Saturday, August 14, 2010

Largest Lutheran group reports decline

From Washington State-

The Evangelical Lutheran Church in America lost almost 91,000 members and 48 congregations last year, but saw a slight increase in per-congregant giving.

In 2009, the denomination dropped to 4.5 million members and about 10,300 congregations, according to a report released Tuesday by David Swartling, the ELCA secretary.
Total offerings in congregations dropped by nearly 3 percent, to about $2.6 billion, but average giving per baptized member increased by a similar percentage, to $492.

Less than one-third of baptized members attended weekly worship last year, a drop from 2008. The ELCA, the largest Lutheran body in the United States, is dealing not only with the recession, but also with fallout from the denomination's vote last year to lift the celibacy requirement for gay clergy.

Pakistani Christians in UK make plea for funds

From The Church Times-

PAKISTANI Christians in the UK have called on fellow churchgoers to send financial support to areas of Pakistan affected by floods. More than 1600 people have died, and 14 million have been hit by the devastating monsoon rains.

The effects of the flood disaster are thought to be worse than those of the Indian Ocean tsunami in 2004, the Kashmir earthquake in 2005, and the earthquake in Haiti combined, in terms of people af­fected, the United Nations has said.

The Disasters Emergency Committee’s Pakistan Floods Appeal has so far raised more than £7 million pounds, but getting aid to flooded areas is proving difficult.

The Bishop of Peshawar, the Rt Revd Humphrey Sarfraz Peters, has visited Khyber Pakhtunkhwa in north-west Pakistan. “Our Christians, who are already deprived and marginalised, are in pathetic conditions. They have lost almost everything in their houses; they could only save their lives.” He asked for prayers for the minority Chris tian population in the region, who, he said, would receive “hardly any thing” from international aid pack ages.

The diocese has launched an emergency relief and rescue programme for the 1300 Christian families affected. The Church of Ireland has pledged ¤10,000 to this fund.

The vice-chairman of the British Pakistani Christian Association (BPCA), Wilson Chowdhry, said: “We are asking brothers and sisters up and down the country to pray for a speedy restoration of the homes and livelihoods of the affected local people. . . The BPCA
is raising a fund for the victims of the flooding. The money raised will not be used in any projects that are singularly for the benefit of the Christian community, but will be used in generic, inclusive projects.”

More here-

Bishop's assistant to take parish job

From San Joaquin-

The Rev. Bill Gandenberger, assistant to Bishop John-David Schofield of the breakaway Anglican Diocese of San Joaquin, is leaving his post to become rector of Christ Church Vero Beach in Vero Beach, Fla.

Gandenberger's final day in Fresno is Sunday.

He served as Schofield's assistant for eight years, including in 2007 when Schofield led a secession movement out of the U.S. Episcopal Church over differences such as the ordination of a gay bishop and the supreme authority of Scripture.

The breakaway diocese is now part of the Anglican Church in North America.

"This is a bittersweet move that the Lord has orchestrated despite the close relationship Sue and I share with John-David ... and the work that must continue in the Diocese of San Joaquin," Gandenberger writes in a statement. "It is apparent, however, that our Lord has new plans for us, and we know that he will always provide the people and resources to accomplish his will in the Diocese of San Joaquin."

Christ Church at center of lawsuit, controversy

From Georgia-

The "Mother Church" of Episcopalianism in Georgia has sharp divisions that reflect national trends in that denomination -- and have led to a protracted lawsuit.

There has been unrest in some Episcopal churches and even dioceses across the country because of issues with the national Episcopal Church body including the decision a few years ago allowing openly gay men and women to be ordained. The deep divisions made the Top 10 list of stories for the Religion Newsrwriters Association annual list in 2008.

New congregations have been formed across the country -- including New Life in Christ Anglican Church in Newnan and All Saints Anglican Church in Peachtree City -- that have aligned themselves with more conservative groups. All Saints is aligned with the Anglican Church in North America, the Convocation of Anglicans in North America and the American Anglican Council.

Generally, church properties have remained with the congregants who are part of Episcopal Church dioceses affiliated with the national body in New York.

Christ Church in Savannah, however, is an exception -- at least for now.

There are technically two Christ Church congregations in Savannah. They have dueling Internet websites -- and an ongoing legal contest.

More here-

Embattled Episcopal Bishop Seeks Allies Overseas

From Belief Net-

Contrary to what they say about Las Vegas, what happens in one branch of the worldwide Anglican Communion rarely stays there.

And no one knows this more than the former Episcopal bishop of Sin City, Katharine Jefferts Schori, who is now presiding bishop of the Episcopal Church.

Jefferts Schori recently wrapped up a whirlwind tour of six Anglican provinces -- all of them English-speaking -- where she defended her church's acceptance of gay bishops and same-sex unions, and its commitment to maintaining ties with other provinces.

In June and July, Jefferts Schori traveled to Canada, Scotland, England, Australia, New Zealand and Wales, addressing synods, preaching at cathedrals, sitting on panels, talking with parishioners, and meeting with powerful archbishops.

At almost every stop, the presiding bishop's message was subtle but
clear: her church's embrace of gays and lesbians is grounded in the gospel, and the Anglican Communion has always allowed local autonomy in its provinces.

Jefferts Schori and her staff say the visits abroad were planned well before the controversy that followed the May 15 consecration of Bishop Mary Douglas Glasspool in Los Angeles, the second openly gay bishop in the 2.1 million-member Episcopal Church, the U.S. branch of Anglicanism.

Read more:

Friday, August 13, 2010

essay: Charles Chapman Grafton, Second Bishop of Fond du Lac

From The Living Church-

Charles Chapman Grafton was born on April 12, 1830, in Boston, Mass. He was an 1843 graduate of the Boston Latin School and earned a bachelor of laws degree from Harvard in 1853. During his adolescent and undergraduate years, Grafton was associated closely with the Tractarian beginnings of the Church of the Advent in its several earliest Boston locations. Persistent tradition says that the future bishop walked the nearly eight-mile roundtrip circuit to the Advent from his Harvard lodgings with great regularity.

After finishing his legal studies (and turning his back on a promising legal career) Grafton sought ordination under William Rollinson Whittingham (1805–79), an overlooked and gentle scholar who served as Bishop of Maryland for nearly four decades from 1840 to 1879. Whittingham ordained Grafton deacon in 1855 and priest in 1858; the young priest served in this Tractarian-friendly diocese at St. Paul’s Church, Baltimore, throughout the Civil War.

After his Maryland curacy, Grafton traveled to England to observe firsthand the changes taking place there in the wake of the Oxford Movement. His extended stay from 1865 to 1870 brought him into contact with a large number of Oxford Movement and Ritualist leaders, including E.B. Pusey, Alexander Penrose Forbes (“the Scottish Pusey”), T.T. Carter, H.P. Liddon, Richard Meux Benson, and John Mason Neale. He was also part of the beginnings of the Society of St. John the Evangelist — known more familiarly as the Cowley Fathers or SSJE — whose community life began in 1865 at Oxford.

More here-

Centuries-old bell finds new home in Danville church

From California-

After more than 30 years, a centuries-old bell from England has found its permanent home at St. Timothy's Episcopal Church.

A 20-foot steel tower was installed to house the 200-pound bronze bell Thursday morning at the church on Diablo Road.

"It will give an opportunity to call to worship and to call those who may not already worship with us," said parishioner Ron Evens, adding that the church has been without a bell since before he started attending mass at St. Timothy's more than 20 years ago.

When the church's current building was completed in 1972, Southern Pacific donated a railroad bell to hang from its spire. However, a leaky skylight caused the railroad bell to rain rusty water onto the altar, and the bell was removed and donated to the Museum of the San Ramon Valley.
Evens said plans for the $50,000 tower "had been simmering for some time" after he and his wife, Joan, had heard about an old bell sitting in storage.

Rev. William Goodall, who founded St. Timothy's in 1953, returned to his native England in the late 1970s. There he acquired a bell from the Binham Priory, one of many countryside village churches that were being decommissioned at the time.

More here-

Atlanta’s Historic St. Luke’s Episcopal Church Reduces its Energy Usage by 18 Percent

From Atlanta-

St. Luke's Episcopal Church, located in midtown Atlanta, has reduced its carbon footprint by a third over the past four years. The historic church’s energy savings programs have exceeded the Governor’s Energy Challenge by cutting energy consumption more than 18% since 2006.

“We were seeking to be good stewards of God's creation, so St. Luke's got an early start on our sustainability initiative with a Southface-sponsored energy audit in 2006,” said longtime parishioner, Cotten Alston. “In particular, our energy conservation projects include automatic HVAC controls, high-efficiency lighting, and occupancy sensor lighting controls. These, combined with conscientious management by church staff, are saving us more than $36,000 annually. St. Luke's is also working to meet the goals of Georgia's Water Conservation Implementation Plan."

About St. Luke’s Episcopal Church

Under the leadership of Charles Quintard, an Atlanta physician and priest, St. Luke’s parish was established on Easter Monday, 1864. Now, 140 years later, St. Luke’s is a thriving crossroads parish of over 2,000 diverse communicants located on Peachtree Street in midtown Atlanta. The first liturgy celebrated in the current modified, late-English Gothic building was at its consecration in 1906. The parish is deeply committed to outreach. Crossroads Community Ministries was born in the St. Luke’s kitchen and today includes its own kitchen and dining room, a health clinic and a mail room, and offers counseling services for the homeless. St. Luke’s long-established Training & Counseling Center (TACC) is known for its numerous educational and clinical programs for adults, children and youth. For more information, visit

The Reverend Dan Matthews, Jr. is Rector of St. Luke’s.’s%20Historic%20St.%20Luke’s%20Episcopal%20Church%20Reduces%20its%20Energy%20Usage%20by%2018%20Percent&newsid=216139&type_news=latest&s=sbcn

New pastor finds home at still-healing parish

From New Mexico-

The Rev. Laura Sheridan-Campbell of Carlsbad believes she has found a match in the Holy Cross Episcopal Church.
Sheridan-Campbell has been an ordained priest for 16 years, and recently earned her doctorate from Church Divinity School of The Pacific in Berkeley. She previously served at churches in Iowa, her home state, and Texas. This is her first assignment since she went back to school full-time. She had her first service as the vicar of Holy Cross on July 4.

She said she found the employment listing in the Episcopal Church's online database and described the job description as "amazing."

"The more I learned about Holy Cross, the more I believed that my gifts would be well-matched with their needs and hopes," she said. "I am very interested in the rebuilding effort of churches that have suffered division and loss."

The elevation of an openly gay, divorced priest in 2003 to a position as bishop led many Episcopalian congregations across the country to change their affiliation from the local Episcopal bishop to other bishops in the global Anglican Communion. (The Episcopal Church is the name of the branch of the Anglican Communion in the United States, although a rival organization created by breakaway Episcopal congregations is also seeking recognition.)
Among those congregations breaking away locally were most of the members of Holy Cross. The former vicar, the Rev. Michael Nee, left to help form an Anglican congregation, Good Shepherd, under the authority of a Bolivian bishop.

More here-

Episcopal clergy 'very stressed,' but 'very happy'

From ELO-

In early August, New York Times religion writer Paul Vitello touched an ecclesial nerve when he launched a story, "Taking a Break From the Lord's Work," and raised a range of important questions on clergy wellness. His reporting, based on studies of clergy health, cut across the interfaith spectrum and resonates with lay professionals in the church, as well. It concluded that self-care, sabbatical rest and time for re-creation help church leaders lean into rising levels of stress, depression and fatigue.

A week later, Jeffrey MacDonald opined in the Times in "Congregations Gone Wild" on the same clergy propensity for physical and spiritual burnout, yet his conclusions shifted the debate in a different direction. MacDonald nodded to "several new studies" on clergy burnout and offered seemingly anecdotal evidence that demeans the laity as entertainment hounds who hunger for little more than "comforting, amusing fare" and render the clergy the "spiritual equivalents of concierges."

Based upon relevant data gathered and addressed in 12 years of conducting research and hosting more than 200 conferences on wellness in the Episcopal Church, CREDO Institute Inc., an affiliate of the Church Pension Group, comes to a different conclusion.

Through analysis articulated in the Clergy Wellness Report (2006) and the initial findings of the Emotional Health of Clergy Report (2010), we have observed that there is more to the challenge of clergy stress than fickleness of congregations and the cultural pressures of increased consumerism among churchgoers.

More here with links to referenced articles.

Thursday, August 12, 2010

All African Bishops Conference to be Held Soon

From All Africa-

A one-week All African Bishops' Conference (AABC) will take place in Uganda from August 23 to 29.

This year's theme is "Securing Our Future: Unlocking our Potential," (Hebrews 12:1-2).

According to Edward Gaamuwa, the chairman of the organising committee, the council of Anglican provinces of Africa meeting in Pretoria, South Africa in 2001 resolved to hold an African Anglican Bishop Conference to focus on African needs.

"The Anglican Church is very old in Africa but African problems and issues are still being treated as an appendix to other issues at the church's international forum," Gaamuwa said in an interview.

Some of the aims for this conference include mobilising the bishops to tackle the obstacles that continue to keep the continent in conflict, poverty, corruption, poor leadership and disease.

There is also the need to create a platform for interaction and partnership development and also to expose church leaders to various models for resource mapping, investment, management and global technology.

And how the Anglican Church in Africa is spearheading and participating in global initiatives that seek to address the threats to human dignity.

More here-

Obituary: Nellie King / Former Pirates pitcher, broadcaster

I met Nellie a few times. Have a wonderful signed picture of him with Clemente. From The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette-

On the radio, Nellie King learned that the key to broadcasting sports events was to get through the microphone and into the listener's living room. As a Pirates' pitcher, he made his way into the hearts of fans and teammates with his sense of humor.

"We were about to come home from Philadelphia when Dale Long was in the midst of hitting eight home runs in eight games in 1956, and Nellie lay down in front of the team bus. He said, 'This bus isn't going anywhere until Dale gets on,' " former teammate ElRoy Face recalled with a chuckle.

"We were both in the minors in New Orleans in 1954 when all the lights went out during the game. I went out to the mound and played my guitar, another guy played the wash tub and Nellie sang to entertain the fans and keep them from leaving," Mr. Face added. "He was a great guy. You don't find them any better."

Nelson Joseph "Nellie" King, who served as sports information director and broadcaster at Duquesne University after pitching in the big leagues and sharing the Pirates' broadcast booth with Bob Prince, died early Wednesday at the age of 82 surrounded by his three daughters in the Family Hospice Center in Mt. Lebanon. In recent years, he had fought a protracted battle with colon cancer, complicated by pneumonia. He was a longtime resident of Mt. Lebanon but in recent years lived in an assisted living facility in Upper St. Clair.

As a folk historian, the tall and lanky Mr. King didn't mind laughing at himself. In his 2009 autobiography "Happiness Is Like A Cur Dog: The Thirty Year Journey of a Major League Baseball Pitcher and Broadcaster," he wrote about the laugh he got when an opponent poked fun at his 6-foot-6, 180-pound physique.

Read more:

Bishop Peter Lee named interim dean at General Theological Seminary

From ELO-

The Rt. Rev. Peter James Lee, former bishop of Virginia and currently interim dean of San Francisco's Grace Cathedral, has been named as interim dean of General Theological Seminary in New York, according to a press release.

Lee's responsibilities at Grace Cathedral come to an end on Sept. 26 and he will join GTS thereafter. He will also be on the Chelsea, Manhattan-based campus during orientation week to meet and greet students, the release said.

The Very Rev. Ward B. Ewing, GTS' 12th dean and president, announced in December 2009 his intention to retire.

The seminary's trustees, following the advice of a search committee, decided in June 2010 to divide the post of dean and president into separate positions. On June 9, the Rev. Lang Lowrey was selected as interim president and "charged with financial and administrative oversight of the school and was vested with all the constitutional powers previously lodged with the dean and president," the release said. "Meanwhile the search continued for a new interim dean to be responsible for day-to-day operations of the seminary, including oversight of its academic programs."

As with many of the Episcopal Church-affiliated seminaries, GTS has experienced financial setbacks during the past two years. The seminary recently secured a $5.3 million short-term loan to finance the upcoming school year.

More here-

Weed and Seed youth council sprouts in Wilkinsburg

From The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette-

As more than 100 guests packed into the St. Stephen's Episcopal Church auditorium for Wilkinsburg Weed and Seed's Youth Speak Out forum, the youth among them did as teens will do when they gather.

They greeted each other enthusiastically and loudly last week. They bounced from table to table, sparking new conversations the instant the previous one ended.

By the time Weed and Seed coordinator Gayle Mitchell Hall kicked off the Aug. 4 forum, her introduction competed with a cacophony of chatter.

"We're trying to have you tell us what you want, what you need, what your concerns are for the community," she called out over the sea of voices.

But once the teens formed groups with adult leaders to discuss community needs and issues, they showed they were there to get down to business.

"We need more people to care, more people to be involved," Kymi Ewing, 17, read from her group's list.

"We need better education, more caring teachers, new books. ..."

"Harder work! I want to be challenged," added Melissa Portis, a 17-year-old Wilkinsburg High School student.

Read more:

PENNSYLVANIA: Rector calls on bishop to 'sacrifice' for diocese

From ELO-

The rector of historic Christ Church in Philadelphia is urging Episcopal Diocese of Pennsylvania Bishop Charles E. Bennison to "prayerfully consider making the sacrifice of not returning" to the diocese as bishop.

In a posting on the church's website, the Rev. Timothy Safford wrote that he does not expect Bennison to follow the advice he gave him in an Aug. 8 letter.

"Notwithstanding, he is my bishop, our bishop, and the bishop of the Diocese of Pennsylvania," Safford wrote.

The Episcopal Church's Court of Review for the Trial of a Bishop announced Aug. 5 that it had overturned a lower court's finding that Bennison had committed serious disciplinary offenses warranting his removal ("deposition") from the ordained ministry. The court of review concluded that Bennison had engaged in conduct unbecoming a member of the clergy; but found that the charge was barred by the church's statute of limitations.

The decision by the Court of Review for the Trial of a Bishop is here.

The lower court, Court for the Trial of a Bishop, had called for Bennison's deposition after it found that 35 years ago when he was rector of St. Mark's Episcopal Church in Upland, California, he failed to respond properly after learning that his brother, John Bennison, was "engaged in a sexually abusive and sexually exploitive relationship" with a minor parishioner. At the time, John Bennison was a 24-year-old newly ordained deacon (later priest) whom Charles Bennison had hired as youth minister. The abuse allegedly lasted for more than three years from the time the minor was 14 years old.

More here-

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Episcopal bishops join calls to conduct referendum on time

From Sudan-

Five Episcopal bishops representing different dioceses in various states of Southern Sudan on Monday joined voices calling for the referendum on southern independence to be conducted without deferral.

The bishops representing Mundri East and Iba in Western Equatoria state, Pacong, Yirol and Cueibet in Lakes state, called on the international community to closely pay attention to the conduct of the upcoming referendum on self determination for the people of Southern Sudan by supporting parties to the 2005 North-South peace deal.

The call came as high executive committees from the two parties resumed discussions on post referendum issues in Khartoum. SPLM delegation headed by the Secretary General and minister of Peace and CPA Implementation, Pagan Amum, has been in Khartoum since Sunday.

The letter bearing signatures of religious leaders also stated clearly that governments carry the mandate and authority of raising the living standards of the ordinary people. It also urged political leaders not to use the youth as political mercenaries in advancing their political agendas.

More here-

Two Episcopal 'servants' moving on from Kansas City

From Missouri-

Who is a minister? What is a bishop? From different ends of the career telescope, two Episcopalians, one a bishop-elect, the other a retiring bishop, see the answer to both questions in servanthood.

After six distinguished years as dean of Grace and Holy Trinity Cathedral, the Very Rev. Terry White was elected June 5 as bishop of the Episcopal Diocese of Kentucky, where he will be consecrated Sept. 25.

White told me, “Jesus said that he came not to be served, but to serve. Servanthood is at the heart of our call as the baptized community.”

The Rt. Rev. Barry Howe, who retires in March as bishop of the Diocese of West Missouri, agreed that “all are ministers of the church. The laity are to represent Christ in their daily lives” and in the life of the church as servants.

“The bishop is only different in the sense of being the chief pastor in a diocese, to guard the church’s faith, unity and discipline, and to ordain others for carrying out the sacramental ministry of the church.”

As servants, all people in an Episcopal diocese have a part in choosing their bishop. Howe said the process “comes from the people and not from any ‘decree from above.’ ”

Read more:

Pickets at Episcopal offices

From Philadelphia-

Members of a sex-abuse victim support group picketed the headquarters of the Episcopal Diocese of Pennsylvania Tuesday to protest the reinstatement of Bishop Charles E. Bennison Jr., who had been suspended nearly three years for concealing his brother's sexual abuse of a minor.

"It's heartbreaking that he has been returned on a technicality," said Karen Polisir, president of the Philadelphia area chapter of the Survivors' Network of Those Abused by Priests (SNAP). She was joined by two SNAP members from Lancaster County who were abused as youths by Roman Catholic priests.

In 2008, a church trial court ordered Bennison defrocked and removed as head of the five-county diocese for mishandling abuse by his brother about 35 years ago. However, an appeals court ruled last month that the church's statute of limitations had expired on the matter, and ordered Bennison restored to his position.

Todd Frey, 42, of Ephrata, and Paul Hearn, 57, of Lititz, said the Bennison reversal was particularly frustrating because Pennsylvania's civil statute of limitations had frustrated their efforts to bring their abusers to justice.

A spokeswoman for Bennison said Tuesday that the bishop maintains - contrary to the findings of both church courts - that he handled his brother's abuse of a teenager girl appropriately and noted that he was "not the abuser."

Read more:

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Kenya: Yes Vote Shows This is the Age of Caesar, Not God

From All Africa (Kenya and Uganda)

If the churches had taken the position they did in the Kenya referendum 40 years ago anywhere in Africa, they would have prevailed.

They were very powerful then, and because there were really only two organised Christian religions - the Catholics and Anglicans - they had a monopoly of the God business.

Their following was massive. But God was never the main source of their social power.

In the 1950s and 60s, most "native" children in Africa went to school on church scholarships.

Many of the first crop of African Independence leaders, went to school courtesy of missionaries.

Your priest approved whom you married, and if you fell sick you were treated at a missionary hospital.

As the wealth of the Anglican and Catholic churches declined, and governments took over missionary schools and hospitals, their grip loosened.


The balance of power is demonstrated by what happens in Uganda.

To every church person who is ordained a bishop, President Museveni gives a gift of a brand new Pajero.

Many bishops might risk annoying God, but few will want to incur Museveni's disfavour - until they have got their Pajero.

This is the age of Caesar, not God.

More here-

'Vicar fleeced me out of £160,000': Despair of mother left 'penniless' after she turned to CofE cleric in hour of need

From The Daily Mail-

When her marriage fell apart and her sister died, Amanda Machin was left on the verge of suicide.

In her hour of darkness, the 50-year-old turned to someone she believed she could trust – her local Anglican vicar.

But, Mrs Machin alleged, the Rev Steve Rankin persuaded her to part with £160,000 and left her ‘penniless’.

The mother-of-one accused him of taking advantage of her depressed state, convincing her to sell her house and donate thousands to the Church and missionary trips.

She also agreed to invest £50,000 in a business venture with the ‘charismatic’ cleric which failed, she alleged.

‘He completely abused his position of trust,’ claimed Mrs Machin, a former hairdresser. ‘He was less like an Anglican vicar and more like a slippery businessman.

‘I was so low and believed he was the only one who could cure me, so I did whatever he said.
‘He has fleeced me out of thousands and robbed my daughter and I of our financial security.’
Mrs Machin said she quickly became ‘completely dependent’ on the vicar who, she said, told her to stop taking anti-depressants prescribed by her GP.

The minister told her he could cure her depression because it was caused by ‘demonic’ ties to her family.

Soon she was visiting his £550,000 vicarage at St Mary Magdalen Church in Sale, Greater Manchester, several times a week for ‘deliverance ministry’ from the father-of-three.

Read more:

Charles Metcalf Crump, deputy to 17 General Conventions, dies at 96

The ELO story on Charlie. I'm glad they have the photo of him in his signature jacket. He'll be missed.

Charles Metcalf Crump, longtime chancellor of the Diocese of West Tennessee and deputy to 17 General Conventions from 1958-2006, died peacefully Aug. 8 at his home in Memphis. He was 96.

Crump retired in October 2008 after serving for 71 years as a practicing attorney at Apperson, Crump & Maxwell. He also stepped down after 25 years as chancellor of the West Tennessee diocese.

Crump was instrumental in the founding of Church of the Holy Communion as a mission of Calvary Church in Memphis in 1939.

A cradle Episcopalian, Crump was baptized, confirmed and married to the former Diana Wallace at Calvary Church. They celebrated their 70th wedding anniversary on July 20.

Crump is survived by his wife, Diana, three grown sons and several grandchildren.

During a December 2008 interview with Episcopal News Service, Crump said that his desire to serve as a General Convention deputy "naturally arose" out of his lifelong involvement as a parishioner and his adult involvement in the Episcopal Churchmen of Tennessee, which he eventually served as president.

A private burial will take place at Elmwood Cemetery on Aug. 12 at 9:30 a.m., followed by a Requiem Eucharist at Church of the Holy Communion at 11 a.m. Diocese of West Tennessee Bishop Don Johnson will be the celebrant and the Rev. Daniel Matthews, former rector of Trinity Church Wall Street, will preach.

Memorials are requested for Church of the Holy Communion, Rhodes College, both in Memphis, or a charity of choice.

Lightning strike crumbles church steeple in Muscatine

From Iowa-

The Rev. Cathi Bencken managed to crack a joke Monday after an apparent lightning strike zapped an iron cross and crumbled the steeple of Trinity Episcopal Church.

“I don’t think it was (because) of anything I said,” she said of the sermon she delivered Sunday.
Neighbors in a nearby downtown apartment told Bencken and other church leaders that lightning hit the church about 3:30 a.m.

A separate lightning strike knocked out the sound system and caused some other minor damage at St. Mathias Catholic Church. The building was not damaged, however.
At Trinity Episcopal, Bencken surveyed the damage later in the morning with Diana Williams, the church secretary, and other members of the congregation.

“That portion of the church was constructed in 1851-52,” said Devin Pettit, a member of the church and its unofficial historian. “I don’t know how old the cross is.”

Pieces of the cross placed together on the floor of the church office measured about 4 1/2 feet in length.

More here-

A serious abuse case emerges in the Episcopal Church, leading to other revelations

From Philadelphia-

I hope I'm not so naive as to be shocked and overwhelmed when a serious abuse case is revealed within my own Communion. You can read the full story here:

The gist of it is that an Episcopal bishop, the Rt. Rev. Charles Bennison, failed to report sexual misconduct by his younger brother, a youth minister. At the time he was defrocked. It has now been overturned on the grounds that, first: Charles Bennison did not commit the offense himself, and two: the statute of limitations has run out.

I believe that the result would have been different if Bishop Bennison had had an affair with a minor girl, as his brother did. But the "two wrongs don't make a right" idea applies here. Even though Bishop Bennison couldn't bring himself to call the police--perhaps the brother and the girl protested that they were in love--he was clearly involved as having knowledge of statutory rape.

This story branched into other emerging abuse stories, and it would again be naive in the extreme if I wrote from the point of view that only the Catholic Church were suffering through its agonies of international castigation. I'd say that it would probably be within the parameters of percentage and numbers.

More here-

Monday, August 9, 2010

Veteran Deputy Charles Crump Dies at 96

Charlie was a wonderful man and a friend. He'll be missed-

Charles M. Crump, former chancellor of the Diocese of West Tennessee and deputy to 17 General Conventions, has died in Memphis, Tenn. He was 96.

He retired from a 71-year career in law on his 95th birthday in October 2008. He resigned as the diocese’s chancellor at the same time, and declined to run for election to the 76th General Convention.

He was a first-time deputy to the 59th General Convention, which met in October 1958 in Miami Beach, Fla. Troubled that deputies did not receive written copies of resolutions, a daily agenda, or reports of the previous day’s decisions, the new deputy recommended publishing that information. The next General Convention began distributing those written reports.

Crump and other longtime deputies were called “oaks” of the House of Deputies in recent years.

When Church of the Holy Communion, Memphis, began meeting as a mission of Calvary Church in 1939, Crump concluded his Saturday-night dates with Diana Wallace by stopping by the chapel to fire up furnaces before Sunday’s services. Charles and Diana Crump were married at Holy Communion in 1940.

Crump helped select the church’s location on Walnut Grove Road, where it opened in 1950. Holy Comforter now has more than 1,300 baptized members.

Nigeria: Women Tasked on Political Empowerment

From All Africa-

The wife of the Bayelsa State Governor, Mrs. Alanyngi Sylva weekend met with Church leaders, members of the National Association of Women Journalists (NAWOJ) and Politicians in the state to seek ways at improving the socio-economic and political status of women. She said that economic and political empowerment of women and young girls will reduce crime and cut down pressure on various levels of government.

Mrs. Alanyingi Sylva, said though the meetings and courtesy calls were ways used in re-evaluating empowerment efforts for women and young girls in the state, her Non-Governmental Organisation (NGO) known as the centre for Gender Values and Culture has met with the office of the special adviser on gender empowerment for six-weeks training programme for women and a renewed partnership with church leaders to achieve set goals.

In three separate statements issued at the weekend and signed by the press secretary to the wife of the governor, Mrs. Wonifere Richard-Igiri Mrs. Sylva told the Wife of the Bishop of the Niger Delta West Diocese of the Anglican Communion, Mrs. Chinyere Oko-Jaja that a synergy and systematic coordination of activities between the state government and the church will lead to the achievement of certain goals.

More here-

Traditional Anglican bishops may convert to Catholicism

From The Underground-

Forward in Faith, the largest conservative faction of the Anglican Communion, expressed disillusionment recently with the church’s stand on women clergy and said the changes may lead many conservative Anglicans to consider converting to Catholicism, the National Catholic Register said.

Forward in Faith has some 10,000 members globally and 1,000 clergy. Their chairman, Bishop John Broadhurst clearly stated that he personally is amenable to becoming Catholic under a new personal ordinariate by Pope Benedict XVI, the National Catholic Register said.
The ordinariate will allow former Anglicans to join the Catholic church en masse, at the same time retain aspects of Anglican religious faith and Eucharistic beliefs, the National Catholic Register said.

The divide began last month when the Church of England decided that in the next two years they would allow women to become bishops. At the Church of England’s General Synod in York, England traditionalists sought to amend a rule for alternative male bishops, the National Catholic Register said.

They wanted parishes who did not wish to have a women bishop to be able to avail of a male alternative who would have autonomy and joint jurisdiction. The amendment had the support of John Sentamu, archbishop of York, and Rowan Williams, archbishop of Canterbury, the National Catholic Register said.

However the synod voted against the amendment and said women bishops could decide on any alternative bishop provided they adhere to a code of practice when dealing with traditionalists, the National Catholic Register said.

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Sunday, August 8, 2010

Navajoland bishop ordained

From Navajo Land

In a ceremony drawing from Episcopalian and Navajo traditions, the Rev. David Bailey was ordained as the Bishop of Navajoland Episcopalian Church.

The Navajoland missions have had interim bishops since the death of Steven Plummer, the Episcopal Church's first Navajo priest and the first Navajo bishop of Navajoland, in 2005.
Bailey promised his reign as bishop will be similar to the ceremony in which he was ordained.

He will infuse Navajo traditions into the church's customs, work to get Navajos into the priesthood and select a Navajo to be his successor, said Leon Sampson, Plummer's nephew who is entering the priesthood.

The Rev. Katharine Jefferts Schori, the bishop of the Episcopal Church, presided over the ceremony along with Rustin Kimsey, who was the assisting bishop of the area mission. Bishops from around the country also took part by laying their hands on Bailey to ordain him.

Navajoland prides itself by being an Episcopal Church like no other, and it's members are glad their new bishop approves of this philosophy, said Cornelia Eaton, the assistant administrator for the Episcopalian Church of Navajoland.

"We need to remember those dark times from your past for many reasons," Kimsey said to Navajoland members during the ceremony. "Not just for your sake but for ours."

The blend of Christianity and Navajo culture within the church is not simple and without controversy, said Catherine Plummer, the first bishop's wife.

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Synod picks 3 nominees for Episcopal bishop

From Springfield-

After nearly nine hours and eight rounds of casting ballots Saturday, a nominating synod charged with choosing four finalists for bishop of the Springfield Episcopal Diocese could decide on only three.

In the next round of voting in November, the bishop will be chosen from among the Rev. Matthew Gunter, 52, rector, St. Barnabas Church, Glen Ellyn; the Rev. Canon E. Mark Stevenson, 45, Canon to the Ordinary, Diocese of Louisiana, Baton Rouge, La.; and the Rev. Daniel Martins, 58, rector, St. Anne’s, Warsaw, Ind.

Clergy and lay delegates numbering 130 from around the diocese gathered at the Cathedral Church of St. Paul, 815 S. Second St., to pare down the 14 nominees for bishop.

The former bishop, Peter Beckwith, retired Feb. 1. During the bishop’s absence, a standing committee has ecclesiastical authority in the diocese, which covers the central and southern areas of the state.

A reporter was barred from the church during the voting and also told that no comment would be made until the process was complete.

Calls to the church were not returned Saturday night after the final nomination results were posted on the diocesan website,, about 9:30 p.m.

The committee did release the following statement:
“After ballot eight, a motion was made to suspend the Rules of Order for the Nominating Synod and to nominate three candidates instead of four. The motion passed by the required two-thirds majority of the clergy and lay delegates voting.”

Penn Hills man wins battle with Baseball Hall of Fame for his great-uncle

From The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

Have you ever received an award that got your name wrong? Now imagine that award is a bronze plaque in the Major League Baseball Hall of Fame.

That's a little of what Ron Hill has been dealing with for a year and a half, since discovering that his great-uncle, John Preston Hill aka Pete Hill, was one of the best hitters and all-around players of the early 1900s.

A star on some of the greatest early black teams -- the Cuban X-Giants, Philadelphia Giants, Leland Giants and Chicago American Giants -- he was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 2006 with 16 other African-Americans who loved the game and excelled at it, most long before Jackie Robinson won the right to play alongside white ballplayers in 1947.

But his plaque says "Joseph Preston Hill."

"We never heard of him," says Ron Hill, 64, his great-nephew from Penn Hills.

So no Hill descendant was in Cooperstown, N.Y., that day in 2006 when the plaque was unveiled. They might never have known they had such a famous relative -- or that his name, birth date and other biographical information were wrong -- if not for some sharp-eyed baseball historians and a cousin's love for genealogy.

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W.Va. churches taking 'hard walk' on mining

From The Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh)

The Rev. Dennis Sparks calls it "the hard walk."

That's what you have to do when your religious organization decides to take a position -- in, of all places, West Virginia -- saying mountaintop removal mining is against God's will, but also raises money for the families of miners who died in accidents, and organizes a meeting to cool the debate over coal issues.

As a result, it has been loved and loathed by mining interests and mine families, acting as both an agitator on issues and friendly comforter in times of crisis. But it still manages to act as an intermediary, as it did at the extraordinary meeting it arranged in January with Gov. Joe Manchin, environmentalists and the United Mine Workers to talk about nonviolent communication.

"That's the hard walk we have to take, because it is hard to walk between those" positions and actions the West Virginia Council of Churches has taken on coal, said Rev. Sparks, the council's executive director for the past eight years.

"So when the Upper Big Branch disaster happened I didn't say, 'Gee, I've been criticized by some mining companies, or some miner, because of our position on mountaintop removal, so I'm not going down there,' " he said.

"You set aside whatever political differences you have when a crisis happens and you help."

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