Saturday, February 9, 2013

Episcopalians, Catholics reach out to divorced

From Louisiana-

Baton Rouge’s St. Aloysius Catholic and St. James Episcopal churches are collaborating throughout the Lenten season in a healing program for people divorced or separated from their spouses.

The program, “Return to Life,” a six-part series, will meet from 3 p.m. to 5 p.m. Sundays beginning Feb. 17 at St. Aloysius.

The venue will alternate between the two churches for the following five Sundays, culminating in a “Day of Healing,” administered by the program’s creator, Maryanne Skrobiak, of Hales Corner, Wis., from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. March 23 at St. Aloysius.

“It’s for people who are divorced or divorcing and who are looking for a way to heal through this grieving process,” said Angela Falgoust, the Catholic co-director of the program.

Falgoust divorced seven years ago and has led three divorce healing programs at St. Aloysius.

More here-

Lutheran, Episcopal churches join forces

From Albany-

Churches have often been known to share ministers, buildings in temporary emergency circumstances or services for special events.

In Albany, however, two congregations have come together in an alliance that joins them in an ongoing arrangement, sharing not just a building but an "open communion" that invites members of each to participate in services and outreach in a joint ministry.

Members of the Lutheran Church of Our Savior, formerly located on Gillionville Road, are now joining St. Patrick's Episcopal Church for services at 9 a.m. each Sunday in the St. Patrick's sanctuary on Old Dawson Road.

This has been the practice since Sept.1 of last year in what was initially a trial period to determine whether it would be a good fit to combine the congregations. To accommodate the earlier worship, St. Patrick's shifted its regular 10:30 a.m. worship service to 10:45.

Both churches have long histories of service to the community, with more than 100 years between them. According to St. Patrick's rector, Father Jay Weldon, both are known as being loving places of grace and community outreach.

More here-

Retired Episcopal Bishop Henry Parsley will lead retreats in Sewanee

From Alabama-

Retired Episcopal Bishop Henry N. Parsley, who stepped down as head of the Episcopal Diocese of Alabama at the end of 2011, will serve as the first bishop-in-residence at St. Mary's Sewanee retreat center.

Parsley will serve a three-year term, with his first week in residence March 1-8. He will offer a Lenten Quiet Day on March 1.

Parsley will be in residence one week every quarter, leading quiet retreat days and scheduling appointments for spiritual direction. He will lead pre-ordination retreats for transitional deacons and develop opportunities to nurture parish priests.

Parsley currently serves as chancellor of the University of the South in Sewanee, Tenn.

The St. Mary's Sewanee retreat center, celebrating its 25th year, hosts more than 5,000 guests each year, about three miles from the University of the South.

More here-

Episcopal Church of the Redeemer is building for the future

From Mississippi-

Since the Rev. Robert Wetherington came to the Episcopal Church of the Redeemer on Sept. 1, 2011, he has seen the church rise from natural disasters of the past and enter a phase of rebirth.

By focusing on the future and solidifying the ministries within the church, Wetherington said he believes the days to come will be an opportunity for all.

"We are a people of outward and visible signs of God's infinite love and grace breaking forth in our lives," Wetherington said.

"We come together to worship and know Christ and then go into the world to share the love we have received.

"We have deep roots in new life."

The faith that is shown outwardly can be seen in the addition of a new building adjacent to the existing sanctuary.

The 3,361-square-foot multipurpose building will serve as a meeting place for Sunday school and women's, youth, men's and children's groups.

Read more here:

Friday, February 8, 2013

Statement on the conclusion of the meeting of the House of Bishops

From ACNS-

The House of Bishops of the Church of England has today expressed its encouragement and support for new robust processes and steps in bringing forward to General Synod the necessary legislation to consecrate women to the episcopate.

At a special meeting at Lambeth Palace today, the House reviewed the progress to develop proposals to enable women to become bishops at the earliest possible date. The meeting also considered changes to future meetings so as to ensure that eight senior women clergy will be participants in all meetings of the House and its standing committee.

The House was briefed on the two meetings held in January by the working group under the chairmanship of the Bishop of St Edmundsbury and Ipswich. All 10 of the members of the working group attended the House of Bishops meeting.  The House also received an account of the intensive, facilitated conversations held by the group with 15 others from a wide range of viewpoints on Tuesday and Wednesday this week.

The House was encouraged to hear of the constructive manner in which everyone had joined together in the search for a way forward. It agreed that the working group should shortly issue a consultation document that would give an outline of the discussions of the past weeks, set out some emerging ideas and provide General Synod members with an opportunity to have an input into that conversation prior to the working group meeting again on 4 March.

More here-

Oiling Up York Minster

From The Living Church-

In telling the story of the Good Samaritan my teetotalling headmaster at Sydney Cathedral School would wax eloquent about the medicinal properties of olive oil (“better for your skin than soap”) and wine (“the universal antiseptic”).

In those far-off days no-one would have dreamed that cathedrals might benefit from one or other of the remedies applied to the hapless Jerusalem-to-Jericho traveller. Acid rain, however, is prompting a quest for fresh ideas on how to preserve these ancient stones.

It’s been announced that York Minster, the second-largest gothic church in Europe, may shortly be coated in a layer of fat derived from olive oil. It’s all part of a growing trend of looking to the past for remedies to contemporary problems.

The Minster was built between 1220 and 1470 using magnesian limestone. Apparently the stone masons used to rub linseed oil into the blocks. The effect was to bind the calcium found in the limestone.

More here-

Couple nearly caught up in raid in African country

From Sudan-

The Bishop of Bradford and his wife narrowly missed getting caught up in political turmoil during a recent visit to Sudan, he has revealed.

The Right Reverend Nick Baines and his wife Linda travelled to the African country to meet Anglicans to strengthen a 30-year relationship between the Diocese of Bradford and the Episcopal Church of Sudan.

But an hour after they left the capital Khartoum to start their journey home, the Christian-run guesthouse they had been staying in was raided, guests taken in for questioning and the place taken over by the security services.

The Bishop said: “We left at one in the morning. We only found out afterwards the place had been raided and confiscated by the security service and the people staying there had been taken in for questioning.”

More here-

Women dignitaries to be elected as Bishops’ ‘participant observers’

From The Church Times-

EIGHT senior women clergy will participate in all meetings of the House of Bishops and its standing committee until there are six female members of the House, it was announced on Thursday.

After a special meeting at Lambeth Palace on Thursday to review progress on enabling women to become bishops "at the earliest possible date", the House announced that eight women would be elected regionally from within bishops' senior staff teams (including deans and archdeacons) as "participant observers", permitted to attend and speak at meetings.

The House reviewed the work of the ten-member working group commissioned to help bring fresh women-bishops legislation to the General Synod in July ( News, 21 December). This included reports from the "intensive, facilitated discussions" held by the group, and 15 other participants, on Tuesday and Wednesday ( News, 25 January).

The House of Bishops said that the working group would shortly issue a consultation document setting out "emerging ideas" and providing members of General Synod with an opportunity to share their views, before the next meeting of the group on 4 March. The facilitation process may be extended at a diocesan and regional level.

More here-’-‘participant-observers’

Emmanuel Episcopal Church invites you to 'come as you are'

From California-

What if you could find a church that allowed you to come as you are? Not just come as you are in terms of what you are wearing, but come as you are in terms of your life's journey.

And what if it was a church that was non-judgmental and accepting and affirming and was completely comfortable with your doubts and your questions? And what if, during your first visit, you had the really crazy feeling that you had come home?

These are comments heard repeatedly from people new to Emmanuel Episcopal Church in Fullerton. They always add, "This is the best kept secret in Fullerton!"

Emmanuel is a part of the worldwide Anglican Communion, a church steeped in tradition but with a contemporary twist.

The music is a blend of traditional and contemporary; out with the organ and in with the piano, electric violin, guitars, percussionist and flute. New musicians are welcome to join the group at any time.

More here-

St. John’s Episcopal Church offers Rhythms of Grace

From Massachusetts

This Sunday, Feb. 10, at 2 p.m., St. John’s Episcopal Church in Holbrook is hosting Rhythms of Grace, a new monthly church service designed for families with special-needs children.

“This is a form of worship that is more conducive for children with special needs,” said church priest-in-charge the Rev. Diane Wong.

Rhythms of Grace is an interactive, multi-age-appropriate worship service combining storytelling, arts and crafts, fine and large motor activities and Communion.

“Some children have a difficult time in a traditional church setting. It is hard for them to just sit and listen,” Wong said. “Rhythms of Grace allows them to get more out of a service. The children have things to touch and hold and activities related to the gospel lesson for that Sunday.”

Read more:

Thursday, February 7, 2013

Archbishop praises former Anglicans for their zeal for Catholic faith

From National Catholic Reporter-

The prefect of the Vatican Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith in a Saturday address in Houston called for a "culture of communion" and the continued path toward reunification.
"Christ's prayer 'that they all might be one' underscores the imperative of seeking full visible unity among Christians," Archbishop Gerhard Muller told a symposium marking the first anniversary of the Catholic church's U.S. ordinariate for former Anglicans.

The Houston-based Ordinariate of the Chair of St. Peter, headed by Msgr. Jeffrey Steenson, sponsored the symposium with the Archdiocese of Galveston-Houston.

Sessions, which were held in Houston at the archdiocese's St. Mary Seminary, explored the ecclesiology, evangelizing and liturgical missions of personal ordinariates created by the Vatican for former Anglican groups and clergy seeking to become Catholic.

While fully Catholic, the groups in an ordinariate retain aspects of their Anglican heritage and traditions. Similar to dioceses, though national in scope, ordinariates were authorized by Pope Benedict XVI in a 2009 apostolic constitution, "Anglicanorum coetibus."

More here-

Deferred Boy Scout decision forces churches to make choice of their own

From Houston-

Today, the Boy Scouts of America were set to make a decision in Irving, TX, the organization’s headquarters, regarding their controversial membership policy that bans gays and lesbians from Scouting and leadership. They deferred that decision until their annual meeting in May, no doubt in response to the raging controversy surrounding the issue.

Activists on both sides have been outspoken about the contentious decision, with religious organizations being at the center of the dispute.

The Boy Scouts of America has 2.7 million members nationwide. More than 70% of troops are affiliated with church or religious groups.

Ross Murray, Director of Religion, Faith and Values at GLAAD said that churches and the general public must, no matter their religious or political stance on this matter, remember that, “troops are often partnered with congregations, but are not a direct ministry of that congregation; it is just an affiliation.”

Murray clarified that the resolution that the Boy Scouts of America were considering is akin to others passed by the Evangelical Lutheran Church of America and the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.), which removed an over-arching ban or barrier, but, as Murray said, “leaves the decision up to the local entity, troop and congregation – what is going to be best for their particular context.”

More here-

When Church Politics Sinks to the Level of Pure Pettiness

From South Carolina-

If you think politics rocks and rolls only at the State House, take a look at church politics.

Episcopalians, known around the country for acceptance and tolerance, are facing mighty frustration and confusion in the lower part of the state following a schism late last year that has pitted parish against parish, priest against priest, and a bishop against the national church.

The headline-grabbing schism in what until recently was a united body known as the Episcopal Diocese of South Carolina today is fueled by a spiritual and historical stream of secession, a menacing aquifer of greed, disdain, money, power and sanctimony. It has spilled from the pulpit into state courts. It has caused churches and parishioners to pick between church leaders who have left the national Episcopal Church and those who remain with it.

Some see it as a bunch of ecclesiastical nonsense because they don’t really care which governing organization they’re aligned with. But others see the split as a hurtful squabble brought on by conservative clerics who are negatively impacting the worship lives of church members. And some are even gloomier, viewing the break as sinful lust by those leaving to grab as much as they can by using rhetoric, strategies and tactics worthy of the best negative political campaign that Lee Atwater ever ran.

More here-

Episcopal Bishop Seeks Resolution in Church's Crisis

From Liberia-

The Bishop of the Episcopal Church of Liberia, Jonathan B. B. Hart has held discussion with aggrieved men of the St. Augustine Episcopal Church aimed at finding a peaceful resolution to the looming crisis in the local Episcopal Church.

The meeting held Tuesday, February 5, 2013, at the Trinity Cathedral on Broad Street, was convened by Bishop Hart.

Information gathered from the meeting which lasted for nearly two hours revealed that the St. Augustine Episcopal Church Men, led by its President Prince A. Bolden, was frank in telling Bishop Hart the division existing in the Church is due to the manner in which Priest-in-Charge G. Nyema Harmon is administering affairs there.

The St. Augustine Men insisted that Rev. Harmon be replaced to avoid division in the Church.

However, after listening to the concerns of the St. Augustine Men, Bishop Hart said he was primarily interested in the resolution of the conflict before taking a decision.

Bishop Hart requested the St. Augustine Episcopal Church Men to make their complaint official by writing his office on Friday, February 8, 2013.

More here-

Texas Episcopal Church May Become First Congregation in State to Perform Same-Sex Rites

From Christian Post-

A historic congregation in Texas may become the first church in the state to perform the same-sex union blessing recently approved by The Episcopal Church's national leadership.

St. David's Episcopal Church of Austin, which is under the Episcopal Diocese of Texas, may begin performing a recently approved rite blessings for same-sex couples by next month. Jeanie Sablatura, director of communications for St. David's Episcopal, told The Christian Post that her church's decision to move forward was part of a "Unity in Mission plan" set up by the Texas Diocese.

"We were one of two churches asked by the Diocese of Texas if we would like to participate to which we said yes based on the size of our parish (one of the largest Episcopal churches in Texas) and because we have an active gay and lesbian population within our parish," said Sablatura.


Wednesday, February 6, 2013

Richard III was a Catholic and should be buried in a Catholic church

From The Telegraph-

Richard III may have been a murderer, or he may have been a much-maligned monarch. He was certainly one of the most controversial kings in English history, the last Plantagenet, and afflicted by scoliosis. He was also a Catholic. Now that his remains have been disinterred, he should be buried in a Catholic church with Catholic funeral rites.

The prospect of a  Westminster Abbey state funeral, or of his being moved to York Minster (more than 1500 citizens of York have signed a petition for him to be moved there) would have horrified this pre-Reformation Catholic. No matter what his links to York; no matter how tickled his vanity by the offer of a pomp and circumstance send-off, he'd expect a Catholic burial.

Anything else would shock him. He wouldn't recognise the unfamiliar rites of an Anglican state ceremony. He'd regard the established Church as sacrilegious, the work of a hateful Tudor who'd taken the divine right of kings too far. When the bodies of the Russian royal family were found in a mineshaft in the Urials, they were laid to rest– with a proper Russian Orthodox service celebrated in a proper Russian Orthodox cathedral. Surely this Catholic king should be accorded the same respect?

More here-

Pakistan's only Anglican college receives £2m government grant

From ACNS-

Colleges and Universities of the Anglican Communion (CUAC) reports that one of its member institutions, Edwardes College in Peshawar, Pakistan, has received a development grant in the amount of PKR 300 million (US$ 3.1 million) from the provincial government of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa. CUAC’s General Secretary, the Revd Canon James G Callaway noted, ‘This significant grant to Edwardes, the only Anglican college in Pakistan, recognizes the vital role our colleges are playing in non-Christian societies: modeling an embracing of diversity for the common good, which is part of the DNA of their Anglican identity.’

Edwardes College, an Anglican-founded undergraduate and graduate institution, is located in the troubled border region of northwestern Pakistan. The school’s Principal, the Revd Canon Dr Titus Presler, explained the potential impact of the award: ‘This grant of 300 million Pakistani rupees will assist Edwardes with the academic programs and physical facilities vital to the degree-awarding status that will enhance our educational contribution to the province and the nation.’ He continued, ‘Amid the extremist violence of the region, it is heartening that this province in the Islamic Republic of Pakistan has expressed such confidence in the higher education offered by a church institution. Lots of bad news comes from this area, but there is ground for hope.’

More here-

Fifth Nominee in SW Virginia

From The Living Church

The Diocese of Southwestern Virginia has announced a fifth nominee in a bishop’s election scheduled for March 9. The Rev. R. David Cox, priest in residence since 2006 at  St. Luke’s Church, Hot Springs, is a nominee by petition.

In his profile, Cox mentions four questions “shared to various degrees by at least some around the Diocese”:

Is there some value in having an “inside candidate,” who knowing from some experience of its personalities and wounds and achievements, its hopes and possibilities can lead the Diocese more quickly into its future? ...

What of the cares and concerns of smaller congregations? ...

Might this be a moment in the Diocese’s history for a shorter episcopate? …

How can the Diocese proceed toward the the vision proposed by the Sustainability Committee and embraced by the 2012 Diocesan Council? …

Cox joins these nominees, announced by the diocese in December:

The Very Rev. Mark Bourlakas (video)
The Rev. Jeanne Finan (video)
The Rev. Gail Greenwell (video)
The Rt. Rev. David Rice (video)

The diocese has revised its report about the nominees to include Cox’s nomination (PDF).

More here-

Pastor Bakare Blasts CAN Over Attack On El-Rufai

From Nigeria-

Activist pastor, Tunde Bakare, has hit back at the Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN) for its attack on former Minister of the Federal Capital Territory, Nasir El-Rufai for re-tweeting a Jesus joke that sparked a huge controversy.

Speaking during the State of the Nation address at his church on Sunday, Mr. Bakare, a pastor of the Latter Rain Assembly, said CAN was "feeding on mass neurosis and widening the gap between people of different faiths in our country" by referring to the former minister as a bigot.

Mr Bakare, who sees nothing wrong in the tweet which he described as "figurative", said CAN by its selective attack on Mr. El-Rufai who is a Muslim, only confirms the accusation by the Catholic Church that CAN had become a tool in the hand of government.

"It is rather unfortunate that the Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN) that should bring understanding to the simple on matters like this has chosen to confirm its description by the Catholic Church as an arm of the government in power by fanning the propaganda of agents of the administration that Nasir El-Rufai is a "bigot" for a statement that did not originate from him and whose meaning should be clear to a non-mischievous person."

More here-

Episcopal Convention Tells its Members to “Get Off Your Donkey!”

From San Diego-

Palm Desert, California - The annual gathering of the Episcopal Diocese of San Diego, the diocesan convention, takes place at St. Margaret’s Episcopal Church in Palm Desert on Friday, Feb. 8 and Saturday, Feb. 9. With a theme of “Mission Possible,” the convention features the Rev. Dr. Reggie McNeal as its keynote speaker. A Baptist minister with a mean wit, McNeal will entertain as he chides the church delegates to “get off their donkeys and help somebody,” as he said in a recent phone interview.

“I’m trying to get church leaders out of the church business,” said McNeal. “I’m trying to get them in the people business. The church is not the point.”

McNeal’s newest book, released this month by Baker Books, fleshes out this idea of mobilizing people to help others. Get Off Your Donkey: Help Somebody and Help Yourself shows readers that loving our neighbors is the heart of Jesus’ gospel; “everything else is just religion,” said McNeal. The book will be available at Convention for $16. Cash, check, MC and Visa are accepted. McNeal will sign books after the gala dinner on Friday evening at the Hyatt Regency in Indian Wells. He will also sign books on Saturday afternoon at St. Margaret’s.

More here-

Trinity Episcopal Church reaches out in a big way

From Ohio-

The family that is Trinity Episcopal Church came together on Nov. 17, 2012 for the community of Canton to host the Quality Street Fair.

“I think when we all do God’s work together, miraculous things happen,”, said fair coordinator Jane Reeve.

Twenty-five years ago, what began as a kernel of an idea from a beloved parishioner, Peggy Gillespie, Quality Street Fair was born as a way to help the church community. For many years a portion of the proceeds was donated to local charities and most of the proceeds helped to fund church operations.

Trinity set a five-year goal of donating all proceeds outside of the walls of Trinity, which was achieved in 2004. Beginning in 2004 all proceeds were designated to one or two organizations in the wider community. This year, $7,200 was raised for the Canton Food Bank and the Canton Fuel Bank, and checks for $3,600 were distributed to each organization respectively in December. “This is the best-ever gift that Quality Street has made possible,” said the Reverend Linda Spiers. “I am so grateful for the ministry of our Trinity family, along with the enormous support of the Canton community, and I can only imagine how grateful people served by these organizations will be.”

More here-

Tuesday, February 5, 2013

New Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby reaffirms his opposition to gay marriage as he takes office

From The Independent-

Newly elected Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby has used his first public comments as leader of the world’s 80million Anglicans to reiterate his opposition to the Government’s gay marriage plans.

The former oil-executive turned evangelical man of the cloth was officially made the 105 Archbishop of Canterbury following a brief, legalese filled ceremony in St Paul’s. He had already been nominated for the job last year but today’s ceremony marked his official election to the post before his enthronement at Canterbury cathedral next month.

In a brief interview with the media afterwards Dr Welby was asked to comment on tomorrow’s vote on gay marriage – an issue that although the Anglican Church’s leadership has officially opposed many pew members are nonetheless supportive of.

"I have no idea how the vote will go, so I am not going to get into hypothetical questions,” he said. “I stand, as I have always stood over the last few months, with the statement I made at the announcement of my appointment, which is that I support the Church of England's position on this. We have made many statements about this and I stick with that."

More here-

The new archbishop of Canterbury should be a disciple rather than a leader

From The Guardian-

Today in St Paul's Cathedral, Justin Welby's election as archbishop of Canterbury will be confirmed by a commission of bishops. From that point, six weeks before his enthronement in his own cathedral, he will be archbishop in "spiritualities" and public expectation. Part of that expectation will be the leadership he exercises in the church and nation, an expectation which has already been strongly expressed. The dean of Liverpool says Welby "will make an excellent leader of the Anglican communion"; Ekklesia, a thinktank, says Welby "can offer the kind of leadership needed at a time when idols have been falling".

In many ways this is too trivial to note. We expect the "leaders" of our organisations to provide "leadership", and leadership is uniformly a good and necessary thing. Every human endeavour requires leadership: our politicians must be leaders for us to overcome our difficulties; sportsmen must be leaders for our team to win; financiers, journalists, school teachers – leaders all.

What's true in the secular world is also true within the Church of England. The Church Times, for example, has mentioned "leaders" and "leadership" (and very often in terms of the lack of both) 589 times in the three months since Welby's nomination. This hunger for leadership is palpable when compared with the way Rowan Williams was regarded. Even when he was in office Williams was criticised by a lay member of the synod for being "a godly, gracious and clearly very able person in many ways, but I don't think he's got the gift of leadership that the church needs at this present time. [We need] a clear Christian leadership."

More here-

The Theology of Ray Lewis

From Huffington-

Whenever anyone asks me whether God has a hand in the outcome of sporting events, I have a ready answer. I point to the three little league baseball seasons I coached with a fellow Episcopal priest: We never had a winning season. Granted we weren't exactly down on our knees in the dugout or teaching our players the proper way to cross themselves in the batter's box. But you'd think God would have at least sent one power hitter our way or blessed us with an outfielder who could actually track fly balls.

There's been a lot of talk about God's role in sports the past few weeks. Sports Illustrated even ran a cover story with the headline "Does God Care Who Wins the Super Bowl?" featuring a picture of Baltimore Ravens linebacker Ray Lewis emerging from a body of water with his hands clasped in prayer.

Now, for the sake of full disclosure, I should tell you I'm originally from Baltimore. I am a passionate, life-long Orioles fan and a huge Ravens fan. As I write this the morning after the Super Bowl, I'm reveling in last night's events while drinking coffee at my favorite coffee shop while wearing my Ray Lewis jersey.

It's no secret Lewis is a polarizing figure: As a young man he was put on trial in connection with a double murder following Super Bowl XXXIV in Atlanta. He was cleared but charged with misdemeanor obstruction of justice. For some, that connection, regardless of the fuzzy circumstances and outcome of the trial, has forever vilified Lewis. Like most Baltimoreans, I believe he's done an admirable job of turning his life around and have seen first-hand the impact he's had in that city through charity work and inspiring a generation of underprivileged young boys and girls. I also love his passion for the game of football, admire his leadership skills and feel privileged to have seen the best linebacker of his era play both live and on television.

More here-

Archbishop-designate No More

From The Living Church-

It’s official: We can now call Justin Portal Welby the Archbishop of Canterbury. On Monday St. Paul’s Cathedral in London was the scene of a confirmation ritual begun in the fourth century. Welby is the 105th Archbishop of Canterbury.

When George L. Carey was confirmed in office in 1991 the venue was the crypt of St. Mary le Bow in Eastcheap in the City of London. Apart from members of the church court comprising a handful of bishops, the Dean of Canterbury plus lawyers, attending were immediate family and a handful of observers.

In 2002 Rowan Williams rang changes. He moved the event to St. Paul’s where the court was located at the high altar. To see the action clearly people sitting under the famous St. Paul’s dome would have needed opera glasses. To improve viewing this time round the proceedings were located further forward around the nave altar.

“We have dusted off the ceremony, brought it into the public realm, and put it into the context of prayer and worship,” the Very Rev. David Ison, Dean of St. Paul’s, said in welcoming the congregation.

More here-

‘Smokin’ for Mission’ helps Episcopal Relief & Development

From ENS-

Dioceses, churches and organizations united on Feb. 2 at the Episcopal Seminary of the Southwest in Austin, Texas to cook some meat and raise money for Episcopal Relief & Development.

Thirteen teams came together and started preparing their meat and secret ingredients the night before. A special Compline service was also held in All Saints’ chapel as teams arrived with large grills, special light towers and camping chairs.

Teams from the diocese of Alabama, Oklahoma, Mississippi, Western Michigan, West Texas and Texas took part. Teams from local Episcopal congregations and nearby neighborhood restaurants, coffee houses and bars also competed for barbecue bragging rights.

The event brought hundreds of individuals to the seminary grounds to taste each team’s barbecue and give to a worthwhile cause.

More here-

Monday, February 4, 2013

Habitat trip to El Salvador builds more than homes

From Central New York-

"Anybody can volunteer. The first trip I went on had people from the age of 18 to 75. Male or female, no construction experience is necessary. (I'm looking for) someone who is eager to learn about another country and to be involved, and willing to get their hands dirty," he said.

The experience will involve working to construct a three-room 450 square-foot house, with the future homeowner working alongside the volunteers. But the mission trip won't be all work. The week includes experiences to foster cultural learning of the nation's different aspects, such as a day at a beach resort and a potential trip to a coffee plantation.

A bilingual host assists the team to remove the language barrier.

Coerper serves as a worksite coordinator in Syracuse, and trained as a global village trip leader. He joined similar trips to Dominican Republic before moving to Skaneateles nearly three years ago, and had hoped to set up a similar mission. That didn't pan out, so he took advantage of strong connections between the community and El Salvador to establish one in the densely populated nation.

The Episcopal Diocese of Central New York supported the concept and worked with the other diocese to make it happen.

More here-

Future of American church unclear

From Rhode Island-

About two thousand years ago, a Jewish carpenter from Nazareth told his friends, “A house divided against itself cannot stand.”

I’m certain there are more spiritually edifying interpretations of that line, but many contemporary Christian leaders are apparently under the impression Jesus was talking about building the perfect veranda.

The house looks like it may collapse on itself in Rhode Island.

The Rhode Island General Assembly passed a measure Jan. 22 to present a same-sex marriage bill to the full legislature.

Should the bill be adopted, Rhode Island would become the last state in New England to legalize gay marriage.

Roman Catholic Bishop Thomas Tobin has declared that isn’t going to happen — at least not on his watch.

But like a steely-eyed gunslinger, a challenger has appeared: Episcopalian Bishop Nicholas Knisely has drawn his six-shooter and fired a warmly worded appeal for mutual love, respect and marital equality.

While the rumble in the Ocean State (who knew?) is just getting under way, these dueling bishops exemplify a larger crisis coming to a head in modern Christianity.

More here-

Crisis Deepens in Episcopal Church

From Liberia-

The crisis in the St. Augustine Episcopal Church on Bardnesville Road is said to be deepening by the day as a result of dissatisfaction of some members of the Church.

Members of the Church especially men have been at odd with the Priest-in-Charge G. Nyema Harmon over the manner in which the affairs of the Church is being administered.

Reports gathered by this paper Sunday, February 3, 2013 say the Vestry (Church administrators) of the St. Augustine Episcopal Church has elected Rev. G. Nyema Harmon as Rector of the St. Augustine Parish something which might stall a pending truce with Episcopal Bishop Jonathan B.B. Hart.

Sources closed to the Episcopal Church of Liberia say Rev. Hart has called for a meeting with the men of the St. Augustine Episcopal Church to find a way out of the deepening crisis, but the men have insisted that Bishop Hart replace Rev Harmon if the Church must be peaceful.

The St. Augustine Episcopal Church Men have been pressing for their priest to follow the canon (constitution) of the Episcopal Church of Liberia but the men's request seems not to be yielding results.

More here-

St. Mark's Chapel visited by new Episcopal bishop

From South Carolina-

St. Mark's Chapel in Port Royal took a step closer to its goal of joining the national Episcopal Church on Sunday when a newly appointed bishop visited the congregation and performed the first confirmations of his tenure.
The Right Rev. Charles vonRosenberg, who recently was appointed provisional bishop of the South Carolina parishes remaining with the national church, joined in the service at Union Church on 11th Street and was celebrated afterward at a reception at The Shed in Port Royal.

The national Episcopal Church's presiding bishop, the Most Rev. Katharine Jefferts Schori, installed vonRosenberg at a convention in Charleston last weekend to lead the 19 parishes and six worship groups in South Carolina that remain with The Episcopal Church of the United States.

For years, St. Mark's has attempted to join the diocese in South Carolina but its petitions were refused up until a schism with the national church. The visit from vonRosenberg signaled a welcoming into the Episcopal Church, said founding member Scott Shaffer.

The congregation, which started as a home church, hopes to become full-fledged members of the national church at a convention in March, Shaffer said.

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Bones Under Parking Lot Belonged to Richard III

Off topic (as if we had one) but interesting- (I guess there wasn't a horse with him)

 In one of Britain’s most dramatic modern archaeological finds, researchers here announced on Monday that skeletal remains found under a parking lot in this English Midlands city were those of King Richard III, for centuries the most widely reviled of English monarchs, paving the way for a possible reassessment of his brief but violent reign.

Richard Buckley, the lead archaeologist on a project to identify the bones, told reporters that tests and research since the remains were discovered last September proved “beyond reasonable doubt” that the “individual exhumed” from a makeshift grave under the parking lot was “indeed Richard III.”

Part of the evidence came from DNA testing by the geneticist Turi King, who told the same new conference that DNA samples taken from modern-day descendants of Richard’s family matched those of the bones found at the site.

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Sunday, February 3, 2013

Durban priest to be knighted

From South Africa-

 A retired Durban priest, Rod van Zuylen, is to be knighted by England's Queen Elizabeth for his work with the poor, the Sunday Times reports.

The Anglican Reverend Canon, aged 69, will be knighted during a ceremony conducted by Archbishop Emeritus Desmond Tutu, since Van Zuylen cannot afford the plane ticket to the ceremony in England in August.

“It's too expensive to buy tickets for myself and my family, so I would rather receive the honour here among my friends and close family. It will also be more of a personal affair.”

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Gay issue leads Scouts to find new Keene home

From New Hampshire-

Boy Scout Troop 18 had made its home at St. James Episcopal Church since 1949.

No longer.

The troop and the church recently parted ways over a national Boy Scouts of America membership policy that bans gays from Scouting.

Now BSA's national executive board is discussing removing that policy and leaving it up to the churches and other "chartered organizations" that host scout troops across the nation to set their own membership policies.

But it appears too late to fix the split that policy caused here.

Troop 18 has found a new home at St. George Greek Orthodox Church, just down the street from the Episcopal church.

"We found a very welcoming place, and I'm very happy for the troop," Scoutmaster Mark Hill said Friday evening.

The trouble began last fall when a parishioner at St. James raised concerns about hosting a Boy Scout troop, given the BSA policy that bans gay scouts, according to the Rev. Mark Jenkins, the rector.

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New bishop installed for Episcopal Diocese of NY

From The Wall Street Journal-

The Episcopal Diocese of New York installed the Rev. Andrew Dietsche on Saturday as the diocese's 16th bishop.

Dietsche succeeds Mark Sisk, who retired.

"It is the great honor of my life, joyful to be sure, but also weighty and formidable, to come to this pulpit today for the first time as the bishop of New York," Dietsche said during his sermon at the Cathedral Church of St. John the Divine.

Dietsche was a freelance graphic designer and cartoonist before becoming a cleric. He has served since 2001 as the diocese's canon for pastoral care.

From 1990 to 2001, he was pastor of the Church of the Good Shepherd in West Springfield, Mass.

Dietsche was elected bishop by clergy and lay representatives from the New York diocese's 199 parishes at a special convention held at the cathedral in November 2011.

More here-