Saturday, April 14, 2012

Clergy issue statement on contraception

From Pittsburgh-

A wide-ranging group of bishops and denominational executives from southwestern Pennsylvania has declared universal health care a moral imperative, but says a mandate for religious agencies to enable access to contraceptives violates the constitutional right to religious liberty.

"Our deep concern over this mandate does not arise from the varying convictions we have on the moral content of this mandate," the statement said. "The Constitution of the United States guarantees every religious institution and its affiliated bodies the inalienable right to define its own identity and ministries and to practice its own beliefs."

Forcing religious agencies to cooperate in providing services they consider sinful could cause their social services to close, the statement said. Most of the religious leaders who signed the statement have no religious objection to contraception.

More here-

Cameroon orphanage founder to speak at Redeemer, Morristown

From New Jersey-

Sister Jane Mankaa, founder of the Good Shepherd Home in Cameroon, will preach at the 8 and 10:30 a.m. services and lead the 9 a.m. adult forum on Sunday at the Episcopal Church of the Redeemer, 36 South St., Morristown.

Mankaa will speak about the orphanage, which houses more than 100 children and serves many more in the larger community, and will share her plans to create a clinic to address the health needs of the children in the village. The clinic will be named after a deceased parishioner, Roberto Rovere, who was one of the first at Redeemer to support its partnership with the Good Shepherd Home.

The Good Shepherd Home for Children is located in the North West Province of Cameroon, an area in West Africa where an estimated 50,000 children are orphaned. Sr. Jane never turns a child away, and no child is placed for adoption. The children live in a loving family environment with a hundred brothers and sisters.

More here-

Bishops Expand Pastoral Care

From The Living Church-

The Episcopal Church’s House of Bishops’ Delegated Episcopal Pastoral Oversight plan now makes provisions for individuals seeking ordination.

The bishops made minimal changes to the expanded plan, which was presented by the Rt. Rev. Edward S. Little II, Bishop of Northern Indiana. Bishop Little’s document expanded on “Caring for All the Churches,” an agreement approved by the bishops in March 2002.

“The bishop providing delegated pastoral oversight may also, with the consent of the Bishop Diocesan and his or her own commission on ministry and standing committee, care for persons from the parish receiving delegated oversight in the ordination process,” the expanded statement says. “Thus the person testing his or her vocation seeks ordination through the discernment process of the diocese of the bishop providing delegated oversight, and his or her formation is under the direction of that diocese.”

More here

Church joins Titanic remembrances

From ENS-

When people mark the 100th anniversary April 15 of the sinking of the RMS Titanic, Anglicans and Episcopalians will be among them.

Memorial services are planned on both sides of the Atlantic to commemorate the loss of the 1,514 people who died when the ship sank nearly five days after it left Southampton, England on its maiden crossing bound for New York. Seven hundred and ten people survived after the ship struck an iceberg.

In Southampton, Episcopal Diocese of New York Bishop Mark S. Sisk will be a guest of Southampton Bishop Suffragan Jonathan H. Frost at events marking the anniversary. Sisk will preach at the 100th anniversary commemorative service at Southampton’s St. Mary’s Church at 2 p.m. local time on April 15.

On Long Island, New York, at St. Ann’s Episcopal Church in Sayville the 10 a.m. Eucharist will be dedicated to “in memory of Edith Corse Evans and those aboard the RMS Titanic who perished with her on April 15, 1912,” according to the parish’s website.

More here-

Friday, April 13, 2012

Titanic Presumption

From National Review-

‘The Titanic, name and thing, will stand for a monument and warning to human presumption.” That was the judgment of Edward Stuart Talbot, the Anglican bishop of Winchester, in the sermon he preached the Sunday after the fabled Atlantic passenger liner Titanic took nearly 1,500 lives with her as she sank after striking an iceberg in mid-ocean on April 14, 1912. “When has such a mighty lesson against our confidence and trust in power, machinery, and money been shot through the nation?”

Talbot could not have known it, but an entire cascade of mighty lessons was about to be visited on human presumption in spades, in the form of two World Wars (Talbot would lose a son at Ypres) and the genocidal sacrifice of millions on the altars of Fascism and Communism. A mid-ocean shipping accident that cost a five-hundredth of the lives Britain lost in the 1914–18 war should seem like small potatoes indeed.

And yet, the Titanic conjures up more vivid images in people’s minds today than Ypres, and images almost as vivid as those of the Holocaust. The ship has been memorialized in six major motion pictures (including the lavish Nazi propaganda film Titanic in 1943, the American Grand Hotel–style melodrama Titanic in 1953, the British docudrama A Night to Remember in 1958, and James Cameron’s Titanic in 1997) and two Broadway musicals. A small industry of Titanic researchers has itemized the ship down to the last rivet; there are seven current Titanic-artifact exhibitions on offer; and the number of books on the Titanic has topped 200, from Walter Lord’s 1955 bestseller A Night to Remember (the foundation for the British movie) to the more mundane 1,912 Facts About the Titanic (1994).

More here-

Anglican parishes in Philadelphia, Indianapolis and Canada join church

From The Georgia Bulletin-

Anglican parishes in Philadelphia and Indianapolis were received into full communion with the Roman Catholic Church in early April, and two Anglican bishops in Canada were slated to lead their clergy and congregants into the church later in the month. The Anglicans are joining the new U.S. Ordinariate of the Chair of St. Peter, based in Houston, a structure for Anglicans to become Roman Catholics while retaining some of their Anglican heritage and traditions, including liturgical traditions.

The numbers are not large by Catholic parish standards. At St. Michael the Archangel Anglican Parish in Philadelphia, the congregation numbers 25 plus its rector. The St. Joseph of Arimathea Anglican Use Society in Indianapolis totals 18. In Canada, many parishes have split -- sometimes more than once -- over doctrinal disputes that have roiled the Anglican Communion in recent years, or abandoned the Anglican Catholic Church of Canada altogether.

The head of the ordinariate, Msgr. Jeffrey Steenson, is the former Episcopal bishop of the Rio Grande. A married man with children, he was ordained a Catholic priest for the Archdiocese of Santa Fe, N.M., in 2009, and named to head the ordinariate by Pope Benedict XVI Jan. 1

More here-

Dr Williams detects turning of the tide towards religion

From The Church Times-

N HIS final Easter sermon as Archbishop of Canterbury, Dr Williams suggested that the tide might be turning towards a more posi­tive view of religion from those outside it.

Sidesmen reported a higher-than-usual attendance at Canterbury Cat­he­dral for the 11 a.m. eucharist on Easter Day. In his sermon, the Arch­bishop referred to the way in which various secular commentators “surprisingly float the idea that, with­­out some input from religious thinking, our ludicrous and destruc­tive economic habits are more likely to go unchecked”.
Laughter greeted his mention of “Alain de Botton’s recent book on how to hold on to the best bits of religion without the embarrassing beliefs that go with it”. All this sug­gested that, from those outside faith, there was a new “sense that there is some­thing here to take seriously”, he said.

There was also evidence that young people shared this positive view, and, “while still statistically deeply unlikely to be churchgoers, don’t have the hos­til­ity to faith that one might expect”. This makes it “about the worst possible moment to downgrade the status and profes­sional excellence of religious edu­cation in secondary schools”.

Dr Williams went on to preach about the action of God: “Perhaps ‘religion’ is more useful than the pas­sing generation of gurus thought; but is it true. . . ? We are not told that the story of the empty tomb is a beautiful imaginative creation that offers inspiration to all sorts of peo­ple; we are not told that the message of Jesus lives on. We are told that God did something.”

More here-

Obama and faith issues remain campaign topic

From Greenbay-

President Barack Obama stood before an audience of distinguished Christian clergy and lay leaders and took on the mantle of pastor in chief.

"I have to be careful," he joked at the White House's annual Easter prayer breakfast. "I am not going to stand up here and give a sermon. It's always a bad idea to give a sermon in front of professionals."

With that, he gave a sermon, telling the story of Christ in the garden of Gethsemane and his eventual crucifixion, a sacrifice that "puts in perspective our small problems relative to the big problems he was dealing with."

Few presidents have spoken about their religious faith as often, as deeply or as eloquently as Obama. "We worship an awesome God in the blue states," he declared at the 2004 Democratic convention, and he has sought since then to rebuild ties between the Democratic Party and the world of faith.

More here-

Unfinished at the Cathedral

From New York City-

For decades, New York City has considered designating the Cathedral of St. John the Divine as a landmark. But city landmark officials wanted to wait until the cathedral—under construction since 1892—was "finished."

But talk about landmark status for the perpetually unfinished Episcopal church is starting to percolate again, as developers ready plans for a new apartment building on leased cathedral property along 113th Street in Morningside Heights.

Real-estate firm Equity Residential hopes to start construction on the 15-story apartment building next year. The new structure's footprint would be some 70 feet north of the cathedral itself, replacing large metal sheds and parking spaces in the area now.

More here-

Rare organ saved by sale

From Iowa-

A rare pipe organ built in Mason City more than a century ago that was headed for the scrap heap has been saved.

The organ, with pipes that soar 26 feet high, has been purchased by a performing arts school in Illinois, the Globe Gazette reported Thursday.

The organ, built by the Verney Organ Co., will be moved to Dixon, Ill, where it will be installed in Philander Hall, one of the performance venues operated by the VIVA! Performing Arts School.
VIVA! officials heard of Verney through the Dobson Pipe Organ Builders, said Curt Schmitt, chairman of the board of VIVA!.

Schmitt built organs for 40 years and knew the Dobson people well. Dobson had done some extensive restoration of the Verney.

Schmitt knew less restoration would be needed on the Verney than what would be needed on another organ the school first considered using.

More here-

Episcopalians Return to Property for Worship After Judge Rules Against Breakaway Group

From Virginia- (Christian Post)

A continuing congregation of The Episcopal Church held its first Easter service in a Virginia church since the majority of the members voted to break away from the denomination.

The Falls Church, a piece of ecclesiastical property that traces its origins back to the 18th century, was one of seven church properties that The Episcopal Church won in a court battle back in January.

Henry Burt, secretary of the Diocese of Virginia who grew up as a member of The Falls Church, told The Christian Post that the Episcopal service at The Falls Church last Sunday was well attended.

"There were people there who were members of the continuing congregation who basically had never worshipped in that building. There were lots of people there who had been members of The Falls Church decades ago," said Burt.

"It was a real reunion of a lot of folks."

Meanwhile, the group of Anglicans who severed ties with The Episcopal Church held its service on the same property but in a different building. The breakaway group has been worshipping at the property since it left the denomination.

More here-

Thursday, April 12, 2012

Australia's Anglican church still divided over women's ordination

From Australia- (Christian Century)

Australia's Anglican Church has its third female bishop, Genieve Blackwell, but her March 31 consecration was boycotted by her archbishop, Sydney's Peter Jensen, a strong opponent of women clergy.

Blackwell, the first Anglican woman bishop in the state of New South Wales, was appointed regional bishop of Wagga Wagga, located between Sydney and Melbourne, by Bishop Stuart Robinson of the Diocese of Canberra and Goulburn. Jensen is archbishop of the region, which also includes Sydney, one of the most conservative dioceses in the Anglican Communion.

Of her new role, Blackwood told ENInews, "It is about promoting Christ's church in the world, and encouraging parishes in what they are doing now and in the future." She told the Sydney Morning Herald that she was "a bit nervous but I look on this as meeting a great challenge that faces the rural and regional church ... It is a great thing that the gifts of women are being recognized and confirmed as being able to be used in Christ's service."

A daughter of a Methodist minister, raised in the Uniting Church, Blackwell joined the Anglican Church while studying at university. She undertook further study at Moore Theological Anglican College from 1989 to 1992 under Jensen, and was ordained as a deacon in Sydney in 1993. (Deacons may not celebrate the Eucharist and have been ordained in Sydney since 1989.)

More here-

Trinity Church Goes to the Polls Amid Controversy Over Leadership

From New York-

Congregants at Downtown's troubled Trinity Church slammed the church's leadership Tuesday as they cast ballots for a new vestry, or board of directors.

Congregants criticized the Rev. James Cooper, the church's rector, for lavishly overspending on music programs while neglecting the poor, and some accused the church of rigging the annual election to quash a grassroots push for change.

Tom Mazza, a member of the 314-year-old Episcopal church for nearly five decades, called the election undemocratic and said he voted against the slate of 22 vestry members because they were chosen at a closed-door meeting and are largely loyal to Cooper.

"I wanted to send a message that you shouldn't rig elections," said Mazza, a retired lawyer and West Village resident.

Despite Mazza and others' complaints, Trinity announced Tuesday evening that the slate of vestry members had been confirmed by a majority vote. The vestry is now about evenly split between veterans and the newcomers who replaced the 10 former vestry members who resigned in protest of Cooper's leadership over the past eight months.

Jeremy Bates, past president of Trinity's Congregational Council, also voted "no" to all 22 of the vestry candidates.

Read more:

Hope, Despair: Student’s Exhibit Focuses on Genocide in Rwanda

From Boston-

Confronting a paradox often gives one pause for thought, but in the case of senior Seth Woody the experience did more: It changed the course of his life at, and beyond, Boston College.

The summer after his freshman year at BC, Woody and his family went to Rwanda with his father, an Episcopal priest, to meet missionaries and others working to help the country continue recovering from the genocide of 1994 that resulted in an estimated 800,000 deaths.

Although Woody knew — or thought he did — about the genocide, witnessing its impact even more than 15 years later was at times overwhelming. But despite the pall, many people Woody encountered expressed hope for Rwanda’s future.

“I hadn’t expected to find this contradiction,” recalls Woody, a San Antonio native. “As a Christian, I was familiar with the idea that there is hope in suffering, but in Rwanda it just seemed unfathomable. When we came back, all I could think was, ‘How do I resolve this dilemma of hope and despair I saw?’”

The visit to Rwanda compelled Woody to make some important decisions. One was to change his major, from political science to theology. The other was to seek a way back to Rwanda and try to find out how such optimism about the human condition could flower in this unlikely setting.

Woody will share the discoveries and impressions from his quest via a weeklong exhibition that opens tomorrow in the Bapst Library Student Art Gallery. The exhibition includes photos taken by Woody and audio excerpts of interviews he conducted during his return to Rwanda last summer with people involved in reconciliation and social justice efforts.

More here-

Catholic, Episcopal congregations come together

From Miami-

The spirit of Easter will continue in South Miami as the Roman Catholic congregation of Christ the King and the Episcopal congregation at the Church of the Ascension join forces to present a revival April 16 through 18.

The theme of the revival is "Your condition is not your conclusion," and the revival will begin at 7 p.m. with gospel hymns, followed at 7:30 p.m. with the revival services at Christ the King Catholic Church, 16000 SW 112th Ave. on April 16; at the Episcopal Church of the Ascension, 11201 SW 160th St. on April 17, and back to Christ the King Catholic Church on April 18.

The Rev. Maurice J. Nutt will lead the revival. He is a member of the Redemptorist Parish Mission Preaching Team; a faculty member of the Institute for Black Catholic Studies at Xavier University in New Orleans, and a nationally known revivalist and author.

According to a press release, Nutt’s retreats, revivals, missions and lectures are always "overflowing with people hungry for the Word of God and eager and ready to be inspired, loved ad a pat of a joyful celebration. He specializes in preaching and evangelization, African American culture, spirituality, and community and church development."

The revival is open to everyone, regardless of religion or faith. For more information call the Rev. William Mason at 305-238-2485 or at

Read more here:

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Church and state: Tough question for court

From Savannah-

Once again, Savannah is at the epicenter of the critical constitutional issue of separation of church and state, with far reaching implications to many religious organizations and their members throughout the country.

The recent petition of Christ Church to the U.S. Supreme Court sets the stage for a landmark decision testing the wall of separation between church and state. The issue is whether a national church can claim exclusive rights to local church property based on provisions of national church documents, despite changes in doctrine adopted by the national church.

Since the establishment of the colony, Georgia courts followed the English common law, and consistently held that the right to property in a dispute between a local congregation and a hierarchical, or nationally governed church, was to be decided by a jury based on whether the national church had abandoned or departed from the tenets of faith and practice it held at the time the local church affiliated with it.

This was known as the “departure from doctrine” rule. In 1969, in a landmark case which originated in Savannah involving Hull Memorial Presbyterian Church, the U.S. Supreme Court overturned Georgia law, holding that Georgia’s “departure from doctrine” rule violated the First Amendment and that property disputes involving churches could not be based on “ecclesiastical determination.”

Following that decision, Georgia adopted what it styled as a “neutral principles of law” approach to church property ownership, examining four elements relating to church property: Deeds, state statutes, local church charters and national church constitutions.

More here-

Church pledges $6K to warming shelter

From Vermont-

Immanuel Episcopal Church recently pledged a four-figure donation to the Greater Falls Warming Shelter to assist the area’s homeless.

The Rev. Steven G. Fuller Sr., the church’s outreach leader, said Immanuel will provide the shelter with $6,000 to be used as seed money to make sure there it secures a permanent residence in Bellows Falls. The money will be given on the condition that other churches and organizations match it to create a fund for this purpose.

The GFWS operated in the basement of Athens Pizza House in 2010/2011 in Bellows Falls with a temporary permit but was denied a permanent one late last year by the Rockingham Planning Commission & Zoning Board of Adjustment, which became deadlocked in a 3-3 vote. The shelter’s board of directors started the process of appealing the non-opinion to the state’s environmental court but recently decided against it.

Fuller, as well as the wardens and vestry of Immanuel Episcopal Church, wrote a letter to the Reformer’s editors, stating that they became greatly concerned when the shelter was denied a permit.

Though the GFWS has been renting private apartments to help homeless individuals, it can accommodate only eight people. GFWS Chairwoman Louise Luring said the shelter has in the past assisted many more people at once.

More here-

The women at the heart of the divine

From The London Telegraph-

I know the relationship between women and religion is contentious, because some of our best evidence for it is hidden, buried deep underground.

Beneath the frenetic streets of Rome twist and turn the rock-cut catacombs of Priscilla. Here, there are a series of beautiful, faded wall‑paintings. In one side chapel, women sit around a dining table breaking bread and offering wine – apparently giving communion. On the flanking walls, draped in pale cloth, they raise their arms to worship God. In another chamber, a praying woman – hands and eyes lifted to the sky – dominates the scene. To her side a bishop lays his hand on a woman’s shoulder. She is wearing an alb, the marker of an ordained priest. These catacombs were home to early Christians escaping persecution and plying their faith, when Christianity was first becoming a fully fledged religion. High on one ceiling is a picture of a young mother nursing her chubby baby. Discovered only a few years ago, it is the first extant image we have of the Virgin Mary and the Christ child. Unlike the modern world of faith, women here are conspicuous not by their absence but their presence.

More here-

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

A Church Divided: Ruling Ends Va.'s Episcopal Battle

From NPR- (with broadcast audio)

On a bright Sunday morning in the tiny town of Heathsville, Va., Jeffrey Cerar surveys the church he's preached in for the past 15 years — its 130-year-old wooden pews, its stained glass windows, its paschal candles, its cross.

"Virtually everything you see here is going to stay; the high altar, the credence table, the hymnals and books of common prayer will all stay," he says. "The Bibles will go with us."

Cerar, rector of St. Stephen's Anglican Church, is leaving, along with his congregation. They're handing the keys over to their theological rivals, the St. Stephen's Episcopal Church. Earlier this year, a judge ruled that seven conservative Virginia congregations that had split with the Episcopal Church must hand over almost everything they own. It's like the end of a marriage, with people moving out and splitting up assets — even its own long, ugly battle.

More here-

Archbishop panel member believes gay people can 'change' sexual desire

From England- (The Guardian)

A leading member of the Church of England who believes some gay people can be counselled to suppress or possibly change their sexual orientation is helping to select the next archbishop of Canterbury.

Glynn Harrison, emeritus professor of psychiatry at Bristol University, is on the Crown Nominations Commission, which will recommend a successor to Rowan Williams, to be approved by the prime minister and the Queen. His role on the 16-strong commission has alarmed some liberal Anglicans who fear it could deepen divisions over homosexuality in a church riven by the issues of holding gay civil ceremonies in churches and the consecration of gay bishops.

In a statement through the church, Harrison stated that he did not believe in a "gay cure" and had himself never offered formal counselling or therapy.

The Rev Colin Coward, director of Changing Attitude, the campaign for the full inclusion of gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender people in the Anglican communion, said Harrison's position on the commission appeared "cranky in the extreme".

More here-

New Anglican Bishop To Preside Over Annual Synod

From Jamaica-

Newly-elected Bishop of Jamaica and the Cayman Islands, the Rt Reverend Dr Howard Gregory is slated to undertake his first major assignment in that capacity this week when he presides over the 142nd annual Synod of the Anglican Church.

The Synod, taking place at the Sunset Jamaica Grande Resort Spa and Conference Centre, in Ocho Rios, St Ann starting today and ending on Friday, is to be attended by some 300 clergy and lay representatives from Jamaica and the Cayman Islands.

Focusing on the theme "Lord, renew the Church for its mission and ministry in the nation", it will officially open at 4.30 p.m. with a service at the St Ann's Bay Parish Church.

Inaugural charge

The high point of the service will be Gregory's inaugural charge to the Church and the nation, in which he is expected to address contemporary challenges and the mission imperatives confronting the Church.

More here-

Hearts for Honduras

From Ohio-

From the moment he stepped onto the tarmac at the airport at the foot of the central mountains of Honduras, Ironton businessman Robert Slagel entered a world of shocking contrasts.

“As soon as we got off the plane, there was a guard with a machine gun,” he said. “In the lobby of the airport, there were private individuals guarding luggage with machine guns.”

The Ironton entrepreneur was part of three-person team from Christ Episcopal Church going as first-time missionaries to the poverty-stricken Central American country of Honduras. Joining Slagel were Laurel Baise of Ironton and the Rev. Sallie Schisler, vicar of the church.

They left on a dreary, overcast Sunday, just before the start of Lent, the season of repentance and contemplation for Christians. Now as the culmination of that season dawns today on Easter Sunday, their journey shows the message of service to those in need that is the hallmark of their faith.

“To be honest, I never thought in a million years that I would go on a mission trip,” Slagel said.

More here-

Who's Afraid of Female Priests?

From Huffington-

In Christian art, including Michelangelo and Hollywood biblical films, the maleness of God has long been highlighted. Seldom has there been a depiction of deity or spiritual strength that remotely suggested a woman like Eleanor Roosevelt or Marian Anderson, Helen Keller or Barbara Jordan.

However, extraordinary change was in the air in July 1974 when 11 women shattered tradition by being ordained Episcopal priests. Ironically, I became involved when invited -- as a male -- to write a cover story about it for groundbreaking Ms. Magazine. From my perspective, by following the anthropomorphism that depicted God as male, the church failed in its witness to God and came close to committing institutional suicide. The idea of receiving the Host from the hand of a woman apparently confronts some people with grave difficulties. Could this stem from the life experience of praying "Our Father who art in heaven" while one was mentally on one's knees before a male God? Was the male priest before whom one knelt in church to receive Holy Communion a surrogate figure of a familiar bearded and patriarchal God?

More here-

Former General Seminary dean James Corner Fenhagen dies at 82

From ENS-

A funeral service was held April 9 for the Rev. James Corner Fenhagen, 82, who died at Tidelands Community Hospice in Pawleys Island, South Carolina, on April 5.

The service for Fenhagen was held at Holy Cross Faith Memorial Episcopal Church. A committal service will be held at St. John’s Episcopal Church, Georgetown Parish, Washington, D.C., at a later date.

Fenhagen, a native of Baltimore, Maryland, was named president and dean of the General Theological Seminary in New York in 1978 and retired from there in 1992. While at General, he taught in areas related to Christian spirituality and the practice of ministry. He was well known for having helped develop the concept of mutual ministry.

He then became director of the Cornerstone Project of the Episcopal Church Foundation, retiring in 1995. Cornerstone explored issues of clergy and congregational health, wholeness and holiness.

Fenhagen served as president and warden of the College of Preachers at Washington National Cathedral from 2001-2004.

More here-

Bay Area Episcopal Clergy Don Hoodies in Response to Trayvon Martin Shooting

From California-

Last Tuesday, clergy members of the Episcopal Church's Diocese of California donned hoodies in front of Grace Cathedral in San Francisco to make a statement related to the Trayvon Martin case. The hoodie, one of which the 17-year-old African-American Martin was wearing the night he was shot to death by George Zimmerman, has become a symbol of the tragedy.

Sean McConnell, who does communications work for the diocese, said the photo is intended to "make a statement about generalizations that lead to young men, mostly, being victims of violence."

Everyone in the photo is either a deacon or a priest.

More here-

Monday, April 9, 2012

Episcopalians Return to Historic Falls Church To Pack Chapel for Easter Service

From Virginia-

The historic chapel on the campus of The Falls Church was filled to overflowing today, marking the homecoming of persevering Episcopalian worshipers who had been banished from the site for over five years.

It was a moving and joyous occasion for many who attended today, having endured the years of an occupation of the historic site by a breakaway congregation that left the Episcopal Diocese in 2006 to protest, among other things, the Episcopal Church's election of an openly gay bishop. In January, a Fairfax Circuit judge ordered the property, and that of other Episcopal churches in Virginia where the same thing happened, back to the Episcopal diocese.

Today's marked the first return of the "continuing Episcopalians," who had persisted in their faith by worshiping in the fellowship hall of a church across the street. On a beautiful Easter morning, the chapel dating to 1732 was filled to capacity, with folding chairs added to any and all available open spaces, for a rousing celebration of Easter and the return to the sanctuary.

"You may notice some leading this service having breaks in their voices," the Rev. Cathy Tibbetts, who led the service, told the congregation. "That's because of the momentous occasion today represents. It is a wonderful day."

Preaching on a Resurrection theme, Tibbets told the congregation, "We have come home to do God's work."

Anglican Primate Warns Jonathan's Critics Over Church Gift

From Nigeria-

PRIMATE of All Nigeria (Anglican Communion), the Most Rev. Nicholas Okoh, Sunday challenged critics of President Goodluck Jonathan over the renovation of Otuoke Anglican Church by Ghitto Construction Company to remove the log in their eyes first before looking for the specks in another person's, warning them to stop making provocative remarks.

The Primate also in his Easter message, expressed optimism that Nigerians and Nigeria will indeed, rise and conquer the Boko Haram's activities in the country.

Okoh, in an interview with newsmen, shortly after the Easter Service at Cathedral of Advents, Life Camp, Abuja, said those heating up the polity, because of the renovation that could be done by anybody, were not being fair, advising them not to allow their sense of reasoning to be beclouded by such trivial issue, when there were much more serious issues confronting the country.

He said: "It is not an issue, that church, I can renovate it myself, it was already built and the renovation of church can be done by either Ghitto or anybody; people are looking for problem where there is none. The President doesn't have to have a friend to renovate that church, since if anybody volunteered to do it, those people will receive blessing from God.

"Those who are pointing to the renovation of the church, let them search their midst, there are logs in their eyes, not the speck in somebody's eye."

More here-

Divestment Revisionist

From The American Spectator-

The anti-Israel Religious Left has a new target for its fury, and it's not anybody like old nemeses like evangelical Zionists Pat Robertson or John Hagee. It is Episcopal Church Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori, who recently dared to criticize anti-Israel divestment schemes.

"The Episcopal Church does not endorse divestment or boycott," Jefferts Schori recently told a Los Angeles "peacemakers" luncheon. "It's not going to be helpful to endorse divestment or boycotts of Israel. It will only end in punishing Palestinians economically."

Although reliably liberal and politically correct, Jefferts Schori and most of her denomination don't identify with anti-Israel zealotry. In contrast, zealous activists within the United Methodist Church and Presbyterian Church (USA) are trying to persuade their upcoming governing conventions to target Israel for divestment. Episcopal Church opposition makes their argument more difficult.

So understandably, anti-Israel groups like Sabeel are distressed. "If the church is afraid to cry out against injustice and oppression, the living stones, the common people will cry out," warned Sabeel chief Naim Ateek in a letter to Jefferts Schori. Based in Jerusalem, Sabeel is a nexus for anti-Israel organizing between Palestinian churches and Western church activists. Guided by the last remaining vestiges of Liberation Theology, which shook the world in the 1970s by linking Christianity with Marxist revolution, Sabeel summons churches to rally for Palestinian "liberation" from Israeli oppression. Ateek is himself an Anglican priest and frequent speaker in the U.S.

More here-

Shaken from Church, members celebrate Easter in Synagogue

From South Carolina-

On Easter Sunday, the great hall of Grace Episcopal Church was quiet. The choir wasn't singing, the Rector wasn't preaching and Sunday school wasn't ending because it hadn't begun in the 166-year-old building in almost a year.

Last August, an earthquake centered in Virginia shook the congregation out of their home at Grace Episcopal in downtown Charleston.

Instead of pews, there's scaffolding. Red 'danger, do not enter' tape covers the hall instead Easter decorations.

"It just hurts," said Virginia Donehue, Sunday morning. "It would be like your house caught fire and you had to live somewhere else until you get it fixed up. We just want to go home."

Donehue says the 5.8 magnitude earthquake weakened the limestone mortar holding bricks in the walls together. The re-construction of the Church goes back to the years after the great earthquake of 1886.

That earthquake did much more damage than the most recent shake but because of safety reasons, church members were forced to worship elsewhere until renovations to support the structure are complete.

That's why on Easter Sunday 2012, Kahal Kadosh Beth Elohim (KKBE) Synagogue two blocks away was filled with grace.

More here-

President Obama And Family Go To Church

From Huffington-

On a crisp, mostly sunny Easter morning, the First Family walked across Lafayette Square to 11 a.m. services at St. John's Episcopal Church.

"Happy Easter, everybody," the president said as he strolled past the pool. He was wearing a dark suit with a light-blue tie. The first lady was wearing a magenta-colored dress with a black shrug.

A long line of people waited outside the church. They were being admitted through a side door.

During the Prayers of the People, as is customary, the congregation offered a prayer for "Barack, our President, the leaders of Congress, and the Supreme Court, and all who are in positions of authority."

POTUS was glimpsed briefly, in a pew on the right side of the center aisle, about six rows back, turning around to shake the hands of other worshipers during the offering of peace.

The President lined up for communion, ahead of First Lady Michelle Obama and daughter Malia. As the first couple returned to their seats, they smiled and greeted other worshipers.

More here-

Sunday, April 8, 2012

Easter blessing brings varied denominations together here

From The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette-

Afterward Bishop Kenneth Price Jr., of the Episcopal Diocese of Pittsburgh, said he prayed that the friendship among the city's ecclesiastical leaders would set an example for others.

"In my life, I've never been in a city where the ecumenical community is as strong and the bonds between its leaders so genuine. May it afford a model to the city as a whole," he said.

He was standing a few feet from Archbishop Duncan, with whom his diocese has been in a painful property dispute since Archbishop Duncan led the majority of local Episcopalians out of the Episcopal Church in 2008. But after the blessing they were talking and laughing together.

"It's important to be together," Archbishop Duncan began.

"It is," Bishop Price said.

"Despite the ways in which we experience wounds, Christ is capable of healing those wounds," Archbishop Duncan said.

"Despite the differences between us, we share a common faith in our Lord and savior, Jesus Christ," Bishop Price added.


An Easter Message From Bishop Price

From The Diocese of Pittsburgh-

Easter brings to mind thoughts of new life. It has not been hard to think those happy thoughts this year as unseasonably warm weather has yielded an early blooming of flowers and a general positive spirit among the people. It truly feels that God is alive!

That same feeling of new life is evident in our own beloved Diocese of Pittsburgh. There have been many signs to this effect recently. I think most people will agree that God has provided us with truly sterling nominees for the next bishop of our diocese. Their presence among us for the walk-about generated much excitement and to a person each of them expressed genuine enthusiasm at the prospect of coming among us.

More here-