip. In lieu of flowers, the family requests that donations be made to Emmaus House, 1017 Hank Aaron Drive, Atlanta, GA 30315-1705. H.M. Patterson & Son, Oglethorpe Hill, is in charge of arrangements.

Born and reared in Texas, Canon Beadle was a medical supply officer at Camp Pendleton, Calif., during World War II. Witnessing the suffering of the wounded moved him to become a priest and a pacifist, said his wife, Fran McDowell-Beadle.

More here-

Former bishop of Episcopal diocese dies

From Savannah-

The Right Rev. George Paul Reeves was known for his conservative perspective on the Episcopal Church.

Members say he was outspoken on his opposition to the 1979 revisions to the Book of Common Prayer and the ordination of women in the priesthood.

But to rubber-stamp the former bishop of the Episcopal Diocese of Georgia as a conservative in a theologically-divided church would fail to capture the gifts he brought to Christianity, said Mills Fleming, senior warden of Christ Church Episcopal.

"There's an art form to a worship service, particularly an Episcopal service," said Fleming, Reeves' godson. "I think his strength was in the liturgy. He was a consummate liturgist."

Reeves, 91, died Thursday in Asheville, N.C.

Reeves retired to North Carolina in 1985 after serving more than a decade as bishop of the Episcopal Diocese of Georgia. He was consecrated the diocese's seventh bishop in 1969.

The Right Rev. Harry W. Shipps, who succeeded Reeves as bishop, remembered the man both for his strong views and his sense of humor.

"I greatly valued his wisdom, and recall his strong commitment to the historic traditions of the Church," Shipps said. "He had an ironic sense of humor that always amused."

More here-

Friday, April 16, 2010

Essay: Richard Proulx, Champion of Congregational Song

From The Living Church- Richard Proulx, who died February 18 at 72, enjoyed a distinguished career as an organist, conductor, consultant and hymnal editor. While these are fitting titles to describe his career, perhaps champion of congregational song best describes his ministry to the Church. He was best known for his work as director of music at Chicago’s Holy Name Cathedral, where he developed a music program that became a model for Roman Catholic cathedrals through the United States.

Prior to his Chicago appointment, he served at a number of Roman Catholic and Episcopal parishes in the Twin Cities and Seattle areas.
He served as a consultant for The Hymnal 1982, New Yale Hymnal, the Methodist Hymnal, Worship II and Worship III, and has contributions in the Mennonite Hymnal and the Presbyterian Hymnal. Proulx was a member of the Episcopal Church’s Standing Commission on Church Music.

He composed over 20 original hymn tunes, and was a prolific composer of hymn accompaniments, harmonizations, descants and service music. His compositional output is contained in dozens of denominational hymnals. Over 30 hymn concertatos of his are available from numerous publishers. His catalogue of hymn intonations, alternate harmonizations, and organ preludes based on hymn tunes is equally prolific.

More here-

Complaints put brakes on ethics class trial

From Australia-

VERITY FIRTH is refusing to guarantee a 10-week trial for secular ethics classes will start next week in state primary schools as expected, after a flurry of complaints from religious leaders.

A spokeswoman for the NSW Minister for Education yesterday said getting the curriculum right was ''more important than the timing of the trial''.

She said the Board of Studies had yet to sign off on the final version of the curriculum before gaining ministerial approval.

''When the minister announced the trial she said it would be reviewed by the Board of Studies,'' the spokeswoman said.

''While it's a trial, it's a significant change to a long-standing arrangement in our schools and subject to considerable public debate.'' The trial, overseen by the St James Ethics Centre, was expected to start next week at Darlinghurst, Bungendore, Rozelle, Hurstville, Haberfield, Ferncourt, Baulkham Hills North, Leichhardt, Randwick and Crown Street public schools.

The first lesson for students in years five and six, covering issues such as truth and fairness, was scheduled at Haberfield Public on Tuesday at 9am.

The pilot ethics program was fully funded and was endorsed unanimously by the Federation of Parents and Citizens' Associations of NSW in July.

More here-

New bishop for Anglican Church in Auckland

From New Zealand-

The Anglican church welcomes a new Bishop of Auckland tomorrow when the Very Reverend Ross Bay is ordained at the Cathedral of Holy Trinity in Parnell.

The ordination was expected to attract Anglican church representatives from throughout the country.

Rev Bay would become the 11th Bishop of Auckland when called into the church with a karanga after a long procession of clergy from the Diocese of Auckland with representatives from New Zealand and Polynesia, said church spokesman, the Rev Jayson Rhodes.

Following his ordination, the new bishop would be welcomed by the cathedral community in the service of installation.

That would begin with the bishop following an ancient tradition of knocking three times with his pastoral staff on the closed doors of the cathedral, said Rev Rhodes.

The doors were then opened to welcome the new bishop to the cathedral where the bishop's chair resided as a sign of his office.

The pastoral staff to be used by the new bishop was presented to Bishop William Cowie in 1890 by the clergy of the Diocese of Auckland to mark his 21st year as Bishop of Auckland.

More here-

Kittredge named academic dean at Seminary of the Southwest

From Episcopal Life-

Cynthia Briggs Kittredge will assume responsibilities of academic dean at Seminary of the Southwest on June 1.
She follows Alan P.R. Gregory, who has held the three-year appointment for two terms. At the conclusion of this academic year, Gregory will return to full-time teaching as professor of church history, according to a news release from the Austin, Texas-based seminary.

Kittredge is the Ernest J. Villavaso, Jr. Professor of New Testament at the seminary. She holds three graduate degrees, including the doctor of theology, from Harvard Divinity School. A priest in the Episcopal Church, Kittredge is canonically resident in the Diocese of Texas and serves on the staff at Good Shepherd Episcopal Church in Austin. She also is a member of the steering group for Theological Education in the Anglican Communion.

Gregory guided the seminary through reaccreditation processes with both the Association of Theological Schools and the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools, according to the release. He oversaw the reorganization of the seminary's counseling and non-ordination programs into the Center for Christian Ministry and Vocation and the establishment of the seminary's new master of arts in spiritual formation degree.

Gregory played a key role in hiring more than half of the school's current full-time faculty, according to the release. He joined the faculty in 1995.

Earlier this year, Kittredge was appointed dean of community life at the seminary. The seminary will soon choose her successor in that position, the release said.

Anglicanism has lost its integrity, conservatives say

From The Church Times-

THE Global Anglican Future Conference (GAFCON) Primates Council has bracketed the UK with Kenya and Uganda as nations “where Christian views are marginalised and ignored”.

England is also defined as an “Associate Participant”, along with Australia, New Zealand, the Anglican Church in North America, and the Communion Partners of the Episcopal Church in the United States, in the “Fourth Global South to South Encounter” to be held in Singapore later this month.

The Council, which constitutes the Primates of Nigeria, West Africa, Rwanda, Tanzania, Kenya, Uganda, and the Southern Cone, together with the Archbishop of Sydney, Dr Peter Jensen, and the leader of the Anglican Church in North America, Archbishop Robert Duncan, was meeting in Bermuda as guests of the American businessman Emmanuel Kampouris (News, 9 April).
Absent from the Bermuda meeting was the Archbishop of Uganda, the Most Revd Henry Orombi. He demanded of the Archbishop of Canterbury last week that the Primates of the Anglican Communion should meet urgently, without the American and Canadian Primates, and with an agenda set by the participants.

In a three-page letter sent to Dr Williams last Friday and released to the press, Arch bishop Orombi hints at a double standard in the treatment of Primates and complains that the responsibility of the Primates is being diminished.

He commends the “clarity and honesty” of the President Bishop in Jerusalem and the Middle East, the Most Revd Mouneer Anis, who resigned in February from what became the Standing Committee of the Anglican Communion (SCAC) (News, 5 February). Archbishop Orombi does not recognise the SCAC, and has not attended meetings since its failure, as he sees it, to uphold the “hard-won agreement” of the Primates at Dar es Salaam in 2007.

He does not say he has resigned from the committee, but declares: “I stand with my brother Primate, Bishop Mouneer Anis, in his courageous decision. Many of us are in a state of resignation as we see how the Communion is moving away further and further into darkness.”
Archbishop Orombi protests at a perceived shift in the balance of power from the Primates. He tells Dr Williams that the SCAC was “adopted by yourself, with your approval and the approval of the ACC”, and charges it with “granting itself supreme authority over Covenant discipline in this latest draft”.

The rest-

Thursday, April 15, 2010

New Anglican Primate for Nigeria

From This Day (Africa)

The new Anglican Primate for Nigeria, Most Reverend Nicholas Okoh, has formally taken over from former Primate, Peter Jasper Akinola, in a smooth succession that speaks volumes to the polity. Primate Okoh becomes the fourth Primate of the Anglican Communion in Nigeria following in the footsteps of former Primates Olufosoye, Adetiloye and Akinola, who all in their time played crucial roles in shaping the fortunes and following of a church that used to be the official church of the colonial government in Nigeria.

We congratulate the new Primate and wish him a peaceful and beneficial tenure of office; both for the church and the country. We also wish his predecessor, Primate Akinola, a well deserved, restful and healthy retirement. He blazed a trail in defense of biblical values on sexuality globally.

He made an indelible mark in the dignified resistance he led against the ordination of gay bishops in the Pentecostal Church in the US; in the face of dithering on the part of the leadership of the global Anglican Communion vested in the Archbishop of Canterbury in the UK. In standing against homosexuality as unbiblical, Primate Akinola spoke the mind of millions of Anglicans globally and especially in Africa.

On the home front, Primate Akinola consolidated the establishment of the Anglican Church in Abuja as the focal point and centre of worship of the Anglican Communion in Nigeria. Lagos used to be the epicenter of the Communion. He also expanded the dioceses to 155 and created the concept of Auxiliary Bishops to drive evangelism nationally. He empowered the youths to take active positions in the church by limiting the ages of leaders of the powerful Anglican Youth Fellowship to between the 13 and 40 years. More importantly, he spoke stridently against the burning of churches during religious riots and tasked the authorities to protect all Nigerians even as he called for religious tolerance on all sides.

Such are the big shoes that new Primate Okoh steps into and we are hopeful he can wear them fittingly. This is because the new Primate, aside from his known leadership qualities, has a military background having spent all his life spreading the gospel in military barracks all over the country.

Two Archbishops Express Dismay

From The Living Church-

Two archbishops have written to the Archbishop of Canterbury on the eve of the fourth Global South Encounter, expressing their dismay about the Anglican Communion.

The publicly issued letters are from the Most Rev. Henry Luke Orombi, Archbishop of the Church of Uganda, and the Most Rev. Ian Ernest, Bishop of Mauritius and Archbishop of the Province of the Indian Ocean.

Both leaders ask Archbishop Rowan Williams to call an emergency meeting of Anglican primates, with the exception of the Most Rev. Katharine Jefferts Schori of the Episcopal Church and the Most Rev. Frederick James Hiltz of the Anglican Church of Canada.

Both primates object to the Episcopal Church’s plan to consecrate the Rev. Canon Mary Douglas Glasspool, who is in a long-term same-sex relationship, as a bishop suffragan of the Diocese of Los Angeles.

Both archbishops express their support of the Most Rev. Dr. Mouneer Hanna Anis, President Bishop of Jerusalem and the Middle East and Bishop in Egypt with North Africa and the Horn of Africa, who wrote Archbishop Williams about similar concerns on Jan. 30.

“Your Grace, I have urged you in the past, and I will urge you again,” Archbishop Orombi wrote on April 9. “There is an urgent need for a meeting of the Primates to continue sorting out the crisis that is before us, especially given the upcoming consecration of a lesbian as bishop in America.”

“I feel that I should express the heartfelt feelings of the people of God who are extremely distressed at the disrespectful and high-handed manner in which the TEC continues to dismiss the concerns of the rest of the Communion and to undermine the decisions taken by the Primates,” Archbishop Ernest wrote on April 12.

Both primates expressed their sense that leaders from the Global South receive different treatment than their counterparts.

More here-

Anglican diocese, women's studies institute condemn Quebec veil ban

From Montreal-

A bill that would bar a woman wearing a face veil from receiving government services is an attack on women’s rights in the guise of defending equality of the sexes, say the Anglican diocese of Montreal and the Simone de Beauvoir Institute.

In a statement approved Monday night by local clergy and Bishop Barry Clarke, the diocese said the bill erodes freedom of religion guaranteed under the Quebec and Canadian human-rights charters.

The local church body added that Bill 94 also unfairly targets women, since there are no men who wear the niqab, a veil with slits for the eyes worn by a small minority of Muslim women in Quebec.

“Obliging women to choose between the free exercise of their Charter right to freedom of religion, and the exercise of their rights to participate in society is odious,” the diocese said.

The de Beauvoir Institute, a women’s studies college at Concordia University, charged that Premier Jean Charest’s claim that the bill would protect gender equality is misleading.

“We feel in effect this bill will limit Muslim women’s autonomy and freedom,” said Gada Mahrouse, an assistant professor at the institute.

Denying niqab-clad women the right to government services, including education and health care, will exclude them from public life, she said. “They are going to be housebound.”

Read more:

Portland church develops bicycle liturgy to roll with bike shrine

From Oregon-

In the Episcopal Church, the liturgy is the lifewater and poetic framework of every service.

Usually, the order of service is read directly from the Book of Common Prayer, following a template that dates back centuries. But occasionally, when a time or events move a church, alternatives liturgies are crafted to reflect the gathering.

There have been worship services that speak to social justice and environmental issues, that feature the music of the rock band U2, and, on Tuesday night at Portland's St. Stephen's Episcopal Parish, stir the spirits of two-wheeled commuters.

Not only has St. Stephen's created the only permanent bike shrine at an American church, the small urban parish has now given Christians a bicycle liturgy.

About 50 people, including family, friends and Mayor Sam Adams, gathered at St. Stephen's to dedicate the ghost bike memorializing the 2007 death of Portland art student Tracey Sparling as part of the Portland Bicycle Shrine.

The rest is here-

Conservative Anglican group met here over the weekend

From Bermuda-

A group of conservative Anglicans held a conference in Bermuda to discuss their disapproval of lesbian bishop.

And sources said many local clergymen did not attend the meetings.

The meetings took place April 5 to 9 where the group criticised the Episcopal church for the election of a "partnered lesbian", Rev. Mary Glasspool, as a bishop in Los Angeles. The group also decided on the new leadership for the Global Anglican Future Conference/Fellowship of Confessing Anglicans Primates Council.

While there were public meetings, this newspaper understands discussions of Rev. Glasspool were held in private.

Rev. Canon James Francis said he didn't attend because he doesn't agree with the council.

"They are a religious group and they decided to form their own coalition and therefore they have the right to meet anywhere they want to meet. I prefer not to join them because they're not in communion with the Anglican church.

"I consider them to be conservative. I don't know why they were here. They pay their pay where ever they go. I don't know what they consider themselves to be."

More here-

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

INDIAN OCEAN: Primate suspends 'all communication' with Episcopal Church, Anglican Church of Canada

From Episcopal Life Online-

Archbishop Ian Ernest of the Province of the Indian Ocean is the third Anglican primate in as many months to write to Archbishop of Canterbury Rowan Williams expressing disquiet about recent developments in the Episcopal Church concerning issues of human sexuality.
In his April 12 letter, Ernest said that the Episcopal Church's "intention to proceed" with the consecration of the Rev. Mary Glasspool, a partnered lesbian, as a bishop suffragan in the Diocese of Los Angeles is "to disregard the mind of the rest of the [Anglican] Communion."

Ernest, chair of the Council of Anglican Provinces of Africa, said he felt "constrained by my conscience … to forthwith suspend all communication both verbal and sacramental" with the Episcopal Church and the Anglican Church of Canada "until such time as they reverse their theological innovations." The suspension, he added, "would not include those bishops and clergy who have distanced themselves from the direction of the [Episcopal Church]."

Ernest's letter comes just days after Archbishop Henry Orombi of Uganda also wrote Williams raising concerns that the Standing Committee of the Anglican Communion has assumed "enhanced responsibility" and expressing his dismay that its membership includes representatives from the U.S.-based Episcopal Church -- Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori and Bishop-elect Ian Douglas of Connecticut.

"How can we expect the gross violators of biblical truth to sanction their own discipline when they believe they have done nothing wrong and further insist that their revisionist theology is actually the substance of Anglicanism?" Orombi wrote. "We have only to note the recent election and confirmation of an active lesbian as a suffragan bishop in the Diocese of Los Angeles to realize that [the Episcopal Church] has no interest in 'gracious restraint.'"

More here-

Episcopal hierarchy fights to keep church property

From Virginia-

State and national Episcopal authorities asked the Virginia Supreme Court yesterday to overturn a decision giving church property to nine breakaway parishes in Northern Virginia.
Among other things, a lawyer for the Episcopal Diocese of Virginia told the justices that the 2008 ruling relied on an 1867 state law he contends improperly favors church governance by congregation over governance by hierarchy.

At stake, say the churches, is $30 million to $40 million in buildings and other property. The hearing was packed and broadcast via a closed-circuit television to two nearby rooms to accommodate everyone wishing to attend.

After the hearing, Henry D.W. Burt II, the secretary and chief of staff for the diocese, said: "Today was simply the next step in our journey to return faithful Episcopalians to their church homes."

Steffen N. Johnson, a lawyer for the departed churches, which formed the Anglican District of Virginia, said "the argument went very well. It was a lively bench with good questions for both sides . . . and we look forward to the court's decision."

The Virginia law in question is intended as a neutral way for courts to decide who keeps church property when a church divides into branches. It permits a majority-rule vote by a congregation to decide which branch it wishes to affiliate with.

In reaction to the ordination of a gay bishop in 2003 and other theological issues, 11 conservative congregations -- two of which have since settled with the diocese -- aligned themselves with the Convocation of Anglicans in North America.
The Diocese of Virginia and the Episcopal Church filed suits claiming they had the rights to the property.

The Diocese of Virginia is one of the oldest and largest in the nation, Burt said. With headquarters in Richmond, it now has 181 congregations, 81,000 members, 450 clergy and six schools.

In December 2008, Fairfax County Circuit Judge Randy I. Bellows upheld the constitutionality of the Virginia law and ruled that the property can be kept by the departing parishes, leading to the appeal argued yesterday.

The high court is not expected to rule before June.

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Discrimination against Christians in ... Britain?

From Christianity Today-

British newspapers are reporting "an unprecedented showdown" between the Church of England and the nation's second-highest court over whether U.K. Christians are discriminated against in the workplace for their beliefs regarding homosexuality, among other issues.

The former Archbishop of Canterbury, Lord Carey, and other bishops have demanded that certain Court of Appeals judges stand down from future religious discrimination cases because their recent rulings demonstrate a lack of understanding of Christian beliefs. The Anglican leaders want such appeals to be judged instead by a panel of judges with expertise on religious issues.

The next hearing will be this Thursday, when Christian relationship counselor Gary McFarlane will appeal his firing for refusing sex therapy to homosexual couples. Last week, Christian nurse Shirley Chaplin lost her appeal to wear a crucifix around her neck in hospital wards.

The Court of Appeals decided last December that under existing equality laws, the rights of homosexuals take precedence over the rights of Christians to express their faith. The ruling came during the failed appeal of Christian registrar Lillian Ladele over her firing for refusing to conduct civil partnership ceremonies.

In a March 28 letter, Lord Carey and five current and former Anglican bishops said that "the religious rights of the Christian community are being treated with disrespect." Current Archbishop of Canterbury Rowan Williams countered soon after, saying that "we need to keep our own fears in perspective" compared to the persecution experienced by Christians in other nations. The BBC examined the issue Easter Sunday in a special report.
Even human rights activists and Muslims see a problem.

It hasn't been all bad news for U.K. Christians lately. Church leaders preserved exemptions for religious groups to discriminate when hiring; new regulations will allow Christian pharmacists to refrain from dispensing medicine against their conscience; and a Catholic adoption agency will be allowed to exclude gay couples from adoptions, though most of its peers were forced to close.

But with discrimination claims up nearly 25 percent and 60 percent of surveyed General Synod members agreeing there is discrimination against Christians, Thursday's ruling could generate some headlines indeed.

Bishop enters battle against secular ethics classes

From Australia-

THE Bishop of North Sydney has urged Anglican priests to collect information from principals of public schools to stop the spread of the secular ethics classes the Sydney Anglicans believe may threaten religious education.

In an email seen by the Herald, Bishop Glenn Davies urged ministers to contact the principals of public schools in their parishes to ascertain the exact numbers of children enrolled in religious education. This was even though most schools were not involved in the trial, which is being piloted at just 10 schools under the guidance of the St James Ethics Centre.

''The St James Ethics Centre claims that there are large numbers of students not enrolled in SRE [special religious education],'' the email from Bishop Davies read. ''We need to gather some accurate information to challenge this claim.''

Bishop Davies added that ''there is an urgency to this request'' and asked for results by the following week.

The Herald has learnt that even rectors whose local schools are not involved in the trial have turned up at P&C meetings to protest about the secular ethics classes.

Groups of religious education teachers including Anglicans have also lobbied the principals of schools where the trial will occur, to make sure the trial did not affect their class numbers.

The NSW Federation of Parents and Citizens' Associations and the St James Ethics Centre yesterday renewed their invitation to the Anglican Archbishop of Sydney, Peter Jensen, to meet to discuss the trial.

''There is absolutely no desire or intention to weaken religion or eliminate scripture from schools and to suggest otherwise is misleading,'' the centre's head, Simon Longstaff, said. ''The reality is that, prior to this trial being mounted, in some schools, 50 to 80 per cent of students were electing not to go to scripture.''

More here-

Conservative Primates Council elects new leadership, criticizes Episcopal Church

From Episcopal Life Online-

A group of conservative Anglican primates, meeting April 5-9 in Bermuda, has criticized the Episcopal Church for the election of a partnered lesbian as a suffragan bishop in Los Angeles and named new leadership for the Global Anglican Future Conference/Fellowship of Confessing Anglicans Primates Council.
The council was formed out of the controversial Global Anglican Future Conference that was held in Jerusalem during June 2008, one month prior to the Lambeth Conference of bishops. Many of the bishops attending GAFCON chose to boycott the Lambeth Conference.

A communiqué issued at the conclusion of the Bermuda meeting described the FCA as "a movement defined by theology that delivers spiritual and practical outcomes to faithful Anglican Christians around the world."

Archbishop Gregory Venables of the Argentina-based Province of the Southern Cone will serve as council chairman, succeeding retired Church of Nigeria Archbishop Peter Akinola. Archbishops Emmanuel Kolini of Rwanda and Eliud Wabukala of Kenya will serve as vice chairmen. Archbishop Peter Jensen of the Diocese of Sydney, in the Anglican Church of Australia, will continue as general secretary.

Also present at the Bermuda meeting were the primates of Nigeria, Tanzania and West Africa, and deposed Episcopal Diocese of Pittsburgh Bishop Robert Duncan, who in 2009 was elected as archbishop of the Anglican Church in North America. The ACNA is a conservative entity made up primarily of individuals and groups that have left the Episcopal Church and the Anglican Church of Canada, as well as those that have never been members of those two provinces.

Archbishop Henry Orombi of Uganda was represented at the meeting by Bishop Nathan Kyamanywa of Bunyoro-Kitara.

Since its formation, the GAFCON/FCA Primates Council has been critical of recent developments in the Episcopal Church concerning human sexuality issues and litigation to retain property of which breakaway Episcopalians have attempted to take ownership. Venables has offered oversight to conservative members of parishes and dioceses breaking away from the Episcopal Church and the Anglican Church of Canada.

The full text of the Bermuda communiqué is available here.

More here-

CONGO: Armed militia storm Bukavu bishop's home at night

From Episcopal Life-

A group of unidentified gunmen forced their way into the home of Congolese Bishop Sylvestre Bali-Busane Bahati of the Diocese of Bukavu during the early hours of April 9, looting the property and leaving with money, clothes and electronic equipment.
The bishop was unharmed, but the gunmen tied up his eldest son insisting they be directed to him, according to an e-mail sent from Bahati to church partners. The gunmen also assaulted the security man on duty.

According to the e-mail, the gunmen said they had been paid US$20,000 "to assassinate the Anglican bishop of Bukavu diocese."

When the bishop pleaded with the gunmen not to kill him, they requested money, which Bahati gave them, the e-mail said.

Bahati didn't disclose the amount in his e-mail, and couldn't be reached for further comment.

The Rev. Jean-Paul Muhindo Matabaro, in an e-mail to church partners, said that Bahati isn't the first church leader to be targeted in this way.

In November 2009, the Roman Catholic Church in Kabare lost a priest, a nun and two lay people in a similar attack, he said. "Daily, there is mourning and sorrow in the communities of South Kivu and North Kivu provinces because of killings and looting," Matabaro said, noting that such attacks have resulted in the displacement of thousands of people.

Matabaro urged the local political authorities and the United Nations Mission in the Congo to find a way to ensure peace and security in the North and South Kivu provinces and throughout the whole country. "We also request our brothers and sisters who read this sad news to pray for Bishop Bahati's family and the Diocese of Bukavu who are often victims of atrocities from the militias," said Matabaro.

more here-

Windows draw admirers

From Western NY-

Shirley Leseur for more than four decades has sat in the pews at St. James Episcopal Church, often reflecting on the beauty of the stained-glass windows that tell of the story of Christ's crucifixion and his resurrection.

"It adds to the whole spiritual atmosphere," Leseur said Sunday during a stained-glass tour of five churches in Batavia.

The Episcopal Church was built in the cathedral style in 1909, with very high ceilings. Sunday's tour was a fundraiser for St. James, which is under pressure to make building repairs.

The front of the building is off limits because of the threat of falling stone from the bell tower. The church can't ring its bell right now because of the structural issues with the tower.

On a day when the community celebrated the ornate stained-glass windows, the event also highlighted the challenges of maintaining the glorious buildings from at least a century ago. Some of the churches have shrinking congregations and declining dollars for the upkeep.

St. James is debating how to proceed with a capital project that could top $1.6 million. The church hasn't settled on the extent of the work.

"We are in need," said Leseur, one of the 60 to 75 people who regularly attend the church. "It's not dire yet, but we're hoping the community will step up and help us."

More here-

Heated church battle going before Virginia Supreme Court

From Virginia-

Today the Virginia Supreme Court will hear arguments in what amounts to a civil war in the Episcopal Church, the oldest church in the nation. The property custody battle between the Episcopal Church Diocese and numerous churches that have split over moral issues isn't a battle between the north and the south, but between the left and the right. The split began several years ago, when the democratic church body voted to ordain on openly gay bishop.

"The trigger point was that, it's true," said Martyn Binns, Missionary Bishop for the Convocation of Anglicans North America, He was speaking for the group that essentially seceded from the Episcopal union. "But that's really a symptom. The underlying problem is you're walking away from the basic teachings of the Bible, which we think is true. We want to stand on that." Bishop Shannon Johnston with the Diocese of Virginia said, "People are free to leave the church as they wish, but the cannot take their property with them." The church's position is that the 9 churches that voted to withdraw from the body of the Episcopal Church must forfeit their property. Bishop Johnston said with most of the retreating churches, the property was paid for or renovated by the Episcopal Church. Bishop Binns agreed that was case with some of the churches, but others had their own deeds or had paid for much of the improvements to the buildings and properties. Negotiations over those custody questions failed, and the case wound up in Fairfax Circuit Court last year. The rebelling churches successfully argued that the Virginia Division Statute -

- gave the state the right arbitrate this kind of church property dispute. That statute came about at the end of the Civil War. But the Episcopal Church Diocese argues that antiquated law has no current Constitutional basis. What's more, they believe, the Constitution says the state has no right to interfere in church business. Both sides will argue that the right to religious freedom means they should win. "This is a watershed moment," Bishop Johnston said.,0,6058307.story

Monday, April 12, 2010

Cleric Decries Prosperity Messages

From Nigeria-

THE Bishop of the Anglican Communion of Benin Diocese, Rt. Reverend Peter Imasuen, has admonished men of God, particularly pastors in the Pentecostal churches, to preach more of salvation in their sermons rather than prosperity.

He lamented that the over emphasis on prosperity in their preaching had affected the society negatively, stressing that the only way to cleanse the society of immoral activities, including armed robbery and kidnapping, was to enlighten the people that they will go to hell if they don't change their ways rather than telling them that they will make more money even when they have no means of doing so.

Bishop Imasuen, who also used the opportunity to break his silence since he regained his freedom in the hands of kidnappers, spoke weekend in Benin City, during the dedication ceremony of the ultra- modern church auditorium of All Souls' Chapel Church.

According to him, "the only way all these problems of killings, kidnappings in the society can stop is when the church tells the people the truth.

More here-

Harare Anglicans in violent clash, police seal-off church

From Zimbabwe-

The Anglican’s St Luke Church in Rhodesville has been sealed off by riot police following violent clashes between a faction belonging to excommunicated Harare Bishop Nolbert Kunonga and the one belonging to the official Bishop of the Diocese Chad Gandiya.

Rhodesville Avenue, which leads to the Church has also been cordoned off and motorists are no longer allowed to drive through.

For several months now, the rival parishioners have been violently clashing during church services despite the presence of dozens of riot police deployed to maintain order.

A police spokesman told The Zimdiaspora that the police have now decided to indefinitely shut down St Luke’s church until order is restored in the church.

“We have discovered that as the police we are being used to fight Kunonga’s personal battles. We have closed this church and no one is allowed to enter the church every Sunday until sanity prevails,” he said.

A member of St Luke’s church said many Anglican parishioners were now attending Sunday service at the nearby Roman Catholic Church as they were tired of the infighting within the church.

“This is no longer religion. The Anglican church is now a laughing stock of the country because of these unending fights. Kunonga and his politics must just go and leave us in peace,” he said.

Police have been biased in favour of Kunonga who is a staunch supporter of President Robert Mugabe and Zanu PF. The police have allowed Kunonga’s supporters to attack rival parishioners.

More here-

THE DIVERSITY OF RELIGION: Dealing with decline

From Norwalk-

For most members of the baby-boomer generation, Sunday was once a day that began with attending a church service. But times have changed.

Although many people have opted out of keeping worship on their Sunday schedule, clergy in Norwalk continue to encourage more people to worship.

Grace Episcopal Church, which has been a part of Norwalk since 1890, has seen the number of its worshipers decline in recent years as members died or moved away.

"It's like starting over again," said the Rev. Lois Keen, priest in charge, noting that following the 1950s and 1960s, many people just stopped attending church on Sunday. "All of us are trying to figure out what we are trying to do and be next."

Meanwhile, Grace Episcopal Church continues to reach out to the community. Bilingual services have been added on the last Sunday morning of each month. There also is an open air service at 2 p.m. on the last Sunday of the month for anyone walking by, which is aimed at helping people become more comfortable with Jesus in an informal setting. The church also offers a healing service of just prayers at 10 a.m. on the final Saturday of the month, which is attended by patients, family members and doctors from Norwalk Hospital, not far away from the church's location at Union Park and Mott Avenue.

"This is a time of transition. This is not new," said Keen. "It's happened before. This time it's just ramped up by the electronic age."

Other members of the clergy in the city also acknowledge that churches aren't bursting at the seams on many Sundays.

"Sunday has become just like any other day -- there are many things going on," said Robert Story, pastor of the Community Advent Christian Church.

The son of a preacher, he remembers memorizing the Psalms in school when he was growing up in Loudon, N.H.

"A lot of what we are is what were taught," he said, adding that since there has been a major shift in culture, what was accepted then is no longer.

More here-

Bishop candidates visit Grace House

From New Mexico-

The six nominees to be the next bishop of the Episcopal Diocese of the Rio Grande will visit Grace House in Carlsbad today as part of a six-day "walkabout" tour of New Mexico and West Texas to visit church parishes, missions and outreach centers.
The candidates will make a ministry visit to Carlsbad's Grace House, a long-term treatment center and group home for teenage boys, said the Very Rev. Tom Gray, dean of the diocese's southeast deanery and retired rector of Grace Episcopal Church in Carlsbad.

"Grace House is a ministry of the Episcopal Church, of Grace Church here and St. Paul's Episcopal Church in Artesia," said Gray. "I don't know of any better example of the church's work than what is done here at Grace House."

The nominees are taking advantage of the tour to meet and speak with Episcopal congregations and to visit church-sponsored outreach ministries, said the Rev. Daniel Gutierrez, diocesan information officer. They are also acquainting themselves with the geography of the largest Episcopal diocese in the contiguous 48 states.

"The Episcopal Diocese of the Rio Grande includes all of New Mexico, the fifth largest state in area, and that part of Texas west of the Pecos River, an area of 154,000 square miles," said Gutierrez. "The diocese boasts two time zones within its boundaries: Mountain and Central."

More here-

Sunday, April 11, 2010

Hollywood mourns Munchkin actor

Just because-

Flowers were laid on the Hollywood Walk Of Fame star dedicated to the 124 Munchkin actors, after Raabe died in Florida on Friday, aged 94.

Playing the coroner, he was one of nine Munchkins to have had a speaking part in Oz, pronouncing the Wicked Witch of the East "most sincerely dead".

The actor, who was 1.37m tall, was one of the last surviving Munchkins.

When the troupe's star on the Hollywood Walk Of Fame was unveiled in 2007, there were only seven left - most in their 80s and 90s.

Raabe attended the ceremony, dressed in a huge hat with a rolled brim, as seen in the film.
He delighted fans by reciting his most famous line: "As coroner I must aver, I thoroughly examined her. And she's not only merely dead. She's really most sincerely dead."
The actor's caregiver, Cindy Bosnyak, said he died in hospital on Friday.

More here-

Jim Pagliaroni Former major league catcher

From The LA Times-

Jim Pagliaroni, 72, a former major league catcher who was behind home plate for Jim "Catfish" Hunter's perfect game with the Oakland A's in 1968, died Saturday at his home in Grass Valley, Calif. He had cancer and heart problems.

Pagliaroni played for the Boston Red Sox, Pittsburgh Pirates, Oakland A's and the expansion Seattle Pilots in 11 seasons. The 6-foot-4, 210-pound Pagliaroni finished with a .252 batting average and had only 41 errors overall and a .991 fielding average.

In 1962, he came close to catching a perfect game with the Red Sox when pitcher Bill Monbouquette gave up no hits and allowed only a walk against the Chicago White Sox.

Born Dec. 8, 1937, in Dearborn, Mich., Pagliaroni grew up in Long Beach, where he attended Wilson High School.

In 1955, he was drafted by the Red Sox, who gave him a bonus contract of $50,000. But he was called to serve in the Army from 1956 to 1958, then played his first full season in the majors in 1960.

He finished his baseball career with the Pilots in 1969, a season that teammate Jim Bouton immortalized in his brazen, nonfiction account, "Ball Four."

Pagliaroni later became an executive with a food distribution company in the Western United States. He also raised funds for the ALS Foundation to help honor Hunter, who died of amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, or Lou Gehrig's disease, in 1999.

Catholic voices: Case Not Closed

From The Living Church-

The report of the Theology Committee of the House of Bishops on same-sex blessings is now in the public domain, and some basic points need to be discussed punctually.

The first is what the timing of the report’s release tells us about the way in which the House of Bishops operates. The two affinity groups worked for two years before their report was ready. Their work clearly reflects this time and effort. Nevertheless, the bishops passed on the matter about which their theology group was to inform them before the report of that group was in hand. The justifying theology appeared after the fact it was intended to justify. The body charged with upholding the doctrine and order of the church has declared that it can act prior to the theological work it has commissioned.

There is also an issue about the format in which the report appeared. It reminds me of The PBS NewsHour: on any issue of importance, representatives of the two sides are allowed to speak. This arrangement is fine for the NewsHour, on which a level playing field prevails. Within the Anglican Communion, however, the playing field is not level, and properly so. On the NewsHour, generally speaking, the burden of proof does not lie on one side. Within the Anglican Communion, the burden of proof clearly lies with those who would change church teaching and practice on the matter of marriage.

The report does not make clear where the burden of proof lies, although those who would expand marriage are proposing changes not favored by the vast majority of Anglicans and other Christians, and certainly nowhere approved in Christian tradition. In accepting, perhaps even defending, the NewsHour format, the traditionalist identity group guaranteed a place in the report for a full presentation of its position. One can only say that, in the present environment, this is a huge achievement for which those who hold a traditional position should be grateful. In its present form, the report makes clear that within the Episcopal Church, those who hold traditional views are not an odd fringe group.

Nevertheless, the NewsHour format also does serious harm to the traditionalist position because, in adopting this format without clear insistence on the location of the burden of proof, the traditional identity group gave away much of the high ground it rightly occupies. Too often conservatives enter these conversations without insisting upon the location of the burden of proof and as a result assume a defensive position when they need not do so.

More here-

Alaska diocese elects Mark Andrew Lattime as eighth bishop

From ENS-

The Very Rev. Mark Lattime was elected April 10 as the eighth bishop of the Episcopal Diocese of Alaska, pending the required consents from a majority of the church's diocesan standing committees and bishops with jurisdiction.

Lattime, 43, rector of St. Michael's Episcopal Church in Geneseo in the Diocese of Rochester (New York), was elected on the fourth ballot. He received 42 votes of 70 cast in the lay order and 14 of 25 cast in the clergy order. An election on that ballot required 36 in the lay order and 14 in the clergy order.

The electing convention was held at the Meier Lake Conference Center in Wasilla, Alaska. Lattime will succeed the Rt. Rev. Rustin Kimsey, who has served as interim bishop for three years, since Bishop Mark MacDonald left in 2007 to become the first indigenous bishop of the Anglican Church of Canada.

Before being called to St. Michael's in 2000, Lattime was college chaplain at Canterbury Fellowship and associate rector at the R.E. Lee. Memorial Church in Lexington, Diocese of Southwest Virginia.

Lattime is a three-time deputy to General Convention (2003, 2006 and 2009) from Rochester, where he also served in numerous diocesan capacities including: diocesan council, standing committee, as a dean of the southwest district and a stewardship consultant.

His community involvements include serving as a board member for the Wadsworth Public Library and as a volunteer ambulance driver for the Geneseo Fire Department.

A certified private pilot, he is a 1988 graduate of Dickinson College in Carlisle, Pennsylvania, and earned a master of divinity degree from Bexley Hall in 1997.

More here-