Saturday, December 4, 2010

Santo was nothing fancy but meant everything to Cubs broadcasts

From Chicago-

When Cubs radio analyst Ron Santo died Friday at age 70, it triggered a memory of an old "Seinfeld" rerun.

"Maybe I could be like an announcer. Like a color man," George Costanza said. "You know how I always make those interesting comments during the game?"

While humoring his newly unemployed pal by agreeing that he did indeed make good comments, Jerry felt compelled to point out a simple truth.

"Well," he said, as if explaining to a child that people are different from birds, "they generally give those jobs to ex-ballplayers and people that are, you know, in broadcasting."

"Well, that's really not fair," George said, wounded, a response that still gets a smile of recognition from plenty of "Seinfeld" viewers every time it's shown.

More here-,0,3229575.column


TAC leader sees over 150 Anglican clerics entering ordinariates

From Catholic Culture-

The leader of the Traditional Anglican Communion (TAC) has disclosed that over 150 clerics in his group, including 17 bishops, hope to enter ordinariates within the Catholic Church in the coming year.

Anglican Archbishop John Hepworth, in a message to members of the TAC, expressed high hopes for the success of the ordinariates—although he revealed that the past year’s negotiations have not always proceeded smoothly.

“There have been exquisite difficulties this year,” Archbishop Hepworth conceded. “We have discovered how little detailed knowledge we have of the way the Catholic Church does things, and Catholic officials have discovered, I believe, their need to acquire a better and more profound knowledge of contemporary Anglicanism.”

However, as plans for the ordinariates advance, the TAC leader reported that 24 priests and one bishop of his group plan to seek ordination to the Catholic priesthood in the English ordinariate, which is to be formed early in 2011. In the US, Hepworth said, 51 priests and 5 bishops (three of them retired) will seek to join a new ordinariate.

Two Anglican bishops in Central America are asking for ordinariates, the TAC leader disclosed. In Canada, three TAC bishops are seeking an ordinariate, and 43 Anglican priests hope to join.

Archbishop Hepworth invited TAC members from Australia and neighboring countries to a meeting that will be held in early February, for those hoping to see an ordinariate established there. He said that 6 Anglican bishops and 28 priests have already indicated their interest.

Divisions continue over proposed Anglican covenant

From London-

Conservative Anglican leaders have rejected a proposed covenant to hold their global communion together just as the Church of England gave preliminary approval to the plan.

The covenant, backed by Archbishop of Canterbury Rowan Williams, aims to contain deep splits in the Anglican Communion over sexuality, the role of women and the Bible’s authority.

The communion is a fellowship of churches with ties to the Church of England in more than 160 countries.

Last week, the Church of England’s governing General Synod voted to approve draft legislation that could lead to a final vote on the covenant in 2012. The covenant will now be referred to dioceses for consideration.

But in a statement, traditionalist leaders representing the Fellowship of Confessing Anglicans and the GAFCON movement, dismissed the covenant as "fatally flawed." It has also been attacked by liberals within the church.

The conservative statement was endorsed by archbishops from West Africa, Rwanda, Tanzania, Nigeria, Uganda, Kenya, Australia and Anglican Church of North America, a breakaway group from the Episcopal Church.

Miami's Father Cutie Becomes A Daddy

Just in case you missed it earlier - From CBS

Controversial priest Father Alberto Cutie has a new title: Daddy.

Cutie and his wife Ruhama welcomed a baby girl , named Camila Victoria, on Thursday. It is the first child for Cutie, who famously left the Catholic Church last year when a tabloid magazine revealed his relationship with Ruhama, then his girlfriend.

At the time, Cutie was as popular priest, host of a weekly cable TV show and advice columnist.

Shortly after the scandal broke, Cutie decided to leave the Catholic church and begin the process of becoming an Episcopal priest. He now head the Episcopal Church of the Resurrection in Biscayne Park.

The couple were married on June 26 at St. Bernard de Clairvaux Episcopal Church in North Miami Beach at a small ceremony with 60 friends and relatives.

"We were in heaven because this is what we wanted most: To be before God and say our vows from our heart and soul," Cutié told the Spanish version of People Magazine shortly after the nuptuals.

More here-

Potsdam's Trinity Episcopal Church to launch major renovation and expansion Dec. 7

From Potsdam NY

Trinity Episcopal Church will launch the second and final phase of a major renovation and expansion of the 175-year-old church Tuesday, Dec. 7 at 3 p.m.

The project, to be managed by Danko Construction of Massena, will add more than 2,300 square feet to the church complex on Fall Island by expanding the existing parish hall to include new classrooms and meeting rooms. The renovations will also include accessible bathrooms for people with disabilities and a wheelchair lift.

Church rector Rev. Dr. Christopher Brown will be present along with architect Brooks Washburn, Larry Danko of Danko Construction of Massena, church wardens Sally Elliot and Richard Hunter, and representatives from the Vestry and the Projects Committee.

“Breaking ground this month is the culmination of a process of many years,” said Rev. Brown. “Many were involved in the discernment of our mission to the Potsdam community for the 21st century, and in the planning and implementation of a variety of projects as we have looked to our future.”

He continued, “Trinity has been a beacon within the Potsdam community for 175 years; an attractive, handicapped- accessible, and practical space will enable us to fulfill our vocation of worship and outreach to the community in the name of Jesus Christ.”

The project is supported by Trinity’s 2005-2006 “Preserving the Past, Framing the Future” capital campaign that raised the necessary funds for the two-phase project. The first phase focused on renovations to the existing building, including repairs to the clock tower, masonry work and the installation of a new copper roof.

More here-

Presses stop rolling for local Episcopal newspaper

From Hawaii-

The Hawaiian Church Chronicle ends 128 years of keeping members of the Episcopal Church informed with the publication of its December issue.

The Chronicle's editor, the Rev. Canon Liz Beasley, said the church's Executive Council decided in October to cut funding for all print publications.

In a Chronicle article, she said budget cuts actually began about a year ago at the General Convention of the Episcopal Church, and that the Chronicle began printing only quarterly instead of 10 times a year, she said.
The Chronicle is printed as a "wrap" around the national Episcopal News Monthly, which also ceases publication in January, she said. Originating as the Anglican Church Chronicle in 1882, it became the Hawaiian Church Chronicle in 1908 and now has a circulation of 3,700, Beasley said.

The Chronicle will continue to be "published" through e-mail. It makes sense, she said, based on the feedback she has received "that fewer and fewer people actually read the Chronicle."

But she is concerned that there is a large segment of people in the diocese who do not use a computer. Beasley urged churches and clergy to print out the E-Chronicle and other E-News, and post printouts on bulletin boards or insert them in their newsletters.

Beasley told the Star-Advertiser she has been the editor for eight years, serving off and on since 1999. The biggest change she made was to include more local congregational events.

More here-

Friday, December 3, 2010

Anglican Church abandoned its parishioners

From Canada-

Clearly, all is not well within the Anglican Church of Canada (ACC).

In what could be termed a reverse protestant reformation, Calgary's St. John the Evangelist Anglican Church voted overwhelmingly (90 per cent) to leave the ACC and align itself with Pope Benedict and the Roman Catholic Church. As such, it becomes the first Anglican congregation in Canada to take the Pope up on his October 2009 offer to welcome disillusioned Anglican congregations into the Catholic Church.

But that's where the 'new' news ends because St. John the Evangelist is not, by far, the first church to leave the ACC. In fact, it's only the most recent departure in a decade-long struggle between conservative Anglican parishes and their increasingly liberal leaders.

Since 2007, more than 40 Anglican parishes (including Vancouver's St. John's Shaughnessy -- the largest Anglican congregation in Canada) have left the ACC and joined a parallel governing structure called the Anglican Network in Canada. Globally, they've joined with like-minded churches in the United States to form a wing that functions under the auspices of the worldwide Anglican Church. It comprises some 600 parishes and 100,000 parishioners.

Read more:

Bishop, 64, dies after retiring due to ill health

From Scotland-

An Angus bishop who recently retired due to ill health has died, it was confirmed yesterday.

The Rt Rev John Mantle, who retired as Bishop of Brechin on October 16, died at home in Peterborough on Monday.

The 64-year-old stood down from his post with the Scottish Episcopal Church 18 months after being diagnosed with cancer.

Brechin-born Mr Mantle was elected Bishop of Brechin in October 2005.

A farewell eucharist service for his retirement was held in St Paul’s Cathedral, Dundee, in October, which was attended by the lord provost of Dundee, the provost of Angus and representatives of Dundee and Abertay universities.

The former bishop was confirmed and ordained in Dundee, before he served 25 years in England, first as a Cambridge Chaplain, and finally in Westminster as the Archbishops’ Adviser for Bishops’ Ministry.

Read more:

Saint Gabriel's Church adopts a Marine Unit

From Newark-

Saint Gabriel's Episcopal Church on Dover Milton Road has adopted a Marine Unit serving in Afghanistan. Non-perishable food items such as dry snacks, powdered drinks, candy, etc. are collected and sent periodically. There are two drop boxes for this effort, one of which is at the Jefferson Twp. Library, the other at the church. Saint Gabriel's will accept drop offs on Sundays between the hours of 10 a.m. and noon. A more detailed list of acceptable items is also at these locations. Persons coming to enjoy Christmas in the Village events at the Church may drop off items at that time as well. Thank you for helping us to make this outreach program successful.

More here-


Bishop bridges the chasm between faith and science

From Chicago-

As a trained oceanographer, pilot and high-profile prelate, Episcopal Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori seems like the ideal ambassador to bridge the widening chasm between faith and science.

She will step up to that challenge Friday in Chicago when she champions collaboration between the religion and health care communities at two area hospitals.

During a public lecture at Rush University Medical Center, Jefferts Schori is expected to discuss healing ministries that Episcopal congregations have developed around the world. Later that day, she is expected to ordain Stroger Hospital's first paid trauma chaplain.

Elected in 2006 for a nine-year term, Jefferts Schori immediately set out to make the United Nations Millennium Development Goals — eight global priorities to help the world's poorest — the hallmark of her tenure.

"Religion is one of those institutions that crosses national boundaries, said the Rev. James Risk, the executive director of Bishop Anderson House, the Episcopal Church's ministry serving the Illinois Medical District, who invited her to Chicago soon after she was elected. "If we're going to meet human needs, we need to be working together. … Science and faith will do more together to meet the challenges as a species than we will apart."

More here-,0,6205345.story

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Persecution of Christians could threaten future of church leadership in Pakistan

From ACNS-

Pakistan's first and only female Anglican priest Revd Jane Shaw has warned that persecution of Christians in the country is prompting talented potential future church leaders to settle abroad.

Jane, who four years ago accepted an invitation to act as the Church of Pakistan's only female Presbyter-in-Charge, said she knew of four young pastors sent overseas for training who decided not to return to Pakistan.

She said that while there have been incidents of Christians being attacked and killed, the majority of persecution was more insidious. "It’s largely low-level harassment," she said, "not being short-listed for jobs because you’re a Christian, or, if you do get the job, your colleagues making you so miserable that you have to leave. Also, in some cases Christian businessmen have been told that they’ll only get the most lucrative contracts if they convert to Islam."

Other harassment includes Christian children being teased or bullied at school, Christian workers being assigned excessive work loads, Christians being evicted from accommodation without notice, and influential community members occupying Christians' land with impunity.
Jane said that after the anti-Christian riots in Gojra in 2009 (resulting in the death of eight Christians), she found families in nearby Korian living in a graveyard after being evicted from their homes. She was also told that Christians in the area who had been kicked out of their jobs during the riots were never reinstated.

One significant result of such harassment is that those families with the resources to do so are either moving abroad themselves or sending their children overseas to study. Too few of her former congregation can see a future for their children in Pakistan; most already have relatives in the UK, New Zealand, Canada, or the United States.

More here-

Church Women United stuffs stockings

From Lebanon PA-

For nearly 60 years, a group of women from Lebanon County churches has been delivering holiday stockings filled with toiletries and other goodies to residents of nursing homes and other facilities.

But, due to dwindling participation, the project might not be around for another 60.

Church Women United on Thursday delivered nearly 1,700 holiday stockings to 18 facilities in Lebanon and Berks counties. The facilities included nursing homes, Wernersville State Hospital, the Agape Family Shelter and the Lebanon Rescue Mission

"I enjoy helping people out," said Linda Clawser of St. Luke's Episcopal Church in Lebanon as she packed stockings into a box Thursday. "I just recently retired, so I'm looking for things to do."

Eva Readinger, left, and Linda Clawser, both of St. Luke s Episcopal church in Lebanon, pack stockings filled with toiletries and goodies into a box Thursday at St. James Lutheran Church in Lebanon. (Lebanon Daily News - Brad Rhen)

The items were collected by area churches and packed into the stockings. On Thursday, the stockings were brought to St. James' Lutheran Church at Second and Chestnut streets in Lebanon, where they were loaded into boxes and taken to the facilities.

Eva Readinger of St. Luke's Episcopal Church in Lebanon, chairwoman, said the project started in 1951.

More here-

Former Catholic priest Alberto Cutié becomes a dad

From The Miami Herald-

Ruhama Buni Cutié, wife of Miami celebrity priest Alberto Cutié, gave birth to Camila Victoria Cutie on Tuesday.
``We...take this opportunity to thank our family, church community and friends for your love and support,'' Alberto said in an email announcement on Thursday.

``There is great joy in being a Father, who is also a 'father.' We are truly blessed!'' he said.
Alberto, who was famously photographed by a tabloid while kissing Buni on a South Florida beach last year and left the Roman Catholic church to marry her as an Episcopalian, is also about to release a book.

Dilemma: A Priest's Struggle with Faith and Love, due out Jan. 4, promises to tell of the conflicts simmering in the priest's life -- he now leads the Episcopal Church of the Resurrection in Biscayne Park -- as the Roman Catholic faith he grew up in became increasingly at odds with his spiritual views and romantic desires.

Read more:

Review: Reshaping Ecumenical Theology

From The Living Church-

One of the Church of England’s leading ecumenists, Dr. Paul Avis, general secretary of the Council for Christian Unity and Canon Theologian of Exeter, has given us another fine book on today’s ecumenical movement. He is absolutely frank about the enormous problems we face in the search for Christian unity today, but passionate about pursuing the “full, visible unity” of the Church for the sake of its mission.

Avis begins by acknowledging and even celebrating the diversity of Christianity which has been present since its inception, but asks an important question: “When does multiplicity become fragmentation?” (p. vii). As the chapters unfold he introduces the centrality of mission into the discussion, making it clear that he does not see unity and mission as separate, or even complementary, activities but as two sides of the same coin.

One of the refreshing things about this book is its realism as to what unity means and how we can reach it, for “the days of ecumenical pipedreams are now over” (p. ix). Avis has written extensively over the years on achieving unity “by stages,” moving from an initial process of interaction which produces greater mutual understanding, through formal theological dialogues, to the mutual acknowledgement of one another as “churches,” to searching for concrete forms of cooperation, even finally the possibility of collaborative episcope (pastoral oversight), perhaps the final stage before full, visible unity.

While Anglicans have traditionally seen the historic episcopate as serving to enhance the unity of the Church, the question is sometimes asked in ecumenical circles (and Avis asks it in his Chapter 7) whether episcopacy really is a focus of unity or a cause of division. Setting the episcopal office firmly in the context of mission, the author argues convincingly that episcopacy has an important role in the very nature of the Church and in each of its four “notes” — unity, holiness, catholicity, and apostolicity.

More here-

Conservative Anglican leaders have rejected a proposed covenant

From The Washington Post-

Conservative Anglican leaders have rejected a proposed covenant to hold their global communion together just as the Church of England gave preliminary approval to the plan.

The covenant, backed by Archbishop of Canterbury Rowan Williams, aims to contain deep splits in the Anglican Communion over sexuality, the role of women and the authority of the Bible.

The communion is a fellowship of churches with ties to the Church of England in more than 160 countries.

Last week, the Church of England's governing General Synod voted to approve draft legislation that could lead to a final vote on the covenant in 2012. The covenant will now be referred to dioceses for consideration.

But in a statement, traditionalist leaders representing the Fellowship of Confessing Anglicans and the GAFCON movement, dismissed the covenant as "fatally flawed." The plan also has been attacked by liberals within the church.

More here-

Houston church brings spirituality, outreach to the homeless

From ELO-

There are some men and women for whom homelessness seems to be a chronic state, others who are temporarily down on their luck, who are working to get back on their feet. Many are Veterans, and today there are a growing number of women who turn up on the steps of Lord of the Streets (LOTS) in Houston seeking help.
"Do you know we are the mailing address for 2,200 people?" said the Rev. Bob Flick, the new part-time vicar of Lord of the Streets. Flick recently took over the ministry to Houston's midtown homeless population when the Rev. Murray Powell retired.

After only a few weeks, Flick, who has snowy white hair and a much laid back countenance in his jeans and corduroy jacket, is energized by the new challenge.

LOTS began as an outreach program of Trinity Church, Houston, in the Episcopal Diocese of Texas, in 1990. By 1997 they received additional support from Christ Church Cathedral, St. Dunstan's, St. Francis, St. John the Divine and St. Martin's, Houston, and Good Shepherd, Kingwood. A grant from Episcopal Health Charities in 1997 helped to establish the recovery center at Holman and Fannin in midtown Houston. Volunteers from these parishes and other groups still arrive every Sunday morning at 6 a.m. to prepare a hot breakfast for more than 250 homeless men and women who attend worship at Trinity at 7 a.m.

Today, the work and mission of Lord of the Streets Episcopal Church and the social service arm of the ministry, Community of the Streets, is to minister to the spiritual, emotional, physical and social needs of individuals living in Houston who are homeless, in crisis or in transition.

More here-

Trinity Episcopal hosting Muslim/Christian Dialogue Panel

From Newark-

In response to many people’s questions and concerns raised about the recent and current regional, national and global news reports that have implied an inherent animosity between Muslims and Christians, Trinity Episcopal Church, located at 55 George Street in Allendale, is hosting a Muslim/Christian Dialogue Panel at 7:30 p.m. on Wednesday, Dec. 8. The discussion panel will include Mohamed El Filali, outreach director of the Islamic Center of Passaic County; Nuray Sonmez, president of the Islamic Dialogue Center Women’s Association; and the Rev. Lisa Green, Diocese of Newark Ecumenical/ Interreligious Office.

The Rev. Michael Allen, rector of Trinity Episcopal Church, noted that the dialogue is not only intended to present a venue for Christians and Muslims to begin a conversation with each other, but to also answer the question of how the members of each faith community can work together to build up and transform our community life. Such a conversation will not only allow us to learn from each other about our similarities and differences, but also to begin a discernment process of relationship building that will be a permanent detour from the current divisive path we are traveling that is filled with the pratfalls of fear and ignorance.

More here-

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Anglican parish opts for Catholicism

From Canada-

An Anglican parish in Calgary is taking a leap of faith by becoming the first church in Canada to accept an offer from the Vatican to join the Roman Catholic Church.

Parishioners of St. John the Evangelist church recently voted 90 per cent in favour of joining the Catholic Church.

Pope Benedict last year offered Anglicans the opportunity to join the Catholic Church while still maintaining much of their own liturgy and traditions.

The proposal was made in a bid to attract Anglicans dissatisfied with the direction of their church, which has in recent years accepted female priests and same-sex unions.

Father Lee Kenyon said his parishioners at St. John's are not leaving out of anger.

"We didn't vote to leave the Anglican Church of Canada, we voted to accept the invitation of the Pope," said Kenyon, who will be ordained as a Catholic priest despite being married with two children.

Many elements of the conversion must still be negotiated -- including what will happen to the century-old church, which still belongs to the Anglican diocese.

Read more:

General Seminary strikes pact with real-estate developer

From ELO-

General Theological Seminary has reached a preliminary agreement with the Brodsky Organization, a Manhattan real estate developer, which would result in the sale of several of the seminary's residential and mixed-use properties.
The Rev. Lang Lowrey, GTS president, said in a Nov. 30 release that the contract is subject to additional approvals but is expected to become final in the next 30 to 60 days.

The seminary's trustees in October approved a comprehensive financial initiative aimed at eliminating the school's $41 million of debt, restoring its endowment, and allowing the seminary to continue its mission with a balanced budget within 18-24 months.

The plan has two phases, the Nov. 30 release said, including first the sale of property to eliminate debt and then leveraging the school's $30 million investment in the Desmond Tutu Center by bringing in partners and increasing the school's endowment.

The properties for sale include the building known as Chelsea 2,3,4, a residential structure on West 20th Street near the corner of Ninth Avenue; the West Building, also on 20th Street near the center of the block, currently housing seminary offices, and an apartment building at 422 West 20th Street. Additionally, the school will transfer ownership to Brodsky of the land along Ninth Avenue currently being leased, as well as a portion of property the school currently uses for a tennis court, the release said.

"The adoption of this plan represents a comprehensive solution to financial challenges that have been a drain on morale and a serious impediment to the seminary's mission for many years," Bishop Mark S. Sisk, trustee chair, said at the October meeting. He said that the seminary had taken "a bold but very carefully considered step to leverage assets through the sale of residential properties. The payoff is the substantial if not the complete elimination of all General's debt."

More here-

Food drive-thru helps needy Spartanburg families

From South Carolina-

Hundreds of Spartanburg area families in need were given assistance Tuesday afternoon, without even stepping out of their cars.

The Episcopal Church of the Advent and TOTAL Ministries collaborated on what they hope was the first of many opportunities to distribute food to the unemployed.

About 325 people picked up food bags at the church Tuesday in a sort of drive-thru assembly line. Families were selected from a pool of about 500 people during a screening earlier in the week. United Way and Second Harvest Food Bank’s mobile food pantry also assisted with the event, which organizers hope to offer quarterly.

The Rev. Ned Morris, rector of The Episcopal Church of the Advent, said he saw a need in the Spartanburg community when he moved here in 2009. The county’s unemployment rate is about 10.9 percent now, and hundreds of families are relying on unemployment benefits to get by temporarily.

More here-

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

'Moving on': Congregations, continuing dioceses celebrate growth, new life and ministry

From ENS-

Episcopalians in the renewing dioceses of San Joaquin, Quincy, Pittsburgh and Fort Worth say the challenges of living through church divisions have also led them to new life, increased mission and outreach, deepened community and an empowered laity.

Initially, property, financial and other struggles may seem daunting for congregations starting up or starting over, but Grace Episcopal Mission in Bakersfield, California, in the continuing Episcopal Diocese of San Joaquin, is a reminder to "hang in there and keep hope and have faith and work hard," said the Rev. Tim Vivian, vicar, during a recent telephone interview from his office.

"We started from nothing," as a house church in 2007 with a dozen members meeting in each other's living rooms, he recalled. Within a few months the new congregation had doubled to 25 and was worshipping in a nearby chapel.

"We called it 'church in a box' because we had to bring everything with us" including donated linens and vestments, said Vivian, a professor of religious studies at California State University, Bakersfield.

On Nov. 7, 2010, All Saints Sunday, Grace celebrated its third anniversary in the chapel. Average Sunday attendance has tripled, to about 80.

"None of us could have imagined that we'd grow so fast," added Vivian, who attributed the growth to hospitality, inclusiveness and a focus on mission and outreach.

Members are former Roman Catholics, continuing Episcopalians whose former congregations left the Episcopal Church in 2008, and the formerly unchurched; about 20 percent are gay.

More here-

Anglican bishop lays mitre, crozier at Our Lady’s feet as he leaves for ordinariate

From Catholic Culture-

Bishop Andrew Burnham of Ebbsfleet, one of five Anglican bishops who have announced they will seek full communion with the Holy See, laid his mitre and crozier at Our Lady’s feet in his last sermon as a bishop of the Church of England.

“Jesus prays for the gift of Unity,” he preached. “It is that gift of Unity, I believe, which is offered to us, and through us eventually to all separated Christians, in the Apostolic Constitution Anglicanorum Coetibus. It is because it is a gift of the Holy Spirit, abiding in his Church, that I believe I must accept it and invite others to come with me on the journey.”

“The Anglo-catholic movement has fought a losing battle for 150 years, trying to convince the Church of England that she would be Catholic if only she conformed herself to the Catholic Faith and fully embraced Catholic Faith and Order,” he added. “But I love the Church of England – the mainstream bit – and shall miss her. She taught me the psalms and the Revised Standard Version. She taught me about music in the service of God. She taught me about the beauty of holiness … There is little more beautiful in literature than the Cranmerian cadences of the traditional language of the Prayer Book, which, rather unusually, we are using today.”

“For many, I hope it will be ‘see you soon’ rather than ‘good-bye’ but, on your journey of discipleship, look not to me but to the Lord whom we serve,” he concluded. “He alone can teach us how to be pilgrims on the way that leads to Paradise.”

Stone Harbor church blesses addition of 123 solar panels

From New Jersey-

Parishioners at St. Mary's Episcopal Church on Third Avenue took 123 steps toward being a greener, more Earth-friendly parish Sunday in the form of a dedication ceremony for 123 solar panels that were installed in August and September.

The Rev. John Sosnowski said Monday that the project will result in parishioners being "better stewards" of the Earth.

"It's an investment in our future," Sosnowski said, adding that once the power-purchase agreement is completed between the church and 95th Street Power Associates LLC, the company that funded most of the project, the panels will become church property.

Sunday's dedication and blessing attracted about 95 people, Sosnowski said.
"I think it dovetails well with the rest of our mission," he said, adding that the parish operates a thrift store in the Rio Grande section of Middle Township as well.

More here-

Marysville church helps bees weather winter

From Washington State (must be a slow news day)

Thousands of honeybees received some help staying warm this winter.

Members of the St. Philip’s Episcopal Church congregation didn’t want to risk harming the bees by taking the hive down, so late in the year from the top of their church building. They were also worried the bees wouldn’t survive a cold winter. They wanted to do something to help.

So church pastor Mary Allen and members of the congregation started learning about honeybees. They contacted the experts at Washington State University Extension office, Beez Neez Apiary Supply in Snohomish and beekeeper Jerry Mixon in Shoreline.

They learned that bees keep their hive warm by rapidly flexing their wings and that they eat their own honey. They also received advice that they needed to winterize the hive and could help the bees stay warm by putting wood over the exposed side of the hive while leaving the bottom open so bees could travel to and from the hive.

More here-

Monday, November 29, 2010

Ageing Anglicans see signs of growth

From Australia-

Significantly fewer baptisms, confirmations and weddings mark an ageing Anglican Church in the Diocese of Canberra and Goulburn.
Figures provided recently by the Church indicate a continuing ageing of its membership. From 1997 to 2007, baptisms and weddings in the diocese declined by 35 per cent and, more significantly, confirmations by 57 per cent.

By comparison, church funerals, mainly involving older people, declined only 9 per cent.

Over those 10 years, the general population grew 8 per cent, and the Anglican population declined 3.8 per cent. During those years, the number of parishes ceasing to offer Sunday School for children almost doubled to 44 per cent and regular church attendance in the diocese declined by about 2.3 per cent.

Though the decline is less than in the Anglican Church nationally, the median age of Anglicans attending Church in Canberra is 54.8, compared with the median age of Canberra's population of 34.5.

Despite the gloomy outlook, Bishop of Canberra and Goulburn Stuart Robinson said there had been some areas of growth. And there was continuing interest in the priesthood, with 12 ordinations in St Saviour's Cathedral Goulburn on Saturday.

More here-

Episcopal Church of Cuba has new bishop

From Cuba-

November 27, 2010 in Religion. The Rev. Griselda Delgado del Carpio was nstalled Bishop of the Episcopal (Anglican) Church in Cuba. The ceremony was held Sunday afternoon at Holy Trinity Cathedral in Havana.

Delgado, 55, will be the first woman to hold such a high rank in the Cuban Episcopal Church, replacing Bishop Miguel Tamayo Zaldívar, who retired this fall.

The Bolivian-born Delgado, former rector of St. Mary the Virgin in Itabo, Matanzas province, was consecrated as bishop coadjutor (assistant bishop with the right of succession) in February 2010.

She was in Washington Nov. 15-16 as part of a delegation of Cuban religious leaders lobbying for a lifting of the restrictions on religious and other "people-to-people" travel imposed in 2005 by the Bush administration. Renato Pérez Pizarro.

Read more:

Fastest Growing Episcopal Parish in Oklahoma is Latin

From Oklahoma-

The Episcopal Diocese of Oklahoma City has with pleasure deemed Santa Maria de Virgen Episcopal Church at 5500 South Western Avenue to be the fastest growing parish in Oklahoma.

Recently occupying the former facility for Grace Lutheran, this parish has attracted many living in the general area.

6pm on Thursday evening 02 December 10, The Rev. Leonel Blanco, Vicar (405) 631-6747, ,will preside over a celebration of the seasonal event of Lessons and Carols.... progressive readings from the Bible and Book of Common Prayer marking Advent.

Advent is the preparation phase Episcopalians celebrate for about four weeks (anticipating Christmas Day), and involves specific Bible passages regarding the world and Christ's life. It is also marked over the four weeks by progressively lighting four purple candles in an evergreen wreath, and then on Christmas Eve the lighting of the Christ Candle, to celebrate the birth of the Savior.

A new pipe organ is in place and will be played for the first time by St. Paul's Cathedral organist, Canon Musician, H. Scott Raab.

More here-

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Do you think quantum physics lends itself to religious belief?

From Canada-

Rev. KEVIN FLYNN is an Anglican priest and director of the Anglican studies program at Saint Paul University.

I know very little about quantum physics and probably misunderstand a great deal even of that. The writer from whom I've learned most is Sir John Polkinghorne. Polkinghorne is an Anglican priest and theologian, a quantum physicist, fellow of the Royal Society and winner of the Templeton prize. Author of many books, his Quarks, Chaos and Christianity: Questions to Science and Religion, is a stimulating discussion of issues both scientific and theological. He is the very type of the believer who quests after truth wherever it may be found.

Thus he writes, "Many people seem to think that faith involves shutting one's eyes, gritting one's teeth, and believing X impossible things before breakfast ... Not at all! Faith may involve a leap, but it's a leap into the light, not the dark. The aim of the religious quest, like that of the scientific quest, is to seek motivated belief about what is the case ..." He contends that theologians and scientists have much in common in the intellectual rigour both require for their inquiry.

Many people will likely appreciate Polkinghorne's ability to bridge the gaps between science and faith. Even more, perhaps, will share with him the great sense of wonder and awe that a study of this amazing universe gives rise to. Quantum physics pushes us to see ourselves, not as discreet individuals, but as members of a complex lattice-work of relationships. Indeed, relatedness goes beyond human beings and connects everything. At times, it's difficult to know whether one is reading theology or religion; it can seem more like poetry. Perhaps that's the most helpful dimension of quantum physics: that it break us out of world views, either scientific or religious, which limit vision and thus proscribe hope.

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Saving grace: Consultants help rebuild struggling churches

From Hilton Head-

St. Augustine's was facing a death sentence.
The little Episcopal church in Washington, D.C., on the waterfront had seen the signs. Since its founders proudly formed St. Augustine's as a racially integrated church in 1961, membership had wilted from 180 to 28. Key members passed away or moved. Paint peeled off the ceiling. Mold grew in the basement. The church couldn't pay its bills.

"It was literally dying," the Rev. Martha Clark said of her parish's state in 2007, when the regional bishop gave St. Augustine's three years to become self-sustaining or be shut down.
That's where Bob Gallagher came in. A former Episcopal priest, the gentle 60-year-old is a professional church savior, a consultant who travels the country trying to resuscitate houses of worship that are losing people and passion. With large swaths of organized religion in decline nationwide, Gallagher's dance card is full.

His initial meetings at St. Augustine's were emotional. He confronted people who had been focused on paying the mortgage with more wrenching questions: Do you really have a reason to be in this neighborhood, or could you move somewhere cheaper? What does it mean to be an Episcopalian? Could you merge with a church from another denomination? Do you agree on worship styles? Who are you?

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Covenant faces opposition from the right as well as the left

From The Examiner-

On Nov. 24th, the General Synod voted in favor of the Anglican covenant process and sent it on to the dioceses. It was passed by the synod’s houses of bishops, clergy, and laity. The draft was passed following a 3-hour debate where section 4, which sets up the process for resolving disagreements between communion members, remains the focus of controversy. While voting for the covenant, many still worried about the disputed components.

As soon as the draft passed, however, the anti-homosexual Primates Council of Global Anglican Future Conference/Fellowship of Confessing Anglicans GAFCON/FCA issued a statement that they would not support the covenant because the wording was fatally flawed. The covenant had been created to assure the conservatives that the Church of England was looking out for their interests, but members of GAFCON remained sceptical:

For the sake of Christ and of His Gospel we can no longer maintain the illusion of normalcy and so we join with other Primates from the Global South in declaring that we will not be present at the next Primates’ meeting to be held in Ireland. And 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.

More here-