Friday, January 28, 2011

First Japanese Anglican priest converts to Catholicism

From Catholic News Asia-

Father Satoru Kato, 56, until recently an Anglican priest working in England, is set to enter full communion with the Catholic Church and be ordained a Catholic priest. (

According to Father Hiroshi Oka of the Saitama diocese, who has been helping coordinate the convert’s entry into that diocese, once he is ordained Kato will work at a welfare institute and parishes as an assistant priest in Gunma Prefecture. Since Christmas, he has been doing interim work in Gunma.

Since Kato is married, Oka began to educate lay Catholics last December, explaining that priests are frequently married in Eastern Rite communities of the Catholic Church. “At first, there was a general feeling of displeasure among the laity,” Oka explained, “but I think that has mostly dissipated.”

Kato, who studied Buddhism in Japan, was baptized in a Protestant Church, but received instruction about liturgy from a Jesuit priest.

More here-

Primates depleted as Dublin summit kicks off

From The Church Times-

MORE than one third of the provinces of the Anglican Communion are not represented at the Primates’ Meeting in Dublin, it was confirmed on Wednesday, as the summit got under way.

An official list showed that 22 of the possible 38 Primates arrived in Dublin; 15 were absent. In addition, the Province of Central Africa, where there is currently a vacancy, is being represented by its Dean; and the Archbishop of York is also attending, to allow the Archbishop of Canterbury to preside at the meeting.

As expected, a significant number of Global South Primates have boycotted the summit, although the Anglican Communion News Service said that just seven had stayed away because of “recent developments in the Episcopal Church”, namely its policy of ordaining gay bishops and allowing same-sex blessings.

These are the Primates of the Indian Ocean, Jerusalem and the Middle East, Nigeria, Uganda, South East Asia, the Southern Cone, and West Africa.

Of the eight other absent Primates, the Primate of Congo was unable to attend because of visa difficulties, while the Primates of Mexico and Myanmar could not attend owing to health reasons. The Primates of Kenya and North India were absent because of “diary commitments”; while the Primate of Tanzania was not attending for “personal reasons”.

The last two absentees cited “provincial matters”: the Primate of Sudan because of the recent ref­erendum in his country, and the Primate of Rwanda, who was in stalled only on Sunday.
Among the Primates in attend ance, the Primate of Brazil, the Most Revd Mauricio Andrade, said that he was looking forward to a positive meeting, and that it was important that “dialogue continues between the different parts of the Anglican Communion”.

The secretary-general of the Angl ican Communion, Canon Kenneth Kearon, said that it was “regrettable when a Primate is unable attend, because it means that that particular perspective is not rep resented, but it is ultimately the decision of each individual Primate in consultation with their province”.

More here-

Homeless advocate with the unforgettable name is retiring

From Dallas-

The homeless simply know her as “Rev. Bubba.”

The Rev. Beulah Dailey started helping the homeless decades ago by delivering blankets under bridges.

And now, the Episcopal priest with the unforgettable nickname plans to retire after working for 28 years at the Austin Street Centre. Dailey, the Dallas shelter’s executive director since 1998, plans to step down in October.

The leader is well-known for her work running the shelter with her husband, the Rev. Harry Dailey, co-director. The couple met when Harry was homeless and came to the shelter for help. He later was ordained.

Austin Street has grown from an emergency shelter to a campus that includes transitional housing, a non-denominational chapel, thrift store and a program to help people prepare to find jobs.

Austin Street’s board of trustees will begin a national search for Rev. Bubba Dailey’s replacement.

“It is time to begin a new chapter in my life,” she said. “More than 400 men, women and children find shelter here each day. It has been an honor for me to know these souls and to provide a place of solace to them. I am very grateful for having the opportunity to do what I was absolutely born to do, to care for the least of these.”

Austin Street is one of 24 nonprofits that receive donations through The Dallas Morning News Charities program. The charities ( solicits donations through Jan. 31.

More here-

Soup from secret recipe raises thousands to aid indigents

From South Carolina-

Every chair in the fellowship hall of Grace Episcopal Church was full Thursday as the congregation hosted its 41st soup luncheon, which this year will help fund medical care for some of Anderson’s poorest families.

Dena Cullen, who took over planning for the luncheon two years ago, walked — and sometimes ran — from the kitchen to the backup dining room in the church’s parlor and down the hall to a classroom where volunteers packaged soup lunches to go.

Cullen said about 400 tickets for the $7 meals sold in advance and dozens more were selling at the door as the church opened its doors at 11:30 a.m. About 100 gallons of soup for the lunch was donated by individual church members who made a batch (or three) at home and brought it in to be mixed together for the fundraiser.

Grace Episcopal has about 300 members total.

“It is all hands on deck for this fundraiser,” Cullen said.

More here-

Episcopal meeting to draw thousands

From Mississippi-

More than 4,000 people are expected to attend the 184th annual Council of the Episcopal Diocese of Mississippi meeting this weekend at the Jackson Convention Complex.

Some have deemed it the largest gathering of Mississippi Episcopalians in recent history.

"It will be a large gathering for a particularly small denomination," said the Rt. Rev. Duncan M. Gray III, bishop of the Episcopal Diocese of Mississippi.

The event theme is "The Spirit of Mission."

This is the first time the council meeting has been held in Jackson since Gray was elected bishop 11 years ago. It moved around the state through Natchez, Vicksburg, Tupelo and Southaven.

"We have been waiting for a facility that could hold us," he said.

This year, Gray will ask clergy to reflect on the state's upcoming civil rights movement anniversaries, beginning with Mississippi's 50th anniversary Freedom Riders event set for May.

Other upcoming anniversaries include James Meredith's tumultuous enrollment at the University of Mississippi in 1962; Medgar Evers assassination in 1963; and Freedom Summer - a campaign launched in 1964 to register African-American voters in Mississippi.

More here-

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Ex-church clerk accused of writing $129,000 in checks to herself to be arraigned Friday

From LA Times-

A former bookkeeper accused of stealing $129,000 from St. Paul’s Episcopal Church in Tustin by writing 154 checks to herself is scheduled to be arraigned Friday in Santa Ana.

Elyse Marie Kennedy, 37, of Santa Ana, is charged with 154 counts of forgery with sentence enhancements and allegations for aggravated white-collar crime, said Sean O’Brien, an Orange County deputy district attorney.

If convicted Kennedy, could face up to 107 years in state prison. Each forgery count carries a maximum three-year sentence, O’Brien said.

Kennedy is being held in lieu of $30,000 bail, and her arraignment is scheduled for 9 a.m. Friday in Santa Ana.

Kennedy, who was in charge of St. Paul’s money accounts and financial records from 2007 to 2009, is accused of stealing the money by writing the checks to herself from the church’s bank accounts without knowledge or consent of church authorities, officials said.

In January 2009, a church employee who went to work early allegedly saw Kennedy leaving and discovered that the church's financial records were missing, O’Brien said. Kennedy later failed to show up to work, and church officials learned that funds had been withdrawn from its bank account, he said.

More here-

New Church Investment Group to form equity fund for endowments, foundations

From Episcopal Life-

The creation of a new independent investment fund aimed at growing resources for the mission of Episcopal churches was announced Jan. 21 at the inaugural board meeting of the Church Investment Group (CIG).

The meeting, which brought together bishops, clergy, and laypeople with significant investment management experience, represents a new milestone in stewardship of church resources by Episcopalians.

"Forming a private equity fund to benefit the mission of the church is something many people have wanted to do for a very long time," said David R. Pitts of Baton Rouge, Louisiana, founding chairman of the CIG board.

"By pooling their investments, dioceses and parishes with endowment and reserve funds will gain increased access to more areas of the market and, potentially, returns that can be significantly larger," Pitts said. "Ultimately, this effort should make considerably more money available for the church's mission."

Immediate past chairman of the board of the Church Pension Group, Pitts is a longtime national lay leader in numerous Episcopal ministries, including the Episcopal Church Medical Trust board and Episcopal Relief & Development. He is chairman and CEO of Pitts Management Associates, Inc.

The inaugural meeting, seen as a major step forward, was hosted by Diocese of Atlanta Bishop J. Neil Alexander, who will serve as the CIG's vice chair. He has been part of an advisory group gathered in early 2009 by Susan Lee Vick of the Diocese of Northern California.

More here-

Anglican Leaders Begin Talks amid Dissent

From Christian Post-

Not in attendance are about a third of the 39 primates – senior bishops or archbishops – many of whom are choosing to stay away because they feel it would be a waste of time.

Just days before the Primates Meeting, Archbishop Mouneer Hanna Anis of the Middle East said he believes the global gatherings are "manipulated" and "orchestrated."

"I felt now that it's a waste of time when you go to a place where the results and the outcome is already decided," he explained during the Mere Anglicanism Conference in Charleston, S.C. "And there is no consultation in order to own the agenda of a meeting like this.

"It's cooked, pre-cooked thing," he contended. "And it is very sad, very sad, that this is happening."

Other archbishops from the Global South have also expressed that it is "pointless" to join the Primates Meeting.

The conservative leaders have argued that their participation "will only lead to further erosion of the credibility of the Primates' Meeting and accentuate our failure to honor the work already done by them."

More here-

Top Episcopalian bishop reaches out

From The Houston Chronicle-

It's been a busy few years since the Most Rev. Katharine Jefferts Schori was named presiding bishop of the Episcopal Church in 2006. Since then, she's traveled to parishes around the world, sharing in the church's successes and seeking to mend the rifts that stem, in part, from the ordination of a gay bishop in 2003. She was in Southeast Texas last weekend and spoke with reporter Jeannie Kever. An edited excerpt of the conversation follows.

Q: You're here, in part, to bless a home in Galveston that the church helped to repair after Hurricane Ike. What role does social outreach and activism play in the Episcopal Church?

A: We understand caring for our neighbor to be fundamentally who we are as Christians. Loving God and loving your neighbor as yourself. Taking care of people in distress is a significant part of that.

Q: You were an oceanographer before becoming an Episcopal priest. Does your background as a scientist influence how you approach your role as bishop?

A: I think I'm trained and formed in such a way that I look at the world carefully. I come with a hypothesis, but I'm certainly willing to change it. I just came back from visiting the church in Mexico. I go to something like that ready to learn, to see what they're doing, what the challenges are, and then to ask, where's the intersection with our context, not just in the United States, but in the 15 countries we are in? How does this connect with the experience of Latino Christians here in the United States, which is a growing part of our context.

More here-

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Primates’ Meeting – Briefing #1

From ACNS-

The 18th Primates’ Meeting of the Anglican Communion opened in Dublin on Tuesday evening in an atmosphere of prayer and purpose. After a welcome and introduction, the Archbishop of Canterbury Rowan Williams asked those present to hold in their hearts and prayers those Primates unable to attend. He also pointed out that at least a third of the Primates in Dublin were at their first Primates’ Meeting.
Before the Primates attended Night Prayers, Archbishop Rowan gave a short reflection on primatial leadership using the text of Mark 10:35-45.

At the start of Wednesday morning Eucharist, Primates placed, at the foot of the altar, symbols (including photos, food, pictures and other objects) that represented the major missional challenges of their Province. This was so that these local issues are front of mind at any act of worship throughout the week.

Following an official welcome from the Primate of All Ireland Archbishop Alan Harper, he read a letter of welcome from the Taoiseach, Brian Cowen in which Mr. Cowen said that churches have “an important role to play in helping us to understand our current society, and to appreciate the significance of the spiritual and philosophical dimension of the problems and opportunities we face.”

The Irish Prime Minister added that Christian churches have an important mission in global dialogue on an interfaith basis, “The message of tolerance and peace must be loudly proclaimed in these troubled times,” he said.

More here-

Father Alberto Cutie to Host Daily TV Talk Show About Life Issues

From The Hollywood Reporter-

The tone of the talk show biz, and of NATPE itself, shifted Tuesday when a priest decided to take the plunge into the rough-and-tumble first-run syndie fray.

Father Alberto Cutie, a bestselling author of self-help books and radio talk show host as well as a former Roman Catholic priest, will join the ranks of gabbers and host a daily syndie strip devoted to life matters.

"It'll be everything from sex to salvation," Father Alberto told The Hollywood Reporter Tuesday in Miami during the NATPE TV trade show.

Hopefully it'll invite "greater dialog" with the audience, he added. Sorta Oprah meets Dr. Phil meets Bishop Sheen, the only other religious personnage who ever fronted a national TV show. (And that was in the 1950s!)

Primates shun Anglican talks over U.S. gay bishops

From Reuters-

About a fifth of the world's Anglican leaders are boycotting a meeting this week in protest at the U.S. Episcopal Church's ordination of gay bishops and blessing of same-sex couples, organizers said on Tuesday.

Their refusal to attend the conference of primates in the Irish capital Dublin underlines tensions which are threatening split the loose group of churches that make up the 80-million strong worldwide Anglican Communion.

The Anglican Communion said the seven primates, or leaders, who had not turned up in protest at the stance taken by the U.S. Episcopal Church had nevertheless "reiterated their commitment to the Communion and to the Archbishop of Canterbury."

Canon Chris Sugden, of the group Fellowship of Confessing Anglicans, wrote in "Evangelicals Now" magazine that the leaders' absence "calls into question the ability of the Archbishop of Canterbury (Rowan Williams) to fulfill his role as gatherer of the Communion."

Conservatives want sanctions imposed on the U.S. church, headed by Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori.

More here-

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Bishop Proposes Becoming Cathedral Dean

From The Living Church (would that make him the Very Right Rev.?)

The Bishop of North Dakota has proposed putting the cathedra back in cathedral, asking his diocese to consider approving him as the next dean of Gethsemane Cathedral, Fargo.

In the Rt. Rev. Michael G. Smith’s proposal, which appeared on his weblog Jan. 14 and on the diocese’s weblog Jan. 17, the bishop would devote two-thirds of his time to being dean and rector of the cathedral and one-third to being bishop. He envisions a staff of a full-time administrator, a full-time secretary, a quarter-time minister for pastoral care at the cathedral, and a diocesan ministry team (three canon missioners and the bishop’s executive assistant).

“My hope is for the Diocese of North Dakota to become one church with 21 mission outposts and emerging fresh expressions throughout our area,” Smith told The Living Church. “The cathedral could become the center and headquarters for this mission enterprise. My sense is that the future will depend less on our financial resources and more on the creativity and commitment of our members as we become communities of disciples serving the Lord Jesus Christ in our several communities.

“I am not campaigning for or trying to force this proposal,” he added. “I am simply presenting another model for discernment by the community. It may well be a long shot, as both the chapter and diocesan council will need to agree, and change does not come easily. I believe, however, that it is my responsibility as a leader to bring these issues before the church.”

In his proposal, Smith appealed to the early history of the Episcopal Church and to the consents granted to Bishop-elect Michael P. Milliken of Western Kansas, who has announced his intention to remain half-time rector of Grace Church, Hutchinson, after his consecration Feb. 19 as the diocese’s fifth bishop.

More here-

Judge narrows Stockton church lawsuit Court removes priest, vestry in Stockton case

From California-

The Church of St. John the Evangelist in Stockton won a ruling last week against the Episcopal diocese when a judge dropped the names of the priest and the 12 volunteer members of the vestry — the church's ruling body — from the lawsuit.

Judge Lesley Holland of San Joaquin Superior Court removed the 13 names of the defendants in the lawsuit filed by Episcopal Bishop Jerry Lamb against the parish in September. It leaves the parish's corporation as the sole defendant.

It was good news for St. John's in the ongoing dispute between the Episcopal diocese, headquartered in Modesto and led by Lamb, against the Anglican diocese, headquartered in Fresno and led by Bishop John-David Schofield.

"The action (of naming individuals in the lawsuit) was meant to scare and intimidate," the church's priest, the Rev. Lee Nelson, said Monday. "What I'm glad about is that (the volunteers) don't have to worry about a judgment pending against them.
"It's a real relief that my name isn't on the thing anymore. You almost feel like a criminal with your name on a court document. Why can't we just have a simple dispute between parties? Now, the judge made it very clear, that's how the court sees it and how it will be resolved from here on."

Schofield led the diocese to split from the national Episcopal church in December 2007 over theological issues and the interpretation of Scripture; most Anglicans do not believe same-sex clergy should be ordained and do believe that Jesus is the only way to salvation. About 40 parishes followed Schofield; seven chose to remain Episcopal.

Read more:

Anglican archbishops to boycott primate meeting

From The BBC-

A meeting of Anglican leaders in Dublin is expected to be boycotted by up to a third of those invited.

Their protest is at the inclusion of the head of the American Episcopal Church. Her church has ordained gay bishops and blesses same sex couples.

Some traditionalist archbishops want sanctions to be imposed against the American branch of the Communion.

The Dublin meeting is of the 38 leaders, or primates, of autonomous Anglican churches around the world.

The Episcopal Church in the United States - headed by Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori - has recently defied other Anglican churches by ordaining a lesbian bishop, and authorising services for the blessing of same-sex relationships.

The archbishops boycotting the meeting have become disillusioned by what they see as the failure to act on views they have expressed in the past.

More here-

Ruling could begin to heal church divide

From Ft. Worth-

A Tarrant County judge's ruling could mean a return home for some local Episcopalians.

Owanah Anderson and Ann Coleman are both senior wardens with groups of Episcopalians who feel wrongly displaced. Anderson was a member at All Saints Episcopal on Southwest Parkway, and Coleman with Church of the Good Shepherd on Burnett Street.

A dispute within the church and the Fort Worth diocese has caused both to now worship at different buildings. But the ruling from the Judge John P. Chupp of the 141st District Court could signal a start to the reconciliation process and a return to the buildings they both said they've been a part of for many years.

"We are, of course, pleased with last week's decisions," said Coleman. "We hope it may hasten the day when our building at Burnett Street and Tenth will be returned to our use."

The ongoing dispute several years in the making came to a crossroads this past Friday. Bishop Jack L. Iker is a leader of a movement to realign his followers under the South American-based Anglican Province of the Southern Cone, the branch of the church that is headquartered in Argentina.

More here-

Monday, January 24, 2011

Seven Anglican priests and 300 parishioners join Catholic church

From The London Telegraph-

The group, from three parishes in Essex and three in East London, is the biggest so far to announce its move to the Ordinariate, which was set up by the Vatican as a haven for disaffected traditionalist Anglicans who oppose the ordination of women.

Three of the vicars, from Chelmsford, Hockley and Benfleet, will now train to become Catholic deacons under the unprecedented structure, which will allow them to retain parts of their spiritual heritage and may lead to church-sharing.

It is another boost for the Ordinariate, following the high-profile conversion earlier this month of three former Church of England bishops.

The latest “very big move” has been welcomed by the Catholic Bishop of Brentwood, the Rt Rev Thomas McMahon.

He told the BBC: “They relinquish their present post, a very big thing, leaving some of their people which brings heartache, into a fairly unknown future, as this ordinariate has only just been brought up.

“It calls for huge faith and huge trust because the future isn't that certain.”

More here-

Rhode Island churches to vote on merge

From Rhode Island (video)

Some Rhode Island Episcopal church parishioners are not happy about a possible merger.

Financial struggles are forcing Christ Church Parish in Lincoln and Emmanuel Episcopal Church in Cumberland to consider the move.

The Christ Church has a bigger congregation, but would move into Emmanuel because that building is in better shape.

Christ Church parishioners say they've raised money to try to keep their church open and aren't happy about the situation.

Both congregations will vote January 30.

Judge sides with national Episcopal Church against breakaway Fort Worth parishes

From McClatchy-

Bishop Jack Iker said he and other area Episcopalians who left the national church will appeal a judge's decision ordering his group to give up all property of the 24-county Episcopal Diocese of Fort Worth.

On Friday, Judge John Chupp of the 141st District Court told Iker's group to "surrender all Diocesan property as well as control of the Diocese Corporation" to local Episcopalians who remained loyal to the U.S. Episcopal Church. It also told those in Iker's group "not to hold themselves out as leaders of the Diocese."

"We are obviously disappointed by Judge Chupp's ruling and see it as fundamentally flawed," Iker said in a statement issued Saturday. "We are confident that the Court of Appeals will carefully consider our appeal and will rule in accordance to neutral principles of law as practiced in the State of Texas.

"In the meantime, we will continue to focus on mission and outreach in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, while praying for the judges who will take our appeal. While we disagree with the judge's ruling, we offer our sincere appreciation for the time and study he has given the case."

Iker's group said Chupp's ruling will be immediately appealed to the 2nd Court of Appeals in Fort Worth. In a statement, the group said: "We believe that the final decision, whenever it is signed by Judge Chupp ...will not be sustained on appeal."

Read more:

Sunday, January 23, 2011

Bishop Iker to appeal order to turn over property to national Episcopal church

From Ft. Worth

Bishop Jack Iker said he and other area Episcopalians who left the national church will appeal a judge's decision ordering his group to give up all property of the 24-county Episcopal Diocese of Fort Worth.
On Friday, Judge John Chupp of the 141st District Court told Iker's group to "surrender all Diocesan property as well as control of the Diocese Corporation" to local Episcopalians who remained loyal to the U.S. Episcopal Church. It also told those in Iker's group "not to hold themselves out as leaders of the Diocese."

"We are obviously disappointed by Judge Chupp's ruling and see it as fundamentally flawed," Iker said in a statement issued Saturday. "We are confident that the Court of Appeals will carefully consider our appeal and will rule in accordance to neutral principles of law as practiced in the State of Texas.

"In the meantime, we will continue to focus on mission and outreach in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, while praying for the judges who will take our appeal. While we disagree with the judge's ruling, we offer our sincere appreciation for the time and study he has given the case."
Iker's group said Chupp's ruling will be immediately appealed to the 2nd Court of Appeals in Fort Worth. In a statement, the group said: "We believe that the final decision, whenever it is signed by Judge Chupp ...will not be sustained on appeal."

More here-

Read more:

Judge: Breakaway Episcopalians must surrender property

From Houston-

A state district judge has ordered Fort Worth Bishop Jack Iker and a conservative, breakaway group of Episcopalians to surrender all diocesan property to the national church.

The Episcopal Church filed a lawsuit seeking to regain control of church property from the 24-county Diocese of Fort Worth in April 2009.
The Iker-led group, which split from the national church over issues including gay clergy and women in the priesthood, voted in 2008 to join a more conservative province of the worldwide Anglican Communion.
The Episcopal Church maintained in the suit that its rules prohibit dioceses from breaking away and that church properties are held in trust for the denomination, and the court ruled in its favor. Iker's group plans an appeal.

At stake are who has control over 55 parishes and missions, a camp, diocesan offices in Fort Worth and several Episcopal schools and other properties. Katie Sherrod, spokeswoman for the group loyal to the national church, said she did not have a monetary value for the properties "but obviously it will add up to a substantial amount."

After breaking away, Iker's group released property to a few churches where most members voted to stay with the national denomination. But his group held onto other property that had belonged to the diocese.

The ruling, issued Friday by state District Judge John Chupp, states that in the event of a property dispute involving members of a hierarchical church, the members who are loyal to the church remain entitled to use and control of the property. The court ordered the Iker-led group to surrender all property to members loyal to the national church within 60 days. The court also ordered the Iker-led to group "not to hold themselves out as leaders of the diocese."

More here-