Saturday, August 3, 2013

A Reluctant Millennial On The State of Church

From Religion Dispatches-

Everyone is talking about “millennials” and the church. What started with a short piece on CNN by evangelical Rachel Held Evans feels like it has inspired every protestant in the blogosphere to get on his or her own soapbox in response. What is the big deal about so-called “millennials,” and why are they supposedly leaving the church?

It’s tempting to just say, “Oh, shut up already!” Everytime I hear the word “millennial” I cringe. “Is that what I am?” I wonder. “Thanks for clearing things up for me.”

I come to the topic as a theologically educated young woman who doesn’t identify with much of what’s been said about “my generation” lately. Sure, I wear skinny jeans and I’m technologically proficient, but I’m not very cool. I go to a tiny church that really loves the bible and sings hymns a capella. I do crazy things like pray and study theology. I actually believe in God, which is about as uncool as it gets in many circles.

The main reason I didn’t leave church? Someone made me read Dietrich Bonhoeffer’s Life Together in college, and someone else suggested I think about seminary. So, even though I was (and am) a flaming liberal feminist, I stuck it out, and entered into a lifelong lover’s quarrel with God and the church.

More here-

Chinese woman arrested for vandalizing National Cathedral and four other Washington monuments is ordered to halfway house with ankle monitor

From The Daily Mail (lots of photos)

A woman charged with defacing the Washington National Cathedral has been ordered to a halfway house.

Jiamei Tian, 58, appeared at a preliminary hearing in D.C. Superior Court today, where a judge ordered that she wear an ankle monitoring bracelet and barred her from leaving the halfway house or having visitors.

The Chinese national living in the U.S. has been charged with damaging two chapels of the cathedral with a soda can of green paint on Monday.

In another church near Thomas Circle, Tian allegedly splashed the organ with a mixture of white paint, feces and urine.

D.C. police Chief Cathy L. Lanier told NewsChannel8 on Tuesday that the paint incidents are likely to be connected and that the woman may have 'mental health issues.'

Authorities also said that Tian appears to speak very little English and her motives remain unclear.
Green paint was discovered splattered onto the Lincoln Memorial early last Friday morning, and it was found later on a statue outside the Smithsonian headquarters on the National Mall, as reported by

More here-

Youth groups give wildfire recovery a boost

From Texas-

Sixteen youth groups from across the state arrived in Bastrop County by the van load last week as part of Episcopal Diocese of Texas’ disaster recovery project called

About 185 of the volunteers, between the sixth and 12th grades, teamed up with the Bastrop County Long Term Recovery Team to boost wildfire recovery efforts.

“These youth are amazing,” said recovery team president Chris Files. “These future leaders of our great country and state are invigorating and will leave you inspired. Most of all, their energy and smiling faces are giving the people in Bastrop County affected by these fires hope.”

It’s easy for Lauren Balentine, 18, of Trinity Episcopal Church in Galveston, to relate after seeing the devastation caused by Hurricane Ike in 2008 in her hometown.

“This is what I would have wanted to have been done for me and my family if we lost our home,” she said.

Bastrop County Complex Fire victim Eric Ostrander, 16, said helping others recover from the fires brought back a lot of memories.

Originally from Bastrop, Ostrander and his family relocated to La Grange after wildfires destroyed their home.

More here-

Andrea Palpant Dilley: Change wisely, dude

From Faith and Leadership-

When I came back to church after a faith crisis in my early 20s, the first one I attended regularly was a place called Praxis. It was the kind of church where the young, hip pastor hoisted an infant into his arms and said with sincerity, “Dude, I baptize you in the name of the Father, Son and Holy Spirit.”

The entire service had an air of informality. We sat in folding chairs, sang rock-anthem praise and took clergy-free, buffet-style communion. Once a month, the pastor would point to a table at the back of the open-rafter sanctuary and invite us to “serve ourselves” if we felt so compelled.

For two years, my husband and I attended Praxis while he did graduate work at Arizona State University and I worked as a documentary producer. As someone who had defected from the church at age 23, I thought it was the perfect place for me: a young, urban church located four blocks from Casey Moore’s Irish Pub, an unchurchy church with a mix of sacred tradition and secular trend.

I’m not the first person ever to go low-church, and Praxis isn’t the first institution to pursue that hard-to-get demographic: young people. Across America today, thousands of clergy and congregations -- even entire denominations -- are running scared, desperately trying to convince their youth that faith and church are culturally relevant, forward-looking and alive.

More here-

Friday, August 2, 2013

For Gary Hall, being dean of the National Cathedral started with comedy

From The Washington Post-

The Very Rev. Gary Hall, new dean of Washington National Cathedral, started out as a comedy writer for Steve Allen. He got the gig, he says, through his parents. Hall’s father was an actor in Hollywood, his mother a costume designer. And the connection he forged through them with the comedian-turned-“Tonight Show” host made a lasting impression on Hall’s approach to ministry.

“Steve was a big influence in my life,” Hall says.

Now 64 years old, Hall has white hair, an angular face and thin-rimmed glasses. He looks, well, like a traditional Episcopalian. But he doesn’t talk like one. He is friendly and funny, smart and very, very frank. Boy, is he frank. Don’t be fooled by the white collar he wears. On a scorching summer day, Hall strides into Le Zinc, a French restaurant close to the cathedral and one of his favorite hangouts, in an Oxford blue shirt with white clerical collar and seersucker jacket. He settles down to lunch and a long conversation that culminates in a description of what he calls “bar theology.”

More here-

‘Collateral blessing’ desired

From The Church Times-

THE Church should be a "movement of prayer" which creates "collateral blessing", the Archbishop of Canterbury (above) said on Monday night. He was speaking at New Wine, a Charismatic Evangelical festival in Somerset, which he and his family attended for 12 years when he was a parish priest.

"The US Army gave us the expression 'collateral damage', which means killing people you did not mean to target," he said. "People seeking Christ create collateral blessing. That means changing the world for the better, in ways you could not have predicted."

Archbishop Welby continued: "There has never been a renewal of the Church in Western Europe without a renewal of prayer and the life of religious communities. Never. And if we want to see things changed, it starts with prayer."

He said that he had been kept awake at night by a poll published recently by YouGov, which suggested that more than half of people under the age of 25 saw the Church as "completely irrelevant" (News, 28 June). "Opposition is one thing; indifference is far more dangerous."

More here-‘collateral-blessing’-desired

Episcopal church presiding bishop visits Alaska

From Alaska-

 For six days in July, Episcopal Church Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori traveled Alaska, getting a firsthand look at the work that churches are doing around the state. “In each place the church is working at being effective in different cultures, environments and social contexts,” Schori said.

“They are seeking to be the hands and heart of Christ.”

One of her last stops was Fairbanks on July 28 for a potluck dinner on the lawn at St. Matthew’s Episcopal Church, with singing, dancing and a discussion titled “The Episcopal Church as Missionary Society.”

The tour took Schori and her husband Richard Schori to Sitka, Anchorage, Kenai, Kotzebue, Kivalina, Fort Yukon, Fairbanks and Nenana. Alaska’s Episcopal Bishop Mark Lattime accompanied the Schoris to all sites but Sitka. “It was absolutely fabulous, a great blessing,” he said. “It was delightful to travel with the presiding bishop; it was quite a journey.” It was Lattime who invited Schori to visit Alaska. She had come once before in her role as Presiding Bishop, but just to Anchorage to consecrate Lattime as bishop three years ago.

More here-

Thursday, August 1, 2013

Andalusia native pens play, to present program

From Alabama-

Andalusia native Marianne Merrill Weber has vivid memories of August, 1965.

She was living in Monroeville, awaiting the birth of her son. In other parts of the state and nation, violence surrounded the non-violent Civil Rights Movement.

“Most of our information was coming out of Selma and Camden,” she recalled. “We didn’t have problems in Monroeville, but we had fears of unrest. We had seen things on the national stage and wondered, ‘Is it going to spill over?’

“Camden was only 40 miles away,” she said. “We were generally not seeing violence in small towns, but when it came so close, it was particularly terrifying.”

And then came August 20, 1965. That was the day a young Episcopal seminarian working for civil rights died when he stepped forward and took a bullet a white man intended for a black woman who wanted to buy a cold soft drink in a country store.

“We didn’t know anything was happening in Hayneville,” she said. “There were not news cameras there. The first we heard was on that night’s news, that two priests had been shot.”

More here-

Trinity Church Makes Changes

From Florida-

When Father Chris Rodriguez brought his family here from New Jersey last September becoming Trinity Episcopal Church’s new rector, he discovered a congregation that was hurting and needed help.

A little over two years ago, a doctrinal split within the congregation prompted approximately three-fourths of its members to leave. Most followed the former Reverend Loren Coyle, the church’s rector at the time, creating the breakaway, Christ Church at K-Mart Plaza. Soon after, Coyle left the ministry.

“When I came, Trinity hadn’t had any leadership in a long time,” says Rodriguez. “My job is to steer the ship. People have been receptive, maybe struggling a little, but they’re learning to trust me. I invite them to vent and remind them this is a fresh start.”

More here-

Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Vatican orders former priest to leave St. Vincent Archabbey

From The Trib-

The Vatican has ordered a former Benedictine monk to leave St. Vincent Archabbey near Latrobe and has released him from his monastic vows for spreading rumors about Archabbot Douglas Nowicki, according to the archabbey.

Mark Gruber has refused to vacate the abbey since June 30, 2012, when the Vatican Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith ordered him to spend the rest of his life in prayer and penance outside the abbey and relieved him of his priestly authority to celebrate Mass, hear confession and administer the sacraments.

Gruber, 57, was found to have intimidated a former junior monk into making false sexual misconduct allegations against Nowicki, the leader of the Benedictine community in Unity.

In a statement signed under oath on March 1, the former monk admitted his accusations against Nowicki were false.

“None of the allegations I made against Archabbot Nowicki in that affidavit were true. I felt compelled to sign the affidavit of November 29, 2009, after (Father) Mark Gruber made significant efforts to prevail upon me to do so. Father Gruber pressured me to execute this false affidavit to support his own efforts to discredit the Archabbot. He actively assisted in the preparation of this affidavit and wrote parts of it himself. While I deeply regret having filed this false affidavit, I remain fearful of (Father) Gruber to this day.”

Read more:

For most, gay equality trumps religious objections

From The Trib-

In the wake of two favorable Supreme Court decisions, gay rights proponents got another boost last month with the release of “State of the First Amendment: 2013,” a public opinion survey supported by the First Amendment Center.

According to the new poll, a majority of Americans (62 percent) now agree that religiously affiliated groups receiving government funds can be required to provide health benefits to same-sex couples, even if the group has religious objections to same-sex marriage or partnerships.

Support for equal treatment of gay couples is highest among young people ages 18-30 (68 percent) and among Americans who identify as liberal (82 percent).

But a surprising number of evangelicals (41 percent) and conservatives (44 percent) also favor requiring religiously affiliated groups receiving tax dollars to provide health benefits to same-sex partners.

When government funds aren't involved, public support for equal treatment of gay couples drops to a slim majority.

Read more:

Pentecostal churches thriving in London as traditional denominations decline

From The National Secular Society-

Since 2005, there has been a 50% increase in the numbers of people attending Pentecostal Churches in London — a phenomenon explained by a large influx of immigrants from Africa during that period.

In the same period, the number of Anglican church-goers has declined by 9%, while Catholic worshippers have risen by 1%, again mainly due to immigration from Eastern European and Latin countries.

The new study carried out for the evangelical group The London City Mission by the Brierley Consultancy showed that 230,000 people attended Pentecostal services last year compared to 198,300 at Catholic Masses.

According the Churches Census, which recorded congregation sizes on a Sunday in October 2012, Pentecostal churchgoers now make up 32% of Sunday worshippers in London, compared to 27% for Catholics and 12% attending Anglican churches.

In 1979, 333,700 Catholics went to church on Sunday. This represents a decline of 40%, the same percentage decline as for Anglican churches.

More here-

Ghanaian Bishop slams Desmond Tutu over gay comment

From Ghana-

The Anglican Archbishop of the Ashanti Region, Archbishop Yinkah Sarfo, has strongly condemned retired Archbishop Desmond Tutu over his comments that he preferred hell to an ‘anti-gay’ heaven.

"Archbishop Tutu is respected in the Anglican Church and around the world but this time he has misfired and all Anglican Bishops from Africa, Asia and South America condemn his statement in no uncertain terms," he told Adom News.

The retired South African Archbishop Desmond Tutu joined the ranks of gay rights supporters when he spoke at a United Nations’ Gay Rights Campaign function in Cape Town, South Africa last week.

Archbishop Tutu stated that he would not worship a God who is homophobic, adding that “I would refuse to go to a homophobic heaven… I mean, I would much rather go to the other place [hell].” Tutu said.

Tutu likened gay rights to the civil rights battle for blacks and apartheid, saying “I am as passionate about this campaign as I ever was about apartheid, for me, it is at the same level.”

Meanwhile, Pope Francis also said this week that he would not “judge” gay priests that are sexually inactive, if he happened to learn about their sexual orientation.

More here-

Comments By Pope Francis And Archbishop Tutu Are On Gay Rights Not Clear

From Ghana-

Comments made by Pope Francis of the Catholic faith and Archbishop Desmond Tutu of South Africa regarding gay rights are to say the least very confusing. We need clear messages from God backed by their faiths to give hope to humanity.

While Pope Francis said on his trip to Brazil that he cannot judge ex gays and lesbians priests so long as they follow the right path of worship, Desmond Tutu said in a UN meeting on gays in South Africa that he would not worship a God who is homophobic. This, to the respected clergyman, means that all those against gays and lesbians are homophobic. What does he mean by homophobia? Where did he get this knowledge, from the United Nations Europe or the gay right movement?

The two men are held in high esteem for the positions they hold globally. However one is at a loss as to the true positions they hold regarding gay and lesbianism.

The questions to ask is are they in support and approve the position of the Gay Right Movement? They need to clear the air, else their current position might lead to confusion in the minds of their followers and many more on gay and lesbianism.

However some clergymen in Ghana and some parts of Africa and the world have expressed surprise and disapprove the stand taken by the two clergymen and have called on Catholics, Anglicans and the rest of the people to ignore them.

More here-

Kenya: Thika Anglican Diocese Chooses a New Bishop

From Kenya-

THE St Andrews Cathedral Thika celebrated the election

Julius Njuguna Wanyoike was competing for the position with Prof J B Ikenye and Stephen Nduati.

The Bishop elect will take over from Rt Rev Dr Gideon Githiga who is retiring this month after attaining the mandatory age of 65years.

Wanyoike is currently serving his second term as the Provost of All saints Cathedral Nairobi.

He is married to Easter Wanjiku and they have three daughters Faith Njambi, Joy Mugure and Patience Thayu.

He is the brother to Thika Radio Africa Group correspondent Gitau Wanyoike

Wanyoike was elected by elected by an electoral college of 23 members from the provincial synod and theThika diocesan synod.

The exercise was officiated by the diocesan chancellor Leah Ngari assisted by Rt Rev Stephen Kewasis.

More here-

Woman found with can of green paint may have defaced Lincoln Memorial, prosecutors say

From Fox- (with video)

 A woman charged with defacing the Washington National Cathedral had a soda can of green paint with her when she was arrested, and she has been linked to at least four other incidents of vandalism, including at the Lincoln Memorial, according to prosecutors and court documents.

Jia M. Tian, 58, appeared alongside a Mandarin translator on Tuesday in D.C. Superior Court, where a judge ordered her held pending a hearing later this week. Police had previously identified her as Jiamei Tian.

Tian was arrested Monday at the cathedral, where she is accused of using green paint to deface an organ and decorative woodwork in two separate chapels. She's been charged with destroying private property, a crime that carries a maximum 10-year prison sentence.
The cathedral has said the damage to its chapels, including to a gilded wood altarpiece, will cost thousands of dollars to fix.

Read more:

North Carolinians stand up for the poor, vulnerable on Moral Mondays

From ENS-

It’s not every day a bishop receives a courtesy call from one of his priests letting him know he plans to get arrested.

Episcopal Diocese of North Carolina Bishop Michael Curry received just such a call from the Rev. Randall Keeney, vicar of St. Barnabas Episcopal Church in Greensboro, before Keeney’s May 6 arrest for civil disobedience during the second “Moral Monday” protest against actions of the state legislature in Raleigh. On July 29, the movement marked its 13th week with a march to the state capitol and an interfaith social-justice rally. The weekly rallies – although not the push for change – may now take a hiatus until lawmakers return from their summer break, participants say.

“We are in the middle of a movement that is only just beginning, and it’s a church movement,” said Curry. The North Carolina NAACP launched the rallies, led by the Rev. William Barber, its president and a United Church of Christ minister. The interfaith protests, which draw believers and nonbelievers alike, are “revival-like,” Curry said. “There’s singing and there’s praying and there’s preaching, and Jesus gets talked about a lot. … The Hebrew prophets are quoted regularly.”

More here-

Pirates sweep Cardinals in doubleheader, lead NL Central

In a slight change of pace I have to brag on the Bucs- (best team in Baseball)

Andrew McCutchen clubbed his 15th homer of the season and the Pittsburgh Pirates completed a doubleheader sweep of the St. Louis Cardinals with 6-0 victory on Tuesday night.

Brandon Cumpton (1-1) allowed three hits over seven innings to pick up his first major league win. The sweep propelled the Pirates into first place in the NL Central. Pittsburgh is a season-high 22 games over .500 (64-42).

Tyler Lyons (2-4) gave up four runs, three earned, in six innings. The rookie struck out five and walked one but received no help from a reeling offense. The Cardinals have dropped six straight and have scored five runs in their last 56 innings.

GAME 1 BOX SCORE: Pirates 2, Cardinals 1 (11)

GAME 2: Pirates 6, Cardinals 0

More here

Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Welby: We must obey God not popular opinion

From The Christian Institute-

Popular opinion on gay marriage is “not a case for changing obedience to God”, the Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby has said.

But Archbishop Welby said it would be “foolish” to ignore the “revolution” caused by same-sex marriage coming into law.

He made the comments while speaking to more than 6,000 people at a Christian conference.


Justin Welby, who voted against gay marriage in the House of Lords, said he heard the “roar of revolution” when he listened to the debate about the legislation.

He said there was support for the Bill from all parties.

However he added, “popular opinion is not a case for changing obedience to God.”


The Archbishop has recently said the Church must accept an overwhelming change in cultural attitudes.

He insisted the Church is not changing its beliefs about sexual ethics, but more should be done to tackle homophobic behaviour.

More here-

Anglican Archbishop Justin Welby admits gaffe on “payday lenders,” renews attack

From Reuters-

The head of the Church of England has said he was embarrassed to find out that his organisation had invested indirectly in a short-term loan company which he had vowed only days earlier to drive out of business.

The discovery of the relatively small investment was a major setback for Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby, after he launched a scathing attack on “payday” lenders who charge high interest rates on short-term loans that are typically repaid when borrowers receive their wages.

But the former oil executive and a member of Britain’s Banking Standards Commission said on Friday he would push ahead with his campaign to compete with, and eventually render obsolete, a business he labels “morally wrong”.

Welby’s attack on companies like Wonga, which this month lifted the annual interest rate on its loans to 5,853 percent, has gained widespread support among Britons who say the lenders are preying on poorer families already mired in debt.

More here-

Former Archbishop Desmond Tutu Says He Would Choose Hell Over 'Homophobic' Heaven

From Christian Post- (with link to video)

Speaking recently at the United Nation's launch of its "Free & Equal" campaign to promote fair treatment of LGBT persons, former archbishop and South African anti-apartheid activist Desmond Tutu declared that the issue was so close to his heart that he "would refuse to go to a homophobic heaven" and instead choose "the other place."

The 1984 Nobel Peace Prize laureate and former head of the South African Anglican Church and South African Council of Churches made the remarks last Friday, July 26, during the press event in his home country, where same-sex marriage is Calling for greater protections for lesbians, gays, bisexuals and transgender persons, Archbishop Emeritus Tutu, 81, said, "I would refuse to go to a homophobic heaven. No, I would say sorry, I mean I would much rather go to the other place."

He added, "I would not worship a God who is homophobic and that is how deeply I feel about this."


On Gay Priests, Pope Francis Asks, ‘Who Am I to Judge?’

From The New York Times-

For generations, homosexuality has largely been a taboo topic for the Vatican, ignored altogether or treated as “an intrinsic moral evil,” in the words of the previous pope.

In that context, brief remarks by Pope Francis suggesting that he would not judge priests for their sexual orientation, made aboard the papal airplane on the way back from his first foreign trip, to Brazil, resonated through the church. Never veering from church doctrine opposing homosexuality, Francis did strike a more compassionate tone than that of his predecessors, some of whom had largely avoided even saying the more colloquial “gay.”

“If someone is gay and he searches for the Lord and has good will, who am I to judge?” Francis told reporters, speaking in Italian but using the English word “gay.”

Francis’s words could not have been more different from those of Benedict XVI, who in 2005 wrote that homosexuality was “a strong tendency ordered toward an intrinsic moral evil,” and an “objective disorder.” The church document said men with “deep-seated homosexual tendencies” should not become priests.

More here-

A Brief Theology of Zombies

From The Living Church-

Our world is fascinated with zombies. From revisionist writings in adult literature like Pride and Prejudice and Zombies to children’s books such as Zombiekins, from television dramas of The Walking Dead to major motion pictures like the recent World War Z, as well as quasi-zombies — Boggans — in children’s films like Epic, not to mention the plethora of zombie video games like Call of Duty: Black Ops II, our society is captivated by the undead. What drives this zombie-filled imagination? What is its philosophical and theological import? Perhaps it is just good science fiction. Maybe it is the fear of chemical warfare, concerns of which flood our commercial media and public broadcasts. But why has this new genre of literature and film so mightily fixed our gaze upon the printed page and illuminated screens? Are we all worried about rampant cannibalism, being devoured by insatiable creatures, stoppable only by a “deadly” blow to the head? Or have we simply run out of other good reasons to give Brat Pitt a heroic leading role?

The film and television industries reveal a number of things about modern society. There is a tendency to think that film and media show us where we are heading, and while this is true, it is crucial to understand that these message-mediums are communicating a reality already present. These artistic mediums communicate more than their directors, screenwriters, and actors could ever fully grasp. All art is the result of a particular gaze. In Phenomenology of Perception, Maurice Merleau-Ponty describes this gaze as the habit by which we relate to social space. Dramatists and playwrights communicate a world that is inseparable from their entrenchment in a habitus — a subconscious bodily comportment that conditions a particular way of perceiving the world. Filmmakers are no less conditioned and culturally effected. 

More here-

Woman held on vandalism at Washington National Cathedral

From The BBC-

A woman has been arrested at the US National Cathedral in connection with an act of vandalism there, days after two other Washington DC monuments were similarly defaced.

Two of the Episcopal cathedral's chapels were found splattered with green paint on Monday, police said.

In recent days, the Lincoln Memorial and a statue on the National Mall were vandalised with green paint.

Police are investigating whether the woman had any role in those incidents.

he woman is expected to be charged with destruction of property.

At the Washington National Cathedral, paint was found splashed over an organ and on the floor of the Bethlehem Chapel in the basement, officials said.

More paint was discovered in the Children's Chapel in the cathedral's nave.

A cathedral spokesman said it was unclear whether the incident had been captured on security footage.

More here-

also here-

Clergy, faithful work to understand pope’s message to take to streets and spread Gospel

From The Washington Post-

In word and deed during his trip to Brazil, Pope Francis put clergy and faithful alike on notice: Get energized, go out and spread the Gospel, give the Roman Catholic Church a more active role in society.

Francis led the way, with upward of 3 million faithful gathering for his Mass on Copacabana beach, a gushing local press following his every move on nationwide TV and even a group of nuns squealing in delight like groupies upon spotting him. By all measures, the pope’s first international trip was a smash success.

But the burning question in the post-trip glow remains: How to carry out Francis’ commands with a church that’s loaded with challenges, from a severe shortage of priests to the fleeing of faithful for two decades in strongholds such as Brazil, as well as across Europe and the United States.

More here-

Legal battle over between two Bakersfield churches

From San Joaquin (with video)

 A local church is celebrating the return of its property and the end of a long legal battle this morning.

Saint Paul's Episcopal Church in Bakersfield, split from the Episcopal Church back in 2007 over theological differences.

Those differences led to a five-year legal battle over church property.

State and federal courts ruled that church properties are held by church members for mission and ministry and if members disagree with the church they cannot claim the property as their own.

"There is a family squabble and they're always painful," said Parishioner Stef Donev.  "Nobody wins in a family squabble and we hope everyone is in peace and we're going to celebrate the fact that we're home."

As a result of the rulings by the Kern County Superior Court, conversations are underway to return the properties of other congregations in Delano and elsewhere.

Monday, July 29, 2013

Memo to popes: For smash debut, head to Latin America

From National Catholic Reporter-

Before another ocean of Catholic youth on Rio de Janeiro’s famed Copacabana beach – dubbed for the occasion “Popacabana” – Francis this morning delivered another simple, pastoral message, expressed in three key charges he delivered: “Go,” “Don’t be afraid,” and “Serve.”

Today is the final day of the July 22-28 World Youth Day, and Francis celebrated the concluding Mass before a crowd estimated at 3.2 million by the local mayor’s office.

Over the last two days, turnout for Francis’ first overseas trip has rivaled that for John Paul II’s initial outing in 1979, to the Dominican Republic and Mexico, when he drew an estimated 10-15 million over the course of the journey. The experience suggests a memo to future popes: If you want your debut to be a smash, at least in terms of crowds, head to Latin America.

In his homily this morning, Francis urged the participants in World Youth Day to carry its impact with them back home.

More here-

Legal battle ends over St. Paul's Episcopal Church

 From San Joaquin

The Episcopal Congregation of Saint Paul's is happy to have its church back after a long court battle.

In 2007, certain members of the San Joaquin Episcopal Dioceses decided to split with the National Episcopal Church.

Some of the issues were the consecration of an openly gay bishop and allowing women to become priests.

Members of the dioceses decided to join the Anglicans but they also wanted to take Saint Paul's with them which began a legal battle.

The courts ruled in favor of the National Episcopal Church and Saint Paul's was returned as of July 1st this year.

"Well our message has been one of all inclusion," said Rev. Kate Cullinane from St. Paul's Church. "Everybody is welcome even those with more conservative traditional points of view are certainly welcome in the church."

Rev. Kate Cullinane says she's been dealing with opposing viewpoints since her ordainment more than 30 years ago.

More here-

Sunday, July 28, 2013

Volunteers feeling good by providing food for impoverished nations

From Mass-

Before lunchtime on Saturday, Reggie Cooper did his part in helping to prepare meals for 10,000 families.

Cooper was among 45 volunteers from Trinity Episcopal Church who spent the morning helping the poor and hungry in Haiti and Sudan. They filled large Zip-lock style bags with soy grain, vitamin seasoning, rice grains and freeze-dried vegetables that will be shipped to the Caribbean and African nations.

By pouring hot water with the ingredients, the modest meal is enough to feed an impoverished family of six.

Cooper was among volunteers who refused to leave the church until there were 10,000 bags that could be stocked on a truck and shipped to those in need.

"I think we would have 25,000 if they had the supplies for it," the 45-year-old Pittsfield resident said. "It was a great group of volunteers ready to go and it really feels good to put in the time."

"Instead of sitting around reading the paper and getting ready to start the day we've made a difference with 60,000 people."

The meals were paid for by Trinity Episcopal Church, but supplies and directions were organized by the international hunger relief program, Stop Hunger Now. The program has provided 105 million meals by developing a 25 cent meal that can be easily stored, shelved for two years and transported quickly.

Trinity Episcopal Church spent $2,500 in church funds to pay for the ingredients.

More here-

The pope's real mission Can he reform the church without having it unravel?

From The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette-

Catholicism, among the most tradition-bound religions, contains at its core a paradox that has become increasingly sharp. As Pope Francis concludes his first overseas trip -- to Brazil, the world's most populous Catholic country -- it is difficult, despite the inertia of the past, to tell where the church is headed.

The accession of Jorge Mario Bergoglio to the papacy adds to the puzzle. The chief Jesuit confessor at the papal court used to be called "the black pope," owing to his simple black cassock (if not his sinister intent). Now, for the first time, a Jesuit has become pope -- and has compounded the novelty by assuming the very un-Jesuit name of Francis.

As curious as such gestures are in an institution that thrives on imagery, they are symbolic frills. We already have plenty of pictures of Francis kissing babies; what he faces now -- in Brazil and around the world -- are strategic matters of genuine substance.

One such challenge, the Vatican Bank, is equivalent to cleaning up the Augean stables. It is enough to mention the words "Vatican" and "bank" in the same sentence to start a cascade of jokes about comic-opera ineptness and skullduggery.

Read more:

R.I. Episcopal Bishop W. Nicholas Knisely bridges the religion-science divide

From Rhode Island-

 Well before he became Rhode Island’s Episcopal bishop, the Right Rev. W. Nicholas Knisely lived in two worlds. As a priest and rector of a church in Bethlehem, Pa., he looked after people’s spiritual needs. Then he’d hop in a car and travel across the river to nearby Lehigh University to teach physics and astronomy.

His double role came about in part because the school had learned that before he became a priest he had earned degrees in both astronomy and physics. In agreeing to the post, however, Knisely had one condition: that he’d be allowed to teach class wearing his clerical garb.

But as Bishop Knisely recounted to packed pews at a forum last week at St. Andrew’s-by-the-Sea, the priestly attire created quite a stir. Many were stunned to see a man of the cloth teaching science.
He says he understood their confusion. For so long, they had believed that religion and science were fundamentally at odds, the result of long-worn stories about the church’s treatment of Galileo centuries ago and more modern stories about fundamentalist believers trying to ban the teaching of evolution in school.

But the gulf between the two spheres is not nearly as wide as one might think, says the bishop, who points out that both disciplines are seeking truth but have different ways of ascertaining it. For the scientist, the ultimate test is whether it can be replicated or verified, usually in a laboratory. For the religionist, the ultimate determinant, beyond looking at revelation, is whether it’s an idea that endures, is widely accepted by the faithful, and bears fruit.

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