Saturday, December 15, 2012

Newtown School Vigil: 'These Parents Lost Their Hearts Today'

From Conn.-

St. Rose was one of many area churches marking the tragedy. Another memorial service was held at Trinity Episcopal Church, where at least one family of parishioners lost a child, according to Bishop Ian T. Douglas, leader of the Connecticut Episcopal diocese. Dozens more candlelight vigils and prayer services across the state are scheduled for the weekend.

The rector at Trinity, the Rev. Kathleen Adams-Shepherd, arrived early at the scene of the shooting and counseled parents as they learned of their childrens' fates, Douglas said.

"Kathy has been in many ways a rock for those families," Douglas said.

Outside St. Rose with a group of friends was Michael Eisele, 15-year-old who was holding up better than his parents.

His 10-year-old sister had hid in a gym locker during the rampage. His sister in kindergarten stayed home sick today. Their close call unleashed emotions he didn't know his parents possessed.

More here-

New Episcopal bishop believes 'God's table is big enough for all of us'

From Kentucky-

Doug Hahn, the bishop-elect for the Episcopal Church's district in Central and Eastern Kentucky, believes in reflecting the diversity that his new territory includes: everything from downtown Lexington to rural Lee County, from Harlan to Harrodsburg.

That's why his ordination service Saturday will include high formal church music, Bluegrass, Appalachian folk tunes and Shaker music.

"All of that will reflect that God acts in many diverse ways," Hahn said. "It makes for a rich community."

Hahn replaced Stacy Sauls, who became the chief operating officer of the national Episcopal Church.

Hahn, 60, who came to Lexington from Georgia, where he was rector of St. Thomas Episcopal Church in Hamilton and dean of the Chattahoochee Valley Episcopal Convocation, has some surprising roots: He grew up a Southern Baptist and graduated from Southern Baptist Theological Seminary in Louisville in 1977.

"What I appreciated about growing up Baptist was the deep commitment to mission and the deep commitment to Scripture ... and the commitment that each person has to serving in the place where God wants them to be," Hahn said.

Read more here:

Friday, December 14, 2012

'Jedi Knight' Most Followed Alternative Religion in UK, Says Survey

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

Census figures taken from respondents in England and Wales showed the most popular alternative religion were people who identified themselves as "Jedi Knights."

The census figures revealed that 176,632 people in England and Wales thought of themselves as Jedi Knights, which made it the seventh most popular faith overall and the highest followed faith encompassed by the option of "Other Religions."

The Star Wars devotees were squarely behind other religious such as Christianity, Islam, Hinduism, Sikhism, Judaism and Buddhism in the number of people who follow and identify with a particular religion.

The results do mirror a larger social trend that has seen a decline in membership from longstanding religions and an increase in secularism and alternative faiths


Church Opens Arms to Muslim Group, and Is Taken to Task

From The New York Times-

When the Muslim Public Affairs Council arranged to hold its annual convention at All Saints Church in Pasadena, Calif., this Saturday, leaders of both organizations believed it would be a bold demonstration of progress in interfaith relations.

But now the organizers of the convention have had to call in the local police department and private security guards after a conservative Christian group posted an article accusing All Saints, an Episcopal church, of harboring Muslim extremists, and the church received a barrage of hate mail.

“I’ve been called names all my life from the ultraconservative reactionary position,” the church’s rector, the Rev. J. Edwin Bacon Jr., said in an interview on Thursday, “but this is a level of demeaning that I’ve not seen before. Demeaning not just of me, but of the Muslim faith, of this organization, the Prophet Muhammad and the Koran. It tells me that there’s a culture of fear in America, a perversion of Christianity which has turned it into the religion of fear, which it of course is not.”

More here-

Norwalk’s Grace Episcopal Church Faces Closure

From Conn.-

Grace Episcopal Church, one of three Episcopal churches in Norwalk, is facing the possibility of closure due to mounting bills, the Rev. Lois Keen said.

Although the church won't close next week or even next month, the possibility of closing within a year to 18 months is real because the church, located at 1 Union Park, struggles to take in more money than it spends, Keen said.

Grace Episcopal has been a part of Norwalk since 1890, and the congregation has gathered at its current location since 1964.

Over the past four years, the church has been fighting a losing battle as many of its parishioners have taken financial hits of their own and cannot afford to donate as much or as often, according to Keen. She has been the pastor at the church for more than six years.

More here-

Erie-based Episcopal diocese to allow blessing of same-sex unions

From North West PA-

Same-sex couples will be able to have their unions blessed in the Episcopal Diocese of Northwestern Pennsylvania.

The Right Rev. Sean Rowe, bishop of the Erie-based 13-county diocese, announced Thursday that he will allow clergy to conduct the blessings.

However, priests and congregations won't be forced to offer it. Churches that want to use the trial liturgical rite, which was approved by the Episcopal Church's General Convention in July, will go through a process of study, reflection and conversation before receiving permission from the bishop.

"I support blessing same-sex unions, but some of my faithful fellow Episcopalians do not," Rowe said in a statement. "The Episcopal Church in northwestern Pennsylvania is a place where people of good conscience can disagree charitably about such matters. We respect and love each other, and we are united in the hope and healing of Jesus Christ."

More here-

Lawsuit against Trinity Episcopal Cathedral settled

From Upper South Carolina-

 The insurance company that represents Trinity Episcopal Cathedral will pay $75,000 to the wife of former Dean Philip C. Linder, to settle a civil lawsuit related to his ouster from the cathedral’s top post in July 2010.

Ellen Linder filed suit in Richland County in October 2011 against the cathedral and Bishop W. Andrew Waldo of the Episcopal Diocese of Upper South Carolina, claiming the church and bishop had inflicted emotional distress and defamed her during the Linders’ painful and public departure from the church.

The cathedral and the bishop had maintained there was no merit to the case.

In a letter to parishioners dated Dec. 11, senior warden Mark James said the decision was made by Church Insurance Group, the cathedral’s carrier, to reach the out-of-court settlement against the advice of the cathedral and Waldo.

Read more here:

Thursday, December 13, 2012

Church offers post-abortion help

From Canada-

An Anglican parish south of Ottawa is hoping to help women heal after having an abortion.

The eight-week sessions will begin in April somewhere in the South Dundas-Grenville area, although an exact location has yet to be chosen.

Reverend Kerri Brennan, the new priest for the Anglican parish in Metcalfe, Vernon and Greely, began planning the support group while she was working at a parish in Cornwall, where the need for such services was high.

"Outside the core of Ottawa, the support gets much harder to find, short of going to a counsellor," Brennan said.

The support group has the blessing of the Anglican Diocese of Ottawa, as well as a $2,500 bursary, although that doesn't mean the Anglican church has declared its stance on the controversial issue.

"Because it can be such a touchy conversation socially, politically and theologically, we made it clear we did not expect the diocese to take a stand," Brennan said.

The group is modeled on similar support programs offered through Planned Parenthood and First Choice women's resource centres. It is designed to be a non-judgmental, non-denominational space to deal with the emotions that come with terminating a pregnancy, such as grief, loss, guilt and shame.

More here-

Archbishop hands over this Sunday

From Uganda-

Several religious and political leaders have praised the outgoing Archbishop of the Church of Uganda, Dr. Luke Orombi, saying he is a gifted and exemplary leader, who has contributed to fostering unity among Ugandans of different faith.

Orombi will hand over to his successor, the Rt. Rev. Stanley Ntagali, on Sunday at St. Paul’s Cathedral, Namirembe.

He will hand over the Provincial Staff, a symbol of the archbishop’s spiritual authority to Ntagali.

All the bishops of the Church Of Uganda will pledge their canonical obedience to the new archbishop.

Over 3,000 guests are expected to attend the colourful ceremony, including President Yoweri Museveni, political leaders, business leaders and bishops of the Church of Uganda.

Eleven archbishops from other provinces in the Anglican Communion will also be present.

Orombi, 62, the seventh archbishop of the Church of Uganda, announced his decision to retire after nine years of service to concentrate on preaching the gospel and other development activities.

Consecrated on January 25, 2004, Orombi was expected to serve up to 2014 for a full 10-year term, but he opted to cut his term short.

More here-

Former Anglican priest becomes a Catholic priest on Saturday

From Florida-

Former Anglican priest William “Doc” Holiday will be ordained a Catholic priest by Orlando Bishop John Noonan on Saturday, Dec. 15, at 9 a.m.., at the Church of the Incarnation, 1515 Edgewater Drive, in Orlando.

Monsignor Jeffrey N. Steenson, head of the Ordinariate of the Chair of St. Peter, will concelebrate the Mass.

Holiday, a senior curate at Incarnation ( since 2007, was among 140 parishioners who were received into the Catholic Church on Sept. 16, 2012 as part of the ordinariate. This national entity was established by Pope Benedict XVI on January 1, 2012, for former Anglican clergy and groups seeking to become Catholic while retaining aspects of their Anglican heritage and liturgy.

Holiday was ordained an Anglican priest in 2005 following studies at the Reformed Theological Seminary in Orlando. He served at St. Alban’s Anglican Cathedral from 2005-2007 and since then as senior curate at Incarnation. Since 1998, he has assisted in administration of that office’s chaplaincy program. He and his wife, Tammy, have been married for 25 years and have three adult children. Special permission has been given to former Anglican priests who are married to be ordained Catholic priests.

More here-

Eleven Anglican Sisters to be received into the Catholic Church

From England-

Eleven Anglican Sisters will be received into the Catholic Church via the ordinariate, it emerged this week.

The Sisters, from the Community of St Mary the Virgin in Wantage, Oxfordshire, will be received into the Church by Mgr Keith Newton, leader of the ordinariate in England and Wales, on New Year’s Day.

The group, which ranges in age from 45 to 83, includes the mother superior of the community and a Sister who was once a minister in the Church of England. Three are in their 80s.

Next year they will stay for six weeks at a Benedictine convent. After that, they do not know where they will live and they have no endowments to keep them afloat financially.

Mother Winsome said: “We’ve got an uncertain future. But we are doing this because we truly believe this is God’s call. The Bible is full of people called to step out in faith not knowing where they were going or how they will be provided for and that truly is the situation we are following.”

More here-

The Hallowed House and the Secular World

From Catholic World-

Thomas Howard is one of the most erudite and literate Catholic authors in recent history. He was raised in a prominent Evangelical home (his sister is well-known author and former missionary Elisabeth Elliot), became Episcopalian in his mid-20s, then entered the Catholic Church in 1985, at the age of 50. Dr. Howard was a highly regarded professor of English and literature for more than 30 years and is the author of numerous books, including Dove Descending: T.S. Eliot’s “Four Quartets,” Evangelical Is Not Enough, Chance or the Dance?, Lead Kindly Light, On Being Catholic, and The Secret of New York Revealed. He recently was interviewed, by email, by Carl E. Olson, editor of Catholic World Report, about the new edition of his book Hallowed Be This House: Finding Signs of Heaven in  Your Home (Ignatius Press, 2012), as well as the state of American culture, secularism, Anglicanism, and great literature.

CWR: How did the idea for Hallowed Be This House originally come about? Do you think there is an even greater need today for a sense of the hallowed and the sacred than there was when you first wrote the book in the 1970s? 

Thomas Howard: I think the original idea for the book came to me gradually. It must have been the fruit of a lifetime of reading and teaching Western literature, where one finds, up until at least the Enlightenment, the assumption of an ordered, hierarchical, and blissful Universe. Even the pagans assume this. But in my young adulthood, I found myself moving from the very faithful and good Protestant Evangelicalism of my family into the Anglican Church, where at least the notions of hierarchy, sacrament, and liturgy are remembered. Also, of course, I became soaked in the works of C.S. Lewis, J.R.R. Tolkien, and their friend Charles Williams. In all of these writers, one finds the ordinary stuff of quotidian life treated as though that stuff bespeaks—what shall we say? Glory? Ultimacy? The Truth of things? Splendor? Yes—all of that. The ordinary is not ordinary. It trumpets joy, freedom, and virtue to us mortals if we will pay attention.

More here-

Volunteers sought to aid local shelter

From Bethlehem (PA)

Now that snow has fallen in our area, it is important to think about those who suffer from the cold, especially in extreme temperatures and wind-chill.

Grace Episcopal Church in Honesdale operates an Emergency Shelter for the most extreme nights.
“Warmth in the Night” is opening for its third year in the Parish Hall of the Church. From 7 p.m. until 7 a.m. guests may come in, have a hot meal, warm fellowship and a safe place to stay.

Fr. Edward Erb, rector of the church, says that the bench-mark began three years ago when a severe stretch of below zero temperatures hit Honesdale. So he, his wife Susan, several volunteers from the parish and the community set up a system for helping those in need.

When the temperature and/or wind-chill dip below zero the shelter opens.

“Last year, we were fortunate with a mild winter,” commented Fr. Erb. “But this year we anticipate a snowy and cold one.”

More here-

Christ Episcopal Church in Avon to Close

From Connecticut-

Christ Episcopal Church in Avon has announced it will be closing its doors for good at the end of this month.

According to Marge Griffin, senior warden at Christ Church, 35 members in good standing of the church voted at a special meeting on Nov. 18 to dissolve the parish. Years of declining membership, financial issues and changing demographics were given as the reasons for the closure.

David Paye, Christ Church assistant treasurer, said that in the beginning of 2012, membership totaled 110 people. That number has dropped throughout the year to below 100 people, he said. Griffin said 64 members left in 2010-2011 – many of them with children in search of a church with more young families. At one point in the church’s history, said Karin Hamilton, director of communications for the Episcopal Diocese of Connecticut, membership was as high as 223 families.

More here-

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Uganda: Born-Again Converts Worry Busoga Bishop

From Uganda-

The bishop of Busoga diocese, Michael Kyomya, has expressed concern about the rate at which hordes of Christian youths are leaving the church to join what he calls fake pastors.

"You hear people rushing to snatch miracles and blessings but surprisingly their givers put conditions of money, yet God's blessings are given freely without any conditions," Dr Kyomya said in a sermon during celebrations to mark the diocesan youth day at Namutumba archdeaconry headquarters.

Kyomya asked Christians to look out for false prophets. The Anglican prelate said only God could perform miracles at his own chosen time; therefore, no person could guarantee their occurrence.

In turn, the youth implored the bishop to consider facilitating them to preach to their colleagues across the diocese.

"We as youths also pray that you consider fast-tracking the establishment of the new dioceses of Central and East Busoga, which were to be carved out of the mother Busoga diocese by the end of this year," said Diocesan Youth Chairman Godfrey Nabwiso.

More here-

British Plan for Gay Marriage Would Exclude Anglican Church

From The New York Times-

The government’s plan to legalize same-sex marriages before a general election in 2015 took an unexpected turn on Tuesday with an announcement that the Church of England, England’s most populous faith, will be forbidden by the new law from marrying same-sex partners, while other religious groups that favor the change, including Quakers, Unitarians and liberal Jews, will be allowed to “opt in” to the practice. 

By specifically excluding Anglicans, the government of Prime Minister David Cameron appeared to have taken a major step back from a change that gay and lesbian groups have hailed as a watershed. Maria Miller, the culture minister, said the aim was to guarantee the Anglican churches that they could not be forced to hold same-sex marriages if litigants went to British and European courts demanding the rights that members of other faiths would enjoy. That possibility helped opponents of the change muster support from a substantial bloc of Conservative lawmakers.

Former U.S. bishop Walter Sullivan dies

From Virginia-

Sullivan's outreach extended to other faiths, as well. He donated $50,000 of diocesan funds to the Virginia Holocaust Museum when it was being built and sat on its board of directors.

He also helped found the Church of the Holy Apostles in Virginia Beach in 1977, a joint parish of the Catholic and Episcopal dioceses. Co-pastors conducted services at side-by-side altars — one for Catholics, the other for Episcopalians. The idea was popular among military families who came from different backgrounds and religions.

Last month, the Richmond diocese said the church could continue to longtime practice of allowing the blended church to remain under one roof, but it ordered clergy to devise a plan to meet in separate rooms for Holy Communion.

Sullivan's views reflected the liberal thinking found in the Roman Catholic Church in the 1970s, but he was criticized in the latter part of his career for moving too far away from the Vatican's central positions on church services and the priesthood.

More here-

New Canaan Food Pantry Stocked For Christmas Giving

From Conn.-

Families in New Canaan in need of food for Christmas will find plenty available at the New Canaan Food Pantry.

Thanks to generous donations from residents and organizations, the food pantry will be able to feed the community’s neediest through at least the end of January, said Carol Harvey, a co-director of the pantry that operates out of St. Mark’s Episcopal Church. The pantry operates through the New Canaan Office of Health and Human Services and residents in need of food should apply for the pantry services.

“People are thankful themselves, and they think everyone should have a good Thanksgiving meal. And then it gets to Christmas, and they want everyone to eat good at Christmas,” Harvey said. “People are in a very generous time, and it’s just in the minds of people to help the poor at the holidays.”

More here-

Local Episcopal Priest Helps Orphanage in Uganda

From Kittanning PA (Pittsburgh)

The rector at St. Paul’s Episcopal Church may be getting ready to celebrate Christmas at her parish, but her heart is focused on the other side of the world.

The Reverend Kathy Lalonde is preparing to take a team that includes local individuals to assist an orphanage that she co-founded in Hoima, Uganda, a country in East Africa.

Appearing on the Family-Life Sunday Night local TV show, Lalonde share how she got involved.

“It was 1991. That was about the time that the AIDS epidemic in East Africa was becoming known to the world. The orphans were raising orphans. Orphans were dying. They were taking in orphans. They couldn’t even feed their own children. That is when the Mustard Seed Babies’ Home eventually was born. I raised the money, and went. I invited two friends in November 1991, did the research to start it, and in June 1994, the doors of the Mustard Seed Babies Home opened for the first time.”

More here-

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Britain to propose allowing same-sex weddings in churches

From England-

The British government has expanded its push to legalize same-sex marriage to include allowing same-sex couples to marry in churches.

Speaking ahead of the mid-December publication of the proposals, Prime Minister David Cameron said churches would not be coerced into holding weddings for homosexuals.

"I'm in favor of gay marriage because I'm a massive supporter of marriage and I don't want gay people to be excluded from a great institution," he told British Broadcasting Corp. in a TV interview Dec. 7.

"But let me be absolutely, 100 percent clear -- if there is any church or any synagogue or any mosque that doesn't want to have a gay marriage, it will not -- it absolutely must not -- be forced to hold it," he said.

"That is absolutely clear in the legislation," Cameron added.

More here-

Zimbabwe: Kunonga Loses Appeal

From Zimbabwe-

ARCHBISHOP Nolbert Kunonga's Anglican Church of the Province of Zimbabwe's fresh bid to control Anglican Church properties yesterday hit a snag after the High Court threw out his church's urgent chamber application.

Judge President George Chiweshe ruled that the Supreme Court had already determined the property ownership case.

To this end, he said, he had no jurisdiction to hear the fresh application by Archbishop Kunonga and his ACPZ.

Archbishop Kunonga's church was ordered to pay the costs of the suit.

Last month, Deputy Chief Justice Luke Malaba ruled that the property in question belonged to the Church of the Province of Central Africa's Harare Diocese led by Bishop Chad Gandiya.

Justice Chiweshe said lawyers for CPCA, led by Advocate Thabani Mpofu, convincingly argued that the High Court had no jurisdiction to hear the matter.

"The parties have referred me to numerous authorities in support of their respective positions. I thank them for their diligent research and their lively arguments.

"In the final analysis, I agree with the mother church that this matter is res judicata (matter already decided) -- the Supreme Court has spoken.

More here-

Sympathy for the Stones

From The Living Church-

Nathan Brockman writes that Trinity Wall Street’s choir “spent some significant time with rock ’n’ roll royalty Saturday night, singing the choral part to The Rolling Stones’ iconic secular hymn, ‘You Can’t Always Get What You Want,’ at the band’s first 50th anniversary show in the U.S." His report adds:

The 18,000 fans at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn embraced the Choir’s effort — as did Mick Jagger, the Stones’ lead singer. Onstage, he called the singing “beautiful,” and noted that the Choir was nominated this week for a 2013 Grammy award.

… “The Rolling Stones chose us to help them celebrate their 50th anniversary,” said Julian Wachner, principal conductor of the Trinity Choir. “We couldn’t be more honored.”

More here-

Arizona gets first Anglican Ordinariate priest—and 30 of his parishioners join the Catholic Church, too

From Arizona-

Former Anglican priest Lowell Andrews, of Payson, Arizona, will be ordained a Catholic priest on Sunday, Dec. 16, and 30 of his parishioners will be received into the Catholic Church as part of the Ordinariate of the Chair of St. Peter, a new national entity created by Pope Benedict XVI.

The ordinariate, which is equivalent to a diocese, but national in scope, was established on January 1, 2012 for Anglican clergy and groups seeking to become Catholic, while retaining aspects of their Anglican heritage and liturgy.

Tucson Bishop Gerald F. Kicanas will ordain Andrews on Sunday, Dec. 16, 2012, 2:00 p.m. at the Church of the Holy Nativity, 1414 North Easy Street (corner of Bradley & Easy Sreets), Payson, AZ 85541. Monsignor Jeffrey N. Steenson, head of the ordinariate, will concelebrate the Mass and receive the members of Holy Nativity ( into the Catholic Church.

Andrews is the first Anglican priest in Arizona and part of the first group of priests nationwide to be ordained for the Catholic ordinariate. Rector of Holy Nativity for the past seven years, he was ordained an Anglican priest in December 2004 and became Catholic in 2012. He received his undergraduate degree from Nanzan University in Nagoya, Japan. He completed Anglican seminary studies at the University of the South School of Theology in Sewanee, TN in 1986, and completed a Catholic formation program for the ordinariate in spring 2012. He also attended Arizona State University in Tempe (1974) and The Americas Institute of Adlerian Studies in Chicago, IL (1990).

More here-

People from church, Marshall help Marcum Terrace children

From West Virginia-

Members of St. John's Episcopal Church and the Marshall University community banded together to make sure children in low-income families receive a gift on Christmas.

The church partnered with the Huntington Housing Authority's Marcum Terrace Apartments through its Housing Learning and Development Center. The after-school program was started by the church to provide a safe, nurturing and supportive place to learn and play when school is over or not in session. At Christmas, St. John's Church expands it by providing gifts for children.

This year, 85 children will receive gifts, about three each. Project coordinator Debra Coleman said initially there were 66 children and then 19 others who were on a waiting list and were not eligible for other gift programs. Church members, however, didn't want them left out. And, with the help of faculty, staff and students at Marshall, it was possible to help them all.

More here-

Lowcountry congregations wrestle with whether to stay or go

From South Carolina-

Some Lowcountry Episcopal congregations are still unsure if they will remain with the national Episcopal church or join former Episcopal Bishop Mark Lawrence in the development of a re-formed, separate Diocese of South Carolina that would be staunchly Anglican but theologically more conservative than the national church.

Meanwhile, the presiding bishop of The Episcopal Church, the Most Rev. Katharine Jefferts Schori, said she will come to Charleston on Jan. 25-26 to preside over a convention to elect a provisional bishop to replace Lawrence, who pulled out of the national church last month, taking a majority of the congregations of the Episcopal Diocese of South Carolina with him. Lawrence has been outspoken in his opposition to same sex blessings and contends the national church has lost its theological way.

About a dozen congregations of the 70 in the diocese have indicated they will remain with the national Episcopal church but a number of others remain in dialogue about the next step, said Holly Behre, a spokeswoman for what is now referred to as the “continuing Episcopal diocese,” to distinguish itself from Lawrence’s breakaway diocese.

Read more here:

Monday, December 10, 2012

You Say “Tree-Hugging Atheist Coven” Like It’s a Bad Thing?

From England-

With news that the UK’s Scout Association is considering creating a version of their promise that does not mention God, one Anglican priest has accused them of becoming “a tree-hugging values based atheist coven.”  In making his attack, however, there is revealed a deeper prejudice about atheists that cannot go unchallenged.

First to the news that prompted this vitriol. The Scouts announced they have opened a consultation on creating a Scout Promise sans the mention of God. This comes after a concerted grassroots effort from secular organizations after a number of kids said they felt they were precluded from joining because they don’t have a religion.

Reports Sky News:

Wayne Bulpitt, the association’s chief commissioner in the UK, said: “We are a values-based movement and exploring faith and religion will remain a key element of the Scouting programme. That will not change.

“However, throughout our 105-year history, we have continued to evolve so that we remain relevant to communities across the UK.

The standard scout promise reads: “On my honour, I promise that I will do my best to do my duty to God and to the Queen, to help other people and to keep the Scout Law.”

Read more:

How Did We Get Here?

From England-

The compact geography of England means that our General Synod is able to meet much more frequently — twice or occasionally three times a year — than on the other side of the Atlantic. The advantages of this arrangement include the opportunity to work towards important decisions through several stages of deliberation, and the opportunity for members, who are elected for five-year terms, actually to get to know each other personally, and to establish relationships across diverse backgrounds and positions. This, in turn, ought to lead — at least in theory — to greater mutual respect. It should also be noted that, for certain types of business, a two-thirds majority in all three Houses (bishops, clergy, and laity) is required for the legislation to pass at the final stage, although only simple majorities are required up to that point.

Twenty years ago, when the Church of England’s General Synod approved a measure to ordain women as priests, assurances were given to those who in conscience could not accept this development that they would continue to have an “honoured place” within the church, and that their “integrity” would be respected. An Act of Synod was passed to make arrangements for them, including the provision of Provincial Episcopal Visitors (“flying bishops”). Indeed, it is widely accepted that this measure could not have achieved the necessary two-thirds majority in all three Houses without such provisions.

More here-

I am not in love with Bishop Kunonga – Mai Chisamba

From Zimbabwe-

ZBC TV PERSONALITY REBECCA Chisamba, popularly known as Mai Chisamba through her talk show, has dismissed as “malicious, wishful thinking and baseless” allegations that she was involved in an extra-marital affair with Anglican bishop, Nolbert Kunonga.

Her husband Arnold Chisamba also poured cold water on reports that were awash on social network sites and some sections of the media alleging that his wife and Kunonga had a sound and flourishing relationship.

“Maybe it’s a Christmas joke. I don’t actually know where this is coming from, but whichever way, this is not a pleasant one. These claims are just unfounded and are part of a destructive agenda,” said Mai Chisamba.

“These allegations have been doing the rounds since 2007 with some assertions that we were frequently spotted together at midnight. But even my husband can testify that at these alleged times I would be comfortably by his bedside, if not in his arms.”

More here-

Former Anglican Archbishop Is Happy to be a Catholic Parish Priest

From Canada-

When Peter Wilkinson returned to his home town of Victoria, British Columbia, 42 years ago, with five years of service in the Anglican Church in England under his belt, he was deemed too “Catholic” by the local bishop and never got an Anglican parish of his own.

But as an Anglican-Catholic member of a world-wide communion of dissenters from liberal trends in Anglicanism, he rose swiftly to bishop and then to Metropolitan for Canada — before giving that all up earlier this year to be received as a simple layman into the Catholic Church.

On Dec. 8, at the ripe age of 72, he was ordained a Catholic priest and immediately assumed his duties as priest and pastor of St. Columba of Iona Church. Father Wilkinson’s flock comprises 22 former Anglican Catholics who with him were received into the Catholic Church early this year, and at the same time into the Personal Ordinariate of the Chair of St. Peter.

Read more:

Episcopal church approves same sex blessings in East TN

From East Tennessee- (with video)

Some East Tennessee churches will be able to bless the relationships of same-sex couples next year, under the directive of a local religious leader.

In July, The Episcopal Church adopted Resolution A049, which will allow Episcopal parishes to bless same sex unions. Last week, Right Rev. George Young, Bishop of the Diocese of East Tennessee, wrote the region's congregations a letter that said those blessing could officially begin later this February.

"I voted in favor of Resolution A049, and I am grateful that the church has provided a means to honor and bless the relationships of gay and lesbian Christians," he wrote.

Young said the diocese will not force any of its congregations to perform the blessing on same-sex couples. He said a parish's clergy and vestry, a committee of congregation members, must decide whether the practice is something suitable for their members.

More here-

Sunday, December 9, 2012

8 of the Weirdest Predictions for the End of the World

Something different-

We know that the world isn't going to end on the 21st of December (or at least isn't more likely to end then than any other day), but it's always nice to remember that there's a firm precedent for the world not ending on schedule. It didn't end in 1844, when William Miller and Samuel S. Snow convinced the Millerites to give away all their possessions (resulting in the Great Disappointment). It didn't end with Y2K, and the Large Hadron Collider didn't suck us all into a black hole.

History is lousy with doomsday predictions, from the ancient Assyrians through this year's self-professed prophets of the endtimes. But while some preachers wait for the Rapture (the Western doomsday du jour) and other folks fear we've doomed ourselves with particle physics or nuclear technology, some apocalyptic predictions are a little stranger than others. Here are eight predictions that go beyond the Second Coming, with unlikely prophets, bizarre pseudoscience, and a few predictions that are way out there—even for doomsayers.

More here-

Anglican women clergy now 'part of new normal'

From Australia-

TWENTY years ago Elizabeth Alfred became the first woman ordained an Anglican priest in Victoria. She was 78, a formidable age to launch a new career, but the next day she celebrated the Eucharist at St James, Dandenong.

She had waited more than five decades from when she first felt the call to be a priest, but at that time ''the thought of women in the ordained ministry was impossible''.

In 1944 she became a deaconess - not part of the official threefold ministry of deacon, priest and bishop - and in 1986 she was one of the first group of Victorian women ordained deacon.

Then Melbourne Archbishop Keith Rayner promised her he would ordain her priest when it became possible, no matter how long it took, and on December 13, 1992, she was first of 33 women ordained.

On Sunday Dr Rayner was back in a packed St Paul's Cathedral, blessing about 100 women clergy who had gathered with friends and supporters for a service of thanksgiving.

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Twitter Christmas sermons for Anglican bishops

From the BBC_

Britain's senior Anglican bishops will be tweeting their Christmas Day sermons for the first time this year.

The Archbishop of Canterbury and the archbishop-designate, as well as clergy and congregations around the UK, will be celebrating the birth of Jesus in a campaign making use of social media.

Worshippers in the Church's 16,000 parishes are being encouraged to tweet on Christmas Eve and Christmas Day.

The Archbishops' Council said it was a chance to spread Christmas "good news".

The Archbishop of Canterbury, the Most Reverend Rowan Williams, his soon-to-be successor the Bishop of Durham, the Right Reverend Justin Welby, and the Archbishop of York, Dr John Sentamu will be tweeting.

They are likely to tweet from carol, crib and midnight services, before carrying on into Christmas morning when the highlights of the sermons at Canterbury Cathedral, York Minster and Durham Cathedral will be tweeted.

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Top Episcopal leader to visit Charleston

From South Carolina-

The head of the national Episcopal Church, The Most Reverend Katharine Jefferts Schori, will attend a special convention in January to choose a new provisional bishop in South Carolina, a visit that comes amid a painful rift over theology and homosexuality.

Presiding Bishop Jefferts Schori will visit Charleston Jan. 25-26 for the election of the bishop and other diocesan leaders, said Hillery Douglas, chairman of the reorganization steering committee.

“We welcome the opportunity to have her with us at this important time in the history of our diocese, and it will be a privilege to share with her firsthand the energy and diversity of the Episcopal Church in the Diocese of South Carolina,” Douglas said.

The South Carolina diocese severed ties with the Episcopal Church Oct. 17, after long-standing disagreements over same-sex marriages and the ordination of gay bishops.

Under the diocese’s previous bishop, Mark Lawrence, the diocese renamed itself The Protestant Episcopal Church in the Diocese of South Carolina.

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