Saturday, November 27, 2010

An officer and a clergyman: Police chaplain pounds a religious beat

From Albany-

Paul M. Carney: Troy police officer for nearly 35 years currently assigned to City Court, a deacon at St. John's Episcopal Church and a chaplain at Samaritan Hospital and for the city police department.

Background: Carney, 55, was reared in South Troy, where he attended St. Joseph's Roman Catholic Church. He is a graduate of Catholic Central High School and Hudson Valley Community College. He's collected toy trains, been a ham radio operator and has flown kites since he was a boy. He and his wife, Marilyn, live in North Greenbush and have two adult children.

Why did you become a police officer?

I wanted to help people. I did consider becoming a priest. That was in my teen years, but I liked dating. My three sisters worked in the rectory. Had I known the Episcopal Church, I probably would be looking at 35 years as a priest.

What led you to the Episcopal Church?

A bagel and a cup of coffee at Bruegger's on Congress Street, where I encountered the Rev. Hap Carrier, pastor of St. John's. He was my religion instructor in high school. I was dissatisfied with the Catholic Church, and Carney stood in the back of St. John's during work breaks on Sunday listening to the services. My wife and I found the congregation friendly and welcoming, so we joined.

More here-

Anglican church poised to partner government to achieve MDGs

From Ghana-

A three-day Women's Leadership Conference= of the Council of Anglican Province of Africa (CAPA) has been held at Dodowa= in the Dangme West District. It aimed at training women to become change agents at the grassroots towards the realization of the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs). It is being attended by 250 delegates from the provinces and dioceses in Africa under the theme, "State and Church working together to promote the=

health of people especially at the grassroots". Speaking at the conference, the wife of the Archbishop and Primate Chu= rch of the Province of West Africa and Bishop of Accra, Dr. Mrs. Maria Akrofi=

said the conference sought to develop leadership skills among African wom= en in the church to bring about social transformation within individuals and=

communities in Africa. The conference will also establish links with international health services to support health improvements in developing countries. Dr. Mrs. Akrofi said it will further facilitate the achievement of th= e Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) target date and beyond, promote the recognition and building of a comprehensive health care system covering all non-communicable diseases.

More here-

R.I.’s 14th Winter Coat Exchange remains a good fit for volunteers, needy

From Rhode Island

On a day that celebrates consumer excess, there are people like Greg Gerritt who stand for something else.

What began 14 years ago as the pipe dream of a local activist has blossomed into an annual event that this year spread beyond Providence to five more locations: Bayside Family YMCA in Barrington, Blackstone Valley Visitors Center in Pawtucket, St. Paul’s Church in Newport, St. Francis Church in South Kingstown and St. Ann’s Arts & Cultural Center in Woonsocket.

The Winter Coat Exchange is part of a global movement called Buy Nothing Day, when thousands of activists show their disdain for consumer binging by doing the opposite.

Here in Providence, the exchange is about giving at its most elemental: Warm hearts giving warm coats to families left out in the cold.

“It reminds people of the inequality of wealth,” says Gerritt, a bearded, wiry-looking man committed to keeping it simple. “My question is, ‘How can we step back and have a healthy, helpful community?’ ”

At the Episcopal Cathedral of St. John, the basement is standing-room-only, with families trying on down jackets and long quilted coats, heavy sweaters and wool dress coats.

More here-

Liberty City church enters new era with new rector

From Southeast Florida-

A new chapter has begun in the history of The Episcopal Church of the Incarnation with the Rev. Hayden Green Crawford, the church's second rector. The retiring rector, the Rev. J. Kenneth Major, was the first. He served over 40 years, building the church from a mission to a parish, a self-sustaining congregation.

Reflecting on his decades of service, the Rev. Major expresses joy in having served a long time and being able to see the fruits of many years of labor. His future plans include illustrating and publishing some of his sermons that span the 20th and 21st centuries.

On Saturday, The Rt. Rev. Leo Fade, bishop of the Episcopal Diocese of Southeast Florida, will institute Crawford as rector. During a recent interview, Crawford stood at a display board explaining the procession line up for the majestic church pageantry. Lead by the vestry, representing the congregation, the ceremony will include church ministries and staff. In gratitude for the new position he said, ``Father Major laid a solid foundation. I cannot carry on alone. It will take the entire congregation working together to continue building the important work of this parish.'' Open to the public, the ceremony begins at 10 a.m. at the Liberty City church.

Interest in the orderly process for the selection and transitioning of new leadership is being expressed by some in the community wanting to provide continuity within their organizations.

Read more:

Friday, November 26, 2010

The Church of England must relinquish its association with power and pomp

From The Guardian-

This week, and with it the Queen's visit to the General Synod, has been a chance for high-ranking Anglicans to imagine they still matter. And they have another thrill to come, playing host to the biggest royal wedding in a generation – another occasion for silk and grandeur.

But look beyond the pomp and what you actually see is a group of men clinging to the royal skirts while their institution falls to pieces. This really is the endgame for the Church of England as we know it. I don't mean the break-up of the worldwide Anglican Communion, although that too seems likely. African leaders have refused to sign up to a new covenant that was meant to prevent a cataclysmic split over homosexuality.

I'm talking about something close to home, a far more important issue than warring clergy. It's about all of us in England and in Britain, whose language, laws, culture and lives have been shaped by a deal that lasted for 500 years.

The Church of England was made keeper of the nation's soul, with countless special privileges, in return for stating that a succession of monarchs were appointed directly by God.

More here-

Where young bell ringers go to learn the ropes

From the Washington Post (He's a dead ringer for his brother!)

At one end of the 20-foot rope is Tessa Lightfoot, a 13-year-old American teenager topping the scales at 90 pounds. At the other, directly above her head, is a British-made bronze bell weighing more than a quarter of a ton.

Together, they make beautiful . . . silence.

Tessa heaves gamely up and down on the rope as the 627-pound bell, swinging madly through 360 degrees of arc, makes not so much as a ding. During ringing class in the bell tower of Washington National Cathedral, the clappers are stopped as a courtesy to nearby residents.

"We don't want to drive the neighbors crazy," explains instructor Quilla Roth as eight middle-schoolers line up to take their tugs behind her. "Especially when they're just learning, we don't like to sound horrendous."

It's an unusual elective - in several ways. The bells make no noise, and the ropes are hauled by bubbly little Quasimodos in skinny jeans and Aeropostale hoodies.

"It's actually really fun," says Tessa, an eighth-grader at National Cathedral School, next door to the Episcopal church on Mount St. Alban, the city's highest point. "There are really not many other places where you can do this."

More here-

Easy ride for Covenant and Big Society

From The Church Times-

THE new General Synod heeded the Archbishop of Canterbury’s call to continue the process towards an Anglican Covenant when it met at Church House this week, and it embraced the Government’s Big Society programme.

In his presidential address on Tuesday, Dr Williams urged Synod members, about one third of whom were sitting for the first time, to listen to one another’s arguments and “to surprise those who are looking on . . . by your loyalty to each other”.

During a debate on the Anglican Covenant on Wednesday morning, Dr Williams said that it was “unduly idealistic to believe that good will alone can carry us through”. He insisted that the Covenant was “an attempt to set out a structure of consent rather than a structure of discipline”.
After a debate in which concerns about the content and implementation of the Covenant were raised, all three Houses of the Synod voted overwhelmingly for the motion: “That the draft Act of Synod adopting the Anglican Communion Covenant be considered.”

In the House of Bishops, 39 voted in favour, none against, with one abstention; in the House of Clergy, 145 voted in favour, and 32 against, and 11 abstained; in the House of Laity, 147 voted in favour, and 25 against, and eight abstained.

Introducing a debate on the Big Society on Tuesday, the Bishop of Lei cester, the Rt Revd Timothy Stevens, said that the programme had begun to unleash a new wave of energy in the Churches for practical social action. The Synod enthusiastically welcomed the concept of the Big Society as an opportunity for the Church and a way of emphasising work that is already being done.

More here-

Church members feed homeless on holiday

From Pottstown PA-

For Pottstown's homeless, their "home for the holidays" was, as for the rest of us, a familiar place.

Thursday afternoon, Christ Episcopal Church on High Street hosted "one day as close to being normal" as possible.

It included "time to hang out, watch football and movies," according to Julie Lanphear who, with church member Ginny Slichter serve as the church's vestry members who are liaisons with the homeless Main Street Ministries run by the Rev. Kork Moyer.

The idea, Lanphear wrote in an e-mail Wednesday, is to create "a time a fellowship for those helping and those that are homeless. This is the one thing that does not happen for them, as they usually hang out on the streets until the time when they go to the designated shelters for the night. We are offering them the comfort of shelter until the following morning."

Lanphear said she and Slichter "came up with this idea of offering the homeless one day that was as close to being normal, a nice dinner, fellowship with friends and family and church members, a comfortable welcoming atmosphere where they can all be off the streets (and this will be really important for them if we get that projected rain tomorrow) and comfortable, like those of us that have this privilege with our own homes, apartments etc."

Lanphear said the meal and accompanying publicity will also serve to "keep this before the public as the numbers keep going up as the weather gets colder. These people become the untouchables of our society, people fear what they don't know. Those of us in Pottstown that have extended our churches have gotten to know some of these people, many of whom are so kind and helpful, some who have been hurt by our economy, some who have other problems."

St. David’s Episcopal Church in Highland Mills closes its doors

From New York- (A little north of Manhattan)

A piece of history and community is gone, By Bob Curtis

Highland Mills - Last week, after nearly 100 years of weekly worship and spiritual service, St. David’s Episcopal Church in Highland Mills closed its doors for the last time.

Somewhat akin to a death in the family, the closing generated an outpouring of emotion among its parishioners, past and present, as well other neighbors and friends in the community at large. The final service in the church was conducted on Tuesday evening, Nov. 16.

“I feel a sadness with the closing of St. David’s,” said Anne Wibiralske, who attended the church with her family while growing up. “We expect churches to be enduring, spanning generations before and after our lifetimes. St. David’s is the place where I and my brothers and sister were baptized, attended Sunday school and served as altar boys and girls.”

Anne, whose father Fred is a longtime “warden” at St. David’s, continued her recollections.

“My parents reaffirmed their wedding vows at their 50th anniversary here, and this is the place where we held the funerals for my grandmother and my mother.

“In the pews with my parents, siblings and other parishioners, reciting prayers and listening to readings from the bible and sermons,” she added, “we affirmed our beliefs and were offered guidance on how to live our lives.”

More here-

Thursday, November 25, 2010

From the 16th President

The year that is drawing toward its close has been filled with the blessings of fruitful fields and healthful skies. To these bounties, which are so constantly enjoyed that we are prone to forget the source from which they come, others have been added which are of so extraordinary a nature that they can not fail to penetrate and soften even the heart which is habitually insensible to the ever-watchful providence of Almighty God.

In the midst of a civil war of unequaled magnitude and severity, which has sometimes seemed to foreign states to invite and to provoke their aggression, peace has been preserved with all nations, order has been maintained, the laws have been respected and obeyed, and harmony has prevailed everywhere, except in the theater of military conflict, while that theater has been greatly contracted by the advancing armies and navies of the Union.

Needful diversions of wealth and of strength from the fields of peaceful industry to the national defense have not arrested the plow, the shuttle, or the ship; the ax has enlarged the borders of our settlements, and the mines, as well as the iron and coal as of our precious metals, have yielded even more abundantly than heretofore. Population has steadily increased notwithstanding the waste that has been made in the camp, the siege, and the battlefield, and the country, rejoicing in the consciousness of augmented strength and vigor, is permitted to expect continuance of years with large increase of freedom.

No human counsel hath devised nor hath any mortal hand worked out these great things. They are the gracious gifts of the Most High God, who, while dealing with us in anger for our sins, hath nevertheless remembered mercy.

It has seemed to me fit and proper that they should be solemnly, reverently, and gratefully acknowledged, as with one heart and one voice, by the whole American people. I do therefore invite my fellow-citizens in every part of the United States, and also those who are in foreign lands, to set apart and observe the last Thursday of November next as a day of thanksgiving and praise to our beneficent Father who dwelleth in the heavens. And I recommend to them that while offering up the ascriptions justly due to Him for such singular deliverances and blessings they do also, with humble penitence for our national perverseness and disobedience, commend to His tender care all those who have become widows, orphans, mourners, or sufferers in the lamentable civil strife in which we are unavoidably engaged, and fervently implore the imposition of the Almighty hand to heal the wounds of the nation and to restore it, as soon as may be consistent with the divine purpose, to the full enjoyment of peace, harmony, tranquillity, and union.

In testimony whereof I have hereunto set my hand and caused the seal of the United States to be affixed.

Done at the city of Washington, this 3d day of October, A.D. 1863, and of the Independence of the United States the eighty-eighth.

Abraham Lincoln

Thanksgiving Proclamation

Anglican Covenant confusion reins after firm GAFCON rejection

From Ekklesia-

The General Synod, the Church of England's governing body, has voted in favour of the Anglican Covenant - but influential conservative leaders have firmly rejected it.

The resulting situation was described by a Synod observer last night as one of "confusion", since the Covenant, which would not come into effect until 2012 and has been criticised for imposing an authoritarian structure to appease hardliners, has now been described as "fatally flawed" by the very people it was designed to please.

In a statement apparently written early in October, but only released as the Synod of the Anglican Communion's 'mother church' is meeting, the Global Anglican Future Conference (GAFCON) Primates' Council said they no longer backed the Covenant.

"While we acknowledge that the efforts to heal our brokenness through the introduction of an Anglican Covenant were well intentioned, we have come to the conclusion the current text is fatally flawed and so support for this initiative is no longer appropriate," the council said in a statement.

Meanwhile, the No Anglican Covenant Coalition ( of progressives have been arguing robustly that the proposed arrangements, which have the personal approval of Archbishop of Canterbury Dr Rowan Williams, would lead to a 'two-tier' Communion.

More here-

Liberal Anglicans will mourn the death of Colin Slee

From The Guardian-

Colin Slee, the dean of Southwark and one of the doughtiest and most outspoken liberals in the Church of England, died overnight, within a few weeks of suffering the galloping onset of cancer. When I last saw him, a couple of weeks ago in hospital, he told me all passion was spent and he felt he no longer had any enemies within the church, but I guess had he still been as hale as he was a few months ago and able to attend this week's general synod in London, of which he remained a member, he would have snorted in derision and despair at yesterday's goings on in the Anglican communion.

In brief, Rowan Williams, the archbishop of Canterbury, pleaded with the synod on Tuesday to vote in favour of the Anglican covenant, the compromise plan painfully drawn up over seven years largely to appease conservative evangelicals within the worldwide church who have been outraged over the existence of gay clergy. The covenant would comprise a set of agreed principles for Anglicanism and include mechanisms for censuring out-of-line provinces within the communion – for which read the American Episcopal Church which had the temerity to elect a gay bishop in 2003 – and exclude them from the inner counsels of the denomination. Liberals within the church have been decidedly sniffy about the covenant, believing it would undermine the traditional autonomy of national churches in making their own decisions and open the way for conservatives – such as the homophobic archbishops of central Africa – to veto innovations in other provinces they dislike.

More here-

Church holds final services

From Boston-

Like six others before it in the last eight years, a grand Brockton church built by immigrants and shoe industrialists in the city’s heyday will close Sunday, its expenses too high and its buildings too difficult to maintain for its shrinking congregation.

The closing of St. Paul’s Episcopal Church follows those of several other once-prominent area churches, including the 156-year-old Elmwood New Church in East Bridgewater, which faces demolition because of its decrepit condition.

In Brockton, the recent closings began in 2002 with Our Lady of Ostrobrama; most recently, St. Casimir Church, a 110-year-old Lithuanian parish, shut down in 2008.

The decision to close St. Paul’s has surprised and saddened congregants including Elizabeth Vann, who teaches English as a second language at Brockton High School. Vann said she knew her church’s situation was dire but didn’t really believe its doors would shut for good. St. Paul’s was the real deal, she said, even though its numbers had dwindled over the years from the high hundreds to dozens.

More here-

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Will Anglicans entering the Catholic Church be allowed their worship spaces?

From Spero News-

The head of the Church of England, Archbishop Rowan Williams of Canterbury met privately in Rome with Pope Benedict XVI on Nov. 18.

The meeting comes at an awkward time in relations between the Church of England and the Catholic Church.

On Nov. 8, five Anglican bishops announced they were resigning their posts to enter the Catholic Church under special terms outlined last year by Pope Benedict.
One of the five, Bishop John Broadhurst of Fulham, told the London Times, that he believed thousands, not hundreds, of laity would follow them into the Catholic Church.
Archbishop Williams had already been scheduled to visit Rome to take part in 50th anniversary celebrations of the Vatican’s Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity.
However, his meeting with the Pope recalled one held in Rome almost exactly one year ago — after the Pope had released his plans to create “personal ordinariates” for Anglicans seeking to come over to Rome.

Details of this latest meeting have not been released. Archbishop Williams did address the conversions in an interview with Vatican Radio Nov. 18.

He said he was “deeply skeptical” about the “larger claims” of a massive exodus of Anglicans to Rome.

More here-

Unity document exposes Anglican divisions

Well I didn't see that coming- From The London Guardian-
(Additional articles at the bottom in the links)

Church of England votes in favour of new framework but conservatives condemn text of covenant as 'fatally flawed'

The turmoil in the Anglican church deepened today as conservative leaders said they could no longer sign a framework designed to restore unity, even as the Church of England rallied around the archbishop of Canterbury to back the plan.

Members of the General Synod agreed to support the Anglican covenant after listening to a morning of emotional debate.

But while the Church of England took one step closer to signing the covenant, other churches are retreating from it. In a statement, senior Anglican conservatives from countries including Kenya, Uganda, Tanzania and Nigeria, said they now would not support the covenant, which they believe has been watered down and become too soft on more liberal attitudes.

They said they welcomed "well-intentioned" efforts to heal the "brokenness" through the introduction of the covenant, which needs the endorsement of all 38 provinces to work. But they said the text was "fatally flawed" and endorsing it was no longer appropriate, leaving the fractures in the Anglican church still exposed. They also reiterated plans to boycott a future meeting of primates.

It is possible that yesterday's heartfelt plea from the archbishop, for warring factions to put aside their differences, affected the outcome at the synod. Of around 400 people who took part in the vote, only 57 were against the motion referring the covenant to the dioceses for consultation.

More here-


Christian Today

Anglican church faces 'piece by piece dissolution', warns archbishop

From The London Guardian-

Dr Rowan Williams, the archbishop of Canterbury, warned of the risk of "piece-by-piece dissolution" of worldwide Anglicanism in a heartfelt personal plea today to warring factions in the Church of England.

At the opening of the church's general synod in London, he called for all parties to put aside their disputes and agree on a fresh framework for settling differences across the 70 million-strong international communion.

The synod votes tomorrow on the Anglican covenant, which has been seven years in the making, and sets the Church of England at a crucial crossroads. The church is already facing probable defections to Roman Catholicism by some priests opposed to the ordination of women bishops.

The covenant was devised in response to divisions caused by the US Episcopal Church's decision to endorse the election of the openly-gay bishop of New Hampshire, Gene Robinson, and it has to be endorsed by all 38 previously autonomous provinces of the communion across the world. The vote will be crucial as not only is the Church of England the mother church of the communion, but Williams is its spiritual head. A senior church official told the Guardian: "There is no Plan B. If this falls, the communion is in ruins."

More here-

Authorities say church break-ins likely related

From Missouri-

Law enforcement officials believe there are links among a number of break-ins at churches and other buildings over the weekend in Carthage and the area.

“They appear to be related, at least based on the method of entry and what was taken,” said Detective Lt. Bill Hawkins of the Carthage Police Department.

Thieves broke a window and shattered three interior doors during a burglary late Sunday or early Monday at Grace Episcopal Church, 820 Howard Ave. in Carthage, according to the Rev. Steve Wilson, church pastor.

Burglars entered the church at the kitchen area and went throughout the building, apparently looking for money, he said.

“They kicked in some locked doors and caused some structural damage,” Wilson said. “They opened every drawer, including file cabinets, in every room and office.”

Thus far, only some loose change is determined to be missing, “and perhaps a key,” he said.

More here-

Vatican condemns China over bishop's ordination

From Reuters-

The Vatican condemned China on Wednesday for naming a bishop without the pope's approval, calling the episode a "painful wound" hampering dialogue between the Holy See and Beijing.

Pope Benedict learned with "deep regret" about the November 20 ordination in Chengde of Reverend Joseph Guo Jincai, a member of the state-backed church that does not recognize the pontiff, the Vatican said in a statement.

It said various Catholic bishops loyal to the pope had come under pressure to attend the ordination ceremony.

"It is known that, in recent days, various bishops were subjected to pressures and restrictions on their freedom of movement, with the aim of forcing them to participate and confer the episcopal ordination," it said.

"Such constraints, carried out by Chinese government and security authorities, constitute a grave violation of freedom of religion and conscience," it said.

The Vatican added it would conduct an investigation into the position of each of the bishops involved.

More here-

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Communion Partners Meeting Promotes Mission

From The Living Church-

Emphasizing Communion life and unity, bishops and rectors of Communion Partners met in Orlando Nov. 15-17 to discuss interprovincial partnering possibilities. The conference drew 90 participants from across the United States and Canada. International guests spoke of mission opportunities open to individuals, parish teams, and diocese-to-diocese partnerships.

Participants from North America said they arrived feeling challenged by a fast-changing mission context and left feeling empowered for worldwide mission endeavors with global partners in Africa and Asia. The conference tone was hopeful about the Anglican Communion’s future.

“We have to think differently than a simplistic North/South divide. We must get beyond that approach,” said the Rt. Rev. Josiah Idowu-Fearon, Bishop of the Diocese of Kaduna, Nigeria, and former Archbishop of Kaduna Province. “Most Anglicans are committed to evangelization of the world.”

Idowu-Fearon speaks more often of an Anglican family than of a Communion. “We have much to learn from our brothers and sisters here in America. We are a baby church,” he said in an address that emphasized mutuality and interdependence. “Africans are still working out Christological and ethical issues. Episcopalians have something to offer us.”

He issued an invitation: “Just come and be with us. Come because you wish to be gospel friends with us.”

More here-

Queen warns of painful choices facing Church of England as Bishop of Willesden suspended

Ruth Gledhill of the London Times, reports on developments at the General Synod and one Bishop's suspension for remarks about the Royal Family Wedding.

Video can be found here

The Queen set to open General Synod

From The London Guardian-

The Queen will today inaugurate the ninth General Synod of the Church of England, attending a eucharist at Westminster Abbey and briefly addressing the bishops, clergy and laity that make up the membership of the governing body.

Around 480 clergy, laity and bishops are gathered in central London, some for the first time, to debate and vote on issues and policies affecting the life of the church.

Among these is the Anglican Covenant, which will define how the Communion stays together in the face of divisive moves such as sending clergy to another country without its agreement, electing openly homosexual priests or blessing same-sex unions.

Critics warn it will "redefine Anglicanism" and would make the Communion "more dogmatic, inward-looking and backward-looking".

Anglican provinces would only belong to the Communion if they signed up to the covenant. They would agree, among other things, not to proceed with any new development that fellow members anywhere in the world objected to.

Supporters claim it is the only way to avoid ever deeper divisions between provinces already at a theological impasse with one another.

More here-

Church of England braced for fresh row over gay rights

From The London Telegraph-

Homosexual couples could be allowed to register their civil partnerships in traditional religious ceremonies under reforms currently being considered by ministers.

Liberal Anglicans are likely to press for civil partnership registrations to be held in churches, according to William Fittall, secretary general of the Church of England's parliament, the General Synod.

Speaking ahead of Tuesday's inauguration of the newly elected Synod by the Queen, Mr Fittall said: “The gay issue will not go away.

“The Equality Act, which has now come onto the statute book, gives the Government a power to bring into force a provision enabling faith denominations to offer places of worship for hosting civil partnership registration ceremonies.”

Mr Fittall said he did not expect the Church of England to opt into such an arrangement, but added: “I am sure there will be people in the Church of England who have different views on this subject who will argue that it should happen.”

More here-

Community groups distribute supplies

From Arkansas-

From the doors of St. Peter’s Episcopal Church Monday, local young volunteers carried boxes of traditional Thanksgiving fare to the vehicles of thankful citizens.

The Turkey Project, comprised of donations and volunteers, resulted in the distribution of 3,000 pounds of frozen birds, hundreds of pies, canned goods and fresh bread to applicants in need.

Dr. Liz Gron, “head turkey” and professor of chemistry at Hendrix College, led the community project with the help of the Boys and Girls Club of Faulkner County, students of Conway High Schools-East and West, and individuals.

“We provide the fixings for a turkey dinner, uncooked. This is so that people can eat in their own homes on Thanksgiving. It’s meant for people in food need. As you know, there are a lot of people who are working that cannot afford the fancier fixings like a Thanksgiving meal,” Gron said. “It’s a community project to feed the community.”

More here-

Deerfield And Meals On Wheels Team Up To Bring Thanksgiving To Buncombe Co. Homebound

From Asheville-

It’s a holiday tradition that’s over a decade strong. Residents and staff at Deerfield Episcopal Retirement Community partner with volunteers and staff at Meals On Wheels of Asheville and Buncombe County to prepare and deliver a Thanksgiving bounty to nearly 300 homebound seniors in our community.

Meals On Wheels of Asheville and Buncombe County is the largest meal delivery program in Western North Carolina and serves nearly 500 homebound seniors each weekday. However, the agency is closed in observance of the holiday.

Deerfield Episcopal Retirement Community has teams of residents who regularly deliver Meals On Wheels throughout the year. On Thanksgiving, they prepare a traditional holiday dinner in their kitchen, while other Meals On Wheels staff members and volunteers come out to deliver those meals to homebound seniors living throughout the county.

Anyone wanting additional information about supporting Meals On Wheels can call Terri Bowman at (828)253-5286.

The Thanksgiving meal will be cooked and packaged at the Community Center of Deerfield Episcopal Retirement Community at 1617 Hendersonville Rd. in Asheville. Volunteer pickup and delivery of the Thanksgiving meal will be between 9:00AM to 10:45AM Thursday.

More here-

Holy Trinity cuts full-time rector

From Rhode Island-

When Reverend Alan Gates of Holy Trinity Episcopal Church moved to Tiverton in July 2007 with his wife and two children to become rector of the 300-year-old church, both he and the church were hopeful.

Those hopes have been recently dashed in ways that no one expected. Rev. Gates is leaving in early Dec. and the church has had to arrange for interim coverage over the holidays.

The church is running an operating deficit this year of $80,000, says its Vestry (the church’s governing body), and the total deficit over the last three years is about $200,000. Attendance is also declining, the group says in a letter posted on the church’s website.

To cut losses, the church decided last month to transition Rev. Gates’ position from full-time to half-time over the next year, and reduce his pay accordingly.

But that idea didn’t work out. Rev. Gates said he could not support his family or pay the mortgage on a half salary. His gross pay would be halved from its current $70,000 (including a housing stipend, but excluding health insurance). Other half-time work isn’t easily available in the current job market.

More here-

NORTHERN CALIFORNIA: Fire was arson, officials say

From ENS-

Sacramento fire officials have determined that a fire that destroyed offices of the Episcopal Diocese of Northern California was deliberately set, a diocesan spokesperson said Nov. 22.

Officials have no suspects in the Oct. 21 early morning four-alarm fire that destroyed one building housing the River City Food Bank and heavily damaged the bishop's office, the Rev. Canon Britt Olson, diocesan canon to the ordinary, said in a Nov. 22 telephone interview.

Diocesan officials have yet to see an official report, but Olson added that: "We do not believe, nor does the food bank believe, that we were targeted because of who we are. We believe it more an opportunistic arson than targeting us."

She said the fire, which was outside in the back porch area of the house, was one of several similar arsons occurring in the area.

Olson said it is unlikely the diocesan headquarters will relocate in the second building, even if it can be restored. "It is very likely to be a total loss as well," she said.

Bobbi Yeo, diocesan canon for administration, said that the buildings had been appraised at a total of about $800,000 in 2002. She expects the monetary losses to reach at least $1 million.

Yeo is still awaiting insurance reports, she said. "Things aren't moving as fast as I’d like," she said Nov. 22. "It (the fire) has been all-consuming and it will take months" to sort out the extent of physical damage to the buildings and their contents.

More here-

Episcopalians Launch Search For N.Y. Leader

From The Wall Street Journal-

New York Episcopalians will begin a year-long process to pick a new religious leader after the diocese's two highest-ranking priests announced plans to step down earlier this month.

The Episcopal Church—the U.S. branch of the Anglican Communion—has about 66,000 members in the New York diocese, which covers Manhattan, the Bronx and several upstate counties including Westchester. While overshadowed by the larger, more influential Roman Catholic Church, the diocese boasts a long history and landmarks like Trinity Church, which stands at the foot of Wall Street, and the Cathedral of St. John the Divine, a giant gothic-style cathedral on the Upper West Side.

The Rt. Rev. Mark Sisk, who has served as bishop of New York for the past decade, called for a special election to pick his successor at the diocese's annual convention Nov. 13. The election, slated for October 2011, doesn't require the 68-year-old Rt. Rev. Sisk, to immediately depart. He could continue to serve alongside the winner for as long as three years.

At the same time, the Rt. Rev. Catherine Roskam, 67, New York's suffragan bishop—essentially Rt. Rev. Sisk's deputy—will retire at the end of 2011, around the time the newly elected Bishop begins serving alongside Rt. Rev. Sisk.

"It seemed good that the diocese know the shape of the team as we progress," said the Rt. Rev. Roskam in an interview Friday.

Handicapping possible successors so early is difficult, said several people familiar with the process. A search committee, which was voted a budget of $250,000, will be charged with making nominations.

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Former Episcopalian priest pleads guilty on sexual assault charges

From Central New York-

A former Episcopal priest pleaded guilty Friday in Susquehanna County Court of Common Pleas to sexually assaulting two teenage boys.

Ralph Johnson, 83, of Gibson Township, Pa., entered guilty pleas to two counts of involuntary deviate sexual intercourse lodged against him in two separate cases, according to the Susquehanna County District Attorney's office.

Each count carries a maximum sentence of 20 years in prison. Johnson will be sentenced in March. Each conviction carries a maximum sentence of 20 years.

While ordained, Johnson served the churches of St. Paul's in Owego and Zion Church in Windsor.

Johnson was charged in February with 45 counts related to the sexual abuse of a boy at the former priest's residence in Susquehanna County, Pa. The charges stemmed from incidents between 1992 and 1995 at Johnson's Gibson Township house, police said. The victim was between the ages of 11 and 13 years old.

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Monday, November 22, 2010

Archbishop of Canterbury tells of concern at priests defecting to Rome

From Wales-

THE Archbishop of Canterbury has claimed churches could be left without vicars as disaffected clerics resign to join a new section of the Roman Catholic church.

Swansea-born Rowan Williams, speaking in the Vatican, said the Anglican movement faced a series of practical challenges as a number of worshippers and members of the clergy planned to leave over the issue of the ordination of women bishops.

Speaking in an interview with Vatican radio, he said the issue had left significant numbers of Anglican traditionalists in “considerable confusion and distress”.

Earlier this month, three serving and two retired traditionalist Anglican bishops announced they would be among the first to leave the Church of England in order to accept an offer from Pope Benedict XVI.

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The bishop who sneered at Prince William and Kate Middleton should resign

From The London Telegraph- (love the hat)

Bishop “Pete” Broadbent, the Bishop of Willesden, tells us on Facebook that he “doesn’t care about the Royals” and predicts that the marriage of Prince William and Kate Middleton – whom he compares to “shallow celebrities” – will be over in seven years.

These are indefensible comments which suggest that the bishop doesn’t understand his episcopal role. “Bishop Pete” isn’t recognised as a priest, let alone a bishop, by the Church of Rome – he only has any status because he is appointed by the Queen. He is part of the Church of England, and when he assented to the 39 Articles he was acknowledging something of profound importance that defines us as a nation and his duties as a bishop: that is, the existence of a hereditary monarch who is at the same time the Supreme Governor of the Church of England, to whom he owes as a serving bishop an automatic sense of loyalty and even gratitude.

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Episcopalians pick church historian as new bishop

From Buffalo-

Area Episcopalians elected a church historian and former divinity school president as their 11th bishop Saturday evening after more than seven hours of voting.

The Rev. R. William Franklin, who has been a priest for just five years, but spent nearly 30 years in a variety of Episcopal lay ministry roles, received the majority of votes needed from both clergy and laity of the Episcopal Diocese of Western New York on the seventh ballot.

Franklin edged out the Rev. Barbara J. Price, rector of St. Peter’s Church in Amherst and the only local candidate in the four-person race.

Franklin received 46 of a possible 89 clergy votes and 95 of a possible 150 votes by lay delegates in a tally in St. Paul’s Episcopal Cathedral.

He said he was honored and humbled by the election and proclaimed an abiding love for the Western New York region, where his wife’s parents have lived since 1985.

“We know Buffalo very, very well. We’re coming home is the way it feels,” Franklin said in a telephone interview with The Buffalo News.

Franklin has been serving as senior associate priest at St. Mark’s Church in Philadelphia since August.

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Sunday, November 21, 2010

In a hungry time, a meal to be thankful for

From Oregon-

This week, Trinity Episcopal Cathedral is expecting 700 people for Thanksgiving.

Of course, you also have to leave room for drop-ins.

Especially in this economy.

Every Wednesday -- this week, Thursday -- Trinity Episcopal, in Northwest Portland, hosts a free lunch, with three courses, real plates, table service and the curious belief that hungry people are not just mouths to feed. Every day, the church offers a small bag of food, mostly canned, for anybody who walks in, and the people leaving lunch on Wednesdays rarely forget to pick one up.

There's a lot of that going around.

Last week, the U.S. Department of Agriculture released new hunger statistics that might be called hair-raising, especially in Oregon. In 2009, according to the USDA, more than 50 million Americans, including 17 million children, lived in what it calls "low food security" households. (For a department that oversees hog slaughtering, the USDA keeps its language very delicate.)

Worse, the category the USDA calls "very low food security" -- meaning family members were actually missing meals because they couldn't afford to buy food -- rose to 17.7 million, more than double what it was in 2009.

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Diocese of Western New York elects R. William Franklin as bishop

From ELO-

The Rev. R. William Franklin was elected on Saturday, Nov. 20 as bishop of the Episcopal Diocese of Western New York, pending the required consents from a majority of bishops with jurisdiction and standing committees of the Episcopal Church.

Franklin, 63, senior associate priest at St. Mark's Episcopal Church, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, was elected on the seventh ballot out of a field of four nominees. He received 95 votes of 150 cast in the lay order and 46 of 89 cast in the clergy order. An election on that ballot required 76 in the lay order and 45 in the clergy order.

A message Franklin released to the people of the diocese of Western New York shortly after learning of his election can be read at the diocese's website.

The election took place during a special continuation of the diocese's 174th annual convention held at St. Paul's Cathedral in Buffalo, New York.

Pending a successful consent process, Franklin will succeed the Rt. Rev. J. Michael Garrison, who will retire upon his successor's consecration.

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.

Franklin has served as the Senior Associate at St. Mark's since July 2010. Since his ordination to the priesthood in 2005, he served as associate priest at St. Paul's Within the Walls in Rome and associate director of the American Academy in Rome, fellow and associate priest of the Anglican Centre in Rome, interim vicar of the Church of the Resurrection in Orvieto, Italy, and professor of theology at the Pontifical Angelicum University. From 1998 to 2002, he was dean and president of Berkeley Divinity School at Yale University. Earlier in his career he was a professor at General Theological Seminary in New York and at St. John's University in Collegeville, Minnesota.

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Grand Rapids prayer vigil seeks safe travels, peace in Sudan

From Grand Rapids-

Julia Doro William of Grand Rapids is returning to Sudan next week to honor her father, who was killed in the 20-year civil war that ended with a peace agreement in 2005.

Part of that agreement was a scheduled referendum on whether to divide Africa’s largest country into north and south nations.

The vote takes place Jan. 9, and Saturday was the first day of voter registration for Sudanese citizens at home and around the world.

William attended a prayer vigil on Saturday afternoon at the Sudanese Grace Episcopal Church with about 70 other people from the Sudanese community in West Michigan.

Support was strong for the independence vote, which many saw as the only way to break free of the oppression from Sudan’s ruling party in the north, the National Congress Party, which has been at odds with the south’s Sudan People’s Liberation Movement.

More here-