Saturday, September 28, 2013

Bigamist illegal immigrant married by the Archbishop of York jailed for fiddling £150,000 in benefits

From The Daily Mail-

A bigamist married by the Archbishop of York was jailed yesterday over a £150,000 welfare scam.

Ugandan Rebecca Muwonge married three times under different identities to remain illegally in the UK and claim benefits.

In 1996 John Sentamu, who became archbishop nine years later, married Muwonge to Samuel Bisaso at Holy Trinity, in Tulse Hill, south London.

Bisaso was later ordained by the archbishop, who is Ugandan, in that country’s Anglican church.

He is now a chaplain for the Mission to Seafarers church charity in Immingham, near Grimsby.
Both Muwonge and Bisaso were jailed for 18 months in 2011 for immigration offences involving sham marriages.

Muwonge was pregnant and gave birth to the  youngest of her five children behind bars.
But she was hauled back before the courts following an inquiry by Newham and Enfield councils into benefit fraud.

More here-

Richard III: a maligned king's reburial becomes a sordid affair

From Christian Science Monitor-

The shallow dirt grave into which King Richard III's body was hurriedly tossed, and centuries later covered up by a concrete parking lot, must top the list of ignominious royal burials.

It was inevitable, perhaps, that its discovery last September would be followed by calls for the 15th-century monarch, immortalized by Shakespeare as a miserable, murderous wretch, to finally receive a proper interment, with the tomb, ceremony, and dignity usually afforded a king.

However, what’s happened so far has been short on dignity.

 “It has got a bit grubby,” says David Grummitt, a specialist in late medieval and early Tudor history at the University of Kent. “I don't know if anyone has really thought about what Richard III himself would have wanted.”

More here-

Pakistan Christians Targeted Specifically for 'Their Faith in Jesus Christ,' Says Global Anglican Leader

From Christian Post-

Citing the recent Pakistan church bombings and violence against Syrian Christians as an example, Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby asserted this week that "Christians have been attacked simply because of their faith."

"I think it is true in Peshawar that we have seen more than 80 martyrs in the last few days and they have been attacked because they were testifying to their faith in Jesus Christ by going to church, and that is outside any acceptable expression in any circumstances for any reason of religious difference," he said on BBC Radio's The World at One, as he gave an update on the various challenges confronting Christians around the world.

The archbishop called the Peshawar church bombing that killed over 80 Pakistanis on Sunday "an absolutely appalling attack."

More here-

Communiqué: Anglican-Lutheran International Co-ordinating Committee

From ENS-


The Anglican-Lutheran International Co-ordinating Committee (ALICC) held its first meeting in the Cultural Centre Sofia, Helsinki, Finland from 19 to 25 September 2013, under the leadership of the Most Reverend Maurício Andrade, Primate of Brazil, and of Bishop Michael Pryse of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Canada.

The meeting was hosted by the Lutheran World Federation with the generous assistance of the Evangelical Lutheran Church of Finland.

The Co-ordinating Committee studied the mandate given by the Lutheran World Federation (LWF) and the Anglican Communion. The focus of this work is to monitor and encourage existing Anglican-Lutheran relations, as well as to advance co-operation between the two Churches in areas where there are not yet any formal agreements. To enable the Committee to function as an encourager as well as a catalyst, the Committee has begun a process of mapping agreements, initiatives and projects in different regions. This mapping project is an ongoing task for the Committee and we urge Churches, in both communions, to provide information to further this task.

More here-

From police officer to priest: Former officer returns to church

From Texas-

The Rev. David Huxley didn’t plan on ever coming back to church — let alone entering the priesthood.

“I’d grown up Episcopalian, but when I got to be 17 or 18, church kind of lost its appeal,” said Huxley, who moved to Midland last week to take a position as the new rector at St. Nicholas’ Episcopal Church. “I went churchless for many years.”

Huxley became a police officer for the city of Madison, Wis. He worked there for 20 years before finding himself back in the Episcopal church, attending services upon a friend’s suggestion. Still, he never thought of becoming a priest until he kneeled to pray one Sunday and realized how much he missed church.

Kneeling in a pew, he heard a response to his prayer — “I don’t care where you’ve been; I don’t care what you’ve done; I’m just glad that you’re back.”

Taking this as a calling from God, Huxley retired from the police force at age 50 and entered the seminary to become an Episcopalian priest. Going back to school was difficult, but his police background helped him tremendously in dealing with people, he said.

More here-

Episcopal church keeps homeless center open after New London stops funding, closes shelter

From Connecticut-

After the funeral of a man who died in the woods during the winter of 2006, a group of citizens decided they needed to find a way to provide a warm place for those who have no homes.

"It started as a simple humanitarian response," said Catherine Zall, executive director of the New London Homeless Hospitality Center. "We didn't want people to die outside."

Staff and volunteers have kept open a 50-bed shelter at St. James Episcopal Ch

"People don't stop being homeless at 9 a.m.," Zall said.

urch and a day center at All Souls New London Church that served up to 70 a day, since the city stopped funding its welfare department and closed its emergency shelter in 2005. But the group of concerned citizens soon discovered that the homeless population has a vast array of needs, in addition finding a place to sleep at night.

More here-

Friday, September 27, 2013

Judge's order prompts amendment in Christ Church Anglican appeal

From Georgia-

The Savannah Zoning Board of Appeals on Thursday justified its decision for granting Christ Church Anglican permission to build a sanctuary in the Thomas Square neighborhood.

The board, in response to a judge’s order, amended the motion used as the basis for an April 25 decision regarding the church’s zoning variance requests. The update explains the board’s reasoning for disregarding the Chatham County-Savannah Metropolitan Planning Commission staff’s recommendations on the variances.

An order by Chatham County Superior Court Chief Judge Michael Karpf prompted the amended motion. Karpf is presiding over an appeal of the board’s decision filed by Christ Church’s would-be neighbors, who are opposed to building the church campus on the site.

Karpf’s order read that he was unable to determine whether the zoning board abused its discretion as claimed by the plaintiffs, six East 36th Street residents whose homes sit across the lane from the proposed sanctuary site.

More here-

Christians protest in Pakistan streets after mass murder

From The Church Times-

CROSSES were held aloft, tyres were burned, and roads were blocked in cities across Pakistan this week, as Christians demanded better protection from the government, in the wake of the one of the worst attacks ever on the country's Christians.

Eighty-five people were killed in a suicide bombing at All Saints', Peshawar, part of the United Church of Pakistan, on Sunday. Victims included 34 women and seven children. More than 100 have been wounded. On Tuesday, the Archbishop of Canterbury described the dead as "martyrs".

Security sources have reported that two suicide bombers carried out the attack as worshippers left the church after the service for refreshments on the lawn outside.

More here-

San Joaquin takes ‘interim steps’ toward election of provisional bishop

From ENS-

Bishop David Rice of the Diocese of Waiapu in the Anglican Church in Aotearoa, New Zealand and Polynesia is poised to become the next provisional bishop of the Episcopal Diocese of San Joaquin.

If elected, he would succeed Bishop Chester L. Talton, who has served nearly three years as provisional bishop and who has announced his intention to retire. Talton, who retired in 2010 as suffragan of Los Angeles, turned 72 on Sept. 22.

“The Standing Committee has made a very good choice because they discerned that the diocese has reached a place where we are ready to respond to the rebuilding that has been going on since 2008,” Talton said in a Sept. 26 telephone interview with ENS.

More here-

Thursday, September 26, 2013

Christians now suffering mass martyrdom, says Archbishop of Canterbury

From The Telegraph-

The Most Rev Justin Welby said that there had been more than 80 Christian “martyrs” in the last few days alone.

He was speaking about the bombing of All Saints Anglican church in Peshawar, Pakistan, in which 85 were killed and more than 200 injured.

But he said that Christians were also being singled out for violence in a string of other countries.
Christian communities which have existed “in many cases since the days of Saint Paul” are now under threat in countries such as Syria and Egypt, he said.

Last month around 100 Christian sites were attacked amid the turmoil in Egypt, with 42 churches burnt to the ground. Ancient Christian communities in Syria have also been singled out for violence.

More here-

Why is organized religion declining?

From Michigan-

Part of American religiosity is church attendance, which has declined for many denominations and many individual churches within those denominations. I will share some of my own observations about why this is happening.

(1) First of all, denominations such as my own, the Episcopal Church, have done a very poor job of recruiting talented young people to enter into the ministry. Moreover, seminarians usually come out of their training with tens of thousands of dollars in debt. With notoriously low salaries, newly minted clergy face the grim task of trying to pay off this debt. The Episcopal Church has the best-run pension plan among denominations in the United States (and perhaps the best pension plan per se). The pension fund has billions of dollars for a relatively small amount of people who tap into it, yet there is very little financial help for seminarians within the Episcopal Church.

More here-

Man Sues Estate of Dead Priest

From Massachusetts-

An Episcopal priest sexually assaulted a child parishioner for 10 years, the child, now a man, claims in court.

     John Doe claims in Suffolk County Court that the late Rev. Paul A.L. LaCharite sexually abused him from 1995 until 2005.

     LaCharite died on Sept. 26, 2012, apparently of suicide, two weeks after he was accused of indecent assault, according to reports in Boston newspapers and an Anglican Church website.

     LaCharite was rector and priest at the defendant St. James Episcopal Church in Somerville. From 2005 until his death in 2012 he was pastor at Old North Church in Boston, which is not a party to the lawsuit.

     Doe also sued the Episcopal Diocese of Massachusetts and LaCharite's estate.

     He claims LaCharite abused him during his years at St. James Episcopal Church in Somerville, where Doe was a parishioner. The abuse allegedly began before he was 10.

More here-

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

George H.W. Bush is witness at same-sex marriage in Maine

From The Washington Post-

Another prominent Republican has come out in support of same-sex marriage — or at least, in support of one particular same-sex marriage.

Former President George H.W. Bush and his wife Barbara served as an official witnesses Saturday at the Maine wedding of Bonnie Clement and Helen Thorgalsen, co-owners of a Kennebunk general store. Thorgalsen posted a photo on Facebook of the 41st commander-in-chief signing a set of documents for them at an outdoor celebration: “Getting our marriage license witnessed!”

No big statement from the ex-prez’s office. His rep Jim McGrath confirmed his and wife Barbara’s presence at the Kennebunkport wedding: “They were private citizens attending a private ceremony for two friends.”

In an email from their honeymoon in London, Clement told us they’ve known the former first couple for years and were thrilled they accepted the wedding invitation. Thinking about “how monumental this time is in our lives” and “how blessed we are to be in their lives,” they decided to ask them “to really personalize it for us” as witnesses.

More here-

Can We Finally Start Talking About The Global Persecution Of Christians?

From The Federalist-

Wealthy Kenyans and Westerners bustled about Westgate Shopping Mall in Nairobi on Saturday. Families ate lunch in the food court. A radio station targeting Kenyan Asians was hosting a children’s event on the roof of the parking lot.

Around noon, armed gunmen stormed the mall and exploded grenades. Thousands of terrified people dropped to the floor, fled out of exits and hid in stores. The gunmen began lining people up and shooting some of the five dozen people they would slaughter and 240 people, ages 2 to 78, that they would wound.

Al-Shabaab, which is claiming credit for the attack, is reported to have singled out non-Muslims. “A witness to the attacks at Nairobi’s upscale mall says that gunmen told Muslims to stand up and leave and that non-Muslims would be targeted,” according to the Associated Press.

More here-

Church of South India elects first woman bishop

From ACNS-

The Church of South India has today appointed its first woman bishop.

The Revd Eggoni Pushpalalitha was ordained in 1983 and has most recently been a priest in the Diocese of Nadyal in Andhra Pradesh.

Her appointment comes only days after the Church of Ireland elected its first woman bishop, the Revd Pat (Patricia) Storey as the new Bishop of Meath and Kildare.

Provincial Secretary of the Church of South India, Mani M. Philip confirmed that Miss Pushpalalitha had been appointed by the Synod Selection Board this afternoon.

"We have been ordaining women since 1976," he told ACNS, adding that in its constitution, the province mandates that at least 25 per cent of all statutory bodies should be women.

More here-

House of Bishops Day 6 (Fall 2013)

From Dan Martins-

Morning Prayer: Pretty straight BCP Rite 2, but with Pascha nostrum as the single canticle set to a chant tune with some fairly funky harmonies ... only there was no accompaniment, and the pure melody imparted a distinctly uncelebratory tone to a quite festive text.

The morning session was entitled "Moving Diagonally," to which I must hereby offer a weak protest, since that's the name of my diary blog. I see now I should probably get the term trademarked. There was a panel, coordinated by Jeff Lee of Chicago and including Dan Edwards (Nevada), Diane Bruce (Suffragan, Los Angeles) and Todd Ousley (Eastern Michigan). Bishops Edwards and Bruce presented first, followed by table discussions; then Bishops Ousley and Lee, followed by more table discussions. (There was a break thrown somewhere in there as well.) I won't attempt to summarize what each one said, but the (assigned) theme concerned making lemonade--transforming loss into new opportunities. Each presenter told us a story of an experience of loss in his or her diocesan ministry, and then about an experience of unexpected blessing in the midst of that loss, growing out of that loss.

More here-

Nigeria: Anglican Archbishop Joins Ranks of the Kidnapped in Nigeria

From Nigeria-

Kidnapping of prominent persons for ransom is so common in southern Nigeria that according to the Economist, the press largely ignores it unless the victim is especially prominent. Last year, the mother of Finance Minister Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala was kidnapped and released allegedly upon payment of a ransom. In September of this year, the Anglican archbishop of the Niger Delta Province of the Anglian Communion, Ignatus Kattey and his wife were kidnapped in oil-rich Rivers State; she was quickly released, but he was held for nine days. The archbishop told the press that he did not know if a ransom was paid. The police are claiming credit for his release, but the archbishop is emphatic: “The police did not rescue me. They were not the ones who rescued my wife, Beatrice… The police are telling lies, if you cannot trust the police again, then who can you trust? I told the commissioner of police and he has apologized.”

More here-

Anglicans keep the faith in archbishop's grand residence

From Australia-

Real estate agents can stop salivating because the Anglican church has ruled out selling or subdividing the Archbishop's stunning East Melbourne residence, Bishopscourt.

Last year the church voted to sell Sydney's Bishopscourt, in exclusive Darling Point, estimated to be worth more than $25 million.

One local agent valued Melbourne's equivalent at $20 million to $25 million. He said the 0.8ha overlooking Fitzroy Gardens with its grand 18-room, combined Italianate and arts and crafts house, ''has got to be up there with the best landholdings in Melbourne, or anywhere really, with its location and garden''.

But despite Anglican factions pushing in the 1990s to offload such an asset to fund church ministries, Melbourne Archbishop Dr Philip Freier says the place isn't for sale.

More here-

Jesus: Center of Our Unity

From The Living Church-

Toronto, Ontario

September 20, 2013

Greetings to the Faithful of the Anglican Communion and all our Friends in Christ:

We write to you from a conference in Toronto, Canada, celebrating the 50th anniversary of the 1963 Pan-Anglican Congress held here. We are Primates and bishops representing the Anglican Global South, including the chairmen of the Global South Primates’ Steering Committee, Council of Anglican Provinces of Africa (CAPA), and Global Anglican Future Conference (GAFCON).

We thank Wycliffe College and her friends for hosting us.

We have heard talks recollecting our Anglican legacy from this 1963 Congress, and gave thanks in worship and fellowship for the astonishing missionary growth to which the congress both called and pointed us. In the midst of our gathering, we were blessed by a live address from the Archbishop of Canterbury, Justin Welby, commenting on the Congress theme of Mutual Responsibility and Interdependence in the Body of Christ.

More here-

Massachusetts: Together Now campaign surpasses $20 million

From ENS-

A year and a half after its public launch, and with all congregations participating, the Diocese of Massachusetts’ Together Now fundraising campaign reached its $20-million goal over the summer months.

“We’ve done it. We’re over the top. Large and small, individually and collectively, we’ve done it, and we’ve done it together,” Massachusetts Bishop M. Thomas Shaw, SSJE said in a campaign update to congregations and donors.

When the pledge tally hit $20,049,826 as of June 30, it was a finish-line moment in what has been a marathon effort counted off in dozens of success stories along the way — up, down and across the diocese — as individuals and congregations found their way into the campaign and then made it their own.

More here-

Newly Released Essay Collection Explores Future of Episcopal Church

From PR Web-

In the wake of profound differences that some speculated would split the Episcopal Church, a diversity of church leaders has contributed to a new book that explores what changes may be needed to serve a modern, diverse society. From Presiding Bishop The Most Reverend Katharine Jefferts Schori to the The Very Reverend Katherine Hancock Ragsdale, President of the Episcopal Divinity School in Cambridge, leaders write boldly about what kind of structural changes will encourage the Church to become what God might be calling it to be.

This book, "What We Shall Become: The Future and Structure of the Episcopal Church,” is published as the governing bodies of the Episcopal Church USA are anticipating formal recommendations that will outline the future character and structure of the Church.

More here-

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

The Anglican scenario: Could Catholics split over gay rights?

From Milwaukee-

As my Slate colleague William Saletan writes, Pope Francis' blockbuster interview with La Civilta Cattolica gives liberal Catholics a lot to be happy about. But in light of the Anglican Church's experience in recent years, it made me wonder whether there was any risk of a similar scenario playing out for global Catholicism, particularly in the all-important African Catholic Churches.

The previous archbishop of Canterbury, Rowan Williams, spent much of his tenure trying to keep the global Anglican community from fracturing over differing views of homosexuality. The issue came to a head in 2003, when the U.S. Episcopal Church consecrated the openly gay Gene Robinson of New Hampshire as a Bishop. The move led several African Anglican Churches, notably the Church of Nigeria led by the outspoken Bishop Peter Akinola, to break ties with the Episcopal Church, and even threaten to leave the Anglican Communion entirely. At one point, Conservative U.S. churches were even putting themselves under the supervision of African bishops.

More here-

House of Bishops Day 5 (Fall 2013)

From Bishop Martins-

 After Morning Prayer at our tables (an amalgam of BCP and Enriching Our Worship--sung guitar-accompanied Venite, said Psalm, Office Hymn sung unaccompanied), our morning panelists were introduced: Mary Frances, church planting director for the ELCA; Becca Stevens, a priest of the Diocese of Tennessee who runs a nationally-acclaimed ministry with women recovering from violence; and Tom Brackett, church planting staff member with 815. Their presentations were each quite compelling. From my standpoint as a small-diocese bishop always on the prowl for usable ideas, I thought Pastor Frances had the most red meat to offer. The ELCA process is quite methodical and structured, and I mean "structured" as in "helpful." As I shared with my table group, from-scratch church planting doesn't figure prominently for us in the Diocese of Springfield at present. We are straining toward a more organic approach in which existing Eucharistic Communities take responsibility for mission in their own geographic parishes, and plant satellite communities that are eventually hived off. But we don't have much to show for it yet, because we're in the process of marshaling our resources and laying foundations. By the time any of our work is visible above ground, we'll already have a strong root system.

More here

Pirates clinch first playoff spot since 1992

The big news from Pittsburgh-

For the first time since 1992, the Pirates are going to the postseason. Their 2-1 win over the Cubs combined with the Nationals 4-3 loss to the Cardinals clinched a playoff spot for Pittsburgh. The Cardinals, Braves, Reds and Dodgers have all punched their postseason ticket as well, so the five-team NL field is set.

The Pirates snapped their 20-year streak of losing seasons earlier this month, so these last few weeks have been pretty special for the Pittsburgh nine. The last time the Pirates went to the playoffs, their best hitter was Barry Bonds and their best pitcher was Doug Drabek. Yeah, the times have changed.

Like that 1992 squad, the 2013 Pirates also have one of the very best players in the world in Andrew McCutchen. The center fielder is both a legitimate NL MVP candidate and the franchise's best all-around player since Bonds. Slugger Pedro Alvarez backs up McCutchen with serious power from the left side. Coming into Monday, the team averaged just 3.88 runs scored per game, which is more or less league average.

More here-

Monday, September 23, 2013

Return al Qaeda hate with peace, Nairobi bishop asks Kenyans

From Kenya-

Religious leaders in Kenya have called upon Christians and Muslims to foreswear revenge in the wake of the attack on the Westgate shopping mall in suburban Nairobi, urging all Kenyans to remain united in the face of terrorism.

On 21 September 2013 upwards of 15 members of the Somali terrorist group al-Shabaab attacked shoppers in the upscale mall patronized by the city’s expatriate community and the burgeoning middle classes.  Reports from survivors state the terrorists, including one woman, began to spray shoppers with automatic rifle fire and lobbed grenades into stores and restaurants.

Some patrons of the mall were taken hostage, eyewitnesses reported. Those who were able to recite the Shadada, the Muslim profession of belief, were released. Those who would not convert to Islam were executed.  The Red Cross reports that 69 bodies had been recovered from the Mall, including those of two terrorists. However the interior ministry reports only 59 dead so far, but concedes the death toll will rise.

- See more at:

Bishop of Bradford explains his views over changes to diocese

From England-

As choosing a new bishop to head the Super Diocese of West Yorkshire and the Dales gets underway, Bradford’s Anglican leader has soundly backed the decision which cost him his job.

Candidates are being assessed but there is time to make suggestions by the closing date of Monday, September 30.

The Bishop of Bradford, the Right Reverend Nick Baines is explaining his support for changes to the Bradford, Ripon and Leeds & Wakefield dioceses, which will be merged to create a single ecclesiastical body.

More here-

Pray for hostages - and their captors

From Anglican News-

I am praying today for all those who remain hostage in a shopping mall in Nairobi, as well as for their families and friends waiting anxiously for news. I’m praying too for their captors, that they would see and understand that hostility and violence will never be allowed to have the last word.

There is nothing new about taking people hostage – and the more innocent the better, as it gets the kidnappers more leverage. The problem is that while initially there is much media coverage, eventually we forget the victims: they disappear first from the front page, then from any page, and finally even from memory.

I have been reminded of this by the stories from Camp Ashraf in Iraq. Until recently it was a refugee camp holding members of the Iranian opposition, among others. Conditions have been very bad. In the very recent past it was raided, a significant number of people were killed and a number of others disappeared into captivity.

More here-

St Marys church calls for planning change after Bikini Girls Massage parlour opens next door

From Australia-

CALLS for tougher planning laws are being made after a Bikini Girls Massage parlour opened next to a St Marys church which already has a sex shop directly opposite it and another 200m away.

The latest branch of the controversial massage parlour offering bikini-clad women has opened next to the Anglican Parish of St Marys, on South Rd.

A member of the church congregation, who did not want to be named, said planning laws needed to be tightened to stop such businesses operating near places of worship.

The church unsuccessfully opposed the opening of the adjecent sex shop in 2011.

Another adult store is 200m away on Celtic Ave.

"We're not very happy about it," the woman told the Mitcham & Hills Messenger last week.

"The sex shop across the road, that hits you in the eye the minute you walk out of the church door and now in the shops next to the church is the massage parlour.

More here-

Exposed: Catholic Nuns Are Rampaging Sexually With Priest In Kenya

From Kenya (via Nigeria)

Nairobi convents have been turned into a house of sexual immorality, a nun has revealed.

The woman of God has revealed for the first time that priests who are well-connected to John Cardinal Njue, are sex pests and are preying on nuns everyday.

She told The Nairobian that she lives in fear of falling into a sex trap.

The Catholic church’s leadership has neither confirmed or denied allegations that priests and nuns have been engaging in sex.

Open discussion on sex in the Catholic Church is almost taboo, yet there is widespread intimacy between priests and nuns.

More here-

Lhota’s wife studied to become a priest

From New York City

She once studied to become an Episcopal priest — and could now be her husband’s best secret weapon in his mayoral contest against Bill de Blasio.

Tamra Roberts Lhota has largely been able to avoid the spotlight since her husband declared his candidacy. But she’s about to step up her presence on the campaign trail — and was already hard at work behind the scenes last week, when she met with the Rev. Al Sharpton along with her husband, Republican hopeful Joe Lhota. “We talked about the Lord,” a clearly impressed Sharpton said of Tamra.

Joe Lhota’s intensely private family — including Tamra and daughter Kathryn, 22 — couldn’t be further from that of de Blasio’s, the charismatic biracial clan that has been a focal point of the Dem’s campaign.

More here-

Anglicans worldwide expresses shock, sadness over Pakistan bombings

From ENS-

Anglicans in Pakistan and around the world have expressed shock and sadness after two suicide bombers killed about 150 people and injured 200 at a church in Pakistan.

Within hours of the news of the deadly attack on All Saint’s Church in Peshawar, members of the Anglican Communion had spoken out against the attack, called for prayers, and, in India, even arranged a solidarity march.

On the Peshawar diocese website, Bishop Humphrey Peters condemned the attack and expressed his condolences to all the families who lost loved ones. He appealed for Christians in Pakistan and around the world to pray for the affected families.

More here-

Sunday, September 22, 2013

Peshawar church bombing a condensation of horror and loss

From Titus Presler-

“This is a catastrophe for the Christian community of Pakistan,” my secretary Ashbel Taj said to me a few minutes ago.  He had just returned from visiting the wounded at Lady Reading Hospital after today’s bombing at All Saints’ Church in the heart of the old city of Peshawar.

Despite having the largest trauma unit in the world, the hospital scene was chaotic, he said, as staff struggled to treat the 200 or more wounded.  Information is still emerging, but numerous conversations with colleagues in Peshawar – I’m in the USA at the moment – indicate that 150 or more people were killed.

I’ve tried to reach Bishop Humphrey Sarfaraz Peters, but he is fully occupied in visiting the wounded in hospital.  He was on visitation at the parish in Bannu, in Waziristan, but rushed back upon news of the bombing.

More here-

78 killed, over 100 injured in Peshawar church attack

From Pakistan-

The two attackers struck at the end of a service at All Saints Church in  Peshawar, the main town in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province which has borne the brunt of a bloody Islamist insurgency in recent years.

Sahibzada Anees, one of Peshawar’s most senior officials, told reporters the bombers struck when the service had just ended.

“Most of the wounded are in critical condition,” Anees said.

“We are in an area which is a target of terrorism and within that area there was a special security arrangement for the church. We are in a rescue phase and once it is over we will investigate what went wrong.”

Former minister for inter-faith harmony Paul Bhatti and provincial lawmaker Fredrich Azeem Ghauri both said the attack was the deadliest ever targeting Christians in Pakistan.

More here-

House of Bishops Day 3 (Fall 2013)

From Dan Martins-

We began with the Eucharist for St Matthew's Day at 9am. The Bishop of Atlanta presided and Fr Simon Bautistia, one of the HOB chaplains, preached. I really do hate it that I find worshiping at meetings of the House of Bishops more alienating than uplifting. As a good Catholic, of course, I realize that it's not about how I feel. Indeed, if it were about how I feel, I would probably just silently absent myself. But it's not, so I go. Part of the alienation, no doubt, is my responsibility, and I need to own that. But I also need to name my irritation: It's just too laborious. Today the celebrant switched from English to Spanish and back several time--just during the Eucharistic Prayer! Prayer Book rubrics and texts are widely ignored or altered. Our musician, Dent Davidson, has talent oozing out of his pores; he is really good at what he does. But the music is a steady diet of the exotic with occasional smatterings of the familiar as a condiment. I would dearly love to see the proportions reversed: liturgies anchored in the center of the tradition, following Prayer Book texts and rubrics, seasoned judiciously with the exotic. I suppose others would then feel malnourished. What to do?

More here-

W.Va. Episcopal Church to bless same-sex couples

From West Virginia-

The Episcopal Church in West Virginia will bless same sex unions, Bishop Michie Klusmeyer announced Saturday.

Klusmeyer said he gave the issue much thought and prayer before making the decision, which he announced in Flatwoods at a three-day convention of the Diocese of West Virginia.

Klusmeyer said the Episcopal Diocese of West Virginia is following the example of three other Christian organizations -- the Evangelical Lutheran Church, United Church of Christ and the Presbyterian Church in blessing the unions.

More here-

Episcopal priest, Malcolm Boyd, is star of a new documentary

From The Christian Science Monitor-

Los Angeles filmmaker Andrew Thomas has turned his attention from the secular to the religious by directing a feature-length documentary on the life and times of the Rev. Malcolm Boyd, an Episcopal priest who says the church needs to be more relevant to the everyday person and has worked to improve that issue.

Thomas, who has created, produced and written series for A&E and the Discovery Channel, said he plans to release a preview of the film, “Disturber of the Peace,” at the Palm Springs Gay and Lesbian Film Festival in California on Sept. 21 and expects to release the film at selected theaters across the country early next year.

He said the film will contain extensive past and present-day exclusive footage of Boyd, who turned 90 years old on June 8, along with interviews with those who knew and and worked with him during his long career, including political activist Tom Hayden and actress Lily Tomlin.

More here-