Saturday, February 11, 2012

George Carey: time to say that Christians have rights too

From The London Telegraph-

George Carey was not regarded as an outspoken Archbishop of Canterbury by the standards of both his predecessor and his successor.

While Robert Runcie and Rowan Williams generated and still generate headlines and ruffle politicians’ feathers, George Carey was largely overshadowed during his 11 years as head of the Anglican communion by internal church battles, notably over the ordination of women. Some even came to regard him as a wee bit dull and mealy-mouthed. If so, then he has more than made up for it since he stepped down in 2002.

In the past few months alone, he has publicly criticised both the cathedral authorities at St Paul’s over the Occupy protest camp, and the Lords Spiritual for leading the opposition to the Government’s benefit cuts in the Upper Chamber of Parliament, where Lord Carey of Clifton now sits as a life peer. “I have been mildly upset to be told to shut up by my fellow Anglican bishops.” But his usually sober face spreads into a grin as he says it. “I have felt freer to speak my mind as my own man, but I am always conscious of not wanting to get in Rowan’s way”.

This new George Carey has rather abandoned the careful diplomatic language he used as an archbishop to keep different church factions in the same pews, in favour of something more earthy and apocalyptic, reflecting his own evangelical background. “There are deep forces at work in Western society, hollowing out the values of Christianity and driving them to the margins”.

More here-

Warren church service to feature Beatles music

From Ohio-

“ALL YOU NEED IS Love” along with your bell-bottoms and tie-dye T-shirt and you’ll be right on for a groovy event at Christ Episcopal Church.

A special service featuring music of The Beatles is planned for 6 p.m. Feb. 18 in the church at 2627 Atlantic St. NE.

Doug Thomas, featured vocalist for The Bridge, the band that will play, said he sees The Beatles’ music as a comfortable fit into a religious service. “So much is about love and peace,” he said. “It’s spiritual on many levels.”

Those “Words Of Love” penned by John Lennon and Paul McCartney span the generations and make an enduring statement on life’s “Long and Winding Road.”

The Rev. Jeff Baker said the service is a way “to get out of the box and have fun.” He continued that the song-oriented service with music so many people know and love is another way “to experience God.” So come and don’t be a “Nowhere Man.”

More here-

General Seminary partners with Church Center on social media

From ENS-

The General Theological Seminary of the Episcopal Church is working with the Office of Communication of the church’s denominational headquarters on a new education program called Digital Formation.

The goal is to help clergy and lay leaders throughout the Episcopal Church appreciate the importance of understanding the use and effects of social media in the church as well as its theological foundations and implications, according to a seminary press release.

The program begins with a series of webinars, each centering on a different topic related to social media. The first hour-long webinar starts at 1:00 pm EST on Feb. 17. Interested persons may register here. The program includes 45 minutes of content and a 15 minute question-and-answer session.

More here-

Episcopal parishes seek leeway

From Albany-

At least three parishes are exploring a move that would release them from pastoral oversight by the conservative Episcopal Diocese of Albany.

They are contemplating what the church calls "Delegated Episcopal Pastoral Oversight," known by its acronym of DEPO, which was formalized in 2004 as a response to conservative parishes' reactions to the ordination of gay clergy and other issues related to sexuality.

"Initially DEPO was designed to deal with theologically conservative parishes that are located in more theologically minded liberal dioceses," Bishop William H. Love said Friday.

"The reverse is occurring in the Diocese of Albany. Albany has been a traditionally conservative theological diocese," the bishop said.

Love said the diocese first met in December with clergy and parish representatives to discuss this situation.

The parishes would remain within the jurisdiction of the Albany diocese, but pastoral care of the Albany parishes could possibly be delegated to the Episcopal Diocese of Central New York, which is based in Syracuse.

Read more:

Friday, February 10, 2012

Anglican breakaway groups confront a new power struggle

From The Washington Post-

The saga of the Anglican Mission in the Americas sounds like the words to an old country song: “Why have you left the one you left me for?”

Founded by breakaway Episcopal priests who left their former denomination because they felt it was too liberal, the Anglican Mission is now in the middle of another ugly church feud.

Last time the fight was over sex and salvation. Now the fight is over money and power, between the Anglican Mission’s U.S. leaders and the overseas Anglican group that adopted them.

“It’s like my mom and dad just told me they are getting a divorce,” said the Rev. Brian Hardin, pastor of the Four Winds Mission in Spring Hill, Tenn., which is a member of the Anglican Mission.

The troubles between the Anglican Mission and its patrons in Rwanda started last year, after former Anglican Archbishop Emmanuel Kolini of Rwanda retired. Kolini had been a friend of American Bishop Chuck Murphy, the head of the Anglican Mission, and had taken a hands-off approach.

More here-

New life for an old church?

From North Carolina-

St. Philip's Episcopal Church, an architecturally important and beloved part of downtown Germanton for generations, may be torn apart, moved and rebuilt to house a congregation in Carrboro that needs a place to worship.

Germanton Baptist Church, which sits next to the Episcopal church, is buying the land from the Episcopal Diocese of North Carolina, said the Rev. Jeff Stephens of the Baptist church.

"Our church is experiencing significant growth," said Stephens, who came to the church in January 2011. "And for the Episcopal diocese to approach us about purchasing the property is an exciting opportunity because we are in desperate need of some room to grow."

The Baptist church's interest lies in the land, not the historic church, which hasn't had an active congregation in decades but remains the property of the diocese.

Officials with the diocese told Stephens that it does not have the resources to maintain the church, on N.C. 65. A local committee took care of St. Philip's for years, but the last member left a few years ago.

More here

Feeding the hungry, dodging red ink at Emmaus House

From Savannah-

They line up outside the Emmaus House on Reynolds Square before 8:30 a.m. four days a week.

Inside the parish house of Christ Church Episcopal a team of volunteers has already prepared a hot breakfast, waiting for the hungry, largely homeless, customers.

The rules are clear.

“We’re serving guests in our home,” said Kim Bockius-Suwyn, vice president of the board. “If you’ve caused a problem, you can’t return.”

She said clients seem to respect that, adding that a lot of self-policing goes on.

Otherwise, the door is always open.

“We feed anybody,” she said. “You don’t have to prove you are homeless to be fed.”

The Emmaus House formerly served a midday meal, but because it and the Social Apostolate on Liberty Street were serving at the same times, “nobody was serving breakfast,” Bockius-Suwyn said.

More here-

Anglicans to march in support of women bishops

From The BBC-

Anglican women clergy are to rally in Westminster later at a march supporting plans to introduce women bishops.

The Church of England's ruling body, the General Synod, is to discuss legislation on women bishops this week.

It will consider a proposal that women bishops should accept intervention in their dioceses by male alternatives if called in by traditionalist parishes.

Progressive Anglicans fiercely oppose the plans, claiming it would make women second-class bishops.

They say it would force women to accept measures not imposed on their male counterparts.

It is accepted that the legislation should allow conservative parishes access to a male alternative, but traditionalists are fighting for two further concessions, and, it is becoming apparent, one in particular.

More here-

Dr Williams issues warning on Nigeria

From The Church Times-

NIGERIA is “at risk of disintegra­tion” after the recent attacks on Chris­tians, the Archbishop of Canterbury said this week.

Dr Williams, speaking in an emergency debate in the General Synod on Wednesday, said that the situation in Nigeria was “not a few issues of interfaith conflict, but the threatened disintegration of a society”.

He described the Nigerian Islamist group Boko Haram, which is linked to al-Qaeda, as “one of the most extreme organisations in the world . . . For societies to flourish, the Chris­tian Church must be free to flourish and do what it is called to do.” He was not seeking special pleading for Christians, but was defending all minorities in Nigeria.

The Archbishop of York, Dr Senta­mu, said that the Synod was sending a message: “Anyone who touches Christians or other minorities in Nigeria — you touch us. And our arms are long.”

The Bishop of Durham, the Rt Revd Justin Welby, has recently returned from Nigeria. In his view, the Church in the north of Nigeria was being “systematically and deliberately eliminated”.

He said that the emergency Synod motion called for the protection of all minorities, but Christians were bearing the brunt of the attacks. He said that the Bishop of Damaturu was in hiding, “his flock scattered, his churches destroyed”.

More here-

Anglican Presiding Bishop invited to Anglican Provinces throughout Asia

From ACNS-

Episcopal Church Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori has accepted the invitations of Primates of Anglican Communion provinces in Asia to visit, address diocesan gatherings, celebrate Eucharist and preach during February and early March.

“I look forward to renewing friendships and visiting new areas in Asia, and I am grateful for these invitations,” Presiding Bishop Jefferts Schori commented. “This visit will allow us to learn more about local contexts, the challenges and opportunities the Church faces, and explore how to deepen our partnership in God’s mission.”

Among her activities from February 9 to March 2, Presiding Bishop Jefferts Schori will visit and meet with the Anglican Primates of the Philippines, Nippon Sei Ko Kei (Anglican Church of Japan), South Korea, Hong Kong Sheng Kung Hui, Macau, Taiwan, which is a diocese of the Episcopal Church, and Iglesia Filipina Indipendiente.

More here-

Church of England Refuses to Cater to Traditionalists Over Women Bishops

From The Trumpet (England)

A compromise that would have allowed Anglicans opposed to women bishops to live under an alternative male bishop was rejected by the Church of England’s General Synod on February 8—a move that could push traditionalist Anglicans toward the Roman Catholic Church.

Legislation allowing female bishops in Britain will probably be passed by 2014. They’ve already been ordained in the Anglican Church around the world.

The proposal was originally put forward by the archbishop of Canterbury, Rowan Williams, and the archbishop of York, John Sentamu, the two most senior archbishops, but it was rejected in July 2010. This time, the synod rejected most of the proposal, allowing for an amendment that would allow the bishops to fine tune the legislation further.

A final vote on the legislation will be held in July. It must be approved by two thirds of the bishops in the synod and the clergy before going to Parliament for approval.

Simon Killwick, leader of the Catholic group in the General Synod, told the bbc: “If nothing is changed between now and July then it will be a train crash, whichever way the vote goes.”

More here-

Bringing ex-Anglicans into the Catholic fold

From The Houston Chronicle-

The Rev. Jeffrey Steenson's colleagues joke that during the past several years, he's gone from a church heretic to a hierarch.

Even though he has been a Catholic priest for only about three years, Steenson was Pope Benedict's pick to lead a brand-new structure for Catholic converts from Anglican churches, a position he officially takes on this weekend in Houston.

Catholic bishops and leaders from across the country will fill downtown's Co-Cathedral of the Sacred Heart at 3 p.m. Sunday for his installation as the head of the Personal Ordinariate of the Chair of St. Peter.

The ordinariate consists of Catholic parishes that maintain some traditional Anglican prayers and music in services. Like most of the members of these communities, called Anglican Use parishes, Steenson used to be an Episcopalian, an Episcopal bishop, in fact.

He converted to Catholicism in 2007, after spending most of his career studying the church fathers, striving for ecumenicalism and, ultimately, feeling God put on his conscience that the Catholic Church was the "one, true, holy and apostolic" body.

More here-

Thursday, February 9, 2012

In England, women bishops legislation remains intact

From ENS-

The Church of England‘s General Synod has rejected a bid to provide greater concessions for those opposed to women bishops. A final vote on the legislation that will enable women to become bishops is expected to come before synod in July.

The Manchester Diocesan Synod Motion, introduced in September 2011 and backed by the archbishops of Canterbury and York, would have supported amending a draft measure to enable two bishops to exercise episcopal functions within the same jurisdiction by way of “co-ordinating” their ministries.

The same amendment was rejected 18 months earlier when in July 2010 General Synod backed the currently unaltered measure that paves the way for women to become bishops, a setback for traditionalists who had hoped for more robust provisions for those in opposition. Some supporters of women bishops feared the Manchester Motion would force women bishops to accept limitations on their authority.

More here-

Fratricidal tensions at the Church of England Synod

From The Guardian of London-

If you think David Cameron frets about his uppity Lib Dem coalition partners and loses sleep over eurosceptic Tory hooligans at Westminster, trot across Parliament Square to Church House this week and weep for a leader with serious problems and conflicting thinktank advice that goes back 2,000 years.

All afternoon on Wednesday the archbishop of Canterbury sat hirsuite, silent and glum (it's a Rowan Williams speciality) while members of the Church of England's parliament – its 477-strong Synod – politely pummelled each other's soft tissue over the perennial issue of woman bishops, the church's Clause IV.

If this was vulgar secular politics, the protagonists might reinforce their claims with an erudite quote from Edmund Burke, the Radio Times or Twitter. But members of Synod think nothing of invoking the blog according to St Mark and the emails of St Paul, or drawing attention to the famous Synod held in 664 at Whitby whose abbot was – wait for it – St Hilda. Not a chap then, as Sister Faith, a modern Whitby-ite, was keen to point out on Wednesday.

More here-

CoE takes step towards allowing women bishops

From Reuters-

The Church of England moved closer to the consecration of women bishops on Wednesday when it voted against giving strengthened legal protection to traditionalists who favor an all-male clergy, a decision that could lead more to switch to Rome.

The vote was the last chance for the church's parliament, or synod, to influence the draft legislation in its long legislative process before it heads to the House of Bishops for consideration in May.

The draft will return to synod in July for a final vote - 20 years after it voted in favor of women priests.

That women will get to wear the miter is in little doubt. What the synod had to consider was how much extra provision traditionalist Anglo-Catholics and conservative evangelicals would get and how much more authority liberals should cede.

More here-

New Anglican minister stops pucks, saves souls

From Canada-

Matt Kydd first heard God's call while pitching hay in a farmer's field.

The new priest associate at St. James Anglican Church in Kemptville said working long, solitary hours at a farm near Peterborough helped him discern his vocation to the priesthood.

"I found that the farm was a place where my thoughts were clear, and that was when I think I started really sensing the presence of God, which you don't always sense in the everyday," Kydd said during a recent interview at the church.

"But when you're out there, with absolutely no distraction, that's when I think your mind stays free to realize things you may not realize in the midst of your busy life."

Kydd was raised Pentecostal before his family joined the Anglican Church when he was in his early 20s.

He was ordained in 2008, and moved to Kemptville from Brockville last November to replace outgoing rector Peggy Kuzmicz (formerly Peggy Hudson), who moved to a new parish in Ottawa.

At 33, Kydd still has a long career ahead of him, but he says Kemptville isn't a stepping stone to a larger parish in a big city.

More here-,+saves+souls

Africa: Anglicans Appeal for Harmony, Understanding Between Muslims and Christians

From All Africa-

Anglican leaders from across the continent of Africa have made an emotional appeal to Muslim faith leaders to stand with them in opposition to "tragic violence that is destroying our communities".

The appeal was issued at the end of a three-day meeting of the Council of Anglican Provinces of Africa in Burundi where conflict between the two faiths was high on the agenda.

The statement read: "The Council of Anglican Provinces of Africa...has noted with much sadness the increasing deterioration between Muslim and Christian communities in different parts of the world, specifically our Provinces of Sudan, Nigeria, and the Diocese of Egypt.

"As a council, coming from communities diverse in religion and culture, the present circumstances have forced us to ask whether the violence we see and experience is driven by religious intolerance from our brothers of different religions with whom we have lived together for generations, in some cases centuries, or whether in fact it is a result of a much greater problem of exploitation of ignorance and religious beliefs for political gain.

More here-

Thistle Farms cultivates a better alternative to life on the streets

From The Christian Science Monitor-

The thistle is the perfect symbol for Magdalene, a two-year private rehab facility for women with criminal histories of prostitution and drug addiction in Nashville, Tenn. The thistle flower, says Penny Hall, a former prostitute and resident of the facility, “comes up out of the concrete, and it transforms in to a beautiful flower.”

The thistle, it turns out, is also the perfect tool for helping women who live on the street improve their health and their livelihoods.

Founded in 1997 by Becca Stevens, an Episcopal priest, Magdalene provides housing, food, medical treatment, therapy, education, and job training to women who find their way to the facility from prison and the streets.

The six homes at Magdalene are managed by the residents themselves, who work together to create a clean, comfortable, and supportive living environment. The residents range in age from 20 to 50, and most have abused alcohol or drugs, been arrested more than once, and many have prostituted themselves for money and drugs.

More here-

Till death (or illness or dementia) us do part?

From The Washington Post-

Her paintings still hang in their home in Lynchburg, Va., but almost everything else has changed for the couple after she was diagnosed with possible Alzheimer’s and then an abrupt form of dementia.

In one moment, the retired Charismatic Episcopal bishop said, she would lean over to kiss him. “An hour later, she looked at me and said, ‘Who are you?’” he recalled.

When the person you married goes through a dramatic change, what’s a spouse to do? As Valentine’s Day approaches, clergy, ethicists and brain injury experts agree: There are no easy answers.

When a couple is faced with the sudden or gradual change in the person who now may no longer be able to give flowers or go out to the movies, it often means a new definition of love.

“I made a vow,” said an emotional Weeks. “For better or for worse, in sickness and health. She has stood by me in mission work, in the pastorate. Why can’t I stand by her now?”

More here-

Church’s New Rector Sees Social Justice as His Spiritual Mission

From California-

“This is it,” the Rev. Dan Justin told me over the phone. “I’m here for as long as they’ll have me.”

Father Dan invited me to film him vesting for the Sunday service. He joked about sliding his monastic alb over his hairless pate.

Taking the pulpit for the first time at St. Michael & All Angels last Sunday, the rector seemed serene and confident. His new congregation opened the service with a procession in his honor, featuring representatives from every church ministry, from vestry to choir to solar outreach.

Justin comes relatively late in life to the Episcopal priesthood. Now 39, he spent 15 years in a career in higher education recruitment before he “discerned a call to the ministry” and put it to his church’s discernment committee.

“A priest is raised up by his community,” he explained, “people recognizing that call with you.”

After obtaining a Master of Divinity degree at the southern California campus of San Francisco Theological Seminary, Justin was sponsored for ordination by All Saints’ Episcopal Church in Beverly Hills, then completed his Ministry Study Year at St. John’s Cathedral in Los Angeles where he was ordained in 2009.

More here-

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Miracles are happening at St. Andrew’s Children’s Clinic in Nogales

From Arizona-

I was holding it together fairly well at St. Andrew's Children's Clinic on Thursday until I saw the walker next to the wall.

It looked just like any walker you'd find in Green Valley, only this one was built for a 3 year old.

That's when it hit me hard and I had to take a minute to get my head back in the game.

St. Andrew's monthly clinic in Nogales gives birth to lots of stories worthy of tears. But on clinic day, there's just no time to get caught up in it all.

There's work to be done, and lots of it.

St. Andrew's has been around in one form or another for about 40 years. In 1973, a group of Mexican women across the border in Nogales were desperate to find help for their disabled children. Their efforts, which eventually shifted north to St. Andrew's Episcopal Church in Arizona, have served thousands of northern Mexico's neediest children.

Every month, about 250 kids with everything from spina bifida to blindness, cerebral palsy and prosthetic limbs, come to the free clinic for help.

They share at least three realities: They come from dirt-poor families; they have severe disabilities; and they live in a nation that either can't or won't help them.

More here-

Are we ready for a female bishop?

From England-

It has been 20 years since the General Synod passed controversial legislation giving women the right to be Anglican priests.

And today members of the Synod – the Church of England’s parliament – are meeting to discuss current proposals for the consecration of the church’s first women bishops.

The divide between traditionalists who want male-only priests and reformers, supporting woman clergy, is nowhere more apparent than in Blackburn Diocese.

The Diocese, which covers most of the county – including Preston – has one of the lowest number of female priests at around 15, compared to other areas which have up to 70.

Members of the Diocesan Synod, representing parishes across the county, backed plans which would pave the way to having women bishops.

However members also called on the church’s leading bishops to amend current proposals to provide additional support for those unable to accept women as their bishop.

Last October, bishops, clergy and lay representatives cast their votes after lengthy debates at a meeting in Preston. Three of the four county bishops opposed proposals being debated throughout the Church of England.

More here-

Africa: 11th CAPA Council Meeting - Day One

From AllAfrica-

The programme for the first day of business began with devotions at which the Archbishop of Burundi, the Most Rev. Bernard Ntahoturi shared the 'double vision' of Jesus in relationship to the apostle Peter - 'Jesus looked at him and said... you will be'. As Jesus saw Peter's potential and value so we should, as followers of Jesus see the possibilities for transformation and the gifts in others.

Welcome remarks were received. The Bishop of Bujumbura, the Rt. Rev. Pie Ntukamazina extended an invitation to delegates to visit the Anglican Church of Burundi and strengthen unity through south to south partnership. The Archbishop, the Most Rev. Bernard Ntahoturi reiterated his welcome and particularly thanked the Primates for their prayers, support and the refuge given by neighbours to Burundian refugees during the conflict.

The Most Rev. Ian Ernest, Chair of CAPA among his opening remarks said "CAPA remains to be a facilitator and a powerful instrument that our provinces and dioceses may use to enhance the quality of their ministry. We all need each other." He looked forward to the Council as it sought to implement the resolutions that came out of the All African Bishops' Conference held in Entebbe, in August 2010. The challenge remains to empower and equip the Church as it seeks to address the needs and concerns of Africa.

Delegations from Nigeria, Uganda, Kenya, Sudan, DR Congo, Burundi, Rwanda, Central Africa, the diocese of Egypt, Tanzania, West Africa, South Africa, Indian Ocean, were introduced and brought news and greetings from their respective Provinces.

More here-

Church of England synod to decide on women bishops

From The Irish Times-

THE CHURCH of England General Synod is to decide today if it can go ahead with plans to appoint women bishops. This followed last-minute disagreements over a compromise that would allow objecting Anglicans to be ministered to by a man.

The issue has divided the Church of England for decades, despite the appointment of women in the Anglican Church. Some now fear it could lead to an exodus of traditional churchgoers to the Catholic Church. Dozens of clergy and hundreds of parishioners have already quit in protest, while significantly larger numbers are expected to go unless they get a guarantee they will not have to deal with a woman bishop.

Under the compromise to be put forward today, a male bishop would be appointed to have a “flying” role – co-ordinate jurisdiction, as it is called – in a diocese where a parish votes against having a female appointee.

If accepted, the compromise would significantly weaken the authority of a woman bishop. because her male counterpart would have a “co-ordinate” role rather than the one envisaged by Archbishop of Canterbury Dr Rowan Williams, where he would have operated under “delegated” powers from the woman bishop.

More here-

Trinity Episcopal Church makes donation to YouthHope

From California-

YouthHope, which provides assistance to homeless or at-risk young people in Redlands, has received a nearly $6,000 donation from Trinity Episcopal Church.

Father David Caffrey presented Heidi Mayer, the group’s founder, with a check for $5,957 at a recent YouthHope board meeting. The money came from Trinity’s Randall Fund, an endowment designated for outreach programs.

“YouthHope was chosen to be the recipient of this gift because we wanted to give money to a place where that amount would really make a difference,” Caffrey said.

Trinity became aware of YouthHope in December 2010, when the church’s youth group asked that a free will offering from their annual Bread of the World Soup Supper go to the organization. The church then invited Mayer to speak about the program’s mission to the congregation and the youth group.

More here-

Churches go less formal to make people comfortable

From USA Today-

Ron Williams is the pastor of Church at the GYM in Sanford, Fla. As the Baptist church's name implies, Williams' congregation meets in a gym.

Williams says the goal is to remove the "stained-glass barriers" for people who might not be comfortable in traditional church settings.

"I think all the trappings of traditional religion can make it difficult for people to start coming," he said. "You can invite someone and they will say, 'I don't have any clothes to wear to church.' "

To make people feel more comfortable, Williams wears jeans. In the warm Florida climate, some members wear shorts. Other clothing types, from urban wear to biker gear, also are welcome.

Pastor Steve Bentley founded "The Bridge" church in Flint, Mich., which also hosts a tattoo parlor.

Sanford native Sandy Adcox, 38, had not been to church in 18 years before she attended Church at the GYM last March. She hasn't missed a service since.

"I've never in my life felt more comfortable in a church," she said. "It's so warm and welcoming."

Comfortable is a theme that's becoming common among churches taking advantage of new, non-traditional spaces. Across the country, churches are springing up in unexpected locations — movie theaters, skating rinks, strip malls and old warehouses, among others — in an effort to welcome people who may not feel comfortable in more traditional settings.

More here-

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Quakes and aftershocks of various kinds afflict NZ Anglicans

From New Zealand-

Christchurch Anglicans were forced to hold their Christmas services outdoors as yet more earthquakes rocked the city on 23 December, causing even more damage to the cathedral and, among other casualties, spelling the death knell for Bishop Victoria Matthews’ home.

The quake came only a few weeks after the Dean of Christchurch Cathedral, the Very Revd Peter Beck, announced he was resigning to seek election to the city council, amid media reports of a rift between him and Bishop Matthews, and only days before the Church’s insurer, ANSVAR, withdrew from New Zealand.

On Christmas Eve, the Bishop announced: “Because there isn’t the time to have every church checked and cleared by engineers before Christmas services begin, we have decided to ask the Anglican churches of greater Christchurch to hold their services outdoors, ‘where sheep may safely graze’.

“Late services on the 24th will be BYOT or ‘bring your own torch’. One parish has said that they’ll have carols by candlelight (or rather, carols by torchlight because candles and quakes don’t go well together) and a simple celebration of the Eucharist.

“We just don’t want large numbers of people – including the very young, the elderly and infirm – in close-confined quarters in the event of another 5.5 or 6. Gathering outdoors, away from tall buildings, will allow for community but not crowding.

More here-

Midlands boy turns $100 into $50,000

From South Carolina-

An 11 year-old boy knows first hand what the Talk About Giving is all about.

The youth minister at Trinity Episcopal Cathedral gave 11-year-old Chalmers Allen and his classmates an assignment to further God's Kingdom.

Each classmate recieved $100.00 as part of a national movement called The Kingdom Assignment, a pay it forward type challenge.

They were told to use their talents to make the world a better place within 90 days.

Chalmers decided to use the money to start a foundation to raise funds for Jubilee Academy, a local, independent, Christian school that reaches underserved youth from Richland One.

His original goal was to raise $28,000 to fund a teacher's salary for one year.

As he began exceeding the original goal, he increased it and is now trying to raise $56,000 to fund a teacher for two years.

He has been traveling around town making presentations to civic organizations, corporations and anyone else who will listen to him.

More here-

Calvary Episcopal Church in Shadyside may get historic label

From The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette-

Calvary Episcopal Church in Shadyside is being considered for the National Register of Historic Places.

The board of the state historic preservation office will consider on Tuesday whether to recommend the late Gothic Revival-style cathedral built in 1907 for the register. Its recommendation then would be considered by the National Park Service, which oversees the register. A final decision could be made as early as spring, said Carol Lee, the state's national historic preservation officer.

Architect David Vater spent the past two years researching, writing, photographing and indexing an extensive bibliography in nominating the site at 315 Shady Ave.

"It was to me an honor to be involved," said Mr. Vater, whose nomination of Chatham Village in Mount Washington earned it national status in 1998.

Calvary Episcopal Church was built from limestone blocks.

"Those stones were brought in on train cars and horses and wagons and were hand-chiseled," Mr. Vater said during a recent tour of the site. Staring up at the 20-story spire, he said the building's architect, Ralph Adams Cram, "is considered one of the great master architects and a leader in late Gothic Revival design."

Read more:

Monday, February 6, 2012

Why Mitt Romney Needs To Talk Openly About

From The New Republic-

In the current presidential election campaign, many, if not most, Americans are expecting that Mitt Romney’s quest for the White House will be buffeted by questions about his religion. How to handle Romney’s Mormonism has proved especially vexing, both for the candidate and for the electorate. It’s worth considering exactly why that’s the case.

The essential question, from the perspective of many voters, concerns the very nature of Mormonism, an upstart religion born in western New York in 1830 and persecuted for much of the nineteenth century. After Joseph Smith Jr. translated the golden tablets that he had excavated from a hillside near Palmyra, New York, and published the translations as the Book of Mormon, Smith began receiving revelations regarding temple endowment ceremonies, lifestyle (no alcohol or hot beverages, commonly misconstrued as a proscription against caffeine) and, most incendiary of all, polygamy.

More here-

Venerable Protestant churches discuss uniting

From Buffalo-

Two of Buffalo's most venerable mainline Protestant churches are in discussions to share space, staff and ministries -- with one of the congregations possibly selling off its buildings and moving into the landmark structure of the other congregation.

Leadership of Trinity Episcopal Church on Delaware Avenue revealed the surprising proposal, which also involves First Presbyterian Church, in a letter this past weekend to Trinity church members.

The proposal calls for First Presbyterian, the city's first congregation, dating from before the War of 1812, to sell its buildings on Symphony Circle and move to the Delaware campus of Trinity, which was formed in 1836.

The two congregations would share space, staff and programming, while maintaining their denominational identities.

More here-


From Liberia-

The Bishop of the Episcopal Church of Liberia, Reverend Jonathan B. B. Hart has urged members of the Armed Forces of Liberia (AFL) to pray that God will use them to reflect on their calling with a desire to serve God.

He said as members of the AFL, God's desire and purpose is that they continue to be serviceable and patriotic in the duty to which they have been called for especially in their quest to serve God and humanity.

Delivering the sermon of thanksgiving in honor of the Armed Forces of Liberia (AFL) yesterday at the Episcopal Church of the Good Shepherd in Paynesville, Rev. Hart said, “Each of us were called to serve and set aside for this service in different ways.”

“Some are called to be pastors or priests, teachers, medical practitioners, public servants, community helpers, military or police, firemen, traffic directors, garbage collectors among others. Wherever you are called be mindful to do service as God desires,” he maintained.

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Sunday, February 5, 2012

The interesting politics of marriage

From Christian Today-

The question as to whether homosexual couples should be allowed to engage in ‘civil marriage’ has caused consternation in the church.

Some faith groups have not only happily welcomed the proposals by the coalition government, but are actively lobbying for it. Quakers, liberal Jews and Unitarians have had meetings with civil servants to discuss the issue.

Last week, the Archbishop of York voiced his disapproval, suggesting a rather unnecessary parallel between dictators and David Cameron.

His argument quoted in the press was primarily that we should not want to redefine very clear social structures that have been in existence for a long time and that "it is not the role of the state to define what marriage is".

The first part of the argument is one based on the authority of history and the need to conserve existing institutions and forms of relationship. But we already have civil partnerships, and while the church upholds that this is not marriage, the social structures that Sentamu is talking about have already been redefined. Given that he doesn’t oppose civil partnerships among his own clergy, this part of his argument is hypocritical.

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Episcopal Bishop holds last mass

From Springfield-

A heartfelt goodbye Sunday as the St. Peter's Episcopal Church congregation in Springfield held its last high mass with their Bishop Gordon Scruton.

The Episcopal Bishop plans to retire at the end of this year after 16 years as spiritual leader of the Western Massachusetts Diocese made up of 65 churches.

Most of the members of this Springfield church are from the Caribbean. Longtime member Vera O'Connor told 22News, she hopes the bishop understands why so few worshippers attended this service.

“As a matter of fact, quite a few people are over in the Caribbean at this time of year. They go for the winter and a lot of our members are not here not knowing the winter would not be that bad,” said Vera O’Connor.

The right Reverend Gordon Scruton has been bishop of the Western Massachusetts Episcopal Diocese for the past sixteen years.

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After fatal crash, nuns focus on forgiveness, not punishment

From The Washington Post-

Sister Charlotte Lange spent months in the hospital after a drunk driver slammed into her car. Her brain was damaged. Her memory and hearing have faded. Her once-curly hair turned straight.

But the 71-year-old nun, who spends about 32 hours a week soothing patients at St. Mary’s Hospital in Richmond, speaks of what she gained that August day in 2010. Now, she said, she brings encouragement learned during her recovery to her work.

“I think I even might be a nicer person,” said Lange, a member of the Benedictine Sisters of Virginia, whose home base is in Bristow. “Not that I want to go through it again . . . but it happened. I think I’m all the better for it.”

On Friday, Carlos A. Martinelly-Montano, 24, was sentenced in Prince William County court to 20 years in prison for causing the crash that also killed Sister Denise Mosier, 66, and badly injured Sister Connie Ruth Lupton, 77.

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Archbishop of Canterbury meets with chief rabbis

From The Jerusalem Post

Archbishop of Canterbury Dr. Rowan Williams met with Chief Rabbis Yona Metzger and Shlomo Amar on Thursday during a week-long personal pilgrimage to Israel and the West Bank.

The office of the Diocese of Jerusalem of the Anglican Church said that during Williams’ visit he emphasized “the importance of constructive dialogue and co-existence between all religions,” and the need to “consolidate the peace process between the people of this region.”

Invited by the head of the Anglican Diocese of Jerusalem Bishop Suheil Dawani, Williams was on a private tour and so did not make any public statements.

Williams arrived in Israel on Monday and visited Nazareth, where he met with Christians, Muslims and Druse, religious leaders and local mayors.

The Archbishop and his pilgrims also visited St. Matthew’s Anglican Church in the village of Zababida in the northern West Bank and met with the Mayor of Zababida Vector Khader and the Governor of Jenin Qadura Musa.

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