Saturday, April 27, 2013

Hark The Herald - Charles Wesley Letters Outline Early Methodism And Religious Radicalism

From Science 2.0 (believe it or not)

“Hark! The Herald Angels Sing” is the beginning to one of the world's most popular hymns, yet while millions of people can oddly identify Nicki Minaj, almost no one knows the name of Charles Wesley or his Hymns and Sacred Poems. “Hark! The Herald Angels Sing” became regarded as one of the Great Four Anglican Hymns and was published as number 403 in "The Church Hymn Book". It has been recorded by everyone from Frank Sinatra to the kids on "Charlie Brown"(1) and now the private letters of the composer have been edited by Dr. Gareth Lloyd of The University of Manchester’s John Rylands Library and Professor Kenneth Newport of Liverpool Hope University and published by Oxford University Press. They provide a rare glimpse into both the man and the birth of Methodism.

The early Methodists were viewed by their opponents as dangerous extremists: they had visions, fell into trances and some even developed a reputation for possessing supernatural power. Likely for that reason, some of the letters were written in a complex 18th century shorthand developed by John Byrom, sometimes inter-mixed with Latin, Greek and Hebrew.

More here-

In Pennsylvania’s capital, a mission is reborn

From ENS-

Founded as a mission more than a hundred years ago St. Andrew’s in the City rapidly grew into a parish in the thriving area of Allison Hill in Harrisburg. With movement out of the city during the post-World War II period, St. Andrew’s in the City established a mission church in the Linglestown area of Harrisburg – St. Andrew’s in the Valley.

With the rapid movement of residents out of the city and the economic decline of Harrisburg due to the loss of industry, the demographic of the city changed. Over time, the economic vitality of the city shifted to the more suburban valley. The parish continued to operate as one with one vestry and one rector, but the city church faced increasing challenges as the neighborhood of Allison Hill changed and the parish got older.

St. Andrew’s in the City still provided the endowments to pay off the Valley church’s mortgage and gave significant operating funds to the valley church. But a move grew to collapse the city church into being just the valley church.

More here-

Va. Supreme Court rules on ownership of The Falls Church

From Virginia-

The Virginia Supreme Court last week affirmed the finding of a Fairfax County Circuit Court judge in the case of The Falls Church, potentially ending a six-year battle over the church’s ownership.

Eleven churches broke away from the Episcopal Church in early 2007 to join a more conservative Anglican Church under the auspices of the Convocation of Anglicans in North America. The Angican churches, however, kept the Episcopal Church properties.

Of the original 11 congregations, only The Falls Church — which originally was founded in 1732 and predates the establishment of the Episcopal church in America—appealed a 2012 decision by Fairfax County Circuit Court Judge Randy Bellows stating the Episcopal Church and the Diocese of Virginia had “a contractual and proprietary interest” in each of the properties subject to the litigation.

Bellows ordered all the properties be returned back to the Episcopal Diocese, and all but the Falls Church complied without an appeal.

More here-

Christ the Redeemer Episcopal church to reopen Sunday, 6 years after rift over gay bishop

From Alabama-

An Episcopal church that six years ago shut its doors because of a controversy involving an openly gay leader being part of the church’s national leadership will reopen Sunday evening.

While there are about five other Episcopal churches in the community, Julian McPhillips, a founder of Christ the Redeemer who today serves as a lay pastor, is convinced the Vaughn Road church will succeed.

“We want to have a more vigorous praise and worship, a church that emphasizes a healing ministry, and also I think the aspect of being multiracial and multidenominational. We’ll be the only (Episcopal) church on the Eastern Boulevard.

“It has been like invisible hands pushing me along. I think there is a niche here we will fill in many respects.”

More here-

Ab Nicholas and wife to donate $10 million to Chicago Episcopal church

From Milwaukee-

Milwaukee businessman Ab Nicholas and his wife, Nancy, are donating $10 million to create a community center for the Episcopal church in downtown Chicago.

To be called The Nicholas Center, the facility will hold overnight retreats and programs to develop leaders in the Episcopal church and foster vitality in congregations.

The facility is expected to open in 2014 at the St. James Commons in downtown Chicago and will also serve as the headquarters for Living Compass, now based in Glendale. That organization provides training and resources to support church leaders and members.

Ab Nicholas is the founder of Nicholas Company Inc., a Milwaukee-based investment advisory firm that manages the Nicholas's mutual funds. The $10 million gift is the largest ever received by the Episcopal Diocese of Chicago.

"In my life in the business world I have seen that effective leadership makes all the difference," Ab Nicholas said. "I believe it is the same in the church."

More here-

Friday, April 26, 2013

Nigeria: Jonathan, Other Heads of State to Attend Achebe's Buria

From All Africa-

President Goodluck Jonathan, other heads of state, governors, diplomats and international literary dignitaries are expected to attend the burial of the late literary icon, Prof Chinua Achebe.

The renowned Nigerian author who passed on in Boston, United States last month, will be laid to rest on May 23, 2012, in a weeklong burial ceremony, the Chinua Achebe National Transition Committee (CANTC) has said.

The remains of the man whose literary work caught the world's attention in 1958 with the publishing of the novel "Things Fall Apart," will arrive Nigeria via the Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport Abuja, where a delegation of Nigerian leaders, diplomats and representatives of different African nations will be in attendance to pay their respects before the body will depart for his home State Anambra, through Enugu State.

Achebe's body will be laid to rest at his family compound in Ogidi town in Idemmli local government area of Anambra State on May 23, after a traditional burial service at St. Phillips Anglican Church, Ogidi.

More here-

Anglican bishops reject same-sex marriage

From Jamaica-

THE leadership of the Anglican Church in the West Indies has issued a firm rejection of same-sex marriage and has urged Caribbean Governments to resist attempts at compromise from outside the region.

In a draft provincial statement on same-sex unions issued yesterday, the House of Bishops and Standing Committee of the Church in the Province of the West Indies said that they were aware that Caribbean political leaders were being subjected to pressures from nations and institutions from outside the region.

"Frequently they are pressured to conform to the changes being undertaken in their redefinition of human sexuality and same-sex unions, under threat of economic sanctions and the loss of humanitarian aid," the bishops said.

"We urge our leaders of government and of civil society, as well as the people of our nations, to resist any attempt to compromise our cultural and religious principles regarding these matters.

"The dangling of a carrot of economic assistance to faltering economies should be seen for what it is worth and should be resisted by people and government alike," added the bishops, who are meeting in Barbados.

Read more:

Two Archbishops abducted by unknown forces in Syria

From The Church Times-

THE kidnapping of two Syrian archbishops earlier this week has highlighted even more starkly than before the dangers facing the country's small Christian community during these days of intense civil conflict. The fate of the two churchmen is uncertain: reports on Tuesday that they had been released were later denied, and an unconfirmed story early on Wednesday suggested that they might have been released, but their location was not known.

The official Syrian news agency reported on Monday that the Syrian Oriental Orthodox Archbishop of Aleppo, Mar Yohanna Ibrahim, and the Greek Orthodox Archbishop of Aleppo, the Most Revd Paul Yazigi, had been seized by "a terrorist group" in the village of Kfar Dael in northern Syria, while they were "carrying out humanitarian work". Some reports suggested that the Archbishops were seeking a meeting with an armed group, to try to secure the release of other kidnapped Christians.

Confirmation of the abduction came from a member of the opposition Syrian National Coalition. A member of the Syriac community, Abdulahad Steifo, said that the two Archbishops had been captured on the road leading from the Turkish border to Aleppo. Reports said the Archbishops' driver, a deacon, had been shot dead. The government blamed the rebels for the abduction; the rebels blamed the government.

More here-

South Sudan: S. Sudan Religious Leaders Ask Kiir to Explain Move Against VP Machar

From Sudan-

The most senior religious leaders in South Sudan have asked president Salva Kiir, to clarify to them the delegated powers he withdrew from the vice president, Riek Machar, as rumors of a looming crisis in the presidency continues.

The surprise move announced in a formal decree by Kiir thus month has created tension and uncertainty at the centre of the south-ruling party (SPLM) government, which officials tried to dispel today after a stunned reaction among the South Sudanese public.

The spiritual leaders' delegation, led by the archbishop of the Catholic Church, His Lordship Paulino Lukudu Loro, held a closed door meeting with the president and his deputy on Thursday at the State House.

The delegation of the church leaders from the various denominations of Christian faith in South Sudan also included archbishop of the Episcopal Church, Daniel Deng Bul, who was recently appointed by the president to head the national reconciliation process and the moderator of the General Assembly of the Presbyterian Church, Peter Gai Lual, among others.

More here-

Former Episcopalian minister ordained Catholic priest

From Boston-

Cardinal Seán P. O'Malley ordained Father Jurgen W. Liias, a former Episcopalian priest of 40 years, to the Roman Catholic priesthood on April 20 at St. Mary Star of the Sea Church in Beverly.

The native of Germany received ordination for the Ordinariate of the Chair of St. Peter. Msgr. Jeffrey N. Steenson, head of the ordinariate, concelebrated with Cardinal O'Malley.

The Ordinariate of the Chair of St. Peter is a national structure created by Pope Benedict XVI in 2012. It was formed in response to requests from former Anglican groups and clergy who wanted to become Catholic as a group, and retain aspects of their Anglican heritage and traditions, including parts of their liturgy. Special permission has been given on a case-by-case basis for former Anglican priests who are married to be ordained Catholic priests for the ordinariate.

Cardinal O'Malley emphasized the theme of Christian unity as he addressed the candidate in his homily during the ordination.

"Jurgen, we thank God for your generous response to this second calling and commend you to the loving care of the Mother of the Divine Shepherd, so that your ministry as a Catholic priest will draw people closer to the Lord and to one-another, as we strive for the unity that Christ prayed for at the Last Supper, and so that we will experience the fellowship of those first disciples who were of one mind and one heart," he said.

More here-

Christ Church Anglican faces new opposition

From Georgia-

Members of a church congregation who lost a fight to worship in their longtime home now face a battle over the location of their new sanctuary.

Christ Church Anglican, established by a group that separated from Savannah’s historic Christ Church five years ago over “profound and irreconcilable theological differences” plans to build a sanctuary and parish hall on the northeast corner of Drayton and 37th streets.

Church representatives obtained three of four variance requests for the project Thursday from the Zoning Board of Appeals.

The hearing was contentious, however. The plans pitted church members against neighborhood residents — and neighbors against neighbors in some instances. The project faces additional review by the staff of the Metropolitan Planning Commission and the Savannah city manager's office and could be subject to additional public hearings before construction can begin.

More here-

NetsforLife Encourages Communities, Stakeholders to 'Invest in the Future. Defeat Malaria'

From Market Watch-

On April 25, World Malaria Day, Episcopal Relief & Development's NetsforLife malaria prevention program is joining with its partners to celebrate the gains made so far in stopping this deadly disease, and call for renewed support from local and international stakeholders to "Invest in the Future. Defeat Malaria."

Working through local Church and community partners, NetsforLife has had a major impact on malaria in sub-Saharan Africa. The program's methodology of hanging nets in homes has resulted in higher rates of net coverage and a greater reduction in malaria-related deaths than the standard distribution method. Although the cost of distributing nets directly to households is higher than positioning them at a fixed collection point, coverage and retention rates are much better when the NetsforLife methodology is implemented, leading to a decline in area mosquito populations and a reduction in malaria-related sickness and death.

"The strengths of our award-winning NetsforLife model are that we work through local communities and physically hang nets above people's sleeping areas," said Gifty Tetteh, Strategic Outreach Officer for NetsforLife. "Because we train and work through local volunteers, their neighbors trust them to bring nets into their homes and install them, and later follow-up visits help ensure that the nets are in place and maintained properly."

More here-

Thursday, April 25, 2013

Trinity Church Split on How to Manage $2 Billion Legacy of a Queen

From The New York Times-

There has never been any doubt that Trinity Church is wealthy. But the extent of its wealth has long been a mystery; guessed at by many, known by few.

Now, however, after a lawsuit filed by a disenchanted parishioner, the church has offered an estimate of the value of its assets: more than $2 billion.

The Episcopal parish, known as Trinity Wall Street, traces its holdings to a gift of 215 acres of prime Manhattan farmland donated in 1705 by Queen Anne of England. Since then, the church has parlayed that gift into a rich portfolio of office buildings, stock investments and, soon, mixed-use residential development.

The parish’s good fortune has become an issue in the historic congregation, which has been racked by infighting in recent years over whether the church should be spending more money to help the poor and spread the faith, in New York and around the world. Differences over the parish’s mission and direction last year led nearly half the 22-member vestry — an august collection of corporate executives and philanthropists — to resign or be pushed out, after at least seven of them asked, unsuccessfully, that the rector himself step down.

More here-

Dylan Wakes Up Worship

From The Living Church-

Bob Dylan has performed six times in Richmond, Virginia, during his 50-year career. This year, a month before Dylan and his five band members took the stage again at Richmond’s Landmark Theater, the members of St. James’s Church gathered for their first Dylan Mass. Mark and Virginia Whitmire, who oversee the music and choirs at St. James’s, do not pretend that Dylan would have added bluesy riffs on his Hohner mouth harp had he been in town a month earlier. They mention honest doubts about whether Dylan would be pleased at their liturgical use of his songs. But they stress that the Dylan Mass rises from their adult conversion to the Dylan fan base, an eventual discovery of what Mark Whitmire calls Dylan’s “authentic prophetic voice.”

The Dylan service was part of a rotation of contemporary music sung by the parish’s West Gallery Choir, which already has adapted bluegrass and jazz to blend into contemporary settings of the Holy Eucharist.

The Whitmires and the Rev. Carmen Germino, assistant rector, spent hours finding common themes between the readings for March 3 and Dylan’s lyrics. “We started with the lectionary and it was providential that the service was in Lent,” Virgnia said. “It was Burning Bush Sunday.”

More here-

Former archbishop Desmond Tutu, 81, expecting to be in hospital for days after he is admitted for 'persistent infection'

From The Daily Mail-

Retired archbishop Desmond Tutu has checked into a South African hospital for treatment of a persistent infection.

The Desmond and Leah Tutu Legacy Foundation said the Nobel Peace Prize laureate will undergo tests to discover the cause of the infection.

The foundation says 81-year-old Tutu spent this morning in his office before going to a Cape Town hospital and was in good spirits.

It added the non-surgical treatment is expected to take five days.
Tutu was a vigorous campaigner against the system of white racist rule known as apartheid, which ended when democratic elections were held in 1994.

The Nobel Prize Winner was also the first black South African Archbishop of Cape Town, South Africa and primate of the Anglican Church of South Africa.

He became a prominent leader, crusading for justice and racial conciliation in South Africa.
In 1984 he received a Nobel Peace Prize in recognition of his contributions to that cause.

His hospitalisation comes weeks after Nelson Mandela, South Africa's first black president, was taken into hospital.

Read more:

Revealed: News reporter is the worst job in the world (but it's good news for death predictors)

From The Independent- (Clergy come in #110 out of 200)

It's official, I have the worst job in the world.

That’s according to a new survey by the website, who have analysed and ranked 200 careers and found the lowly news reporter to be the worst.

The jobs were ordered according to five criteria: physical demands, income, stress, work environment and hiring outlook, with long hours, low salaries and dwindling hiring and career progression prospects ensuring news reporters prop up the list.

Other careers in the bottom 10 include lumberjack, enlisted military personnel, actor, oil rig worker, dairy farmer, meter reader, postman, roofer, flight attendant and farmer.

More here-

Malawi Anglican Church backs JB: ‘Malawians should stop whingeing’

From Malawi-

The Anglican Church in Malawi, despite the prevalent discontent among many citizens over President Joyce Banda’s style of administration, has deposited its weight behind her policies and governance.

The Anglican Diocese of Southern Malawi, in a statement  issued at the end of its Seventh Synod Meeting held from April 13 to 14, asked Malawians to stop complaining and practicing cheap politics.

“We believe that as Malawians instead of complaining and throwing cheap political shots at each other we need to find solutions to this situation. It is not the president alone, the government alone nor outsiders who can help us out. It is all of us together,” reads the statement, produced by the bishop, priests and the laity in the diocese.

The England-originated church observes that given the existing circumstances President Banda had no choice but to devalue and float the kwacha, among other decisions, that it believes is important to embrace a managed float which is variation on the free float mechanism.

More here-

Man walks to help feed needy across W.Va.

From West Virginia-

A Kenova, W.Va., man who has pledged to raise $10,000 in each of West Virginia's 55 counties to benefit food pantries is in Wood County "walking out hunger in West Virginia."

Tom Knopp, director of Good Samaritan Center in Kenova, came to Parkersburg Wednesday evening. A potluck dinner was held for him at Good Shepherd Episcopal Church in Parkersburg, where he spoke to residents about his plans.

''I set out a goal to walk all 55 counties in West Virginia,'' he said. ''Hopefully, I can walk 25 miles a day.''

In each county, he wants to raise $10,000 to meet his goal of $550,000 statewide by June 24.

The idea for the walk and the "Walking Out Hunger in West Virginia" campaign came from a need to help the two area food banks in West Virginia.

The funds he will raise in Wood County will go to the Mountaineer Food Bank, which supplies local food pantries and feeding programs, or the Wood County Emergency Food Co-op to support member pantries and feeding programs.

More here-

A sure sign, and smell, of spring here: Ramps

From The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette-

Plenty of people in these parts dig ramps. 

Some of them literally.

And now is the time to ramp it up.

This past weekend, Darcy Riggs was out digging these wild leeks, so she and her family can serve them for one of the ramp "feeds" that are an Appalachian rite of spring.

Ms. Riggs, the assistant director of dining for Country Meadows Retirement Community in South Fayette, helps with a dinner that's held at Olde St. John's Episcopal Church in her hometown of Colliers, W.Va.

From 3 to 8 p.m. this Saturday, April 27, she, her sisters, cousins and other volunteers will be serving Italian sausage and ramp sandwiches; ramp hotdogs; fried potatoes with ramps and bacon; soup beans and cornbread; and many desserts. Cost is $7 for dinner, with ham or dessert for $1 more; proceeds benefit the landmark church and its summer reading program. You can even buy fresh ramps to take home (but those will go fast). For information, call 1-304-527-4746.

Read more:

Espiscopal Diocese searching for eighth bishop

From Fond du Lac -

The Episcopal Diocese of Fond du Lac is beginning the process of selecting a new bishop.

The Standing Committee of the Diocese of Fond du Lac will accept nominations to succeed retiring Bishop Russell Jacobus until May 15.

Any bishop, priest or deacon of the church is eligible for nomination.

Election of the bishop will be held on Oct. 19 within the context of the celebration of the Holy Eucharist at Fond du Lac’s Cathedral of St. Paul during the annual Convention of the Diocese. Ordination and consecration is scheduled April 26, 2014.

Jacobus has served as Bishop of the Episcopal Diocese, which covers northeast Wisconsin, since 1994. He will retire on Oct. 31 as bishop and from active ordained ministry at that time.

More here-

New Website Gives Episcopal Relief & Development a Fresh Look, New URL

From PR Newswire-

Episcopal Relief & Development has launched a new organizational website featuring an updated look and layout, greater integration with social media and a unified donation pathway to boost interactivity and engagement.  In addition to helpful color coding, new icons and special spotlight sections, the redesign also includes improved accessibility and information flow, making it easier for users to learn more and take action to help heal a hurting world.


The new design was developed in line with industry best practices, input received from Episcopal Relief & Development's staff and board members and feedback from donors and friends of the organization.  The update was co-managed by Malaika Kamunanwire , Episcopal Relief & Development's Senior Director for Marketing & Communications, and Daryn Kobata , the organization's Social Media and Web Officer, in partnership with digital firm Blue Fountain Media.

"During the development of the new site, we were constantly evaluating our process to make sure that it focused on user needs and interests, while at the same time showcasing who we are as an organization," Kamunanwire said.  "The new look and feel of our site matches our ethos, and the content strives to inform and empower our supporters to act and get others involved in our mission."

More here-

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Ex-bishop's widow wants optional priestly celibacy

From Michigan-

She uses a wheelchair and carries the weight of her 87 years, but

This woman, whose romance with a bishop and eventual marriage became a major scandal in the 1960s, is such a close friend with Pope Francis that he called her every Sunday when he was Argentina's leading cardinal.

Luro's convinced that he will eventually lead the global church to end mandatory priestly celibacy, a requirement she says "the world no longer understands." She believes this could resolve a global shortage of priests, and persuade many Catholics who are no longer practicing to recommit themselves to the church.

"I think that in time priestly celibacy will become optional," Luro said in an interview with The Associated Press in her home in Buenos Aires, after sending an open letter to the pope stating her case. "I'm sure that Francis will suggest it."

John Paul II, Benedict XVI and other popes before them forbade any open discussion of changing the celibacy rule, and Francis hasn't mentioned the topic since becoming pope last month.

Clelia Luro feels powerful enough to make the Roman Catholic Church pay attention to her campaign to end priestly celibacy.

More here-

Anglican blasts 'raid'

From Australia-

The Anglican ambassador to the Vatican, David Richardson, has attacked the Roman Catholic "raid'' on the Anglican Church two years ago as offensive and embarrassing.

Australian Canon Richardson, a former dean of St Paul's Cathedral in Melbourne, said the special Anglican wing the Vatican set up to provide a home for Anglican dissidents would not last more than 20 years.

Canon Richardson, whose term as ambassador for the Archbishop of Canterbury ended on Friday, said the Vatican told Archbishop of Canterbury Rowan Williams only a fortnight before the announcement.

He told ABC Radio's The Religion Report, in an interview to be broadcast on Wednesday that he and Dr Williams were offended by the manner and timing of the intervention.

Read more:

Diagnosis of a Stalled Covenant

Book Review from The Living Church-

The Anglican Covenant already binds together one fifth of the Anglican churches, making explicit the basis of their unity and the nature of the common life to which they are committed. But sadly, it has been unable to escape from the context that gave rise to it — the crisis sparked in 2003 when a divorcé in an avowedly sexual same-sex relationship was consecrated to the episcopate despite the primates’ warning that this would put “the future of the Communion itself … in jeopardy.”

Several essays in this important volume point to the mismanagement of the 1998 Lambeth Conference, and subsequent failure to implement its resolutions, as significant contributory causes of the crisis. As Andrew Goddard shows, the Covenant reflects the growth of inter-Anglican structures and responds to needs recognized in the 1980s and ’90s: to identify the limits of acceptable teaching and practice, formulate an expression of shared faith, and balance what the 1908 Conference had called “the just freedom of [the Communion’s] several parts” and “the just claims of the whole Communion upon its every part.” Lambeth 1998 failed to give sufficient consideration and weight to the Inter-Anglican Theological and Doctrinal Commission’s Virginia Report, which addressed these deficits. It also failed to draw on Rowan Williams’s keynote address on “making moral decisions” (outlining themes later developed in his study of Dostoevsky — which, Nathan Humphrey suggests, illuminates Williams’s support for the Covenant). Its botched discussion of homosexuality might also have been mentioned.

More here-

Jackie Robinson: How God used two faith-filled believers to desegregate baseball

A "lift" from "T19"-

The biographical film “42” depicts Jackie Robinson’s courageous battle to break the color barrier in major league baseball. At the same time, the film provides a glimpse of his religious faith, which afforded the strength he needed to overcome fierce opposition.

“It took two Christians to pull this off,” says Chris Lamb, the author of “Blackout: The Untold Story of Jackie Robinson’s First Spring Training” (University of Nebraska, 2004). “Robinson was a Christian and Branch Rickey was a Christian,” he notes. “Sometimes we miss this.”

Lamb was blind to it himself until he researched Robinson’s life for his book. “I kept wondering all these years what kept Robinson together,” he says. “Finally I realized what I missed before – the core came from above.”

The film accurately depicts the role of Brooklyn Dodgers President Branch Rickey in advancing desegregation in baseball. Rickey, a devout Methodist, was sometimes known as “the deacon” due to his forthright convictions.

More here-

As National Day of Prayer approaches, how's your prayer life?

From Alabama-

Asked by an interviewer what she said when she prayed to God, Mother Teresa supposedly replied: “I don’t say much. Mostly I just listen.”

The alert interviewer had a follow-up: “And what does God say to you?”

“He doesn’t say much. Mostly, He just listens,” she said.

There’s no question that prayer is integral to a believer’s relationship with God. But how to go about the process – and how to deepen one’s prayer life -- varies widely depending on whom you ask.

The issue is particularly timely as the National Day of Prayer, set for May 2, approaches. Across the nation on that day, many believers will be engaged in prayer, whether together or individually, spoken or unspoken.

“Prayer must be authentic,” asserts Chris George, pastor of First Baptist Church of Mobile. “Emotions, struggles, doubts – all those things are wrapped up in prayer if prayer is authentic.”

More here-

Clergy and Hundreds of Christians Gather for Climate

From Sampan-

National leading Christian clergy from many denominations will meet Saturday in Boston for a “Climate Revival,” proclaiming a moral imperative for Christians to take immediate action on climate change.

Billing itself as “An Ecumenical Festival to Embolden the Renewal of Creation,” clergy will call upon all Christians to care for God’s creation by taking steps to curb climate change.

The assembled clergy believe that climate change is one of the most critical moral justice issues of this millennium. They believe that their actions, and the actions of their respective denominations, will shape public, political, and economic policies that move us from dependency on fossil fuels to clean, safe, renewable energy. The gathered leaders are convinced that successfully tackling climate change depends not only on economic, political, and scientific solutions, but also on encouraging moral and spiritual transformation.

“We depend on a Creator God who leads all persons of faith to a deeper love of God’s creation,” said Rt. Rev. Bud Cederholm, Bishop Suffragan (Retired) of the Episcopal Diocese of Massachusetts. “God also compels us to advocate strongly and ceaselessly for creation’s protection and renewal.”
Dozens of clergy from around the region and nation will attend and preach, including

The Rev. Geoffrey Black, General Minister and President of the United Church of Christ, and

The Most Rev. Katharine Jefferts Schori, Presiding Bishop of the Episcopal Church.

More here-

Dean follows example of ‘everyman’ Peter in pastoring cathedral

From ENS-

When James Munroe was elected dean of Christ Church Episcopal Cathedral in Springfield, Massachusetts, in late 1997, he told his mother his title would change from “the Rev.” to “the Very Rev.”

“She collapsed on the ground in hysterical laughter,” he recounted recently while leading a parish retreat for St. Peter’s Episcopal Church, Morristown, New Jersey.

Munroe, 66, takes a humble approach to his job as leader of the Diocese of Western Massachusetts cathedral. During the April 19-21 retreat, held at the Tuscarora Inn and Conference Center in Mount Bethel, Pennsylvania, he focused on the grace given to the well-meaning but fallible apostle Peter, who he called an “everyman.”

“He’s a model for me of how the Lord connects to us,” Munroe told ENS. “I’m so thankful for this picture of somebody who’s a good guy [with] a wonderful heart for whom there were disasters and who just totally blew it, who comes to the point of no excuses … and found at that lowest point unconditional forgiveness and love.

More here-

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Archbishop of Canterbury calls for introduction of regional banks

From The Guardian-

The archbishop of Canterbury warned on Monday night that Britain was mired in an economic depression and called for major steps to drag the country out of it, including the breakup of a major bank in order to create regional lenders.

The proposal, which has echoes of a policy recently espoused by Labour, was contained in an address that marked one of Justin Welby's most significant forays into public policy since be was enthroned last month as the new leader of the Church of England.

Speaking just days before key GDP data is expected to show the economy remains stalled, Welby told a Westminster discussion on the financial crisis organised by the Bible Society: "Economic crises are a major problem when they are severe. When they are accompanied by a financial crisis and a breakdown in confidence then they become a generational problem.

"Historically, the great failures in banking have led to very, very long periods of recession at best. I would argue that what we are in at the moment is not a recession but essentially some kind of depression. It therefore takes something very, very major to get us out of it in the same way as it took something very major to get us into it."

More here-

Sudan: President Kiir Forms New Committee for National Reconciliation

From Sudan-

South Sudan's president, Salva Kiir , has announced the formation of a new national reconciliation committee in a move seen as a response to public concerns, a week after suspending the process

The public expressed numerous concerns in the media as to why the president decided to suspend the much-needed national reconciliation process, instead of changing the membership and composition of the committee without interruptions.

Kiir on Monday appointed the Archbishop of Episcopal Church, Daniel Deng Bul, to chair the national reconciliation committee, deputized by the Archbishop of Catholic Church, Paride Taban.

This is the second time the president has appointed Archbishop Bul to chair a reconciliation process, after his first appointment to chair the process among the tribes in his home state of Jonglei, last year.

Bul, in the process of reconciling tribes in Jonglei, was accused by the Murle community of allegedly siding with the Dinka Bor, his tribe, prompting the Murle to withdraw from the reconciliation process and demanding for appointment of a neutral person to chair it.

More here-

Episcopalian Actress Reese Witherspoon Apologizes For Drunken Behavior

From Christian Post- (Really ? The fact that she was raised as an Episcopalian is relevant?)

Witherspoon apologized for her behavior Monday. "I clearly had one drink too many and I am deeply embarrassed about the things I said," the actress said in a statement to media.

Other actresses such as Amanda Bynes and Lindsay Lohan have also had troubles with driving under the influence. However few may have expected Hollywood's good girl to be caught up in similar problems.

Witherspoon was raised in the Episcopal church according to a Reader Digest interview. She was also spotted attending her local church after being injuried in a car accident 2011.

That same year Witherspoon told girls watching the MTV Movie Awards that good girls can be successful in Hollywood.

More here-

Boston-area Episcopalians gather for prayer, offer solace to neighbors

From ENS-

They all may not have been able to get to their churches, but in the hours after the second of two suspects in the Boston Marathon bombings was captured April 19, Episcopalians in the Boston area continued to support each other and their neighbors.

Police captured Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, 19, as he holed up in a boat parked in a backyard just blocks away from Church of the Good Shepherd in Watertown, Massachusetts. He was weakened by a gunshot wound after fleeing on foot from an overnight shootout with police that left 200 spent rounds behind.

The Rev. Amy McCreath, Good Shepherd’s priest-in-charge, e-mailed her congregation shortly after the capture, calling the capture a “great gift.”

“Your vestry met by conference call while events unfolded tonight, praying for all of you, for your children, and especially for our neighbors on Franklin Street,” she wrote.

More here-

Monday, April 22, 2013

'Called or collared?' Sacrifices of the Anglican priesthood

From England-

The first ever study of the lives of Church of England clergy has revealed the personal costs of committing yourself to God.

Written by the Bishop of Brechin and Dr Caroline Gatrell of Lancaster University Management School, the book Managing Clergy Lives (Bloomsbury) is based on in-depth interviews with 46 deans.

The Bishop, the Rt Rev Dr Nigel Peyton, said it was revealing that every interview was interrupted in some way by a caller at the door or on the phone.

“Being a priest is like being a monarch – you can’t resign and your job is your life. You must always be available to people. As the vicar in the very accurate TV sitcom Rev said, there is no such thing as a day off when you are a vicar. You do not have the same opportunities or freedom as other people and this does entail sacrifices.”

One interviewee, Philip, found that when he opened his vicarage for “hunger lunches”, some parishioners took advantage.

'A step toward unity' Former Episcopal minister ordained as a Catholic priest

From Boston-

Nothing like it has ever happened at St. Mary Star of the Sea Church before.

On Saturday morning, more than 400 people gathered to see Jurgen Liias join the Catholic priesthood. Included among them were his two children, his grandchildren and his wife, Gloria.

The ceremony was not in defiance of the Vatican policy of celibate priests — rather, Cardinal Sean O’Malley officiated, instituting a policy set during the tenure of Pope Benedict. In 2012, he established the Ordinariate of the Chair of St. Peter, welcoming to the Catholic fold Anglican clergy dissatisfied with their own church.

This followed an earlier welcome to their unhappy parishioners from Pope John Paul II.

Liias literally grew up in the Episcopal Church and served as a minister for 40 years, including 14 at Christ Church in Hamilton. He now finds he cannot reconcile with new policies like welcoming homosexual clergy and countenancing abortion.

More here-

For Boston’s faithful, solace comes with a dose of solidarity

From The Times of Israel-

One example of inter-communal cooperation is the sharing of sacred space. On Sunday, Boston’s Trinity Church in the city’s Copley Square, near the site of the Monday bombing, was forced to relocate its Sunday services and found a willing host in nearby Temple Israel, a large Reform congregation barely 10 minutes’ drive from the church.

In a letter to his congregants, Trinity’s Rev. Samuel T. Lloyd III
invited his congregants to “a Sunday adventure” at the synagogue.

“It is clear that we cannot rely on being able to worship in our beloved Trinity Church,” Lloyd wrote. “And so instead we are accepting the wonderful hospitality of Rabbi Ronne Friedman and the people of Temple Israel to worship in their beautiful sanctuary on Sunday morning.”

The letter took a decidedly optimistic tone. “It will be a fine
service,” Lloyd assured, “full of Easter joy and sober reflection, and
following it, we will have ample time in the coffee hour [to] catch up
after these arduous days.”

More here-

Episcopal Church Makes Positive Investment in the Palestinian Economy

From The Palestine News Network-

The Holy Land Christian Ecumenical Foundation's (HCEF) said in a press release that the main goal of its 14th International Conference and 3rd Business and Investment Conference in Palestine, which was held in November 9-10, 2012, was to promote and identify investment and business opportunities in Palestine. In addition to, encourage the Western Churches and their financial and economic institutions to do positive investment in Palestine for peace.

Mr. N. Kurt Barnes, Treasurer and Chief Financial Officer of the Episcopal Church, attended HCEF's 3rd Business and Investment Conference where he was introduced and met with represantatives of Bank of Palestine. As a result, Mr. Barnes announced the decision of the Episcopal Church Economic Justice Loan Committee (EJLC) of the Executive Council to purchase a three-year certificate of deposit for $500,000.00 in the Bank of Palestine as part of its economic justice portfolio.

Presiding Bishop of the Episcopal Church, Katharine Jefferts Schori said, "I am delighted that The Episcopal Church has now made a positive investment in the Palestinian economy, an action which we have encouraged for some time. This is a tangible evidence of our commitment to a healthy economy in the Palestinian territories as a necessary instrument to building a lasting peace."

Christ Church sides with Diocese of SC

From South Carolina-

When the dust settled after the Diocese of South Carolina voted to leave The Episcopal Church last month during its convention in Florence, there was still one small church in the area that remained undecided about its affiliation.

The conservative Diocese of South Carolina split with the more liberal national Episcopal Church last year over the ordination of gays and a variety of theological issues that has led to an ongoing legal battle surrounded by broken congregations left to decide which group to be a part of going forward.
Four Episcopal churches in the state out of a total of 71 have not chosen a side. In the Pee Dee, that number is zero.

The vestry at Christ Church of Quinby has now voted to remain with the diocese, leaving those in the area who wished to remain with the Episcopal Church without their last hope for a physical meeting place.

That is not stopping the small group of TEC-faithful from moving forward as well.

More here-

Delray Beach Episcopal priest interviews for Bishop of New Jersey post

From Florida-

The Rev. William "Chip" Stokes, an Episcopal priest from Delray Beach, could become the next bishop of the Diocese of New Jersey, one of the largest Episcopal districts in the country.

Stokes is one of nine candidates who will interview beginning Monday to replace Bishop George Councell, who is retiring after 10 years leading the diocese's 155 churches.

Stokes, a priest for 22 years, has led St. Paul's Episcopal Church since 1999 but said he also connects with the diversity and struggles of New Jersey's parishes, which include Atlantic City, Camden, Trenton, Princeton and cities along the coast.

"I take seriously the notion of being called," said Stokes, 56, a father of four and grandfather of two. "If I'm called, I'll feel excited. If not, God has called me to St. Paul's. I can't lose."

Stokes also was a candidate for bishop of the Diocese of Newark in 2006. He will spend the coming week visiting churches and meeting with clergy and lay people, taking their questions and sharing his vision for the sprawling network of parishes, which cover two-thirds of the state.

The election will be May 4. Competing candidates come from Washington, Maryland, California, Connecticut and New Jersey.

More here-

Sunday, April 21, 2013

Anglican school where 75% of the pupils are Muslim drops Christian hymns from assemblies

From The Daily Mail-

Hymns have been dropped from assemblies at a Church of England school which has also introduced separate prayer rooms for girls and boys to cater to its mostly Muslim students.

Daily assemblies at Slough and Eton Church of England Business and Enterprise College, where 75 per cent of pupils are Muslim, are not based specifically on the Bible, but may make reference to it alongside other religious texts.

All of the the meat served at the secondary school, which has over 1,000 pupils aged between 11 and 19, is halal.

Headmaster Paul McAteer said the approach was to be 'sensitive to the fact that we do have many different faiths in the school', but added that Christian values were 'more prevalent here than I have experienced in non-Church of England schools'.

Mr McAteer, who pointed out that the Church of England describes itself as 'a faith for all faiths', told the Sunday Times: 'The values we support are very much Christian values of honesty, integrity, justice.'

More here-


From Australia-

A 100-year-old church in Sydney's inner-west is still smouldering after it burnt down early this morning.

Firefighters were called to the Holy Trinity Anglican Church in Dulwich Hill just before 4.00am (AEST).

Inspector Chris Sedgewick says the old architecture made it especially hard to fight the fire.

He says the nearly 100-year old building could not be saved.

"We surrounded the building, protected all other buildings and put the fire out but not before the roof collapsed, I'm afraid," he said.

"The high pitched roof, the slat tiles, with stone or masonry building, we're [trained] in building collapse.

"You're always looking for it and we set up collapse zones."

The church's minister, Father Dave Smith, says the church is beyond repair.

More here-

African bishops endorse Bishop Mark Lawrence

From South Carolina-

Four Anglican bishops from East Africa announced their support last week for the Diocese of South Carolina’s disassociation from the Episcopal Church and praised Bishop Mark Lawrence, according to a news release.

Lawrence left the Episcopal Church in October because of disagreements over theology and governance. He and others who disassociated from the church contend their diocese predates the national church and is the only real “Diocese of South Carolina.

Both sides have taken to court the question of which has right to the assets, property and diocesan name.

The Rt. Rev. Charles vonRosenberg is recognized by the Episcopal Church as bishop of the “continuing” diocese.

The African bishops on hand, all affiliated with the Anglican Communion, include the Rt. Rev. Abraham Yel Nhial, bishop of the Diocese of Aweil in the Episcopal Church of South Sudan; the Rt. Rev. Robert Martin, Diocese of Marsabit, Anglican Church of Kenya; the Rt. Rev. Nathan Kamusiime Gasatura, Diocese of Butare, Anglican Church of Rwanda; and the Rt. Rev. Elias Mazi Chakupewa, Diocese of Tabora, Anglican Church of Tanzania.

More here-