Saturday, June 9, 2012

Do Stephen King horror stories echo the Bible?

From Mass-

“The Bible is in many ways the ultimate horror novel.”

That is the last sentence in an article by CNN’s John Blake exploring the religious themes in horror novelist Stephen King’s books.

“… I hate organized religion. I think it’s one of the roots of real evil that’s in the world,” Blake quotes King as saying in a 1988 interview with Janet C. Beaulieu on his latest book at the time, “The Dark Tower.”

But King describes himself as a Christian, according to his website –– and Blake says “he was raised as a ‘hard-nosed’ Methodist taught to believe in the Antichrist.”

Why, then, would King infiltrate his horror novels with hidden lessons from the Bible and Jesus Christ? Blake says the best way to “understand King’s faith is not through his words, but through his stories.” 

More here-

Queen 'needs more data' on cathedral

From New Zealand-

The Queen needs more information on how the Christ Church Cathedral could be saved, campaigners say.

Prime Minister John Key met the Queen this week on a trip to Britain. The Queen wanted to speak to him about the Christ Church Cathedral because she has received letters raising concern about its future.

Key said he had taken the Queen through engineering assessments and reports showing why the building could not be saved.

"All I'll be able to do is give her the same reassurance I give Cantabrians, that if we could save the church we would, but on the best advice we've had so far that church can't be saved because of the damage."

Key said he understood the Queen's desire for reassurance "but at the end of the day the Queen isn't an engineer and neither am I, so she won't be able to override the engineering advice we've had".

The Queen is the nominal head of the Anglican Church in Britain, but not New Zealand.

More here-

Zimbabwe bishop defiant in face of intimidation

From Zimbabwe-

The Bishop of Harare has urged Anglicans in Zimbabwe to be vigilant amid reports of intimidation.

Bishop Chad Gandiya said in a pastoral letter that he had received reports of threats to harm rural clergy.

"Do not take these threats lightly," he warned.

"Please report such threats to life to the police and keep us informed. The police are obligated to protect all people without favour.

"We ask all our parishes to be vigilant and to be your brothers and sisters keepers."

Bishop Gandiya urged Anglicans to renounce violence.

"Our diocese condemns all forms of violence and particularly political violence and therefore we urge all the faithful to shun violence," he said.

"It is an affront to God’s all encompassing love and unbecoming of those who claim to know him. Let the whole world know that we are his disciples by our love for each other."

More here-

Sunyani Anglican Bishop urges issues based campaign

From Ghana

Right Reverend Dr. Festus Yeboah Asuamah, Anglican Bishop of the Sunyani Diocese, on Friday called on political parties to conduct their electioneering campaigns on issues instead of attacking personalities.

He advised leaders and followers of political parties to watch their utterances and ensure that whatever “they say will be something which will unite and not divide the nation”.

Rt. Rev. Dr. Asuamah made the call at the opening of the fourth synod of the diocese in Sunyani.

The three-day synod is under the theme “a new approach to addressing challenges and prospects for church growth and development”.

Bishop Asuamah emphasized that no political party was bigger than Ghana and that all parties must put a high premium on the relative peace Ghanaians were currently enjoying and do everything possible to sustain it before, during and after the general election.

More here-

Scottish Episcopal Church says No to ‘gay marriage’ agreement

From Scotland- (The headline is a little misleading. They rejected the covenant)

THE Scottish Episcopal Church has rejected an agreement backed by the Archbishop of Canterbury that could have seen sanctions imposed on them if they diverged from the Anglican Communion’s rulings on issues such as the ordination of gay bishops and same-sex unions.

The church’s General Synod, currently meeting in Edinburgh, overwhelmingly rejected the covenant, stating that it threatened its independence and went against the spirit of the communion.

It had been asked to sign up to the Anglican Covenant, an agreement intended to bring unity to the worldwide communion by introducing a measure of discipline and accountability into relationships between its 38 independent churches.

It would set up a Standing Committee of the Communion, which would consider whether controversial issues were compatible with Anglican teaching. Those signed up to it would be expected to abide by the Standing Committee’s decisions or face disciplinary sanctions.

The concept grew out of fears that disagreements over the gay issue between different provinces of the worldwide Anglican Communion would lead to irreconcilable divisions within it. The issues centred on the appointment of b in non-celibate gay relationships, and the blessing of same-sex unions, in Anglican churches in the US and Canada. Members of the Scottish Episcopal Church’s Synod yesterday criticised the covenant as unnecessary and unwanted.

More here- 

Also here-

Three Episcopal priests to be ordained Catholic

From Maryland-

The Rev. Jason Catania was ordained an Episcopal priest a dozen years ago. He will be ordained again Saturday at the Cathedral of Mary Our Queen in Baltimore. This time, he will be vested as a Roman Catholic priest.

Catania moved to Roman Catholicism in January, along with the Revs. John Anthony Vidal and David Reamsnyder, two colleagues in the Episcopal priesthood. All three are set to be ordained this weekend. Several dozen parishioners who had been pastored by Catania, 40, at Mount Calvary Church on North Eutaw Street for six years have also converted to Catholicism.

The three former Episcopal priests said they found themselves more aligned with Roman Catholicism and less with increasingly liberal stances taken by Episcopal leaders. The nation's sixth-largest Protestant denomination has been divided in recent years over the ordination of gay men and women and same-sex marriage. Meanwhile, the Roman Catholic Church has made efforts to draw Anglicans interested in conversion; even Anglican priests who are married can be ordained.

More here-,0,397840.story

Friday, June 8, 2012

No deadline for adoption of Covenant

From The Church Times-

NO TIMESCALE is to be put on the adoption of the Anglican Covenant, the Standing Committee of the An­gli­can Communion (SCAC) agreed last week.

The Covenant was discussed on the first of the three days of the committee’s talks — attended by the Archbishop of Canterbury and elected members of the Anglican Consultative Council and the Primates’ standing committee.

A statement released afterwards said: “The Standing Committee re­ceived an update on the progress of the Anglican Communion Covenant. It was noted that eight provinces had endorsed the covenant to date, in some cases with a degree of qualifica­tion. They were the only responses received so far by the secretary general.”

The Church of England, which rejected the Covenant when a majori­ty of dioceses voted against it in March, was not included in the responses received, suggesting that no formal response has yet been submit­ted to the Anglican Communion office.

The statement continued: “There was general agreement that no time­frame should yet be introduced for the process of adoption of the covenant by provinces. The Standing Committee will return to this question following Anglican Consultative Council-15 (ACC-15).”

More here-

Local Episcopal bishop faces decision on blessing same-sex unions

From Central PA-

The Rt. Rev. Nathan D. Baxter, like Episcopal bishops throughout the country, is deciding whether to approve blessing same-sex unions in his diocese. 

Baxter, bishop of the Episcopal Diocese of Central Pennsylvania, will announce his decision this weekend at the 142nd annual diocesan convention in State College. Three-hundred people from the 66 parishes in the 24-county diocese will attend.
Although the Episcopal Church has ordained openly gay bishops in the United States, it has not taken an official stand on gay marriage.
“The Episcopal Church says that homosexuality in and of itself is not a sin,” Baxter said. “We are called to love and respect all persons as being loved by God. I am listening to all views as I discern whether to approve blessing same-sex unions.”
It’s an issue that clergy, politicians and people from all walks of life are addressing these days. 

More here-

102 Episcopal bishops ask Obama for continued aid to Middle East hospital

From Washington Post-

A group of Episcopal bishops is asking President Obama to help assure that a United Nations agency continues to support a diocese-run hospital in the Gaza Strip.

In a Wednesday (June 6) letter, the 102 bishops ask the president to support funding for Al Ahli Hospital from the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees. The letter asserts funding was cut off in May, though an UNRWA official said a final decision has not been made.

The hospital, run by the Episcopal Diocese of Jerusalem, “is the only facility of its sort in the Gaza Strip that is not run by the Hamas government and as such, it is able to provide care without any outside interference or political calculation,” the letter states.

Al Ahli’s 120-member staff serves 4,800 inpatients and 42,000 outpatients annually, most of whom are Muslim. In the past, UNRWA provided nearly $1 million of the hospital’s annual $2.4 million operating budget.

More here-

Thursday, June 7, 2012

Pa. church seeks demolition of historic buildings

From Philadelphia-

A historic Philadelphia church wants permission to knock down its rectory and parish house to keep up with maintenance of the cathedral.

The Episcopal Cathedral of Philadelphia wants permission to demolish the two other historic buildings and put in a mixed-use 25-story building so it can finance repairs of the church.

All three buildings are on the National Register of Historic Places. Church officials want to demolish the two brownstone townhouses and erect a building with apartment, office and retail space that they say will also help expand its ministry.

The Philadelphia Inquirer ( ) reports the city's historical commission deadlocked on the plan during a vote last month and will reconsider it Friday.

The church was built in 1855.

Bible school in final 'Stuff the Bus' drive

From Kentucky-

Time is running out for a group of Henderson County children who want to "Stuff the Bus" with food items for the Christian Community Outreach before vacation Bible school ends today.

That's why they need your help.

Mary Dunham, executive director for the outreach program, said more than 90 children attending vacation Bible school this week at St. Paul's Episcopal Church have been faithfully depositing food items in a bus at the church each day but are getting a little discouraged that the bus isn't filling up.

The vacation Bible school is a joint effort among several churches, including St. Paul's, First Christian Church, Presbyterian Church of Henderson and Community Baptist Church.

Dunham said the food items will assist the Christian Community Outreach.

More here-

Amid Congo's chaos, hope lives

From The Congo and Virginia-

THROUGH THE window of our tiny charter plane, it looked like a sprawling city on a picturesque lake. From a distance, it could have easily passed as the Swiss foothills of the Alps.

But as we flew closer, Goma began to reveal more of its troubled self.

The roads were dusty and rutted, the land mostly barren. The streets were teeming with people. And what had appeared to be houses were little more than makeshift huts. The sides of the runway were littered with the carcasses of rusty airliners.

This is the Democratic Republic of the Congo, the slice of central Africa made famous for Westerners by Joseph Conrad's chilling novel "Heart of Darkness." Yet for all of the Congo's otherworldly challenges, my two colleagues from the Episcopal Diocese of Virginia and I learned during a week in May that good things are happening there.

More here-

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Getting Churchy in a Time of Chaos and Hate: A Personal Journey

From Huffington-

About one city block from the Stonewall Jackson Monument in Richmond, Va., I found St Mark's Episcopal Church. Being in the heart of this former Capital of the Confederacy, I was surprised to see them advertise as being "an inclusive church," which is a code for gay friendly. My first foray into the sanctuary came on an evening in March when there was to be a candlelight prayer service. More prayer, less of a sermon, caught my attention. I was greeted by the Rector in the narthex who held her arms open and welcomed me to St. Mark's. She told me if I liked the service, I should come back for more on Sunday.

I did come back for more, and I met more of the church leaders and some of the congregants. One of the first I met was the Director of Lay Ministry. I spoke with her outside the church kitchen as she was inviting me to go to one of those confirmation classes. I told her I wasn't sold on this whole religion thing. Before I could launch into one of my diatribes about the evils of organized religion, she said to me, "Church is an organization of people. That's all it is, complete with all the foibles and faults that people carry with them."

I stopped and thought for a minute. Had I been wrong about any of this? I rarely misconstrue what is presented to me, even with the big stuff in life like religion. It's what the people believe that I question, I concluded. Then I smugly went about my business.

By early summer, my depression and anxiety had abated. Admittedly, I expected my church attendance to dwindle as well. To my surprise, I continued to go to church, and I even got involved with some of their outreach activities. Clearly diversity is welcomed in this church. From the occasional homeless person who wanders into the service, to the jovial, cigar-smoking, southern-born Associate Rector who is always outside the church to greet everyone, the term "inclusive" is translated literally. There is something rich about worshipping with people who are on the other side of ourselves. It's as if someone has taken a random group of people from Kroger's Grocery Store, and put us all in front of the altar to receive communion. The texture of its people, the acceptance of many diverse families, singles and couples, for me, is why I continue to stay involved at St. Mark's.

More here-

Readers debate $468,000 severance package for St. Luke pastor accused of slapping parishioner

From Western Michigan-

 The Rev. Jay Lawlor left St. Luke Episcopal Church in Kalamazoo on a decidedly sour note: His congregation had not only turned against him, but a member filed a criminal complaint accusing him of assault for shoving her aside during a heated conversation.

But Lawlor, who felt "vindicated" last May when a jury found him not guilty of assault, likely felt vindicated again by the severance package granted by Bishop Robert Gepert, who heads the Episcopal Diocese of Western Michigan.

The payoff to Lawlor was $468,000, which Gepert took from the church's reserve funds.

Lawlor, 42, served at St. Luke's for 21 months before resigning March 2011. The payout was equivalent to more than a three-year severance package.  His 2010 compensation was $125,000, which included $85,000 in salary, plus housing and benefits. 

The amount of the severance raised eyebrows among commenters.

"Boy, nothing says Trust the Lord like a golden parachute written in to a pastor's employment contract," wrote amlive. "Way to hoard the manna Reverend."

More here-

Anglican Parish Appeals Fairfax Court Decision

From Virginia-

The Anglican parish that was forced out of The Falls Church filed a petition for appeal with the Virginia Supreme Court Friday.

The parish left the church May 15 after Fairfax County Circuit Court Judge Randy Bellows told The Falls Church and six other congregations in the Northern Virginia area in December to give their church property to the diocese they divorced years ago. The 113-page ruling came after almost five years of litigation and hundreds of thousands of dollars in congregation-donated defense funds.

The petition requests the court review a number of legal and constitutional grounds, according to a statement released Friday.

A senior member of the congregation could not be reached for comment.

The parish alleges Bellows ordered them to transfer the church’s real property, approximately $2.8 million in funds contributed by its members prior to 2007, and most of its personal property (bibles, hymnals, furniture, etc.), to the Episcopal Diocese of Virginia, according to the statement. Kenneth T. Cuccinelli, attorney general of Virginia, filed a brief in support of the church’s request for review of the trial court’s treatment of funds contributed by donors, according to the statement.

More here-

Shared Governance: The Polity of The Episcopal Church

From Bonnie Anderson- (I was privileged to serve on the committee and to contribute three of the essays)

Shared Governance: The Polity of The Episcopal Church, a collection of essays on the history and theology of church governance by the House of Deputies Special Study Committee on Church Governance and Polity is now available from Church Publishing.

"The collection is intended specifically as an educational and reflection tool for Deputies to the General Convention, and offers a number of insights particularly geared to their work," said the Rev. Tobias Haller, who chaired the committee, which was appointed by Bonnie Anderson, President of the House of Deputies, after the 2009 General Convention. "However, any Episcopalian wanting to be better informed about how and why our church came to function in the way it does will find the essays helpful."

The book focuses particular attention on the history and structure of the two Houses of the General Convention and how they interact; the role of the Presiding Bishop and the President of the House of Deputies and how their offices have evolved; and the role of the Executive Council, which carries out the work of the church between sessions of General Convention.

Haller said the collection dispels "some of the prevailing mythology concerning the origins and practice of our shared governance."

More here-

Gay Jennings announces candidacy for House of Deputies president

From ENS-

The Rev. Gay Clark Jennings, who just completed a six-year term on the Episcopal Church’s Executive Council, announced June 5 that she will stand for election as president of the House of Deputies.

Jennings said in a posting on Facebook that she came to her decision “after much prayer and many conversations with Episcopalians around the church.”

“I ask for your support, ideas, participation and prayers,” she said, asking people to join her on the page “so we can exchange ideas and questions about the work God is calling us to do.”

Jennings also announced her intentions via a letter to members of the House of Bishops and Deputies e-mail listserv.

“I’d like to work with you and other leaders to change the way we do business in the next triennium,” she said in the letter. “For the Episcopal Church to matter in the 21st century, we have to find ways to move forward together. I believe that God is calling us to embrace a future with no more false choices between mission and governance. No more false wars between individuals or groups. No more jockeying for turf or control.”

More here-

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Rwanda: Local Pilgrims Attend Uganda Martyrs Day

From Rwanda/Uganda-

AT least 500 pilgrims from Rwanda, yesterday, joined thousands of Christians from across the globe in commemorating Martyrs Day, in Namugongo, Uganda.

Every June 3, Christians of Catholic and Anglican denominations from around the world pay homage to 45 martyrs, who were killed by Buganda King Muwanga II in 1884, for converting to Christianity.

The Rwandan delegation was led by Father Antoine Kambanda, the Rector of St. Charles Borromeo Major Seminary Nyakibanda.

In his sermon, the Bishop of Kasana- Luweero Diocese Paul Semwogerere called on Christians to emulate martyrs like Matia Mulumba who despite his position as a judge in society never involved himself in soliciting for bribes from his clients.

"He lived a simple life yet he was an influential member of the society," the cleric told tens of thousands of believers in Namugongo.

Kambanda said that the martyrs did not die in vain, adding that it is because of their blood that Christianity was easily spread across parts of Africa.

More here-

A Measuring Rod

From The Living Church-

The English word canon comes from the Greek κανών. The term originally pertained to a measuring rod, but eventually referred to the standards which regulated various trades in the ancient world. After the rise of Christianity, it was also used to describe Christian norms. Many readers will be familiar with the phrase “canon of Scripture,” but canon has also been used in other, no less important ways.

 For example, it can describe normative liturgical practice; it can refer to disciplinary procedures; it can denote decisions reached through mutual counsel. Consequently, canon is a word of notable polysemy; appealing to one set of canonical norms refers one to other sets of canonical norms. Canon law is one of the canons used by the Church for maintaining its common life. The canon of Scripture contains “all things necessary for salvation,” but it does not contain all things necessary for running the Church. This latter task is fulfilled by canon law.

A Historical Sketch
The origins of canon law in the Episcopal Church extend through the Church of England back to the medieval period and thus to the early Church. In 325, the Council of Nicaea passed twenty canons for regulating the life and practice of the Church in the Roman Empire. The Nicene canons, which were prefaced by the first version of the Nicene Creed, regulated a large number of jurisdictional, liturgical, and theological matters. Later councils, both Eastern and Western, continued the practice of passing canons.

More here-

Former Diocese of West Virginia Bishop John Smith dies at 82

From ENS-

Former Diocese of West Virginia Bishop John Smith, 72, of Brunswick, Maine, died June 2.
He died after a two-year struggle with leukemia, according to an obituary in the Portland, Maine, Press Herald newspaper.

Smith, who was born Sept. 11, 1939 and raised in the Panama Canal Zone, was diocesan bishop of the Charleston, West Virginia-based diocese from 1989 to 1999. Ordained to the priesthood in 1965, he served parishes in Maine and Vermont. He also was chaplain and taught at the National Cathedral School in Washington, D.C. He was rector of Trinity Episcopal Church in Rutland, Vt., when he was elected bishop.

After his retirement Smith also served as priest-in-charge at St. Peter’s Episcopal Church in Bridgton, Maine, where he oversaw the construction of a new church building. A celebration of his life will take place June 7 at St. Peter’s, according to an e-mail from Diocese of Maine Bishop Steve Lane.

More here-

PENNSYLVANIA: Flooded neighbors not forgotten

From ENS-

The Diocese of Bethlehem has received a grant from Episcopal Relief & Development to implement a plan intended to help residents of West Pittston still recovering from last September’s flooding while also preparing Episcopal churches in the region to respond to future disasters. The grant comes in addition to other assistance and resources. The announcement was made May 31 by Bishop Paul V. Marshall.

This partnership with Episcopal Relief & Development, combined with funds provided by the diocese – 68 churches in 14 eastern and northeastern Pennsylvania counties – will assist the recovery of the West Pittston area and the establishment of a regional disaster recovery and outreach center owned by the diocese and run through a coordinated effort among the Luzerne County regional parishes. The center will be located in St. George’s Episcopal Church in Nanticoke and is planned to include storage and gathering space in addition to the worship area.

The diocesan community is also adopting a parish preparedness initiative. Using resources and training provided by Episcopal Relief & Development, each parish in the diocese will establish individualized plans to protect their resources and resume services as quickly as possible during a disaster, while also responding to the needs of their parishioners and the community at large.

More here-

Western Massachusetts' new Episcopal Bishop, Douglas Fisher, pledges to work with community

From Western Mass-

The new bishop of the Episcopal Diocese of Western Massachusetts said he believes the key to success is to become a servant to the community and answer to its needs.

Rev. Douglas J. Fisher, 57, director of Grace Church in Millbrook, N.Y., was elected Saturday from a field of five nominees to head the Western Massachusetts diocese. He will succeed Rt. Rev. Gordon P. Scruton, who is retiring after 16 years as bishop.

Fisher, who holds a doctorate of ministry from Episcopal Divinity School in Cambridge, has held a number of jobs in New York, including pastor of Holy Innocents in New York, chaplain to the U.S. Military Academy in West Point and chairman of the Standing Committee for the Diocese of New York.

Western Massachusetts “is a great diocese and it has a lot of blessings and a lot of challenges and I’m looking forward to serving it,” Fisher said.

The diocesian territory stretches from Interstate 495 west and has 65 parishes. Fisher said he liked many elements of the diocese, but the main one was the members’ willingness to take risks.

One of the biggest challenges the churches face is a common one throughout the church: Fewer and fewer people of all denominations attend church and one survey showed church participation has dropped 25 percent in 11 years, he said. 

More here-

Monday, June 4, 2012

Flotilla takes to Thames for Queen's jubilee

From England-

More than 1,000 boats were to sail down the River Thames on Sunday in a flotilla tribute to Queen Elizabeth II's 60 years on the throne that organizers are calling the biggest gathering on the river for 350 years.

Despite cool, drizzly weather, hundreds of thousands of people are expected to line the riverbanks between Hammersmith and Tower Bridge in London, feting the British monarch whose longevity has given her the status of the nation's favorite grandmother.

The queen and members of her family will lead the river pageant aboard a flower-bedecked royal barge, accompanied by skiffs, barges, narrowboats, motor launches, row boats and sailing vessels from around the world.

"We in Britain are experts at not letting the weather spoil our fun," said Adrian Evans, pageant master for Sunday's flotilla. "The London Philharmonic Orchestra will be playing 'Singin' In The Rain' as they travel down the river, and the crowd can sing along with them."

Hundreds of people ignored the persistent rain and camped out overnight to secure prime riverside spots. Crowds swelled into the thousands Sunday, with revelers in hats, flags, leggings and rain ponchos adorned with the Union flag mixing with burger and cotton candy vendors along the 7-mile (11-kilometer) route.

More here-

Christians honour Uganda’s martyrs

From Uganda-

Despite a terrorism threat, tens of thousands of Christians visited Namugongo to honour 26 Ugandans who were killed because of their faith 126 years ago. Some of the pilgrims walked for hundreds of kilometres before reaching the shrines.

On the concrete floor next to Namugongo’s Catholic Martyrs shrine sits Regine. The old lady doesn’t know her exact age. For the last three nights she has been sleeping here, next to the church. Nobody accompanied Regine when she travelled across Uganda. “Last night it rained and we all got wet. I didn’t care about that. We have to endure some suffering to strengthen our faith. Just like the martyrs here did,” she says.

History of the Namugongo martyrs
Martyrs day is celebrated on the third of June because on this day in 1886, a total of twenty-six Ugandan Christians were killed. The Catholic Church was built exactly on the spot where the leader of the group of martyrs, the Catholic Charles Lwanga, was burned to death.

The rest of his group, 13 Anglicans and 12 Catholics, were executed on a pyre two kilometres down the road. That place is now used by Anglicans for their own commemorations.

The man responsible for these killings was Kabaka Mwanga, king of the powerful Buganda kingdom. He saw European missionaries reaching his kingdom and one after the other converted to Christianity. The 26 were pages of king Mwanga. They rebuked Mwanga’s order to denounce the new faith and therefore met their painful death. Mwanga fought Christian missionaries for the better part of his life, only to convert to Christianity a few years before his death.

More here-’s-martyrs

Message from a feisty congregation: we're back in the house

From Australia-

SIX years after it burned down, a new St Barnabas Anglican Church on Broadway has risen from the ashes, ready to resume its friendly, billboard conversation with the hotel across the road.
''We're thrilled. We're excited. It's like we've been wandering in the wilderness and now, finally, we're going home,'' said Rowena Whittle, who joined hundreds of other worshippers at the first service in the new church yesterday.

It was at 5.30am on May 10, 2006, that she and her flatmate woke to the news that Barneys, as it has been known affectionately since opening its doors in 1857, was on fire.

''We were in tears. It was terrible. Like losing a family home. Not because of the building but because of the memories it held,'' said Ms Whittle, who has been travelling regularly to St Barnabas from Cremorne for more than a decade.

The new church, on the corner of Mountain Street, has been a long time coming.
As the current chalk message on the Hotel Broadway blackboard says: ''You're taking your time, priest [sic].''

For the past six years, the congregation has gathered for services at Moore College, Newtown, the starting point yesterday for a celebration walk to the new church.

Read more:

'Walking is the new church going', says Bishop Richard Holloway

From The Telegraph-

Holloway said the evangelical movement has made churches too noisy and people prefer to connect with God on a walk.

"Walking is the new church going for some people," he said.

The former Bishop of Edinburgh in the Scottish Episcopal Church said churches are more like events venues where people meet to play music, host talks and debate.

Speaking at the Telegraph Hay Festival, he blamed the evangelical movement for bringing too much noise into a spiritual space and said he preferred to walk his dog alone for “transcendence”.

“Churches now are too talky, they are like events venues. They have lost the ability for transcendence.”

Mr Holloway, who has left the priesthood and now describes himself as a “agnostic Christian”, also hit out at the evangelical movement for making an issue of gay people in the church in the 1990s,
Before then he claimed it was a case of ‘do not ask do not tell’.

The writer and broadcaster, who resigned from his lofty position in the Church partly in protest at the “cruel” treatment of homosexuals and women, said everyone should be given the opportunity to love.
“Evangelicals are always interested in other people’s sex lives for some reason. Its significant that. If your own is boring you are interested in other people’s…”

More here-

Pressure On Trinity Church To Call Off Occupy Wall Street Trespassing Charges

From New York-

Trinity Church, a massive New York land owner with an estimated $1 billion in real estate holdings, is once again at odds with Occupy Wall Street, the movement that sprung up in its back yard.
The relationship between Trinity and Occupy has been fraught almost from the start, but tensions escalated last winter, after the NYPD evicted Occupy Wall Street from Zuccotti Park, when protesters asked the church for sanctuary in an unused church-owned plot in Duarte Square.

The church refused, and on December 17, the protesters, led by clergy including retired Episcopal Bishop George Packard, jumped the chain-link fence anyway, prompting dozens of arrests.

Many of those arrested that day are scheduled for trial next Monday, June 11, charged either with violation-level trespass or with criminal trespass in the third degree, a charge which can carry three months of jail time.

More here-

With holy water, rector says “Bless this bike”

From Chicago-

His white robe gleaming under the bright sun, Rev. Steven R. Godfrey, rector of St. Martin’s Episcopal Church in Des Plaines, stood in his church’s parking lot Sunday surrounded by bikers and their motorcycles.

Accompanied by Eucharistic ministers Nancy Pardee and Nancy Modrow, he went to each bike and intoned, “Bless this bike and its riders, in the name of the father and the son and the Holy Spirit. Amen,” tossing holy water on the vehicle.

After Godfrey blessed a number of the bikes and their riders, he went one step further, blessing a walker and its owner.

It was the church’s first Blessing of the Bikes ceremony. Not only did bikers from St. Martin’s attend the event, which also offered a post-blessing feast, but so did bikers from Willow Creek Community Church and its bikers’ group, the Highroad Riders.

“People get tired of groups that ride from bar to bar, so they look to the churches,” said Lucia Corcoran, one of the Highroad Riders.

More here-

Sunday, June 3, 2012

New Episcopal bishop elected for Atlanta

From Atlanta-

The Episcopal Diocese of Atlanta elected its 10th bishop, and first African American leader, on Saturday.

The Very Rev. Robert C. “Rob” Wright, 48, will take over as leader in Atlanta, the ninth largest among the Episcopal Church’s 110 dioceses, in October. The Atlanta diocese, which covers middle and north Georgia, has 96 parishes and 52,000 members.

“I think the biggest challenge for us and all of mainstream Christianity is to begin to talk about the good news of Jesus Christ and what his message means in the 21st century,” Wright said Saturday. He said he will be ready to partner with Episcopalians across the diocese and to reach out to all generations, especially the young.

Wright has been rector of St. Paul’s Episcopal Church on Peyton Road in southwest Atlanta for 10 years and is dean of the diocese’s Mid-Atlantic Convocation.

More here-

Knisely elected Episcopal bishop

From Rhode Island- (Nick spent some time in Pittsburgh years ago)

Very Reverend Nicholas Knisely has been elected as the Episcopal Diocese's of Rhode Island's 13th bishop.

Clergy and elected lay representatives from the 51 churches that make up diocese voted Saturday to elect the Rev. Knisely.

Rev. Knisely, 51, is dean of Trinity Episcopal Cathedral in Phoenix, Ariz. (Diocese of Arizona). He was elected on the first ballot from a field of five nominees in the election, which was held at St. Paul’s Episcopal Church in Pawtucket.

He received 64 votes of 111 cast in the lay order and 47 of 88 cast in the clergy order, which gave him the majority in both orders.

“I am humbled and excited and honored. And I am so looking forward to coming to work with you in Rhode Island as you do the work of God in the Episcopal Church,” he said after the election. “

More here-

Fisher elected Episcopal bishop

From Western Mass.

The Rev. Dr. Douglas J. Fisher, a former Roman Catholic priest and former chaplain of the U.S. Military Academy at West Point, has been elected the ninth bishop of the Episcopal Diocese of Western Massachusetts.

“We are overwhelmed, humbled and honored by this election,” said the bishop-elect, who is currently the rector of Grace Church in Millbrook, N.Y. “The diocese was so prayerful and spirited in this process and is aware of the many gifts that God has given them.”

The diocese serves about 60 parishes spread across Central and Western Massachusetts, including churches in Worcester County.

Rev. Fisher will succeed Bishop Gordon P. Scruton, the former pastor of St. Francis Church in Holden, who announced last June that he would step down at the end of this year. 

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