Saturday, October 23, 2010

Suffering in Sudan

From Christianity Today-

Quite a number of Sudanese Christian leaders have come to Cape Town 2010. Yesterday they held a press conference along with the leaders of the World Evangelical Alliance to draw the church's attention to the upcoming referendum on January 9, 2011. Sudanese citizens of the South--largely Christians and animists in an Islamic country--will vote on whether to secede and form a new nation. The church leaders, including Anglican bishop of Khartoum Ezekiel Kondo, spoke of the deep anxiety of Christians as the day of the referendum approaches. It is not clear whether the north-dominated government will allow the referendum to go forward.

Should the referendum proceed and the citizens of the South elect to secede, there is great uncertainty about the possibility of civil war. And even in the best of circumstances, Southerners displaced to the north may be prevented by force from returning to their southern homes. If they return they face dangers from land mines planted during the civil war, massive problems of food supply, and other issues. Christians who make their home in the north pleaded for Christians around to globe to advocate for them, too. Reverend Elizabeth Aya, head of the Anglican Mother's Union, pleaded for Christians to help. "We need you to join us in prayer," she said. "We want our freedom. We have been suffering."

Tremors turn seismic as a parish defects to Rome

From Sydney-

The Church of England is facing a potential exodus over liberal reforms and the issue of the ordination of women, writes Tim Ross.

Shortly after eight o'clock one spring morning in 2007, an earthquake struck the parish church of St Peter in Folkestone, bringing down the gable-end of the south transept.

Three years later, the 19th-century church, which opened as a chapel for local fishermen, has caused tremors of its own, becoming the first parish in England to declare its intention to defect to Rome. Within hours of the news emerging last week, the Bishop of Fulham announced that he, too, will take up the Pope's offer to join a new structure within the Catholic Church for disaffected Anglicans.

Some are now talking openly of an ''exodus'' from the Anglican Communion next year, with thousands following Folkestone's lead. The Archbishop of Canterbury, Rowan Williams, from whose back yard the revolt has sprung, can be in little doubt about the seriousness of the threat.

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The defectors represent the most traditional ''High Church'' members of the Anglican Communion. They believe there is no place for women bishops and are appalled by what they see as the imposition of liberal reforms within the church.

More here-

‘Saint M&M’ fulfilling its mission in a sweet way

From Southwest FLA-

Fifty enthusiastic St. Mary Magdalene Episcopal Church members renewed a tradition this month when they marched into the Episcopal Diocese of Southwest Florida‘s Fall convention in Punta Gorda carrying banners and ringing bells.

This group from a Lakewood Ranch church was not protesting anything.
Far from it.

It’s a joyous time whenever the annual convention confers the title of “parish church,” on one of its own, helping that church shed its former status as a mission church, said The Rev. Jim Hedman of St. Mary Magdalene. which is at 11315 Palmbrush Trail, near the intersection of State Road 70 and Lakewood Ranch Boulevard.

Episcopal mission church status is what a church gets when it has minimal membership, is still growing financial roots and continues to rely on its sponsors, Hedman said.
Mission churches operate under the auspices of the bishop of the diocese and, rather than a rector, they have a vicar.

After a church gains at least 50 families and establishes a sound financial base, it can gain its own autonomy within the diocese.

Read more:

New rector at Oklahoma City Episcopal church has diverse theological background

From Oklahoma City-

The Rev. Joe Alsay likes to say that St. Augustine of Canterbury Episcopal Church is "no ordinary Episcopal church.”

Alsay, the northwest Oklahoma City church's new rector, also says he's no ordinary Episcopal priest.

Describing himself as "bubbly,” Alsay said he hopes his exuberance is contagious as he and his church make plans to reach out to the community.

Alsay said a member of his former church, Tulsa's Trinity Episcopal, often called him "Father PL.” "He would say that I'm the spark. I'm like the pilot light,” Alsay said, laughing. "My hope is to instill within this congregation a sense of excitement and joy.”
Change agent

Alsay said he was an associate clergyman at Trinity Episcopal.

He said Trinity is a large church with three Sunday services and several weekday services, and St. Augustine, with an average Sunday attendance of about 100 people, is much smaller and, prior to Alsay's coming, offered only one service.

Shortly after starting his new post in July, Alsay decided St. Augustine should offer two services. In September, the church began offering an 8:30 a.m.

Read more:

Friday, October 22, 2010

'Traumatic' fire ravages historic seminary chapel in Alexandria

From The Washington Post-

Fire caused heavy damage Friday to a historic chapel on the grounds of the Virginia Theological Seminary in Alexandria.

The blaze, which raged through the 19th-century Immanuel Chapel, was described by the Very Rev. Ian S. Markham, dean and president of the Episcopal seminary, as a catastrophe.

The blaze was reported about 3:55 p.m., and "the moment the fire took hold, it went down rapidly," Rev. Markham said of large sections of the 129-year-old building.

No injuries or damage to other buildings were reported at the facility, on the western side of the city, at Seminary Road and Quaker Lane. The cause was not yet known.

"I watched it," Rev. Markham said. "Within 40 minutes, the heart of the chapel was destroyed. It was a trauma that will stay with me."

Many members of the Episcopal clergy were ordained in the chapel. It had also been the site of marriages and funerals.

More here-

The Y'all Classic! Texas boots Yanks in ALCS

Yankees lose !!!! (But November Baseball?)

After 39 years in Texas and 50 years of existence, the Rangers have knocked off the defending champions and are finally on their way to their first World Series.

They had never even won a playoff series before this season, but the Rangers are now just four wins away from the ultimate dream after finishing off the Yankees with a 6-1 victory in Game 6 of the American League Championship Series on Friday night.

The Rangers now await the National League winner between the Giants and the Phillies. The Giants lead that series 3-1 with Game 6 scheduled for Saturday in Philadelphia and a possible Game 7 scheduled for Sunday.

The World Series will open on Wednesday, Oct. 27, in either San Francisco or Philadelphia, just one day after the 50th anniversary of the franchise being voted into existence as the Washington Senators on Oct. 26, 1960.

The two big blows came in the fifth inning with the game 1-1. Vladimir Guerrero hit a two-run double off of Yankees starter Phil Hughes and Nelson Cruz followed with a two-run home run. That set off a frenzy among 51,404 fans as they sensed what was almost impossible was suddenly becoming reality.

Canadian High North igloo-shaped church gets $500K donation

From Alaska-

The rebuilding of Iqaluit's iconic igloo-shaped Anglican cathedral has received a $500,000 boost from a mystery donor.

Officials at St. Jude's Anglican Cathedral learned of the anonymous donation by email earlier this month, as they were in the midst of rebuilding the cathedral, which was damaged in a 2005 fire that police suspect was arson.

"You might expect somebody to give $5,000, $10,000, that sort of thing. But half a million - that's a large amount of money," Rev. Brian Burrows, the interim rector at St. Jude's, told CBC News.

Not even Burrows knows where the donation came from, although he said he suspects much of the money might have come from an individual, group or corporation based in Ottawa.

The $500,000 donation will be used for the cathedral's steel exterior skeleton, which is almost complete. Work on the skeleton began in August.

More here-

Anglicans urged to cut spending and save more

From The Bahamas-

With much of the world in a recession to some degree, and a cash flow to which most people had become accustomed no longer existing and the level of spending by citizens and companies at a low, and governments unable to spend in the manner that they have done in the past, in spite of the economic situation, it is not the end of the world, according to Anglican Bishop of The Bahamas and The Turks and Caicos, the Rt. Rev. Laish Boyd.

During his charge at the opening of the 110th Session of Synod at Christ Church Cathedral, Bishop Boyd reminded faithful Anglicans of The Bahamas and The Turks and Caicos Islands that there is still plenty to be had in both countries and further afield, and that there are many people, inspite of the"recession"who have not experienced a lack, and are able to pay their bills and live.

For those that are having troubles, he said there will be better days in due course, but because of the current situation they are now faced with, bold measures he said are necessary if they are to survive economically and come out of the recession in the best possible condition.
"Like Moses and other great leaders made decisions based on what was right and what was best for God's people, so secular leaders--in government and the private sector--and religious leaders must take stances and make decisions based on what is right and on what is best for all concerned.

One of the most powerful biblical images of stewardship is in Jesus'discussion about the cost of discipleship(Luke 14:25-34). He says:'Suppose one of you want to build a tower. Will he not first sit down and estimate the cost to see if he has enough money to complete it?(v.28)'If riding this current wave could be compared to building a tower, then we must"count the cost"of riding it,"รข said Bishop Boyd.

More here-

Anglican bishops get death threats

From Zimbabwe-

Two senior Zimbabwe Anglican bishops have been told they could be assassinated, the office of the Archbishop of Canterbury Rowan Williams has revealed, as the fight for control of the church in the southern African country gets dirtier.

The Anglican Church in Zimbabwe has been in turmoil ever since the Church of the Province of Central Africa (CPCA) – the church’s supreme authority in the region -- first suspended and later excommunicated a former bishop who is a close ally of President Robert Mugabe’s ZANU PF party.

Nolbert Kunonga, who as bishop of Harare attempted to use the pulpit to defend the Zimbabwean leader’s controversial rule, was excommunicated in 2008 after trying to withdraw the Harare diocese from the Anglican Church. He claims he revolted against the mother church because it supported the ordination of gay priests.

More here-

Anglican Head: U.S. Gay Ordination Set Us Back

From Christian Post-

The spiritual leader of the global Anglican Communion recently expressed fear that there may be further divisions in the already fragile church body.

"I feel that we may yet have to face the possibility of deeper divisions," Archbishop of Canterbury Dr. Rowan Williams told The Hindu newspaper in an interview, released Wednesday.

The comment was made after he pointed out the complications posed by the recent ordination of a partnered lesbian in Los Angeles.

Though Anglican leaders were making progress in dialogue over the past couple of years, he said, "The decision of the American Church to go forward, as it has, with the ordination of a lesbian bishop has, I think, set us back."

"At the moment I'm not certain how we will approach the next primates' meeting, but regrettably some of the progress that I believe we had made has not remained steady," he told the Indian publication.

In May, the Episcopal Diocese of Los Angeles consecrated the Rev. Mary Glasspool despite calls by the wider Anglican Communion to practice "gracious restraint" on the ordination of noncelibate homosexuals.

Glasspool, who has been in a relationship with her lesbian partner since 1988, was the second openly homosexual bishop to be ordained by The Episcopal Church. The first was V. Gene Robinson of New Hampshire in 2003 whose consecration widened rifts in the Communion.

More here-

Human dignity is supreme, says Archbishop of Canterbury

From India-

As Dr Rowan Williams, the Archbishop of Canterbury and the head of the worldwide Anglican Communion entered the confines of the Bishop Cotton Boys’ School in the City on Thursday evening, hundreds of faithful Christians greeted him with prayers that reverberated throughout the atmosphere.

And later, when a programme in his honour commenced with a prayer and was punctuated by greetings from heads of various Christian Dioceses of Karnataka for over two hours, the Archbishop remained patiently attentive.
The audience were more than awed by his persona. Every time, his name was read out, it evoked a huge round of applause. Predictably, he received the most passionate ovation when he was called to address the gathering. Although he spoke briefly, the Archbishop of Canterbury sought to delve on a crucial aspect of our civilisation - human rights.

He emphasised that human rights should be seen in the context of human dignity. The Archbishop said the values of unity must be upheld for peaceful co-existence.

“Human dignity ought to be protected at any cost. It’s important that the critical issue of human rights is viewed in terms of its relation with the right to self-respect,” the Archbishop of Canterbury, who leads the third largest group of Christians in the world, said.

More here-

Anglican Ordinariate will help restore Anglo-Catholic patrimony to universal Church, writer says

From CNA-

Speculating about the future of Anglicanism, a Catholic Church observer in England says that Anglo-Catholics have recognized their battle is “lost.” However, Pope Benedict’s appreciation of their tradition and his establishment of a special church structure for them will help restore their patrimony to the Catholic Church.

Pope Benedict XVI, acting through the Apostolic Constitution “Anglicanorum Coetibus,” established the Anglican Ordinariate in October 2009 to help Anglicans who wish to become Catholic while preserving many of their unique traditions.

The Daily Telegraph has reported that senior Catholic Church figures in England expect the new jurisdiction to accommodate “thousands” of converts. The Anglican church of St. Peter in Folkestone has declared its intention to become Catholic, as has the Anglican Bishop of Fulham John Broadhurst, chairman of the Anglican group Forward in Faith.

Strife in the Anglican Communion has resulted from differences on theological and moral matters such as the ordination of women bishops and sexual ethics.

Damian Thompson, a Catholic commentator for the Telegraph, remarked that Bishop Broadhurst thought the Anglican tradition called Anglo-Catholicism was worth fighting for.

More here-

Judith Anne Sullivan installed as dean of Philadelphia Cathedral

From ELO-

The Rev. Judith Anne Sullivan, a former corporate marketing executive with the Institute of Scientific Information (now part of Thomson Reuters), was installed on Oct. 17 as the fourth dean of Philadelphia Episcopal Cathedral.

Sullivan succeeds the Very Rev. Richard Giles, who was dean of the cathedral from 1999-2009. The Rev. Lloyd Casson has since served as interim dean.

Sullivan most recently served as associate rector of the Church of the Redeemer in Bryn Mawr, Pennsylvania. She was a canon residentiary of Philadelphia Cathedral from 2004 to 2007.

Ordained in 2004, Sullivan is a graduate of Wellesley College in Massachusetts and of General Theological Seminary in New York.

Prior to her ordination, she directed organizations serving children in Philadelphia public schools, including the Sponsor-A-Scholar program, which she replicated in 16 cities.

Pennsylvania Bishop Charles Bennison spoke at the installation ceremony, urging Sullivan to keep the doors of the cathedral wide open and "make this a cathedral of faith," according to a press release from Ceisler Media.

Sullivan and her husband, Gil Rosenthal, live in Chestnut Hill. They have two grown daughters.

Traditionalists glimpse hope in Synod election results

From The Church Times-

TRADITIONALISTS believe that they have made enough gains in the elections to the General Synod to be able to block legislation on women bishops, when it returns from the dioceses. The election results for the new Synod were announced last week.

The conservative Evangelical group Reform and the Catholic Group on the General Synod have ex­changed information on their candidates, and said that their analysis showed that 66 members of the new House of Clergy (32.1 per cent) and 77 members of the House of Laity (35.46 per cent) would “vote against the current women bishops legisla tion unless it is amended to give [better provision to] those who for conscious or scriptural reasons can not accept women bishops”.

In a statement, Reform and the Catholic Group said that, as only 34 per cent of the Houses of Clergy and Laity is needed to stop the legislation, “it can and will be blocked by both fully ELECTED houses” (their capitals).

Just one more person’s vote is needed in the House of Clergy to head off the legislation: “There are 21 new Evangelicals on this new Synod, and one out of a possible 58 undecided is a given!”
The Revd Rod Thomas, the chairman of Reform, said they had worked hard at analysing the election results to produce accurate figures. “We welcome the outcome of the elections, as it means that the voice of those who have strong theo logical objections to women bishops can no longer be steamrollered by the rest of General Synod, which is what happened previously.

“The onus is now on the House of Bishops to make proper, effective, statutory provision for those who can’t go along with women bishops. But”, he warned, “I am not confident in the slightest that they will do that, as they have always hesitated over the issue of passing jurisdiction away from a diocesan bishop to another bishop.

More here-

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Fire wrecks Sacramento food bank

From Northern California-

A food bank in Sacramento was destroyed Thursday in a pre-dawn fire that also damaged the offices of an Episcopal church diocese, firefighters said.

The four-alarm fire in the midtown area of the California capital caused the roof and attic of the River City Food Bank to collapse.

The Fire Department said in a written statement that the flames spread into the attic space of the adjoining Episcopal Diocese of Northern California where they damaged several upper-floor offices.

It took more than an hour to bring the blaze under control. Crews were frustrated by a thick wooden ceiling inside the food bank that could not be cut through. The cause was under investigation.

An estimated 8,000 pounds of food for the needy was believed lost in the fire, officials of the food bank told the Sacramento Bee. No one was injured, although a cat perished.

More here- (with video)

N.C. bishop to speak

From Kansas-

The first black bishop to lead a southern diocese in the Episcopal Church USA will be the special guest at this week's 151st annual convention of the Episcopal Diocese of Kansas, which will take place on Friday and Saturday in Topeka.

The Rt. Rev. Michael Curry, 57, bishop of the Episcopal Diocese of North Carolina, will speak at an opening worship service at 9 a.m. Friday at Grace Episcopal Cathedral, 701 S.W. 8th.

Kansas Bishop Dean E. Wolfe's annual address will begin the convention at 1 p.m. Friday at Maner Conference Center at the Kansas Expocentre, near S.W. 17th and Western.

Bishop Curry will address the convention at 9:10 a.m. Saturday, and business is scheduled to conclude by early afternoon.

Convention delegates will consider a proposed 2011 diocesan budget, called the mission plan, of just under $1.9 million. They also will elect people to a variety of offices, including the Council of Trustees, which governs the diocese between conventions, and deputies to the triennial General Convention of the Episcopal Church in July 2012 in Indianapolis.

More here-

Archbishop of Canterbury moves to flush out Anglicans plotting to defect to Rome

From The London Telegraph-

In a surprise announcement, Dr Rowan Williams said he wanted to establish a new joint group of Roman Catholic and Church of England figures to oversee the conversion process.

The proposed group would be designed to enable smooth and less painful transition for those who want to leave the Church of England to become Roman Catholics in protest at the ordination of women bishops.

It would also bring into the open the negotiations between disaffected Anglicans and the Vatican which have been taking place in secret for months.

Dr Williams’s suggestion came in his first public remarks since a parish in Kent and a London bishop announced their intention to accept the Pope’s offer to convert to Roman Catholicism.
Last Friday, St Peter’s church in Folkestone and the Bishop of Fulham, the Rt Rev John Broadhurst, disclosed their plans to join the so-called English Ordinariate, a new body proposed by the Vatican as a home for disaffected Anglicans.

At least two more bishops are widely rumoured to be planning to join the Ordinariate when it is established next year, but their negotiations with Rome are taking place behind closed doors.
Neither Lambeth Palace nor the Roman Catholic authorities in England and Wales know the extent of the numbers of Anglicans who are likely to switch allegiance.

Under Pope Benedict XVI’s plan, Anglicans would be able to move into full communion with Rome while at the same time preserving some of their traditions and heritage.

More here-

Episcopal Church's presiding bishop coming to Buffalo

From Buffalo-

The presiding bishop of the Episcopal Church will visit Buffalo at the end of the month and speak at the Episcopal Diocese of Western New York's annual governing convention.

Bishop Katherine Jefferts Schori, considered chief pastor of 2.4 million Episcopalians in 16 countries and 110 dioceses, was elected and invested to the post in 2006.

She is the 26th presiding bishop.

Her visit will coincide with the diocese's 173rd convention, to be held Oct. 29 and 30 in the Millennium Hotel in Cheektowaga.

Jefferts Schori will speak at the convention on Oct. 29 and preside and preach at a service in St. Paul's Cathedral, 128 Pearl St., 3:30 p.m. Oct. 30.

Admission to the service is by ticket only. A limited number of tickets for this special service remain and are available to the public free of charge. Call the diocesan communication office at 881-0660, Ext. 22, by Wednesday.

Prior to being ordained to the Episcopal priesthood in 1994, Jefferts Schori had a career as an oceanographer.

In 2000, she was elected bishop of the Diocese of Nevada, the same diocese where the Rev. J. Michael Garrison had served as a priest prior to his election in 1999 as bishop of Western New York.

Jefferts Schori's visit will include a tour of Buffalo, with stops at Broderick Park and Journey's End Refugee Services.

Appellate judges: Episcopal case 'confusing'

From Fresno-

The appellate justices who will decide whether the U.S. Episcopal Church or the breakaway Anglican Diocese of San Joaquin owns the diocese's church properties on Wednesday appeared uncertain about the court's authority to rule on the issue.

"We are involved in a very confusing question of power of the church versus power of the court," said 5th District Court of Appeal Justice Dennis Cornell, who repeatedly compared the schism between the two church groups to the Civil War.

Justice James Ardaiz also acknowledged the case was "confusing."

The California Supreme Court already has sided with the national Episcopal Church in a similar property battle involving three breakaway Southern California parishes. But this dispute represents the first time an appellate court has had to decide whether a breakaway group can keep church property and assets if an entire diocese -- not just a parish -- splits from the Episcopal Church.

The justices, however, questioned whether it was even within the court's authority to rule on the issue. The three-member panel is expected to rule in about a month.

Read more:

Pope chooses Wuerl as cardinal

From The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette-

Archbishop Donald Wuerl of Washington, D.C., well known as the former bishop of the Catholic Diocese of Pittsburgh, has been selected by Pope Benedict XVI to join the College of Cardinals.

Cardinal-designate Wuerl, 69, will serve as an adviser to the pope and will be eligible to vote in any papal election until his 80th birthday.

It has been expected for years that Archbishop Wuerl would eventually be elevated to cardinal. But for his supporters, the Wednesday announcement was no less thrilling.

"As much as people would speculate, this is a shock to know that it actually did happen," said Bishop David Zubik, who spoke with Cardinal-designate Wuerl early Wednesday morning and will travel to Rome for the Nov. 20 consistory to formally elevate the new cardinals.

"This truly is an honor for the Archdiocese of Washington, the church in the nation's capital, and for all of the clergy, religious and parishioners of this local church who every day live out their faith in commitment and deep love for Christ," Cardinal-designate Wuerl said on Wednesday. "I am humbled by our Holy Father Pope Benedict XVI's trust in me as shepherd of this flock and pledge to him my renewed fidelity, affection and loyalty."

Read more:

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Battle over diocese goes on

From Modesto-

Who is the legitimate bishop in the San Joaquin Diocese, and who owns the diocese's property, including its headquarters in Fresno and parishes from Stockton to Bakersfield?

Those questions are at the heart of the next round in the legal battle between local Episcopalians and Anglicans. The two groups face off today in the 5th District Court of Appeal in Fresno.

The justices will hear oral arguments in the lawsuit, filed by Bishop Jerry Lamb against Bishop John-David Schofield.

After an overwhelming vote of its clergy and lay representatives in December 2007, Schofield led the diocese away from the national Episcopal Church and to the temporary oversight of an Anglican archbishop in South America. The Episcopal Church responded by deposing Schofield and installing Lamb as its diocesan bishop.

Schofield and the departing parishes hold a conservative theology that opposes the Episcopal Church's increasingly liberal stance on biblical issues, including the 2003 ordination of a gay bishop and whether Jesus is the only way to salvation.

The worldwide Anglican Communion, of which the Episcopal Church is a part, largely supports the conservative view; Archbishop Rowan Williams, who is the nominal head of the Anglican Communion with headquarters in England, earlier this year banned Episcopal representatives from casting votes on global committees. Schism may result, and the San Joaquin Diocese is a mirror of that larger split.

Read more:

QUINCY: Diocese ordains its first woman pries

From Quincy-

The Rev. Margaret Lee on Oct. 16 became the first woman to be ordained a priest in the 133-year history of the Peoria, Illinois-based Episcopal Diocese of Quincy.
Lee has served for 14 years as a deacon in the Quad Cities, where she currently serves the congregation at All Saints Church in Moline.

Almost 200 people attended her ordination during an 11:30 a.m. Holy Eucharist at the Cathedral Church of St. Paul in Peoria.

Quincy Provisional Bishop John Clark Buchanan presided and preached during the service, held in the context of the diocese's 133rd synod.

Before being called to All Saints, Lee served at Christ Church in Moline, St. Mark's in Silvis, and Holy Trinity in Geneseo.

She earned her Master of Divinity degree at Nashotah House Seminary in Wisconsin, where she is currently completing her doctor of divinity degree.

The Rev. Thomas Stone of Peoria was installed as diocesan canon to the ordinary during the service. Stone serves congregations at St. George's Episcopal Church in Macomb and Grace Episcopal Church in Galesburg as well as at the Cathedral Church of St. Paul's in Peoria.

In November 2008, a majority of the diocesan synod voted to leave the Episcopal Church and to realign with the Anglican Province of the Southern Cone citing theological differences. The diocese has since reorganized and about 20 clergy have remained canonically resident since the realignment.

More here-

Court gets Episcopal case on Valley properties

From California-

A key phase begins today in the court battle between the U.S. Episcopal Church and the breakaway Diocese of San Joaquin over who owns the Valley churches' properties.

After a Fresno County Superior Court judge ruled last year that the national Episcopal Church is the rightful owner of the church buildings and other assets, the diocese appealed. A hearing before the Fifth District Court of Appeal in Fresno is scheduled for 10 a.m. today. The judges are expected to make a ruling in about a month.

The issue ultimately will be resolved by a jury. But if the diocese loses its appeal, the jury will not be allowed to hear the argument that the diocese and not the national church has ultimate authority over church property.

Almost three years ago, an overwhelming number of the diocese's clergy and lay representatives voted to split from the national Episcopal Church amid disagreements over same-sex marriage, the ordination of gay bishops and the role of women in the church. The diocese holds to a more conservative theology.

More here-

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Old Crow Anglican minister Bruce dies

From The Yukon-

Rev. Ellen Bruce, the first northern aboriginal woman to be ordained in the Anglican church, died at her home in Old Crow, Yukon, on Saturday. She was 98 years old.

Bruce, who was born in 1911 in northern Yukon, was known for her community service and her dedication to keeping the Gwich'in language alive. She led church services in Old Crow, and across Canada's North, in Gwich'in and English.

"She was this absolute gem, just so kind and sweet, and her humility has taught us so much," Chief Joe Linklater of the Vuntut Gwitchin First Nation in Old Crow told CBC News.

"Being the reverend that ran our church in the Gwich'in language, that was really so important to everybody."

Bruce was ordained in 1987, making her the first northern native woman to become an Anglican minister.

She was named a member of the Order of Canada in 1991 for her efforts to sustain and promote "the cultural integrity of the Vuntut Gwitchin for over 50 years, helping them adapt from camp life to community life."

Read more:

Four dead as lightning strikes Burundi mass

From The "No Comment" Department-

Lightning struck a church during Sunday mass in southern Burundi, killing the preacher and three of his flock, local officials told AFP.

"Yesterday morning, heavy rains and thunder came down on the Buruhukiro area," the mayor of the local town of Rumonge, Gerard Ndikumana, said Monday.

"Lightning struck the Anglican church and killed four members of the congregation on the spot, including the preacher," he said.

Six other people were wounded and several other buildings damaged in the same incident, which came as heavy downpours wreaked chaos across the small central African nation.

Fissure over women bishops deepens in Church of England

From Christian Today-

The faultline running through the Church of England over women bishops has widened after the Bishop of Fulham’s departure to Rome and the outcome of elections to the Church of England General Synod.

Opponents of women bishops say they have gained ground in the General Synod and estimate that 66 clergy (32.10%) and 77 laity (35.46%) will vote down draft legislation on women bishops unless it is amended to include more provisions for those who in conscience cannot accept women in the episcopate.

Rod Thomas, of orthodox Anglican group Reform said: “Only 34% is needed to block this when it returns from the dioceses. For the first time, it can and will be blocked by both fully elected houses.

“In the clergy only a further 1.81% is needed, and that’s just one person. There are 21 new evangelicals on this new synod, and one out of a possible 58 undecided is a given!”

He said the outcome of the elections suggested that the Bishop of Fulham, John Broadhurst, had been “too early” in making his decision to join an ordinariate in the Roman Catholic Church.

His view is shared by the Catholic Group in the Church of England, which said it deeply regretted Bishop Broadhurst’s decision to leave the Anglican fold.

More here-

The cracks are now showing in the Church of England

From The London Telegraph-

Shortly after eight o'clock one spring morning in 2007, an earthquake struck the parish church of St Peter in Folkestone, bringing down the gable-end of the south transept.

Three years later, the 19th-century church, which opened as a chapel for local fishermen, has caused tremors of its own, becoming the first parish in England to declare its intention to defect to Rome. Within hours of the news emerging last Friday, the Bishop of Fulham announced that he, too, will take up the Pope's offer to join a new structure within the Roman Catholic Church for disaffected Anglicans.

Some are now talking openly of an "exodus" from the Anglican Communion next year, with thousands following Folkestone's lead. The Archbishop of Canterbury, from whose back yard the revolt has sprung, can be in little doubt about the seriousness of the threat.
The defectors represent the most traditional "High Church" members of the Anglican Communion. They believe that there is no place for women bishops and are appalled by what they see as the imposition of liberal reforms by the Church hierarchy.

The Rt Rev John Broadhurst, the Bishop of Fulham, put it more strongly. He accused the General Synod of being "vindictive" and "vicious" in its treatment of Anglo-Catholic conservatives. "It has been fascist in its behaviour, marginalising those who have been opposed to women's ordination," he said. "We have not been given any space."

The defections follow a decisive meeting of the General Synod in July, at which a compromise plan, intended to placate those who oppose women bishops, was rejected.

More here-

The Ordinariate has got Anglican and Catholic mediocrities seriously rattled

From The London Telegraph-

There’s an excellent piece on the Ordinariate in today’s Daily Telegraph by our new religious affairs editor Tim Ross, reporting that “senior figures in the Catholic Church in England expect the new body to accommodate ‘thousands’ of converts”.

I sense a change in the wind, don’t you? The Bishop of Fulham is (at least in his own eyes) an Anglo-Catholic “big beast”. As I said at the weekend, although I’m glad he’s coming over, his rhetoric about the “fascist” Church of England is… unhelpful, I think is the word people use. But if Bishop Broadhurst is joining the English Ordinariate, no one can say that it appeals only to an effete Anglo-Papalist fringe.

I wasn’t surprised when, unlike other members of the Catholic Group in Synod in 1993-4, John Broadhurst stayed behind in the C of E and accepted a mitre. He thought Anglo-Catholicism was worth fighting for. Now he knows that the battle is lost.

In the end, though, it’s not his generation that matters. And I don’t think we should get too excited about the small number of parishes that will attempt to “come over”. St Peter’s, Folkestone, has voted to join the Ordinariate, and good luck to the brave Fr Stephen Bould if he can achieve his aims. But I can’t see the Church of England releasing more than a few church buildings, and where will the money come from to sustain them afterwards? Large Anglo-Catholic congregations are likely to split over the Roman option; small ones won’t have the energy to reinvent themselves as parishes.

More here-

Monday, October 18, 2010

Why the Bishop of Fulham's departure for Rome isn't just about women bishops

From The London Telegraph-

It’s sad that the Bishop of Fulham, the Rt Rev John Broadhurst, should have decided to take advantage of the Pope Benedict XVI’s Ordinariate for those who cannot accept women bishops in the Church of England. It’s similarly sad that an Anglican congregation in Folkestone should be seeking the protection of Rome. And it’s sad not just because no adequate accommodation could be found in the Church of England for those who cannot in conscience accept women’s episcopacy, but because such departures to Rome represent an erosion, with the possibility of eventual eradication, of the catholic tradition within our established Church.

But there is an aspect of all this that receives little attention: These departures for the oversight of the Holy See have been reported throughout this weekend (by the BBC among others) entirely separately from the story of the prospective closure of Ushaw College in County Durham, which is the home of the historic St Cuthbert’s Seminary, which trains young men for the Roman Catholic priesthood. It is to close for lack of seminarians; there are 26 currently at St Cuthbert’s, where once year-groups could be counted in the hundreds. If it closes next June, as is expected, there will be no Roman Catholic seminary north of Birmingham.

More here-

Defecting bishop brands Church of England vicious and fascist in bitter row over plans to ordain women

From The Daily Mail-

'Vicious' and 'fascist' - just some of the accusations leveled at the Church of England by its own bishop in a bitter row over the Anglican Church's decision to press ahead with plans to ordain women bishops.

The Bishop of Fulham, the Rt Rev John Broadhurst, attacked the Church as he explained his decision to defect to Rome following his resignation on Friday.
As a traditionalist, he has accused the Church of breaking its promises to those opposed to women's ordination and warned that the Pope's inviataiton to disaffected Anglicans to join the Catholic Church would gather momentum with those dismayed by their treatment.

When the ordination of women bishops was first discussed in 1992, the Church announced that there would always be 'an honoured place' in the Church of England for traditionalists who opposed the idea.

But in July, the Church of England voted to move ahead with the introduction of women bishops with no concessions to its opponents.

A final vote will take place in 2012.

Many now feel that their concerns are being ignored and that they are being marginalised by the Church.

Read more:

Dalai Lama's 'Happiness Summit,' offers interfaith views of 'wellbeing'

From USA Today-

Is everybody happy today? And what would that mean? Does God want you to be happy now? How?

Emory University's Center for the study of Law and Religion brought on the biggest international pro on happiness,, the Dalai Lama, yesterday to chat in a round table with major voices of world religions: the Most Rev. Katharine Jefferts Schori, presiding bishop of the Episcopal Church; British chief Rabbi Lord Jonathan Sacks and Islamic scholar Seyyed Hossein Nasr of George Washington University.

Did the Dalai Lama say anything surprising at the Happiness Summit? Not according to his Twitter fans, who get frequent snippets of Buddhist wisdom uploaded by His Holiness' staff such as:

According to my own experience, the highest level of inner calm comes from the development of love and compassion.

Anyone want to speak against that? Not likely.

Later this week you'll be able to check out the big thinkers' conversations on YouTube. But leading up to this, as part of the university's five year research drive, the Pursuit of Happiness Project, they also loaded up videos from Emory experts from world religions.

More here-

Vigil starts Week Without Violence

From Kansas-

Sunday evening's "Vigil for Victims of Domestic Violence" was set in the soothing confines of the Grace Episcopal Cathedral chapel, 701 S.W. 8th, giving the approximate 50 attendees a sense of togetherness as they gathered in quiet support of those who have been abused in what authorities said is a largely underreported crime.

A row of glass-encased candles at the front of the chapel helped set the mood for what organizers said was perhaps the only somber event of the 16th annual YWCA Week Without Violence, which during the next few days is designed to help raise awareness of the problem of domestic violence in the Topeka community and to let victims know they aren't alone.

Eileen Doran, program director of the YWCA Center for Safety and Empowerment, formerly known as the YWCA Battered Women Task Force, said the vigil — which included prayer, music and Scripture readings — offered a chance for survivors of domestic violence to share their stories in front of a small audience.

"It's really to honor and remember victims who have survived and those who have not survived," Doran said. "In the state of Kansas, we've had a number of domestic violence-related homicides in the past year."

More here-

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Anglicans' regret over bishop's conversion to Rome

From The BBC-

The Bishop of Fulham, John Broadhurst, has become the fourth Anglican bishop to make the announcement.

He intends joining the Roman Catholic Church because of his opposition to the way the Church of England plans to introduce women bishops.

The Catholic Group on the CofE's General Synod said it deeply regretted the decision by Bishop Broadhurst.

The bishop, who is the leader of the traditionalist organisation Forward in Faith, is the most significant Anglican so far to say he will convert to Catholicism.

He is currently the "flying bishop" charged with looking after traditionalist parishes opposed to women priests and bishops in the dioceses of London, Southwark and Rochester.

More here-

Last congregation of Episcopal church

From Nevada-

Because of economic hard times and an aging, dwindling congregation, St. Stephen's Episcopal Church, in old northwest Reno, will hold its final public service on Nov. 14 and close its doors, church officials said.

The church, originally located adjacent to the University of Nevada, Reno campus, has served the community in its current building for 45 years.

"It's been the university's church all those years, but participation has waned," said Deacon Jim McGrew, who is executive assistant to the Nevada's Episcopal bishop, the Rt. Rev. Dan Edwards. "As I understand it, the church has 31 regular, contributing members, and that became unacceptable because we just could not keep it open that way.

"It's too bad because it's a very nice church, and we'll probably sell the building," McGrew said.

The church opened on West Seventh Street Nov. 21, 1965, and will hold a private service Nov. 21. The church moved to West Seventh Street from the university district because of Interstate 80 freeway construction, McGrew said.

The closure of St. Stephen's reflects a nationwide trend of churches grappling with declining memberships and revenue.

More here-

St. Mark's church in Yreka to close its doors

From Northern California-

One of the oldest churches in the north state is up for sale, a victim of the recession coupled with an aging and dwindling congregation.

St. Mark’s Episcopal Church, which has stood at Lane and Fourth streets near downtown Yreka since 1881, will close its doors Jan. 1, church parishioners announced Monday.

Seventy-year-old Harry Shannon, a heartbroken 21-year member of the church, said this week he’s hoping that his beloved church can be saved, but that it appears the closure is a done deal.

“It’s not luck we’re looking for,” he said. “It’s a miracle.”

Shannon said there was a myriad of reasons behind the closing of the church.

The recession, he said, has definitely taken its toll, but the primary reason for the pending closure is due to its lack of members and its failure to attract younger churchgoers to keep it thriving.

More here-