Saturday, June 2, 2012

Restored Bell Tolls Once Again

From New York-

When, in 1908, Mrs. Russell Sage purchased one 2,000-pound bell from the Meneely Bell Company for the Christ Episcopal Church in Sag Harbor Village it came with a guarantee that it would work for ten years. The bell outlasted its warranty by 92 years, until cracks in its wooden support mechanism rendered it inoperable in the fall of 2010.

Now, the bell is once again sounding over Sag Harbor thanks to a fundraising effort led by parishioner David Bray in memory of his partner Neal Hartman, who died in October, 2010.

The new bell will be officially dedicated to Hartman during a short ceremony this Sunday — marking the beginning of another chapter in the history of an object that has been in use for more than 100 years.

When he was still alive, Hartman would ring the bell at the end of services every Sunday. It was shortly after he passed away that the church had to stop using the bell because of the damage to the surrounding wood. A company brought in by the parish also recommended that the bell be repainted and that crucial bolts be replaced, since they had been in use for more than a century.

More here-

The Falls Church Anglican Files Appeal with Virginia Supreme Court

From Falls Church-

Today, The Falls Church Anglican filed a Petition for Appeal with the Virginia Supreme Court, asking that Court to review and overturn the decision of Fairfax County Circuit Court Judge Randy I. Bellows in the lawsuits filed by The Episcopal Church and the Episcopal Diocese of Virginia. Judge Bellows ordered The Falls Church Anglican to transfer to the Episcopal Diocese of Virginia all of the church’s real property, approximately $2,800,000 in funds contributed by its members prior to 2007, and most of its personal property (bibles, hymnals, furniture, etc.). The Attorney General of Virginia today filed a brief in support of the church’s request for review of the trial court’s treatment of funds contributed by donors.

The church’s Petition requests review on a number of legal and constitutional grounds. At the broadest level, the Petition shows that the trial judge failed to follow the Virginia Supreme Court’s 2010 directive to resolve this church property dispute by “application of neutral principles of law”— principles “developed for use in all property disputes” – and instead justified transferring the church’s property based primarily on the denomination’s internal canons. The trial court’s ruling thus violates the U.S. and Virginia Constitutions by giving a denomination unilateral powers to override civil laws, powers not granted to any other entity, whether religious or secular, in Virginia.

As the Petition explains, the trial court’s ruling also violates the Constitution by allowing the denomination’s and diocese’s canons to apply retroactively and to govern historic property that The Falls Church acquired before it joined the denomination—indeed, before the denomination or diocese even existed. The history of The Falls Church and its deeds makes its claims especially strong compared with other cases that have come before the courts. The Petition also seeks review of the trial court’s failure to recognize the important distinctions between the church’s consecrated property (property used for actual worship services, primarily the Historic Church and Main Sanctuary) and its unconsecrated property (all other property). Even under the trial court’s legal analysis, such unconsecrated property is exempt from the scope of the denomination’s and diocese’s canons and should not be subject to transfer.

Annotated draft Episcopal Church triennial budget released

From ENS-

A commentary on the draft budget including a foreword by Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori, commentary on the budget process, and a detailed triennial budget with line-by-line explanations have been posted.  It’s now on the General Convention Budget and Diocesan Commitments page. The download link is here.

Promised for June 1 by Jefferts Schori, Chief Operating Officer Bishop Stacy Sauls and Treasurer to General Convention Kurt Barnes, the highly detailed items present a complete overview of the budget process, what happened, the current status of the proposed 2013-2015 budget, and addresses prevalent misunderstandings and misconceptions.

In addition to these three items, the posting includes a series of accompanying explanatory documents, including: the Churchwide Ministries Survey, the Jan. 19 Alternative Budget Proposals, the January 29 Budget Revision, and the Executive Council’s April memo to the Joint Committee on Program, Budget & Finance, commonly known as PB&F.

More here-

Friday, June 1, 2012

Archbishop: Not everyone appreciates how funny Queen is

From BBC- (with video)

Archbishop of Canterbury Dr Rowan Williams has issued a video tribute to the Queen, in which he gives a rare insight into her personality.

Dr Williams has regularly met the Queen in private during the past 10 years in his role as Church of England leader.

As Supreme Governor of the Church - a position occupied by Kings and Queens since Henry VIII's 16th Century break with the Pope - the Queen is his boss.

He described how the Queen could be "extremely funny in private".

The archbishop said he had not had any contact with royalty before taking up his post and, as such, had not known what to expect. He discovered the Queen had "real personality".

"I have found in the Queen someone who can be friendly, who can be informal, who can be extremely funny in private - and not everybody appreciates how funny she can be," he said in the video issued by Lambeth Palace.

More here-

Inuvik priest elected bishop of Anglican Arctic diocese

From The Arctic-

Rev. Capt. David Parsons will take over as Anglican bishop of the Arctic diocese next year.

Parsons was elected Wednesday during the Arctic diocese synod in Iqaluit.

He will replace Andrew Atagotaaluk, who retires at the end of the year.

Parsons is currently the regional dean of the Mackenzie Delta, and serves as a priest in Inuvik and Tulita, N.W.T.

Three people ran against Parsons yesterday. One of them — Rev. Darren McCartney — was elected to serve as suffragan bishop. The suffragan bishop serves as an assistant to the bishop of the diocese.

McCartney is currently based in Ireland, but he spent several years in Pangnirtung where he learned to speak Inuktitut.

More here-

Anglican diocese, dissident parishes strike deal

From Canada-

The Anglican Diocese of Niagara has retained ownership of three local churches, including one in Lowville, which saw their parishes bolt in 2008 over the issue of conducting same-sex marriages.

The Burlington-based Anglican Network of Canada — which formed in early 2008 in the wake of the dissidents’ departure — announced Thursday it had reached a settlement with the diocese and is not seeking ownership of the church buildings.

The buildings in question were St. George’s Church in Lowville, St. Hilda’s in Oakville and Good Shepherd in St. Catharines. Anglican Network spokesperson Patricia Decker said all three congregations turned over their keys to the diocese Thursday, and the settlement takes effect Friday.

It guarantees that neither party will sue each other; that each party will cover its own legal costs; the parishes will retain religious and memorial items donated by their members; the diocese will compensate one congregation for church improvements and there will be a division among the parties of the proceeds from the sale of one of the rectories.

The settlement was reached through mediation and brings to an end legal proceedings begun by the diocese shortly after the three congregations voted to leave the Anglican Church and join the Anglican Network. The network now counts 21 churches across Canada and is led by Bishop-Moderator Donald Harvey of Newfoundland.

More here-

Backers of women in episcopate turn against Measure

From The Church Timers-

AMENDMENTS to the women-bishops Draft Measure (News, 25 May) will not help it receive final approval in the General Synod in July, the majority of respondents to a Church Times poll say.

As the Church Times went to press on Wednesday, more than 400 people had responded to the question: “Do you think that the amendments increase the Measure’s chances of receiving final approval in July?” Seventy-eight per cent of those respondents said: “No”.

Last Friday, Dr Williams and Dr Sentamu released a statement saying that they hoped that the two new amendments would help the Measure to “be carried with more confidence”.

The statement was issued the day after a group of six senior officials, which includes Dr Williams and Dr Sentamu, judged that the amend­ments were not significant enough to warrant a reference back to the dioceses. Their decision paves the way for the General Synod to con­sider the draft for final approval when it meets in York in July.

Addressing the Bishops’ first amendment, the Archbishops said that “delegation . . . does not take anything away from the diocesan bishop who delegates; it just allows another bishop to minister legally in the diocesan’s area of oversight. The amendment simply declares what the law and practice of the Church already is, and what we mean by delegation in other contexts.”

More here-

The Queen’s Jubilee and the Florida connection

From Florida-

More than 450 years ago, England’s first Queen Elizabeth ascended to the throne. In her half-century reign, playwrights such as William Shakespeare and Ben Jonson left their indelible mark on English language and culture; and explorers like Sir Walter Raleigh, Sir Francis Drake and John Smith brought Britain to the shores of the New World, including Florida.

This year, as Queen Elizabeth II celebrates the 60th year of her accession, those twin spirits of culture and exploration are alive and well. The 1.25 million British visitors who visit Florida each year are enthralled by the fairy castles of Disney and the Wizarding World of Harry Potter. They explore the high seas from cruise liners out of the port of Miami, and are inspired by those 20th and 21st century descendents of Drake and Raleigh: astronauts from the Kennedy Space Center who set foot on the moon.

While America has not been part of Britain for more than 250 years, the United States has nevertheless been a significant part of Her Majesty’s reign. She has made six State Visits to the United States and hosted four State visits and receptions to the United Kingdom during her 60-year reign. Her first State visit to the United States was in 1957, where she was received by President Dwight Eisenhower and spoke at the United Nations in New York.

More here-

Thursday, May 31, 2012

Anglican Arctic diocese to elect new bishop today

From The CBC-

Anglican leaders from across the North are in Iqaluit today to elect a new spiritual leader.

Andrew Atagotaaluk will retire as bishop of the diocese of the Arctic at the end of the year, after holding the post for 10 years. Atagotaaluk was the first Inuk to serve as bishop of the diocese.

Today's election will take place as part of the Arctic diocese’s synod in Iqaluit. The Anglican diocese of the Arctic includes N.W.T., Nunavut and Nunavik.

Two of the four candidates for bishop currently live in the North — Iola Metuq is a priest in Kuujjuaq, Que., and Rev. Capt. David Parsons is from Inuvik.

Also running is Rev. Darren McCartney, an Irish priest who served in Pangnirtung for three years a decade ago and Rev. Haydn Schofield, who served in Hay River and Ulukhaktok, N.W.T., before moving to Alberta.

More here-

Priest Dies During Mass

From Bethlehem (with video)

A priest in Northumberland County died Sunday morning while conducting services at his church in Mount Carmel.

Missy Fletcher has fond memories of her priest at St. Stephen’s Episcopal Church in Mount Carmel. She said Father Ronald Lausch was known for his booming voice.

“Listening to him sing I would get the goosebumps,” Fletcher said. She will not hear her beloved priest sing anymore. Father Lausch died at the altar on Sunday while conducting mass. “He was the most amazing person. He’s what a priest should be. It’s just so hard to put into words what he is and what he meant.”

Church members said Father Lausch was a priest in Mount Carmel and also at a church in Shamokin for 15 years. He died of a heart attack while singing during mass on Sunday.

Emily Dill said Father Lausch had another heart attack during a mass several years ago. She knew the priest for 12 years.

“Anybody who walked in that door for the first time he took over and greeted them like he knew them forever. That’s just how father was,” Dill said.

More here-

Taize Movement Brings Throwback Appeal To America

From Huffington-

Every year, some 100,000 pilgrims trek to the Taize ecumenical community in France where the biggest attraction is the music, a throwback -- way, way back, about 1,500 years or so -- to repetitive plainchant.

This weekend (May 25-28), for the first time, the Taize brothers will bring their conference to the U.S., where several thousand people -- particularly young adults -- are expected to meet for prayer and song at DePaul University in Chicago.

Brother Emile, a Catholic and a spokesman for the group, said pilgrims seek out Taize for answers to questions about life in general and faith in particular.

"Young people, I think, feel respected at Taize," said Brother Emile. "They're welcome to come with their questions and their doubts. And they're very relieved sometimes to feel that there's a place for them as they are."

More here-

Serpent-handling pastor profiled earlier in Washington Post dies from rattlesnake bite

From The Washington Post-

Mack Wolford, a flamboyant Pentecostal pastor from West Virginia whose serpent-handling talents were profiled last November in The Washington Post Magazine , hoped the outdoor service he had planned for Sunday at an isolated state park would be a “homecoming like the old days,” full of folks speaking in tongues, handling snakes and having a “great time.” But it was not the sort of homecoming he foresaw. 
Instead, Wolford, who turned 44 the previous day, was bitten by a rattlesnake he owned for years. He died late Sunday.

Mark Randall “Mack” Wolford was known all over Appalachia as a daring man of conviction. He believed that the Bible mandates that Christians handle serpents to test their faith in God — and that, if they are bitten, they trust in God alone to heal them. 

He and other adherents cited Mark 16:17-18 as the reason for their practice: “And these signs will follow those who believe: in My name they will cast out demons; they will speak with new tongues; they will take up serpents; and if they drink anything deadly, it will by no means hurt them; they will lay their hands on the sick, and they will recover.”

More here-

Canada: What would happen if we say ‘no’ to the Anglican Covenant?

From ENS-

The Anglican Church of Canada needs more clarity around what the “relational consequences” would be for not adopting the proposed Anglican Communion Covenant.

This is one of the key messages that Council of General Synod (CoGS) members said the church must convey when the 15th Anglican Consultative Council (ACC) meets in New Zealand Oct. 27-Nov. 7.
All member provinces of the Anglican Communion have been asked to report on progress made in response to the covenant, which has been recommended as a way of healing divisions triggered by debates over the issue of sexuality.

At their spring meeting May 24-27, CoGS members were asked to weigh in on what the report should contain. Bishops were asked for input at their spring meeting, noted Archbishop Fred Hiltz, primate of the Anglican Church of Canada.

More here-

Katy resident excited to be church's new rector

From Texas-

Growing up, the Rev. Christopher R. Duncan would corral his parents so he'd have a congregation to preach to when he wanted to "play" church.

"I did all the normal things like playing baseball, but I also played church and made my parents sit through a church service and communion at the tender age of 5," says Duncan, who recently relocated to Katy with his wife of six years, Casey, and their daughter, Carolena.

Duncan, a cradle Episcopalian, has long since had no need to be a make-believe priest, a fact the congregation of St. Paul's Episcopal Church in Katy gratefully acknowledges. 

On June 18, Duncan will become the 75-member church's new rector, the equivalent of senior pastor. Previous to this post, he was assistant to the rector of Good Shepherd Episcopal Church in Austin since 2009. But that's not where he got his ministerial feet wet.

More here-

VIRGINIA: ‘Continuing congregations’ turn focus to future

From ENS-

The past weeks have been a time of transition for the Diocese of Virginia. Congregations that have worshiped away from their home churches for more than five years have made joyful homecomings to their church buildings. The entire diocese has joined in celebrating these returns, all while entering into a discernment process to help these congregations make plans for the future.

The recent returns and celebrations have been a longtime coming for the four “continuing congregations” that have worshipped in temporary spaces while the diocese and breakaway congregations that had joined the Convocation of Anglican Churches in North America fought over rights to diocese-owned properties in the courts. The breakaway congregations occupied the church buildings throughout the court proceedings.

In all, seven church properties (and a number of additional buildings and land parcels) have been returned to the Diocese of Virginia following the near conclusion of a five-year legal dispute. Each has a different story to tell, and telling these stories is a key part of a diocesan initiative known as “Dayspring,” an effort to discern the work of the Holy Spirit with graciousness and patience as the diocese explores how best to use resources and properties for the ministry of the church.

More here-

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Archbishop of Canterbury: Who'll get the impossible job?

From England-

The role of Archbishop of Canterbury is, by common consent, a poisoned chalice. The challenge is to balance the various dogmatic factions within the Church of England at the same time as holding together the disparate worldwide Anglican Communion of 80 million souls. But, as a titular leader, the occupant of Lambeth Palace has no means of imposing his will. Unlike the Pope, with his formal teaching authority, the archbishop has to rely on persuasion and goodwill and that, as recent incumbents have found to their frustration, only gets you so far.

The thanklessness of the task extends to the process now under way for choosing the 105th archbishop to succeed Dr Rowan Williams when he retires in December. Because of long-standing divisions within the Church over such issues as gay marriage and women bishops, whichever candidate's name emerges this autumn, it is guaranteed to offend a good proportion of Anglicans.

What is making the job even harder is that there can no longer be any passing of the buck to the prime minister. Traditionally, bishops were appointed from a list of two by 10 Downing Street, because the Church of England is established and the prime minister acts on behalf of its Supreme Governor, the Queen. That leeway has proved controversial, as when in 1990 Margaret Thatcher picked the outsider George Carey as a way, it was alleged, of snubbing his predecessor Robert Runcie, who had vociferously criticised her policies.

More here-

Principal on ‘leave of absence’ after more redundancies

From The Church Times-

WYCLIFFE HALL, the Evangelical theological college in Oxford, was tight-lipped this week about the sudden departure of its Principal, the Revd Dr Richard Turnbull. Rumours started circulating about his absence on Friday. The college’s council finally issued a statement late on Wednes­day afternoon to assert that he had not been dismissed.

In its statement, the council con­firms that staff and students were told that Dr Turnbull was to take “a leave of absence”. It says: “The Coun­cil wishes to make it clear that the Principal has not been dis­missed. The Council and Richard are now in on-going discussions over his future role at Wycliffe, with Vice-Principal Simon Vibert assum­ing the position of Acting Principal.

“We have every confidence in Simon, and in the rest of the staff, to ensure continuity and the efficient functioning of the Hall during this time.”

The outcome of discussions with Dr Turnbull “will be communicated to staff and students in due course”, it states. “Our overriding priority is to ensure Wycliffe re­mains unequiv­ocally committed to equipping men and women as leaders, preachers, church planters and evangelists in the mission of proclaiming and living the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ, with a deeply biblical under­standing of the nature of the Kingdom of God.”

The decision about Dr Turnbull was taken last Friday morning. Just two days earlier, speaking to the Church Times, Dr Turnbull con­firmed stories that three people had been made redundant. The move was part a staff reorganisation, he said, “designed to ensure we operate effectively under a more restrictive funding environment”.

More here-

Hope among the Ruins

From The Living Church-

Around the rubble of Trinity Cathedral in Port au Prince the bishops processed, entering a makeshift shelter covering an overflow congregation of more than a thousand. Along came hundreds of clergy, nursing students, theological students, the Sisters of St. Margaret, and dozens of acolytes. They proceeded to the music of Haiti’s only symphony orchestra and a chorus from the cathedral’s school of music.

Such was the humble pageantry May 22 as Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori celebrated the consecration of OgĂ© Beauvoir as the Diocese of Haiti’s first bishop suffragan. Beauvoir has served for seven years as the dean of Episcopal Theological Seminary in Haiti, and previously was on the staff of Trinity Wall Street Church in New York.

During a visit to Miami earlier this year, the Rt. Rev. Leopold Frade, Bishop of Southeast Florida, introduced Beauvoir to Robin Mahfood, president and CEO of Food for the Poor. The relief and development ministry helped raise $46,000 for the cathedral’s music academy, which was destroyed in the earthquake of 2010.

Bishop Beauvoir will serve with the Rt. Rev. Jean Z. Duracin, Bishop of Haiti, and has been assigned to work in the northwest area of the country.

More here-

The Push for Communion Without Baptism is an Assault on the Church

From Mississippi-

The topic of Communion Without Baptism (CWOB) continues to make the rounds in the Episcopal/Anglican blogosphere.  Lately that's largely due to the Open Table resolution for this summer's General Convention from the Diocese of Eastern Oregon.

At The Curate's Desk, Fr. Robert Hendrickson has posted a good response to the Diocese of Eastern Oregon's position paper on this matter.  He writes:

The Eucharist has been the central act of worship for large parts of Christianity since Christ said “Take, eat, this is my Body.” Somehow, over 2000 years, this has not been a source of tension. This was the pattern in lean times of persecution and in the bloated years of full-blown Christendom and in every era in between. Wax or wane Christianity has held, at its core, Baptism as entry into the life of Christ.

The challenge is not that we have a ministry of the baptized and Communion as our central act of worship – the challenge is that we have clergy ill-trained in Sacramental theology administering them. We have laity that we have failed to form in Sacramental living. We now have a wide body of our priests that do not believe anything much actually happens in the Sacraments.

Do you believe the Holy Spirit descends upon a person and transforms their very being in Baptism so that they are united with Christ? Do you believe that Christ is truly present in the Body and Blood we receive at the Altar? Are the Sacraments God’s action or ours? I have heard far too many talking of Baptism as an entry rite rather than as transformation just as I have heard too many speak of Communion as a “meal” alone rather than the very Presence of Christ among us.

More here-

Ratification of Canadian bishop for Uruguay fails

From South America-

The House of Bishops of the Anglican Province of the Southern Cone has voted not to ratify the election of Archdeacon Michael Pollesel as bishop coadjutor of the Diocese of Uruguay.

Pollesel, who was formerly the general secretary of the Anglican Church of Canada, was elected to the position by the Uruguay synod last December.

No details have emerged as to why Pollesel’s election was rejected, and in an interview he said he is still waiting for official notification and has no details himself. Pollesel learned of the reversal from the retiring bishop of Uruguay, Miguel Tamayo Zaldivar.

“I was disappointed,” Pollesel told the Anglican Journal. “It’s been a long wait.” Tamayo told him that the Uruguay diocesan council will be convened next week to decide whether or not the diocese will appeal the decision.

Archbishop Fred Hiltz, primate of the Anglican Church of Canada, shared the news about the failed ratification to members of the Council of General Synod meeting in Mississauga May 24 to 27. He also sent an e-mail to the Canadian House of Bishops.

More here-

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Rest in Peace Doc-

Nigeria: You Can't Defeat Boko Haram, Cleric Tells Jonathan

From Nigeria-

Former Primate of the Anglican Communion, Peter Akinola, has told President Goodluck Jonathan that the Boko Haram insurgents cannot be defeated as they are out to wipe out Christians and Jews.

He spoke at the National Christian Centre Abuja during a special inter-denominational service to mark this year's Democracy Day.

In his sermon titled: "Know the truth and the truth shall set you free," Akinola said the sect has been in existence since 1966 and cannot be defeated by the Federal Government.

He said Nigerians should not be deceived by the antics of Boko Haram, saying the sect is involved in a Jihad against Christians.

According to the cleric, "We have ignored the truth. Boko Haram must be seen in the right context. It is a continuation of the past. Shun all political claims that Boko Haram is not against Christianity. It is. It has been going on since 1966. They are committed to Jihad. You can't stop them.

More here-

Paranoid UK ‘must learn from Dickens’, says Archbishop of Canterbury

From London-

The Archbishop of Canterbury has launched an attack on the growing inequality and fear gripping a “paranoid Britain”.

Dr Rowan Williams, who steps down as head of the Anglican church in December, said the yawning gap between rich and poor had brought “hopelessness” for those at the bottom and “anxiety” for those higher up the ladder. He said the lack of social cohesion in 21st-century Britain had been heightened by a sense of “corporate paranoia” after terrorist attacks and many people had “put up the shutters”.

In an interview with BBC’s Newsnight programme being broadcast tonight, the country’s most senior religious leader criticised a culture where people are becoming “fist-clenching, anxious, not generous”.

He said: “The gulf between the top and the bottom of the economic ladder has grown and is growing, that’s not something we really tackled.”

He said Britain should take inspiration from the works of Charles Dickens.

The central message of Dickens, he said, was that people must let go of the anxiety that comes from the acquisition of wealth.

More here-

Our view: What we can learn from Colin Powell

From Erie-

Former Secretary of State Colin Powell says an elderly Episcopal priest gave him a lesson for life: "Always show more kindness than seems necessary, because the person receiving it needs it more than you will ever know."

Powell writes about how that advice helped to guide his own character formation in his new book, "It Worked for Me." Parade magazine published an essay by Powell, adapted from the book, on May 20. "Being kind doesn't mean being soft," wrote Powell, a career military official. Rather, the lesson he absorbed from the elderly priest is this: "Kindness is not just about being nice; it's about recognizing another human being who deserves care and respect."

Two Erie Times-News writers recently reported on some stellar examples where care and respect for others has made a difference in individual lives and made the Erie area a better place to live.

More here-

Crow's death causes fire at St. Margaret's Episcopal Church

Here's a headline you don't see every day. From California-

A crow was electrocuted on power lines late Sunday, sparking a fire in some offices at St. Margaret's Episcopal Church, which also lost power. The offices also suffered some water damage after firefighters extinguished the blaze.

The small fire broke out about 11:30 p.m. Sunday after a crow was shocked to death on power lines just over the mountain ridge behind the church, at 47-535 Highway 74, the Rev. Lane Hensley said Monday on the church's website.

“The lines overheated and collapsed near our building and started a fire immediately adjacent to the offices,” Hensley wrote in an extensive note to parishioners.

Riverside County Fire spokesman Jody Hagemann didn't have any information on the fire.

Hensley said an electrical surge caused extensive damage to electrical and communications subpanels in the back of the offices.

More here-

Monday, May 28, 2012

Cheltenham vicar breathes fire during Pentecost sermon

From The "You Can't Make This Stuff Up" Department (Courtesy of Bruce R. and The BBC)

With video!

A fire-breathing vicar has lit up his Gloucestershire church with a party trick he learnt in order to entertain friends at barbecues.

The Reverend Nick Davies, of St Philip and St James' Church in Cheltenham, was marking Pentecost.

"I don't get many ooh's and aah's and gasps during my sermon but I did this morning," he said.

At Pentecost the church celebrates the descending of the Holy Spirit for the first time on Jesus's disciples.

The Bible says the disciples were together when they were filled with the Holy Spirit and what appeared to be tongues of fire came to rest on each of them.

Banners moved

Mr Davies has never accidentally set fire to anything but he said the church banners were moved to the far end of the building just in case.

More here-

Row casts pall over St Alban’s service

From South Africa-

While churches across the world celebrated Pentecost Sunday – an ancient feast of the Christian Church held 50 days after Easter – the trouble-torn Anglican St Alban the Martyr Cathedral in Pretoria held a service stripped of ritual.

St Alban’s Cathedral is at the centre of strife and struggle – last week, the parish and the parish council took Diocesan Bishop Jo Seoka to court over his decision to close the cathedral.

The two sides were urged by the court to try to find a solution agreeable to all rather than fighting it out in legal hearings.

The court ordered that a mediator be appointed within 30 days to try to resolve the differences in the parish.

The cathedral does not have a priest and parishioners have not celebrated the Eucharist since November.

On Sunday, the 130-year-old church was to have marked Pentecost Sunday – an event much like Christmas and Lent, but which is celebrated as a great event that marked the birth of the Christian church.

More here-

I think we should keep Anglican bishops in a reformed House of Lords

From The London Telegraph-

The debate continues about the place of the Church of England's bishops, the 'Lords Spiritual', in the House of Lords. At the moment 26 archbishops and bishops are allowed to sit in the upper house, a small number in the midst of over 800 members. Of course, their presence in Parliament flies in the face of a steady progression of wisdom from the Enlightenment onwards: religion and politics are best (at best) sharing a fence not sharing a bed. But the present debate is not really about the influence of religion on politics, good or bad, but rather about keeping on-board the input of an unlikely but valuable group of men.

Here are three non-religious reasons I believe the bishops are worth preserving in the UK's Parliament: they are unelected, they are pastoral and they are vulnerable.

Why should we allow anyone unelected to have political power? Well, the bishops actually occupy a unique position. They are neither born to rule like the aristocracy was in the past, nor are they elected in the normal democratic process. There is nothing wrong with elections of course, and I am passionate about voting in them, but there's often quite a lot wrong about striving to win them. An ambitious vicar may play games in ecclesiastical politics to try to be ordained a bishop but I don't think he would spend his clerical career seeking secular political power by trying to become a bishop. 

It just wouldn't make sense – and the House of Lords would not give him that sort of power anyway. Few people would want to return to the privilege of power through blood, despite its usefulness in older, wilder times – perhaps most especially not the one who in Britain could most easily lay claim to it, our Queen; but the bishops, coming from all social backgrounds and intellectual interests, are given their unelected political role without asking for it. It's possibly the closest we can come to disinterested rule.

More here-

Archbishop of Canterbury: who'll get the impossible job?

From The Telegraph-

The role of Archbishop of Canterbury is, by common consent, a poisoned chalice. The challenge is to balance the various dogmatic factions within the Church of England at the same time as holding together the disparate worldwide Anglican Communion of 80 million souls. But, as a titular leader, the occupant of Lambeth Palace has no means of imposing his will. Unlike the Pope, with his formal teaching authority, the archbishop has to rely on persuasion and goodwill and that, as recent incumbents have found to their frustration, only gets you so far.

The thanklessness of the task extends to the process now under way for choosing the 105th archbishop to succeed Dr Rowan Williams when he retires in December. Because of long-standing divisions within the Church over such issues as gay marriage and women bishops, whichever candidate’s name emerges this autumn, it is guaranteed to offend a good proportion of Anglicans.

What is making the job even harder is that there can no longer be any passing of the buck to the prime minister. Traditionally, bishops were appointed from a list of two by 10 Downing Street, because the Church of England is established and the prime minister acts on behalf of its Supreme Governor, the Queen. That leeway has proved controversial, as when in 1990 Margaret Thatcher picked the outsider George Carey as a way, it was alleged, of snubbing his predecessor Robert Runcie, who had vociferously criticised her policies.

More here-

Virginia Beach church pays tribute to fallen troops

From Virginia Beach

On the lawn of Eastern Shore Chapel Episcopal Church, a field of American flags waved in the wind, as if saying hello to the cars zooming past on Laskin Road.

A woman pulled to a stop, held her cellphone out the car window and snapped a photograph before driving away.

There are 6,460 miniature flags in all - one for each American service member killed during the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq. Parishioners planted them in the ground Sunday, just in time for Memorial Day.

The morning began with an outdoor service. Facing a wooden cross, the congregation - about 270 people in all - gathered on benches and folding chairs, under a canopy of trees.

Afterward, flags in hand, they headed for two grassy areas in front of the church to create the patriotic display.

The Rev. James Sell, the transitional rector, had heard of similar flag plantings at other churches. He pitched the idea to parishioners and asked for donations to cover the cost of the flags. They were eager to help.

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St. Luke's church celebrates 152 years by revisiting bygone era

From Washington State-

Members of St. Luke's Episcopal Church turned the clock back 152 years on Sunday.

Their church was consecrated on May 27, 1860.

"They are both Pentecost Sundays," signaling the end of the Easter season, said the Rev. Jaime Case, the church's rector.

The observance included about 30 parishioners who came in period dress.

"We were experiencing the first prayer book (1789) of our denomination," Case said. "It was a wonderful reminder of how much has changed and how little has changed."

For instance, Case said in 1860 women were not allowed to be part of a service and the church was not welcoming to people of color.

The first St. Luke's building was a repurposed schoolhouse bought in 1858, said church archivist Patrick Lawless. It was in downtown and today probably would be under Interstate 5, he said. The current church at 426 E. Fourth Plain Blvd. was built in 1932 and remodeled in 1959.

Lawless said experiencing the same service delivered on May 27, 1860, w
as "a way for us to understand how we have changed and how we need to grow."

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Sunday, May 27, 2012

Quake reveals day of Jesus' crucifixion, researchers believe

From NBC-

Geologists say Jesus, as described in the New Testament, was most likely crucified on Friday, April 3, in the year 33. 

The latest investigation, reported in International Geology Review, focused on earthquake activity at the Dead Sea, located 13 miles from Jerusalem. The Gospel of Matthew, Chapter 27, mentions that an earthquake coincided with the crucifixion: 

“And when Jesus had cried out again in a loud voice, he gave up his spirit. At that moment the curtain of the temple was torn in two from top to bottom. The earth shook, the rocks split and the tombs broke open.” 

To analyze earthquake activity in the region, geologist Jefferson Williams of Supersonic Geophysical and colleagues Markus Schwab and Achim Brauer of the German Research Center for Geosciences studied three cores from the beach of the Ein Gedi Spa adjacent to the Dead Sea. 

Varves, which are annual layers of deposition in the sediments, reveal that at least two major earthquakes affected the core: a widespread earthquake in 31 B.C. and a seismic event that happened sometime between the years 26 and 36. 

The latter period occurred during “the years when Pontius Pilate was procurator of Judea and when the earthquake of the Gospel of Matthew is historically constrained,” Williams said. 

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Former brother, ex-Episcopal rector to serve as Catholic priests

From Maine-

When he graduated from what was then St. Dominic Regional High School, Emile Henri Dube’s goal was to be a priest.

He just never thought it would take him more than 40 years to be ordained.

Dube, 60, was ordained a diocesan priest Saturday at Holy Family Church, 607 Sabattus St., by Bishop Richard J. Malone. He is one of two men who will to become priests this summer after years in other careers.

David Affleck, 62, will be ordained June 3 at the Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception. Affleck, who lives in York with his wife, Katherine, served as a priest in the Episcopal Church for more than 20 years.

Dube served for 35 years as a brother in the Catholic order of Salesians of St. John Bosco, headquartered on the East Coast in New Rochelle, N.Y. During that time he worked in Columbus, Ohio, the Bahamas and Harlem in New York City, where he worked with at-risk youth, which is the mission of the Salesians. He also ran the youth ministry section for his order in Orange, N.J., and raised funds for the order’s international work.

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Five vie to be Episcopal bishop Vote Saturday in Springfield

From West Mass-

The five candidates seeking to become the ninth bishop of the Episcopal Diocese of Western Massachusetts, which includes Worcester County, come from diverse backgrounds and include a former music industry executive, a former Roman Catholic priest and book editor, and a former banker.

Clergy and lay delegates will vote on a new bishop next Saturday at Christ Church Cathedral in Springfield.

Pending the consent of the church’s 77th General Convention, which will be held in July, the new prelate will be ordained Dec. 1 during ceremonies at the MassMutual Center, also in Springfield.

The diocese has been seeking a new spiritual shepherd since Bishop Gordon P. Scruton, who served for 16 years, announced last June that he would retire at the end of this year.

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