Saturday, May 28, 2011

New Episcopal church forming

From Montana-

Beginning on June 5, the newly established St. Mary’s Episcopal Church will hold services in Butte at 10:45 a.m. each Sunday.
The Rev. John Toles, church rector, will officiate the services, which will be held at the St. Joseph’s Catholic Church, Utah and Second. The Episcopal church is a member of the Worldwide Anglican Communion.

“We just felt that there was an opportunity to reach a broader audience to have a second (Episcopal) church there,” Toles said.

Toles said that the arrangement to use the St. Joseph Catholic Church for the Episcopal services came through ecumenical cooperation.

“Bishop Thomas of the Roman Catholic Church and Bishop Brookheart of the Episcopal Church discussed it and decided it would be a great opportunity,” he said.

The bishops worked with local priest, the Rev. Bob Hall, to work out the details. Toles, who lives in Anaconda, serves Episcopal congregations in Anaconda, Deer Lodge and Philipsburg. He said he logs 1,500 miles a month commuting between churches. That number will be even higher with his new congregation in Butte.

More here-

House of Bishops divided on keeping out homosexuals

From The Church Times-

A CHECKLIST has been drawn up that makes it virtually impossible for an openly gay person to become a bishop in the Church of England.

At the same time as the Church of Scotland was opening the door to gay ministers, the C of E’s House of Bishops met in secret to discuss, among other things, legal advice on how to continue to exclude homosexuals from the episcopate in the wake of the Equality Act 2010.

A press spokesman confirmed that the Bishops discussed “issues concerned with episcopal appoint­ments this week, and commissioned further work”. It is understood that the bishops were unable to agree.

It appears that the legal advice was first requested by the Archbishop of Canterbury when the name of the Dean of St Albans, the Very Revd Dr Jeffrey John, was put forward for the see of Southwark in spring 2010. Subsequently, Dr John’s name was put forward for Salisbury and Lincoln. The House of Bishops’ debate seems to have been an attempt to justify retrospectively his effective exclusion from all three.

More here-

'And One Was a Priest: The Life and Times of Duncan M. Gray Jr.'

From ENS-

Gray is best known as the man who stood up to racists in Mississippi in the 1950s and '60s, and he well deserves that renown. I first got to know Gray when he was my rector at St. Peter's Episcopal Church in Oxford, where we lived until my family moved to Vicksburg when I was in my teens.

I was 13 when James Meredith became the first African-American student admitted to "Ole Miss" and the riot occurred. Years later, when my youngest daughter was looking at colleges, Gray was serving as the chaplain at the University of the South when we visited. I told him that if she decided to attend Sewanee, I wanted to return to talk to him about the riot at Ole Miss. My daughter chose the school, and it was during her freshman year and one of my talks with Gray that together we decided I would write his biography.

Gray began his efforts for racial justice when he was a senior in the School of Theology at University of the South in 1952-53. An African-American student had applied to the seminary, and the result was what came to be known as "the integration crisis" at Sewanee. The seminary faculty supported the young man's admission, while the head of the university -- who was Gray's uncle -- and the seminary's Board of Regents fought it. Gray was president of his seminary class and he and most other seminary students supported their faculty and the young man's admission.

When Gray graduated from seminary in 1953, his first churches were in Bolivar County, Mississippi, the county immediately north of the one in which the White Citizens Council had its origins. It was, of course, the Brown v. the Board of Education decision in 1954 that sparked the founding of the council, and again Gray spoke and wrote in opposition to the council's aims despite the protests of some of his parishioners and his neighbors.

More here-

Christ & Holy Trinity Church to unveil Great Hall

From Connecticut-

A year after breaking ground on construction of its new Great Hall addition, Christ & Holy Trinity Episcopal Church in Westport on June 12 will unveil the recently completed 3,000-square-foot building at the corner of Myrtle Avenue and Church Lane. The ceremony will take place at 10:45 a.m.

The church's first new building in more than 50 years was designed by Deirdre O'Farrelly Architects and Antinozzi Associates to accommodate 300 people standing and 200 seated. It complements the gothic architectural style of the original stone church.

The addition features vaulted ceilings with exposed wooden beams, an oak plank floor and balconies on the interior, and New England-style board and batten siding on the exterior with a masonry tower to match the stonework of the main church. The two-story building also houses five classrooms, a music room and kitchen, as well as a cloistered courtyard for events.

More here-

Acceptance, comfort at heart of services

From Virginia-

Worship services are supposed to be welcoming and inclusive.

But for those with with conditions such as autism and ADHD, the experience can be just the opposite--tense and anxiety-filled, hardly conducive to connecting with God.

Some area churches are working to change that.

Trinity Episcopal Church in Fredericksburg recently started a monthly Saturday evening service it calls All God's Children.

Vicky Koch (pronounced "cook") got the idea when a fellow parishioner approached her with a concern.

"She said a really good friend wanted to come to church, and her son was autistic and would not feel welcome," Koch, the church's director of Christian education, said in a recent interview.

"The truth of the matter is that not everyone would feel welcome," she said.

Planning a service for children with disabilities and their families began in earnest, and Koch didn't have to look far for help.

More here-

Friday, May 27, 2011

Third Anglican-Roman Catholic International Commission meeting underway

From Independent Catholic news-

The Anglican Roman Catholic International Commission (ARCICIII) has completed the introductory part of the agenda for its first meeting. On Friday and Saturday it discussed background papers on the history of ARCIC I and II (Bishop Christopher Hill, Anglican Diocese of Guildford in England); how ARCIC I and II addressed matters of ecclesiology (Bishop Arthur Kennedy, Roman Catholic Auxiliary Bishop of Boston in the USA; Canon Dr Nicholas Sagovsky, England) and ethics (Fr Adelbert Denaux, Dean of Tilburg School of Theology, Utrecht; Dr Charles Sherlock, retired professor from Melbourne, Australia). Sadly, Dr Sherlock's paper was read by another member of the Commission as he had returned home for the funeral of his mother.

Part of the mandate of ARCIC III is to promote the reception of the work of its predecessor body, ARCIC II. To this end it heard from Sr Teresa Okure from Nigeria and Bishop Nkosinathi Ndwandwe on the reception of ARCIC in Africa; from Bishop Linda Nicholls, Suffragan Bishop of the Diocese of Toronto, Canada, on reception in North America; and Dr Paul Murray from Durham University in England on reception in Europe. These snapshots of Anglican-Roman Catholic relationships encouraged the
Commission to think about how its work can be done so as to promote relationships on the ground and to bring its insights into the lived experience of our two Communions.

Dr Murray stimulated discussion about receptive ecumenism: a way of being with each other that is open and vulnerable. "This is ecumenism not primarily as a task of convincing the other, but as a task of conversion; a task of asking how in the face of the other we are being called to conversion out of ways that are frustrating our flourishing, and into a greater abundance of life, a deeper quality of catholicity",
Dr Murray said.

More here-

St. Thaddeus Soup Kitchen honored with contribution

From Lexington S.C.-

Lexington-based DayBreak Adult Care Services recently selected St. Thaddeus Episcopal Church Soup Kitchen in Aiken as the April winner for its "Charity Begins at Home" program.

DayBreak started the monthly charitable donation contest in 2010 as part of its 10th anniversary celebration. Each month, DayBreak donates $500 to a Midlands or Aiken County charity based on nominations received through its website. At the end of each month, the charity garnering the most votes receives a $500 contribution. DayBreak lists the winners and a description of their services on its website.

April's winner, St. Thaddeus Soup Kitchen, is devoted to serving the needs of the community. Every Saturday from 11:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m., a staff of volunteers prepares and serve meals to those in need. The staff serves an average of 175 meals every Saturday, with those numbers climbing to more than 225 during the summer months. The volunteers also personally deliver meals to members of the St. Thaddeus congregation who are sick or cannot leave their homes.

More here-

How to help Joplin

The Diocese of West Missouri has helpful information on how individuals and parishes might respond to the disaster in Joplin.

You can find it here-

Praying at the edge of the grave

From Missouri-

Today's paper is full of information about ways to help Joplin, including collections sites in the St. Louis area. I imagine many area churches and other religious organizations are collecting money and much-needed items; my own congregation is starting a collection this Sunday, and is trying hard to stay on top of information as it develops, so that we meet the most urgent needs in the most repsonsible and helpful way.

As part of that effort, I've been regularly checking on the Diocese of West Missouri's website. (In the Episcopal Church, the state of Missouri is divided into two dioceses, Missouri and West Missouri. Joplin obviously is in West Missouri, while St. Louis is in Missouri.) There is a lot of good, concrete information on the site. On the day after the tornado, Bishop Martin Field posted a letter, including a list of those clergy and families who were accounted for, as well as explaining the difficulty of obtaining all the information needed to make a full report. It reminded me of the parable of the shepherd going out of his way to find the one lost sheep. According to the website, the Bishop is in Joplin now and will remain there through the weekend.

More here-

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Church of the Holy Spirit expanding

From Alabama-

The Episcopal Church of the Holy Spirit in Alabaster is preparing to begin using its new building addition within two weeks, said church Rector Rev. Lee Lowery.

The church began work on the new church wing several weeks ago, and is slated to begin holding programs and outreach ministries in the building in early June.

“We should be in there in two weeks,” Lowery said, noting the church will hold several programs in the new wing, including Christian education programs and Pentecost.

The 4,000-square-foot new building, which will be named the church’s Parish Hall, will help the Church of the Holy Spirit expand programs it already has in place, Lowery said.

The building will also house office space and social areas for the church at 858 Kent Dairy Road.

Lowery said the church was able to keep the construction time down by using the Calera-based Rose Office Systems, which specializes in modular buildings. Lowery said opting to construct a modular building allowed the church to get about 20 percent more space in the new building while spending the same amount it would cost to construct a traditional building.

More here-

On Capitol Hill and beyond: Bear witness to the poor and vulnerable

From Bonnie Anderson via ENS-

I went to Capitol Hill to talk with legislators last week, and came away with the first two lines of William Cowper's famous hymn running through my mind: "God moves in a mysterious way; His wonders to perform."

The Episcopal Church's Office of Government Relations scheduled seven meetings for me with legislators and legislative staff. I wanted to talk about poverty and women's issues, but found that all that the legislators and their staffs wanted to talk about was the 2012 federal budget. As it turned out, however, our interests were one and the same; many of the programs that affect the most vulnerable Americans -- the poor, women, children, and the elderly -- are encompassed in approximately $3 trillion worth of cuts that the House of Representatives proposes to make over the next 10 years in programs that help low-income individuals and their families.

In February, the Executive Council of the Episcopal Church passed a resolution that "urges all Episcopalians in the United States to engage in advocacy for a responsible federal budget that expresses the shared moral priorities of the nation." After my visits on Capitol Hill, I am more committed to this work than ever, and hope you will consider joining me. We have a significant moral priority as Episcopalians, as Christians, to bear witness on behalf of the poor, the vulnerable and the marginalized. The baptismal promise to strive for justice and peace among all people makes the choice between cutting programs for the poor and elderly or raising taxes an easy one.

More here-

Recognizably Anglican

From The Living Church-

The 1963 Anglican Congress in Toronto came at the high-water mark of Anglican prestige in the Global North, and yet it held up a much wider and deeper vision of the nature of communion in a prescient way. The Congress gave us the banner “mutual responsibility and interdependence” in which mission priorities in a parish in Canada or the United States should take into account the needs of partners in Ghana or Burma. The vision assumed the Communion to be a family of churches throughout the world, and church leaders throughout North America applauded it — no one complained that this sense of accountability was somehow un-Anglican (though getting churches to fund it was another matter).

The delegates who crowded into Maple Leaf Gardens to listen to Michael Ramsey had a vision of the Communion quite consonant with the Covenant.

Mission has loaned to the whole Church talk about “context” and the local (not to mention the notion of the “missional” itself). But if we stop to think for a moment, we realize that legitimate mission thinking always balances considerations of the local and the “catholic” (or universal), of “incarnational” strategy and the “recognizability” of one church’s beliefs and practices by its siblings. We might object that mission would be most successful when it considers the needs and circumstances of its own situation, unconstrained by the reproof of more distant neighbors. This may well be true, if mission were only another word for marketing, and all we sought were the adaptation of the most saleable product.

More here-

Lira magistrate blocks nomination of West Lango bishop

From Uganda-

The Magistrate’s Court in Lira District on Tuesday blocked the Anglican synod which was to oversee the nomination of two persons to the office of the Bishop of West Lango Diocese.
The decision to block the meeting that was to take place yesterday came after a cross section of Christians sought an interim court order restraining the church from convening the extra-ordinary synod.

Through their lawyer, the plaintiffs argued that the synod sat in 2010 and nominated two senior clergies, whose names were forwarded to the House of Bishops for appointment to the diocesan.

The Christians want to know why the House of Bishops abandoned the first nominees, which included Rev. Canon Milton Oto Olima and Rev. Alfred Acurx.

The plaintiffs also said the suspension and dismissal of Oto and Rev. Ceaser Obot was unlawful. They said the duo was suspended without giving them the opportunity to be heard.
Grade One Magistrate Everest Palodi also heard that Chief Justice Benjamin Odoki, after confusion brewed in the Church of Uganda, advised the church to validate the two candidates but the church leaders ignored him.

More here-

Sudan's disputed Abyei region descends into chaos amid calls for ongoing advocacy

From ENS-

As Sudan's wanted President Omar al-Bashir said that he would not remove his Khartoum troops from the disputed oil-producing Abyei region, church and world leaders are insisting that advocacy for the war-torn south and for a lasting peace must continue.

"It seems only a little while ago that we were ratcheting up our advocacy with our government and other friends of the international community to ensure a safe and timely referendum," said Richard Parkins, executive director of the American Friends of the Episcopal Church of Sudan (AFRECS), referring to the historic January plebiscite when southerners voted almost unanimously to secede from the Islamic north.

"Those efforts were largely successful, but the case for advocacy remains compelling," he added. "As Abyei becomes a target for Khartoum's military thrust and as other border areas experience harassment and violence, the quest for peace and stability for the new South Sudan and protection for Christians in the north remains an urgent goal."

More here-

also here-

Before Senate vote, national religious leaders call GOP budget cuts ‘immoral’

From Florida-

As the U.S. Senate gets ready to vote today on the recently approved House GOP budget, a handful of religious leaders from various denominations have spoken out against the budget because it “contains immoral cuts that would harm the most vulnerable.”

Catholic leaders, two dozen bishops of the Episcopal Church, the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America and the United Methodist Church as well as members of the 100,000-plus online community Faithful America have issued letters and petitions stating that the budget lacks compassion and is an affront to Christian values.

The Protestant Bishops’ letter (pdf.) urges senators voting on the House budget proposal “to consider the human costs of massive cuts to social programs and come together across partisan lines to shape a budget that defends human dignity and basic economic security for all Americans.”

The letter questions the cuts to nutrition programs for mothers and infants (Women, Infants and Children) and cuts to Medicaid that “will hurt sick children, struggling families and seniors in nursing homes. Proposed changes to Medicare will break the promise that all American seniors get the healthcare they need by forcing them to buy private insurance without assuring that it is affordable.”

More here-

Vandals target Delco church

From Pennsylvania (with video)

Caution tape lined the steps that lead up to Saint Stephen's Episcopal Church in Clifton Heights on Wednesday.

For 140 years St. Stephen's has been serving parishioners, and there had never been a problem with vandalism until now.

Tuesday afternoon vandals knocked down a heavy wrought iron railing, taking pieces of the slate steps with it.

Wilcy Moore is a parishioner, treasurer and volunteer groundskeeper at St. Stephen's.

"Sure I'm upset," he told Action News. "We've been trying to dress the front of the church up to make it look great."

Moore says whoever did this had to work at it.

"One person couldn't have done it," he said. "It would have taken a group of people rocking it back and forth."

More here-

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

John Wesley a great evangelist and stalwart Anglican

From Country Live-

The month of May, and the day of May 24th, are important on the Christian calendar for many things, but one remarkable item which needs to be noted and remembered is the outstanding contributions of the Rev. John Wesley, not only to the life of the Church of England and the Methodist movement, but to the whole of society – in the United Kingdom and the around world. May 24, 1738 was day of John Wesley’s conversion, while reading Luther’s preface to the Epistle to the Romans.

In 1738, John Wesley, a graduate with a Masters degree from Oxford University, was a priest in the Church of England, and a missionary to the English colony of Georgia, in America. Wesley was returning home to England, sad and totally defeated because his work had not been successful. On board Wesley’s ship was a group of German Moravian Christians. A terrific Atlantic storm battered the ship and Wesley was terrifed that it would flounder and sink. In the midst of his gripping fear he noted that the Moravians exhibited no fear or trepidation and in fact were calm; even their children! Wesley was amazed! He began to reflect on his feelings of despair and to search his soul. His thinking may have been, “Why am I, a priest and scholar and missionary, overwhelmed with fear but these Christians fearless? What do they possess that I do not?

On returning home to London Wesley sadly observed, “I went to America to convert the Indians, but who, O who, will convert me?”

As he took up his duties in London Wesley was troubled, and could not find peace. He believed and could recite the creeds, and scripture, but they were words on a page and he found no satisfaction nor freedom from dismay. He was a troubled man.

More here-

Anglican parish trying to figure what to do after loss of church rectory

From Newfoundland-

The Anglican Parish in Robinsons suffered what Wayne Morris, a local church warden, describes as a “big loss” when the church rectory burned to the ground on Monday night.
It was about 10:45 p.m. that the Bay St. George RCMP was notified by the Bay St. George South Volunteer Fire Department of a house fire in the community of Robinsons.

The Bay St. George South Volunteer Fire Department attended to the church rectory, but was unable to save the building which was fully engulfed; however, they were able to save the neighbouring church, which was in danger from the flames.

“We were afraid for our home and the homes of neighbours,” Elaine Wells, who lives nearby, said. “The flankers from the fire were coming over the top of the church and blowing onto our homes.”

Morris said there was a fear for the church itself, located about 50 yards from the rectory, and praised firefighters for keeping the fire contained to the rectory.

More here-

Prayer vigils send message to Netanyahu: 'Lift the ban on Bishop Dawani'

From ENS-

Episcopalians in Washington, D.C., and Los Angeles held silent prayer vigils in protest of Israeli treatment of Palestinians on May 24, the day Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu addressed a joint session of Congress about the peace process.

They sought to send a message about the Israeli government's policies towards Palestinians in general and specifically the refusal to grant Anglican Bishop Suheil Dawani a permit to reside in Jerusalem. As bishop of the Episcopal Diocese of Jerusalem, Dawani, a Palestinian Christian, oversees congregations and institutions in Israel, Jordan, Lebanon, Syria and the Palestinian Territories.

"He [Netanyahu] passed by us. I don't know if he paid attention to our signs or not" on his way to the Capitol, said the Rev. Susan Burns, rector of the Church of the Redeemer in Bethesda, Maryland, in the Diocese of Washington, D.C.

More here-

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Uganda religious leaders act on deforestation

From Uganda-

When Anglican bishop Nathan Kyamanywa was appointed to his job in 2002, he decided that climate change should be a matter of concern for Christians. Kyamanywa bought 55 tree seedlings and gave one to each of the parishes in his diocese of Bunyoro-Kitara in western Uganda.

“My fellow bishops laughed at me. They thought I wanted to impress the public. But I can tell you, the tree planting has never stopped since I started,” said Kyamanywa.

The bishop is just one of a number of Ugandan religious leaders from various faiths who are educating their communities about the environment and taking steps to preserve it, particularly in the face of deforestation.

Uganda has lost more than two-thirds of its forests over the last 20 years as its population quickly expands and as access to electricity and other power sources except wood and charcoal remains low.

In addition, the north of the country saw many trees cut down by government forces during a 20-year civil war against the Lord’s Resistance Army, as the government sought to deprive the rebels of hiding places.

More here-

Clergyman decries rise in political turmoil in Africa

From Ghana-

A clergyman has expressed worry about recent political crises, resulting in widespread loss of lives and property in some African countries, including Cote d’ Ivoire, Nigeria and Libya.

The Right Reverend Thomas Dibo Elango, Bishop of the Anglican Diocese of Cameroon, said the situation was unhelpful to the image of the continent, and appealed to all factions in political conflicts to allow calm to prevail.

Rt. Rev. Elango, who was delivering the sermon at the Episcopal Ordination and Consecration of Rev. Canon Dr Cyril Ben Smith, Suffragan Bishop of the Kumasi Anglican Church, at the Saint Cyprian Cathedral, reminded African leaders that peace and unity were crucial to progress.
He also asked them to employ dialogue in settling their political differences and refrain from violence and intimidation.

Rt. Rev. Elango condemned alcoholism, prostitution, drug abuse, teenage pregnancy, and sexual promiscuity that results in the spread of HIV/AIDS.
He tasked the church to intensify its evangelism and moral campaign to help transform society.

More here-

What Harold Camping Got Right

From Huffington-

The deadline has passed, the world has survived, and radio preacher Harold Camping was denied his apocalypse. All mainstream, orthodox Christians disagreed (including myself) with Mr. Camping's prediction. We believe that the Bible is right when it says that only the Father knows the day and time of His return. For Camping's followers however, it took 6pm Saturday to see that once again he got it wrong.

But let me tell you what he got right:

Getting the message out there.

Over the last few months, a remarkably tiny group of people have done a brilliant job sharing their message with the world. Inaccurate, wrong, or wacky -- they have told their story far better than major Christian denominations, mega-churches, and supposed "media" ministries have done. I travel more than most people, and I've seen their billboard campaign in cities like Los Angeles, the full page ads in major newspapers like USA Today, people handing out handbills outside subway stations in New York, mobile advertising, personal word of mouth, and more. It may not be the most creative or brilliantly designed, but at least it's unified and strategic.

All from a fringe radio preacher that 99 percent of Americans had never heard of six months ago.

In the meantime, what has the rest of the Christian world been doing to get their their message out?


It's tough to find anything from the Episcopal Church, even though they've had a denomination-wide ad project since 1979 that seems to have resulted in an "advertising collaborative." They did try their warm and fuzzy "I am Episcopalian" series, but you don't remember that one either, right? At least on YouTube you can find a video of an Episcopal Bishop talking about "honoring your spiritual journey" -- whatever that means.

More here-

WEST MISSOURI: Church members 'shocked and dazed' but safe after deadly tornado

From ENS-

The Rev. Frank Sierra helped a parishioner search for her two grandsons May 22, shortly after a deadly tornado struck around 6 p.m., slicing a six-mile long and one-half-mile wide path through Joplin in southwestern Missouri.

"People were just wandering around, dazed and confused. There were wires strewn everywhere and just plain devastation," recalled Sierra, rector of St. Philip's, the only Episcopal Church in the town of about 50,000 in the Diocese of West Missouri.

"They (the grandsons) lived about a block from the main path of the tornado," which killed 90 people, injured others and caused extensive property and other damage, Sierra said during a May 23 telephone interview from his office. "Fortunately, they're okay."

Considered the deadliest American tornado in 60 years, according to ABC News, it was part of a massive storm system that spawned 70 tornadoes in the Midwest. Tornadoes were reported in seven states from the Canadian border to Oklahoma. At least one person was reported killed in Minneapolis; warnings and watches were posted from Texas to Michigan.

Missouri Gov. Jay Nixon declared a state of emergency and deployed the National Guard to assist as rescuers sifted through the rubble for trapped survivors. President Barack Obama offered condolences via a statement and said he had directed the Federal Emergency Management Agency, or FEMA, to support response and recovery efforts.

More here-

A Chance for a New Creation: An Interview with Bishop Greg Rickel

From Olympia-

On May 6, at Saint Mark's Cathedral in Seattle, Greg Rickel, the Episcopal Bishop of Olympia (Western Washington), participated in an interfaith service of prayer with Muslim leaders, including Imam Feisal Abdul Rauf, the so-called "Ground Zero" imam. At the end of the evening, he and Imam Rauf embraced, and shortly afterward, an audience member approached Bishop Rickel with tears running down his face.

"That has brought my faith back," he said, and the memory of that evening of encounter was still lighting up Greg Rickel's face recently when we met for a couple of pints near the Episcopal Seminary of the Southwest in Austin, Texas.

Helping to remind people of the life-saving elements of faith—or to ignite faith in the first place—is at the heart of Greg's career in ministry, first as a parish priest, now as one of the youngest and most dynamic bishops in the Episcopal Church. I was once Greg's parishioner at St. James Episcopal Church in East Austin, and our relationship was a vital part of my re-engagement with the Church and with my renewed life as a Child of God. My story is far from unique. Ask anyone who has worshipped with Greg or worked with Greg and you'll hear similar engagement and enthusiasm. In a world where too many believers are angry, suspicious, moralistic, and fearful, Greg Rickel is constantly reminding us that true faith is about love, forgiveness, and spiritual practice.

More here-

NORTHERN MICHIGAN: Rayford Jeffrey Ray consecrated as 11th bishop

From ENS-

The Rt. Rev. Rayford Jeffrey Ray was consecrated the 11th bishop of the Episcopal Diocese of Northern Michigan during a May 21 celebration of baptismal ministry held on the campus of Northern Michigan University in Marquette.

"It was an exciting time and I am humbled by it all," Ray said May 23 of the celebration at the university's Vandament Arena attended by about 450 Episcopalians and interfaith and ecumenical guests.

"The whole focus on baptismal ministry is a very important part of who and what we are in the diocese," added Ray, 54, who has served in Northern Michigan for more than 20 years, working as a ministry development coordinator in the south central region of the diocese.

Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori was chief consecrator during the ceremony, centered around a "huge" baptismal font with flowing waters from the three Great Lakes, Michigan, Superior and Huron, which surround the Upper Peninsula, he said.

More here-

Monday, May 23, 2011

Anglican on Hawking's Remarks: Heaven Not Some 'Sky Stuff'

From Christian Post-

Responding to Stephen Hawking’s claim that heaven was made up by people who were afraid of dying, Archbishop of York Dr. John Sentamu clarified what heaven really is.

“Heaven is not just some kind of place for retired Christians where they’re going to be enjoying their retirement,” he told BBC’s Toby Foster. “Heaven is where God’s will is being done. In fact, the Lord’s Prayer talks about ‘your will be done on earth as it is in heaven.’ So God is very much on earth as He is in heaven.”

During his two-day visit this past week to South Yorkshire, Sentamu spoke with BBC about his trip and other matters of faith as well.

During the interview, the Anglican leader was asked what he felt about famed physicist Hawking’s recent statement to U.K.’s the Guardian that “there is no heaven or afterlife” and that it is all “a fairy story for people afraid of the dark.”

Sentamu first made clear, “I’m not afraid of dying. Bring it on any day.”

The Church of England cleric continued, “[Hawking] shouldn’t paint a picture of some kind of sky stuff up there because the faith of God is not that kind of faith. The coming of Jesus in human flesh on earth was actually trying to say, ‘when I look at you ... you should be telling me more about what God is and about what it is to be human.’”

More here-

Long, winding road brought new pastor to St. Charles Church

From Colorado-

It has been a long and winding road that brought Lyn Burns from her birthplace in South Africa to her new post as pastor of St. Charles Episcopal Church in Fort Morgan.

She left South Africa in her late 20s to get away from apartheid.

Burns is far from unique in that; apartheid and reverse apartheid have resulted in a "brain drain" in the country, she said.

"The South African situation has split more families than you can imagine," she declared.

Two of her sisters and a brother also left the country and now live in New Zealand.

"I consider myself more Coloradan than anything else," Burns said, noting that she lived in Boulder for a number of years and served in La Veta and Alamosa before coming to St. Charles.

She also has two grown childen, a son and a daughter, living in Colorado.

Ordained in Denver in 2006 after going to Virginia Theological Seminary, Burns spent a year as a chaplain at the Mayo Clinic in Minnesota, then served in La Veta three years and six months in Alamosa.

Some members of St. Charles have asked her what she thinks of living in a small town; she replies, "This isn`t small."

She has been in towns with dirt roads and one traffic light, she said -- and she likes to go to the country to find peace.

More here-

Healy couple translates New Testament to Gwich’in language Read more: Fairbanks Daily News-Miner - Healy couple translates New Testament to Gwich’in

From Alaska-

The gold-lettered title of the plain-covered book reads “Vit’eegwijyahchy’aa: Vagwandak Nizii,” Gwich’in for, “God: His Good News.”

“Remember the words of our Lord are blessed to give and to receive,” said St. Matthew’s rector, the Rev. Scott Fisher, following the announcement Sunday that the translation of the New Testament to the Gwich’in Athabascan language is available.

The 11 a.m. service was a joyous occasion for the diverse congregation. There was an adult Baptism and more than a dozen parishioners were confirmed by Alaska Episcopal Bishop Mark Lattime.

The final highlight was the introduction of the second team of Wycliffe volunteers, Meggie and Pierre DeMers of Healy, who spent 31 years completing the Gwich’in translation of the New Testament.

Parishioners responded with a standing ovation for the couple.

The Bible, both Old and New testaments were translated in the latter half of the 1800s by Church of England missionary Archdeacon Robert McDonald. He was the first to put Gwich’in in written form that is no longer used today.

Read more:’in-language?instance=home_news_window_left_top_4

Sunday, May 22, 2011

Embattled church worker resigns post

From Southern Ohio-

A Columbus woman who last week indicated she will plead guilty to federal charges has resigned her position at Trinity Episcopal Church.

Joy Farmer, 41, was charged last month with embezzling about $626,000 from more than two dozen beneficiary accounts for veterans while working for an attorney in Tuskegee, Ala.
She faces eight counts of bank fraud.

Farmer’s resignation -- effective at the end of June -- came one day after her attorney notified a federal judge that she will soon enter a guilty plea in her case. She serves as director of children’s ministries at Trinity. Farmer’s attorney did not say which charge she intends to plead guilty to.

“Joy came to this conclusion for her own peace, for the good of her family, and out of concern for how her continuing legal struggle may affect our life at Trinity,” the Rev. Rich Martindale, rector of Trinity Episcopal Church, said in a message to parishioners. “I have reluctantly accepted her resignation, but have asked her to continue in her job through the end of June -- completing Vacation Bible School and helping us prepare for a transition in how we minister to our youngest members.”

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New Episcopalian bishop ordained

From Northern Michigan-

It was a celebration of faith in the area, allowing members of different religions to come together in support of a new bishop.

The Episopalian Diocese of Northern Michigan ordained its 11th bishop at Vandament Arena in Marquette Saturday morning.

Reverend Rayford Jeffrey Ray has been serving Episcopal churches in the southern U.P. for more than 20 years.

Ray was elected in December.

The Diocese has been without a bishop for almost four years, since Reverend James Kelsey died in a car accident.

Saturday's ceremonies were all about recognizing the attributes of the Episcopal faith.

"It's really a celebration of baptismal ministry, that God calls us in our baptism when we become a Christian to share our gifts with others," says diocesan ministry developer Rise Thew Forrester. "And then as part of the ceremony they'll be pouring water from the three lakes that surround the Upper Peninsula."

A reception followed the ordination ceremony.

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Church of Month: St. Paul's Episcopal Church, One of Fastest-Growing in Nation

From Atlanta-

Jacqueline Forde-Wright was raised in a quiet, subdued Anglican church in Barbados. She wasn’t quite prepared for the clapping, standing and shouting at St. Paul’s Episcopal Church.

She didn’t expect to be moved to tears by the sermon that seemed to be directed at her.

And she didn’t realize that when she walked into the church five years ago it would become her second home.

“It happens a lot in our church. The sermon and the choir often move you to tears,” Forde-Wright said. “You just don’t go to church at St. Paul’s. It is church. It’s all around you.”

The church, parceled beyond a slight bend on Peyton Road, is one of the fastest growing church in the Atlanta diocese, which include 96 churches in north and middle Georgia.

And, according to local Episcopalians, it’s one of the largest African-American parishes in the Episcopal Church nationwide.

“It really stands out as a church because of its music, the preaching and the outreach,” said Nan Ross, spokeswoman for The Episcopal Diocese of Greater Atlanta. “There is just a lot of positive energy in that place and it’s attracted a lot of people.”

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