Saturday, July 13, 2013

Pope Modifies Norms for Catholics Seeking to Join an Anglican Ordinariate

From National Catholic Register-

Baptized Catholics can now join Anglican ordinariates, according to a modification to the norms made by Pope Francis.

“This confirms the place of the personal ordinariates within the mission of the wider Catholic Church, not simply as a jurisdiction for those from the Anglican tradition, but as a contributor to the urgent work of the New Evangelization,” the Personal Ordinariate of Our Lady of Walsingham announced July 9.

A term coined by Blessed Pope John Paul II, the New Evangelization is the common term for bringing the Gospel to formerly Christian nations, and it can be seen in the new outreach to people who were baptized as Catholics but who never completed the process of Christian initiation.

Benedict XVI allowed for the groups to be set up with his 2009 apostolic constitution Anglicanorum Coetibus, which provided for Anglican communities wishing to enter into the Catholic Church.
His “complementary norms” governing the groups said that “those baptized previously as Catholics outside the ordinariate are not ordinarily eligible for membership, unless they are members of a family belonging to the ordinariate.”

Read more:

Archbishop Justin Welby: 'I was embarrassed. It was like getting measles'

From The Telegraph-

'It’s such a lovely day, let’s go into the garden,” says the Archbishop of Canterbury. Carrying a tray heavy with coffee cups, he leads us down the wide steps of Lambeth Palace round to its wider lawns. Justin Welby is the fourth Archbishop I have met in this place; though new in the job, he is by far the most relaxed.

He answers everything with the same directness. Since he is an evangelical, I ask him whether he can speak “in tongues” – the “charismatic” spiritual gift recorded in the New Testament. Oh yes, he says, almost as if he had been asked if he plays tennis, “It’s just a routine part of spiritual discipline – you choose to speak and you speak a language that you don’t know. It just comes. Bramble! Go and find Peter [the Welbys’ second son, one of five living children, and brother of Johanna, who died in a car crash as a baby], you idiot!” The last bit of these remarks is addressed to his exuberant six-month-old Clumber spaniel who has rushed up to him.

I am amazed. I first saw this man 40 years ago, when we were both pupils at Eton. Later, I was with him at Trinity College, Cambridge. He was the shyest, most unhappy-looking boy you could imagine. Now he is 105th in the line that began with St Augustine. He seems to be loving it. I remark on the change, and he agrees. “That’s something to do with the Christian faith,” he says.

More here-

Rooting for Mother Teresa

From The New York Times-

POPE FRANCIS last week approved two of his predecessors for sainthood — John Paul II and John XXIII — fast-tracking the latter in spite of his having only one miracle to his credit rather than the usual two. Mother Teresa, who died in 1997, has not been given the same exemption (she also has just one miracle) and remains merely beatified.

Having volunteered for a time with Mother Teresa, I find myself rooting for her cause as if for the home team. And on principle I’m disappointed by the message sent when two men with complex legacies outpace a woman who devoted herself completely to serving others.

To many Roman Catholics, Mother Teresa, who was born Agnes Bojaxhiu in 1910 of Albanian heritage, was the religion’s best ambassador. “She was one of the only things we learned about in Catholic school that I thought made total sense,” a friend of mine recently told me.

Two years before Mother Teresa died, I saw her work firsthand. I was 18, traveling around the world alone for the better part of a year. After spending time in Bangladesh, I entered India via what was then Calcutta (now Kolkata), staying at a dollar-a-night dormitory called the Hotel Maria. I slept on the roof, and there met some Australians who were volunteering for Mother Teresa. One day I joined them.

More here-

Bursting The Seminary Bubble, Part II

From Forbes (see previous post)

My previous article, The Seminary Bubble, certainly hit a nerve—remarkably so, given that it appeared here at at the center of financial journalism and not one of the usual church discussion watering holes. Critics fell into one of three camps.

First is the gender cop camp. Self-described seminary instructor Sarah Morice-Brubaker writes, “Pssst. There are female seminarians. A lot of them. The fact that you fail to acknowledge this – and make it very clear that you have in mind hetero men when you think “seminarian” – simply makes everything else you say sound less informed and therefore less persuasive.”

Believe it or not, this was the most frequent criticism of my article, which tells me that things are worse than I thought. Liberal mainline seminaries appear to have turned into little gender police states whose denizens quietly tally your pronouns as you talk, calculating gender ratios.

More here-

The Seminary Bubble

From Forbes-

Imagine an institution that requires its leaders to attend not only college, but graduate school. Imagine that the graduate school in question is constitutionally forbidden from receiving any form of government aid, that it typically requires three years of full-time schooling for the diploma, that the nature of the schooling bears almost no resemblance to the job in question, and that the pay for graduates is far lower than other professions. You have just imagined the relationship between the Christian Church and her seminaries.

Mainline churches are nearly universal in their requirement that their Priests/Pastors/Ministers/Reverends be seminary graduates, and since seminary is a graduate school, this means the students must first be successful undergraduates. So take all of the arguments about a college bubble and add at least three years of tuition cost and forgone income.

But you’re not quite done: My friend Father Jay Geisler counsels seminary students. He tells me that in his experience roughly half of matriculated students do not graduate within three years. In addition, he tells me that the living costs tend to be higher for seminary students than for undergrads because undergrads are almost never married with children, but seminary students often are.  As such, dorm room type accommodations for grads will not do.

More here-

'Flying Padres' use airplanes as a means of spreading the gospel of Jesus

From South Dakota-

There are nearly 39,000 ordained Catholic priests in America.

Fewer than 130 of them belong to the National Association of Priest Pilots, and about 30 of those flew their planes into Rapid City this week for the 50th annual convention of the organization.

One of them was the Rev. Mel Hemann, a retired priest of the Archdiocese of Dubuque, Iowa, who serves as the current NAPP president.

At 84, Hemann piloted the 2-seater, RV 6 plane that he built himself into Rapid City for a four-day gathering that included a special tour of Ellsworth Air Force Base as well as the obligatory tourist stops such as Mount Rushmore National Memorial and Crazy Horse Memorial. The group stayed at Terra Sancta, a diocesan retreat center.

"It's just been delightful," Hemann said. "We've been having a wonderful time."

The Flying Padres, as they were nicknamed shortly after the association was given the Vatican's blessing in 1964, exists primarily to support and aid priests who use airplanes as a means of spreading the gospel of Jesus Christ, Hemann said. That happens more often in remote places like Africa and Alaska, where clergy minister to Catholics spread over vast distances in isolated villages and travel by car isn't feasible. But it also happens with priests like the Rev. Bob Lacey, pastor at Blessed Teresa of Calcutta Parish in Dakota Dunes.  Lacey, 34, uses his plane, a 1946 Cessna 140 "tail dragger," to get to different diocesan functions, attend meetings in other states and connect with his personal family back in his hometown of Trent. "It's convenient, it's faster and it's not as frustrating as driving," Lacey said.

More Here-

1,200 mourn families killed in Alaska plane crash

From Upper South Carolina-

About 1,200 friends, family and fellow parishioners of two families killed in a plane crash in Alaska turned out Friday to say goodbye and to try to put the tragedy in perspective of their faith.

The Rev. Harrison McLeod, rector of the Christ Church Episcopal in downtown Greenville, reminded the mourners of God's faithfulness as portrayed through the stories of the Bible.

"But we gather here this morning and we hear the story of God's mighty works in salvation history and we hear the names of those we love but see no longer, and we ask in our own generation that ancient question: 'Can God be trusted?'"

Like the rainbow after the flood in Noah's time, the manna sent to feed the Israelites fleeing from bondage in Egypt and the Resurrection of Christ, the lives of the nine, McLeod said, "were a sure and certain sign and a symbol, a sacrament that God would never grieve or afflict his children."

More here-

Friday, July 12, 2013

Texas megachurch pastor asks congregation for $50,000. And you won't believe why.

From the "You Can't Make This Stuff Up" Department (Texas Division)

Bishop I.V. Hilliard of the New Light Christian Church has his Texas congregation talking after he sent out a newsletter asking his congregation to donate $50,000. Was he starting a food pantry? Working with disadvantaged families? Moving people out of homelessness? Oh, no. He needs new blades for his million dollar helicopter:

Bishop I.V. Hilliard of the New Light Christian Center Church, which has six locations in Texas, said the church chopper needs maintenance just like any vehicle. The flyer obtained by KTRH quotes bible scripture, stating, “We have an urgent transportation need that the Lord said can be an opportunity for you to see His favor and His wisdom released to help you.”

He suggests that the “Aviation Department” of New Light could get a deal on new blades if the ministry collects the money right away. In exchange for money, he said the Lord will issue a favor to congregants that might help them obtain their dream vehicle.

First Motswana Anglican bishop to be consecrated

From Botswana-

The Venerable Metlhayotlhe Rawlings Ogotseng Beleme will be consecrated as the fifth Bishop of Botswana by Reverend Albert Chama, Archbishop of the Anglican Church of the Province of Central Africa (CPCA), at the Cathedral of the Holy Cross in Gaborone.

Invited guests include President Ian Khama, fellow bishops from the CPCA, other Christian leaders, representatives of linked overseas churches including the Bishop of Newcastle in the Church of England, and the bishops of Johannesburg, Matlosane, Lesotho and Swaziland. Beleme becomes the first Botswana-born leader of the Diocese of Botswana since its foundation in 1972.

"This is a truly exciting event in our national church history. Although the Anglican Church has been served by four faithful and dedicated leaders since the Diocese became independent in 1972, Fr Beleme will be the first to have been born in Botswana," Dean of Holy Cross Cathedral and Vicar-General of the Diocese of Botswana, Rev James McKeran said."He also comes with a personal story that whilst deeply rooted in the Setswana culture gives him a good appreciation of the wider church and world," he added.

The combined consecration and enthronement service (the latter marking the formal beginning of his ministry of teaching and care for his diocese) will be followed by lunch for all attendees in the Cathedral grounds. Fr Beleme was born in Molepolole in 1962 and is married with three children.  A qualified artisan electrician, he once worked for Jwaneng mine from 1986 until the end of 1989. Responding to God's call to serve the church as an Anglican priest, he studied theology at Lelapa la Jesu Seminary and the National University of Lesotho in Roma from 1990 to 1992.

More here-

Vatican-Anglican alliance on poverty

From The Tablet-

The Archbishop of Canterbury, Justin Welby, is in talks with Pope Francis about a new initiative that would link the Anglican Communion with the Vatican in the fight against poverty.

It is understood that the plan, which emerged from meetings between Archbishop Welby and the Pope in June, will focus on how both Churches can work together to help those in poverty around the world.

They will also speak out together to challenge governments and international authorities.

The Holy See rarely issues joint statements so it will mark a new development in Catholic-Anglican relations if both Churches act together.

Archbishop Welby revealed he was working on a joint initiative with the Pope during the Church of England's General Synod, but would not be drawn on details.

At their meeting in June, both men talked about the need to build a fairer global economic system.

Find it here-

Pope Lets Catholics Join Anglican Converts

From ABC-

Pope Francis is letting baptized Catholics join the new church structure created to receive Anglican converts.

The "ordinariate," which functions like a diocese, was initially designed to enable Anglicans upset over the liberalizing trends of their church to join the Catholic Church while retaining some of their Anglican heritage.

On May 31, Francis modified the norms to allow Catholics who had been baptized — but not yet confirmed — to become members of the ordinariate and receive subsequent sacraments there.

The Vatican spokesman the Rev. Federico Lombardi said Thursday that the U.S. ordinariate had asked the Vatican for such leeway after getting requests from baptized Catholics who had fallen away from the church but wanted to rejoin it via the new Anglican structure to receive First Communion and other sacraments.

Find it here-

Synod makes a new start on women bishops in York

From The Church Times-

THE General Synod has asked for new legislation to be drafted to enable women to be bishops. After a long debate on Monday morning and afternoon, it carried a motion from the House of Bishops embodying Option One ( News, 31 May), which was amended so as to specify the addition of a mandatory grievance procedure for parishes, and to urge that "facilitated conversations" continue to be used during the legislative process.

Amendments seeking to make provision for opponents by Measure or regulations made under Canon, "for co-provincial provision for alternative episcopal oversight", and to retain Resolutions A and B for parish churches combined with a new Act of Synod all fell.

WATCH welcomed the passing of Option One, and said that facilitated small-group discussions, carried out behind closed doors on Saturday, had contributed to a better "tone" of debate. Traditionalists were heartened that the Synod had shown a commitment to providing for opponents. All sides welcomed the continuation of "facilitated discussions", under the guidance of the Archbishop of Canterbury's director of reconciliation, David Porter.

More here-

George Zimmerman Trial: Police prepare for verdict

From Central Florida-

No matter what the verdict is in the George Zimmerman trial, there will be be strong emotions on both sides.

Law enforcement in Seminole County – and statewide -- say they've been preparing for a year to handle whatever happens after the verdict.

But some believe it's wrong to imply there will be any violence.

Connie Solomon traveled from New York to get a look at the Zimmerman trial first hand.

"I can't stop crying when I look at the mother and the father and the pain of their loss," Solomon said.
Dr. Kareem Jordan is a professor at UCF who specializes in race relations. He says to imply any type of violent reaction is wrong.

"I don't think it's going to be that type of reaction where people are going to take to the streets, but I do think but i do think people will feel one way or the other," Jordan said. "It implies at least when it comes to African-Americans, it's implies there is some intrinsic propensity to engage in violence."
No matter what the outcome, it's a case that's opened the doors of communication.

Rev. Charlie Holt from St. Peter's Episcopal Church in Lake Mary
. He is part of a group of pastors who sit on the trial each day and report what happens to their congregations.

"The local law enforcement officials working with the pastors, that kind of conversation wasn't in place before and it's happening now and it's great," Holt said. "It's good for Sanford and it's a direct result of the tragedy of the shooting and the trial."

More here-

Archbishops pledge ‘committed solidarity’ with Christians in Egypt

From ENS-

The archbishops of Canterbury and York have joined the call for prayers for unity, reconciliation and an end to violence in Egypt.

Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby and Archbishop of York John Sentamu wrote to the Coptic and Anglican leaders in Egypt on July 11 pledging their “committed solidarity” amid the recent turmoil in the country.

Writing to His Holiness Pope Tawadros II, head of the Coptic Orthodox Church, and to the Most Rev. Mouneer Anis, the president bishop of the Episcopal Church in Jerusalem and the Middle East, the archbishops said they had been “very mindful of recent developments taking place in Egypt” as they presided over the Church of England’s General Synod in York this past weekend.

They added they were “very grateful” for the presence at synod of Bishop Angaelos, general bishop of The Coptic Orthodox Church in the United Kingdom, who attended as an ecumenical observer and spoke powerfully of the present situation in Egypt and his hopes for reconciliation.

The archbishops wrote: “As presidents of the General Synod, we are sending this message of committed solidarity with you at this time. We join in the call to pray for Egypt for unity and reconciliation and the ending to all violence, praying that all parties may be able to work together for a common future.”

More here-

Scholar speaks on ‘God in the White House'

From Vermont-

Asked in a 1999 Republican debate in Iowa who his favorite political philosopher was, then-candidate George W. Bush said that it was Jesus.

"And like a lot of people I kind of scratched my head at that," said religion scholar Randall Balmer. "I don't fault Governor Bush for that answer. It's a legitimate answer. What are you going to say to a question like that? ‘Machiavelli' is probably not going to win you a lot of votes. So I'm not criticizing the answer."

However, this answer got him thinking about "how 40 years earlier the Democratic nominee for president, John Kennedy of Massachusetts, had to address the so-called religion issue in the 1960 presidential campaign.

"So I decided there's got to be a story of this narrative arc between John F. Kennedy in 1960 addressing the whole issue of his faith and presidential politics and George W. Bush on the eve of the Iowa precinct caucuses saying that Jesus was his favorite political philosopher. So I began to try to delve into that story a little bit."

Balmer is chairman of the religion department at Dartmouth College, an Episcopal priest, and the author of more than a dozen books. The book that grew out of the comment by the younger George Bush was "

God in the White House: How Faith Shaped the Presidency from John F. Kennedy to George W. Bush," published in 2008.

More here-

Thursday, July 11, 2013

Bishop Lee: ‘We Belong to God’

From The Living Church-

More than 30 percent of Americans younger than 30 have no experience with churches, and the Bishop of Chicago believes baptism provides an important way of reaching them.

As one of three keynote speakers during a conference held June 27-29 by Associated Parishes for Liturgy and Mission and the North American Association for the Catechumenate, the Rt. Rev. Jeffrey Lee spoke about the importance of baptism.

When he became Bishop of Chicago in 2008, Lee said, he hoped to spread baptismal preparation on a grand scale. So far the clearest expression of that hope is the diocese’s developing of a Chrism Mass.

Lee said that when he served in the Diocese of Olympia, based in Seattle, he was struck by how little influence Christianity retained in society. “Many of these people have deep spiritual longings, but they are not being met by the institutional church,” he said. “How can we create boundaries that are not barriers, but temptations?”

Christians should be fiercely committed to the central tenets of the faith and immersed in Scripture, he said. “We are the primary evidence of Christ’s resurrection,” Lee said. “Jesus died to eliminate the barrier between the altar and the sanctuary.”

More here-

Local clerics react to same-sex marriage decisions

From Pennsylvania-

The Supreme Court recently ruled on two same-sex marriage issues. The court ruled that the provision of the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA), which denies federal benefits to same-sex couples, is unconstitutional. In a second opinion, the court refused to overturn a lower-court decision striking down the California marriage law, known as Proposition 8, which stated only marriage between a man and a woman is valid or recognized in California, thus denying same-sex couples the right to marriage. This ruling will clear the way for same-sex marriages to resume in California. Both rulings are likely to engender a host of legal challenges in states where same-sex marriages are forbidden.

In light of these recent rulings, the Courier asked local clergy for their response to these decisions. Most referred us to statements by presiding bishops.

The Episcopal Church of the Good Shepherd and St. John the Evangelist

Interim rector: The Reverend Mary Ellen Dolan

Asked about the church’s view of the recent Supreme Court decisions, Revered Mary Ellen Dolan of the Church of the Good Shepherd and St. John the Evangelist said, “The Bishop [Katherine Jefferts Shori] gave a comprehensive response“ to the Supreme Court’s recent decisions on Proposition 8 and the Defense of Marriage Act. Reverend Dolan added, “We welcome the decision because we, of course, support equal rights and equal dignity of all people. The Episcopal Church has a tradition of inviting conversation on any question from all sides, so that we can live together in faith.

- See more at:

'Enquirer' Takes Questionable Approach to Covering Meyers Ordination

From Cincinnati-

Thirty-nine years ago, Enquirer editors agreed to cover a global story that still reverberates through some of Christianity’s oldest denominations: the acrimonious debate over whether women may be priests. 

That 1974 event was the ordination of the first female priests in the Episcopal Church. They were rebels as were the three traditionally consecrated bishops who ordained them.

None of the women was from the Tristate. The event was in Philadelphia. It was a big deal and the Enquirer covered it, irrespective of the divisive local and national furor.

Those 11 women’s ordinations were valid but illicit. Valid because the bishops had the power to do so. Illicit because the women and bishops violated canon law.

I was the Enquirer’s religion reporter. My editors knew a story when they saw it and that valid-but-illicit flavor added zest to the event and coverage.

It was a great story, not least because of the joy of the women being ordained. Their ceremony effectively opened the Episcopal priesthood to women; the denomination removed gender as a disqualification two years later and regularized the Philadelphia 11’s illicit ordinations in 1977. 
With renewed dissent, the first female Episcopal bishop was consecrated in 1989. Today’s presiding bishop is Katharine Jefferts Schori.

All of which raises disturbing questions about the Enquirer’s confused response to the invitation to cover the ordination of Debra Meyers by

Bishop Bridget Mary Meehan of  the Association of Roman Catholic Women Priests.

Church gets new life as shelter

From West Virginia-

Its walls were constructed more than 100 years ago. With creaky floors and dusty wood benches, Saint John's Episcopal Church in Rippon holds on to its sanctification, but no longer does a congregation fill its benches on Sunday mornings.

The church is tucked quaintly away among farm fields, and although isn't home to any members, the church will soon provide a shelter from the chill of winter to Jefferson County's homeless population.

The area in the lower level that once served as a social hall will be transformed into a space usable by the Jefferson County Homeless Coalition, said Bob DuBose, who is working as a project coordinator for the coalition.

DuBose, the current president of Jefferson County Community Ministries, said his wife, Georgia, was once a priest at Saint John's when it was still holding services. Through working with the dioceses of West Virginia, the space was able to be provided for the next two to three years.

"The coalition's aim is to get a permanent shelter like many have," DuBose said.

The shelter runs from November through March, and the location has been shuffled around several times over the last couple years.

More here-

Artist uses church bells, Nirvana song to bring awareness about suicide

From Lexington KY-

The bells at Good Shepherd Episcopal Church have been ringing notes of a song every afternoon this week that may not be familiar to many churchgoers.

Steven Sewell, a local artist and University of Kentucky professor in the School of Art and Visual Studies, has been playing the last line of the Nirvana song Smells Like Teen Spirit, in remembrance of Kurt Cobain, the lead singer of the group who committed suicide on April 5, 1994.

The tribute is part of offSITE, a series of mini art installations around Lexington, and is Sewell's effort to raise awareness of suicide.

"So often when we encounter art we do so individually, but hopefully good art creates a desire for conversation," said Brian Cole, rector at Good Shepherd.

Cole hopes that conversations will begin, especially for some Christians who consider suicide the "unpardonable sin."

Read more here:

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Nigeria: Anglican Primate Says Prosperity Gospel Is "Half Truth"

From Nigeria-

The Primate of the Anglican Church of Nigeria, Nicholas Okoh has condemned the emergence of the 'get rich quick' sermon that is the rave of most Pentecostal Churches in the country.

Speaking as a guest on Channels Television's programme View From The Top, Archbishop Okoh said this was not the foundation that was laid by the missionaries who introduce Christianity in Nigeria.

He described as half-truth these sermons by pastors whose aim is for their personal advancement and enrichment.

The Primate said, "It's not part of the way we started, it was not part of what the missionaries delivered to us, but all of a sudden the teachings on 'if you follow me you will become wealthy'... at best this is half-truth, in the sense that it is true that God is the owner of everything, God is the owner of the universe, the oil we are harvesting in Nigeria and selling internationally, marketing everywhere and making billions out of, it is God's property. So God is rich, stupendously rich, so his children are rich also. We are princes, we are princesses, but that does not mean there are no moral underpinnings."

S. Sudan Marks Two Years of Freedom with Prayer

From VOA-

Thousands of South Sudanese gathered in stadiums across the country to pray for the world's newest nation ahead of celebrations on Tuesday to mark two years of independence, and to try to heal the still painful wounds left by decades of war.

“Today is a good day for us as South Sudanese because it is a day for reconciliation and peace.  We enjoyed these prayers, because they gather all the churches, all the government officials, all the communities," said Jenty Bangafu, one of hundreds of people who sang hymns and danced in Yambio’s Gbudue Stadium during a prayer ceremony on Monday.

The event in Yambio was part of a national day of prayer, organized by South Sudan's  Committee of National Healing, Peace and Reconciliation. The committee was set up by President Salva Kiir to promote forgiveness and try to end rebellions and the outbreaks of violence that still plague the country, such as deadly cattle raids.

More here-

Female Bishops: Church Of England Renews Pledge To Ordain Women

From Huffington-

The Church of England's law-making body voted on Monday in favor of ordaining women bishops, but it will be at least two years before the measure, opposed by a minority of traditionalists, can be passed.

The vote was a boost for Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby who became head of the 80 million-member Anglican church in January, a few weeks after a blocking minority defeated the last attempt to allow women bishops in the English church, after 10 years of divisive debate.

After several hours of talks in York at the Anglican body's national assembly, the General Synod, members voted overwhelmingly to pursue reforms to allow women bishops as a "matter of urgency".

A committee will draft legislation that will be reviewed later this year but it is not likely to be given final approval before November 2015.

" affirms an inclusive approach that is consistent with our previous resolution: the commitment to ordaining women bishops on exactly the same basis as men, and the flourishing together of all parts of the Church," said Welby, 57, who is seeking to modernize the image of the church.

More here-

Mecklenburg removes jail chaplain after her 'Moral Monday' arrest

From North Carolina-

An Episcopal priest is barred from ministering to inmates at the Mecklenburg County jail because she was arrested during a “Moral Monday” protest at the state legislature.

“It was like a slap in the face,” said the Rev. Jane Holmes. “I love doing what I’m doing.”

Reverend Jane, inmates called her.

She is 72, a retired accountant who was ordained in 2004 and helps minister to 31 Episcopal churches and hospital patients.

Holmes was arrested on the evening of June 3 in the halls of the General Assembly building in Raleigh. Back home in Charlotte the next morning, she got a call from the chaplains’ office for the jail. She said she was told that her clergy privileges were being revoked because of her arrest and that she needed to return her badges immediately.

Asked why Holmes is barred as a jail chaplain, a spokesperson for Sheriff Chipp Bailey said in a statement: “The sheriff absolutely supports a person’s right to peacefully protest their convictions. However, he will not allow a person who is an employee or volunteer representing the sheriff or his office to willfully disobey a legal directive given by a law enforcement officer and get arrested.

“It is disrespectful to the badge and authority of law enforcement officers across the state. He and citizens hold Sheriff’s Office employees to a higher standard and expect all to obey the law.”

Read more here:

60-year-old rookie pursues pro-baseball dream

Its been a while since we've done any baseball (worth the 3 1/2 minutes)-

When pitcher Paul Risso suffered a career-ending shoulder injury in 1973 — just after being drafted by the Pittsburgh Pirates — he figured he had thrown his last major-league ball.

Forty years later, he’s trying to write a different ending to his story. At 60 years old, Risso tried out in May for the St. Paul Saints, a professional independent league team in Minnesota.

“I’ve never been a person that’s going to look back and say, ‘I shoulda done this, shoulda done that,’’’ Risso told TODAY.

When Risso turned 50, the pain in his right shoulder from the injury he suffered while pitching for San Mateo (Calif.) College as a 20-year-old began to subside. He picked up a ball again and discovered he could still throw a fastball in the low 80s.

More here-

Tuesday, July 9, 2013


From WND-

New York Times: “Get churches out of public schools.”

That was the Times’ editorial on May 25, and it opened as follows:

“New York City prohibits the use of public school facilities for regular religious services. That policy makes sense for buildings that are used and maintained by taxpayers.”

But since the school buildings are vacant over weekends – when Muslims, Jews and Christians hold their principle services of worship – why should they (as taxpaying citizens) be denied the right to worship if they pay a rental fee for the premises and keep them clean and undamaged?

Does New York City prohibit all other non-school organizations from such school building use? Or is this only a discrimination against religion (which is illegal under the First Amendment)?

By way of full disclosure: During my years as an Episcopal priest and founder of new mission churches, we held services in public schools – for which we paid rent and whose property we kept undamaged and clean.


Canada’s Anglican Church asks members to learn about settlements

From The Jerusalem Post-

Canada’s Anglican Church passed a resolution calling on members to educate themselves “more deeply” about Israel’s “illegal settlements.”

The Anglican Journal reported that the measure was “hotly debated” at the July 3-7 meeting of the Church’s General Synod, its main governing body, in Ottawa.

The resolution, which passed with the support of 73 percent of the synod’s nearly 300 members, reiterates the Church’s long-held positions on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, which “recognize the legitimate aspirations, rights and needs of both Israelis and Palestinians to live in peace with dignity within sovereign and secure borders; condemns the use of all kinds of violence, especially against civilians; calls for an end to the Israeli occupation of Palestinian Territories (West Bank and Gaza); and calls upon Israel, as an occupying power, to recognize the Fourth Geneva Convention, which forbids the transfer and settlement of its citizen in occupied territories.”

However, the resolution also calls on Canadian Anglicans to take some new steps, including educating themselves “more deeply” on a variety of issues, including “the impact of illegal settlements on the lives of both Palestinians and Israelis; about imported products identified as produced in or related to the illegal settlements and misleadingly labeled as produced in Israel; and about the complexities of economic advocacy measures.”

More here-

South Sudan: 'independence is not as beautiful as we thought'

From The Guardian-

In January 2011, Lorna Merekaje was an official observer at the referendum in which more than 98% of southern Sudanese voted to sever their ties with Sudan. She remembers the fireworks and parties that lasted until dawn when South Sudan officially became the world's newest country on 9 July of that year.

Two years later and Merekaje, who now heads a local organisation working to improve governance, says: "The excitement is gone." People have come to realise, she reflects, that "independence is not as beautiful as we thought".

As South Sudan began to confront the challenge of running a country without enough schools, hospitals or roads, the unity that had underpinned the referendum and declaration of independence dissolved.

More than 2,000 mothers die for every 100,000 live births and 75 of every 1,000 babies will not survive to their first birthday, according to a humanitarian update. Last year, the UN treated 90,000 children for acute malnutrition.

More here-

Future Church of England bishops to be quizzed on their sex lives

From The Telegraph-

Every Church of England cleric who could be promoted to become a bishop is to be asked to provide details of their sex life to the Archbishop of Canterbury or York, it has emerged.

In an effort to avoid “the appearance of discrimination” against gay priests – who are required to claim to be celibate if they are in civil partnerships - all future candidates for the episcopate will also be subject to a “test” to ensure they have no sexual skeletons in the closet.

Before they can be considered for a mitre they will have to persuade an archbishop that they are not involved in activity which might be considered sinful – and are not planning to do so.

The questioning, likely to be conducted by a serving bishop on behalf of one of the two archbishops, is to determine whether their private life “is and will remain consistent with the teaching of the Church of England”.

Church teaching only permits sex between a husband and wife and explicitly rules out any kind of gay or lesbian sex, extra-marital affairs or, officially at least, cohabiting couples sleeping together before marriage.

More here-

Puerto Rico diocese names four nominees for bishop

From ENS-

The Standing Committee of the Episcopal Diocese of Puerto Rico has announced a slate of four nominees to run for election as the next bishop.

They are:

The Rev. José A. Peña Muñoz, Diocese of Puerto Rico
The Rev. Pola Fernandez Rosalí, Diocese of Puerto Rico
The Rev. Luis F. Padilla, Diocese of Puerto Rico
The Rev. Juan Carlos Restrepo, Diocese of Colombia

A petition process for submitting additional candidates will run until July 15.

The new bishop will be elected during an Election Assembly on Sept. 7 at the Ponce Hilton Hotel in Puerto Rico. The ordination is scheduled for Nov. 23.

Further details about the diocese and the election of its new bishop are available here.
The bishop-elect will succeed the Rt. Rev. David Alvarez, who has been bishop of Puerto Rico since 1989 after having served as bishop coadjutor for more than two years.

Monday, July 8, 2013

Capital punishment: Those who rape and kill must be killed – Primate of Anglican Church

From Nigeria-

Primate of the Church of Nigeria,Anglican Communion, Most Rev. Nicholas Okoh, has joined in the bashing of those opposed to capital punishment in the country, saying they are ill-informed.

The Influential religious leader was reacting to the objection of foreign countries and international bodies on the recent execution of four inmates in Benin, Edo state.

The United Nations, Amnesty International and European Union, among others had opposed the action of the state government.

But the cleric urged the federal and state governments not to allow itself to be cajoled, advocating the imposition of capital punishment on people guilty of heinous crimes, particularly on rapists and killers.

At a press conference in Abuja on Friday, Okoh stated that the Amnesty International and others had no justification to have criticised the government’s action, since they were not directly or indirectly affected by the action of the criminals.

More here-

Anglican church enthusiastic about homeless housing project on its Terwillegar land

From Canada-

Rev. Nick Trussell was humbled last year when members of his Terwillegar Towne church turned down a developer’s offer to buy the whole property in favour of leasing some unused land for a housing development catering to the formerly homeless.

“I walked into the meeting, selfishly hoping we would sell,” Trussell said Sunday, explaining he had great visions for expansion of the church at a new location.

“When they all spoke in favour of leasing I was humbled and then I realized; we are the only place where this could happen.”

This led to Holy Trinity Riverbend Anglican Church’s decision to lease part of its land near 156th Street and 14th Avenue to Jasper Place Health and Wellness Centre, which hopes to build a supportive housing development.

If it goes ahead, the controversial project would be the first housing facility of its nature in the southwest Edmonton community.

More here-

Church warned over rights of suspected paedophile priests

From The Telegraph-

The Church of England has been warned it cannot carry out a risk assessment of suspected paedophile priests in case it breaches their human rights, it emerged yesterday.

The warning came as members of the General Synod voted to issue an "unreserved" expression of regret for the Anglican authorities' failure to prevent sexual abuse in the past or even to listen to the victims.

Members of the Synod also backed a string of proposals designed to tighten up child protection arrangements.

In a joint statement, supported unanimously, the Archbishops of Canterbury and York said: "The sexual and physical abuse that has been inflicted by these people on children, young people and adults is and will remain a deep source of grief and shame for years to come."

But the Church's legal officials admitted that privacy rules, enshrined in the European Convention on Human Rights, could make it difficult to force "credibly suspected" paedophile priests to go for a professional risk assessment.

An earlier report, conducted in the wake of the child abuse scandals in the diocese of Chichester, recommended sending anyone reasonably suspected of abuse to see professionals. But a briefing paper prepared by the legal office warns that this would involve "intrusive inquiries" and could run into problems with Article Eight of the European Convention – the right to private and family life.

More here-

Sunday, July 7, 2013

Same-sex marriage vote in 2016

From Canada-

General Synod on July 6 approved a resolution that will bring the issue of same-sex marriage to a vote at the meeting of the Anglican Church of Canada’s governing body in 2016.

At its triennial meeting here, General Synod passed Resolution C003, asking the Council of General Synod to prepare and present a motion to change the church’s Canon 21 on marriage “to allow the marriage of same-sex couples in the same way as opposite sex couples.”

Moved by the diocese of Nova Scotia and Prince Edward Island members Michelle Bull and Jennifer Warren, the motion was approved by a two-thirds majority of the orders of bishop, clergy and laity. Using clickers—a handheld electronic device—25 bishops, 72 clergy and 101 laity voted in favour of the resolution; 11 bishops, 30 clergy and 27 laity were opposed.

The resolution asks that this motion include “a conscience clause so that no member of the clergy, bishop, congregation or diocese should be constrained to participate in or authorize such marriages against the dictates of their conscience.”

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Newark center that helps others needs help to stay open

From Newark-

Donyea Hoffman doesn’t have the heart to tell the people there’s trouble at the Newark grassroots center she started.

There’s a class of women learning how to budget and to build their credit and self-esteem. In the next room, a young lady teaches herself to type. Someone else searches for a job on the computer.

A few days later, residents are picking through used clothes and shoes, some for themselves, some for family members. Upstairs, mothers collect diapers and baby formula. Kids watch movies after summer camp and on any given night, block associations hold meetings. It’s an all-purpose help center that believes in being one stop to a better community.

"This place can’t shut down," Hoffman said. "It’s just not an option.’’

More here-

Combined worship service meets needs for residents of Mercer County

From West Virginia-

 A new inter-denominational ministry in Athens — Pathways — could be the first of its kind in the state of West Virginia, according to Rev. Jon White, 46 of St. Stephen’s Episcopal church in Beckley.

“Our goal is to form a mission-focused worship community here in Athens drawing on the riches of both the Lutheran and Anglican traditions,” White said.

Wanda Childs, pastor of St. Luke, also in Beckley, said Pathways was developed because many Mercer County residents have been traveling to Beckley for worship services at both St. Luke and St. Stephen’s.

“It is our desire to form a Christian community that is thoughtful, inclusive, creative and worshipful,” Childs said.

Services will take place every Sunday at 6 p.m., at the Wilkes Family Chapel at Concord University.

More here-