Saturday, March 24, 2012

Church to get long-awaited new home

From Bethlehem (PA)

For longer than Moses wandered in the wilderness, members of St. Alban's Episcopal Church, Spring Township, have worshipped in a circa 1963 building that was intended to be the congregation's temporary home. On Sunday, a groundbreaking was finally held for a new building to be completed in time for Easter 2013.

A spokesman for the Episcopal Diocese of Bethlehem said it is the only new Episcopal church under construction in the diocese.

"No one who looks at the (existing) building would know" that it was intended as a temporary home for the congregation, said George Loeffler, historian for the diocese. He said the A-frame building had been expected to have a lifetime of 20 years at the most.

"It wasn't planned (to last) for 49½ years," said Eric Murray, co-chairman of the building committee for St. Alban's.

While most Berks residents wouldn't have guessed it was a temporary building, Murray said some in the congregation felt a stigma from worshipping in what they considered temporary quarters.

The Rev. Karl Kern, pastor of St. Alban's, said worship in the old church, with a capacity of 145, often felt crowded and he is hopeful the additional space will make worshippers feel more comfortable.

More here-

Georgia's ‘Mother Church' fight going to Supreme Court

From Savannah, via Atlanta Journal Constitution- (Links to additional articles at bottom of post)

A Savannah congregation that split from the Episcopal Church in a dispute over homosexuality has asked the U.S. Supreme Court to hear its case over who owns the $3 million property of Georgia's "Mother Church.

The breakaway congregation has been fighting for years for ownership of Christ Church's downtown Savannah sanctuary, built in 1840. The church was established by Georgia's colonial founders in 1733. The congregation's leaders confirmed Friday they had appealed to the U.S. Supreme Court after exhausting their legal options at the state level.

The breakaway group held onto the downtown Savannah property for more than four years after it left the Episcopal Church in 2007 for affirming its first gay bishop. A long court battle followed, with the Georgia Supreme Court ruling Nov. 21 that the church property rightfully belongs to the Episcopal Church under its governing hierarchy and bylaws.
It's uncertain whether the nation's highest court will hear the case.

Leaders of the breakaway group say it warrants attention because there have been more than 50 similar church cases litigated in other states.
"You've had different rulings from different jurisdictions," said John Albert, board chairman for the breakaway congregation. "We've always felt like this was going to have to get settled at the Supreme Court level."

More here-

From AP

From Georgia Public Broadcasting-

From Savannah Morning News-

Bishop Seabury Church appeals to the U.S. Supreme Court

From Connecticut

Bishop Seabury Church has asked the U.S. Supreme Court to review a lower court ruling that the church and all its property must be turned over to the Episcopal Diocese of Connecticut.
The legal battle started after the Rev. Ronald S. Gauss in 2007 led his parish away from diocesean supervision over several disagreements, including the Episcopal Church's ordination in 2003 of an openly gay bishop in New Hampshire, and the election of a woman as presiding bishop of the Episcopal Church in the U.S.A. in 2006.

A state Superior Court judge ruled in 2010 that the Connecticut diocese owns the 6.5-acre church site and its contents. The judge ordered Gauss and his parishioners to give up the property, but granted them a stay to continue to worship in the church as they appealed the decision to the state Supreme Court.

The state Supreme Court last year unanimously ruled against them and denied a request from the parish to reconsider. The parish was told to vacate the property.

The church filed the petition March 14, asking the high court to clarify conflicting rulings on state property and trust laws. "On one side of the split... at least five state supreme courts and one federal circuit hold that courts need to enforce trust provisions in denominational documents only if the provisions create a trust under, 'objective, well-established concepts of trust and property law' that are developed for use in all property disputes."

More here-

Rev. Greg Brewer becomes Episcopal bishop on Saturday

From Central Florida-

Rev. Gregory O. Brewer will be consecrated as the fourth bishop of the Episcopal Diocese of Central Florida at 1 p.m., Saturday, March 24, at First Baptist of Orlando, inside the region’s largest sanctuary. Brewer succeeds Bishop John W. Howe, who is retiring.

“My hope is that this celebration will invite us to joy,” Brewer wrote in the latest edition of the Central Florida Episcopaliannewspaper. “The First Baptist Church will ring with ‘alleluias!’ The liturgical color will be red — speaking of God’s power, suffering and sacrifice, of which we are the happy recipients.”

The Episcopal Diocese of Central Florida is comprised of 31,000 members spread over 15 counties.

Brewer, 60, grew up in a family of Baptists and Catholics, but found a home in the Episcopal church while in college. He became an Episcopal priest in 1981.

Brewer served as a priest in Central Florida for 16 years. He was rector of Calvary-St. George’s Church in New York City before being elected Central Florida bishop last November. He is married and has five children.

More here-

Friday, March 23, 2012

Archbishop resigns after ten years of ‘crisis management’

From The Church Times-

THE Archbishop of Canterbury will step down at the end of the year, Lambeth Palace announced last Friday. Dr Williams is to become the Master of Magdalene College, Cambridge, from January 2013.

Rumours began to circulate early on Friday morning that an announcement from Lambeth Palace was imminent. A statement was issued shortly before 10.30 a.m. by Dr Williams’s press officer. It said that Dr Williams’s intentions had been conveyed to the Queen, and that he would continue to carry out duties until the end of the year.

Dr Williams said: “It has been an immense privilege to serve as Archbishop of Canterbury over the past decade, and moving on has not been an easy decision. During the time remaining there is much to do, and I ask your prayers and support in this period and beyond.

“I am abidingly grateful to all those friends and colleagues who have so generously supported Jane and myself in these years, and all the many diverse parishes and communities in the Church of England and the wider Anglican Communion that have brought vision, hope and excitement to my own ministry.

“I look forward, with that same support and inspiration, to con­tinuing to serve the Church’s mission and witness as best I can in the years ahead.”

More here-

The worst job in the world

From The Economist-

CHRISTIANITY’S founder told his disciples to expect tribulation in this world. That has been true for Rowan Williams, the Archbishop of Canterbury. Announcing on March 16th that he would step down at the end of the year, he said the next head of the English church and the Anglican Communion would need “the constitution of an ox and the skin of a rhinoceros.”

Archbishop Williams is agreed to have done a heroic job of holding together the national church and the worldwide communion, at a time when sex and sexuality are tearing them apart. Conservatives liked his deep, theologically grounded faith; liberals, including his gay clerical friends, admired his touchy-feely humanity, although they often felt let down. But the strains are growing unbearable.

Two painful episodes loom for the English church. The leadership will lose its battle to dissuade the government from legalising gay marriage. That will expose the gap between liberal bishops who agree with the government, and hardliners in the evangelical parishes who will wish the church had fought harder. The church is also set to agree to the idea of women bishops, with less generous terms for dissenters than Archbishop Williams would have liked. That will alienate Anglo-Catholics.

More here-

Historic Trinity Cathedral makes everything old, new again

From Miami-

Trinity Cathedral, whose roots date to 1896, the year the city of Miami was founded, is getting a major touchup.

A $7 million renovation project, which should be completed by the summer of 2013, involves restoring its signature organ and delicate stained glass windows and bringing the cathedral’s electrical and structural components up to code — a major undertaking for a building completed in 1925.

The renovation, like many home-repair projects, uncovered something a bit unusual: The marble floor around the altar was held up by concrete, plaster of Paris and straw.

“We were pretty much astounded,’’ said The Very Rev. Douglas Wm McCaleb, who is overseeing the project.

Trinity Church has a pedigreed lineage. It is the oldest church in Miami’s original boundaries. It was founded in June 1896, a month before the city was incorporated on July 28, 1896. Miami founder Julia Tuttle donated the land on which the first wooden church sat — on the corner of Northeast Second Avenue and Second Street. (Its nickname was “The Church of the Holy Cheescloth,’’ quips McCaleb, noting cheesecloth covered the openings in the walls, as there were no windows.)

Read more here:

Beyond independence, Sudan’s Christians still face persecution

From ENS-

Actor George Clooney’s March 16 arrest, along with nine other activists, outside the Sudanese Embassy in Washington, D.C., sparked headlines around the world, drawing international attention to the unfolding humanitarian crisis in the troubled border region between Sudan and South Sudan.

Protesters who had gathered to take part in the National Day of Action for Sudan rally cheered Clooney as police fastened flexicuffs around his wrists and drove him off for processing.
Later that afternoon, after posting and forfeiting a $100 bond, Clooney was free to go home. But for Episcopal Church of Sudan Bishop Andudu Adam Elnail, who also spoke at the rally, there will be no such homecoming.

Elnail, leader of the Diocese of Kadugli in South Kordofan, Sudan, has been in exile since last June, when Sudanese president Omar al-Bashir’s Sudan Armed Forces attacked Kadugli, looting churches, routing priests and burning All Saints Cathedral, the diocesan offices and guesthouse and Elnail’s own house to the ground.

Granted asylum in the U.S. in January, Elnail is now based in Denver, Colorado, where the Colorado Episcopal Foundation is helping him minister to and advocate for his people from afar. Other priests from the Diocese of Kadugli have taken refuge in Egypt, Uganda, Kenya and South Sudan.

Thursday, March 22, 2012

Urban Farm Effort Helps Sprout Hunger Awareness

From New York- (with video)

Volunteers were busy Wednesday filling up raised planting beds with trucked-in soil at St. Mary's Episcopal Church on Harlem's West 126th Street.

"We've got a lot of good volunteers for the food pantry, but now we wanted people from the congregation, from the community, to really be able to put their energy into the food production, and make it a little more sustainable," said Reverend Earl Kooperkampf of St. Mary's Episcopal Church.

The plan is to grow 600 pounds of food this year, including carrots, lettuce, potatoes and beans to be distributed through the church's food pantry. It's being done with the help of a $20,000 grant from the United Way of New York City's Hunger Prevention Nutrition Assistance Program, which help community-based groups develop urban farms.

"Fresh produce is often times the hardest items for people to get their hands on: It's expensive, it's hard for people to afford, and it's often unavailable in many neighborhoods here in New York City," said HPNAP Assistant Director Stacey McCarthy.

Since 2002, United Way has funded 23 urban farms around the city, including an indoor hydroponic farm at the Childhood Development Support Corporation in Brooklyn where crops grow in liquid nutrients rather than soil.

"At first, we didn’t know what to expect and now we know it's not a lot of work and now we have community volunteers that come in and help us," said Farm Coordinator Mireille Massac.

More here-

Episcopal Diocese closes historic St. Margaret’s Church

From Florida-

With a dwindling congregation of about 40 members and a shortage of funds, St. Margaret’s Episcopal Church, Hibernia, on Fleming Island officially closed its doors after holding its last worship service March 4.

The closing left some members surprised and upset, one parishioner said.

"The congregation is very upset about this -- they were doing everything they could, but it wasn’t enough … People were crying," said Anna Grass, who attended the final service. "Some of these people had been there for 30 years."

The church’s Pine Avenue campus includes an original Carpenter Gothic chapel, built in 1878 with its adjoining cemetery. The chapel is one of the five oldest wooden church buildings still in use in Florida.

St. Margaret’s Episcopal Church and the cemetery are on the National Register of Historic Places. As part of the restructuring, the Diocese said it will take into account the historical significance of the chapel.

"I don’t think that a part of the plan is to do anything to disturb the historical nature of that space," said Doug Walker, the Bishop’s deputy for advancement/executive director of Episcopal Foundation. "It is our intent to keep it as a worship space." In the meantime, the Diocese will maintain the church grounds and pay the bills for the church. "Typically, that is the case for churches that are unable to fund any of their current operating expenses -- the Diocese will pick those up," said Walker.

More here-

Episcopal bishop's wife Smith dies at 56

From Southwest Florida-

Mary Ellen Smith knew the end was near. Characteristically, she worried more about her family than herself, and she didn't want them to worry about her after she was gone.

"I am peaceful because I get to go on a great adventure," she told her daughter, Ashton Williston.

Tuesday, after a long illness, the 56-year-old wife of the Rt. Rev. Dabney Smith, bishop of the Episcopal Diocese of Southwest Florida, died at their home in Ellenton.

In a statement issued by the diocese, which spans from Brooksville to Marco Island with 76 congregations, the bishop shared some of his memories of his partner of 36 years and mother of their three grown children.

She embraced her role as the spouse of a seminarian, then a priest and finally a bishop, always willing to relocate and resettle their family without resentment. From childhood, she took care of her mother, Dorothy, who suffered from brittle diabetes, until the elderly woman's death at age 86. And when Smith's mother could no longer live alone, Mary Ellen took care of both women in their home for a year.

More here-

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Church giving drops $1.2 billion reports 2012 Yearbook of Churches

From NCC-

Churches continue to feel the effects of "the Great Recession" of 2008 as contributions dropped $1.2 billion, according to the National Council of Churches' 2012 Yearbook of American & Canadian Churches.

Membership trends in denominations reporting to the Yearbook remain stable, with growing churches still growing and declining churches still declining, reports the Rev. Dr. Eileen Lindner, the Yearbook's editor.

The 80th annual edition of the Yearbook, one of the oldest and most respected sources of church membership and financial trends in the U.S. and Canada, may be ordered for $55 each at

Not all churches report their financial information to the Yearbook, Lindner said, but the downward trends are reasons for concern.

The nearly $29 billion contributed by nearly 45 million church members is down $1.2 billion from figures reported in the 2011 Yearbook, Lindner said.

"This enormous loss of revenue dwarfs the $431 million decrease reported last year and provides clear evidence of the impact of the deepening crises in the reporting period," Lindner wrote.

In terms of per capita giving, the $763 contributed per person is down $17 from the previous year, according to Lindner, a 2.2 percent drop. The decline "took place in the context of ongoing high unemployment and a protracted economic downturn," Lindner wrote.

More here-

Massillon church members knit dolls for orphans in Africa

From Ohio-

Christine Lane is moved to tears every time she thinks about the children who will hold the small dolls that she knits.

“The very thought that there are children in orphanages who have lost their parents to AIDS is heartbreaking,” said Lane, of Massillon. “Because of my arthritis, some days I can knit and some days I can’t. But I do what I can because this is something that makes a difference in the lives of children who have nothing.”

Lane heads the Comfort Doll project for the Episcopal Church Women’s auxiliary at St. Timothy’s Episcopal Church. The project, which launched in January, encourages volunteers to knit small dolls that roughly measure 5 to 9 inches tall.

The little dolls were designed to be used as packing material for medical supplies shipped to areas of Africa where the AIDS virus is widespread. The dolls are substituted for peanuts or bubble wrap to provide cushioning for vaccines, medicine, treatments and medical supplies and instruments donated by pharmacies and hospitals to ICROSS (International Community for the Relief of Starvation and Suffering) Canada, which gathers and ships medical supplies to the poorest parts of the world.

More here-

Like it or not, Sentamu is the best hope for the Church of England

From The Independent-

Dramatic public events can point up what was previously unnoticed, and so it has been with the sad story of Fabrice Muamba. Playing in a live, televised FA Cup quarter-final, the talented and popular 23-year-old collapsed with a cardiac arrest. At the time of writing, he remains in a critical condition.

Football is an emotional game, and Muamba's story – he came to the UK, aged 11, as a refugee from Zaire – has added poignancy to what happened last weekend. The strength of public sympathy has not been the slightest bit surprising, but the manner of it has. It has seemed that everyone who has commented – manager, players, fans – has felt the need to ask us all to pray. Coverage in the Sunday papers reflected the same message. The front-page headline in Monday's Sun read simply: "God is in control."

At a moment of crisis, an old-fashioned kind of religion has taken centre-stage. For those of us who are non-believers, this instinctive turning to the heavens is startling. It was only last month, after all, that Baroness Warsi was warning of "aggressive secularism" being imposed on Britain. We are forever being reminded of our culture's crisis of faith, not least by the outgoing Archbishop of Canterbury, Rowan Williams.

More here-


From ABC-

Rowan Williams's belief in the Church and his view of academic life are closely related. His decision to leave Canterbury and take up the position of master of Magdalene College at Cambridge should not be seen as a retreat from the difficulties of Church life. Instead, for Williams this will be a transition from one kind of priestly ministry to another.

It is often said that Williams is an unusual churchman - too scholarly, too ponderous, too sensitive to complexity - but it should equally be said that he is an unusual scholar. Although he has made important contributions to several academic disciplines - not only theology but also history, political philosophy and literary criticism - his deepest commitment has always been to the cultivation of community rather than to any particular intellectual project.

If his critics complained that he was an unusually academic archbishop, Cambridge will also find him to be an unusually priestly scholar.

Williams's decade as Archbishop of Canterbury has been marked above all by a commitment to dialogue. At a time when our public institutions have surrendered to a culture of managerialism, when human relationships are instrumentalised and "outcomes" are given more weight than tradition, Williams has remained committed to a culture of dialogue, debate and negotiation.

More here-

Archbishop of Canterbury Faces Condemnation, Praise After Retirement Decision

From Christian Post-

The Archbishop of Canterbury, Dr. Rowan Williams, who announced last week that he will be stepping down from his position at the end of December, is facing up to both public support and criticism of many of the decisions he made as head of the worldwide Anglican Communion during his 10-year reign.

For years, Williams has tried to keep the global communion together and prevent the estimated 80 million-member body from splitting.

While the Episcopal Church – the U.S. body of Anglicanism – has seen thousands of members leave over the ordination of openly homosexual bishops and departure from traditional Anglicanism, those breakaway parishioners and parishes have remained aligned with the Anglican Communion. A number of disaffected bishops in the Church of England have, meanwhile, left and joined the Catholic Church.

The Nigerian Anglican church recently issued a statement by the Archbishop, Metropolitan and Primate of All Nigeria, Nicholas Okoh, of the Church of Nigeria, which heavily criticized Williams' decisions, and even accused him of dividing a once happy family.

More here-

The new Anglicanism

From The Washington Post-

“What do think will happen” a longtime Episcopalian asked me in Charlotte, N.C., “now that Archbishop ... er ... “

“Rowan Williams,” I said.

“ ... yes, Rowan Williams, has decided to retire?”

The question took me aback. I rarely hear Episcopalians talking about the Archbishop of Canterbury, the London-based head of the worldwide Anglican Communion, which includes the Episcopal Church as its U.S. branch.

Many Episcopalians pray for the 61-year-old prelate every Sunday, but as Canterbury has gotten more conservative and more solicitous of arch-conservative Anglican bishops from the Third World, Anglicans in developed nations choose to walk their own progressive path.

That separateness was accentuated in 2010, when, in an act of extraordinary rudeness, Williams’ office asked the Presiding Bishop of the Episcopal Church not to wear a miter, the pointy hat that symbolizes a bishop’s authority, while preaching in London.

Why? Because the presiding bishop, the Most Rev. Katharine Jefferts Schori, was a she. Later, she called the request “beyond bizarre.”

More here-

House of Bishops continues theme of ‘Church for the 21st Century’

From ENS-

The Episcopal Church’s House of Bishops spent much of its five-day meeting at Camp Allen Conference & Retreat Center in Navasota, Texas, focusing on its ongoing theme of ’Church for the 21st Century and the Gift of Episcope’ and discussing issues related to the upcoming General Convention and same-gender blessings.

During its March 20 business meeting, the House of Bishops adopted a resolution to send greetings to Archbishop of Canterbury Rowan Williams as he prepares to leave his post and return to academia at the end of the year.

“We the bishops of the Episcopal Church send our greetings to the Most Rev. Rowan Williams, Archbishop of Canterbury as you begin a new season in your ministry,” read the resolution. “We remember with deep appreciation your pastoral visit with us as we met in New Orleans, Louisiana, following the destruction of Hurricane Katrina. At the 2008 Lambeth Conference we were recipients of your personal hospitality, teaching ministry, and leadership. The ‘indaba’ spirit of that gathering continues to influence and shape our common life and ministry. We wish you Godspeed and many blessings in the coming days.”

After serving 10 years as the archbishop of Canterbury, Williams announced March 16, the first day of the House of Bishops meeting, that he would step down at the end of the year to become Master of Magdalene College, Cambridge.

More here-

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Nigeria: Will a Black Man Be Allowed to Head the Church of England?

From All Africa-

A major test to the equality and openness of anti-racism in the Church of England, also called the Anglican Communion, will soon commence following the impending resignation of the Archbishop of Canterbury, Dr. Rowan Williams.

The church authorities appear to be in a quandary regarding who will succeed Williams. Ordinarily, there should be no succession crisis given the well-defined Episcopal order and structure in the church. But there is a snag, somewhat. The very next in ecclesiastical ranking to the Archbishop is Dr. John Sentamu, a black cleric from Uganda.

Sentamu, 62, the Archbishop of York, by hierarchy is the front-runner to replace Williams when he leaves at the end of this year. He emigrated to the United Kingdom in 1974 having fled Uganda where he was a critic of the late dictator, Idi Amin.

But his ascension to this elevated position has attracted controversy especially for speaking out against gay marriage. He even got racist e-mails due to his stance.

The Bishop of London, Richard Chartres, has been seen as one of the contenders and the 64-year-old man is said to be close to members of the Royal Family. He gave the address at the marriage of the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge last year and is known for campaigning on environmental issues.

More here-

NY Trinity Church Rector Accused of Lavish Overspending

From Christian Post-

Ten of the 22 members of Trinity Church's board of directors have been forced out or quit over alleged subversion of the institution's mission and extravagant spending by the rector of the Episcopal church in Lower Manhattan, the Rev. Dr. James H. Cooper.

Former directors accuse 67-year-old Cooper, who heads the world's richest Anglican parish with over $1 billion in Manhattan real estate, of departing from Trinity's original mission and wasting money, New York Post reported Sunday.

Accusations against Cooper include misreporting of numbers of worshippers on Sunday services; demands for a $5.5 million SoHo townhouse; an allowance for his Florida condo and a fat salary; trips around the world at church's expense; wasting more than $1 million on development plans for a luxury condo tower; and spending $5 million on a publicity campaign. His compensation was worth $1.3 million in 2010 and it included a salary of $346,391 and deferred compensation of $507,940.

A former board member alleged that Cooper concentrated on studying the condo development, "not at all paying attention to the principal focus of those that hired him, which was try to solve the problem and try to make the church more of a powerful force in the philanthropy world."

More here-

'Mother Teresa of Las Vegas' following a vision to help the needy

From Las Vegas-

She has been called the Mother Teresa of Las Vegas by some, and others have questioned her sanity. Bonnie Polley, 73, laughs at both assertions.

As chaplain of the Clark County Detention Center, she has looked into the eyes of some of society's worst. As a deacon in the Episcopal Church, she has looked into the eyes some of the town's poorest.

Polley and her husband of 54 years, David, moved to Las Vegas in 1964. Her husband, an attorney, struggled with alcoholism. Her middle son was eventually diagnosed as a paranoid schizophrenic. With her thick Louisiana accent still firmly intact, she explains how raising her three boys in a dysfunctional marriage "just about broke me."

The turning point for Polley came while walking home alone from a New Year's Eve party in the late 1970s. She had refused a ride from her intoxicated husband. As she walked, she realized she was "at the bottom of the barrel" and that her "life was a mess."

More here-

Atlanta diocese adds nominee to bishop slate

From ENS-

The Rev. Martha N. Macgill, 54, rector of Memorial Episcopal Church in Baltimore, Maryland, has been nominated by petition and added to a slate of five priests already chosen to stand for election as the Diocese of Atlanta’s next bishop.

The other candidates, announced on Feb. 13, are:

the Rev. George F. Adamik, 58, rector, St. Paul’s Church, Cary, North Carolina (Diocese of North Carolina);

the Rev. Michael A. Bird, 44, rector, Christ Church, Bronxville, New York (Diocese of New York);

the Very Rev. Samuel G. Candler, 55, dean, Cathedral of St. Philip, Atlanta, Georgia (Diocese of Atlanta);

the Rev. Canon James H. Pritchett, 55, canon to the ordinary, Diocese of Western North Carolina; and

the Very Rev. Robert C. Wright, 48, rector, St. Paul’s Church, Atlanta, Georgia (Diocese of Atlanta).

The person elected will succeed Bishop J. Neil Alexander, who was elected in 2001. At the time of his election, Alexander was a professor at the University of the South School of Theology and was priest in charge of St. Agnes’ Church in Cowan, Tennessee. Upon his retirement as diocesan bishop he will become professor of liturgics and head the Department for Anglican Studies at Emory University’s Candler School of Theology in Atlanta.

More here-

Monday, March 19, 2012

The Rowan Williams approach to Anglican controversies

From The BBC-

There is no need to see Rowan Williams's announcement as a sign that he is being "forced out".

Dr Williams, 61, had been expected to announce his retirement soon; if he had not stayed to take part in this summer's Diamond Jubilee celebrations it would have been more of a surprise.

What is certain is that his departure will see an end to his own particular style of handling the serious controversies facing Anglicans - in Britain, the debate over women bishops; worldwide, the row over gay clergy.

An academic theologian, he lacks the politician's instinct to knock complicated arguments into two or three bullet points or a soundbite. So his contributions to debates on the two great Anglican controversies have been lengthy, carefully delivered, and incomprehensible to some.

More here-

Hair sacrificed to help cancer patients

From New York-

Jason Lango ran his fingers over his not-hair again and again, getting accustomed to the fuzz like an astronaut taking his first hesitant steps in outer space.

It had been there 30 minutes before — long brown locks, the kind that take a while to grow.

He lost them in an instant Sunday at St. James’ Episcopal Church in Skaneateles, one of 70 people taking part in a St. Baldrick’s head-shaving fundraiser for children with cancer.
“It feels weird not having it in my face,” mused Lango, an assistant coach for the Morrisville men’s lacrosse team. “I think everyone, including my co-workers, will laugh at me.”
He paused.

“Laugh WITH me,” he corrected himself. “Well, they probably won’t recognize me.”
St. Baldrick’s is a national foundation that helps shave thousands of heads each spring, creating solidarity with children who have undergone chemotherapy and raising money to help find a cure for common juvenile cancers.

Read more:

St. Mark's Episcopal Church plans expansion

From Central Florida-

If all goes according to plan, St. Mark's Episcopal Church parishioners will be able to worship in "a bigger that."

"That" is the existing historic church at Main and North Ninth streets. The tiny building, with exquisite stained glass windows, is 120 years old and is bursting at the seams at Sunday Mass.

The church has room to seat 80 comfortably.

On a recent visit by the Central Florida Episcopal Bishop John Howe, more than double that number attended the service.

"Our Sunday attendance is up 33 percent and that's phenomenal for the Episcopal Church," the Rev. Chris Brathwaite said Monday. He goes by Father Chris.

The new church building, the parish members agreed, will look just like the existing one, only bigger.

To accomplish that goal, the parish is starting a $1.4 million capital campaign which Brathwaite said he is excited about.

More here-

Trinity (Wall Street) Church's board in open revolt against Rev. James Cooper's extravagant ways

From New York City-

During a Sunday morning service at Trinity Church last summer, a longtime parishioner looked around during the reading of the Gospel and counted the worshippers.
By her tally, there were 49 people in the pews of the historic lower Manhattan church — a meager turnout for the storied, 314-year-old parish.

She was puzzled, then, when the next week’s church bulletin reported attendance at 113.
Trinity’s rector, the Rev. James Cooper, had decided that tourists who wander in and out of the chapel should be counted as well, she was told.

“That’s just a little snapshot into the way he presents everything,” said the parishioner, who was also a member of the governing board until she resigned in protest. “Everything has a little bit of truth to it but a lot of deception around it.”

Playing fast and loose with the numbers, and official church records, is one of the many complaints that dog the man who heads the richest parish in the Anglican world, a church with at least $1 billion in Manhattan real estate.

Cooper was supposed to be the guardian angel of Trinity. Instead, former board members say his dictatorial style of leadership and grandiose ambitions have fomented insurrection in the staid Episcopal community. They accuse him of undermining Trinity’s mission of good works since taking over as rector in 2004.

More here-

St. John Episcopal’s guest preacher gets Obama surprise

From Washington DC-

The Rev. Thomas Reid Ward Jr. never forgot growing up in Meridian, Miss., how his father was not deterred from pushing for civil rights for African Americans even though their family received a threatening letter from the Ku Klux Klan.

On Sunday, Ward, 66, delivered a guest sermon at St. John’s Episcopal Church, Lafayette Square on a slave trader who repented and wrote the hymn “Amazing Grace.”

Five minutes before he began, President Obama walked into the sanctuary with his wife, Michelle, and their daughter Sasha. Ward handled the moment with aplomb, despite his excitement.

“John Newton started off as a slave trader, and he ended up being a force to abolish the slave trade. The message is go and do likewise,” Ward said after the service. “Part of what got me in this vocation is seeing Episcopal priests doing the right thing in the civil rights movement in Mississippi.”

More here-

Sunday, March 18, 2012

Episcopal Church House of Bishops Spring 2012 retreat meeting: Daily Account for Saturday, March 17

From ENS-

The House of Bishops of the Episcopal Church is meeting in retreat at the Camp Allen Conference & Retreat Center in Navasota, TX (Diocese of Texas) from March 16 to March 20. The following is an account of the activities for Saturday, March 17.

The spring retreat meeting of the Episcopal Church House of Bishops continues the House’s ongoing theme of The Church for the 21st Century, with a focus on The Gift of Episcope/El Don el Episopado. The schedule calls for prayer-filled sessions, and bishops will participate in daily Bible study, reflection and worship.

The Rev. Stephanie Spellers, Diocese of Massachusetts and one of the HOB chaplains, celebrated and preached at morning Eucharist.

The morning was devoted to retreat, prayer, reflection and discussion on Proclamation of the Gospel, led by Bishop Michael Curry of North Carolina

Emcee for the day was Bishop Edward Little of Northern Indiana

The afternoon session was dedicated to a conversation on same-gender blessings and was led by the bishop members of the Standing Committee on Liturgy and Music: Bishop Tom Ely of Vermont, Bishop John “Kee” Sloan of Alabama and Bishop Pierre Whalon of Convocation of Episcopal Churches in Europe along with Bishop Mary Gray-Reeves of El Camino Real and Bishop Jeff Lee of Chicago The House continued discussion in small groups, as a body, and then in Indaba settings, an opportunity for each member of the House to speak his or her mind in a smaller, open setting. The Indaba process is derived from African traditions and was used by the bishops at the 2008 Lambeth Conference.

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The New Cardinal Takes On an Old Cathedral

From New York-

Cardinal Timothy M. Dolan likes to tell a story about a cleric at Christ Church in Manhattan — Episcopal, Presbyterian, Methodist; he’s not entirely certain — complaining good-naturedly about the enormous influence of St. Patrick’s Cathedral. It seems that a prospective donor, arriving at Pennsylvania Station, instructed a cabdriver to take him to Christ Church.

They pulled up in front of St. Pat’s.

“I told you to take me to Christ Church,” the benefactor said. “This isn’t Christ Church.”

The cabby replied: “Listen, buster, I don’t know anything about religion. All I know is, this is where Christ lives in New York.”

These are the sorts of people Cardinal Dolan will need. Although he has raised $45 million for the impending renovation of the cathedral from the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of New York, the cathedral trustees and individual donors, he’s still $132 million short of the total needed.

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Egypt's Coptic Pope Shenouda III dies

From Cairo-

Pope Shenouda III, the patriarch of the Coptic Orthodox Church who led Egypt's Christian minority for 40 years during a time of increasing tensions with Muslims, has died. He was 88.
The state news agency MENA said Shenouda died Saturday after battling liver and lung problems from several years. A Coptic Church TV station ran a picture of the pope, with a running feed reading, "The Coptic Church prays to God that he rest in peace between the arms of saints."

The patriarch, known in Arabic as Baba Shenouda, headed one of the most ancient churches in the world, which traced it founding to St. Mark, who is said to have brought Christianity to Egypt in the 1st Century during the reign of the Roman emperor Nero.
For Egypt's estimated 10 million Coptic Christians, he was a religious thinker and a charismatic leader, known for his sense of humor - his smiling portrait was hung in many Coptic homes and shops.

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