Saturday, June 1, 2013

New Bishop Dill may 'face challenges' and 'be challenging'

From Bermuda-

New Anglican Bishop Nicholas Dill on Thursday started work as the leader of the island’s largest faith group.

He said: “There are lots of meetings in the diary and lots of discussions to be had with people.”

The youngest-ever Bishop of Bermuda added he would be moving into his new office at the Anglican Cathedral next week.

And on Sunday, he will celebrate his first masses as Bishop at the Cathedral, at 8am and 10am.

Bishop Dill added: “It’s a new role, a new place and new clothes – but the same message.”


Bishop Dill, 49, was consecrated at a packed ceremony in the Anglican Cathedral in Hamilton on Wednesday night, watched by hundreds, including Governor George Fergusson, Premier Craig Cannonier and the US Consul General Bob Settje.

The congregation – many of whom had to stand throughout the near-two hour ceremony – applauded as Bishop Dill was presented with the robes and symbols of the office by a trio of senior Bishops from overseas and formally presented to his flock.

He later left the church, blessed the city and mingled with well-wishers, including the Catholic Bishop of Hamilton Robert Kurtz and representatives of other religious groups like the AME, Salvation Army and Ethiopian Orthodox Church.

Bishop Dill said: “The service was absolutely fabulous – it was great to see so many people out there. I felt really uplifted and there was a wonderful atmosphere.

More here-

Archbishop Chama: "Anglican Alliance a catalyst for change"

From ACNS-

"A catalyst for change" across the Communion is how Archbishop Albert Chama of Central Africa describes the Alliance, as he takes on the position of Chair of the new Board of Trustees.

The Primate will be leading the Anglican Alliance into a new stage of its life as a charity with a global board, bringing forward a new programme for its development, relief and advocacy across the Anglican Communion.

"The Anglican Alliance can be a catalyst for change, bringing people together across the Communion in our shared mission to build a world free of poverty and injustice," he said.

"Our vision is enshrined in the Anglican marks of mission, and manifested in the lives of millions of Anglicans around the world who minister to people in the most desperate circumstances, providing pathways out of poverty, and mobilising the prophetic voice of the Church against injustice.

"Central Africa includes some of the communities most affected by poverty: refugees from conflict, children orphaned by HIV and Aids. We also have some of the most inspiring examples of churches and agencies of the Anglican Communion creating sustainable and enduring change: micro-finance schemes for the poor, livelihood programmes for orphans and vulnerable children, advocacy to persuade governments to promote equality for women.

"I will draw from the life and witness of the Church in Central Africa in my new role as Chair of the Anglican Alliance board of trustees, Anglicans from all parts of the Communion, with expertise in development relief and advocacy.

More here-

Baptists plan exodus from Boy Scouts

From CNN-

For Southern Baptist pastor Tim Reed, it was Scripture versus the Scouts.

“God’s word explicitly says homosexuality is a choice, a sin,” said Reed, pastor of First Baptist Church of Gravel Ridge in Jacksonville, Arkansas.

So when the Boy Scouts of America voted to lift its ban on openly gay youths on May 24, Reed said the church had no choice but to cut its charter with Troop 542.

“It’s not a hate thing here,” Reed told CNN affiliate Fox 16. “It’s a moral stance we must take as a Southern Baptist church.”

Southern Baptist leaders say Reed is not alone.

Baptist churches sponsor nearly 4,000 Scout units representing more than 100,000 youths, according to the Boy Scouts of America.

That number could drop precipitously.

The Southern Baptist Convention, the country’s largest Protestant denomination, will soon urge its 45,000 congregations and 16 million members to cut ties with the Scouts, according to church leaders.

More here-

Lightning strikes Richmond church

From Virginia-

A Richmond church was struck by lightning during a brief but powerful thunderstorm early Friday afternoon.

St. Paul’s Episcopal Church, 800 N. A St. in Richmond, sustained damage to its bell tower when lightning struck a corner of the tower and sent bricks flying down across the sidewalk and North A Street.

“I’ve been close to lightning strikes before, but nothing like this. It was a flash and boom at the same time,” said George Eastman, the Junior Warden of the Vestry at the church.

“We had people there for the U.S. 40 Yard Sale, and it had started to rain so we just had people from the church who were helping. No one was looking at anything because of the rain. So a few of us were sitting right inside the door when it happened.”

Eastman said the next thing everyone saw was a storm of bricks raining down on the street, sidewalk and church lawn.

“It scared all of us, but fortunately, no one was injured and the damage was limited,” Eastman said. “There was a vendor outside, and it did quite a bit of damage to his awning and his trailer.”

More here-

Episcopal Diocese of Western Michigan elects Ninth bishop

From Western Michigan-

The Rev. Whayne M. Hougland Jr., has been elected the ninth bishop of the Episcopal Diocese of Western Michigan at an electing convention held earlier this month. The Rev. Hougland, currently rector of St. Luke's Episcopal Church in Salisbury, N.C., was elected on the eighth ballot out of a field of four candidates. To be elected, a candidate must have received a majority of the votes in both the lay order and the clergy order. He received 87 of 139 votes cast in the lay order and 34 of 65 votes cast in the clergy order.

Under the canons (III.11.4) of the Episcopal Church, the election of a bishop requires the consent from a majority of bishops with jurisdiction and Standing Committees of the Episcopal Church. Assuming that consent is received, The Most Reverend Katharine Jefferts Schori, Presiding Bishop of The Episcopal Church, will consecrate The Rev. Whayne Hougland, Jr., as the ninth Bishop of Western Michigan on Sept. 28, at the Van Noord Arena on the campus of Calvin College, Grand Rapids.

The election, which was held at Grace Church in Grand Rapids, followed a year-long search process in which three candidates were selected by the diocesan search committee; the fourth was nominated through a petition process. Prior to the election, the four candidates spent the first weekend in May traversing the diocese, meeting the people, and answering questions in a series of three "walkabouts."

Read more:

St. Francis property in Turlock Episcopal once again

From San Joaquin-

Without fanfare or ceremony, the Episcopal congregation in Turlock received the keys to the parish property of St. Francis on Friday and will hold its first service there Sunday, with a larger celebratory service June 9.

The small Episcopal congregation left the parish in 2007 after 40 of 47 parishes in the San Joaquin Diocese, including St. Francis, voted to split from the national Episcopal church over theological issues, such as the ordination of gay clergy and the interpretation of Scripture. The parishes, from Stockton to Bakersfield, remained part of the worldwide Anglican Communion and changed their names from Episcopal to Anglican.

For the past 5½ years, two St. Francis congregations have existed — St. Francis Episcopal, which met in rented space, and St. Francis Anglican, which remained in the parish property on Main Street, valued in 2010 at about $1.9 million.

Read more here:

Friday, May 31, 2013

Archbishop of York reveals his battle with prostate cancer

From England-

The Archbishop of York is suffering from an advanced form of prostate cancer, he disclosed yesterday.

Dr John Sentamu, 63, said he had undergone surgery, adding: ‘I will be out of action for some time.’
His absence from the ruling councils of the Church of England means the new Archbishop of Canterbury, Dr Justin Welby, will be without the support of the number two in the Church’s hierarchy at a crucial time.

The Anglican hierarchy is currently trying to negotiate its way through deep turmoil over same-sex marriage law and its leaders’ efforts to secure the promotion of women bishops.
It was not previously known that the archbishop had cancer.

In a statement, Dr Sentamu said: ‘I am thankful and grateful for Mr Bill Cross, and his surgical team at St James’s Hospital, Leeds, who today operated on me for a locally-advanced cancer of the prostate.

‘I am also grateful to the nursing staff who are caring from me. I am thankful, too, for all of you who regularly pray for me and support me, especially my staff at Bishopthorpe Palace.

Read more:

Christian aid can be root of great harm

From London-

One hears a lot — and rightly — about evangelical churches doing works of mercy and healing in Third World countries.

Some of these enterprises, which raise huge sums of money through emotionally charged TV ads exploiting the misery and despair of pitiful children in some of the world’s darkest corners, do have boots on the ground. They really care.

They don’t all make “coming to Jesus” the first condition of delivering genuine assistance and relief — though some still do.

However, the kind of values and underlying philosophy being exported in the name of Christianity is not all sweetness and light. In many cases, for example, the understanding of the Bible being imparted to these largely illiterate masses is the crudest form of fundamentalism rampant today.

The missionaries often are conveying an outdated, regressive view of everything from creation, to the role of women, to sexual morality. What may in some ways seemlike true Christian love in action can be simultaneously a not-so-subtle propaganda campaign to regain overseas much of the ground lost to the devil of “liberalism” or secularism in the United States, Canada or other First World countries.

Nowhere is this phenomenon more virulent or fraught with risks than where homosexuality has become an issue. There has been a vigorous and potentially deadly shift in the cultures of many countries where gay people and gay rights are concerned. At a time when most western countries are moving toward full acceptance of sexual differences — France recently became the 14th country in the world to legalize same-sex marriage — in places such as Uganda and Ethiopia a disaster is pending.

More here-

Why Ignore Wisdom?

From The Living Church-

No recent report from the Church of England’s Faith and Order Commission has caused as much media confusion and engendered such vehement repudiation and anger as Men and Women in Marriage, published April 10. Some erroneously claimed the church was now more flexible on blessing gay partnerships but the press release made clear this was false. It quoted the commission’s chairman, the Bishop of Coventry, stating “the document is clear that public forms of blessing belong to marriage alone.” The Church Times, in a short, dismissive comment, advised that “the kindest thing to do with the new report Men and Women in Marriage is to ignore it.”

These responses show just how volatile this subject is in the Church of England and how difficult many find it to engage in constructive theological discussion. Despite some weaknesses, the six-part, 50-paragraph document represents a valuable contribution which richly repays the careful study called for by the archbishops. The rapid campaign to sideline and silence it by opponents is an illuminating and worrying sign of where things may be headed in the Church of England.

More here-

Next step proposed on women bishops

From The Church Times-

THE House of Bishops will bring a motion to the General Synod on Monday 8 July, at its sessions in York, requesting the drafting of new legislation to enable women to be consecrated to the episcopate. If it is passed, this will allow time for further debate in November, and the process could be concluded in 2015.

The Bishops envisage the legislation as "a measure and amending canon that made it lawful for women to become bishops", and "the repeal of the statutory rights to pass Resolutions A and B under the 1993 Measure" ("option one").

The House came to its decision in York on Monday of last week, after discussing a report by a working group appointed last year, chaired by the Bishop of St Edmundsbury & Ipswich, the Rt Revd Nigel Stock ( News, 14 December). The working group was appointed after the previous legislation fell ( News, 23 November).

In its own report, the House "endorses the working group's view that the Church of England is at a moment where the way forward is likely to be one which makes it difficult for anyone to claim outright victory. The five elements of the vision need to be held together rather than used selectively. .

More here-

Episcopal church shut down after more than 75 years

From North Carolina-

Members of a local congregation are finding themselves without a church.

Saint Andrews Episcopal Church in east Charlotte shut its doors this week, catching many people by surprise.

"It's terribly disappointing, terribly disappointing," said Tom Brice, a church member.

Tom Brice says he's shocked and hurt over the news that St. Andrew's Episcopal Church is shutting down

Brice says he's been a member for 38 years. It's his home away from home.

"There's a lot of elderly people that go to our church and this is family to them, I mean it's one of the friendliest churches,"said Brice.

But membership and finances at the church have been dwindling over the years. And last week, the church had no choice but to let its pastor go. Still, there was hope things would turn around.

So, when the Episcopal Diocese of North Carolina called a meeting at the church Wednesday night, members were excited. Then came the bombshell.

"Then when they said 'no, we're shutting it down', it just took us very much by surprise," said Brice.

Church members say they were told the church had fallen behind on payments to the Diocese.

More here-

Thursday, May 30, 2013

Bishop warns against ungodly cultural practices

From Nigeria-

THE Bishop of the Anglican Diocese of Ijebu South/West, Rev Babatunde F.R Ogunbanwo, has charged Christians to shun practices, which are inimical to the Christian faith and practices. He also advised those in government to use the commemoration of Nigeria’s 100 years of amalgamation as one entity to chart a roadmap for the country’s stability and development instead of indulging on lavish and meaningless festivity.

He gave the advice in his presidential address to the third session of the first synod of the diocese held recently at St. John’s Church in Ogun. The theme of the synod was: ‘Christian living and cultural experiences’

Ogunbanwo urged Christians to oppose idolatry, racism, greed, selfishness, homosexuality, adultery, pornography, sexual immorality and other forms of conduct, which seem to have become the norm in contemporary society.

The bishop called on Christians to stand up against the idolatrous practices to set the people free from oppression of paganism, saying that in playing their roles as the “salt of earth and the light of the world,” believers should be the seasoning, preservative, purifiers and healers of the world.

More here-

People who oppose gay marriage are like Christians who used the Bible to support apartheid and slavery, says senior bishop

From The Daily Mail-

Opponents of gay marriage have been likened to Christians who used the Bible to support slavery, by a senior Anglican bishop.

The Bishop of Salisbury, the Rt Rev Nicholas Holtam, suggested it was time to 'rethink' attitudes towards allowing same-sex couples to marry, as Christians did with slavery and apartheid.

He argued that attitudes towards homosexuality have changed 'considerably' over the last fifty years and that the development of gay marriage would be a 'very strong endorsement of the institution of marriage'.

In the letter to Labour peer Lord Alli, published by The Telegraph, he wrote: 'Sometimes Christians have had to rethink the priorities of the Gospel in the light of experience,' he wrote.

'Before Wilberforce, Christians saw slavery as Biblical and part of the God-given ordering of creation.

'Similarly in South Africa the Dutch Reformed Church supported apartheid because it was Biblical and part of the God-given order of creation.

More here-

Minn. churches are sued under new sex abuse law

From Minnesota-

A 51-year-old Twin Cities man sued Wednesday alleging sexual abuse by a Catholic priest in the 1970s, the first such lawsuit since the Child Victims Act was signed into law last week by Gov. Mark Dayton.

The act strips away the statute of limitations that previously gave child sex-abuse victims until the age of 24 to sue. Exactly what impact it will have is unclear, but St. Paul attorney Jeff Anderson, who is representing the man, said more litigation is inevitable.

“He was suffering in the shadows,” Anderson said of his client, who is remaining anonymous. “There are going to be many more [suits] to come, as they should. Now is the time for reckoning.”

Anderson’s client, Doe 1, is suing former priest Thomas Adamson, the Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis and the Diocese of Winona in Ramsey County District Court. Anderson is also asking the archdiocese and diocese to publicly release the names of 46 priests who have “credible allegations of sexual abuse.”

The suit claims that church leaders knew that Adamson sexually abused boys starting in the 1960s while he worked in southern Minnesota. He was moved often, and ended up at St. Thomas Aquinas Parish in St. Paul Park from 1976 to 1979, where he sexually abused Doe 1 from 1976 to 1977, the suit claims. Adamson “groomed” the boy and his parents, Anderson said, and would sexually abuse him after taking him to athletic events or playing basketball with him.

More here-

Seeds of Hope: ‘We can farm the diocese’

From ENS-

For Tim Alderson, the new executive director of “Seeds of Hope,” coordinating efforts to feed the hungry and undernourished throughout the diocese is a pretty simple equation—lots of churches have available land, lots of people need food — so, he says, “Let’s get to work.”

That “three million people, including a quarter of all the children, living in the six-county Diocese of Los Angeles don’t know where their next meal is coming from” is reason enough to get started right away, according to Alderson.

“The impacts on individuals and communities from food- related disorders are devastating. The problems are so pervasive that there is not one of us in the diocese who is not affected,” he said in a recent interview.

“We are all in this together; we can farm the diocese,” said Alderson, a third-generation California farmer. “We can take an agricultural view of our 139 neighborhood congregations, 40 schools and 20 other specialized service institutions, seeing the abundant food-producing potential lying dormant here.”

Since Bishop Diocesan Jon Bruno announced this latest Hands in Healing ministry initiative Alderson has visited community gardens from Camp Stevens in Julian to the Abundant Table Farm’s project in Oxnard and lots of places in between.

More here-

Bishop’s widow ordained priest in Navajoland

From Navaholand-

Amidst the historic beauty of Monument Valley, Catherine B. Plummer was ordained priest in the Episcopal Church on May 11.

A couple of factors made the ordination unusual.

She is the widow of the late Rt. Rev. Steven Plummer, who died in 2005 and who was the first Navajo to serve as Bishop of Navajoland.

The ordination took place at St. Mary of the Moonlight Church, which was built by the late Rev. Baxter Liebler, a missionary priest who served in Navajoland and started missions at Bluff and Monument Valley before he died at St. Mary’s in 1982 at the age of 93.

Cathy Plummer grew up near the mission at Bluff and remembers Liebler as a teacher and priest.

Bishop David Bailey of Navajoland, presided at the ordination service. He said he believed it was the first ordination service ever held at the church.

Plummer becomes the second Navajo woman to serve as priest in Navajoland. She said she is looking forward “to serving my people; to visiting them in their homes” and to leading worship for them.

Bailey said there are eight more Navajo, or Diné, currently in the ordination process.

Since being elected the eighth bishop of Navajoland in 2010, Bailey has worked to increase the number of Diné involved in lay and ordained leadership within the Navajoland Area Mission.

More here-’s-widow-ordained-priest-in-Navajoland?instance=home_news_1st_right

Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Women Bishops Becoming Church of England Reality

From England-

The Church of England published a plan on Friday to approve the ordination of women bishops by 2015, a widely supported reform it just missed passing last November after two decades of divisive debate.

It said the new plan, outlined in a document signed by Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby and Archbishop of York John Sentamu, would be presented to the General Synod, the Church legislature, in July to begin the approval process.

The proposal would make allowances for traditionalists who oppose women clergy, a minority that blocked the reform at the last Synod meeting, but each diocese will have to have a bishop willing to ordain women to the priesthood, it said.

The issue pits reformers, keen to project a more modern and egalitarian image of the church as it struggles with falling congregations in many increasingly secular countries, against a minority of conservatives who see the change as contradicting the Bible.

"We are perhaps at a moment when the only way forward is one which makes it difficult for anyone to claim outright victory," said Bishop Nigel Stock, chairman of the working group drawing up new proposals after the reform's defeat last November.

More here-

Anglican priest, wife fraud case in court

From The Telegraph-

Neither Rev. John Dinn, 54, nor his wife, Catherine Lynn Dinn, 51, were in provincial court today to hear fraud-related charges read against them, instead having a lawyer make the appearance on their behalf.

The Anglican priest — a rector at St. John Evangelist Church in Topsail — and his wife are facing criminal charges that they defrauded the Conception Bay South parish out of money.

It’s alleged in court documents that on or about Dec. 17 in 2012, Catherine Lynn Dinn knowingly made a false document —  a cheque — causing an employee of HSBC to act upon the cheque as if it were genuine thereby defrauding the parish out of an amount not exceeding $5,000.

Catherine Lynn Dinn is accused of two other such incidents — one on or around July 31, 2012 and another on or around Aug. 11, 2012 — whereby a cheque was knowingly forged and then presented to an employee of HSBC as though it were genuine, thereby defrauding the Parish of St. John the Evangelist out of an amount not exceeding $5,000 in each of these two cases, as well.

More here-,-wife-fraud-case-in-court/1

Anglican Archbishop Justin Welby Says Lee Rigby's Murder Condemned by Muslim Council of Britain

From Christian Post-

The head of the global Anglican Communion has released a statement on the recent brutal murder of British soldier Lee Rigby.

The Right Reverend Justin Welby, Archbishop of Canterbury, said on Friday regarding Rigby's murder that Christian and Muslim leaders in the United Kingdom have been helping to bring reconciliation. "I want to recognize the response of churches, mosques and other faith and civil society groups as well as those of brave individuals who have done so much to bring our communities together at this time," said Welby.

"The strong response from the Muslim Council of Britain and many other organizations has rightly emphasized that these acts have no place in Islam."

Welby also mentioned his involvement with the interfaith British organization the Christian Muslim Forum, which was founded in the 1990s and comprised of leaders from both faiths. "As Patron of the national Christian Muslim Forum I know that the Forum is offering support and encouragement for these meetings to happen and I continue to hold all those working in these efforts in my prayers," said Welby.


Gettysburg church finds, installs 21 memorials

From Gettysburg-

Prince of Peace Episcopal Church in Gettysburg recently installed 21 memorials that were recorded in the parish's archives, but were not displayed in the church.

The "missing" memorials were originally purchased in 1888 to remember soldiers who fought in the Civil War, but had since been damaged or discovered to be nonexistent.

Of the new 21 installations, 13 replaced memorials that had been damaged in a 1970 fire - 10 of which were destroyed beyond repair and three were restored but not redisplayed on the grounds. Eight were paid for but never created.

Doing research for the church's 125th anniversary this summer, parishioner Jim Thomas of Biglerville compared original parish ledgers, receipts and plans for the placement of the memorials. He found that eight memorials had been purchased but not placed among more than 150 existing church stones.

The missing memorials now hang on the church back wall.

More here-

The life of a free-range preacher: An interview with Barbara Brown Taylor

From RNS-

Barbara Brown Taylor makes a living out of words–in the past, as an Episcopal priest and currently as a writer and professor at Piedmont College. Though I only recently discovered her work, I quickly fell in love with her and have since read every one of her books including The New York Times bestselling An Altar in the World and her collected sermons in Bread of Angels, Gospel Medicine, and God in Pain.

Her breathtaking turns of phrase and depth of thought create a feast that must be savored slowly. Sometimes I have to read a passage two or three times before I feel like I’ve fully experienced it. Though I don’t agree with every point she makes in every word she pens, I’ve found some of Taylor’s insights into the Christian life to be on par with greats like–brace yourself–Lewis and Tozer.

I’m not the only one who thinks highly of her. Taylor was ranked as one of the 12 “most effective preachers” in the English-speaking world according to a worldwide survey. She was also listed as one of the top 10 most influential living preachers in a poll conducted by LifeWay Research of the Southern Baptist Convention. In this interview, Taylor talks about the Church, compassion fatigue, and her spiritual memoir, Leaving Church, in which she describes spending 15 years in Episcopal parish ministry before walking away from the pulpit.

More here-

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Christchurch votes to replace damaged cathedral with modern design

From New Zealand-

A controversial modern replacement for Christchurch’s ruined cathedral looks set to get the go-ahead after coming top in a public vote.

Three options were put out to consultation by the Anglican Church in New Zealand – reconstruction, a traditional design using modern materials and a totally new design by local practice Warren & Mahoney.

Nearly 4,000 people took part in the bitterly contested vote, with 51% supporting a contemporary cathedral – the option also favoured by church leaders.

Reconstruction of the earthquake-damaged building won 30% of the vote, while 14% preferred the traditional design.

“That is a pretty significant majority of people saying ‘don’t spend the money and time restoring the cathedral, consider something that takes us forward’,” said mayor Bob Parker.

“People who want to save the cathedral say they are going to fight this to the end of the earth. It is a great shame that as a city we will spend potentially years with a severely damaged building at the heart of our city. I can’t think of a worse symbol at this time of recovery.

More here-

Chinua Achebe honoured at funeral

From Nigeria-

Writer Chinua Achebe shunned Nigeria's corrupt politicians and twice turned down national honours, never fearing to criticise those he felt ruined his country.

On Thursday, however, the lawmakers and the country's elite came to praise him.

Hundreds attended Achebe's funeral among the rolling hills of his eastern Nigeria home, a service that saw President Goodluck Jonathan literally hold up the writer's books.

The gold plaque on his coffin simply called him the "eagle atop the Iroko tree" in his native Igbo language.

It was a fitting tribute to the respect Achebe carried among the people here and for many others around the world who knew him through his books, which many say is the first African voice heard in modern literature.

"Chinua Achebe gave Africa its confidence," said Emeka Anyaoku, an Igbo elder.

Achebe rose to acclaim with the publication of his 1958 classic novel "Things Fall Apart," a parable for the collapse of traditional society in Africa on the arrival of colonialists. 

More here-

Hope for Revival in Britain?

From Patheos-

My family and I just returned from two weeks in the U.K., and while we were there, several major British religion news events transpired. First, on a day we happened to be in Edinburgh, Church of Scotland delegates voted to allow gay ministers. Then, when we returned to London, came the appalling murder of a British solider by two Muslims, one of whom was arrested in Kenya in 2010 for seeking al-Qaeda training. Finally, a new study of U.K. census data indicated that within a decade, perhaps less than half of all people in Britain will identify even nominally as Christians.

These disparate developments suggest several religious patterns: first, prominent churches in the U.K. seem generally inclined to follow the lead of mainline denominations in the U.S. and Canada on issues related to gender and homosexuality. The Church of England has recently decided to ordain celibate homosexuals as bishops, and has issued a new plan to ordain women bishops within two years. These developments make inevitable more difficulties between the shrinking mainline churches in the west, and the burgeoning ones in the global South, which are generally more traditional on issues of sexuality.

More here-

Bishop responds to Boy Scouts’ decision on admission of homosexual members

From Catholic Culture-

Bishop Robert Guglielmone of Charleston, the episcopal liaison of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops to the National Catholic Committee on Scouting, has responded to the Boy Scouts of America’s approval of a resolution stating that “No youth may be denied membership in the Boy Scouts of America on the basis of sexual orientation or preference alone.”

The Boy Scouts of America’s approved resolution also stated that “while the BSA does not proactively inquire about sexual orientation of employees, volunteers or members, we do not grant membership to individuals who are open or avowed homosexuals or who engage in behavior that would become a distraction to the mission of the BSA.” “I kind of expected that this is the way the vote would go,” said Bishop Guglielmone. “I’m not particularly encouraged by it, but I knew it would happen eventually. As the policy change is right now promoted, we can live with it. Unfortunately, there are many people who are interpreting this policy to go much further than it actually does, particularly in the secular press.”

More here-

Something Happened on the Way to Bountiful: Everyone Sang Along

From the New York Times-

Not long after the curtain rises on the second act of “The Trip to Bountiful,” the Broadway revival of the Horton Foote play at the Stephen Sondheim Theater, something unusual happens. Cicely Tyson, as Mrs. Carrie Watts, sits on a bus station bench in a small Texas town. She is on the run from her abusive daughter-in-law and henpecked son in Houston, desperate to see the family farm in Bountiful once more before she dies.

Overcome with emotion, she begins singing an old Protestant hymn, “Blessed Assurance.”

From the first note, there’s a palpable stirring among many of the black patrons in the audience, which the play, with its all-black cast, draws in large numbers. When Ms. Tyson jumps to her feet, spreads her arms and picks up the volume, they start singing along. On some nights it’s a muted accompaniment. On other nights, and especially at Sunday matinees, it’s a full-throated chorus that rocks the theater.

“I didn’t realize they were doing it until someone remarked to me how incredible it was that the audience was joining in,” Ms. Tyson said in a recent interview, referring to her preview performances. “I said, ‘Where?’ I was so focused on what I was doing that I didn’t hear it.”

More here-

Monday, May 27, 2013

Memorial Day

O Judge of the nations, we remember before you with grateful
hearts the men and women of our country who in the day of
decision ventured much for the liberties we now enjoy. Grant
that we may not rest until all the people of this land share the
benefits of true freedom and gladly accept its disciplines. This
we ask in the Name of Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

Longest-serving vicar honoured at service in Oxfordshire

From The BBC-

The longest-serving vicar in the Church of England is to be honoured at a service in Oxfordshire.

The Reverend James Cocke was ordained 60 years ago and has been at All Saints Church in Headington since 1957.

Former Archbishop of Canterbury Dr Rowan Williams is to pay tribute to Mr Cocke a service at the church in his honour later.

The Bishop of Oxford, John Pritchard, described Mr Cocke as a "national treasure".

"He's done over 50 years at the same church which is pretty remarkable and 60 years of ministry in total," he said.

"So there aren't many people like Jim around, so we see him as some kind of national treasure.

"It's been quite a remarkable time."

More here-

Raising hell for Jesus

From Australia- (with video)

Storm the Gates of Hell is the fourth studio album by American Christian heavy metal band Demon Hunter, in which they rage and roar about broken teeth and iron fists, the wrath of God, holy days and hearts soaked in gasoline. The title track calls on the listener to "raise your glass to death" and "stand before your final day, choke on every line you pray". It's stirring stuff for fans from within the church and beyond. The US Navy Seal who claims to have "blasted bin Laden" said recently he was wearing a Demon Hunter patch when he pulled the trigger on the terrorist leader.

Members of the Seattle metal band look like you might expect, with crew cuts, bushy beards and wardrobes in several shades of black. But to promote Storm the Gates of Hell, which was released in 2007, they posed for photographs in white clerical collars. Lead singer Ryan Clark, the actual son of a preacher man, has the word "fear" tattooed on the fingers of his right hand and "hope" on the left. Drummer Tim "Yogi" Watts has a tattoo of the Bible inked into his arm and "calm down" inscribed between his knuckles.

When Watts, 35, is annoyed he uses words like "butt hole" instead of swearing. While speaking to a crowd of young Christian head-bangers at Easterfest, Australia's largest Christian music festival, he recalls the time he saw a girl thrown about the mosh pit with her nose thoroughly smashed but a beatific smile across her bloody face. "I'm in constant communication with the Lord," he says. "I know this is what I was supposed to do." At Easterfest, that means raising hell for Jesus. Also performing over the Easter long weekend in Toowoomba, 1 1/2 hours' drive west of Brisbane, are pop artists, hip-hop homies, boy bands, jazz bands, funk bands, gospel singers, indie acts and instrumentalists. The town and nearby Darling Downs area are big notches in south-east Queens-land's Bible belt, and home to various churches, religious cults and the Cobb & Co Museum.

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St. James' Episcopal Church continues Summer Backpack Program

From New Jersey-

School is out and the sound of children’s boisterous fun fills our neighborhoods. You may not notice another sound that begins as a rumble and then moves to a loud growl. This is the sound of a hungry child.

Throughout the school year, hungry children are supported by school-based programs. When school is out for the summer, parents need to stretch their already strained budgets to feed their children for the long summer days. St. James’ Episcopal Church in Hackettstown has been filling this gap for families in the greater Hackettstown area for the past five years. Each year, they provide large bags of food to hungry children every two weeks throughout the summer. United Way of Northern New Jersey has been a faithful partner in this mission, providing major funding for the Summer Backpack Program.

The United Way and St. James’ have collected and raised enough food – last summer over $26,000 worth - to meet the needs of our area’s children. With continued economic pressure, the program grew to serving 270 children as many formerly middle class families could not make ends meet. St. James’ champions food-raising, last year collecting $12,000 worth of food. The United Way of Northern New Jersey supplied the funding for the rest of the budget.

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L.A.-born Episcopal leader brings his liberal views to Washington

From The LA Times-

A bearded young comedy writer espousing progressive views in Hollywood in the early 1970s might not have surprised anyone. But when the same man, who is now the Very Rev. Gary Hall, started advocating the same views from the Washington National Cathedral's pulpit, people noticed.

Shortly after Hall became the Episcopal cathedral's 10th dean in October, the church's leaders announced the cathedral would start performing same-sex marriages. The ensuing wave of news stories surprised Hall, who said he has been blessing same-sex relationships since 1990, when he was a priest at Pasadena's All Saints Episcopal Church.

"I thought it was no big deal," Hall said at a recent reception for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people at his home on the cathedral grounds. Hall was the first dean to host an LGBT event on the grounds.

The unlikely path to the priesthood for the Los Angeles-born son of an actor and a costume designer started in the civil rights movement of the 1960s, when he had shoulder-length hair and rode a motorcycle on the California coast. These days, the slim, clean-cut 63-year-old, married to the same woman for 35 years, says he is fighting the same anti-discrimination fight he fought then, but with different victims.

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Sunday, May 26, 2013

Idaho History: The remarkable career of Episcopal Bishop Tuttle

From Idaho-

"I arrived at Boise Saturday afternoon, October 12, with broken neck, bruised head, aching bones, sore throat and disturbed temper… of all the uncomfortable routes I ever traveled over, that from Salt Lake to Boise is the worst." Thus wrote Daniel Sylvester Tuttle of his first stagecoach ride to Boise in 1867.

Tuttle had been elected Episcopal missionary bishop of Montana in October 1866, with jurisdiction over Utah and Idaho as well, and with headquarters in Salt Lake City. He was elected four months before his 30th birthday, after which he was eligible to take office.

Despite his bone-shaking ride from Salt Lake City by stagecoach, Tuttle was cheered by what he found in Boise City: "St. Michael's is quite church-like. The singing and responses are hearty and good. I was much pleased on Sunday. I felt more as if I were in church than I had done since I left Denver. At the morning service I confirmed five." That small white church, built when St. Michael Fackler was its pastor, is still much as it was when Tuttle first saw it in 1867.

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Pope sets new tone and lifts morale at Vatican

From The New York Times (via the Post-Gazette)

He has criticized the "cult of money" and greed he sees driving the world financial system, reflecting his affinity for liberation theology. He has left Vatican officials struggling to keep up with his off-the-cuff remarks and impromptu forays into the crowds of tens of thousands that fill St. Peter's Square during his audiences. He has delighted souvenir vendors near the Vatican by increasing tourist traffic.

Pope Francis, the former Cardinal Jorge Mario Bergoglio of Buenos Aires, Argentina, has been in office for only two months, but already he has changed the tone of the papacy, lifting morale and bringing a new sense of enthusiasm to the Roman Catholic Church and to the Vatican itself, Vatican officials and the faithful say.

"It's very positive. There's a change of air, a sense of energy," said one Vatican official, speaking with traditional anonymity. "Some people would use the term honeymoon, but there's no indication that it will let up."

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