Saturday, June 22, 2013

For Episcopal Church’s Leader, a Sermon Leads to More Dissent

From The New York Times-

Curaçao, the Dutch island off the Venezuelan coast, is nice this time of year. Actually, it’s nice any time of year. The temperature is in the low 80s and the seawater is nearly as warm. It must be a nice place to give a sermon. But for Katharine Jefferts Schori, since 2006 the presiding bishop of the Episcopal Church in the United States, memories of Curaçao will always be associated with the controversy that greeted her upon her return — another controversy in what has already been a rocky tenure as the head of a troubled, shrinking church.

On May 12, Bishop Jefferts Schori preached in All Saints Church in the town of Steenrijk. Curaçao is part of the Episcopal Church’s small Diocese of Venezuela, and Bishop Jefferts Schori was making a pastoral call to a distant congregation. Her text was Acts 16:16-34, which includes the story of a slave woman and fortuneteller whom Paul encounters in Philippi, Macedonia.

As Luke, who Christians believe is the narrator, tells the story, the woman “had a spirit of divination and brought her owners a great deal of money by fortunetelling. While she followed Paul and us, she would cry out, ‘These men are slaves of the Most High God, who proclaim to you a way of salvation.’ ” After many days, “Paul, very much annoyed, turned and said to the spirit, ‘I order you in the name of Jesus Christ to come out of her.’ And it came out that very hour.”

More here-

Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby to visit Holy Land

From The BBC-

The Archbishop of Canterbury is to visit Egypt and the Holy Land on a five-day tour starting on Sunday.

During the visit, the Most Reverend Justin Welby will meet fellow Anglican bishops and other religious leaders, visit holy sites, and meet a range of communities and leaders.

He is making the trip early in his ministry because of the significance of the region, Lambeth Palace said.

He will visit Egypt, Jordan, Israel and the Palestinian Territories.

Archbishop Welby, who has visited the Middle East several times prior to taking up his role as leader of he Church of England, is said to be "keenly aware of the particular pressures on the region" at the moment - not least the conflict in Syria, and its impact more widely.

Lambeth Palace said he was "deeply concerned for justice and for the security of all the peoples of the region, and the pressures on its Christian communities".

More here-

Anglican Dean of King’s College wins Ratzinger Prize

From The Catholic Herald-

The 2013 Ratzinger Prize for Theology will be given to an Anglican minister and to the lay German theology professor who is helping publish the complete works of Joseph Ratzinger-Pope Benedict XVI.

The Rev Richard Burridge, an Anglican professor of New Testament studies at King’s College, London, is the first non-Catholic to receive the prize. The other winner, Christian Schaller, is vice director of the Benedict XVI Institute in Regensburg, Germany, which is publishing critical editions of the pope’s writings.

Cardinal Camillo Ruini, president of the scientific committee of a foundation established to promote the study of the retired pope’s theological work, announced the prize winners during a Vatican press conference. The event also included the announcement on plans for a three-day conference in Rome in October to focus on the retired pope’s Jesus of Nazareth books.

The theology prize and conference, along with scholarships, are funded by the Joseph Ratzinger-Benedict XVI Foundation, which the pope established in 2010 using royalties from the sale of his books.

More here-

Ex-Gay Christian Groups Will Continue After Exodus As Religious LGBT Support Grows

From Huffington-

When Jenelle Linden, a 51-year-old therapist who lives in South Bend, Ind., heard that one of the nation's most prominent "ex-gay" organizations was shutting down, she was surprised and hopeful, as were many gay rights activists and members of liberal religious groups.

But Linden, who founded the Grace In Action ministry five years ago to counsel gay people who want to be straight, said the reason she felt that way was not because she opposes the idea that sexual orientation can be changed. Instead, she was hopeful because she sensed "God's hands at work," she said, and saw an opportunity for her own group to grow and offer its services.

"Everything happens under God's watch," said Linden, who was a lesbian for 20 years and has been married to a man for 11 years. "This doesn't impact anything with our work," she said, adding that she doesn't see same-sex attraction itself as sinful, but teaches clients that "scripture tells us that with Christ's power we can overcome temptation."

More here-

Guest Commentary: Why I will be buried in West Tennessee

From West Tennessee (must be a slow news day)

It is not often that cemeteries make news.

For the past three years, the oldest Episcopal Church in West Tennessee, Immanuel Church in LaGrange, has been planning to add a cemetery to the east side of their property.

The plans have been reviewed and approved by all the diocesan bodies that need to be part of this decision. It is a lovely design, and it should serve the Episcopal community for years to come.

As our oldest diocesan church, Immanuel, founded in 1832, has a certain historical significance that cannot be ignored. Those at last year’s Annual Convention heard in some detail my reflections on the role Immanuel’s founding members played in the spread of the Episcopal Church in West Tennessee. It is a heritage that has been passed on to all of us in the Diocese.

The new cemetery presents a decision point for Jeannie and me as we make our own arrangements for burial.

More here-

Friday, June 21, 2013

Francis looks to the future

From The Tablet-

Recent events suggest the Catholic Church is beginning a new era in its attitude to other Churches and faiths. Similarities with the beginning of the papacy of Pope John XXIII are inevitable. The key factor may be that Pope Francis takes a more relaxed attitude to those who are not technically of the same persuasion, emphasising, as did Pope John, values and approaches which are held in common rather than differences in doctrine. It was the 1963 encyclical Pacem in Terris that set out the possibility that Catholics could work with “people of goodwill” outside the Church, until then frowned upon. That may now be part of the Catholic wallpaper, taken for granted as obvious, but it has not been translated into specific joint projects to the extent it could have been.

Benedict XVI’s ecumenical priorities were more to do with resolving issues from the Church’s own past. He put great store by the possibility of reconciliation with the Vatican II-denying Society of St Pius X, and encouraged long and tortuous conversations which seemed to be going nowhere from the start, given the non-negotiables on both sides. He reversed decades of church policy by re-authorising the celebration of the Tridentine Rite, which seemed not just a gesture towards the Lefebvrists but a reactionary move in liturgical policy generally, as did the imposition of a severely inadequate, if linguistically more accurate, translation of the Mass into English. 

More here-

John Paul II Months From Sainthood

From The Trumpet-

The path was cleared for former pope John Paul II to be declared a saint when the Vatican’s board of theologians of the Congregation for the Causes of Saints announced on Tuesday that they had attributed a second miracle to him. Church officials haven’t disclosed the nature of the miracle, but Vatican insiders say the late pope worked it after his death, and that it will “amaze the world” when the account is made public sometime in the next few weeks.

The sainthood process for a pope normally takes decades or even centuries, but John Paul II’s successor, Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI, fast-tracked it for the late pontiff, opening investigations into many miracles attributed to him. During his 27-year papacy, the Polish pope had become one of the most popular pontiffs in history. Benedict saw that Protestant churches had been swept into an unprecedented fervor of papal adulation at the time of John Paul II’s death, and he wanted to capitalize on the euphoria.

The healing of a French nun from Parkinson’s disease was declared as John Paul II’s first miracle. It led to his beatification on May 1, 2011, by Benedict XVI. The church’s rules say a pope must be beatified before he can be made a saint. Insider sources said this week that John Paul II’s second miracle took place on the very day of that beatification—several years after his death. Reports say the miracle involved a Costa Rican woman’s “extraordinary healing” from severe brain injury after she and members of her family started praying to the dead pope.

More here-

‘Very unusual’ steps taken in lead-up to Synod

From The Church Times-

The General Synod meeting in York next month will have something of a morning-after-the-night-before feel to it.

It will be the first group of sessions since last November's narrow vote to reject the Draft Bishops and Priests (Consecration and Ordination of Women) Measure ( News, 23 November); and the first since Dr Philip Giddings survived the subsequent no-confidence vote on his chairmanship of the House of Laity at an extraordinary meeting of the House ( News, 18 January).

With this in mind, the Business Committee has taken the "very unusual" step of devoting most of the Saturday to facilitated discussions, led by the Archbishop of Canterbury's new Director for Reconciliation, Dr David Porter; along with a plenary session, the format of which "is still being creatively worked on even as we speak", the Secretary General, William Fittall, said last Friday. Both will be held behind closed doors.

Mr Fittall played down suggestions that the discussions were secret, saying that the "entirely unminuted and entirely informal" discussions were about "preparation, conversation, and exploration". He said that the discussions were "not like the wartime Parliament, when Parliament went into secret session".

More here-‘very-unusual’-steps-taken-in-lead-up-to-synod

Police forcefully opens the locked Anglican church in Kitwe

From Zambia-

POLICE working on orders from Anglican Church archbishop Albert Chama have forcefully opened the doors of St Peters congregation in Kitwe, which was locked by irate members in a bid to force the exit of their embattled priest, Father Richard Luonde.

The irate congregants locked St Peters Church in Chimwemwe a fortnight ago accusing Fr Luonde of using church funds to finance priest-cum politician Frank Bwalya and also inappropriate conduct.

Sunday service programmes have failed to take place the previous two Sundays after the church remained locked with a heavy chain and padlocks.

A check last Sunday and the previous Sunday showed the building was still shut and congregants were just milling around the premises when ordinary they were supposed to be in Sunday morning service.

But some congregation members told the Times yesterday that a team of police officers who were accompanied by a few people from the church on Tuesday went to St Peters and broke the chain and the padlock using an axle.

More here-

Rainbow Village offers impoverished families tools for self-sufficiency

From ENS-

The congestion in Gwinnett County, Georgia, is hard enough to manage by car. Steven Jackson’s family of six had it even worse the night they had to leave their motel on Jimmy Carter Boulevard.
They were broke. They had no car. For Jackson, then a junior at Norcross High School, and his three younger siblings, this was the latest crisis faced with parents who battled various addictions. They had known days where they split up to find beds at various shelters, then reunited the next day to seek meals at soup kitchens.

Where would the Jacksons go? How would they get there? Even more importantly, how could they live a more stable life, without so much drama?

In transition, like more than 250 other families in the past 20 years, the Jacksons arrived at Rainbow Village – at first in Norcross then in Duluth – which became their vehicle to a new life. Started as an outreach ministry in 1991 by parishioners at Christ Episcopal Church in Norcross, Rainbow Village is a comprehensive program that provides fully furnished homes and support services for homeless families with children. They stay between one and two years as they start over.

More here-

Trinity parish preparing for 450th $1.1 million capital campaign launched

From Florida-

With St. Augustine’s 450th anniversary quickly approaching, Trinity Parish has begun restorations of its historic buildings, steeple and stained glass windows. Goal of this capital campaign is $1.1 million.

The Trinity Parish Church, which graced the south side of the historic Plaza de la Constitucion for more than 180 years, is the oldest Episcopal Church in Florida. “It’s our turn now to look after this Holy place,” says Trinity rector, the Rev. David Weidner. “We are eager to embrace this project for the next generations so they too can enjoy this wonderful place of worship.” To that end, Trinity has announced a three-year capital campaign for the primary purpose of renovating and restoring the church. The theme is “Honoring Our Heritage, Looking Forward to Our Future.”

Trinity Episcopal Church was established in 1821, the year control of Florida was transferred to the United States by Spain. Church services were held in the Government House for the first 10 years before moving in 1831 to a newly constructed church building fronting King Street and the plaza. The church steeple was erected in 1839 and remains today as an icon of historic St. Augustine.

More here-

Alabama Episcopal Bishop Kee Sloan asks churches to sponsor Boy Scouts

From Alabama-

Bishop Kee Sloan, head of the Episcopal Diocese of Alabama, has posted a letter asking churches to sponsor Boy Scout troops.

In apparent response to the Southern Baptist Convention's resolution opposing the Boy Scouts' decision to accept openly gay scouts, Sloan wants Episcopal churches to step forward to host troops that may need a meeting place.

Southern Baptist Convention President Fred Luter said while in Birmingham last weekend that his church, Franklin Avenue Baptist Church in New Orleans, plans to stop hosting its Boy Scout troop.

First Baptist Church of Pelham and First Baptist Church of Helena have also announced plans to stop hosting Boy Scout troops.

More here-

Thursday, June 20, 2013

New Bishop of Blackburn looks forward to role

From England (Really, Dorking?)

Julian Henderson, currently Archdeacon of Dorking, will become the most senior Anglican cleric in Lancashire when he takes over the role.

The consecration will be followed by his formal installation as Bishop in a service at Blackburn Cathedral.

He will then make time to travel round the Diocese for a further series of special welcome services to be announced.

Archdeacon Julian said: “I am looking forward immensely to taking up my appointment in Lancashire.

“As the time grows nearer I ask people to join me in praying for everyone involved in the preparations and for days that will stand as a testament to God’s glory.

“Heather and I continue to value your prayers not just for us, but also for Bishop John Goddard and the senior team in the diocese as they continue to carry the responsibility of the vacancy.”

The Rt Rev John Goddard, the Bishop of Burnley and Acting Bishop of Blackburn, has written to all clergy and readers across the region with the news about the dates.

More here-

Catalyst for Change

From The Living Church-

An African archbishop who’s concerned to keep the Anglican Communion together through tense times has taken a leadership role in the Anglican Alliance.

The Most Rev. Albert Chama of Zambia, archbishop of the Church of the Province of Central Africa, became chairman of the alliance’s global board of trustees in April. In coming months, he plans to shepherd a new program for the international charity’s development, advocacy, and relief work, according to an Anglican Alliance news release.

“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.

For Archbishop Chama, the moment is ripe to harness the potential of an organization that brings together Anglicans from developed and developing nations in a common cause. In 2012, he spoke of the need for Anglicans to work side by side even though their cultural contexts influence what sexual behavior they find acceptable.

“What could happen in Canada cannot be in Africa,” he said about same-sex blessings last year. “What can happen in Africa is not possible in Canada. It’s up to the individual people now to accept that we can work together, but we are different.”

More here-

Episcopal Church helps Iraqi refugees find new life in Paris

From ENS-

Every week in north Paris, a few hundred Iraqi Christians gather for worship. It’s a bittersweet reunion for them. Their lives have been spared, but the events of the past 10 years have forced them into exile. Many have lost close family and friends in the bloodshed of the Iraq War and the resulting rise in terrorism.

“There are about a million Iraqi Christians who’ve left Iraq, and 1,300 of them came to France,” said Bishop Pierre Whalon of the Convocation of Episcopal Churches in Europe. “It’s a drop in the ocean, but it’s 1,300 unique, innocent lives that are sacred to God. How can you say no to that? If you can do something, you should do something.”

In 2007, with Iraqi Christians facing increasing persecution as a result of their faith, Whalon and Iraqi businessman Elish Yako set up Association d’Entraide aux Minorités d’Orient (Association to Support Eastern Minorities) to help the French government identify candidates eligible for refuge. The association also has assisted the refugees with their integration and administrative issues.

“The Vatican’s official position is that Christians should stay in the Middle East and I totally agree with that; absolutely they should stay there,” said Whalon. “But they can’t stay there if they’re dead.”

More here-

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Adelaide's war of religious words reaches a new height

From Australia-

The gentle pace of Adelaide's Rundle Mall resembled the more extreme pockets of Speaker's Corner in London's Hyde Park as evangelical preachers harangued shoppers who didn't love Jesus enough, threatening extra hell-fire for the sins of women, homosexuals and Muslims. The group was silenced after a year-long spectacle when the high court ruled to uphold a council by-law requiring proselytisers of any message to seek permission to spruik on public byways.

But now atheism has taken to the streets in Australia's City of Churches with the state's "first active atheist group in 40 years" forming in February to take direct action.

Founder of Atheism SA, Brian Morris, 68, says certain elements within Adelaide's government, judiciary and media are steeped in the religious cultural tradition, deferring to a "vocal rump" of religious groups. He's especially suspicious of powerful evangelical churches like Paradise (based in Adelaide), Hillsong and Access Ministry, whose leaders "seem to carry a tremendous amount of weight".

"We're not interested in sitting around debating whether God exists or not," says Morris. "It's a dead argument anyway. Our aim is to take an active role in a vast range of social issues being dominated by the Christian lobby groups – issues like euthanasia, marriage equality and the teaching of evangelism in schools.

More here-

Pope Francis receives Archbishop of Canterbury in Rome

From Independent Catholic News-

On Friday morning in the Vatican, Pope Francis received the Primate of all England and head of the worldwide Anglican Communion, Archbishop Justin Welby of Canterbury, England, with the same words that Paul VI greeted his predecessor, Michael Ramsey, during his historic visit to the Vatican in 1966: “Your steps have not brought you to a foreign dwelling ... we are pleased to open the doors to you, and with the doors, our heart, pleased and honoured as we are ... to welcome you ‘not as a guest or a stranger, but as a fellow citizen of the Saints and the Family of God’.” He also recalled that, at the ceremony of his taking possession of the Cathedral of Canterbury, the archbishop prayed for the new Bishop of Rome, a gesture that the Pope was deeply grateful for. He added: “Since we began our respective ministries within days of each other, I think we will always have a particular reason to support one another in prayer.”

“The history of relations between the Church of England and the Catholic Church,” the Pope continued, “is long and complex, and not without pain. Recent decades, however, have been marked by a journey of rapprochement and fraternity, and for this we give heartfelt thanks to God. This journey has been brought about both via theological dialogue, through the work of the Anglican-Roman Catholic International Commission, and via the growth of cordial relations at every level through shared daily lives in a spirit of profound mutual respect and sincere cooperation. In this regard, I am very pleased to welcome alongside you Archbishop Vincent Nichols of Westminster. These firm bonds of friendship have enabled us to remain on course even when difficulties have arisen in our theological dialogue that were greater than we could have foreseen at the start of our journey.”

More here-

Congregation loses a home, but not each other

From Alberta Canada-

The congregation of St. Andrew’s Anglican Church may have lost their home, but they haven’t lost each other.

A fire that ripped through the 26-year-old building early Sunday morning has displaced Anglican churchgoers and hundreds of other who attend ministry programs through The Father’s House, formerly the Morinville Christian Fellowship Church.

“This has been a sad thing,” said Dora Legge, a parishioner of St. Andrew’s since 2002 when she moved to Morinville from Newfoundland. “But no one was injured, no one was killed and we are still a church family.”

Standing amid the scorched rubble of a building where baptisms and weddings were once celebrated, parishioners gathered at the site of St. Andrew’s on Sunday to pray.

Ron Horst, Rector of St. Andrew’s, said that despite the material loss of worship books, vestments and office equipment, his faith has not been tested.

“We lost pretty much everything,” he admitted, “But I’m very proud of the people in the church because we understand that our church life is the people together and the Lord’s presence among us.”

More here-

Bishop Stands Firm Over Graduation Cancellation

From The Bahamas-

ANGLICAN Bishop Laish Boyd is standing firm on his decision to cancel graduation and prom for the 2013 class of St Johns Anglican School – despite the public outcry and in the face of threatened legal action by the students.

Speaking to The Tribune yesterday, Bishop Boyd said that no decision has been made to reverse the cancellation of St Johns’ graduation and prom as previously stated.

Yesterday news also broke that families of St Johns students wishing to participate in a graduation ceremony this year hired Bahamian lawyer, Christina Galanos, to represent them by forcing a reversal of the Anglican Education Board’s decision to cancel graduation and prom.

The attorney pointed out that each student has an individual contract with the school that stipulates a graduation ceremony, and that the school must demonstrate exactly how these contracts were broken before it can cancel the event.

She said each student has a legal right to fight for the contract to be enforced.

More here-

Leaders continue to search for unity

From The Catholic Leader-

Pope Francis has had his first meeting with the spiritual leader of the Anglican Communion Archbishop Justin Welby of Canterbury, and CINDY WOODEN, of Catholic News Service in Rome, reports that they spoke of the differences that divide as well as the common goal for full unity.

POPE Francis and spiritual leader of the Anglican Communion Archbishop Justin Welby of Canterbury pledged to support each other with their prayers and to continue the search for full unity between their communities.

Meeting at the Vatican on June 14, praying together in the Redemptoris Mater Chapel in the Apostolic Palace and eating lunch together in the papal residence, both remarked on the fact that Pope Francis' inaugural Mass was celebrated on March 19 and Archbishop Welby's installation was on March 21.

More here-

God can handle your anger–and your confusion, fear and doubt, too

From Patheos-

An Egyptian court last week sentenced an author to five years in prison. His crime? Insulting religion. He penned a book entitled Where is God? which some Muslims deemed offensive.

Egyptian law, according to one report, “gives all Muslims the right to file lawsuits in cases where an exalted right of God has been violated.” But maybe God can take it. At least that’s what Ian Punnett argues in his new book

How to Pray When You’re Pissed at God, a title that might spark similar offense in some quarters.

But should it?

Anger is normal

Punnett says we’re just fooling ourselves if we think God’s offended. “I’ve never quite understood people who profess a faith in an all-knowing, all-loving God who think that if they just ‘pray nice’ then God will never know how pissed they really are.”

The undeniable truth is that we are sometimes angry and afraid, beset by doubts and confusion. What do we do in the those moments? Open our hearts and mouths, says Punnett. “The Bible is full of heroes who took their relationship with God seriously enough to honor their Creator with honesty.” Moses comes to mind. David, too. Definitely David.

Appropriately, Punnett explores the Psalms in his quest to understand the nature of honest prayer, particularly the kind that comes from a place of hurt, frustration, disappointment, and despair.

More here-

Evangelist buys St. James Episcopal

From Florida-

St. James Episcopal Church in Macclenny has gone through a tumultuous period in recent years following a schism of the congregation in 2006 over the Episcopal church’s liberal views on homosexuality.

But a long-time Christian evangelist from Glasgow, Kentucky is ready to breath new life into the once vacant 2625-square-foot church at 50 W. Minnesota Ave. Velma Childers, president of the nonprofit Velma Childers Evangelistic Association, purchased the property from the Episcopal Church in the Diocese of Florida, Inc. in late March for $100,000, about $5000 less than its market value per the county property appraiser’s office.

Ms. Childers has been spreading the word of Christ throughout the country and the world for the last 50 years. Her broadcast ministry titled “Forgiven” is filmed in Clearwater, FL and available on a half-dozen satellite and network stations.

Ms. Childers said her immediate plans for the church include Friday evening services and perhaps prayer meetings on Monday mornings, but she won’t solicit members from other churches or hold Sunday services.

The 48-year-old structure may be available for  weddings or special events in the future.

More here-

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

The death of Saint Paul’s College

From The Pittsburgh Courier-

Saint Paul’s College, a historically Black college founded in 1888 in partnership with the Episcopal Church, announced last week that it’s shutting down and working to help current students transfer to other institutions.

The school, located in Lawrenceville, Va., announced that it was closing after a deal that would have allowed Saint Augustine’s College in Raleigh, N.C. to acquire the struggling college collapsed under the weight of Saint Paul’s debt.

Already mired in debt, Saint Paul’s College terminated its sports programs in 2011 to cut costs. When the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges, a regional group that certifies degree-granting institutions, rescinded the schools accreditation last summer, administrators went to court to get it back.

Now, both the accreditation and the school are gone.

In a press release, Oliver Spencer, chairman of Saint Paul’s College Board of Trustees, wrote: “The time deadlines associated with our accreditation issues with SACSCOC and the termination of the proposed merger require our Board to take this action in the best interests of our students.”
According to news reports, approximately 200 students were enrolled at the school; 51 students graduated from in the spring.

More here-

Gay Anglican Clergy Will Have to Convince Archbishops They Are Not Sexually Active

From Christian Post-

The law change approved by the Church of England at the turn of the year that allows gay clergy to be considered for consecration will be put to a test by a legal briefing sent out to General Synod members that says priests in civil partnerships will have to prove to archbishops that they are not in a sexually active relationship.

"To be admitted to Holy Orders a person must be 'of virtuous conversation and good repute and such as to be a wholesome example and pattern to the flock of Christ,' the Legal Office document sent in June reads. "Once in Holy Orders a cleric must be diligent to frame and fashion his life and that of his family according to the doctrine of Christ and to make himself and them, as much as in him lies, wholesome examples and patterns to the flock of Christ."

The legal briefing reminds Church of England members that a clergy's sexual orientation is "irrelevant to their suitability for episcopal office" and that it should not be taken into account when considering nominations for the position.


Church, food bank and nonprofit work together to feed children

From San Antonio-

Children streamed out of the van, talking and laughing as they went to get their lunch.

Regardless of their race, gender, native language, country of origin or religion, all of them came together at St. Francis Episcopal Church on Bluemel Road to enjoy a free meal during the summer when most schools are closed.

The church, in partnership with the San Antonio Food Bank and Eagles Flight Corp., is offering lunch on Wednesdays, Thursdays and Fridays during the rest of June and part of July for children 18 and under.

The program is a continuation of the free and reduced-priced school lunches for low-income students during the regular school year, said Pam Espurvoa-Allen, who started the program and is a co-founder of Eagles Flight. The children who participate in the program, whether they're the children of refugee families or Americans, all qualified for the school lunch programs.

The children of refugee families are particularly at risk since their parents do not speak English, and they are trying to assimilate into American culture, she said.

More here-

Anne Hodges-Copple ordained as North Carolina’s bishop suffragan

From ENS-

The Diocese of North Carolina, on the morning of June 15, ordained the Rev. Anne Elliott Hodges-Copple as its sixth bishop suffragan. Hodges-Copple becomes the first female bishop in the Episcopal Church’s Province IV.

More than 1,400 people attended or participated in the service, held in the historic Duke Chapel on the campus of Duke University in Durham. Hodges-Copple, formerly the rector of St. Luke’s Episcopal Church, Durham, was elected Jan. 25 out of a field of five candidates during the diocese’s annual convention.

As bishop suffragan, Hodges-Copple will assist North Carolina Bishop Michael Curry in leading the diocese into what he has termed “21st-century Galilee,” or the diverse modern world in which we live.

Hodges-Copple ministry will focus especially on higher education, young adults, Spanish-speaking communities, the ordination process for the diaconate, companion diocese relationships with Costa Rica and Botswana, ecumenical and interfaith work, and pastoral care of retired clergy and their spouses.

Monday, June 17, 2013

Walter Kasper’s Theology

From The Living Church-

Most Anglicans associate Cardinal Walter Kasper with his work as a Christian ecumenist. Kasper was a key player in the dialogue leading up to the momentous Joint Declaration on the Doctrine of Justification (1999) between the World Lutheran Federation and the Vatican. Between 2001 and 2010, as president of the Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity and chairman of the Pontifical Commission for Religious Relations with the Jews, Cardinal Kasper worked tirelessly as an interpreter of the Second Vatican Council to the broader world. While duly recognizing these accomplishments, a recent conference, “The Theology of Walter Kasper: A Celebration of his Life and Work,” hosted April 25-27 by the University of Notre Dame’s theology department on the occasion of Kasper’s 80th birthday, aimed to provide a more comprehensive picture of the cardinal’s lifetime achievements.

In her opening remarks, conference organizer Kristin Colberg (St. John’s, Collegeville) noted that, by his own admission, Kasper’s theological work has proceeded from a single question: How do we translate Christian tradition in the modern context and the modern context through the Christian tradition? In setting these questions at the forefront of his inquiry, Kasper clearly stands in line with the theological concerns of the Second Vatican Council. But Colberg was quick to point out that Kasper’s quest for relevance never led him to reduce the Church to another social-transformative institution. Rather, the Church achieves its relevance solely by insisting on and preserving its distinctive identity. As such, at the heart of Kasper’s translational theology is what Colberg calls the “identity-relevance dilemma.”

More here-

Former Bishop of Waikato meets the Pope - and runs out of Marmite

From New Zealand-

Since moving to Rome as the Anglican Communion's ambassador to the Catholic Church, former Bishop of Waikato, David Moxon, has met the Pope and run out of Marmite.

Luckily, while he won't get to see Pope Francis again until December 21, it's likely his stocks of Marmite should be replenished by then.

Archbishop Moxon joined Justin Welby who, as the Archbishop of Canterbury is the Anglican Communion's most senior churchman, in the meeting in Rome on Friday (Italian time).

"It was a very memorable day, a very moving day," Archbishop Moxon told the Waikato Times via Skype. "I will never forget it."

It was the first time all three had met, since they had all been appointed in recent months.

"He was like a sort of favourite uncle," the Archbishop said of the new Pope. "Very loving very humble . . . he gave his own chair up for the Archbishop of Canterbury to sit down."

The meeting, Archbishop Moxon said, was "pretty positive" as "the ground was fairly well prepared" by those who had come before all three. "We have been dealing with a closer relationship for the last 30 years."

More here-

True-life murders add spice to Gatsby legend

From The Independent-

Churchwell shows that the Hall-Mills case, in which a 34-year-old mother-of-two and her married lover, an Episcopal minister, were found shot through the head in a field outside New Brunswick, was a murder whose lurid coverage exploded into print at the very moment Fitzgerald began his protracted struggle with the novel. This crime, she argues, shadows and informs the novel and suggests a hinterland to its composition that is far darker, and stranger, than previously acknowledged.

Well, maybe. Part of literature's enduring grip is that it's always a bit of a mystery. The problem with forging a cast-iron relationship between life and art is that it can become absurdly reductive. Eleanor Mills was indeed married to "a pale, nervous little man", a possible model for Wilson the mechanic in Gatsby, but Fitzgerald drew on so much personal material, "plagiarising his existence" as one friend said, that it's hard to isolate a single source.

Fitzgerald himself contributes to the confusion as the author of countless contradictory zingers: "Parties are a form of suicide," he said, but he was an Olympic party animal. Churchwell is good on the role of parties in the making of Gatsby. "Gate-crash" is a Twenties term, and so are more than 100 synonyms for "drunk", ranging from "squiffy" to "stinko".

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Sunday, June 16, 2013

Lessons from the Anglican saga

From Zimbabwe-

For the first time in five years legitimate Anglicans have been allowed to pay homage to one of Africa’s first Christian martyrs, Bernard Mizeki, at the shrine erected at the place where he was murdered in 1896. Thousands of colourfully dressed pilgrims from all over the country and many more from abroad are, as we read this, gathered — as they have been since Friday — at the shrine outside the farming city of Marondera.

Evil had personified itself in Nolbert Kunonga, who with the political backing of those in power — and their courts — had desecrated the church, reducing parishes into brothels, chasing away the infirm from hospitals and children from crèches. Great schools that had formed the ribcage of our education system were reduced to mere upper-tops (makeshift schools), while mission hospitals were looted of money and equipment leaving them shells of their former selves.

Orgies of rape were reported from across the country. Many faithful Anglicans were made to vacate premises they occupied in fulfilment of their calling of ministering the gospel.

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Churches celebrate 200 years together on New Haven Green

From Connecticut

Homemade chocolate chip, oatmeal raisin and sugar cookies baked in the sun on the sidewalk of Temple Street Saturday morning.

The free sweets were part of an outreach to the community from three congregations celebrating 200 years of existence on the Green — United, Center and Trinity Episcopal churches.

“Instead of trying to do something very inward facing and having just sort of a solemn service inside the churches, we wanted to be outside and engage with the people of New Haven,” said the Rev. Luk de Volder, of Trinity Episcopal.

Before the cookie sharing began, the three churches joined in a procession beginning at United and ending at Trinity Episcopal. De Volder, the Rev. Sandra L. Olsen, Center, and the Rev. John MacIver Gage, United, briefly spoke about the significance of the day before offering a prayer in front of each building. The Rev. Vicki M. Davis, Trinity Episcopal, was also in attendance.

A small band filled the air with music as a few dozen worshipers moved from one building to the next, singing, dancing and basking in the sun.

More here-