Saturday, September 18, 2010

Flushing pastor says it was a 'miracle' that no one was hurt when tornado ripped steeple off church

From New York-

The pastor and parishioners of a historic Flushing church say divine intervention must be the reason no one was hurt when Thursday's tornado toppled its steeple.

"We believe it was a miracle," said Pastor Ted Chase, who was in the bell tower of St. George's Episcopal Church when the wooden structure was blown off directly above his head.

Chase sprinted up to the bell tower to shutter the windows when he heard the twister approaching, but a sickening thud stopped him in his tracks.

"I felt wind blowing all around me and heard a tremendous boom above my head. There was also this rumbling," he said. "I knew enough to get down."

The shocked priest found the shattered steeple splayed across the street.

"The tower didn't just topple. The steeple was picked up and thrown across the street. I've never seen anything like it," he said.

Despite the damage, Chase celebrated a Mass less than an hour after the storm.

Read more:

On the spot where Thomas More was condemned, a stirring defence of the faith

From The Daily Mail-

Until last night, no Pope had set foot in Westminster Abbey, even though it was doing Roman Catholic coronations for 500 years before Henry VIII had other ideas.

No Pope had set foot in the Palace of Westminster either, let alone addressed its occupants.
So yesterday was a day of profound historic importance here at the very heart of the British state.

And yet, it was the street cleaning department of Westminster City Council which threatened to steal the headlines.

The arrest of six litter sweepers amid suspicions of terrorist activity undeniably distracted from a day of huge religious significance.

But while it drew attention away from the Pope’s most important speech of this entire tour, it also put the shrill protests against his visit into some sort of perspective. All of a sudden, they seemed rather trivial.

Read more:

Pope to Anglicans: Proclaim Uniqueness of Christ

From Catholic Net-

Christians should not hesitate to proclaim the uniqueness of Christ, Benedict XVI today told the leader of the Anglican Communion. Though Christianity is called to be inclusive, this shouldn't come at the expense of Christian truth, he says.
The Pope made this reflection when he met with Archbishop Rowan Williams of Canterbury at Lambeth Palace this afternoon. The Holy Father is on the second day of his four-day trip to the United Kingdom, which began with an enthusiastic welcome Thursday in Scotland.

Despite talk of Anglican-Catholic tensions during the lead-up to the trip, today's meeting between the two leaders reflected their friendship and common ecumenical commitment.

The Pontiff, in fact, noted his intention not to "speak of the difficulties that the ecumenical path has encountered and continues to encounter."

"Rather," he said, "I wish to join you in giving thanks for the deep friendship that has grown between us and for the remarkable progress that has been made in so many areas of dialogue during the 40 years that have elapsed since the Anglican-Roman Catholic International Commission began its work. Let us entrust the fruits of that work to the Lord of the harvest, confident that he will bless our friendship with further significant growth."

More here-

Pope Benedict XVI and Archbishop Rowan Williams meet

From The BBC (with video)

The Pope has met the Archbishop of Canterbury at Lambeth Palace in London on day two of his visit to the UK.

The meeting with Dr Rowan Williams, the head of the Church of England, was also attended by bishops of both the Anglican and Catholic churches.

Both addressed their audience on their common goal, of challenging the shortcomings of secular society.

This video contains extracts from the two speeches

House of Bishops Daily Account for Friday, Sept. 17

From ELO- (OK, for those of you who don't get the pictures - It's "a count")

The House of Bishops of The Episcopal Church is meeting in Phoenix, AZ (Diocese of AZ) from September 16 to September 21. The following is an account of the activities for Friday, September 17, 2010

Bishop John Rabb of Maryland introduced a guest, Bishop Samson Das of the Church of North India. Rabb added this was the first time a bishop from the Church of North India attended a HOB meeting.

Bishop Kirk Smith of Diocese of Arizona presented a video depicting an overview of the recent border trip. He talked about undocumented Episcopalians who participate in church life. He called Arizona "the epicenter of discussion in this country about immigration," naming it the human rights issue of our time. Smith shared statistics: In 2020 one-third of the United States population will be Hispanic, and in some states it will be 50%. The United States is the second largest Spanish-speaking country in the world, surpassed only by Mexico. He pointed out that the church has been slow to respond, and doing Hispanic ministry requires understanding a whole new concept. "These people are our people," he said. "They are God's people." Bishop Smith emphasized that immigration is THE civil rights issue of our time.

More here-

Ex-Episcopal priest from Colorado Springs pleads no contest to theft

From Colorado Springs- The parish (St. George's) is a CANA congregation listed on the ACNA web site.

Pueblo special prosecutor Stephen Jones announced Friday that former Episcopal priest Donald Armstrong, ex-pastor of Grace Church in Colorado Springs, has entered a "no-contest" plea to felony theft in exchange for a deferred judgment and sentence.

Armstrong, 61, indicted by a 4th Judicial District grand jury in 2009 on 20 counts of felony theft, was accused of embezzling almost $300,000 from church and trust funds over eight years to pay for his two children's college.

Armstrong and his loyal congregation already lost a civil trial last year to determine who owned Grace Church and St. Stephen's Parish, a historic downtown property valued at about $17 million. The Episcopal Diocese of Colorado won back the church that Armstrong's congregation had been occupying.

"The recent actions taken by the court in the criminal proceedings against Don Armstrong bring closure to a very sad chapter in the life of this diocese," Bishop Robert J. O'Neill said.
Armstrong, theologically more conservative than the Episcopal Church had become, broke away in May 2007 to form a new Anglican congregation.

An Ecceliastical Trial Court in 2007 removed him as an Episcopal priest of the diocese after finding him guilty of stealing a total of $392,000 from parish-controlled coffers.

Armstrong denied the charges and stayed put in the Grace Church building. After a civil court judge ordered him to give it back to the diocese, Armstrong and his breakaway congregation moved to a new building they called St. George's Anglican Church.

Read more:

Friday, September 17, 2010

Anglicans seek government help over split

From Australia-

IN AN unprecedented linking of church and state, the national leader of the Anglican Church has asked the NSW government to stymie a move that would let the powerful Sydney diocese ''divorce'' the rest of the Australian church and leave the national office impoverished.

On the eve of the Australian Anglican Church's three-yearly synod, which opens in Melbourne today, Brisbane Archbishop Phillip Aspinall wrote to the NSW Attorney-General, shadow attorney-general and director-general of the Department of Justice, seeking their help.

According to Archbishop Aspinall, the Sydney diocese wants the NSW Parliament to amend the 1918 Church Property Trust Act in a way that will allow it to defy decisions of the national synod unless its own synod approves. It was going through the state government to avoid the proper processes of the church, he told the General Synod Standing Committee in a letter.

More here-

Russians threaten to end dialogue with Anglicans

From The Church Times-

THE Russian Orthodox Church has threatened to withdraw from dialogue with Anglicans because of the “liberalism and relativism” of some Anglican Churches, and the development of women bishops in the Church of England.

In a speech at Lambeth Palace on Thursday of last week, Metropolitan Hilarion of Volokolamsk attacked the Anglican Church for what he described as “betraying our common witness by departing from traditional Christian values and replacing them by contemporary secular standards”. He urged the Archbishop of Canterbury to resist pressure from liberal Anglicans.

Metropolitan Hilarion, the chairman of the Moscow Patriarchate’s department for external church relations, was speaking at the Nikaean Club annual dinner. His prolonged attack on liberalism in the Anglican Church stunned Dr Williams, onlookers said.

In his speech, the text of which was released later by the department for external church relations, the Metropolitan said: “The abyss that exists today divides not so much the Orthodox from the Catholics or the Catholics from the Protestants as it does the ‘traditionalists’ from the ‘liberals’.

“Some Christian leaders, for example, tell us that marriage between a man and a woman is no longer the only way of building a Christian family: there are other models, and the Church should become appropriately ‘inclusive’ to recognise alternative behavioural standards and give them official blessing.

More here-

Pope takes on ‘aggressive atheism’ in first speech

From The Church Times-

POPE BENEDICT XVI began his four-day visit to Scotland and England on Thursday with a plea to the British to remember their Christian heritage. The speech also included a robust attack on “aggressive secularism”.

Responding to the Queen’s welcome at Holyroodhouse Palace in Edinburgh, the Pope said: “May all Britons continue to live by the values of honesty, respect and fair-mindedness that have won them the esteem and admiration of many.

“Today, the United Kingdom strives to be a modern and multicultural society. In this challenging enterprise, may it always maintain its respect for those traditional values and cultural expressions that more aggressive forms of secularism no longer value or even tolerate.

“Let it not obscure the Christian foundation that underpins its freedoms; and may that patrimony, which has always served the nation well, constantly inform the example your Government and people set before the two billion members of the Commonwealth and the great family of English-speaking nations throughout the world.”

The Pope celebrated great British Christians, naming William Wilberforce, David Livingstone, Florence Nightingale, and John Henry Newman. “These, and many people like them, were inspired by a deep faith born and nurtured in these islands.”

And he tackled head-on the awkwardness of his own German origins: “Even in our own lifetime, we can recall how Britain and her leaders stood against a Nazi tyranny that wished to eradicate God from society and denied our common humanity to many, especially the Jews, who were thought unfit to live.

More here-

SOUTH CAROLINA: Diocese proposes resolutions to 'protect' itself

From ELO- Click on the link below to find links to the original documents-

Each of six proposed convention resolutions in the Episcopal Diocese of South Carolina "represents an essential element of how we protect the diocese from any attempt at un-constitutional intrusions into our corporate life in South Carolina," the diocese says.
An explanation on the diocese's homepage says all of the resolutions come in response to the General Convention's 2009 passage of revised Title IV canons on clergy discipline which were approved (via Resolution A185). When they were approved, supporters characterized the revised canons as an effort to move away from a court-oriented system towards one based on safety, truth-telling, healing and reconciliation.

The changes are due to go into effect July 1, 2011.

The South Carolina diocese says they "contradict the constitution of the Episcopal Church and make unacceptable changes in our polity, elevating the role of bishops, particularly the Presiding Bishop, and removing the duly elected Standing Committee of a diocese from its current role in most of the disciplinary process." The statement adds that the diocese believes that the revisions remove "much of the due process and legal safeguards for accused clergy" that were provided under the current version.

The diocese's objections are detailed in a paper written by Alan Runyan and Mark McCall, and posted on the Anglican Communion Institute's website. Runyan is a South Carolina trial attorney and referred to on both sites as the diocese's legal counsel.

The sometimes multi-faceted resolutions appear to propose four types of changes. One group consists of amendments to the diocesan constitution that would remove the required "unqualified accession" to the Episcopal Church's constitution.

More here-

House of Bishops Daily Account for Thursday, Sept. 16

From ELO-

The following Daily Account, issued by the Episcopal Church's Office of Public Affairs, offers an overview of the first day of conversations and activities of the House of Bishops, which is meeting Sept. 16-21 in Phoenix, Arizona. The sessions are closed to the media and the general public.

The House of Bishops of The Episcopal Church is meeting in Phoenix, AZ (Diocese of AZ) from September 16 to September 21. The following is an account of the activities for Thursday, September 16, 2010.

The House of Bishops (HOB) opened today’s session with a welcome from the host, Diocese of Arizona Bishop Kirk Smith. He thanked the bishops who participated in the border visit earlier in the week, which he called "a transformative experience for many of us." He also believed that the border trip was "one of the greatest public witnesses that this House (of Bishops) has made on a public issue." He informed the HOB that if they receive comments about attending a meeting in Arizona, "There really is no boycott and no boycott has been endorsed by any religious bodies or Hispanic groups in this state." Laura Smith pointed to a large blue water tank with a dark blue flag on display in the back of the room. She said these are water stations used in the desert for humanitarian reasons for migrants. The tanks are filled and maintained by Samaritans; the diocese will make a donation in HOB's name to the organization to help to maintain this service, No Mas Muertes.

Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori welcomed the HOB, introduced new bishops and visitors: ELCA Presiding Bishop Mark Hanson; Bishop James Jones of Liverpool (England); Bishop Coadjutor of Cuba Griselda Delgado del Carpio.

More here-

St. Paul's Episcopal Church vandalized in Greenville

From Michigan-

St. Paul's Episcopal Church in Greenville is almost 140 years old. For the community, it's a landmark; for its members, a house of worship. But on thursday it was a target for a group of vandals.

"I just can't believe anyone would do something like that," said Leon Baker.
Baker found the mess after entering a side door. He saw a strange powder covering the parish hall. It's dried foam from fire extinguishers.

"They just let it fly," said Baker talking about the foam.

The downstairs food pantry, used to feed the poor twice a week, was raided. Refridgerators left open and the food inside spoiled. Other goods were opened and thrown on the floor and walls downstairs. The priest's office was ransacked and a copy machine destroyed.

"It's kind of foolish to do the damage they did. What was the purpose in that? It's kind of hard to understand," said Father John Kirkman.

Even harder to understand and the most upsetting, was the the destruction of st. Paul's sanctuary.
"There was a white hanging that covered that papered area behind the altar that was saturated with BBQ sauce," said Father Kirkman.

More here-

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Controversies Abound As Pope Makes Historic Visit To Britain

From Radio Free Europe-

Pope Benedict XVI has arrived in Edinburgh for the start of a historic four-day visit to the United Kingdom that he hopes will improve strained links between Roman Catholics and Anglicans.

The pope was received by Queen Elizabeth II at Edinburgh's Holyrood Palace as a welcoming parade marched through the city.

"In recent times you have said that religions can never become vehicles of hatred, that never by invoking the name of God can evil and violence be justified," said the monarch. "Today, in this country, we stand united in that conviction. We hold that freedom to worship is at the core of our tolerant and democratic society."

In thanking the queen for the official invitation, the pope extended his own greetings to all the people of the United Kingdom, saying that he was holding out "the hand of friendship to each one."

"The Christian message has been an integral part of the language, thought, and culture of the people of this island for more than 1,000 years," said the pontiff. "Your forefathers' respect for truth and justice, for mercy and charity, come to you from a faith that remains a mighty force for good in your kingdom to the great benefit of Christians and non-Christians alike."

More here-

Claims of second Newman miracle as Pope lands in U.K.

From England

Pope Benedict XVI will beatify Cardinal Newman at a huge open-air Mass in Birmingham's Cofton Park Sept. 19, the last day of his four-day visit to England and Scotland. However, a second miracle is needed to name the 19th-century cardinal as a saint.

"I am about to leave for Mexico City precisely because that could be the miracle for his canonization," Ambrosi said in the documentary -- "Newman: Saint or Sinner?" -- excerpts of which were released by the BBC Sept. 9.

"We are in a very preliminary phase," he added. "I cannot say anything yet, but this shows how the cardinal answers these prayers."

Former British government minister Ann Widdecombe -- who, like Cardinal Newman, was Anglican before becoming Catholic -- will present the television program. She told Catholic News Service Sept. 13 that the alleged healing occurred after prenatal scans revealed that the unborn baby was "severely deformed."

The doctors, she said, were convinced they could do nothing to help the fetus, but the mother, a devout Catholic, insisted on going through with the pregnancy.

"The child was born perfect following the mother praying to Newman, and scientists can't explain it," said Widdecombe.
Father Richard Duffield, provost of the Birmingham Oratory, confirmed in an e-mail to CNS that "an investigative tribunal into a further miracle ... is about to open in the Archdiocese of Mexico City."

More here-

W.Va. Episcopalians consider blessing same-gender relationships

From West Virginia-

Delegates to the Episcopal Diocese of West Virginia's annual convention voted this week to allow the church to bless same-gender relationships.

The resolution was submitted by the Rev. Ann Lovejoy Johnson, associate rector of St. John's Episcopal Church in Charleston. It "urges our Bishop to honor same-gender relationships by supporting public rites for the blessing of same-gender relationships in congregations where such blessings are supported and so desired."

The final decision rests with the diocese's bishop, the Rt. Rev. W. Michie Klusmeyer, who responded with a prepared statement when contacted by the Gazette on Tuesday.

"Thank you for your interest, but I wonder where your interest was when wonderful things have happened in the past in the Episcopal Church? And try as you like to make us one, we are not a one issue church," he said in the statement. He would not comment further, and calls to St. John's were not returned Tuesday afternoon.

More here-

Bishops and spouses visit U.S.-Mexico border

From ELO-

The names of those who died trying to cross the desert rang out against the hum of rush hour traffic Sept. 14 as a procession of 60 bishops of the Episcopal Church, their spouses and others moved along the Pan American Highway here toward the Mexican border.
"Marta Yolanda Gonzalez Piñeada."

"Juan Eduardo Gomez Lopez."

"Maria Esther Cruz Alarcón."

"No Identificado eight," called out Bishop Suffragan Mary D. Glasspool of Los Angeles, and the procession responded: "Presente," as a witness, answering for those who can no longer speak for themselves.

Glasspool placed the 12x18-inch white wooden cross, dedicated to the unknown person on the curbside. By the procession's end, 300 crosses lined the curb along a quarter-mile stretch leading to the border.

"Holding it was a different kind of feeling than holding the cross of a person who was named," Glasspool said after the vigil, which typically happens each Tuesday, sponsored by Frontera de Cristo, a bi-national Presbyterian Church border ministry.

Glasspool was among a group of about 40 bishops and spouses who participated in a three-day border immersion experience hosted by the Episcopal Diocese of Arizona.

More here-

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Anglican brace for pope's UK visit

From England-

This is the week of the much anticipated and controversial visit by Pope Benedict XVI. He will meet with both the head of the Church of England, Queen Elizabeth, and the Archbishop of Canterbury.

The reason for the visit is the beatification (a step toward sainthood) of Cardinal John Henry Newman, a 19th Century Anglican convert to the Roman Catholic Church.

To the Anglo-Catholics, Newman connects both churches. The Rev. William Franklin, an Anglican Newman Scholar told the AP, "[Newman] seems to symbolize the view that the ecumenical journey leads Anglicans ultimately back to the Roman Catholic Church."

The Vatican hopes Anglicans will see Newman as a bridge figure too, but the Rev. Ephraim Radner, a professor of historical theology at Wycliffe College, an Anglican theological school at the University of Toronto thinks otherwise, "There are very sad things about what happened, that he himself and others acknowledge: the great parting of friends — it's something that's true today. He stands as a sign of what's broken of a bridge, it seems to me."

More here with the schedule-

Papal UK Visit Could Build Anglican-Catholic Bond

From Catholic-

Benedict XVI's visit to the United Kingdom could be a means of building bridges and increasing understanding between Anglicans and Catholics, says the archbishop of Canterbury's representative to the Holy See.

On the eve of the Pontiff's visit, ZENIT spoke with Reverend Canon David Richardson, also the director of the Anglican Center in Rome, about the importance of the trip in terms of ecumenism.

Speaking about his experiences meeting the Pontiff on several occasions as part of his position, the envoy said, "He has always been warm and I admire him greatly as a theologian."

He added, "To have in the present the Pope and the Archbishop of Canterbury two such towering theological figures means that this is a fascinating time to be in my appointment."

Richardson spoke about Cardinal John Henry Newman, due to be beatified by the Holy Father on Sunday, who he said is "a somewhat ambiguous figure both within Anglicanism and Roman Catholicism."

"As an Anglican he had something of the prophet's mantle and called the Church of England, that part of Anglicanism which was his home, back to a vision of itself which it had lost or was in danger of losing," the representative said.


"Prophets tend not to be honored among their own people and in their own time, though they will usually have an ardent group of disciples," he added. "So it was with Newman."

More here-

Louis Cockram-Ashley

From West Texas (Louis served in Pittsburgh for many years)

The Rev. Louis Cockram-Ashley, 74, died Sunday, Sept. 12, 2010.

Services will be at 11 a.m. Saturday in St. Alban's Episcopal Church in El Paso, Texas. Burial will be in Desert View Cemetery in Chaparral by Muffley Funeral Home.

The Rev. Ashley was born June 21, 1936, in Plymouth, England, to Alfred William Anthony and Norah Winifred Cockram Ashley. He served as minister at St. James Episcopal Church from 1989 to 1992 and then at St. Alban's Episcopal Church for 16 years.

Amarillo Globe-News, Sept. 15, 2010

Episcopal diocese asks victims to come forward

From Erie-

At least nine victims have reported abuse by a former Episcopalian bishop, and the current bishop is inviting other victims to come forward.

Bishop Sean Rowe announced in July to the 34 churches in the Diocese of Northwestern Pennsylvania that he knew of four victims of abuse by the late Donald Davis, who was bishop from 1974 to 1991. He said then that one of the victims contacted him in March. He investigated and learned of the other three. They were children when the abuse occurred, he said.

In another letter released Sunday, Bishop Rowe said five more women contacted him after his initial statement. Three said they were abused as girls and two said they were harassed as adults.

Bishop Rowe said some of the cases were known to national church authorities but had never been made public.

He said that as part of the resolution of those cases, Davis resigned from the Episcopal Church’s House of Bishops in 1994. Davis, then retired and living in Florida, also helped pay for counseling for two of the victims.

Davis died in 2007.

“If there are other victims who are still considering whether to come forward, I urge them to contact me,” Bishop Rowe said in his letter Sunday.

More here-

Border visit 'eye-opener' for bishops

From Arizona-

About 40 Episcopal bishops from across the country participated Tuesday in a vigil for those who have died crossing the U.S.-Mexico border.

The bishops are visiting Arizona for a meeting of the House of Bishops of the Episcopal Church. They toured Douglas, Ariz., and Naco, Sonora, to see conditions on both sides of the border.

"It's been a great experience so far, a great eye-opener so far," the Right Rev. Kirk Smith, bishop of the Episcopal Diocese of Arizona, said by telephone from Naco. "The most moving thing has been to have some personal contact with the people who are affected.

"We talked to some people who had been caught this morning and sent back," Smith added.
The group also planned to meet with U.S. Border Patrol agents.

On Tuesday evening, the bishops joined the Douglas-based Frontera de Cristo for the organization's weekly walk along the Pan-American Highway.

Melissa Gutierrez, of Frontera de Cristo, said the group has held weekly vigils since December 2000.

The group carries crosses, and after speaking the names of those who have died, it leaves crosses on the sidewalk as it continues to the border. The group retrieves the crosses afterward. The walk is about a quarter-mile long.

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

House of Bishops to consider immigration, evangelism during fall gathering in Phoenix

From ELO-

Issues of immigration and evangelism will top the agenda as more than 100 bishops of the Episcopal Church gather Sept. 16-21 in Phoenix for their annual fall meeting, themed "Changing Contexts for God's Mission: What is the New Invitation?"
The bishops also are expected to discuss congregational development and mission, all within a context of prayer, Bible study and worship.

At least 50 bishops and a dozen of their spouses -- who are also gathering in Phoenix -- plan to attend a Sept. 13-15 pre-meeting visit to the Arizona-Mexico border. The trip, organized by the Diocese of Arizona, aims to help bishops and spouses "spend time ... on both sides of the border seeing conditions for themselves," according to a statement released by Greta Huls, diocesan canon for communication.

Bishop Kirk Smith of Arizona said that he is pleased that the House of Bishops has come to Arizona "to experience first hand the immigration crisis by visiting the border, talking with people involved on both sides of the issue, and by praying with those most affected. It will be a time to put human faces on justice issues."

A meeting of the bishops' spouses and partners -- held concurrently with that of the bishops -- also will focus on issues of immigration amid changing contexts. Local immigration experts, community activists and congregational leaders will address each gathering separately.

More here-

The complicated cardinal

From The Philadelphia Inquirer-

Anyone with overly pious views about who is suitable for canonization will be puzzled by the pope's beatification of John Henry Newman this weekend. Newman wasn't a lifelong Catholic, and he wrote against the Catholic Church well into his 30s.

About a decade after he left the Anglican Church and became a Catholic, Newman's writings on the church's duty to consult the laity brought him into disfavor with the Vatican. In the 1860s, he drew criticism from England's highest-ranking Catholic prelate, Archbishop Henry Edward Manning, who wrote of Newman to a Vatican source, "I see much danger of an English Catholicism, of which Newman is the highest type. ... In one word, it is worldly Catholicism, and it will have the worldly on its side, and will deceive many."

Newman was determined to resist any imposition on English Catholics of what was then called an ultramontane attitude, or what we would today call ultraconservative. The infallibility question provides a good illustration.

Read more:

The Right Reverend Richard Hare

From The London Telegraph-

During the 1950s and 1960s he was no more than an effective and popular bishop’s chaplain, cathedral canon and Cumbrian archdeacon.

Shortly after he became Bishop of Pontefract, however, this respectable High Churchman was caught up in the fast-developing Charismatic movement, and this changed everything.

Father Bernard Chamberlain of the Community of the Resurrection at Mirfield had urged him to take notice of the emerging new element in the Church. This Hare did, and — to his own great surprise and that of the Bishop of Wakefield and his other colleagues and friends — soon became the first episcopal participant in the renewal.

His personality altered, and he became an overflowing extrovert whose enthusiasm knew no bounds. Hallelujah was often on his lips and he spoke of “a release of joy and praise within me that I would not have thought possible”.

Such “revelling in the joy of the Lord” was too much for the traditionalists, however, which probably explains why he never moved to a diocesan bishopric.

More here-

9 women make accusations against former Episcopal leader

From The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette-

Erie's Episcopal bishop said a total of nine women have come forward to complain of sexual abuse or other unwanted contact by his dead predecessor.

The Rev. Sean Rowe in July said other women were coming forward with similar claims after he announced that former Bishop Ronald Davis had sexually abused four young girls.

Bishop Rowe, in a letter released Sunday, said the number of victims stands at nine and that no new complaints have been received since July.

Davis was the bishop of the diocese from 1974 until 1991; he died in 2007 at age 78.

Bishop Rowe said Sunday's letter was released "to continue our commitment to be transparent."

Bishop Davis had also served at Episcopal dioceses in Washington, D.C., Indiana and Ohio.

Read more:

Upcoming Episcopal bishop vote isn't final step

From Illinois

A week from electing its 11th bishop, the Springfield Episcopal Diocese has drawn a collective deep breath, says the Rev. Christopher “Kip” Ashmore.

“Saturday (following the election), we exhale,” promises the rector of Trinity Church in Jacksonville.

It’s also when a whole new process starts.

Delegates from the diocese’s 38 parishes and clergy members will select a bishop from among three finalists — the Rev. Daniel Martins of Warsaw, Ind.; the Rev. Canon E. Mark Stevenson of Baton Rouge, La.; and the Rev. Matthew Gunter of Glen Ellyn — in a vote Saturday at the Cathedral Church of St. Paul.

A majority of U.S. bishops and Standing Committees must consent to the vote, and that’s no sure thing, considering the reputation of the Springfield diocese, according to Ashmore and others.

Martins, in particular, may have difficulty getting consent if he sticks with his conservative views on same-sex unions and gay clergy.

All three candidates were pressed on those issues and others, such as women’s ordination, at three question-and-answer sessions last week in Mount Vernon, Decatur and Alton.

More here-

Monday, September 13, 2010

Rectory Rambo rescues kittens

From Australia- (Must be a slow news day)

HOLY Trinity Anglican Church rector Ann Dittmar-McCollim crawled in the dark underneath the rectory to save six abandoned kittens that were trapped.

Mrs Dittmar-McCollim said she first heard the sound of kittens on Thursday when she was working in the study of the rectory.

She said it was from there she called a builder to see if he could demolish the stairs so they could access the kittens, however, the stairs were so well made, the builders said it would take some time.

She said they then decided to wait and see if the mother would return to her litter.

However, she could not wait, so with the help of the Anglicare staff she decided to rescue the kittens herself.

“I managed with the help of the Anglicare staff to go under the building where I commando-crawled under two room spaces and carried the kittens out in a shopping bag.

More here-

African Anglican churches push to break away from Canterbury

From All Africa-

The process that will end in the Anglican Church splitting up has begun with the Canterbury - the headquarters of the church - disengaging itself from Africa, Asia and Australia.

African Anglicans are reportedly taking a lead role by mobilising their colleagues in Asia, South America and Australia to come together under the Global South umbrella.

Sources at the August 23-29 2nd All Africa Bishops Conference in Entebbe, Uganda told The EastAfrican that key consultations on the schism were held at the sidelines of the main meeting and would be concluded after engaging members from Asia, South America and Australiad.

The push for a split follows the collapse of reconciliatory talks between Archbishop Williams Rowan of Canterbury and the liberal church leaders in the United States and Canada after the latter snubbed pleas to disown homosexuality.

“We have met several times (during the Kampala conference) and as Africans we shall meet our colleagues with a similar belief before we break up. The Rt Rev Dr John Chew Hiang Chea, the Archbishop of the Province of the Anglican Church in South-east Asia, has chaired the meetings,” said a source.

The dispute started after the US church backed an openly gay bishop and same-sex unions began to be blessed in Canada in 2003. Apart from homosexuality, ordination of female Bishops, property ownership, and global leadership are among the other bones of contention.

The EastAfrican has established that 10 out of 12 Anglican provinces represented at the Kampala meeting supported the breakaway.

More here-

Pope breaks own rule to beatify Anglican convert

From AP-

Pope Benedict XVI will break his own rule this weekend when he beatifies Cardinal John Henry Newman, the renowned 19th Century Anglican convert who greatly influenced the Roman Catholic Church.

Newman remains a complicated figure within the Anglican church he abandoned, and the pope's glorification of him during a state visit to Britain could unleash new tensions between churches already divided over issues like the ordination of women and gay bishops.

Benedict will move Newman a step closer to possible sainthood when he presides over his beatification Sept. 19, the main reason for his four-day trip. It's the first time Benedict will celebrate a beatification; under his own rules popes don't beatify, only canonize.

For the German-born, by-the-book professor, such an exception to his own rule is significant. It's a calculated gesture that underscores Benedict's view that Newman is a crucial model for all Christians at a time when Christianity is on the wane in an increasingly secularized Europe.
"His personality and teachings could be a source of inspiration for ecumenism in our times from which all of us can draw," Benedict said on the eve of his trip. "It is my hope and prayer that more and more people will benefit from his gentle wisdom and be inspired by his example of integrity and holiness of life."

More here-

Episcopal bishop in Erie announces no more sexual abuse claims received

From Erie-

Northwestern Pennsylvania's Episcopal bishop today gave an update on the claims of sexual abuse against one of his predecessors.

The Right Rev. Sean W. Rowe had announced in a July pastoral letter that the Rev. Donald Davis, bishop of the Episcopal Diocese of Northwestern Pennsylvania from 1974 to 1991, had sexually abused four young girls while he was leader of the Erie-based diocese. Davis died in 2007.

Rowe, the current bishop, had asked other victims to come forward.

In a letter posted today on the diocese's website, Rowe said he quickly heard from five additional women but has received no more reports since then.

Rowe said three of the five had been abused by Davis as girls and two had been harassed and intimidated as adults.

"If there are other victims who are still considering whether to come forward, I urge them to contact me," Rowe said in today's letter. "As I wrote in my initial letter, I cannot undo the grievous wrongs that Bishop Davis has done, nor take away the pain of his victims, but I can do my best to ensure that this diocese continues to tell the truth and seek healing and reconciliation for those who have been harmed.

Rowe's letter can be found online at Victims can contact him at 456-4203 or

Moravian Church's Southern Province enters full communion with Episcopal Church

From ELO-

The Southern Province of the Moravian Church voted Sept. 10 to enter into full communion with the Episcopal Church.
The 121-74 vote came after two hours of debate during an afternoon session on the second day of the church's Sept. 9-12 quadrennial Provincial Synod at Blue Ridge Assembly in Black Mountain, North Carolina.

Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori said after learning of the decision, "I am delighted that the Southern Province has discerned the rightness of a full communion agreement with The Episcopal Church. Together we will be better able to serve Christ our chief Elder and all God's people."

Diocese of Milwaukee Bishop Steven Miller told Episcopal News Service by telephone shortly after the vote that he hopes the decision, paired with a similar agreement made in June with the Moravian Northern Province, "will mean that we can really support one another's ministries in some new and exciting ways and deepen the learnings from one another through some real experiences of each other's tradition and gifts."

Miller, co-chair of the Moravian Episcopal Dialogue, addressed the synod before the vote. He said he told the participants "we were given an opportunity today to witness that disagreement doesn't mean division and to witness to our common unity in Christ."

More here-

Sunday, September 12, 2010

Pope visit: Anglicans and Catholics can share a mission

From The London Telegraph-

n my study there is a photograph of me with my back to the camera holding up a large book with the text of the joint blessing being given by Pope John Paul II and the Archbishop of Canterbury in Canterbury Cathedral in 1982.

In 1982, in spite of the Falklands crisis, there was a positive welcome for the first visit of a Pope to Britain. Some Anglicans optimistically expected an almost immediate communion between the Church of England and the Roman Catholic Church.

Any opposition was of an antique Protestant kind, articulated by the Reverend Ian Paisley. Pope Benedict is a less charismatic and popular Pope, even among Catholics. But the opposition to the present visit is of a different character to that of 28 years ago. Conservative Evangelicals welcome the visit because of his unambiguous stance on doctrinal and moral issues. Liberal Christians are more ambivalent, but welcome Pope Benedict as the leader of the largest Christian Church.

Today’s opposition focuses on Pope Benedict, gaining some support in the light of the terrible cases of clerical abuse, but intellectually it represents an attack on all Christians, indeed on faith.
My hopes as an Anglican bishop are twofold. Pope Benedict is a formidable philosopher and theologian. He has spent much of his ministry analysing the ebb-tide of faith in modern Europe. This is also a matter Archbishop Rowan Williams has devoted much attention to.

More here-

Look beyond the lies


Everyone seems to have a solution for “restoring” America.

Take power away from liberal intellectuals, say some, and put “ordinary” people in charge.

Or make this a white-run, Christian nation.

Or insist on leaders who are intelligent and informed.

Or stop wasting American lives in pointless wars.

Or honor truth-telling and stop allowing ideologues to finance phony “research” to serve their interests.

Or restore traditional marriage and family life.

Or allow new forms of marriage and family.

On and on they go, prescriptions of astonishing contradiction, grounded in smoke, expressed in absolutes, claiming the moral high ground while denigrating opposing views as morally repugnant.

What these solutions have in common is a belief that America needs “restoring,” that something is fundamentally wrong in America, that America has lost its way and is in danger, and — here comes the money pitch — that they alone know how to fix it.

It’s an old form of argument, of course. In debate it’s called the “straw man.” I deflect the point you made by insinuating that you said something else, something profoundly stupid.

Or as Sarah Palin said at the “Restoring Honor” rally in Washington: “Say what you want about me, but I raised a combat vet, and you can’t take that away from me” — as if someone had been denying her son’s military service.

In marketing it’s called “selling the problem.” Before you can sell diet products, first convince people they are fat. To sell hatred, first convince people they are being hated.

In religious history, it’s called “scapegoating.” Denominations stir solidarity by declaring themselves under attack. To stir rage among working-class Americans, tell them that the college-educated look down on them.

In everyday life, it’s called lying. To rescue a dying candidacy, fabricate stories about illegal immigrants and blame them for falling property values and distressed retirement portfolios. To stir anti-Islamic rage, misstate the facts about a cultural center planned for lower Manhattan.

More here-

St. Alban's fire is still burning bright

From Staen Island-

When St. Alban’s Episcopal Church in Eltingville launched its Music at St. Alban’s series six years ago, it didn’t seem terribly unusual.

But almost immediately listeners recognized the obvious: The series is almost the only ambitious concert music available on the South Shore. It’s a valuable addition to the Island’s cultural fabric — one that funding cuts has failed to extinguish.

Musicians who have considerable fame and much experience are regular attractions. The great film “ghost singer” Marni Nixon (the voice of Natalie Wood’s Maria in “West Side Story,” among many other dubbings) sang a benefit show for the series several years ago.

Up next: The celebrated Quintet of the Americas will launch the 2010/11 season Sept. 19 at 3:30 p.m. with “Aires Tropicales: Dances from Around the World,” featuring wind arrangements of music by Piazzolla, Bernstein, Golijov and others.

More here-