Saturday, September 14, 2013

Pokies cash not for Anglicans

From New Zealand-

Anglican churches in Timaru do not take gambling money, and the diocese's recent pokie fund ban will have no impact on them.

The Christchurch Anglican diocese, which includes South Canterbury, voted last week to stop parishes accepting funding from gaming machine grants.

It was hoped the stand would allow the church to speak publicly against gambling without appearing hypocritical.

St Mary's church warden, Barrie Wood, was not aware of any pokie funds being used by the church.

"I don't believe we have received any in that way and the church would not agree to it. Gambling causes people to enter a downward spiral," Mr Wood said.

St Phillip and All Saints Church administrator Anne Hopkins said the church had not benefited from the pokies as far as she knew.

South Canterbury Archdeacon Nick Mountfort said St John's Church had never taken contributions from gambling money and it spent time ensuring any funding it applied for was not related to gambling.

He said pokie machines were designed to be addictive and a high percentage of players could not stop using them.

More here-

Tony Blair's son Euan will marry in Anglican church

From The Telegraph-

Although an Anglican, Tony Blair agreed to bring his children up as Catholics and converted to his wife Cherie’s faith as soon as he was forced out of 10 Downing Street.

His eldest son, Euan, will, however, marry Suzanne Ashman on Saturday in the Anglican All Saint’s Church, near the Blairs’ country house in Buckinghamshire.

One notable absentee will be Siân Lloyd, the television presenter, who is the bride’s stepmother. She received her invitation, but was later told that she would not be welcome. She does not know why.

More here-

Presiding bishop issues statement on Syria

From ENS-

Episcopal Church Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori has issued the following statement on the situation in Syria.

The situation in Syria continues to evolve.  The death and violence that have been wrought on the Syrian people are a humanitarian tragedy of the first order.  I do not believe further violence is likely to end the tragedy, but rather seems likely to increase or prolong the disaster.  I applaud President Obama’s restraint and willingness to look for diplomatic solutions — changing position requires courage of the first order.  It is a sign of profoundly care-filled leadership both to test the possibility of other, more creative and life-giving solutions and to put the needs of vulnerable populations ahead of one’s own image or reputation.

The Episcopal Church and its people continue to pray for the people of Syria, of all religious traditions and none, and we call on the world to help find responses that will result in more abundant life for every citizen of that nation.

The Most Rev. Katharine Jefferts Schori
Presiding Bishop and Primate
The Episcopal Church

Under the Tent in Michigan

From The Living Church-

The Episcopal Church is not famous for tent revivals, but its youngest diocese wants to try new approaches, according to the Rt. Rev. Todd Ousley, Bishop of Eastern Michigan.

St. John’s Church in Midland was the host for a diocesan-wide leadership strategy session September 7. The purpose of the meeting was to offer a collaborative platform for building parish enthusiasm and focus on common diocesan mission initiatives.

“I’m not sure who came up with the idea to call it a tent revival, but it was visible from the intersection of two busy streets,” Bishop Ousley said. “People would have seen something out of the ordinary on that lawn that day. It was lots of fun.”

More here-

Reading church makes commitment to healing ministry

From Reading PA-

There has been a rise in interest in spirituality across the nation.

Responding to that, Christ Episcopal Church in the city has made a commitment to a healing ministry, a so-called one-on-one spiritual direction practice and an upcoming workshop that will tackle the journey toward forgiveness.

"This is a very ecumenical movement and outreach to all people," said the Rev. John Francis, 57, of Christ Episcopal, 435 Court St., which boasts about 400 members and an average weekly Sunday attendance of 170.

He cited today's changing and more ethnically diverse human landscape as reasons for embracing a spiritual ministry, noting that many people come from many different religious and ethnic backgrounds as well as no particular faith background at all.

In the case of Christ Episcopal, he said, about half of the congregation is longtime traditional English, but the other half represents a newer influx of people whose heritage stems from Latino, African and Caribbean countries.

More here-

Prayer for rain gathering is set at St. Paul's Episcopal Cathedral in Oklahoma City

From Oklahoma-

The Oklahoma Conference of Churches, the Episcopal Diocese of Oklahoma's Whole Creation Community and the Oklahoma Association of Conservation Districts are calling for a statewide day of prayer on Wednesday.

A prayer gathering is set for 6 p.m. Wednesday at St. Paul's Episcopal Cathedral, 127 NW 7.

Organizers said they are encouraging Oklahomans to focus on water conservation and stewardship and to remember people who are still experiencing drought conditions.

Clay Pope, executive director of the Oklahoma Association of Conservation Districts, said local churches and other faith groups are encouraged to join in the prayer gathering on Wednesday and also to partner with their local conservation districts to plan events in their communities.

More here-

Friday, September 13, 2013

Mikhail Gorbachev admits he is a Christian

From The Telegraph-

Mikhail Gorbachev, the last Communist leader of the Soviet Union, has acknowledged his Christian faith for the first time, paying a surprise visit to pray at the tomb of St Francis of Assisi.

Accompanied by his daughter Irina, Mr Gorbachev spent half an hour on his knees in silent prayer at the tomb.

His arrival in Assisi was described as "spiritual perestroika" by La Stampa, the Italian newspaper.
"St Francis is, for me, the alter Christus, the other Christ," said Mr Gorbachev. "His story fascinates me and has played a fundamental role in my life," he added.

Mr Gorbachev's surprise visit confirmed decades of rumours that, although he was forced to publicly pronounce himself an atheist, he was in fact a Christian, and casts a meeting with Pope John Paul II in 1989 in a new light.

Mr Gorbachev, 77, was baptised into the Russian Orthodox Church and his parents were Christians.

More here-

Changing faiths at the Crystal Cathedral

From The LA Times-

Towering like the Emerald City, the cathedral formerly known as Crystal sits at what might be Orange County's nucleus, a trinity of confluencing freeways, the Angels and Ducks stadium and a glimpse of a sacred place of a different kind — Disneyland

From that gleaming sanctuary, evangelist Robert Schuller delivered sermons that were beamed to television sets around the world. His ministry became synonymous with the megachurch, designed so the light and the breeze could stream through, a grand replica of his humble beginnings preaching on the roof of an Orange drive-in's snack shop.

The Crystal Cathedral was to Schuller what Graceland was to Elvis. Now it has been bought by the Roman Catholic Diocese of Orange, which has long coveted having a cathedral that sat at the center of its vast footprint of 1.2 million Catholics.

The name has already been changed to the Christ Cathedral. But the work of liturgical consultants, priests and architects to transform a temple so closely identified as a symbol of Schuller's sunny, uniquely Southern Californian theology into one that conforms to the traditions of the Roman Catholic Church has just begun.

More here-,0,3728748.htmlstory

Richard Dawkins interview: 'I have a certain love for the Anglican tradition'

From The Spectator-

‘You owe me an apology,’ Richard Dawkins informs me. It is a bright Oxford morning and we are sitting in his home. His wife has just made me coffee and I have met their new puppies. I am here to discuss a new book of his, but he is smarting from a disobliging reference to him in a recent one of mine. That, and an earlier encounter I wrote about here, have clearly rankled. I try a very limited apology. But it does strike me that Dawkins is more easily bruised than one might have imagined. I wonder if it has anything to do with the deluge of criticism he attracts, provokes and possibly unwisely takes notice of on social media. ‘Do you feel beleaguered?’ I ask. ‘Do you?’ he fires straight back.

The sensitivity comes across in An Appetite for Wonder: the Making of a Scientist, the first of a projected two-volume autobiography. In this surprisingly charming memoir, Dawkins seems especially keen to pre-empt any critics who will attack him for his fortunate background and privileged education — Oundle School and Oxford. ‘Have you met the phrase “check your privilege”?’ he asks.

More here-

Berkeley Divinity School at Yale in search for new Dean

From RNS-

Berkeley Divinity School (BDS), the Episcopal affiliate of Yale Divinity School (YDS), announced that Berkeley is in search for a successor to current President and Dean The Very Rev. Dr. Joseph H. Britton.  BDS is accepting inquiries and applications until 10/31/13.  The position will be available 7/1/14.

The search committee is led by BDS Trustee The Rev. Stephen Carlsen with the close support of YDS Dean Gregory E. Sterling.  In developing a position profile, the committee was guided by Berkeley’s “working vision” and an analysis of today’s changing church and congregations.

The position profile and information about Berkeley are on the web at berkeleydivinity .net.  Inquiries and applications (to include a c.v. and any other supporting information) should be emailed to and will be held in strict confidence.

The position carries two titles:  President and Dean of Berkeley and Associate Dean of Yale Divinity School.  Rev. Carlsen comments: “We believe this represents an extraordinary ‘both/and’ leadership opportunity.  Both to lead a highly respected Episcopal divinity school, and to be part of the leadership of YDS with superb academic resources, global reach and reputation within a world-class research university.”

- See more at:

Pope Francis: Priest Celibacy Up For Discussion, Pope's No. 2 Says

From Fox-

Archbishop Pietro Parolin, the new Secretary of State of the Vatican, said priest celibacy is "not a church dogma" and is therefore open to discussion as the church embraces a "more democratic spirit" under Pope Francis.

When asked by the interviewer whether there are two different types of dogmas – those created by men and those created by Jesus – Parolin responded "certainly."

"There are dogmas that are defined and untouchable," he said in a Spanish-language video interview with Venezuelan newspaper El Universal on Sunday.

The interviewer asked, "Celibacy is not?"

"Celibacy is not an institution but, look, it is also true that you can discuss it because as you say this is not a dogma, a dogma of the church, it is a church tradition," Parolin said.

Read more:

Church in Wales votes for women bishops

From The Church Times-

THE Church in Wales voted on Thursday evening to permit women to be bishops.

Cheers and applause greeted the result as it was announced at the Governing Body, which is meeting at the University of Wales Trinity St David in Lampeter, Ceredigion.

Members of the Governing Body removed a clause which would have delayed the implementation of the Bill until a separate Bill providing statutory provision for opponents had been passed.

Instead, the Bill To Enable Women To Be Consecrated As Bishops will take effect a year today (12 September 2014); and the Bench of Bishops will now have to prepare a code of practice "without delay" to provide for "those who in conscience dissent" from the ordination of women to the episcopate.

More here-

Conn. slave who died in 1798 called 'child of God'

From Connecticut-

A slave who died more than 200 years ago in Connecticut but was never buried was given an extraordinary funeral Thursday that included lying in state at the Capitol and calls for learning from his painful life.

The enslaved man known as Mr. Fortune was buried in a cemetery filled with prominent citizens after a service at the Waterbury church where he had been baptized. Earlier in the day, his remains lay in state in the Capitol rotunda in Hartford.

"Our brother Mr. Fortune has been remembered, and it is with restored dignity his bones shall be buried," the Rev. Amy D. Welin of St. John's Episcopal Church in Waterbury told hundreds gathered for the service. "We bury Mr. Fortune not as a slave, but as a child of God who is blessed."

More here-

Episcopal Bishop Douglas Fisher supports suit against attorney general's ruling on casino initiative

From Western Mass.-

SPRINGFIELD - The Right Rev. Douglas Fisher, bishop of the Episcopal Diocese of Western Massachusetts, issued a statement Thursday supporting a suit challenging the attorney general’s ruling that blocked a proposed ballot question to repeal the state casino law.

The suit filed was filed Wednesday by a statewide coalition called Repeal the Casino Deal.

Fisher also said his statement was in support of the West Springfield referendum vote Tuesday killing the Hard Rock Café Casino and Hotel proposal for a casino there.

Two companies remain in the competition to win the single license to build a casino in Western Massachusetts: MGM Resorts International in Springfield and Mohegan Sun in Palmer. Springfield voters have approved the MGM proposal. Palmer will vote on Mohegan Sun's on Nov. 5.

More here-

Episcopal Relief & Development responds to crisis in Syria

From ENS-

Episcopal Relief & Development is responding to the ongoing crisis in Syria through two local partners, the Holy Land Institute for the Deaf (HLID) in Jordan and the Lebanon-based Fellowship of Middle East Evangelical Churches (FMEEC) in Syria itself.  FMEEC aims to assist at least 50 families in the hard-hit city of Homs with building materials and food rations.  HLID is providing services and equipment for people with disabilities in the Zaatari refugee camp near Al Mafraq, just south of the Syrian border.

The current conflict in Syria began in March 2011, during the “Arab Spring” that toppled governments across the Middle East.  In Syria, popular protests were met with opposition by the army, loyal to President Bashar al-Assad.  Fighting is widespread throughout the country and, according to the United Nations, more than 100,000 people have died so far and over 2 million refugees have fled to neighboring areas.  The city of Homs, midway between Damascus and Aleppo, has been a frequent flashpoint with both army and rebel forces struggling for control.  According to the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, 60-70 percent of the district’s buildings have been damaged or destroyed due to the conflict.  Business and commerce have ground to a halt, leaving many unemployed.

More here-

Thursday, September 12, 2013

Wife pleads for Anglican Archbishop’s release

From Nigeria-

Mrs Beatrice Kattey, the wife of the kidnapped Archbishop of the Ecclesiastical Province of the Niger Delta, Most Reverend Ignatius Kattey has appealed for her husband’s unconditional release.

Bishop Kattey was abducted Friday night in Port Harcourt, Rivers State, along with his wife but she was later abandoned.

For the past five days, no word has been heard from either Archbishop Kattey or his abductors.
Mrs Kattey was very emotional when she received Mr George Feyii, the Secretary to the Rivers State Government, SSG, who represented Governor Chibuike Amaechi.

Feyii, on behalf of Amaechi, was on a sympathy visit to the family of Archbishop Kattey at their residence in Alode-Eleme in Eleme Local Government Area of the state.

More here-

Richard Dawkins admits he is a 'cultural Anglican'

From The Telegraph-

The evolutionary biologist was speaking before the launch of his new book which explains his passion for education and how he fears the profession has become dominated by a ‘box ticking mentality.’

Prof Dawkins admitted he would consider going into a church, and would miss ‘aesthetic elements’ such as church bells if they were gone. And he said he was “grateful” to Anglicanism which he claims has a “benign tolerance” - enabling people to enjoy its traditions without necessarily believing in them.

He told the Spectator: “I sort of suspect that many who profess Anglicanism probably don’t believe any of it at all in any case but vaguely enjoy, as I do… I suppose I’m a cultural Anglican and I see evensong in a country church through much the same eyes as I see a village cricket match on the village green.

More here-

Father Alberto Cutié Doesn't Believe Catholic Church Will Take Up Issue of Celibacy

From South Florida-

Father Alberto Cutié, who left the Catholic Church after a scandal stemming from a photo of him on Miami Beach in an embrace with his girlfriend, said he doesn't believe the notion of priesthood celibacy will be taken up by the church anytime soon.

Miami Archbishop Thomas Wenski echoed the sentiment on Wednesday too, and said that like marriage, celibacy takes discipline, prayer and dedication.

"In the life of the church celibacy an marriage compliment each other and are not in any way competing with each other," Wenski said.

Archbishop Pietro Parolin, the secretary of state of the Vatican, said the church is open to discussion about the idea of priesthood celibacy being revisited. Pope Francis just last year said he was in favor of maintaining the tradition “for the moment.”

More here-

Judge rules St. John's can keep assets, properties in five-year dispute with Episcopal Church

From Quincy-

St. John's Anglican Parish of Quincy will retain its properties and assets after a ruling by Judge Thomas Ortbal in Adams County Circuit Court that caps a five-year legal dispute with the Episcopal Church of the United States.

"We're pleased that the ruling came down in our favor," said the Rev. Patrick Smith, pastor of St. John's Anglican. "It's nice not to have that over our heads. We never were preoccupied with that or distracted by that, and we're very blessed to have a place to gather for fellowship, but (the ruling) does make our job easier."

Appeals are expected from the Episcopal Church of the United States, which had claimed ownership of St. John's properties and assets after a 2008 vote by the Diocese of Quincy to leave the Episcopal Church but remain in the Anglican Communion. St. John's is part of the Diocese of Quincy, headquartered in Peoria.

More here-

Illinois trial court rules in favor of Quincy breakaway group

From ENS-

The Judicial Circuit Court in Adams County, Illinois, has ruled against the Episcopal Diocese of Quincy and the Episcopal Church in their efforts to recover assets and property claimed by a breakaway group.

Judge Thomas J. Ortbal’s ruling, dated Sept. 6 and made public Sept. 10, is the most recent action in legal proceedings that began in March 2009.

Unlike the majority of other cases in which the Episcopal Church has sought to reclaim assets from departing members, Ortbal’s ruling states that the actions of General Convention and the presiding bishop “cannot be legally enforced” in diocesan matters.

“It is clear, on the basis of the church and diocesan constitution and canons, that [the Episcopal Church] is organized with ascending tiers and it is hierarchical in many of its structural aspects,” the ruling states. “What, however, is much less evident is whether the General Convention constitutes the highest ecclesiastical tribunal with ultimate authority over a diocese.”

More here-

Episcopal bishop takes a stand against anti-Mormon humor

From Utah-

The Rt. Rev. Scott B. Hayashi, Episcopal Bishop of Utah, is a smiler.

He loves to laugh, and those who know him best say he can tell a joke with the best of them.

But there is one form of humor that always puts a frown on his face.

“I don’t like jokes that are hateful toward any one group, especially jokes that are hateful toward a religious group,” he said. “In my baptismal covenant I pledged that I would ‘work for justice and peace and respect the dignity of every human being.’ Statements of hate, regardless of who they are generated against or how humorously they are intended, are not part of what it means to me to be faithful as an Episcopalian. So I say, don’t do it.”

More here-

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Anglican charity reaches out to Syrian refugees and vulnerable families in Egypt

From Inspire-

The Christian charity Us (formerly USPG) has launched two appeals to encourage Anglicans and other churchgoers in Britain and Ireland to reach out to Syrian refugees and families in crisis in Egypt.

The Us Egypt Appeal is raising money to support the work of the Anglican Church in Egypt, which is feeding and supporting vulnerable families caught in the middle of political unrest.

The Us Syria Appeal is being run in collaboration with Embrace the Middle East and will support an ecumenical network of churches reaching out Syria’s two million refugees with food and other essential items.

The Revd Canon Edgar Ruddock, Us Director of Global Networking, said: "While we have a responsibility to wrestle with the very deep issues of history, culture, religion and politics that are the reality of the Middle East today, we have an even stronger moral commitment to stand alongside all who are displaced, and all who are powerless in the face of terrible suffering and hurt.

More here-

One sinking ship being lashed to another? Methodist-Anglican unity

From Christian Today-

I had a wonderful and unexpected experience of inter-denominational church unity last Sunday.

At one of our church services, a couple staying on holiday turned up to join in with the worship – which they did with enthusiasm. It turned out they were German – and, while their English was somewhat faltering, it was just about clear enough for us to communicate. At any rate, it was certainly better than my German, which is sadly non-existent.

As we grappled with understanding each other, it gradually emerged that the continental tourists had a real, living faith. They were interested to hear about our Alpha Course – as they were hoping to run one for the first time back home. And they laughed as they said they recognised some of the visual aids used to illustrate the sermon in the powerpoint slides which accompanied it.

More here-

Episcopal bishop honored as female pioneer

From Iowa-

A group pushing to expand the number of women elected to political office in Iowa has honored a woman who’s been elected to a top religious office. The Most Reverend Katharine Jefferts Schori is the first woman to be elected the presiding bishop of the worldwide Episcopal Church.

“I’m absolutely delighted to be able to assist in this kind of initiative,” she said during a news conference late Tuesday afternoon in Des Moines.

Jefferts Schori received the 2013 “Equity for Women” award from the Iowa-based “50-50 in 2020″ group pushing to get women elected in Iowa. Former State Senator Maggie Tinsman of Bettendorf is a leader of the 50-50 in 2020 group and Tinsman told reporters Jefferts Schori was chosen because she’s shown a woman can be successful in a male-dominated profession.

“I mean, she had to be elected as a priest. She had to be elected as a bishop. She had to be elected as a presiding bishop,” Tinsman said. “That’s politics.”

Schori, who is 59, started her professional life as an oceanographer.

More here-

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Anglican group renews call for confab

From Nigeria-

 THE Anglican Christian Fellowship of Nigeria (ACFN) Sunday joined the call on President Goodluck Jonathan to immediately convene a national dialogue in order to salvage the country from “imminent collapse”.

   ACFN, which is an arm of the Church of Nigeria (Anglican Communion), warned that unless Jonathan engages major stakeholders of the country in an exhaustive national discourse, his administration’s efforts at ensuring peaceful co-existence among the populace may be an illusion.

   The body premised its position on the series of security, social,economic and religious challenges confronting the country in recent times and declared that Nigeria has been existing in a “forced union”.

   The ACFN President, Henshaw Adetoye, who spoke at a press conference in Ijebu-Ode, Ogun State said: “We are in a forced union. The Yoruba are being forced to stay with the Hausa. The Ndigbo are being forced to stay with the Yoruba. Things cannot continue this way. We will continue to pray that the theme of this convention will manifest in this country”.

   The briefing was held to highlight activities lined-up for the maiden national convention of the body.

More here-

Nigerian Anglican archbishop kidnapped

From Fox-

 Nigeria's second-highest ranking Anglican archbishop was kidnapped at the weekend outside the southern oil city of Port Harcourt, capital of Rivers State, a police spokeswoman said on Monday.

"Archbishop Ignatius Kattey was kidnapped along with his wife around Eleme (outside Port Harcourt) at about 10:45 pm (2145 GMT) on Friday," spokeswoman Angela Agabe told AFP.
"His wife was later abandoned in the bush by their abductors."

A national spokesman of the Anglican Communion in Nigeria, Foluso Taiwo, confirmed the abduction to AFP, but said the circumstances surrounding the incident were sketchy.

Kattey is the dean of archbishops of the Anglican communion in Nigeria, ranking him second to the primate of the Anglican Church in the country, said Taiwo.

The cleric is archbishop of the Niger Delta province, he added.

Kidnapping for ransom occurs regularly in the southern oil-producing Niger Delta region, though authorities rarely admit to making payments.

Read more:

Black and white in America’s churches

From The Washington Post-

Flashing lights caught my attention that night. I opened my front door to find a man face down on my front lawn with four cops, guns drawn, standing over him. The man on the ground was black and the police were white. I was ordered back into the house.

This was 14 years ago when I lived in Alameda, California and was pastor of that town’s Episcopal parish. When the movie “Fruitvale Station” opened I was particularly interested in seeing it, especially because I’d taken the BART train from that station many times.

“Fruitvale Station” is based on the 2009 killing of Oscar Grant, 22, an unarmed black man shot in the back by a white police officer. Watching the scene where white BART cops surrounded black suspects triggered memories of similar images, like ones of white Los Angeles police officers beating an unarmed Rodney King. And with the not guilty verdict of George Zimmerman in the death of Trayvon Martin still so fresh, I find myself among many Americans of faith wondering how to prevent this from happening again and again.

More here-

Grace Episcopal Church in Syracuse catches fire

From New York-

Syracuse firefighters are at the scene of a church fire on University Avenue in the city.

Someone called 911 at 10:41 p.m. to report the fire at Grace Episcopal Church, at 412 University Ave., First Deputy Fire Chief Kent Young said.

Smoke and flames were seen from the back of the building. Firefighters quickly extinguished the flames and prevented the fire from spreading, Young said. The fire started in the kitchen area on the first-floor in the back of the church building, he said. No religious artifacts were damaged in the fire, Young said.

Although the fire was contained to the back of the building, smoke spread throughout the church, Young said. It was not immediately known how much damage there was throughout the church.

More here-

Monday, September 9, 2013

Tell it to SurveyMonkey

From The Living Church-

Should the Episcopal Church’s 27th presiding bishop be an evangelist with a sense of humor, a resilient social-justice advocate, or a collaborative, skillful manager of people and resources?

The Joint Nominating Committee for the Election of a Presiding Bishop has turned to a popular tool among dioceses: asking Episcopalians, through the web-based SurveyMonkey [English; Spanish], about what qualities they seek in their next leader.

These are the categories and survey methods:

Drop-down priority menus

“The Presiding Bishop should be”:

a person whose life is deeply formed by scripture and prayer

a public leader for a Christian point-of-view to the State and the World

a skillful manager of people and resources

a strong guardian of faith, unity, and discipline of the Episcopal Church
able to understand and speak multiple languages

effective in using social media to promote the Gospel and the Church

an evangelist proclaiming the Gospel of Jesus Christ and the Episcopal Church


Link to the survey

Richard Dawkins under fire for ‘mild pedophilia’ remarks

From RNS-

Richard Dawkins, one of the world’s best-known and outspoken atheists, has provoked outrage among child protection agencies and experts after suggesting that recent child abuse scandals have been overblown.

In an interview in The Times magazine on Saturday (Sept. 7), Dawkins, 72, he said he was unable to condemn what he called “the mild pedophilia” he experienced at an English school when he was a child in the 1950s.

Referring to his early days at a boarding school in Salisbury, he recalled how one of the (unnamed) masters “pulled me on his knee and put his hand inside my shorts.”

He said other children in his school peer group had been molested by the same teacher but concluded: “I don’t think he did any of us lasting harm.”

More here-

Cecil B. DeMille's Campaign for a Godly Culture

From Christian Post-

Few matters have initiated more litigation in the courts than the presence of Ten Commandments monuments and other displays of the Decalogue across the country located on public property. The presence of most of these is the result of a joint campaign by the Fraternal Order of Eagles, working with Hollywood Royalty and movie-magnate, the late great Cecil B. DeMille. Today the radical left has erroneously argued these displays are an unconstitutional violation of the "separation of church and state" and disparage them as nothing more than a publicity stunt by DeMille to hype his movie at the time, The Ten Commandments, staring Charlton Heston. But if DeMille's motives were purely carnal, then his history with the film certainly didn't show him acting like it.

According to Bruce Feiler's research in his book, America's Prophet: Moses and the American Story, DeMille was working to counter the direction of the times. He writes:

"The undermining of the central plank of American life that began in the late nineteenth century did not abate in the early decades of the twentieth century. Even as World War I triggered a temporary surge in faith, and Darwinism and other forms of modernity led to the blossoming of fundamentalism, the Bible continued to recede as the ultimate source of authority in contemporary life. Americans attended church in extraordinary numbers and espoused a near universal belief in God, but they relied less on the Bible as the chief source of public rhetoric. By the close of the 1930s, one scholar wrote, Americans had grown accustomed to using 'a secular rather than theological vocabulary when issues really seemed worth arguing about.'"

More here-

Episcopal Churches Are Unique Mixes of Protestant and Catholic Elements

From New York-

There’s a reason why two of the most prominent and majestic churches in Philipstown — St. Philip’s in Garrison and St. Mary’s in Cold Spring — are Episcopal parishes: the denomination has deep and powerful roots in the area, as it has had in the nation, since colonial times. Not only did many of Philipstown’s most influential residents belong to these churches, as the plaques around the buildings indicate, but several of America’s Founding Fathers and presidents have also been Episcopalian.

The Rev. Frank Geer, longtime rector of St. Philip’s Church in the Highlands and former student of history, is a fount of knowledge on what he likes to call “the community church of Garrison.”

Likewise, the Rev. Shane Scott-Hamblen of the Episcopal Church of St. Mary-in-the-Highlands, who is currently working on a doctoral dissertation about American Episcopal history, can provide loads of information on the denomination. Both tell a story that touches on controversy but also ultimately speaks to pluralism and inclusion, for which the Episcopal Church has become known.

More here-

Connecticut Episcopalians announce new interfaith partnership

From ENS-

The Episcopal Diocese of Connecticut announces a new interfaith partnership with the Farmington Valley American Muslim Center, Inc. (FVAMC). The initiative will include interfaith educational programs and the leasing of a building in Avon, a former church on Harris Road.

It is part of a broader diocesan effort of recommitting itself to interfaith initiatives in new ways. The partnership with FVAMC began when leaders of the Episcopal diocese asked about the needs and resources of the church and community in the greater Farmington River valley. Episcopal parishes in the local area, including Trinity Episcopal Church in Collinsville and St. John’s Episcopal Church in Bristol, immediately joined in the conversations and planning with the FVAMC.

“The initiation of this partnership with the Farmington Valley American Muslim Center is an incredible gift to us a Christians, because when we come into conversation with the religious ‘other’ it helps us to speak even more clearly about our own faith in the Triune God,” said the Rt. Rev. Ian T. Douglas, bishop of the Episcopal Diocese of Connecticut.

More here-

The Revd Mark Stevenson named Episcopal Church Domestic Poverty Missioner

From Anglican News-

Bishop Stacy Sauls, Chief Operating Officer of The Episcopal Church, has announced the appointment of the Rev. Canon Mark Stevenson as Domestic Poverty Missioner on the staff of the Domestic and Foreign Missionary Society (DFMS).

In this position, Stevenson will be responsible for work related to Anglican Mark of Mission 4, The transformation of unjust structures of society, which the 77th General Convention designated as a budget priority and structured with a focus on the alleviation of poverty in the United States.

In addition to the newly created work of Mission Mark 4, Stevenson will be responsible for several of the DFMS’s longstanding domestic-poverty engagements, including support for the Jubilee Ministry program and liaison with networks of Episcopalians working to address poverty in their communities.

More here-

Sunday, September 8, 2013

Church of England has £10m invested in arms firm

From The Independent UK-

The Church of England has invested up to £10m in one of the world's major arms firms, which supplies unmanned drones and jets to conflicts around the world. The discovery, on the eve of what is set to be the biggest day of protests against DSEi – the UK's leading arms fair – in Docklands, London, tomorrow, has led worshippers to accuse church leaders of profiting from conflict.

The Church Commissioners and Church of England Pensions Board are both shareholders in General Electric (GE), with shareholdings amounting to just under £10m. Yesterday, the Church defended the investment, claiming less than 3 per cent of GE's business was based in arms sales.

But the firm, along with its key subsidiary General Aviation, is a leading supplier of "integrated systems and technologies" for combat aircraft, military transport, helicopters, land vehicles and unmanned aerial vehicles – better known as drones.

It is the 20th-highest-ranking firm in the world when it comes to defence sales, which accounted for almost 3 per cent of its total revenue last year – an estimated £4bn.

More here-

Anglican Bishop Kidnapped In Rivers

From Nigeria-

THE Dean of the Anglican Church of Nigeria, Archbishop Ignatius Kattey, was abducted at about 10.30pm on Friday, as he journeyed in the company of his wife, Beatrice, from Eleme to Port Harcourt.

   It was gathered that the abductors later freed the cleric’s wife, following a chase by the police.

   The Bishop was taken to an unknown destination.

  The State Police Public Relations Officer, Mrs. Angela Agape, who confirmed the incident, said it was the chase by policemen that forced the hoodlums to let go the cleric’s wife.

  She said that the Command has intensified efforts to rescue the bishop unhurt and arrest the perpetrators.

   “It was the hot pursuit by the police that forced the kidnappers to abandon the wife. The police are still combing the axis. Very soon, he will be secured unhurt. I mean very soon. I believe God will assist us and we will rescue him.”

More here-

The Jewish case for marriage equality

From The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette-

This past week, Jews around the world celebrated Rosh Hashanah, the start of the Jewish New Year, which, according to Rabbinic Tradition, is the day on which human beings were created.

As Jews celebrate Rosh Hashanah, we remind ourselves that humanity in all its variety and homogeneity was fashioned from the same material. Our classic Rabbinic texts describe our species' shared origins as dust of the earth, as clay and ashes, as flesh and blood, maggots and worms and worse.

But that's not all.

Every human comes from the same primordial clay. But we are more than flesh and blood. We are also -- every religious text says so -- more than matter and stuff.

Beyond our physical bodies, we are animated with a soul, a spirit, a conscience, our essence. In Hebrew this internal reflection of divinity is what makes us "B'tzelem Elohim -- in the Image of God."

Read more: