Saturday, November 19, 2011

Election in Diocese of New York

While not officially confirmed by the diocese I understand this petition candidate is the winner. (See the Facebook link below)

Andrew Dietsche serves the Diocese of New York already as Canon for Pastoral Care. He is married to Margaret Mahoney Dietsche and they have two grown daughters. He has been ordained for twenty-four years, divided between fourteen years of parish ministry and his service to this diocese for ten, beginning in the first days after the attack on the World Trade Center.

Andy’s pastoral work has taken him over and over into every parish in our diocese, and he has worshipped on Sunday morning in all but two. Working with clergy and vestries in so many of our churches, his commitment is always to good clerical and congregational health. The gifts and passions he brings to that work flow directly from his experience in parish ministry.

More here-


The Rev. Gregory O. Brewer elected fourth bishop of Central Florida

From Central Florida-

The Rev. Gregory O. Brewer, rector of Calvary-St. George’s Church in New York City, was elected on Nov. 19 as the fourth bishop of the Episcopal Diocese of Central Florida, pending the required consents from a majority of bishops with jurisdiction and standing committees of the Episcopal Church.

Fr. Brewer was elected on the 4th ballot out of a field of seven nominees. He received 141 votes of 241 cast in the lay order and 110 of 192 cast in the clergy order. An election on that ballot required 125 in the lay order and 95 in the clergy order.

The election was held during the diocese's special convention at Trinity Preparatory School. Winter Park. Pending a successful consent process, Fr. Brewer will succeed the Rt. Rev. John W. Howe, who is retiring.

Under canons of the Episcopal Church, a majority of bishops exercising jurisdiction and diocesan standing committees must consent to the bishop-elect's ordination as bishop within 120 days of receiving notice of the election.

Calvary-St. George’s Church is a 500-member, multi- cultural and multiracial, “program-size” parish with landmarked historic buildings in downtown Manhattan.

Before serving there, Fr. Brewer was rector of Church of the Good Samaritan, Paoli, Pa., which had 1,800 members. Good Samaritan is a 150-year-old corporate-size and in an affluent suburban area known as the “Main Line.” Because of its commitment to Biblical orthodoxy and discipleship the congregation was drawn from a large geographic area.

More here-

An Effort, Years in the Making, to Capture the Mystery

From The New York Times (A really wonderful story)

The story of a faithful man, and of the unique offering he will be making on Sunday to his church, begins in a Southern California backyard in March 1974. That man, today a prominent Manhattan doctor named James Marion, is then a 10-year-old boy, and he is startled by the sound of screams from inside his family’s home.

When the boy enters, he sees his father vomiting blood, and hears his mother telling his older brother to drive to the hospital. As the car pulls away, Jim catches sight of his father in the back seat. It is the last glimpse he will have of his father alive, for Robert Marion will die a week later at age 40, having slowly bled to death from an ulcer.

Sitting in his Upper East Side office on a recent afternoon, Dr. Marion, 48, says with a physician’s mordant humor that “you don’t have to be Sigmund Freud” to figure out why he ultimately became a gastroenterologist. He became an expert in the kind of disease that killed his father.

The death of Robert Marion plunges his family into poverty. Without his salesman’s salary to support them, his widow and their four sons resort to selling T-shirts at weekend flea markets. There is no more money for parochial school tuition.

More here-

As Uganda re-considers anti-gay law, former bishop calls for tolerance

From ENS-

As legislators in Uganda prepare to re-open debate on a bill that would harshly punish homosexuals, a church leader who campaigns for gay rights has renewed his call for tolerance and compassion.
Christopher Ssenyonjo, former Anglican bishop of West Buganda diocese, said in an Nov. 18 interview with ENInews that fear of attack among lesbians, gays, bisexuals and transgendered people, or LGBTs, was increasing each day with many being forced to shift houses.

"People have to be more tolerant. We have to make them understand that homosexuals are not different from them as human beings. [Gay] people are suffering and we believe the problem is in failing to understand them," said Ssenyonjo from Kampala, Uganda's capital.

Discussions on the Anti-Homosexuality Bill 2009 which would punish homosexual acts with the death penalty or long imprisonment were postponed in May after parliament adjourned. The bill also proposes to criminalize various related acts, including the jailing of people who fail to turn over gay people to the police, and those who "promote" homosexuality.

The legislation which was introduced in October 2009, has drawn wide condemnation from international faith and human rights groups.

"People are instigating to have the bill debated. This is creating much anxiety among gays and lesbians who keep guessing what will happen next," said Ssenyonjo, who was deprived of his clerical roles by the Ugandan church in 2002 over his support for gays. He formed a church in 2006 called the Charismatic Church of Uganda and runs the St. Paul's Foundation, which works with LGBT people and other marginalized groups. Ssenyonjo began counseling gays and lesbians and lobbying for their rights in 1998.

More here-

Church hosts African visitors

From California-

The Episcopal Church of the Good Shepherd in Corral de Tierra hosted the Rev. Emmanuel Bwatta and Zilpa Kisonzela from Tanzania and Jo Johnson, a student at California State University, Chico.

The three are part of a larger "Indaba" delegation. "Indaba" is a Zulu word that refers to gatherings whose purpose is to meet and address community problems, comparable to a town hall, only this hall is worldwide.

The Indaba Project is essentially a conversation among Anglican church members from three areas of the world where a multiplicity of issues contributes to divisiveness and misunderstanding. The issues include poverty, unequal resources, gender relations, technology and historical relations. It was begun in 2008 by Bishop Mary Gray-Reeves of El Camino Real (the local diocese); Bishop Sadock Makaya of Western Tanganyika, Tanzania; and Bishop Michael Parham of Gloucester, England.

More here-

Rowe: How can institutional interests be placed above children?

From Erie-

In 2010, I learned that one of my predecessors, the Rt. Rev. Donald Davis, had sexually molested young girls while he was bishop of the Episcopal Diocese of Northwestern Pennsylvania. That wrenching experience, and my decision to make the news public, have been much on my mind as I follow the horrifying child-rape scandal that has convulsed Penn State University.

I can't fathom how Joe Paterno, Graham Spanier, the university's former president, and other officials apparently justified their decision to place personal and institutional self-interest above the safety of vulnerable children. But it is important to understand their thinking, because, as Pat Howard detailed in Sunday's Erie Times-News, their brand of reasoning is not confined to college football or even to the Catholic Church.

Most institutions prefer to keep their secrets, particularly the damaging ones. Leaders inclined to go public with allegations against a sexual predator, and to confess their institution's culpability in the violation of children, encounter a cadre of lawyers, insurance specialists and other advisers opposed to any more transparency than is absolutely necessary.

Opponents of public confession argue that seemingly honorable acts such as telling the truth and offering to make amends are actually exercises in self-indulgence that burnish the image of the leader at the expense of the institution.

More here-

Episcopal head answers critics on abusive priest

From USA Today-

The presiding bishop of the Episcopal Church on Thursday defended her decision to allow a former Roman Catholic monk to become an Episcopal priest even after he admitted to sexual misconduct with a minor.

The Most Rev. Katharine Jefferts Schori has been under increasing pressure to answer charges that she did not properly investigate the Rev. Bede Parry's past when she was bishop of Nevada in 2004.

Jefferts Schori said she knew of only one incident when Parry, now 69, sought ordination as an Episcopal priest. She also said that Parry passed a background check and a psychological evaluation before he was ordained.

After ordination, she said, Parry was supervised by another priest and not permitted to work alone with children.

"I made the decision to receive him," Jefferts Schori said in a statement, "believing that he demonstrated repentance and amendment of life and that his current state did not represent a bar to his reception."

In 2006, Jefferts Schori was elected presiding bishop of the Episcopal Church, the first woman in the 400-year history of Anglicanism to lead one of its provinces.

More here-

Episcopal churches plan service with 1559 prayer book

From Staten Island-

A celebration of the 350th anniversary of Staten Island will include a service of Evensong with prayers and music from that time period on Dec. 4 at Christ Church New Brighton.

The ten Staten Island churches that are part of the Richmond Interparish Council of the Episcopal Diocese of New York will participate in the 4 p.m. service that will use the 1559 prayer book.

The Rev. Charles Howell, rector of Christ Church, will lead clergy from the other Episcopal churches. Representing the Episcopal Diocese of New York will be Suffragan Bishop Catherine Roskam and the Rev. Andrew Smith.

Tom Sarff, choir director at Christ Church, will coordinate the music with participation from several of the church choirs.

“It’s one of our first printed Episcopal prayer books which would have been in use 350 years ago,” said St. John’s Episcopal Deacon Beverly Neuhaus, chairwoman of the committee organizing the 350th celebration service.

More here-

Friday, November 18, 2011

AMiA in rebellion Rwanda charges.

From The Church of England newspaper via George Conger-

The Anglican Mission in America (AMiA) has come under sharp criticism from the Church of Rwanda over its plans to pull away from the oversight of the African church.

On 31 Oct 2011 Archbishop Onesphore Rwaje directed AMiA Bishop Charles “Chuck” Murphy to suspend work on a proposal that would change its oversight from a “personal prelature” under the Rwandan primate to a missionary society overseen by an independent “college of consultors”.

Founded by Evangelicals in response to what it saw as the abandonment of the classical Anglicans in the United States, Bishop Murphy and Bishop John Rodgers were consecrated on 29 January 2000 at St Andrews Cathedral in Singapore by the Archbishop of Southeast Asia and Rwandan Archbishop Emmanuel Kolini. It has grown rapidly under the leadership of Bishop Murphy, but has begun to witness internal tensions as well as stresses in its relationship with Rwanda.

Citing personal disagreements with Bishop Murphy, the Rt. Rev. Terrell Glenn, an assistant bishop, last week announced his resignation. Questions have also been raised over the transparency of the AMiA’s finances and leadership structure. Criticisms have also been raised over new canons prepared by a former Roman Catholic clergyman now serving in the AMiA that have incorporated a Roman Catholic ecclesiology and sacramental theology.

The AMiA is not synodicaly governed but operates under the sole authority of its leader, Bishop Murphy, who acts as a primatial vicar for the archbishop. Rwanda’s Title II Canon 15 hold there are seven sacraments of two kinds, while Canon 17 teaches the doctrines of Transubstantiation and the Sacrifice of the Mass – a stance that puts the church at odds with Articles XXV and XXVIII. The canons also follow the Roman Catholic teachings on confirmation, penance, matrimony, ordination, holy unction as well as baptism.

More here-

Duquesne rebuffs nonbelievers

From Pittsburgh-

An atheist student at Catholic-run Duquesne University is upset the school won't recognize the Duquesne Secular Society, a group for nonbelievers he helped form.

"I know Duquesne is a Catholic school," said Nick Shadowen, 21, a senior philosophy major who grew up in Harrisburg. "I did not think that meant my opinions, my lack of belief in God, would be censored. They advertise the fact that they are a diverse and international university with all kinds of people studying and working there."

Duquesne's student government oversight committee this month rejected Shadowen's request for the school to give formal recognition to the atheist group, and university officials backed that decision. Shadowen and other nonreligious students from area universities protested outside Duquesne on Thursday.

"This group does not fall in line with the university mission statement, which says Duquesne serves students through serving God," said Zachary Zeigler, 20, of Zelienople, a junior at the school and president of the Student Government Association, which certifies the school's 230 student organizations. "To allow them classroom space and money would be contrary to the mission of the university."

Without university recognition, the group cannot meet on campus, gets no funding and has no right to advertise or even make announcements on bulletin boards around the school, Shadowen said.

Read more:

Episcopal presiding bishop visiting Cape

From Missouri-

Katharine Jefferts Schori, presiding bishop of the Episcopal Church, will be in Cape Girardeau on Sunday morning at Christ Episcopal Church.

Jefferts Schori is in St. Louis for the state's Diocesan Convention, and Cape Girardeau was selected as the location for her to lead a Sunday service while in the state.

The Rev. Robert Towner of Christ Episcopal Church said the Rev. George Wayne Smith, the bishop of Missouri, selected the Cape Girardeau church as a way for the presiding bishop to see a congregation outside the metro St. Louis area.

"He also wanted her to see what a very active church was like out here, a small church but with a big mission. So I take it as a great compliment," Towner said.

Jefferts Schori said part of her responsibility as presiding bishop is to visit various church gatherings, be it a convention, when a new bishop is installed, or in other official capacities.

Churches outside major cities are often used for her visits, particularly those with thriving immigrant congregations or those doing something unusual.

More here-

Archbishop of Canterbury's Statement for the World Day of Prayer and Action for Children

From ACNS-

The Archbishop of Canterbury, Dr Rowan Williams, has released a statement in advance of the World Day of Prayer and Action for Children, which is on Sunday 20th November 2011.

“This Sunday, 20 November 2011, is the World Day of Prayer and Action for Children. This day has been promoted by UNICEF, Religions for Peace, Save the Children and other agencies to focus the world’s attention on the well-being of our children. In every faith community, our children are the treasure that we value beyond price. A child born into health and safety is a sign of hope in our common life. In children we recognise the preciousness and dignity of the human being as well as a vulnerability which calls for our care and protection.

The theme for this year is ‘stop violence against children’. Violence against children will take many forms in different contexts – all demanding our action and prayer. After visiting Eastern Congo earlier this year, I particularly hold in my prayers those children who are affected by armed conflict. I met children who had suffered unimaginable horror, attacked, abducted, forced into brutalizing ways of life - and yet, amidst the anguish, I also encountered precious flames of hope, where local churches and communities strove to protect and restore the lives of their children. I had the privilege of meeting a group of young people who are now involved in a peace initiative. They had been taken into the militia as children and forced to perpetrate terrible acts, and yet the Church continued to reach out to them and call them back. Many said to me: “The Church never gave up on us.” I know that UNICEF has supported faith communities doing similar work to rehabilitate child soldiers in other countries.

More here-

London moves to evict protestors near cathedral on Occupy movement's 'action day'

From ENS-

Protestors around the world joined those in New York and other parts of the United States who marched and demonstrated on Nov. 17 in a Global Action Day marking the two-month anniversary of the Occupy Wall Street movement.

Morning livestream video views of Wall Street marchers ran beside views of marchers in Greece. The OWS website listed plans for university student strikes in Spain, Belgium and Germany, and "spontaneous solidarity actions in Tokyo."

Begun Sept. 17 and inspired by the Arab Spring movement, OWS protests against greed and economic inequality have spread to more than 2,400 locations across the country and around the world. Recent days have seen police in many locations working to oust encampments of protesters, from New York to Portland, Oregon, to Halifax in Ontario, Canada.

In England, the City of London Corporation on Nov. 17 proceeded with eviction notices for protestors camped on the land it owns surrounding the precincts of St. Paul's Cathedral, giving them until 6 p.m. (1 p.m. EDT) to clear the "public highways" or face legal action. The protestors have said they have no intention of moving from the site.

Cathedral officials initially supported legal measures to clear protestors, but following widespread criticism – resulting in two senior clergy resigning – agreed to suspend such action.

More here-

Faith overtones in Occupy protests but leaders wary

From Reuters-

Religions condemn greed. The "Occupy Wall Street" protests around the world condemn greed. So theoretically, religious leaders should find common ground with the rallies denouncing the inequalities of capitalism.

Some activist clergy have turned up at protest camps. Not long after Occupy Wall Street began in New York, some Christians arrived in Zuccotti Park with papier-mache statues of a golden calf, a Biblical symbol of idol worship.

But the hierarchies have kept their distance - or tried to - even though the protests have religious overtones with appeals to equality, charity and justice. When protesters camped at St Paul's Cathedral in London, its Church of England staff found itself torn between God and Mammon.

In the United States, Roman Catholic bishops are meeting this week without economic inequality on their agenda. The Jewish Week newspaper called the Occupy movement a "new third rail for the Jewish mainstream".

Some imams have joined the protests to speak about the advantages of Islamic finance, which bans interest and focuses on investing in the real economy. But the movement has not been a central issue for most large Muslim organizations.

More here-

Episcopal head Jefferts Schori answers critics on abusive priest

From The Washington Post-

The presiding bishop of the Episcopal Church on Thursday (Nov. 17) defended her decision to allow a former Roman Catholic monk to become an Episcopal priest even after he admitted to sexual misconduct with a minor.

The Most Rev. Katharine Jefferts Schori has been under increasing pressure to answer charges that she did not properly investigate the Rev. Bede Parry’s past when she was bishop of Nevada in 2004.

Jefferts Schori said she knew of only one incident when Parry, now 69, sought ordination as an Episcopal priest. She also said that Parry passed a background check and a psychological evaluation before he was ordained.

After ordination, she said, Parry was supervised by another priest and not permitted to work alone with children.

“I made the decision to receive him,” Jefferts Schori said in a statement, “believing that he demonstrated repentance and amendment of life and that his current state did not represent a bar to his reception.”

More here-

Also here- ENS with statement link.

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Naugatuck Church to Hold Free Thanksgiving Dinner

From Connecticut

Thanksgiving is just over a week away, and one local church will continue its tradition of providing a free Thanksgiving Day dinner.

St. Michael’s Episcopal Church, located next to the Naugatuck Green in the downtown, is hosting its seventh annual free dinner from 1 to 3 p.m. on Thursday, Nov. 24. The event is open to all in the community that wish to attend.

The fixins' include turkey, stuffing, mashed potatoes, cranberry sauce, green beans, carrots, butternut squash and dinner rolls, as well an assortment of desserts.

Michelle Lineweber, church member, said The event fulfills two important needs in Naugatuck and the community:

“Many individuals and families cannot afford the daily essentials, or many not be in the financial position to prepare a Thanksgiving dinner. This provides them with a hot, healthy meal,” Lineweber said in an email. “The dinner is also a place where those who don't have any family or friends can come to enjoy the holiday with others from the community, rather than being alone.”

More here-

St. Barnabas congregation announces new name, location

From Ohio-

Beginning Sunday, Nov. 20, the congregation of Bay Village’s St. Barnabas Anglican Church will hold its 10:00 a.m. Sunday services in the auditorium at Bay High School until a permanent facility is built or purchased. In addition, the Anglican congregation – made up of more than 250 individuals – plans to change its name to Christ Church Westshore.

The congregation is moving because its former building at Bradley and Wolf Roads – where many parishioners have worshiped for decades – was awarded to the Episcopal Diocese after a lengthy property dispute.

“All will be welcome at Christ Church Westshore,” said Reverend Gene Sherman. “We are a community of believers who seek to know God, love one another, and serve the community around us.”

Sherman added, “Our congregation understands that the Word – as it was handed down to us in the Bible, along with our caring church family, are more important than a building. That is why we all are moving together to worship at Bay High.”

In addition to utilizing Bay High for its Sunday morning service, Christ Church Westshore will utilize the Great Hall at Bay Presbyterian Church for its Monday evening prayer service at 7 p.m. and a Wednesday Holy Communion service at 10:30 a.m. Christ Church weddings and funerals also will be held at Bay Presbyterian Church for the time being.

More here-

Giving, with thanks: Church group helps food pantry meet goal

From Wisconsin-

A lot more families need help this holiday season. Trinity Episcopal Church is doing its part to fill that need.

"After we did our initial holiday meal boxes, we realized we would be short," said Georgette Young, president of the Baraboo Food Pantry. "When I found out about the additional donations from Trinity Episcopal Church, I was overjoyed."

She said on Wednesday the pantry was able to supply 130 meal boxes filled with a turkey, vegetables, cranberries, stuffing, potatoes and a pie for families who are in need of help putting a meal on the table this Thanksgiving holiday.

"We're hoping to fill 250 boxes," Young said. "If donations continue to come in, I am confident we will be to meet that need."

Today, Trinity Episcopal Church members will donate 75 dinners - complete with turkeys - to the Baraboo Food Pantry.

"With the economy the way it is, families are having a difficult time right now," said Chris Contino, Trinity Episcopal Church member. "This is our way of advancing our ministry in Baraboo."

More here-

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Cardinal announces establishment of US Anglican ordinariate

From Catholic Culture-

Cardinal Donald Wuerl has announced that Pope Benedict XVI will establish an ordinariate for American Anglicans who wish to enter into full communion with the Catholic Church. Two Anglican communities--one in Texas, the other in Maryland--have entered into full communion in recent months and are expected to become part of the ordinariate.

The Pontiff established the Personal Ordinariate of Our Lady of Walsingham in England and Wales in January 2011.

The US ordinariate will be established on January 1, and “at that time, I assume that an Ordinary will be named,” Cardinal Wuerl said at the fall meeting of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops. “If the Ordinary of the new Ordinariate is married, then he can be ordained a priest, but not a bishop.”

“From its erection, an Ordinariate will have the option of using the Roman Missal or the Book of Divine Worship already used by the Pastoral Provision or Anglican Use parishes,” Cardinal Wuerl added.

Cardinal Wuerl also announced that 67 Anglican clergy in the US are seeking ordination as Catholic priests. To date, the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith has granted initial approval to 35 of these applications.

More here-

Salt Lake City cathedral gets new dean and rector

From ENS-

The Very Rev. Raymond Joe Waldon, Jr. was installed and seated Nov. 14 as dean and rector of the Episcopal Cathedral of St. Mark in Salt Lake City, Utah.

He most recently served at St. Peter's Episcopal Church in Talladega, Alabama. Waldon also led rebuilding efforts in Alabama after the devastating tornado of this past spring, according to a press release.

While serving as rector of Holy Cross Episcopal Church in Pensacola, Florida, he assisted with rebuilding efforts in Louisiana after Hurricane Katrina. After Hurricane Ivan he opened the doors of the parish to house a local Lutheran congregation whose church building was severely damaged.

In his 16-year career, Waldon has served on various diocesan committees and represented the bishop during companion efforts for the Diocese of Western Louisiana in the Dominican Republic. He has also worked for various bishops in church growth and parish intervention. Prior to ordination he was a successful radio and television broadcaster.

More here-

U.S. Catholic Church prepares to accept Episcopalians

From Reuters-

The U.S. Roman Catholic Church will establish a body in January to house disaffected members of the Episcopal Church, beginning with a few dozen ministers and at least two congregations seeking communion, U.S. bishops were told on Tuesday.

Some 35 of 67 Anglican ministers who have applied to join the Catholic Church have received the "nulla osta" from the Holy See, allowing them to move forward to become priests, said Cardinal Donald Wuerl, archbishop of Washington, D.C.

Wuerl, head of a committee to move the process forward, gave a progress report to the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops who are meeting this week in Baltimore.

The other clergy seeking ordination have had their dossiers presented to the Vatican's Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, he said.

The Vatican will name an ordinary to lead the Church subdivision, called an ordinariate, beginning on January 1, to oversee the process and perform duties similar to a diocese, Wuerl told the bishops.

More here-

Spiritual Decay

From The American Spectator-

It's commonly remarked that obfuscation is a job requirement for liberal bishops in the Episcopal Church. Never content with reading scripture's plain meaning, they often explain away parts of the Bible that sound unpleasant to today's supposedly enlightened ears. As if out of habit, this practice carries over into church operations, where decaying Mainline Protestant houses of worship situated near booming evangelical churches rarely lead to straightforward discussions about church vitality.

It may come as a surprise, then, that Washington, D.C.'s new bishop is being heralded for her candor in acknowledging the Episcopal Church's decline, even as she fails to identify the underlying reasons for the decline that traditionalists argue got the church into such dire straits in the first place.

Mariann Budde, the first woman to be installed as Washington's top bishop (another briefly led on an interim basis), comes to the diocese acknowledging years of decline and a culture of Episcopalians who, she told the Washington Post, have lost focus on the core missions of worship and evangelizing. Statistics released in October by the U.S.-based church reveal it has lost over 40 percent of its churchgoers since the mid-1960s. Budde replaces John Bryson Chane, who famously said he was "so sick and tired of reading reports about the statistical decline of The Episcopal Church" that he no longer reads them. In selecting a replacement, the diocese sought a candidate who did not fatigue as quickly.

More here-

Episcopal clergy continue support following Occupy Wall Street camp breakup in New York

From ENS-

As Occupy Wall Street (OWS) protestors regrouped after New York police ousted them in a pre-dawn Nov. 15 raid from the movement's original encampment in Manhattan's Zuccotti Park, Episcopal clergy and other interfaith leaders in New York continued their support and planned for the future. Efforts included trying to secure meeting space for protestors and lining up shelter for occupiers if they are not allowed to camp in the park.
In a morning press conference, New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg said he authorized the park clearing because of public health and safety concerns and that protestors would be allowed to return but not to camp in the privately owned park.

"Protestors have had two months to occupy the park with tents and sleeping bags. Now they will have to occupy the space with the power of their arguments," he said.

Clergy leaders who have supported the movement said they were prepared to help protestors to do just that.

More here-

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Arctic seeks funds to complete ‘igloo’ cathedral

From Anglican Journal-

St. Jude’s Anglican Cathedral—the “igloo” church that was destroyed by a fire in 2005— is on its way to becoming, once again, a distinctive feature on the landscape of Nunavut’s capital, Iqaluit.

Work on the new cathedral has not yet been completed, but its half-dome shell—similar to the iconic Inuit snow house—and steeple have recently been installed and interior work has begun, according to an update from the diocese of the Arctic.

About $4 million is needed to complete the rebuilding project, said Debra Gill, executive officer of the diocese. The diocese was hoping to reopen St. Jude’s for Christmas services this year, but lack of funds has pushed the target opening to May 2012. About $5.3 million has been spent on the project so far.

The diocese has hired a consultant to assist in looking for individuals, corporations and foundations that can offer financial support. Since 2006, the diocese has sent out about 5,400 appeals for donation by mail to corporations, foundations and churches. As part of its fundraising efforts, the diocese is selling photo cards of the cathedral and sun catchers embossed with the cathedral’s image.

More here-

Affiliation, Before and After Scandal

From The New York Times-

In the wake of the sexual abuse scandal that is roiling Penn State’s football program, some are wondering whether there could be long-term effects on recruiting, donations and the long-term reputation of the university.

Many experts in higher education who have seen other universities weather crises expect the impact of the events at Penn State to fade within a year. But another precedent for how people might react is the aftermath of the sexual abuse scandals that rocked the Roman Catholic Church in the last decade.

A survey by the Pew Forum on Religion and Public Life conducted in 2008 found that Americans who had left Catholicism had done so for many reasons, including unhappiness with the church’s position on abortion or homosexuality, disagreement with teachings on birth control, and the feeling that their spiritual needs were not being met. But the survey also found that about a quarter of those saying they had abandoned Catholicism cited sexual abuse by members of the clergy as a reason for either leaving religion altogether or affiliating with a different denomination.

A new study by Daniel M. Hungerman, an economist at the University of Notre Dame, estimates that the Catholic Church in the United States lost about two million members — or 3 percent of its American membership — because of the sexual abuse scandals, and that donations to other religious groups rose by $3 billion in the five years after the first significant news reports of the abuses.

More here-

Bishop Budde’s first sermon: What we are doing on earth

From The Washington Post-

Editor’s Note: Rev. Dr. Mariann Edgar Budde was consecrated and seated as the ninth bishop of the Episcopal Diocese of Washington on Nov. 12 and 13. This sermon, delivered on Sunday, was the first she preached in her new position.

A young woman from another country who worked, as many immigrant women do, caring for the children of our professional class, one day heard the children in her charge yelling and carrying on in another room. She spoke English well enough, but she hadn’t yet mastered idiomatic expressions. So as she entered the room intending to restore order, when what she meant to say was “What on earth are you doing?” she said instead, “What are you doing on earth?”

Of the two questions — What on earth are you doing? and What are you doing on earth? — the latter is by far the more interesting. And it’s consistent with the kind of judgment that Jesus and all the great spiritual teachers before and after him would have us ponder from time to time. What are you doing on earth?

More here-

Monday, November 14, 2011

Why is church attendance declining?

From Wyoming-

Pastor Eric Snyder steps down from the dais at Zion Congregational Church.

As he makes his way to the center of the room, he asks for names of those in the congregation who have died this year so that he can include them in his service. He collects the 12 or so names in his careful handwriting, checking the spelling of each before retreating back to the dais to read before a moment of silence.

His list is slightly longer than he expected, and the moment of silence is a heavy one.

Snyder was only recently selected as the pastor at Zion, a congregation founded in 1923 in south Cheyenne. He is fresh out of seminary and just 31 years old. Of the 50 or so regular parishioners at Zion Congregational, most fall into the 65 and older category. Gray hair dominates the room, making Snyder's close crop of red hair distinctive as he moves among the pews.

Next door to the church, Snyder's wife runs a small Bible study during the service for the handful of young children with relatives in the church. Snyder's daughter, age 3, and his 1--year--old son make up about two--thirds of the group.

Between 2001 and 2008, the U.S. Census Bureau reported that membership in congregational churches like Zion dropped from about 1.3 million in the U.S. to about 736,000.

More here-

Swazi king must give up power, says Bishop Mabuza

From Swaziland-

Swaziland's top Anglican cleric, Bishop Meshack Mabuza, has called on King Mswati III to give up political power in favour of a democratic government.

Bishop Mabuza told the BBC that Swaziland's "archaic" system of government had plunged the country into a deep financial and economic crisis.

A government memo says salary payments to civil servants this month will be delayed because of a shortage of money.

King Mswati, who has 13 wives, is sub-Saharan Africa's only absolute monarch.

He is widely accused of profligate spending, but cancelled his silver jubilee celebrations this year because of Swaziland's cash crisis.

Swaziland has so far refused to accept a $355m (£218m) loan from South Africa to help it pay bills, after Pretoria demanded political and economic reforms.

More here-

A Presbyterian exodus over allowing openly gay to be ordained

From Washington State-

Chapel Hill Presbyterian Church in Gig Harbor voted Sunday to leave the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.), primarily because the denomination changed its constitution to allow noncelibate gay men and lesbians to be ordained as clergy and lay leaders. With 1,660 members, Chapel Hill Presbyterian is one of the largest mainline Protestant churches in the South Sound region.

The Rev. Mark Toone, senior pastor of Chapel Hill, said his congregation reached a “tipping point” last spring when a majority of regional governing bodies, called presbyteries, voted to change the church’s ordination standards, permitting openly gay people to be ordained.
“For 30 years, we have battled over the same theological turf,” Toone told about 1,200 parishioners before Sunday’s vote. While it’s painful to leave the denomination, Toone said, “it would be more painful to remain.”

Sumner Presbyterian Church also voted Sunday to depart. Two other South Sound Presbyterian congregations, First Presbyterian of Tacoma and Evergreen Presbyterian in Graham, also decided recently to leave the denomination.

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National Cathedral holds 1st service since earthquake

From The Washington Times-

The Washington National Cathedral reopened Sunday with the first public service since an earthquake in August did millions of dollars in damage to the soaring Northwest church.

“Thank you for your patience and support,” the Rev. Canon Jan Cope, the cathedral vicar, said before the audience erupted in cheers. “This has been quite an extraordinary pilgrimage. There are lessons all around about opportunity.”

The service marked the second event at the cathedral over the weekend and began a weeklong series of events to celebrate the reopening, including concerts and an interfaith day of prayer on Tuesday.

On Saturday, the Rev. Mariann Edgar Budde was installed as the ninth bishop of the Washington Episcopal Diocese, becoming the first woman to have that job.

She asked the roughly 2,000 people who attended the service to see the Aug. 23 earthquake and the ongoing recovery as a time to strengthen and rebuild.

More here-

Sunday, November 13, 2011

North Alabama vegans protest Lobsterfest

From the "You Can't Make This Stuff Up" Department (Alabama)

For the past 18 years, St. Thomas Episcopal Church in southeast Huntsville has drawn thousands of people to its biggest fundraiser of the year, the Lobsterfest.

The church has raised over $300,000, which has gone toward building Habitat houses in Huntsville and providing medical care for poor Hondurans and Haitians.

Some 3,000 people were expected to attend Saturday's event, said church rector, the Rev. Matt Doss.

But that didn't include four people who showed up on the sidewalk in front of the church to protest the annual event -- Dr. Carole Edmonds of Jackson County, Jenni Moody of Huntsville, John Ezell of Decatur and Kathryn Dalenberg of Dekalb County.

The four are members of a Huntsville vegan group that opposes the practice of boiling live lobsters. Edmonds, a dentist who has a practice in Boaz, organized the three-hour peaceful protest.

Washington’s new Episcopal bishop

From The Washington Post-


The Rev. Mariann Budde, shown a few days before her installation as Episcopal bishop of Washington, has expressed a determination to help rebuild the Episcopal Church, whose national membership has been in a long decline.