Saturday, October 5, 2013

Anglicans and Copts unite in prayer for Egypt, Syria and the Middle East

From Christian Today-

People caught up in conflict and unrest in Egypt, Syria and the wider Middle East are being remembered in prayer today by Anglicans and Copts.

A special service is taking place in Guildford on Saturday night as part of the Anglican-Oriental International Commission that has been meeting since Thursday.

The Commission is meeting over four days to discuss matters of Christology and the Holy Spirit, with the Archbishop of Canterbury, the Most Reverend Justin Welby, due to join talks on Sunday.

Prayers will be said for Egypt, Syria and the Middle East during tonight's Orthodox Vespers service.

His Grace Bishop Angaelos, General Bishop of the Coptic Orthodox Church in the United Kingdom, is serving as Co-Secretary of the commission this year.

More here-

Abp of Canterbury 'moved to tears' by visit of Abp Kattey

From ACN-

The Archbishop of Canterbury has said that he was ‘moved to tears’ to welcome recently-released Nigerian archbishop Ignatius Kattey and his wife, Mrs Beatrice Kattey, to Lambeth Palace yesterday.

The Most Revd Ignatius Kattey, who is Dean and Archbishop of the Niger Delta Province, and Mrs Kattey were kidnapped on 6 September near their residence in the southern city of Port Harcourt. Mrs Kattey was released a few hours later, but Archbishop Kattey was held for more than a week.

Lambeth Palace staff lined the main staircase to applaud Archbishop and Mrs Kattey when they visited yesterday morning. They were accompanied their daughter, Josephine; Archdeacon John Chukwuemeka Adubasim, from the Diocese of Niger Delta North, who is on a study visit to the Diocese of Guildford; and Canon Ben Enwuchola, Chaplain to the Nigerian Congregation in London. They had tea with Archbishop Justin and then joined Lambeth Palace staff for Eucharist in the chapel, followed by lunch.

More here-

Making Over Clergy Fashion

From The New York Times-

Stephen Fendler, president of CM Almy, shows off a rack of samples from his brand-new women’s collection, pointing out a piece he’s particularly proud of: a black blouse in a stretchy jersey knit.

But Mr. Fendler’s collections won’t be seen on the runways anytime soon. CM Almy says it is the largest, and one of the oldest, American producers of clerical clothing, and its models are hitting the pulpit instead of the catwalk. Their designers create garments for priests, ministers and bishops mainly within the Episcopal, Lutheran and Roman Catholic churches — from everyday plain shirts and white collars, to the more elaborate and colorful ceremonial chasubles.

“We have seasons, and items go in and out of style just like the fashion world,” Mr. Fendler said. But “our style changes are driven by evolutions in holy ceremonies. Nobody would call us the most fashion-forward company in the marketplace.”

More here-

Bishop to check out unique theology school

From Topeka-

When Episcopal Church Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori visits Topeka this weekend, it will be for more than a mere courtesy call at a Midwest diocese.

Schori is keenly interested in the work of the Bishop Kemper School for Ministry, an institution based in Topeka that is designed to provide theological education in a local setting for people wishing to serve in the Episcopal Dioceses of Kansas, West Missouri, Nebraska and Western Kansas.

“That’s the main reason for my visit,” said Schori, 59. “I will be meeting with people who have supported the Kemper School for Ministry, and I’ll be visiting with donors.”

Schori also will meet with area bishops on Saturday.

The Kemper School opened this past summer and is supported financially by the four dioceses.

More here-

National Cathedral offers free garden weddings to 'shutdown' couples

From PBS-

As the federal government shutdown endures, couples who were planning to wed on the National Mall in Washington, D.C. had to face the last-minute reality of their weddings being canceled due to the closure of all national parks and monuments.

The National Cathedral decided it wanted to help.

Bishop Mariann Edgar Budde, the Episcopal bishop of Washington, stepped in to offer couples the Bishop's Garden at the cathedral as another place in the district to tie the knot free of charge. Ceremonies would be open to all faiths.

"The shutdown's impact on people's lives is incalculable, and we're all struggling to find ways to support our neighbors," said Budde.

More here-

Friday, October 4, 2013

Chicago burger garnished with Communion wafer

From The "You Can't Make This Stuff Up Department" Chicago Division-

 A Chicago restaurant has cooked up a controversial burger of the month for October, garnishing it with an unconsecrated Communion wafer and a red wine reduction sauce.

Kuma's Corner, a foodie destination with just a few tables, names its hamburgers after heavy metal bands. For October, the restaurant chose to name the burger after the Swedish band Ghost. Members of the band dress in religious robes and wear skeleton face makeup.

It's in poor taste, said Jeff Young of New Orleans who runs the blog Catholic Foodie.

"It's not, for us, the Eucharist," Young said. "However this wafer is a symbol. There's a cross on it. It's like taking a flag and burning a flag."

Luke Tobias, Kuma's Corner director of operations, said the restaurant never wanted to offend anyone. He said reaction has been a "mixed bag," but more positive than negative.

More here-

First Anglican woman bishop in India says critics have been silent

From The National Catholic Reporter-

A Christian nun who became the first woman bishop of South Asia's Anglican community said so far, her appointment has silenced critics who believe only men can play leadership roles in the church.

Speaking on the phone from the Nandyal diocese in the southern state of Andhra Pradesh, the Rev. Eggoni Pushpalalitha, who was appointed a bishop of the Church of South India on Monday, said she faced bias against women in leadership roles "but only until my consecration."

"Those who used to talk about it are now touching my feet," said the 57-year-old bishop, who holds degrees in economics and divinity, referring to an Indian custom of showing respect.

A day before her consecration, she told an Indian newspaper: "Be it any institution, women are always given second-rung treatment. We need to change that by promoting values that teach us to not discriminate and treat all humans the same."

More here-

Sudan Primate challenges Anglican Communion: "Don't just pray, act!"

From ACNS-

The Primate of the Episcopal Church of Sudan, the Most Revd Daniel Deng Bul Yak has challenged the worldwide Anglican Communion to actively help the war-affected people of South Sudan.

He was speaking in an exclusive interview with ACNS in Johannesburg, South Africa, where he is attending the Anglican Church of Southern Africa’s Provincial Synod as special guest.

The Primate complained that the Anglican Church in South Sudan felt it was struggling alone and not receiving adequate support from other Member Churches. “People are just saying we are supporting you in prayers, but prayers must be followed by action.

“We need good education and health and there are a lot of experienced people within the Anglican Communion who can come and help us,” he said. “We need missionaries to come and set up schools and health centres in South Sudan. There is a lot that Anglicans can do to help.”

More here-,-act!.aspx

SC judge denies Episcopal Church request to expand lawsuit

From South Carolina-

South Carolina Circuit Judge Diane S. Goodstein released her decision Wednesday that the Episcopal Church (TEC) and its local remnant, the Episcopal Church in South Carolina (ECSC) cannot expand their counterclaims against the Diocese of South Carolina to include almost two dozen parishioners who voluntarily serve as diocesan Trustees and members of the Diocese’s Standing Committee.

In her decision, Judge Goodstein wrote, “This court finds that the individual leaders whom Defendants seek to join as Counterclaim Plaintiffs are entitled to immunity” under state law. She also wrote that “adding the additional defendants would be futile.”

More here-

Episcopal bishop offers National Cathedral garden for weddings postponed due to gov’t shutdown

From The Washington Post-

The Episcopal bishop of Washington is inviting any couples who had to cancel their weddings on federal property due to the government shutdown to have their ceremonies in a garden at Washington National Cathedral.

Bishop Mariann Edgar Budde said Thursday that the Bishop’s Garden at the cathedral would be offered free of charge to any couples who wanted to hold wedding ceremonies outdoors.

Budde says the government shutdown’s impact on people’s lives is incalculable. She says the church wanted to support its neighbors.

The offer was made after 24 weddings scheduled for sites on the National Mall this month were postponed. The National Park Service notified those couples that their permits for weddings are postponed until the government reopens.

Weddings are held at such sites as the Jefferson Memorial.

More here-

Thursday, October 3, 2013

New theological school launched by 4 Midwestern dioceses

From ACNS-

Diocese of Kansas by Melodie Woerman- Class is now in session for the Bishop Kemper School for Ministry, the newly created school that provides theological education to students from the dioceses of Kansas, West Missouri, Nebraska and Western Kansas. The school’s first group of students, 35 people from all four dioceses, met for the first time Aug. 10-11 in Topeka.

To celebrate the school’s creation, Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori will be in Topeka on Oct. 5. She will speak at a public forum on the emerging shape of the church and the changing face of ministry. She then will officiate at a service to mark the school’s opening and dedicate school facilities, and she will greet people at a public reception.

The school is named for Bishop Jackson Kemper, the first missionary bishop of the Episcopal Church, who was the organizing bishop when each of the four dioceses was founded in the 19th century. He also was committed to the value of local theological education for the growth and health of the Episcopal Church.

More here-

From the Pulpit: Grace Episcopal instrumental in new outreach

From Illinois-

The Freeport Area Church Cooperative announced two weeks ago that a new project would make possible a permanent housing solution for homeless veterans in Freeport.

Offering six newly renovated apartments, Hero House, at 218 W. Clark St., promises to fulfill dreams of FACC and veterans service organizations to serve a population that is often lost in the mainstream.

Helping this vision to materialize through significant funding, Grace Episcopal Church of Freeport continues a tradition of generosity that has been touching the lives of those in need for decades. A founding member of FACC in the 1970s, Grace Church was soon instrumental in beginning the ministry called PADS (Public Action to Deliver Shelter), under the guiding light of Deacon Ron Russell and other determined individuals.

Read more:

Wednesday, October 2, 2013

An Honest Hearing

From The Living Churc-

In this work of comparative theology, professor Mona Siddiqui of the University of Edinburgh presents a provocative exposition of Islamic and Christian Christology (specifically the Incarnation and the Trinity). The book is not about personal experiences or worship practices related to Jesus. Instead, its methodology is intellectual history, addressing what Christians and Muslims have believed about Jesus. While the title is succinct, the book is more accurately a Muslim theological perspective on Jesus and Christianity in comparison with Siddiqui’s vision of Islam. The order of questions and topics are determined by the classical Islamic approaches to Christianity.

More here-

Reasons Most Churches Never Break the 200 Attendance Mark

While social media and even traditional media are still preoccupied with mega churches and multi-site churches, the reality is that most churches in North America are quite small.

The Barna group pegs the average Protestant church size in America at 89 adults. 60% of protestant churches have less than 100 adults in attendance. Only 2% have over 1000 adults attending.

Please understand, there’s nothing wrong with being a small church. I just know that almost every small church leader I speak to wants his or her church to  grow.

I get that. That’s the mission of the church. Every single day, I want our church to become more effective in reaching one more person with the hope that’s in Christ.

So why is it that most churches never break the 200 attendance mark?

It’s not:

Desire. Most leaders I know want their church to reach more people.

A lack of prayer. Many small church leaders are incredibly faithful in prayer.

Love. Some of the people in smaller churches love people as authentically as anyone I know.
Facility. Growth can start in the most unlikely places.

Let’s just assume you have a solid mission, theology and heart to reach people.

You know why most churches still don’t push past the 200 mark in attendance?

You ready?

- See more at:

Pope Speaks to Uganda Muslims After Kenya Attack

From All Africa-

The pope's message was delivered last week to the Mufti of Uganda, Sheikh Shaban Mubajje, by the Vatican's Apostolic Nuncio to Uganda, Michael A. Blume at Old Kampala. Delivering the message, Blume said the pope wants to promote peace and interfaith dialogue.

"We will continue reaching out to our Muslim brothers and sisters because we know that with peace, we will achieve development," said the Apostolic Nuncio.

He commended the mufti for his outstanding role in promoting peace and development. On his part, Mubajje thanked the pope for sending the peace message.

"We thank the pope for the fact that he is there for world peace," said the Mufti, adding that Uganda Muslim Supreme Council (UMSC) believes in peace, promotes peace and keeps peace at all times.

He noted that this is why UMSC is a member of peace promoting organisations such as the Inter Religious Council of Uganda and Religions for Peace International, among others.

More here-

Writer John Green takes a shine to Pittsburgh

From Pittsburgh-

They came carrying hardcover books, freshly ripped pieces of notebook paper and the occasional pocket-size U.S. Constitution.

If a student has the copy of the historical do
cument signed by someone famous, she or he gets bonus points. And, as confirmed by the knot of Mt. Lebanon teens outside St. Paul's Episcopal Church, writer John Green more than qualifies, as do actors Shailene Woodley, Ansel Elgort and Nat Wolff. 

Word that "The Fault in Our Stars" had landed at the church spread through Instagram, Twitter, texts and talk among middle and high schoolers walking along Washington Road and Mayfair Drive.

Students who skipped or postponed dinner and homework and waited into the darkness met the author, a publishing and vlogging rock star. One declared, "This is, like, the best day of my life."
Mr. Green, 36, signed everything politely pressed into his hands, begged off photos due to a quickie lunch break around 8 p.m. but later returned for selfies with his fans.

Read more:

Western Michigan: Whayne M. Hougland ordained as ninth bishop

From ENS-

The Episcopal Diocese of Western Michigan consecrated its ninth bishop, the Rt. Rev. Whayne M. Hougland, Jr., a Kentucky native, on Saturday, Sept. 28. He succeeds the Rt. Rev. Robert Gepert, who retired in August after serving the diocese for 12 years.

An estimated 1,000 people filled Van Noord Arena at Calvin College in Grand Rapids as Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori ordained and consecrated Hougland as the 1077th bishop in the Episcopal Church succession. Co-consecrators were the Rt. Rev. Stacy Sauls, chief operating officer of the Episcopal Church, Bishop Donald Kreiss of the Southeast Michigan Synod of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America, and Bishop Michael Curry of North Carolina, who preached a message about witness and discipleship. In addition to those in attendance, 569 people watched the event online through the new diocesan website.

More here-

Tuesday, October 1, 2013

Anglican Church faces falling membership, deep divisions

From Canada-

More than 15,000 packed Toronto’s Maple Leaf Gardens. Crowds thronged the lobby of the Royal York Hotel. Two hundred reporters scrambled for news and The Globe and Mail splashed the story on its front page.

Not for the Beatles or Muhammad Ali, but a congress of the Anglican Church.

It was late summer, 1963, and the Anglican Church, bastion of the old order, was at its demographic peak in Canada. Its leaders had influence and access to power, and nearly 15 per cent of the country claimed membership in the flock. The Toronto Congress, whose 50th anniversary was celebrated this week, was something of a high water mark.

More here-

Rtd Anglican Archbishop David Gitari passes on after short illness

From Kenya-

David Mukuba Gitari, a retired and powerful Anglican Bishop is dead.

Gitari succumbed at around 2:15pm Monday afternoon upon being transferred to the Intensive Care Unit (ICU) t Mater Hospital in Nairobi after he was resuscitated from the theatre where he had checked in for an operation.

The retired cleric who was one of the fiercest critics of retired President Daniel Moi has been ailing for a while.

Born on September 16, 1937 Gitari attended the famous Kangaru High School in Embu before attending the University of Nairobi for a Bachelor of Arts degree and was ordained to priesthood in 1972.

He married Grace Wanjiru on March 31, 1966 and God blessed them with three children.

New pope. New tone. New day?

From The Gulf Coast-

When Cardinal Jorge Mario Bergoglio of Buenos Aires was elected pope six months ago, his record suggested he might make some modest changes. Bergoglio was known to have discouraged dissident Anglicans from converting to Rome, suggesting instead that they become better Anglicans, and had cultivated cordial relations with Argentina’s Jews and Muslims. But few thought he would make major waves.

Since then, however, Bergoglio — now Pope Francis I — has been rattling cages.

Asked about gay priests, the pope said, “If someone is gay and he searches for the Lord and has good will, who am I to judge?”

He later said that his church had become “obsessed” with sex and that he would not be talking about abortion, gay marriage and contraception.

The church should be a “home for all,” the pope said, but was in danger of becoming “a small chapel” for “a small group of selected people. We must not reduce the bosom of the universal church to a nest protecting our mediocrity.”

More here-

Pastor helps lead effort to support child-led orphanages in his war-torn homeland

From Sheboygan-

This story is one in an occasional series of articles about Sheboygan County residents who work to make Sheboygan and beyond a better place.

Rev. Samuel Nsengiyumva has served St. Peter’s Episcopal Church in Sheboygan Falls as pastor for a decade, but he has not forgotten his homeland of Rwanda and the genocidal war that occurred there in the 1990s and which saw millions flee the country and left thousands of children as orphans.

And his parish hasn’t forgotten either.

This past July, three families, led by , traveled to East Africa. The trip was a homecoming for the Nsengiyumva and his wife, Rose, who left their country under very difficult circumstances in 1997. The trip also marked their 30th wedding anniversary.

More here-

Atlanta: Harvard professor schools clergy on leadership

From ENS-

 The world is facing an unprecedented crisis of leadership that churches have the opportunity to address in their communities and beyond, Harvard Kennedy School Professor Ronald Heifetz said Sept. 30 addressing Episcopal Church clergy from Middle and North Georgia.

Heifetz’s presentation at the Cathedral of St. Philip in Atlanta focused on how to lead parishes “when the economy is uncertain, education in decline, cities under siege, and crime and poverty are spiraling upward.”

Bishop Rob Wright of the Episcopal Diocese of Atlanta said the presentation supported several goals he set last November of equipping church leaders with skills that allow them to be more nimble in responding to current challenges.

“We asked Dr. Heifetz to give us a framework for the future.”

More here-

Monday, September 30, 2013

Anglican Church reunites with Christian Council

From Ghana-

The Anglican Church has rejoined the Christian Council of Ghana (CCG), after years of separation due to internal wrangling.

It has subsequently urged sister dioceses to bury their differences and work closely with the Council, Right Reverend Dr Daniel S.M. Torto, Bishop of Anglican Dioceses of Accra, said on Saturday.

Bishop Torto made the announcement at the second session of the 21th Synod anchored on the theme: “So they strengthened their hands for the good work.”

He said at the last Synod of the Internal Province of Ghana held in Kumasi in March this year, the subject of dioceses rejoining the Council was revisited, after series of failed attempts.

Bishop Torto explained that after discussions with some heads of churches, the Diocese of Accra formally informed the Christian Council, of the Synod’s decision to join them.

More here-

Bishop of Buckingham congratulates first female bishop in Church of South India

From Christian Today UK-

The Bishop of Buckingham has welcomed the election of the first female bishop in the Church of South India.

The Right Reverend Alan Wilson sent a message of congratulations to the partner Diocese of Nandyal on the election of the Reverend Eggoni Pushpalalitha as the new Bishop of Nandyal in Andhra Pradesh.

She is the first female bishop in the Church of South India and the Episcopal Church in Asia.

Bishop Wilson has met Bishop Pushpal several times and said he hoped to meet her again on his forthcoming visit to the diocese.

Her election comes days after the Church of Ireland announced the Reverend Pat Storey as the next Bishop of Meath and Kildare, also the Church's first female bishop.

More here-

Faith and Spirituality at Swarthmore: A Conversation with Joyce Tompkins

From  Swathmore-

Since last spring, discussions at Swarthmore have increasingly brought attention to the diversity of groups and identities present on campus. Absent from many of these discussions is the topic of religion. This series will seek to explore religious life at Swarthmore by highlighting an individual perspective every week.  The series will discuss the challenges faced by specific students who identify as religious as well as highlight the religious communities that give students of different faiths the opportunity to gather, learn, and engage in rituals and traditions.

This week, a reporter spoke with Joyce Tompkins, the Religious and Spiritual Life Adviser and Interfaith Coordinator at Swarthmore. In an interview, Tompkins touched upon the campus’s secular climate, religious students’ reluctance to discuss their views, and the religious community’s perceived silence during the events of last spring.

More here-

‘Sacrifice needed for African Church to become self-sustainable’

From ENS-

The primate of the Church of the Province of Central Africa (CPCA) said there is need for personal sacrifice from Christians in Africa if the Anglican Church there is to become self-sustainable.

“Christians themselves need to sacrifice a lot by offering their expert services at low or reduced costs to help the church become self-sustainable,” said the Most Rev. Albert Chama, archbishop of CPCA and bishop of Northern Zambia, during a Sept. 28 special ground breaking ceremony to mark the beginning of a large executive housing building project by the Anglican Church in Zambia. “But self-sustaining does not mean doing away with partners. We need to continue working and walking with others as Christ meant us to be.”

Speaking during the same event the Rev. Jim Cooper, rector of Trinity Church, Wall Street, U.S., said his parish was helping finance the project because it was “a good fit” and one way of helping the Church in Africa become self-sustainable. He encouraged the Zambian Church not to relent in their quest for sustainability because “God will help them through.”

More here-

Sunday, September 29, 2013

Compassionate priest brings healing, empowerment to two parishes

From Massachusetts-

A former Catholic priest, the Rev. Scott A. Ciosek is the pastor of St. Martin's Episcopal Church in New Bedford and St. Peter's Episcopal Church in South Dartmouth. He is also a husband, father of three, full-time hospice bereavement minister and college professor.

Originally ordained in the Catholic faith, Ciosek served in New Bedford as deacon at St. John the Baptist Church and as priest at Our Lady of Mount Carmel Church.

"Both of these parishes were made up of such wonderful people," he said.

However, after five years in the priesthood, he made the decision to leave.

"Ministry for me in the Roman Catholic Church was so restrictive," he said. "There were so many good and faithful people who felt unwelcomed by the institutional church because of their sexual orientation or marriage situation and disengaged because their church taught that they could not receive the Eucharist when they came to Mass. It caused great conflict within my heart because I had this deep sense that this isn't the message of Jesus. He never turned people away — he welcomed everyone without exception and embraced them and called them to himself."

More here-