Saturday, January 15, 2011

Dissident Anglicans launch appeal

From Vancouver-

A group of dissidents who split from the Anglican Church of Canada over same-sex marriage blessings has appealed a court decision awarding their Vancouver-area houses of worship to the mainstream church.

Members of the breakaway Anglican Network in Canada (ANiC) filed an appeal Friday to the Supreme Court of Canada, after two lower courts ruled their churches-- St. John's, Church of the Good Shepherd, and St. Matthias and St. Luke's in Vancouver, as well as St. Matthews in Abbotsford -- belonged to the Anglican Church in Canada. The properties are worth more than $20 million combined.

Cheryl Chang, special counsel to the ANiC, said allotting the properties to the Diocese of New Westminster means they may sit empty or be vastly underused.

"The awarding of the properties to the ANiC congregations would mean that the original purposes of Anglican ministry would continue to be fulfilled in those church properties. In contrast, the diocese is in a process of closing and selling churches," Chang said Friday.

Diocese Bishop Michael Ingham issued a strongly worded statement Friday, urging members of the four congregations to stay in their beloved churches as he plans only to replace the dissident clergy.

Read more:

Ex-Anglican bishops ordained as Catholics

From The BBC-

Three former Anglican bishops, unhappy with the ordination of women, have been ordained as Roman Catholic priests at Westminster Cathedral.

Their ordination signals the inauguration of a special section of the Catholic Church for such Anglicans.

Keith Newton, Andrew Burnham and John Broadhurst will take up roles in the section known as the Ordinariate.

Father Newton has been chosen as leader of what is to be known as the Ordinariate of Our Lady of Walsingham.

The BBC's religious affairs correspondent Robert Pigott said this was a reference to a shrine in Norfolk, which is visited by both Anglicans and Catholics.

Other traditionalist Anglican clergy have spoken of their sadness and anger about the bishops' conversion.

More here-

Georgia Supreme Court to hear Christ Church case

From Georgia-

The Georgia Supreme Court agreed on Thursday to hear arguments in the ongoing property dispute pitting the Episcopal Diocese of Georgia against the breakaway Christ Church in Savannah.

The hearing will most likely take place April 4, 5 or 18, one of the only three days that month the court will hear oral arguments, according to Jane Hansen, court spokeswoman.

In August 2010, Christ Church in Savannah appealed to the state's highest court after losing its argument in Chatham County Superior Court and the State Court of Appeals.

The Supreme Court will examine whether the Court of Appeals was wrong in its application of "neutral principles of law" and interpretation of state codes when it ruled in favor of the Diocese of Georgia.

"We are gratified that the Supreme Court will hear our appeal," said David Reeves, governing board chairman of Christ Church, in a released statement.

"Since this case will have ramifications for all Georgia churches, regardless of denomination, we think it is appropriate for the highest court in our state to rule on these issues."

More here-

Grace Church offers shelter from the cold

From the diocese of Bethlehem-

A local church will provide temporary shelter to those in need on cold winter nights.

The Grace Episcopal Church, located at 827 Church St., Honesdale, will provide an emergency, temporary shelter, dubbed “Warmth in the Night.”

“We are beginning simply with warm bedding, a pot of soup and fellowship,” said Reverend Edward Erb, rector of the Grace Church.

The Church will be open from 7 p.m. until 7 a.m. to provide the emergency housing for the homeless and those at risk on winter nights when the temperature and/or wind chill factor falls below zero degrees Fahrenheit, Rev. Erb said.

Each patron will receive a cot and bedding, labeled with their name, to be re-used throughout the season. Toiletry items and supplies will be provided for the guests and a shower facility is in the works.

Rev. Erb said a simple meal of soup and bread, as well as cold and hot drinks, will be offered.

The Church will also provide social activities with a television, movies, games, and children’s activities.

More here-

Southerners in Khartoum describe unity vote as symbol of peace

From Sudan-

With south Sudan’s referendum on independence ending on Saturday, some of the southern Sudanese living in Khartoum say they do not see plausible reasons to break up the country, and describe voting for the unity of Sudan as symbol of peace and national integrity.

The seven day voting processes commenced on Sunday 9 and is expected to end on Saturday 15 January. The huge turnout in southern Sudan has been contrasted with a low turnout in the north. Very few southerners registered in northern Sudan to participate at the historical vote, only 116857 people registered in the whole north to vote in the referendum,

According to the figures published by the South Sudan Referendum Commission, there are 36736 people who registered in the three towns of Khartoum state, Omdurman 14667, Khartoum 11617 and Khartoum North 10452. In Haj Yousef voting center the turnout reached 67 percent (553 voters among 712 registered). This percentage is seen one of the highest in the capital.

More here-,37625

Friday, January 14, 2011

A Defensive Anchor Walks a Spiritual Path

From The New York Times-

Steelers safety Troy Polamalu opened his red leather-bound playbook to a dog-eared page. “The life of a man hangs by a hair,” he began reading in a voice as soft as falling snow. “At every step our life hangs in the balance.”

It was three days before the Steelers’ A.F.C. divisional playoff game against the Baltimore Ravens, a matchup in which the Super Bowl aspirations of two worthy contenders hang in the balance, and Polamalu was getting himself centered.

“How many millions of people woke up in the morning, never to see the evening?” Polamalu read. And then: “The life of a man is a dream. In a dream, one sees things that do not exist; he might see that he is crowned a king, but when he wakes up, he sees that in reality he is just a pauper.”

More here-

Nigeria bishops: "We are in a deadly struggle for the soul and survival of our nation"

From Nigeria-

The House of Bishops of the Church of Nigeria (Anglican Communion) met under the guidance of the Holy Spirit and the leadership of the Most Rev. Nicholas D. Okoh, Archbishop, Metropolitan and Primate of All Nigeria for our annual retreat at the Ibru Centre, Agbarha-Otor, Delta State, from January 3rd-9th, 2011. 158 bishops were present. We were blessed by the opportunity to spend time together for prayer, worship and teaching at this beginning of a New Year filled with opportunities and challenges.

The theme of our retreat was ‘A Living Sacrifice’ (Romans 12:1). The Bible studies, led by Bishop Zac Niringiye from the Anglican Church of Uganda, and the various teaching sessions all emphasized the critical importance of surrendering ourselves fully to God’s will and purpose if we are to show the world the power of transformed and dedicated men and women of God. We were challenged to see that so often our failure to live a sacrificial life robs the world of the witness and presence of a church that is able to offer genuine hope to people who are desperately in need of such a testimony. We were reminded again that the Gospel of Jesus Christ is a total commitment and affects every aspect of our daily lives including our marriages and families, our stewardship of the resources entrusted to us, and our attitude towards those in authority and those who are in need.

Meeting together as bishops of the Church of Nigeria in Delta State during the rerun of the contested election for Governor of the State we were very conscious of living at a time of great tension in our nation. The ability to conduct a free and fair election, an essential and necessary condition for the future of democracy in our nation, has been seriously compromised by the breakdown in basic security on the roads and in our communities. We are concerned that those who have no credible or hopeful project for our beloved nation may have engineered this breakdown and we urge Federal and State officials to be on ‘red alert’ and be in firm control to ensure a peaceful transition.

More here-

Online Magazine Following Birth of 1st Ordinariate

From Catholic-net-

Today, former Anglican Bishops Andrew Burnham, John Broadhurst and Keith Newton became Catholic deacons, and on Saturday they will be ordained Catholic priests.

The first "personal ordinariate" is being born, though its official birth awaits a decree from the Congregation of the Doctrine of the Faith and the Holy Father's naming of an ordinary.

The possibility of this ecclesiastical structure is outlined in "Anglicanorum Coetibus." It is designed for groups of Anglicans and Anglican pastors who wish to be received into full communion with the Catholic Church. It is expected that further ordinariates will be established around the world to respond to the desire of those Anglican communities who also seek full communion with the Catholic Church.

A free monthly online magazine is following the birth of this first ordinariate.

Titled The Portal, the magazine will be published on the first of each month, and is designed for those in the U.K. ordinariate, those Anglicans who are interested in the ordinariate, and all Catholic friends of the ordinariate. It is receiving financial support from The Catholic League and Cost of Conscience, and it defines itself as "an independent review in the service of the ordinariate."

More here-

God’s Mission is the Eucharist

From The Living Church-

Anyone surveying the various addresses by bishops to their respective diocesan conventions, or the rhetoric employed in all sorts of ecclesiastical conferences and meetings, would be hard pressed to avoid coming upon the phrase “God’s mission.” The currency of this phrase is customarily used to purchase a rationale for the existence and purpose of the Church. For example, one will read or hear that the Church exists for God’s mission rather than for its own sake.

This emphasis is often coupled with the effort to redirect our attention away from the inner life of the Church and toward its engagement with the world. The appeal is made to stop arguing about all the contentious issues facing the Church (usually made by apologists for the contentious acts) and get on with God’s mission in the world. Such a church, the one defined by its going into the community and the world on God’s mission, is declared “missional.”

“Missional” is the adjective of approval; it is how we separate the sheep from the goats. Being missional is the way forward, the way we leave behind all those difficult disagreements with their reliance on doctrine, on the substance and authority of belief. If we could just get out there doing what we are supposed to be doing, while equipped with all the demographic studies on what baby boomers really want and what generations X and Y like and dislike, and with the imprimatur of the United Nations’ Millennium Development Goals, everything will be fine.

More here-

Young not eager to be ‘Evangelical’

From The Church Times-

CHRISTIANS under the age of 25 are less likely to identify themselves as Evangelicals, even if they worship at Evangelical churches, a new report by the Evangelical Alliance (EA) suggests.
The report 21st Century Evangelicals: A snapshot of the beliefs and habits of Evangelical Christians in the UK, published by the EA and Christian Research, is based on the views of more than 17,000 people who completed questionnaires at Evangelical festivals and at churches affiliated to the EA during 2010.

Sixty-seven per cent of those surveyed aged between 16 and 24 considered themselves to be “Evangelical Christians”. This percentage increased with the age range: 87 per cent of those aged over 65 described themselves as Evangelical.

“These results could simply reveal that younger people are rejecting the name ‘Evangelical’, or that Christians start referring to themselves as ‘Evangelical Christians’ later in life,” the report states.

Andy Frost, the director of Share Jesus International, is quoted as saying that younger people “don’t understand party lines and church squabbles”, and that, for them, “the word ‘Evangelical’ has been tarnished by American political agendas.

“This generation simply want to get the job done. Evangelicalism needs to be redefined for them as Grace and Truth,” he said.

Laurel churches' Winter Haven program provides for homeless

From Washington DC-

For many Laurel congregations, the season of giving doesn't start and stop at Christmas.

Since November, 21 congregations have been providing shelter, food and transportation for local homeless people through a program called Winter Haven. And this year the program, which runs through March, also has garnered support from the area's business community.

On Jan. 5, St. Philip's Episcopal Church - where the program began in 1991 - had help from Laurel's Business Network International chapter, a coalition of business people who provide client referral services to each other.

"I once said to some of the guys, 'When you're driving down Route 1 to one of our meetings, you're passing by homeless people, whether you believe it or not,' " said Nancy Taylor, a St. Philip's parishioner and BNI member who runs Wizard Works, a corporate and personal coaching organization in Laurel.

More here-

Local church extends helping hand to neighboring church during a tough time

From Louisiana-

The Rev. Rich Rudnik credits a text message and past history for setting the stage for Grace Lutheran Church to become St. Matthew’s Episcopal Church’s new home following a devastating fire Nov. 11 at the former church’s site, 243 Barrow St., Houma.

“One of our members sent me a text the morning of the fire and immediately asked me if their members could use our church,” Rudnik said. “We probably would have done that anyway, but it definitely helped (with the decision) when I got flooded with members requesting we let them come here to worship.”

Although he’s only been pastoring at the church since 2007, Rudnik was told the stories of how gracious St. Matthew’s was to Grace Lutheran from 1983 to 1984 when the Valhi Street church was being constructed.

Rudnik said the officials at St. Matthew’s opened their doors to members of Grace Lutheran.

More here-

Episcopal Relief & Development welcomes four new board members

From ENS-

In early January, Episcopal Relief & Development welcomed four new members to its board of directors: Rochester Bishop Prince G. Singh, Constance R. Perry, Josephine H. Hicks and Mr. Daniel McNeel "Neel" Lane, according to a Jan. 13 press release.

"We are privileged to have such committed, faithful people willing to serve on our board," said Diocese of Colorado Bishop Robert J. O'Neill, chair of the board of Episcopal Relief & Development, in the release. "We are especially blessed in the diversity of experience and background of these new members. I am very much looking forward to working with these talented individuals as we seek to serve our mission in the world."
The incoming members have been elected to three-year terms, which may be renewed once, the release said.

"We are excited to welcome these new members to our board," said Rob Radtke, president of Episcopal Relief & Development, in the release. "Their unique gifts and insights will help our organization to continue to grow and expand, building upon the good work that has already been done."

Singh is bishop of the Diocese of Rochester. Ordained in India, Singh co-founded the Dalit Solidarity Foundation while serving in the Diocese of Newark. He holds several post-graduate degrees from seminaries and universities in the United States, including a Ph.D. in religion and society from Drew University in New Jersey. He is a member of Bishops Working for a Just World and the Standing Commission on Social Justice and Public Policy.

More here-

Thursday, January 13, 2011

British legal system discriminates against Christians: top UK judge and Anglican bishop

From England-

An Anglican bishop and a retired Law Lord have commented that the British legal culture now systematically discriminates against Christians and said that the “tide has to turn.”

The Anglican bishop of Winchester, the Rt. Rev. Michael Scott-Joynt, blamed general religious illiteracy and the Human Rights Act 1998, passed by Tony Blair’s Labour government, for Christians being marginalized by the courts.

The bishop was speaking of the case of a Christian relationship counselor, Gary McFarlane, who was fired in 2008 after he told his employers that he could not in conscience counsel same-sex partners. McFarlane had challenged the dismissal in the Court of Appeal, arguing that attempts to force him to contradict his beliefs constituted religious discrimination. Lord Justice Laws dismissed case, saying that any attempt to seek protection for religious beliefs under the law is “irrational” and “capricious.” Laws claimed that doing so could set Britain on the road to becoming a “theocracy.”

Scott-Joynt told the BBC that the case shows that “for the first time in our history there is a widespread lack of religious literacy among those who one way and another hold power and influence, whether it’s Parliament or the media or even, dare I say it, in the judiciary.”

More here-

Andrew Burnham interview: Full transcript

From Catholic Herald-

On the Feast of the Epiphany, the former Anglican Bishop of Ebbsfleet Andrew Burnham spoke to me about his journey towards an ordinariate. He had only just been received into the Church. Today he will be ordained to the diaconate and on Saturday, he is ordained a priest. What follows is the full text of my interview with him over lunch at Brown’s, near the Oxford Oratory.

I see from your scarf that you were at New College?…

I was at New College from 1966 to 1971.

I read music from 1966 to 1969. The story is that when I was at school I already was going to be a priest but I didn’t know whether I was going to read music or theology. And I thought if I read music first they will pay for me to read theology, whereas if I read theology first, nobody would pay for me to do music. (In those days people would pay for whatever you did).

So I did music from 1966 to 1969 and then from 1969 to 1971 I did theology with a view of moving to theological college for two years and then becoming a clergyman. It all went hideously wrong, because as soon as I started reading theology I stopped believing it. It was the end of the 1960s, the end of a time of theological demolition. I thought to myself, it would be ever so nice if this stuff were true but it’s not and what do I do about it? So I went to see my tutor who said: “If I were you, having started, I would finish the degree, and then go off and be a teacher.” Which I did, very badly. I got yet another award from the local authority and went to Westminster College and did my teaching diploma, my PGCE. I was then head-hunted, as you were in those days, to be head of music at a Nottingham grammar school.

More here-

Father Cutie talks about his new book

From Fox (with video)

Caught between faith and confronted with true love, Miami's Father Alberto Cutie was fighting an inner battle that he wasn't winning when photos were snapped of him kissing a woman in his parish a couple of years ago on a Miami beach.

Since then Father Cutie left the Catholic Church, has married, become a father and is now an Episcopal priest. He's telling his story in his new book called "Dilemma."

Father Cutie joined us on Good Day Wednesday to tell us about it.

More here-

The Most Effective Help For Haiti -- The Church

From Huffington- Pierre and I were ordained together.

Why bother with Haiti? There has been a lot of exasperation expressed that "nothing has changed in Haiti" since the earthquake a year ago. There is talk of God's punishment for "devil worship," of the bitter fruits of failed socialism, of the inability of former slaves to govern themselves effectively. Money given for Haiti is just "poured down a rat hole." In other words, let's blame the victims for their predicament and leave them in it. They brought it on themselves. What's it got to do with us?

When Hurricane Katrina devastated the Gulf Coast, there was a tremendous response from Americans and people across the globe. Even in the world's richest country, it will still require a long time before that one storm's damage will be completely effaced.

Contrary to media reports, a lot has changed in Haiti. For one thing, the dire predictions in January 2010 of massacres, civil war, massive epidemics, etc., have not materialized because of the efforts of many people, beginning with the Haitians themselves. We should not expect the much greater devastation in Haiti, one of the world's poorest countries, to be rebuilt any faster. At best, it will be many years before Haiti will be back on its feet.

More here-

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Tutu receives top accolade amid controversy

From South Africa-

Archbishop Emeritus Desmond Tutu has drawn both praise and criticism this week.

He was honoured by FIFA but slammed as anti-Semitic by hundreds of people.

Over 300 activists have now signed a petition calling for him to be axed as patron of the holocaust centres in Johannesburg and Cape Town.

The signatories come from the United States, the United Kingdom, New Zealand, Germany, Canada and South Africa and have cited Tutu’s numerous anti-Semitic and anti-Israel sentiments.

The news came days after the cleric was given the prestigious FIFA Presidential Award for his role in the 2010 FIFA World Cup’s success.

More here-

Church of England braced for wave of defections to Catholic Church

From London Telegraph-

John Broadhurst, Andrew Burnham and Keith Newton will be ordained into the priesthood at Westminster Cathedral on Saturday, it was announced yesterday.

The Ordinariate, the group for disaffected Anglican priests and their congregations who seek full communion in the Catholic Church, will also take in its first members.

It is thought that up to 50 Anglican priests and up to 600 worshippers will convert to Catholicism due to their opposition over moves to ordain women bishops in the Church of England.

The Archbishop of Westminster, the Most Rev Vincent Nichols, said: “This is a unique moment and the Catholic community in England and Wales is privileged to be playing its part in this historic development in the life of the Universal Church.

“We offer a warm welcome to these three former bishops of the Church of England. We welcome those who wish to join them in full communion with the Pope in the visible unity of the Catholic Church.”

More here-

U.S. allies keep close watch on Sudan independence vote

From The Christian Century-

The people of south Sudan are voting this week on whether to split Africa's largest country in two and form the world's newest nation, or to reunite with their neighbors in the north.

The seven-day referendum, which started Sunday (Jan. 9), was part of the January 2005 Comprehensive Peace Agreement that ended 22 years of civil war between the largely Muslim north and Christian south, and gave the south autonomy leading up to the election.

Monitoring the referendum closely, from 7,000 miles away, are members of the Episcopal Diocese of Missouri, who have had a "companion relationship" with the Episcopal Diocese of Lui in southern Sudan since 2006.

"The main point, theologically, is the relationship itself," said Debra Smith, the Missouri diocese's representative of the American Friends of the Episcopal Church of Sudan and wife of Missouri Bishop George Wayne Smith.

"The church is the body of Christ, and each church is part of that body. To get to know someone from a different culture who shares the same beliefs and liturgical practices is mind-broadening and spiritually invigorating."

Southern Sudan is one of the poorest, most isolated places on the planet. The civil war cost more than 2 million lives, and today millions more are dependent on food aid, according to the International Rescue Committee. Decades of war and violence have left the region's economic and social infrastructure in ruins.

More here-

Alabama Episcopal Church medical team serves Haitians during quake anniversary

From ENS-

Two days before the first anniversary of the Jan. 12, 2010 earthquake that devastated vast portions of Haiti, young children were making music in the ruins of the Holy Trinity Cathedral in the capital of Port-au-Prince.

The sight and sound of students of the Diocese of Haiti's Holy Trinity Music School practicing under the open-air shelter that now serves as the cathedral nave was "very encouraging," the Rev. Deacon Dave Drachlis of the Diocese of Alabama told Episcopal News Service in a telephone interview Jan. 10.

The effort is part of Alabama's five-year companion-diocese relationship with the Diocese of Haiti. The relationship is focused on St. Simeon parish. The Diocese of Alabama sent six medical mission teams to Haiti during 2010 along with relief funds and supplies.

Drachlis recalled that he, Dr. Robert Serio and Dr. Don Evans were last in Haiti this past February when a strong aftershock severely damaged what then remained of the cathedral school complex.

More here-

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

The Dubliners

From The Living Church-

James Joyce’s volume of short stories entitled The Dubliners could be interesting reading for the primates when they meet in Dublin, January 25-31. These stories, set in a time of Irish crisis, feature moments of illumination which give new insight into familiar issues of life. In mutated form they are already being told prophetically about the course of this Dublin Primates’ Meeting.

One predictive story of the Primates’ Meeting goes like this: it is a very, very important meeting. Here would be present the titular heads of the member churches of the Communion. But they are not all coming; and if they did, they would not share the Eucharist together. No communion must therefore mean no Communion: the end is nigh. Accordingly, this boycotted meeting, so the prognosis goes, will be the effective ending of the Communion as we know it, the historical moment when Anglicans recognize that all is not well and never will be well again. In this case there will be a terrific fight to win the battle to determine who has been the culprit: TEC or GAFCON? North America or the Global South? Or will fingers point to Archbishop Rowan Williams, the man who would not disinvite Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori? Or, perhaps, to the Presiding Bishop herself, who knows that not going to Dublin would potentially be a fruitful decision for the health of the Communion.

A second narrative comes from a vigorous chorus of voices which say that the meeting is not important, just a clearing house of ideas and feelings. And the primates are, well, a little pompous as they presume prelatial privilege — maybe even an Anglo-papal power which they simply do not have. Real Anglican power lies with the people: synods, conventions and the Anglican Consultative Council count; pontificating primates do not!

More here-

Sudan: Press Release on Southern Sudan Referendum Process

From Sudan-

The Southern Sudan Referendum Ecumenical Observation Group comprising accredited international and domestic observers representing the All Africa Conference of Churches (AACC), the Association of Member Episcopal Conferences of Eastern Africa (AMECEA), the Sudan Council of Churches (SCC), the Symposium of Episcopal Conferences of Africa and Madagascar (SECAM) and the World Council of Churches (WCC) wish to express solidarity with the people of Sudan in general and the people of Southern Sudan in particular at this momentous occasion when the people of Southern Sudan are preparing to cast their vote in the referendum on self-determination on 9 January, 2011.

The holding of the referendum on 9 January, 2011 will mark a watershed in the implementation of the Comprehensive Peace Agreement (CPA) which was signed in Nairobi, Kenya on 9 January, 2005 between the Government of the Republic of the Sudan and the Sudan People’s Liberation Movement/Sudan People’s Liberation Army (SPLM/A) and witnessed by representatives of many countries and organizations including the United Nations and the African Union. The Group has deployed about 87 international observers drawn from Africa, Western Europe and North America and 232 domestic observers in various parts of Sudan and in Egypt, Ethiopia, Kenya and Uganda.

More here-

Episcopal Relief & Development Releases One-Year Haiti Report

From Relief web-

On January 12, 2010, a devastating earthquake hit Haiti, leveling scores of buildings and claiming over 217,000 lives. At the center of major relief efforts was the Episcopal Diocese of Haiti, the largest diocese of The Episcopal Church, and long-term partner of Episcopal Relief & Development. Led by the Rt. Rev. Jean Zaché Duracin, the Haitian Church has long provided programs and basic services in communities throughout the country. The Church in Haiti has a network of relationships that were essential to the rapid delivery of assistance and supplies after the earthquake.

In memory of lives lost and in honor of the ongoing work in Haiti, Episcopal Relief & Development is releasing a report outlining the accomplishments of the past year. Through the generosity of donors worldwide and in partnership with the Diocese of Haiti and its relief and development arm, CEDDISEC (Centre Diocésain de Développement Intégré et de Secours), Episcopal Relief & Development has supported a wide variety of locally-led, community-based recovery projects.

"The Church of Haiti has been a key leader in the earthquake response," said Rob Radtke, President of Episcopal Relief & Development. "Bishop Duracin and dedicated members of the diocese have been working since the very early stages of rescue efforts to meet the needs of people who had lost everything. Now they are overseeing projects that are benefiting thousands of people. It has been a difficult year, and though there is still much to be done, there has been great progress."

More here-

Monday, January 10, 2011

Anglican meeting to go ahead despite boycott

From Ireland-

There are no plans to cancel the meeting of Anglican Church leaders in Dublin this month, despite a boycott by up to a quarter of the primates, a senior Anglican has confirmed.

Up to ten of the leaders of the Anglican Communion’s 38 provinces have said they won’t attend the biennial meeting because of the presence of Katharine Jefferts-Schori, the presiding bishop of the Episcopalian Church of the United States and a supporter of gay bishops and same-sex marriage.

The Church of England newspaper had reported that the head of the Anglican Communion, Archbishop Rowan Williams of Canterbury, was considering scrapping the event because of the proposed boycott.

But a Church spokesman said the story was inaccurate and that the secretary-general of the communion, Canon Kenneth Kearon, was adamant that there were never any plans to cancel the meeting.

The newspaper reported that Williams had suggested that, given the ‘‘number of difficult conversations’’ he’d had with some primates and the boycott threat, separate group sessions might be more appropriate.

But Kearon - a member of the Church of Ireland - told The Sunday Business Post: ‘‘The meeting will definitely go ahead.

More here-

Sudan referendum success

From ENS

Few generations have the chance to shape the future of their people in such a dramatic way as the people of southern Sudan do today. Few people get to witness the birth of a new nation. And few nations divide in peace. The success of today's voting is a sign that all of this is happening in Sudan right now.

Thousands of people were already lined up at every polling station around Juba when the voting opened this morning at 8 a.m. Throughout the day long lines persisted, as people cast their votes. Despite the crowds and long waits, the people were patient and joyful. People congratulated each other as they voted. There was a general feeling of solemnity in the air, a state of awe at the historic event we were witnessing and participating in. It is hard to describe the intensity of the overarching feeling of joy and pride that pervaded Juba today.

The Catholic and Episcopal archbishops went together to vote, with a delegation of observers including Muslim and Christian leaders from different parts of Africa. They arrived to great applause by the people waiting in line at the polling station. International and domestic observers came and went as we were at the polling station. Jimmy and Rosalynn Carter were among the international observers who came by. Jimmy Carter greeted the archbishops, and all the people gathered there. He thanked the other observers for their presence, and encouraged the voters with confident words and a glowing smile. He spent a few minutes speaking with the archbishops about their experience of the vote, and telling them about his own commitment as a Christian.

More here-

Boar’s Head Festival marks 50th anniversary

From Youngstown-

Every year, the Boar’s Head and Yule Log Festival gives participants a total immersion into the rich traditions of early Christianity and of the Medieval and Renaissance periods.

Featuring Medieval and Renaissance music and traditional Christmas and Epiphany hymns, Sunday’s performances marked the 50th anniversary of the festival at St. John’s Episcopal Church.

Early in the service, the Brier Hill Pipes and Drums played and marched into the church with the beefeaters, who wore the famous Tower of London ceremonial guards’ attire.

After the lights dimmed inside the packed 110-year-old Norman Gothic church, a tiny sprite skipped 100 yards from the front door to the high altar, jingling bells on her slippers and carrying a lighted candle symbolizing “the light of the world.”

A colorful procession of parishioners and others wearing elaborate and historically authentic costumes followed, featuring pipers, drummers, beefeaters, waits, lords and ladies, King Wenceslas, woodmen, shepherds and the Three Wise Men.

More here-

Chicago Episcopalians pray for peace in Sudan

From Chicago-

As the first southern Sudanese flocked to the polls Sunday to determine whether to secede from the north, hundreds of Episcopalians in a time zone nine hours behind them gathered for vigils in Chicago parishes to pray for the safety of their brothers and sisters during the historic vote.

Should southerners choose independence in the weeklong referendum, millions of refugees from the north are expected to pass through the border town of Renk, where the Episcopal Diocese of Chicago is largely responsible for progress.

"For us this vigil is really praying not just for our partner parish and their safety, but their lives may be changed ... for the good," said the Rev. Shawn Schreiner, rector of Grace Episcopal Church in Oak Park, where parishioners gathered late Saturday before polls opened. "There could be an amazing grace that comes out of all of this."

More here-

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Sunday, January 9, 2011

Anglicans heading to Rome told they can't stay in their churches

From The London Telegraph-

They have worshipped together for decades on the pews of their parish church. Generations of their loved ones have been baptised, married and buried there.

But now a Church of England congregation is being torn apart by the Pope's offer to welcome disaffected Anglican traditionalists into the Catholic Church.

In a vote which has split the local community and left long-standing friends on opposite sides of a growing divide, 54 parishioners at St Barnabas Tunbridge Wells have indicated that they intended to become Catholics while 18 said they would remain in the established Church.

While the Kentish churchgoers are among the first to take such a stand, congregations up and down the country will soon follow suit as worshippers and clergy weigh up whether to enter the Ordinariate, the structure set up by Pope Benedict XVI to embrace defectors from the established Church.

At St Barnabas the move towards Rome is being led by the vicar, Fr Ed Tomlinson. He believes that traditionalists who oppose the ordination of women have been badly let down by Church leaders.

But he has been told by the diocese of Rochester that if he and his followers leave the Church of England they will no longer be allowed to hold services, even on a shared basis, at St Barnabas - a nineteenth-century red-brick church where Siegfried Sassoon, the First World War poet, was baptised.

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Wisconsinites still aiding beleaguered Haiti, chronicling quake's aftermath

From Wisconsin-

Bill Nathan had gone up to the roof of the St. Joseph's Home for Boys in Port-au-Prince, to ring the bell for evening prayers, as he did daily. But on this day, Nathan says, he "felt the call" not to ring the bell, so he didn't.

Then the earth began to shake and the building collapsed, launching Nathan, the home's director, into a 75-foot fall, bouncing on the way down off a tin roof that probably saved his life. He landed on his back, breaking ribs and cracking vertebrae, but he survived.

Two floors below, three Lutheran ministry students were playing cards in a room where boys in the home's touring dance troupe rehearsed. The three were in Haiti to give theology instruction to pastors and lay members of the Lutheran Church of Haiti. They were staying in the home's guest house and planning to leave for the countryside the next day.

When the building began to shake, Renee and Jonathan Larson were able to escape without serious injury, but Ben Larson - Renee's husband and Jonathan's cousin - was not.

In the chaos of the massive earthquake that reduced much of Haiti's capital to rubble a year ago, claiming more than 200,000 lives, the story of what happened at St. Joseph's might have held the most significance for people in Wisconsin.

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Maryland Episcopalians say goodbye to retiring bishop

From Maryland-

As he stood at the altar of the Episcopal Cathedral of the Incarnation, Bishop John L. Rabb choked up, then dabbed at tears with his handkerchief.

A hymn-filled service Saturday at the North Baltimore cathedral marked Rabb's retirement after more than a decade as bishop suffragan of the Episcopal Diocese of Maryland. In that role, Rabb has been one of the top leaders in the diocese, overseeing ordination of clergy and education.

As visiting and retired bishops, clergy and parishioners from all over Maryland jammed the church on University Parkway, Rabb gave up the responsibilities of his office in a ceremonial handing over of his diocesan crozier, or staff, to Bishop Eugene Taylor Sutton, Episcopal bishop of Maryland. Rabb's official resignation took effect Jan. 1.

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