Saturday, September 1, 2012

For a happy marriage, try the submissionary position

From Australia-

Sydney's Anglicans have changed the marriage ceremony so the wife agrees to ''submit'' to her husband. People criticise the Sydney Anglicans for being out of touch, so how wonderful to see the success of Fifty Shades of Grey being so rapidly reflected in the service. The only question: will fluffy handcuffs now be a mandatory part of bridalwear?

Jocasta has never agreed to submit in her life, unless you're talking about her stationery receipts, in which case she is annually submissive, but only to the Australian Taxation Office. In all other matters, I deal with her as one would a madman wired with explosives.

I'm also unsure how this ''submission'' thing works in practice. If it means Jocasta can no longer criticise my method of driving from Leichhardt to Newtown via Petersham, rather than her preferred method of up Parramatta Road and then right on Missenden, then I'm all for it. I can just hear the words of discontent beginning to form as I turn right into Crystal Street - ''Not this way, again'' - quickly brought to an end with my barked command of ''Submit, woman, submit!''

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Bethesda youth group reaches out to homeless in Key West

From Florida-

Serving homeless men and women was among the highlights of a mission by the youth group at The Episcopal Church of Bethesda-by-the-Sea. Their destination: St. Paul’s Episcopal Church in Key West.

The group, which nicknamed itself CIA or Caring in America, included Sarah Alexander, Marie Chavez, Hannah Harlan, Jon Cameron Owens, Aleksi Turrki, and James and Valerie Hayek, all led by Shirley Henn, Bethesda’s director of Christian formation.

They arrived with a can-do attitude and more than 100 flip-flops donated by Bethesda Bible Camp students for homeless individuals. They used elbow grease and skills to help at a clothes/food bank, soup kitchen and the church. Students even painted a mural on a church door as a gift.

“It was a life-changing experience,” said Turrki, 15, of the five-day trip. “I definitely have a different perspective of what it means to be homeless and in need. There are a lot more people in need around you than you think.”

More here-

Louisiana Episcopalians find Isaac less destructive than feared

From Louisiana-

Seven years after the catastrophic Hurricane Katrina, clergy in the Episcopal Diocese of Louisiana were mostly thankful as they began to assess the impact of Hurricane Isaac while the remnants of the storm, as it moved north, continued to drench parts of the state and neighboring Mississippi.

The worst reports from the diocese were of a tree falling onto a rectory and a church and church school taking in a couple of inches of water. Other reports mostly concerned power outages, shingles off roofs, minor water damage and glass breakage from high winds.
Some parishioners’ homes had several inches of floodwater and “the usual debris” associated with heavy storms, according to diocesan clergy who reported their assessments on an Aug. 30 conference call.

[At press time, no updates had been received from the Diocese of Mississippi.]

Although the recently fortified levees that protect New Orleans stood firm during Isaac’s pummeling, beyond the city hundreds of homes were underwater. At one point, half of the state was without power. Of the 60,000 New Orleanians who evacuated, several thousand are staying at shelters.

According to the Associated Press, Isaac dumped as much as 16 inches in some areas, and about 500 people had to be rescued by boat or high-water vehicles. At least five storm-related deaths have been reported.

More here-

Friday, August 31, 2012

Strasbourg to hear religious-discrimination cases

From The Church Times-

THE European Court of Human Rights, in Strasbourg, will next week hear the cases of four British people who claim that they lost their jobs as a result of discrimination against their Christian beliefs.

Two of the cases concern the right to manifest religious belief, and whether this extends to wearing a cross or crucifix in the workplace. The other two concern the "clash of rights" that occurs when legislation and rules designed to ensure equality for gay men and lesbians is said to conflict with other people's rights to manifest their religious belief that homosexual practice is sinful.

Shirley Chaplin, who worked as a nurse with the Royal Devon and Exeter NHS Trust ( News, 9 April 2010), and Nadia Eweida, who worked at a check-in desk for British Airways at Heathrow Airport ( News, 11 January 2008), both lost their jobs over their refusal to remove a cross worn around the neck. The pair both claim that they had worn their crosses for years, and that their jewellery became apparent only when their respective employers changed the design of their uniforms.

More here-

Windswept Farm on the market

From Virginia-

Another equestrian facility in Fairfax County is at risk of disappearing because the property owners are seeking to sell the land on which it sits.

Windswept Farm, a 32-acre property near the intersection of Braddock Road and the Fairfax County Parkway, currently is home to an 11-member horse boarding cooperative.

The land, however, is owned by the Episcopal Diocese of Virginia — the result of a lengthy legal dispute between the diocese and former Episcopal churches that separated from the diocese because of religious disagreements.

The Church of the Apostles purchased the land for $2.5 million in 2001, according to county real estate tax records. The intent was to build a new church there, according to Henry Burt, secretary and chief of staff of the diocese.

Church of the Apostles later separated from the Episcopal Church, as did several other Virginia churches. There was a multi-year lawsuit regarding whether the property belonged to the diocese or to the churches.

More here-

‘Want Prayer?’ Progressive lay evangelists take church to the streets

From ENS-

Progressive lay evangelist Adrian Dannhauser has been known to stand on a busy Stamford, Connecticut street at lunchtime with a sign: “Want Prayer?”

Sometimes she’d add a verbal invitation to those who approached. Others sometimes passed her by, slowed, turned around and returned.

“You’d hear about the loss of a loved one just the day before,” she recalled during a recent telephone interview. “Or, ‘my wife is having trouble getting pregnant.’

“It’s a beautiful form of evangelism,” she said, her voice breaking. “To bear witness to people’s souls is such a privilege. You’re looking to share an experience. You try to facilitate an encounter with God.

“Progressive evangelism is connecting my story, your story and the great story.”

The former Wall Street bankruptcy and restructuring attorney now attends Berkeley Divinity School at Yale and, along with her “partners in evangelism” Otis Gaddis III and Matthew Lukens, is among a growing number of progressive evangelists in the Episcopal Church who are taking church to the streets and the people.

More here-

Property belongs to Episcopal Church

From Tennessee-

On the Aug. 23 editorial page of The Tennessean appeared an op-ed entitled “Church could lose property” by the Rev. James M. Guill.

Father Guill correctly stated his parish church, St. Andrew’s, may lose the right to occupy 5 acres of land on Woodmont Boulevard in Nashville and that St. Andrew’s purchased the property from the Episcopal Diocese of Tennessee. However, he makes misrepresentations when he accuses the Episcopal Church and the Diocese of Tennessee of “confiscating” the property owned by St. Andrew’s Church, and when he states “St. Andrew’s also chose to have a relationship with the diocese. Because it is an Anglo-Catholic church, though, the relationship was never intended to be the same as other Episcopal churches.”

On Dec. 2, 1957, the property was sold by Helen Picksley Cheek to the Church of the Advent (an Episcopal church). In 1960, the Church of the Advent transferred legal title to the property to the Episcopal Diocese of Tennessee. On April 26, 1966, a nonprofit corporation named “The Rector, Wardens, and Vestrymen of St. Andrew’s Parish” was formed. This is Father Guill’s St. Andrew’s Church.

More here-

Thursday, August 30, 2012

Refresh2012 Attracts 2,000

From England-

Two thousand people attended an outdoor service on Sunday 26 August during the ‘Refresh2012’ Beach Festival in Weymouth. The service was a highlight of Bank Holiday events organised by local churches from Weymouth and Portland.

An estimated two thousand people attended the Sunday Service led by Evergreen, Andrew Palau and the Bishop of Sherborne

The organisers timed Refresh2012 to take place between the Olympic sailing events and the Paralympics. Hundreds of people braved the elements to attend the Festival between Friday 24 and Monday 27 August.

Stage performers included rock bands Evergreen (who led the service, entitled the ‘Great Big Worship Event’) and Dave Lubben; pop acts LZ7 and Crossfya; and clergy rock band Dogs without Collars.

Activities included face painting, circus skills, balloon modelling, bouncy castles, sumo wrestling and relaxation tents, complete with foot massages and herbal teas.

The Bishop of Sherborne, Dr Graham Kings, said, “It was an extraordinary Christian festival on the beach: the direct result of long term relations across denominations. Congratulations to all involved.”

More here-

Jensen's view on women: how did it come to this?

From Australia- (Letters)

Exquisite timing. On the morning after the announcement of Professor Suzanne Cory as the winner of the 2012 Eureka Leadership in Science award, Peter Jensen attempts to defend the indefensible (''Men and women are different, and so should be their marriage vow'', August 29).

In the mid-1960s, Professor Cory ran headlong into the patriarchal culture of that august institution, Cambridge University, which at the time offered scholarships almost exclusively to men. That she prevailed and forged a singularly successful career in science is testament to steely determination as well as ability. Because, for women of that era, ability was never enough.

But now, Dr Jensen considers it appropriate to reintroduce the notion of female submission in marriage, apparently because men and women are different and marriage is important. How these are linked is beyond me, as well as my teenage daughters. Bright, widely read and engaged with the world, they smile indulgently at their father and ask how my generation could let it come to this. How did we?

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Rare chairs like gift from heaven for poor church

From British Columbia- (What's in your nave?)

A mysterious pair of 17thcentury Ming dynasty armchairs could answer the prayers of an impoverished Victoria parish.

The chairs, which sat virtually unnoticed in the nave of St. Matthias Anglican Church for more than 20 years, have an estimated value of $180,000 to $250,000 and will be auctioned at Sotheby's fine Chinese works of art sale on Sept. 11 in New York.

"It's quite an astonishing turn of events," said rector Rev. Robert Arril, who often sat for a moment in the 300-year-old chairs, enjoying the luxurious warmth of the huanghuali wood, an extremely rare Chinese rosewood.

"We're a benevolent presence in the community. What these chairs mean is that we'll be able to carry on."

In March 2009, Arril was parachuted into the troubled parish after 250 members of its congregation left to join the more conservative Anglican Network in Canada. With only about 30 members left, St. Matthias was plunged into penury and began renting out its hall and other meeting rooms, Arril said.

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Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Anglican priest's mission: Get treasured Torah scrolls out of Iraq

From Salt Lake-

Amid the bullets, mines and mayhem of Iraq lies a buried treasure: 365 Torah scrolls. And one man is doing his best to unearth them before they deteriorate in the subterranean vault of the national museum where they are kept.

His name is Andrew White, and he is an Anglican priest.

White is known as “the Vicar of Baghdad,” writes Ari Werth at the Jewish website, and is a hero to Iraq's Christians and its few remaining Jews.

The Anglican cleric first learned of the scrolls during a 2005 tour of the national museum, which had been ransacked in the aftermath of the 2003 American invasion. And what he saw was deeply disturbing. The sacred texts had not been properly preserved, but were stacked on dirty floors.

“Rats were eating some of the parchment,” White told Werth.

Today, seven Jews are left in Iraq, and White would like to see the scrolls moved to Israel or to an American Jewish organization, the article says, but the Iraqi government wants to hold on to “its vast collection of Jewish artifacts and Torah scrolls.”

Though there are no easy ways to get the parchments out of the country, Werth writes, “White won’t rest until the scrolls are safe.”

More here-

Local Anglican Agency in Ghana Delivers Aid After Heavy Rains and Flooding

From Ghana-

A local Anglican Agency in Tamale, Ghana has been providing emergency relief to hundreds of people hit by a severe storm.

In June, a heavy rainstorm affected poor communities in the Metropolitan Tamale District in the Northern region of Ghana. One person died, houses already fragile were flooded and their roofs blown up by the strong winds. Communities lost their properties and had to rebuild their homes. Local schools were also affected and required major reparations.

The Anglican Diocesan Development and Relief Organisation (ADDRO), the arm of the Diocese of Tamale of the Province of West Africa provided emergency help to the affected communities. Dozens of sacks of maize were distributed to the four most affected communities in August during the visit to Ghana of the Anglican Alliance Relief and Programmes Manager, Tania Veronica Nino Arevalo. This aid reached out 1300 people including women and children and will help them to meet basic needs while recovering from this emergency.

Anglican schools in Tamale and in the Upper East region of Ghana were also badly damaged. ADDRO provided roof and building material for their reparation in partnership with the International Anglican agency Episcopal Relief and Development (ER&D).

More here-

Churches use technology to build flock

From Houston-

There's something very fitting, the Rev. Steve Wells said, about the use of technology to further a church's outreach.

"What's astounding to me about Christianity is God came to us," said Wells, pastor of South Main Baptist Church, 4100 Main St. "One of the things technology lets us do as a church is come to people where they are."

Well-chosen technology can be of tremendous benefit to churches and the people they serve, said Jen Frazier, director of communications for Christ Church Cathedral, an Episcopal church at 1117 Texas Ave.

"It can facilitate the church community's interaction with one another and with the world," she said.

More here-

Crossroads helping Atlanta’s homeless for 40 years

From Atlanta-

There is a castle on Peachtree Street, one with big red doors and an iron gate surrounding it. When you walk from the building’s parking lot, red and brown brick columns lead you inside of this church where Crossroads Community Ministry operates. The brick sign reads “Saint Luke’s Episcopal Church.” More important than its exterior is what’s happening on the inside of these brick walls for the less fortunate in Atlanta. Crossroads Ministries is a 40- year-old nonprofit organization, soup kitchen and shelter for the homeless.

Beyond those basics, Crossroads also offers legal help and case management, programs to help individuals apply for Social Security Disability applications, a free mail-room so that people can apply for jobs, a program to provide free Marta cards, housing for the disabled, housing for women and children, rehabilitation programs and hot meals throughout the week.

More here-

Retired Episcopal Bishop led Milwaukee diocese

From Milwaukee-

In the winter of 1989, in the midst of the Salvadoran civil war, then-Milwaukee Episcopal Bishop Roger White joined a contingent of faith leaders to escort exiled Lutheran Bishop Medardo Gomez back to his home parish for the Feast of the Epiphany.

It was a show of solidarity with a people of faith in a country where the clerics knew - just weeks after six Jesuits, their housekeeper and her daughter were killed by the Salvadoran Army - that their collars could not save them if violence erupted.

"Roger was very courageous. I'm not talking simply about moral courage, which he had, but the courage to put himself in physical danger," said Lutheran Bishop Peter Rogness of St. Paul, Minn., who had served alongside White in Milwaukee and went with him to El Salvador.

"Roger said, 'That's part of my calling, and I'm going.' "

White, who led the Episcopal Diocese of Milwaukee from 1985 to 2003, died Monday of complications from a brain aneurysm suffered Aug. 11. He had been hospitalized since then, and died in the arms of his wife of 46 years, Prudence, or "Pru," their son, Marcus White, said Tuesday. He was 71.

"The Diocese of Milwaukee mourns the passing of Bishop Roger White . . . and continues to hold his widow, Pru, and his family in our hearts and prayers," said White's successor, Bishop Steven Miller.

More here-

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Why Did English Stop Changing? Let's Blame the Book of Common Prayer

From The Atlantic-

I mentioned recently the grooves that the Book of Common Prayer had laid down in my brain -- as, it appears, it has done across much of the Anglosphere.

Americans may underestimate the extent of this one book's reach. In the United States, Thomas Cranmer's 16th-century prose would be known mainly to the handful of people who are Episcopal Church members -- and, of them, to the subset who use the "old style" prayer book. But in England it was part of mainstream culture as the language of the state-established Church of England. Something similar applies in other former British colonies. For instance, Australia has barely one-twelfth as many people as America does, but it has nearly twice as many Anglicans/ Episcopalians who would know Cranmer's prose.

A reader in Australia writes to speculate on some other effects of this 463-year-old book -- and that's the title page of the 1549 edition at right:

More here-

Why We Should Do Politics like Episcopalians

From Patheos-

Despite the tiny number of Episcopalians in America - 2 percent or so of the population—more presidents, senators, and Supreme Court justices have been Episcopalian than have been identified with any other religious affiliation. That suggests that maybe Episcopalians have some gifts for politics.

Now there could be some less-than-flattering reasons for this, of course. The Episcopal Church was, before the Revolution, the Church of England, and so it was well-established in British colonies, and many of the best, brightest, and richest belonged to it. Despite fifty years of decline, it has continued to be a church populated by the privileged; Episcopalians have the highest median income of any American religious group except Jews.

But along with that high income goes high levels of education. As Lisa Keister points out in her book Getting Rich, Episcopalians tend to be better educated than most of the population, so Episcopalians have some knowledge as well as some social clout.

More here-

Gulf Coast Episcopalians prepare for Tropical Storm Isaac

From ENS-

Episcopal dioceses along the U.S. Gulf Coast were initiating disaster preparedness plans Aug. 27 as Tropical Storm Isaac emerged into the Gulf of Mexico’s warm waters after drenching Haiti and the Dominican Republic and skimming Southeast Florida and the Florida Keys over the weekend.

The U.S. National Weather Service has issued hurricane warnings for the Gulf Coast from Morgan City, Louisiana, to Destin in the Florida Panhandle, including the city of New Orleans, Lake Pontchartrain and Lake Maurepas.

The National Hurricane Center said it expected the tropical storm to gain strength, possibly becoming a category two hurricane, before it makes landfall sometime late Tuesday or early Wednesday morning, Aug. 29, the seventh anniversary of the devastating Hurricane Katrina. The four coastal Episcopal dioceses that could be affected are Louisiana, Mississippi, Central Gulf Coast and Florida.

In Haiti, Episcopalians were mobilizing efforts to respond to those most in need after Isaac bore down on the island of Hispaniola Aug. 24, claiming at least 12 lives and temporarily displacing at least 40,000 people.

More here-

Monday, August 27, 2012


From Bermuda-

Anglican Bishop Patrick White’s comments on the debate over gay and lesbian discrimination and marriage:

“The Gay & lesbian debate, which, I have to say, I'm pleased that it is now being discussed on a wider basis and a little more open than it was when Renee Webb first started to bring it out, and it flared up and it just got swept away. Over the last couple of years, for various reasons, it's come more to the surface. The Government seems more open to dealing with it now then they were then, and so the churches have had their chance to speak, to say their piece, and the members of the gay and lesbian community have been able to say their piece.

And what pleases me about that is that I really believe that if there's going to be a change, they need to feel free to speak out and to be heard, that the business of people speaking on their behalf is fine as far as it goes, but until the community itself is feeling the comfort level, the confidence level, whatever it is, to speak to the culture with confidence, without rankor, then it won't move anywhere. But that seems to be happening now and I think that's a good thing.

More here-

Church of Uganda sold assets to build Church House in city

From Uganda-

The Church of Uganda sold part of its assets to city businessman Sudhir Ruparelia and other entities in order to raise 30 per cent of the capital needed to build the multi-storey Church House building in Kampala.

According to a report that was handed to the Anglican Bishops during the bi-annual House of Bishops Provincial Assembly that convened at Uganda Christian University in Mukono last week, the Church sold the land on which Mr Ruparelia’s exclusive Kabira Country Club sits for Shs6.75 billion. The businessman still has to pay Shs450 million.

Sold property
Other lucrative pieces of real estate that have been sold include Ndejje University (Shs1.1 billion), the area occupied by Bukoto Market (Shs780 million), land in the upscale city suburb of Buziga (Shs1.7 billion), other land in Bugolobi (Shs600 million), land in Bukedi Diocese in Busia (Shs450 million) and 66 acres on Wamala Road sold at Shs2 billion.

In all, the Church will be able to raise at least Shs6 billion which, in addition to Mr Sudhir’s money, is more than 30 per cent of the Shs40.75 billion that was budgeted for the completion of the 15-storey building located at the junction of Kampala Road and Dastur Street in the central business district.

More here-

Anglicans in an 18th-century frame of mind

From Australia-

How tiresome to read the latest sexist onslaught on Anglican women - they have a lot to put up with (''To love and to submit: a marriage made in 2012'', August 25-26).

A few Sydney male Anglican groupies must have laboured long and hard to come up with the idea that women should ''submit'' to husbands like 18th-century girls. No wonder the churches are so empty now and young people who want to marry seek out marriage celebrants and write their own vows.

When I went to a suburban Anglican church and sang in the choir in the 1940s, the Sydney diocese was more liberal; the church had three services on Sunday mornings, and the choral service was packed.

Surely the Anglican hierarchy can find something more useful to do in our diverse 21st-century society than find new ways to demean women?

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Sunday, August 26, 2012

St. Peter’s rector finds new home in Rome

From Rome-

Fr. John Foster Herring has led a dynamic life of priesthood, having once harvested crops on a New Jersey farm in his younger years and eventually ministering to the homeless on the steps of All Saints Episcopal Church in Atlanta.

The new rector at St. Peter’s Episcopal Church began his ministry in Rome on Aug. 19. Herring said he, his wife Keri and their three children, 8-year-old Amelia, 6-year-old Madeline and 4-year-old Lucas, are happy to be welcomed into the Rome community.

“We’re really excited to be here and really excited to join the St. Peter’s family,” Herring said. “It’s a beautiful church with wonderful people and we’re particularly excited about being in Rome, at a place where people care about their town and have a lot invested in their town. That’s very appealing.”

The son of an Episcopal clergyman, Herring grew up in New Jersey where his father served several parishes both in urban and rural areas.

More here-’s-rector-finds-new-home-in-Rome-?instance=home_news_lead_story

Five fired General Theological Seminary workers say their lives ‘a living hell’

From The New York aily News-

It’s hard to imagine a group of workers with a giant inflatable rat protesting outside a religious institution as prestigious as the General Theological Seminary.

Yet, that’s exactly what is happening at the Episcopal Church’s oldest seminary, where five maintenance workers who lost their jobs after many years of service say their lives have been turned into “a living hell.”

“Working for a church is different, it is not like any other job, we thought we were like family,” said Godfrey Johnson, 52. “But now we have been let go with nothing, not even a word of thanks.”

Not to mention severance pay.

After working for a long time at the West 21 St. seminary — 24 years in the case of Johnson — the five employees were notified on July 27 that their jobs would terminated July 31.
The seminary is confronting severe financial problems and has been trying to cut corners. Unfortunately in this case it did so on the back of the workers. The seminary kicked out Aramark, a union cleaning contractor and, according to the Rev. Lang Lowrey, president of the seminary for the last three years, replaced it with Able, a non-union shop. The fired workers belong to SEIU Local 32BJ.

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