Saturday, August 21, 2010

Public warned against church conference

From New Vision Africa-

A ROW has erupted among leaders of a city Anglican church over a conference that has been called off allegedly for being a “hoax”.

Tempers were high on Thursday at the Bugolobi-based Resurrection Church of Uganda after one of the church leaders announced that the church’s youth conference that was due next week was a prank.

The Rev. Davis Kiconco, who is the church’s vicar, also warned the public against contributing money towards the conference.

The gathering had been scheduled for next week, the same dates for the all African Anglican Bishops Conference due to kick off on Monday at the Imperial Resort Beach Hotel Entebbe.

“This is to inform the general public that the Resurrection Church Bugolobi is not in any way involved in the organisation and/or holding of any conference,” the Vicar said in a public notice published in The New Vision on Thursday.

“Any invitation to the purported conference and solicitation of funds from any member of the public is hoax and should be accordingly ignored,” the notice added.

More here-

Remains of WWII pilot buried with full military honors

From Vermont-

A fallen soldier was laid to rest in Vermont Friday with full military honors. First Lt. Ray Fletcher was killed in action 66 years ago, during WWII, but his remains were only recently found and identified.

Nearly 70 years ago, Ray Fletcher went to war. The young Massachusetts man was an Air Force pilot during World War II. On May 10, 1944, he and four others died when their plane crashed in the rugged mountains of Corsica.

66 years later... first Lt. Fletcher was laid to rest.

John LaughtonRolling Thunder, VT Chapter "He's been waiting a long time for his country to find him and bring him home."

In Essex, Vermont, Friday, Veterans' Groups awaited the return of Lt. Fletcher's remains.

On their bikes, flags proudly displayed, they escorted the casket to St. James Episcopal Church for a funeral, long overdue.

1st Lt. Fletcher was among the 16 million Americans who served during World War II, the more than 400,000 who died, and the roughly 79,000 who were not found by war's end. Since then, only 7,000 have been recovered... Ray Fletcher is one of them.

More here with video

School that rejected lesbians’ daughter should change its name from Episcopal to Anglican

From Dallas. In spite of the name the school is part of ACNA not the Episcopal Diocese.

St. Vincent’s Episcopal School in Bedford says it would deny admission to the child of an unmarrried heterosexual couple, in the same way that it denied admission to the daughter of two lesbians. But we’re not buying it. Did they require straight couples to bring marriage licenses to parents night on Tuesday, where they discovered that both Jill and Tracy Harrison are women? What if the parents are in a heterosexual marriage but the father is a closeted homosexual? They’d probably be totally supportive of that.

Again, despite the name, this school isn’t Episcopal. It’s part of an Anglican group that left the Episcopal Church over the denomination’s acceptance of gays and lesbians. In light of that, this act of bigotry isn’t the least bit surprising.

Fox 4 is running a poll asking whether it’s right for the school to deny admission to the girl. Dumb question, but sadly the school is probably within its constitutional right to religious freedom.

Video here-

Friday, August 20, 2010

Anglican Church is broken, says Orombi

From The Daily Monitor-

The Archbishop of the Church of Uganda, Henry Luke Orombi, yesterday said the Anglican Church today faces many challenges which have made it dysfunctional.

“What I can tell you is that the Anglican Church is very broken,” Bishop Orombi said.

“It (church) has been torn at its deepest level, and it is a very dysfunctional family of the provincial churches. It is very sad for me to see how far down the church has gone.”
Speaking at the opening of a three-day provincial Assembly in Mukono, the head of the Church of Uganda noted that the church has lost credibility.

He proposed that the Church of Uganda engages church structures at a very minimal level until godly faith and order have been restored. “I can assure you that we have tried as a church to participate in the processes, but they are dominated by western elites, whose main interest is advancing a vision of Anglicanism that we do not know or recognise. We are a voice crying in the wilderness,” he said at the Church’s top assembly that convenes every two years.

More here-

New-style ACC said not to impinge on Primates

From The Church Times-

THE legal adviser to the Anglican Consultative Council (ACC), Canon John Rees, has denied that its new constitution will impinge on the authority of the Archbishop of Canterbury or of the Pri mates’ Meeting.

In an interview with the Anglican Communion News Service, Canon Rees said that the constitution’s articles restricted “neither the Archbishop’s role as the pivotal Instrument of Communion, nor his role in calling together the Primates’ Meeting”. “As the Archbishop’s Registrar for the Province of Canter bury, I would have been very concerned if I had thought there was any intention to do so.”

The new constitution was introduced so that the ACC, which is a charity, could move from a traditional trusteeship model, which made standing-committee members personally liable for its affairs, to a company structure. Members of the ACC’s standing committee remain the body’s trustees, but are now identified as a board of directors.

Canon Rees also described as “very wide of the mark” claims that the constitution is designed to increase the power of the standing committee.

More here-

Tribunal rules out Sydney’s diaconal and lay presidency

From The Church Times-

THE highest church court in Aus tralia, the Appellate Tribunal, has ruled that both lay and diaconal presidency at the eucharist are not permitted under existing General Synod canons — contrary to claims by a 2008 resolution of Sydney Synod (News, 24 October 2008).

Since the 2008 Synod, at least one of the assistant bishops in the dio cese of Sydney has approved diaconal presidency in his area. There is evi d-ence to suggest that diaconal pres idency has taken place at some Sun day services, including pres idency by women who, although ordained priest in other dioceses, are licensed only as deacons in Sydney diocese.

The Tribunal’s findings, which were brought down on Thursday of last week by a six-to-one majority, were in response to a reference from 28 General Synod members, who were acting under a provision of the Church’s constitution. The signator ies came from 13 Australian dio-ceses, and included eight diocesan bishops.

The reference identified six con stitutional questions arising from the Sydney synod’s resolution, which said that there was no legal impediment to deacons’ presiding at the eucharist under the terms of a 1985 General Synod canon authorising deacons to assist the priest in the administration of the sacraments.

The resolution also affirmed lay presidency on the basis of the General Synod Lay Assistants at Holy Communion Canon 1973, although the synod was told that the Arch bishop of Sydney would still need to license lay presidents, and would not do so at the present time. This reluctance was believed to relate to the relation ship between the Archbishop of Sydney, Dr Peter Jensen, and the GAFCON bishops.

Anglican Diocese welcomes sixth Bahamian female to the clergy

From The Bahamas-

The Anglican Diocese of The Bahamas and The Turks & Caicos Islands will ordain its sixth Bahamian female to the clergy, bringing the number of women serving to seven.(The Rev'd Erma Ambrose, Rector at Church of the Good Shepherd, Grand Bahama, was not ordained in The Bahamas)

Letha Strachan will be ordained deacon on Tuesday, August 24 on the Feast of St. Bartholomew The Apostle, at St. Barnabas Anglican Church on Blue Hill Road, at 7 p.m. The chief celebrant will be the Right Reverend Laish Zane Boyd, Sr., Diocesan Bishop. Canon Basil Tynes, Rector of St. Barnabas will preach the sermon.

Strachan, who was born in Nassau to Philip and Jepena Strachan, grew up in St. Barnabas Church, is a 2009 graduate of the University of the West Indies and Codington Theological College, Barbados.

As a deacon, she will be assigned to the parishes in Grand Bahama under the supervision of the Venerable Archdeacon Harry Bain of the Northern Bahamas Archdeaconry.

Prior to testing her vocation, Strachan was employed as a primary school teacher and worked at the Harbour Island All-Age, Columbus Primary, and Mable Walker Primary Schools. She also taught at the Bishop Eldon Primary School, Freeport, Grand Bahama.

She joins other female clergy in theDiocese in the persons of the Rev'd. Angela Palacious(hospital chaplain), the Rev'd. Beryl Higgs(retired), the Rev'd. Erma Ambrose(Rector at Church of the Good Shepherd, Grand Bahama), the Rev'd. Willish Johnson(Rector at St. John the Baptist with St. Martin, Abaco), the Rev'd. Paulette Cartwright(assistant curate, St. Andrew's Parish, Exuma), and the Rev'd. Marie Roach(assistant curate, Christ the King, Freeport).

Clemens indicted for drug denials

"Say it ain't so Roger"-

Former Red Sox great Roger Clemens, his legacy as imperiled as baseball’s integrity by the steroid scandal, was indicted yesterday on multiple charges of lying to Congress when he denied plying himself with illegal performance-enhancing drugs.

Baseball’s all-time leader with seven Cy Young Awards, William Roger Clemens was charged by a federal grand jury with one count of obstruction of Congress, three counts of making false statements, and two counts of perjury stemming from his sworn testimony in 2008 before a House committee investigating baseball’s steroid era.

Under federal sentencing guidelines, Clemens, 48, could face 15 to 21 months in prison if convicted. The maximum sentence would be 30 years and a $1.5 million fine.

Clemens joins home run king Barry Bonds and former American League Most Valuable Player Miguel Tejada as the only major leaguers charged with crimes connected to the steroid crisis. He is accused of lying when he denied illegally injecting anabolic steroids while playing for the Toronto Blue Jays in 1998 and New York Yankees in 2000 and 2001.

More with video here-

Pilgrimage Report: Martyrs of Alabama remind us of living a loving courage

From Alabama-

"O God, look with compassion on the whole human family; take away the arrogance and hatred which infect our hearts; break down the walls that separate us; unite us in bonds of love; and work through struggle and confusion to accomplish your purposes on earth; that all nations and races may serve you in harmony around your heavenly throne."

On Saturday this prayer, offered by Alabama Bishop Suffragan Kee Sloan, brought me to my knees while also causing me to tremble.

Along with about 200 others, I was standing in front of the former Cash Grocery Store in Hayneville, where Jonathan Myrick Daniels was fatally shot at point-blank range 45 years ago.

Daniels, a 26-year-old white Episcopal seminarian from New Hampshire, answered the call of Martin Luther King Jr. asking that students and clergy come to Selma to take part in a march to the state capital. When his seminary classmates returned home afterwards, Daniels chose to stay in Selma to continue his work in the Civil Rights Movement.

More here-

White House: Obama "Prays Every Day"

From CBS (as if Muslims don't pray every day)-

The White House today responded to news that nearly one in five Americans erroneously believe President Obama is a Muslim by telling reporters that the president prays on a daily basis.

"The President is obviously a -- is Christian," Deputy Press Secretary Bill Burton said. "He prays every day. He communicates with his religious advisor every single day. There's a group of pastors that he takes counsel from on a regular basis. And his faith is very important to him, but it's not something that is a topic of conversation every single day."

Asked why people believe despite this that Mr. Obama is a Muslim, Burton responded, "I just think people are focused on other issues and not paying all that much attention to exactly what the President does with his spirituality. But as you all know and have covered extensively, he is Christian and his faith is very important to him."

A reporter asked if the president might want to "speak more about his religion to counter this perception that he isn't Christian."

"He has talked about his faith in the past," the reporter said. "Could the White House have him come out and talk about it more?"

more here-

Thursday, August 19, 2010

West Mo. Nominates Three

From The Living Church-

The Diocese of West Missouri has nominated three veteran priests in the search for its eighth bishop:

The Rev. Peter F. Casparian, rector, Christ Church, Oyster Bay, N.Y.

The Very Rev. Martin S. Field, rector, St. Paul’s Church, Flint, Mich.

The Rev. Canon E. Daniel Smith, canon to the ordinary, Diocese of Missouri.

The diocese will elect its new bishop Nov. 5.
In brief profiles, the nominees described feeling a possible call to the episcopate through the voices of other people. Casparian was the only nominee to address church divisions regarding sexuality: “My early years in Kansas City coincided with prayer book revision and women’s ordination — both of which brought about speculation about the ‘end of the church as we knew it!’ My sense is that the latest challenges of human sexuality and similar panic in certain quarters will eventually be incorporated into our Church’s resilient and progressive new history while still rooted in the our great story of Christ’s redeeming love.”

Smith referred to another timely issue — abuse of clergy power — from his time as a rector in West Des Moines, Iowa. “In my ministry in Iowa, I had the opportunity to help bring healing to a congregation following sexual and financial misconduct of a clergy person,” he wrote. “This work taught me how great the impact is when boundaries, great and small, get crossed. I also learned again about God’s grace and realized that the return to health and mission is a story of the resurrection.”

More here-

Americans uncertain about Obama's faith

From USA Today-

Nearly one in five Americans incorrectly say President Obama is a Muslim, up from 11% last year, according to a Pew Research Center poll released today.

In the survey, about one-third of Americans correctly say Obama is a Christian, down from 48% who said so last year. In all, 43% say they do not know what religion Obama practices.

The survey "shows a general uncertainty and confusion about the president's religion," said Alan Cooperman, associate director of research with the Pew Forum on Religion & Public Life.

The survey of 3,003 adults was taken July 21-Aug. 5, before Obama endorsed a Muslim group's right to build a mosque and Islamic cultural center near the site of the 9/11 attacks in New York City. Those comments, made last weekend, added to the firestorm over the location of the mosque.

more here-

Hungerian Priest skateboarding goes viral

Skateboarding Hungarian Priest Video included-

Skateboarding priest Rev. Zoltan Lendvai, who belongs to Hungary has become a viral sensation on YouTube. The Roman Catholic priest has a very unique way of skateboarding and he also feels that it is the path to God for the youngsters.

Rev. Zoltan Lendvai is 45 years old and he is an inhabitant of Redics, which is a little village that is based on the Hungarian and Slovenian border.

He bases his unique skateboarding ways on Saint John Bosco, who was an Italian priest and also an accomplished educator in the 19th century. Saint John Bosco’s main goal and ambition in life was to enhance the quality of life of the youngsters who were financially weak and in this endeavor he also took the aid of games. So Rev. Zoltan is merely following in his footsteps and trying to come closer to the youngsters and make them discover their maker through the aid of skateboarding.

There is a video of the skateboarding priest on YouTube and it has managed to notch up 270,000 views. In fact some one has also uploaded a musical version of the video.

According to Reuters, Rev. Zoltan said that, “Many times I have felt that this is the way I can bring many people a bit closer to Jesus.”

More at :

Vatican details pope's September visit

From AFP-

The Vatican on Wednesday unveiled the official programme of Pope Benedict XVI's planned September visit to Britain and sought to clear up the controversy the trip has sparked in some quarters.

"I have read and heard the totally unfounded objections," said Vatican spokesman Federico Lombardi regarding the disclosure that worshippers would be asked to pay a "pilgrim contribution" of up to 25 pounds to attend papal events.

"All this is completely false... the pope goes to a country because he is invited by the highest authorities of the state (the Queen and the government) and by the local Church," Lombardi said on Radio Vatican.

"Consequently, the costs and logistical constraints are naturally at the expense of the one inviting him," he said. "It is not the pope who organises a trip to England all by himself."
The 83-year-old pontiff will begin on September 16 in Edinburgh, where Queen Elizabeth II, titular head of the world's Anglicans, will greet him at the Palace of Holyroodhouse, the Vatican said in a statement of a trip that will also take him to London and Birmingham.

Benedict XVI will be only the second pope to visit Britain since King Henry VIII split with Rome in 1534, leading to the formation of the Anglican Church. His predecessor John Paul II drew huge crowds in 1982.

More here-

Archbishop of ECS appeals for support to facilitate church’s role during referendum

From Sudan-

The Archbishop of the Episcopal Church of the Sudan (ECS), Rt. Rev. Daniel Deng Bul, has appealed to the leadership of the Government of Southern Sudan (GoSS) to support the church in order to successfully play its expected role of peace building and civic education among the people in preparation for the upcoming referendum in the South.

The most senior priest of the ECS in the whole country said the church has the initiative to preach the gospel of peace and unity among the people as well as educate them at the grass root level on the conduct of the referendum.

The appeal came during a meeting between his Lordship and the Vice President, Riek Machar Teny, in his office on Wednesday. The Archbishop told the Vice President that he also came to congratulate him on his relentless efforts for the nation and encouraged the leadership to continue to stay focused and cross the people of Southern Sudan to the Promised Land.

Bishop Deng in particular appealed to the leadership to facilitate the activities of the church to play the role of messenger in promoting peace and healing the hearts of the people across the region. The Archbishop, who is also a citizen of Jonglei state, briefed the Vice President on his recent peace mission initiatives in his home state, which said, covered a number of the state counties.

More here-

Saginaw Bishop Todd Ousley held a role in a controversial ruling to reinstate a fellow bishop

From Michigan -includes a link to the court decision.

SAGINAW — A controversial ruling to reinstate a Pennsylvanian bishop includes a tie to Saginaw.

Bishop Todd Ousley of the Episcopal Diocese of Eastern Michigan, which includes land east of Interstate 75 from Genesse to Alpena counties, was a member of the church’s court of review that, earlier this month, reversed a 2008 decision by a lower court that removed Pennsylvania Bishop Charles Bennison as bishop.

Bennison’s brother, John Bennison, was youth pastor of the church where Charles Bennison was a priest in the 1970s in California. John Bennison, who later became a priest, is accused of sexually abusing a 14-year-old girl in the parish. John Bennison was forced to renounce his priesthood in 2006 when accusations became public. His brother was removed as bishop of the Episcopal Diocese of Pennsylvania in 2008 for his inaction in the 1970s.

Ousley was a member of the appeals court that on July 28 determined that the church’s statute of limitations had expired, and Charles Bennison was reinstated as bishop of the 55,000-member diocese as of Monday.

More here-

Charles Bennison, Embattled Episcopal Bishop, Vows To Stay In Office

From Huffington-

The embattled Episcopal bishop of Philadelphia said he erred in not investigating his brother's sexual abuse of an underage girl 35 years ago, but brushed aside calls for his resignation, saying it is more "interesting" for him to remain in office.

Bishop Charles Bennison was removed from ministry in 2007, when he was charged with "conduct unbecoming of a member of the clergy." A church court found him guilty in 2008. But Bennison returned to his Philadelphia office on Monday (Aug. 16) after a church appeals court ruled last month the 10-year statute of limitations on the charge had expired.

Even so, prominent Philadelphia Episcopalians--including the diocese's elected standing committee--said Bennison should resign.

"We do not believe that Bishop Bennison has the trust of the clergy and lay leaders necessary for him to be an effective pastor and leader of the Diocese of Pennsylvania, nor that he can regain the trust that he has lost or broken," the panel said in a statement.

The Survivors Network of Those Abused by Clergy has also called on the Episcopal Church to remove Bennison, saying his resumption of duties endangers children.

Bennison, 66, has refused to resign, saying in an interview on Wednesday, "I don't think that's an accurate sense of where the whole diocese is." He said his return to office "has gone extremely well."

Inquirer article here-

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Baseball History: Bobby Thomson Dies at 86

The Giants win the pennant, the Giants win the pennant....

Bobby Thomson hit one of the most if not the most dramatic home runs in baseball history on October 3rd, 1951, when he hit a home run that turned a 4-2 defeat into a thrilling 5-4 come from behind win for the New York Giants over the Brooklyn Dodgers.

The hero of the 1951 NL playoffs died Monday at the age of 86 at his home in Savannah, Georgia. The mere mention of his name brings back memories of that day in 1951 when Thomson hit the "Shot heard around the world".

The Dodgers had took an early 1-0 lead in the first inning and Bobby Thomson tied the score at 1-1 in the bottom of the seventh when he hit a sacrifice fly to deep center field, scoring Monte Irvin.

However, the Dodgers came back with three runs in the top of the eighth to give them a 4-1 lead. The Giants were unable to score in the bottom of the frame and Dodgers went down in order in the top of the ninth.

Alvin Dark and Don Mueller singled to start the bottom of the ninth for the Giants. Monte Irvin made the first out when he popped up to first base. Then, Whitey Lockman hit a double to left field scoring Dark to make it a 4-2 game.

Then Don Newcombe was relieved by Ralph Branca who had given up a home run to Thomson earlier in the playoff series and was facing Thomson with runners on second and third and with one out.

More here-

and the video

African Bishops to Discuss Dev't

From Rwanda/Uganda-

TWELVE Rwandan Bishops will, next week join about 500 Anglican bishops from Africa to discuss the development challenges that Africa faces.

The conference, which will be held under the theme; "Securing our future; Unlocking our potential," is scheduled to take place in Kampala, Uganda from August 23 - 28.

Kigali's Provincial Secretary, Reverend Emmanuel Gatera, said the Rwandan representative will comprise 10 diocesan bishops and two coadjutor (assistant) bishops.

"It will be a good opportunity for us (African bishops) to meet and discuss the success and challenges registered so far as well as chart the way forward," he said in a phone interview, yesterday.

According to the organizers, the conference will lay emphasis on peace, reconciliation, compassion, good governance and poverty eradication.

The first conference was held in Lagos, Nigeria in 2004 under the theme, "Africa has come of age."

More here-

Catholic Cemeteries to permit gas drilling among the headstones

From The Pittsburgh Tribune Review-

A Monroeville drilling company could tap natural gas beneath 15 cemeteries in Allegheny and Washington counties under a lease signed by the Catholic Cemeteries Association of the Diocese of Pittsburgh, the association's director said Tuesday.

The association leased nearly 1,060 acres of cemetery land in 2008 to Huntley & Huntley Inc., including the 200-acre Calvary Cemetery in Hazelwood, which City Councilman Doug Shields called "ground zero" in the debate over whether natural gas drilling should be permitted in Pittsburgh.

"You don't put oil and gas fields in urban areas," Shields said during a news conference about legislation he will propose next month to ban drilling in city limits. "There's too much that can go wrong."

Even as a high-priced consultant to the gas industry, former Gov. Tom Ridge said he wouldn't want to spend his afterlife on a drill site.

"I'd have a tough time putting a rig down next to my tomb or next to anyone I'm related to," Ridge, a strategic consultant to the Marcellus Shale Coalition, said before addressing an energy conference Downtown yesterday. "Not next to mine."

More here-

Iqaluit church takes on the form of an igloo

From the "You Can't Make This Stuf Up" Department - Canada division-

An Anglican church being built in Canada’s north is taking on an unlikely shape: a traditional igloo crowned by a spire and cross.

The igloo, made of wooden blocks and steel instead of ice and snow, is a replica of an Anglican church that was built in 1970 but destroyed by arson in 2005.

St. Jude’s Cathedral in Iqaluit, N.W.T., on Baffin Island, was established in 1970 when Queen Elizabeth helped break ground with a silver spade, alongside the Inuit carpenters who built the original church. But 35 years later, the church was destroyed by arson and Iqaluit’s 4,000 registered Anglicans feared they would lose their most iconic structure — the Inuit snow house topped with an Anglican spire. Inside, the igloo church were an altar and communion rail made of qamutik sleds, decorative narwhal tusks, sealskin and soapstones, many of which were salvaged from the fire. The Christian services are given in English and Inuktituk.

Read more:

Nuns win, bishop loses

From California- Lest you think only the Episcopal Church has property issues.

Attorneys for the Diocese of Sacramento and seven donors to the now defunct Loretto High School are mulling whether to appeal an unfavorable ruling in a dispute over $7.75 million the sisters of the Institute of the Blessed Virgin Mary received when they sold the campus last year.

Sacramento Bishop Jaime Soto joined seven other plaintiffs in the lawsuit against the Institute of the Blessed Virgin Mary, an order of women religious that ran Loretto High School for 54 years before announcing that the girls’ college-prep school would close its doors for good in June 2009. The sisters cited declining enrollment and financial hardship.

At issue is an estimated $4.5 million donated to the school from a 2001-2002 fundraising drive. The money was used to double the size of the campus, construct a new science building, a performing arts center, visual arts studios, a swimming complex, an athletic field, additional parking and for renovations of some of the already existing school buildings.

In May 2009, the sisters of the Institute of the Blessed Virgin Mary sold the 9-acre Loretto campus to Aspire Public Schools, a non-profit firm that operates 21 charter schools across California, for $7.75 million -- $5.75 million up front, with the remaining $2 million due in 2012.

More here-

Suspended Philadelphia bishop resumes work

From Philadelphia via Kansas City-

Although Episcopal leaders in the Philadelphia region are urging him to resign, long-suspended Bishop Charles E. Bennison Jr. told them Tuesday that he intended to stay at the helm of the five-county Diocese of Pennsylvania.

At a meeting at Episcopal Church House in Society Hill, "he made it clear to us he would resume his responsibilities," said the Rev. Glenn Matis, president of the standing committee that has run the 55,000-member diocese during Bennison's nearly three-year absence.

It was the 66-year-old bishop's second day at work since the Episcopal Church charged him in October 2007 with mishandling and concealing his brother's sexual abuse of a minor three decades earlier.

A church court found him guilty in 2008 and ordered him defrocked and deposed as bishop. A church appeals court last month concluded that he had engaged in "conduct unbecoming a member of the clergy," but that the statute of limitations on those charges had expired, clearing the way for his restoration.

Read more:

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Joe L. Brown, who built Pirates championship teams, dead at 91

From The Pittsburgh Trib. There's a nice story here about reconciliation involving Dick Groat. (Maybe an illustration in search of a sermon)

His father was a famous entertainer, and he succeeded a baseball legend. But Joe L. Brown ended up making his own name, putting his stamp on three Pittsburgh Pirates world championship teams during a span of 20 years.

The Pirates' general manager from 1955 through 1976 and again briefly in 1985, Brown died Sunday in Albuquerque, N.M., after a long illness. He would have been 92 on Sept. 1.

Brown, the son of Hollywood actor and comedian Joe E. Brown, replaced Branch Rickey with the Pirates. It was Rickey who started baseball's farm system, helped integrate Major League Baseball when he brought Jackie Robinson to the Brooklyn Dodgers, and began restocking the Pirates.

But it became Brown's team, and the Pirates won the World Series in 1960 and 1971. After he retired, the Pirates won it all again in 1979 with many of the players he had acquired.

News of Brown's death, which first came to light yesterday in a statement by team President Frank Coonelly, circulated while fans and former players and officials were still mourning the loss of Nelson J. "Nellie" King. A popular former pitcher and broadcaster, King died Wednesday at 82.

Noting that Brown, who used a wheelchair, attended June's celebration of the 1960 team at PNC Park, Coonelly wrote, "He was a great man and a true Pittsburgh Pirate." Brown received a hearty ovation when introduced.

More here-

Pennsylvania bishop returns to divided diocese

From ELO-

Episcopal Diocese of Pennsylvania Bishop Charles Bennison returned to the diocesan offices in downtown Philadelphia Aug. 16 amid continued calls for his retirement or resignation.
"We do not believe that Bishop Bennison has the trust of the clergy and lay leaders necessary for him to be an effective pastor and leader of the Diocese of Pennsylvania, nor that he can regain or rebuild the trust that he has lost or broken," the diocesan Standing Committee said in a letter posted to the diocese's website in the late morning. "We believe that it would be in the best interest of the diocese that Bishop Bennison not resume his exercise of authority here."

Bennison is due to meet with Assisting Bishop Rodney Michel on the morning of Aug. 17. Standing Committee President Glenn Matis, Standing Committee Secretary Arlene McGurk and committee member the Rev. Ledlie Laughlin plan to meet with Bennison in the afternoon, Matis told ENS.

The bishop did not answer an Aug. 16 ENS request for an interview.

Bennison, 66, said Aug. 5 that he planned to continue to serve the diocese as its bishop. He noted during a news conference that church canon allows for a bishop to serve until age 72, and said that he will continue as bishop "if it seems appropriate and in the best interest of the church" until that time.

More here-

Hundreds Attend St. Peter's Mass Over Objections of Cleveland Diocese

From Cleavland-

Over three hundred Catholics attended a mass in an empty, rented warehouse over the objections of the Cleveland Diocese.

The parishioners used to attend historic St. Peter's near downtown. The diocese closed St. Peter's back in April as part of its downsizing efforts.

"It's a glorious day for St. Peter's, it's a glorious day for the city of Cleveland," says parishioner Nancy McGrath. "Finally, the people have taken the church back for the people. It is no longer being directed by a hierarchy that is abusive and cruel."

Cameras were not allowed in the service. Bob Kloos, an official with the group "Endangered Catholics", says a priest presided over the service and it was a mass.

"We are still, in my view, very Catholic," says parishioner Benoy Joseph.

Some members of the group say their congregation was financially healthy and should not have been closed. The diocese wants the members to merge into other churches in their cluster, but the St. Peter's congregation vows to stay together - even if it means going outside of the diocese.

More here with video-,0,6397666.story

Four priests in the running to become next bishop

From Western New York-

An Amherst rector and three other Episcopal priests from out of state have been nominated to become the 11th bishop of the Episcopal Diocese of Buffalo, diocesan officials announced Monday.

The Rev. Canon Barbara J. Price, rector of St. Peter's Church on Longmeadow Road in Amherst since 2000, is among the nominees to succeed Bishop J. Michael Garrison, who is set to retire in 2011.

The other nominees are: the Rev. Michael N. Ambler Jr., rector of Grace Episcopal Church in Bath, Maine; the Rev. Canon Michael A. Bamberger, rector of Episcopal Church of the Ascension in Sierra Madre, Calif.; and the Rev. R. William Franklin, senior associate priest at St. Mark's Church in Philadelphia.

An election will be held Nov. 20 during a special convention-to-elect meeting of the diocese at St. Paul's Cathedral.

More here-

Monday, August 16, 2010

An Open Letter to the People of the Diocese of Pennsylvania From the Standing Committee of the Diocese

From The Diocese of Pennsylvania Standing Committee-

In the last two+ years, the elected and appointed leaders of this Diocese have been nurturing open working relationships within the diocesan bodies of which they are a part—e.g., on Diocesan Council, the Committee for Finance & Property, etc.—and among and between those bodies. We have, in effect, been weaving a broad web of relationships; building trust and sharing responsibilities so that we may work as one body in Christ. We shall continue and nurture this fragile web, and we invite all in this Diocese to participate—through your congregation, your deanery, and in the councils of the Church.

We recognize our differing perspectives and experiences as a source of blessing and opportunity, not of weakness. We are committed to continuing our good work and relationships together, to clarifying our vision and mission, supporting the weak and vulnerable among us, and seeking new ways to proclaim the love of God and the Good News of Jesus Christ.

We are committed to ensuring the spiritual, emotional and physical safety of all within this Diocese and all whom we seek to serve in the name of Christ. We are committed to serving the weak and most vulnerable in our midst, those who are oppressed, and the children and youth of our Diocese.

We do not believe that Bishop Bennison has the trust of the clergy and lay leaders necessary for him to be an effective pastor and leader of the Diocese of Pennsylvania, nor that he can regain or rebuild the trust that he has lost or broken.

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Catholic voices: Resisting the ACC’s Growing Power

From The Living Church-

Last month the Anglican Consultative Council began operating under a new constitution. One of the four “instruments of Communion,” the ACC was created by the 1968 Lambeth Conference as an advisory council composed of lay, clerical and episcopal representatives of the churches of the Anglican Communion. The four instruments — the Archbishop of Canterbury, the Lambeth Conference, the Primates’ Meeting, and the ACC — have distinct but complementary functions in the life of the Communion.

The ACC usually meets every three years and has consisted of approximately 70 members, almost all of whom are directly appointed by the Communion’s 38 member churches. The membership criteria favor lay participation, and at the last meeting of the ACC the laity formed the largest group. To assure wider representation there are “term limits” restricting members to three meetings. The ACC thus serves as a complement to, but not a replacement for, the other instruments that emphasize the central role of bishops in a Communion that recognizes the historic episcopate as an essential element.

In the 1970s the ACC authorized its standing committee to form a charitable trust in the United Kingdom to manage its U.K. assets “on behalf of” the ACC. The standing committee members became the trustees of this trust. After the Primates’ Meeting was created as the fourth instrument and established its own standing committee, it became the practice of the two standing committees to meet together to help coordinate the two instruments.

These joint meetings gave rise to the name “Joint Standing Committee,” but in fact they remained two separate committees and the primates were not trustees for purposes of the U.K. trust. Those matters continued to be addressed by the ACC committee alone. As the Communion has struggled to cope with the crises of the last two decades, various Communion commissions have recommended reform of the ACC and its standing committee. In addition, changes in U.K. law have resulted in legal advice to revise the legal structure of the U.K. charity. The result of these considerations was the recent incorporation of the ACC itself as an English company with the Articles of Association of that company becoming the ACC’s new constitution.

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For Jesus People Matter Most, Says Professor

From The Christian Post-

With all its chasing after recognition, material goods and even holiness and spirituality, the world is often a tiring place. The good news is that Jesus has come to set people free from those things, Regent College Professor Rikk Watts highlighted Friday at a lecture.

Jesus, God incarnate, was Himself often mistaken by people during His earthly years. Those closest to Him thought of Him as a megalomaniac. Sadly this picture is still being perpetuated today largely through the ignorance of many Christians.

“We think we know what God is like,” said Watts. However, for many, much of that picture is inspired by authority figures like the father and the employer who often impose their authority on others.

Moreover, looking at selfish Christians, a watching world is led into thinking that God is concerned only about Himself, he added.

That, however, is not an accurate picture of God. God’s character and behaviour are essentially different from most of what is seen in the world and in history. Glory for God is being nailed to a cross and left to die a cruel death, the theologian expressed in a three-part series on the heart of discipleship. The core of discipleship, he suggested, is bearing the cross like Jesus did to redeem a sinful world.

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Guest View: Sorry, but I don't prefer to hug

From California-

What is this thing about hugging? All of a sudden I notice that during every hello, goodbye and "how are you?" I am expected to participate in a bone-crushing bear hug from the greeter, whether friend, new acquaintance, or complete stranger.

The liturgy for the Episcopal Church on Sunday mornings includes something called "The Peace." For a long while that lovely moment consisted of greeting those on each side of you with "God be with you" and perhaps a handshake. But nowadays everyone leaps into the aisles and wanders about during this friendly portion of the service, giving enthusiastic hugs to everyone they can grab.

I consider myself an affectionate and loving person. But I don't hug. And that aversion is now looked upon as un-American, un-loving and downright cold.

I guess it is partly because my family was not big on hugs. We saved them for very special occasions. There is a photo in my wedding album of my father wrapping me in his arms just before I left in my "going-away suit" for my honeymoon. And I cherish that. But we did not greet each member of the family every single day with an embrace. Pats and shoulder squeezes were more our rituals.

Someone recently quoted research that claims a person needs 12 hugs a day to thrive. Sorry, but I doubt that. I just can't picture prehistoric people exchanging hugs every time they returned to their cave. I don't think the hug gene is in our DNA.

And don't get me started about kissing!

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Priest plants Episcopal church in Manor

From Austin-

Alex Montes-Vela wrapped his green stole around the shoulders of a family huddled at the center of his Manor living room on a recent Sunday and began to pray.

"The reason I wanted to pray for you is to give thanks to God," he said. "The other reason is to prepare you for God's work."

He placed the stole back over his clothes: jeans and a long-sleeved pinstriped blue and white shirt, topped by his priest's collar. His small congregation sat on his sofas and chairs, surrounded by the comforts of home: a white orchid, family pictures on each wall and white candles flickering on the shelves above their heads. The coffee table doubled as an altar as Montes-Vela led the group in verses that alternated between Spanish and English. The voices that followed answered mostly in Spanish.

For Montes-Vela, 42, the boyish-looking rector of St. Mary Magdalene Church, God's work includes planting the first Episcopal church in this growing town east of Austin.

There are almost two dozen churches in Manor, where the population quadrupled between 2000 and 2006 from 1,204 to 5,468. But until now, none of the churches has been Episcopal.

After leading youth ministries in Houston and Waco, Montes-Vela was sent to Manor in 2008 by the Episcopal Diocese of Texas to establish St. Mary Magdalene, the third church the diocese has "planted" in Central Texas in the past two years. The diocese also led the 2009 church plants of St. Julian of Norwich in Austin and a second campus for Grace Episcopal Church in Georgetown.

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Sunday, August 15, 2010

King Remembered As Loving Father, Pittsburgh Icon

From KDKA Pittsburgh-

A gathering of family, friends, former teammates and colleagues came to St. Paul Episcopal Church in Mount Lebanon to say goodbye and to celebrate the life of Nelson Joseph "Nellie" King this morning.

King first became a household name in Pittsburgh when he broke into the major leagues with the Pirates in 1954.

Ray Goss, King's former broadcast partner, remembered the lanky pitcher taking the mound at Forbes Field.

"I don't remember a lot of other players back then, but I remember Nellie because he was so distinctive," said Goss. "He only played three years for the Pirates; he ran into some arm trouble."

Hall of Famer Bill Mazeroski also remembered his former teammate.

"He's one of the greatest guys I ever met in baseball. Nellie was just a good man," said Mazeroski. "I had a chance to play with him when I got up here in 1956."

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Crowd marks anniversary of civil rights slaying

From Alabama-

Jonathan Daniels, an Episcopal seminary student from New England who was proud of his civil rights activities in Alabama, was aware that he could be arrested for leading protest marches.

The prospect of losing his life in the process wasn't something he generally talked about be cause he was busy working to register black voters.

On Aug. 14, 1965, he and a group of protesters were ar rested for picketing in the little Lowndes County town of Fort Deposit.

He and the other picketers were moved to the county seat in Hayneville and placed into a stifling hot jail where the food was as bad as the sanitation sys tem and they had little commu nication with the outside world.

One week later -- on Aug. 20, 1965 -- the 26-year-old seminary student was shot to death out side a small grocery store where he and three other activists had gone to get cold drinks.

Remembering Daniels in a special way around the time of his death has become an annual event for Episcopalians. About 200 men, women and children were at the town square in Hay neville on Saturday for the 45th anniversary of his death.

"It's a great sacrifice and a great story," said Richard Hoop er, one of several Florida Episcopalians who drove to Low ndes County to take part in the ceremony. "It should be a lesson to us all to live as he did in the service of others."

More here-