Saturday, October 26, 2013

A World Away, the Seventh Game; Close at Hand, Condemned Nazis

From The New York Times-

The Protestant minister and the Roman Catholic priest had a $10 bet riding on the 1946 World Series. The minister, a Lutheran from Missouri, went with the St. Louis Cardinals, naturally. The priest, a Franciscan from upstate New York, was a Brooklyn Dodgers fan, but he went with the Boston Red Sox to make things interesting.

These men of the cloth had earned this minor vice.

For the last 11 months, they had served as the chaplains at Nuremberg prison in Germany, offering spiritual counsel to the first Nazis to be tried for war crimes in the rubbed-raw wake of World War II. Among their flock were architects of genocide, responsible for the murder of many millions, most of them Jews.

Now it was mid-October, and this initial phase of postwar judgment was nearing its climactic end in a courts-and-prison complex called the Palace of Justice. The pastoral work of the Lutheran, the Rev. Henry Gerecke, and the Franciscan, the Rev. Sixtus O’Connor, was almost done.

More here-

Youth Groups Driving Christian Teens to Abandon Faith

From Charisma-

A new study might reveal why a majority of Christian teens abandon their faith upon high school graduation. Some time ago, Christian pollster George Barna documented that 61 percent of today's 20-somethings who had been churched at one point during their teen years are now spiritually disengaged. They do not attend church, read their Bible or pray.

According to a new five-week, three-question national survey sponsored by the National Center for Family-Integrated Churches (NCFIC), the youth group itself is the problem. Fifty-five percent of American Christians are concerned with modern youth ministry because it's too shallow and too entertainment-focused, resulting in an inability to train mature believers. But even if church youth groups had the gravitas of Dallas Theological Seminary, 36 percent of today's believers are convinced youth groups themselves are not even biblical.

More here-

Diversity’s Limits at Dartmouth

From The Living Church (A must read) Written by a member of the call committee,

James Tengatenga, the Anglican bishop of Southern Malawi, will not be the next chaplain and dean of the Tucker Foundation at Dartmouth College; the offer was extended and then later rescinded this summer. What does this unfortunate episode tell us about the limits of diversity at an elite liberal arts college?

When the provost’s office asked me to serve on the search committee for a new dean of the Tucker Foundation, I sought (and received) assurances that this would be a true search, not another anointing of an inside candidate. I quickly learned that the William Jewett Tucker Foundation, founded in 1951 and named for the last preacher-president of Dartmouth, was “charged with supporting and furthering the moral and spiritual work of the College.” Indeed, the Tucker Foundation occupies a unique niche; its very existence attests to the belief that a liberal arts education has a moral purpose beyond the mere aggregation of knowledge.

More (much more) here-

Pope Francis presents 2013 Ratzinger Prize

From The Vatican-

Pope Francis on Saturday presented the 2013 Ratzinger Prize to joint recipients: a German lay theologian and an Anglican English Biblical scholar.

In his address, the Pope reflected on the works of Benedict XVI, after whom the award is named. Highlighting the Jesus of Nazareth series, written by Benedict during his pontificate, Pope Francis said his predecessor had given to the Church and to all people a precious gift: his understanding of Jesus, the fruit of years of study, prayer and theological engagement, in a way that is widely accessible.

The recipients of this year’s Ratzinger Prize are: Christian Schaller, professor of dogmatic theology and deputy director of the Pope Benedict XVI Institute of Regensburg, Germany, which is publishing the complete works of Joseph Ratzinger, and Rev Canon Professor Richard Burridge, dean of King's College London and a minister in the Anglican Communion.

Burridge also participated this week in a symposium of the Joseph Ratzinger-Benedict XVI Vatican Foundation, entitled “The Gospels: History and Christology”, which took place at the Pontifical Lateran University, 24-26 October. The symposium's starting point was the research of Joseph Ratzinger.

More here-

Sen. Burr disappoints N.C. religious leaders on release of torture report

From Kansas-

 A group of more than 190 North Carolina religious leaders and other Christians, Jews, Quakers and a Muslim chaplain wrote in August to Sen. Richard Burr, urging him to support the release of the findings of an investigation into the post-9/11 treatment of terrorism suspects.

This week, the North Carolina Republican finally replied, saying he opposed making the 6,000-page report public.

“I was deeply concerned about the factual inaccuracies contained within the report, including inaccurate information relating to the details of the interrogation program and other information provided by detainees,” Burr wrote. “I believe the American public should be provided with reports that are based on accurate facts.”

It was written under the letterhead of the North Carolina Council of Churches. Among its signers were 18 bishops and other denominational executives, including Bishop Michael Curry of the Episcopal Diocese of North Carolina, Bishop Michael Burbidge of the Roman Catholic Diocese of Raleigh, Bishop Hope Morgan Ward of the North Carolina Conference of the United Methodist Church, and Bishop William DeVeaux of the Second Episcopal District of the African Methodist Episcopal Church.

Read more here-

Episcopal churches in region battle lightning

From Kansas-

Within the past year, two large Episcopal churches in  east-central Kansas have been struck by lightning. Each was struck previously, as well.

St. Andrew’s Episcopal Church

St. Andrew’s Episcopal Church, 828 Commercial St., has learned that lightning does strike twice — three times, in fact.

“The cross above the narthex was struck by lightning again on the night of July 26,” writes Patrick Kelley, Chief Warden of the church. “The cross was shattered, the roof received minor damage, two small panes in the big Te Deum window were damaged by shards, our wonderful electronic organ was damaged and the amplifier for the public address system is only half the gadget it used to be.”

More here-

Pope Francis’s mission to cleanse the Catholic Church of luxury

From New Statesman-

This summer he told a group of young nuns and monks, “It hurts me when I see a priest or nun with the latest model car. You can’t do this.”

A new spirit is abroad in the Vatican. After a conservative pope, John Paul II, who, in his declining years seemed increasingly out of touch with the wider world, and a Vatican insider pope, Benedict XVI, who never seemed in touch with it, Pope Francis has brought life to his office. Catholicism is enjoying a bounce. Even in secular Britain there has been a rise in the numbers making confession, including some who have not confessed for decades.

More here-

Friday, October 25, 2013

The Secret Pain of Pastors

From American Preacher-

Peter Drucker, the late leadership guru, said that the four hardest jobs in America (and not necessarily in order, he added) are:

The President of the United States
A university president

A CEO of a hospital and

A pastor

Is that true? Pastors love God and love people. They get to pray for people, lead people to a faith in Jesus Christ, and teach the Word about God.

That’s the dream job. You can read the Bible all day, pray, play a little golf, and preach. I want to do that!

Here is the secret. Being a pastor is hard work. It’s not for wimps.

More here-

George can be Buddhist if he wants, says Archbishop in remarkable statement after Prince's christening

From The Daily Mail-

The Archbishop of Canterbury says he has no objection to Prince George converting to Buddhism.

The Most Reverend Justin Welby, speaking one day after he led the christening of the future Supreme Governor of the Church of England, said the prince is ‘perfectly entitled’ to change his religion should he so choose.

The remark is likely to alarm traditionalists. However, it is in keeping with Prince Charles’s oft-repeated claim that he wants to be seen as ‘Defender of Faiths’ instead of ‘Defender of the Faith’, to reflect Britain’s multicultural society.

The Archbishop was asked by Channel 4 News what his reaction would be if George, the third in line to the throne, wanted to leave the Church of England to become a Buddhist.
He replied: ‘He’s perfectly entitled to be that, and we’ll cross that bridge if we ever get to it. Who knows?’

Pastor gets support for officiating his son's same-sex marriage

 From Eastern PA-

With less than a month until his trial, embattled Lebanon County Pastor Frank Schaefer is getting support from several corners.

Schaefer, pastor of Zion United Methodist Church of Iona in South Lebanon Township, faces a trial before the Eastern Pennsylvania Conference of the UMC for officiating at his son’s same-sex marriage in 2007 in Massachusetts. The trial is scheduled to begin Nov. 18 in Chester County.

Schaefer, who was ordained in 1996, could be stripped of his ministerial credentials, commonly referred to as being defrocked.

Before the trial, more than 30 United Methodist pastors from Pennsylvania plan to perform a joint same-sex marriage to show support for Schaefer.

Schaefer said the pastors invited him to Philadelphia last week to speak to them and caught him off guard with their plans. To have them stand in solidarity with him is “encouraging,” he said.

More here-

John Glenn to deliver eulogy for fellow Mercury 7 astronaut Scott Carpenter

From Colorado-

Former Sen. John Glenn will deliver the eulogy at the funeral for Scott Carpenter, the second American to orbit the Earth.

Carpenter's memorial service will be held Nov. 2 in his birthplace of Boulder. He died Oct. 10 in a Denver hospice from complications from a September stroke. He was 88.

The Boulder Daily Camera reported Thursday ( ) that Glenn would be among the dignitaries at the memorial service and that former astronauts would serve as honorary pallbearers. Colorado's congressional delegation has also been invited.

The service will be at St. John's Episcopal Church, which seats 550 people. The funeral will be open to the public.

More here-

Welby on eve of GAFCON: ‘Communion needs rethink’

From The Church Times-

THE Anglican Communion needs a new structure for the future rather than, as at present, one "for the power of some middle-aged English clergyman based in London with very little hair", the Archbishop of Canterbury said in Kenya on Sunday, on the eve of GAFCON II.

Archbishop Welby was speaking at All Saints' Cathedral, Nairobi, during a 24-hour visit to the city. He delivered the sermon twice during the morning.

"I have thought and said for a long time that there is a need for new structures in the Anglican Communion," he told the congregation. "The issues that divide us are, at one level, simple; but they are also, at another level, very complicated. Among many things, they tell us that we need a new way of being together as the Communion. A way that reflects the 21st century and not the old colonial pattern."

More here-‘communion-needs-rethink’

Thursday, October 24, 2013

Pope Francis places luxury-loving German bishop on leave

From The Washington Post-

Pope Francis temporarily relieved a spendthrift German bishop of his post Wednesday, taking an extraordinary step against a Catholic official whose penchant for luxury living appeared to clash with the new pope’s efforts to foster a more humble church.

Bishop Franz-Peter Tebartz-van Elst had dominated tabloid headlines for weeks in Germany as details emerged of a multimillion-dollar renovation of his official church residence in the western town of Limburg. Analysts said the pope’s rare personal intercession in the matter, just months into his papacy, sent a strong signal that he intends to back up his rhetoric about shifting the church’s focus to the world’s poor with tough actions.

More here-

At christening, Prince George becomes Church of England’s newest member — and its future head

From The Washington Post- (with video)

Some day, Prince George Alexander Louis of Cambridge will become the leader of the Church of England.

First, he needed to become a Christian.

When the newest member of Great Britain’s royal family was christened on Wednesday, he didn’t just become the country’s newest Anglican, he also secured his place in line with all British monarchs as the future head of Church of England.

Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby, administering the sacrament to the royal baby, capitalizing on the interest in the “hugely important moment” of George’s baptism in a well-timed YouTube video that explains the religious and political significance at play.

More here-

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Lord's prayer: Vatican cricket team wants London match v Anglican XI

From The Guardian-

It might not have been obvious to the tourists who streamed down the Via della Conciliazione towards Saint Peter's basilica but something decidedly odd was going on inside the pontifical council for culture.

A plate of cucumber sandwiches had been laid out on a table. Cups of Irish breakfast tea were brought out soon after. Apart from the cardinal – whose prerogative it was to speak in whatever language he liked – the lingua franca was English. And, in the middle of it all, lay a helmet, two balls and a G

Monsignor Melchor Sanchez de Toca, the council's Spanish undersecretary, admitted to being just a little out of his comfort zone. "I feel here," he said, "as strange as you would feel in a press conference about bull fighting."

It may leave most people in Italy perplexed or entirely indifferent, but cricket – a game traditionally only played in Rome by anglophone cardinals, eccentric English aristocrats and immigrants from the subcontinent – on Tuesday arrived at the Vatican in the bold form of Saint Peter's CC, an organisation for seminarians and priests who want to put bat to ball in the name of the Holy See.
ray Nicolls cricket bat.

More here-

CETALC fosters theological education in Latin America, Caribbean

From ENS-

Luisa Salguero grew up in the Episcopal Church in El Salvador. Her late father, Vicente Alfredo Salguero, worked for the church and a plaque bearing his name hangs outside the chapel at the church’s office in San Salvador.

As a teenager, Salguero spent some time away from the church, she said during an August interview in San Jose, Costa Rica, and upon high school graduation she studied law at the University of Central America and later went to work for a multinational computer technology company for six years.
Salguero, 32, said her work as a lawyer left her feeling empty, and she began spending more time at church.

“I felt like I had a hole I was filling in,” she said. “I spent all my free time at the church and enjoyed it and discovered that that was what I really wanted to do. I loved what I was doing.”

More here-

Fire Erupts At Grace Episcopal In Randolph

From New York-

 Firefighters from seven area fire departments responded to a structure fire at the Grace Episcopal Church, 21 N. Washington St., where they assisted the Randolph Fire Department just after 5 p.m. on Sunday, Oct. 20.

The fire departments responded from East Randolph, Conewango, Kennedy, Ellington, Little Valley, Coldspring and Kiantone. Chief Don McElwain said Kiantone brought their special Rehab Unit trailer in, which is used for the purpose of monitoring people’s heart rates, blood pressures and other vitals. He said it’s one of the new OSHA requirements. He added that the Cattaraugus County Sheriff ’s Investigation Team was also on the scene to help determine the cause of the fire.

According to East Randolph firefighter Norm Moon, Tim Beach and his wife, Amy, who live down the street, discovered the fire. When the Randolph Fire Department got there, smoke was belching out of the areas of the kitchen and the pastor’s office. He said activities were going on at the church until 4:30 p.m. After the Bishop’s Apostolic Visitation, which included a dinner, and the Cattaraugus-Chautauqua Deanery meeting, fire erupted in the parish hall.

More here-

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Archbishop Justin Welby on Prince George's christening

From Lambeth Palace

In this short film the Archbishop of Canterbury talks about the baptism of HRH Prince George of Cambridge, as well as the broader significance of baptism.

Will Africa's Anglicans Succeed at Revival This Week?

From Christianity Today-

On the eve of this week's gathering of restive Anglican conservatives in Nairobi, Kenya, Anglican Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby on Sunday said "the colonial structures" of the past should give way to reform.

"We need a new way of being in communion," he said during his sermon at the Anglican cathedral in Nairobi, according to media reports. Starting on Monday, the Global Anglican Futures conference (GAFCON) will host about 1,200 leaders from 40 nations.

In 2003, a flashpoint occurred with the consecration of the openly gay Gene Robinson (now retired) as bishop of New Hampshire of The Episcopal Church (TEC). This triggered an exodus of conservatives from TEC, the American branch of the worldwide Anglican Communion. TEC then started extensive litigation against clergy, churches, and dioceses that withdrew from the national church.

More here-

Episcopal leaders use World Series to raise money for charity

From Peoria-

Episcopal leaders in Boston and St. Louis are using the World Series match-up between their teams to raise money for charity and boost awareness about sex trafficking and prostitution. Until the start of Game One on Wednesday, Christ Church Cathedral in St. Louis and St. Paul’s Episcopal Cathedral in Boston will be collecting online donations. The money in the pot will go to a non-profit in the winning city that helps victims of sex trafficking.

If the Cardinals win, that money would go to Magdalene House, a non-profit that will open a house for abused women next year. The dean of Christ Church Cathedral, Mike Kinman, is the organization’s board president.

More here-

Monday, October 21, 2013

St. Matthew drops plan to host Thanksgving faith service over gay marriage issuse

From North Carolina-

One Catholic Church in Charlotte fired music director Steav Bates-Congdon after he married his longtime male partner.

Now another has pulled out of hosting the city's largest interfaith service rather than allow Bates-Congdon to be part of the team planning the annual event.

Mecklenburg Ministries’ 38th annual Thanksgiving Interfaith Service is still on for Nov. 26. But it’ll be held at Covenant Presbyterian Church in Dilworth, not at St. Matthew Catholic Church in Ballanytne – Charlotte’s biggest house of worship.

Read more here:

Ntagali in Kenya for global meet on church's future

From Uganda-

ARCHBISHOP Stanley Ntagali is expected to lead a delegation of 200 people from Uganda, to attend a global conference of church leaders to discuss the gay crisis in the Anglican Church.

The church leaders from Anglican provinces in Africa will gather in Nairobi beginning Monday October 21, under the Global Anglican Future Conference (GAFCON). The meeting which runs up to October 26, comes in light of legalizing of same-sex marriages by western churches.

The Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby is expected to address the Primate Council ahead of the conference, comprising of leaders of some of the world's largest Anglican provinces, including Uganda.

GAFCON began after the Episcopal Church in America in 2003 elected Gene Robinson, an openly gay man and divorced father of two, as bishop for the diocese of New Hampshire. The inaugural meeting was held in June 2008 in Jerusalem.

More here-

Protest in Dallas puts church, pastor in tight spot

From Dallas-

Those heading into Prince of Peace Episcopal Church on Sunday morning got a pair of surprises.

About 300 feet shy of the church at 420 Main St., a group of about two dozen protesters had put out about 100 yard signs that implied the church was not doing enough to protect children.

And, despite a sign on its front lawn noting "A warm welcome awaits you," the Rev. Joseph Rafferty announced at the outset of the morning service that the boiler was broken and he apologized for a cold sanctuary.

Less than a half-hour earlier, the Rev. Rafferty stood in 40-degree weather and learned from organizer Shawn Considine of Colorado that the protesters were mostly concerned about a member of the Prince of Peace congregation who might still have access to children.

Considine said he was concerned about Ed Driesbach, 84, whose name last fall publicly appeared on a "perversion file" long kept secret by the Boy Scouts of America.

More here-

Church to go to aid of Nicaragua city again

From Michigan-

While visiting Catarina, Nicaragua, this year with a delegation from her Ann Arbor church, Shani McLoyd was so moved by the plight of the disabled residents there she quickly spearheaded efforts to gather items they needed."

So, McLoyd and other members of the Episcopal Church of the Incarnation were devastated to hear that a busload of items destined for the Central American community were stolen in Guatemala and the drivers beaten.

Despite the setback, the church is seeking new donations and will study different ways to ship the goods, including sending them from Florida, to families in Catarina, with whom Episcopal Church of the Incarnation members have forged relationships.

“We’re confident we’ll get down there one way or another,” said Marshall Thomsen, vice chairman of the Nicaragua Project board, who also is active with Episcopal Church of the Incarnation.

More here-

Sunday, October 20, 2013

Longing for a life he knew not: Former Catholic priest embraces the openness of Episcopalians

From South Dakota-
Father Chris Roussell had been a priest for three years in Louisiana when he entered into a “dark night of the soul.”

This painful internal struggle ultimately led him to leave the Roman Catholic priesthood so that he could pursue his dream of having his own family.

Louisiana was in the midst of Hurricane Katrina, and he had sheltered his mother and sister for months at his rectory.

“When they left, I felt such a profound longing for my family,” said Roussell. “Coming together to support each other during the hurricane reinforced my deep desire to start a family of my own.”

It wasn’t the first time Roussell had struggled with being a Catholic priest. Although he loved the six years he had spent studying at Notre Dame Seminary in New Orleans, he often felt pangs of longing for the life he knew he was leaving behind: one that included a wife and children.

Emerging from his “dark night" experience after Hurricane Katrina, Roussell spoke to his bishop about leaving the Catholic priesthood.

More here-

Pope Francis launches reform of Vatican bureaucracy, with cleanup of Vatican bank

From The Washington Post-

Seven months after ascending the throne of Saint Peter, Pope Francis is in the midst of a crusade against the sins of Vatican City.

Since succeeding Benedict XVI, Francis has publicly sought to transform the tone of his office, extending surprise olive branches to everyone from gays and lesbians to professed atheists. But much more quietly, Vatican officials and observers say, the new pontiff has also begun to alter the atmosphere inside the Holy See, taking steps to shed light on the notoriously opaque Vatican Curia.

Before Benedict stepped down, documents leaked to the Italian news media detailed a lurid opera of rivalries and corruption inside the sprawling bureaucracy of 2,900 clerics and lay functionaries operating in the shadow of St. Peter’s Basilica. Reform is seen as key to restoring the faith of the world’s 1 billion Catholics in the Vatican’s administration.

More here-