Saturday, November 13, 2010

Catholic Church to welcome 50 Anglican clergy

From The London Telegraph-

Archbishop Vincent Nichols, the head of the Catholic Church in England and Wales, will reveal on Friday the Vatican's plans to welcome the departing priests - including five bishops - who are expected to be received into the Catholic Church early in the new year.

Hundreds of Anglican churchgoers will join them in the Ordinariate - a structure introduced by Pope Benedict XVI to provide refuge for those diaffected with the Church of England.
The number of worshippers who leave the Church is predicted to double as the new arrangement finally begins to take shape.

The Rt Rev Andrew Burnham, the Bishop of Ebbsfleet, said clergy have become dismayed at the liberal direction of the Church of England and the way traditionalits have been treated.
"There's only a certain amount of time you can accept being described as the National Front of the Church of England," he said.

"We're seen as out of date for not accepting women's ministry as equal, but the debate concentrates on sociology rather than theology."

The bishop, who is one of the five converting to Catholicism, accused the Church of repeatedly breaking its promises to make proper provision for opponents of women's ordination.
Members of the General Synod, the Church's parliament, voted in July to proceed with plans to create women bishops with minimal concessions to the traditionalists.

More here-

Exorcists wanted: apply to Catholic Church

From Baltimore- (Where does one get an application form?)

Wanted: a few good men to cast out devils.

Overwhelmed with requests for exorcists, U.S. Roman Catholic bishops are holding a special training workshop in Baltimore this weekend to teach clerics the esoteric rite, the Catholic News Service reported.

The church has signed up 56 bishops and 66 priests for the two-day workshop that began on Friday, seeking to boost the small group of just five or six American exorcists that the church currently has on its books.

"There's this small group of priests who say they get requests from all over the continental U.S.," Bishop Thomas Paprocki of Springfield, Illinois, was quoted as saying.

"Actually, each diocese should have its own" exorcist, he added.

Paprocki did not say why there was increased demand for exorcisms, which he noted were rarely performed.

While solemnly regarded by the Catholic Church, exorcism is a staple of Hollywood fright films -- most notably the 1973 film "The Exorcist" -- and regarded by many as superstition that lends a chill frisson to festivals like Halloween.

Catholic Church law stipulates that only properly trained priests can perform the rite -- and then only with the permission of their bishops.

More here-

Churches feeling their age

From Boston-

In Roxbury, Peoples Baptist Church has closed off an entrance to the sanctuary because load-bearing beams in a stairwell have deteriorated. At the Parish of All Saints on Ashmont Street in Dorchester, water appears to be creeping into the wooden frames holding the stained-glass windows. At Pilgrim Church in Uphams Corner, the Rev. John Odams spends hours coaxing the furnace to work.

Some of Boston’s oldest and most beautiful neighborhood churches are facing costly repairs, and historic preservationists are concerned that many urban congregations lack the money and expertise to take care of them. Some of the most vulnerable are mainline Protestant churches whose congregations have shrunk dramatically since their construction, as Episcopalians and Congregationalists moved to the suburbs. Others, like Peoples Baptist, have large and active congregations but face extremely expensive repairs that members can ill afford, particularly during a recession.

“These old buildings, with their stone and slate and huge leaded-glass windows, the cost to fix them up is a lot more expensive than a little Colonial church you would find in the suburbs,’’ said Brett Donham, a Boston architect who specializes in church restoration.

More here-

Church ready to toast its new beer

From Philadelphia-

It's not every day a church brews its own beer. But St. James Episcopal Church, in Lancaster, will unveil its St. James Brown Ale to the public tomorrow at Iron Hill Brewery.
The church's rector, the Rev. David Peck, of England, loved the idea when Chad Rieker and David Rutledge, beer brewers and St. James members, suggested it.

"There are a lot of microbrew drinkers in the church, and a lot of interest in quality beer," Rieker said. "We thought we would donate it to the church, and they could do whatever they wanted with it."

The initial batch of several gallons was served to rave reviews at a church event.

But Rieker, who works as a brewer at Lancaster-based Iron Hill, decided to take the ale a step further and brewed 310 gallons for the restaurant.

"Everyone knows St. James Church," Rieker said. "It's just another way for Iron Hill to connect with the community."

Peck acknowledged there is tension over Christians' drinking alcohol but said the problems stem from excessive drinking, not from having a social drink or two.

"Good food and drink provide the opportunity to build friendships and community, which are an invitation to encounter God," Peck said.

Read more:

All Saints Episcopal Church gets positive feedback on firetruck donation

From South Carolina-

Earlier this year John and Mary Armbruster, members of All Saints Episcopal Church on Hilton Head Island, learned from the Rev. Julio Holguin, bishop of the Dominican Republic, that a local fire department was in urgent need of a firetruck.

The Armbrusters mentioned to the bishop that they owned a Ford F-700 fire/rescue truck that they had earlier used on their pine plantation in Bailey's Harbor, Wisc. Now living in Okatie, the couple no longer needed the truck. They agreed to donate the vehicle to the Episcopal Diocese of the Dominican Republic.

As a Lenten observance project, All Saints parishioners donated $7,500 to help defray the cost of outfitting the firetruck with new hoses, couplings and a ladder, as well as to cover the cost of shipping the vehicle overseas.

Members of the church recently learned the firetruck has been delivered to the fire department in the small village of Juma, an outlying suburb of the City of Bonao, where the Episcopal Diocese of the Dominican Republic has an established congregation. Bishop Holguin recently traveled to Juma for the official dedication of the truck.

In excitement over the donation, Juma Fire Department firefighters have decided to join the Episcopal Church. They also donated a tract of land in Juma to the Episcopal Church so that the diocese can build a small church or chapel there.

Read more:

The Theology of Everything-Is-Beautiful-In-Its-Own-Way

From Rusty Reno-

After I left the Episcopal Church to enter the Catholic Church a half a dozen years ago, a good and wise friend told me to avoid taking pot shots from afar. Sage advice.

But a video by Gene Robinson this is part of the It Gets Better campaign has a line that strikes me as telling, and I can’t resist commenting.

Robinson was the first openly gay person elevated to the episcopacy in the Episcopal Church. The goal if the video, which is part of a series, is to speak to gay and lesbian teens whose attitudes and circumstances may be leading them to contemplate suicide. It’s certainly a good thing to discourage anyone from despairing of the gift of life, but I was struck by a comment that comes at around the 1:45 mark.

Robinson says, “God loves you just the way you are,” and then he goes on to day, “God doesn’t want you to change.”

Robinson has in mind, of course, the question of sexual orientation, but I found the sentiment arresting. The main word of Christ, it seems, is affirmative. You’re great. You’re doing fine. No need to change.

I must say, by my reading at least, the New Testament says something very different. Jesus is forever warning his disciples that, if they wish to follow him, their lives are in for some very big changes. And the Sermon on the Mount? It’s a demanding ethic, not a affirmative hug.

More here-

Friday, November 12, 2010

Big Society ‘not thought through’ — Dr Williams

From The Church Times-

THE Archbishop of Canterbury has said he is “very anxious” about the Government’s spending cuts, and that politicians “have not really thought through” aspects of the Big Society programme. He was speak ing after a private meeting with the Prime Minister at 10 Downing Street last week.

In a radio interview on BBC West Midlands on Sunday, during a visit to the Lichfield diocese, Dr Williams said that he had “a lot of worries” about plans to force the long-term unemployed to work unpaid in order to receive benefits. “I don’t immediately think it’s fair,” he said.

Ex-offenders, for example, needed “a period of adjustment, a period of care” when they came out of prison: “they don’t need too much pressure to get to work straight away.” If pressure of this kind was exerted, people “who are struggling to find work [can be] driven into a sort of downward spiral of uncertainty, even despair”.

Dr Williams also expressed concern about plans to cap the level of housing benefit at £400 a week. This “could lead to a kind of social zoning: middle-class areas get more middle-class, and other people are pushed out on to the edge”.

Writing in the Daily Mail on Tuesday, the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, Iain Duncan Smith, disagreed “that people who have been out of work for a long time would be driven to despair by changes to the welfare system”.

More here-

Silver Slugger winners not your usual suspects

From MLB-

Perhaps the curiosity of this year's Silver Sluggers was best captured in the case of Vladimir Guerrero, who served as the designated hitter for the Rangers en route to the club's first World Series appearance. Guerrero won his eighth award overall, but his first since he moved from the outfield to DH. He was joined on the AL squad by his Rangers teammate Josh Hamilton, who made it for the second time as an outfielder.

Befitting the record amount of turnover, there were several first-time winners, including Rockies sluggers Troy Tulowitzki and Carlos Gonzalez. Tulowitzki and Gonzalez were also named Gold Glove winners at shortstop and in the outfield, respectively.

"Year in and year out, the big priority for me is all about winning the World Series, and that should be our main focus," Tulowitzki said during a conference call Thursday with Denver reporters. "To get these awards, it means we're doing our jobs."

Of his fellow Rockies Silver Slugger winner, Tulowitzki said, "Just seeing the things he can do, I knew he was going to be a special player. ... I always say if there was one player I'd purchase a ticket, this is the guy I would want to see."

More here-

Episcopalians assist as France receives first group of injured Iraqi Christians

From Episcopal News Service-

French Minister for Immigration Eric Besson and representatives of the Association d'Entraide aux Minorit├ęs d'Orient (AEMO) on Nov. 8 received the first group of Iraqis wounded in the attack on the Syriac Cathedral in Baghdad on Oct. 31.

The group is being admitted to France under a program first initiated in 2007 to provide refuge to a certain group of persecuted Iraqis. Since 2007, AEMO volunteers -- Episcopalians, Iraqi Chaldeans, and French Catholics -- have been working alongside the French government, in Baghdad and in France, to provide sanctuary to Iraqi religious minorities whose lives are endangered for reasons of their faith. To date, AEMO has aided in the safe transfer of 1,300 Iraqis into France, mostly Christians, but also some Mandaeans and minority Muslims.

The Rt. Rev. Pierre Whalon, president and co-founder of AEMO, and bishop-in-charge of the Convocation of Episcopal Churches in Europe, expressed his thanks for the rapid response of the French government in this case. "In offering refuge to the victims of this latest assault, we are making more than a gesture. We are also protesting this egregious violence inflicted on fragile religious minorities in Iraq, and indeed, throughout the Middle East," he said.

This first flight from Baghdad included 54 individuals -- 34 injured Christians, one injured Muslim and 19 family members and helpers -- and carried only those seriously injured in the Oct. 31 attack. Most of the injured were transferred directly to one of several Paris-area hospitals, where they will receive treatment for injuries caused by gunshot or hand grenades. In total, some 150 Iraqis and their family members are expected to travel to France for medical care and reasons of security. A second flight will carry 93 additional people.

More here-

Fire destroys 100-year-old church

From Louisiana- (with video)

Fire investigators remain on the scene of what was a massive fire at a church in Houma.

State Fire Marshal Butch Browning said St. Matthew's Episcopal Church was destroyed early Thursday morning.

It caught fire around 3:45 a.m.

Browning added the flames spread to the school next door and caused damage there.

Firefighters are still working to quench all hot spots still active from the fire.

The church has stood on Barrow Street since 1892.

It is on the national historic register.

The investigation into the cause of the fire is ongoing.

More here-

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Anglican Head to Visit Vatican for Unity Celebration

From Christian Post-

Archbishop of Canterbury Dr. Rowan Williams will join in the anniversary celebration of a unity council at the Vatican next week. The visit follows the resignations of five Anglican bishops who converted to the Roman Catholic Church.

Williams, the spiritual leader of Anglicans worldwide, will visit the Vatican on Nov. 17 in honor of the 50th anniversary of the Pontifical Council for the Promotion of Christian Unity, according to a news release from the Vatican press office Wednesday. The council aims, in part, to develop dialogue and collaboration with the other churches and world communions.

Metropolitan John Zizioulas of Ecumenical Patriarchate of Constantinople and the Archbishop Kurt Koch, president of the council, will also attend.

Earlier this week, it was confirmed that five bishops would defect from the Anglican Communion to the Catholic Church. On Monday, Williams accepted "with regret" the resignations of the Church of England bishops who left over the ordination of women, among other things.

The bishops issued a statement explaining their reasons for leaving the Anglican body: "[P]articularly we have been distressed by developments in Faith and Order in Anglicanism which we believe to be incompatible with the historic vocation of Anglicanism and the tradition of the Church for nearly two thousand years."

More here-

Three Reds take NL Gold Glove honors

From MLB (The AL results if you care can be found at a link on the page)(For you soccer fans out, there The Gold Glove rewards defensive excellence by position)

The Reds were the defensive stars of the National League on Wednesday, when three of their players won Rawlings NL Gold Glove Awards. And for the second year running, there was a batch of fresh faces earning baseball's highest defensive honor.

Cincinnati third baseman Scott Rolen won his eighth Gold Glove Award, while two teammates -- second baseman Brandon Phillips and right-handed pitcher Bronson Arroyo -- were also honored. Phillips' award was his second, Arroyo's his first.

Two Rockies, shortstop Troy Tulowitzki and outfielder Carlos Gonzalez, also won a Gold Glove for the first time.

The other repeat winners were Cardinals catcher Yadier Molina (third Gold Glove) and first baseman Albert Pujols (second), Phillies outfielder Shane Victorino (third) and Astros outfielder Michael Bourn (second).

More here-

Nigeria: Cleric Laments Insecurity in South East

From All Africa-

Anglican Bishop of Egbu Diocese, near Owerri, Prof. Emmanuel Iheagwam, has expressed worry over the high rate of insecurity in the South East particularly the spate of kidnapping and violence, describing it as an embarrassment to Ndigbo.

Addressing Anglican faithful most of them priests, the laity, and the women's guide at the church third session of the fifth Synod at the Umualum, Nekede, near Owerri on Monday, Iheagwam lamented that the perpetrators of the crime have no limits as they now abduct priests in sacred/hallowed institutions like in church, doctors in their theatres and so on.

Though, he expressed happiness that the crime has reduced drastically recently in the zone, the bishop warned some of the fleeing criminals to repent and confess their sins and turn to God before God's judgment befalls them.

On the fate of the universities in the South East which doors have remained closed for four months, the cleric bemoaned their continued closure and challenged the governors in the zone to meet the demands of the striking lecturers to enable the students go back to their studies.

More here-

Opinion: The yeast of compromise

From The Jerusalem Post-

Amidst a show of religious splendor, we witnessed an acceleration of the capitulation to Rome by the Anglican Church during the pope’s recent visit to the UK. It was truly sad to see the Archbishop of Canterbury, Rowan Williams, bowing to the Pope. It seems that for some four decades now, discussions to reunite the two churches have been underway in Rome. This supposedly will give new credibility to the churches in the world! But will it, and at what cost?

Whatever dubious start the Anglican Church had 500 years ago, the sovereign hand of God was evident, as it led to:

The 39 Articles which form the theological foundation of Anglicanism are biblically sound, and can in large part be embraced by Evangelicals.

Britain’s break with Rome enabled ordinary people to finally read the Bible in their mother tongues and grasp its heavenly and saving message. The role that the King James Bible of 1611 has played in reaching the world is immense. It was, by the way, a Puritan initiative!

The Wesleyan Revival came out of the Anglican Church. It was effective because it ignited a flame of truth that was in the Church but had been long neglected. As a result, millions were swept into the Kingdom of God.

In the 19th Century, the reality of Jesus within Anglican circles drove countless men out into the world to preach his message of love and forgiveness. This included men like Hudson Taylor, William Carey (the father of modern missions), William Wilberforce (who abolished slavery), Dr.David Livingstone (who opened Africa to the message of Jesus), and many more.

More here-

Church fed up with violence near its location

From Houston- (video)

A pastor in northeast Houston says he's tired of the violence around his church, and he's not waiting around for a miracle to make the area safer.

It came as a startling interruption to an afternoon meeting that Rev. James Hamilton was having inside his church.

"All of a sudden there were a bunch of shots that rang out," he said.

He looked outside, and the parking lot at St. Timothy's Episcopal was full of dozens of cars and as quickly as they came he says they left.

"They run back, they jump in the cars, they squeal out, and they go both directions," Hamilton said.

Hamilton says this is at least the fourth time in a couple months he's felt like he's in the Wild West.

"This is sort of tombstone and OK Corral is across the street," Hamilton said.

He believes the culprits are dueling gangs settling grievances and they've chosen both the church's parking lot and Greenwood Park across the street to do so.

More here-

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Anglican leader to visit Vatican: report

From Brisbane-

Anglican leader Rowan Williams will travel to the Vatican next week, Vatican radio reported on Wednesday, following the departure of five Anglican bishops to the Roman Catholic Church.

Williams, the archbishop of Canterbury and leader of the world's Anglicans, is to visit on November 17 for the 50th anniversary of the Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity, the radio station's documentation service said.

His visit comes after the Roman Catholic Church on Monday announced that five Church of Anglican bishops were to convert to Catholicism under a controversial offer from Pope Benedict XVI to accept Anglicans disgruntled with their church.

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A major meeting of Catholic cardinals in the Vatican on November 19 will also discuss Anglican conversions, as well as sexual abuse by clergymen.

William met with Benedict last year amid tensions over the Vatican's offer, which is aimed at Anglicans disaffected by gay marriage and women priests.

Laity Group Backs Bishop-elect Martins

From The Living Church- Text is at the link.

An uneasy welcome for the flying bishops

From The London Guardian-

How will cradle-Catholics welcome the Anglican flying bishops, their colleagues, wives and retinues currently flapping towards Rome and its blessed ordinariate? Well, it hardly behoves someone who is pretty lapsed these days from spurning their gracious presence, but I know enough still-practising Catholics to appreciate that the Anglicans' much delayed arrival at the departure terminal will not be greeted with unalloyed joy and unconfined rapture.

John Broadhurst, the disaffected Anglican bishop of Fulham, recently had the sublime impertinence to compare his treatment at the hands of the Church of England's General Synod – of all tyrannical bodies! – to persecution by fascists. As a comparison it is so surreal as to be beyond parody, though he has excused it as no more than an attempt to gain attention with a soundbite, which somehow makes the whole offensiveness worse. But his attitude does somewhat create the suspicion that these people inhabit another plane of proportion and delusion. Fortunately, Broadhurst is hopping off the pyre before synod starts lighting the faggots.

What makes Catholics suspicious is, if Broadhurst and his ilk were so convinced of their Catholicism, what has taken them so long to convert? They could have done so at any time. It would have been arduous, conceivably long, possibly lonely, maybe even difficult and certainly low-profile, but it would have had an integrity which seems lacking now that they have had so long to get used to the single issue motivating them now: the ordination of women as bishops, so long after they were first consecrated priests.

More here-

Gay Episcopal bishop says he isn't being 'run off'

From The LA Times-

It was less than a month ago that V. Gene Robinson, the first openly gay bishop of the Episcopal Church, appeared in a YouTube video assuring gay and lesbian teenagers who were "in a dark place" that their lives would get better.

"I am an out and proud gay man who is also the bishop of New Hampshire," he said, staring into the camera, dressed in the purple shirt of his office. "And I am living proof that it gets better."

On Saturday, Robinson stood before a shocked diocesan convention and delivered a different message. Citing the strain of constant controversy, including death threats, he said he had decided to step down in January 2013, when he will be 65, seven years younger than the usual retirement age for an Episcopal bishop.

"The fact is," he said, addressing his parishioners, "the last seven years have taken their toll on me, my family, and you."

In the aftermath of that announcement, Robinson insisted in an interview Monday that he was not throwing in the towel, and hadn't been defeated by the detractors who blamed his election for widening a rift in the worldwide Anglican Communion over homosexuality.

More here-,0,5700614.story

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Anglican Communion 'worth working for'

From England-

The Archbishop of Canterbury has insisted that the worldwide Anglican Communion has a secure future despite divisions over issues such as homosexuality and women bishops.

Speaking during a question-and-answer session as part of a four-day pastoral visit to the Diocese of Lichfield, Dr Rowan Williams acknowledged that the Communion's divisions would not be "easily healed".

But the Archbishop said he believed the association's role in building relationships between different churches was secure.

After giving a lecture on the meaning of heresy throughout history, Dr Williams was asked whether there was a future for the Anglican Communion, which is estimated to have around 80 million members in 44 regional and national member churches.

Addressing an audience at Telford's International Centre in Shropshire, Dr Williams replied: "I do see the Communion as worth working for because I believe that a model of real international unity by consent is a very precious gift to the Christian world at large.

More here-

College of Cardinals to discuss Anglican converts, clerical abuse

From CNA-

On the eve of the consistory to create 24 new cardinals, the princes of the Church will examine the entry of Anglicans into full communion with the Church and the Holy See's response to sex abuse in the Church. Pope Benedict XVI's successor at the head of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, Cardinal William Joseph Levada, will present the themes.

Capping a "day of reflection and prayer," the cardinals will take a look at three current and particularly sensitive themes.

The announcement came in a statement to journalists from the Holy See which outlined the schedule for the Nov. 19 retreat of the College of Cardinals. The schedule for the day before the highly anticipated cardinal-creating consistory includes discussions about religious freedom and "the liturgy in the life of the Church today."

After praying vespers, the cardinals and cardinal-designates will examine three important issues in today's Church. The first theme, proposed by prefect and cardinal-designate Angelo Amato, will reflect on 10 years since the publication of the "Dominus Iesus," the declaration by the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith on the universal salvation offered by Jesus Christ and the Church.

More here-

5 Anglican bishops will convert to Catholicism

From The LA Times-

Five Anglican bishops announced Monday that they will accept an offer from Pope Benedict XVI to convert to Catholicism, primarily over their opposition to the Church of England's decision to ordain female bishops.

The five bishops, in a joint statement, spoke of their distress caused by developments in the Anglican Church that they felt were "incompatible with the historic vocation of Anglicanism and the tradition of the church for nearly 2,000 years."

Officials said a new arrangement for the bishops would be determined by the Vatican, which has moved to facilitate the switch to the Roman Catholic Church by traditional Anglican clergy upset by the acceptance of female priests or gay bishops. The Catholic Church plans to create an ordinariate under the Vatican's apostolic constitution Anglicanorum coetibus.

More here-,0,5182084.story

St. Paul's church parking lot to be native green space

From Iowa-

St. Paul's Episcopal Church, a landmark place of worship at the corner of Ninth and High streets for 125 years, began a renovation in October that will transform a parking area into a green space reminiscent of its original look.

The cathedral church, recently added to the National Register of Historic Places, began by tearing out asphalt to include gardens, a storm water system, some permeable paving and a public labyrinth.

The church had been involved in 2008 flood relief efforts, and when faced with the long-overdue restoration of their parking lot, leaders looked for options other than concrete. They devised a plan with the aid of a $100,000 IJOBS grant and other financing from the Episcopal Diocese of Iowa, the Polk County Soil and Water Conservation District and Trees Forever.

More here-

Monday, November 8, 2010

Two more Anglican bishops to become Catholic

From Independent Catholic News-

Two more Anglican bishops will be entering into full Communion with the Catholic Church - bringing the number of bishops joining the new Ordinariate to five.

The Archbishop of Canterbury, Dr Rowan Williams, today gave the following statement in response to the resignations of the suffragan bishops of Ebbsfleet and Richborough:

"I have today with regret accepted the resignations of Bishops Andrew Burnham and Keith Newton who have decided that their future in Christian ministry lies in the new structures proposed by the Vatican. We wish them well in this next stage of their service to the Church and I am grateful to them for their faithful and devoted pastoral labours in the Church of England over many years."

The Archbishop will now set in train the process for filling the vacant sees. In the interim, arrangements have been made for pastoral care to be provided by Bishops John Ford, Mark Sowerby and Lindsay Urwin for those who formerly looked to Bishops Burnham and Newton for their episcopal support and have decided to continue ministry in the Church of England.

Bishop Alan Hopes, who is also a convert from the Church of England, speaking on behalf of the Episcopal Commission of the Catholic Bishops' Conference of England and Wales for the implementation of the Apostolic Constitution Anglicanorum Coetibus, said: "We welcome the decision of Bishops Andrew Burnham, Keith Newton, John Broadhurst, Edwin Barnes and David Silk to enter into full communion with the Catholic Church through the Ordinariate for England and Wales, which will be established under the provisions of the Apostolic Constitution Anglicanorum Coetibus.

At our plenary meeting next week, the Catholic Bishops' Conference of England and Wales will be exploring the establishment of the Ordinariate and the warm welcome we will be extending to those who seek to be part of it. Further information will be made known after the meeting."

Oregon-Idaho conference of United Methodist Church sues Ontario congregation

From The North West (Apparently this Ontario is in Oregon)

The Oregon-Idaho Annual Conference of the United Methodist Church filed a lawsuit last week against an Ontario congregation that left the denomination this past summer.

The lawsuit, filed Wednesday in Malheur County Circuit Court, alleges that members of the independent Ontario Community Church Inc. -- formerly Ontario Community United Methodist Church -- took property, funds and documents that the United Methodist Church says were held in trust for its mission and ministry.

Leaders of the Ontario congregation said last week that their attorney, Drew Martin, had advised them not to comment on the dispute. Martin said Thursday that he hadn't seen the lawsuit, and he did not respond to later requests for comment.

Congregations in California and Alabama have left the denomination in recent years, sparking legal battles over the United Methodist Church's trust clause, which holds that local congregations own property in trust for the entire denomination. Greg Nelson, a spokesman for the Oregon-Idaho conference, said the national church does not keep track of how many churches have left the denomination. But, he added, in most legal disputes, the trust clause has been upheld.

Similar issues are at stake in the Episcopal Church of the United States as congregations leave the national denomination. Disagreements over biblical interpretation, same-sex marriage and ordination of gay clergy are reasons congregations often cite for leaving their denominations.

More here-

West Missouri diocese elects Martin Scott Field as eighth bishop

From ELO-

The Very Rev. Martin Scott Field was elected Nov. 6 as 8th bishop of the Episcopal Diocese of West Missouri, pending required consents from a majority of bishops with jurisdiction and standing committees of the Episcopal Church.

Field, 54, rector of St. Paul's Church in Flint, in the Episcopal Diocese of Eastern Michigan, was elected on the third ballot out of a field of two nominees. A third candidate withdrew after the second ballot.

Field received 89 of 143 votes cast in the lay order and 53 of 103 clergy votes at the election, held during the 121st annual convention meeting of the diocese at Grace and Holy Trinity Cathedral in Kansas City. A total of 52 votes was needed to elect in the clergy order and 72 in the lay order.

Pending a successful consent process, Field will succeed the Rt. Rev. Barry Howe, 67, who was elected in 1997 and last year announced his decision to retire.

Under the canons (III.11.4) of the Episcopal Church, a majority of bishops exercising jurisdiction and diocesan standing committees must consent to the bishop-elect's ordination as bishop within 120 days of receiving notice of the election.

The consecration is planned for March 5, 2011.

The other nominees were the Rev. Peter F. Casparian, 59, rector of Christ Church, Oyster Bay, in the Diocese of Long Island; and the Rev. Canon Edward Daniel Smith, 54, canon to the ordinary, Episcopal Diocese of Missouri, who withdrew after the second ballot.

The Very Rev. Douglas Johnson, chair of the diocesan transition committee, said during a Nov. 6 post-election telephone interview that the diocese is very excited about Field and future possibilities.

More here-

Gene Robinson goes but rift remains: strain proves too much for gay bishop

From The London Guardian-

The rift in the Anglican communion over homosexuality was reopened today after its first openly gay bishop, Gene Robinson, said he was retiring early because seven years of controversy had "taken their toll" on him, his family and followers.

Robinson's consecration in the diocese of New Hampshire in 2003 had brought conservatives and liberals in the Anglican communion to the brink of schism.

As the first non-celibate gay clergyman in the Anglican communion to become a bishop, his appointment exposed irreconcilable theological divisions between liberals and conservatives that reverberate to this day.

Last year, North American traditionalists broke away from the US Episcopal church to set up their own network. This year, Episcopalians consecrated a non-celibate lesbian to the post of assistant bishop in Los Angeles.

Robinson told the New Hampshire gathering that "the constant strain" was too much to bear.

He said: "Death threats, and the now-worldwide controversy surrounding your election of me as bishop, have been a constant strain, not just on me, but on my beloved husband, Mark, who has faithfully stood with me every minute of the last seven years, and in some ways, you.

More here-

Sunday, November 7, 2010

Utah Episcopalians get new “sumo” bishop

From Salt Lake-

Amid the pageantry and rousing hymns of a centuries-old liturgy to consecrate a new bishop, hundreds of Utah Episcopalians learned something Saturday about their new, slightly built shepherd:

Bishop Scott Hayashi’s avatar — the figure he chooses to represent him — is a sumo wrestler.

“That tells you all kinds of things about your new bishop,” mused the Rev. Jeffrey D. Lee, the bishop of Chicago whom Hayashi served as a canon the past five years.

Lee preached the sermon to the 700 Episcopalians, 25 visiting bishops and leaders of other Salt Lake City faiths who gathered at The Grand America Hotel. But he also primed those in Hayashi’s flock for what to expect of the church’s 11th bishop.

“You’ve elected a bishop whose sense of humor will delight you. You will discover that this playfulness enfolds a heart of very serious purpose,” Lee said.

“His sheer competence will amaze you and an apparently endless supply of energy will dazzle you,” said Lee. “He will pray with you at the drop of the hat.

More here-

Gene Robinson, first openly gay Episcopal bishop, announces his retirement

From Boston-

The first openly gay Episcopal bishop, whose consecration instigated a global religious controversy, announced today that he would take early retirement, citing stress from the experience.

Bishop V. Gene Robinson will be 65 when he steps down in January 2013, seven years below the mandatory retirement age for Episcopal bishops.

Robinson announced his plans at the annual convention of the Episcopal Diocese of New Hampshire in Concord. He said he gave the two-year transition to give the diocese enough time to find and elect a new bishop who will then be subject to approval from the national church.

“Since the very beginning, I have attempted to discern God’s will for me and for you, and this decision comes after much prayer and discernment about what God wants for us at this time,” Robinson said in his prepared remarks.

Robinson made it clear that the stress of being the focal point of discussion in the Anglican Communion has taken a toll on him. Robinson has been at the center of an international uproar over whether a married, openly gay man should lead a church that disapproves of homosexuality.

“The fact is, the last seven years have taken their toll on me, my family, and you,” he said. “Death threats, and the now-worldwide controversy surrounding your election of me as Bishop, have been a constant strain, not just on me, but on my beloved husband, Mark, who has faithfully stood with me every minute of the last seven years.”

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