Saturday, June 15, 2013

Court Reaffirms Ruling in Favor of Diocese & Episcopal Church

From Falls Church-

The Supreme Court of Virginia today denied a petition for rehearing from a congregation that had left the Episcopal Church. The Falls Church CANA had filed for reconsideration of the court’s April 18 decision in favor of the Diocese of Virginia and the Episcopal Church.

The CANA congregation submitted a petition on May 17 after the court had affirmed the right of Episcopalians to worship in their church home at The Falls Church Episcopal. Today’s action by the Supreme Court sends the case to the Fairfax County Circuit Court for final resolution of issues related to personal property.

“The decision by the Supreme Court is about much more than litigation,” said the Rt. Rev. Shannon S. Johnston, bishop of Virginia. “This decision is an occasion for all those, on both sides, to focus fully on positive ministries ahead.”

The Rev. John Ohmer, rector of The Falls Church Episcopal, said that he and his congregation are “relieved by this decision and looking forward to turning a new page.”

“The decision today is an affirming one,” added the Rev. Deacon Edward W. Jones, secretary of the Diocese. “We are looking to the future with gratefulness and optimism.”

More here-

Archbishops to ask clergy: 'Are you having gay sex?'

From The Telegraph-

A legal briefing sent to members of the General Synod reveals that under a new policy any priest in a civil partnership will have to convince an archbishop that they are not sexually active before their name can go forward.

It was drawn up in light of a u-turn by the church last year which lifted a blanket ban on anyone in a civil partnership becoming a bishop.

The House of Bishops voted in December to allow priests in same-sex unions to be considered as long as they claim not to be sexually active.

The decision was met with criticism from both liberals and traditionalists alike and triggered open calls from some clergy for their gay counterparts simply to lie.

Gay rights campaigners derided the new policy questioning how the Church of England planned to “police” it.

More here-

South Africans pray for Nelson Mandela

From South Africa-

South African bishops held a prayer vigil on Friday outside the Pretoria hospital where former President Nelson Mandela is being treated. There was no update on his condition.
South Africans gathered to pray for Nelson Mandela Friday, as the South African freedom hero market almost one week in hospital.

Mandela, 94, was admitted to a hospital in Pretoria last Saturday (08.06.2013) to receive treatment for a recurring lung infection.

On Friday (14.06.2013), a dozen South African bishops held a prayer vigil outside the hospital. "Thank you (God) for the speedy recovery of Nelson Mandela", AFP news agency quoted Bishop Abraham Sibiya of the Christ Centred Church Episcopal Soshanguve.

The clerics, sporting flowing purple robes and white collars stood hand-in-hand to say prayers for Mandela.

Bishop Sibiya told AFP that church leaders had come out in response to a call by South African President Jacob Zuma to pray for "Madiba," as he is fondly known in the country.

More here-

What Is the Vatican Saying to Gays?

From Malcolm Boyd (Huffington)

As a gay man and an Episcopal priest, I'm frankly extremely confused by the Vatican right now when it comes to the entire gay question.

Am I loved by anybody there?

By whom?

What's going on in the sacred halls when it comes to gay identity, gay rights, gay existence -- maybe the whole question of who I am as a gay person?

I knew something strange was going on when Pope Benedict "retired" or vanished. He had never been a civil rights leader for gay people. Not at all. Yet he was a spiritual leader for millions of people. Did he have, in the recesses of his mind, any kind of "solution" to the "gay question"?

But then, rather suddenly, strange things started happening in the Vatican. The pope's valet seems to have taken, and published, certain documents that were highly controversial. (What was going on here?) The guy was found guilty of something, and could have gone to jail, but the pope "forgave" him. End of story? I don't think so. Then the pope vanished from the scene. The huge Vatican operation came to a kind of halt. Benedict was given the equivalent of an award dinner -- and vanished.

More here-

Archbishop of Canterbury, Pope Francis speak of unity

From The Press Herald-

The neophyte holders of two of Christendom's most venerable posts met for the first time Friday and spoke of fostering unity and understanding between their sometimes rival branches of the faith.

Pope Francis and Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby exchanged warm words at the Vatican even as they acknowledged that relations between the Roman Catholic Church and the Anglican Communion had historically been, as the pontiff put it, "not without pain."

The Anglican Communion has its origins in the split from Rome by Henry VIII of England, who sought to divorce the first of his six wives but was refused permission by the pope.

Francis, a lifelong cleric, and Welby, a former oil executive, were installed as heads of their respective churches in March, within two days of each other. Both men have said that they neither wanted nor sought their current jobs, which were thrust on them by others.

Together they are the spiritual leaders of nearly 1.2 billion Christians, 1.1 billion of whom are Catholics. The Anglicans include members of the Church of England and the Episcopal Church in the United States.

Although the two denominations have made a push in recent years for greater dialogue and common cause, tensions bubbled over again in 2009 when then-Pope Benedict XVI offered theologically conservative Anglican priests and congregations a path, in effect, to defect to Rome.

More here-

Friday, June 14, 2013

Tax and malnutrition should top G8 agenda, say clerics

From The Church Times-

TACKLING tax secrecy and avoidance should be top of the agenda for the G8 group of the world's wealthiest countries, when it meets in Northern Ireland next week, the Archbishop of Canterbury and his predecessor, Lord Williams of Oystermouth, have said.

The G8 leaders from Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, Russia, the United States, and the UK, are scheduled to meet at Lough Erne, in Northern Ireland, on Monday and Tuesday. The UK took on the one-year presidency of the group in January.

In a video message delivered to a rally in Hyde Park last Saturday, organised by the "Enough Food for Everyone IF campaign" ( News, 25 January), Archbishop Welby said: "The G8 is the centre of financial resource and power in all kinds of ways. . . One of the biggest issues we face is around how aid is used. The issues of tax transparency are increasingly at the top of the agenda, and are really, really important. . .

More here-,-say-clerics

'Banks Should Be Less About Self-Regard, More About Common Good,' Says Worldwide Anglican Leader

From Christian Post-

Banks should be less about "inward-looking self-regard" and more about the common good, the spiritual leader of the worldwide Anglican Communion, the Archbishop of Canterbury has said.
The Most Reverend Justin Welby was speaking on the subject of "Good Banks" in an address to around 1,500 people at St Paul's Cathedral in London on Wednesday night.

He said there was no such thing as a perfect bank but suggested there could be good banks that learn from their mistakes.

"There will never be such a thing as perfectly good banks because in the end no human being is of themselves perfectly good," he said.

"But we can have potentially good banks, banks that live with a culture that is self-correcting and self-learning, a culture that is more like a body than a system.


New website for Anglican Communion News Service

From ENS-

The news service of the Anglican Communion has today launched its first ever purpose-built news website

The site comes almost 20 years after the electronic news service was first launched. Since then subscribers around the world have received thousands of news articles via e-mail.

“This site brings the Anglican Communion’s ability to share its stories of life and mission to a whole new level,” said Jan Butter, director for communication at the Anglican Communion Office.

“Until now we’ve been restricted to sending news stories to people’s e-mail inboxes. Anglicans and Episcopalians around the world can visit the new site for, not just news, but also comment, feature stories, podcasts, videos and photos. We hope that the diverse content helps to reflect the richness and variety found across our Anglican Communion.”

Butter added, “Existing subscribers will still receive email alerts, but just one a day summarizing the newest content on the site.”

In a comment piece written exclusively for the new website, Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby highlighted the importance of effective, grace-filled communication between Anglicans, saying it was part of the gift of the Anglican Communion.

More here-

Westminster’s vicar seeks to boost U.S. ties

From The Washington Times-

If you think the average church pastor has a tough job, consider the responsibilities of the Very Rev. John R. Hall, dean of Westminster Abbey. Unlike the average Church of England vicar, who answers to a bishop, the Abbey (“Founded 960,” its website boasts) is under the direct charge of the British monarch.

Yes, Mr. Hall answers to Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II.

While the average church might consider itself fortunate to get a few dozen visitors a year, Westminster Abbey logs approximately 1 million visitors annually, not a surprise given its pivotal role in British history: Since 1066, every monarch has been crowned in the Abbey.

The 64-year-old Mr. Hall, a 38-year veteran of Church of England service, was in Washington last month to strengthen ties with the National Cathedral and to cultivate more friends for Westminster Abbey on this side of the Atlantic.

Of the National Cathedral, whose Episcopal Church is a “province” of the Anglican Communion, Mr. Hall said it “feels so like our establishment — I mean, [it’s] the nearest thing in the United States to our establishment — that it seems right developing a closer relationship with them.” The Very Rev. Gary R. Hall (no relation), dean of the National Cathedral, recently spent time in England and with the Westminster Abbey leadership, John Hall said.

More here-

Anglican parish bids farewell to Red Church

From San Joaquin-

With some prayers and tears, the Anglican parishioners at St. James’ Church in Sonora formally moved out of the building on Wednesday.

The congregation at the historic Red Church gathered for a final noontime service before handing over the building to the Episcopal Diocese of San Joaquin. It was the final act of closure following years of legal wrangling over who owns the oft-photographed building at Highway 49 and Snell Street, as well as another in Turlock.

During the service, church members and leaders said prayers, sang hymns and shared stories of experiences at the church, built in 1859. After the service, they left and reconvened for a celebratory service at St. Michaels and All Angels Anglican Church on Highway 108, which will now serve as their home church.

“This is a day that is bittersweet,” Bishop Eric Menees, of the Fresno-based Anglican Diocese, said.

Some dabbed away tears during the service, recalling memories of the church, its longtime priest, the late Rev. Wolfgang Krismanits, and his wife, LaDonn.

Menees, who led the service, recalled his first time in the Red Church shortly after becoming bishop at the diocese. He recalled entering the church with Krismanits and being “so taken” by the space.

“I walked in here, I … It was just like, the Lord is here,” he told the congregation.

More here-

Thursday, June 13, 2013

Durham priest called to Episcopal diocese leadership

From North Carolina-

The mitre will be given by retired Bishop Robert C. Johnson Jr., who served as rector of St. Luke’s Episcopal Church in Durham before becoming bishop in 1994. Hodges-Copple was his assistant at St. Luke’s beginning in the mid-1980s.

“It will be a wonderful moment because I met Bob when I was 26,” she said, and Hodges-Copple preached at Johnson’s consecration as bishop. After her first time working at St. Luke’s, Hodges-Copple went to work at Duke University as a chaplain, then came back to St. Luke’s as rector until being elected bishop suffragan.

he Rev. Anne E. Hodges-Copple has just a few days left before she is consecrated as bishop suffragan of the Episcopal Diocese of North Carolina, a jurisdiction that includes the state’s two largest cities. The ceremony will be held Saturday at Duke Chapel. She will receive more vestments than a layperson can name, including the mitre (a bishop’s hat) and crosier (the shepherd’s staff).

More here-

Chicago's Episcopal leaders endorse reunifying with Quincy diocese

From The Chicago Tribune-

Leaders of Chicago's Episcopal diocese agreed over the weekend to reunite with a much smaller western Illinois counterpart, a move that church officials hope will provide stability in a denomination tested by years of schism and doctrinal disputes.

Local Episcopal leaders expect the alignment of the Diocese of Chicago and the Diocese of Quincy to be complete by autumn. Bishops and standing committees from a majority of the more than 100 dioceses across the world must sign off before the move becomes official, but church officials don't expect that to be a barrier.

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

On Friday, the Pope will meet Archbishop Welby. So, why do we continue talking to the Anglicans after they have so wilfully made unity impossible?

From Catholic Herald (UK)-

Hot on the heels of my disobliging remarks last about Archbishop Justin Welby’s Uriah Heep-like cringing to the government even as he told them in the Lords how disastrous their gay marriage legislation was going to be, comes the announcement that this Friday, Archbishop Welby is to meet the Pope.

The real question is why? Why are we still going through the ecumenical motions with the Anglicans, for all the world as though they had (or had some possibility of gaining) the same kind of ecclesial reality as the Orthodox? Why does the Anglican Roman Catholic International Commission (ARCIC) still meet, as though Anglican ordinations to their episcopate of openly gay men living with their partners, and also of women to their priesthood and episcopate, despite the warnings of successive popes of the fact that these steps would erect insuperable barriers to unity with the Catholic Church, why do we still carry on with the farce of behaving as though these insuperable barriers just did not exist at all?

More here-

Hodges-Copple to be consecrated as new bishop Saturday

From North Carolina-

The countdown is on for the consecration of a new Episcopal bishop Saturday. As in the past, the Episcopal Diocese of North Carolina has opted to hold this colorful and significant event in the nearest thing to a Gothic cathedral North Carolina has to offer: the chapel at Duke University.

Episcopalians from across the diocese are expected to fill the 1,700-seat chapel for the 10 a.m. service. A total of up to 286 persons in that congregation will be from St. Luke’s Episcopal in Durham.

For the St. Luke’s congregation, Saturday is a personal celebration as they see their former rector, the Rev. Anne Hodges-Copple, consecrated as Bishop Suffragan. She has been associated with St. Luke’s for 28 years, 20 of them as its rector.

Her election in January was not the first time the Episcopal Diocese has looked to St. Luke’s for leadership. Back in 1994, the Rt. Rev. Robert Johnson, then rector at the church, was tapped for service as the 10th Bishop of North Carolina. Now retired, Bishop Johnson continues to live in Durham and is bishop-in-residence and rector emeritus at St. Luke’s.

More here-

San Joaquin diocese celebrates return of Turlock church property

From ENS-

With the rap of his crosier on the church door and a trumpet fanfare, San Joaquin Bishop Chet Talton on June 9 formally ushered in the future of St. Francis Episcopal Church in Turlock. “We’re moving forward with mission, ministry and the work of reconciliation,” he said.

The standing-room-only gathering of about 150 sang “All are Welcome,’ a theme reflected throughout the homecoming festival celebration of the church, the first to be returned to the diocese after negotiated settlements with former members who left the Episcopal Church in 2007.

“We can now turn all of our resources to sharing the Good News of Jesus Christ and engaging in Christ’s mission in the world,” Talton said.

“At the heart of that mission is reconciliation. All are welcome. All means all, including those who differed with our churches and left; they are welcome. At center in our celebration of return is that we can devote ourselves wholly to mission and ministry.”

Vera Sahlstrom, who turned 94 a day earlier, said she couldn’t have asked for a better birthday present.

“I spent 30 years on the altar guild here and 30 years in the choir. I’ve got so many memories here. It’s good to be home,” she said.

Her grandson, Paul Voorhees echoed the sentiment: “I was born and raised in this church. It’s good to be home, it’s happiness.”

More here-

New pastor leading All Saints' Episcopal Church

From Georgia-

The Rev. Scott Petersen said laughter drew him to All Saints' Episcopal Church.

“The laughter of the leadership is what attracted me,” said Petersen, who has been serving the 60-plus-year-old Warner Robins congregation since February.

“With the vestry, the elder board, with all the people I interviewed with there was a lot of laughter,” he said. “I took that as a good sign that All Saints’’ had a group of people that would be fun to work and do ministry with.”

Petersen said as a new rector it’s a priority to get to know the people of All Saints’ and let them get to know him. But he said this discovery period extends beyond getting to know one another. He said it’s a time when the church is rediscovering its purpose as well as a time to help others outside the church discover All Saints’.

Read more here:

Battle between SC Episcopalians back state court

From South Carolina-

U.S. District Judge C. Weston Houck has ruled that the legal fight over names and property between two factions of South Carolina Episcopalians is a matter for state court.

Houck, who heard arguments last week and issued an order on Monday, ruled the First Amendment is not a main point of contention and that hearing the case in federal court would disrupt the balance between state and federal courts.

The conservative Diocese of South Carolina last year separated from the more liberal national Episcopal Church over a variety of theological issues including the authority of Scripture and the ordination of gays. The breakaway churches then sued in state court to protect the use of the diocesan name and a half billion dollars' worth of property.

Read more here:

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

With home in Trenton, new Episcopal bishop-elect ready to lead

From New Jersey-

Over breakfast at the Sunrise Luncheonette on South Warren Street, during which he ordered eggs — over easy — in Creole because that was his waiter’s primary language, the new Episcopal bishop-elect of New Jersey discussed his pressing search for a new home.

That search continued last week as the Rev. William “Chip” Stokes and his wife Susan headed off to neighborhoods in the Cadwalader, Berkeley Square and Glen Afton sections. They were seeing three or four rental houses in just a couple of hours. They plan to pick one this week.

Beginning this summer, Stokes, who will head a diocese that stretches from Elizabeth to Cape May and encompasses two-thirds of the state, will be living in the city of Trenton.
He will be the first diocesan bishop in 40 years to do so.

“There was some hope in the diocese that the next bishop would live in Trenton, and we’re very comfortable with that,” Stokes said.

“I think I was chosen in part because of my commitment to urban ministries. I grew up in New York City. I’ve been blessed to do a lot of work with diverse communities.

“The diversity of this diocese is one of its great strengths and beauties. It’s also clear that the city of Trenton is struggling, and part of the calling of Gospel is to live amid the struggling.

“And we think,” he added, as his wife nodded enthusiastically, “that this is a beautiful city.”

More here-

Federal judge remands Episcopal Church case back to state court

From South Carolina-

A federal judge on Monday ruled that a lawsuit filed in January by the now independent Diocese of South Carolina should remain where it is — in state court.

The Episcopal Church, which filed its own suit in federal court against Bishop Mark Lawrence, had argued that the state case should also be decided by the federal court since the case had broad First Amendment implications concerning church governance and autonomy. But U.S. District Court Judge C. Weston Houck disagreed.

“If this Court determined that a case may be removed based on federal question jurisdiction whenever a defendant attributed a federal constitutional issue not alleged or advanced in a well-pleaded complaint, federal question jurisdiction could potentially be expanded to all cases containing tacit First Amendment issues,” Houck stated in his decision.

Lawyers for The Episcopal Church reluctantly submitted to the decision.

“We are obviously disappointed with the result, but we are confident in our legal position going forward,” said Thomas Tisdale Jr., chancellor of The Episcopal Church in South Carolina.

The state suit, filed by leaders of more than 30 parishes who disassociated with The Episcopal Church over theological and administrative disagreements, seeks control of the name, seal and properties of the diocese.

A separate federal suit before Houck, filed by the church, argues that Lawrence has misused his title and authority, that the diocese can have but one bishop, and that bishop is the Rt. Rev. Charles vonRosenberg, elected this spring.

More here-

Monday, June 10, 2013

Council members expand support to South Carolina, San Joaquin

From ENS-

The Episcopal Church’s Executive Council agreed June 10 to increase the church’s aid to continuing Episcopalians in South Carolina and in the Diocese of San Joaquin, while also adding money to the budget of the Joint Nominating Committee for the Election of a Presiding Bishop
Council also heard various reports on progress towards new initiatives that will be funded in each of the Anglican Communion’s Five Marks of Mission, according to goals General Convention set out in the 2013-2015 budget.

And council continued the process it has developed for formulating the 2016-2018 budget, which it must propose to the next meeting of General Convention in 2015.

Aid to continuing Episcopalians

Answering a request from the Episcopal Church in South Carolina, council agreed to expand a promised line of credit by $300,000, which will make available a total of $550,000 through the end of 2013.

Episcopalians in South Carolina have been reorganizing their common life since late in 2012 after Bishop Mark Lawrence and a majority of clergy and lay leadership said that the diocese had left the Episcopal Church.

In the case of the Episcopal Diocese of San Joaquin, council agreed to provide additional line of credit of $785,000 to be accessed through the end of 2014 to support the continuing diocese.

More here-

2000 South Sudanese Christians confirmed in just eight days

From ACNS-

More than 2000 people in the three archdeaconries of Tonj east area in Wau Diocese of South Sudan were confirmed by the bishop during his recent trip around the diocese.

The Rt Revd Moses Deng Bol told ACNS that the confirmations were done over eight days during a tour of his diocese that covers two out of the ten states of South Sudan and measures over 13,000 square kilometres.

“These are very serious Christians and most of the them are adults who have became Christians for the first time in their lives,” he said. “So they’re not just children of Christian parents.”

The bishop disagreed with some religious educators who believe that by withholding confirmation until later stage, young people are kept involved in the life of the church for a longer period of time.
He equated such teaching to holding young people captive in order for them to receive grace from God. “How do we justify this? This attitude surely has a negative impact on young people and their experience of God and church,” he said. “Is this the God we want them to know? One who withholds grace until we’ve jumped through all the hoops that our church tells us we have to jump through?”
Bishop Deng said that children cannot be expected to have a positive memory or experience of the church or God later in their lives “if we keep dangling the sacrament over their heads like a carrot”.
Bishop Deng said, for the newly confirmed, it was crucial for them to have “a very intensive discipleship to really understand what being a follower of Christ means in their daily lives.”

More here-

Church honors S.C. bishop killed in his Charleston office

From South Carolina-

Imagine the scene: The Diocese of South Carolina’s bishop was in his office at St. Philip’s Church in downtown Charleston when one of his own priests stormed in, unhinged by rage.

The armed priest was irate about Bishop William Alexander Guerry’s efforts to advance racial equality in the church. The priest shot Guerry. Then he shot and killed himself.

Guerry died four days later at Roper Hospital, reportedly uttering Jesus’ words: “Forgive him, Father, he knew not what he did.”

The tragic scene took place on June 5, 1928, 85 years ago this past week.

To honor Guerry, Grace Episcopal Church in downtown Charleston is celebrating a “feast day” today and is dedicating a chapel in the church to the bishop’s memory.

Guerry is not officially on the list of “Holy Women, Holy Men,” a compilation of church saints published by the Episcopal Church. However, Grace members and others are taking early steps to get his story out there in hopes that one day he will become the first South Carolinian to be included. “It’s quite a story,” said diocesan Chancellor Thomas Tisdale, who is in the final writing stages of a play about Guerry. “He is a hero.”

Yet when Tisdale began researching Guerry’s history, he was surprised how few lifelong Episcopalians in town knew much about the bishop’s violent demise or his beliefs. “It’s like it has been erased,” Tisdale said.

More here-

Women becoming priests without Vatican's blessingv

From California-

The priest will be ordained in a purple Lutheran church. The Communion bread, symbolizing the body of Christ, will be gluten-free. The congregation will pray to “our mother our father in heaven.”

But the real departure from Roman Catholic tradition will be evident when Maria Eitz approaches the altar Sunday for the laying on of hands that turns parishioner into priest.

Over the past decade, as the Vatican has faced a serious shortage of priests, a small but growing number of women have answered what they believe to be a call from God. California is home to more ordained Catholic women than any other state. Eitz — a retired theologian with four adopted children — will be the first woman ordained as a Catholic priest in San Francisco.

The more than 120 women worldwide who have been ordained as Roman Catholic priests and deacons say their faith gives them comfort and hope. But that same faith also is bound by Canon Law 1024. Short and blunt, the church edict states that “a baptized male alone receives sacred ordination validly.”

More here-

Father's Day: See Darth Vader on the National Cathedral gargoyle tour

From The Washington Times-

The Washington National Cathedral is not usually the first thing that comes to mind when thinking about entertaining places to spend Father’s day, but the National Cathedral contains secrets that have the makings for an unusual delightful afternoon.

The National Cathedral in Washington, D.C. is the sixth largest cathedral in the world. Although it is the home of the Episcopal Diocese of Washington and it has a local congregation of more than 1,200 members, it is also considered to be a national house of prayer for all people. The Cathedral is known as Washington National Cathedral, though its official name is the Cathedral Church of St. Peter and St. Paul.

Construction began on September 29, 1907, when the foundation stone was laid in the presence of President Theodore Roosevelt and a crowd of more than 20,000, and ended 83 years later when the last finial was placed in the presence of President George H. W. Bush in 1990.

Over the years, the National Cathedral has been the host to many national memorial services and celebrations. Services were held here to celebrate the end of World Wars I and II. The Cathedral was the setting for funerals for three presidents: Dwight Eisenhower, Ronald Reagan and Gerald Ford. Following the September 11th terrorist attacks, George W. Bush honored the victims of that day with a special prayer service at the Cathedral.

Read more:

Chicago's Episcopal leaders endorse reunifying with Quincy diocese

From Chicago-

Leaders of Chicago's Episcopal diocese agreed over the weekend to reunite with a much smaller western Illinois counterpart, a move that church officials hope will provide stability in a denomination tested by years of schism and doctrinal disputes.

Local Episcopal leaders expect the alignment of the Diocese of Chicago and the Diocese of Quincy to be complete by autumn. Bishops and standing committees from a majority of the more than 100 dioceses across the world must sign off before the move becomes official, but church officials don't expect that to be a barrier.

Chicago Bishop Jeffrey Lee said Sunday that the reunification will enhance the large Chicago diocese and provide a more stable spiritual home to the 730 active members of the Quincy diocese's nine parishes.

"Their commitment in that diocese — against many, many odds — to be in our church will be a great, great gift" to the reunified diocese, Lee said in front of a packed sanctuary at St. Mary's Episcopal Church in northwest suburban Park Ridge.

Church leaders are branding the merger as a reunification, a nod to the fact that Quincy was part of a statewide diocese prior to 1877, when Illinois' Episcopalians split into three dioceses.

More here-,0,3749358.story

Sunday, June 9, 2013

Pope nixes 'boring' practice of reading text to students, uses Q&A

From Catholic News Service-

Pope Francis ditched a 1,250-word prepared speech to students saying it would be "a tad boring" to read out loud and opted instead to just quickly hit the high points and spend the rest of the time answering people's questions.

"Would you like that?" he asked as some 9,000 students, alumni and teachers from Jesuit-run schools and associations in Italy and Albania yelled "Yes" with cheers and applause.

Then over the course of 30 minutes, Pope Francis answered 10 questions, including how to deal with doubt, how to live with hope in a troubled world and whether Christians should be politically active.

The special event in the Vatican's Paul VI hall June 7 was an occasion for young people, parents and educators to highlight the Jesuit charism, particularly in the field of education, and to celebrate the election of the first Jesuit pope in the church's history.

More here-

Justin Welby calls on world leaders to tackle global hunger

From The BBC-

In a video address to a rally in Hyde Park organised by the If campaign, the Archbishop said there was an opportunity to "end hunger in our lifetimes".

He praised the UK Government for spending 0.7% of GDP on international aid, but encouraged activists to "keep the pressure on", telling them: "We can change the world in our own lives".
The Archbishop told the rally: "We've come to celebrate the opportunity we have to end hunger in our lifetimes.

"The only way that's going to happen is by mass movements of people, like yourselves, getting


In a separate message to an ecumenical service in Methodist Central Hall in Westminster, the Archbishop said: "In many parts of the world, the churches are the most effective networks, through which generosity from other people can be used most effectively and without actually displacing or diminishing the work of the people on the ground locally - local people developing their own countries."

More here-

Executive Council opening remarks

Presiding bishop’s opening remarks to Executive Council

I’m going to talk about the kinds of mission we’re engaging in and beyond the Church, and where in recent months I’ve been particularly asked to enter into this work.  I’m going to frame this in the context of the Five Marks of Mission, both as a witness to how they shape the work that my office is called to attend to, and as a kind of accountability exercise.  None of us is called to do all of the work, but awareness comes from paying attention to how we and our communities are involved.
1  Proclaim the good news of the kingdom is the First Mark of Mission

That’s the basic work of the church – holding up a vision of God’s dream for all creation – a world living in right relationship with God and neighbor, so that all people live in peace because there is justice.  That vision prompts movement toward the reign of God that’s more particularly addressed in some of the other Marks, but I think relationship-building belongs here – especially when focused on developing shared understandings and strategies for moving toward that dream.

House of Deputies President Gay Jennings addresses Executive Council

In her 1998 book Amazing Grace, Kathleen Norris writes about learning to believe:
Perhaps my most important breakthrough with regard to belief came when I learned to be as consciously skeptical and questioning of my disbelief and my doubts as I was of my burgeoning faith. This new perspective also helped me to deal with my anger over the fact that churches, as institutions, so often behave in polarized and polarizing ways. I found an unexpected ally in Fr. Martin Smith, an Anglican monk, who wrote in an issue of Cowley, his monastery’s newsletter, that ambivalence is a sacred emotion. Restating in spiritual terms Keats’s definition of ‘negative capability,’ he wrote that he finds

“a widespread need in contemporary spirituality to find ways of praying and engaging with God, our selves, and one another that have room for simultaneous contradictions, the experience of opposite emotions. We need to find the sacredness in living the tensions and to admit how unsacred, how disconnecting and profane, are the attempts at praying and living while suppressing half of the stuff that fascinates or plagues us…We can connect our own fear of death and the unknown,’ Smith writes, ‘with the institution’s dread of the new.”[1]

Karen Armstrong, Religious Author And TED Prize Winner, Recalls Experience As A Catholic Nun (VIDEO)

From Huffington-

Karen Armstrong is an acclaimed religious author, prestigious TED Prize winner and one of the world's foremost religious scholars -- not to mention a former nun. At just 17, Armstrong began her religious journey and became a Catholic nun, embarking on what she hoped would be an experience of total enlightenment and spiritual awakening. However, life at the convent turned out to be much different from what Armstrong expected.

While at the convent, one of Armstrong's struggles was almost unheard of for a nun, as she tells Oprah in this video from "Super Soul Sunday." Armstrong says she developed an inability to pray and couldn't seem to do anything to focus herself on prayer.

"I was completely unable to pray, which is a bit of a drawback for a nun," Armstrong tells Oprah. "When I used to go in to make my meditation every morning, off my mind went, down every skittering kind of alley and byway. This was a source of terrible shame."

When Armstrong told her superior that she could no longer pray, she was brushed off. "She said, 'Oh, Sister, you're always so dramatic. Everybody has an off day,'" Armstrong recalls.

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Dioceses of Chicago, Quincy unanimously agree to reunite

From ENS-

 Members of the dioceses of Chicago and Quincy unanimously agreed June 8 to reunify, something that no other dioceses have done in the Episcopal Church for 70 years.

Both dioceses, meeting separately, approved the same reunification resolution.

“This is a day that both dioceses have yearned for,” Diocese of Chicago Bishop Jeffrey D. Lee, who will be bishop of the reunified diocese, said in a press release issued after both dioceses acted. “Now the people of Chicago and the people of Quincy will join together in witnessing to the power of the Risen Christ who overcomes all divisions.”

Quincy Provisional Bishop John Buchanan added that “the faithful people of Quincy have shown us all what it means to live as witnesses to God’s mission in the Episcopal Church.”

“Their unflagging commitment to our common life will make them invaluable leaders in the Diocese of Chicago,” he said in the same release.

“The mood here is jubilant following the vote,” according to a tweet from Quincy’s Cathedral Church of St. Paul in Peoria after that diocese’s vote. “It’s a family reunion that’s been a long time in the making.”

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