Saturday, December 8, 2012

Signs, signs, everywhere signs

From the "You Can't Make This Stuff Up" Department

Church of England responds to PM’s same sex marriage statement

From ACNS-

From the Church of England

Responding to the Prime Minister’s statement on same sex marriage today, the Church of England issued the following statement.

It is important to be clear that insistence on the traditional understanding of marriage is not knee-jerk resistance to change but is based on a conviction that the consequences of change will not be beneficial for society as a whole. Our concern is for the way the meaning of marriage will change for everyone, gay or straight, if the proposals are enacted. Because we believe that the inherited understanding of marriage contributes a vast amount to the common good, our defence of that understanding is motivated by a concern for the good of all in society.

The proposition that same-sex relationships can embody crucial social virtues is not in dispute. To that extent, the Prime Minister’s claim that he supports same-sex marriage from conservative principles is readily understandable. However, the uniqueness of marriage is that it embodies the underlying, objective, distinctiveness of men and women. This distinctiveness and complementarity are seen most explicitly in the biological union of man and woman which potentially brings to the relationship the fruitfulness of procreation.

More here-

Faith & Works | Louisville Episcopal pastor to lead the American Cathedral in Paris

From Kentucky-

The Rev. Lucinda Laird, pastor of St. Matthew’s Episcopal Church, used to say she would never leave her job — unless she got a call to be pastor of the American Cathedral in Paris.

“It’s like saying, ‘Unless I fly to the moon,’ ” Laird said Friday. “It’s not possible.”

Except it is.

After nearly 15 years as pastor of one of Lousiville’s largest progressive congregations, Laird has been named the first woman dean in the cathedral’s history.

The cathedral, part of the Episcopal Church, has been a center for English-speaking worshipers in the French capital for more than a century.

Laird, 60, said she has visited Paris several times as a tourist but has never lived overseas and had to spend considerable time discerning whether this was the right call.

When the job opened up after the previous rector left for a position in Scotland, she decided to apply.

More here-

Friday, December 7, 2012

Vatican newspaper pays tribute to growth of US ordinariate

From Catholic Culture-

L’Osservatore Romano has published a brief article paying tribute to the growth of the Personal Ordinariate of the Chair of St. Peter, the ecclesial structure established by Pope Benedict on January 1 for Anglican communities in the United States that seek to enter into full communion with the Catholic Church.

Msgr. Jeffrey Steenson, the Ordinary, told the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops in November that the ordinariate now has 23 incardinated priests, eight pending ordinations, 69 aspirants for holy orders, and 35 Anglican communities in various stages of the process of entering into full communion with the Church.

An anonymous donor has purchased a $5 million, five-acre property adjacent to an ordinariate church in Houston as the ordinariate’s future headquarters.

More here-

Michael Barlowe named General Convention executive officer

From ENS-

Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori and President of the House of Deputies the Rev. Gay Clark Jennings have named the Rev. Canon Michael Barlowe as Executive Officer of General Convention of the Episcopal Church.

Currently Barlowe is the Canon to the Ordinary in the Episcopal Diocese of California, an elected member of Executive Council, and a deputy to General Convention from the Diocese of California.
“I am humbled and honored to have been appointed as Executive Officer of the General Convention, and am grateful for the confidence placed in me by the Presiding Bishop and the President of the House of Deputies,” Barlowe stated. “In Indianapolis, I was never prouder than when The Episcopal Church concomitantly affirmed our commitment to external mission and internal reform. In effect, we said that with God’s help, we could fly a plane while building it. I believe we can. I love our church, and am blessed to serve as the Executive Officer of the General Convention during such a pivotal time in our history.”

More here-

July might be too soon to return to fray, bishops warn

From The Church Times-

CAMPAIGNERS who want to see a fresh Measure to admit women to the episcopate at the General Synod next July may be disappointed, two bishops have suggested.

On Wednesday of last week, the Archbishops' Council stated that the women-bishops issue should be resolved "as a matter of urgency" ( News, 30 November). It urged the House of Bishops at its meeting next week to "put in place a clear process for discussions in the New Year, with a view to bringing legislative proposals before Synod in July".

On Tuesday, however, the Bishop of Dover, the Rt Revd Trevor Willmott, suggested that the House "ought to be able to share with people a process" at the Synod in July. "That will lead in due course to fresh legislative proposals."

More here-,-bishops-warn

Spokesman for Departed Episcopal Diocese Disputes Renunciation Order

From Christian Post-

A spokesman for the Diocese of South Carolina, which voted to leave The Episcopal Church over theological differences, has denounced the recent decision by the denomination to "accept the renunciation" of their bishop.

Episcopal News Service reported that Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori "has accepted the renunciation of the ordained ministry in the Episcopal Church of Mark Lawrence."

The Rev. Jim Lewis, Canon to the Ordinary for the diocese, told The Christian Post that the official report on the renunciation is inaccurate since Lawrence "never offered a renunciation of his orders."
"The TEC canons are explicit that such a renunciation must be in writing, to the presiding bishop, expressing the desire to be removed," said Lewis.

"None of those criteria have been met because it has never been the intention of Bishop Lawrence to renounce his orders. It is also not canonically possible to consider a request for renunciation while another disciplinary canon is in effect."

More here-

Thursday, December 6, 2012

Bishop Lawrence Writes Regarding Renunciation

From The Diocese of South Carolina-

December 5, 2012

Dear Friends in Christ,

“For what we preach is not ourselves, but Jesus Christ as Lord, with ourselves as your servants for Jesus’ sake.”  2 Corinthians 4:5

The Presiding Bishop called me this afternoon to inform me that she and her council of advice have accepted my renunciation of ordained ministry. I listened quietly, asked a question or two and then told her it was good to hear her voice. I did not feel any need to argue or rebut. It is the Presiding Bishop’s crossing of the T and doting of the I—for their paper work, not my life. I could bring up the canonical problems with what they have done contrary to the canons of The Episcopal Church but to what avail?  They will do what they will do regardless of canonical limitations. That is already well documented by others and hardly needs further documentation by me. She and her advisers will say I have said what I have not said in ways that I have not said them even while they cite words from my Bishop’s Address of November 17, 2012.  

Quite simply I have not renounced my orders as a deacon, priest or bishop any more than I have abandoned the Church of Jesus Christ—But as I am sure you are aware, the Diocese of South Carolina has canonically and legally disassociated from The Episcopal Church. We took this action long before today's attempt at renunciation of orders, therein making it superfluous.   

More here-

Southwestern Virginia diocese announces 4 nominees for sixth bishop

From ENS-

The Standing Committee of the Episcopal Diocese of Southwestern Virginia has announced a slate of four nominees to stand for election as the diocese’s sixth bishop.

The nominees are:

The Very Rev. Mark Bourlakas, 49, dean of Christ Church Cathedral in Louisville, Kentucky;

The Rev. Jeanne Finan, 62, rector of St. John’s Episcopal Church in Asheville, North Carolina;

The Rev. Gail Greenwell, 57, rector of St. Michael and All Angels in Mission, Kansas; and

The Rt. Rev. David Rice, 51, bishop of the Diocese of Waiapu in the Anglican Church in Aotearoa, New Zealand and Polynesia.

Detailed information about the four nominees is available here.

A petition process for submitting additional candidates will run until Dec. 18.

The nominees will participate in a visit to the diocese March 1-3, 2013, during which time they will meet with clergy and lay people of the diocese.

The bishop election will take place on March 9 and the ordination is scheduled for July 20.
The sixth bishop will succeed the Rt. Rev. Neff Powell, who has served as the diocese’s fifth bishop since 1996.

Anglicans send Kiwi to the Vatican

From New Zealand-

The head of the Anglican Church in New Zealand, Archbishop David Moxon, has been appointed to represent the worldwide Anglican movement in Rome.

Hamilton-based Archbishop Moxon, 61, will resign from his New Zealand position in April to take up a three- to five-year term as the Anglican Representative to the Holy See.

He will also continue to lead the Anglican side of the Anglican-Roman Catholic International Commission, a role he has filled from New Zealand for the past two years.

He has led the Pakeha part of the NZ Anglican Church since 2006 and has been Bishop of Waikato since 1993, when he was the country's youngest bishop. He said moving to Rome was "a huge responsibility".

"People took the initiative in suggesting it some time ago. I have had to wrestle with it," he said.

More here-

Episcopal Church presiding bishop accepts Mark Lawrence’s renunciation

From South Carolina-

The Episcopal Church’s Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori on Wednesday accepted the “renunciation” of the Rt. Rev. Mark J. Lawrence, 14th bishop of the church’s Diocese of South Carolina.

“Jefferts Schori has accepted the renunciation of the ordained ministry in the Episcopal Church of Mark Lawrence as made in his public address on Nov. 17 and she has released him from his orders in this Church,” read a statement issued by the church’s Office of Public Affairs.

Diocese officials announced that they had disaffiliated from the church on Oct. 15, citing irreconcilable differences. For years, the church and South Carolina diocese representatives have locked horns over issues including homosexuality, the doctrine of salvation, the authority of scripture and church politics.

Episcopal Church Receiving Hate Mail For Agreeing To Host Muslim Conference

From CBS California-

All Saints Episcopal Church has received hate mail after agreeing to host the national convention of the Muslim Public Affairs Council next weekend.

Reverend Ed Bacon said he’s received emails that are inflammatory and filled with inaccuracies: “…scapegoating Muslims, totally misreading what Islam is all about, telling us we can’t call ourselves a Christian body because we’ve allowed Muslims into our church.”

“They’re saying we have abandoned our Christian roots, that we are gullible and being used by terrorists, all of which is totally unfounded,” Bacon said. “It’s toxic stuff.”

The reverend said the hate mail isn’t coming from members of his church; he said it’s been sent by people identifying themselves as fundamental Christians.

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

PB Removes +Lawrence

From The Living Church-

Citing Title III, Canon 12, Section 7 of the Constitutions and Canons of The Episcopal Church, and following thorough discussion with the Council of Advice, with their advice and consent, Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori has accepted the renunciation of the ordained ministry in the Episcopal Church of Mark Lawrence as made in his public address on November 17 and she has released him from his orders in this Church.

The Presiding Bishop made the announcement December 5. The Presiding Bishop informed Lawrence by phone, email and mail on December 5. Following that, the House of Bishops was notified.

According to the documents, Lawrence “is therefore removed from the Ordained Ministry of this Church and released from the obligations of all Ministerial offices, and is deprived of the right to exercise the gifts and spiritual authority as a Minister of God’s Word and Sacraments conferred on him in Ordinations. This action is taken for causes that do not affect his moral character.”

The renunciation is effective immediately on December 5.

More here-

Special task force members named for church structural reform

From ENS-

 Episcopal Church Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori and President of the House of Deputies the Rev. Gay Clark Jennings have announced the 24 members of the special Task Force for Church Structural Reform.

Approved at the July General Convention 2012, Resolution C095 calls for development of a 24-member task force charged with presenting a plan to the next General Convention in 2015 “for reforming the Church’s structures, governance, and administration.”

“We are delighted at the collection of gifts that have been offered for this work, and overjoyed at the constellation assembled in this task force,” commented Presiding Bishop Jefferts Schori. “We pray that God’s creative spirit will be unleashed in the midst of this work to move us into God’s future with excitement, openness, and commitment to the opportunities before us.”

“Please join us in praying for the members of the task force as they begin their work,” said President Jennings. “The Episcopal Church must restructure faithfully and thoughtfully to bring us closer to the heart of God and those we are called to serve. May the Holy Spirit lead the task force toward a new vision of our beloved church.”

More here-

+Moxon to Lead Anglican Centre

From The Living Church-

Archbishop David Moxon is heading to Rome as the Anglican Communion’s chief representative to the Roman Catholic Church.

This means he will step down in April as the Archbishop of the New Zealand dioceses, and thus as one of the three leaders of the Anglican Church in these islands. He will also resign as Bishop of Waikato.

Archbishop David’s new role in Rome will be twofold: as the Archbishop of Canterbury’s Representative to the Holy See, and also as the Director of the Anglican Centre in Rome. He expects to take up those responsibilities in May next year.

The representative role involves relating to the Vatican and the Pope on behalf of the Archbishop of Canterbury and the Anglican Communion; while the Anglican Centre is an Anglican “embassy” in Rome which promotes Christian unity though hospitality, prayer and education — and which brokers new joint endeavours by the Catholic and Anglican churches.

More here-

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Australia: Melbourne priest named Queensland’s first woman bishop

From Australia-

The Venerable Alison Taylor, Melbourne’s archdeacon for international partnerships and vicar of St. John’s Anglican Church Camberwell, has been appointed to lead the Southern Region of the Diocese of Brisbane as Queensland’s first woman bishop.

She will succeed incumbent Bishop Geoff Smith, who will serve as general manager of the Brisbane diocese from early next year.

Anglican Archbishop of Melbourne Philip Freier said that Taylor’s ministry in the Diocese of Melbourne “has encompassed a breadth of experience as vicar and archdeacon. I am delighted that her leadership, developed within the Diocese of Melbourne, now takes her on to this senior role in Brisbane.”

More here-

Zimbabwe: 'Kunonga's Legal Moves Defective'

From Zimbabwe-

THE Anglican Church of the Province of Central Africa says court proceedings instituted by Archbishop Nolbert Kunonga last week were defective and his lawyers should not be allowed to charge any legal fees for the work.

Venturas and Samukange law firm is acting for Archbishop Kunonga of the Anglican Church of the Province of Zimbabwe in the latest legal battle to regain control of the church's property.

It is also the CPCA's contention that Archbishop Kunonga's ACPZ was approaching the court with dirty hands.

To this end, its urgent chamber application to stop the evictions should not be entertained by the High Court, argues CPCA.

Mr Jonathan Samukange of Ventu-ras and Samukange law firm last week issued summons at the High Court seeking an order declaring Archbishop Kunonga's church as the legitimate owner of all Anglican Church property.

More here-

St. Andrew's students send backpacks and school supplies to 325 students in Belize

From Texas-

Just before Thanksgiving break, middle school students at St. Andrew’s Episcopal School packaged 325 backpacks for students in Belize. The schoolwide service learning project brought students together from every grade level in an effort to serve those in need.

The backpacks will go directly to children attending a school in Valley of Peace, Belize. Every child at that school will receive a backpack with his or her name on it, a personalized letter or picture and age-appropriate educational materials.

Students at St. Andrew’s collected everything from pencils, pens and crayons to books and binders. Students also raised money so every child in Belize would receive a small toy. The backpacks are scheduled to arrive in Belize in time for Christmas.

More here-

The Episcopal Question: The Role Of Women In The Church

From England-

The General Synod’s failure to grant women the right to episcopal equality in November has ensured that the long-debated issue over women bishops will remain vociferously debated among believers for years to come. 

The problem is considerably important, not only to the faithful but also to British politics and society, in a number of ways. Firstly, as Terry Sanderson, President of the National Secular Society has argued, the Synod’s vote is further evidence that the Church of England is not an appropriate political mechanism with which the state should be constitutionally intertwined. Sanderson highlights that denying the privileges and opportunities associated with the Church according to gender – a public institution – is a policy incompatible with the British government and its laws. However, secularists must be cautious before rushing to criticise the Church as a whole for the failures of its evangelical minority.

Read more:

'Faith should result in action,' says Westford Episcopal priest Read more: 'Faith should result in action,' says Westford Episcopal priest

From Massachusetts-

Fresh off a successful mission to feed 5,000 in 2012, Rev. Suzanne Wade and her Episcopal congregation at St. Mark’s hosted the town’s Interfaith Service as Thanksgiving approached. The Eagle asked her to reflect on the efforts she has spearheaded since arriving in town 15 months ago. Below Wade relates her experiences and offers holiday advice for all.

You appear to be holding more ongoing events at St. Mark's these days. Am I imagining things or are you offering more to the community?

We are definitely seeking to reach out more to the community. As Christians, we believe what we do on Sunday morning should inform everything we do the rest of the week-- in other words, that our faith should result in action.

Read more:

Monday, December 3, 2012

Anglican Cleric Flays Calls for Tax On Churches, Mosques

From Nigeria-

Primate, Church of Nigeria (Anglican Communion), the Most Rev. Nicholas Okoh, weekend, said calls on Federal Government to extend tax to churches and mosques should not be taken with seriousness. He said it was unjustifiable.

Recently, human rights lawyer, Femi Falana, at a forum in Lagos, suggested that taxes be imposed on churches and mosques in the country, in view of the acquisition of private jets by religious figures.

The Primate, who reacted to the call during the 14th Carnival for Christ and the 23rd Anniversary of the Anglican Diocese of Abuja, tagged Experiencing the Resurrection Power, said there should be control instead, if there were excesses.

Okoh maintained that it would be wise if Churches and Mosques in the country enjoyed support from government in view of their strategic roles in the society.

He said: "It has never been done. If there are excesses in one or two individuals, it is not a justification for government to impose taxes on the church. The church has never been a beneficiary of government allocation.

More here-

Anglicans must not drift apart, departing leader says

From Reuters-

The outgoing leader of the world's 80 million Anglicans has said their national churches must live with some religious diversity but not become like "distant relatives who sometimes send Christmas cards to each other".

Archbishop of Canterbury Rowan Williams told the primates of the worldwide Anglican Communion that their loose association of 38 member churches "has endured much suffering and confusion and still lives with this in many ways."

But he added in his farewell letter to them: "Our Communion has never been the sort of Church that looks for one central authority... We have to have several points of reference for the organizing of our common life."

Williams spent most of his decade as Anglican spiritual leader struggling to keep bitter disputes between liberals in western countries and traditionalists, mostly from African and other developing countries, from tearing the Communion apart.

More here-

Religious ignorance is 'grave' problem - Pope

From Christian Today-

Pope Benedict XVI has urged French bishops to do everything they can to counter religious ignorance.

The Pope was addressing bishops from the Episcopal Conference of France at the end of their visit to the Vatican last week.

He expressed concern over the lack of understanding in Europe about the nature of God and big questions like life, death, disease and suffering.

The bishops were reminded of the need to share about God the Creator and the love shown for humanity through Jesus, as the Pope warned that religious ignorance was the "one of the gravest problems of our time".

"One of the most formidable obstacles to our pastoral mission is ignorance of the content of faith," he said.

"Indeed, this is a dual form of ignorance: the ignorance of Jesus Christ as a person and ignorance of the sublime nature of His teachings, of their universal and permanent value in the search for the meaning of life and happiness.

More here-

Piedmont Past: Santa's Whiskers Catch Fire

From California-

From the San Francisco Call, Volume 87, Number 27, 27 December 1900

Fire in the Saint's Whiskers.

OAKLAND, Dec 26.— While impersonating Santa Claus at the Piedmont Episcopal Church Sunday School Christmas celebration, Harold Haven's long cotton beard came in contact with a lighted candle and the inflammable stuff blazed up fiercely. Tne young man's face was badly scorched and but for his quick action in tearing the burning mass away he would have been fatally injured. The accident created a great sensation, but after the interruption the exercises were continued.

Christian church accused of supporting terrorism for its interfaith outreach

From California-

A major Muslim convention will be held at a Christian church this month, representing a significant interfaith development.

All Saints Church, an Episcopal church in Pasadena, Calif. is hosting the Muslim Public Affairs Convention and all church members are invited to attend. In his Advent message on Dec. 2, Rector Ed Bacon spoke of God's new world that transcends religious differences. "My friends, this morning I have no doubt about the fact that God's new world is on its way. God's revolution is continuing. It is the revolution of compassion, overcoming, sacrifice. It is the end of the toxic narrative that too many of our religions have promulgated and that is, that in order to become a part of my religion, you have to hate someone else in another religion or you have to hate somebody else in another category. You see, every time we become more conscious or aware or awake, we discover that we have a soul which is our deepest self, and the discovery of our soul gives us access to a larger knowing beyond ourselves, and if we obey the voice of our soul, if we obey our consciousness, our awareness will become a very wise teacher of soul wisdom and will teach us deep within ourselves. Some people call it the 'inner witness' and this witness is what Christians have called the 'Holy Spirit.'"

Recalling a speech by Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., Bacon admonished his audience to wake up and witness the revolution as the old world, with a divisive narrative, dies. "Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere," he said.

More here-

Sunday, December 2, 2012

Episcopal diocese installs bishop

From Massachusetts-

The Rev. Douglas J. Fisher — a former Roman Catholic priest who was convinced by friends to return to the ministry by becoming a cleric in the Episcopal Church — was consecrated yesterday as the ninth bishop of the Episcopal Diocese of Western Massachusetts.

“This day is not about one person, but about the whole church,” said the newly ordained bishop, who previously served as rector of Grace Church in Millbrook, N.Y. “The ordination and consecration of a bishop is a deeply meaningful time when we all get to renew the faith that is within us and (to) recommit ourselves to following Jesus in his mission of mercy, compassion, and hope.”

He added that yesterday’s ceremonies represent “a time of celebration and inspiration for all God’s people.”

Bishop Fisher was ordained by the Most Rev. Katherine Jefferts Schori, the presiding bishop and primate of the Episcopal Church, during services at the MassMutual Center.

More here-

Nun's music sends message against rebuke by Vatican

From The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette-

When Kathy Sherman was in college during the final years of the Vietnam War, she played the guitar with friends in her dorm room and sang folk and protest songs over bowls of popcorn. They sang Peter, Paul and Mary and Joan Baez, and some friends said her voice reminded them of Judy Collins.
Sister Kathy graduated and joined an order of Roman Catholic nuns, the Sisters of St. Joseph of La Grange, but she never stopped making music. Last spring, when the Vatican issued a harsh assessment of the group representing a majority of U.S. nuns accusing them of "serious doctrinal problems," Sister Kathy, 60, said she responded the way she always does when she feels something deeply. She wrote a song.

The words popped into her head two days after the Vatican's condemnation, as she was walking down the hallway in her order's ministry center, feeling hurt and angry: "Love cannot be silenced," she thought. "It never has. It never will." She went into the center's dining room and tried out the lyrics on some of her sisters. They liked the message.

Read more:

Archbishop's Advent letter to Anglican Primates

From The "ABC"

The Archbishop of Canterbury, Dr Rowan Williams, has sent the following Advent letter to the Primates of the Anglican Communion and Moderators of the United Churches:

 ‘Your real life is Christ and when he appears, then you too will appear with him and share his glory!’ (Colossians 3.4)

St Paul writes as though the reality of Christ’s life in his people never completely becomes visible in this life, in this world: the deepest truth of who we are in Jesus Christ is hidden.  When we try to pretend that the holiness of Jesus is triumphantly visible in the Church, we are in danger of turning our minds away from the fact that the enduring power that sustains the Church is Christ alone, not our measures of success or coherence.

More here-