Saturday, January 26, 2013

Nigerian priest gives reasons for rape

From Nigeria-

A Nigerian Anglican priest has blamed indecent dressing by ladies and the lack of the fear of God, for the increasing cases of rape.

The priest at St Luke Anglican Church, Akwakuma, Owerri, Rev. Ogechi Ofurum, said a God fearing man would regard any woman as his biological sister and not be motivated to rape her.

He said indecent dressing by young ladies also caused men without self-control to commit rape.
“The type of skimpy clothes ladies wear nowadays is appalling. Clothes that children of 10 and 11 years wear have now become the fashion of adults of 18 years and above.

“Those clothes are so tight on them that every part of their body shows, thereby provoking men to force themselves on them,” he said.

The priest said increased cases of rape in Nigeria and the world proved the fulfillment of what the Bible said about the last days.

More here-

Nigeria on the brink, unless... - Anglican Primate, Okoh

From Nigeria-

Primate of the Church of Nigeria (Anglican Communion), Most Reverend Nicholas Okoh, has warned that Nigeria must fashion a way to rekindle the selfless nature of its citizenry as well as the Christian virtue of humility and sacrifice if the country must survive.

In a sermon he delivered at the funeral of a former Primate of the Church of Nigeria, Most Reverend Abiodun Adetiloye, held at the St. Paul’s Millennium Anglican Church, Odo-Owa in Ijero Local Government Area of Ekiti State, the cleric contended that unless Nigerians repented and returned to the values of God, the country would not make any headway.

Okoh, who took his sermon from 2 Timothy 4: 7 and 8, noted: “We are not here to help Archbishop Adetiloye but to help ourselves to see if we can realign with God and make a meaning of our life.”

While calling on Nigerians to return to God, the Primate said “the church today is highly criticised because many of us who profess Christ are very poor images of Christ.”

He charged Christian leaders in the country to mount a campaign against societal evils, beginning with their congretations, saying “otherwise civil society organisations will take over their responsibility and they may be speaking out on moral and societal grounds but not spiritual.”

More here-

Did Andy Stanley Really Mean Obama Is 'Pastor in Chief'?

From Christianity Today-

This week, Atlanta pastor Andy Stanley preached at President Obama's pre-inaugural worship service at St. John's Episcopal Church in Washington, D.C. In the course of his remarks, Stanley, pastor of North Point Community Church, called the President "Pastor in Chief." This caused a whirlwind of comments and criticisms, to which Stanley wanted to reply. I talked with him by phone, and asked him about the context of this remark, as well as the content of his sermon and the Christian's public responsibility toward Presidents with whom we disagree on crucial issues. —Mark Galli, editor.

How did this recent invitation to preach at the pre-inauguration service come about?

Joshua DuBois, who works for the President, called me a couple of weeks before the event and asked me if I would do the 12-minute sermon at the pre-inaugural service. They've done this for many years. It was pretty much an Episcopal service, very high church, hymns, readings. Mostly Christians were there, except for two rabbis who read portions of Scripture—I believe they were rabbis. I was very honored and surprised to be asked.

Who attends this sort of thing?

The President's family, the vice-president's family, and the cabinet and their families. I think some invited members of Congress. And then there were a lot of church members. The place was full. I would guess five hundred people.

More here-

Religious tensions play out in inauguration

From The Associated Press-

There may be no clearer reflection of this moment in American religious life than the tensions surrounding prayers at President Barack Obama’s inauguration.

Efforts by the Presidential Inaugural Committee to bridge the conservative-liberal divide by including an evangelical failed. Atlanta preacher Louie Giglio, known for his work to end human trafficking, withdrew from giving the benediction after the liberal group ThinkProgress found a sermon he gave in the 1990s, condemning gay relationships.

Meanwhile, the first layperson has been asked to give the invocation, at a time when the number of Americans with no formal religious ties has hit a high around 20 percent. The prayer was delivered by Myrlie Evers-Williams, widow of slain civil rights hero Medgar Evers. The ceremony Monday fell on the federal holiday honoring the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr.

More here-

North Carolina elects Anne Hodges-Copple as bishop suffragan

From ENS-

The Rev. Anne Hodges-Copple was elected Jan. 25 as bishop suffragan of the Episcopal Diocese of North Carolina, pending the required consents.

Hodges-Copple, rector St. Luke’s Episcopal Church, Durham, was elected on the  fourth ballot out of a field of five nominees. She received 182 votes of  262 votes cast in the lay order and 123 of 183 votes cast in the clergy order. An election required 158 votes in the lay order and 123 votes in the clergy order.

The election was held during the diocese’s 197h Annual Convention at the Benton Convention Center in Winston-Salem. Pending a successful consent process, Hodges-Copple will become the diocese’s first bishop suffragan since the Rt. Rev. Gary Gloster retired in 2007. She will be charged with joining Bishop Michael Curry in leading the diocese further into Galilee. She will perform regular ecclesiastical duties like parish visitations and confirmations, while focusing especially on Galilee ministry initiatives, young adult ministries, diaconate expansion and diocesan outreach ministries.

More here-

Election results here-

Stevens holds line as Government publishes same-sex marriage Bill

From The Church Times-

THE Government's same-sex marriage legislation, published today, was brought forward too hastily and without a "clear mandate", the Bishop of Leicester, the Rt Revd Tim Stevens, has said.

The Marriage (Same Sex Couples) Bill was presented to Parliament yesterday, and is due to have its Second Reading on 5 February, when it will be debated by MPs.

Part of the Bill reads: "Any duty of a member of the clergy to solemnize marriages (and any corresponding right of persons to have their marriages solemnized by members of the clergy) is not extended by this Act to marriages of same sex couples." It defines a member of the clergy as "a clerk in Holy Orders in the Church of England, or . . . of the Church in Wales."

The Bill contains a "quadruple lock" of measures designed to protect religious freedom, including no religious organisation being compelled to marry same-sex couples ( News, 7 December).

Bishop Stevens said in a statement from Church House this morning that Church officials had "continued to raise questions about whether it is wise or appropriate to legislate at speed on a matter of such fundamental importance to society, when the proposal was not in any major party manifesto, the Coalition Agreement or the last Queen's Speech.

More here-

Presiding Episcopal bishop coming to SC

From South Carolina-

Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori, the presiding bishop of The Episcopal Church, says the church schism in South Carolina is both a challenge and an opportunity but sees the mother church emerging stronger from a controversy similar to those Christians have weathered for 2,000 years.

"At times people have decided they need to follow their spiritual journey in another direction. And people have come and gone from the Episcopal Church many times over the years," she said during an interview with The Associated Press this week.

"Our task, when people decide to leave, is to bless their journey and pray they find a fruitful place to pursue their relationship with God," she said. "In the meantime, we're going to do what we feel called to do in the Episcopal Church."

The Diocese of South Carolina with churches in the eastern and lower part of the state withdrew from the church last year in disputes over theology and ordination of gays.
Jefferts Schori noted there have always been debates in Christianity, dating to the years after Christ when the first Christians debated whether gentiles could belong to the new faith.

More here-

Friday, January 25, 2013

Robed victim? Questions linger over ‘plentiful’ death threats against retired gay bishop

From World Magazine-

Newly retired Episcopal Bishop Gene Robinson, The Episcopal Church’s first openly homosexual bishop, often refers to his own courage in the face of danger. At his 2003 consecration as bishop of New Hampshire, he talked about wearing a bullet-proof vest. When he announced his retirement in 2010, he said death threats “have been a constant strain” and factored into his retiring seven years before the church’s mandatory retirement age. In a January interview, he told National Public Radio, “The death threats were plentiful, almost daily, for a couple of years.”

But New Hampshire State Police have no record of any death threats against Robinson. The Concord Police Department, where Robinson worked for seven years, said it has reports on five threats: two in 2004, one in 2005, and two in 2009.

In public appearances, Robinson tells the vivid story of a man arrested in Vermont with a shotgun, ammunition, and a photo of Robinson on which he had scrawled, “Save the church, kill the bishop.” Stephanie Dasaro, a spokesperson for the Vermont State Police, told WORLD a “cursory search of our database” indicated “Bishop Robinson does not seem to appear in our records.” The Concord Police Department did confirm that one of its five reports was a referral from Vermont, but would not release additional information. 

More here-

St. Paul's Episcopal Cathedral in Oklahoma City will install new dean

From Oklahoma City-

St. Paul's Episcopal Cathedral, which has called downtown Oklahoma City home since 1904, will install the Rev. Justin Alan Lindstrom as its 14th dean during a worship service set for 11 a.m. Saturday at the cathedral, 127 NW 7.

Lindstrom's installation marks the first for St. Paul's in more than 30 years. The position opened after the retirement of Dean George Back in 2010. Lindstrom was chosen for the position from more than 90 candidates.

“It's an honor to install Rev. Lindstrom as the 14th dean of St. Paul's,” said the Rt. Rev. Edward Konieczny, bishop of the Episcopal Diocese of Oklahoma.

“I'm confident his deep faith, exceptional preaching and proven leadership will continue to bring a renewed excitement to the downtown cathedral, which serves as a spiritual home for the heart of our city.”

More here-

Anti-Israel Zealots Chastise Episcopal Church

From Front Page Magazine-

Prominent, radically anti-Israel Episcopalians are urging their denomination to adopt a more aggressive stance towards Israel, including divestment. The Episcopal Church largely has stood back from some of the more stridently negative policies towards Israel adopted by other old-line Protestant denominations.  It has avoided serious consideration of anti-Israel divestment.  And its officials did not endorse an ecumenical plea with other denominations last October asking the U.S. Congress to reconsider U.S. military aid to Israel, a plea prompting major Jewish groups to cancel scheduled interfaith dialogue with those denominations.

As reported by Episcopal News Service, the anti-Israel “Episcopal Voices of Conscience” drafted a letter dated on Martin Luther King’s birthday as a self-proclaimed “Prophetic Challenge” to their denomination’s executive council.  “Just as this church stood with South Africa and Namibia during the dark days of Apartheid, so we recognize that we need to be standing with our sister and brother Palestinians who have endured an Apartheid that Archbishop Emeritus Desmond Tutu has described as worse than it was in South Africa,” their plea began.  They lavishly quoted from Martin Luther King to justify their “call for justice on the land where Jesus lived his earthly ministry,” ignoring that King himself strongly supported Israel.   Interestingly, the “Voices of Conscience” themselves evidently had not yet publicized their letter.  So seemingly the Episcopal Church leadership chose to preempt it with their own response.

More here-

Myrtle Beach area congregations not spared pain associated with split of The Episcopal Church

From Myrtle Beach-

The Rev. Wilmot Merchant, rector of St. Stephen’s Episcopal Church in North Myrtle Beach, said the worst thing about the fracture of The Episcopal Church in South Carolina is the fracture of the relationships that went along with it.

People to whom he ministered for a decade, he said, no longer seek his counsel.
“I have been their priest,” he said of St. Stephen’s members who chose to side with the churches that disassociated from The Episcopal Church last year. “I have been the one going to the hospital, I have been the one sitting in conferences with them, I have been the one to laugh with them, to grieve with them.”

The fracture between a pastor and a congregant, though, is not the only one that separates The Episcopal Church from the Lowcountry churches that broke away from it.

There are fractures between groups of congregants and their churches, between one church and another and between groups of churches and The Episcopal Church.

Some still-committed Episcopalians who were in churches that left The Episcopal Church believe the breakaway churches made the decision to do so several years before it happened.

Three members of what is now called Trinity Church – formerly Trinity Episcopal Church – in Myrtle Beach said this week that changes at the church in the past few years should have been clues of an impending split. But Birgit Darby, one of the three, said she didn’t see it coming.

Read more here:

S.C. Episcopal diocese claims a victory in secession struggle

From The Washington Post-

The breakaway Episcopal Diocese of South Carolina has won the latest round in its fight to secede from the national church.

A South Carolina judge on Wednesday (Jan. 23) issued a temporary restraining order that prevents the national church from using the name or seal of the diocese, which espouses a more traditional theology and disapproves of the national church’s acceptance of same-sex marriage and gay bishops.

The order, as diocesan officials understand it, essentially tells the national church that it may not preside over the existing diocese.

“We believe what the judge has said is what we have been saying for quite some time,” said Jim Lewis, a top aide to Bishop Mark Lawrence.

“The Episcopal Church is more than free to establish a new diocese in South Carolina,” Lewis said. “What the ruling says, though, is that they can’t do that and claim to be us.”

More here-

Also here-

and here-

Thursday, January 24, 2013

South Sudan: Bishop Urges African Leaders to Act On Sudan's 'War of Horror'

From ACNS-

A panel of African civil society leaders, including Bishop Andudu Adam Elnail, were joined today by the former UN Humanitarian Coordinator for Sudan, Dr. Mukesh Kapila, in urging African political leaders to use the upcoming African Union (AU) Summit in Addis Ababa to end the humanitarian suffering in Sudan's Southern Kordofan and Blue Nile states.

The panel identified the January 25 Heads of State meeting on Sudan as a key test of the AU's "credibility" and urged African leaders to recognise the importance of addressing the conflict in Southern Kordofan and Blue Nile for wider regional security.

Having just returned from a visit to the region, Dr Kapila called for an independent commission of enquiry into the conflict amongst warnings of "ethnic cleansing".

Bishop Andudu of Kadugli in the Nuba Mountains said: "I am here on behalf of my people. This is a war of horror where children are dying every day. There are no vaccinations, medicine, there is nothing. In December there were over 230 bombings. We are calling for AU leadership at its summit next week. This is a rare opportunity that we mustn't miss."

Dr. Mukesh Kapila, Special Representative for the Aegis Trust and former UN representative in Darfur said: "Ten years ago when I was UN chief in Darfur I tried to alert the world to what was happening, but it was too late. Today in Southern Kordofon and Blue Nile I've seen 'Darfur plus plus' with modern weaponry at play. I appeal to the AU to look at the humanitarian situation as a priority and establish a full commission of enquiry, with African leadership, into the situation on the ground."

More here-

Deference vs. Neutral Principles

From The Living Church-

Plaintiffs who sued the Episcopal Church in January for control of South Carolina church properties could ride to victory on the coattails of a 2009 decision involving a breakaway parish, according to two attorneys experienced in church property cases.

Both Lloyd Lunceford of Baton Rouge and Martin Nussbaum of Colorado Springs cite the All Saints Church at Pawleys Island case, in which the South Carolina Supreme Court ruled in favor of a breakaway parish.

Parameters established in that case could now help a larger group of plaintiffs prevail in a South Carolina Circuit Court, the lawyers said. But Nussbaum cautions that any plaintiff victory might be short-lived since the U.S. Supreme Court would likely overturn it if the case were to go that far.

The suit, brought by congregations representing about 22,000 former Episcopalians, stems from the Diocese of South Carolina’s decision in September to leave the Episcopal Church. Exiting congregations are now suing to keep the Episcopal Church from gaining control of the diocese’s identity, as well as its property and that of its parishes.

More here-

Episcopalians battle over aid to Israel

From Christian Century-

A group of prominent Episcopalians is criticizing their church's stand on Israel, urging it to join 15 other denominations who call for an accounting of U.S. aid to Israel.

The public letter released on Friday (Jan. 18) notes that leaders of 15 religious groups, including Lutherans, Presbyterians and Methodists, asked Congress to take that step last October, and that the "voice of the Episcopal Church is woefully missing."

The group includes Nobel Peace Prize recipient Archbishop Desmond Tutu, an Anglican, and former Episcopal Presiding Bishop Ed Browning. The group also called on church executives to ensure that financial resources are not being used to support Israel's occupation of Palestinian territories.

"Just as this church stood with South Africa and Namibia during the dark days of Apartheid," the Episcopal leaders said, "so we recognize that we need to be standing with our sister and brother Palestinians who have endured an Apartheid that Archbishop Emeritus Desmond Tutu has described as worse than it was in South Africa."

Episcopal Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori said signing "partisan letters almost always raises the conflict level" and hinders efforts toward reconciliation through dialogue, according to Episcopal News Service.

More here:

Temporary restraining order bans use of Episcopal Diocese’s trademarks

From South Carolina-

 A South Carolina Circuit Court judge issued a temporary restraining order on Wednesday that prevents The Episcopal Church and parishes and individuals associated with it from assuming the identity of the Diocese of South Carolina.

The judge's order states, in part: "No individual, organization, association or entity, whether incorporated or not, may use, assume, or adopt in any way, directly or indirectly, the registered names and the seal or mark of The Protestant Episcopal Church in the Diocese of South Carolina."

The order specifically prohibits all but a handful of Diocesan employees, directors and trustees who are specified by name from using the Diocese's identity.

The judge effectively prevents TEC, a voluntary association, and the parishes who support it, from claiming to own or operate the Diocese of South Carolina, an entity that it insists it owns but whose very existence predates The Episcopal Church. The Diocese of South Carolina was established in 1785 and was a founder of TEC nearly five years later. The Diocese is a legally established South Carolina corporation and its trademarks are protected under state law.

TEC and several local parishes that remain associated with it have begun to assume the Diocese's identity and use its seals, name and trademarks on websites, ads in newspapers, and other documents sent to parish corporations and individuals, and in registration forms mailed to the parishes within the Diocese stating its intent to take actions at its upcoming meeting on Jan. 26.

More here-

Episcopal dean of the National Cathedral teaming up with Democrats on guns

From Washington DC-

The Episcopal priest who serves as dean of the Washington National Cathedral is teaming up with Democratic politicians and calling for ban on certain types of guns.

The Very Reverend Gary R. Hall of the Washington National Cathedral is scheduled to appear with several high-profile liberal senators on Thursday at the Capitol for a press conference introducing the “Assault Weapons Ban of 2013.”

According to a news release, the bill would impose restrictions on “military-style assault weapons and high-capacity ammunition feeding devices.”

Among the senators who are set to appear at the press conference include anti-gun liberals like California Sen. Dianne Feinstein and New York Sen. Chuck Schumer.

Law enforcement officers, gun safety organizations, doctor and teacher organizations and victims of gun violence are also expected to attend the announcement.

More here-

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Priest appeals for worldwide prayer after Kenya violence

From ACNS-

A Kenyan priest has appealed to Christians around the world to pray for the people of Garissa, a violence-stricken city in the North Eastern Province of Kenya.

The Revd Canon Francis Omondi's plea comes after at least five people were killed and four others wounded by Somali Islamist group al-Shabab who opened fire on guests at one of the city’s local hotels, The Dunes on 16 January.

Al-Shabab—a clan-based insurgent and terrorist group—has continued its violent insurgency in the area with Christians and security personnel being the main targets of the attacks.

Canon Omondi said, “The targeting of Christians and security personnel is a very worrying trend. Christians should pray for courage in the midst of these pressures.”

He has been championing health and education issues in the region for more than 25 years. He has also been helping grow the church of God within the region. However, he has been taken aback by the recent attacks on Christians.

“The Muslim fundamentalists have no respect for denomination," he said. "They aim to rid Christians from here [along with] the security forces. As a result of this Christians who have not fled live in great fear”.

More here-

Wanted — a church building to put on a flatbed, haul to Omaha's tri-faith campus

From Nebraska-

A bishop is looking for a church?

That wouldn't seem to be a problem. This particular bishop, after all, oversees 53 of them.

But Bishop J. Scott Barker of the Episcopal Diocese of Nebraska isn't looking for one he could visit. Instead, he'd like to physically acquire a “prairie church,” put it on a flatbed truck and, God willing, move it to Omaha.

“We're turning to the hope that there's a congregation out there with a church that's been cared for but needs a new lease on life,” Barker said. “Let us come in, scoop it up and spirit it away.”

If the spirit is behind the idea and logistics work out, he hopes that a church could be moved to the site of Omaha's unique tri-faith campus — the only place where Jewish, Islamic and Christian congregations are intentionally planning to build houses of worship in the same place.

More here-

Married dad of 3 to be Catholic priest

From Western NY-

 A married father of three will be ordained a priest in the Catholic Church by Buffalo's Bishop on Saturday, January 26.

Deacon John Cornelius, 64, grew up in Bolivar and attended Allegany College and SUNY Fredonia before enlisting in the U.S. Navy. He received a masters of Divinity from the Episcopal Seminary at Northwestern University and served as an Episcopal priest for 20 years at parishes in Florida, New York, Rhode Island and Texas.

Two years ago, he and his wife Sharyl converted to Catholicism and John was ordained a transitional deacon last November. Currently he is serving as a pastoral associate at SS. Brendan and Jude Parish in Almond.

Now, Deacon Cornelius will be ordained a Catholic priest on Saturday, January 26 at 5p.m. by Bishop Richard Malone at Immaculate Conception Church in Wellsville. To prepare for the priesthood, Deacon Cornelius spent every Saturday for 20 weeks taking a distance learning course from the University of Houston.

More here-

More congregations join lawsuit against Episcopal Church

From South Carolina-

A lawsuit filed by the breakaway Diocese of South Carolina against The Episcopal Church — a move to retain control of property and protect the name and seal of the group — was joined today by 15 additional parishes, bringing the total number of congregations participating in the litigation to 31, according to a news release.

The suit was first filed January 4 and included 16 congregations.

An additional 13 congregations have decided to stay with the group associated with Bishop Mark Lawrence, called The Protestant Episcopal Church in the Diocese of South Carolina, according to its administrators.

One of the parishes joining the suit is Trinity Church of Edisto Island, formed in 1774.

More here-

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

In Cambridge, a day of service and remembrance for Inauguration, MLK

From Massachusetts-

On a bright Saturday afternoon, dozens of area middle school and high school students gathered in small circles with adult neighbors to engage in a frank discussion about the state of race and equality today and to reflect on the legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.

The event was a precursor to the city-sponsored day of service Jan. 21 at City Hall, which also included a watching party for the second inauguration of President Barack Obama, a remembrance ceremony for King at the St. Peter’s Episcopal Church in Central Square, and the Many Helping Hands 365 annual day of service.

Inside the Area 4 Youth Center on Jan. 19, eighth and ninth graders Jakigh Dottin, Sylvester Joseph and Isais Berhe mulled on the connection between wealth and power and how inequality is often drawn along the lines of poverty. They weighed the consequences of what it means to stand up for an ideal when everyone else is going with the grain.

More here-

Friends in the Desert Foundation hosts meals for those in need

From Las Vegas-

On a winter afternoon, people are lining up 30 minutes early anticipating the doors to open at St. Timothy's Episcopal Church so they can enjoy a hot meal.

Patrons include some who are homeless and others who are just down on their luck.

No matter who they are and where they come from, the Friends in the Desert Foundation is there to serve them.

"People might say the economy is recovering," said Muriel Dufendach, secretary and facilities manager for the group. "You couldn't tell by this program."

Doors open at 4:30 p.m., and food is served at 5 p.m. Monday through Friday at 43 W. Pacific Ave. The group serves at 11:30 a.m. Saturdays and gives people a sack lunch to take with them since they don't operate Sunday.

More here-

Nancy Wilson, Gay Pastor, To Participate In Inaugural Interfaith Prayer Service At National Cathedral

From Huffington-

The Presidential Inaugural Committee has included a gay pastor and a number of LGBT supportive faith leaders in the inauguration festivities this week.

According to LGBT media watchdog GLAAD, openly gay pastor the Rev. Nancy Wilson of the Metropolitan Community Churches (MCC), a denomination with a specific outreach to LGBT communities, will participate in the interfaith prayer service at the National Cathedral on Tuesday.

"It is profoundly meaningful to read the Bible during President Obama and Vice President Joe Biden's second inaugural interfaith service," said Wilson. "As I read, I will remember the hands laid on me seven years ago in this very cathedral by faith leaders who called me to serve all of God's beautifully diverse children, including LGBT people. President Obama prayerfully and respectfully stood up for LGBT equality during his campaign, and I am proud to stand with him."

Wilson is not the only LGBT-friendly faith leader who is scheduled to participate in inauguration activities this wek.

Most visibly, Episcopal priest and LGBT supporter the Rev. Luis Leon was chosen to deliver the benediction at President Obama's inauguration ceremony on Monday. Leon -- a priest at St. John's Church, which is located near the White House -- was the replacement for the Rev. Louie Giglio, the Georgia pastor who stepped down from the role after coming under fire for an anti-gay sermon he gave in the 1990s.

More here-

Obamas Start Inauguration With Visit To St. John's Episcopal Church

From Huffington-

President Barack Obama began inauguration day listening to a church pastor counsel him to use his power to benefit others, and the nation.

It was part of the sermon at St. John's Episcopal Church near the White House, where Obama and his family attended services Monday morning.

The presidential motorcade arrived shortly after 8:30 a.m. under crisp, cold skies outside the sanctuary. The president and first lady Michelle Obama emerged to pose briefly for photos with their daughters Sasha and Malia before entering the church. The first family sometimes attends Sunday worship at the church, which is across Lafayette Park from the White House.

Vice President Joe Biden and his family also attended.

Inside, R&B singer Ledisi, a favorite of Mrs. Obama's, sang a solo titled "I Feel Like Goin' On."

The sermon was delivered by Pastor Andy Stanley of North Point Community Church in Alpharetta, Ga., who asked what one does when they realize they're the most powerful person in that room. "You leverage that power for the benefit of other people in the room," Stanley said.

More here-

Monday, January 21, 2013

Cleric tasks parents on children’s dressing

From Nigeria-

The Vicar of Saint Andrew’s Anglican Church, Ogudu, Lagos State, Venerable Sam Olajide has admonished parents to encourage their children to honour God in their way of dressing, just as he has enjoined parents to live in the way of God.

The cleric spoke during the induction of the Executive Director of the Obafemi Awolowo Foundation (OAF), Dr Tokunbo Awolowo-Dosumu as the national youth mother of the Association of Christ Little Band of Nigeria at the church, on Sunday.

In a homily on the occasion which also marked the 33rd anniversary thanksgiving service of the society, Venerable Olajide urged parents to adopt the attitude of early Christians, who, in spite of their informal education, worshipped God faithfully and brought harvests of sweet scent to God.

He said paying tithes, leading a life of holiness as well as preaching the gospel to the unreached were part of the ways to worship God and attract the blessings that follow.

More here-’s-dressing

Seat of Liberalism

From The American Spectator-

Is the Washington National Cathedral the spiritual center of the nation? In the mind of the liberal Episcopal cathedral’s new dean, it should be.

Such an assertion would surprise many of America’s churchgoers, the vast majority of whom are not even Oldline Protestants, let alone Episcopalians. But since assuming leadership of the Cathedral in October, Dean Gary R. Hall has frequently spoken of the church’s role as being “at the center” of American public life. Hall wants to raise the cathedral’s profile as not just a center of worship, but as an organized political advocacy center on a host of liberal issues.

Unlike some of his predecessors, Hall is not content to host conversational forums with authors and poets or preside over high-profile funerals like those of Gerald Ford and Neil Armstrong. From calling in December for new firearms restrictions, to announcing last week that the massive gothic church is available for gay weddings, Hall embraces liberal causes as easily as he dismisses traditional Christianity.

More here-

Episcopal bishop sought to end conflicts, build bridges

From Boston-

He has donned a purple cassock and joined Palestinian sympathizers protesting in front of the Israeli consulate. Gay but celibate, he has immersed himself in East African cultures to better understand the antigay sentiment. Lately, he has asked his congregants — and other faith leaders — to help eradicate gun violence.

Bishop M. Thomas Shaw of the Episcopal Diocese of Massachusetts, who announced his retirement last week, leaves a singular legacy as he prepares to depart Boston’s religious scene. A soft-spoken monk who leads one of the largest Episcopal dioceses in the country, the prayerful bishop has been extraordinarily vocal — and sometimes controversial — in the public square.

“I think Tom’s profound respect for other individuals, while also being very clear about what he believes and why he believes it, has made a difference,” said the Rev. Katherine Ragsdale, president of the Episcopal Divinity School in Cambridge.

Shaw cast his decision to retire as a natural one. He will be 68 this year, approaching the mandatory bishop retirement age of 72, and the process of selecting and installing a successor takes about two years.

More here-

Grace Mission Episcopal members dig deep to help others (with video)

From Florida-

So often it is said, those with should give to those without. But at Grace Mission Episcopal Church, that saying is reversed when it comes to empowering the lives of their congregants.

Through pocket change donations, Grace Mission raised $2,000 over a year for the Big Bend Habitat for Humanity. The donation seems more selfless when considering the fact that the attendance at a Grace Mission service is full of those suffering from homelessness, unemployment and addiction.

The $2,000 donation will go to a new house on Harris Street beginning construction later this month. Grace Mission already has 13 church members ready to volunteer labor for the project.

More here-

Sunday, January 20, 2013

Inaugural pastors now more moderate

From Keen-

The Washington National Cathedral, which has hosted the National Prayer Service at inaugurals since Franklin Roosevelt’s first inauguration in 1933, made news earlier this month when it announced it would begin allowing same-sex couples who are affiliated with the church to hold their marriage ceremonies at the historic landmark. The Cathedral is affiliated with the Episcopal Church. The General Convention of the Episcopal Church voted last August to allow the bishop of each diocese to decide whether to allow the celebration of same-sex marriages. The Very Rev. Gary Hall, dean of Washington National Cathedral, has announced January 9 that, effective immediately, same-sex weddings may be celebrated at the Cathedral.

And the Presidential Inauguration Committee has invited the Episcopal pastor of a church near the White House that the Obama family attends to deliver the benediction at the inaugural ceremony Monday.

Rev. Luis Leon, who press reports indicates is a “gay-affirming” clergyman at Saint John’s Church which also celebrates marriage ceremonies for same-sex couples, will deliver the benediction. He replaces Atlanta pastor Louie Giglio who withdrew from the ceremony after criticism surfaced about remarks he made in a sermon in the 1990s, calling homosexualiy “probably the greatest addiction” and saying that marriage between same-sex partners is “absolutely undermining the whole order of our society.”

More here-

RI's Episcopal Bishop Cites Empirical Evidence To Support Marriage Equality

From Rhode Island-

Religious figures most often extract from their faith when speaking for or against marriage equality. Their spiritual life either confirms or condemns equality.

Bishop Nick Knisely, the Episcopal Bishop for Rhode Island, bucked that trend by citing both faith and science when he declared his support for marriage equality this weekend. He has weighed the empirical evidence and he has seen the light, he says.

"Part of what informs my opinion is that before I became a priest and then a bishop, I was a scientist. So I know the importance of trusting evidence that we see with our own eyes," he writes in a letter being distributed to parishioners this weekend.

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Stan Musial / Donora, Pa., native won 7 batting titles

From The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette-

On this day, when baseball's perfect knight has fallen, it won't do to simply call him great.
Great is an adjective just so perfectly inadequate, because the subject was instead, by crucial distinction, firmly among the greatest, and the very greatest at that.

Stan "The Man" Musial, the Donora, Pa., native whose thumping baseball elegance and unfailing humanist poise adorned most of an American century, died Saturday in the St. Louis suburb of Ladue. He was 92.

The Hall of Famer won seven National League batting titles, was a three-time most valuable player and helped the Cardinals capture three World Series championships in the 1940s.

If, as has been attributed to baseball's cultural geography, Willie Mays' glove is the place where triples went to die, then Mr. Musial's bat is the long-shuttered factory that for decades pounded out doubles off the wall, and those were just a portion of the monstrous industrial production that carved the image of Stanley Frank Musial into the game's eternal pantheon.

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