Saturday, July 31, 2010

Atheists can be ethical: Anglican archbishop

From Australia-

PERTH Anglican Archbishop Roger Herft has clashed with his Catholic counterpart over Julia Gillard's atheism.

He warned it was "unhelpful and untrue" to suggest the Christian faith had a monopoly on moral integrity.

The Anglican leader cautioned against making simplistic assessments of religious beliefs in an election context and said Ms Gillard had assured the electorate she would respect people with religious convictions.

"Any statement which portrays the Christian faith as having some type of exclusivity to be the sole arbiter on matters of moral integrity and just policy-making are unhelpful and untrue," Archbishop Herft told The Weekend Australian.

"Christians need to remind themselves that those who do not profess the Christian faith are still capable of adopting an ethical and moral framework which assists in public policy decision-making for the common good."

More here-

Summer camp helps homeless children learn life skills

From Montana-

The kids wanted to touch everything.

Bright orange Kevlar pants. A simple ax. Cut pieces of wood.

Most of them had never seen these things, at least not so close. Seeing and touching and experiencing new things outdoors was a goal for the Angel Camp campers — kids who are homeless, living in foster homes or overcoming major life trauma.

Yes, they could touch, retired firefighter Steve Irving told them. He gave them slices of a tree branch, called them “cookies” and told them to count the rings and feel the cuts and moist, freshly cut wood.

“We get to keep these?” they asked.

“They’re yours — forever and ever.”
Greta Hinderliter, the homeless coordinator for the Natrona County School District, searched for years for a summer activity for the kids she helped during the school year. She found a partnership with the Wyoming Wilderness Camp run by the Episcopal Diocese of Wyoming.
“I’d say 99 percent of these kids have never been to camp,” Hinderliter said.

More here-

A bishop’s trials and triumphs

From Utah-

In the bleakest hours of her 14-year tenure as Episcopal bishop of Utah, the Rt. Rev. Carolyn Tanner Irish was tempted to resign.

All around the diocese, priests and lay people felt neglected and angry with what they saw as betrayal — Irish’s secret slip into alcoholism just three years into her term.

When she returned in the spring of 2000 after several months of out-of-state treatment, plenty of people were hoping she would step aside.

“It was pretty bad when I came back,” Irish acknowledges. “There were some testy times.”

And yet Irish refused to walk away from the job she felt called to in 1996 — her charge to shepherd the 6,000 Utahns who practiced the faith she had adopted as an adult.

“I knew I didn’t want to grow old and feel I’d failed,” Irish says. “That’s all I can tell you. That was not going to happen to me.”

Now, Irish, 70, is retiring on her own terms.

On Nov. 6, her successor, the Rev. Scott Hayashi, will be consecrated, and Irish and her husband — the Rev. Frederick Quinn, a retired foreign-service officer whom Irish married in 2001 — will move to Washington, D.C.

More here-

Former Catholic priest shares events that led him to seek ordination in the Episcopal Church

Cutie's in Oklahoma-

A former Roman Catholic priest now serving in the Episcopal Church was enthusiastically embraced by members of an Oklahoma City Hispanic congregation during his recent visit.

The Rev. Alberto Cutie preached and led discussions July 22-25 at Santa Maria Virgen Episcopal Church, 5500 S Western.

At a church dinner July 22 at Imperial Banquet Hall, 4701 S Shields, Cutie spoke candidly about the controversy that swirled around him a little more than a year ago.

An international scandal erupted in May 2009 when a Mexican celebrity magazine printed pictures of the popular priest in a passionate embrace with a woman, Ruhama Canellis, on a Florida beach. Catholic priests take a vow of celibacy that prohibits them from sex and marriage.
In the scandal's aftermath, the Catholic Archdiocese of Miami removed Cutie as head of St. Francis de Sales Catholic Church in Miami Beach, Fla., and he stepped down as president of Radio Paz and Radio Peace, Catholic 24-hour radio stations run by the archdiocese.

Read more:

Friday, July 30, 2010

Father Alberto Cutié

From Fox-

Father Alberto Cutié, once dubbed 'Father Oprah' for his many appearances on the talk show, is back on television. Father Alberto's life story from Roman Catholic priest to married man was fodder for Spanish-language tabloids.

Over a year has passed since the controversial story of the Miami Beach Catholic priest who fell in love with a parishioner. The incident resulted in his resignation from the Roman Catholic ministry.

Now, Father Alberto Cutié is happily married with a child along the way and is finding a new spiritual path based on his experience with love and life.

His upcoming book " Dilemma: A Priest's Struggle with Faith and Love" tells his story of 22 years of priesthood. It is available for preorder on Amazon and other websites.

Video here-

Camp of love — Children with special needs find safe haven at summer camp

From Southwest Florida-

Camp Able abounded with love and joy the week of July 19. The camp is described as Christmas morning, summer vacation and a family reunion all rolled into five fun packed days for people with special needs. It is a place where disabilities are worked around and gifts are celebrated. It’s a community of unconditional love, compassion and acceptance.

The camp is the brainchild of Fr. Kyle Bennett, rector of St. Mark’s Episcopal Church, who has worked extensively with children with disabilities and whose doctoral thesis was on the theological and social implications of people with disabilities.

The camp is held at the Episcopal Diocese of Southwest Florida’s DaySpring Conference Center in Manatee County. The setting is serene with its acres of oak trees covered with Spanish moss, bromeliads, winding paths on a lakefront. The first Camp Able was held there in 2007.

Each day began with prayer. Campers were given their choice of activities for the day — canoeing, swimming, playing on a water slide, horseback riding, arts and crafts, ropes course challenge, zip-line, drum circle and working therapeutic dogs. For many the highlight of their experience was the exhilaration of the zip-line and the affirmation of abilities at the talent show.

More here-

Standing Committee blocks move to expel US

From The Church Times-

A PROPOSAL to separate the Episcopal Church in the United States from the Anglican Communion was rejected by the Communion’s Standing Committee (SCAC) when it met in London over last weekend.

The suggestion, from Dato’ Stanley Isaacs (Church of the Province of South East Asia), led to a discussion, and acknowledgement by committee members of “anxieties felt in parts of the Communion about sexuality issues”, the ACNS reported. But “the overwhelming opinion was that separation would inhibit dialogue on this and other issues”, and would therefore be “unhelpful”.

The Committee also heard the rationale behind the Archbishop of Canterbury’s Pente cost letter, which proposed excluding from certain ecumenical dialogues provinces that had breached moratoria. Dr Williams and the Communion’s secretary general, Canon Kenneth Kearon, said that the Archbishop “had not acted unilaterally but with the support of the secretary general”, and that they had acted within their powers. The action “had not been punitive in intention”, but had followed “the breaking of the agreed moratoria — in response to the needs of the Communion in respect to ecumenical dialogues and faith and order bodies”.

In his report, Canon Kearon said that the credibility of the Primates’ Meeting and the Anglican Consultative Council (ACC) “was being openly questioned by some and this criticism was increasingly focused on the Standing Committee itself”.

Responding, the Bishop of Southern Malawi, Dr James Tengatenga, emphasised that ACC members were elected and sent by their own provinces and synods, and represented a very wide spectrum of views.

Dr Williams questioned whether the ACC’s committee structure was still appropriate, and asked whether revised Instrument structures were required to improve the relationship-building parts of the Communion’s life.

More here-

Episcopal Head Talks Conflict, Diversity, Immigration

From Christian Post-

The existence of conflict in the church is a sign of health and vitality, the head of The Episcopal Church told a live Web audience Wednesday.

"If there's no conflict, it means that we're dead," said Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori. "There has always been push and pull in the church. It's a sign that the diversity among us is passionate and that is a gift from God, not something to be squelched."

The Seattle native was addressing Episcopalians and the wider public in the first of a series of webcast conversations, which have been designed to foster better understanding in the church and to address current issues.

Jefferts Schori had just returned from a meeting in London involving a number of Anglican primates – chief bishops of the Anglican Communion's 38 provinces – and others on the Standing Committee. During the July 23-27 meeting, committee members rejected a proposal that The Episcopal Church be separated from the rest of the global body. Cutting the U.S. church would inhibit dialogue on sexuality issues and therefore would be unhelpful, they agreed.

"There was ... a clear reflection by members of the group that The Episcopal Church's presence is important to that dialogue, an unwillingness by the group to exclude us even though one member called for that because of that commitment to dialogue even when we don't agree on something," Jefferts Schori said during the webcast.

More here-

Faith Leaders Protest Arizona Immigration Law

From The Christian Post-

Some religious leaders from Arizona and elsewhere are coordinating nationwide protests against the state’s new immigration law, which takes effect Thursday.

Beginning with a prayer vigil at Trinity Episcopal Cathedral in Phoenix early Thursday morning, faith leaders are organizing prayers and rallies into the weekend to denounce SB1070 and call on Congress to pass comprehensive immigration reform.

“People are living in fear, afraid to go to work and church, or to leave their home at all,” said the Rev. Trina Zelle, director of the Arizona Interfaith Alliance for Worker Justice and a Presbyterian minister, to reporters on Wednesday.

“SB1070 is dehumanizing and violates our human rights,” said Zelle, who helped lead Thursday morning’s Phoenix prayer vigil. “I believe it grieves God.”

Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer signed SB1070, the toughest law against illegal immigrants in the nation, in April.

The most controversial part of the law is allowing police officers to stop and interrogate people suspected of being illegal immigrants. Opponents of the law argue the policy would promote racial profiling and open the door to human rights violations.

More here-

Episcopal Committee Is Working on Gay Rite

From The New York Times-

Armed with a new $400,000 grant and the support of the Episcopal Church, a Berkeley seminary is convening priests from across the country to craft the liturgical rite for same-sex couples to receive religious blessings.

The new rite, which will take years to complete, will most likely consist of a series of original prayers, Bible readings and two essays: one on the theological meaning of same-sex blessings, and one advising priests who administer the new rite. If approved, the new blessing would be just the third addition to Episcopal liturgy since 1979.

“This is very significant,” said the Rev. Ruth Meyers, chairwoman of the church’s Standing Commission on Liturgy and Music, who is heading the effort. “It does acknowledge a fuller participation of gays and lesbians in the life of the church.”

The Episcopal Church approved the development of “theological and liturgical resources” for the blessing of same-sex relationships at its 2009 convention, citing “changing circumstances in the United States and other nations.” It then partnered with the Berkeley seminary, Church Divinity School of the Pacific, which last month received a grant from the Arcus Foundation, a gay rights organization in Kalamazoo, Mich., to coordinate the effort.

More here-

Thursday, July 29, 2010

Anglican Catholic Church of Canada Votes Overwhelmingly to Unite with Rome

From Canada- (In case you're wondering I looked at the ACCC web site and counted 36 parishes and missions)

Catholic Online has covered with great faith, enthusiasm and attention to detail the ongoing work of the Holy Spirit arising out of the promulgation of "On the Gathering of the Anglicans" The Apostolic Constitution, Anglicanorum Coetibus.

David Virtue edits an excellent news source on all things Anglican. Because of the historic nature of this vote, we present for our global readers the actual full report wherein the vote was taken by the Anglican Catholic Church of Canada to formally requests an Anglican Ordinariate for Canada:


The Dean's Report on Synod 2010

The Eighth Provincial Synod and Thirteenth Diocesan Synod of the Anglican Catholic Church of Canada were held simultaneously at the Rosemary Heights Retreat Centre in Surrey, B.C., July 12 to 16, 2010. In attendance were the Canadian House of Bishops (Bishop Peter Wilkinson, Metropolitan and Bishop Ordinary; Bishop Craig Botterill, Suffragan for Atlantic Canada and Chancellor; Bishop Carl Reid, Suffragan for Central Canada and Apostolic Commissary; Bishop Robert Mercer, Assistant Bishop; along with the TAC Primate, Archbishop John Hepworth); eighteen members of the House of Clergy; and thirty members of the House of Laity; together with a number of observers and guests. The first evening began with Evensong, dinner, and then a wine and cheese reception hosted by the ACCC Parishes of the Lower Mainland.

More here-

Nigerian Archbishop Bolsters CANA

The Living Church-

The primacy of “global mission and evangelism” has been threatened by tensions in the Anglican Communion, the Archbishop of Nigeria said in an address July 23 while in Virginia. He called on Anglicans to both proclaim “the full gospel of Christ” and “continue to defend the family.”

Speaking at the annual council of the Convocation of Anglicans in North America, July 22–24 in Herndon, Va., Archbishop Nicholas Okoh urged CANA members to “declare that there is no one else” besides Jesus Christ to redeem people.

“The main thrust [of Christian mission] continues to be the proclamation of the gospel, the faith once delivered to all the saints,” he said. To that end, CANA serves as “an important mission of the Church of Nigeria.”

In a Christian Post interview July 20, Archbishop Okoh said that the Church of Nigeria founded CANA to keep the Anglican Communion from dividing.

The archbishop also called on Anglicans to affirm monogamous heterosexual marriage as the normative context for human sexuality. “All other sexual relationships are a sad measurement of our brokenness, self-centeredness, and rebellion” against God, he said.

He spoke of humankind’s continuing “rebellion against God’s absolute authority,” with one result being the persecution of those who oppose such rebellion.

“The Western world has become afraid [of saying] that there is right and wrong,” he said, and has “disinherited its Christian inheritance.”

By contrast, missionaries bringing the gospel and the Scriptures to Nigeria “widened [Nigerians’] understanding of what is right and wrong in God’s eyes” and influenced them to abandon practices incompatible with the Christian faith.

more here-

Bishop Praises ‘Brave and Faithful’ Church

From The Living Church-

Reports about thefts, rapes and murders in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, and of mass attacks that create refugees in the tens of thousands, are not abstractions for the Bishop of Winchester.

The Rt. Rev. Michael Scott–Joynt, Bishop of Winchester since 1995, became the patron of the Congo Church Association more than a decade ago. He has visited the nation five times since becoming the association’s patron.

His most recent visit was just after Easter, when he offered Bible meditations for Congolese Anglicans’ small House of Bishops. During Bishop Scott–Joynt’s visit, a renegade militia attacked the Bishop of Bukavu, the Rt. Rev. Bahati Bali Busane Sylvestre, and his family at home.

“I heard two days ago of attacks and fighting and killings in an area I have visited,” Bishop Scott–Joynt told The Living Church in a telephone interview July 21. “I have sat in homes with bishops and been told, ‘You’re safe now, but we must leave soon.’”

The bishop said he first became acquainted with Congolese bishops during the Lambeth Conference of 1998.

“I receive enormously from them,” he said. The bishop said he has learned “a lot about the New Testament and a lot about living as a Christian” from his Congolese brothers and sisters.

The bishop said he’s become especially aware that the suffering in the DRC reflects the story of the Church throughout history.

More here-

Christ Church appeals to Georgia Supreme Court

From Savannah-

Leaders of Christ Church in Savannah have asked the state's top court to review a July 8 Court of Appeals decision that the church's historic downtown property belongs to the Episcopal Church.

On Wednesday, Christ Church officials appealed to the Georgia Supreme Court a recent ruling of the Georgia Court of Appeals upholding Judge Michael Karpf’s decision issued in October 2009 against Christ Church and in favor of the Diocese of Georgia and The Episcopal Church.

That decision upheld the plaintiff’s argument that Christ Church holds its property in trust for the Diocese and the national church, based on a 1979 national church canon which was enacted without notification prior to or following its adoption.

The church had until Wednesday to file documents with the Supreme Court asking it to review the case.

"If we deny it, then it's denied and over," explained Lynn Stinchcomb, deputy clerk of court for the state Supreme Court.

If the court agrees to hear the case, a final ruling in the two-and-a-half-year-old property dispute between the national Episcopal Church and its former congregation could be postponed months.

"The court generally rules on them pretty quickly, within just a few months," she said.

Bikers hitting the road to help Haitian village

From Wisconsin-

Every church in the Episcopal Diocese of Eau Claire will receive a visit from a motorcycle gang with a message: Don’t forget Haiti.

The Rev. George Stamm, a retired minister who led both Christ Episcopal Church and St. Simeon’s Episcopal Church in Chippewa Falls, is one of about 15 bikers who will ride from Superior to La Crosse for four days beginning Thursday — stopping at all 22 churches in the diocese to benefit Haiti.

Riders prepare to head out from St. Alban's Episcopal Church in Superior at 8 a.m. Thursday and the public is invited to cheer on the riders and pledge their support for the people of Haiti.

“The diocese has been involved one way or another to try to help out Haiti for 20-some years,” Stamm said. “We talked about doing this last summer, but for some reason it didn’t come off.”

The Rev. Arthur Hancock, a pastor at Church of the Ascension Episcopal Church in Hayward, organized the event designed to raise money through pledges gathered by riders.

More here-

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Which nonprofits in San Diego could lose tax-exempt status?

From San Diego-

Thousands of small, nonprofit organizations in San Diego County could lose their tax-exempt status because they haven't complied with new IRS rules.

But instead of automatically revoking their tax-exempt status, the IRS is giving those organizations until Oct. 15 to catch up under a one-time grace period.

An IRS list released Tuesday shows thousands of local organizations in jeopardy - including 1,280 in the city of San Diego alone - because they did not file tax returns for the past three years. They include the Africa AIDS Fund, the Centro Cultural Hispano, Dachsund Rescue of San Diego, the Polish-American Association of San Diego, the American Anglican Council of San Diego, the Community Actors Theatre and several American Legion Auxiliary groups. The list includes fraternal societies, faith-based organizations and veterans' groups; nonprofits that focus on culture and the arts; and special interests including blackjack and lawn bowling.

More here-

Episcopal priest quits over gay issues

From Cincinnati-

The contentious issues of gay ordination and blessing of same-sex unions in the Episcopal Church in Greater Cincinnati have led to the resignation of a church pastor.

The Rev. Stockton Wulsin, pastor of St. Andrew's Episcopal Church, Evanston, resigned effective Sept. 30.

He told his congregation in a letter dated July 19 - the same day the church's Vestry issued a letter to church members confirming that it had accepted the resignation.

In his letter, which Wulsin said was not intended for the public, the priest cited two reasons for his decision. "The Anglican Communion has been in a state of crisis for several years over the choice of the American Episcopal Church to ordain bishops living in openly homosexual relationships and to pronounce liturgical blessings on people living in same sex relationships."

Wulsin declined to be interviewed when contacted by the Enquirer.

The priest's resignation is part of the larger issues in the Episcopal Church nationwide and in the Diocese of Southern Ohio, which has 80 churches and 25,000 members.

More here-

Anglicans Reject Move to `Separate' U.S. Church

From Belief net-

Anglican leaders meeting in London have rejected a move to "separate" the Episcopal Church from the wider Anglican Communion, a proposal that officials called premature and "unhelpful."

The proposal was offered Saturday (July 24) by Dato Stanley Isaacs, a member of the Anglican Communion's Standing Committee from the Province of South East Asia, according to a statement issued Monday.

The Episcopal Church has come under fire from sister Anglican churches for its decision to consecrate an openly gay bishop in New Hampshire in 2003, as well as a lesbian assistant bishop in Los Angeles earlier this year.

In June, the U.S. church was removed from Anglican panels that host ecumenical dialogue with other Christians, as well as a committee that determines doctrine and authority.

But the 13 members of the Standing Committee -- who are elected from the 44 member churches of the 77 million-member Anglican Communion -- said formally exiling the U.S. church was not the proper response.

"Committee members acknowledged the anxieties felt in parts of the Communion about sexuality issues," the statement said. "Nevertheless, the overwhelming opinion was that separation would inhibit dialogue on this and other issues ... and would therefore be unhelpful."

Read more:

Pointes Episcopal rector quits after sex allegation

From Michigan-

The rector of a Grosse Pointe Farms church has resigned after being removed because of allegations about an inappropriate sexual relationship with a woman who was not a member of the parish.

Church leaders are to call an interim rector in the coming weeks and begin the search process for a new rector.

The Rev. Bradford Whitaker resigned from Christ Church Grosse Pointe effective July 17 after a complaint was made to the church, according to the office of the Rt. Rev. Wendell N. Gibbs, Jr., bishop of the Episcopal Diocese of Michigan, which gave no further comment.

The church is not releasing Whitaker’s resignation letter or a letter from Gibbs, JoAnn Amicangelo, Christ Church’s director of communications, said in an e-mail Monday night.

She said the complaint of inappropriate sex with a non-church member was not criminal in nature. Grosse Pointe Farms Public Safety officials have received no reports or complaints regarding Whitaker, Detective Lt. Rich Rosati said.

Gibbs temporarily removed Whitaker from his duty April 16 pending a 90-day investigation of a “serious allegation of misconduct and a violation of his ordination vows,” according to a news release from the church vestry or governing board.

More here-

Lying nun 'death threats'

I can't resist. From The New York Post-

"Lying nun" Melindia LeGrand is ducking state investigators, and has been getting "death threats" from her neighbors, her daughter told The Post yesterday.

"She's in hiding right now," LaPrince LeGrand said of her mother, who's been subpoenaed by Attorney General Andrew Cuomo's office. "There are death threats -- people have left dead rats."
The Post caught "Sister" LeGrand, 54, dressing in a nun's habit and panhandling for a nonexistent orphanage -- a scheme she's been running for more than a decade.

Her family's Brooklyn church -- which is not an accredited charity -- was founded by convicted serial killer Devernon LeGrand and is now run by his convicted-rapist son.

Read more:

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Georgia University Tells Student to Alter Religious Views, Lawsuit Claims

From Georgia via Fox-

A graduate student in Georgia is suing her university after she was told she must undergo a remediation program due to her beliefs on homosexuality and transgendered persons.

The student, Jennifer Keeton, 24, has been pursuing a master's degree in school counseling at Augusta State University since 2009, but school officials have informed her that she'll be dismissed from the program unless she alters her "central religious beliefs on human nature and conduct," according to a civil complaint filed last week.

"[Augusta State University] faculty have promised to expel Miss Keeton from the graduate Counselor Education Program not because of poor academic showing or demonstrated deficiencies in clinical performance, but simply because she has communicated both inside and outside the classroom that she holds to Christian ethical convictions on matters of human sexuality and gender identity," the 43-page lawsuit reads.

Keeton, according to the lawsuit, was informed by school officials in late May that she would be asked to take part in a remediation plan due to faculty concerns regarding her beliefs pertaining to gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender issues.

More here-

Kumasi Anglican ordains first woman priest and three others

From Ghana-

The Anglican Diocese of Kumasi has ordained its first woman priest of the Church, the Rev Mrs Priscilla Lovia Owusu-Asiedu.

She joined the priesthood alongside Rev Father Gilbert Dua Otuo-Acheampong, Rev Father Joseph Adarkwa-Yiadom Akowuah and Rev Father Augustine Kwasi Boateng Acheampong at an ordination service held at the Obuasi Saint Paul's Anglican Church.

The Right Rev Dr Daniel Yinkah Sarfo, the Diocesan Bishop who performed the ceremony, advised them to lead Godly lives to set good example to society.

He reminded them of the challenges in the Gospel Ministry and said it was through fasting and prayers and the support of the Holy Spirit that they could overcome them.

The Bishop said it was his prayer that God would give the newly ordained priests the understanding and the inner strength to fulfil their calling and remain truthful to their faith.

More here-

Santa Claus Rips Catholic Church

From The "You Can't Make This Stuff Up" Department- Nevada Division

Talk about piling on -- now even Santa Claus is taking shots at the Catholic Church.

An explanation, of course, is in order. It's not the jolly old elf who lives at the North Pole with toy-crafting elves and flying reindeer. No, Virginia, this is a decidedly more politicized Claus, an ordained bishop from Nevada with the likeness and legal name of his famous doppelganger.

And this Santa Claus is angry. Last week, in a scathing, widely distributed press release, Claus called out the church for its failure to institute sufficient reform in the wake of clergy sex abuse scandals. He also suggested that he may sue the church to force change.

"Bishop Santa intends 'to explore and utilize a variety of legal means,'" the statement read in part, "'to hold the Roman Catholic Church, especially the pope and Vatican, accountable for the suffering of many thousands of vulnerable children at the hands of clergy, straight and gay, young and old, celibate or not.'"

But sue the Catholic Church? Who is this Santa Claus?

According to Washoe County, Nev., he's 63-year-old Thomas O'Connor, a Lake Tahoe man who legally changed his name to Santa Claus (no middle initial) in 2005. A look at his website -- yes, Virginia, Claus has a website -- reveals that he was recently elevated to the title of missionary bishop in the Apostles' Anglican Church, an ecumenical Christian denomination based in Ohio and Michigan.

More here-

Suffolk teenagers on 'life-changing' Tanzania trip

From The BBC

A team of young Christians from Suffolk will head out to rural Tanzania next year for a 22 day visit.

Youth worker Adrian Wolton says it will be a 'life changing' journey for the 10 teenagers who are chosen to go.

"To see someone living in poverty all of a sudden puts into perspective our own lives and troubles," he said.

"It's not to diminish anything we go through or feel, but to give young people the chance to think 'actually my life isn't that bad'."

The group will visit the diocese of Kagera in August 2011, with young people from churches across Suffolk being asked to apply for a place on the trip by 22 September 2010.
Giving young people a world view

"We live quite a closeted life," said Adrian.

"We read the news and see the TV, but actually going somewhere, having the experience of cross-cultural mission and seeing how other people live will hopefully see young people changing their world-view.

More here-

Standing Committee decides Episcopal Church's 'separation would inhibit dialogue'

From ELO-

The Standing Committee of the Anglican Communion has agreed that separating the Episcopal Church from the rest of the Anglican Communion "would inhibit dialogue and ... would therefore be unhelpful," according to a July 26 bulletin from the Anglican Communion Office.
The proposal for separation came on July 24 from Dato Stanley Isaacs, a Standing Committee member from the Province of South East Asia, but was not passed "and the group agreed to defer further discussion until progress on Continuing Indaba project had been considered," the release said.

The Continuing Indaba project "brings clergy and laity from dioceses around the Anglican Communion together to have the hard conversations, on a range of issues, that will help them better hear the mind of God," according to the Anglican Communion Office. "The aim is for all involved to be more effective in mission and be more accountable to each other through genuine relationship."

The Standing Committee also confirmed that the next meeting of the Anglican Consultative Council, the communion's main policy-making body, will be held at Holy Trinity Cathedral in Auckland, New Zealand. The meeting is due to be held in 2012, but no dates have been announced.

The committee, which is meeting in closed sessions July 23-27 at the Anglican Communion Office in London, also heard reports from Hellen Wangusa, Anglican Observer at the United Nations; Bishop James Tengatenga from Southern Malawi, chair of the ACC; and the Rev. Canon Kenneth Kearon, secretary general of the Anglican Communion.

Archbishop of Canterbury Rowan Williams questioned whether the ACC's committee structure was "appropriate for this new century," according to the release. "He said questions needed asking about whether revised instrument structures were required to better foster the relationship-building parts of the communion's life, 'so when it comes to looking at the complex questions of the communion we have a better foundation upon which to build.'"

The Standing Committee usually meets annually but has met biannually for the past three years. It oversees the day-to-day operations of the Anglican Communion Office and the programs and ministries of the four instruments of communion -- the archbishop of Canterbury, the ACC, the Primates Meeting, and the Lambeth Conference of bishops.

Monday, July 26, 2010

Nigeria: Bishop Advocates Intellectual Screening for Political Office Seekers

From All Africa -Nigeria

The Bishop of Sabongidda - Ora Diocese (Anglican Communion), the Right Rev. Professor John Akao has advocated a compulsory political debate for all persons aspiring to elective offices at different levels in the country.

The Right Rev. Akao made the recommendation in his charge at the second session of the sixth synod of the Diocese, held at St. Peter's Anglican Church, Uhonmora on the theme, "Who will Roll the Stone Away For Us: a Yearning for Divine Intervention".

The Bishop explained that potential leaders should be made to face the people through the mass media for the electorate to have a peep into their intellectual sanity and soundness of their manifestoes, adding that the people must not in the name of a political party vote for a "political moron or an inarticulate party loyalist".

Professor Akao, who charged the new INEC leadership to be "bias-free in their judgements" and to demonstrate courage and the fear of God in their assignment, also called on Nigerian politicians to eschew hooliganism, ritual killings, unfaithfulness and rigging in politics.

More here-

India: Anglican bishop charged with misappropriation of funds

From Spero-

A criminal case has been filed against a Church of South India bishop and 12 others in Salem on charges of misappropriation of some three crores of church funds.

The case charged against Bishop Manickam Dorai, his wife and 10 others, includes cheating, Inspector Kennedy said.

The police is already investigating the alleged misappropriation of funds against the accused in Coimbatore, Udhagamandalam and Erode, English daily Hindustan Times reported.
The Bishop and his wife had already obtained anticipatory bail from the Madras High Court in the Coimbatore case.

Following the alleged irregularities, Bishop Paul Vasanthakumar of Tiruchi and Thanjavur diocese has taken over the additional charge of Coimbatore Diocese.

The Church of South India is the second-largest Christian denomination in India after the Catholic Church. It is affiliated with the Anglican Communion.

Blankets sewn, donated to accompany babies to final resting place

From Arizona (sad and sweet)

Inside a cool mess hall in a Sun City West church, Judy Purdy pins fabric to a giant piece of batting.

Bent over a kitchen counter, she peers through stylish bifocals into the room filled with ladies gathered to make small blankets and pillows to comfort children in need. The group, Helping Hands for Children in Crisis, donates the blankets to hospitals, shelters and crisis centers to console abused and mistreated children.

Other blankets accompany babies to their final resting place.

Each year, the women donate dozens of blankets they have made to the Maricopa County Medical Examiner's Office.

The morgue tucks a blanket into each body bag of babies who pass through its offices. Some of the babies have been abandoned or unidentified, their bodies buried in unmarked county graves near the White Tank Mountains. Others are laid to rest by family.

But all leave the morgue with an "angel blanket," a small square blanket with a bow and silver angel charm.

"We send them away with dignity and love," said Purdy, a mother and grandmother from Sun City Grand. "When I'm done, I kiss every one to give it some love. I've always had a love for children. These blankets are made for little angels."

Read more:

Lutherans Offer Warm Welcome to Gay Pastors

New York Times-

With a laying on of hands, the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America on Sunday welcomed into its fold seven openly gay pastors who had until recently been barred from the church’s ministry.

The ceremony at St. Mark’s Lutheran Church in San Francisco was the first of several planned since the denomination took a watershed vote at its convention last year to allow noncelibate gay ministers in committed relationships to serve the church.

“Today the church is speaking with a clear voice,” the Rev. Jeff R. Johnson, one of the seven gay pastors participating in the ceremony, said at a news conference just before it began. “All people are welcome here, all people are invited to help lead this church, and all people are loved unconditionally by God.”

The Evangelical Lutheran Church in America, known as the E.L.C.A., with 4.6 million members, is now the largest Protestant church in the United States to permit noncelibate gay ministers to serve in the ranks of its clergy — an issue that has caused wrenching divisions for it as well as for many other denominations.

Since the church voted last summer to allow noncelibate gay clergy members to serve, 185 congregations have taken the two consecutive votes required to leave the denomination, said Melissa Ramirez Cooper, a spokeswoman for the church, citing a tally that she said was updated monthly. There are 10,396 congregations nationwide.

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'Sister' is a tax collector

More from the New York Post-

Mindy LeGrand, the habit-wearing panhandler who said she's an Episcopal holy woman collecting money for an orphanage, was in fact raising money to pay back taxes for her family's "church," relatives told The Post yesterday.

"She's not a nun. She's sister Mindy," the Rev. Naconda LeGrand said of the woman The Post saw collecting cash in Little Italy.

LeGrand -- a convicted rapist who runs what the family describes as a Brooklyn parish founded by their convicted rapist/serial-killer father -- admitted there is no orphanage.
"Somebody made that up," said Quomenters LeGrand, another son of the founder.

She was collecting funds to help pay the church's back taxes, he said.
He also said the church cares for kids at a summer camp on the same upstate property where Devernon LeGrand dumped his bodies, but The Post found the property to be abandoned.

Sunday, July 25, 2010

The Bible and the New York Time

Book review-

Foreword by William H. Willimon This collection of vividly illustrative sermons by a leading contemporary Episcopalian preacher eloquently heralds the Christian call to faith in the face of modern challenges. Widely known for their up-to-the-minute relevance to modern life, the sermons of Fleming Rutledge are always out on the edge, challenging the boundaries of contemporary thought and experience. No issue is too threatening, no event too shocking, no question too impertinent to be addressed.

Following Karl Barth’s dictum that sermons should be written with the Bible in one hand and the newspaper in the other, Rutledge weaves the changing events of the daily news together with the unchanging rhythms of the church seasons. Her book leads readers through the liturgical year, from All Saints to Pentecost, showing how the biblical story intersects with our own stories.

The Bible and the New York Times is a collection of sermons by Fleming Rutledge, an Episcopal priest with an exceptional ability to engage the shifting stories reported in the contemporary media without losing her firm footing in scripture. She’s not a flashy preacher–no rhetorical fireworks here–but her sermons have a quietly urgent style that comes from her fearless interest in some of the most frightening stories in the world. The explosion of Pan Am Flight 103 over Lockerbie, for example, would not be most preachers’ first choice to illustrate an Advent sermon.

But for Rutledge, they’re a natural and mutually illuminating match, because “Advent is designed to show that the meaning of Christmas is diminished to the vanishing point if we are not willing to take a fearless inventory of the darkness.” In his introduction to The Bible and The New York Times William Willimon offers a near-perfect summary of what’s so difficult and extraordinary about these sermons: “The reason why it’s tough speaking of Jesus is much the same reason why they kicked him out after his first sermon at Nazareth–Jesus spoke of and enacted a Good News which assaulted our settled definitions of news.”

Lying nun begs on behalf of unholy rape clan

Now this is journalism!

She's no angel!

For a decade, Sister Milindia has tugged on heartstrings in Little Italy. Wearing a cross, veil and nun's black habit, she approaches strangers and asks for donations, saying she's an Episcopal sister raising money for an orphanage and the homeless.

Saturday, July 17, was typical for her. She spent the day hustling along Mulberry Street's busy pedestrian plaza, ducking into Italian restaurants and thrusting her metal cup at shoppers, diners and passers-by.

"Please give money for the children of St. Joseph's," she asked a reporter seated at an outdoor table at Giovanna's Ristorante.

Many did, and after five hours of begging, Sister Milindia called it quits.
At 6:30 p.m., she bought some bootleg DVDs outside a pharmacy and caught the Brooklyn-bound Q train at Canal Street.

During the ride, she tried peddling vials of perfume to a female straphanger, who turned her down.

She got off at Avenue J/Kings Highway, where, cigarette dangling from her lips, she disrobed on the street.

She pulled off her white coif, black veil and tunic-like habit to reveal a pink tank top. She put on brown shorts under her black skirt, which she peeled off, folded and stuffed into a plastic bag.
After buying a sandwich, canned pasta and a bottle of water, she took a bus to Linden Boulevard in East New York, lit another cigarette and rang the bell at 714 Jerome St., a rundown brick house with garbage strewn across its front yard.

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Mass celebrates Father Rager's life, ministry

From The Post-Gazette

It was a funeral, but few of those who attended the final Mass for the Rev. Patrick Rager wore black.

For at least some of the priests there Saturday morning, the Mass was a celebration of Father Rager's saintly life. Knowing and spending time with him, they said, was a chance to feel God's presence.

The 50-year-old Catholic priest died Tuesday at his home in West Homestead after suffering for years from ALS, or Lou Gehrig's disease. Despite his illness, Father Rager earned worldwide recognition for his dedication to ministry, prompting church leaders and others to describe him as a yet-to-be canonized saint.

About 100 friends, family and clergy gathered at St. Therese of Lisieux Parish in Munhall, where the Rev. Kris Stubna echoed a sentiment expressed earlier in the service by Bishop David Zubik of Pittsburgh.

"People walked away from Father Pat knowing they had been in the presence of God," said Father Stubna, the diocesan education secretary.

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God or no God is not the only choice

From This morning's Post Gazette-

Over the years, I, like many other religious Americans, have felt increasingly pulled between two horses. What do I mean?

Those who remember the Hercules movies of the 1960s will recall that Hercules was chained to two horses, ready to tear him apart by galloping in opposite directions. Face grimacing, muscles popping, Hercules strained to hold them back.

Like Hercules, many of us religious Americans have felt chained to the twin horses of extreme atheism and Christian evangelicalism, horses that threaten to pull our culture apart.

Like evangelicals, we've tangibly experienced God's presence in our lives. We know how important religious faith is to life. We share their emphasis on a traditional morality that roots us in something deeper than objective reason.

Still, like the atheists, we cherish the freedom to doubt because we struggle with doubt every day. We value rational, scientific thinking because we see how much it enhances and improves life worldwide. We are religious, spiritual and rational, logical people seeking a balance between freedom and faith.

Why are the two extremes such a problem?

Because given the choice, both would be rid of the other in order to purify the culture from their point of view. Neither can truly win, but their battle consistently tears at the fabric of a culture designed for diversity.

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