Saturday, July 20, 2013

Court orders goods, rights returned to Recife Diocese


After a long judicial battle that lasted for a decade, a Brazilian judge has this month finally decided that the actions taken by Bishop Robinson Cavalcanti in creating of the Diocese of Recife – DR, flagrantly violated Brazilian law as well as Canon law, the Doctrine & Discipline of the Episcopal Anglican Church in Brazil (IEAB), resulting in the suspension/demotion, and eventual dismissal of Bishop Robinson from his episcopal authority & legal legitimacy for such actions.

With the sentence, it was decreed that all the actions taken by Bishop Robinson were nullified, and all would be returned to the Anglican Diocese of Recife (DAR), including property, administration & all goods and rights which were illegally usurped, including amongst them five churches with all of their belongings. From now on, all of these parishes are under the direction and supervision of Diocesan Bishop Sebastião Armando.

It is clear, therefore, that with the decision, the Judiciary as enforcing justice and law, has put an end to this situation which generated unprecedented legal instability in the Anglican Diocese of Recife, resulting in a deleterious effect on the entire Brazilian Anglican province, reflecting poorly on the credibility of the (church) institution and leadership in Brazil and abroad. Fortunately the law does not applaud these sorts of mistakes.

More here-,-rights-returned-to-recife-diocese.aspx

Father Patrick Allen, married father of two, leaves Anglicanism to become Catholic priest

From South Carolina-

It was barely a week into Father Patrick Allen’s new ministry when, in the course of taking his two children to activities in his nonreligious clothes, at least five people asked:

So, what do you do for a living?

Allen smiles graciously, sometimes bringing his hand to his chest in a humble gesture, one that coincidentally shows his wedding band.

“This might begin a long conversation,” the James Island father says.

“I’m a Catholic priest.”

When his daughter, Lucy, goes to Charleston Catholic School next year, she will be the only student whose father comes not only for parent conferences and class parties, but also to celebrate Mass.

Ordained a Catholic priest July 7, Allen joins a small but growing group of former Episcopalians embarking on a new journey, one they hope marks a critical step down the long path to Christian unity.

They have embraced a new option in Catholicism that allows Anglicans to become fully Roman Catholic yet retain elements of their liturgical and theological traditions.

More here-

Southern Baptist ethicist stays busy

From Tennessee-

Russell Moore, the new chief ethicist for the Southern Baptist Convention, has Jesus in his heart, Wendell Berry on his bookshelf and Merle Haggard on his iPod.

His first few weeks in office have been a kind of baptism by fire.

The 41-year-old Moore took over as president of the Nashville-based Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission on June 1, just as prominent Southern Baptists were calling for a boycott of the Boy Scouts. Then came the Supreme Court’s recent decision to strike down the Defense of Marriage Act, which landed Moore in the spotlight as an opponent of same-sex marriage.

In between, he’s been meeting with pastors and politicians about immigration reform, all while keeping up a lively feed on Twitter. Moore, a native of Biloxi, Miss., and former seminary dean, is having the time of his life.

More here-

Woodstock Residents Rally To Help Village in Congo

From New Hampshire-

Two years ago, several Woodstock residents placed their faith in the hands of a Congolese man with a vision of bettering the lives of those in his hometown village — and he didn’t disappoint.

Jean du Dieu Tshileu, a Woodstock resident originally from the Democratic Republic of Congo, made connections with a Woodstock family when both were in Washington, D.C., and after arriving in Vermont in 2004 with that family who he now calls his own, he started fulfilling a lifelong dream.

That vision: a three-legged-stool plan that promoted economic stability and education in his village of Bakwa-Tshileu by building a school, a farming program and a sports field, that he hoped would become financially self-sustainable.

Now the vision is well on its way to reality.

“He came to Woodstock with a project plan but was having trouble getting it started,” said Leigh Woods, a board member with Team Congo, which has 12 members interested in supporting the project.

More here-

Episcopal diocese sells church building in Erie

From Northwestern PA-

Episcopal Diocese of Northwestern Pennsylvania officials were pleased when another Christian congregation wanted to buy one of their former church buildings.

They were so pleased that they were willing to sell at a reduced rate, said Vanessa Butler, diocesan administrator.

"It was more important for us to have it used as a church than to make money off it," she said.

Christian Ministries of the Apostolic Faith Church purchased the former Episcopal Church of the Holy Spirit building at 501 W. 31st St. The closing was Wednesday.

Neither the buyer nor the seller would disclose the price.

District Elder Frank Quinn, pastor of Christian Ministries of the Apostolic Faith, said the building will give his 70 to 75 members more space for worship and fellowship.

"We're growing and expanding, and it will allow us to have more activities," he said.

His 2-year-old church now holds services in a plaza storefront at 1815 E. 38th St. Quinn said a goal of the congregation has always been to have its own building. He said he had contacted the Erie-based Episcopal diocese more than a year ago to see if it had any sites available.

More here-

Bethlehem Episcopal Bishop Marshall to resign at year's end

From The Diocese of Bethlehem-

Episcopal Bishop Paul V. Marshall, who has guided the Bethlehem diocese for 17 years, has informed the diocesan Standing Committee that he will resign as bishop at the end of the year.

"A number of circumstances and conversations have made it very difficult for me to continue as bishop of the diocese that I have come to love with all my heart," Marshall, 65, said Monday in a letter to the committee.

"I will resign for the canonical reasons of 'advanced age,'" he said.
Marshall said that, on Aug. 1, he will turn ecclesiastical authority over to the Standing Committee, the elected advisory board of the diocese.v

Canon Andrew Gerns, Standing Committee president, will consult with Bishop Clayton Matthews, at the Episcopal Church office in New York City, to plan the selection of Marshall's successor.
Neither Marshall nor Gerns could be reached for comment Friday.

Marshall was elected eighth bishop of the Bethlehem Diocese in 1995 and installed in 1996. He succeeded Bishop Mark Dyer, who led the diocese for 12 years before retiring to teach at Virginia Theological Seminary.

Originally ordained a Lutheran minister, Marshall was a pastor and teacher in Minnesota and Wisconsin before he became an Episcopal priest and worked in several New York churches and schools.

More here-,0,624024.story

With Royal Assent, gay marriage passes into law

From The Church Times-

THE first same-sex weddings in England and Wales are set to take place next summer after the Marriage (Same Sex Couples) Bill received Royal Assent on Wednesday.

The Bill passed its Third Reading in the House of Lords on Monday night without a formal vote, after a short debate during which supportive peers brandished pink carnations. The Bill then moved back to the House of Commons on Tuesday, where MPs decided not to oppose some minor amendments made by peers, including granting survivors of same-sex marriages the same pension benefits as those in heterosexual marriages.

The Bill specifies that it is illegal for any Church of England or Church in Wales minister to marry a same-sex couple ( News, 7 December). It would require a change in both primary law and canon law before the Churches could opt in to conducting same-sex marriages.

A number of amendments proposed by members of the Bishops' bench during the Bill's passage through the Lords were not adopted. These included an amendment tabled by the Bishop of Leicester, the Rt Revd Timothy Stevens, during the Bill's Report Stage, which referred to the right of faith schools to teach traditional beliefs about marriage, which was withdrawn before a vote.

More here-,-gay-marriage-passes-into-law

Churches may be stripped, CBC warns after ruling

From The Church Times-

A RULING authorising a central-London church to sell an 18th-century painting could tempt other churches to sell off their treasures "to the highest bidder", Anne Sloman, who chairs the Church Buildings Council (CBC), has warned.

A judgment handed down on Wednesday of last week (see story below), in the Consistory Court, by the Diocesan Chancellor, the Worshipful Nigel Seed QC, granted a faculty to St Stephen's, Walbrook, to sell the painting Devout Men Taking the Body of St Stephen, by Benjamin West. The picture has been bought by an anonymous foundation for $2.85 million (£1.88 million), and will be loaned to the Museum of Fine Art, Boston, the website Art History News reported last Friday.

Judge Seed said that the painting compromised the integrity of Sir Christopher Wren's design of the building, and that the painting had probably been introduced to the church in 1776 without a faculty.

The CBC was party opponent to the faculty. Its legal counsel and witnesses acted pro bono. In a witness statement, Mrs Sloman said: "We understand the temptation for churches to sell off valuable works of art; but if such sales are given validity through success in even one or two instances, the parish churches of England could quickly be stripped of many of the treasures that make them unique."

More here-,-cbc-warns-after-ruling

Friday, July 19, 2013

Statement from Bishop Gibbs: A reminder of why we must pray, place our faith in God

From Michigan-

 Dear Sisters and Brothers in Christ,
The past several days have provided an opportunity for a range of emotions. First, court watchers were informed of the verdict in the trial of George Zimmerman and then the region, the nation and the world heard the news of the bankruptcy filing affecting the City of Detroit. 

With regard to the Zimmerman trial, for some the 'not guilty' verdict was a stunning disappointment, for some it was a matter of justice served; for many the verdict was confirmation of a less than equal justice system, for others it was a validation that the rule of law works. For me, as a man of African descent, the verdict was a major red flag that the struggle for racial equality in this country is far from over. As a person of color, the verdict is a warning sign that those who do not share my ebony heritage have yet to grasp the reality of privilege claimed by the majority culture in all levels of our society. As a black man, the verdict is an indication that the election of an African-American to the highest elected office in this nation does not signal a lessening of racial tensions in this country, and, that black families must still caution their kin to be watchful in certain neighborhoods and communities lest they be arrested, attacked or killed based solely on their skin color.

More here-

Vicar steps in after Anglican Church says no to gay wedding

From New Zealand-

A vicar has stepped in to marry a gay couple as part of a radio station competition after an Anglican parish was unable to host the ceremony.

Reverend Dr Matt Tittle of the Auckland Unitarian Church in Ponsonby will officiate at the wedding of the couple that wins ZM's Fabulous Gay Wedding competition.

The broadcaster had hoped to hold the event - on August 19, the day legislation allowing same sex marriage comes into force - at St Matthew-in-the-City parish in central Auckland.

But St Matthew's vicar, Reverend Glynn Cardy, said he was unable to oblige because Anglican officials will not solemnise gay weddings. The parish had offered to host a blessing after the legal ceremony was held elsewhere.

Reverend Tittle says he called ZM as soon as he heard the wedding could no longer be held at St Matthew's.

More here-

Dartmouth Appointee Causes Stir

From New Hampshire-

Hanover — The new dean of Dartmouth College’s Tucker Foundation is not set to start his job until the spring, but he is already facing criticism about his views on homosexuality.

Dartmouth announced James Tengatenga’s appointment on Tuesday to the foundation, which is the religious hub at Dartmouth that works to further the moral and spiritual work of the college.

Tengatenga is currently the diocesan bishop of southern Malawi. As a member of the Anglican church, he has sided publicly with the church’s position against homosexuality.

In a letter released Thursday by Dartmouth’s office of public affairs, Tengatenga wrote, “So, let me be clear. I support marriage equality and equal rights for everyone, and I look forward to working with everyone at Dartmouth — everyone. I believe that discrimination of any kind is sinful.”

Tengatenga has come under fire by the Dartmouth chapter of the NAACP and Dartblog, which is run by Dartmouth alumnus and prominent college critic Joe Asch.

More here-

List published to clarify standing of local clergy

From South Carolina-

A list of clergy in good standing is now available on the diocesan website of The Episcopal Church in South Carolina, providing information to the public about which priests and deacons are currently authorized to function as ordained ministers of The Episcopal Church in this region of South Carolina.

The list includes those who are canonically resident in this diocese, as well as those who are canonically resident elsewhere, but have permission to officiate. At this time, the list includes 88 names, and it is being updated as new transitions occur. It is published online at:

At the end of June, a "Notice of Restriction" was sent by the Right Reverend Charles G. vonRosenberg, Provisional Bishop of the diocese, to the Presiding Bishop of The Episcopal Church, all the bishops of the church, and other church officials. The notice includes a list of more than 100 clergy who are canonically resident in the diocese and who have been "found to have abandoned The Episcopal Church."

This restriction followed a unanimous vote on June 21 by the Standing Committee of The Episcopal Church in South Carolina, determining that the clergy listed had abandoned the church. The Bishop's letter affirmed that determination, and placed a restriction on the exercise of their ministry in accordance with the constitution and canons of The Episcopal Church.

Clergy under restriction are not authorized to engage in any activity as ministers of The Episcopal Church.

According to church canons, each of the restricted clergy has been sent a copy of the "Notice of Restriction" along with letters advising that they have 60 days "to transmit to the Bishop a retraction or denial, indicating your intention to abide by the promises made at ordination, which could lead to the withdrawal of this notice and restriction on ministry in The Episcopal Church."

More here-

Almost home: St. Luke's Episcopal parishioners eagerly await return to historic church

From Southern Ohio-

It’s been 384 days since the parishioners of St. Luke’s Episcopal Church in Granville have been displaced from their historic church.

That’s equivalent to 9,216 hours, or 552,960 minutes. Any way you look at it, it’s been a long time.

But there is an end in sight: The church will reopen its doors Aug. 4 for the first time since a devastating summer 2012 storm. The Sunday service has been appropriately titled, “Coming Home.”

The ceiling of the church was damaged by the straight line winds that rolled through Central Ohio during the derecho June 29, 2012. The original trusses that support the ceiling cracked, causing it to drop 3 feet.

Steel posts immediately were installed to keep the ceiling from completely caving in. The damage was so severe the church had to be closed, leaving the Rev. Stephen Applegate and his parish without a home.

“I think it was tough for everyone not to be able to go in, especially because this is a very historic building in the heart of Granville,” said Peggy Corrigan, communication specialist for the church. “We’re very proud of our church, and we hated to see it damaged.”

More here-

Thursday, July 18, 2013

What’s really killing the church

From Christian Century-

I went to see a woman of senior years—in England she is still called “an elderly lady.” She’d left the church when she was a young woman and wanted to come back.

Ah, I thought, a familiar story. A young person grows up in the church, but when she becomes a young adult she decides to get outside and smell a different air. Now that she was over 90 she thought it was time to give the church a second chance. She took her time, I thought, but the church had been patiently waiting for her all this time, as parents do for prodigals.

So I asked, “What was it that led you away from the church for 75 years?” Nothing to lose, I thought. I may learn something. But I forgot the first rule of the inquirer: never ask a question to which you might get an answer you’re not ready to hear. I was in for a shock.

“It was when we wanted to get married. We were in love. The rector wouldn’t marry us.” Well, this sounds intriguing, I thought, and, always a soft touch for the romantic twist on a story, I blundered in where angels fear to tread. “So was there something w
rong?” I asked. “Had your husband been married previously, or were you too young, maybe?”

More here-

Anglican Church says no to gay wedding at St Matthew's in the City

From New Zealand-

The Bishop of Auckland has rejected claims that instructions from 'on high' have caused a late halt to a proposed gay wedding taking place at St Matthew-in-the-City parish.

The church's vicar, Reverend Glynn Cardy, said the reason he was unable to host the ceremony as the culmination of a radio competition was because Anglican officials will not solemnise gay weddings.

ZM, the broadcaster behind the promotion, blamed "higher powers in the Church".

But a statement from the Anglican Diocese of Auckland said Reverend Cardy had told the Bishop of Auckland, the Right Reverend Ross Bay, that there was no intention for the church to offer such an event, although a blessing would be possible following a legal civil marriage elsewhere.

The bishop says no directive was given to St Matthew's because there was never an intention for such a wedding to take place because the vicar was working within Anglican Church policy, which he understood.

More here-

Son falls from cliff, Houston couple sues Episcopal Diocese, Sewanee for $1M

From Houston-

A Houston couple is suing the Episcopal Diocese of Texas and Sewanee: The University of the South for $1 million on behalf of their son, who they say was injured in a fall while a Sewanee student.

John B. Berry Sr. and his wife, Patricia P. Berry, initially filed the suit June 7 in Harris County's 215th State District Court. The suit moved to federal court on July 10.

According to the original petition, John B. Berry Jr., who is referred to in court documents as Bradley, fell from a cliff on Aug. 27 when he was enrolled at the university in Sewanee, Tenn.

Although court documents do not specify that Berry was on or near the campus, the petition states that the school had taken no action to warn against standing near the cliff edge where he fell.

Over the years, others have fallen from the same spot, the suit states.

"On each occasion, the defendants were able to see firsthand the tragedy of their choice to continue to do nothing," the petition states. "On each occasion, they would welcome another incoming class of students with no effective warning that there was a danger that had taken lives before."

More here-

Episcopal Church Task Force Releases Report on Restructuring Plans

From Christian Post-

A task force created by The Episcopal Church to investigate changes within the denomination's ecclesiastical structure has met and released a new report.

"Structural, administrative, and governance change is only one component of the renewal to which the church is being called. Our deepest hope and prayer for our work is that it will be part of, and will continue to catalyze, the renewal that is taking place in many places around the church," reads part of the report from the Task Force for Re-Imagining the Episcopal Church (TREC). met last week at the Institute of Technology in Linthicum, Maryland.

"In order for structural, administrative, and governance reforms to be compelling and to effect meaningful change, they must be grounded in a coherent vision for what those structures are supposed to do in the life of the church," TREC stated in a news release provided by the Episcopal Church Office of Public Affairs on Tuesday.

Based in St. Louis, Mo., the TREC was created via a resolution passed last year by the 77th General Convention of TEC in Indianapolis.


Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Anglican Head Justin Welby Reveals Night in College He Became a Believer

From Christian Post-

The Most Rev. Justin Welby, the head of the 80 million-strong Anglican Communion, shared in a recent interview about the night in college when he first really felt God's presence and became a believer.

Welby "vaguely assumed there was a God" before the night in question on Oct. 12, 1975, at Trinity College, Cambridge. "But I didn't believe. I wasn't interested at all," he said in an interview with The Telegraph while recalling the path that eventually led him to lead the Church of England.

According to The Telegraph, Welby said he felt "a clear sense of something changing, the presence of something that had not been there before in my life" while praying with a friend. "I said to my friend, 'Please don't tell anyone about this,' because I was desperately embarrassed that this had happened to me, like getting measles,'" he told the publication.

Welby noted that there are different ways a person can come to God, and that a personal conversation experience is not necessary. "Absolutely not. There is an incredible range of ways in which the Spirit works. It doesn't matter how you get there. It really does quite matter where you are," the spiritual leader of the Anglican Communion said


Lawsuit Blames Brooklyn Church in a Death

From Brooklyn- (Wall Street Journal0

The family of a man killed by falling debris from a historic Brooklyn church filed a lawsuit on Tuesday alleging that church officials failed to maintain and repair a building they knew had become increasingly dangerous.

On July 26, 2012, Richard Schwartz was killed after a lightning strike caused falling debris as he walked by Cobble Hill's Christ Church, according to New York City authorities. The lawsuit, filed in state Supreme Court in Brooklyn, alleges that church officials knew the structure had become unstable since a previous lightning strike in August 2000.

The lawsuit names the trustees of the estate belonging to the Diocese of Long Island, and Christ Church and Holy Family and accuses them of showing "deliberate disregard for the health, safety and welfare for those present on and about the church grounds."

A spokesman for the Episcopal Diocese of Long Island declined to comment.

The lawsuit followed a Wall Street Journal article on Tuesday examining a dispute between Christ Church and its insurance company, the Church Insurance Agency Corp., over the cost of repairs after the 2000 lightning strike. The insurance company provided about $120,000, but the church argued it needed more.

More here-

COMMENTARY: Preaching in the shadow of the Trayvon Martin verdict

From Maryland-

Preaching on the Sunday morning after the George Zimmerman/Trayvon Martin verdict seemed daunting. It turned out not to be so.

The worship bulletin was already printed. Hymns had been chosen. So were the readings from the Revised Common Lectionary. It seemed perfectly served up for a guest preacher like me rewriting the sermon on the fly.

We church folk like to credit the Holy Spirit when things like this happen.

Even if the congregation hadn’t already been discussing the verdict, I knew interest would be high. I’ve visited this congregation before. St. Paul’s is the oldest Episcopal church in Baltimore. It is racially diverse, but like most Episcopal congregations, it’s predominantly white.

The opening hymn was, “In Christ There is no East or West.” The second verse lifted the hearts of the congregation. “Join hands, disciples of the faith, what e’er your race may be! Who serves my Father as his child is surely kin to me.” Before the Gospel reading we sang, “Jesu, Jesu,” which includes this chorus: “Fill us with your love, show us how to serve the neighbors we have from you.”

More here-

Task Force for Re-Imagining the Episcopal Church provides report

From ENS-

The Task Force for Re-Imagining the Episcopal Church (TREC) met July 12-13 at the Maritime Institute of Technology in Linthicum, Maryland. The following is a report on their work.

The Task Force for Re-Imagining the Episcopal Church

Background, challenge, and learning

Since our initial meeting in February, we have been working in smaller groups to

1) ensure that all of our members have a common understanding of our current structures, governance and administration;

2) research both successful and unsuccessful attempts at large-scale change in other Christian traditions, in our own history as The Episcopal Church, and in other kinds of organizations, and consult with individuals who helped lead those efforts;

3) develop a common understanding  of the central marks of Episcopal identity from the vast work that has already been done in that area; and

4) establish the building blocks for a broad churchwide engagement process that we believe will be a critical piece of our work. We heard reports from each of these smaller working groups. Two of the groups offered written reports, and those are available on our website or here

Our greatest challenge so far has been developing a common understanding of the proper scope of our mandate. We are very conscious of the extraordinary energy and consensus demonstrated by the 77th General Convention about the need for bold and large-scale change in our church. Our work thus far has consisted of vigorous and Spirit-filled conversations about the best ways The Episcopal Church might begin to effect the kind of change that was called for and needed, and what specific areas in our common life are most in need of the kind of reform that convention called for.

More here-

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Donations swiped from Virginia Beach church

From Virginia-

 Emmanuel Episcopal Church Sunday was filled with the story of the Good Samaritan. Luke was being read, and parishioners were told to “go and do likewise.”

But not everyone heard the message. Someone came in during the service and stole the entire day’s donations.

“You know it’s difficult. We’re not a rich church,” said Gale Nicholson with Emmanuel Episcopal. “We don’t have a lot of deep pockets here and people give faithfully.”

After the money had been collected, it was taken to another room.

A board member sorted the thousands of dollars in checks from the cash, and got the money ready to be deposited.

“He stepped away to get the bank bag and he heard the door slam,” Nicholson said.

That’s when the money was snatched. An insurance company is taking care of the checks.
Hopefully churchgoers will write Emmanuel Episcopal another batch so the church doesn’t lose too much.

Typically it gets $100 in cash every Sunday. The woman who stole the money had been seen walking the halls, but no one suspected anything.

More here-

Looking Back: Planting seeds, Grace Episcopal Church in Saybrook

From Connecticut-

Statements about planting seeds are typically a way to note small beginnings that eventually bear fruit. So when the Rev. Peter G. Clarke of Essex traveled down to Saybrook in August 1825 to hold Episcopal services for 12 members in a private residence, and later the Center Schoolhouse, he was planting the kernels of a religious faith that had modest beginnings elsewhere in Connecticut.

Episcopal services in Connecticut were probably first held in Stratford, and a minister was appointed there in 1713. By the end of the American Revolution, there were 44 parishes in the new state. And, although Samuel Seabury (1729-1796) was an unwavering Loyalist during the Revolution and author of three letters written under the pen name of “A.W. Farmer” condemning the Continental Congress, he became the first bishop of Connecticut on Nov. 14, 1784.

His early appointment made Connecticut the oldest diocese in the Episcopal Church. In Saybrook, Grace Episcopal Church is the oldest and only early 19th-century non-Congregational church that remains in existence.

More here-

Monday, July 15, 2013

Our shortcuts help keep Haiti poor

From Richmond-

Two centuries of supposed independence, long periods of guidance from more sophisticated allies, billions of dollars in foreign aid and the world’s second-oldest democracy comes down to this: a cute kid smiling and asking that her photograph be taken as a pretext for demanding payment.

Haiti, a nation that in forcefully declaring itself free in 1804 put its slave masters to rest long before the United States ever did, has been reduced to a place where children play the role of convincing victim in tourist snapshots.

And why not? The little girl who materialized in front of my camera, smiling brightly on the trash-strewn Atlantic shore of Cap-Haïtien, might be onto the best-paying job she’ll ever get. The dollar I handed over for her hundredth of a second of cuteness is about half of what most Haitians earn in a day.

Her country is a confusing, complicated place, and it doesn’t get any easier with familiarity or much better for the presence of an endless parade of do-gooders, myself included.
I’ve been there six times since the summer of 2010, three on work projects to the town of Gonaives. On those trips, I’ve played a small role in helping a team from Richmond’s St. James’s Episcopal Church build a school.

More here-

Zimmerman verdict brings protests, prayers

From Central Florida-

 A rally in front of the courthouse Sunday and a "Noon Prayer Day" at churches Monday were among events scheduled as this central Florida city began its recovery from George Zimmerman's trial.

The Coalition for Justice for Trayvon responded to Saturday's not-guilty verdict by calling for nationwide protests Sunday. The protests, the group said in a statement, "will look toward a New America, where black and brown youth are protected by the justice system and racial oppression is ended." The coalition said the verdict was a failure of the entire criminal justice system.

In Sanford, the rally was set for the courthouse at 3 p.m. ET. Events also were planned in cities from New York to Madison, Wis., to Los Angeles as the nation reacts to the not-guilty verdict handed down by a jury of six women in this once-quiet city.

The Sanford Pastors Connecting, an alliance of Seminole County churches formed after the shooting, said it is sponsoring the noon prayers Monday to promote peace and unity in the community.
"Our call is to pray for our community for the long-term unity, peace and strength of relationships," said the Rev. Charlie Holt of St. Peter's Episcopal Church in Lake Mary. "Our churches welcome any and all to come and offer prayer to the Lord for ourselves, for all involved and for our community."

More here-

Final service at St. Michael’s Episcopal in Oakfield a mixture of sadness and joy

From Western New York-

It was a sad occasion, but one which also held some joy, the Rt. Rev. R. William Franklin told about three dozen worshipers who attended the final service Sunday at St. Michael’s Episcopal Church.

The Rt. Rev. Franklin, bishop of the Episcopal Diocese of Western New York, was assisted in the deconsecration and secularization ceremony by the Very Rev. Colleen O’Connor, dean of the Genesee Deanery, and the Rev. Steven Metcalfe, vicar of St. James Episcopal Church in Batavia.
“St. Michael’s as it has existed is coming to an end,” the Rt. Rev. Franklin said.

Declining membership and difficulty in finding priests is becoming a problem in many churches. Regular worship at St. Michaels stopped in 2009.

“Faith is the answer how our diocese will keep going with hope,” the priest said. “Even though this is a sad moment, it is also a hopeful moment as these lives are integrated into the lives of those at St. James in Batavia.”

Members of St. Michael’s will be transferred to St. James Episcopal Church in Batavia, along with some of the furnishings from the Oakfield church.

Sunday, July 14, 2013

Over 30,000 Congolese flee rebel attacks to Uganda: UN

From Congo-

More than 30,000 refugees from eastern Democratic Republic of Congo fleeing a rebel attack on the town of Kamango have arrived in neighbouring Uganda, UN officials said on Saturday.

Streams of refugees have crossed the border into western Uganda's Bundibugyo district since the attack on Thursday.

United Nations refugee agency official Karen Ringuette said that as of late Friday, more than 30,000 had entered Uganda, updating a previous tally of at least 23,000.

So far, there had been no further updates of numbers arrived on Saturday, Ringuette added.

The town of Kamango in the northernmost part of North Kivu province was attacked and briefly occupied Thursday by a Ugandan-led rebel group, the Allied Democratic Forces (ADF).

Ugandan army spokesman Paddy Ankunda said Saturday that troops have been sent to reinforce positions along the border with Congo.

"We have deployed enough forces on our common border to ensure these terrorists (ADF) do not cross the line, because Uganda is their target," Ankunda told AFP.

"We are in contact with Congolese army and the situation is getting back to normal, but people have continued to enter Uganda fearing the rebels will kill them."

More here-

Paganism is on the rise in Britain

From The Examiner-

A YouGov poll in Britain shows that at least 38% of young adults do not believe in the Christian God and are becoming more and more attracted to several forms of Paganism. As a result, the Church of England announced a proposal on July 12, 2013 that states that they would like to create a "Pagan church" that has mainly Christian content. The Church of England hopes that in doing so that they may keep some of the 38% from becoming Pagan. It's not clear why the Church of England feels that Paganism is such a huge threat to them, aside from the fact that Paganism was once the primary religion of the region before Christianity.

Census data that was released recently shows that Paganism is now the seventh largest religion in the United Kingdom. More surprising to the Church of England is that the number of Pagans in the United Kingdom has doubled since 2001. Just last month the Summer Solstice celebration at Stonehenge attracted over 20,000 people to the site to take part in the Pagan ritual. With that many Pagans in one place its no wonder that the Church of England maybe worried that Christianity is on a down hill slide in Britain.

More here-