Saturday, March 23, 2013

Friday’s Religion News Roundup: Veganized Vatican * Kosher Coke * Desert Passover

From RNS-

As SCOTUS prepares to take up two high-profile gay marriage cases next week, NPR has a nifty timeline of the history of the debate.

The Anglican Communion has a new Archbishop of Canterbury, Justin Welby. His installation sermon calling for an end to fear is here.

Pope Francis wants to reenergize talks with Islam, which is something many Muslims are eager to do as well. Full text of Francis’ address to Vatican diplomats is here.

The everyman stories about Francis are legion (cooking his own meals, riding the bus), but here’s one more to add to the mix: he called to cancel his newspaper delivery in Argentina. ‘Cuz ya know, now he owns his own newspaper.

Did somebody say awkward? Francis takes a trip to Castel Gandolfo tomorrow to meet retired Pope Benedict XVI, the first time in a very long time when two guys in white both have the title “Pope” in front of their names.

File this under Not Gonna Happen: PETA wants Francis to “veganize” the Vatican.

Remember that Vatican crackdown on American nuns? Francis is from a religious order (the Jesuits) and NY Cardinal Timothy Dolan said that should help clear the air; Chicago Cardinal Francis George, meanwhile, says it may make it easier to tighten the screws.

More here-

New Anglican Archbishop named

From New Zealand-

The Anglican church has elected a new archbishop to lead its New Zealand congregation.

Philip Richardson, the Bishop of Taranaki, was confirmed at a meeting in Wellington of representatives of the country's seven dioceses.

"It is overwhelming. I think to have the confidence of your peers, to have the confidence of the church in this way, is both encouraging and a little bit daunting," said Richardson.

"I think when God calls you, you've got no option but to respond."

News of his appointment came through a text message - an indication that this is 2013 and times are changing.

"We certainly have to be fresh and creative in the way that we articulate," the 55-year-old said.

More here-

Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby

From PBS (with video)

KIM LAWTON, managing editor: In a ceremony filled with pomp and pageantry, Justin Welby was installed as the new spiritual leader to nearly 80 million Anglicans around the world. The 57-year-old Welby is a former oil company executive who became a priest in his mid-30s. He had been a bishop for just a year when he was chosen for the Anglican Communion’s highest post. One of his toughest challenges may be helping the Communion stay together amid profound differences over theology, gender, and sexuality. The Anglican body has more than 40 separate branches, including the Church of England, the Episcopal Church in the US, and numerous churches across Africa, Asia, and South America.

ARCHBISHOP JUSTIN WELBY (Archbishop of Canterbury): We are struggling with very, very significant divisions, different ways of looking at the world coming out of our context, coming out of our history, and learning how we deal with those differences, which are of themselves valuable things, is really significant.

LAWTON: Welby told me as archbishop he intends to promote reconciliation as one of his top priorities.

WELBY: It is the key theological concept for Christian faith, reconciliation with God and the breaking down of barriers between people. And therefore for me, I have this sense that part of the church’s role is to be reconciled reconcilers.

More here-

Nashotah dean among Episcopal bishops who agree to sanctions

From Milwaukee-

Retired Episcopal Bishop Edward L. Salmon, now dean of the Nashotah House Theological Seminary in Waukesha County, is among nine bishops who have agreed to sanctions for their part in supporting breakaway congregations in lawsuits over church assets.

Salmon came to Nashotah House in 2011, after retiring as bishop of the church's South Carolina Diocese. He was unavailable for comment on Friday.

According to Religion News Service:

Under the terms of the agreement, the nine bishops “express regret for any harm” to the Dioceses of Quincy (Ill.) and Fort Worth (Texas) as a result of their actions, which included filing amicus briefs that were sympathetic with the breakaway groups.

The bishops also pledged to stop supporting breakaway groups in court cases, at least until the church’s General Convention addresses the matter in 2015. They also agree to help defray costs incurred by the church in reaching the accord.

The accord is billed as an outcome of “conciliation,” which is a step in the church disciplinary process. But tensions remain unresolved.

Conciliation “doesn’t achieve full reconciliation,” said Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori. “It is a step in that direction.”

More here-

Friday, March 22, 2013

Archbishop Welby's enthronement sermon

From The Church Times-

TO EACH one of us, whoever and wherever we are,  joining us from far away by television of radio, or here in the Cathedral, Jesus calls through the storms and darkness of life and says "Take heart, it is I, do not be afraid".

Our response to those words sets the pattern for our lives, for the church, for the whole of society. Fear imprisons us and stops us being fully human. Uniquely in all of human history Jesus Christ, the Son of God, is the one who as living love liberates holy courage.

"If it is you tell me to come to you on the water" Peter says, and Jesus replies "come". History does not relate what the disciples thought about getting out of a perfectly serviceable boat, but Peter was right, and they were wrong. The utterly absurd is completely reasonable when Jesus is the one who is calling. Courage is liberated, and he gets out of the boat, walks a bit, and then fails. Love catches him, gently sets him right, and in a moment they are both in the boat and there is peace. Courage failed, but Jesus is stronger than failure.

The fear of the disciples was reasonable. People do not walk on water, but this person did. For us to trust and follow Christ is reasonable if He is what the disciples end up saying He is; "truly you are the Son of God". Each of us now needs to heed His voice calling to us, and to get out of the boat and go to Him. Because even when we fail, we find peace and hope and become more fully human than we can imagine: failure forgiven, courage liberated, hope persevering, love abounding.

More here-

African dancers, bongo drums and a Punjabi hymn... the oh-so modern arrival of Britain's new Archbishop

From the Daily Mail (lots of photos and a video)

Habemus Cantaur, as they might say in Rome. Days after the installation of the latest Bishop of Rome, Canterbury yesterday enthroned its own new Archbishop in a service whose vaulting ceremonial accommodated bongo drums, a Punjabi melody – and suppressed giggles from the Duchess of Cornwall.

It was a quintessentially Anglican do with wedding hats, thunder rolls of organ and splodges of political correctness.

Enter processions with crucifers and taperers, lay clerks, sheriffs, the ceremonarius, a whole arsenal of canons. There were various virgers, vesturers aplenty, and a dean as damp and kindly as Sergeant Wilson from Dad’s Army.

David Cameron and (atheist) Edward Miliband sat beside one other. Speaker Bercow had brought along his pretty young trainbearer.

Cabinet minister Chris Grayling was there in his guise and garb as Lord Chancellor, looking a bit like third herald in the Christmas panto at Canterbury’s Marlowe Theatre.

We also had African dancers. It was they who set off Camilla, sitting beside the Prince of Wales.
The African chaps came jiving past in the middle of the service, twirling, yoo-be-dooing, their knees bouncing as high as blokes walking on a hot beach. Yeowww, bro’, that sand is hot!

Who can blame Camilla? Her lips did a crumple, the shoulders started to shake and if she had been drinking soup she might have done the nose trick.

The 105th Archbishop, Justin Welby, wanted this to be known as his ‘inaugural service’ but enthronement was indisputably the word when he sat in the ancient cathedra Augustini – the physical, marble Chair of Augustine, which may date to the 6th century.

He looked the part in it and his clear, strong voice bespoke a man at ease with the tasks ahead.

Read more-

Justin Welby enthroned as new archbishop of Canterbury

From The Guardian-

Justin Portal Welby's long and unlikely journey from young oil executive to leader of the world's 77 million Anglicans ended with three slow and echoing taps on the west door of Canterbury Cathedral on Thursday afternoon.

The knocking of his pastoral staff was answered with a fanfare – and a self-inflicted inquisition.

"We greet you in the name of Christ," said Evangeline Kanagasooriam, a 17-year-old Anglican chosen to hail the new archbishop by putting to him a list of questions he himself had penned for the occasion. "Who are you and why do you request entry?"

The archbishop replied: "I am Justin, a servant of Jesus Christ, and I come as one seeking the grace of God, to travel with you in this service together."

Before a congregation of 2,000 people, among them the Prince of Wales, the Duchess of Cornwall, the prime minister and representatives of all the world's major religions, the 105th Archbishop of Canterbury explained, slowly and humbly, that he had come to proclaim the love of Christ, to worship him and to love him.

"I come knowing nothing except Jesus Christ and him crucified, and in weakness and fear and much in trembling," he added.

More here-

New Anglican leader calls for courage to tackle world problems

From CNN-

Only two days after Pope Francis was officially inaugurated, the Church of England enthroned its new leader, ex-oil executive Justin Welby. As Archbishop of Canterbury, Welby now heads the 77 million-strong worldwide Anglican Communion.

British Prime Minister David Cameron, Prince Charles and the Duchess of Cornwall, bishops and leaders of other faiths were among those gathered for the ceremony at historic Canterbury Cathedral, about 100 kilometers (60 miles) southeast of London.

It followed a series of time-honored traditions, beginning with the admittance of the new Archbishop of Canterbury into the cathedral following three knocks with his staff on the door.

Welby then swore an oath of faith to the Church of England and Queen Elizabeth II on the ancient Canterbury Gospels, brought to England by St. Augustine in 597.

But the service also embraced elements that were modern and reflected the church's international reach.

Setting Themes of Humility, a New Archbishop of Canterbury Is Installed

From The New York Times-

At his installation as archbishop of Canterbury on Thursday, Justin Welby, a former oil executive who made an unusually rapid rise to the leadership of the Anglican Church, used the ceremony in Canterbury’s nine-century-old cathedral to set themes of simplicity, modesty and innovation that echoed the tone Pope Francis has set for his week-old papacy.

Archbishop Welby, 57, began his day with a jog around the cathedral grounds in Canterbury. Once the treasurer of a medium-size oil company, before quitting to study for ordination into the priesthood at 37, he appeared for an eve-of-installation interview with the BBC wearing a suit he bought at a British charity shop for less than $15.

At the ceremony, he seemed eager to mark his start with quiet but unmistakable gestures that affirmed the reforming approach he has embraced since being selected in November over more senior bishops for the post that makes him spiritual leader of some 80 million Anglicans worldwide.

More here-

New leader of world's Anglicans enthroned by female cleric

From NBC-

The new spiritual leader of the world's Anglicans was enthroned by a female cleric on Thursday, taking the helm at a time when the troubled church risks tearing itself apart over gay marriage and women bishops.

In a colorful ceremony featuring African dancers, Punjabi music and Anglican hymns, Justin Welby, 57, officially became the 105th archbishop of Canterbury under the gothic arches of Britain's 900-year-old Canterbury Cathedral.

The ceremony took place in front of a congregation that included heir-to-the-throne Prince Charles, Prime Minister David Cameron and other establishment figures.

For the first time in the church's history, the priest who placed him on the diocesan throne in Canterbury — the mother church of the Church of England and of the Anglican Communion — was a woman, Archdeacon of Canterbury Sheila Watson.

More here-

Inaguration Program

Here's the program from yesterday's enthronement of Justin Welby in Canterbury.

Episcopal bishops agree not to help breakaway congregations

From The Washington Post-

The Episcopal Church has a new commandment for its bishops: Thou shalt not assist former Episcopalians who are trying to take the church’s assets.

Church leaders have reached an agreement with nine bishops who had supported breakaway congregations in Texas and Illinois court cases. Courts have been sorting out who controls properties and other assets when congregations leave the denomination.

Under the terms, the nine bishops “express regret for any harm” to the Dioceses of Quincy (Ill.) and Fort Worth (Texas) as a result of their actions, which included filing amicus briefs that were sympathetic with the breakaway groups.

The bishops also pledged to stop supporting breakaway groups in court cases, at least until the church’s General Convention addresses the matter in 2015. They also agree to help defray costs incurred by the church in reaching the accord.

More here-

Thursday, March 21, 2013

Justin Welby's ascension shines light on powerful evangelical church

From The Guardian-

The ascension of Justin Welby to archbishop of Canterbury is confirmation of the quiet parallel rise of a controversial evangelical church in central London to become the most influential congregation in the Church of England.

Welby was in his late 20s when he joined the congregation of Holy Trinity Brompton in Kensington. He was working in the oil business and had relocated to London in 1983 after five years in Paris.

The years he spent at the church, becoming a lay leader there before quitting his high-salary career in 1989 and moving to Durham to train to be an Anglican priest, had a powerful impact on him.

Holy Trinity Brompton, or HTB as it has rebranded itself, is no ordinary church.

On Thursday afternoon, in a service attended by David Cameron and the Prince of Wales at Canterbury Cathedral, Welby will be enthroned as the symbolic leader of the worldwide Anglican Communion. And yet the vicar of HTB, Nicky Gumbel, is almost certainly a more influential figure in England than Welby, his notional boss.

HTB is the only part of the Church of England that is confident that it is growing. The Alpha course first developed there – doctrinally extremely conservative but socially flexible and modest – is now an international phenomenon, operated as a franchise in more than 160 countries.

More here-

Catholic Church turns to Anglicans to fill U.S. priest shortage

From CBS-

Sunday is anything but a day of rest for Father Tim Kitzke. On the Sunday we followed him, the priest said Mass at three different Milwaukee churches, held a luncheon for dozens of parishioners and baptized a baby.

Kitzke and one other priest are in charge of seven churches in the Milwaukee Archdiocese. There used to be a time when 14 priests covered the seven churches.

"It's not only -- maybe not the old model ... but it's the old reality," he says.

The number of Roman Catholic priests in the United States has steadily dropped from nearly 59,000 in 1975 to just under 39,000 last year. But the number of Catholics in the United States has increased by 17 million.

Asked if he worries, Kitzke says, "Definitely, yes, we obviously need more priests -- that goes without saying, we need more vocations."

More here-

Archbishop Justin Welby's olive branch to gay rights groups

From The Telegraph-

The Most Rev Justin Welby, who will be enthroned at Canterbury Cathedral later today, sent a message to Peter Tatchell, the veteran human rights campaigner, last night inviting him to meet face-to-face.

In was in response to an open letter in which Mr Tatchell accused the Archbishop of being “homophobic” by opposing gay marriage and said that Anglicans had “colluded” in extreme suppression of homosexuality in Africa.

The gesture is likely to further infuriate leaders of the Anglican Church in Africa and the southern hemisphere – several of whom are said to be preparing to snub the Archbishop by absenting themselves from a celebratory get-together for primates after the enthronement.

The invitation for a meeting is in stark contrast to the relationship between gay rights groups and previous Archbishops.

Previous enthronements at Canterbury have been marked by protests from different campaign groups.

More here-


From Patheos-

This year more than most, March 21 is a date of multiple significance in the Church of England. You might justly ask whether the English church still matters much on the world stage, but the wider Anglican Communion assuredly does: by the middle of this century, there could well be 150 million Anglicans worldwide.

Historically, March 21 commemorates the burning of Archbishop Thomas Cranmer by Mary Tudor’s Catholic regime, in 1556. Cranmer has a fair claim to rank as the founder of the Anglican tradition and the creator of its liturgy and Book of Common Prayer. He is also a complex figure who had gone far towards compromising with the regime in an attempt to save his life. Ultimately, though, he died as a martyr.

That contorted story explains his appeal for modern writers and biographers. Charles Williams wrote a wonderful play about Thomas Cranmer of Canterbury (1936), which bears comparison with that other great religious play of the British 1930s, Eliot’s Murder in the Cathedral.

This year, though, Anglican identity is even more centrally in the news on March 21 because of the enthronement of Justin Welby as the 105th Archbishop of Canterbury, in a line dating back to St. Augustine in 597. As the media have reported extensively, the new Archbishop faces an extremely difficult political situation in that church, which is deeply split over issues of homosexuality, and the election of women bishops.

More here-

Bill would put gay marriage to referendum

From Rhode Island-

A joint resolution that could legalize same-sex marriage but allow religious organizations and small business owners to refuse marriage services to same-sex couples is scheduled for a hearing in front of the Senate Judiciary Committee today.

Sen. Frank Ciccone, D-Providence, proposed the resolution Wednesday to place the measure on the 2014 ballot.

If the General Assembly passes the resolution and voters pass the amendment, the state’s constitution will be altered to “recognize and define marriage in the state of Rhode Island as a legally recognized union of two people,” according to the resolution.

The issue of same-sex marriage should be settled by the public, Ciccone said. “One hundred and thirty legislators should not rule on the matter.”

Though he is personally opposed to same-sex marriage legalization, he said, “If the voters are in favor of it, then that’s fine.”


Many of the state’s religious leaders oppose Ciccone’s referendum resolution, including the Board of Rabbis of Greater Rhode Island, the Rhode Island State Council of Churches and Nicholas Knisely, bishop of the Episcopal Diocese of Rhode Island, he said.

Same-sex marriage opponent Bishop Thomas Tobin of the Catholic Diocese of Providence lauded the resolution for advancing “the discussion in a positive and democratic way, while at the same time safeguarding the rights of all parties,” according to a statement.

More here-

Anglican Communion prepares for Archbishop Welby’s inauguration

From ACNS-

Members of the worldwide Anglican Communion are gearing up for the March 21 inauguration of Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby at Canterbury Cathedral.

As staff at the cathedral get ready for this key moment in Anglican history, lay and ordained people from right around the world are also preparing for the big day.

Over the past week the communion’s primates — the most senior bishops from across the Anglican Communion — have travelled to England for the inauguration. Many have made the most of their visit by attending meetings while in the U.K. Primate of West Africa, the Most Rev. Tilewa S. Johnson, visited the mission agency Us (formerly USPG). He also recorded a piece on the Church of England’s new primate for BBC’s Radio 4 Sunday programme. Among other visits the Primate of the Episcopal Church in Jerusalem and the Middle East headed to a housing project in Lancashire.

All the Anglican Communion Standing Committee members will attend the inauguration. Chairman of the Standing Committee and the Anglican Consultative Council, and Bishop of Southern Malawi, the Rt. Rev. James Tengatenga told ACNS, that the inauguration “is an important moment for our Anglican Communion because it marks the beginning of Archbishop Welby’s leadership of our global family.

More here-

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Archbishop's walkabout invites Truro to 'try prayer'

From Cornwall England-

A carnival of Christians made their way through the cobbled streets of Truro city centre yesterday as the new Archbishop of Canterbury called on people to "give the power of prayer a try".

Inviting "those of all faiths and those of none" to join him in the cathedral for a day of worship and contemplation, the Most Reverend Justin Welby handed out prayer cards and candles to shoppers.
Billed as a day of informal reflection, the Archbishop was demonstrating what many in the Church of England see as a more accessible style to that of his predecessor, Rowan Williams. The former Bishop of Durham, who will be enthroned on Thursday, said it was "a privilege" to be in Cornwall, particularly as he had "not seen sunshine for weeks".

As peals of bells heralded the final leg of his Journey In Prayer tour, the Archbishop said: "It snowed in Norwich, it froze in Coventry and it poured with rain in London. Now here we are in Cornwall – thank you for the sunshine."

The head of the Anglican Church stressed that the thrust of his mission would be to promote the power of prayer and contemplation as a way of helping to cure some of society's ills.

Touching on the Church's stance over welfare reform and the scourge of unemployment, he argued that equality and justice could only be achieved through co-operation.

"All of us who have worked in parishes know about how the welfare system works and most would agree that it needs significant reform," he said.

More here-

Reading the Papal Tea Leaves

From The American Spectator-

“I was overwhelmed by joy,” said Hans Kung, the dissenting European theologian, in a radio interview after the elevation of Pope Francis. “There is hope in this man,” gushed Kung, who predicted that Pope Francis will conform to the progressive interpretation of Vatican II and not follow the “line of the two popes from Poland and Germany.”

Leonardo Boff, one of the fathers of liberation theology, was quoted in the German press as saying that Francis is “more liberal” than commonly supposed.

Cardinal Roger Mahony took to Twitter to proclaim that the Church would move from high church to “low” church under Francis: “So long Papal ermine and fancy lace!”

The National Catholic Reporter approvingly quoted an unnamed Vatican diplomat as saying that “the Traditional Latin Mass brigade is finished.”

Esteban Paulon, president of the Argentine Federation of Lesbians, Gays, Bisexuals and Transsexuals, told the Washington Post that Pope Francis is “known for being moderate” and when “he came out strongly against gay marriage, he did it under pressure from the conservatives.” According to Sergio Rubin, whom the Post calls his authorized biographer, Pope Francis initially “urged his bishops to lobby for gay civil unions” as an alternative to gay marriage.

More here-

Guide to the Archbishop of Canterbury's inauguration

From ACNS-

What happens when an Archbishop is enthroned?

The modern term would be inauguration, but 'enthronement' remains appropriate: this ceremony is all about the Archbishop of Canterbury 'taking his seat' - in fact, two seats.

The Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby's public ministry will commence on Thursday when he is enthroned - or 'installed' - in two special seats in Canterbury Cathedral.

First, the Archbishop will be installed on the Diocesan throne as the Bishop of the see of Canterbury, the oldest diocese in the English church. He will then be installed on the chair of St Augustine as Primate of All England – the ‘first bishop’ in the country. This latter enthronement has also come to respresent the Archbishop's inauguration as the spiritual leader of the worldwide Anglican Communion.

The ceremony will be attended by Prince Charles and the Duchess of Cornwall, the Prime Minister, and archbishops and bishops from around the world. Representatives of many other faiths will also be present.

Two seats

The notion of a ‘seat’ dominates the ceremony enthroning an Archbishop of Canterbury. The very word cathedral comes from the Latin cathedra, for the seat where a bishop would sit to teach the faith to the people of the diocese. Another word for diocese is See, from the Latin, sedes – seat or chair.

More here-

Honest questions about the Argentine pope

From The Washington Post and Tom Ehrich (Episcopal Priest)

Even as a non-Catholic, I was filled with hope when an Argentine cardinal said to be passionate about serving the poor stepped onto the balcony overlooking St. Peter’s Square as Pope Francis.

By taking the name of a church reformer, the former Cardinal Jorge Bergoglio promised a better day for an ossified institution whose people beg for hope while hierarchs defend medieval power and pomp.

In greeting the crowd, the new pope showed a common touch that could repurpose a global movement from being lost in scandal and self-serving.

By standing in silence and bowing his head for the crowd’s blessing, Francis showed a humility that could inspire believers grown weary of Roman arrogance.

In ways that world leaders rarely manage, Francis conveyed sincerity and commitment to a singular vision of servanthood. Whether that vision survives remains to be seen. But for now he read the moment: a vast constituency eager for something deeper than palace intrigue, something closer to Jesus than elaborate processions of old men wearing costly garments.

More here-

Ilion prayer service provides healing to the community

From New York-

The Ilion Council of Churches conducted an interfaith prayer service of healing and remembrance at St. Augustine’s Episcopal Church Monday evening.

Father John Bassett, rector of St. Augustine’s, was joined by Deacon Jim Bower of the Church of the Annunciation and Reverend Victor McKusick, pastor of the First Presbyterian Church of Ilion. Representatives from the First Baptist Church of Ilion and other area churches were also in attendance.

As people entered the church candles were given out as a sign of hope in the wake of the tragedies that struck Herkimer and Mohawk last week.

On Wednesday, Kurt Myers, 64, of Mohawk, shot four people in Mohawk and two more in Herkimer. Four men died, and the survivors are still in the hospital.

Bassett said the simple service with the theme of resurrection and healing was designed to bring the community together at a time when healing is needed.

More here-

Presiding bishop’s Easter message 2013

From ENS-

“Easter celebrates the victory of light and life over darkness and death,” Episcopal Church Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori rejoices in her Easter Message 2013.

The following is the Presiding Bishop’s Easter Message.

Easter Message 2013

Rejoice, rejoice and sing, rejoice and be glad… for earth and heaven are joined and humanity is reconciled to God! 

As the Lenten season ends in Easter rejoicing, note what has been wrought in you this year.  A remarkable cross-section of America has been practicing Lenten disciplines, even some who are not active Christians. 

There is a deep hunger in our collective psyche to re-orient our lives toward life and light, healing and peace.  We share a holy hunger for clarity about what is good and life-giving, and we yearn to re-focus on what is most central and important in life.

Easter celebrates the victory of light and life over darkness and death.  God re-creates and redeems all life from dead, dry, and destroyed bones.  We are released from the bonds of self-obsession, addiction, and whatever would steal away the radical freedom of God-with-us.  Our lives re-center in what is most holy and creative, the new thing God is continually doing in our midst.  Practicing vulnerability toward the need and hunger of others around us, we have cultivated compassionate hearts.  We join in baptismal rebirth in the midst of Jesus’ own passing-over.

More here-

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Dr. Livingstone, I Presume? The Victorian Explorer at 200

From The Daily Beast-

Two hundred years ago today, in a decaying Scottish tenement, a man was born who would become a unique British hero, venerated more for his “goodness” than for his deeds. Sixty years later, people wept inside Westminster Abbey where the Prime Minister and the Prince of Wales were mourners at his state funeral. David Livingstone had been a missionary—not just an explorer—and was said to have died in prayer in an African swamp, worn out by his efforts to bring Christianity to Africa. The powerful myth that grew up around his name would inspire later imperialists with the comforting notion that the colonial occupation of Africa was an altruistic civilizing mission more than a quest for minerals and international dominance.

The real Dr. Livingstone had a darker, more complex personality than his grieving mourners imagined. In childhood, he had overcome his disadvantages by a will so steely that its lifelong legacy was contempt for weaker men. At Age 10 he had been put to work in a cotton mill, crawling under the machines up to 20 miles a day, twisting together fraying threads. Each evening he strove to read and write. With his earnings Livingstone bought books and balanced them on the machinery until other children hurled bobbins. He went on to be ordained a minister and to qualify as a doctor.

More here-

Pope installation draws world, religious leaders

From AP-

Francis will receive each of the government delegations in St. Peter's Basilica after the Mass, and then hold an audience with the ecumenical groups on Wednesday. He has a break from activity on Thursday; a gracious nod perhaps to the fact that the Archbishop of Canterbury, Justin Welby, is being installed that day in London.

As a result, Welby won't be representing the Anglican Communion at Tuesday's installation Mass for Francis, sending instead a lower-level delegation. All told, six sovereign rulers, 31 heads of state, three princes and 11 heads of government will be attending, the Vatican said.

More than a half-dozen Latin American presidents are attending, a sign of the significance of the election for the region. Francis has made clear he wants his pontificate to be focused on the poor, a message that has resonance in a poverty-stricken region that counts 40 percent of the world's Catholics.

More here-

Archbishop of Canterbury, The Most Rev Justin Welby, will visit Chichester today

From England-

The Archbishop of Canterbury will visit Sussex to take part in the final part of his pilgrimage around five English cities before his enthronement as leader of the Church of England.

The Most Rev Justin Welby will miss the inauguration of Pope Francis in Rome to join a "journey in prayer" in Chichester.

In the past six days, the Archbishop has visited four other cities and six cathedrals, starting in Norwich and taking in Coventry, London and Truro.

Today he will address a crowd in Market Cross, Chichester, before offering a prayer and an invitation for people to walk alongside him to the city's 900-year-old cathedral.

It will mark his final "journey in prayer" around five English cities before he is enthroned as leader of the Anglican Church at Canterbury Cathedral on Thursday.

The Dean of Chichester, Nicholas Frayling, said: "People come in their hundreds to say their prayers here every day of the year.

More here-

Egypt: Country Forms First Ever Council of Churches

From AllAfrica-

Five different churches in Egypt including the Coptic Orthodox Church, the Catholic Church, the Evangelical (Presbyterian) Church, the Greek Orthodox Church and the Anglican Church have joined together to form the Egypt Council of Churches after one year of deliberations and meetings between the churches.

The announcement was made in a press release by Bishop of the Diocese of Egypt with North Africa and the Horn of Africa, and Primate of the Province of Jerusalem and the Middle East, the Most Revd Dr. Mouneer Hanna Anis.

The Bishop said, "It is so important that this council is born at this time while Egypt is going through a very challenging circumstance politically, socially and economically. It means a lot for the churches to face these challenges together with one heart and soul."

The launch of the council took place on 18 February and was hosted by His Holiness, Pope Tawadros II of the Coptic Orthodox Church, known as the "Mother" church of Egypt.

"The first goal of the Egypt Council of Churches is to enhance the bonds of love and the spirit of co-operation among the member churches," explained the Primate.

More here-

Pope officially starts ministry

From CBS-

Pope Francis officially began his ministry as the 266th pope on Tuesday in an installation Mass simplified to suit his style, but still grand enough to draw princes, presidents, rabbis, muftis and thousands of ordinary people to St. Peter's Square to witness the inauguration of the first pope from the New World.

Francis thrilled the crowd at the start of the Mass by taking a long round-about through the sun-drenched piazza and getting out of his Jeep to bless a disabled man. It was a gesture from a man whose short papacy is becoming defined by such spontaneous forays into the crowd and concern for the disadvantaged.

The blue and white flags from Francis' native Argentina fluttered above the crowd, which Italian media estimated could reach 1 million but appeared to be significantly smaller. Civil protection crews closed the main streets leading to the square to traffic and set up barricades for nearly a mile along the route to try to control the masses and allow official delegations through.

More here-

Morris County Gun Buyback Program Nets 600 Weapons

From New Jersey-

The Morris County Gun Buyback Amnesty Program this weekend resulted in the surrender of 600 weapons, and a total payout of $49,550.

The event, held Friday and Saturday at St. Paul Inside the Walls in Madison and St. Peter’s Episcopal Church in Morristown, was designed to get weapons off the streets, “no questions asked.”

Money for the program were supplied by the New Jersey Attorney General’s Office, the Morris County Prosecutor’s Office, the Morris County Park Police and Morris County CrimeStoppers.

The totals collected included 15 illegal assault weapons, 91 semi-automatic weapons, 192 revolvers, 251 rifles/shotguns, 18 inoperable weapons, and 33 BB guns.

Acting Prosecutor Fredric M. Knapp and the Morris County Prosecutor’s Office thanked the following partners and agencies for their help in making this program a success:

New Jersey Attorney General Jeffrey Chiesa, Morris County Sheriff’s Office, Morris County CrimeStoppers Commissioners, Morris County Park Police, Madison Police Department, Most Reverend Arthur J. Serratelli, St. Paul Inside the Walls, St. Peter’s Episcopal Church, Morristown Police Department, Florham Park Police Department, Morris Plains Police Department and Morris Area Clergy Council.

More here-

NetsforLife® Inspiration Fund exceeds goal to fight malaria

From ENS-

The NetsforLife® Inspiration Fund has successfully exceeded its $5 million goal due to the incredible generosity of supporters across the Episcopal Church and beyond.  Over the 2010-12 triennium, thousands of individuals joined congregations, dioceses, schools and organizations in this church-wide, grassroots effort to unite Episcopalians in the fight against malaria.  Since 2006, Episcopal Relief & Development’s NetsforLife® program partnership has distributed over 11 million mosquito nets and reduced malaria-related deaths by 45% in participating sub-Saharan African communities.

“To have raised $5 million, from a grassroots level, by church communities working together is significant,” said Laura Ellen Muglia, co-chair of the national NetsforLife® Inspiration Fund Campaign Advisory Committee.  “Even more impactful is knowing that the mosquito nets distributed will mean children, mothers, fathers, grandparents, cousins, whole communities, will have a life without malaria, a new life of many possibilities, a life of hope.”

Working in partnership with churches and faith-based groups, NetsforLife® has been a leader in malaria prevention by distributing over 11 million nets, training 82,000 community malaria agents and reaching more than 30 million people in remote areas across the African continent. NetsforLife® combats malaria by educating community members about proper net use and maintenance, training community agents to deliver life-saving nets and providing ongoing monitoring and evaluation of malaria prevention practices.  Of the 17 countries where NetsforLife® is active, five – Angola, Ghana, Liberia, Sierra Leone and Zambia – have adopted aspects of the program’s methodology as part of their national malaria policy, and many others have solicited input for country-wide strategic planning.

More here-

Monday, March 18, 2013

No Rescue Required

From The Living Church-

Review by Jonathan Mitchican

It is no secret that the church in America is in a state of collapse, particularly among the young who consider the Faith increasingly irrelevant to their lives. In response, churches have tried all sorts of new and exotic approaches to keeping people interested, from the life coaching sermons and sugar pop music of megachurches to the “Let’s all fix the world” mantra that has become the raison d’être of the liberal mainline churches. None of it has worked. If anything, our efforts at reigniting church have driven young people further away. Into this mix has emerged Jonathan Fisk’s new book, Broken: 7 “Christian” Rules That Every Christian Ought to Break as Often as Possible. His suggestion for how to fix the church and keep our young people to boot is radically simple: Stop trying.

Fisk has developed a strong following in the last couple of years through his show on YouTube called Worldview Everlasting, which garners thousands of viewers each week. In that medium, Fisk speaks to mostly twenty and thirty-somethings, mixing his staunchly Lutheran presentation of the gospel with pop-culture references, funny video clips, and quips. That may sound unsophisticated, but Fisk does not shy away from hard topics, delving into the theology of atonement and sacramental grace and quoting from the original Greek when explicating passages from the New Testament. The edginess of the videos allows Fisk to speak the deepest, most complicated, and controversial truths of the Christian faith to those who would never encounter them in dusty old tomes or seminary textbooks.

more here-

Pope Francis 'said Ordinariate not needed' - bishop

From The BBC-

Pope Francis did say the Ordinariate for ex-Anglicans was unnecessary - but that does not mean it will be Papal policy, an Anglican bishop has said.

Bishop Gregory Venables told the BBC the published account of Cardinal Bergoglio's remarks to him was correct.

A spokesman for the UK Ordinariate commented that it was set up with the highest Catholic legal authority.

A Vatican spokesman said last month the Ordinariates were "a permanent feature" of the Catholic Church.

The Ordinariate of Our Lady of Walsingham was set up in the UK in 2011 in a move strongly supported by the last Pope, Benedict XVI, to allow discontented former Anglicans a place within the Catholic Church where they could preserve elements of their "Anglican patrimony".

It was followed by two other Ordinariates, covering North America and Australasia.

More here-

Waikato Anglican archbishop takes on liaison role at Vatican

From New Zealand-

Our own Anglican Archbishop David Moxon has just been appointed to a high office in the Vatican. He will be the Archbishop of Canterbury's representative to the Holy See and the director of the Anglican Centre in Rome, indeed a senior position; well done David Moxon, and what a time to be going to that city.

Just before Pope Benedict XVI resigned, a prominent theologian named Hans Kung sent a severely critical, open, seven-page letter to all Catholic bishops. I wonder whether that was the final straw for Pope Benedict. It hit him hard and the letter was relentless in its criticism of his eight-year rule as the leader of the Catholic Church.

Kung is a Swiss Catholic priest and a keen advocate for removing the concept of "papal infallibility". His old college friend, the pope, has spent his eight years in power attempting to build up the concept of "papal infallibility", which for the layman means that the pope is effectively "God on Earth" and therefore beyond reproach.

But putting that aside, Kung's main claims were that Pope Benedict, when facing the major challenges of our times, increasingly passed up on more opportunities than he had taken. The seven areas of alleged failure for the pope, contained in the letter, were as follows:

He has missed the opportunity to help the people of Africa by allowing the use of birth control to fight overpopulation, and condoms to fight the spread of HIV.

He has missed the opportunity to make peace with modern science by clearly affirming the theory of evolution and accepting stem-cell research.

More here-

Christian church in Aberdeen is first in Scotland to share with Muslims

From Scotland-

A Christian church has become the first in Scotland to share its building with Muslims.

St John's Episcopal Church in Aberdeen now has hundreds of Muslims praying five times a day in their building as the neighbouring mosque was so small that they were forced to worship outside.

Sections of the main hall have been handed over by Rev Isaac Poobalan to Chief Imam Ahmed Megharbi and his congregation and at busy times they even use the main chapel to pray.

Although there have been cases of Christians allowing Muslims to pray in their Churches in parts of America, church chiefs believe it is a first for Scotland.

Rev Poobalan, 50, said being surrounded by Islam while growing up in India helped break down the divide for worshippers of two religions praying together in Aberdeen.

He said: "Praying is never wrong. My job is to encourage people to pray. The mosque was so full at times, there would be people outside in the wind and rain praying.

More here-

9 things you need to know about Pope Francis's inaugural Mass -

From New Catholic Register-

On Tuesday, March 19, Pope Francis will participate in his inauguration Mass.

If he hasn't been inaugurated, is he pope yet?

If he is pope, why is this called is "inauguration" Mass?
Here are 9 things you need to know.

1. Is Pope Francis already Pope, if he isn't "inaugurated"?

Yes. According to the Code of Canon Law:

Can. 332 §1. The Roman Pontiff obtains full and supreme power in the Church by his acceptance of legitimate election together with episcopal consecration. Therefore, a person elected to the supreme pontificate who is marked with episcopal character obtains this power from the moment of acceptance. If the person elected lacks episcopal character, however, he is to be ordained a bishop immediately.

This means that if the man elected pope is already a bishop (as Pope Francis was) then he becomes pope from the moment he accepts his election.

That happened during the conclave, and so Pope Francis is already, truly the pope.

2. Then why is he having an "inaugural Mass"?

Although "Mass of inauguration" or "inaugural Mass" is a common way of describing this event, it does not mean that he gains any office, power, or authority with this Mass.

It's just a way of commemorating his entrance into office--rather like an inaugural ball held after someone becomes president, except it is a sacred rather than a secular celebration.

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The Episcopal/Anglican Church welcomes the new pope

From God Discussion-

Since the Vatican announced the new pope various leaders of both the Anglican and the Episcopal Church announced they welcome Pope Francis I.

The new Archbishop of Canterbury, Justin Welby, welcomed Pope Francis I, by saying the election of the new pope “is a great significance to all Christians” and hoped it “intensify service in a genuine and fruitful ecumenism”.

“We wish Pope Francis every blessing in the enormous responsibilities that he has assumed on behalf of Roman Catholics around the world,” he said in a statement issued from Lambeth Palace.

Archbishop Welby wrote that the election is of “great significance to all Christians,” and perhaps particularly so for Anglicans. “We have long since recognized—and often reaffirmed—that our churches hold a special place for one another. I look forward to meeting Pope Francis, and to walking and working together to build on the consistent legacy of our predecessors. May the love of Christ unite us, and intensify our service in a genuine and fruitful ecumenism that can be a blessing for the Body of Christ throughout the world.”

According to Episcopal News Service, Welby also described Pope Francis as compassionate, serving the poor, and his name suggests the he wants a transformation back to the teachings of St. Francis.
“Pope Francis is well known as a compassionate pastor of real stature who has served the poor in Latin America, and whose simplicity and holiness of life is remarkable. He is an evangelist, sharing the love of Christ which he himself knows. His choice of the name Francis suggests that he wants to call us all back to the transformation that St Francis knew and brought to the whole of Europe, fired by contemplation and closeness to God.

More here-

Rev. H. Coleman McGehee: Retired Episcopal bishop, social activist who ordained women, gays

From The Detroit Free Press-

The Rev. H. Coleman McGehee was a champion for change, both spiritual and social.

Rev. McGehee, 89, a retired bishop of the Episcopal Diocese of Michigan, died Thursday at St. Joseph Mercy Hospital in Pontiac after a short illness.

Rev. McGehee of Bloomfield Hills served in 1973-90 and became known for his commitment to justice and human rights. He fought sexism and racism and was a fierce defender of women's reproductive rights.

"The Episcopal Church has lost a faithful leader," said Rev. Wendell Gibbs Jr., bishop of the Michigan diocese. "I give thanks for his life and ministry."

Rev. McGehee -- with now-retired Detroit Catholic Auxiliary Bishop Thomas Gumbleton and the late Rabbi Richard Hertz -- founded the Michigan Coalition for Human Rights in 1980.

More here-

Sunday, March 17, 2013

Three nominees added to New Jersey bishop election slate

From ENS-

The Standing Committee of the Episcopal Diocese of New Jersey has announced March 16 that it had added three names to the slate of six nominees to stand for election as the diocese’s 12th bishop.
The three priests, all from the diocese, nominated through an independent nomination process that began with the Jan. 28 announcement of the original slate. That process ended Feb. 27.

The additional nominees are:

The Reverend Canon Dr. Francisco Pozo, 56, vicar, Christ Church, Trenton;

The Very Reverend René John, 52, dean, Trinity Cathedral, Trenton; and

The Reverend Canon Donald J. Muller, 59, rector, St. Peter’s Church, Medford.

They join the previously announced nominees:

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.

More here-

A pope with a purpose: Helping the poor has been Francis' life's mission, but can he reform his church?

From The New Republic (Via the PG)

The Catholic world got a surprise last week: Cardinal Jorge Maria Bergoglio, a Jesuit, was on everyone's short list to become pope in 2005, but, at age 76, most commentators assumed he was too old this year -- especially after Pope Benedict XVI resigned citing the effects of old age.
Then came the second surprise: Cardinal Bergoglio chose the papal name Francis, the first time a pope has chosen the name of Catholicism's favorite saint.

The choice of name makes sense in terms of the new pope's background and is, perhaps, a clue as to how he intends to lead the 1.2 billion Catholics spread across the world. St. Francis of Assisi embraced voluntary poverty and simplicity. As the world has learned, as archbishop of Buenos Aires, Cardinal Bergoglio chose to live in a simple apartment rather than the palatial residence his predecessors inhabited, and he dispensed with the chauffeur-driven limousine and took public transportation to his office.

His interest in poverty, however, runs deeper than his personal lifestyle. Latin American bishops have spent the last 50 years wrestling with one dominant question: What does it mean to exercise a preferential option for the poor?

More here-

Pope Francis has good record with other faiths

From The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette-

Mainline Protestants have also found him approachable and supportive, said Bishop Donald McCoid, the former Pittsburgh bishop for the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America who is now the denomination's top official for ecumenical and inter-religious relations. He expects to meet with Pope Francis later this year.

"We have prayed for his election, because it is important for all Christians," Bishop McCoid said. "Pope Francis is a conservative theologian, yet his outreach to people through his ministry in the past is also an indication of his outreach to other Christians. I am very excited about Pope Francis."
In Pittsburgh, Episcopal Bishop Dorsey McConnell, who lived in Argentina as a young man, asked his parishes to offer special prayers today for the new pontificate.

"Our sisters and brothers in the Roman Catholic Church have been given a shepherd of deep humility and prayer," he wrote in an open letter after the papal election. "May he be blessed with many years, and may the gospel spread through his example and ministry."

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