Saturday, August 31, 2013

Depraved Malthusianism

From The Living Church-

Dan Brown of The Da Vinci Code fame has just produced his latest offering. Inferno has all the classic Brown features: some great descriptions of Florence, Venice, and Istanbul; a well-delivered and intriguing plot; and a sophisticated encounter with Dante’s Divine Comedy. It is going to be widely read, and is sure to be a bestseller.

Yet it is now clear that Brown is a depraved secularist. This is not meant as a term of abuse, but, simply and literally, as descriptive of his worldview. For the Christian tradition, sin can so corrupt us that we are unable to see the presence and providence of God; and in this novel, Brown exposes his total blindness to the possibility of the world being held within the providence of God.

More here-

Texas Supreme Court overturns lower court decision in dispute between Episcopal groups

From Ft. Worth-

The Texas Supreme Court on Friday narrowly overturned a summary judgment in the dispute over property between the two groups that claim to be the Episcopal Diocese of Fort Worth.

The 5-4 opinion was handed down Friday in Austin. The high court remanded the case to 141st District Court in Fort Worth “for further proceedings consistent with this opinion.”

The Rev. Jack Leo Iker, bishop of a group that left the national Episcopal church, said his members were glad to learn of the ruling.

“In sum, while today’s opinions are not a final victory, they indicate that a final victory is only a matter of time,” Iker said in the statement.

The dispute began in 2008 when Iker and most of the 56 congregations in the Fort Worth diocese chose to leave the national church because of disagreements that included the ordination of a gay bishop.

Iker’s group continues to call itself the Episcopal Diocese of Fort Worth. Those who remain with the national church use the same name.

Read more


Friday, August 30, 2013

A letter from Bishop Rayford High following the opinion from the Texas Supreme Court

From Ft. Worth-

Dear Sisters and Brothers in Christ,

On August 30, 2013 the Texas Supreme Court issued an opinion that sent our case back to the lower court for reconsideration. While it is a disappointment not to have a definitive decision, as followers of Jesus Christ, we live in hope.

Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori joins me in acknowledging our disappointment and urging all of us to be gentle with one another during this trying time, with the important goal of continuing our worship of God and our ministries in this community in as uninterrupted a manner as possible.

Now I, other diocesan leaders, and our legal team, including representatives of the Church and its legal team, have to make decisions about our next steps.

For now, we all must don the mantle of patience and forbearance. I ask for your prayers and urge us all to stay focused on the saving gospel of Jesus Christ in the days ahead.

I remain convinced that we are right in our affirmation that we are the continuing Diocese of Fort Worth and that I am its bishop.

- See more at:

Welby: Church needs to avoid drifting to divorce

From Christian Post-

THE Archbishop of Canterbury said on Wednesday that the Church must not become like a marriage in which a couple have drifted apart and are content with their independent lives.

Speaking at the opening of the Evangelical Alliance's (EA) new headquarters in King's Cross, London, Archbishop Welby said: "It is too easy for the Church to be comfortable in separation, like a bad marriage where the couple has drifted apart, but not to the point where they'll divorce. They just sort of somehow live separate lives in the same house; they don't talk much except what's necessary to keep things running along. And they may not even notice that the separation is growing and deepening, but they live with it. And the Church can fall into that trap - in fact, over many years, has fallen into that trap."

More here-

Produce giveaway spreading its roots

From Western North Carolina-

A local non-profit that provides healthy food options for families in need is looking to expand its operation.

The Produce Giveaway began as an off-shoot of the Welcome Table in July of 2012. Starting in September, the Welcome Table will end its Wednesday lunch and fellowship and put all of its efforts into food distribution.

“We’re excited about the opportunity we have to reach more individuals and more communities and help them access healthy food and nutritional resources,” Ali Casparian, one of the founders of the produce distribution program, said.

The program, which is open to community members in need, is every Tuesday at St. James Episcopal Church. At 11:30 a.m., Casparian, a certified holistic health coach, gives a half hour talk on healthy eating and then does a cooking demonstration.

More here-

Chicago, Quincy dioceses to reunite

From ENS-

The Rt. Rev. Jeffrey D. Lee, bishop of Chicago, and the Rt. Rev. John C. Buchanan, provisional bishop of Quincy, announced today that the two dioceses will reunite on Sunday, September 1.

The conventions of the two dioceses, which had split in 1877 to accommodate growth, had unanimously agreed to the reunion on June 6. The canons of the church require that a majority of bishops and standing committees of elected lay and clergy leaders from other dioceses in the Episcopal Church consent to the reunion. Those consents were received during the summer.

“Along with many of you, we have waited, worked and prayed for this day for more than a year,” wrote Lee and Buchanan in a letter to the people of the two dioceses. “During that time, the Holy Spirit has led us toward a shared understanding of God’s call to the people of Chicago and Quincy and how we should order our common life to respond. Now we are free to go about that work.”
The reunified diocese, to be known as the Episcopal Diocese of Chicago, will include the 125 congregations and chaplaincies and more than 36,000 members of the existing Diocese of Chicago in northern Illinois, and the nine congregations and 755 members of the Diocese of Quincy in west central Illinois.

More here-

Born Again to be Wild? Episcopal Priest Offers Motorcycle Ministry, Monthly Mass

From Christian Post-

As many Christian ministers look to reach out to groups not usually found in church, one Episcopal priest in Maryland has focused on seeking the lost among the biker community.

The Rev. Steve McCarty, vicar at St. Andrew's Church in Clear Springs, has been holding monthly mass for motorcyclists since June 2012.

McCarty, a Harley Davidson rider himself, told The Christian Post that his interest in outreach to this community stems in part from his own connections.

"I am a biker, I ride a Harley. I see my interaction among other bikers as meeting people where they are. Jesus calls us to go out into the world," said McCarty. "As an Episcopal Priest, and one called to Administer the Sacraments, and spread the Gospel, I feel that this Great Commission involves being on the move; we must take the Church on the Road. Actually, Church is what we outside our places of worship, not inside 4 walls. We go inside the 4 walls to worship, we go outside to do Church."


Thursday, August 29, 2013

The Wars Over Christian Beards

From Christianity Today-

You're more likely to see a beard in the pulpit today than at any time since the 1800s. But beards—especially among clergy—were once serious, symbolic matters. They separated East from West during the Great Schism, priests from laity during the Middle Ages, and Protestants from Catholics during the Reformation. Some church leaders required them; others banned them. To medieval theologians, they represented both holiness and sin. But historian Giles Constable says that rules on beards sound more forceful than they really were. Clergy (especially powerful ones) were likely to follow fashion in their day, too.

c. 195
Clement of Alexandria calls the beard "the mark of a man" and says "it is therefore unholy to desecrate the symbol of manhood." Many other church fathers made similar remarks about beardly manliness. But most early church clergy were either beardless or had a closely trimmed beard.

Roman Emperor Julian sports a beard to show his break with the shaven Christian emperors before him, and to mark his connection to pagan Roman religion.

c. 411
Euthymius says only men with a beard can enter his Judean Desert monastery, not boys "with female faces."

More here-

Archbishop urges Christians to ‘repent’ over ‘wicked’ attitude to homosexuality

From The Telegraph-

The Most Rev Justin Welby told an audience of traditional born-again Christians that they must “repent” over the way gay and lesbian people have been treated in the past and said most young people viewed Christians as no better than racists on the issue.

Archbishop Welby, who as a young priest once opposed allowing gay couples to adopt children, said the church now had to face up to what amounted to one of the most rapid changes in public attitudes ever.

While insisting that he did not regret voting against same-sex marriage in the House of Lords, he admitted that his own mind was not yet “clear” on the wider issues which he was continuing to think about.

And he admitted that, despite its strong official opposition to allowing same-sex couples to marry, the Church is still “deeply and profoundly divided” over gay marriage.

The Archbishop, who comes from the evangelical wing of the Church, which takes a more traditional interpretation of the Bible, publicly opposed the Government’s Same-sex Marriage Act while it was being debated earlier this year.

More here-

Syria: Archbishop's speech in the House of Lords

From Canterbury-

The Archbishop of Canterbury, Justin Welby, delivered the following speech in the House of Lords on the situation in Syria:

My Lords, I very much welcome the opportunity to have been able to speak later in this debate because of the extraordinary quality of many of the contributions that have been made, and how much one can learn by listening to them. Like many noble Lords I have some experience in the region, partly from this role that I have and recent visits and contacts with many faith leaders of all three Abrahamic faiths, and also through 10 years of, from time to time, working on reconciliation projects.

I don’t intend to repeat the powerful points that have been made on international law which is itself based on the Christian theory of Just War, and that has been said very eloquently. But I want to pick up a couple of points - first is, it has been said, quite rightly, that there is as much risk in inaction as there is in action. But as in a conflict in another part of the world, a civil conflict in which I was mediating some years ago, a general said to me “we have to learn that there are intermediate steps between being in barracks and opening fire”. And the reality is that until we are sure that all those intermediate steps have been pursued, Just War theory says that the step of opening fire is one that must only be taken when there is no possible alternative whatsoever, under any circumstances. Because, as the noble Lord Lord Alli just said very clearly and very eloquently, the consequences are totally out of our hands once it has started. And some consequences we can predict – we’ve heard already about the Lebanon and about Iran, particularly the effect that an intervention would cause on the new government in Iran as it is humiliated by such an intervention.

more here-

Connecticut Slave to Get a Long Overdue Church Funeral

From Connecticut-

The remains of an 18th-century Connecticut slave whose abuse continued long after his death will finally be given a dignified burial.

On Sept. 12, more than two centuries after his death, a slave known as Fortune will be interred at Waterbury’s Riverside Cemetery with all the trappings of a state funeral.

It will be a ceremonial end to the life of a man whose mistreatment serves as a reminder of the North’s participation in slavery.

Fortune died in 1798. His death is clouded in lore and speculation. Did he drown in the Naugatuck River? Was he fleeing and fell and broke his neck?

What is certain is that Fortune’s master, a Waterbury bone doctor by the name of Preserved Porter, stripped Fortune’s skin, boiled his bones and used his skeleton as a medical specimen. The mistreatment of the slave was recorded in a book about Waterbury’s history by Joseph Anderson.

More here-

Women want to attend Mormon priesthood meeting in October

From Salt Lake City-

Some Mormon feminists are moving their drive for ordination in the LDS Church from talk to action: They are pushing for tickets to the all-male priesthood meeting at the faith’s October General Conference.

First, the group wishes to publicize the fact that women are not permitted to attend the semiannual priesthood meeting, says Kate Kelly, an international human rights lawyer in Washington, D.C., active Mormon and one of Ordain Women’s founders. "Some Mormon women may not know that."

Second, since the meeting is open to men who are "prospective elders," Kelly says, "were we permitted to attend, it would help church leaders see us as the prospective elders we believe ourselves to be."

The point is "to demonstrate to leaders that we are ready for this change, that our commitment is not just online but with our bodies." she says. "We want the [church] leadership to prayerfully consider ordination of women."

In April, the LDS Church responded to the Ordain Women movement by emphasizing that God loves both genders equally.

More here-

On her 100th birthday, Chicago nun still wants to become a Catholic priest

From Chicago-

A Chicago nun is celebrating her 100th birthday today — but there’s something missing.
Ever since she was 10 years old, Sister Vivian Ivantic has wanted to become a Catholic priest.

Ivantic joined the Benedictines when she was 20 years old and since then, she’s been hoping for a change in the Catholic Church’s policy toward female ordination.

"We need women in church offices," Ivantic told The Chicago Tribune. "It won't come in my lifetime, but it will come."

Ivantic argues that women have held important roles in the Church for a long time, as teachers, nurses and social workers. In her own lifetime, she’s seen women gain footholds in politics and in the workplace. She thinks it is time for a change in the Church, as well.

“I think the American church is outstanding," Ivantic said. "But I'm waiting for women's ordination.”

Born to be ‘bikers’: Motorcycle ministries reach out to under-served

From ENS-

The Rev. Canon William “Jay” Geisler has baptized during a biker rally over a motorcycle sidecar, performed weddings with the bridal couple in black leather and sparked rousing cheers when he told mourners “there’s only two types of bikers — those who have gone down and those who will go down.”

“Someone got up [at a funeral] and asked ‘where’s Billy?’ and I started talking about God’s love for all of us. I said he’s with God of course,” Geisler recalled during a recent interview. “Everybody erupted with cheers of happiness, because they’ve been told they’re bad people.”

An avid biker, Geisler, 57, rector of St. Peter’s Episcopal Church in Pittsburgh, realized the need for a motorcycle ministry after a biker said to him, “you don’t know what it’s like to look like Frankenstein and have the heart of Shirley Temple.”

He and other biker priests say their love of motorcycles has opened up new avenues to proclaim the Gospel to an overlooked and underserved community.

More here-

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

50th Anniversary of the March on Washington.

Thought it would be good to listen to this today.

I am happy to join with you today in what will go down in history as the greatest demonstration for freedom in the history of our nation.

Five score years ago, a great American, in whose symbolic shadow we stand signed the Emancipation Proclamation. This momentous decree came as a great beacon light of hope to millions of Negro slaves who had been seared in the flames of withering injustice. It came as a joyous daybreak to end the long night of captivity.

But one hundred years later, we must face the tragic fact that the Negro is still not free. One hundred years later, the life of the Negro is still sadly crippled by the manacles of segregation and the chains of discrimination. One hundred years later, the Negro lives on a lonely island of poverty in the midst of a vast ocean of material prosperity. One hundred years later, the Negro is still languishing in the corners of American society and finds himself an exile in his own land. So we have come here today to dramatize an appalling condition.

video here

text here-

Muslim mob injures church leaders, choir members in Nigeria

From Nigeria-

A Muslim mob with knives and iron rods injured several members of an Anglican church in Nasarawa state on Aug. 17 over a dispute about less than one cent in change, area Christians said.

According to a story by Morning Star News, three pastors, four elders and choir members of the St. James Anglican Cathedral were wounded in Lafia, capital of Nasarawa in central Nigeria, as they met for study and worship preparation.

Area residents said they got cuts on their heads and other parts of their bodies when about 30 Muslims attacked with motorcycle chains and wooden clubs, along with the other weapons.

An area member of the Evangelical Reformed Church of Christ in Lafia, Joshua Nuhu Kuju, told Morning Star News that a Muslim woman incited the Muslims to attack after she had an argument over payment with a young Christian man who runs the church's water borehole (a way to get water).

"The Muslim woman sent her children to purchase water from the church's borehole, and then a misunderstanding over about five naira (less than one US cent)," he said.

More here-

Goma Anglican Church, School Damaged in Missile Attacks

From All Africa- (Congo)

Several missiles exploded late afternoon on August 22 in central Goma causing significant damage to St Paul's Anglican Church and destroying three classrooms in the adjacent school.

Claudaline Mikanirwa, the wife of the Rev. Desiré Mukanirwa, Anglican priest in Goma, said in an e-mail to church partners that "one displaced child died on [the] spot... In other places the bombs killed some people. Another bomb reached near our home... and touched a neighboring home but no one was injured. By the time Desiré and the children and other displaced people were at our home, I was still downtown in my shop. But all of us are fine."

Mukanirwa said it would be difficult for people to worship in the church in its current state.

Numerous shells landed in residential areas of Goma on Aug. 22, killing at least four people and wounding 15, all of them civilians, according to an August 24 UN News Centre report.

In an e-mail to ENS, Claudaline simply wrote: "Your prayers are needed."

More here-

Anglican leader warns Cameron not to 'rush to judgment' on Syria

From Reuters-

The Archbishop of Canterbury has urged British Prime Minister David Cameron not to "rush to judgment" over military action in Syria, warning it could have unforeseeable consequences across the Muslim world.

Justin Welby's comments were published in the Daily Telegraph newspaper before meeting of Britain's National Security Council on Wednesday which Cameron will chair.

Parliament will debate Britain's response to chemical weapons attacks in Syria on Thursday after Cameron cut short his holiday and recalled lawmakers (MPs) to address the issue.

Welby, leader of the 80-million-member Anglican church, said members of parliament must be sure about the facts before acting in what is a "really delicate and dangerous situation.

"The things MPs will have to bear in mind in what is going to be a very very difficult debate is firstly: are we sure about the facts on the ground?" he said.

"Secondly: is it possible to have a carefully calibrated response, including armed force, if you are sure about the facts on the ground, that does not have unforeseeable ramifications across the whole Arab and Muslim world?"

More here-

Produce giveaway spreading its roots

From Western North Carolina-

The Produce Giveaway began as an off-shoot of the Welcome Table in July of 2012. Starting in September, the Welcome Table will end its Wednesday lunch and fellowship and put all of its efforts into food distribution.

“We’re excited about the opportunity we have to reach more individuals and more communities and help them access healthy food and nutritional resources,” Ali Casparian, one of the founders of the produce distribution program, said.

The program, which is open to community members in need, is every Tuesday at St. James Episcopal Church. At 11:30 a.m., Casparian, a certified holistic health coach, gives a half hour talkon healthy eating and then does a cooking demonstration.

More here-

How an Episcopal Priest Is Using Stories and Humor to Teach Others About Christianity

From Huffington-

Episcopal priest Kathryn Banakis wants us to discover that Christianity wouldn't be what it is without stories, and not just the Bible's stories either. Our stories matter too. Banakis is particularly interested in showing how God didn't stop revealing important lessons to us humans with the last page of the biblical text. God continues to speak through our lives today, and sometimes, what's said is quite funny.

To show how stories can impart important lessons about faith, Banakis's first book, Bubble Girl, is a blend of memoir and theology, teaching readers in a lighthearted way while making them laugh as she candidly discusses her own journey. Her book becomes an intriguing hybrid of genres, and I wanted to ask her more about it.

I had the pleasure to sit down with Reverend Banakis and to hear her infectious laugh as I talked with her about her book. The transcript of that interview follows. (In addition to Bubble Girl, Reverend Banakis also has a spiritual story included in a recently published anthology of spiritual stories that I edited with The Reverend Kate Malin.)

More here-

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Christchurch's Cardboard Cathedral Opens Its Doors

From New Zealand-

A paper house of worship that seats 700. A pop-up shopping mall consisting of brightly painted shipping containers and pop-up bars with funky names such as King of Snake and Smash Palace.

Sounds like something you'd encounter in design-mad Japan or über-chic Berlin. Not in conservative Christchurch.

Before the massive earthquake that hit on Feb. 22, 2011, killing 182 and destroying much of the downtown, New Zealand's second-largest city was an architectural byword for traditional, not trendy.

Not anymore.

In the wake of the disaster, impermanent structures designed to kick-start urban life, including a temporary rugby stadium mounted on steel tubes, are popping up all over town. Most inspiring is the five-story-high "Cardboard Cathedral" that that officially opened on August 15, replacing iconic Christchurch Cathedral, irreparably damaged in the quake.

More here-

Referendum debate splits Western Kenya

From Kenya-

 A section of Western Kenya leaders have differed over the proposed referendum to increase allocations to county governments.

Bishop Beniah Salala of the Anglican Church of Kenya, Mumias Diocese has opposed the referendum and instead argued that the allocation to counties should be increased through an Act of Parliament.

He called on MPs from both Jubilee and Cord to unite and overcome their political divide to save the country from the expenses that would be incurred in case of a referendum.

“Poverty in this country is caused by poor leadership and inequitable distribution of resources. We can avoid being in perpetual campaign mode if our leaders can increase allocations through the House. We cannot be in perpetual campaign mode all the time because it undermines our economy by scaring away investors,” said Salala.

He cautioned Kenyans against allowing politicians to hijack the constitution, which is a property of the electorate who elected them to parliament. Kakamega Senator Boni Khalwale accused former Prime Minister Raila Odinga of causing confusion in the real agenda of the referendum. He however, expressed support for it in order to increase allocations to counties and strengthen the Senate.

More here-

Police hunt for donation box thief

From New Zealand-

Kerikeri police are hoping results from forensic testing will lead them to the "low-life" who broke into a historic church to steal donations.

The St James Anglican Church in Kerikeri, the second oldest church in the country, was broken into by thieves on Thursday night who stole a donation box that chairman of the church trust Richard Ward said could have had several hundred dollars in. "I am pretty disgusted by it, that there is some low-life who did this."

Mr Ward was called at 4.30am on Friday morning by a security guard who noticed the door had been forced open.

He said when he arrived at the church, police were there. He noticed some blood at the scene, which is believed to belong to the thieves.

Sergeant Phil Le Comte said the case was a work-in-progress but police are keen to find the thief or thieves.

Reverend Ron Jamieson and Mr Ward said there was a great deal of relief that the damage to the church was minimal.

"I am relieved that there was no further damage, there was no vandalism or anything. I don't know how much we have lost in terms of donations, and of course I am disappointed that anyone would feel it appropriate to break in and steal these gifts," Mr Jamieson said.

More here-

Judge Dismisses Suit by Episcopal Church Against Breakaway SC Diocese Over Bishop Trademark

From South Carolina-

A U.S. District Judge in South Carolina has dismissed a trademark lawsuit leveled against a diocese that broke away from The Episcopal Church over theological differences.

Judge C. Weston Houck of Charleston decided last Thursday that The Episcopal Church in South Carolina's suit claiming rightful ownership of the title of bishop was to be "denied without prejudice."

The suit, filed by Rev. Charles vonRosenberg against Rev. Mark Lawrence, was over which of the two men could rightfully use the title of bishop of the South Carolina Diocese.

While Houck said vonRosenberg held legal standing to sue, the judge wrote that the lawsuit conflicted with a nearly identical case filed earlier over the rightful control of the diocese.

"The state court action and this action involve overlapping, thus, presenting a clear entanglement threat," wrote Houck.

"…a decision by this Court to grant Bishop vonRosenberg's desired injunctive relief concerning the use of the Diocese's service marks will be in direct contravention of a temporary injunction already issued by the state court."

Read more at 

Also here

and here-

Monday, August 26, 2013

The Elite Project of Gay Marriage

From First Things-

Same sex marriage has become the issue of our time. Michael Kinsley summed the situation nicely: “You may be in favor of raising taxes on the rich, increasing support for the poor, nurturing the planet, and repealing Section 14(b) of the Taft-Hartley Act, but if you don’t support gay marriage, you’re out of the club.”

How did this come to pass? There’s no easy answer, which is not surprising. Same sex marriage is the issue because lots of different interests, concerns, and trends converge on it.

The first thing to say is that the gay rights movement has been largely an upper middle class project. Thurgood Marshall attended Lincoln University, an all-black college in southeastern Pennsylvania, and then Howard University Law School. Gay activist Larry Kramer went to Yale. Judge Vaughn Walker went to Stanford Law School. I have little doubt that the first gay Supreme Court Justice will be a graduate of either Yale or Harvard Law Schools.

There are many reasons why the gay rights movement is so upscale. When I was active in the national politics of the Episcopal Church, I came to see that homosexuality in general plays an important symbolic role in upper middle class culture. It’s an image of transgression, and to affirm it relieves moral pressure, giving room for our own transgressive desires. If two men can have sex, then surely there are no traditional limits on what men and women can do.

More here-

Communion Partners meet with Justin Welby

Six Communion Partner Bishops met with the Archbishop of Canterbury last week. The text of their letter can be found here-

and here-

U.S. Judge Tosses Lawsuit (South Carolina)

From The Living Church (with copy of the order)-

U.S. District Judge C. Weston Houck wrote in an order dated Aug. 23:

Ultimately, the sum of all disputes and conflicts arising in the wake of the Diocese’s estrangement from TEC are more appropriately before, and will more comprehensively be resolved, in South Carolina state court. Therefore, Bishop Lawrence’s motion to abstain (ECF No. 13) is granted, thereby, dismissing this case without prejudice, and Bishop vonRosenberg’s motion for a preliminary inunction (EFC No. 6) is denied without prejudice.

The full order follows.

2013-08-23 Judge Houck Order

More here-

Permanent home found for Sisters who left Anglican community

From England-

The new religious community of the Personal Ordinariate, the Sisters of the Blessed Virgin Mary, has moved into a permanent home for the first time since being received into the full communion of the Catholic Church.

The community includes 11 sisters who had been part of the Anglican Community of St Mary the Virgin in Wantage, Oxfordshire, and one sister who belonged to an Anglican community in Walsingham.

They are now part of the Personal Ordinariate of Our Lady of Walsingham adopting the Benedictine rule, and officially became part of the Catholic fold on New Year's Day.

They had no endowments to sustain them financially and have spent the last eight months as guests at an enclosed Benedictine abbey on the Isle of Wight.

On Tuesday, they will move into their new permanent home, a convent in Birmingham, which is the former home of the Little Sisters of the Assumption.

Mother Winsome, the Superior of the Sisters of the Blessed Virgin Mary, said: "We are absolutely overjoyed to have been given the opportunity to live in this convent. We have prayed long and hard and the Lord has opened up this way for us. It is a gift from God."

More here-

Churches changing bylaws after gay marriage ruling to try to avoid lawsuits

From AP-

Worried they could be sued by gay couples, some churches are changing their bylaws to reflect their view that the Bible allows only marriage between one man and one woman.

Although there have been suits against wedding industry businesses that refuse to serve gay couples, attorneys promoting the bylaw changes say they don't know of any lawsuits against churches.

Critics say the changes are unnecessary, but some churches fear that it's only a matter of time before one of them is sued.

"I thought marriage was always between one man and one woman, but the Supreme Court in a 5-4 decision said no," said Gregory S. Erwin, an attorney for the Louisiana Baptist Convention, an association of Southern Baptist churches and one several groups advising churches to change their bylaws. "I think it's better to be prepared because the law is changing. America is changing."

More here-

Anglican priest, flock cross a welcoming bridge

From Boston-

Before Mass on a recent Sunday, the Rev. Jurgen Liias stood in a cramped sacristy of a Catholic church with an acolyte and cantor and began a call-and-response prayer of preparation.

Incense smoldered. The men thumped their chests in a gesture of contrition.

The elaborate ritual would seem unusual to most Catholic priests, who pray silently before Mass as they don their vestments, or quietly focus on the sacred work ahead. But Liias, who is 65, is different. He entered the church through a new doorway that lets members of the Anglican Communion return to the mother church in Rome while retaining their congregational communities — and, if they wish, much of their ornate ritual, including old Catholic traditions that Rome changed or left behind.

Pope John Paul II extended to Anglicans, including married priests, the opportunity to become Catholic in 1980. During the next 30 years, 100 or so Anglican priests entered the Catholic Church and were incorporated into local dioceses.

More here-

Sunday, August 25, 2013

The 'almost unremarked' tragedy of Christians persecuted in the Middle East

From The Telegraph-

Multiple attacks by Islamists on St George’s has prompted the Iraqi government to set up three checkpoints to protect the church.

The new security measures make it virtually impossible to attack the building and show “the government here cares about us,” Canon White - known as the “vicar of Baghdad” - says.

However the violence targeted against Christians in Baghdad and elsewhere in the region continues.
This weekend Lord Sacks, the outgoing Chief Rabbi in Britain, warns that the plight of Christians in countries such as Iraq, Syria and Egypt is a tragedy "going almost unremarked".

In an interview with The Telegraph Lord Sacks described continuous attacks on Christian believers and churches as "the religious equivalent of ethnic cleansing”.

More here-

Anglican Leader Urges Biblical Calm As Dozens Are Killed In Syria, Iraq

From Iraq-

An influential Anglican leader in Iraq said Saturday, August 24, he was thinking of the Bible's warning not to be alarmed amid warfare as dozens of people were killed nearby in the capital Baghdad, while neighboring Syria was rocked by apparently new chemical weapons attack revelations.

Canon Andrew White, who leads St. George's Anglican Church in Baghdad, also said he was not surprised that that scores had died in an apparent chemical weapons attack in neighboring Syria.

Medical charity Medecins Sans Frontieres (MSF) said Saturday, August 24, that hospitals it supports in Syria treated some 3,600 patients with "neurotoxic symptoms", of whom 355 had died.

MSF's disclosure added to mounting concerns that chemical weapons were used in suburbs to the east of Damascus on August 21.

However, "Over ten years ago we knew that Iraq's chemical weapons had been sent to Syria and knew who had flown them," said White, who has been negotiating with governments and other factions in the region in turbulent times.

More here-

Retired bishop brings personal and Anglican history to Rapid City

From South Dakota-

Bishop Frank Gray is down to just one remaining copy of "For Thou Art With Me: Interned in the Philippines," the self-published memoir that chronicles his family's three years in a Japanese concentration camp in the Philippines during World War II.

And after three months of filling in at St. Andrew's Episcopal Church in Rapid City, he plans to leave it as a farewell gift to his adopted congregation.

"We've loved the community and are happy to experience this beautiful part of the country," Gray said recently of his summer filling in as rector at St. Andrew's for the Rev. Kathy Monson Lutes, who was awarded a $50,000 Lilly Foundation travel sabbatical.

He and his wife, Karen, have been in Rapid City since June and have been visited at various times during their stay by their three children and eight grandchildren.

Gray, 73, retired from his post as bishop for the Diocese of Northern Indiana in 2006. As the author of two books of poetry, and who is currently at work on a chapbook of poems relating to Psalm 139 ("O Lord, you have searched me and known me ..."), he also published the family memoir in 2010.

Gray was just 2 years old when his family went into the camp, and 5 when they and the other 600 prisoners were liberated by U.S. forces. 

More here-