Saturday, February 2, 2013

Lowcountry bishop wins skirmish over diocese name

From Myrtle Beach

The Episcopal bishop who led a majority of Lowcountry congregations and clergy out of the national Episcopal church last year won a skirmish Thursday in the battle over who can lay claim to the name of the historic diocese.

The Right Rev. Mark Lawrence will continue to operate under the name, seal and mark of the Protestant Episcopal Church in the Diocese of South Carolina after Circuit Court Judge Diane Goodstein issued a temporary injunction against the use of the name by those who remain with The Episcopal Church (TEC).

Goodstein, who had first issued a temporary restraining order last week, had set a hearing for Friday to begin to try to resolve the issue. On Thursday, the TEC consented to the injunction.

Read more here:

Bishop installs new dean at St. Paul's Episcopal Cathedral in Oklahoma City

From Oklahoma-

The Episcopal Diocese of Oklahoma recently gathered for the installation of the new leader of a prominent downtown Oklahoma City church.

The Rev. Justin Lindstrom was installed as the dean of St. Paul's Episcopal Cathedral on Jan. 26 in a ceremony that highlighted the diversity of the diocese, among other things.

A traditional processional marking the service's beginning included American Indian drummers who made their way up the aisle of the church, 127 NW 7, in honor of David Pendleton Oakerhater, a revered Cheyenne Indian Episcopal clergyman who was named to the Episcopal Church's Calendar of Saints in 1985. Oakerhater (1847-1931) founded the Whirlwind Church and Mission near Watonga in 1907.

Later in the service, several Bible passages were presented in different languages, beginning with Scripture verses spoken in Choctaw by the Rev. Jim Kee-Rees, the Episcopal diocese's Native American missioner who is a Choctaw Indian. The Rev. Leonel Blanco Monterroso, rector of Iglesia Episcopal Santa Maria Virgen in south Oklahoma City, presented a Bible passage in Spanish.

More here-

Friday, February 1, 2013

Anglican bishop ordained a priest

From Catholic Register-

Ottawa Archbishop Terrence Prendergast has ordained Carl Reid, a former Anglican Catholic Church of Canada (ACCC) bishop, to the priesthood.

Reid was ordained Jan. 26 and is the second bishop from the small traditional Anglican denomination to be ordained to serve in the Canadian Deanery of St. John the Baptist of the Personal Ordinariate of the Chair of St. Peter, a structure for former Anglicans erected Jan. 1, 2012. Fr. Peter Wilkinson, the former ACCC Metropolitan Bishop, was ordained in Victoria, B.C., on Dec. 8 last year and attended Reid’s ordination.

The Ordinariates are special structures set up by Pope Benedict XVI for groups of former Anglicans that allow them to preserve aspects of their patrimony, including an approved Anglican Use liturgy. Under the Pope’s apostolic constitution Anglicanorum coetibus, three Ordinariates have been established, in England and Wales, the United States and Canada, and Australia.

More here-

Chinese ‘Losing Their Fear’

From The Living Church-

The paradox of fear and hope that is China today includes flouting the rule of law, corruption, gross violations of individual rights, wrongful imprisonment, harassment of those who criticize the Communist Party, and real optimism that change is coming with new leadership, according to Chinese lawyer and human rights advocate Chen Guangcheng.

Chen drew a standing ovation when he gave a keynote talk, “In Search of China’s Soul,” through an interpreter at a Washington National Cathedral Jan. 30. “This is a moment we will always remember,” said Atlantic Monthly correspondent James Fallows, who moderated the evening program.

Chen became a high-profile human rights figure on the world stage when he spoke out against forced abortions and sterilizations in China in 2005, even filing a class-action lawsuit against authorities in Shandong protesting China’s one-child policy. Placed under house arrest and jailed for more than four years, Chen escaped to Beijing in April 2012, where he and his family came under the protection of the U.S. embassy. Today he is at New York University School of Law working on a memoir scheduled for publication late this year.

More here-

Welby told CNC: ‘appointing me would be absurd’

From The Church Times-

THE Archbishop-elect, the Rt Revd Justin Welby, told the Crown Nominations Commission that it would be "a joke" and "perfectly absurd" to choose him for Canterbury, it emerged this week.

In an interview at the Trent Vineyard Church in Nottingham, alongside his wife, Caroline, on Sunday, Bishop Welby described the appointment process. He had been invited, along with other diocesan bishops, to write a statement outlining what he would do if he was appointed Archbishop.

"I'd been a bishop, let alone the Bishop of Durham, for seven months," Bishop Welby said. "So I wrote a statement saying: 'Well, if I was Archbishop of Canterbury I'd do this, this, this, and this.'

"And the final paragraph said: 'I've enjoyed writing this. I hope you've enjoyed reading it. But frankly it's a joke, because it is self-evident that it is perfectly absurd to consider appointing someone to Canterbury who's been a bishop for seven months. I shall be praying for you to make the right choice."

During the interview, Bishop Welby spoke of the death of his daughter, Johanna, at the age of seven months, five days after a car crash in Paris, in May 1983. In October of that year, the couple accompanied the Rt Revd Sandy Millar, then Vicar of Holy Trinity, Brompton, on a trip to California, where they met the Revd John Wimber, one of the founders of the Vineyard movement.

More here-‘appointing-me-would-be-absurd’

Brooklyn parish undeterred by fire

From ENS-

It’s not quite a journey into the wilderness, but members of the Episcopal Church of St. Luke and St. Matthew in the Clinton Hill neighborhood of Brooklyn will be leaving their sanctuary during Lent as the church undergoes repairs following a fire two days before Christmas.

Investigators determined the early-morning fire was arson, said the Rev. Michael Sniffen, rector. “The fire was set by somebody pouring gasoline across the entrances to the church and setting it on fire. They have not apprehended anyone, but the investigation is open and it’s being treated as a hate crime.”

They do not believe the Dec. 23 fire was related to the church’s ministry as a major distribution hub for post-Hurricane Sandy relief services, he said. “The investigators didn’t have any reason to believe that it was about anything in particular.”

Church Insurance has been working to determine the extent of the damage and the restoration required, getting estimates from experts in masonry, stained glass and other specialties, but does not yet have a total dollar estimate of the cost of the damage, Sniffen said. Scaffolding will be erected in February, and the congregation will move out of the sanctuary for about 12 weeks while repairs are made. They will worship in one of the church’s parish halls and hold fellowship in another.

More here-

Judge makes order permanent in SC Episcopal schism

From South Carolina-

Circuit Court Judge Diane Goodstein issued a permanent injunction Thursday ruling only churches that left The Episcopal Church last year may use the name the Diocese of South Carolina.

The use of the name and the diocesan seal has been in dispute since parishes in the eastern and lower part of the state left the national church in a dispute over the ordination of gays and other issues.

Following the split with the national church, the Diocese of South Carolina sued, seeking not only to protect its name but also a half-billion of church property it says belongs to the diocese, not the national church.

Goodstein issued a temporary restraining order last week that only the diocese could use the name. She had scheduled a Friday court hearing in Columbia to hear arguments as to whether the order should be made permanent.

But the attorney representing The Episcopal Church and the 19 parishes and six worship groups remaining with the church in the eastern part of the state, did not contest making the order permanent, so the hearing has been canceled.

Read more here:

also here-

Thursday, January 31, 2013

Prince Charles 'Concerned' About Allowing Royals to Marry Catholics

From Christian Post-

Prince Charles expressed concerns over a bill that seeks to change the rules surrounding the Royal line of succession in Britain, saying that allowing royal members to marry Roman Catholics might undermine the Church of England.

The British monarch, who is currently in line to inherit the throne from his mother, Queen Elizabeth II, has stated that the bill was "rushed" and that it might have "unintended consequences," CBC reported. Only Protestants have been able to serve as king or queen since the signing of the Act of Settlement, passed in 1701.

The bill allows girls who were born before their brothers to keep their place in line to the throne, but it also removed a 300-year-old ban on royals from marrying Roman Catholics. The official British monarch serves as head of the Church of England, but Roman Catholic doctrine dictates that children from such a union would have to be raised in the Catholic tradition, which would constitute a conflict of interest.


Job application was a joke: New Anglican leader

From AFP-

The incoming leader of the world's Anglicans said his application to become the Archbishop of Canterbury was "a joke" and he was "just a very, very ordinary Christian".

Justin Welby, the Bishop of Durham, told an audience at the Trent Vineyard church near Nottingham in central England, that he thought it would be "absurd" to appoint him to the job, having only been a bishop for seven months at the time of application.

He said he had been told to apply for the post as spiritual head of the state Church of England as he was the bishop of one of the top five dioceses.

"I wrote a statement saying, well, if I was archbishop of Canterbury I'd do this, this, this and this," he said during the interview.

"The final paragraph said, I've enjoyed writing this, I hope you've enjoyed reading it but frankly it's a joke.

More here-

‘Proof of Heaven:’ Neurosurgeon Returns from Near Death With Greater Insight

From Georgia-

There will always be cynics about life after death, but perhaps Dr. Eben Alexander is the perfect person to experience near death, vividly, while in a seven day coma - and return to talk about it.

The New York Times best-selling author will sign his book, “Proof of Heaven,” at Holy Innocents’ Episcopal Church in Sandy Springs on Saturday, and discuss his 2008 near death experience, in Lynchburg, Va. Rev. Michael Sullivan, current rector at Holy Innocents’ was with Alexander during his near death experience. He was Alexander’s rector and neighbor in Lynchburg.

Alexander has recently appeared on Oprah Winfrey’s “Super Soul Sunday,” and “Katie.” He will sign books Saturday at 6 p.m., followed by a talk from 7-8 p.m.

More here-

Ingredients for Church Growth

From Mass-

In light of our recent Annual Parish Meeting, I’ve been thinking a lot about church growth. If you know me, you’ll recognize this isn’t anything new — it’s one of my passions. But the Annual Meeting always provides that extra opportunity to take a step back, get out of the fray of daily ministry, and examine the broader view.

Out of curiosity, I ran some numbers for the three and a half years that I’ve been rector at St. John’s. Anecdotal evidence aside, I was stunned to see that our Average Sunday Attendance has increased 35%, pledging is up 50%, and we’ve doubled the size of the staff. That’s a lot of growth in a short period of time and, while there are many contributing factors, I do think there are some basic transferable ingredients to church growth.

Of course it all starts with leadership — both lay and ordained. I’m increasingly convinced that, to our mutual detriment, Episcopal Church culture minimizes the importance of strong clergy leadership. No, it’s not all about the priest. But show me a growing, vibrant, healthy congregation with poor clergy leadership — it doesn’t exist. Granted, strong leadership is all about encouraging, nurturing, and empowering members of the congregation to share the responsibility of leadership. But poor leaders are unwilling or unable to do this; thus stunting the ministry of all the baptized and the potential for growth.

For me, growth comes down to a passion for sharing the Gospel of Christ. We’re called to share this Good News with which we’ve been entrusted not horde it. And when we share the Gospel — boldly, radically, creatively — the church can’t help but grow!

More here-

On the issue of gay marriage, leaders of Catholic and Episcopal churches in central Pennsylvania strike contrasting reactions

From Central PA-

The heads of the Catholic and Episcopal churches in south central Pennsylvania on Wednesday struck contrasting reactions to findings of a poll that shows voters would be in favor of approving gay marriage legislation. 

The Rev. Joseph McFadden, bishop of the Catholic Diocese of Harrisburg, decried the narrow favoring for gay marriage, while the Rev. Nathan Baxter, bishop of the Episcopal Diocese of Central Pennsylvania welcomed it as good news.

The Quinnipiac University poll found that Pennsylvanians narrowly favor gay marriage -- 47 percent of voters indicating they would approve gay marriage, and 43 percent opposing it. The poll found greater disparities along religious lines.

White Catholics indicated support for same-sex marriage 50-40 percent, while white Protestants oppose it 60-31 percent, the poll found. Voters under 35 also support same-sex marriage 68-25 percent, as do voters aged 35 to 54 years old 48-41 percent. But commonwealth voters over 55 oppose it 52-39 percent.

More here-

Wednesday, January 30, 2013

W.Va. Episcopal bishop supports gay-rights legislation

From West Virginia-

The head of the Episcopal Church in West Virginia wants the state's human rights law amended to include a provision banning discrimination based on sexual orientation.

Bishop Rev. Michie Klusmeyer of the Episcopal Diocese of West Virginia wrote a letter to Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin and the state's Legislature asking for their support of changing the state's human rights law to make it consistent with the Federal Hate Crimes Law, which President Obama signed into law in 2009.

Klusmeyer, whose diocese is comprised of 70 congregations and nearly 10,000 members, said the church has written similar letters to Tomblin and former Gov. Joe Manchin over the past four or five years.

Neither responded, but legislators have, he said.

More here-

A $2 million expansion of Northfield's All Saints Episcopal Church to provide downtown gathering place

From Minnesota-

Mark Heiman and Rev. Gayle Marsh have imagined the possibilities of expanding All Saints Episcopal Church for years.

In fact, Heiman, who is the Senior Warden at the church that has stood tall on the corner of West 5th Street and Washington Street on the periphery of downtown Northfield since 1866, said that plans have been drawn up a couple of times only to be set aside.

The clergy and lay leadership at All Saints hopes the third time is a charm.

“As a congregation, we have reached a size where the spaces are no longer adequate,” Heiman said. “For two years, we’ve been imagining and planning, focusing on what kind of spaces to create.”
After bidding out for architectural services and also to decide on a construction firm, the leadership at the historic church has decided to keep it all local, opting to use SMSQ Architects and Northfield Construction Company.

More here-

St. Brigit Episcopal Church in Frederick will consecrate new sanctuary Friday

From Colorado-

Feb. 1 is a special day for St. Brigit Episcopal Church in Frederick.

It's the feast day of St. Brigit, the church's eponym. Four years ago, the date marked the congregation's first Sunday morning service. And this Friday, it will mark the consecration of the church's new 2,500-square-foot sanctuary.
"We really hope to extend the space to the community," said the Rev. Felicia SmithGraybeal, pastor of the church.

The church broke ground in late July on the 150-seat sanctuary. By Dec. 16, the congregation was meeting for services in the new building, which replaces the former sanctuary, a 1,000-square-foot, remodeled four-car garage.

"It's amazing. It's really wonderful. It's so warm. That garage, we did our best, but it was chilly," said parishioner Lisa Caile, who sits on the church's building committee and, because she runs a small repair business, has completed much of the work on the church.

The former sanctuary will be turned into two classrooms and bathrooms and will connect to the new sanctuary via a breezeway.

More here-

Longtime Charlottean and Episcopal priest Hunt Williams dies

From North Carolina-

Hunt Williams’ election as a bishop of the Diocese of North Carolina in 1990 meant he had an impact on the church he loved not only in the state but throughout the country.

Yet he was best understood in a more intimate setting, as the rector of St. Peter’s Episcopal Church in uptown Charlotte, where he served for 27 years. There, he delivered sermons quoting both St. Paul and modern storyteller Garrison Keillor. He applied organizational skills at budget time by working numbers with pencil and paper, as ashes from his cigarette spilled on his black shirt.

And it was pastoring his devoted flock where Williams showed his true sense of his vocation. He always knew who needed him and where he should be, for instance with a family in a hospital room at 1 a.m. when a beloved father died, and back on their doorstep at 8 a.m. offering comfort.

Read more here:

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Richard Dawkins to debate Rowan Williams on religions role in the 21st Century

From Christian Today-

The upcoming debate is expected to be a highlight of the debating society's 200-year history, Ben Kentish, the Union's president, told BBC. "Our speakers are the most renowned commentators on this subject."

The Union – the largest society at the University of Cambridge – has a long and distinguished history of hosting leading state and international political and other figures in its chamber, from presidents to Prime Ministers and Oscar winners to Olympic legends.

"The prospect of seeing Professor Dawkins and the former Archbishop of Canterbury debate the subject is particularly exciting for our members" Kentish adds. "It has all the makings of an excellent debate."

The Union will film the debate, which will be attended by about 1,000 students, and make it available soon after on its website.

Professor Tariq Ramadan, professor of Contemporary Islamic Studies in the Faculty of Oriental Studies at Oxford University; Andrew Copson, the chief executive of the British Humanist Association; and Douglas Murray, founder of the Centre for Social Cohesion, will also take part.

During a public debate between Williams and Dawkins last February at Oxford University, Williams pressed Dawkins, vice president of the British Humanist Association, on the idea that humans were unlike other creatures in being able to reflect upon themselves and their own purpose.

More here-

Bishop of Durham bids farewell as he heads for Canterbury

From England-

WORSHIPPERS from across the North East have bid an emotional farewell to the Bishop of Durham.

The Right Reverend Justin Welby, who will be officially installed as Archbishop of Canterbury next week, signed off from his role at a special service in the city attended by hundreds of well-wishers.

The event at Durham Cathedral for Bishop Welby and his wife Caroline, which drew visitors from across the region, was his last public appearance before the former oil executive moves on to his new post.

Saying goodbye to the region, he even joked that being seeing the Black Cats recent win over league champions Manchester City was one of the highlights of his time here.

“Being at the Stadium of Light on Boxing Day to see Sunderland beat Manchester City was one of the highpoints,” he said. “It was memorable match.” The London-born father-of-five said he was sad to be leaving the North East after a 14-month stint as bishop.

“This was a service I was not looking forward to,” he said. “It is never easy to say goodbye.

More here-

Westminster: two married former Anglican priests ordained as transitional Deacons

From Independent Catholic News-

Two Westminster diocesan seminarians have been ordained as transitional Deacons. Giles Pinnock and Jeffrey Steel were ordained Deacons at Allen Hall seminary by Bishop John Arnold, Auxiliary Bishop of Westminster on Saturday, 26 January 2013.

During his homily Bishop Arnold drew upon the life of St Paul to direct the men towards fulfilling their role as Deacons. Bishop Arnold said: “Yesterday we celebrated the Feast of the Conversion of St Paul. I love that Feast, not so much for what we celebrate as for all that the Feast suggests. We have three accounts of the 'Conversion' of Paul and they are all written by Luke, in the Acts of the Apostles - Chapters 9, 22 and 26.

“The first Christian communities were so varied and facing different challenges and problems. Some of them were facing open persecution, others like the Corinthians were having trouble just learning to live together having been drawn from such diverse traditions. Paul meets them in the place of their need - he is not imposing the same code of conduct on them in a uniform way.”

“The lesson here for us is that each one of us has our own journey and God has, as Cardinal Newman says "created me for some definite service. He has committed some work to me that he has not committed to another".

More here-

New Jersey diocese announces 6 nominees for bishop

From ENS-

The Standing Committee of the Episcopal Diocese of New Jersey has announced a slate of six nominees to stand for election as the diocese’s 12th bishop.

The nominees are:

The Rev. David Anderson, 56, rector of St. Luke’s Parish in Darien, Connecticut;

The Rev. Joan Beilstein, 52, rector of Church of the Ascension in Silver Spring, Maryland;

The Rev. Allen F. Robinson, 42, rector of St. James’ Church in Baltimore, Maryland;

The Rev. Canon Melissa M. Skelton, 61, rector of St. Paul’s Church in Seattle, Washington; and canon for congregational development and leadership of the Diocese of Olympia;

The Rev. Canon William Stokes, 55, rector of St. Paul’s Church in Delray Beach, Florida; and

The Rev. Martha Sylvia Ovalle Vásquez, 60, rector of St. Paul’s Church in Walnut Creek, California.
Detailed information about the six nominees is available here.

A petition process for submitting additional candidates will run until Feb. 27. The petition form is available here.

The nominees will participate in a visit to the diocese April 22-24, during which time they will meet with clergy and lay people of the diocese.

More here-

The Venerable Leslie Stevenson Elected as New Bishop of Meath and Kildare

From ACNS-

It was announced today that the Episcopal Electoral College for Meath and Kildare, meeting in Christ Church Cathedral, Dublin has elected The Venerable Leslie Stevenson, Archdeacon of Meath and Kildare, as the new Bishop of Meath and Kildare. Archdeacon Stevenson succeeds the Most Revd Dr Richard Clarke, who was translated to Armagh as Archbishop of Armagh and Primate of All Ireland in December past.

The Venerable Leslie Stevenson, 53, is the Rector of Portarlington (Kildare) and has been Archdeacon of Meath and Kildare since 2009. He was educated at the University of Ulster, the Church of Ireland Theological College (now Institute) and at the Irish School of Ecumenics (MPhil., 1988), and was ordained deacon in 1983 and priest in 1984. Archdeacon Stevenson served two curacies in the Diocese of Down before becoming Rector of Donaghadee (Down) in 1992, where he served until he moved to Portarlington in 1999. The Bishop-elect has served and continues to serve on a number of Diocesan and Church committees and bodies, including the Representative Church Body (since 2006) and the Commission on Ministry (from 2012). He married Ruth in 1998 and has one daughter. Among his wider interests is involvement with Rotary International.

More here-

Chuch offered auction item by James Taylor to raise money

From Indiana-

The congregation has been referring to the church they attend the “James Taylor church” for some time.

Through a fundraising effort, the folk musician has reached out to the St. Paul’s Episcopal Church to help reinvigorate the music they hear. The church is trying to raise a total of $51,000 to disassemble, move, restore and install a 10-rank pipe organ in its building.

St. Paul’s Rev. Donald Hill explained the church put together a video and posted it online to request donations on a crowd funding website to have the organ installed. The church has already raised about half of the $51,000 needed to restore the organ.

Bart Fisher, church member and chairman of the pipe-organ committee, said that when the church posted the call for donations on the website it used “Fire and Rain” as the theme, which in turn caught the attention of James Taylor’s representatives.

“Fire and Rain” is one of Taylor’s iconic songs, reaching No. 3 on the Billboard charts in the 1970s, as well as being listed on Rolling Stone’s list of the 500 greatest songs of all time.

More here-

'Continuing Episcopalians' in Breakaway Diocese Elect Temporary Leader

From Christian Post (Interesting headline)

A group of congregations and clergy loyal to The Episcopal Church have elected a provisional bishop to lead them as the leadership of their diocese has left the denomination.

The Episcopal Church in South Carolina, the name given to the continuing Episcopalians during their legal battle with the South Carolina Diocese, elected the Reverend Charles vonRosenberg. VonRosenberg was given the position at a special meeting of the continuing Episcopalians last Saturday at Grace Episcopal Church in Charleston.

Holly Behre, communications chairman for TEC in South Carolina, told The Christian Post about the results of the vote and powers that vonRosenberg will have as bishop provisional. "Bishop vonRosenberg was elected by acclamation by clergy and lay delegate representing 9 parishes, 10 missions and 8 continuing parishes," said Behre.

"Bishops provisional have all the duties and responsibilities of other bishops. The only difference is that they serve for a limited period of time, to be determined by the Convention, until we are ready to begin the process of calling a new Bishop."


South Carolina continuing Episcopalians meet to plan their future

From ENS-

Meeting in a town nicknamed the Holy City because of its founders’ religious tolerance and in a church that has survived the Civil War, great storms and an earthquake, Episcopalians in South Carolina turned to face their future.

Continuing Episcopalians from around what is known as the Lowcountry portion of South Carolina met Jan. 26 at Grace Episcopal Church, which was festooned with flowers and overflowing with people. Many participants expressed the desire for healing and new beginnings.

The day began with Holy Eucharist, during which Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori told the congregation in her sermon that “we all have a responsibility to be shepherds, to help others find their way through the gate of abundant life.”

More here-

Monday, January 28, 2013

Karaoke is music to ears of long-suffering vicars

From The Telegraph-

A new range electronic “hymnals”, adapting music systems for ecclesiastical purposes, have proved an unexpected hit with priests and vicars.

Controlled from a small screen in the pulpit or lectern, it provides backing music for congregations while projecting the lyrics onto walls - with the words appearing in time with the music just like in karaoke systems.

Clergy programme in their “play list” for each service in advance, choosing from a “repertoire” includes the full Anglican hymn book and favourites from the BBC’s Songs of Praise.
As well as traditional pipe organ and choral sounds it can switch to more unlikely offerings such as a Caribbean calypso style.

Based on a system first used in America, the “Hymnal Plus” has proved an unexpected hit in the UK with a few thousands systems already sold to churches as well as military chapels, crematoria and even cruise ships.

More here-

Bishop of Liverpool James Jones - looking back at his career

From Liverpool England-

JAMES JONES started his career as a religious education teacher in Kent.

He spent eight years as a curate in Bristol, before becoming a vicar in Croydon, Surrey, in 1990. Soon after, in 1994, he was appointed Bishop of Hull, arriving four years later in Liverpool.

He became the city's seventh bishop in 1998, taking over from the famous David Sheppard, who carried out the role for more than 20 years.

Reaching out to the world beyond the majestic Anglican Cathedral and the Church of England has been a key theme of the Rt Rev James Jones' 15 years as Bishop of Liverpool.

Bishop James has been deeply involved in regeneration, having chaired New Deal for Communities programme in Liverpool (Kensington Regeneration) and the ECHO's Stop the Rot campaign.

The decay and renewal of neighbourhoods has been close to his heart as 45% of the parishes in the Diocese of Liverpool are designated Urban Priority Areas.

The Bishop believes those running centrally-led programmes of regeneration need to understand more fully how communities can be revived.

Read more: Liverpool Echo

Book Notice: Sydney Anglicanism: An Apology by Michael Jensen

From Australia-

The Sydney Anglicans are, nationally and internationally, among the most influential and despised group of Anglicans in the world. I’ve seen TV documentaries about them, read scathing critiques about them on-line and in print, and even be privy to several in-house debates that they have with each other! In this book, Dr. Michael P. Jensen, lecturer in doctrine at Moore Theological College and son of the out-going Archbishop of Sydney Peter Jensen, gives us a view from one who has grown up and works in the very epicenter of Sydney Anglicanism. He attempts to give an accurate depiction of Sydney Anglicans (SA), away from the pro-SA propaganda that the Anglo-Catholic Liberals are about to over run the Emerald City, and away from the vehement rhetoric of Anglo-Catholic Liberals who caricature them as raving fundies who hate women and gays. Jensen’s book has two parts: SAs in relation to the Bible and the Church.

In part one, Jensen attempts to dispel the rumour that SAs are fundamentalists. He notes that “‘Fundamentalist’ is a playground bully among words” (13) He observes that SAs do not generally believe things normally attributed to fundamentalists like six day creation, pre-millennial eschatology, and right-wing approaches to politics. Simply believing in the primacy of scripture as SAs do does not make one a fundamentalist, but it is a good way of immunizing against fundamentalism. Jensen further points out that SAs have been at the forefront of a resurgent biblical theology movement in evangelicalism, led principally by Donald Robinson and Graham Goldsworthy. This is a particular Reformed emphasis, reading the OT and NT as a unity. In fact, Jensen states that, “The strong critiques of some aspects of [N.T.] Wright’s work offered by some Sydney Anglican scholars masks the great similarities between the approaches they share as a matter of fact” .

More here-

Anglican clergy calls for conference on evangelism

From Ghana-

Venerable Felix Annancy, the new Archdeacon of the Oda Archdeaconry of the Anglican Church, has said there was the need for the church to come out a clear policy on evangelism to help end the slow growth of the church.

He urged his fellow clergy not to be discouraged with the current trend of the church but to remain focused, work as a team and remain committed to God who called them to service and he will strengthen them.

Venerable Annancy was speaking at the silver jubilee and thanks giving service of his ordination into the priesthood in 1988 at the Akuse Saint Anthony Church on Sunday.

He said no one person could achieve much without the support of others and thanked members of the clergy, the Anglican Church, his friends and members of his family who had helped him throughout his 25 years in the priesthood.

More here-

Bethlehem churches share mission of sheltering homeless

From Bethlehem PA-

When the nights are frigid, as they have been lately, it's not unusual for the overflow of homeless men taking shelter at St. Andrew's Episcopal Church parish hall on Fridays to wind up sleeping in the church itself, clustered near the altar.

To the Rev. T. Scott Allen, who preaches from that spot on Sundays, that image is the living embodiment of his message.

"It's what we do on Friday night that gives us the privilege to do what we do on Sunday morning," Allen said. "The Gospel is about the good news for the poor. If we're not doing that, we're not doing what we are called to do as Christians."

Allen's church in Hanover Township, Lehigh County, and 10 others in the Bethlehem area open their doors on a rotating basis in the winter months so homeless people have a warm place to come in from the cold every night. Volunteers serve dinner and breakfast, in addition to providing cots, sheets, blankets and toiletries.

More here-,0,1770752.story

Author preaches forgiveness tips at Charlotte church

From North Carolina-

Do yourself a favor: Practice forgiveness.

That was the prescription Sunday from Dr. Ned Hallowell, a psychiatrist and best-selling author who addressed a packed house at Charlotte’s Christ Episcopal Church. Those who don’t forgive, he said, only hurt themselves by carrying around poisonous anger, resentment and hate.

And that goes for America’s polarized political system, too, said the author of “Dare to Forgive: The Power of Letting Go and Moving on,” who has appeared on “60 Minutes,” “20/20,” and other national TV shows.

If he could get President Barack Obama, House Speaker John Boehner and America’s other political leaders together in a room? “I’d say, ‘Shut up and listen.’ ”

Read more here:

Sunday, January 27, 2013

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

From Christian Century-

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."

Though 44 of the 71 parishes in the diocese support secession, according to the diocese, Episcopal Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori has said that differences of opinion within the church should be tolerated but unilateral secession is not permitted.

Secession must be approved by the church's General Convention, she said, which next meets in 2015.

South Carolina Circuit Court Judge Diane S. Goodstein issued the restraining order three days before Schori is scheduled to preach in Charleston, the seat of the diocese, which covers the eastern half of South Carolina.

On that same day, Jan. 26, Jefferts Schori will lead a meeting to elect a new provisional bishop and other clergy and lay leaders for the diocese

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Social justice at core of role New Episcopal bishop’s mission

From Western Mass.-

Dec. 21 is the shortest day of the year and — with its small window of daylight — it is symbolically the toughest day on the calendar for the hardcore homeless, who are forced to seek shelter on the cold streets.

Members of the Episcopal Diocese of Western Massachusetts gathered Dec. 21 at Christ Church Cathedral on Chestnut Street, in order to pray for the 58 street people from the region who had died over the past twelve months.

They were joined by Bishop Douglas J. Fisher, their newly ordained shepherd.

“Many of these homeless individuals were eulogized by people who knew them or worked with them, and these eulogies provided a better understanding of life on the streets,” said Bishop Fisher. “It’s the homeless and needy that we should be fighting for. We sometimes forget that there are people out there who desperately need our help. Our mission, as a local church, is to be there.”

On Dec. 1, Bishop Fisher was ordained the ninth prelate of the diocese, which includes Central Massachusetts.

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Episcopal church officials speak on health care

From Ohio-

Dear Editor,

Every day more than 1.5 million Ohioans, nearly 14 percent of our population, wake up without health insurance coverage. As a result, many of them go without treatment until their condition becomes more severe and more costly to address. Often when they do seek treatment, it is in the most expensive way possible: through emergency rooms and hospitals. The cost of caring for the uninsured falls to everyone. Those with health coverage pay more in treatment costs, and we all pay more in taxes to support local and state public health programs. This budget cycle the Governor and legislature have an opportunity to control health care costs for the benefit of all Ohioans by expanding our Medicaid program, as provided for in the federal Affordable Care Act (ACA). To do so is consistent with Gov. Kasich’s efforts over the last two years to transform Medicaid in Ohio — reducing costs and improving the program’s efficiency. As Christian leaders, we hear the call of Jesus to reach out to the poor and those on the margins of society. We believe that Medicaid Expansion will help stabilize health care to the poor and marginalized among us. We are leaders of a faith community that believes all are equal in the sight of God.

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