Saturday, May 29, 2010

Archbishop calls for action against rebel Anglicans

From The BBC-

Anglicans who flout the wishes of the worldwide Church should be sidelined from official doctrinal committees, the Archbishop of Canterbury has said.

In his Pentecost letter to Anglicans worldwide, Rowan Williams says there is still "painful division" in the Church.

He cites the consecration of a lesbian bishop in the US, and Church leaders organising in each others' areas.

If his call is heeded it would be the first time such sanctions have been imposed on dissident Church members.

The archbishop added that dissident Anglican provinces should not take part in formal dialogues with other Churches.

Lesbian bishop
Some Anglicans will see the measures as the first step towards a "two-tier" Communion, with Churches who refuse to compromise on their beliefs being increasingly marginalised.

Earlier this month the Episcopal Church in the United States defied Rowan Williams, by ordaining an openly-lesbian bishop, Mary Glasspool.

Archbishop of Canterbury imposes first sanctions on Anglican provinces over gay bishops dispute

From The London Telegraph-

Dr Rowan Williams announced that provinces which had ignored his “pleading” for restraint would be banned from attending official discussions with other Christian denominations and prevented from voting on a key body on doctrine.
He admitted the 80 million-strong Anglican Communion was in a time of “substantial transition” but held back from taking the most serious step of expelling national churches from it.

His action, taken after years of patiently asking both conservatives and liberals to abide by agreed rules, will affect both sides in the dispute over whether the Bible permits openly homosexual clergy.

It has been triggered by the progressive Episcopal Church of the USA, which ordained its first lesbian bishop, the Rt Rev Mary Glasspool, earlier this month. The Episcopal Church also elected the first openly homosexual bishop in the Communion, the Rt Rev Gene Robinson, in 2003.

But the move will also hit orthodox provinces in the developing world – known as the Global South – that reacted to the liberal innovations in America and Canada by taking conservative American clergy and congregations out of their national churches and giving them roles in Africa and South America. This has triggered bitter legal battles over the fate of church buildings.
The Anglican provinces found to have broken the “moratoria” - on ordaining homosexual clergy; blessing same-sex unions in church; and making “cross-border interventions” - will soon be sent letters telling them about the proposed punishment for straying from the Communion’s agreed positions.

More here-

Archbishop of Canterbury slaps Episcopal Church for openly gay bishops

More from CNN-

Rifts within the Anglican Communion could widen after the archbishop of Canterbury, who has condemned the consecration of openly gay bishops, urged a diminished role Friday for the Episcopal Church.

Earlier this month, a Los Angeles, California, diocese ordained the Rev. Mary Glasspool, the first openly gay bishop ordained in the church since 2004, when Gene Robinson took his post in New Hampshire. The U.S. church has been criticized by conservative factions for openly gay ordinations.

Archbishop of Canterbury Rowan Williams, the nominal head of Anglican Communion, shared his concern when Glasspool was consecrated, saying then that the move would further divide the 77 million-member worldwide denomination that includes the Episcopal Church in the United States.

On Friday, he made an even stronger statement in a letter to the communion.
"Our Anglican fellowship continues to experience painful division, and the events of recent months have not brought us nearer to full reconciliation," Williams wrote. "There are still things being done that the representative bodies of the Communion have repeatedly pleaded should not be done; and this leads to recrimination, confusion and bitterness all round.

"It is clear that the official bodies of The Episcopal Church have felt in conscience that they cannot go along with what has been asked of them by others, and the consecration of Canon Mary Glasspool on May 15 has been a clear sign of this."

The rest is here-

Courtesy of Twitter, God speaks

From the "You Can't Make This Stuff Up" Department- (CNN)

Apparently even God is getting in on the Twitter business.

A new website launched this week called culls tweets in which God’s advice is shared. Take, for instance, this one from this afternoon: “Yesterday Eli said ‘God told me we had to go to dippin dots.’ So we did.”

Some others that have posted in the last 24 hours include:

My mom said God told her I was gettn married soon. I hope he didn’t mean this weekend in Vegas…lol


God told me that I’d become self-righteous!

Hot on the site are references to a news story earlier this week in which a man in Lousiana was found walking the streets naked. When asked why, he reportedly said God told him to do it to save his soul.

It’s stories like these that inspire Marc Hartzman, a creative director in a New York ad agency who’s behind He wrote the recently published, “God Made Me Do It: True Stories of the Worst Advice the Lord Has Ever Given His Followers.”

“The stories range from the totally absurd to the horrific,” he said by phone.

More here-

Friday, May 28, 2010

Archbishop of Canterbury's Pentecost letter to the Anglican Communion

From Anglican Communion News Service (Must read)

In his Pentecost letter to the Anglican Communion, the Archbishop of Canterbury encourages Anglicans to pray for renewal in the Spirit and focus on the priority of mission, so that ‘we may indeed do what God asks of us and let all people know that new and forgiven life in Christ is possible’.

The Archbishop acknowledges that Anglicans are experiencing a period of transition in the world: ‘when the voice and witness in the Communion of Christians from the developing world is more articulate and creative than ever, and when the rapidity of social change in ‘developed’ nations leaves even some of the most faithful and traditional Christian communities uncertain where to draw the boundaries in controversial matters – not only sexuality but issues of bioethics, for example, or the complexities of morality in the financial world.’
In response to the current situation the Archbishop makes clear that when a province ‘declines to accept requests or advice from the consultative organs of the Communion, it is very hard to see how members of that province can be placed in position where they are required to represent the Communion as a whole. This affects both our ecumenical dialogues…and our faith-and-order related groups’

Dr Williams goes on to makes two specific proposals. Firstly, that members of provinces that are in breach of the three moratoria requested by the Instruments of the Communion should no longer participate in the formal ecumenical dialogues in which the Anglican Communion is engaged. Secondly, that members of these provinces currently serving on the Inter-Anglican Standing Commission on Unity, Faith and Order (a body that examines issues of doctrine and authority) should, for the time being, no longer have full membership, but retain the status of consultants. 'This is simply to confirm what the Communion as a whole has come to regard as acceptable limits of diversity in its practice'.

Its all here-

Medal recipient in Pearl Harbor attack 'a real hero'

Fitting for Memorial Day-

Medal of Honor recipient John Finn, one of the oldest and most celebrated survivors of the attack that targeted Pearl Harbor, died yesterday, the Navy said. He was 100.

Finn fired a machine gun at Japanese planes over the Kāne'ohe Marine base despite being wounded many times. He was the nation's oldest Medal of Honor recipient and the last living recipient from the Pearl Harbor attack.

Finn died at a nursing home in Chula Vista, Calif.

Last year, the Navy named one of its newest USS Arizona Memorial shuttle boats the John W. Finn.

Daniel Martinez, National Park Service historian at the Arizona Memorial, said he is often asked about the shuttle's name and responds with the story of a brave man who did his best to shoot down the enemy over American soil on Dec. 7, 1941.

"I felt like I was looking at a real hero. And that hero was John," Martinez said.

"I knew him well. He was very much a no-nonsense person. Not in a strict sense of the word, but in the sense that he never left the military. He was colorful and had a great sense of humor."

Finn retired from the Navy in 1956 as a lieutenant.

U.S. Sen. Daniel K. Inouye, himself a Medal of Honor recipient from World War II, said, "We have lost a great patriot today and I extend my condolences to Mr. Finn's family. Like all grateful Americans, I will remember him for his courage and his love of country. I hope that we all remember him with gratitude for the sacrifices he made in defense of our great nation."

More here-

Nothing but the dames at York Synod

From the Church Times-

THEY were warned that the issue of women bishops would dominate their forthcoming meeting in York; but General Synod members might not have realised the extent to which they would be eating, sleep ing, and drinking the subject at the beginning of July.

The timetable of the York sessions was published this week. Between 3.45 p.m. on Friday 9 July and 1 p.m. on Tuesday 13 July (and not counting the separate meetings of the Houses of Clergy and of Laity), the Synod members could spend 17 hours in debate on the subject.
The heaviest days will be Saturday and Monday, on each of which the Synod will begin debating the issue at 9.30 a.m. and finish at 6.15 p.m. The last morning is also given over completely to the subject.

The reason for the amount of time given is that the issue has reached the revision stage. The draft Bishops and Priests (Consecration and Ordination of Women) Measure can be amended clause by clause by the whole Synod, and amendments are expected which would reintroduce all the permutations that have been considered (and rejected) in previous debates (News, 14 May).
For light relief, there is an address by the Archbishop of Estonia on Friday, and a report of the Standing Orders committee on Saturday.

Sunday (the day of the World Cup final) is traditionally a day for tackling non-contentious subjects. This time, these include legislative business that must be finished before the Synod is prorogued, including maternity leave, pension changes, and fees. There is also a report on relations with the Church of Scotland.

More here-

Thursday, May 27, 2010

Snapshot: Walter Russell Mead

From The Living Church-

In the divided camps of the blogosphere, Walter Russell Mead’s eponymous weblog attracts thoughtful responses from across the Anglican ideological and theological spectrum.

Mead, who is Henry A. Kissinger Senior Fellow for U.S. Foreign Policy at the Council on Foreign Relations, launched his weblog several months ago through The American Interest Online. Mead grew up within the Episcopal Church — his father is the Rev. Loren Benjamin Mead, founding president of The Alban Institute — but he writes about it only occasionally as part of a Sunday feature called Faith Matters.

When Mead considers the Episcopal Church, however, the results can be surprising.

“I think Bishop Glasspool’s election and consecration were ill-advised, but that is by no means the same thing as denying the possibility that in due time and with due order and deliberation, such a step could be taken without harm to Christian faith and morals,” he wrote recently. “And yet. It’s also impossible to avoid the reflection that the Episcopal Church is unilaterally imposing its own vision of the church on a worldwide communion. Whatever one thinks of the matter on a personal basis, the New Testament as well as the Old specifically condemns homosexual behavior as contrary to the will of God.”

“Fortunately, because I’m neither a theologian nor holding office in the Episcopal Church, I feel no need to follow things through to their final theological point,” Mead told The Living Church. “I am comfortable with saying ‘I don’t know.’ That feels very Anglican to me.”

Mead has served as senior warden at St. Mark’s Church, Jackson Heights, Queens, N.Y. An alumnus of Groton School, which in a deadpan tone he called an “Episcopal Madrasah,” he has written regularly about the Church’s varying influence in North American culture.

“The church I grew up in seems to be falling apart and being replaced by nothing,” he said. “There’s been, I think, a dearth of leadership about the health of the institution.”

Rwanda: Will the Vatican Ever Accept That Genocide is Also a Crime?

From All Africa

This church's lack of courage and humility made it develop what philosopher Bertrand Russell, in his book "The Conquest of Happiness" termed "persecution mania" which he says is "a recognised form of insanity."

The fall of the former genocidal regime was not good news for some in the Rwandan church. Out of solidarity with and nostalgia for their defeated ideological allies, they were at a loss.

They were incapable of overcoming their shame and guilt and recognizing their responsibility for the suffering of the Tutsi, which they identified with the Rwandan Patriotic Front (RPF), or to get used to the new reality of a non-racist Rwanda.

At the beginning of the war of liberation in October 1990, there was a virulent propaganda by missionary circles, particularly the White Fathers, against the RPF.

They resented the RPF and sought to portray it a communist organisation, "inevitably" aimed at "persecution of the Church."

More here-

Zambia: Wrangles Are an Affront to the Church

From AllAfrica-

THE Council of Churches in Zambia (CCZ) has said wrangles that have characterised the African Methodist Episcopal Church and United Church of Zambia (UCZ) in the recent past are an affront to the body of Christ.

CCZ general secretary Suzanne Matale said in an interview in Lusaka on Monday that the Church represented peace, unity and reconciliation and should, therefore, not be a place for riots and confusion.

Reverend Matale said one of the pillars of resolving conflicts was dialogue, and the Church should show the way in handling differences.

She said the Church should not resort to personal confrontations to resolve issues.

Rev Matale said the Church should follow the set procedure in their congregations when dealing with issues, in line with the scriptures.

Wrangles recently erupted in the African Methodist Episcopal Church and UCZ Matero Congregation in Lusaka over allegations of misapplication of church funds and issues of immorality.

More here-

WEST TEXAS: Christ Church rector resigns citing 'crisis of conscience'

More on Chuck Collins- From ELO-

The Rev. Charles Collins, rector of Christ Church in San Antonio in the Episcopal Diocese of West Texas, has announced his intention to retire Sept. 1, 2010.
Collins, who had served nine years as rector of the 2,700-member congregation, said in a May 19 letter to parishioners that he made the decision "to take early retirement … because of a crisis of conscience."

He cited disagreement with the direction of "the Episcopal Church [which] … has moved further and further away from the Gospel to which I committed my life and I have concluded that there is no future for me in this spiritual environment."

Collins said his ministry at Christ Church has been the most spiritually demanding and fulfilling years of his 29 years as an Episcopal priest. "This is the most difficult decision I have faced in [my] ministry."

He will begin a sabbatical June 1 and not return to the parish, he said during a May 26 telephone interview from his San Antonio office.

He said that the church has been in a two-and-a-half year process to "discern our future in the Episcopal Church" and has recognized that the congregation is divided among those who wish to remain in the Episcopal Church and those who intend to leave.

In an April 2010 note posted on the parish website, vestry members acknowledged that division and said they assume "those who stay in the Episcopal Church will continue as Christ Episcopal Church at the current property." It is uncertain where those who wish to leave will worship, the note concluded.

More here-

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

N.T. Wright: Marriage Isn’t Adiaphora

From The Living Church-

In his final address to his diocesan synod, the Bishop of Durham discussed the boundaries of adiaphora: what the Church has decided is non-essential to Christian faith.

The Rt. Rev. N.T. Wright, speaking to the Diocese of Durham’s synod May 21, also referred to a new pastoral letter being prepared by the Archbishop of Canterbury.

Wright emphasized repeatedly that determining adiaphora is a task for the whole Church, rather than for one province, one diocese or one congregation. He also stressed that determining adiaphora is important work.

“The doctrine that some things are adipahora and some aren’t is not itself adiaphora,” he said. “The decision as to which things make a difference and which do not is itself a decision which makes a huge difference. Some of the early English Reformers claimed explicitly that they were dying precisely for the principle of adiaphora itself, for the right to disagree on certain points (not on everything). That for which you will give your life is hardly something which doesn’t make a difference.”

Wright cited two examples of what the Anglican Communion has decided are adiaphora: children receiving Communion and women being consecrated to the episcopate. He then referred to a forthcoming letter from the archbishop and added that the Church has never designated the definition of marriage as adiaphora.

More here-

Northern Ireland minister calls on Ulster Museum to promote creationism

From The London Guardian-

Northern Ireland's born-again Christian culture minister has called on the Ulster Museum to put on exhibits reflecting the view that the world was made by God only several thousand years ago.

Nelson McCausland, who believes that Ulster Protestants are one of the lost tribes of Israel, has written to the museum's board of trustees urging them to reflect creationist and intelligent design theories of the universe's origins.

The Democratic Unionist minister said the inclusion of anti-Darwinian theories in the museum was "a human rights issue".

McCausland defended a letter he wrote to the trustees calling for anti-evolution exhibitions at the museum. He claimed that around one third of Northern Ireland's population believed either in intelligent design or the creationist view that the universe was created about 6,000 years ago.

"I have had more letters from the public on this issue than any other issue," he said.

The minister said he wrote a "very balanced letter" to the museum because he wanted to "reflect the views of all the people in Northern Ireland in all its richness and diversity".

More here-

Online record of 'religious dissenters' published for first time

From The London Telegraph-

The first tranche of the “Non Conformist Registers” has been put online detailing the hundreds of thousands of people who shook up the established order with alternative ideas over the past 225 years.

The database, which goes live on Wednesday, discloses those who refused to conform to the doctrine of the established Anglican Church including Methodists, Presbyterians, Congregationalists, Baptists and Quakers.

The Quakers were the first religious group to denounce slavery while Methodists were great advocates of women’s rights.

More than 224,000 names are included in the register, which dates from the late 17th century, which also detail baptisms, marriages and burial inscriptions.

The digitised papers originally come from the London Metropolitan Archives, which is run by the City of London authority and were compiled by, a family history website.
Some of those who feature in the archive include George Fox (1624-1691), founder of the Religious Society of Friends (Quakers), Daniel Defoe (1659-1731), the author of Robinson Crusoe who was the son of Presbyterian nonconformists, William Blake (1757-1827), one of Britain's greatest artists, and John Stuart Mill (1806-1873), the British philosopher and politician.

More here-

Ten Years and a New Anglican Congregationalism

From Ephraim Radner via David Virtue-

It is ten years since Anglicanism's current travails were formally inaugurated with the formation of an alternative "Communion" church in North America, the Anglican Mission in America. Not the cause, it was nonetheless the first major sign that "communion" was no longer a given in Anglicanism, but something to be variously asserted, antagonistically claimed, and built up or torn down as the case may be.

And after ten years, I think it necessary to say that most of the work thus far has been one of tearing down. Tearing down, but also of exposing new things and clearer lines of calling, so that what had been emerging as a communion might now be seen as demanding deeper commitment for its flourishing than anybody had imagined. The work that many of us have been doing out of a commitment to the traditional Christian faith as Anglicans (and others) had received it has been worth the effort, and continues to be demanded. But what we are seeing, especially as Christian communion is being assaulted not only from within the Church, but more importantly by a rapidly dissolving Christian culture in the West, is that there are deeper roots to put down and nourish than we had perhaps first thought.

The tearing down, in any case, is what is most obvious, perhaps, to outsiders or onlookers from within. One by one, for instance, the so-called "Instruments of Unity" for Anglicans around the world have been eroded in their perceived integrity, and certainly in their effectiveness.

The Archbishop of Canterbury, over the past decade (from Lord Carey through Rowan Williams), has issued pleas, statements, constructive ideas, hopes. But when, last month, a schedule conflict, not to mention in any case the ash of an Icelandic volcano, kept him from the South to South Encounter of non-Western churches in Singapore, the transient and quivering video image of his unfocused greeting was symbolically all that was left of his presence to an increasingly estranged majority of world Anglicans. For whatever reasons - the constraint imposed on Lambeth's voice by America's money monopoly on Communion bureaucracy, loyalties divided between Britain and Communion, mixed convictions within his own mind, an under-appreciation of the demanded influence of his own witness? - ten years of people all going their own way has rendered the moral authority of his voice almost inaudible.

More here-

Volunteers make dolls to help needy

From California-

When difficult times strike, sometimes all you want is something to hold.
In this case, it's been as comforting as simple knitted dolls, courtesy of a community of caring Inland Valley individuals.

It began with a request for Duduza dolls, Haitian comfort dolls, that could be sent to St. Andre's school in Trianon after a devastating earthquake shook the impoverished island country to its core leaving broken buildings and lives.

St. Mark's Episcopal Church and its preschool and school have been longtime partners with their Haitian counterpart so helping out came naturally. Past work has involved the building of a water system, four new classrooms, school tables and chairs, donations for teacher salaries and vegetable seed packets so the people can grow their own food. But now it has turned into a project touching people of all ages and faiths.

The dolls have been knitted by students, teachers and church members from St. Mark's as well as from Upland Presbyterian Church, Genesis Community Church, The Yarn Boutique in Big Bear City and customers from Needles and Niceties in Upland who learned about the project from owners Bob and Anna Vasaturo.

"It helps people in need," said Bob Vasaturo.

"And that's true wherever they are. We just put the pattern out for any of our customers that might be interested and now we're collecting the dolls that they've made from leftover yarn. We found out about this about a month ago.

More here-

Thomas Stone appointed canon to the ordinary for Diocese of Quincy

From ELO -

Provisional Bishop John Clark Buchanan of the Peoria, Illinois-based Diocese of Quincy has appointed the Rev. Thomas Stone to serve as canon to the ordinary for the reorganizing diocese.
"In the Episcopal Church, the Canon to the Ordinary functions in support of the Bishop in his ministry of oversight in the diocese and the wider church," Buchanan said when announcing the May 10 appointment. "The Canon is much like a chief of staff."

Stone will assist with administrative tasks on a diocesan, provincial, and national level, and with parish visitations, congregational support and clergy placement, said he is looking forward to the challenges and opportunities of the new ministry.

"The Canon to the Ordinary serves at the invitation and pleasure of the bishop for the benefit of the people of the diocese," said Stone in a prepared statement. " I hope to serve both well." Stone will be based at the Cathedral Church of St. Paul in Peoria.

Buchanan said that Stone's appointment is another indication of the diocese's steady progress.

More here-

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Calif. Bishop Respects ‘Very Key Symbol’

From The Living Church-

Responding to requests from two bishops elsewhere in the Anglican Communion, the Bishop of El Camino Real did not attend the consecration of Bishops Diane Jardine Bruce and Mary Glasspool in Los Angeles on May 15.

A friendship began forming among the Rt. Rev. Mary Gray–Reeves and her two brother bishops — the Rt. Rev. Michael Perham, Bishop of Gloucester, England, and the Rt. Rev. Gerard Mpango, Bishop of Western Tanganyika, Tanzania — during the Lambeth Conference of 2008. The bishops formed companion relationships among their dioceses, and celebrated those new ties during a service in September 2009 at Trinity Episcopal Cathedral, San José, Calif.

Bishop Gray–Reeves wrote that her fellow bishops asked her to abstain from granting consent to Bishop Glasspool’s election or from participating in her consecration.

“In our system, it is consents that allow a bishop to be ordained,” Gray–Reeves wrote in a letter requested by Louie Crew, founder of Integrity, a nonprofit organization of lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender Episcopalians and their supporters. “I consented to Mary’s election without hesitation. The laying on of hands makes a bishop, and in other provinces where there is no consent process like ours, this is a very key symbol.”

Gray–Reeves wrote that she “did not come easily to the decision of not attending,” adding: “But the truth is, Mary and Diane had plenty of bishops to get the job done, and my hands were not needed there on May 15th. They were needed to reach other places and so I did.”

More here-

A church hungry for change

From The London Guardian-

Sitting in the rain with 100,000 people at the closing service of the recent Munich Kirchentag, I noticed that my free plastic rainhood was surplus stock from the August 2005 Cologne World Youth Day. Then the sun shone, the crowds cheered, and the pope grinned his most benevolently vulpine grin, amidst talk of a Catholic renaissance in Germany. The showers held off five years ago, but it's all over now.

For Bavarians, Catholicism is a way of life, not a dogmatic package. It's a matter of identity rather than conformity. The Bavarian Catholic church is too firmly embedded to be, as one traditional journalistic cliche has it, rocked by sexual abuse scandals. However what is usually described as a crisis of trust runs though its heart, as 'Blackpool' runs through Blackpool rock. Old certainties are not holding up well, and lay progressives are on the march.

If I wanted to devise an exquisite form of torture for English RC reactionary critics of the second Vatican council, I would force them to sit as I did recently with tens of thousands of Bavarian Catholics, cheering enthusiastically for the ending of compulsory celibacy, women's ordination, and birth control.

At one point I heard Fr Klaus Mertes, the Jesuit theologian who blew the whistle on sexual abuse at the Canisius College in Berlin, crack a joke — if it carries on like this, the only people we will be able to ordain will be women. Laughter spread through the 8,000 in the hall, followed by a rousing round of rugby club applause.

More here-

Church assets belong to parish, not clerics

From Zimbabwe-

It pains me to see the Anglican Church Diocese of Harare in such turmoil just because of a fight of bishops who want to control the assets of the church.

The fight is not about the welfare of parishioners who actually paid for the building of the churches and are the people who maintain them from their contributions which are monies left after paying utility bills to various local government authorities, school fees etc.

It is about power.

All the parishioners want is to follow the footsteps of our Lord and prepare themselves for the time they will be reunited with Him after death.

The parishioners pay the salaries of the bishops and priests, the very people that are preventing them from going on their knees in prayer in the very church buildings they built from their contributions.

What should the parishioners do?

The only available avenue left for them is for representatives of the parishioners, who are neither bishops nor priests, to approach the Supreme Court on a constitutional right of worship.

They should take over their churches and employ new bishops and priests of their choice and leave out those that are bickering to their own fate.

The Zimbabwe Constitution guarantees the freedom of worship.

Priests who want to personalise church assets are denying parishioners this freedom.

Surely our eminent jurists can see the denial of justice the parishioners are suffering.

Is it asking too much to choose your own leaders of the church to minister to you according to the gospel of Jesus Christ?

Maybe it would have been better if we had followed his footsteps of not owning any building but got his message from the hills and shores of rivers and lakes.

More here-

Women are the invisible homeless: Rein

From Australia-

Homeless women are vulnerable and terrified of being attacked in cities across Australia and the community must open its heart to them, the Prime Minister's wife says.

Therese Rein was guest speaker at Brisbane's St John's Cathedral annual Loaves and Fishes luncheon on Tuesday.

The cathedral was transformed into a fisherman's wharf as 740 people tucked into bread rolls, fish and chips to raise money for a new women's homeless shelter.

Ticket sales generated $15,000 towards the project and the church hoped donations on the day would bring the kitty to $30,000.

Ms Rein, who is patron of homeless organisation Common Ground, told the audience homeless women often couch-surfed to avoid rough sleeping.

"Sleeping rough is even more dangerous for women," she said.

"They're sleeping in hidden nooks and crannies, wandering the streets until they collapse with exhaustion, terrified they'll be attacked."

More here-

Veggies for the needy

From Tulsa-

Just like Jesus, the Rev. Susanne Methven answered a question with a story this week when asked why St. John's Episcopal Church was growing an organic garden to feed the hungry:

"Last summer, a street person was helping me carry in vegetables at Iron Gate (soup kitchen). There was a green pepper on top of the basket, and he said, 'Can I have that green pepper?'

" 'Of course,' I said.

" 'It tastes like home,' the homeless man said."

St. John's, at 4100 S. Atlanta Place, is one of several area churches that have started gardens to grow food for the needy and for their own members.

Methven, the associate rector at St. John's, said the church was inspired to put in a garden this spring after it participated last year in a large community garden at First Seventh Day Adventist Church of Tulsa, 920 S. New Haven Ave.

She delivered the first fruits of the garden Tuesday to Iron Gate, which is associated with Trinity Episcopal Church downtown. The produce included kohlrabi, radishes, lettuce, spinach and mustard greens.

Read more

Early Retirment for Chuck Collins over crisis in church

May 19, 2010
Dear Christ Church family,

I am writing to inform you that I will be retiring as your rector September 1, 2010. With the encouragement and support of our wardens and vestry, I will not be returning after my sabbatical and vacation this summer. May 30 will be my last Sunday at Christ Church.
Nine years ago Clancy Wolliver called for the vestry and search committee to invite me to be your rector.

It was a dream come true, and Ellen, our children and I all felt it was God’s calling. Ministering among you at Christ Church has been the most spiritually demanding and fulfilling years of my 29 years as an Episcopal priest. Thank you for your amazing and generous support when my family and I needed you, for your patience when I failed you, and for your steadfast commitment to God and hisWord. It has been an honor to serve one of the really great congregations in The Episcopal Church.

For my failures and successes, I have loved you, the people of Christ Church.
I’m sure it will not surprise anyone that my decision to take early retirement is because of a crisis of conscience. Even though I was born and raised in The Episcopal Church, it has moved further and further away from the Gospel to which I committed my life and I have concluded that there is no future for me in this spiritual environment.

More here-

Monday, May 24, 2010

Why Johnny Can't Read the Bible

From Christianity Today-

Americans love their Bibles. So much so that they keep them in pristine, unopened condition. Or, as George Gallup Jr. and Jim Castelli said in a widely quoted survey finding, "Americans revere the Bible but, by and large, they don't read it."

Anecdotes abound. Time magazine observed in a 2007 cover story that only half of U.S. adults could name one of the four Gospels. Fewer than half could identify Genesis as the Bible's first book. Jay Leno and Stephen Colbert have made sport of Americans' inability to name the Ten Commandments—even among members of Congress who have pushed to have them posted publicly.

Perhaps the first step toward improved Bible literacy is admitting we have a problem. A 2005 study by the Barna Group asked American Christians to rate their spiritual maturity based on activities such as worship, service, and evangelism. Christians offered the harshest evaluation of their Bible knowledge, with 25 percent calling themselves not too mature or not at all mature.

And we know it's not "those other churches." We are not surprised by a 2004 Gallup finding that a mere 37 percent of teenagers can find the quotation from the Sermon on the Mount when given four choices. And we are not surprised that only 44 percent of born-again teenagers could do the same.

More here-

Cardinal Kasper in Liverpool: 'Ecumenism requires courageous risks'

From Liverpool-

More than two thousand Christians from throughout Merseyside and region gathered at Liverpool's two Cathedrals on the Feast of Pentecost in a visible celebration of their unity. They were joined on their ecumenical journey between the two Cathedrals along Hope Street by Cardinal Walter Kasper, the President of the Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity, who had travelled from Rome for the occasion.

He preached at the Two Cathedrals service which began at the Anglican Cathedral and following the procession along Hope Street, concluded at the Metropolitan cathedral. It was at Pentecost in 1982 that Pope John Paul II visited Liverpool and processed along Hope Street between the two Cathedrals and celebrated Mass, and since that time, the Two Cathedrals Service has regularly taken place on Pentecost Sunday, with thousands of pilgrims celebrating unity by walking along Hope Street.

Another significant landmark was the celebration of the 25th anniversary of the Covenant of Unity, signed by Merseyside's church leaders in the Anglican Cathedral in May, 1985.

Cardinal Kasper referred the challenges of ecumenism and the importance of walking in unity 'on the road of hope' in his sermon, before joining in the walk along Hope Street.

He said we read in the Acts of the Apostles how everybody heard the apostles in their own language and were united in listening to the same message. 'But this new unity and new universality was not at all a uniformity, it meant unity within diversity and diversity within unity. And what else is the goal of ecumenism today other than this kind of unity within diversity of all believers in Jesus Christ.'

But as we all know, said the Cardinal, there does not exist only unity and love. 'This reality is against Christ's will, is against the testament he left us on the eve of his death when he prayed that all be one...this reality of a divided Christendom is sin and is a scandal. It damages the holy task that is the mission given by the Spirit to spread the Gospel all over the world in order to reconcile peoples and to bring them together.'

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Renegade bishop loses control of church

From Zimbabwe-

Excommunicated former bishop of the Anglican Diocese of Manicaland Elson Madoda Jakazi has lost his bid to cling to church property despite resigning from the Church of the Province of Central Africa (CPCA) that controls the diocese.

Jakazi is among a group of senior Anglican clergymen who include controversial former Harare Bishop Nolbert Kunonga who resigned from the CPCA that they accused of condoning homosexuality. The senior bishops and their supporters have however refused to let go OF church property despite ceasing to be members.

In a ruling handed down last Wednesday High Court Judge Chinembiri Bhunu said that Jakazi lost his claim to authority over diocesan property when he resigned from the Manicaland Diocese in September 2007.

“Once the first applicant’s resignation letter was received by the Archbishop of the Anglican Church of the Central Africa the first applicant automatically ceased to be an employee or member of that church organisation without any further formalities,” Bhunu said in a ruling that will certainly have a lot a bearing on Kunonga’s attempts to retain control millions of dollars worth of property belonging to the Harare Diocese

“Having ceased to be an employee of the church organization he automatically stripped himself of any rights and privileges arising from the contract of employment, membership or his status as a bishop of that church organization,” said Bhunu who dismissed Jakazi’s application with costs.

Bhunu noted that Jakazi was not dismissed but voluntarily left the CPCA. “That being the case, he can hardly be heard to complain or cry foul. Any appeal or review which he may launch means he is appealing or seeking a review of his own conduct. This is wholly untenable and illogical such that it must be incompetent at law,” the judge said.

The ruling, unless appealed, effectively puts to an end the dispute over control of the Manicaland Diocese, which Jakazi had continued to claim was under his charge despite quitting the CPCA, the body under which the diocese falls.

Female priest ordained in Italy by rebel Catholics

From The London Guardian-

A 35-year-old Sicilian became the first Catholic woman to be ordained in Italy on Saturday.

Maria Vittoria Longhitano is a member of the breakaway Old Catholic church. But she was made a priest at the Anglican church of All Saints in Rome ‑ an act some in the Vatican are likely to see as provocative, not least because the organist at the service was dismissed by the Catholic hierarchy after deciding to change sex.

The Old Catholic church broke with the Vatican in the 19th century in protest at the adoption of the doctrine of papal infallibility. It is in full communion with the Anglicans.

Longhitano, who is married, told the congregation: "I have opened the way. Catholicism means universality, and without women it is mutilated." She said she was convinced the laity in Italy were "ready to welcome a female ministry" and that in her native Sicily people often asked her: "Why don't we have the joy of women priests?"

The first Italian woman to become a priest was Teodora Tosatti, who was ordained in 2006, but the service was held outside Italy, in Bonn, Germany.

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Nominees in Springfield

From Springfield-

The Standing Committee is pleased to announce the names of the priests (with ages at time of
Nominating Synod, position title, church or institution and diocese of canonical residency) for the
Nominating Synod, who have submitted the requested information on or before Thursday, May 13,
2010, the Feast of the Ascension, the date specified for such submissions. They are:

Student's Sewanee suit to get U.S. trial

From Chattanooga-

A September trial is set in a case alleging mistreatment of a freshman who says he had to leave Sewanee: The University of the South with no recourse for defending himself against a rape allegation.

The trial, in U.S. District Court in Winchester, Tenn., could reveal the identities of the student and his parents. The court so far has granted anonymity to protect them from what they say was a false rape allegation that never led to criminal charges.

At issue is whether Sewanee, an Episcopal school, followed its own as well as federal protocols for resolving allegations of sexual misconduct among students.

Colleges and universities that receive federal funding, such as Sewanee, must at least follow the federal protocol, which includes giving "due process to both parties involved" and investigating complaints thoroughly.

But the 45-page lawsuit filed in June 2009 by "John Doe" and his parents claims the school never did that. The lawsuit claims the school "recklessly" pieced together an incompetent investigation that disregarded Mr. Doe's rights and ignored the female accuser's "serious chemical and psychological issues."

Mr. Doe and his parents are seeking a $1 million judgment for, among other things, "injury to reputation." They also want Sewanee to pay $2 million in punitive damages.

Mr. Doe's attorney, Charles B. Wayne, of Washington, D.C., declined to comment on the case.

The university has answered the allegations by denying any negligence in its handling of Mr. Doe's case, court records show. A Sewanee spokesman said that the school does not comment on pending litigation.

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Some Harlem Churches in Fight for Survival

From The New York Times-

From the second to last pew at All Souls’ Episcopal Church in Harlem on a recent Sunday morning, Sylvia Lynch, 80, lifted a hand toward the rafters and sang praises through a haze of burnt incense.

Her voice was steady and strong, as was her grip on the cane she leaned on as she stood and sang and peered over the sparsely populated pews, peppered mostly with older women with fancy hats and hair as gray as her own.

“I came up through Sunday school, and I’m still here,” Ms. Lynch said, taking a step into an aisle at the 104-year-old church after the last hymn. “Back then, it was packed. You couldn’t get a seat.”

All Souls’ Church, on St. Nicholas Avenue, and any number of the traditional neighborhood churches in Harlem that had for generations boasted strong memberships — built on and sustained by familial loyalty and neighborhood ties — are now struggling to hold on to their congregations.

The gentrification of Harlem has helped deplete their ranks, as younger residents, black and white, have arrived but not taken up places in their pews. Longtime Harlem families, either cashing in on the real estate boom over the past decade or simply opting to head south for their retirement, have left the neighborhood and its churches. Then there are the deaths, as year by year, whole age bands are chipped away.

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Sunday, May 23, 2010

Tom Ehrich: Ordination is a day; ministry is a lifetime

From Springfiled Il.

In a whirlwind month of yesteryear, I graduated from seminary, was married and ordained.

I joined a team planning the consecration of our new bishop.

Thinking no church large enough, planners had rented a basketball arena for this epic event.

On the day itself, I kept waiting for eager Episcopalians to pour into the arena’s 16,000 seats, where Elvis Presley had just played his final concert. But they didn’t. Some came, but the hall felt empty to this self-absorbed young clergyman.

That should have been a sign that the world wasn’t holding its breath while we ordained a bishop. Although the new bishop was a fine man and would lead capably, even our own folks had other things to do.

That was 1977. If we had been paying attention to such outcomes, we would have known a steep decline was in its 13th year. After three decades of growth up to 1964, mainline Protestant congregations were hemorrhaging members, as all but a handful of denominations are dwindling today. It was time to rethink everything.

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New Episcopal bishop consecrated during four-hour service in Greenville

From Upper South Carolina-

“You are their bishop. You are our bishop. You are my bishop,” the Rev. Dorsey F. Henderson said as he handed his shepherd’s staff to the Rev. William Andrew Waldo on Saturday.

Waldo, in an elaborate four-hour service at Christ Church in downtown Greenville, became the bishop of the Episcopal Diocese of Upper South Carolina, a 22-county region that includes 28,000 members from Columbia to the Upstate.

The Most Rev. Katharine Jefferts Schori, and with the presiding bishop of the Episcopal Church, officiated at the service making Waldo, 56, the 1,046th bishop in the history of the 2.4-million member Episcopal Church U.S.A. and the eighth bishop of Upper South Carolina.

More than 20 bishops from across the country laid hands on Waldo, calling on God to fill him “with such love of you and of all the people, that he may feed and tend the flock of Christ, and exercise without reproach the high priesthood to which you have called him.”

Henderson, who has led the diocese since 1995, has reached the mandatory retirement age for bishops of 72. Friends said he has bought a boat and plans to spend plenty of time fishing.

More here-