Saturday, December 22, 2012

Worship Christ the Newborn King

From Christianity Today-

The angel Gabriel to the Virgin Mary: "The Lord God shall give unto him the throne of his father David. And he shall reign over the house of Jacob for ever; and of his kingdom there shall be no end."

The Magi to Herod: "Where is he that is born king of the Jews?"

Charles Wesley to the church: "Hark! the herald angels sing, 'Glory to the newborn king.'"
The kingship of Israel's Messiah is deeply ingrained in the stories and songs of Christmas. Yet, in our modern and post-modern world, we don't really relate to royalty (other than to gossip about princes cavorting in Las Vegas). Royalty isn't much of a category for us.

In the early 20th century, however, the western world was in turmoil over the best form of governance. In Russia in 1917, political pressures led Tsar Nicholas II to abdicate. The Bolshevik revolution threw the country into anarchy, and the royal family was executed the following year. In Mexico, a 1917 constitution was antagonistic not only to monarchs, but to the Catholic church as well. That Mexican constitution served as a model for the new Russian Constitution of 1918 and the Weimar Republic's German constitution of 1919. In Spain, a 1923 military coup undermined the monarch's power. In Italy, the Kingdom of Italy invaded the Papal States in 1860 and Rome in 1870. The next six decades saw hostile relations between the government and the papacy. Mussolini's fascists imposed martial law in 1922, assassinated opposition politicians in 1924, and by 1925 dropped all pretense of democracy.

More here-

‘Souls Matter’

From The Living Church-

Twenty Minutes with Robert Hendrickson

The Rev. Robert Hendrickson studied at the University of Mississippi, Cornell University, and Beijing Foreign Studies University before receiving his M.Div. from the General Theological Seminary in 2009. Fr. Hendrickson is married to Dr. Karrie Cummings Hendrickson, a nursing professor in New Haven. I met with Fr. Hendrickson recently to talk about his extensive work in a number of new initiatives based in New Haven. This is the first of a series of conversations with leaders finding creative ways to share the good news in the 21st century. —Richard J. Mammana, Jr.

You wear more hats than anyone I’ve ever met.

I am the curate at Christ Church, New Haven, so I have general preaching and liturgical responsibilities with a particular focus on young adult ministry. I organize Compline and some other outreach activities. I also serve as missioner at Christ Church, which means I am responsible for our engagement with the wider community through specific projects.

I am also the director of St. Hilda’s House, which is our young adult service program in which I plan everything from their daily schedule to theological reflection work to spiritual direction — all those sorts of things.

More here-

Religious leaders mobilizing for gun control

From Washington DC-

Religious leaders from a broad range of faiths gathered Friday at Washington National Cathedral to call for their congregations to lobby Congress to enact gun control and mental health reforms to address pervasive gun violence after the Connecticut school massacre.

Leaders representing Roman Catholics, Jews, Episcopalians, Muslims, Baptists, Methodists, Quakers, Evangelicals, Sikhs and other faiths said they would mobilize their congregations to join a national call-in day to Congress on Feb. 5. They pledged to press for an assault weapons ban and reforms to close the gun show loophole and ensure background checks for all gun sales. Others will visit lawmakers in person.

In a garden beside the National Cathedral, they paused to listen as a funeral bell tolled for each person who died a week earlier in Connecticut. The victims included 20 young children.

More here-

Synod taskforce announced

From The Church Times-

THE membership of a working group given the task of helping the House of Bishops to resolve the deadlock on women bishops was announced on Wednesday. Two of its ten members - the Bishop of Chichester, Dr Martin Warner, and the Chair of the House of Laity, Dr Philip Giddings - voted against the legislation at the Synod last month ( News, 23 November).

The group, which is drawn from all three Houses of the Synod, is expected to have two initial meetings in January, a Church House statement said. It will "arrange facilitated discussions in February with a wide range of people with a variety of views", and will "assist the House [of Bishops] when it meets in February and in May to come to a decision on the new package of proposals it intends to bring to the Synod in July".

The working group's members are: the Bishop of St Edmundsbury & Ipswich, the Rt Revd Nigel Stock (chair); the Bishop of Coventry, Dr Christopher Cocksworth; the Bishop of Rochester, the Rt Revd James Langstaff; the Bishop of Chichester, Dr Martin Warner; the Dean of York, the Very Revd Vivienne Faull; the Archdeacon of Lewisham & Greenwich, the Ven. Christine Hardman; the Revd Dr Rosemarie Mallett (Southwark); Dr Philip Giddings (Oxford); Dr Paula Gooder (Birmingham); and Margaret Swinson (Liverpool).

The House of Bishops met at Lambeth Palace on Monday and Tuesday of last week ( News, 14 December). After the meeting, the Bishops said that new legislative proposals would need to offer "greater simplicity", but also a "clear embodiment of the principle articulated by the 1998 Lambeth Conference that those who dissent from, as well as those who assent to, the ordination of women to the priesthood and episcopate are both loyal Anglicans".

More here-

Friday, December 21, 2012

Baby Jesus once was lost, but now is found

From Pittsburgh-

On Christmas Eve, when baby Jesus is placed in the creche in Downtown's Trinity Cathedral, worshippers may wish to offer a prayer of thanks for Pittsburgh police officers, a regular churchgoer, a local art conservator and an architect.

That's the ensemble cast that swung into action after the Christ child statue disappeared from the manger Jan. 27. Canon Catherine Brall, provost of the Episcopal cathedral, reported the theft to police.

The next night, four Pittsburgh police officers confronted a man causing a disturbance in the 800 block of Western Avenue on the North Side. Kuganda Goodfellow Mugala, 56, ran from the officers and threw a rock that struck Officer David O'Neil.

After a foot chase, Mr. Mugala was caught and subdued at 9:15 p.m. on Rope Way by Officers Scot Bobak, Anthony Beatty and Kimberly Stanley. He was charged with aggravated assault, disorderly conduct and resisting arrest. Officers gathered his belongings and stored them at the Zone 1 police station while Mr. Mugala was held in the Allegheny County Jail.

Read more:

Clayton lawyer to get 40 years in prison for $50+ million Ponzi scheme

From St. Louis-

A Clayton lawyer and American Anglican bishop who helped bilk more than 100 investors out millions of dollars with an overseas Ponzi scheme will be sentenced Dec. 28 to 40 years in federal prison, a judge’s memo issued Thursday says.
Martin Sigillito, 63, preyed on family, fellow church-goers and friends from the local country-club set from 1999 to 2010 with investment opportunities in the so-called “British Lending Program.”

Investors were told that their money was going to real estate investments in the United Kingdom, that the investments bore little or no risk and that they would earn high rates of return. They weren’t told that money from new investors went to pay off older investors and that Sigillito and others took fees that went as high as 32 percent of the money invested, wrote U.S. District Judge Linda Reade.

By 2009, the pyramid began to collapse. In 2010, after Sigillito’s secretary took her concerns to law enforcement, the FBI raided Sigillito’s office. The Ponzi scheme’s collapse has also spawned a federal civil suit.

More here-

Why Anglican women can be bishops in Australia but not England

From Australia-

Twenty years ago, Anglicans in Australia and England independently passed legislation to allow for the ordination of women as priests.

Now the Anglican Church of Australia has just appointed its fourth female bishop, while the Church of England has narrowly failed to adopt legislation that would allow for the country’s first female bishops.

Currently women can become priests but not bishops throughout England. By contrast in Australia it’s up to the individual diocese, so in some parts of the country women are able to be neither bishops nor priests and in others they can be both. And while 74% of the members of the English General Synod – the Church of England’s parliament – voted in favour of female bishops, a similar vote in the Australian General Synod would struggle to pass.

How is it, then, that women can be bishops in Australia but not England?

More here-
From Philadelphia-

The Seamen's Church Institute has been a fixture on the Philadelphia waterfront for nearly 170 years, providing friendly help each year to 40,000 seafarers whose ships dock in ports along the Delaware.

Soon, the interdenominational ministry will have a new head chaplain and executive director: the Rev. Peter B. Stube, 61, an Episcopal priest who served 13 years as rector of the Church of the Redeemer in Springfield, Delaware County. For the last decade, he has been rector of Christ Church of New Bern, N.C., the second-largest parish in the Diocese of East Carolina.

He will begin work Feb. 18, the institute said Thursday, and was selected after an extensive search to succeed the Rev. James D. Von Dreele, who retired in November after 16 years as port chaplain.

More here-

Episcopal Diocese urges churches to toll their bells 28 times Friday

From Rhode Island-

Both Governor Chafee and the Episcopal Diocese of Rhode Island have asked for a tolling of the bells at 9:30 a.m. Friday for those who lost their lives in the shootings in Newtown, Conn.

But there was a slight difference between the two appeals. While Chafee, who is also asking for a moment of silence at the same time, urged that bells be tolled 26 times in honor of the victims of the shootings at Sandy Hook school, the Episcopal Diocese urged its churches in a separate letter to consider tolling their bells 28 times.

"The decision is up to you, but we do recommend you ring them 28 times, which would include the killer and his mother in the count," says a release from diocesan communications director Ruth Meteer.

"We think praying for all souls best reflect Christ's message of forgiveness and love for all, and that we should especially pray for those souls who may need our prayers the most."

More here- 

Also Western Mass

and Ohio-

Thursday, December 20, 2012

Santa in shackles shocks Dubai

From the "You Can't Make This Stuff Up" Department (Dubai Division)

A distasteful and sickening campaign. That’s how many residents here described a Dubai hotel’s promotion showing jolly St Nick kidnapped and in chains.

The hotel running the campaign stated: “[We] kidnapped Santa and we ain’t letting him go... unless you make a festive booking soon, he’s not coming back.” A YouTube video which is part of the campaign shows ‘Saint Nick’ saying: “If they [hotel outlets] fill up on time, they say they’ll release me on the 24th… just think of all the kiddies and the grannies.”

The hotel also sent out ransom notes with Santa’s hat as proof they have him.

But Dubai residents are not amused. “Santa Claus is a universal icon representing Father Christmas to children in most parts of the world,” said a Mexican resident. “I think they ran out of ideas. It’s an unfortunate and offensive trick to grab attention.”

Mustafa Mahdi, head of publication relations at MasterMind Business Consultancy, said “It is very important to consider all factors that can impact the brand as a result of the publicity stunt, which can sometimes backfire.”

More here-

While shepherds watched

From The Economist-

ON THE third Sunday of Advent the worshippers at St Matthew’s, Brixton, were bracing themselves for the annual Christmas influx of unbelievers. “Help us persuade a few of them”, they prayed, “to keep coming.”

Like many London churches, St Matthew’s is enjoying a slight revival. Over the past decade its weekly congregation has doubled—to 65 on this Advent Sunday. That is chiefly because of an influx of young middle-class families, driven to one of London’s poorer parishes by high house prices and to church in the hope of winning coveted places at the local Church of England primary school. “I recognise their self-interest,” says the church’s vicar, the Rev Stephen Sichel, wearily.

Yet secularism has not spared St Matthew’s. The church is a south London landmark, a vast neo-classical monument with room for 1,800 worshippers, built in 1822 to commemorate the victory at Waterloo. Since the mid-1970s, however, when plunging congregations made it unaffordable, the church has operated from a small portion of the building. Some of the rest was leased out as a nightclub, “Mass”, which became well-known for hosting bondage parties. “The walls aren’t insulated so there was a lot of noise,” recalls one parishioner. Now the nightclub has closed; some of the building is being turned into a pub.

More here-

Churches battle for control of property

From Nigeria-

Three churches are locked in a court battle for control of a two-acre piece of land in Lavington, Nairobi.

The Presbyterian Church of East Africa (PCEA), the Anglican and Methodist churches jointly acquired the land for interdenominational services.

The PCEA, through its St Andrews Church however, went to court saying the Methodist Church wanted to sub-divide and dispose of some the land on which the Lavington United Church is built.

St Andrews obtained orders barring the Methodists from sub-dividing the land or selling it until the suit is heard and determined.

The Anglican Church, through its Mombasa Diocese, joined the suit, saying it was part of the deal that gave birth to the Lavington church and the Methodists could not dispose of the property without its consent.

More here-

CDF prefect prods English Catholics to embrace Anglican ordinariate

From Catholic World News (England)

In an interview with England’s Catholic Herald, the new prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith said that the Catholics of Britain should “wholeheartedly” welcome former Anglicans who have joined the ordinariate of Our Lady of Walshingham.

Archbishop Gerhard Müller seemed to be prodding English Catholic leaders, who have been slow to embrace the Anglican ordinariate, when he pointed out: “Many of those [Anglicans] entered into full communion through the ordinariates have sacrificed a great deal in order to be true to their consciences. They should be welcomed wholeheartedly by the Catholic community – not as prodigals but as brothers and sisters in Christ who bring with them into the Church a worthy patrimony of worship and spirituality.”

The archbishop also spoke in the interview about talks between the Vatican and the Society of St. Pius X, saying that the traditionalist group must “distinguish between the true teaching of the Second Vatican Council and specific abuses that occurred after the Council, but which are not founded in the Council’s documents.”

More here-

Zimbabwe: Forgiveness Key in Anglican Saga

From Zimbabwe-

"I appeal to you brothers, by the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that all of you agree and that there be no divisions among you, but that you be united in the same mind and the same judgment. For it has been reported to me by Chloe's people that there is quarrelling among you, my brothers. What I mean is that each one of you says, 'I follow Paul,' or 'I follow Apollos,' or 'I follow Cephas,' or 'I follow Christ'. Is Christ divided? Was Paul crucified for you? Or were you baptised in the name of Paul?" (I Corinthians 1:10-13)

In light of the above quotation from the bible, one wonders if the two archbishops from the Anglican Church of the Province of Central Africa and the Church of the Province of Zimbabwe have ever read this passage written by Paul to the Corinthians.

The raging dispute is now an over drummed issue. The discourse over who should pull the shorts between defrocked Archbishop Nolbert Kunonga and Chad Gandiya has been dominating news headlines of many newspapers. For the past five years several newspapers have been kept on their toes as they pursued an issue that has threatened to throw the church into a religious tinderbox.

More here-

A Muslim Convention in a Church? You Better Believe It

From California-

On Saturday, the Muslim Public Affairs Council (MPAC) held their 12th annual convention at All Saints Episcopal Church in Pasadena, Calif. It was a historic moment that generated significant controversy over the church's decision to host a Muslim organization's convention. Multiple news media outlets including the LA Times and New York Times covered the debate in the days leading up to the convention. I wasn't quite sure what to expect as I headed to the church that morning, but I guessed I might run into a few protestors there. Sure enough, they were there to greet me when I arrived.

Just outside the front doors stood several men holding signs that insulted the Prophet Muhammad (PBUH). They had planted themselves there several hours prior to the start of the convention and were making it quite clear that they were vehemently opposed to Islam and any Christians who associated with its followers. Interestingly enough, though, these men weren't engaging Muslims convention-goers in this debate. They were actually yelling at peace protesters who showed up to support the Muslims! I was floored at this wonderful gesture of solidarity.

More here-

An African and an American Success Story

From New York-

A decade ago, the future looked bleak for Williamson Taylor’s New York City congregation. With just 20 parishioners, the church in a Bronx mall was struggling. Taylor (STH’84,’89), 4,300 miles from his homeland and newly installed as the church’s pastor, had his work cut out for him.

Born and raised in Freetown, Sierra Leone, Taylor stood in front of his sparse congregation at St. Joseph’s Episcopal Church and told them not to despair. They did at least have a sanctuary, even if many in the borough didn’t know it was there.

“I come from Africa,” he remembers telling them, “where we sometimes worship God under a tree because we do not have a building. It’s not the building that is the church; it’s the people, the living, breathing church.”

More here-

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Study finds 84 percent of world has religious affiliation

From Catholic News Agency-

More than 80 percent of people around the world – about 5.8 billion individuals – identify with a religious group, according to a new study by the Pew Research Center.

“Christians number 2.2 billion, or about one-in-three” of the 6.9 billion people in the world in 2010, the study found, adding that about “half of all Christians are Catholic.”

Released Dec. 18, the study examined censuses, surveys and population registers to determine the size, geographical distribution and age of the world’s major religions.

As of 2012, the world contained about 1.6 billion Muslims, 1 billion Hindus, almost 500 million Buddhists and 14 million Jews, the analysis said.

Furthermore, over 400 million people, or six percent of the global population, adhere to folk or religious traditions. Less than one percent – about 58 million people – belong to other religions, including Jainism, Sikhism, Taoism, Zoroastrianism, Wicca and the Baha’i faith.

More here-

New Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby will miss North East

From The BBC-

Justin Welby, the Bishop of Durham, is set to become the Archbishop of Canterbury early next year and admits he will be "hugely disappointed" to leave the region behind.

Bishop Welby only joined the Diocese of Durham in November 2011 but has been struck by the warmth of the people.

He said there was a "real sense of sadness" about moving.

Bishop Welby has praised the efforts of everyone he has worked with since coming to the north-east.

"Together as the Diocese of Durham we've managed to find a new direction," he said.

"We've taken some brave steps on finance, we've confirmed existing directions of travel and given them real content and solidity."

Ex-oil executive
The Bishop highlighted the issue of Auckland Castle - its future now secure after it was bought and passed to a charitable trust - as evidence of difficult situations that had been "happily resolved".

He said his experiences at Durham would help him when he becomes the leader of the Anglican Church.

More here-

The new chief rabbi and archbishop face strikingly similar problems

From The Guardian-

There are intriguing parallels between Monday's announcement of the appointment of Ephraim Mirvis as the new chief rabbi and the recent appointment of Justin Welby as the new archbishop of Canterbury. The chief rabbinate, an institution that not all Jewish communities today and throughout history have seen as necessary, was closely modelled in Britain on the Church of England. British chief rabbis, from the 18th century onwards, sought to demonstrate the decorum and responsibility of British Jews by modelling their office on the established church.

Both Mirvis and Welby are stepping into the shoes of predecessors known for their intellectual ability. Outgoing chief rabbi Jonathan Sacks and outgoing archbishop Rowan Williams were two of the finest minds ever to hold those offices. Their successors, while certainly substantial, are not public intellectuals.

Both Mirvis and Welby are patently decent, well-liked people. They are consensual figures. While Mirvis is South African-born and has served as chief rabbi of Ireland, he is principally known in the British Jewish community for the vibrancy he has nurtured at Finchley United Synagogue, one of the flagship communities of Anglo-Jewry.

More here-

Archbishop of Canterbury's BBC Radio 2 'Pause for Thought' message


The Archbishop of Canterbury, Dr Rowan Williams, has spoken on BBC Radio 2’s Pause for Thought programme about the positive effects that social media can offer to small initiatives by bringing them to a larger audience:  “In the aftermath of the earthquakes in Christchurch, New Zealand, one student, Sam Johnson, put out a call through Twitter for help in clearing up after the earthquake and doing some basic rescue work.  Thousands of students from all the way across New Zealand turned up and spent weeks and months in Christchurch doing essential work and getting a community on its feet again.”

“When I visited Christchurch a few weeks ago, I met Sam and some of the others involved – and actually got to speak at a rock concert that had been laid on free of charge to celebrate all this achievement.  Rock concerts and archbishops are at least as unlikely a combination as Twitter and the Pope, I realise.  But what an occasion – a real witness to what small initiatives can turn into.”
“Well, Christmas is God’s small initiative – a single baby, whose destiny is to change the entire world.”

The full text of the Archbishop's message is below:

Everyone seems to be amazed that the Pope is tweeting – and there was a news story the other day about bishops in England using Twitter for their Christmas messages.  The surprise reminds me of the way people pretend to be astonished when clergy admit to having heard the occasional rude word (never mind clergy actually using them…) or having watched a soap.  It’s taken for granted that we’re far too unworldly for all this.

More here-

Staten Island priest featured in Mayor Bloomberg's gun violence campaign

From New York-

To highlight the suffering caused by gun violence,  Mayors Against Illegal Guns -- the group co-chaired by Mayor Michael Bloomberg -- released 34 videos Monday detailing the stories of victims of mass shootings in Aurora, Colo., Oak Creek, Wis., Tucson, Ariz., and Virginia Tech, as well as those affected by less-publicized incidents.

The story of Rev. Kevin Fisher, the rector of St. Mary's Episcopal Church in West Brighton, was included in the campaign.

Rev. Fisher's uncle was killed with his own handgun when an intruder turned it on him in 1985. A decade later, Rev. Fisher's mother, Beatrice, then 68, was killed with a shotgun by William Bartlett Fisher, her husband and Rev. Fisher's father.

More here-

Student-led fundraiser produces $8,000 worth of food for needy families

From Maine-

 “Would you like a carton of half and half?” asked a volunteer who was handing out free food to the needy on Tuesday.

“Oh my, you don’t know how long it’s been since I could afford something like that,” said the recipient.

“Would you like more than one?” asked the volunteer.

The woman considered the question for a moment before waving away a second carton. “No thanks. One will be plenty for me. Thank you so much and merry Christmas,” she said, walking away with a smile and box brimming with food.

Sometimes the simplest things can brighten a person’s day, like a quart of half and half. It’s moments like those that have helped sustain all the volunteers and donors who have kept the Bath Area Mobile Food Truck in operation for the past six years. It costs about $1,000 to fill the truck with food, which is then distributed to between 250 and 325 families on the last Tuesday of every month. That same food would cost $8,000 at a grocery store, according to Kimberly Gates, the organization’s coordinator.

More here-

Plans to rebuild Haiti's cathedral begin to form

From Florida-

Almost three years after an earthquake toppled the Roman Catholic and Episcopal cathedrals in Haiti's capital, visions for their resurrection have started to take shape as officials from both churches begin considering proposals to rebuild them.

A six-member panel led by the dean of the University of Miami's School of Architecture met this week in South Florida to choose the winner of a design competition that sought ideas for rebuilding the Notre Dame de l'Assomption Cathedral.

Meanwhile, Episcopal Church officials have selected a Virginia-based architectural firm to design a new Holy Trinity Cathedral.

Both cathedrals collapsed in the Jan. 12, 2010, earthquake that leveled much of Port-au-Prince. Their destruction left people yearning for the comfort of public monuments, said Haitian-American writer Edwidge Danticat, one member of the jury that met in Coral Gables to select the winner from 134 designs submitted as part of the Notre Dame competition.

More here-

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Auckland church billboard asks if Jesus was gay

From the "Ok, I'm Speechless" Department-

An Auckland Anglican church, St Matthew-in-the-City, that acquired notoriety last year after it depicted the Virgin Mary in a contemplative mood holding a positive pregnancy test, has now raised questions about Jesus' sexuality. reports that St Matthew-in-the-City has come out this Christmas season with a new controversial billboard that shows Jesus in a crib with a rainbow halo over his head and the words: "It's Christmas Time For Jesus To Come Out."

The rainbow, a symbol of the LGBT community, and the expression, "Time for Jesus to come out" are allusions to the possibility that Jesus was gay.

St. Matthew's Rev. Glynn Cardy and Rev. Clay Nelson, said in a statement published on the church's web site: “This year we invited discussion and debate on the sexual orientation of Jesus."
According to the Daily Mail, Cardy points out that there are no clear indications in the gospels about Jesus' sexual orientation. He said: "The fact is we don't know what his sexual orientation was." According to Reverend Clay Nelson, the billboard was designed to provoke discussion about the sexual orientation of the son of God.

Read more:

Anglicans Reclaim Cathedral After Cleansing Ceremony

From Zimbabwe-

Parishioners and church leaders from the main Anglican Church (CPCA) gathered in Harare's Africa Unity Square on Sunday, to perform a cleansing ceremony before finally reclaiming their Cathedral from ex-communicated Bishop, Nolbert Kunonga.

The Cathedral and many other church buildings and properties in Harare province had been seized by Kunonga after he split from the CPCA in 2007. The breakaway Bishop used a favourable High Court ruling, support from the police and violent ZANU PF thugs to keep the CPCA locked out.

But after five years, Kunonga appears to have been abandoned by them all. The CPCA won a legal battle for control of the properties at the Supreme Court this month, and have proceeded to evict Kunonga's supporters and tenants.

Reverend Dzavo told SW Radio Africa that the police have actually been escorting them as they reclaim their buildings and evict Kunonga's supporters.

"For the past five years they have been on the other side helping Kunonga. We are happy that finally they are doing their work without any prejudice and it has been generally peaceful. There was some resistance at first but that has stopped, Reverebd Dzavo explained.

More here-

Plight of millions prompts Anglican clergy to take water only for five weeks

From England-

Two Anglican vicars have raised more than £1,000 for charity by drinking only water for five weeks.

The Rev Jane Bell and curate the Rev Dan Pierce jointly run two churches, St John the Baptist and St James, both in Stockton-on-Teesside, part of the Diocese of Durham.

They launched the effort for Water Aid after being appalled by the plight of millions of people worldwide who do not have ready access to drinking water.

Dan said: “I had the idea when I was pouring a glass of water and thinking what an easy thing it is to do, but that 700 million people do not have safe water to drink.

“I can turn on the tap but some people have to walk miles for their water. It’s inconceivable.
I realised what a privilege it is to have water.”

He and Jane decided that the best way to help was to drink only water until they had raised £1000 in sponsorship. They continued to eat normally.

More here-

Actors and Preachers

A sermon by Flemming Rutledge (From The Living Church)

The moment I heard about the massacre at the Sandy Hook Elementary School yesterday, I called Jack. A black pall has been cast over his momentous day, and we all acknowledge that. As Jack said on the phone, the problem of how to conduct an ordination in the face of an atrocity in the very next town is as nothing compared to the anguish of the parents and families who have lost their precious little ones. The lament of Jeremiah comes to mind:

Why is my pain unceasing,
my wound incurable,
refusing to be healed?
(Jeremiah 15:18)

In the church, this is the season of Advent. It’s superficially understood as a time to get ready for Christmas, but in truth it’s the season for contemplating the judgment of God. Advent is the season that, when properly understood, does not flinch from the darkness that stalks us all in this world. Advent begins in the dark and moves toward the light — but the season should not move too quickly or too glibly, lest we fail to acknowledge the depth of the darkness. As our Lord Jesus tells us, unless we see the light of God clearly, what we call light is actually darkness: “how great is that darkness!” (Matt. 6:23) Advent bids us take a fearless inventory of the darkness without and the darkness within.

More here-

Deacons respond to Hurricane Sandy

From Central PA-

Deacons in the Diocese of Central Pennsylvania answered a request made by Bishop Nathan D. Baxter to reach out to their fellow deacons in the diocese of New Jersey in response to Hurricane Sandy.

“When our bishop wished for the diocese to make a response to the victims of Superstorm Sandy, the deacons were eager to meet the challenge,” said Archdeacon Molly Solbak, St. James’ Episcopal Church, Lancaster, and archdeacon for deacons for the diocese. “I recruited a deacon to set the program in motion in each of our seven convocations,” said Solbak. The bishop asked for personal hygiene items and small stuffed animals.

The deacons quickly rose to the occasion by phoning every parish in their respective convocation, asking for each parish to collect and bag personal hygiene items and new stuffed toys.  Many of the parishes participated even though some already had other emergency storm responses in the works. Solbak made contact with the Diocese of New Jersey’s Deacon Carmen Viola who helped her make connections for help in receiving the items that were gathered.

More here-

Monday, December 17, 2012

Anglican priest completes journey to Catholicism

From Canada-

It’s been a remarkable week for Rev. Peter D. Wilkinson.

Last Saturday, the former Anglican bishop, 72, was ordained as a Roman Catholic priest by Victoria Bishop Richard Gagnon — only the third such priest in Canada to have taken the step, along with about 25 from the U.S.

On Friday, he received the Queen Elizabeth II Diamond Jubilee Medal during a private ceremony with Lt.-Gov. Judith Guichon at Government House.

Wilkinson was nominated for the medal by the Canadian Royal Heritage Trust for his long standing efforts “to keep Canada’s royal heritage a living one,” said William Mears, the trust’s Vancouver Island chairman. He was the only Victoria resident nominated by the trust out of 250 across Canada, all of whom received it.

On Monday, seven South Island MLAs are hosting a celebration for 28 medal recipients selected by community leaders from each constituency. The names of all 60,000 Diamond Jubilee Medal recipients will not be made public until the program closes in February 2013.

Wilkinson became Roman Catholic last April and currently leads a sung Catholic mass using liturgy based upon the traditional Anglican liturgy Sundays at St. Columba’s Church in View Royal.

More here-

Anglican Bishop, Gandiya holds cleansing ceremony

From Zimbabwe-

THE head of the Anglican Church of the Province of Central Africa (CPCA), Bishop Chad Gandiya, yesterday held a cleansing ceremony at the St Mary’s Cathedral in Harare following his takeover of all church properties that had been seized by his rival, Bishop Nolbert Kunonga.

According to church members, the cleansing ceremony, which consisted of burning incense and sprinkling holy water inside the church building, was meant to exorcise the building following reports that Kunonga and his followers had defiled the holy temples with some members allegedly fornicating inside the buildings.

Gandiya retained the church properties last month after the Supreme Court ruled in his favour, ending a five-year legal battle over ownership of the properties.

CPCA diocesan secretary Clifford Dzawo said they were going to carry out similar cleansing ceremonies throughout the country to make churches usable following their alleged defilement during the Kunonga era.

More here-

In wake of school massacre, National Cathedral dean, Episcopal bishop preach about gun control

From The Washington Post-

The Episcopal bishop of Washington and the dean of the Washington National Cathedral are calling for stricter gun control in their Sunday sermons.

The Rt. Rev. Mariann Edgar Budde, the Episcopal bishop, says the children and teachers who were gunned down in a Connecticut school shouldn’t die in vain. She says “if we only pray and do not act, we are complicit” in allowing such crimes to occur.

Budde preached at St. Alban’s Episcopal Church in Washington. She says civilians shouldn’t own assault weapons.

The Very Rev. Gary Hall, the National Cathedral dean, said in his sermon that Christians can no longer tolerate gun violence and that they have a moral obligation to work to end it.

Hall says the cathedral should become a focal point for advocating gun control.

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Shocked and Overwhelmed

From Conn-

We are shocked and overwhelmed by the horrendous tragedy of the school shooting in Sandy Hook. We hold the victims, their families, and all who are affected by the shooting in our thoughts and prayers for healing and strength. We pray that those who have died will be held in the arms of our loving God whose heart aches for those affected by this tragedy.

We bishops have been in touch with the Rev. Mark Moore, the rector of St. John's Episcopal Church in Sandy Hook, which is adjacent to the school were the shooting took place. We have also communicated with the leadership of Trinity Church, Newtown, and we understand that the Rev. Kathie Adams-Shepherd, rector of Trinity Church, is on the scene ministering to the bereaved.

We are departing immediately for Newtown/Sandy Hook to be of whatever assistance we can. We will be in contact when we have additional information.

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Episcopal minister Christopher Carlisle uses technology to knit together small communities of faith

From Western Massachusetts -

A new ministry of the Episcopal Diocese of Western Massachusetts is described as "an eclectic expression of church that is as cutting edge as the moment and as ancient as first-century Palestine."

The ministry, Clearstory Collective, says it seeks to reach out to college students and other young adults, homeless and otherwise marginalized people of faith who have become disaffected by the institutional church and who seek informal and often spontaneous faith communities. It is doing so through technology.

However, the collective is conceived to be more than email communication. Containing blogs, descriptions of the various communities comprised of photographs, video clips and radio interviews as well as key people and community contacts, the churched and unchurched alike can become and remain connected to these communities and their members.

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Sunday, December 16, 2012

Adetiloye, Former Anglican Primate Dies At 83

From Nigeria-

Retired Archbishop and Primate of the Church of Nigeria (Anglican Communion), Joseph Abiodun Adetiloye, 83, is dead. He died yesterday afternoon in his country home in Odo-Owa, in Ijero Local Government Area of Ekiti State.

He was survived by his wife, Titilayo and two children, Adeola and Adedoyin. Adeola confirmed the death of his father to newsmen yesterday evening via telephone.

The last public function the late cleric attended was during the recent commissioning of the Odo Owa-Oke Ila Road by the Ekiti State Governor, Kayode Fayemi, as part of his administration's second year anniversary.

During the ceremony, late Adetiloye prayed for Fayemi for the honour done to him by making the road passable in his lifetime.

His younger brother, Sunday while giving an account of his last minutes, said late Adetiloye had at about 6pm on Thursday suddenly developed high temperature, and a physician was contacted to attend to him.

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Recovering homeless reflect on their changing lives

From Houston-

When Eunice Dewhart saw the ironing board, she knew it had to be for her.

Dewhart, who got an apartment last month after bouts of being homeless for years, spent Saturday morning celebrating at the Lord of the Streets Christmas party.

The Episcopal ministry in Midtown provides basic services to the homeless. In the last few years, the program hired a case manager to guide the most dedicated off the streets into homes as they pursue better lives.

Volunteers from St. Francis Episcopal Church arrived early to set up for the party at Trinity Episcopal Church, just a block from Lord of the Streets. About 180 children and adults selected as "success stories" gathered to eat, chat and collect donated gifts.

More here-