Saturday, May 8, 2010

A week long general synod of the Anglican Church started on Saturday in Gisborne.

From New Zealand-

About 100 clergy and lay representatives from throughout New Zealand and the Pacific will attend the biennial event to debate a range of international and national issues.

There are two controversial issues on the agenda: a proposed Anglican covenant on the ordination of bishops in same-sex relationships and a motion urging the Government to ban alcohol advertising.

A highlight will be the announcement of a new Archbishop for Polynesia to succeed the late Jabez Bryce, who led the diocese for 35 years.

Storm-tossed Rosebank church tapping aid pipeline

From Staten Island-

Much of the roof blew off, and the bell tower took a beating, as did the steeple.

Now St. John’s Episcopal Church in Rosebank is one of four storm-damaged sites slated to submit initial claims by May 16 for federal public assistance, to offset repair costs triggered by the felled trees and flooding incurred in the March deluge that smacked Staten Island.

Homeowners are not eligible to receive aid under the disaster relief package submitted by Gov. David Paterson to the Obama administration. The president signed the order April 16 giving six New York counties — including Richmond — the ability to seek aid to rebuild damaged infrastructure and public facilities, with initial paperwork due within 30 days.

Representatives of Rep. Michael McMahon (D-Staten Island/Brooklyn) and state Sen. Andrew Lanza (R-Staten Island) attended a meeting Thursday at state Office of Emergency Management offices in Brooklyn to iron out details.

Patrick Hyland of McMahon’s office and Anthony Reinhart of Lanza’s office said the Staten Island Zoo, Sandy Ground Historical Society and Moravian Cemetery also will submit claims for tree and debris removal, and in the case of the Zoo, equipment damage.

The rest-

St. Matthew's Episcopal Church fundraiser to benefit outreach programs

From Alaska-

Get ready to jig and dance to live music—plus eat some great food and find some silent auction bargains at a fundraiser tonight, from 6 p.m. to midnight at St. Matthew’s Episcopal Church on First Avenue.

It’s a joint effort to raise money for the church’s outreach programs in Fairbanks and Dancing with the Spirit, a program to teach guitar and fiddle to kids in the villages.

Dancing with the Spirit is a project to prevent suicide, drug and alcohol abuse by connecting youths and elders through music.

“In the old days, we fought tribal wars with arrowheads,” said the Rev. Trimble Gilbert in Arctic Village. “It’s a different type of war now—against drugs and alcohol. I believe we can win with music.”

Funding provides an opportunity for young people to experience music camps and school programs—plus have access to instruments. The program has begun with 10 villages: Tanana, Arctic Village, Beaver, Stevens Village, Eagle, Hughes, Minto, Chalkyitsik, and Venetie.

Dancing with the Spirit staff usually arrive on Sunday, teach Monday through Friday during the school day, and have a student concert, potlatch and fiddle dance on Friday night. Our unique style of teaching with color codes speeds up learning music tremendously. We also teach skin drumming—and encourage students to sing in their Native languages and learn traditional fiddle dances. As their feet stomp into the ground, they heal sorrows and build strong communities.

More here-

Bishop’s appointment ‘a surprise from God’

From Canada and Cuba

In her first visit to Canada this week, the new bishop of the Episcopal diocese of Cuba, Griselda Delgado del Carpio, said being appointed in February came as “a surprise from God.”

Bishop Delgado was appointed by the Metropolitan Council of Cuba after two special electoral synods held last year failed to elect a successor to Bishop Miguel Tamayo Zaldivar, who is retiring as interim bishop.

In an interview, Bishop Delgado said she hopes to move her community development experience to a diocesan level. It provides a model for the way the church can be an expression of God’s word and love in people’s lives, she explained.

Six years ago, Bishop Delgado began working as a priest in the small rural community of Itabo, province of Matanzas. There, funds raided by the church provided residents with emergency assistance such as money for food or other basic needs. Now, the vision is focused on providing education to help them become self-sufficient.

More here-

Bubba to bishop

From Louisiana-

The Diocese of Louisiana consecrates today its 11th bishop, a leader with an unexpected résumé for an Episcopalian.

The former U.S. Marine, known as “Bubba” during his Mississippi boyhood, spent years as a Presbyterian and a Southern Baptist before finding his spiritual home in the Episcopal Church.

“The church is where I connect with God, and it is where I can see clearly,” the Very Rev. Morris King Thompson Jr. explained. “I’ve struggled with how I’ve lived it out in the Baptist Church, the Episcopal Church … but I never doubted the call (to ministry).”

The Most Rev. Katherine Jefferts Schori, presiding bishop and primate of the Episcopal Church, will oversee today’s elaborate consecration and ordination ceremony at 10 a.m. at Christ Church Cathedral in New Orleans.

Thompson replaces Bishop Charles E. Jenkins who, after serving 12 years, retired in January, citing Hurricane Katrina-induced post-traumatic stress disorder as a primary reason.

The diocese recently held its 173rd Convention and includes 18,000 members in 53 congregations.

More here-

Friday, May 7, 2010

Bishop Quits

From The Solomons

CONTROVERSIAL Anglican bishop of the Diocese of Central Solomons Rev. Charles Koete is quitting his church duties.

He is taking early retirement, Archbishop Rev. David Vunagi announced yesterday.

The decision came weeks after the Solomon Star published a front page article about Bishop Koete’s New Year’s day drunken spree that landed him in court at Tulagi.

He was fined $300 after he pleaded guilty to driving under the influence liquor and driving without a licence.

The news report sparked outrage within the church, with calls for Bishop Koete to step down.

Archbishop Vunagi responded to the report by urging Bishop Koete to explain the drunken incident or face disciplinary action

Yesterday, Bishop Koete met the Council of Bishops and handed his retirement letter.

“With due respect and honour to God and the Anglican Church of Melanesia (ACOM), I am now humbly submitting my official request for early retirement,” he said in his letter.

“With a clear conscience of heart and mind, this official request will take effect as of 31 May 2010.”

Bishop Koete also apologised for his recent action.

More here-

Reversing the Church’s Decline

From The Living Church-

Now that several leaders are acknowledging the seriousness of the Episcopal Church’s declining attendance, membership and congregations, let’s think about how to change this situation. How can we move toward a more hopeful future for the Episcopal Church? Do we have to accept decline as our fate because other denominations are also in decline and everyone knows Episcopalians have a low birthrate?

If you’re trying to rescue a struggling institution, whether it is General Motors, Dell or Freemasonry, it’s wise to identify what factors will turn the crisis around. These factors are not difficult to identify. Further, if leaders establish a core of critical priorities in time, energy and resources, they would yield fruitfulness.

Our problem is not that we do not know the way toward a turnaround but that, like most failing organizations, we lack the corporate will to make it happen. For example, when General Motors faced its most recent crisis and sought a government bailout, numerous experts in the auto industry addressed what the management of GM needed to do. There was a strong cluster of agreement among the suggestions. Why did GM executives not try those proposed solutions?

The answer, best articulated by John Kotter a decade ago, is that many leaders are too complacent and too invested in the status quo, even if it is failing. Change is often difficult because it means letting go of what we know and moving toward what we do not know.

Throughout the wider North American Church, there are many thoughtful and wise mission leaders who keep pointing to proven strategies and methods. The Episcopal Church’s leadership occasionally plays with these strategies and methods, but we have yet to see a systematic and determined effort to make them dedicated priorities.

More here-

Hall of Fame pitcher Roberts dies at 83

From Major League Baseball-

For the second time in three days, baseball lost one of its foremost gentlemen. Robin Roberts, as pleasant and gracious as any man in the game, died Thursday. As readily associated with the Phillies as any player has been with any franchise, Roberts was 83 years old when he passed away in Florida due to natural causes.

The most accomplished right-handed pitcher in the history of the Phillies, Roberts was a Hall of Famer, card-carrying member of the 1950 "Whiz Kids" and an active force in the creation of the Major League Baseball Players Association. Most of all he was an agreeable, genial man whose company was enjoyed by those who met him.

Roberts' death followed, by two days, the passing of beloved Tigers announcer Ernie Harwell, and it leaves another conspicuous void in the game. Few men who reached the levels Roberts and Harwell attained have been so widely hailed for their pleasant natures and general goodness.

The Phillies observed a moment of silence in Roberts' memory prior to their Thursday afternoon home game against the Cardinals. They also announced that Phillies jersey No. 36 will be hung in the team's dugout during games for the remainder of the season, that players will wear No. 36 patches on the right sleeves of their uniforms beginning Friday, and that the 1950 pennant will be hung at half-mast at Citizens Bank Park. It was a championship the Whiz Kids wouldn't have won without Roberts' contribution.

More here-

Battered churches different, but share drive to recover

From Tennessee-

This is the tale of two flooded Nashville churches.

One is a big-steeple Belle Meade landmark, with 3,300 members. The other is a modest red-brick building in the Bordeaux suburbs, with 90 members.

One congregation is wealthy congregants with a vast array of contacts and resources. The other is a tiny old-fashioned neighborhood church.

But St. George's Episcopal Church and Rose of Sharon Primitive Baptist Church have a lot more in common than you think. Both have generations of families who depend on them. Both are deeply loved. And Nashville's flood of 2010 tore into both.

St. George's Episcopal Church, opened in 1949, is well-known even to people who don't go there because of its location at 4715 Harding Road and its outreach ministries. It's a popular pick for weddings and funerals.

Water began streaming down the aisle during the 7:30 a.m. Sunday service.

"We were literally in the Eucharist prayer," said the Rev. R. Leigh Spruill, rector.

More here-

Jacksonville cathedral to hold 'blessing of bikes’

From Florida-

St. John’s Episcopal Cathedral in downtown Jacksonville will host the “Blessing of the Bikes” at 2 p.m. Sunday, May 16.

The cathedral’s dean, the Very Rev. Kate Moorehead, will bless bikes, sprinkle cyclists with holy water and honor fallen riders before participants embark on a ride through Riverside, according to a news release about the event.

Riders of any — or no — faith are invited to participate.

“You are welcome to take the blessing seriously or as simply a fun lark,” the release said. “You will not be lectured, only blessed.”

The event is free and open to the public, though monetary or pantry donations will be accepted.’

Bishops criticise ‘secular’ judgment

From The Church Times-

A JUDGMENT by an Appeal Court judge was criticised by a bishop this week as “incomprehensible”.

The judge, Lord Justice Laws, refused Gary McFarlane’s appeal against his dismissal for declining to give sexual counselling to same-sex couples (see legal report). In his judgment, Lord Laws dismisses a witness statement by Lord Carey, in which the former Archbishop of Canterbury had written of “a clear animus to Christian beliefs” among the judiciary.

Lord Laws states: “The promulgation of law for the protection of a position held purely on religious grounds cannot . . . be justified. It is irrational, as preferring the sub jective over the objective. But it is also divisive, capricious, and arbitrary.”

Lord Carey had asked for a special court to hear religious cases. Lord Laws described the idea as “deeply inimical to the public interest”.

Lord Carey said after the judgment that it was “deeply worrying. . . The judgment heralds a secular state rather than a neutral one. And while with one hand the ruling seeks to protect the rights of religious believers to hold and express their faith, with the other it takes away those same rights.”

Writing in The Daily Telegraph, Dr Michael Nazir-Ali, a former Bishop of Rochester, said that the judgment “seems infected with the post modern contagion of individualism”. He spoke also about Lord Laws’s “enthusiasm for a secular Britain”.

The Bishop of Lewes, the Rt Revd Wallace Benn, said in an interview with Christianity Today: “It seems to me that Lord Laws, for reasons of his own and his own agenda, made a ruling that is rationally incomprehensible and actually very serious for the future of the Christian faith.”

More here-

Morristown benefit will honor the life of woman killed in crocodile attack in India

From New Jersey-

Organizers of a benefit concert at St. Peter’s Episcopal Church tomorrow considered canceling the event after learning about the death of Lauren Failla, the Morris Township woman who died last week while on vacation in India.

But they reconsidered -- Failla would have been disappointed to see the fundraiser for a youth service trip abandoned, said the Rev. Janet Broderick, the rector of the church.
“I think that Lauren would be extremely pleased that we’re in some ways honoring (her),” Broderick said.

The concert, featuring music by the Morristown-based Blaire Reinhardt Band and musicians Peter Moffit and Mary Graham-Aiken, will instead be performed in honor of Failla. The proceeds of the concert will help fund a trip this summer to send youth of the church to Louisiana to build houses for people affected by Hurricane Katrina.

On April 28, Failla, 25, was killed by a crocodile attack while snorkeling in India. Failla graduated from Morristown High School in 2002 and was a 2006 graduate of Vanderbilt University. In 2006, Failla’s older sister, Emily, died in a rock climbing accident in Washington state.

More here-

Credo Institute, Church Pension Group offer 'Strength for the Journey' for reorganizing dioceses

From Episcopal Life Online-

CREDO Institute and the Church Pension Group will launch a series of conferences in May in the four reorganizing Episcopal Church dioceses of Pittsburgh, San Joaquin, Quincy, and Fort Worth.
The first two-day "Strength for the Journey" conference will be held in Pittsburgh May 21-22.

More than 450 Episcopal Church leaders in the Diocese of Pittsburgh -- including all clergy serving in the diocese, parish and diocesan lay employees, elected and appointed diocesan lay leaders, and members of church vestries -- were invited to participate in the gathering that will focus on spiritual renewal and wellness.

A CREDO news release said that in the wake of the departure of the four diocesan bishops and other church leaders to non-geographic Anglican jurisdictions over the past few years, "a new mix of diocesan leaders both lay and ordained, some experienced, others in new positions, has picked up the mantle of leadership."

The goal of the two-day CREDO conferences is not only to provide respite from a long journey still underway, it is also to make space for spiritual renewal and celebration of diocesan life and ministry, the release said.

"We here in the Diocese of Pittsburgh are immensely grateful to CREDO and the Church Pension Fund for their sponsorship of the Strength for the Journey conference. I believe it will be a vital step in our rebuilding process," Bishop Kenneth Price, provisional bishop of the Diocese of Pittsburgh, said in the release. "We have a strong corps of leaders here in this diocese, but knowing that a network of support such as CREDO offers is essential to our work."

More here-

Thursday, May 6, 2010

Zambia: Homosexuality Against African Norms - Anglicans

From Zambia-

ZAMBIA Anglican Council presiding Bishop Robert Mumbi says homosexuality is against African traditional way of life and Christian values.

Bishop Mumbi said it was the Christian and traditional values that defined Zambia and set it apart from other countries and a lot of work needed to be done in the wake of strong gay rights campaigns and unchristian activities.

He said urbanisation was increasingly challenging the traditional and Christian values of the country and that not many people were standing up to speak against ungodly practices.

"The world is not static and the more urbanised we become, the more secular we shall be," Bishop Mumbi said.

He said there should also be political awareness, especially to do with certain human rights charters that the Government endorsed, saying some of them actually perpetuated some people championing homosexual activities.

The Church would not compromise on Christian values and it would challenge wrongdoing regardless of whether people were championing human rights or not.

More here-

Three Anglican Bishops, Vatican Officials Hold Secret Talks

From Christian Post-
Three bishops from the Church of England held secret talks last week with Vatican officials allegedly regarding Pope Benedict XVI's open invitation for Anglican clergy to join the Catholic Church, according to the Associated Press.

The Rt. Rev John Broadhurst, the Rt. Rev Andrew Burnham, and the Rt. Rev Keith Newton, the bishops of Fulham, Ebbsfleet and Richborough respectively, held the talks in Rome with officials from the Vatican’s Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, although the content of the meeting was not disclosed.
Netwon told AP that the trip consisted of “nothing more than exploratory talks” and that no decisions were made. Vatican officials said that they had no information about the meeting.

Last October, the Catholic Church announced that they would be making official provisions to allow Anglicans to enter into full communion with the Church while retaining parts of their liturgical heritage. The Archbishops of Westminster and Canterbury immediately embraced the announcement, calling it an ecumenical achievement of over 40 years of dialogue.

Other Anglican leaders, however, have seen the invitation, known as the Apostolic Constitution, as a breach of ecumenical protocol that comes at a particularly sensitive time in the Anglican Communion, which has seen sharp divides over issues including homosexuality and women clergy members.

More here-

Bell Tower of Landmark Church Collapses

From Buffalo-

A part of a Buffalo landmark has collapsed. A section of the bell tower of St. Mary's on the Hill Episcopal Church gave way Wednesday afternoon.

"The steeple that had been unsupported for the last year and a half finally gave way, and it's an interior portion," says preservationist Tim Tielman. "It's a problem we knew was there, the city knew it was there, and we were conceptualizing plans for that." Tielman says the collapse was inward, so no one was hurt. However, the extent of the damage is too great to save the bell tower, so Tielman says the city of Buffalo is scaling back the tower to a height safe from further collapse.

Mayoral Spokesman Peter Cutler says crews responded to the scene Wednesday evening and will be there Thursday morning. One things that will be saved is the bell that was in the tower.

As far as trying to save the church, Tielman says Wednesday's bell tower collapse "will not make it easier." He notes the church still has a great deal of its structural integrity, and major sections are still standing. Tielman says he'll have to be more determined in the meantime.

Tielman says getting a sympathetic buyer for the building will also help in those efforts. The current owner was recently convicted of housing code violations and faces a fine and jail time. TIelman has suggested the city temporarily take over the church through legal action and possibly turn it over to a non-profit or an owner actively interested in reusing the building.

No one was hurt in the collapse.

video here-

Tongues will wag at these sermons

From Boston-

A Danvers Episcopal church is going to the dogs, but the idea is to help get their owners closer to God.

The Calvary Episcopal Church is launching the Perfect Paws Ministry, a monthly half-hour service enabling dogs and their owners to share the rapture starting May 16.

“We’re hoping we can reach out to people who have a rich, spiritual life as pet owners and help them focus that experience to God,” said the Rev. Thea Keith-Lucas.

In other words, to get them thinking about “dog” spelled backwards. But there’s more spirituality behind the idea than cynics might think.

“We have to recognize that there are lots of places other than church where we encounter God,” Keith-Lucas said. “A friend . . . says at the top of the list are dogs and teddy bears.”

The brief service will be a mix of the serious - prayers said by people for their pets - and the irreverant - ushers will hand out treats for good dogs. But no shushing pooches on pews, Keith-Lucas said. They’ll be allowed to bark and whine and wag their tails to their hearts delight.

More here-

The Rev. Kenneth G. Kocharhook, 1949-2010

The Rev. Ken Kocharhook died May 3, 2010, after a long period of declining health. He was 61 years old and had been a priest in this diocese since his ordination by Bishop Hathaway in December 1986.

A visitation is scheduled for Thursday, May 6, at Trinity Cathedral beginning at 12:30 p.m. The funeral Eucharist will follow at 1:30 p.m. Bishop Price will be the celebrant, assisted by the Rev. Lynn Edwards. The Rev. David Else will preach.

Bishop Price invites all clergy of the diocese to join him at the Eucharist and to process wearing white stoles.

Burial arrangements are pending. Additional detail will be posted as they become available.

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Ernie Harwell: A voice that left many feeling safe at home

Another "Great" passes- (Washington Post)

I was a scared kid from a small town in Kansas when I moved to Detroit in 1983. I was straight out of college, and I knew one person in the entire state of Michigan.

During my first copy editing shift at the Detroit Free Press, someone tuned the transistor radio to the Tigers game, and I heard Ernie Harwell's voice for the first time. The homesickness and uncertainty and fear melted away. I had made my second friend.

That was Harwell's special gift. Everyone in Michigan felt close to Ernie Harwell, who died of cancer Tuesday night at the age of 92. Harwell, in turn, never met a stranger. He was just as kind as he sounded on the radio. There were no sides to Ernie Harwell. What you heard was what you got.

And what you heard was that voice, that praline voice, smooth and sweet, homey and warm. He had started broadcasting in 1943 and knew all the stories, all the stars, but you prayed for a rain delay some nights just to hear him talk some more. Ernie worked the first three and last three innings, so you looked forward to West Coast swings because you knew there was a chance you'd go to sleep to the sound of that voice. You'd go to sleep happy.

Harwell began his radio career in the minors in 1943, then served four years in the Marines before joining the Dodgers in 1948. He holds the distinction of being the only announcer to be acquired in a trade; Branch Rickey sent Cliff Dapper to the minor league Atlanta Crackers to acquire his contract. Ernie worked for the Dodgers, Giants and Orioles before joining the Tigers in 1960.

More here-

Zimbabwe Supreme Court Rules for Controversial Harare Anglican Bishop Kunonga

From Zimbabwe-

The long-running battle for control of the Anglican Church in Harare, Zimbabwe, took a new turn on Monday as a Supreme Court judge threw out an appeal by the Anglican Church of the Province of Central Africa challenging a 2009 High Court ruling declaring former Harare Bishop Nolbert Kunonga and his board are legitimate.

Upholding the ruling, Deputy Chief Justice Luke Malaba questioned the way the province lodged its appeal, saying it had abused the system. He said judicial procedure requires notice of appeal to indicate the application will be made on a date in future, not less than five days from the date of its service on the respondent as was done.

"It is ordered that the appeal noted in case SC 180/09 be and is hereby dismissed in terms of rule 36(3) of the Supreme Court Rules with costs on a legal practitioner and client scale," read part of Malaba’s ruling.

Malaba’s ruling was based on the technicality that the CPCA had not followed proper court procedures in filing their appeal. The deputy chief justice said the CPCA had not provided security costs for the appeal within the prescribed time and as such were under an automatic bar imposed by the court.

More here-

Anglican Bishop Michael Hough speaks out

From Australia-

Most often when we see our church leaders in the news, they're usually being criticised by people outside the church.

However in the Anglican Diocese of Ballarat the criticism is coming from within.

Bishop Michael Hough is being attacked from within his own diocese by some parishioners who aren't happy with his leadership.

He spoke for the first time about the criticism with ABC Ballarat presenter Dominic Brine.
Bishop Hough says some Anglicans in his diocese are resisting the change he's wanting to implement - namely, taking the church beyond the pulpit in the cathedral to the community at large, in keeping with his background as a missionary and as a former Franciscan Catholic priest.

"It's difficult to be a member of a church in the modern world today.

"As we often say the world's become very secular, very individualistic; and being part of a church is a message that seems to be opposed to the world.

"I think Christians are under siege a bit: we Anglicans in particular, and we struggle.

"We only have 2,000 Anglicans in the whole of the diocese with an average age of 67, so we are a diocese in crisis; and we're wondering is this the last generation of believers, and there's a tendency when we're in difficult situations to circle the wagons and hold on to what we've got.

More here-

Episcopalians meet bishop finalists

From Utah-

Members of Utah's Episcopal Diocese got acquainted Tuesday with a diverse group of candidates from which to select their next bishop, asking about everything from budgeting expertise to views on same-sex marriage and ordination.

The latter question is especially pertinent because one of the candidates — the Rev. Canon Michael Barlowe of California — married his longtime partner in 2008, before Proposition 8 banned gay marriage in that state.

Barlowe and three other finalists spoke during rotating question and answer sessions at St. Mark's Cathedral Tuesday night. He and two of the three other candidates said they would support and allow the church's blessing of same-sex unions and that they would ordain gay clergy in the Beehive State.

The Rev. Canon Juan Andrés Quevedo-Boscho, of the Diocese of Long Island, N.Y., was the only candidate who declined to answer the question, saying it would be "irresponsible" until he has learned more about local Episcopalians and what their desires are.

The Rev. Canon Scott B. Hayashi, of the Diocese of Chicago and the Rev. Canon Mary C.M. Sulerud, of the Diocese of Washington, D.C., agreed with Barlowe that they would support the church's blessing for such unions.

More here-

NB church submits third request for property ownership

From Newport Beach-

Attorneys for a breakaway Episcopalian congregation in Newport Beach are asking the California Supreme Court a third time to help them be declared the owner of their church, instead of the Episcopal Diocese of Los Angeles.

Members of St. James Anglican Church of Newport Beach split with the national Episcopalian Church when local leaders felt the mother church was straying too far away from traditional Anglican teachings on homosexuality and theology.

The most ruling against the congregation came March 26, when the Fourth Appellate District, Third Division, reaffirmed in a 2-1 decision that the L.A. Diocese owns the church property at 3209 Via Lido.

An attorney for the diocese said “the California Supreme Court has decided the matter on two prior occasions and determined unequivocally that the property belongs to the Episcopal Diocese.” Attorney John R. Shiner said “the Court of Appeal recently ruled in the same fashion, after hearing the same arguments, that St. James intends to present to the California Supreme Court.”

The church’s attorneys argue that St. James leaders have been denied their constitutional rights to due process because they have not been granted a lower-court trial on the merits of their case.

“We are asking the California Supreme Court to correct the injustice of the majority’s opinion,” said St. James’ attorney Eric Sohlgren. “Imagine being hauled into court as a defendant in a lawsuit and being able to quickly end the case on the ground that the plaintiff has not alleged that anything you did is unlawful.”

St. James prevailed in the first legal skirmish with the diocese in 2005, when Orange County Superior Court Judge David Velasquez sided with its claim to the property and rejected the diocese’s lawsuit to evict the congregation.

Read more:

Episcopal bishop appeals decision to defrock him

From Philadelphia via California-

A panel of Episcopal bishops met Tuesday to hear arguments in the appeal of a Pennsylvania bishop who was ordered defrocked for covering up his brother's child sexual abuse more than 30 years ago.

Unless he is successful in his appeal, Charles Bennison Jr., 66, bishop of the Diocese of Pennsylvania, will be ousted from the priesthood.

The panel of eight bishops heard three hours of arguments but adjourned without indicating when it would rule. The panel was to have nine members, but Bishop Wayne Wright of the Diocese of Delaware recused himself for reasons that were not immediately clear.

The case marks only the fourth trial of a bishop in the history of the Episcopal church, said Bennison's attorney, James Pabarue, who argued that case should be dismissed because the charges were brought too late and officials withheld evidence.

Bennison was found guilty by a church panel in 2008 of covering up a sexual relationship that his brother, John, began with a 14-year-old girl when Bennison was rector of St. Mark's Church in Upland, Calif., in the Diocese of Los Angeles. John Bennison was a youth group leader at the church.

More here-

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Nigeria: Bishop Condemns Alleged Killings in Imo

From All Africa-

The Anglican Bishop of Ohaji/Egbema diocese in Imo State, Rt. Revd. Chidi Collins Oparaojiaku, has condemned the alleged killing of some people by cattle rearers in Ihie community in Ohaji/Egbema Local Government Council of the state.

The bishop in his sermon at the induction of the Men's Christian Fellowship at the St. Michael's Church Egbema Sunday expressed dissatisfaction over the continued destruction of farm crops in the area by the cattle rearers. Bishop Oparaojiaku also condemned the alleged harassment and molestation of people of the area by the cattle rearers, adding that a situation where people are killed because they complained over the destruction of their farms is not acceptable. Describing the action as inhuman, he said if nothing was done to check the excesses of the cattle rearers, it could metamorphose into a crisis. The bishop called on security agents in the state to ensure security of lives and property.

He also called on states and the Federal Government to promulgate laws banning cattle rearers from invading farms, saying such a law would check their activities.

More here-

Pro-Mugabe Anglican Bishop Wins Church Assets

From Zimbabwe-

The Supreme Court on Monday ruled that Bishop Nolbert Kunonga should have control of the Anglican church assets, the state-owned Herald reported.

The paper said Deputy Chief Justice Luke Malaba upheld an application by the Diocesan Trustees for the Diocese of Harare led by Kunonga, who lost control of the church in 2007 after he withdrew his diocese from the Anglican Church Province of Central Africa, in protest against the tolerance of homosexuality by Anglicans in the United Kingdom and the United States of America.

Upon establishing his anti-gay independent Anglican church, he was replaced the Anglican Church Province of Central Africa who last July appointed a Bishop Chad Gandiya, sparking a bloody battle for the control of the church which has sucked in Zanu (PF) and the main faction of the Movement for Democratic Change (MDC).

But of concern to the congregation had been the partisanship and bias of the Zimbabwe Republic Police. The police had ordered that only the Kunonga faction should worship in the Anglican premises.

More here-

Anglican bishops visit Vatican to discuss conversion

From Catholic News Agency-

The Sunday Telegraph in Britain reported yesterday that several Anglican bishops met with Vatican officials to discuss the process of converting to the Catholic Church.

Despite the Archbishop of Canterbury Rowan Williams reportedly urging them not to leave the Church of England, several bishops are looking to leave the Anglican Communion over their opposition to the introduction of women bishops and priests.

According to the Sunday Telegraph, Bishops John Broadhurst, Keith Newton and Andrew Burnham, from the Dioceses of Fulham, Richborough and Ebbsfleet respectively, all met with senior Vatican officials last week.

More here-

Anglican parish splits from Episcopal congregation in Northeast Portland

From Oregon

On Sunday, members of St. Matthew's Episcopal Parish were still reeling from their separation.

For the second week, two dozen people gathered in the wood and brick building on Northeast Prescott Street that has been their home for 55 years. An hour later, almost 100 of their former brothers and sisters in Christ, who recently declared themselves Anglicans, worshiped in rented space at Mt.Tabor Seventh-day Adventist Church. The storm that has battered the Episcopal Church in the United States has touched down in Portland.

Since the Episcopal Church in the United States decided in 2003 to accept the election of its first openly gay bishop, the denomination has been rocked with disagreements over biblical authority. With a reputation as a conservative congregation, St. Matthew's had for 66 years included people who read the Bible almost literally and others who interpreted it from more liberal points of view. But over time, that range grew problematic. On March 21, a majority of St. Matthew's members voted to leave the church.

More here-

TENNESSEE: Weekend floods damage at least one Episcopal church

From Episcopal Life Online-

Two days of record rain in the Nashville area have damaged buildings at St. George's Episcopal Church and closed the Diocese of Tennessee offices.

"Our thoughts and prayers are with our fellow parishioners and neighbors in Tennessee as we deal with the effects of the rainstorms experienced in the state over this past weekend," Bishop John Bauerschmidt said in a statement posted on the diocesan website May 3. "We are mindful of the loss of life and the damage caused to homes and businesses, which is still being assessed."

He reported "significant flooding … with damage to buildings" at St. George's Church, Nashville. The home of the Rev. Rob Courtney, rector of St. James the Less Episcopal Church in Madison, Tennessee, was also flooded, the bishop said. Courtney lives in the Bellevue area of Nashville, which was reportedly hard-hit by the rains.

Bauerschmidt said that the diocesan offices were closed May 3 due to a reported levee leak near the MetroCenter area of Nashville, and an accompanying evacuation of the area.

"Other reports indicate that many of our parishioners in Middle Tennessee have been affected, at homes and places of business, by these storms," the bishop wrote. "We ask for your continued prayers for our region and for its people."

The Associated Press reported that a destructive line of weekend storms killed 21 people in Tennessee, Mississippi and Kentucky, at least 12 of them in Tennessee. Six people have died in the Nashville area, according the Tennessean newspaper.

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Suspended Episcopal bishop making final appeal

From The Philadelphia Inquirer-

In his last chance to save his career, suspended Episcopal Bishop Charles E. Bennison Jr. will ask a church appeals panel Tuesday to restore him as head of the Diocese of Pennsylvania.
In 2008, a lower church court found Bennison, now 66, guilty of failing to respond adequately when, as rector of a California parish in the 1970s, he discovered that his brother John was sexually abusing a minor girl of his parish.

That court ordered Bennison permanently removed as head of the 55,000-member diocese - comprising Philadelphia, Bucks, Montgomery, Delaware and Chester Counties - and defrocked as a bishop and a priest. He became bishop in 1998.

The Court of Review for the Trial of a Bishop, made up of nine U.S. bishops, will convene 10 a.m. at Trinity Episcopal Church in Wilmington to hear the appeal.

Bennison's lawyer, James Pabarue, has indicated he will argue that the sentences are too harsh and that Episcopal Church leaders may have suppressed exculpatory evidence from the 2008 trial.

Monday, May 3, 2010

Rome refuses to comment on 'secret' Anglican meetings

From Irish Times-

SENIOR VATICAN spokesman Fr Federico Lombardi was yesterday unable to confirm UK media speculation that leading Church of England bishops held a series of secret “conversion” meetings with advisers to Pope Benedict XVI in the Vatican last week. Other senior Vatican officials claimed to have no knowledge of such meetings.

Reports in yesterday’s online editions of the Daily Telegraph and the Daily Mail claimed the Bishop of Fulham, the Rt Rev John Broadhurst; the Bishop of Richborough, the Rt Rev Keith Newton; and the Bishop of Ebbsfleet, the Rt Rev Andrew Burnham were involved in meetings with the Vatican’s Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith last week.

The scope of the meetings was to discuss future Anglican conversions “en masse” to Rome with the bishops reportedly informing the Vatican that many Church of England clergy are keen to defect to Rome.

Were it not for the fact that all three bishops are well-known “traditionalists” – the Bishop of Fulham is the chairman of the Forward In Faith movement, noted for its opposition to the ordination of women to the Anglican priesthood and to liberal Anglican views on homosexuality – these reports might be easily dismissed. However, in the wake of the Holy See’s decision last November to create new ecclesiastical structures for disaffected, traditionalist Anglicans, the reports may not be without foundation.

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Thousands of Anglican churchgoers could cross over to Rome with bishops

The London Telegraph-

Churchgoers in almost 300 parishes that disapprove of women priests may take advantage of Pope Benedict XVI’s offer to change denomination if their “flying bishops” lead the way.

However the Church of England is expected to make a last-ditch attempt to stop the disillusioned groups leaving, by offering them concessions over the introduction of female bishops.

As The Sunday Telegraph disclosed, the bishops of Fulham, Richborough and Ebbsfleet held a secret meeting with papal advisers last week to discuss plans for Anglicans to convert to the Roman Catholic Church en masse.

At least one key member of the English Catholic church’s commission on the Anglican Ordinariate – the Pope’s move to allow Anglicans to enter into full communion with the Holy See while retaining some of their spiritual heritage – was in Rome at the same time.

The Church of England clergy who held talks with members of the powerful Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith are “flying bishops”, who provide “episcopal oversight” to parishes that cannot accept women priests.

If they cross the Tiber and the move is seen as successful, their parishioners are expected to follow suit eventually as it is not clear that the "flying bishops" would be replaced. There are 268 parishes under the care of the three bishops, with an average 50 lay members in each as well as hundreds of priests.

More here-

Episcopal Church calls for comprehensive US immigration reform

From Ekklesia UK-

The Episcopal Church has responded to a controversial Arizona law expelling undocumented immigrants from the state by calling for comprehensive reform and justice for migrants.

The law, roundly condemned by human rights and faith groups, will also require people suspected of being illegal immigrants to show proof of legal status.

The Episcopal Church Office of Government Relations, based in Washington DC, USA, has issued a full statement on immigration reform, emphasising its commitment "to render hospitality to those who are most vulnerable."

The Church "calls on the United States Congress to enact comprehensive immigration reform."

Its statement continues: "The passage in Arizona of the toughest anti-immigrant law in the country demonstrates the need for action at the federal level. In an open letter last Friday the Bishop of Arizona, the Rt Rev Kirk Smith, expressed that 'today is a sad day in the struggle to see all God's people treated in a humane and compassionate manner (…) With the Governor's signing of SB 1070, it seems that for now the advocates of fear and hatred have won over those of charity and love. Arizona claims to be a Golden Rule State. We have not lived up to that claim.'

"The lack of fair and humane immigration reform opens the door to misguided and divisive state and local attempts to address immigration enforcement. We urge Congress to provide a solution to a broken immigration system that separates families, spreads fear and keeps millions living in the shadows. Every day, members of our congregations see the unacceptable consequences of our broken immigration system. We urge the Senate and House to enact bipartisan immigration reform that reunites families, protects the rights of all workers, and provides an opportunity for undocumented immigrants to earn legal status.

More here-

Ex-Episcopal bishop returns to flock

From Albany-

A conservative former Episcopal bishop of Albany who left the church in 2007 to become a Roman Catholic has now returned to his former faith.

Daniel W. Herzog became an outspoken national opponent of ordaining gay clergy after he retired from the ministry in 2007. He made news that year when he and two other diocesan bishops left the Episcopal Church to join the Roman Catholic Church.
The Episcopal Church, the American wing of the worldwide Anglican Communion, had been in turmoil following the consecration in 2003 of V. Gene Robinson as its first openly gay bishop.

Herzog's return was announced this week by Albany Bishop William Love. Both Herzog and his wife, Carol, left the church. Herzog was one of only a handful of Episcopal bishops ever to join another church.

"Carol and I are grateful for the continuing opportunity to serve our Lord and His church in the Diocese of Albany," Herzog said in a statement. "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."

The Albany diocese has joined with the conservative branch of the church in opposing same-sex marriage and the ordination of gay clergy, said Robert Dodd, president of Albany Via Media, an Anglican laity group that opposed Herzog's steering of the diocese into a more conservative position.

Dodd said Herzog was right to leave the church because the bishop opposed some of its central beliefs.

Read more:

Another story from Catholic Culture-

Sunday, May 2, 2010

The Allegheny idea: Why can't our leaders disagree without being disagreeable?

My Alma Mater!

From Harvard came the Marshall Plan, from the University of Michigan Lyndon B. Johnson's Great Society. John F. Kennedy gave his space-race speech at Rice and his world-peace speech at American University. Winston Churchill delivered his "Iron Curtain" speech at Westminster College in Fulton, Mo. Years from now, if we are lucky, we may recall that the big idea of the early 21st century came from Allegheny College in Meadville, Pa.

Like the others -- the ideas that social justice and peace are good and that the threat of Soviet expansion and war are bad -- the Allegheny idea isn't really new, just a plain-sense notion plainly expressed.

Allegheny is a tiny college, fiercely proud of its devotion to teaching and admirably willing to boast of students whose interests are "wonderfully weird" -- you'll find those exact words on its website. Wonderfully weird, perhaps, but the Allegheny alumni I know also are wonderfully intelligent and sensible, so it is no surprise that the Allegheny idea is simple: "Nastiness, Name-calling and Negativity" (the title of the college's ground-breaking new report) are bad, and civility and compromise are good.

The report emerges from a Zogby International poll of the nation that shows the better angels of America's nature at work among the public if not among its politicians. The poll shows that 95 percent of Americans want civility in politics; 87 percent want political disagreement to be respectful; 70 percent want compromise, even on the most divisive issues.

Read more:

Bishops' defection: A major new blow to the Anglican church

From The London Telegraph-

These relations will now be stretched to breaking point with the revelation that the Vatican is secretly plotting with English bishops over plans for a new wave of converts.

Rowan Williams, the Archbishop of Canterbury, has already expressed his dismay at the way Pope Benedict XVI last year made his offer to disaffected Anglicans to join the Catholic Church.

He would have been encouraged by the lack of clergy who have so far responded to the invitation, but The Sunday Telegraph has learnt that schemes to allow for an exodus of Anglican priests are being discussed at the highest levels of the Vatican.

This is likely to prove highly embarrassing for the Pope and deepen suspicions that he is preparing to poach clergy from England only months before he visits Britain.

If the initial offer was described as a move that parked his tanks on the lawn of Lambeth Palace, the Archbishop's residence, one bishop said last week's Vatican summit would be seen as "a declaration of war".

It will also raise the stakes of a crucial vote at this summer's General Synod, the Church of England's parliament, which will decide what provisions to give traditionalists opposed to the introduction of women bishops.

Dr Williams has appealed for them to resist the temptation to convert to Roman Catholicism, but many Anglo-Catholics feel they will be left with little option if the Synod does not grant them concessions allowing them to follow their conscience.

More here-

Who Can Mock This Church?

From The New York Times-

Maybe the Catholic Church should be turned upside down.

Jesus wasn’t known for pontificating from palaces, covering up scandals, or issuing Paleolithic edicts on social issues. Does anyone think he would have protected clergymen who raped children?

Yet if the top of the church has strayed from its roots, much of its base is still deeply inspiring. I came here to impoverished southern Sudan to write about Sudanese problems, not the Catholic Church’s. Yet once again, I am awed that so many of the selfless people serving the world’s neediest are lowly nuns and priests — notable not for the grandeur of their vestments but for the grandness of their compassion.

As I’ve noted before, there seem to be two Catholic Churches, the old boys’ club of the Vatican and the grass-roots network of humble priests, nuns and laity in places like Sudan. The Vatican certainly supports many charitable efforts, and some bishops and cardinals are exemplary, but overwhelmingly it’s at the grass roots that I find the great soul of the Catholic Church.

The Vatican believes that this newspaper and other news organizations have been unfair and overzealous in excavating the church’s cover-ups of child rape. I see the opposite. No organization has done more to elevate the moral stature of the Catholic Church in the United States than The Boston Globe. Its groundbreaking 2002 coverage of abuse by priests led to reforms and by most accounts a significant reduction in abuse. Catholic kids are safer today not because of the cardinals’ leadership, but because of The Boston Globe’s.

More here-

Anglican bishops in secret Vatican summit

From The London Telegraph-

In a move likely to raise tensions between the two Churches, a group of Church of England bishops met last week with advisers of Pope Benedict XVI to set in motion steps that would allow priests to convert to Catholicism en masse.

They are set to resign their orders in opposition to the introduction of women bishops and to lead an exodus of Anglican clerics to the Catholic Church despite Dr Rowan Williams, the Archbishop of Canterbury, urging them not to leave.

It would be the first time for nearly 20 years that large numbers of priests have crossed from the Church of England to Rome, and comes only weeks ahead of a crucial General Synod debate on making women bishops.

The Sunday Telegraph has learnt that bishops travelled to the Holy See last week to hold face to face discussions with senior members of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, the most powerful of the Vatican's departments.

The Rt Rev John Broadhurst, the Rt Rev Keith Newton and the Rt Rev Andrew Burnham, the bishops of Fulham, Richborough and Ebbsfleet respectively, are understood to have informed senior Catholic officials that Church of England clergy are keen to defect to Rome.

It is the first significant response to the Papal offer made last year, which opened the doors for Anglicans to convert while retaining key elements of their tradition.

More here-