Saturday, August 25, 2012

Newman In a New Light

From NCR-

Why a new biography of Blessed Cardinal John Henry Newman? Perhaps because, as two disparate thinkers, William Golding (Lord of the Flies) and C.S. Lewis, believe, saints are the most interesting and unique kinds of people to read about. Tyrants, as Lewis wrote, are all boringly the same.

Another reason, for Father Juan VĂ©lez, an Opus Dei priest, physician and Newman scholar, is “to highlight Newman’s constant search for religious truth and lasting happiness … to show the spiritual and intellectual path that led Newman from evangelical Protestantism through Anglicanism to Roman Catholicism.” The main source for his work is Newman’s correspondence, from which he quotes extensively.

Newman grew up in a solid Anglican family. After his father’s bank’s failure and his own illness — and a period of what he thought of as rebellion against God, when he read skeptics Thomas Paine, Voltaire and David Hume — he underwent, at age 15, a religious conversion. This took the form of a Calvinist and evangelical devotion to “God as a personal Being, not an abstract truth.”

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Anglican Church denies new wedding vows are sexist

From Australia-

The Anglican Church says new wedding vows which involve a woman pledging to 'submit' to her husband are not sexist.

Introduced as an alternative to the traditional vows that use the word 'obey', the new promises were written by the liturgical panel of the church's Sydney diocese.

The Bishop of south Sydney, Robert Forsyth, is on that panel and says the choice of the word 'submit' is based on the New Testament which talks about the church submitting to Christ.

"I can see why, if you just came upon this, not having read the New Testament about Christ loving the church, the church responding to him, it would look rather odd, just like the word 'obey' would look rather odd," he said.

"But to understand this you must locate it in its context of the New Testament's deep understanding about man and woman and Christ and his church.

Bishop Forsyth says some couples getting married in the church like having separate vows for men and women.

More here-

Anglican Faces: Harriet Cannon

From The Living Church-

Harriet Starr Cannon was born in Charleston, South Carolina, on May 7, 1823. Both of Harriet’s parents died of yellow fever when she was 17 months old; she was left with her elder sister and closest friend Catherine Ann, then three years old. An aunt welcomed the two orphaned sisters into her home in Bridgeport, Connecticut — making for seven children in one house in this then-bustling mercantile center on Long Island Sound. As a young girl Harriet lost her sight in one eye in an accident, but all accounts point to a happy childhood despite many significant early setbacks. One relative described her as fond of dancing, “a great society girl and not at all religious.”

The decision to consecrate her life completely to God came in the wake of a personal tragedy. Catherine Ann Cannon married in 1851 and moved to California, intending for Harriet to join her when she had established a home on the West Coast with her husband. A telegram brought the news in 1855, just as Harriet was preparing to leave for the West, that Catherine had died. The event changed the direction of her life completely; later, she wrote: “You know, she was my all — neither father, mother, or brother. We were two, but were one — but if God had left her with me, I should not have been here.”

More here-

Friday, August 24, 2012

Women bishops: a lot of ground for the Synod to make up

From The Church Times-

CONSULTATIONS over women bishops have been progressing slowly, it emerged this week.

Legislation to permit women to enter the episcopate is due to return to the General Synod at an extraordinary meeting in November. Before then, the House of Bishops has to decide what provision for traditionalists it will put in the final draft legislation, if any.

Last month ( News, 27 July), the steering committee proposed seven possible options in relation to clause 5(1)(c), the amendment inserted into the legislation by the House of Bishops in May, which prompted angry protests and led to the adjournment of a final decision when the General Synod met in York earlier in July.

Today is the deadline for responses to a consultation document about the options, which was circulated to Synod members by the secretary-general, William Fittall.

More here-

Calvary Episcopal Church youth participate in Missionpalooza 2012

From Texas-

Youth members of the Calvary Episcopal Church, located at 806 Thompson Road, in Richmond, recently participated in Missionpalooza 2012.

Missionpalooza is a five day mission trip to Bastrop County, wherein youth volunteers work on a variety of charity improvement projects. This included painting, removing debris and brush from around homes, building sheds, digging trenches for pipes and painting house signs.

The volunteer work was part of a long-term recovery effort to restore an area where more than 1,600 homes were burned during the 2011 Labor Day weekend.

The missionary groups also worked in Bastrop State Park.

A total of 160 youths and adults participated in Missionpalooza.

More here-

Welcoming the Elephants to Tampa

From South West Florida-

It's not very often that you see a church newsletter issued with the image of a GOP elephant holding a pirate flag, but that's what one of Tampa's Episcopal churches, St. Andrew's, published last week to indicate its welcome of the Republican National Convention to Tampa, Fla.

Perhaps it's not that odd. The Episcopal Diocese of Southwest Florida does have some experience with elephants; for decades we were chaplains to the wintering Ringling Brothers circus community, each year blessing a menagerie worthy of Noah's Ark and serving as blesser, counselor and prayer partner to clowns, sword swallowers, acrobats, lion tamers and elephant riders. As a church, we took that role seriously; the circus was in town, and we supported and welcomed that community when it came home each season.

St. Andrew's, since 1871 a fixture in downtown Tampa, will literally ring in the G.O.P. convention Aug. 27 as its bells, along with other Tampa churches, will toll for 15 minutes to welcome visitors from across the U.S. and world.

More here-

Thursday, August 23, 2012

Rowan Williams in Retrospect

From The Living Church-

Archbishop Williams has carried the burdens of conflict, and has shown a huge and sometimes costly commitment to unity. But perhaps he has found that the price of reconciliation has been too high: there has to be a will to be reconciled and for a decision to be made that no amount of talking can bring about, and Williams may have been too reticent to speak and too willing to listen.

More here-

Clergy To Consider Future of Bishop Seabury Church

From Connecticut

The Bishop of the Connecticut Episcopal Diocese said Tuesday he would meet with area clergy next week to discuss the future of the Bishop Seabury Church in Groton.

The building has functioned as a church since it as built more than 30 years ago, and was the subject of a lengthy court battle.

The congregation of 750 members, called Bishop Seabury Anglican Church, split with the Episcopal Church in 2007, then wound up in court over whether it could continue to use the building.

The Connecticut Supreme Court ruled in favor of the diocese, and the U.S. Supreme Court decided not to hear the case in June.

Connecticut Diocese Bishop Ian T. Douglas said the plan now is to meet with local clergy to discuss how the building might best be used in the future. He said everything is on the table.

“What I want to do is begin the conversation with those clergy of the region, to pray together and take counsel together, and begin to say, ‘What is it that God would have us do with this resource for God’s mission in Groton?’” he said.

More here-

The New Episcopalian

From Huffington-

In the past few months I have read several agonized reports on the supposed death throes of the Episcopal Church. I have not studied the statistics or interviewed masses of people. However, I have traveled in the opposite direction from those who have left the Episcopal church, and am glad that I have.

I've been an Episcopalian for a little over a year. I found a church home with strong preaching, a loving community, and attention to scripture, reason and tradition. The liturgy moves me, the clergy challenges me, and I am both inspired and heard. After 10 years as a Baptist, it has been a welcoming new home.

Yes, I do understand that membership numbers are down. Much of that, of course, is because a number of congregations and many individuals left the Episcopal Church when it accepted gay and lesbian clergy several years ago. Being among the first major denominations to resolve this issue, though, is both a blessing and a curse -- yes, some people left in anger, but I also know where the church will stand from this point forward, and I agree with that position. The wrenching dislocation of that question is resolved. There is a blessed settledness to that.

More here-

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Liberal Christians speak out

From Australia-

Australians must understand that conservative Christian lobbyists do not speak for all people of the faith, according to the Brisbane Anglican leader heading a new progressive advocacy group.

The Very Reverend Peter Catt, the Dean of St John's Cathedral, announced yesterday the creation of the new group called A Progressive Christian Voice (Australia).

It is the dominance of groups like the ACL that seem to be creating the idea that Christians are all of a particular mind

He said the aim of the group was not to be in conflict with the Australian Christian Lobby, which often argued for conservative positions on issues such as gay marriage and surrogacy, but to ensure there were several Christian voices in public debates.

Dr Catt said the group would lobby politicians and speak up for Christians who felt their opinions were not represented by the conservative religious lobbyists.

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IN GOOD FAITH: 'Honk if you love Jesus'

From Massachusetts

Sitting in summer vacation traffic has me reflecting on bumper stickers; specifically Christian-themed bumper stickers. I’ve always wondered what general impression of Christianity these four and five word pronouncements offer to non-churchgoers. I don’t think it’s very positive.

Most of these stickers are vaguely self-righteous, like “Keep Christ in Christmas.” I don’t disagree with the sentiment; in fact, I’ve essentially dedicated my life to it. But the underlying theme is “You’re doing this all wrong; I know best; and anything you do is not enough.” Which is not exactly the most endearing, welcoming message during the “Most wonderful time of the year.” Anyway, I’ve always thought about making a sticker that proclaims “Keep Mass in Christmas” just to see if anyone notices – that is, after all, the derivation of the word. On the evening of December 24th Christians throughout the world celebrate the “Christ-Mass.”

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Convention offers way to help bishops, dioceses reconcile

From ENS-

The bishops and deputies who gathered in Indianapolis in July for the 77th meeting of General Convention made a historic statement about the relationship between bishops and dioceses, acknowledging that, on rare occasions, that relationship becomes severely strained, sometimes to the point of breaking.

The statement, made by way of Resolution B021, set up a canonical process for reconciling or dissolving an episcopal relationship.

Resolution B021 was the result of a call (via Resolution B014) from the 2009 meeting of General Convention to how to help dioceses and bishops resolve their differences.

“The Episcopal Church is relatively unique in that there is no pastoral or canonical mechanism for intervention by the church at large to bring reconciliation or dissolution to bear within conflicted dioceses,” Resolution B014 noted in its explanation. The toll of that lack is “enormous,” the explanation said, and comes in the form of “bishops and their families leaving stigmatized and without the gratitude and caring of the dioceses they have served, members of Standing Committees exhausted and ill-used, dioceses being left demoralized and split by factions, and the name of the church often compromised for lack of a more humane process.”

More here-

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Hahn of St. Thomas named bishop in Kentucky

From Ohio-

The Rev. Doug Hahn of St. Thomas Episcopal Church in Columbus was elected Saturday to be bishop of the Episcopal Diocese of Lexington, which is composed of 35 congregations in central, northern and southeastern Kentucky.

Hahn, rector at St. Thomas since 1999, called the selection a "confirmation of the ministry that St. Thomas and I have done together.

"This is a chance to help the Episcopal Church shine its light in that part of the world," he said.

Hahn, 60, was elected on the second ballot out of a field of six nominees.

A nominee is evaluated by both clergy and lay people. While being evaluated for the job, Hahn visited 17 Kentucky parishes and was involved in both formal and informal presentations.

On Saturday at the diocese's 116th annual convention at Christ Church Cathedral in Lexington, Hahn received 67 votes of 120 cast in the lay order and 26 of 44 cast in the clergy order. An election on that ballot required 61 in the lay order and 23 in the clergy order.

Pending a successful consent process, Hahn will succeed the sixth bishop of Lexington, the Rev. Stacy F. Sauls, who was called to be the chief operating officer of the Episcopal Church in 2011. The Rev. Chilton Knudsen has served the diocese as interim bishop.

Read more here:

Green Leaf Cafe’s menu includes jobs

From Kansas-

Scott Barnes arrives at the Finney State Office Building at 7:15 a.m., nearly two hours before training starts. He stays until 5:30 p.m., more than two hours after the others finish.

He chops vegetables and washes dishes for six hours a day at the new Green Leaf Cafe, learning the nuances of restaurant work.

Soon, he said, he hopes to support his family — his wife, Rachel, and nearly 2-year-old son, Kayden — on his own.

“I hope it helps me find work,” Barnes said. “I’m really not having any luck finding a job anywhere else.”

Green Leaf Cafe, a recent partnership between the Department for Children and Families and Episcopal Social Services, is giving low-income, unemployed Kansans like Barnes a chance to learn new skills and get back to work.

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Episcopal Seminary Canned Workers After Decades of Service, Union Says

From New York-

Workers who claim they were fired by the Episcopal Church's oldest seminary after more than two decades of service have taken their protest to the streets — erecting a giant protest rat in front of the building.

The five maintenance workers say they lost their jobs at the General Theological Seminary late last month.

The workers, who are all members of the Service Employees Union 32BJ, had been with the seminary for decades, but said they were given letters on Thursday, July 27 notifying them that their jobs would end on Tuesday, July 31.

"That's three business days for 25 years of service," said Errol Morgan, 49, who started at the seminary in 1988 and said the firing means he will be unable to pay Catholic school tuition for his two 8-year-old daughters.

"This is a church — I thought they would have sympathy for human beings. Isn't that what they're all about?"

Maia Davis, a spokeswoman for 32BJ, said the union has lawyers looking into whether the seminary violated a city law giving building service workers 90 days of protection against layoffs if a building changes contractors.

The men were officially employed by Aramark, a maintenance contracting company for schools and universities.

The workers had originally been employed directly by the seminary until Aramark was brought on in 2009, Davis added. The seminary agreed that any new contractors would continue to employ the same workers

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Monday, August 20, 2012

Zimbabwe: Church Turned Into a Den of Robbers

From Zimbabwe-

Ever since I was at school I was awed by church, it was a place where I could talk to me God and right on its doorsteps repent for my sins, finding comfort in forgiveness. Now I am a grown man I still believe that, but I cannot help feeling the burden of my sins.

However, I cringe in repulsion when I look at the Anglican Church that has been taken by President Robert Mugabe's Zanu PF. Remembering the Sunday school sermons we had when I was still a little boy, I just do not understand why the Anglican Church has been turned into a den of robbers.

Our Saviour Jesus Christ chased people out of church when the greedy priests were conducting their business right in the house of God. But in Zimbabwe, a country which claims to be Christian at core, the authorities ignore the Anglican Church excesses.

Jesus for all his sanctity was angry and often when I pass through a seized Anglican church I find myself angry at the people who are ransacking one of the biggest churches in Zimbabwe. Nolbert Kunonga a Zanu PF ex-communicated bishop is in charge of the church which now resembles a brothel as people drink beer and conduct business in its holy entrance.

More here-

Liberal churches show signs of strength in Nashville

From Nashville-

The Rev. Eric Greenwood has heard the bad news about the Episcopal Church.

Attendance is down. Money is tight.

And the church seems locked in a never-ending battle over the place of gays and lesbians in the church, with accusations that the church has become too liberal.

Greenwood, rector of St. David’s Episcopal Church in Nashville, says his denomination has its troubles. But it is still a force for good in the world.

“Everybody gets all excited about sex in the church,” he said. “But the good work that gets done in the name of God and our lord Jesus Christ, it will take your breath away.”

Nationwide, the numbers don’t look good for the Episcopal Church and other mainline Protestant denominations, most of which tend to hold more liberal beliefs. From 2000 to 2010, most suffered double-digit percentage declines in membership, leading some to wonder if those denominations can be saved in the future.

More here-

Romney gives glimpse of his LDS practice

From US News-

Mitt Romney read Scripture from an iPad in a New Hampshire Mormon church while President Barack Obama was at Washington Episcopal church in a campaign-free day.

The presumptive Republican presidential nominee, providing a rare public glimpse of his religious practice, invited members of the news media to accompany him to Sunday worship services at a Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints near his lake house in Wolfeboro, N.H.

Joining him at the services, known as the sacrament meeting, were his wife Anne, their oldest son Tagg, Tagg's wife Jennifer and the younger Romneys' six children.

Mitt Romney made sure to accept a small piece of white bread and cup of water, representing the flesh and blood of Jesus, from a member of the priesthood who The New York Times said appeared as if he was about to accidentally pass him by.

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Obama and Romney attend church

From USA Today-

It's a faithful kind of day for the presidential candidates.

President Obama and Republican challenger Mitt Romney both attended church.

The president and his family walked across Lafayette Park for services at St. John's Episcopal Church.

Delivering the sermon, the Rev. Michael Angell cited the shooting this week at Washington's Family Research Center and called on the country's political rivals to come together to work out differences without violence.

More here-

Sunday, August 19, 2012

Episcopal Diocese of Lexington elects new bishop

From Lexington-

The Episcopal Diocese of Lexington on Saturday elected a Georgia native as its seventh bishop.

The Very Rev. Douglas Hahn, 60, received the majority of votes from clergy and lay delegates after two rounds of balloting at Christ Church Cathedral in downtown Lexington. Hahn was selected from a field of six candidates chosen from among more than 30 applicants. One candidate withdrew before the tallying of the first round of votes.

As bishop, Hahn will oversee the diocese's 35 congregations in Central and Eastern Kentucky.

Hahn succeeds the Rev. Stacy Sauls, who served as bishop from 2000 to 2011. Sauls left the diocese last year to take a position with the national Episcopal Church. The Rev. Chilton Knudsen, retired bishop of Maine, has served as interim bishop during the transition period.

Hahn was selected by 45 clergy and 120 lay delegates. After the first round of voting, Hahn had a lead, with 20 votes from the clergy and 43 from the lay delegation, but he did not have a majority. After a second round of voting, Hahn received 26 votes from the clergy and 67 from the lay delegation.

"We have an election," Knudsen announced. The clergy and delegates cheered.

Read more here: