Saturday, May 1, 2010

Anglican Bishop of Delhi visits Melbourne to encourage closer ties

From Australia- Christian Post-

The Anglican Bishop of Delhi, the Right Reverend Sunil Kumar Singh, is on a goodwill visit to Melbourne that the Anglican Church hopes will encourage closer ties between the churches and cities of Melbourne and Delhi.

Bishop Singh, who is the guest of the Archbishop of Melbourne, the Most Reverend Dr Philip Freier, will preach in St Paul’s Cathedral this Sunday, 2 May, at 10.30am. Members of the Indian community are especially welcome.

The bishop’s visit will last until 11 May. During his stay, Bishop Singh will visit the Brotherhood of St Laurence, meet other community leaders and offer Bible Studies to local clergy. Discussions will include the possibility of clergy exchanges and sharing experiences about living harmoniously in multicultural and multifaith societies.

Dr Freier said: “This is a friendship visit to strengthen relations.

“Our Churches initiated contact well before recent publicity about attacks on Indians in Australia. However, recognising the anxiety this has caused, both here and in India, Bishop Singh’s visit is very timely..”

Bishop Singh’s background is as a parish priest in rural areas. Bishop Singh was born on 15 June 1957. He was ordained as a priest in the Diocese of Delhi on 5 December 1982. He holds the degree of Bachelor of Arts from the Delhi University (1978) and a Bachelor of Divinity from the Senate of Serampore College (1982). He was also awarded the Westhill Diploma in Church Management in July 1995 from Westhill College in the United Kingdom.

More here-

Episcopal churches combine Stephen Ministry efforts

From Louisiana-

A divorce, the death of a loved one, the loss of a job — such painful life situations take time to get through.

A companion along the way would be a blessing, and that’s what Stephen Ministry seeks to provide.

The Christian educational program trains laypeople to help others through those difficult times in life.

In Baton Rouge, three Episcopal churches — St. Luke’s, St. James and Trinity — have joined to act as one in training their parishioners as Stephen ministers and assigning them to “care receivers” inside and outside their congregations.

“It’s a Christian care ministry, walking alongside someone going through a particular time in their life,” said Becky Williams, a registered nurse and the director of health ministries at St. Luke’s.

She visits with people who would like to meet with a Stephen minister and matches them with one of the 22 local laypersons who have been so trained and commissioned.

More here-

Evensong brings Anglican tradition to area

From San Diego-

Every religious faith has traditions and touchstones that help define it. Even among different branches of a single religion, there are often practices that give a particular denomination its individual character.

Evensong is one of those practices. Unique to Anglicanism (including its American branch, Episcopalianism), evening prayer developed in England after the break with Rome by combining Vespers and Compline (evening and night prayer hours, respectively) into a single service. When put to music, the service is called Evensong.

St. Peter's Episcopal Church in Del Mar holds an Evensong at 5 p.m. the first Sunday of each month. While the Episcopal Cathedral of St. Paul in San Diego (home of Bishop James Mathes) holds a weekly Evensong on Sundays, local Episcopalian officials said as far as they know, St. Peter's is the only parish in the diocese to hold a regularly scheduled Evensong, although others hold special Evensongs from time to time.

The Diocese of San Diego takes in San Diego and Imperial counties, as well as much of southern Riverside County and Yuma County in Arizona.

"I think people enjoy the brevity of it," said Ruben Valenzuela, director of music at St. Peter's, on the appeal of the monthly Evensong services. "In contrast to the morning service, which will typically run an hour and 20 minutes, this runs 40 minutes.

More here-

St. Paul's Church in Millis stops holding services

From Massachusetts-

A local Episcopal church announced Sunday that it has indefinitely suspended all worship services and day-to-day operations due to financial problems attributed in part to declining numbers.

St. Paul's Church at 903 Main St. will no longer hold Sunday services or Sunday school. The church's officials and congregation are currently in talks with the Episcopal Diocese of Massachusetts to determine what to do next.

"St. Paul's is facing some financial challenges as well as congregational challenges," said Tracey Sukraw, director of communication for the diocese. "So worship services as well as day-to-day operations have been suspended."

Sukraw said one problem is that congregants are divided over how to solve the financial problems.

The numbers of parishioners has dwindled over time but is not playing "a significant role" in the congregation's woes, she said. The declining numbers indirectly led to the parish's financial problems, Sukraw said.

The decision to suspend services also means St. Paul's will not host its annual flea market or "Windows in Bloom" celebration on May 15.

"We're in contact with the Episcopal Diocese regarding our situation," said Helen Daly, a representative of St. Paul's, in an e-mail. "Unfortunately, we have no additional information to offer at this time."

More here-

ALBANY: Retired Albany Bishop Daniel Herzog rejoins the Episcopal Church

From Episcopal Life Online-

Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori has issued an order for Restoration of Ordained Ministry for retired Bishop of Albany Daniel W. Herzog, who left the Episcopal Church in March 2007 to join the Roman Catholic Church.
"I am delighted at his return to ordained ministry in the Episcopal Church," said Jefferts Schori.

The presiding bishop issued the order after "full consultation and on the recommendation of Diocese of Albany Bishop William H. Love," according to a news release from the church's Office of Public Affairs due to be posted here.

Love announced Herzog's return to the Episcopal Church April 30 at the diocese's priests retreat at Christ the King Spiritual Life Center in Greenwich, New York, where Herzog was invited to celebrate the closing Eucharist.

"Though he has never really been absent from our common life, I want to formally welcome Bishop Dan and Carol back to the full communion of the diocese and the wider church," said Love in a statement included in the news release. "During the past three years, they have continued to support the work of the diocese and to participate in a non-ordained capacity."

Love said that Herzog's "restored role will be of help in carrying out the work of the church, and I will be asking him to assist in this diocese under my direction as is true of any retired bishop."

Love, who was consecrated Sept. 16, 2006, succeeded Herzog after the latter's retirement.

Carol Herzog, the bishop's wife, also left the Episcopal Church in March 2007.

"I want to extend my deep appreciation to Bishop Love and to Presiding Bishop Jefferts Schori for their kindness and pastoral solicitude," said Herzog in his statement in the news release. "Carol and I are grateful for the continuing opportunity to serve our Lord and His church in the Diocese of Albany. My only plan is to assist in any way Bishop Bill directs. We are honored to resume a fuller place among the clergy and laity of the diocese."

More here-

Friday, April 30, 2010

Episcopal bishop announces retirement

From the Baltimore Sun-

John L. Rabb, bishop suffragan of the Episcopal Diocese of Maryland for 12 years, is planning to step down on Jan. 1.

“I am responding to what God is calling me to in a new season of ministry," Rabb, the second highest ranking Episcopal official in Maryland, told clergy and lay members of the diocese Friday morning at the opening of their 226th convention.

"I will be doing a combination of teaching, continued work in ministry development, preaching in a different venue, my Franciscan studies and writing," Rabb said. "I love the Diocese of Maryland, all of you, each congregation and everything we have done. I have felt loved by this diocese, far more than I would have imagined. So my very good friends, it is with love that I say thank you.”

As bishop suffrgan of Maryland, Rabb oversees the ordination process, clergy deployment, deacon formation and deployment and Christian formation, according to the diocese. He shares visitations and confirmations with Eugene Taylor Sutton, the bishop of Maryland.

Rabb served as bishop-in-charge of the diocese between the retirement of Bishop Robert Ihloff in 2007 and the consecration of Sutton in 2008.

Under the canons and constitutions of the Episcopal Church and the Diocese of Maryland, Rabb is will submit his resignation to the Presiding Bishop and the House of Bishops in the fall of 2010. As of January 1, 2011, Bishop Rabb will have been ordained a priest 34 years.

Editorial: After Singapore

From The Living Church-

Like those from previous encounters, the communiqué or “trumpet” from the fourth Global South to South Encounter in Singapore strives to address at once the Anglican churches of the global south and the wider Communion, and this is as it should be. The communion of Christ calls us both to speak to our own contexts — in this case, to cultivate a conversation among “the vast majority of the active membership of the Anglican Communion” that happens to share many challenges in church and society as well as a largely evangelical theological and missionary idiom — and the larger Body and its members, spread throughout the earth. At the intersection of these two audiences this latest communiqué speaks reflexively of a singular Church, following the theme of the encounter: “The Gospel of Jesus Christ — Covenant for the People, Light for the Nations,” from Isaiah. Unfortunately, the text falls short of the ecclesial confidence, and clarity, that it rightly aims for, even in the narrowed context of specifically Anglican communion.

The thesis of the communiqué may be found in its ninth paragraph: “We encourage Provinces to develop intentional plans and structures for Church growth in the post-Christendom context of today’s world. Above all, we call for a new quest for personal and corporate holiness in the [Anglican] Communion.” The final seven paragraphs, aimed at the wider Communion, break very little new ground, and where new suggestions are made they are underdeveloped, as in the intriguing final sentence of the communiqué proper: “We believe that there is a need to review the entire Anglican Communion structure; especially the Instruments of Communion and the Anglican Communion office; in order to achieve an authentic expression of the current reality of our Anglican Communion.” What precisely is being proposed here? The recently convened Inter-Anglican Standing Commission on Unity Faith and Order has been tasked with this very work, following on and consolidating the foundation of the Covenant text. Are the global south leaders effectively commending this labor, or rather suggesting a parallel, and perhaps quite different, kind of “review”? It is impossible to say. Similarly, the text proposes in a single sentence that “the Primates Meeting ... should be the body to oversee the Covenant in its implementation” because they are “responsible for Faith and Order” (para. 21) — a suggestion that would need to be shown with reference to current Anglican structures or otherwise argued for on independent grounds.

More here-

Anglican Church says No to new law

From Kenya-

The Anglican Church of Kenya has declared its stand on the proposed draft constitution, and its a No.

The House of Bishops, which is the ACK's highest organ, said Thursday its move was informed by unsatisfactory provisions in the draft on the Bill of Rights, kadhis' courts and abortion.

"We therefore say No to the proposed constitution as it is unless amendments are effected before the referendum," read a statement by the bishops after day-long deliberations at the All Saints Cathedral, Nairobi.

The Catholic Church, other protestants churches, under the umbrella of the National Council of Churches of Kenya (NCCK), and evangelicals are firmly opposed to the new law and with the ACK joining them, it will serve to strengthen their hand in a stand-off with the government- backed draft.

The stage is now set for bruising campaign battles pitting the two sides ahead of the referendum whose date is yet to be set.

It is the Cabinet’s Tuesday resolution to push for the Yes vote and the casual approach it gave to the negotiations with the Church that incensed some of the Anglican bishops who had previously rooted for the adoption of the draft constitution to change their minds and join their colleagues in rejecting the document.

“It is because of the government’s arrogance that makes me support the resolution by the House of Bishops,” said Maseno South Bishop Mwai Abiero, one of the church leader who recently issued a statement saying they would push for the adoption of the draft constitution at the referendum.

The church’s head, Archbishop Eliud Wabukala who had also indicated his support for the document stated that the meeting’s resolution was the church’s position when asked why he had changed his mind.

“This is the church’s position, not an individual’s position,” he said after reading the statement.

The Church objects to the section of Article 26, which empowers doctors to end a pregnancy if it endangers the woman's life or she needs emergency treatment.

More here-

Anglican Church asks "foot soldiers" to stop complaining

From Ghana-

The Right Reverend Emmanuel Anyidana Arongo, the Bishop of the Anglican Diocese of Tamale, has called on Ghanaians, especially party supporters, to stop complaining and rally behind the leadership of the country.

He condemned actions of supporters of parties, especially NDC foot soldiers, for their impatience and their penchant to go on the rampage to settle scores.

"Such approach diverts the attention of the presidency and people in authority in fine-tuning the already fragile economy," the Rt Rev Arongo said during the opening of the Sixth Diocesan Synod of the Church on Wednesday.

He said the life blood of any successful family, town, community, nation or organization did not depend upon complaints but depended on strengthened faith, trust in God, commitment and a strong desire to serve humankind.

The Rt Rev Arongo said complaint was one of the major setbacks to development and leads to destruction of life and property and kills the "can do spirit" in Ghanaians.

The Bishop appealed to Ghanaians to be dedicated, hardworking, sacrificial, honest and sincere and to have faith in God and pray for the country's development instead of complaining.

He commended the Anglican Diocesan Development and Relief Organization, a development wing of the diocese, for its contribution to the development of the Diocese especially in the area of health and poverty reduction.

More here-

Anglican aspect of life in Ordinariate questioned

From The Church Times-

DOUBTS have been raised about whether former Church of England clerics would have distinctive “transferrable skills” to bring to the Roman Catholic Church, if they ceased to be part of the Anglican Communion.

At a meeting on Saturday at Pusey House in Oxford, the Revd Jonathan Baker SSC, Principal of Pusey House, said that a group was gathering to reflect on what was the “distinct tradition” within the Anglican Church, fostered since the Reformation, which was “potentially capable of finding its way to enrich the life of the wider Catholic Church”.

Under the norms of Benedict XVI’s Anglicanorum Coetibus, clergy trained in seminaries in the pro­posed Ordinariate (News, 23 Octo ber) would be tutored in “those aspects of Anglican patrimony that are of particular value” to the RC Church.

One speaker, Eamon Duffy, Professor of the History of Christianity at Cambridge, and an Irish Roman Catholic, asked what “transferrable skills” Anglicans would bring. He said that what was distinctive was that they had been “shaped” by the Royal Supremacy, which had had a “moderating impact” on the differ ences in the Church of England between Catholics and Protestants.

“A fundamental part of the nature, identity, and patrimony of Anglican ism comes from the enforced co-existence of the Catholic dimension of Anglicanism within other more Protestant streams within an establishment,” Professor Duffy said. There would be “big problems ima gining how it would retain its coherence and Anglican identity outside those constraints. . . Could choral evensong survive in a minority uniate Church . . . within Roman Catholicism?”

Canon Robin Ward, the Principal of St Stephen’s House, said that the Pope, when he was still Cardinal Ratzinger, had seen in Anglicanism “a significant Catholic potential — a self-renewing Catholic principle”. Part of the Pope’s motivation in Anglicanorum Coetibus was to find a “juridical and theological way” in which this worthwhile distinctiveness could make a contribution to the greater communion of the catholica.

More here-

Diocese of Haiti planning for future, planning for partnerships

From Episcopal Life Online-

Life still is not easy in Haiti nearly four months after a magnitude-7 earthquake devastated the country, but the Episcopal Diocese of Haiti is working on reconstruction plans and has begun again its long-standing education ministry.
That was the report April 29 from the Rev. Kesner Ajax, Diocese of Haiti partnership coordinator, during a day-long meeting at the Episcopal Church Center in New York City. Ajax, who holds a number of positions in the diocese, is also the executive director of the Bishop Tharp Institute of Business and Technology (BTI) in Les Cayes in southwest Haiti.

"It is not easy right now," Ajax said at a briefing for church center employees.

The diocese is dealing with the same problems of poverty that it tried to alleviate before the earthquake, he said. The earthquake damaged or destroyed most of the diocese's churches and other institutions, and shifted the country's population, with many Port-au-Prince residents now living in the countryside. Thus, the diocese, along with the nation, must make decisions about where and how to rebuild, he said, adding "life is supposed to continue."

More here-

Thursday, April 29, 2010

Anglican Bishop's desperate plea over police repression

From Zimbabwe-

THE Anglican Church in Zimbabwe is in turmoil due to a power struggle between excommunicated Bishop Albert Kunonga, and Bishop Chad Gandiya who was consecrated in July last year as his replacement.

High Court judge president Rita Makarau gave an order in March for the two sides to share the church’s buildings around the country until a final judgment is passed over the control of the church’s assets.

But writing on New today, Bishop Gandiya, who is the recognised by the Anglican Church Province of Central Africa, says his congregation is being persecuted by Kunonga, and they have found no protection from the police.

Bishop Gandiya asks: “Who will listen to our plight?”

More here-

Christian Unifier Celebrating 5 Years of Pope Benedict XVI

From The National Catholic Register-

At the age of 78, when most men are either retiring or already retired, Joseph Cardinal Ratzinger began a new and awesome period in his life. On April 19, 2005, he was elected as the 265th vicar of Christ, taking the name of Pope Benedict XVI. People may well have wondered: Considering his age, what will the new Pope be able to accomplish in the remaining years of his life?

The answer is: a great deal! As we mark the fifth anniversary of his papal election on April 19, 2010, we realize he has already done so much. He brought to his new responsibilities a deep spirit of prayer, a great theological depth, and a zeal to proclaim “the presence of the living Christ to the whole world,” as he told the College of Cardinals the day after his election.

He set clear goals for himself. Probably the most significant of them was his determination to appeal for Christian unity. As he said in his inauguration Mass: “Let us do all we can to pursue the path toward unity!” His actual intent was to reach out “to all men and women of today, to believers and nonbelievers alike.” He sent greetings to the Jewish people, whom he said shared a joint spiritual heritage with Christians, and he even received an invitation from 130 Muslim scholars to dialogue with them about religion.

But his primary focus was to foster unity among all Christians. He realized how all Christians throughout the world were being persecuted by ever increasingly secular as well as fanatically religious governments which are attacking the basic Christian values of the sacredness of human life, the sanctity of monogamous marriage and the family, and religious liberty. In unity there will be strength!

Anglican Diocesan Development Organisation trains health volunteers

From Ghana-

The Anglican Diocesan Development and Relief Organisation (ADDRO), is training about 280 volunteers to take up the distribution of Long Lasting Insecticide Treated Nets (LLINS) in two districts in the Upper East Region.

The training which is meant to facilitate ADDRO's malaria free programme at Garu-Tempane and Bawku West districts is being funded by the US under the President's Malaria Initiative.

The trainees would constitute the first phase of the programme, which has targeted 1000 volunteers to be engaged.

The volunteers will help educate their communities on malaria control.

ADDRO is determined to encourage community members to use LLINS throughout the year by adopting effective and workable strategies to improve the use of the net.

The programme is expected to cover a total of 139,837 people, including 24,967 children under five.

More here-

Pope to meet top German bishops

From the Vatican-

Pope Benedict XVI was scheduled later Thursday to meet three top bishops from his native Germany - where the Catholic church has been hit by widespread revelations of sexual abuse of minors by priests.

The pontiff was set to hold a private audience at noon (1000 GMT) with the group headed by the archbishop of Freiburg, Robert Zollitsch, who also chairs the German Episcopal Conference.
Archbishop of Munich Reinhard Marx and the auxiliary bishop of Augsburg, Anton Losinger, were also scheduled to participate in the talks.

The Vatican did not immediately provide further details on the meeting.

On Monday Germany's Catholic bishops announced plans to revise rules on sex abuse by clergy, making clearer that cases have to be reported to the police at the time they happen.
Current rules drafted in 2002 merely say paedophile clergy should be encouraged to turn themselves in to police.

Earlier this month the Vatican said publicly for the first time that sexual molestation must be reported by bishops to a country's civil authorities.

The scandal first unfolded in Germany in late January, with revelations of dozens of cases involving the sexual molestation of minors by priests and other clergy staff from 1950-2000 at church-run schools.,pope-to-meet-top-german-bishops.html

DUIN: Churches ride immigration wave

From the Washington Times-

The presiding bishop of the Episcopal Church was in town this past weekend visiting a Hispanic congregation in Hyattsville.

San Mateo, also known as St. Matthew's, is the largest - at 300 members - of the seven Spanish-speaking congregations in the Episcopal Diocese of Washington. What the Rt. Rev. Katharine Jefferts Schori was looking at was the future of her denomination.

She said as much when I talked with her at the fiesta afterward. Membership in the mainline Protestant denominations is dropping like a stone - especially in the Episcopal Church, which is perilously close to dropping below the 2 million mark. The nation's 68 million Catholics would be losing folks, too, she noted, were it not for immigration.

About 30 million of these Catholics - half of them younger than 25 - are Hispanic.

"Why do we have to speak their language?" an older woman asked me as we ate tamales and papusas on folding chairs in the parish hall. "People who came here years ago, they learned to speak English."

Well, so they did - folks like my German grandfather who arrived in 1903. But the race for bodies to fill the pews has ramped up a bit since then and the mentality now is to rope them in with services in Spanish, Vietnamese, Hmong, Russian and other tongues. Hopefully, a generation from now, their English-speaking kids will stick around the church that was there for them.

More here-

Episcopal Bishop of Arizona posts opinion on SB 1070

From Arizona-

This morning I was pleased to see that the Episcopal Bishop of Arizona, the Rt. Rev. Kent Smith, has written an article for the Huffington Post about the SB 1070 statute recently passed and signed in Arizona. You can read it here:

Bishop Smith's points against the law come from a religious perspective, including his contention that "humanitarian aid is never a crime," as signs outside many Tucson churches read. Under SB 1070, the bishop holds that there is now a threat against Christians and believers in other faith systems that they can and wll be prosecuted for showing human compassion to others.

Of course we run no risk if we can tell that a person is an illegal border-crosser merely by looking at them (although our Governor admits that she doesn't know what an illegal looks like). I think that we are also intimidated by this provision in SB 1070:


While overall I believe that this sentence is meaningless, since it refers to federal law rather than the new Arizona statute, the implication is that a person can sue a police officer or a police department if they think that they are slacking off on enforcing SB 1070. This type of "turn in your neighbor" law is reminiscent of many World War II movies and books. That is, it reminds me of Nazis.

More here-

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Anglicans meet to elect church leader

From Fiji-

REPRESENTATIVES from the different Anglican Church congregations in the Diocesan of Polynesia gathered at the Novotel Convention Centre in Lami yesterday to begin the electoral process for a new Diocesan Bishop.

Diocesan secretary and registrar Reverend Sereima Lomaloma said when the late Bishop of the Diocese of Polynesia, Reverend Jabez Leslie Bryce, died in February this year, his seat became vacant. "We usually have our synod, which is the parliament of the church, every three years," she said.

"But this meeting was already planned by the late Bishop Bryce in 2009 after he announced his retirement in 2008.

"This synod has to take place. It is an electoral synod where the electoral college of the church is going to sit and elect a new bishop of Polynesia. It's a process that the electoral college goes through and hopefully it will be over by Thursday evening."

The retired Bishop of Auckland John Paterson is the presiding president of the synod meet and the archbishops and primates commissary for Polynesia.

"When the bishop's seat becomes vacant, the archbishops will appoint somebody to be their commissary to look after the diocese until we have a new election," Rev Lomaloma said.

More here-

Peter Jensen: The Anglican Crisis is Over.

From Australia-

The leader of Sydney’s Anglicans, Archbishop Peter Jensen, has declared the crisis in the Anglican communion over. Jensen attended a meeting of the Anglican “Global South” group, which represents an overwhelming majority of the world’s Anglicans in Singapore in April.

The Anglican Communion has been fracturing since the election of Bishop Gene Robinson, a partnered gay man in the USA in 2003.

Jensen has in effect declared the war over. “The crisis moment has now passed” he says. “Many of the Global South provinces have given up on the official North American Anglicans (TEC and the Canadian Church) and regard themselves as being out of communion with them. They renew the call for repentance but can see that, failing something like the Great Awakening, it will not occur.

“The positive side to this is that they are committed to achieving self-sufficiency so that they will cease to rely on the Western churches for aid. That is something the Global South has been working on for some time, with success.”

The Anglican Communion has quietly, and politely split apart. There will still be Communion meetings, attended by varying numbers of member provinces, but the Global South will set up its own structures and seek financial independence.

More here-

Desmond Tutu: release 3 US hikers held in Iran

From The Washington Post-

Retired South African archbishop Desmond Tutu is calling for the urgent release of three American hikers detained for nearly nine months in Iran.

In a statement Wednesday Tutu says two of the hikers are ill and they are all suffering emotionally and are considering a hunger strike. He says Shane Bauer, Josh Fattal and Sarah Shourd have committed no crime.

The three Americans have been held since crossing the border from Iraq in July. Their families say they unintentionally strayed while hiking.

They all attended the University of California at Berkeley. Fattal's family lives near Philadelphia, Bauer's in Pine City, Minnesota, and Shourd's in Oakland, California.

Tutu, a Nobel Peace Prize laureate, is the former head of the Anglican Church of Southern Africa.

More here-

Karstens, Doumit stamp out Pirates' worst week

Further proof that God exists-

The Pirates' clubhouse was a tight, tense place Tuesday afternoon, gripped by one of the worst week-long stretches for any team in Major League Baseball history.

At one stall, sitting silently, was Jeff Karstens, freshly recalled from Class AAA Indianapolis with a 7.31 ERA mostly as a reliever. He would be, by all appearances, the latest sacrificial lamb served up to the Milwaukee Brewers.

Strolling across the room to break that silence was Ryan Doumit, fresh off one of the most forgettable nights of his career. He tapped Karstens on the knee with his catcher's mitt and said, "Let's do this."

And so, hours later, they did ...

Pirates 7, Brewers 3.

No, that is not backward.

Read more:

Episcopal Diocese of Louisiana welcomes new bishop

From Louisiana-

The Rev. Morris Thompson already has begun his first major undertaking as incoming bishop of the Espiscopal Diocese of Louisiana: listening.

Thompson, 54, moved to New Orleans from Lexington, Ky., in March to take the place of Bishop Charles Jenkins. He will be ordained Saturday as the diocese’s 11th bishop at Christ Church Cathedral.

What Thompson is especially good at, his resume and acquaintances say, is pastoral care, the kind of psychological and spiritual therapy he made a specialty as a hospital chaplain in Kentucky and his native Mississippi.

So far, Thompson has toured some of the 55 congregations in his diocese, which covers most of Southeast Louisiana. He said his listening tour is likely to go on for a year or more, until he begins to distill a sense of where his diocese of 18,000 Episcopalians is, physically, emotionally, and spiritually, and what he thinks it needs.

“I’m good at paying attention to grief, paying attention to loss and then listening until people get tired of hearing their stories over and over ... and they begin to get healed,” he said. “Then we can move further along.

More here-

ALABAMA: Episcopalians come together to clean up after tornadoes

From Episcopal Life Online-

Severe storms that killed 10 people in Mississippi and two in Alabama April 24-25 also severely damaged Christ Episcopal Church in Albertville, Alabama.
A F3 tornado (on the F0-5 Fujita Scale) tore through the northern Alabama city, injuring a reported 33 people and severely damaging buildings on East Main Street, also known as Million Dollar Avenue, in the historic downtown.

"I am very grateful for all of Albertville that we have been able to weather this with no death," the Rev. David Kendrick, Christ Church's rector, told on April 26. "And so there is sadness, but there is always blessing and there is always new life. I truly believe that with all my heart."

Kendrick had just finished writing his sermon about 10:30 p.m. on April 24 and gone to bed when he and his wife, Laura, heard tornado warning sirens sound outside their red brick townhouse, the Diocese of Alabama reported. They took shelter in a bathroom near the center of the townhouse, Kendrick said, while windows in the living room and a bedroom exploded and ceilings gave way. Leaves and glass shards were blown under the bathroom door, according to the diocesan report.

Kendrick and 15 parishioners gathered at the church on April 25 to survey the damage: The churchyard's huge, old trees had been uprooted, there were large holes in the roof and the church's sidewalls were leaning. The tornado had shifted the entire structure to the left of its foundation, the diocese said.

More here-

Probing the mystery of faith, found or lost

From Boston-

I picked up journalist Eric Lax’s heartfelt new memoir after reading his recent opinion piece in The New York Times in which he lovingly supported the controversial election of the Rev. Mary Glasspool, who is gay, as an assistant bishop in Los Angeles’ Episcopal Diocese.

“Faith Interrupted’’ is in part a longer reflection on the troubling paradoxes that confront a religiously observant life. Lax, the son of an Episcopal priest and the author of a well-known biography of Woody Allen, spent his childhood steeped in his family’s faith, serving as an acolyte in his father’s Southern California church. Lax tenderly writes that “at the altar we were like dance partners, each of whom knew the other’s steps before he made them.’’

In an age of dysfunctional family relationships, the Laxes stand out for their mutual love and respect even as Eric eventually abandons the religion of his childhood. Yet “Faith Interrupted’’ is such an honest and affecting memoir that one can imagine Lax wrote much of it in the same frame of mind in which he contemplated the night sky as a boy at Camp Stevens. The Episcopal camp, where his father served as chaplain, held memories of a first kiss as well as God’s surrounding grandeur. Lax writes that “I felt particularly close to God as I drifted to sleep, and woke up in the morning thinking I would become a priest.’’

More here-

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Bishop Wright Retiring in August

From The Living Church-

The Rt. Rev. N.T. Wright, Bishop of Durham since 2003, has announced his retirement from that historic and influential office, effective Aug. 31.

Wright, 61, will become Research Professor of New Testament and Early Christianity at the University of St Andrews in Scotland.

“This has been the hardest decision of my life,” Wright said in a statement to his diocese. “It has been an indescribable privilege to be bishop of the ancient Diocese of Durham, to work with a superb team of colleagues, to take part in the work of God’s kingdom here in the northeast, and to represent the region and its churches in the House of Lords and in General Synod. I have loved the people, the place, the heritage and the work.”

“Tom Wright ranks among the most distinguished New Testament scholars in the world, and his profile as a churchman, writer and communicator is simply outstanding,” said Professor Ivor Davidson, head of school at St Andrews. “I am delighted that he will be joining us at St Andrews, where he will further enhance the long-established reputation of the School of Divinity as a major international centre of biblical and theological scholarship.”

Wright served on the Lambeth Commission on Communion, which issued the Windsor Report in 2004.

More here-

ARIZONA: Religious community rallies against immigration law

From Episcopal Life Online-

Bishop Kirk S. Smith told Arizona Episcopalians April 23 not to panic in response to a new state law that will make it illegal for undocumented immigrants to be in Arizona and that will require people suspected of being illegal to show proof of legal status.

"I know that the passage of this law is deeply troubling to many of you, especially those of undocumented status. I know that many of you fear for your jobs, your families, and your future in this state and in this country," Smith wrote in a letter to Arizona Episcopalians.
" … I am writing to encourage you not to lose heart. First, there is no need for panic. This law does not take effect for 90 days. During that time there will be many court challenges, including those coming from the federal government. The law might be tied up for months or years in litigation, and I believe that there is a good possibility it will never go into effect."

Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer signed Senate Bill 1070, aimed at identifying, prosecuting and deporting illegal immigrants, into law April 23. In a statement issued with the bill's signing, she described it as a tool for the state to use in addressing a crisis it didn't create and that the federal government has refused to fix.

More here-

Statement by The Anglican Diocese of Pittsburgh

Prepared for a diocesan-wide gathering of clergy, lay leaders and interested laity held at St. Martin’s Anglican Church, Monroeville, Pennsylvania.

Beloved in the Lord: Christ is Risen! Good Afternoon. Thank you for coming and for your abiding prayers and labors for our Anglican Diocese of Pittsburgh. Thank you also for your vision and commitment to transforming our world with Jesus Christ – together – as one Church of miraculous expectation and missionary grace.

Your Bishop and Standing Committee are very pleased to be here with you today to give a progress report and update on the defense and the mission of the fifty-five congregations and fellowships that are collectively the Anglican Diocese of Pittsburgh.
We have come to a remarkable clarity and unity about our path forward, both legally and missionally. It is this we want to share with you today.

Appealing to Caesar

We are convinced that appealing the decisions by the Court of Common Pleas in Calvary Church v. The Rt. Rev. Robert Duncan et al. (the court’s final order issued on January 29, 2010) is in the best interest of all – and critical to the defense of – all the parishes of the diocese. Over the last six months, the Bishop and Standing Committee have thoroughly examined this course of action, together with a number of other legal options (including ending all legal action), and have given our lawyers instructions to press forward with the appeal as a result of this careful examination. Throughout all of the deliberations and debates about how best to proceed, in which countless voices have been heard, the over-riding concern before the Bishop and Standing Committee has been how best to protect your parishes and your mission.

More here-

Million Dollar Avenue, Episcopal Church in Albertville Damaged

From Mississippi-

The storm did not discriminate - homes of all sizes, shapes and ages were damaged by Saturday night's tornado.

East Main Street, also known as Million Dollar Avenue, in downtown Albertville is the city's historic district. The damage there from Saturday's tornado was just as extensive as anywhere in town. Landmark structures on the street will need considerable repair to look anything like their former selves.

Susan Jones lives in Albertville and luckily didn't have storm damage at her home. But she says she had to help those who were in the middle of the tornado. "Once I got out and saw what kind of damage was in the area and after I cried for about an hour" Jones told WAAY 31 on Sunday. "After seeing so much damage and people's homes destroyed, I went to my church, Albertville first Baptist, and asked then what I could do."

Jones got in touch with a disaster relief crew and spent Sunday helping friends and neighbors. Among them was a grateful Billie Green. A pine tree landed on her home and on her van. She says she's lucky to be alive. "Oh it's awful to think about. This church up the street here (Christ Episcopal) was 100 years old and took the roof off of it." Green said. "And then all these houses are in the historical district and most all got damage."

Father David Kendrick from the Christ Episcopal Church calls this a sad day. A lot of the building's roof is gone and the sanctuary is badly damaged. "I see a lot of memories that people are going to be carrying with them throughout the years as they remember this church." But still, he feels blessed. "I am very grateful for all of Albertville that we have been able to weather this with no death. And so there is sadness, but there is always blessing and there is always new life. I truly believe that with all my heart."

Monday, April 26, 2010

Nigeria: New Anglican Primate

From All Africa-

Most Reverend Nicholas Okoh became Primate-elect in September 2009. He took over from Primate Peter Akinola who retired from service early this April.

He was ordained as a priest in 1979.

Before his elevation to the topmost job in the Church of Christ (Anglican Communion), Okoh, 57, had been a Lieutenant Colonel in the Nigerian Army who voluntarily retired when he was invited to become a Bishop in 2001. He became Archbishop in 2005 and is currently chairman of the Nigerian Christian Pilgrims Commission.

By his election, Okoh, a civil war veteran, becomes the first non-Yoruba to become the head of the Anglican Church. He follows a line of distinguished former Primates like Olufosoye Adetiloye and Akinola who were all giants of the church. It is the foot-prints of these men that Primate Okoh would now follow and possibly surpass.

We welcome the election of Primate Okoh to this elevated position in the Anglican Church. More so, as his election addressed a sore point within the Anglican Communion that has seen parishioners chaff under the headship of shepherds they felt did not share their culture and who they felt ensured that they were marginalized in church affairs.

This situation led to instances where, within the same communities, rival Anglican Churches emerged to cater to the different ethnic groups that established them.

More here-

Churches strive to help housing group

From Cap Cod-

There is a friendly but seldom-acknowledged rivalry between the congregations of two South Yarmouth churches.

And the beneficiaries are residents of the Cape who might otherwise end up homeless.

Each week after services at their respective churches, parishioners at St. Pius X Catholic Church and St. David's Episcopal Church, along with members of other churches across the Cape, can buy food certificates — plastic cards that look like your average store gift card. They can be used by purchasers to buy groceries at participating stores.

For every dollar spent on one of these food certificates, the Housing Assistance Corp. in Hyannis earns a 5 percent donation from the participating store.

"Bring it on!" said Debbie McDevitt Hayes of the competition between members of her church, St. David's, and members of St. Pius, which includes her friend David Akin.

"Whenever I get the chance, I tell Debbie that we are raising more money at our church than hers," said Akin, who like Hayes is a member of the Dennis Yarmouth Ecumenical Council for the Prevention of Homelessness.

"Did he tell you that his church is bigger than ours?" Hayes asked.

At the heart of this good-natured contest is the food certificate program that benefits the Housing Assistance Corp. Since the inception of the program in 1994, it has raised more than $1 million toward preventing homelessness on Cape Cod, according to Akin and Hayes.

More here-

Grosse Pointe church temporarily removes rector

From Detroit-

The rector of Christ Church Grosse Pointe has been temporarily removed from his position because of a "serious allegation" that wasn't specified, congregants learned this morning.

Rev. Brad Whitaker has run the prominent Episcopal church since 2002.

A representative of the Episcopal Bishop of Michigan addressed worshippers at the 9 a.m. service, followed by remarks by vestry senior warden Libby Candler.

Two calls placed to the home phone number listed for Whitaker the rector were hung up.

"We have no comment at this time," church spokeswoman JoAnn Amicangelo said in an e-mail today.

The church was the site of Henry Ford II's funeral in 1987.

According to what was said at the service, the church governing body, the vestry, was told about the matter on Friday and sent out letters to parishoners.

Whitaker, who's married with three children according to the church's website, previously was the rector of Christ Church in Newton, N.J., and assistant to the rector at Holy Innocents' Church in Atlanta and St. Peter's in Rome, Ga. He graduated Young Harris College in northern Georgia, the University of Georgia and The General Theological Seminary in New York City.

Anglicans hear legal fight details in Monroeville meetings

From The Tribune Review Pittsburgh-

Church leaders from 55 parishes in the Anglican Diocese of Pittsburgh gathered Sunday at St. Martin's Anglican Church in Monroeville to address concerns about an ongoing lawsuit over their split from the national Episcopal Church of America.

The parishes broke away in 2008 over issues ranging from abortion to the consecration of a noncelibate gay bishop. The Episcopal Diocese of Pittsburgh sued, and an Allegheny County judge ruled last year that the Episcopal Diocese should retain control of diocesan assets worth millions of dollars.

Robert Duncan, bishop of the newly formed Anglican Diocese, informed representatives of the parishes that the appeal of the case is ongoing. Other church leaders answered more detailed questions about financial issues related to the split.

Sunday, April 25, 2010

Case of the last vicar

From "Delmarva"

If Bill Wilson is right, there is a body buried beneath the brick floor at Greenhill Church in an unmarked grave between the pine box pews and raised pulpit in the 1733 sanctuary.

If Wilson is right, he may have discovered a clue to one of the longest running historical mysteries in the history of the church -- locating the grave of the Rev. Alexander Adams. There are three possible sites -- two in Wicomico County and one in Somerset County.

Wilson, who serves on the church's restoration committee, bases his assumption on the misalignment of the bricks along the aisle.

"I have no basis for that theory other than he was the one responsible for building the present church and donating the communion silver service. Out of respect, this is where I think the congregation at the time wanted him buried, just a few feet beneath the aisle bricks," he said. "More than likely, the brickwork was taken up and someone was buried there. That was normal practice in early Anglican churches."

Adams, born in 1679, came to Stepney and Somerset parishes in 1704. He was a fixture behind the pulpit for 65 years, a national church record that has remained unbroken for more than two centuries.

"That he might be buried inside the church seems a fitting tribute," Wilson said.

More here-

Priest sex abuse: WWMD?

From Arizona-

What would Mary do?

The cover story of the April 12 Newsweek magazine raises the question of what Jesus' mother, Mary- or any women, for that matter - would have done differently in handling the sexual abuse of children by Catholic priests.

For sure, Mary would not have screwed it up so badly.

On Wednesday, Pope Benedict XVI spoke publicly for the first time about decades of clerical sexual abuse within the church. He told the crowd in St. Peter's Square in Rome that he gave "assurances of the church's action" at a recent meeting with eight men who said they were abused by priests in a church-operated orphanage on Malta.

Last Sunday, the Vatican issued a statement that recounted the church's commitment to do everything possible to investigate allegations of sexual abuse, bring perpetrators to justice and implement measures to protect children.

Finally, we seem to be getting somewhere.

More here-

Rio Grande diocese elects Michael Louis Vono as ninth bishop

From Episcopal Life-

The Rev. Dr. Michael Louis Vono was elected April 24 as ninth bishop of the Episcopal Diocese of the Rio Grande.
Vono, 61, rector of St. Paul's Within the Walls, Rome, Italy, was elected on the third ballot out of a field of six nominees. He received 150 votes of 189 cast in the lay order and 69 of 86 cast in the clergy order. An election on that ballot required 106 in the lay order and 64 in the clergy order.

The election was held in the context of worship during a special election convention at the Cathedral of St. John in Albuquerque, New Mexico.

Vono will succeed Jeffrey Steenson, who announced in September 2007 that he was leaving the Episcopal Church to join the Roman Catholic Church. The Rt. Rev. William C. Frey, retired bishop of the Diocese of Colorado, has been serving Rio Grande as assisting bishop.

Vono has been rector of St. Paul's Within the Walls since 1992. During his tenure there, he also served for six years – three as president – on the council of advice to the bishop of the Convocation of Episcopal Churches in Europe and has been active in ecumenical and interfaith work. He was for 12 years president of the Anglo-American Medical Assistance Fund of Rome.

Previously he served in the Diocese of Western Massachusetts as rector of Christ Church, Rochdale, and curate at All Saints Church, Worcester. For the diocese, he was a congregational development consultant; a leader in ecumenical and interfaith work, including organizing a major social services outreach program; chair of the diocesan stewardship committee; and dean of the Central and West Worcester Deanery.

More here-

Voting results here-