Saturday, March 19, 2011

Local Churches Waiting To Hear Ruling On Church Properties

From Ft. Worth-

Some local worshippers may have to look for a new place to meet on Sundays. A few hundred church members are waiting for the final word from the courts over a disagreement that has left parishioners split.

A recent court ruling has stemmed from disagreements in the Episcopal Church. About two years ago there was a rift among delegates to the Episcopal Church in the united states. 80% of the delegates didn't feel in good conscience about some teachings of the church.

"The Episcopal Church started to look in the bible and say, 'Ya know, I don't really care for this page, and they would vote on it and take it out.' And that's when we decided to take the stance and leave the episcopal church," said the Very Reverend Scott Wooten, a priest at the Church of the good Shepherd in Wichita Falls.

At that point, things got complicated. There are currently two groups called the Episcopal Diocese of Fort Worth. Each claims to be the original diocese of the church, and says the other one is a newly formed diocese.

The minority group filed a lawsuit against the majority, saying because the Episcopal Church is hierarchal, it owns all the church buildings built by generations of Episcopalians. Wooten and the majority, however, say the diocese are independent from any governing national body, and therefore plan to appeal the recent ruling that sided with the minority.

More here-

Episcopal Church chief operating officer to leave in June

From ENS-

Former U.S. Ambassador Linda Watt has announced that she will leave her position as chief operating officer for the Episcopal Church in June 2011, according to a press release.

"It has been an immense honor to serve the church and a privilege to support the presiding bishop's ministry," said Watt, in the March 18 release from the Office of Public Affairs. "I have been particularly blessed to meet and work with so many Episcopalians who are carrying out God's mission in life-giving ways. At this time I feel a very strong call to go home to southern Utah, to take my own ministry from an organizational to an individual level, and to spend more time with my husband, family, and friends."

Following a U.S. State Department career in diplomacy that spanned several decades and continents, Watt was named chief operating officer in November 2006. Since that time, she has led the staff through a restructuring that enabled the creation of a collaborative culture, re-energizing mission and ministry, according to the release. Among the many accomplishments under her leadership, ministry offices were established outside of New York City, and strategic planning was initiated, the release said.

More here-

Tohoku bishop says Sendai-based diocese is suffering with the rest of Japan

From ENS-

Diocese of Tohoku Bishop John Hiromichi Kato has said in a pastoral letter that Japan was "simply not prepared for problems on this scale" in the aftermath of the March 11 magnitude-9 earthquake. In a pastoral letter, the bishop of the Sendai-based diocese said his people lacked food, gasoline, electricity, water and heat.

The text of his letter is here. Tohoku is part of the Nippon Sei Ko Kei (NSKK), the Anglican Church in Japan.
"What we are experiencing in our city does not compare to what we have seen in the media, particularly those areas directly impacted by the tsunami," he said.

The bishop included in his letter a summary of reported damage to diocesan churches and other institutions, as well as a list of church members who are dead or missing. He noted that diocesan staff have still not been able to visit all areas. There are 29 churches, chapels and missionary stations in the diocese, he said.

Christ Church Cathedral in Sendai is safe, but Eucharist was held in the parish hall on March 13 out of safety concerns, the bishop said.

"I mention all the suffering we are experiencing but there are many heart-warming stories too," Kato wrote. "For example, right after the quake traffic lights were not working but I did not observe any traffic chaos because people were driving very cautiously, taking particular care of the elderly."

The diocese has established a relief center, he said.

More here-

Court rules against Episcopal Church of the Good Shepherd in property dispute

From Ft. Worth (the headline is a little misleading)

The Episcopal Church of the United States is the rightful owner of the Episcopal Church of the Good Shepherd property in San Angelo, a Texas appeals court has ruled, upholding a trial court's judgment. In an opinion issued this week, the 3rd Court of Appeals rejected arguments by breakaway parishioners that control of the property rested with the majority of parishioners.

The breakaway group had also said the trial court failed to apply the proper law to resolve the dispute.

A state district judge in Fort Worth ruled in January that a group of Episcopalians headed by Bishop Jack Iker had to surrender control of all diocese property to the national church.

Read more:

Springfield's new Episcopal bishop getting to work

From Springfield IL-

During his visits to various synods and meetings, the Rev. Daniel H. Martins has encountered lots of “gray hair and bald scalps.”

His first tonsorial experience in the capital city? When he introduced himself as the bishop-elect for the Springfield Episcopal Diocese, the person cutting Martins’ hair “asked if Episcopal was Christian.”

“Years ago, there were assumptions you had about baseline knowledge of Christianity,” Martins says. “People don’t know that anymore, particularly younger people.”

A sobering reality, Martins admits, but since the encounter, he’s used the hair-cutting incident as “my barometer, the way we need to reach people.

“There are going to have to be some radical changes in the concepts of the way we do church.”

Martins, who will be consecrated today as the diocese’s 11th bishop (see below for details), faces more than dwindling attendance and lighter collection plates.

More here-

Friday, March 18, 2011

Former Anglican bishops given title of 'monsignor'

From Catholic Culture-

Pope Benedict XVI has conferred the title of “monsignor” on the three former Anglican bishops who entered the Catholic Church in January.

Msgr. Keith Newton, who will lead the new Anglican ordinariate in Great Britain, has been named an Apostolic Pronotary, as has Msgr. John Broadhurst. Msgr. Andrew Burnham is now a Prelate of Honor. While each rank carries the title of “Monsignor,” an Apostolic Pronotary holds the highest ecclesiastical title available to clerics who are not bishops.

The norms published by the Vatican to accompany the apostolic constitution Anglicanorum Coetibus accorded special privileges to Anglican bishops who enter the Catholic ordinariates. With permission from the Holy See they may “use the insignia of the episcopal office” even if they are not Catholic bishops, and may be invited to join in the work of episcopal conferences “with the equivalent status of a retired bishop.” The Vatican norms made it clear that the Anglican leaders who give up their episcopal office in order to enter the Catholic Church should be accorded special respect.

Wakefield synod votes against the Covenant

From The Church Times-

THE first English diocesan synod to debate the Anglican Covenant has rejected it. On Saturday, in Wakefield diocese, the vote was lost in the Houses of Laity (10 for, 23 against) and Clergy (16 for, 17 against, 1 abstention). Both Bishops voted for its adoption. The Covenant, which governs how the provinces of the Anglican Communion relate to each other, is being debated in each province.

Three — Mexico, Myanmar, and the West Indies — have approved it so far; none has rejected it. In England, the draft Act of Synod adopting the Covenant has to be referred to diocesan synods before it can return to the General Synod for final approval. Lichfield diocese will debate it tomorrow.

Writing in the Church Times this week, the Bishop of St Asaph, the Rt Revd Gregory Cameron, secretary of the Covenant Design Group, argues that the text successfully balances autonomy and inter­dependence. It “will not end arguments, but it does set out the grounds for continuing com­munion: core affirmations, and a coherent account of our life in Communion”.

The Revd Professor Marilyn McCord Adams, a critic, asks: “How can we — why should we — sign a document when we cannot tell what it means?” Section Four of the Covenant, tackling provinces that innovate beyond the prescribed bounds, is called a “chocolate teapot” by the Bishop of Buckingham, Dr Alan Wilson. “I would detach it from the useful stuff as quietly and tactfully as possible.”

Anglican bishop fights Israel’s denial of visa

From Christian Century-

Suheil Dawani, the Anglican bishop in Jerusalem, has gone to court to seek a renewal of the Israeli residency permit that allows him to live and work in the ancient city. The Israeli government recently declined to renew the permit and ordered Dawani and his family to leave the country.

Dawani was elected head of the Episcopal diocese in 2007. He was able to renew his visa in 2008 and 2009. But he was informed in writing last August by the Israeli Ministry of the Interior that it declined to renew the permit.

According to a news release March 3 from Dawani's office, the letter from the ministry said that "Bishop Suheil acted with the Palestinian Authority in transferring lands owned by Jewish people to the Palestinians and also helped to register lands of Jewish people in the name of the church." Further allegations said that documents were forged by the bishop.

Dawani said he denied all the accusations but received no response from the ministry. A second letter from the bishop requested documents or evidence of the charges, but it also went unanswered. "Bishop Dawani attempted to resolve this with restraint and without causing the government of Israel any embarrassment. The lack of resolution . . . required Bishop Dawani to seek legal counsel," according to the news release.

More here-


From North West Texas ( another court has ruled that property held by an Episcopal Congregation stays with the Episcopal Church even if a majority of the congregation leaves)


J. WOODFIN JONES, Chief Justice.

This appeal arises from a property dispute among parishioners from the Episcopal Church of the Good Shepherd ("Good Shepherd") in San Angelo, Texas. In 2006, a majority of the Good Shepherd parishioners voted to withdraw Good Shepherd from the Episcopal Church of the United States and the Diocese of Northwest Texas and to reorganize as the Anglican Church of the Good Shepherd affiliated with the Diocese of Uganda, Africa; a minority voted to continue Good Shepherd's affiliation with the Episcopal Church and the Diocese of Northwest Texas (the "Diocese"). The Diocese and the individual appellees, The Rev. Celia Ellery, Don Griffis, and Michael Ryan (collectively, the "Continuing Parish Leaders"), filed suit for declaratory judgment to establish their rights to continued possession and control over the church property, which was claimed by appellants, who are members of the withdrawing group (collectively, the "Former Parish Leaders").1 The Former Parish Leaders counterclaimed with a suit to quiet title and request for declaratory judgment that they were entitled to possession and use of the church property. The Diocese and Continuing Parish Leaders moved for summary judgment, which the trial court granted. The Former Parish Leaders appeal, arguing primarily that the trial court erred in failing to properly apply "neutral principles" of law to resolve the dispute. We will affirm the trial court's judgment.

Much more here-

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Welcome the Episcopal Church film crew

From Florida-

In December, the presiding bishop of the Episcopal Church, the Most Rev. Katharine Jefferts Schori, visited St. Columba Episcopal Church in Marathon to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the consecration of the little church on 52nd Street.

She was so impressed by the parishioners of St. Columba and the people and the beauty of Marathon (she is a marine biologist) that she has dispatched a film crew from the News Service of the national church to Marathon to make a documentary.

The film crew is expected to arrive on Sunday and will be in Marathon for about a week. It will focus on St. Columba -- its beautiful building, nature trail and butterfly garden, and the activities of its congregation, including worship, suppers, a celebration of the Eucharist at sunset on a boat named Spirit, dancing under the stars in the new pavilion, and the fantastic work this small church does for charities at home and overseas.

They also intend to show the beauty of the Keys and our spectacular ocean, and explore how the people who are lucky enough to live here -- boat people, fishermen, divers and just plain ordinary folk -- interact with this unique environment.

More here-

Other March madnesses

From Christian Century-

It's the most wonderful time of the year for fans of collegiate (men's) sports. I'm not one, but I can appreciate the thrill of a single-elimination tournament. I also enjoy the creative ways people use March Madness to bring attention to other subjects.

Tim Schenck, an Episcopal priest and blogger in Massachusetts, is hosting the second annual Lent Madness, in which saints from the Episcopal Church Calendar compete for "the coveted 'Golden Halo'" by way of blog posts comparing their legacies--and inviting readers to vote on a winner. Here's Schenck:

Last year George Herbert pulled off an upset in the finals against Julian of Norwich to claim the illustrious title - click here to view last year's final bracket.

To win in 2011 will take grit, determination, holiness, and perhaps some good old-fashioned ballot stuffing (this is discouraged, of course) to claim the hallowed crown. Lent Madness 2011 features an entirely new slate of saints ancient and modern, Biblical and ecclesiastical. So if your favorite saint didn't make it into the tournament last year you might just be in luck. And if not? Your favorite saint may be pretty lame. Better luck next year.

More here-

Anglican clergyman in church swap

From Reading England

A West Reading Anglican priest was among the first in the country to take his flock over to the Catholic church last week.

Father David Elliott has resigned his post at the Most Holy Trinity Church in Oxford Road and taken 15 fellow Anglicans from the church to form an ordinariate at St James’s Roman Catholic Church in Abbot’s Walk in the town centre.

The group became Catholics on Ash Wednesday last week.

They were among 30 groups across the country making the move following the decision last year by the Church of England General Synod to support the ordination of women bishops.

Father David explained the move was made possible by an apostolic order by Pope Benedict which allowed groups of Anglicans to convert together.

He said: “Obviously people have always been able to convert to become Roman Catholics as individuals but this allowed groups to move over together.”

Father David, 36, will train to become a Roman Catholic priest later this year.

More here-

Episcopal Relief & Development sends support for Japan

From (no kidding) Disaster News-

Episcopal Relief & Development is sending support to the Nippon Sei Ko Kei (NSKK; the Anglican Communion in Japan) to help with its initial emergency relief efforts in response to the 9.0-magnitude earthquake and resulting tsunami that struck Japan on March 11. This quake was the strongest to hit the country since officials started keeping records over 100 years ago.

The current death toll stands around 3,500, but it is estimated that at least 10,000 people have died as a result of the disaster, and it may be weeks or even months before an accurate tally can be reached. Approximately 30,000 people from the most devastated areas are still unaccounted for. Shelters are accommodating 500,000 people who have lost their homes or been evacuated. Food and fuel supplies are running low in many areas, and both transportation and communication infrastructures have suffered severe damage, hampering the ability of relief agencies to respond.

“We are standing by the Church in Japan during this difficult time,” said Nagulan Nesiah, Program Officer for Episcopal Relief & Development. “As you can imagine, the needs are overwhelming and it will take time to assess the best ways to support the Church and Japan as they move toward recovery.”

Adding to the crisis is the situation at the Fukushima nuclear power plants, which has prompted the evacuation of more than 180,000 people. Three of the six reactors at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant had been completely disabled after a series of fires, explosions, leaks and partial core meltdowns. Early Tuesday morning, a pool storing spent fuel rods at a fourth reactor lost cooling capacity and began to boil, creating hydrogen-laced steam that exploded and sent radioactive particles directly into the atmosphere. Most of the facility’s 800 workers have been evacuated. There is currently a 20-kilometer evacuation zone around the plant, and people living 20 to 30 kilometers from the facility have been urged to stay indoors with all windows and vents closed. Local authorities are continuing to screen and treat people for radiation exposure.

More here-

Bensalem church to close

From Philadelphia-

The church was built in 1962, but the parish community dates back 1842.

Amid the brightly lit businesses and hurried dash of traffic, an unimposing sign on Street Road in Bensalem announces an end to one of the community's oldest churches.

The Christ Episcopal Church of Eddington at 2026 Street Road will close this Sunday, officials said. Bishop Rodney Michel will lead a 4 p.m. farewell service for the approximately two dozen members still active in the parish.

The two-story church building was constructed in 1962, but the parish community dates to 1842, according to church records. The former Christ Episcopal chapel, which also was on Street Road, was condemned in the 1960s during construction of Interstate 95, parishioners said.

More here-

Buckles honored at Zion Episcopal

From W.Va.

Reporter Richard F. Belisle's father, Frederick M. Belisle (1896-1981), served in the U.S. Navy in World War I.

It seemed to all make sense, to finally come together Wednesday afternoon when Charlie Casabona led nearly 300 people in Zion Episcopal Church in the singing of "Over There."

Frank Woodruff Buckles, the last American to serve in World War I, died Feb. 27 at age 110. If he was relatively unknown before then he wasn't after weeks of mass-media coverage detailed his experience in the "War to End All Wars," his three-year ordeal in a Japanese prison camp in World War II and his life as a farmer, raconteur and father.

There were the fights in Congress over whether Buckles' body should lie in state in the U.S. Capitol Rotunda. They were followed by his burial Tuesday in Arlington National Cemetery with full military honors. President Obama and Vice President Biden paid their respects Tuesday at an Arlington chapel ceremony where Buckles' body lay in honor.

More here-

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Giant goldfish cause havoc to South West river ecosystems

From the "You Can't Make That Up" Department-

AS part of a marine studies course, science students from Georgiana Molloy Anglican School assisted Murdoch University’s scientists in a goldfish eradication project.

The students worked with Murdoch University’s Dr David Morgan and Dr Steven Beatty to catch, anaesthetise and euthanise 100 feral goldfish found in the Vasse River.

For almost five years, the Busselton shire, GeoCatch and Murdoch University have been working together to rid the river of the growing goldfish population.

GeoCatch vice-chairman David Kemp said funding is received from both the shire and the university.

“GeoCatch has been coordinating the project for about five years and we’re involved because of the water quality improvement program in the entire Geographe area,” he said.

“This is just one of the arms of the program. It may seem like a small arm, but goldfish are a feral pest and cause major damage to the systems.

“We’re hoping that we can keep the goldfish numbers down and ideally eradicate them because of what they do to the water quality in the sense that they stir up the mud and release nutrients, causing algal blooms.”

More here-

Prince, PM to share Christchurch grief

From New Zealand via Australia-

As Prince William and Prime Minister Julia Gillard put the finishing touches to their speeches to a shattered city, the people of Christchurch are readying themselves for something altogether more confronting.

"They are getting ready to mourn the death of their city. It's as simple as that," Christchurch's Anglican Bishop Victoria Matthews said on Wednesday.

"This event will be a moment to finally and corporately remember and grieve for a very dear loved one," Reverend Matthews said.

Tens of thousands of the city's 380,000 residents are expected to turn out on Friday for the national memorial service to remember the 182 people who died in the February 22 earthquake, and the city that crumbled down around them.

Among the mourners will be Prince William, Ms Gillard, federal Opposition Leader Tony Abbott, Australian Governor-General Quentin Bryce and a raft of other international dignitaries.

Prayers will be heard from representatives of each of the five major world religions followed by speeches and a "stark and shocking" film showing the devastation in the city streets.

More here-


From Dallas Ft. Worth Catholic-

Anglican and Catholic ecumenical leaders examined moral discernment and homosexuality at their current round of dialogue where they explore the positions of the Catholic and Episcopalian churches on theological issues.

The meeting of the Anglican-Roman Catholic Theological Consultation in the USA (ARC-USA) held the sixth meeting of its current dialogue in Berkeley, California, February 28-March 1. Bishop Ronald P. Herzog of the Catholic Diocese Alexandria, Louisiana and Bishop John Bauerschmidt of the Episcopal Diocese of Tennessee chaired the meeting.

Dialogue members continued to study the theme of the current round, “Ecclesiology and Moral Discernment: Common Ground and Divergences,” and considered a preliminary draft of some sections of a statement on this theme that they expect to adopt. Members also heard a paper by Rev. Matthew S. C. Olver summarizing the discussions so far in this round and outlining areas of disagreement and convergence.

more here-

Anglicans' Fury Over Transfers

From Kenya-

The transfer of two Anglican priests in Teso North has sparked off a protest. Evangelists Violent Olang'iroi and Dennis Etyang of Apokor Anglican Church in Osajal have been moved to Onyunyuru ACK church. But 50 angry parishioner marched to the parish headquaters in Kamuriai to show their disgust.

The two clerics had only served for six months before they were moved again. They presented their protest note to parish secretary Elkana Olung'a who promised to convene a committee meeting on Wednesday.

Representatives Pascal Ekisa and Paul Etori said they will march to the head of the Katakwa Diocese, Bishop Zakayo Epus on Thursday if the committee does not reverse the decision.

Episcopal church collecting gently used shoes for people in need

From Portland Oregon-

A Northwest Portland church is collecting gently used shoes to donate to people living in poverty and those recovering from natural disasters.

During the month of March, St. Gabriel's Episcopal Church, 17435 N.W. West Union Rd., will be collecting footwear and monetary donations to give to Soles4Souls Inc., a nonprofit organization that gives shoes to people across the globe who are in need.

Since 2005, Soles4Souls Inc. has distributed more than 13 million pairs of shoes to people in need. The organization has pledged to collect and distribute 11 million shoes in 2011. Every donation to St. Gabriel's will go toward the organization's goal.

Bring gently worn shoes to St. Gabriel's Episcopal Church until March 31. Donations are also accepted through the Soles4Souls website.

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Anglican conversion to Catholic Church swells

From Spero-

About 900 members of the Church of England have taken the first step toward becoming Catholics, the Roman Catholic Church in England and Wales declared in a March 15 statement. The former Anglicans participated in a Rite of Election, the first step toward confirmation, over the March 12-13 weekend, the church said. Those embracing the Catholic Church will be joining the Personal Ordinariate of Our Lady of Walsingham, established by Pope Benedict XVI to receive Anglicans who have felt isolated since the Church of England decided in 1992 to ordain women to the priesthood.

Tensions have grown as the governing General Synod of the Anglican Church moves to allow women to become bishops while denying any specific protection for traditionalists. Converts joining the ordinariate will be allowed to keep some Anglican liturgy and traditions. The largest number, some 240, were reported in the Diocese of Brentwood east of London, followed by 167 in the south London diocese of Southwark and 100 in the central city of Birmingham. Converts included 61 former Church of England priests. "I am greatly encouraged that these people will be received into the Catholic Church at Easter as members of the Ordinariate," said Rev. Keith Newton, the priest in charge of the new group.

More here-

Nebraska Nominates Three for Bishop

From The Living Church-

The Diocese of Nebraska has announced three nominees in the search for its 11th bishop. The nominees are:

The Rev. J. Scott Barker, 47, rector, Christ Church, Warwick, N.Y.

The Rev. Margaret Duncan Holt Sammons, 62, co-rector, St. Michael’s in the Hills Church, Toledo, Ohio.

The Rev. Canon Sarah J. Shofstall, 59, canon to the ordinary, Diocese of Western Massachusetts.

The diocese will accept nominees by petition until March 31. Its current bishop, the Rt. Rev. Joe Godwin Burnett, will resign the same day. He has accepted a call to serve as an assistant bishop in the Diocese of Maryland, effective April 1.

An electing convention is scheduled for June 4 at Saint Mark’s Pro-Cathedral, Hastings.

“What has led our churches to come to very different conclusions?”

From California-

Anglican and Catholic ecumenical leaders examined moral discernment and homosexuality at their current round of dialogue where they explore the positions of the Catholic and Episcopalian churches on theological issues.

The meeting of the Anglican-Roman Catholic Theological Consultation in the USA (ARC-USA) held the sixth meeting of its current dialogue in Berkeley, California, February 28-March 1. Bishop Ronald P. Herzog of the Catholic Diocese Alexandria, Louisiana, and Bishop John Bauerschmidt of the Episcopal Diocese of Tennessee chaired the meeting.

Dialogue members continued to study the theme of the current round, “Ecclesiology and Moral Discernment: Common Ground and Divergences,” and considered a preliminary draft of some sections of a statement on this theme that they expect to adopt. Members also heard a paper by Rev. Matthew S. C. Olver summarizing the discussions so far in this round and outlining areas of disagreement and convergence.

Members also examined statements by both churches on the question of homosexuality. These included “To Set Our Hope on Christ, A Response to the Invitation of Windsor Report 135,” a 2005 unofficial response by The Episcopal Church to a request from the Anglican Consultative Council and “Same-Sex Relationships in the Life of the Church,” an unofficial statement prepared in 2010 by the Theology Committee of the House of Bishops of The Episcopal Church. Two Catholic statements also were studied, including “Always Our Children: A Pastoral Message to Parents of Homosexual Children and Suggestions for Pastoral Ministers,” by the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops’ Committee on Marriage and Family (1997) and the USCCB’s “Ministry to Persons with a Homosexual Inclination: Guidelines for Pastoral Care,” which was adopted by the full body of bishops in 2006.

More here-

Episcopal priest Jay R. Lawlor charged with assault for allegedly shoving parishioner at St. Luke's church

From Kalamazoo-

The former pastor of St. Luke's Episcopal Church has been charged with assault and battery for allegedly shoving an elderly parishioner last week, according to the Kalamazoo County Prosecutor's Office.

The charges were officially authorized today, said Chief Assistant Prosecutor Carrie Klein, but an arraignment has yet to be scheduled. Because the charge is a misdemeanor, Rev. Jay R. Lawlor will be contacted by police and allowed to turn himself for booking, she said.

Neither Lawlor, 41, who resigned last week from St. Luke's, nor the victim in the case, Marcia Morrison, 76, could be reached for comment.

Morrison was not injured in the incident, which occurred March 6 immediately after Lawlor headed Sunday morning service for the church, which is located in downtown Kalamazoo.

The charge is a misdemeanor, and conviction could result in a fine of up to $500 and/or a 93-day jail sentence. Klein said that the typical sentence in such a case is probation or a fine.

"There's lots of different factors involved," she said. "This is a case where the victim can address the court, and the community can address the court. There may be members of the church community who want to speak out."

More here-

Monday, March 14, 2011

Congregation’s dream comes true

From Buffalo-

After countless spaghetti dinners, chicken barbecue fundraisers, and bottles and cans collected and redeemed, the people of St. Paul’s Episcopal Church in Angola finally have their new sanctuary.

Bishop J. Michael Garrison of the Episcopal Diocese of Western New York helped the congregation celebrate Sunday by consecrating the bright new building at 930 Lake St.

About 90 people showed up for the special consecration service — a rarity in Western New York, where many churches with dwindling memberships have either closed or are struggling to keep their doors open.

“It was a dream that we as parishioners have had for so long,” said Carole J. Kin, warden of the vestry at St. Paul’s.

What makes the new sanctuary unusual is that church members refused to take a loan to build it.

They scrimped and saved and donated for more than 20 years to get to this point.

More here-

Japan archbishop urges ongoing prayers, commits to providing relief and restoration

From ENS-

As Japanese officials estimate that the death toll could far exceed 10,000 after an 8.9-magnitude earthquake and resulting tsunami devastated parts of the country's northeast coast on March 11, Anglican Archbishop Nathaniel Uematsu underscored the importance of prayer and said that he is working to establish a structure to respond to the disaster.

Meanwhile, two Episcopalians serving as Young Adult Service Corps volunteers in Japan are safe and currently assessing ways that their ministries can be most helpful to the local community.

Uematsu said on March 14 that the Nippon Sei Ko Kei, the Anglican Church in Japan, is committed to "providing relief and sourcing volunteers and funding to help with the restoration of the affected areas."

The archbishop also is "trying to find more accurate information about our church family and the relief efforts, and to communicate that information as quickly as possible."

More here-

A statement from the Archbishop of the Anglican Communion in Japan

From ACNS-

On the 11th of March at 2:46pm, the biggest earthquake ever to hit Japan struck just off the coast of the Tohoku region. This caused a tsunami and fires that brought massive devastation to a very wide area. This unimaginably strong earthquake triggered an explosion at the Fukushima No.1 nuclear reactor. The people living in the area around that and the No. 2 reactor have been evacuated. The stories and images constantly broadcast by the media have left people lost for words, unable to describe the sheer scale of the unbelievable devastation caused by the earthquake, tsunami and fires.

We see homes devastated, whole towns that were swallowed by the tsunami, and houses that continue to burn because fire fighters are unable to reach both the properties and the people who were the victims of this catastrophe. With hearts filled with grief and helplessness we see people who are mourning their lost loved ones and others who search tirelessly for missing family members. There are so many who have lost their homes and possessions. Towns and villages were obliterated by the tsunami, everything was gone in a second.

Since the earthquake the Provincial office has worked very hard to find out about the people and the churches in Tohoku diocese. However, we could neither contact them by phone nor email. Only yesterday were we able to start to see a picture of the devastation in the affected areas. I had been most concerned that I could not contact the Bishop of Tohoku diocese [The Rt Revd John Hiromichi Kato], but on Saturday he rang me and I was able to find out more about what had happened to the churches in Sendai City.

More here-

Ordinariate-bound Group to Celebrate Anglican Use Mass in Washington, DC

From Washington DC-

The St. Thomas of Canterbury Society of Washington, DC and Northern Virginia (STCS) will celebrate its first Anglican Use Mass on Saturday, March 19th at 4:00 p.m. in the abbey church of St. Anselm's Abbey in Washington, DC.

The STCS was formed in 2010 to build an Anglican Use parish which will become part of the ordinariate once it is established in the United States under the Apostolic Constitution, Anglicanorum coetibus. Anglicanorum coetibus was promulgated by Pope Benedict XVI in November, 2009, and it allows groups of Anglicans to enter the full communion of the Catholic church while retaining much of their patrimony.

The STCS is currently meeting for regular services of Evening Prayer at St. Anselm's Abbey. They use the Book of Divine Worship for the worship services, which is an adaptation of the Book of Common Prayer that is approved for use in Anglican Use Catholic parishes.

Music for this Vigil Mass for the Second Sunday in Lent will be led by the St. Thomas of Canterbury 12-voice schola and will include works by Tallis, classic Anglican Lenten hymns, and propers from the Anglican Use Gradual. This Mass is an approved form of the Roman Rite of the Catholic Church and will fulfill the Sunday Mass obligation for all Catholics.

More here-

Allentown Catholic Diocese anticipates new structure to welcome Anglicans

From Allentown PA-

Karen Brynildsen offers a pithy bit of advice that makes everyone in the Sacred Heart of Jesus Church meeting room smile knowingly:

"Sing the whole hymn!"

That's how Episcopalians, members of the worldwide Anglican communion, approach their Sunday singing. None of that half-hearted Catholic business where you lop off the last couple of verses to speed things along. Where's the reverence in that?

Perhaps Brynildsen's presence in the Roman Catholic Church — she will join it at Easter — will spark a revolution in hymnody, but that's getting ahead of the story.

Right now, the Allentown woman would be gratified enough to know whether she will continue to be able to worship according to her familiar and beloved Anglican rite once her conversion is complete.

Brynildsen, her husband, Martin, and a half-dozen other area Episcopalians are among thousands worldwide entering or planning to enter the Roman Catholic Church in expectation that the Vatican will establish an Anglican "ordinariate" in the United States. The canonical structure would allow them to retain their reverent, hymn-rich liturgy and other sacred traditions after conversion.

One impetus of the movement, though not the only one, is the progressive-traditionalist divide playing out across Christendom. Dismayed by the drift of mainstream Anglicanism on some social and theological issues — including women's ordination and the sanctioning of homosexuality — conservatives have turned to Rome, where teaching and practice are unchanged.

More here-,0,7868942.story

Married area man to be ordained a Catholic priest

From Missouri-

Russell Arnett remembers the day he proposed to his wife.
The Burlington-area resident made a reservation at a nice restaurant and he had roses and a card waiting for her.

It's a story many people tell about their lives, but it's not a story most Catholic priests ever have the chance to tell because most Catholic priests are not allowed to marry.

But Arnett will soon become one of very few married Catholic priests able to tell that story.
Under a provision established in the 1980s, married Episcopal priests who fully convert to Catholicism are able to become Catholic priests. Arnett, 52, will be ordained as a priest on Saturday.

He will join a long line of priests ordained before him, but his wife of 10 years will be in the church, watching.

More here-

Money, pastoral care at heart of conflict at St. Luke's Episcopal Church in Kalamazoo

From Kalamazoo-

Founded in 1837 in downtown Kalamazoo, St. Luke’s is one of the area’s oldest and most prominent congregations, and now its very survival is in question.

“It feels like having my home burn down with all my memories in it,” Fritz said.
Depending on who’s talking, there are two conflicting narratives on how the situation at St. Luke’s reached this point.

Although Lawlor and Episcopal Bishop Robert Gepert declined to be interviewed for this report, church documents detailing their perspectives describe an arrogant congregation set in its ways, living beyond its means and resistant to new leadership.

Some local church members, including Fritz, offer a different story: that of a close-knit church community that struggled with a pastor who lacked interpersonal skills and was indifferent to the needs of his congregation. They say the situation has been exacerbated by a bishop who wields church authority with an iron hand.

More here-

Episcopalians take up malaria fight

From Minnesota-

Austin Ihiekwe knows firsthand just how deadly malaria can be. He grew up in Nigeria and watched as his baby brother died from the mosquito-borne disease even though his parents could afford medicine and were diligent in treating their children.

"In the rainy season, all kids had malaria, every month or every other month," said Ihiekwe, 67, of Cottage Grove. "But the availability of medicine is not universal. Some could afford it, some could not." And the medicines didn't always prevent the disease.

From Ash Wednesday through Easter Sunday, Ihiekwe and members of Christ Episcopal Church in Woodbury are raising money to buy 364 insecticide-treated mosquito nets to be sent to Africa. The 364 nets represent one for each member of the congregation. The effort is part of a larger mission project during Lent involving Episcopal churches statewide and their nearly 20,000 members, said Brian Prior, bishop of the Episcopal Church in Minnesota.

More here-

Sunday, March 13, 2011

The 81st Convention of the Episcopal Church of Liberia and Its Theme of “Arise, Shine, for You are The Light of Christ”

From Liberia-

This fourth article of the series on the theme of the recently held 81st Diocesan annual convention of Episcopal Church of Liberia, “Arise and Shine, for You Are the Light of Christ”, brings to a close the series by encouraging all who have the light of Christ in them to shine brightly. How is this to be done? What does it mean to shine in this particular context?

The third article on what it means and takes to arise in order to shine made the following points: The theme of the Episcopal Church convention enjoins upon Episcopalians and all Christians to arise and shine because they are the lights of Christ to this world. To arise or rise (there is no significant difference between the two in terms of grammar and meaning) is to get up or stand up; it is to muster courage and face a serious challenge as one would rise to an occasion.

To rise can be a summons to do something as opposed to sitting around and doing nothing. It can be a rebuke to one who is doing poorly or an encouragement to one who is doing good to do better. There are such several rebukes or encouragement in the Bible to God's people to trust God and do what they must in spite of the perceived dangers or the enormity associated with the required tasks.

We all need to rise from our moral slumber, sheer laziness, religious slumber, political slumber, and slumber of non-initiative and do something that honors God and uplifts all concerned. We must shake ourselves from the shackles of immorality, religious luke-warmness, the attitude of waiting for the government and someone else to do something for us , and not taking any risks at all, and then to rise to be counted. In order to shine one must first learn to rise. To rise is to respond to God's call to us to become his active agents, channels and instruments to transform self and others.

more here-“arise-shine-you-are-light-christ”--0