Saturday, October 19, 2013

Gunter elected new bishop

From Fon du Lac-

The Rev. Matthew Alan Gunter was elected Eighth Bishop of the Diocese of Fond du Lac at the 139th Annual Convention on Saturday.

Gunter, rector of St. Barnabas Episcopal Church in Glen Ellyn, Ill., was elected on the second ballot out of three candidates. To be elected, a candidate must have received a majority of the votes in both the lay order and the clergy order. On the second ballot, he received 73 of 99 votes cast in the lay order (50 required) and 43 of 69 votes cast in the clergy order (35 required), according to an event press release.

More here-

Author Reconnects God with Intimacy in Divine Communion

From RNS-

What can sexual intimacy tell us about God?  Why and how has the subject been downplayed in Christian formation and regulated in Bible study? What dimension of faith have we tossed under the bed and how can we restore the link between food, sexual intimacy, and the longing for God as the hoped-for promise of Divine Communion? Dr. Jay Emerson Johnson, a Berkeley professor and priest celebrating 25 years of service to the church, has written one of the first books to place sexual ethics and intimacy in a liturgical context. “I’m hoping to broaden the scholarly discussion and offer a guide for both clergy and laity to explore the sacramental significance of sexual intimacy,” he said. “Before debating rules and policies, Christian communities ought first to reflect on sex itself, its theological and spiritual significance. The Eucharistic Table provides the best location for Christians to prayerfully engage in that reflection – the Table where the Church has always proclaimed the hope and promise of “divine communion.

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Understanding the Charismatic Movement

From Christianity Today

Dennis Bennett had been considering spiritual growth with a small group of Saint Mark's Episcopal Church in Van Nuys, CA. Some were unsure of the direction that Bennett was leading. Tensions grew volatile in his large church in Van Nuys, CA, when he declared to the congregation on Easter Sunday of 1960 that he had received the Baptism of the Holy Spirit.

The news was not well received by all and Bennett later resigned. Both Time and Newsweek ran articles on Bennett and the church later that year, and the story appeared on local and national television. In a sense, Pentecostalism was entering the mainline (the Episcopal Church, no less) and this was news. This began the mainsteaming of continualist practices (like speaking in tounges, praying for healing, etc.) that were primarily found in Pentecostal churches that, up until now, were often on the fringe of Protestantism.

More here-

The Episcopal Church Presents “The State of Racism in America” Forum

From PR Web-

For the past year, the Cincinnati Human Relations Commission (CHRC), churches and other local non-profits have participated in sending out surveys and publicizing the Episcopal Church’s ongoing efforts to increase awareness and create dialogue regarding “The State of Racism in America.”

On November 15, 2013, the Episcopal Church will host an online forum centered on a critical topic for our times: “Fifty Years Later: The State of Racism in America.” Originating from St. Andrew’s Episcopal Cathedral in Jackson, MS (Diocese of Mississippi), this 90-minute ecumenical forum will be a live webcast beginning at 1:00 pm, Central Standard Time. The CHRC will stream the conference live from City Hall Room 115 at 2:00 pm, EST.

The forum will be moderated by well-known journalist and PBS commentator Ray Suarez. Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori is the keynote speaker. Two panel discussions will focus on main themes: “Racism in America today - Why does it persist?” and “Racism in America's future - Where is there hope for change?”

More here-

Muslim students help stock food pantry at Episcopal church

From Richmond-

Nameera Perwez picked up on her lesson fast, and she was eager to put it in action.

This is the season for sacrifice in the Muslim community, and the fifth-grader from the Iqra Academy of Virginia had something in mind she wanted to share: food.

For more than an hour Friday, she and 10 classmates from the small Muslim primary school in South Richmond were at St. Stephen’s Episcopal Church helping sort canned goods and other nonperishable items they’d just donated to the community food pantry.

“Other people need your help, and you need to help them,” Nameera said as she and classmate Fatin Salman prepared paper grocery bags. “You can’t be greedy. You need to help them.”

More here-

Friday, October 18, 2013

On the Road

From The Living Church-

I travel around the church a good bit — looking in on parishes, dioceses, seminaries, and other schools in order to meet leaders, hear stories, make and renew friendships, find writers, seek support for the work of the Living Church Foundation, and otherwise push along various projects. Along this pilgrim way I delight in the bounty of fellowship, common prayer, and mutual encouragement that characterizes the body of Christ, notwithstanding its imperfections.

The Church is Spirit-inhabited, a living organism. And it lives in no small part — in fact, primarily — from its missionary head and members, who blossom like branches from the vine that the Lord God brought out of Egypt, reaching round the whole world (see Ps. 80). The Latin viator for the Christian pilgrim — literally, the one who travels along the road (via) — gets at the movement that faithful obedience requires after the example of the Son, himself sent on mission before returning to the Father. “As the Father has sent me, so I send you” (John 20:21). “You will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth” (Acts 1:8).

More here-

Anglican Bishop to end vigil after praying for 8100 prisoners and their victims

From New Zealand-

The Anglican Bishop of Wellington will end his week long prayer vigil for prisoners and associated victims this Sunday morning.

Bishop Justin Duckworth hopes his action, in a prayer cell outside Wellington Cathedral of St Paul, has left the country more informed about the current prison system and more willing to consider alternatives to prison that better serves victims and offenders.

“Prisons are intended for society’s well-being, yet two thirds of prisoners reoffend in two years. So we need to realise that a prison sentence only works in a minority of cases. As a society we need to consider options other than prison that can repair the harm to victims, their families, and the community,” says Bishop Justin.

One wall in Bishop Justin’s cell is papered with a list of every jail cell, in every prison in the country. During the past week he has systematically prayed through that list for approximately 8100 prisoners, and for all the victims.

More here-

Anglicans in clear over gay-man case

From New Zealand-

A New Zealand church has been let off the hook for forbidding a gay man from becoming a priest.

The Human Rights Tribunal yesterday dismissed a complaint by the Gay and Lesbian Clergy Anti-Discrimination Society against the Anglican Diocese of Auckland because it said the church was following its own rules.

The complaint referred to Eugene Sisneros' unsuccessful application to be considered for priesthood by the Bishop of Auckland, Ross Bay, because he was in an unmarried relationship.

Potential priests must be "chaste" to enter the training process, which is defined by the Anglican Church in this country as single and celibate or in a heterosexual marriage.

More here-

Bishop of bling

From The Economist-

THE faithful of Limburg, a diocese in Hesse, have been protesting in front of their Romanesque cathedral, a few even affixing “95 theses” to its door to make their views of their bishop unmistakable. But the prelate, Franz-Peter Tebartz-van Elst, had already gone to Rome, where he awaits a meeting with Pope Francis that will determine his future. The extent of his excesses is such that it is hard to say which detail most rankles Germans, and not only Catholic ones.

For some it is the petty lying. Last year the bishop flew first class to India to look at some do-goody projects. But when Der Spiegel, a news magazine, confronted him, he insisted that he had flown business class, even signing affidavits. On October 10th prosecutors in Hamburg indicted him for perjury.

Council expresses ‘deep regret’ over UTO events

From ENS-

The Episcopal Church’s Executive Council formally moved Oct. 17 to try to heal the wounds incurred during the recent controversy over the functioning of the United Thank Offering.

Council’s efforts included two resolutions and many statements of support for the future of UTO and its relationship with the wider church.

In addition, Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori told council that she and UTO board president Barbara Schafer, from the Diocese of Nevada, were working on a joint statement to later release to the church.

Steve Hutchinson, chair of council’s Joint Standing Committee on Governance and Administration for Mission (GAM), told his colleagues that his committee’s Oct. 15 discussions with four UTO representatives were “substantive, frank and productive.”

He characterized the attitude as one of “very strong support and high hopes to move forward – not to dwell on the past – but to move forward cooperatively.”

More here-

Communion trumps One Direction

From The Church Times-

ALMOST 50 years after another boyband laid claim to being "more popular than Jesus", a Roman Catholic school in Ireland has decided that, despite clashing with a One Direction concert, the date of its pupils' first holy communion should not be altered.

Pupils in the Second Class (age seven to nine) of Gaelscoil an Ráithín, in Limerick, are due to make their first holy communion on 24 May next year, when One Direction are to perform in Croke Park, in Dublin. Families of pupils with tickets to the concert asked whether the school could change the date.

On Thursday of last week, the school said that all parents had been balloted on the matter: "The result of that ballot has been overwhelmingly in favour of retaining the original date. Staff, parents, and children of Gaelscoil an Ráithín look forward to preparing for this very special celebration next May."

More here-

Thursday, October 17, 2013

Anglican Archbishop labels gay marriage an ‘unholy matrimony’

From Australia-

Marriage equality advocates have spoken out after Sydney Anglican Archbishop Glenn Davies labelled the prospect of same-sex couples marrying as “unholy matrimony”.

Archbishop Davies (pictured) also referred to “so-called gay marriage” as contrary to God’s law during his first presidential address to the Sydney synod, while warning of consequences for the entire country if Australia “slipped further and further away from the tenets of scriptural authority and biblical morality”. Davies, 62, was elected as Sydney’s new Anglican Archbishop in August.

“Specious arguments for ‘marriage equality’ and ‘equal opportunity’ have become the mantra of many, without any serious engagement with the nature of marriage,” the Archbishop said.

More here-

Wantagh church in legal land battle with Episcopal Diocese of Long Island

From Long Island-

Shirley Jackson-Hardy has been going to

"Me and my grandmother used to sit over there in those pews," she said. "Everybody in this community knows what it stands for. How long it's been here."

The Episcopal Church, a trustee of the land, is now suing the non-denominational church alleging that the parishioners are illegally occupying the space.

The Episcopal Diocese of Long Island believes it is the rightful owner of the property.

"This is where our and they built this church with their own hands and we're just fighting for the legacy of our forefathers," pastor Lawton Bryant said.

In the early 1900s, the land was given to the congregation comprised of native Americans and African-Americans.

The Episcopal church was named a trustee because outright land ownership by those two groups was forbidden.

Saint Matthias Church in Wantagh since she was 6. That was 80 years ago.

More here-

Destroyed Episcopal cathedral to be rebuilt in Haiti

From RNS-

A landmark cathedral that was reduced to rubble in the 2010 earthquake will be resurrected in Port-au-Prince, Haiti.

Designs to rebuild the

It will be twice the size of the destroyed cathedral and will incorporate the bronze bells and three world-famous murals depicting biblical stories with Haitian characters that were salvaged from the ruins of the original church.

The new cathedral is designed to meet international earthquake and hurricane resistant standards and will generate its own electricity and provide its own purified water.

Holy Trinity (Episcopal) Cathedral were unveiled Tuesday to the Episcopal Church Executive Council during its Chicago meeting.

More here-

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Anglicans could receive Roman Catholic communion, Archbishop suggests

From The Telegraph-

The Archbishop of Birmingham, the Most Rev Bernard Longley, signalled that restrictions, which can be traced back to the Reformation, might be “reconsidered” as a result of “deeper sharing” between the two churches.

Although he insisted that he was expressing a “personal view”, the Archbishop’s comments will be closely watched as he is the senior Catholic cleric responsible for dialogue with the Anglican churches.

His remarks were warmly welcomed by leading figures in the Church of England who said it was time for closer ties.

For centuries, the issue of communion was a source of some of the deepest and most bitter division between protestants and Catholics.

In the 16th and 17th centuries Christians from both traditions were put to death because of disagreements over their beliefs on transubstantiation – whether the bread and wine in Communion are the real body and blood of Christ or a symbol.

More here-

Ordinariate Use unites Anglican tradition to Catholic Church

From Patheos-

The introduction of a new Ordinariate Use liturgy for groups of former Anglicans is uniting some of their old traditions to the fullness of the Catholic Church.

The Vatican office responsible for adapting parts of the Anglican liturgy for use in the Catholic Church “has had the task of the scribe, trained for the kingdom of heaven, the householder who brings out of his treasure what is new and what is old,” said Monsignor Andrew Burnham.

The monsignor serves as assistant to the ordinary of the Personal Ordinariate of Our Lady of Walsingham.

“We have had to examine just what it is in the Anglican liturgical books that can and should be brought fully into the life of the Catholic Church,” he explained during Mass on Oct. 10.

More here-

Architects unveil plan for Haitian cathedral

From ENS-

The architects of a dramatic new cathedral for Haiti unveiled their design Oct. 15 for the Episcopal Church’s Executive Council.

The new Port-au-Prince cathedral is to be built on the same site as the previous Holy Trinity Cathedral that was destroyed in the 2010 earthquake. It would seat more than 1,200 people, which is more than double its previous size, and include an entry/narthex with a bell tower incorporating the bells that survived the quake; a round, flexible worship space; and a hospitality and administration area. Worshippers would sit in a circular fashion around and above a central altar platform, with the new altar positioned in the exact location of the altar of the previous cathedral.

More here-

Conjuring Up Our Own Gods

From New York Times-

“AMERICANS are obsessed with the supernatural,” Jeffrey J. Kripal, a scholar of religion, told me here at Esalen, an institute dedicated to the idea that “we are all capable of the extraordinary.”

Surveys support this. In 2011, an Associated Press poll found that 8 in 10 Americans believed in angels — even 4 in 10 people who never went to church. In 2009 the Pew Research Center reported that 1 in 5 Americans experienced ghosts and 1 in 7 had consulted a psychic. In 2005, Gallup found that 3 out of 4 Americans believed in something paranormal, and that 4 in 10 said that houses could be haunted. 

More here-

Executive Council begins busy meeting in Chicago

From ENS-

The Episcopal Church’s Executive Council began its Oct. 15-17 meeting here facing an agenda that ranged from specific line-item adjustments to the current budget and the structure of the next triennium’s budget to large conceptual issues about the future shape of the Episcopal Church.

The members also are facing a discussion about the recent resignations of four members of the United Thank Offering’s board. The resignation came over what has become for some a controversial effort to draft a memorandum of understanding between the UTO and the Domestic and Foreign Missionary Society, and new bylaws for the historic organization which Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori said last month were meant to bring the operating procedures “into compliance with both federal law and with DFMS policies.”

The presiding bishop and Steve Hutchinson, chair of the council’s Joint Standing Committee on Governance and Administration for Mission (GAM), briefly addressed the UTO situation during the meeting’s opening session.

More here-

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Peace in Palestine: “Miracles happen”

From Seattle-

South African novelist Alan Paton, elderly and nearly blind, spoke against apartheid 30 years ago at Seattle’s St. Mark’s Cathedral.  The author of “Cry the Beloved Country” in a sad session with Seattle Post-Intelligencer editors, saw bloody racial confrontation as the only future path.

But the miraculous evolution of her native South Africa gives hope of a way about for a grieving Israeli mother named Robi Damelin, who saw her soldier-scholar son shot to death by a sniper while on duty with Israeli Defense Forces (IDF).

“I think I cannot give up hope, I live there: I believe in the possibility of people to change.  Yes, I am an optimist. Miracles happen,” Damelin told a Sunday forum at St. Mark’s.

Damelin was here with Bassam Aramin, a Palestinian father whose 10-year-old daughter was killed by an IDF soldier.  They are active in Parents Circle-Family Forum, a grassroots movement of Palestinians and Israelis pressing for a mutual understanding that will bring peace after conflict that has lasted 65 years.

More here-

Vatican hears about high-spending German bishop

From AP-

The head of Germany's bishops conference warned Monday that the Catholic Church must act quickly to deal with a bishop under fire for lavish spending now that German prosecutors are involved in the case, a tacit acknowledgment that the church's finances were on the line.

Archbishop Robert Zollitsch is in Rome this week to brief Pope Francis on the situation in the diocese of Limburg, where Bishop Franz-Peter Tebartz-van Elst has caused an uproar with the 31-million-euro ($42 million) construction of a new bishop's residence complex and related renovations.

More here-

Monday, October 14, 2013

Retired Bishop Keith Ackerman returns to central Illinois

From Peoria-

Bishop Vicar of Quincy Keith Ackerman once again lit up smiles of parishioners at Christ Church Limestone where he performed service Sunday morning.

Ackerman, the retired eighth bishop of the Episcopal Diocese of Quincy for the Anglican Church in North America, came back to the Hanna City church after current Bishop Juan Alberto Morales of Quincy asked him to return to the area for a diocene convention.

Ackerman spoke about the importance of giving thanks to God, family and friends.
"What a joy it is to come home," Ackerman said to the congregation of close to 50 devotees. "And now I've come to say thank you to all of you."

From 1994, Ackerman served as Bishop of Quincy and as Chaplain to the Peoria Chiefs until he retired in 2009. Since then, he has been living in Keller, Texas practicing his Spanish and working two days a week as a therapist in inner-city Dallas. He is also working on a new prayer book and helps the Bishop of Fort Worth.

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Rick Warren Again Under Fire for Offending Asian-American Christians

From Charisma News-

Asian-American Christians are voicing concerns over how they’re depicted by white evangelicals, most recently at a conference hosted by Rick Warren’s Saddleback Church in California.

Saddleback recently hosted a conference by Exponential, a church-planting group, and a video on Oct. 8 left some Asian-Americans offended.

It’s the second dust-up in as many months involving Asian-Americans and Warren, who spoke at the Exponential conference. Last month he received backlash from Asian-American Christians after he posted a Facebook photo depicting the Red Guard during China’s Cultural Revolution. “The typical attitude of Saddleback Staff as they start work each day,” the caption read on Sept. 23.

Warren later posted an apology.

In the video at Exponential, a pastor jokes about making his church-planting apprentice do menial activities, such as getting him coffee, giving him massages and holding his towel, according to the Rev. Christine Lee, a Korean-American Episcopal priest who attended the conference.

More here-

Bishop Spong’s Unintended Consequence

From The American Spectator-

A recent Religion News Service article on infamous Episcopal Bishop John Shelby Spong celebrates him as an aging maverick whose provocative sexual and theological stances supposedly are no longer controversial. At age 82, the former Bishop of Newark, New Jersey, is writing his 24th book. In the 1980s and 1990s his works infamously speculated that the Virgin Mary was impregnated by a Roman soldier, that St. Paul was a self-hating homosexual, and that Jesus’ unresurrected body was torn asunder by wild dogs.

A former Southern segregationist, Spong celebrated his spiritual maturity away from racism into more enlightened religion, which also rejected Christian orthodoxy. He later joined the then publicity savvy Jesus Seminar, whose liberal scholars once made headlines by voting with marbles over which Gospel stories were not true.

More here-

Sunday, October 13, 2013

St Matthew's Church in Kensington so full it's opening a new one in bowling club

From Australia-

AN Anglican Church in Adelaide's eastern suburbs is so packed to the rafters it's spawned the need for a new church nearby - in a bowling club.

Regulars at St Matthew's Church Sunday morning congregation in Kensington began to find it increasingly hard to find a seat, prompting the radical move to transform a local sporting mecca.

An influx of churchgoers, including many migrants who have recently moved to the area, has resulted in the church deciding to open a second base at the

The sister church will be known as Grace Church and will service surrounding suburbs including Firle, Maylands, Kensington Gardens and Beulah Park.

Trinity Gardens Bowling Club which will operate from February next year.

More here-

Anglican bishop to live in 'cell' during vigil

From New Zealand-

A church leader is taking his crusade for fresh thinking on the penal system to the street.

The Anglican Bishop of Wellington is moving into a small cabin on the steps of St Paul's Cathedral for the next week.

During the week,

He hopes his vigil will create a debate about how patterns of offending might be stopped with alternatives other than prison.

"Society and the church need to keep asking themselves if they want a system that simply punishes or one that changes behaviour and means less reoffending and fewer victims.

"Some responsibility for prisoner rehabilitation and reintegration sits with Corrections but some also sits with society, the church and each one of us as it needs to happen in our own backyard," he said.

Bishop Justin Duckworth will be alone as he prays for over 8000 prisoners and their associated victims across the country.

More here-

The rise and fall of AM radio

From Pittsburgh-

Two months later, according to KDKA sources, a live broadcast from Calvary Episcopal Church in Shadyside became the world's first regularly scheduled church service and the first remote pickup.
In the choir loft were Westinghouse engineers -- one of them Jewish, another Catholic -- dressed in surplices for anonymity.

Edwin Jan van Etten, rector of Calvary, was quoted as saying, "Even now, as I think of their presence there, it seems to me that they symbolize the real universality of radio religion."
Early adopters listened to radio broadcasts via fairly complicated receiver units sold by Westinghouse for $65 to $125. But home use really took off in 1921 when KDKA designed a small (6 inches by 6 inches by 7 inches) wooden box housing a crystal set.

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