Saturday, January 1, 2011

The discreet beginnings of the Ordinariate

From American Magazine-

The 1230 Mass today at London's Westminster Cathedral looked like any other. But for the hint in the booklet for the feast of Mary, Mother of God, that after the homily would be a "Rite of reception and confirmation", there was nothing at all to indicate the significance of what was to happen. The celebrant, an auxiliary bishop of Westminster, Alan Hopes, said nothing at the start of Mass, and it wasn't until the end of a lengthy homily on Mary as Theotokos, or God-bearer, and the controversies of the fourth-century Council of Nicea which led to this Feast, that Bishop Hopes mentioned that they would be receiving some former members of the Church of England into full communion.

They included, he said, three former bishops and their relatives, as well as three Anglican nuns.

It would have been hard, if you had just dropped into the Cathedral for Mass, to understand the significance of what was happening.There was nobody around to explain that these are the founding members of the world's first Ordinariate, the scheme created by Pope Benedict to allow for the corporate reception of Anglicans (see my previous post).

The Ordinariate will be created in the next week or so, with Rome's legislative act expected to be announced on 11 January. The jurisdiction will be headed by an Ordinary -- inevitably one of the ex-bishops received into the Church today. The ordination to the diaconate and priesthood of the three ex-bishops will take place in a couple of weeks. They will be followed at Easter, according to Ruth Gledhill of The Times -- who seemed to be the only one who knew that today's Mass was happening -- by about 20 parish groups, perhaps 40-50 clergy, and a further three former bishops.

More here-

Canon White defiant in face of violence

From The Church Times-

CHRISTIANS in Iraq face a sombre and fearful Christmas, as the prospects for 2011 look, at best, uncertain.

“There’s been great fear, and there’s been a lot of anxiety,” Canon Andrew White, Chaplain of St George’s, Baghdad, told the BBC at the weekend. “We lost many of our families who have disappeared or been killed.” Some 500 of the formerly 4000-strong congregation were no longer present, he said.

The string of attacks on Christian targets this year, culminating in the siege in October of a cathedral in Baghdad in which more than 50 people were killed (News, 5 November), prompted the Iraqi government to erect concrete walls around churches and increase security in other ways. Despite the introduction of these new precautions, most churches in Iraq have decided not to risk the lives of members of the congregation, and have cancelled Christmas services and celebrations.

St George’s is one of the excep tions. Canon White said it was important for the Christmas-worship programme to continue, despite the current mood of fear: “Now it’s Christmas, and we are going to have a wonderful time. The only thing we can concentrate on is the fact that Christmas is good news and a time of hope. When you have lost everything, Jesus is all we have left.”

Canon White said he had always encouraged Christians to stay in Iraq because “we need people here to maintain Christianity. But it’s very difficult to do this now, when people have been killed.”

More here-

Anglican leader focuses on 'big picture' in New Year

From AFP-

The leader of the world's Anglicans said people needed to reflect on the "big picture" in 2011, however remote it might seem as they battle personally with the global financial downturn's repercussions.

In his New Year message delivered Saturday, Archbishop of Canterbury Rowan Williams celebrated the 400th anniversary of the King James Bible, saying its rich language still helped people to see "the big picture" in life.

"It's good for us to have some long-lasting furniture in our minds, words and images that have something a bit mysterious about them and that carry important experiences for us that we can't find words of our own for," the Church of England leader said.

"As the King James Bible took hold of the imaginations of millions of people in the English-speaking world, it gave them just that -- a big picture, a story in which their lives made sense.
"Four hundred years on, that can feel quite remote.

"You may feel that there?s only one big story and that's about money and whether I've got a job tomorrow or whether my children can afford higher education," he said.

"Whether you're a Christian or belong to another religion or whether you have nothing you'd want to call a religion at all, some kind of big picture matters.

More here-

Moderator of Washington Post faith blog says religion affects every part of daily life

From Catholic Review-

Sally Quinn, a Washington Post journalist who founded and moderates “On Faith,” a Post website on religion, said she learned years ago that in Washington social circles, people don’t discuss religion. They are “stealth religious.”

Speaking at the National Press Club in early December on “Why Journalists Must Understand Religion,” Quinn asserted that because “95 percent of people are motivated by religion,” religion has an effect on every part of daily life.

The daughter of an Episcopal father and a Presbyterian mother, she told them at age 13 that she was an atheist.

Seeing photos of her father’s World War II unit liberating the Nazis’ Dachau concentration camp in Germany, she thought there couldn’t be a God. That “destroyed her childish notion of faith,” she said.

After her marriage to Ben Bradlee, the Post’s vice president at large, they had a son born with serious health issues. But she said that didn’t bring her back to religion either.

It wasn’t until after 9/11 that she became interested in Islam and began a journey that later took her around the world to 13 countries in three weeks to learn all she could about the world’s religions.

She realized that religion has enormous consequences and no one was covering it. “You can’t ignore this,” she told Don Graham, the Post’s chairman.

More here-

Whittier church appeals to community to help pay for $10,000 plumbing repair Read more: Whittier church appeals to community to help pay for $10,000

From California-

A 48-year-old rotted pipe is throwing a $10,000 monkey wrench into the soup kitchen at St. Matthias Church, which provides hot meals to more than 100 homeless people every weekday afternoon.

The water line that runs from the church's kitchen to the men's restroom backed up last week, prompting officials to shut off the water supply and call in a plumber, said facilities manager Stan Jamieson.

As it turns out, a portion of the water line had "completely rotted out on the bottom," Jamieson said - and repairing it is expected to cost about $10,000.

That pretty much taps out the church's savings for emergencies, Jamieson said. That's why the church is appealing to the community to help pay for the repairs, which are expected to be completed over the next week.

On top of that, the church can't make its usual hot meals for the homeless people who flock to the soup kitchen between 3 and 4 p.m. every weekday.

"We've had to throw together sandwiches and potato chips for meals," said Jamieson, adding that they serve an average of about 115 people every day.

"Today, some of our crew took stuff home to cook up hot meals, and they'll bring it back later," Jamieson said. "But until it's fixed, we can't use our kitchen."

Agustin Espinoza, owner of Advance Quality Plumbing, said repairing the water line has been "tough because we had to dig to get to the line, and these are concrete floors - it was hard breaking the concrete."

Read more:

Friday, December 31, 2010

Geraldine Doyle, 86, dies; one-time factory worker inspired Rosie the Riveter and 'We Can Do It!' poster

Off topic (as though we had one) but has a Pittsburgh angle.

Geraldine Doyle, 86, who as a 17-year-old factory worker became the inspiration for a popular World War II recruitment poster that evoked female power and independence under the slogan "We Can Do It!," died Dec. 26 at a hospice in Lansing, Mich.

Her daughter, Stephanie Gregg, said the cause of death was complications from severe arthritis.

For millions of Americans throughout the decades since World War II, the stunning brunette in the red and white polka-dot bandanna was Rosie the Riveter.

Rosie's rolled-up sleeves and flexed right arm came to represent the newfound strength of the 18 million women who worked during the war and later made her a figure of the feminist movement.

But the woman in the patriotic poster was never named Rosie, nor was she a riveter. All along it was Mrs. Doyle, who after graduating from high school in Ann Arbor, Mich., took a job at a metal factory, her family said.

One day, a photographer representing United Press International came to her factory and captured Mrs. Doyle leaning over a piece of machinery and wearing a red and white polka-dot bandanna over her hair.

In early 1942, the Westinghouse Corp. commissioned artist J. Howard Miller to produce several morale-boosting posters to be displayed inside its buildings. The project was funded by the government as a way to motivate workers and perhaps recruit new ones for the war effort.

More here-

20-somethings go for old-time Mass

From Michigan-

In a basement chapel at St. Mary Cathedral, the Rev. Jeffrey Robideau, clad in the deep purple vestments of Advent, turned toward the people gathered for Sunday morning worship.

"Oremus," he said, Latin for "Let us pray."

The congregation responded in Latin with the help of an illustrated, Latin-and-English missal.

Most of the 50 or so congregants — members of the recently formed Community of Blessed John XXIII — were too young to remember the days before Vatican II reforms in the 1960s switched the Mass from Latin to English. But, like other 20-somethings from a variety of Christian denominations, they're looking for a deeper connection to faith.

For Christopher Limberg, 24, the Latin Mass helps with that.

"You know this is going to be a very stable, solemn experience," he said.

More here-

News Society Social care Faith groups will not fill gaps left by spending cuts, warns Anglican bishop

From the Guardian-

A senior Church of England bishop has warned that faith groups will not step in to fill the gap left by state spending cuts, saying it would be "completely irresponsible" to leave the care of the vulnerable in the hands of "amateurs".

The bishop of Leicester, Tim Stevens, who has spoken forcefully about David Cameron's proposals for a "big society", said that although faith groups were ready and willing to play a greater part in community life, their enthusiasm and engagement should not mean the government rolled back on its responsibilities to the needy.

The warning follows fears expressed by a leading charity figure this week, David Robinson of Community Links, who said massive public spending cuts threatened to undermine the big society project.

Government ministers have stressed that faith groups are vital to the success of the big society, the flagship policy of the Conservative party's election manifesto, aiming to empower local people and communities to play a greater role in public life.

More here-

Thursday, December 30, 2010

Does conflict or inspiration lead 2010's religion news?

From USA Today-

Ultimately, Pope Benedict XVI beat Sarah Palin in a runoff vote Tuesday among Faith & Reason readers on who was the top "religion newsmaker" of the year. So what were the top religion stories of 2010 -- where faith, or people acting its name, made the headlines? Does coverage of conflict trump coverage of people inspired for good?

Find Faith & Reason blog on Twitter, Facebook
These are questions I see I should have raised earlier. It could have explained how the first F&R quick poll results on Monday put Palin out front of a list of six names. Many see her as a person motivated by faith although her arena was politics (and reality TV).

Meanwhile Imam Abdul Feisal Rauf landed third on both votes by readers although his efforts to build an Islamic Center two blocks from Ground Zero was the clear winner with journalists from the Religion Newswriters Association -- and my vote, too.

More here-

Lausanne 2010: Jesus Walked Among Us

From The Living Church-

Jesus showed up at the Third Lausanne Congress on World Evangelization, which drew 5,000 invited participants in Cape Town in late October.

Jesus showed up on the platform. He was most obviously present as seven men and women from all continents expounded the word of God daily from Ephesians, a letter that declares God’s mission of cosmic reconciliation and the integration of all creation in Christ and calls us to live every dimension of life in that light, in obedience to him.

But Jesus was present too in the many other speakers, morning and evening, who challenged, informed, inspired, rebuked and amazed us all. Jesus was there as we rejoiced with those who rejoice in God’s mighty works around the world. Jesus was there as we wept (for we often did) with those who weep under the suffocating weight of persecution, the devastating loss of loved ones in the service of Christ, and the heartbreaking brutality endured by God’s people — children and women in slavery, the diseased, the disabled, the displaced. Yes, Jesus was there in our midst, speaking unforgettably through the many voices that addressed us.

Jesus showed up at the tables. Imagine all those people seated in groups of five or six around 750 tables in the vast auditorium — the same people meeting at the same table every day. It was a defining mark of the congress for many, as groups studied the Bible and prayed together, shared their lives, discussed every issue coming from the platform, grew in fellowship and love through the week — microcosms of the whole event. The presence of Jesus was almost tangible at times as the great ocean of table groups stood to pray, or sing, or repent, or embrace. Jesus is good at being with disciples round a table.

More here-

Fr. Cutie: What Options Did Fallen Priest Have?

More from The Catholic Register-

In our previous post, we looked at the situation regarding Fr. Albert Cutié, who has written a self-justifying book regarding the scandal he created by having an inappropriate romantic (and presumably sexual) relationship with a woman and, when this relationship was revealed through the press, abandoned his role as a Catholic priest, joined the Episcopalian church, and civilly married the woman, by whom he has subsequently fathered a child.

The previous post looked at the Catholic Church’s general discipline of celibacy (remaining unmarried) for the priests of the Latin Church that exists within it (the celibacy requirement operates differently in many of the Eastern Catholic churches also in union with the pope). In this post we will look at the options that were open to Fr. Cutie at different stages of events and the choices he made.

We will begin with the stage where he first began to be attracted to Ruhama Buni Canellis, the divorced woman with whom he eventually attempted civil marriage. What options did he have at this stage?

More here-

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Fr. Cutie: Fallen Priest Writes Self-Justifying Book

From Catholic Register-

Of course all humans have an impulse to justify their sinful actions. It requires grace and humility to not try to justify them and to acknowledge their sinfulness.

That makes this kind of a dog-bites-man story, but it’s a dog-bites-man story that’s going to be getting a considerable amount of attention in the next few weeks, so we may as well deal with it in advance.

The basics of the story are this: Fr. Albert Cutié (a.k.a., “Padre Alberto,” a.k.a. “Father ‘Oprah’” due to his radio and television appearances), formerly of the Archdiocese of Miami, has now written a book titled, Dilemma: A Priest’s Struggle With Faith and Love, in which he justifies his actions in connection with the scandal that began in May 2009. That scandal has not ended, however. In fact, as we will see, the book continues and has the potential to amplify the scandal—taking “scandal” in its historical and theological sense, meaning that more people may be led into sin as a result of this book.

More here-

Church walks away from Episcopal diocese

From San Diego-

The Rev. Canon Lawrence Bausch expects to surrender the keys to his Ocean Beach church to the Episcopal Diocese of San Diego on Thursday, closing a chapter in an international conflict intensified by the election of an openly gay bishop.

The Rt. Rev. V. Gene Robinson’s consecration seven years ago in New Hampshire underscored a cleft in the worldwide Anglican Communion. About 350 congregations have since voted to leave the Episcopal Church, the U.S. branch of the communion, and align themselves with more conservative Anglican leaders overseas.

The rift has tested personal and professional relationships, spurred protracted court disputes over church property and prompted efforts to create a rival North American province.


The Episcopal Diocese of San Diego sued St. John’s, St. Anne’s and Holy Trinity, arguing that it had held control of the parish buildings for decades. The courts ruled against those congregations.

The St. John’s and St. Anne’s buildings were reclaimed in April 2009 and July of this year, respectively. The diocese also was granted summary judgment against Holy Trinity.

When fledging congregations petitioned to join the Episcopal Church, they agreed to be bound forever to its rules, said Chancellor Charles Dick, chief legal adviser to the local Episcopal bishop.

Holy Trinity was allowed to stay through Friday in exchange for surrendering the property, returning bank accounts and agreeing not to file an appeal, Dick said.

“I think they saw the handwriting on the wall,” he added.

More here-

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

HuffPost Religion's 10 Most Influential People Of 2010

From Huffington Post-

2010 Lists, Christopher Hitchens, Christopher Senyonjo, Daisy Khan, Dalai Lama, Elena Kagan, Feisal Abdul Rauf, Glenn Beck, Karen Armstrong, Patriarch Bartholomew Of Constantinople, Pope Benedict XVI, Religion News 2010, Sister Carol Keehan, Slidepollajax,

Religion News

Religion is by definition a communal endeavor. Yet there are always individuals who by conviction, action or fate are placed in a position to influence our beliefs and our collective lives. At HuffPost Religion we have been following the people in this list for the last year and recognize their extraordinary influence in America and around the world.

First on our list was Daisy Khan and Feisal Rauf, whose proposed Islamic Center Park51 reminded us of the still open wounds of 9/11; and became a lightning rod for a debate on Islam, religious liberty and the value of pluralism.

To those with great influence, comes great responsibility. We hope that all who hold influence within religion will exercise it with inspiration, moderation and concern for the common good.

More here-

Plea to rebel Primates: ‘Bring your wisdom to next meeting’

From The Church Times-

A BISHOP in the Church of Nigeria has urged Primates from the Global South not to boycott the Primates’ Meeting in Dublin in January (News, 26 November).

Writing in the Church Times today, the Bishop of Kaduna, Dr Josiah Idowu-Fearon, who was a member of the Lambeth Commission which produced the Windsor report, pleads with the Primates “not . . . to give room for the Communion to break up, during the time God has given [them] the privilege to represent [their] various provinces”.

“An archbishop may hold a strong position on a particular theological debate, but that should not be a reason to silence those of his colleagues with an alternative opinion as representatives of their dioceses,” Dr Idowu-Fearon writes.

Speaking on Friday, he said that his intervention was not prompted by pressure from any individual, “but by my conviction to work for the unity of this communion”.

He said that he feared that some of the Primates had “not actually consulted properly” before announcing their intention to boycott the meeting. There was “a huge desire” among “ordinary members” of the Church of Nigeria for the Communion to stay together, he said.

Responding to the suggestion made by the Primates that “the current text” of the Anglican Covenant is “fatally flawed”, Dr Idowu-Fearon said: “If those Primates believe they have a superior wisdom than the collective wisdom of those who produced the Covenant, let them meet and present their wisdom and not start throwing tantrums.”

More here-

Court rules in favor of Episcopal Church in El Paso

From Rio Grande-

On December 16, 2010 the district court in El Paso County, Texas signed a final summary judgment in favor of The Episcopal Church and its Diocese of the Rio Grande against a faction formerly with St. Francis Episcopal Church that attempted to control parish property after they left the Church in October 2008. A copy of the Final Summary Judgment is here.

The court's ruling is the second by a Texas district court to grant judgment for the Church and its diocese against former Episcopalians who left the Church but continued to claim title and control of parish property. In the other case a trial court granted a similar judgment on October 9, 2009, regarding Good Shepherd Episcopal Church of San Angelo, in the Episcopal Diocese of Northwest Texas.

The declaratory judgment issued by the El Paso Court tracks the identical positions asserted by The Episcopal Church, Episcopal Diocese of Fort Worth, the Corporation of the Episcopal Diocese of Fort Worth, its parishes and missions, and its church officials in the case pending in the 141st District Court of Tarrant County, Texas, against former Bishop Jack Leo Iker and other former diocesan and parish officials who left the Church and the diocese but continue to claim title and control of church property donated for the use of The Episcopal Church over the last 170 years.

More here-

Obamas go to church in Hawaii Marine base

From "The Underground"-

President Barack Obama and his family attended church last Sunday at a US Marines Corps base in Hawaii where the first family is spending the Christmas and New Year holidays.
This is the eighth public church attendance Obama has made since the start of his presidency in 2009, Fox News said. Obama, First Lady Michelle Obama, and daughters Sasha and Malia went to St. Michael church at 11:00 a.m. and sat at the front row pew, AFP reported.

Some 100 parishioners were at the church when the Obamas arrived, The New York Times said. The Christmas song, Joy to the World was being sung and churchgoers clapped when the first family walked in.

The chaplain expressed thanks for the presence of the Obamas, and delivered a Christmas sermon based on the biblical passages in Matthew 10:29-31, Fox News reported. Afterwards, the first family received communion.

The last time Obama attended church publicly was on September 19, when he went to Sunday service at St. John’s Episcopal Church near the White House. He is said to shy away from public church attendance due to heavy security precautions and so as not to inconvenience other worshippers, the AFP reported.

Instead, his spiritual regimen usually consists of praying with pastors over the phone and reading daily devotionals on his blackberry. He has also gone to private services in Camp David, Fox News said.

A poll this year indicated that some 18 percent of Americans believe Obama is Muslim, which Fox News said is up from preceding surveys. Obama has oftentimes clarified that he is Christian.

More here-

Baby Jesus stolen

From South Africa-

A Kalk Bay priest had to think quickly and alter his Christmas Eve sermon after a figurine of the baby Jesus was stolen from the church’s nativity scene.

The 30cm figure went missing from the Holy Trinity Anglican Church in Kalk Bay. The Reverend Canon Ronald Phillips said the empty crib was discovered just before the Christmas Eve service.

“About three hours before the service, we noticed that all the other figures were there, except the most important - the baby Jesus.”

But rather than panicking, Phillips used the figure’s absence as the central theme of his sermon.

He had told the congregation that Jesus’s absence did not mean a total absence - instead, he was “involved in the life of all the world”.

More here-

Learning from Cuba: Observations and reflections of my pilgrimage, part 3

From Minnesota-

Author's note: From November 27-December 4, 2010 I traveled (legally!) to Cuba as part of a 18-member delegation from St. Mark's Episcopal Cathedral in Minneapolis. We went to celebrate the installation of Griselda Delgado as the new Episcopalian Bishop of Cuba. As one of two non-Episcopalians on the trip, I felt thoroughly included and welcomed by both my fellow travelers and those we met in Cuba.

The Private-Public Conundrum

Our Cuban guide took us to a "private" family-owned restaurant for our supper on Monday evening. Located on the second floor of a building which was ostensibly their residence, I noticed the fancy woodwork design as we climbed the stairs. Named "La Gardenita" or Little Farmer, the décor of this restaurant and ambiance were noticeably different and the wait staff extremely welcoming and friendly in their cowboy hats and plunging necklines. The menu was impressive and the food presentation and quality was excellent.

Unlike the government-owned and run restaurants, this "palador" was an outgrowth of some limited private enterprise now allowed by the government since the Soviet largess dried up after the collapse of many communist economies and governments in 1989. I am a strong supporter of government programs for education, healthcare, social security, and a safety net for the poor -- all of which Cuba seems to do better than the US -- but it appears to me that there seems to allow little incentive in their economy for this kind of initiative. It was refreshing but it also caused me to wonder how far to let it progress lest it fester into the incredible gaps between the rich and the poor so evident in the US today. Tonight was a powerful argument in favor of a mixed economy that also allows room for private initiative and resourcefulness.

More here-

St. Matthew's recovers church bell

From Louisiana-

Construction workers recovered the bell from St. Matthew's Episcopal Church this morning.

Last week, church members and leaders were not sure if the bell would be successfully recovered. Still, when it was recovered this morning, the bell was fully intact.

Beulah Rodrigue, a eucharistic minister at the church and a member since 1947, said she used to ring the bell on many occasions.

“We rang a bell when people died, for every year they lived,” Rodrigue said.

Demolition of the church, destroyed by a fire on Nov. 11, began last week, following a prayer service.

An official cause for the fire has not been determined. Houma Fire Inspector Mike Millet said officials are still investigating. The Rev. Craig Dalferes said he heard the fire was electrical, though he said that wasn't official.

Demolition of the church will continue through the week.

More here-

Monday, December 27, 2010

Top 10 Vatican news stories from 2010

From Rome Reports with video (The formation of the ordinariate is #1)

ROME REPORTS has listed the ten most important news stories from the Vatican in 2010, with its short and long term impacts.

In tenth place is the establishment of a Pontifical Council for the New Evangelization. It is the Pope's reply to the decline in numbers of Christians in Europe and North America. He has also called a synod on the theme for the year 2012. (LINK HERE)

At number 9: The Pope formed a Vatican commission to investigate the alleged apparitions of the Virgin Mary in Medjugorje. Their work is being developed under the strictest of secrecy and their findings will only be given to the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith. (LINK HERE)

Number 8 is the appointment the now Cardinal Velasio De Paolis as the Pope's delegate to bring order to the Congregation of the Legionaries of Christ after the scandals committed by its founder. (LINK HERE)

The seventh story is the exposition of the Holy Shroud of Turin. Two million people visited the most important relic of the Catholic Church during the 44 days it was on display. (LINK HERE)

At number 6, the consistory to create 24 new cardinals. With them, the number of cardinals rises to 203, of which 121 have voting powers, only they could participate in an eventual conclave. (LINK HERE)

Fifth, the Synod of Bishops for the Middle East, during which the religious leaders from the Holy Land met with the Pope to study ways of stopping the exodus of Christians from the land where Jesus was born. (LINK HERE)

The fourth story is the book length interview with the Pope, “Light of the World,” (LIGHT OF WORLD LINK HERE) and the document “Verbum Domini” on the Bible. While the book shows the more personal side of the Pope and his opinion on current issues, in the “Verbum Domini” Benedict XVI writes about the topic he's most passionate about, the Holy Scripture. (VERBUM DOMINI LINK HERE)

More with the links is here-

Christians 'are denied human rights by our courts,' claim bishop and top judge

From The Daily Mail-

An Anglican bishop and Britain’s former top judge yesterday launched an impassioned defence of the rights of Christians in an increasingly secular society.

The Bishop of Winchester, the Rt Rev Michael Scott-Joynt, said judges wrongly discriminate against people of faith because they are ignorant of religious beliefs.

He said failure to support the beliefs of Christians and other religious people could drive them from their jobs and blamed the Human Rights Act for allowing them to be victimised.
The bishop was backed by ex-Lord Chief Justice Lord Woolf, who said the courts had gone ‘too far’ in restricting the rights of Christians in the workplace. He said it was ‘about time the tide turned’.

The two were speaking at the end of a year in which Christian relationship counsellor Gary McFarlane lost his appeal against dismissal after he refused to give sex therapy to a homosexual couple, and nurse Shirley Chaplin lost a discrimination case after she was moved to a back office job because she wore a crucifix.

During the General Election campaign, David Cameron promised to abolish the Human Rights Act and replace it with a British Bill of Rights, which would spell out rights and responsibilities based on British traditions.

Read more:

A Christmas tree experiment gone chemically wrong

From Maryland-

Richard Israel, an Annapolis alderman, historian and storyteller, remembers the year he had two Christmas trees.

It had to do with the fact that Israel's father, Floyd Israel, was a professional chemist.

It had to do with an experiment gone bad.

"I grew up in Hutchinson, Kansas, and we had had a fire in our house," Israel said. "It damaged the house, so we had to vacate, but we had moved back in, in time for Christmas. But it left my parents very fire conscious."

Israel said his family, despite the name, had always been Christian. In fact, his mother's family had been Presbyterians until the local Episcopal church started paying one of Richard Israel's ancestors a dime each week to sing in the choir because of his excellent voice. The family switched denominations.

Israel was an only child, and his parents always put up the Christmas tree on his birthday, Dec. 18.

This particular Christmas season was 1948, when Israel was 5 years old.

"My father decided to fire-proof the Christmas tree. He mixed up some concoction in his laboratory," Israel said.

More here-

'Dirt church' cleaned up in restoration

From South Carolina-

The Rev. Tom Allen might want to cringe when he hears some people describe his Episcopal Church building.

"A lot of people, they call our church 'the dirt church,' " he says. "Well, it's not really the dirt church. It's the brick church."

Forgive people if they don't get it just right. The Church of the Holy Cross is one of a kind among South Carolina churches.

That's because it's made of Pise de Terre, a fancy term for Its 2-foot-thick walls were erected in 1852 by using wooden forms to hold local clay as laborers, probably slaves, tamped it down with a special tool, forcing out the water.

Dr. W.W. Alexander, head of the church's 19th century building committee at the time, had been experimenting successfully with this construction method at his plantation home just across the highway.

He convinced his other committee members that using Pise de Terre would give them more church for the money.

Sunday, December 26, 2010

Anglican leader welcomes Britain's royal wedding

From England-

The Archbishop of Canterbury, leader of the world's Anglicans, welcomed the forthcoming wedding of Prince William and his girlfriend Kate Middleton in his Christmas Day sermon.

In extracts released ahead of his address at Canterbury Cathedral on Saturday morning, Rowan Williams urged people to embrace the meaning of the marriage next year of the second in line to the throne.

"Next year, we shall be joining in the celebration of what we hope will be a profoundly joyful event in the royal wedding," he said, according to extracts.

"It is certainly cause for celebration that any couple, let alone this particular couple, should want to embark on the adventure of Christian marriage, because any and every Christian marriage is a sign of hope, since it is a sign and sacrament of God's own committed love."

Perhaps in the coming year, he added, "we, as a society, might want to think through, carefully and imaginatively, why lifelong faithfulness and the mutual surrender of selfishness are such great gifts."

Prince William, 28, announced his engagement to long-term girlfriend Kate, also 28, last month after proposing during a holiday in Kenya in October. The wedding has been set for April 29 next year at Westminster Abbey.

More here-

Ghanaians urged to use Christmas to pursue peace

From Ghana-

The diocesan Bishop of the Cape Coast Anglican Cathedral, Right Reverend Daniel Sylvanus Allotey, on Christmas day, admonished Ghanaians to use the occasion to pursue peace at all times, because the birth of Jesus Christ signifies peace.

He said Jesus gave his life freely to mankind and therefore His followers must exhibit the same trait and love all people indiscriminately.
Bishop Allotey was delivering the sermon at the Christ Anglican Cathedral in Cape Coast, on Saturday.

He urged all, to solely depend on and seek God in all things, to enable them to succeed in life and also co-exist with their neighbours harmoniously.
At the Wesley Methodist Church, the Superintendent Minister, Very Reverend Ebenezer Abaka-Wilson noted that the purpose of the birth of Christ was to save mankind, adding that, his Kingdom is forever. He said Jesus Christ would deliver the lost soul out of darkness into light.

More here-

Mission to Haiti still fresh on mind of Glen Ellyn's Holding

From Illinois-

After surviving the 7.0 Haitian earthquake Jan. 12, Mallory Holding was still trying to get a handle on things when she returned home to Glen Ellyn that same week in January.

“It’s all just kind of processing,” Mallory, a 23-year-old Glen Ellyn resident, said in January. “Different parts of the day are better than others. It’s just kind of a process.”

Mallory’s family had not heard from her in the 24 hours following the earthquake. On Jan. 13, she was able to contact her mother, Suzi Holding. The conversation was short, but it assured her mother that Mallory was alive.

“All we really got yesterday was a very brief phone call,” said Suzi in January. “She was able to tell me that she was OK — that she was camped out.”

Mallory was in Haiti as part of the National Episcopalian Church’s Adult Services Corps. She worked specifically in an Episcopalian seminary, teaching English to seminarians and helping to secure funds, among other projects.

During the brief call with Suzi, Mallory told her mom she was with other seminarians. She also told her mother, a priest at St. Mark’s Episcopal Church in Glen Ellyn, to let the church know that another young man in her group was OK.

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The world thirsts for peace - Bishop Lungu

From Zimbabwe-

PEACE can only come when there is genuine reconciliation, says Bishop George Lungu.

Bishop Lungu, the Zambia Episcopal Conference president and Chipata Diocese head, said the world today thirsts for peace.

We need peace in our country; peace in our homes and peace in our communities, in our families, in our churches, in politics and peace in our hearts, said Bishop Lungu in his Christmas message on Thursday. When we reconcile with others we immediately experience peace in our hearts. It is this peace that we will bring to others in our families, homes, in our relationships, at our places of work and in our country.

He said people should be recipients of angelic blessing of peace by striving to be of goodwill towards others.

The heavenly choir together with the angel of God sang to the shepherd a hymn in praise of God and a wish of peace to people of goodwill. Why not be a recipient of this angelic blessing of peace by striving to be a person of goodwill towards others this Christmas, he said. Goodwill shown in the choice of words, actions and gestures we use in our homes, in our communities, at our places of work? I wish you all a Christmas celebration with Jesus. May Jesus and peace and reconciliation be born in our hearts and lives, that the world may believe that He, Jesus Christ, is our Saviour. He is the prince of peace and He is our salvation.

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