Saturday, December 7, 2013

Women priests ordained by Anglican Church in Ballarat

From Australia-

ANGLICANS in Ballarat have joined the fold of those doiceses which have ordained women priests.

The Anglican Synod of Ballarat approved the ordination of women to the priesthood in October.

Anglican Bishop of Ballarat Garry Weatherill described Saturday's ceremony as "very significant" for the church in the region.

"It is the first time women have been ordained in the Ballarat diocese," Bishop Weatherill said.

"It has been happening in Australia for 20 years but Ballarat has been very slow in that regard. Ballarat has been traditionally very conservative.

"This brings us into line with most of Australia."

More here-

Calling all musicians for Tuba Christmas

From New Hampshire-

The 10th annual TubaChristmas concert in Wolfeboro will be Saturday, December 14, from 2 to 3 pm at All Saint’s Episcopal Church, 258 South Main Street.

This popular holiday event is sponsored by the Harvey Phillips Foundation, and the concert is free and open to the public. Anyone interested in performing should contact the local tubachristmas coordinator, Joe Ewing, at (603) 569-3861, or visit

Registration for performers will be in the choir room of All Saint’s Church between 9:30 and 10 am on Saturday, December 14, and the rehearsal will be from 10 am until noon. Coffee and doughnuts will be provided during registration, and there will be a break for lunch before the concert.

More here-

Puerto Rico bishop election cancelled

From ENS-

The Standing Committee of the Episcopal Diocese of Puerto Rico cancelled the election scheduled for Dec. 7, according to a Dec. 4 statement on the diocese’s website.

“It was an extremely difficult decision, but we consider it necessary for the present well-being and future of our diocese,” the statement said.

“Together we should open a space for reflection and discussion for the strengthening of our diocese. Together we can heal the wounds this process has generated between our brothers and sisters.
“We should remember that it’s not in our time, it should be in the time of God, under his eternal guidance and direction.”

An Election Assembly previously was scheduled to elect at bishop to succeed the Rt. Rev. David Alvarez who has reached retirement age on Sept. 7, but that election was postponed. On Sept. 4, the Standing Committee issued a statement rescheduling the election for Dec. 7.

More here-

Seattle priest elected bishop of Canadian diocese

From Seattle-

The Anglican diocese of New Westminster, embracing British Columbia’s lower mainland, last week elected a Seattle priest, the Rev. Canon Melissa Skelton, as its new bishop.

Skelton will be the first woman and the first United States citizen to head the diocese, based in Vancouver but named for its suburb.   She succeeds the Rt. Rev. Michael Ingham, bishop for two decades, who dealt with the resistance of conservative and Chinese-Canadian congregations when he became the first Anglican bishop in Canada to endorse the blessing of same-sex unions.

Skelton has been rector (pastor) of St. Paul’s Episcopal Church on lower Queen Anne, a parish long known for both its inclusiveness and worship that expresses the catholic tradition in the Episcopal Church.

She told the Vancouver Sun that St. Paul’s has attracted worshipers “wounded” by other Christian denominations.  They are, she said, “mostly evangelicals looking for beauty and mystery.”

More here-

Friday, December 6, 2013

Anglican Bishop Tengatenga bids farewell Sunday as resignation notice draws this month in Malawi

From Malawi-

The Anglican Diocese of Southern Malawi has set Sunday December 8 2013 as the day His Lordship Dr. James Tengatenga will bid farewell to the Anglican Communion which he led for the past 15 years as a Bishop.

The Synod Elective Assembly witnessed the nomination process of Reverend Canon Alinafe Kalemba on August 24 at St. Paul’s Cathedral in Blantyre before going the process of confirmation on October 4 at the St. Michael’s and All Angels Cathedral in Zambia, and finally allowing the Provincial Bishop to preside over the consecration on October 27 at Country Club Limbe, Malawi.
But the process is not yet over for Reverend Alinafe Lawrence Kalemba to assume the office of the Bishop of the Anglican Diocese of Southern Malawi, News Time Africa can report.

Under the Canon law, there can never be two Bishops in an Anglican Diocese at a time and since Bishop Dr. James Tengatenga officially steps down this month, the outgoing Bishop is this Sunday bidding farewell at his Pastoral office at St. Paul’s Cathedral.

The enthronement of his replacement, the Right Reverend Kalemba is scheduled for December 22 2013, Newstime Africa has learnt.

More here-

Anglican Communion leaders pay tribute to Nelson Mandela

From ACNS-

Senior bishops from around the Anglican Communion have paid tribute to Nelson Mandela who died today aged 95.

South Africa's first black president and anti-apartheid icon died around 8.50pm local time at his home in Johannesburg surrounded by his family.

Primates from the Anglican Communion issued statements and prayers following the announcement of his death issued by the country's president Jacob Zuma.

Archbishop of the Anglican Church of Southern Africa, the Most Revd Thabo Makgoba wrote a prayer:

"Go forth, revolutionary and loving soul, on your journey out of this world, in the name of God, who created you, suffered with you and liberated you. Go home Madiba, you have selflessly done all that is good, noble and honourable for God’s people.

More here-

Still shining after all these years

From The Church Times-

LOVE it or loathe it, perhaps the best-known modern worship song has reached the landmark age of 25. "Shine, Jesus, shine", which was first released by the songwriter Graham Kendrick (left) in 1988, has crossed continents and denominations, and continues to be among the most played songs in churches today.

Mr Kendrick told the Church Times that he had no idea, when he wrote the song, how popular it would become. "I was constantly writing; so there were a number of songs I was trying, and it was just another one of them." He had written the song into the context of the March For Jesus movement of the late 1980s, he said. "It was kind of a new generation finding its voice, and representing what was happening in the Church," he said.

More here-

Evidence indicates man intended to commit suicide in fatal fire

From ENS-

Ocean City, Maryland, investigators say they believe a local man bought gasoline, poured it on himself and set himself on fire before he ran into St. Paul’s by-the-Sea Episcopal Church Nov. 26, begging for help.

The man, John Raymond Sterner, 56, died on the scene and the church’s rector, the Rev. David Dingwall, died from smoke inhalation in the ensuing fire in the church’s old rectory building.

A female victim, whose name is not being released, was injured while attempting to leave the building during the fire, investigators said. She was treated by paramedics at the scene and ultimately transported to John’s Hopkins Bayview Medical Center, where she is still being treated. Ocean City investigators said her current condition is unknown.

The fire began when Sterner, with his clothes on fire, entered the church’s Shepherd’s Crook ministry offices, located in the 1923 rectory building that is part of the church’s property. Shepherd’s Crook provides food and clothing Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday mornings and on Nov. 26 volunteers were preparing for the pre-Thanksgiving food distribution.

More here-

Episcopal Relief & Development Expands Zambia Program with $1 Million Conrad N. Hilton Foundation Grant

From Sacramento-

Episcopal Relief & Development is proud to announce that it has received a $1 million grant from the Conrad N. Hilton Foundation to expand its Early Childhood Development (ECD) program in Zambia.  The organization had previously been awarded a $350,000 grant from the Foundation to launch the program in three geographic provinces, in order to develop an integrated ECD program strategy for families affected by HIV/AIDS in rural areas.  The current grant will enable Episcopal Relief & Development and its local partner, the Zambia Anglican Council (ZAC), to broaden the program's reach and serve an estimated 12,500 children under six.

"It is a tremendous vote of confidence to receive this grant from the Hilton Foundation," said Rob Radtke, President of Episcopal Relief & Development.  "Following on a successful two-year project period, we will be able to strengthen the program over the next three years and work through the Zambian Church to introduce our proven approach in new communities."

Episcopal Relief & Development is one of the grantees in the Hilton Foundation's Children Affected by HIV and AIDS Initiative.

Read more here:

Thursday, December 5, 2013

Would Someone Just Shut That Pope Up?

From The American Conservative-

Since the release of Evangelii Gaudium there have been countless articles and commentary about the economic portions of Pope Francis’s Apostolic Exhortation. Some of the commentary has been downright bizarre, such as Rush Limbaugh denouncing the Pope as a Marxist, or Stuart Varney accusing Francis of being a neo-socialist. American conservatives grumbled but dutifully denounced a distorting media when Pope Francis seemed to go wobbly on homosexuality, but his criticisms of capitalism have crossed the line, and we now see the Pope being criticized and even denounced from nearly every rightward-leaning media pulpit in the land.

Not far below the surface of many of these critiques one hears the following refrain: why can’t the Pope just go back to talking about abortion? Why can’t we return the good old days of Pope John Paul II or Benedict XVI and talk 24/7/365 about sex? Why doesn’t Francis have the decency to limit himself to talking about Jesus and gays, while avoiding the rudeness of discussing economics in mixed company, an issue about which he has no expertise or competence?

More here-

J. R. R. Tolkien on Fairy Tales, Language, the Psychology of Fantasy, and Why There’s No Such Thing as Writing “For Children”

From Brain Pickings-

“I do not believe that I have ever written a children’s book,” the great Maurice Sendak once said in an interview. “I don’t write for children,” he told Colbert. “I write — and somebody says, ‘That’s for children!’” This sentiment — the idea that designating certain types of literature as “children’s” is a choice entirely arbitrary and entirely made by adults — has since been eloquently echoed by Neil Gaiman, but isn’t, in fact, a new idea.

On March 8, 1939,

J. R. R. Tolkien, celebrated as one of the greatest fantasy writers in history, gave a lecture titled “Fairy Stories,” eventually adapted into an essay retitled “On Fairy-Stories” and included in the appendix to Tales from the Perilous Realm (public library). At the crux of his argument, which explores the nature of fantasy and the cultural role of fairy tales, is the same profound conviction that there is no such thing as writing “for children.”

More here-

Nelson Mandela wore the mantle of saint reluctantly

From the LA Times-

An irritable man who got cross when he couldn’t have his favorite brand of mineral water? A fusser who obsessively folded his daily newspapers just so, who got annoyed if things weren’t lined up in their precise order? An aloof man who nonetheless flirted with any pretty young woman he met?
Could these accounts really tally with one of the world’s most beloved men, Nelson Mandela?

In his lifetime, Mandela always insisted that he wasn’t a saint, and by all accounts was quite irritated with the gilded view of him as an almost mystical figure.

He even asked the Nelson Mandela Foundation to avoid using images of his face, which had become a kind of trademark, and focus on other things, such as his hands. He ordered them to make room for other people’s voices and memories. But the idolatry endured.
The myth had a price, said Verne Harris, project leader at the Nelson Mandela Center of Memory, a unit of the Nelson Mandela Foundation.

More here-,0,6884620.story#ixzz2mehf4ACO

61 religious leaders attack Redskins name in letter

From Minnesota-

A letter castigating the team name of the Washington pro football club and signed by 61 religious leaders mostly from the Washington region is scheduled to be sent to NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell and team owner Daniel Snyder on Thursday, according to the minister who is the driving force behind it.

The letter, dated Dec. 5, casts the roiling national controversy over the team name as a moral issue and includes signatures of leaders from a range of faith communities including Lutheran, Episcopal, Methodist, Baptist, United Church of Christ, AME, Presbyterian, Unitarian, Jewish, Buddhist and Muslim.

"The derogatory term 'redskin' offends many Native Americans and others in this country," the letter says. "This word, defined in the dictionary as a slur, should not be publicly marketed and celebrated in America, which is built on the ideals of respect and inclusion."

More here-

Pa. Episcopal Church Cathedral to Break Ground on $110 Million Project

From Philadelphia-

A Pennsylvania Episcopal church body will soon undergo a major two-pronged construction project with an estimated price tag of $110 million.

The Philadelphia Episcopal Cathedral plans to hold a ground-breaking ceremony for the project on Thursday afternoon, with a request on their website that guests RSVP for the occasion.

One part of the project will focus on the Cathedral Center and the other part will focus on an apartment tower financially connected to the Cathedral. The Very Rev. Judith A. Sullivan, dean of the Philadelphia Episcopal Cathedral, told The Christian Post that the immense funding has been secured.

"Both projects are fully funded and are jointly proceeding. For the apartment tower our development partner, Radnor Property Group, was responsible for procuring debt and equity for the this $96 million project," said Sullivan. "The Cathedral Center's $14 million in costs is funded with the Cathedral's own capital sources and with creative financing using federal New Markets Tax Credits."

More here-

Wednesday, December 4, 2013

Ex-Anglicans break out of the ghetto

From The Catholic Herald-

Recently it was, for various reasons, not possible for my wife and me to get to Mass on Sunday, so we looked around for a Saturday evening vigil Mass. Our nearest happened to be the weekly Sunday Mass of the Oxford area ordinariate.

We went to that. I had never attended an ordinariate Mass and was looking forward to experiencing the new ordinariate liturgy. I was therefore a little disappointed that, since the newly authorised liturgy was still being carefully rolled out, what was actually still being celebrated was the Novus Ordo in English. I sometimes have a certain sense of being flattened by this liturgy, even in the new translation. I know the Mass is the Mass; all the same, I am used to the Novus Ordo in the form of the Latin High Mass at the Oxford Oratory: enough said.

More here-

Man poured gas on self before deadly Ocean City church fire

From Easton- (with video)

Ocean City fire investigators believe that the man who entered a church on fire, igniting a blaze that killed its pastor, had poured gasoline on himself as part of a suicide plot.

The fire marshal's office said Tuesday that John Raymond Sterner covered himself in fuel and set himself on fire just before he burst into St. Paul's by the Sea Episcopal Church as volunteers were opening a Thanksgiving food bank Nov. 26.

Sterner died in the blaze, which quickly spread and was responsible for the death of the Rev. David A. Dingwall, whom firefighters found unconscious on the second floor. Dingwall died of smoke inhalation after being treated at Atlantic General Hospital in nearby Berlin.

Read more:,0,7384939.story#ixzz2mVcDZaHs

Tuesday, December 3, 2013

Why do Protestants love Pope Francis?

From RNS-

When it was reported that Pope Francis chose public transportation over limo service as a cardinal, the world smiled. When he spent Maundy Thursday washing the feet of incarcerated women at a local prison, it touched our hearts. When he embraced a disfigured man, it left us flat-out speechless.  Francis is not your father’s Pope.

But among the most surprising fans of the Pope are Protestants, a group that has often had a less-than-amenable relationship with Catholics historically. But somehow Francis–who some have called the “evangelical Pope”–has begun prying open their arms and sneaking into their hearts. Protestant evangelist Luis Palau has prayed with Francis  and even defended his faith. Timothy George, a respected Baptist theologian, has written an article claiming the Pope is “Our Francis, Too.” And a writer for “The Catholic Herald“ opined that the Argentine Jesuit is “stirring the hearts of evangelicals all over the world.”

More here-

The C.S. Lewis you never knew

From CNN-

He looked like a “red-faced pork butcher in shabby tweeds,” lived secretly with a woman for years and was so turned on by S&M that he once asked people at a party whether he could spank them.

We’re talking, of course, about C.S. Lewis, the Christian icon and author of classics such as “Mere Christianity” and “The Chronicles of Narnia.”

It’s tempting to remember Lewis only as the self-assured defender of Christianity who never met an argument he couldn't demolish. His death 50 years ago, on November 22, 1963, was overshadowed by the assassination of President John F. Kennedy. He has since become a patron saint of American evangelicals.

But the actual man whom friends called “Jack” had a “horrible” personal life, thought he had failed as a defender of Christianity and spent so much time in pubs that his publishers initially struggled selling him to a religious audience, scholars say.

More here-

'Unity a Tool for Moving Forward'

From Central Africa-

The Church of the Province of Central Africa (CPCA) Synod came to an end on November 30 with a call to "re-establishing Church unity within the Province after six years of difficulties and persecutions."

About one hundred delegates from CPCA, including bishops, clergy and laity gathered in Lusaka, Zambia for the Synod. Other invited guests came from the Episcopal Church of the United States, CAPA, Us (formerly USPG) and the Mother's Union among many others.

Earlier during his Charge, Central Africa Primate, the Most Revd Albert Chama thanked all the Provincial Bishops for their co-operation and the unity exhibited during the "difficult period in our Province."

Six years ago excommunicated former bishops Norbert Kunonga and Elson Jakazi, with the backing of the police and their supporters grabbed CPCA property including Church buildings, orphanages, schools and hospitals leaving many Christians with nowhere to go.

Christians especially in the Dioceses of Harare and Manicaland in Zimbabwe had to worship in rented church buildings, under trees and in the open air. The Church leadership in these dioceses played a vital role of shepherding Christians by "giving themselves to the service God."

More here-

Bishop Pat Storey is history maker

From Ireland-

The congregation brought together more than 500 people from across the Church of Ireland and wider Irish society, including the Bishop Storey’s father and brother, husband, daughter and son–in–law and many close friends and family members.

The Old Testament reading was given by the Rev Earl Storey, Bishop Storey’s husband; the Epistle was led by Mrs Deirdre Amor, a vestry member from St Augustine’s Parish, Derry where the new bishop was Rector from 2004 to 2013, and the Gospel proclaimed by the Rev Trevor Holmes, a deacon in County Meath.

In his sermon, the Rev Nigel Parker focused on the theme ‘Consecrate yourself to the Lord’ based on John 21. 1–17, saying that the application of consecration was ‘showing our love for Him who first loved us; placing ourselves entirely at His disposal; and declaring, “Whatever it takes!”’ In commending Pat to all present he said: ‘It has been our privilege over the years to see you respond to our Father’s love with love, trust and obedience. You have given yourself whole–heartedly to Him and His Church … teaching the Scriptures and pastoring with that disarming directness, which is your hallmark – a directness, which speaks the truth in love, with a ready laugh and delightful sense of humour.’

More here-

Monday, December 2, 2013

Supreme Court turns down Christchurch Cathedral challenge

From New Zealand-

ChristChurch Cathedral could soon face the wrecking ball after an application to appeal its deconstruction was dismissed by the highest court in the land.

The Anglican church wants to demolish the damaged cathedral and replace it with a new design.

The Great Christchurch Buildings Trust (GCBT) legally challenged that plan last year but the Court of Appeal decided that although a church must exist on the site it did not need to be the original.

The trust in turn was asking to appeal that decision but this afternoon the Supreme Court said no.

The Supreme Court challenge was filed by the GCBT, co-chaired by former MPs Jim Anderton and Philip Burdon, which wanted the church to rebuild the cathedral.

More here-

American woman elected as bishop for Vancouver-area Anglicans

From Vancouver-

The American priest chosen as the new bishop for the Vancouver-area Anglican diocese says she attracts people to her church who have been "wounded" by other Christian traditions.

Rev. Melissa Skelton, who leads St. Paul's Episcopal parish in Seattle, was elected a bishop in Canada on the third ballot at a vote held Saturday at Christ Church Anglican Cathedral in downtown Vancouver.

Skelton will replace retired Anglican bishop Michael Ingham, who was at the centre of a storm within the 60-millionmember worldwide Anglican communion when he became the first Anglican bishop to formally support the blessing of same-sex couples.

More here-

Indianapolis Downtown Inc. to make amends for cookie crackdown

From Indianapolis-

Busted by the city for selling cookies during the Circle of Lights, the youth group at Christ Church Cathedral will receive an apology and a check from Indianapolis Downtown Inc. to make up for their lost revenues.

The nonprofit Downtown promotion group has acknowledged that it asked city code enforcement officials to do a “sweep” of unauthorized vendors selling food and other items around Monument Circle during the lighting ceremony Friday night.

“Unfortunately, the youth group’s fundraiser was caught up in that sweep,” Bob Schultz, the IDI’s vice president of marketing and communications, said Sunday.

Schultz blamed the cookie crackdown on a new city ordinance, enacted for the 2012 Super Bowl, that requires sidewalk vendors during Downtown events to get a city permit to sell their wares.

More here-

St. Paul's service honors pastor who died in blaze

From Maryland-

Gathering before a makeshift altar Sunday morning, parishioners of St. Paul’s By The Sea worshiped together for the first time since a fire took the life of their pastor and damaged their church.

Tears, smiles and hugs mingled at the hour-long service officiated by the Right Rev. James J. Shand, bishop of the Episcopal Diocese of Easton. About 150 congregants attended the service held in the Town Council chambers at City Hall across the street from St. Paul’s.

Many wore orange or pinned orange ribbons to their chests in a tribute to the Rev. David Dingwall, who died in Tuesday’s fire. Orange was his favorite color, Shand said.

More here-

In Bath, monthly food truck helping those in need get through lean times

From Maine-

They weren’t thinking about Thanksgiving, that day of feast and excess, when they arrived by the dozens at Grace Episcopal Church on Tuesday. They were thinking beyond that, to the days and weeks between now and Christmas. They were thinking about how to keep their cupboards, refrigerators and bellies full until then.

Once every month, a food truck parks in the back lot of the church about a mile from the center of Bath. The sides roll up. Volunteers spread the food out on tables. Fresh produce. Bread. Frozen chicken.

Unlike food trucks that serve gourmet cooked meals, this one is a food bank, supplying those in need with the food they’ll need to get through the lean days.

Everyone who comes gets a number for a place in line. In groups of 10, they go through the line, filling their bags or their boxes or their wheeled carts with food. They can take as much as they want, no questions asked.

Kimberly Gates runs the operation, but it belongs to the community, she said.

More here-

Episcopal priest named for Gilmer, Mount Pleasant

From Dallas-

Rev. Ethel Marie Channon is the new priest serving the Episcopal congregations in Mount Pleasant and Gilmer.

The Rt. Rev. James Stanton, Bishop of the Episcopal Diocese of Dallas, led the Ordination of a Priest at St. Mark’s Episcopal Church in Mount Pleasant Sunday, elevating Deacon “Sparky” to the priesthood according to the rituals of the church.

Participating with him in the ceremony were members of her family, of the two congregations where she will serve and Episcopal priests and deacons from nearby communities in Northeast Texas and from Dallas.

Criss Bartley of Gilmer represented St. David’s when she read the New Testament scripture for the service.

While the process of approving her application began last January, once all the prerequisite hurdles had been met, Bishop Stanton noted that Sunday, Dec. 1, is the beginning of Advent and in the liturgical calendar, the beginning of a new year.

More here-

Sunday, December 1, 2013

Former SA premier Lynn Arnold ordained as deacon by Anglican Church

From Australia-

Former South Australian Labor premier Lynn Arnold has been ordained by the Anglican Church.

He became premier in 1992, when John Bannon resigned over the collapse of the former State Bank, but was defeated by the Liberals in 1993.

Mr Arnold was among 12 people ordained on Saturday in one of the largest services of its type in South Australia in decades.

Now a deacon, he believes the large number of ordinations is a healthy sign for the church.

"A lot of people say faith is dead, the church is dead," he said.

"Yet we do have the largest numbers in some years of people wanting to answer the call, who are feeling energised by the call of God, so I find that very reassuring and very uplifting."

More here-