Saturday, January 19, 2013

Spectre of gay bishops feud returns amid Church debate on women

From The Telegraph-

The Synod’s House of Laity was summoned to London on Friday to debate an unprecedented motion of no confidence in its chairman Dr Phillip Giddings over his role in the defeat of moves to allow women to become bishops.

Dr Philip Giddings has been accused of using his position as chair to issue a strong denunciation of the plans, credited by some with helping sway waverers during the knife-edge vote in November.
Although almost three quarters of the General Synod voted for women bishops, it failed to secure the required two thirds majority in the Laity by just six votes.

But during a debate on the confidence motion at Church House in London, Dr Giddings’s role in preventing Jeffery John, who is now the Dean of St Albans, becoming Bishop of Reading in 2003, was drawn back into the spotlight.

Dr Giddings, then a lecturer in politics at Reading University, spearheaded a campaign which forced Jeffery John to stand aside after he was selected to become bishop.

More here-

As flu outbreak spreads, faith leaders preach caution

From The Washington Post-

As the flu outbreak spreads across 48 states, some religious leaders are advising their flocks to take precautions, but others say avoiding infection is just a matter of common sense.

Several Catholic dioceses, including Manchester, N.H., Boston and New York, are advising priests to consider not offering the shared chalice of consecrated wine at Holy Communion at Masses. Communicants would only receive the consecrated wafer.

In addition, Manchester Bishop Peter Libasci had other suggestions, reported The Eagle Tribune of North Andover, Mass.

“The faithful should be encouraged to share the Sign of Peace without touching hands or kissing,” he said. “This may be done with smiles and a bow of the head in reverence to one another.”

In Boston this month Mayor Thomas Menino declared a public health emergency as hospital emergency rooms were overwhelmed with flu patients. The Episcopal Diocese of Massachusetts has recommended “reasonable precautions,” such as avoiding “self-intinction” during Communion, during which congregants at the altar rail dip the wafer into the wine.

More here-

Episcopal bishop urges support of gay marriage in Rhode Island

From Rhode Island-

Acknowledging that there may be clergy in his diocese who will disagree with him, Rhode Island Episcopal Bishop W. Nicholas Knisely came out in support Friday for same-sex marriage in in Rhode Island.

"The Episcopal Church has been blessed for many years by the life and ministry of gay and lesbian couples, both lay and ordained," he said in a letter to clergy.

"I have seen how they contribute to the common good of a congregation and a community by creating stable, loving homes. As a new citizen of Rhode Island" -- Knisely was installed Nov. 17 -- "I am eager to see our state legislature join many others across the country in passing legislation to ensure civil marriage equality."

Austin church will offer Episcopal same-sex blessing

From Texas-

St. David’s Episcopal Church in Austin will bless a same-sex couple next month, possibly becoming the first Episcopal church in Texas to perform the groundbreaking liturgical rite.

Located downtown on East Eighth Street, St. David’s is the largest Episcopal church in Austin, and gays and lesbians make up what its rector, the Rev. David Boyd, called a significant number of the church’s roughly 2,500 parishioners.

Last spring, the bishop of the Episcopal Diocese of Texas, the Rt. Rev. Andy Doyle, named St. David’s and St. Stephen’s Episcopal in Houston the first in Texas with his permission to bless same-gender unions. The Episcopal Church approved blessings for same-sex unions at its national convention last July.

Boyd said this week that he had determined there was general agreement within his church to proceed with the rite. The couple who will receive the blessing have not been selected, nor has a date in February been decided, Boyd said.

More here-

Inauguration Prayer: Latino Episcopal Priest Luis Leon Becomes 'Pastor Of The Presidents'

From Huffington-

At the age of 12 -- with only $3, the clothes on his back, and no parents -- Luis León arrived to the United States from Guantanamo, Cuba. But today, after making his religious faith a lifestyle, the Latino Episcopal priest has become the "Pastor of the Presidents of the United States."

As the minister of the St. John's Episcopal Church in Washington, León has been chosen to deliver the closing prayer at President Barack Obama’s presidential inaugural ceremony on Monday, January 21 in Washington DC.

"It is an honor to be part of a milestone in American history," said Leon to El Nuevo Herald. "It is a special honor to be an immigrant in this country, the only country where an event like this can happen ... I feel that in some way I am representing the U.S. Hispanic community. We are an important part of this country."

More here-

Pittsburgh Seminary chooses prominent scholar as new professor of urban ministry

From Ann Rodger (Post-Gazette blog)

Pittsburgh Theological Seminary has chosen a professor with impressive credentials to replace the Rev. Ronald Peters as its professor of urban ministry. Dr. Peters left more than two years ago to become director of Interdenominational Theological Center in Atlanta, a consortium of schools that specialize in training clergy for predominantly black churches. Dr. Peters headed a similar track at PTS through the Metro-Urban Institute, which became a signature program and drew students to the Presbyterian seminary.

His successor will be the Rev. R. Drew Smith, who was ordained for the National Baptist Convention USA but most recently served as director of an urban ministry program for a United Methodist seminary near Chicago. Since 2009 he has been director of the Center for Church and Black Experience at Garrett-Evangelical Theological Seminary in Evanston, Ill., while continuing a longer-standing commitment as scholar-in-residence at the Andrew Young Center for Global Leadership at Morehouse College in Atlanta.

More here-

Friday, January 18, 2013

It was unfair to ban worker’s cross, says European Court

From The Church Times, England-

CHRISTIANS have a fundamental right to manifest their belief in the workplace, the European Court of Human Rights has ruled, in a landmark judgment in Strasbourg on Tuesday. Also, national courts must ensure that a "fair balance" is struck when asked to adjudicate claims involving competing rights.

The European Court has rejected the British Government's contention that no discrimination existed if employees had the right to resign and seek alternative employment ( News, 7 September 2012).

Instead, it states: "Given the importance in a democratic society of freedom of religion, the Court considers that, where an individual complains of a restriction on freedom of religion in the workplace, rather than holding that the possibility of changing job would negate any interference with the right, the better approach would be to weigh that possibility in the overall balance when considering whether or not the restriction was proportionate."

The Court also rules that people alleging an infringement of their right to manifest their belief are not required to show that the particular act - such as wearing a cross - is the "fulfilment of a duty mandated by the religion in question. . .

More here-’s-cross,-says-european-court

Food pantry a way for denominations to come together

From Southern Ohio-

Jerrie Cribb spent part of her morning yesterday helping others shop for bread, canned fruit, produce and other items on the shelves of a food pantry in the University District.

The Northwest Side woman who attends St. Stephen’s Episcopal Church was joined by volunteers from various Christian leanings — Lutheran, Roman Catholic, nondenominational — at the Neighborhood Services Inc. pantry. Here, their commonalities, and what they hope to accomplish, trump any beliefs that might separate them.

“You don’t think about the difference, you think about what we’re in it for,” said Cribb, who’s in her 80s. “That’s what unity’s about, right?”

While Christians throughout the world celebrate the Week of Prayer for Christian Unity through next Friday, faith leaders here point to the pantry as an example of the interdenominational work being done in central Ohio to help the community.

The nonprofit site was founded in 1965 by ministers from various faith traditions, said Executive Director Cheryl Carter. Last year, 26 churches supported the pantry through volunteering or donating money or food and supplies.

More here-

Calvary Episcopal priest headed to MIT

From Massachusetts-

The Rev. Thea Keith-Lucas, one of the two outgoing priests at All Saints Episcopal Church of the North Shore, will soon take up campus ministry at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in Cambridge, where she will coordinate a forum on how technology and scientific discovery affects us all.

With the recent merger of Calvary Episcopal Church on Cherry Street in Danvers and St. Paul’s Episcopal Church on Washington Street in Peabody, the rectors of both churches are moving on so a new priest chosen by the combined congregation can take over, said Keith-Lucas, 36. The new congregation is worshipping in the Danvers church building.

Keith-Lucas’ next calling will be at MIT, where she will work in a joint Lutheran-Episcopal ministry with a Lutheran chaplain.

At MIT, the Episcopal Diocese of Massachusetts, with support from MIT, sponsors the Technology and Culture Forum, which features events focused on how technology affects our lives and “shapes our ethical choices,” said Keith-Lucas, who will run this series of events.

More here-

Thursday, January 17, 2013

Episcopalians sound off on bishop's call to elect successor

From Massachusetts-

After leading the Episcopal Diocese of Massachusetts for almost two decades, Bishop M. Thomas Shaw announced Tuesday he will retire in the next couple of years and the time has come for the diocese to start planning the election of his successor.

MetroWest clergy called Shaw an excellent leader who helped guide the diocese of 185 parishes through periods of transition, while still promoting the church's mission.

"It’s hard to imagine him not being our bishop anymore," said the Rev. Julie Carson, rector of St. Andrew's in Framingham. "He’s a very kind and wise pastoral leader with a lot of savvy for dealing with churches in a time of transition. I think the diocese is better off because of him."

Shaw, 67, announced in a letter he would like the election of the bishop coadjutor, his successor, to take place at a special convention on April 5, 2014. According to the diocese's website, after the successor is consecrated in the fall of 2014, he or she will work with Shaw before he retires. His retirement date has not been determined.

"I love being your bishop and it is an honor to serve you," Shaw said in the letter. "These years have been some of the richest years of my life. All of you and this work have taught me much about myself and the nature of our loving God for which I will always be grateful."

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Policy Change as an Aside

From The Living Church-

These are Jonah days for the Church of England. Echoes continue from November’s vote on admitting women to the episcopate. The chances of Parliament stepping in to insist on approval seem to have receded but fallout continues. On Jan. 18 General Synod’s House of Laity will meet to vote on a no confidence motion against its chairman, Philip Giddings, who spoke and voted against the measure and is accused of misusing his office.

Now the church also is enveloped in controversy over bishops and civil partnerships. On Dec. 18 staff at Church House posted a succinct summary of the Dec. 10-11 meeting of the House of Bishops. Neither the archbishops nor senior Synod staff seemed to have spotted the implications of a blandly written seven-line entry in the document. It effectively heralded that the bishops had adopted a new policy: people in civil partnerships would no longer be disqualified from appointment as bishops.

More here-

Message to Conservative Christians: Evolve on LGBT Equality

From Huffington-

In less than 24 hours it was discovered that the Georgia mega church pastor, chosen to give the benediction at the President's second inauguration, preached anti-gay sermons over a decade ago. Rev. Louie Giglio took quite a public lashing from progressives around the country and has since been replaced by the Rev. Luis Leon, a D.C. Episcopal priest who, along with his 1.9 million member denomination, supports same-sex marriages.

The controversy has sparked a more fundamental discussion: Are anti-gay beliefs welcome in the public square?

The short answer is no, but this is not a wholesale rejection of Christian beliefs, or even "traditional evangelical beliefs." At first glance, it may seem superficial to criticize Rev. Giglio based on a sermon he preached over a decade ago. Even the President of the United States has "evolved" on LGBT equality in the past year. But Rev. Giglio has given no indication that his views have changed.

In his withdrawal letter to the White House, he acknowledged that he doesn't agree with the president "on every issue" (read: LGBT equality) and on his blog, he asserts that the right to hold differing views on any subject must be "recovered and preserved."

More here-

Obama picks D.C. Episcopal priest to deliver inauguration benediction

From CNN-

The president has picked a neighbor to deliver the closing prayer at the inauguration.

The Rev. Luis León told CNN on Tuesday the White House and the Presidential Inaugural Committee invited him last week to deliver the closing prayer at the 57th Presidential Inauguration.

León pastors Saint John’s Church, an Episcopal parish just across Lafayette Park from the White House, dubbed the “Church of the Presidents.”

"I found out last week,” he told CNN in an interview on Tuesday.

A source close to the inaugural committee confirmed León would be delivering the benediction and said a formal announcement would be coming later in the week.

The historic church León has pastored since 1995 has been connected to every president since its founding in 1815. Inside the historic building, Pew 54 is reserved for presidents whenever they come to worship.

President Barack Obama and his family have worshiped at the church numerous times during his first term. They have visited the church more times than any other during his presidency, and the president and León are said to have a good relationship.

More here-

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Witch doctor arrested in rhino plot

From South Africa-

On the use of muti by suspected criminals, Roux said it was not isolated to this case. It had been mentioned in other crimes, including ATM bombings, where criminals had approached traditional healers to help them avoid detection and harm.

During the Marikana strike where 34 miners were shot dead in August, it has been claimed that some of the miners may have consumed muti from a traditional healer, which they believed would make them invincible and shield them from police bullets.

However, Pretoria’s Anglican bishop, Johannes Seoka, giving evidence at the Farlam Commission into the tragedy, said the miners had not expected that rituals performed prior to the shooting would protect them from police bullets.

“Claims about the use of muti to protect workers against bullets... that’s nonsense,” he said.

“You are making black people out to be stupid. They are not stupid.”

Expressing his shock at the latest case, Sazi Mhlongo, an inyanga and president of the Kwazulu-Natal Traditional Healers Association, said the suspect was probably a witch doctor and not a traditional healer as he claimed.

More here-

Candidates for Anglican Bishop issue messages of unity

From Bermuda-

Two men vying for the position of Bishop of the Anglican Church of Bermuda last night detailed their vision of the future for the church.

Archdeacon Andrew Doughty and Rev Nicholas Dill both said they would work to unify the church and encourage it to grow if elected to the post next month.

Both candidates spoke and answered questions at St Anne’s Church in Southampton during the first of three scheduled public meetings.

Speaking first, Archdeacon Doughty said the church must be more “Bermudianised,” but not at the cost of its international membership.

“It’s not about saying to non-Bermudians ‘Thank you very much, good bye’,” he said. “I believe it’s about saying to Bermudians that it’s time you matured, to grow up and take full responsibility of our future.”

He also said that the church should be an inclusive community for all, where people can be welcomed regardless of their history, race, gender or sexual orientation.

Questioned directly on his thoughts on sexual orientation, he said that the issue is an emotive one, but said: “It’s about supporting relationships. It’s about understanding that God wants his people to be happy.

More here-

Flu season has Dallas-area churches, others shaking off handshakes

From Dallas-

Fear of the flu has two of North Texas’ largest churches rethinking their traditional hugs and handshakes.

Love your brother, they advise, just don’t touch him.

The Catholic and Episcopal dioceses of Dallas sent guidelines to clergy late last week designed to slow the spread of sickness through their congregations.

“This is just a matter of reminding people to use their common sense,” said Dr. Patricia Hughes, director of the office of worship for the 1.5 million-member Dallas Catholic Diocese.
“We’re saying, ‘Be gentle with yourself and be sensible and don’t ever feel compelled to do one thing or another.’”

During a ritual called the “Sign of Peace” — in which parishioners clasp hands and occasionally exchange kisses on the cheek — church leaders suggest less physical contact would be better.
“Perhaps people should be a little more discreet until the flu epidemic is over,” said Hughes. “A smile, head bow and eye contact will generally work for wishing someone peace.”
Bishop James M. Stanton, head of the Episcopal Diocese of Dallas, took the precautions a step further.

More here-

New Lowcountry Episcopal bishop hopes for reconciliation

From South Carolina-

The newly appointed provisional bishop of the Episcopal Diocese of South Carolina said he is taking the long view on a theological dispute that has split Lowcountry Episcopalians and spawned at least one lawsuit over the division of some $500 million worth of church property.

“I believe while we have diverged at this point in history on our paths, one day those paths will converge once again,” the Rt. Rev. Charles Glenn vonRosenberg said this week. The retired bishop of East Tennessee was called back into service last week to assist congregations that want to remain with the national Episcopal church. VonRosenberg, who retired to Daniel Island in 2011 with his wife, Annie, is expected to be elected bishop at a special convention Jan. 26 in Charleston.

VonRosenberg’s predecessor, Bishop Mark R. Lawrence, and a majority of clergy and parishioners within the Lowcountry diocese broke away from The Episcopal Church (TEC) in November, citing irreconcilable theological differences over issues related to gender and same sex marriage, and wider concerns about the liberal tilt of the national church and church policy. The U.S. church is part of the worldwide Anglican Communion, of which Lawrence and the breakaway diocese remain members.

Read more here:

Episcopal Church bishop will retire in 2014

From Boston-

Bishop M. Thomas Shaw of the Episcopal Diocese of Massachusetts announced Tuesday that he will retire sometime ­after fall 2014, following two decades in office.

Shaw, 67, a quiet monk who became known for outspoken advocacy on economic and ­social justice issues, led the ­diocese through a turbulent ­decade in the Anglican Communion, during which controversy over the Episcopal Church’s first gay bishop and gay unions threatened to split the worldwide church and ­divided some congregations at home.

He said little about his reasons for retiring in a letter posted on the diocesan website Tuesday, other than it came “from prayer and conversation with my community, friends, and family.”

“I love being your bishop, and it is an honor to serve you,” he wrote. “These years have been some of the richest years of my life. All of you and this work have taught me much about myself and the nature of our loving God for which I will always be grateful.”

Shaw said the diocese’s Standing Committee, which advises the bishop, will begin laying out a more detailed timeline for the nomination and election of his successor in the coming months, but the proposed date for the electing convention is April 5 of next year.

More here-

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Gaza hospital continues to serve people, despite financial difficulties

From Ekklesia-

On a recent sunny day in Gaza, mothers and their children waited on benches on the manicured campus outside of Al Ahli Arab Hospital to receive care from a hospital-run programme that offers three-months of services to 750 children up to the age of five - writes Lynette Wilson.

The nourishment programme is just one of the many outpatient services the non-profit, public hospital operated by the Episcopal Diocese of Jerusalem has continued as it transitions into a specialty hospital and weathers financial difficulties exacerbated by a recent loss of funding.

“It is our witness as Christians to serve the poor,” said Suhaila Tarazi, the hospital’s director. “With all that is going on in Egypt [political turmoil] and Syria [civil war], to keep a place like this one, a Christian place like this one, it’s important.”

The hospital employs 110 people, 30 per cent of them women, and serves some 30,000 patients each year, 6000 of them in the free medical mission, she added.

On 2 January 2013, Episcopal Church Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori and Anglican Bishop in Jerusalem Suheil Dawani, travelled from Israel to Gaza via the north’s Erez Crossing to see the hospital, meet with staff and to hold Eucharist in its chapel.

More here-

Episcopal bishop yet to decide on same-sex blessings

From Milwaukee-

When the Episcopal Church voted last summer to allow the blessing of same-sex unions, many clergy and faithful in Wisconsin and the nation saw it as a major step toward the full inclusion of gay and lesbian members in the life of the church.

Six months later, the prior ban on same-sex blessings remains in effect in the southern third of the state covered by the Diocese of Milwaukee. Bishop Steven Miller has yet to decide whether he'll allow the provisional rite approved by the church to be used in its parishes. And the lack of a decision is frustrating many in a diocese that strongly supported the change.

"I have people here in my parish - faithful, committed Christians - who are partners in same-sex relationships and long to have their re lationships recognized by the church they love. So I'm really anxious to be able to do that," said the Rev. Andy Jones of St. Andrew's Episcopal Church in Madison, echoing the concerns of several pastors in the diocese.

"But the bishop is still struggling with this," Jones said. "He's still working it through, and that's where we are."

More here-

Episcopal church asks members to commit to a year of scripture

From Florida-

It may be a struggle and incomprehensible to some at times, but South Florida Episcopalians have committed to reading every word of the Bible this year, from the Old Testament to the New Testament to the Psalms.

Parishioners say they are ready for the challenge from their bishop, who asked every church and congregant to make their way through the holy books in 2013. It's part of the national Bible Challenge, sponsored by the Pennsylvania-based Center for Biblical Studies, which says hearing the Scriptures on Sundays is insufficient for developing a good understanding of the Bible's deeper meanings and relevance today.

The center is urging parish groups and anyone who wants to participate to read the Bible in sequence, with daily readings done independently and in group meetings once a week.

"It's a real commitment, the schedule is quite Herculean," said the Rev. Mary Ellen Cassini, of St. Mark the Evangelist Episcopal Church in Fort Lauderdale. "But it's worth wrestling with. We want it to be a time for people to feel comfortable asking questions and finding out how the Bible speaks to us."

Despite frequent references in literature and popular culture, many Americans have little knowledgeof the Bible and its stories. A Gallup poll in 2000 reported 41 percent of Americans say they rarely or never read the Bible. An American Bible Society survey showed 79 percent of Americans say they know the Bible, but 54 percent couldn't identify its first five books.

More here-

Monday, January 14, 2013

Cathedral’s same-sex marriage decision renews old debate, but doesn’t end it

From The Washington Post-

The decision by leaders of the Washington National Cathedral to perform same-sex weddings is getting a mixed reception, with supporters calling it consistent with the church’s path for more than a decade and critics warning of further division on an issue that has roiled religious denominations across the country.

Officials at the cathedral, the most visible Episcopal church in the U.S., threw the weight of their national status, their century-old church, and thousand-member congregation behind the issue, announcing Wednesday that they would celebrate same-sex weddings effective immediately.
Leaders said the decision stemmed from a desire to move forward the “national conversation”on same-sex marriage after 30 years of study by the church, as well as the decisions of voters in three states, including Maryland, who approved referendums on same-sex marriage in November.

David Bains, a religion professor at Samford University in Alabama who has researched and written extensively about the cathedral, said the church’s leaders have worked for years to balance serving their congregation in the nation’s capital, where gay marriage has been legal since 2009, and being a beacon for Episcopalians across the country.

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Prince William (and Kate) should go to Anglican services: after all, this is the Church he's going to govern one day

From The Telegraph-

The news that Prince William only goes to church a handful of times a year shows the Old Etonian didn't pay attention in history class. If he had, he'd be hotfooting it to the local Anglican church on a regular basis: it is the Church, after all, that legitimises the monarchy.

We may no longer believe in the mystical monarchy of the Stuarts, whose mere touch would heal the sick (Charles II touched over 100,000 people: history does not relate whether all or some were indeed healed); but the Church of England plays a crucial role even in this constitutional monarchy. The Queen's title includes the words "Defender of the Faith" and when Prince William ascends to the throne, he too will bear that responsibility.

The Church props up the Crown; the Crown must protect the Church. Upon this contract both institutions rest.

More here-

Hymns a unique part of a renewed Ojibwe culture

From Minnesota-

When 30 people gathered recently for an evening service at St. Columba Episcopal Church, they recited liturgy like thousands of other church congregations.

But when they began singing, it quickly became clear that theirs was not a typical Minnesota prayer service.

A visitor would have recognized the melody to "What a friend I have in Jesus," but the parishioners sang in Ojibwe, thanks to the translations early missionaries made to help convert Indians to Christianity.

Music is a time honored part of worship in most religions. For many Ojibwe people in northern Minnesota, hymns are much more than an expression of religious devotion. They represent a unique piece of Ojibwe culture tribal that members are trying to preserve.

White Earth Tribal Chair Erma Vizenor, one of the singers at the service, said it's critical to keep the Ojibwe language alive.

More here-

Three Years After Earthquake, Haitians Are Eager to Move Beyond Tent Cities

From Huffington-

But while there is beginning to be small signs of progress, the work has really just begun. The Episcopal Church in Haiti has a long history of mission. For more than 150 years, it has been a leader in education and health services in Haiti. More than 80,000 children receive education and training from the schools associated with the Episcopal Church. The Church has also been a leading provider of health care for Haitians, as it runs three major hospitals and a network of health clinics throughout the country. The Episcopal Church has been working to support its partners in Haiti, and through Episcopal Relief & Development, we are responding to immediate needs for clean water, temporary housing and employment.

As important as responding to these needs for Haitians, so too is the need to support the spiritual and cultural institution of Haitians. Holy Trinity Cathedral is one of these institutions. It was a primary gathering place for Haitians. Institutions affiliated with the Cathedral included a primary and secondary school, a convent and a music school which housed the country's only philharmonic orchestra. Holy Trinity Cathedral had housed what was believed to be the largest organ in the Caribbean and the murals throughout the cathedral depicted African images from the bible created by some of Haiti's most famous artists in the 1950s.

More here-

Next Episcopal bishop leads service at St. Paul's

From New York-

When he becomes the 16th bishop of the Episcopal Diocese of New York on Feb. 2, the Rev. Andrew M.L. Dietsche will be responsible for supervising more than 200 congregations from New York City to the Hudson Valley.

On Sunday, the City of Poughkeepsie resident concentrated on leading services, confirming six people and receiving one from another denomination at St. Paul’s Episcopal Church in Poughkeepsie.

Dietsche is bishop coadjutor, which means he serves with the current diocesan bishop in anticipation of his retirement. Before being elected in November 2011, he served the diocese as the canon for pastoral care.

“I know clergy in all of our churches and you’d be hard pressed to find a (diocese) church in the Hudson Valley area that I don’t have close ties to,” Dietsche said Sunday. “I have a lot of affection for our area churches.”

More here-

Sunday, January 13, 2013

NIGERIA: Proponents of gay marriage need rehabilitation — Okoh

From Nigeria-

The Church of Nigeria (Anglican Communion) has restated its opposition to gay marriage and civil partnerships among same sex in the country.

The Primate of Anglican Church, Archbishop Nicholas Okoh, in an interview with SUNDAY PUNCH said gay marriage was an acquired habit which was inconsistent with the scriptures.

He said, “Our position on gay marriage is well known; we don’t accept gay marriage; we don’t condone gay marriage and we don’t regard it as part of Christian life; but we have no hatred for anybody.

“If anybody is gay, our position is that we should counsel the person because it is an acquired habit that can be delivered through the power of the gospel; that is our attitude to it. We want to show them love by rehabilitating them and helping them to abandon that habit which they have acquired and is inconsistent with the scriptures.”

More here-

SC bishop: Episcopal split clarifies future

From South Carolina-

With years of angst and controversy now over, the split of the Episcopal Diocese of South Carolina from the national church has brought clarity and allows the faithful to look to the future, Bishop Mark Lawrence said.

“We as a diocese can begin to dream,” he said recently in a wide-ranging interview with The Associated Press. “We can dream of how God would have us fulfill our vision. We can dream of planting new churches and strengthening existing churches and working with Anglicans around the world.”

The diocese in eastern and lower South Carolina, one of the oldest Episcopal dioceses in the nation, left the more liberal national church after years of disagreements over doctrine, including the ordination of gays.

Read more here:

Why St. Nicholas Church had to go

From Pittsburgh-

My ancestors came to this country from Eastern Europe. They settled in Ambridge. Both of my Slovak grandparents, my Baba and Dzedo, emigrated from Czechoslovakia. My Polish grandfather, my Dzadza, emigrated and met my grandmother, who was born in Everson, Pa. They married. Alongside other Polish faithful, they built St. Stanislaus Church, rectory, convent and school.

At St. Stanislaus, I was baptized, made my first confession, received my first Holy Communion and was confirmed. I celebrated my first Mass as a newly ordained priest there. My paternal grandparents were laid to their eternal rest from that church. Many wonderful memories of God's grace are contained within that building for me and for many.

I also celebrated the final Mass of St. Stanislaus Parish in 1994. Because of the significant changes in Ambridge over the years, the building that was the home of my parish no longer functions as a Catholic church. But the memories are forever in my heart.

I do understand the love and devotion that we have for our churches. I do understand the pain and profound sense of loss that is being felt by those who loved the old St. Nicholas Church building on East Ohio Street. But in recent years, a thought had kept me awake at night. What if that old building collapsed onto Route 28 and killed a couple of drivers during rush hour before it could be torn down safely?

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