Saturday, April 6, 2013

Five dead in Muslim-Christian clashes near Cairo – reports

From Cairo- (posted five minutes ago)

Violence has erupted between Muslims and Christians near the Egyptian capital city, killing five people and injuring eight, reports Egyptian state news. The clashes reportedly began on Friday night and continued well into Saturday.

A brawl between two rival communities left four Coptic Christians dead as well as one Muslim in al-Khusus, northeast of Cairo, reported Reuters.

Sources said that the violence was sparked on Friday night when a group of Christian children were caught drawing graffiti on the wall of a Muslim religious institute.

A nearby Anglican church was allegedly set ablaze during the dispute.

In spite of President Mohammed Morsi’s pledge to protect Egypt’s Coptic Christian minority upon assuming power last year, Muslim-Christian clashes have been on the increase and sectarian tensions continue to run high.

Critics slate 'bizarre' new cathedral

From New Zealand- (with video)

Prominent British and Australian architecture critics have ridiculed plans for a modern Christ Church Cathedral, labelling one of the options "vulgar" and "bizarre".

Kieran Long, senior curator of contemporary architecture at the Victoria & Albert Museum, is among a chorus of critics from around the world rubbishing two of the three proposals, favouring restoration of the cathedral.

Anglican leaders this week revealed three designs, including restoration, a reinterpretation of the original cathedral in modern materials, and a completely new building.

An Anglican diocese spokesman said they welcomed the debate, but were more interested in feedback from people who "work and live around the city".

Long said: "The modern gothic reconstruction [traditional] is architecturally illiterate and looks from the image like something from the wild west - a kind of stage set or screen . . . If built, it would be a travesty," he wrote.

"If I had to choose now, though, I would strongly advocate rebuilding the original cathedral. It is the only piece of architecture of these three that will have enduring meaning. It would speak of continuity, which is surely something valuable in a city like Christchurch today."

More here-

Amnesty for Boko Haram is legalization of terrorism – Anglican Youths

From Nigeria-

Anglican Youth Fellowship, Nigeria, had on Friday, opined that the Federal government’s decision to grant amnesty to the Islamic fundamentalists was nothing but to legalize terrorism in Nigeria.

The President of AYF, Wuse Archdeaconry Council, Barrister Isaac Harrison stated this during a workshop organised for youth, with the theme; “Empowered To Impact The World”, in Abuja.

According to him, “We cannot grant amnesty to people we do not know, we cannot also grant amnesty to people who had already made up their minds that whether there is dialogue or not, they will go on with whatever they are doing, If Boko Haram actually need peace, they will not be killing those that are moving towards that peace.

More here-

The 'traditionals' are ceding the moral high ground

From Texas-

Martin Luther disapproved of gambling, but not because of the damage it might do to the poorer classes who wagered away their wages.

He believed that gambling was an attempt to get something for nothing, that is, not working for it. Jean Calvin of Geneva, the first theologian who posited labor as a virtue, felt the same way.

In any case, gambling became illegal in most Protestant countries for centuries and was regarded as a vice. This of course no more stopped gambling than Prohibition did away with drinking; it just made it illicit and often more enticing.

For many years Nevada was the only state that allowed gambling (excepting Wall Street, which is in New York), and we know from literature and movies that Las Vegas was founded by gangsters.

However, a few years ago “gaming” changed from vice to recreation, and some form of betting is legal almost everywhere, and through lotteries, is promoted by states as a painless means of taxation. I know several people who believe gambling is a suckers' game and would never buy a chance but support lotteries as a way to tax the poor and relieve the burden on the rich.

Read more:

Area religious leaders divided on same-sex unions

From Williamsport PA-

Local religious leaders remain divided on whether couples of the same sex should be allowed to marry.

Some area churches are discussing performing 'blessing' ceremonies to mark the unofficial union of same-sex couples.

"Our parish board is taking up the issue at our meeting this Monday," said the Rev. Thomas Reeder, of Christ Episcopal Church. "I, for one, as the pastor have already made my views known to the parish for years now that I'm in favor of same-sex blessings."

In those denominations, like the Episcopal and the United Church of Christ, that have endorsed same-sex marriage at the national level, individual churches or dioceses make their own decisions on the issue.

"When the UCC passes an amendment or an edict, it applies as a whole," said the Rev. Dr. Karin Stork-Whitson, of New Covenant United Church of Christ. "It does not mandate local congregations to endorse that, or even to be welcoming of people from the gay community."

"The Episcopal church tries to have a wide breadth of conservative and liberal views," said the Rev. Ken Wagner-Pizza, of Trinity Episcopal Church. "Jesus is our focus we have different opinions on everything ranging from this to abortion to politics."

Trinity is also considering having same-sex blessing ceremonies, Wagner-Pizza said.

More here-

The Episcopal Church in South Carolina removes state lawsuit to U.S. District Court

From South Carolina-

The Episcopal Church in South Carolina has filed to remove the state lawsuit filed against it to the U.S. District Court, citing statutory and constitutional issues that need to be addressed by the federal court. The Episcopal Church is also a defendant in the suit and has consented to the removal to the federal court.

The suit, originally filed in South Carolina Circuit Court in Dorchester County by a group that is breaking away from The Episcopal Church, now moves entirely to the federal court system, according to Thomas S. Tisdale, Jr., Chancellor of The Episcopal Church in South Carolina, which is remaining part of The Episcopal Church.

“We have carefully examined the claims made against The Episcopal Church in South Carolina, and inherent in all these claims are federal statutory and constitutional issues that must be decided in a federal court rather than in South Carolina state court,” Mr. Tisdale said.

The plaintiffs, who include a group representing itself as “the Diocese of South Carolina” along with 35 parishes, now have 30 days to respond to the notice of removal. They could seek to have the case remanded to state court, and a federal judge would then have to decide where the case will be heard.

“The federal court, we believe, is the appropriate forum for all the issues involved in these matters to be decided,” Mr. Tisdale said.

More here-

Friday, April 5, 2013

Puerto Rico Seeks 7th Bishop

From The Living Church-

The Episcopal Diocese of Puerto Rico, which is seeking its seventh bishop, has released a diocesan profile. The deadline is April 5, so applicants will need to act quickly.

The Rt. Rev. W.W. Jackson was the first bishop to oversee Episcopalians in Puerto Rico, beginning in 1860. The Rt. Rev. David Andrés Áalvarez-Velázquez, 71, became bishop coadjutor in 1987 and succeeded the Rt. Rev. Francisco Reus-Froylan in 1989.

The full profile follows.

More here

Anglican Church in Bucharest celebrates 100 Years of the existence of the Church Building

From Business Review-

Located in the centre of Bucharest, this year, the
Church of the Resurrection will celebrate one hundred years of the existence of the Church Building.

Work commenced on the building in 1913 due to the generosity and help of a dedicated Anglican community, including Queen Marie of Romania, without whose influence and drive it is possible that it would not have been constructed when it was. Prior to 1913 there had been a flourishing church but it was decided that a more permanent place of worship was required. Through the generosity of a local British business man the site was given to the British Government for the use of the Church and the construction of the Church building.

Work commenced, and the Church situate near Gradina Icoanei is now a land mark and Romanian monument as well as a building of architectural interest. The glazed brick building being the only one of its type in Bucharest, it brings students every year to study the uniqueness of its blend of British and Romanian styles.

More here-

Osborne criticised by church groups

From The Church Times-

TENSIONS between the Government and Churches have heightened this week as changes to the welfare system begin to take effect.

The Chancellor, George Osborne, gave a speech on Tuesday in which he defended changes that come into force this month. These include introducing a cap on housing benefit; the so-called "bedroom tax" on spare rooms; and limiting benefit increases to one per cent ( News, 15 March).

Mr Osborne said that the changes had "one simple principle at their heart - making sure people are better off in work than on benefits. . . Our reforms are returning welfare to its most fundamental principle - always helping the most vulnerable, but giving people ladders out of poverty. . . In reality, there is nothing 'kind' about parking people who could work on benefits."

Church groups were quick to criticise the Chancellor's speech. The chief executive of the Church Urban Fund, Tim Bissett, said: "The Chancellor wants to make work pay. For those trapped by poverty, sustainable employment is hard to find. People on benefits are struggling to find social support, and have restricted access to housing, which in turn means that the most disadvantaged are excluded from our communities. If the poorest find themselves on the margins of society, we risk breaking the social contract that binds us together."

More here-

Episcopal group asks for federal jurisdiction

From South Carolina-

The state suit asks the Circuit Court to prevent the continuing diocese from using the name and seal. The federal suit, filed by the continuing diocese, asks the court to decide who has authority over the diocese, Bishop Mark Lawrence, who left The Episcopal Church along with 35 parishes, or Bishop Charles vonRosenberg, the provisional leader of the group that remains loyal to the church.

The Episcopal Church in South Carolina, or “continuing diocese,” has asked for a state lawsuit brought by the independent Diocese of South Carolina to be removed to U.S. District Court, where a second suit is in the works.

More here-

Pray for Detroit Tigers at St. John's Episcopal Church, next to Comerica Park, on eve of Opening Day

From Detroit-

Want to send some faith the Detroit Tigers' way before Friday's Opening Day matchup against the New York Yankees?

You're in luck. Detroit's St. John's Episcopal Church, at 2326 Woodward Ave., will host a "Pray Here for the Tigers" service 6 p.m. Thursday. All are welcome.

For more information, visit the church's website.

Prayers for the Tigers' bullpen might be in order, too.

The team (1-1) lost 3-2 Wednesday night to the Twins in Minnesota after Phil Coke blew a ninth-inning lead.

More here-

Thursday, April 4, 2013

After Catholic Cardinals Elect Pope Francis, Anglican Bishops Name Justin Welby Archbishop of Canterbury

From International Business Times-

Besides the Roman Catholic Church that elected a new leader in March with Argentinean Cardinal Jorge Mario Bergoglio emerging as Pope Francis, another Christian religion just picked a new leader. Anglican bishops enthroned Archbishop Justin Welby as the Archbishop of Canterbury on March 21.

He replaced Dr. Rowan Williams who moved on to an academic post.

Ironically, both newly installed leaders of major Christian sects had other careers before they followed another path. Archbishop Welby, 57, used to be an oil executive and was ordained only in 1989. Pope Francis worked as a chemist and even has a master's degree in Chemistry.

However, one difference between them is the global attention that the papal conclave and inaugural mass attracted, while the Anglican church event was hardly noticed in the press, prompting one letter writer to The Washington Post to point out the differences in publicity generated.

More here-

Az bishop: Include family reunification in immigration reform

From Arizona-

The Episcopal bishop for Arizona joined several religious and union leaders Wednesday urging that family-unification policies be included in any comprehensive immigration reform legislation.

Bishop Kirk Smith said that the family is the “chief social unit in society” and protecting and keeping immigrant families together should be paramount as federal lawmakers consider reform.

“This is one thing that we do all agree on, and that is support of the family, because we consider that to be an imperative that’s given to us by our religion and by our God,” Smith said on a conference call with the other officials.

It came as federal lawmakers continue to work on a comprehensive immigration reform bill that is expected to include calls for border security as well as a possible route to citizenship for those immigrants who are in the country illegally.

Members of the Senate’s so-called Gang of Eight – which includes Arizona Republican Sens. John McCain and Jeff Flake – have said they should have a bill ready next week.

More here-

President Obama doesn't have a 'pastor problem'

From The LA Times-

It was a sad moment for many Republicans during the 2008 presidential contest when Arizona Sen. John McCain refused to let his staff use the fiery left-wing sermons of the Rev. Jeremiah Wright against Illinois Sen. Barack Obama.

Yoking Obama to his Chicago pastor's unforgiving views on American imperialism and racism was so tempting that four years later, a Republican strategist came up with a plan to use the material against Obama "to do exactly what John McCain would not let us do." The plan, criticized as blatantly racist, was scuttled and the strategist later apologized.

But President Obama's political enemies still pine for another "Rev. Wright" to exploit. The list is long, and includes the living and the dead: Bill Ayers, Van Jones, the New Black Panthers, Saul Alinsky, Derrick Bell, who was described by the late conservative agitator Andrew Breitbart as "the Jeremiah Wright of academia."

Nothing has stuck.

I can imagine the delight some Obama haters felt Sunday when their eyes landed upon the White House pool report about the president's Easter morning worship at St. John's Episcopal Church, across the street from the White House on Lafayette Square. (When the president is out in public, a rotating pool of reporters chronicles his every move.)

More here-,0,1804000.story

Tutu wins Templeton Prize

From CNN-

Archbishop Desmond Tutu, the Anglican cleric who played a key role in ending apartheid in South Africa, is the winner of the 2013 Templeton Prize, the foundation that awards the prize announced Thursday.

The Templeton Prize "honors a living person who has made an exceptional contribution to affirming life's spiritual dimension, whether through insight, discovery, or practical works," the John Templeton Foundation says on its website.

Desmond Mpilo Tutu, the son of a schoolteacher and a domestic servant, was ordained a priest in 1961.

In 1975, he became the first black priest appointed Anglican dean of St. Mary's Cathedral in Johannesburg.

He became bishop of Lesotho the following year, and in 1978 he was named the first black secretary general of the interdenominational South African Council of Churches.

Tutu, now 81, was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 1984 for his efforts to end and heal the wounds of apartheid, South Africa's system of institutionalized racial segregation.

More here-

Trinity Episcopal Church's 'Bach Around the Clock' marathon kicks off on Friday, April 5

From Louisiana-

To name the annual 29-hour marathon staged inside Trinity Episcopal Church “Bach Around the Clock” is not exactly accurate. A nonstop progression of classical, jazz and even rock musicians will render numerous Bach compositions. But you’ll also hear selections from Brahms, Beethoven Chopin – and possibly Lynyrd Skynyrd.

Albinas Prizgintas, Trinity’s music director and organist, performs in between, and with, other acts. He excels at classical and spiritual music, but is also fond of recreating classic rock on the church’s massive pipe organ. The Skynyrd warhorse “Freebird” is a recent favorite.

“We offer a place where everybody becomes universal in the language of music,” says Manon Prizgintas, Albinas’ wife and partner in the production of Bach Around the Clock and the weekly Trinity Artist Series. “We respect jazz and blues and rock as just as praiseworthy as classical. It’s beautiful music, all of it.”

Expect Prizgintas to unfurl “Freebird” at some point during the 16th annual Bach Around the Clock, which gets underway Friday, April 5, 2013 at 7 p.m. and concludes around midnight on the evening of Saturday, April 6.

More here-

Wednesday, April 3, 2013

Justice system needs urgent attention

From Jamaica-

Jamaica needs to give serious attention to the justice system which, Bishop Howard Gregory says, is experiencing an increasing erosion of public confidence that runs the risk of sparking social disorder.

"There is, I believe, an increasing loss of confidence in the justice system, with its serious backlog and long delays, as well as some of the rulings of the lower court in relation to cases brought against the State, and especially those involving relations between the police and citizens, Bishop Gregory said yesterday evening.

He was delivering his charge to Jamaica and the Anglican communion at the opening of the church's 143rd Synod at the St Ann's Bay Parish Church.

In his address themed: 'An Enlivened and Transformed Church for a Preferred Future', Gregory, the Lord Bishop of Jamaica and the Cayman Islands, said Jamaica has some serious work to do, by way of repentance, if there is to be a renewal and transformation.

"The system of justice needs to become a primary focus of attention," he said. "As a nation we are being called to repentance with a consequent change of action in relation to the blood of our young men and our women and children which is being shed daily in our country by criminal elements, but just as significant in the resolution of domestic disputes."

Read more:

Beaconsfield Anglican church promotes communion service for worshippers with dogs

From Canada-

A Beaconsfield Anglican church has gone one better than offering simple pet blessings, and found a new and novel way to boost church attendance in today’s increasingly secular society.

Christ Church Beaurepaire offers a full communion service to which pet owners are invited to bring their dogs. The monthly church service, known as Paws & Pray, is held on the first Sunday of each month, the next one being April 7.

Like other communion services held at the 90-year-old stone worship house on Church St. in Beaconsfield, the 45-minute service follows the Anglican Book of Alternative Services and includes hymns, Gospel readings and a collection.

But, there the similarity ends.

At this service, hymns sung are about “the shaggy dog alone and stray,” dog treats, not just hosts are passed out during communion, and four-footed canines of every description fill the pews.

More here-

B.C. Anglican Bishop who backed same-sex marriages to retire in August

From Vancouver-

The long-time leader of the Anglican church in Metro Vancouver — who was at the centre of a controversy over same-sex marriages — has announced he's retiring.

Michael Ingham will step down as Bishop of the New Westminster Archdiocese on Aug. 31 after serving in the position since 1994.

In a statement announcing his retirement, Ingham says his diocese has spearheaded positive changes in the Church, including the ordination of women priests and accepting same-sex marriages.

Breakaway members of the church who were opposed to same-sex marriage took the diocese to court in a bid to claim ownership of their church buildings and bank accounts.

However, they lost in two B.C. courts and the Supreme Court of Canada refused to hear an appeal of those rulings.

More here-

Obama's Former 'Pastor in Chief' Joshua DuBois Testifies of President's 'Deep Faith'

From Christian Post-

Joshua DuBois, the ordained Pentecostal minister who led the Office of Faith-Based and Neighborhood Partnerships under President Barack Obama, said in a recent interview that his former boss is "a deeply faithful president and didn't need a whole bunch of help cultivating that faith" during his four-year tenure at the White House.

DuBois, 30, resigned from his post in February and has since become a religion columnist at the Daily Beast and is set to teach faith-based courses at New York University this year. He told ABC News outside St. John's Episcopal Church in Washington, D.C., where the first family recently attended Easter service, that President Obama had a penchant for the Book of Job and other Old Testament writings in the Bible when it came to his daily devotionals.

"He spent a lot of time thinking about the Book of Job and Job overcoming trials," said DuBois, reflecting on the daily readings he would send to the president. "We also spent a lot of time in the prophets, particularly the prophet Isaiah. But [he] reflects on some theologians as well, like C.S. Lewis and Howard Thurman."


Richmond voters accept church buildings

From Maine-

Earlier this year, the Episcopal Diocese of Maine, at the direction of the dwindling congregation of St. Matthias Episcopal Church, offered to give the town its two buildings at 15 Spruce St. The two single-story buildings are the 1,340-square-foot church itself and 864-square-foot Roberts Hall. The property is assessed by the town at $207,900.

Canon for Finance and Stewardship Terry Reimer of the Episcopal Diocese of Maine said the congregation of the church no longer has enough membership and the remaining members decided to offer the building to the town, in hopes that it could continue to be used to serve the community.

Reimer said the diocese may require the property to be used for the public good and could seek to include a provision in the deed requiring it to be offered to the church if the town wants to sell the property in the future.

Town Manager Marian Anderson said no final decisions have been made about what the town would use the buildings for, if accepted.

But she said possibilities town officials have discussed include making it the home of the food pantry, currently run out of temporary quarters in the basement of the Dresden Richmond United Methodist Church, and moving the senior center, currently operating out of space on Front Street donated by Gary Nash, into the Roberts Hall building next to the church.

More here-

Observers: ‘Ambitious cleric’ took ‘cheap shots’ at religious right

From One News Now-

The Episcopal priest who brought politics to the pulpit on Easter Sunday is being accused of taking “cheap shots” at conservative Christians in a Washington, DC, venue while the First Family was in attendance.

St. John's Episcopal Church – located across from the White House - is often referred to as the “church of the presidents” because for almost 200 years presidents have attended the church on occasion. That includes President Barack Obama and his family for Easter services this past Sunday.

The priest at St. John’s, Luis Leon, has preached there for 18 years and, according to reports, has attempted to remain non-partisan. In fact, Leon spoke at George W. Bush’s inauguration in 2005 and Barack Obama’s in January. But in his Easter sermon this week, Leon delivered a scathing attack on conservative Christians in a criticism of those who call for a return to “the good old days.”

“It drives me crazy when the captains of the religious right are always calling us back ... for blacks to be back in the back of the bus, for women to be back in the kitchen, for gays to be in the closet, and for immigrants to be back on their side of the border,” he said during his sermon.

- See more at:

Tuesday, April 2, 2013

The Inuit-language bible it took 34 years to translate is now available as an app

From National Post-

An Inuit-language bible that took 34 years to translate is now available as an app.

Last week, an Inuktitut option was added to a free bible app published by, the online publishing arm of an Oklahoma-based megachurch.

The text comes from a three-decade long collaboration between the Anglican Church and the Canadian Bible Society to translate both testaments into Eastern Arctic Inuktitut.

“We’re happy to have this out of the way,” Rev. Canon Jonas Allooloo, who was with the translation team since its 1978 inception, told the Post at the time. “It’s been 34 years and we can do something else now.”

Dedicated just last June in Iqaluit, the Inuktitut bible was prepared by a small team of Inuit translators who painstakingly bridged the many linguistic gaps between millennia-old Middle Eastern texts and a language developed by Arctic-dwelling hunter-gatherers.

Proposed church raises development question on Savannah's Thomas Square

From Savannah-

On Wednesday, the Metropolitan Planning Commission will consider the general development plan for Christ Church Anglican’s proposed new sanctuary and parish house with meeting and education facilities at the northeast corner of Drayton and 37th streets.

It’s a proposal that raises many interesting questions about the role of large-scale institutional development in a mixed-use area where narrower lots are common.

Of course, the Thomas Square neighborhood is already home to a significant number of large churches and institutions, as Christ Church Anglican’s proposal details. Similarly sized structures nearby include the Bull Street Library, New Covenant Church, the Christian Revival Center, Sisters Court Apartments and SCAD’s Wallin and Arnold halls.

Still, Christ Church Anglican is asking for some significant variances. Plus there is the complex matter of an existing historic building on one of the lots that would be combined.

The church building itself requires a 10-foot height variance from the 45-foot maximum in the Thomas Square zoning code and a 1,300-square-foot variance from the 5,500 maximum footprint.

Of course, since the sanctuary would be right against the parish house with a footprint of 5,800 square feet, we’re essentially looking at a footprint of 12,600 square feet. Technically, these are two buildings, but the visual effect will likely be of a single structure with different facades and levels.

More here-

The Ordinariate has finally arrived

From The Telegraph-

There's plenty of scepticism about the Ordinariate – especially since the careful circulation of a quote attributed to former Cardinal Bergoglio saying he didn't see the need for it. Well, we shall see. Pope Francis – who would never have encountered Anglicans in the Catholic tradition in Latin America – now finds himself head of the Ordinariate in three continents; his spokesman has said that this will be a permanent structure of the Catholic Church.

Will it be? That's up to the Ordinariate. Its leader in this country, Mgr Newton, has the jurisdiction if not the sacramental powers of a bishop – hence the mitre. The Warwick Street congregation is still small – the group didn't move into the church until Palm Sunday (and hasn't yet started using its own liturgy).

But there's an energy and sense of imagination here that promises great things. Essentially, the Ordinariate finds itself in the same position as most of the great orders and religious communities of the Church in their early days. There are powerful prelates – Catholic and Anglican – who would prefer to rid themselves of this inconvenience; even now, I'm sure that one of the old guard ecumenists is trying to grab an audience with Pope Francis in order to strangle his predecessor's initiative at birth. Well, Churches are like that: Catholic, Orthodox, Anglican – they're all run by hierarchies resistant to change. The challenge for the Ordinariate is to move swiftly to establish an evangelical presence wherever it operates, one inspired not just by Benedict XVI's liturgical vision but also by the practical spirituality of Pope Francis.

More here-

Bill Clarkson’s Moment, battling a patient in a mental ward, propelled his career leading Atlanta’s Westminster

From Atlanta-

Bill Clarkson, who recently announced plans to retire after 23 years as President of The Westminster Schools, remembers the Moment that prompted and propelled his career as a chaplain, educator and administrator. It wasn’t in the hallway of a school or a church – it was in the hallway of a psychiatric ward.

Bill was an 18-year-old freshman at Duke University and, as a financial aid student, needed a part-time job to help pay for his undergraduate degree. He found the job at the University psychiatric hospital – a line of work that seemed to align nicely with his interest in pursuing a psychology major. He worked four-hour shifts as a psychiatric attendant three days a week.

“You got to wear a white coat and look pretty official, but basically you were there to aid the doctors and assistants,” Bill recalled in our accompanying Moments HD video.

A mere three days into his job, Bill was assigned a shift that would change the course of his career. He was assigned to sit within a “locked ward inside the locked ward of Meyer Ward” to observe a new patient. That patient’s name, Stanley (alias), still rings as clearly in Bill’s mind today as it did on that day in the Fall of 1970

Bill was asked to observe Stanley’s behavior while they sat together in the locked ward – a long hallway with chairs and sofas along one wall for interaction with patients. Along the opposite wall was a row of empty, individual padded cells.

Bill, in his crisp white lab coat, watched as the nurses locked the door behind him, leaving the young freshman to sit alone with the 48-year-old tobacco farmer who had exhibited extreme manic-depressive disorder. The patient had had an initial dose of medication. Stanley pulled out a pack of Camel non-filter cigarettes, tore the pack open, stuffed all the cigarettes in his mouth, and then spat them out on the floor. Stanley looked up at Bill, waiting for a response.

More here-

Liberia: Local Episcopal Church Still Divided

From Liberia-

A local parish within the Episcopal Diocese of Liberia, Saint Augustine Episcopal Church still appears to be divided with the men's department on one hand and the Preist-in-Charge and the vestry (Church administrators) on the other.

The St. Augustine Episcopal Church located on Bardnersville Road is engulfed with crisis despite the intervention of Bishop Jonathan B.B. Hart.

The President of the Men's Department Prince Bolden told this paper last evening that he is preparing his letter of resignation from the Church.

He said his resignation as president of the men and member of the Church stems from the manner in which the Priest of the St. Augustine Episcopal Church, Rev. Nyema Harmon is administering the parish.

Bolden stated that Bishop Hart did little to resolve that ongoing crisis in the Church.

Recently, Bishop Hart set up a special investigative committee to look into the crisis at the St. Augustine Episcopal Church. The committee has completed its work and findings have been submitted.

More here-

Krauthammer blames Episcopal Church, not Obama, for anti-conservative Easter sermon

From The Daily Caller- (with video)

On Monday’s “Special Report” on the Fox News Channel, Washington Post columnist Charles Krauthammer said it’s wrong to criticize President Barack Obama for attending an anti-conservative sermon by Rev. Luis Leon at Saint John’s Church on Sunday.

“Look, I think this speaks to the Episcopal Church and not President Obama or the religious right,” Krauthammer said. “The Episcopal Church, it used to be said a generation ago, was the American establishment at prayer. And now it’s the American left at prayer. … [The cleric] knew the press would be there. This was an ambitious cleric [trying] to make himself heard, and to make news.”

Krauthammer also excused White House press secretary Jay Carney for punting when asked about the president’s attendance at the sermon.

“I would give the president the pass on this,” Krauthammer said. “This is not like Jeremiah Wright, in whose church he sat for 20 years [and] who was his mentor, who married him. This is a church where all presidents have gone, from James Madison on. It was an appearance that had no connection intrinsic with him. … I think what Jay Carney said is he has every right to stay away from this.”

Read more:

Episcopal Church, SC Episcopalians reply to breakaway group’s lawsuit

From ENS-

Legal documents filed in South Carolina Circuit Court on March 28 say that Bishop Mark Lawrence and those people who followed him out of the Episcopal Church have no authority over the assets or property of the Diocese of South Carolina or any of its parishes and have conspired to damage the diocese.

The filing by the Episcopal Church in South Carolina told the court that for more than three years the Lawrence-led group had “knowingly, deliberately, and repeatedly engaged in transactions that purported to transfer interests in real property contrary to explicit provisions of the Constitution and Canons of the Church, and contrary to solemn declarations, oaths, and subscriptions made by individuals who held offices in the Church and were and are among the leadership” of the diocese.

The continuing Episcopalians said that Lawrence and his followers “have publicly declared, and continue to declare, that their actions were not contrary to the Constitution or Canons of the Church, and that [the Constitution and Canons] impose no restriction or limitation on their abilities to continue to engage in such transactions.”

Members of the continuing diocese said in their filing that they are entitled to restitution of property and funds acquired by Lawrence and his supporters through what they say has been fraud, misappropriation, conversion, breach of trust and breach of fiduciary duty.

The Episcopal Church also on March 28 filed a separate document, known as an “answer and counterclaims.”

More here-

Monday, April 1, 2013

Many German Christians quit church to avoid tax

From Market Place NPR-

In his chic, modern apartment in the former East Berlin, Stefan Faulstroh wants to know what tea I want so he can select the appropriate water temperature. He’s an engineer. You wouldn’t have guessed. Makes trains. I wouldn’t want to be so crass as to ask how much he earns but judging by the look of his place, it’s quite a lot. Stefan, though, no longer pays the church tax that used to gobble up four percent of his salary.

Was it really the money, I ask. Or was it loss of faith? No, he says, it was the money. “So now do you sometimes sneak into church nevertheless? At Christmas maybe, or Easter?” Yes, he says, as a matter of fact he does. “Does he feel guilty?” He puts the question for me. “Not really.” But sometimes he wonders if he shouldn’t go back and become a church member again. “Obviously, when you die, no priest is going to come to your funeral so that’s a downside but that’s a few years from now.”

Tall, impressively bald and dressed in a striking tweed suit he says he bought in a church bazaar, Pastor Johann Hinrich Claussen, Dean of the Hamburg region, says he keeps an eye out for tax dodgers. Especially wealthy tax dodgers. And gives me a piercing look as if I might be one myself.

The figures, he agrees, are worrying. Christians -- Protestants and Catholics combined -- are leaving their churches at a rate of about 300,000 people a year. That is a shame in itself but it also means a drop in income. So his church is trying to diversify its revenues in order to keep maintaining its churches and paying its ministers, deacons and so on. But, he says, Germany should keep its church tax.

“Social-Democrats and Liberals invented this tax a hundred years ago in order to make the people pay for their church, not only the patrons or the king or the Kaiser,” he says. “It was invented to democratize the church. That’s still an old and I think good idea.”

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Archbishop Justin Welby warns against trusting fallible leaders

From The Guardian-

Justin Welby has used his first Easter sermon as archbishop of Canterbury to warn of the dangers of investing too much faith in frail and fallible human leaders, be they politicians or priests.

Blind belief in the power of the individual to bring about true change in any sphere, he said, was simplistic and wrong, and led inevitably to disillusionment and disappointment.

"Put not your trust in new leaders, better systems, new organisations or regulatory reorganisation," he told the congregation at Canterbury cathedral. "They may well be good and necessary, but will to some degree fail. Human sin means pinning hopes on individuals is always a mistake, and assuming that any organisation is able to have such good systems that human failure will be eliminated is naive."

In a lengthy broadside against what he termed the "hero leader culture" – with its automatic expectations of quick, easy and gratifying solutions to even the most intractable problems – Welby said that only by acknowledging God and trusting in his power could human beings escape "cynical despair" and fear.

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Sudanese in Utah celebrate Resurrection during Easter services

From Utah-

Contemporary Sudanese music blared from speakers in the sanctuary of the All Saints Episcopal Church Sunday, as live singers welcomed visitors and regular congregants to Easter services.

Outside the sanctuary, a sign read: "Prior to the service you are invited to the sanctuary for prayer and quiet reflection."

The congregation of around 70 to 80 people expanded to more than twice its size during Sunday's service as members of 10 different tribes of the Sudanese community gathered.

Members of the congregation spoke Dinka, Arabic and Ethiopian, but the service was conducted in English. Despite their differences, Bishop Scott Hayashi reminded those in in the congregation that they all speak a unifying language. 

"We're one people — a new people whose language is the language of life. It is the language of God."

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First family celebrates Easter at St. John's Episcopal Church, a favorite presidential house of worship

From The Daily News-

The famed church is only a short walk from the White House across Pennsylvania Ave. and Lafayette Park. The church has designated a pew nine rows back as 'The President's Pew' with a brass plague. Church history claims every President since James Madison has visited.

President Barack Obama attended Easter services at an Episcopal church near the White House where past presidents frequently have worshipped.

The President, First Lady Michelle Obama and daughters Sasha and Malia took the short walk across Lafayette Park to St. John’s Church Sunday morning.

Obama was greeted by several parishioners with handshakes and smiles as the church members were returning to their seats from Holy Communion, which the first family also joined.

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Sunday, March 31, 2013

On Easter and all year long, Tillamook churches work toward unity

From Oregon-

On Sunday in Tillamook, Lutherans, Episcopalians, Methodists and members of the United Church of Christ are worshiping together. Not because it's Easter, when ecumenical services aren't that unusual, but because it's the fifth Sunday of the month.
For two years, these Christian congregations have taken to heart one of Jesus' last earthly wishes: that his followers would be "as one."

"I have to be honest with you," says the Rev. Jerry Jefferies,  who pastors three of The Four Churches, as they're known in Tillamook. "This began as a matter of survival."

In recent years, St. Peter Lutheran Church, St. Alban's Episcopal Church, Tillamook United Methodist Church  and St. John's United Church of Christ have faced the same obstacles confounding mainline congregations in many towns and cities: declining attendance and rising costs.

St. Peter had dwindled from about 75  members to 35. St. Alban's had shrunk from 318  to 159.  Methodists, who had numbered about 208, were reduced to perhaps 105. St. John's averaged 40  people at a Sunday service.

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Pittsburgh's Shepherd's Heart Fellowship, church for homeless, celebrates resurrection on Easter

From The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette-

When Leonard Williams attends the Easter service today at Shepherd's Heart Fellowship, an Anglican church for the homeless in Uptown, like Christians everywhere he will be celebrating the resurrection of Christ from the tomb.

But Mr. Williams, 53, and others who attend Shepherd's Heart also will be celebrating the new life that has been breathed into their church after a recent significant agreement between Pittsburgh's Episcopal and Anglican dioceses. A long-running conflict in the Episcopal Diocese of Pittsburgh resulted in a 2008 split, with many of the churches leaving and creating the Anglican Diocese of Pittsburgh, linked to the theologically conservative Anglican Church in North America.

Shepherd's Heart was originally founded as an Episcopal church by the Rev. Michael Wurschmidt. But after the split in the diocese, Rev. Wurschmidt switched his affiliation to become an Anglican priest. At that point, Shepherd's Heart became one of a number of congregations caught between the two dioceses.

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