Saturday, May 10, 2014

The Class of ’94 celebrate 20 years since ordination

From The Church Times-

MASSED on the steps of St Paul's Cathedral, they stood smiling and waving in glorious sunshine, as friends, husbands, children, and grandchildren strained to spot their own in the Class of 1994.

The 20th anniversary of the first ordination of women as priests in the Church of England on Saturday was, the Archbishop of Canterbury confirmed, "party time". About 700 of those ordained in 1994 attended the service at St Paul's. Many arriving after taking part in a walk of witness from Westminster Abbey.

For 15 minutes, as they processed into the cathedral through the west doors, the congregation applauded.

"It was a very charged atmosphere," said the Revd Alison Morris, a non-stipendiary minister at St Michael and All Angels', Pelsall, who was ordained five years ago. "As they entered, they were clapping those who were clapping and affirming them. Some had tears in their eyes."

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Primates unite in outrage, prayer for schoolgirls kidnapped in Nigeria

From ENS-

Primates from countries all over the Anglican Communion have joined the worldwide outcry the abduction of more than two hundred young girls from Chibok, Nigeria.

Over the past week church leaders on five continents have added their voices to the multitude of others calling for the safe return of the girls.

Archbishop of the Anglican Church of Southern Africa, Thabo Makgoba condemned abductions of Nigerian Schoolgirls as an ‘outrage’. He called for “all of Africa, and especially South Africa” to rise up and demand the release of hundreds of Nigerian schoolgirls who were abducted from their school three weeks ago.

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Friday, May 9, 2014

Episcopal Church: Presiding bishops talks of healing wounds

From South Carolina-

The Most Rev. Katharine Jefferts Schori, presiding bishop of the Episcopal Church, told 300 church loyalists from across the state to have faith during a day-long conference Saturday at Holy Cross-Faith Memorial Episcopal Church.

“The world prays for you in South Carolina,” Schori said during her address at the “Enthusiastically Episcopalian in South Carolina” Conference. “Human relations to God cannot be right with other relationships out of plumb,” Schori said. “It’s God’s mission to restore all creation to unity with him. When relationships are restored, old wounds heal.”

Schori, leader of 2.1 million Episcopalians in 17 countries, said the church wants its members to understand values and celebrate diversity. “None of us can do it all,” she said. “None of us can do it in isolation.”

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Web letter by Edward S. Little II: Episcopal Church celebrates 175 years in Fort Wayne

From Northern Indiana-

On Saturday, May 10, the Episcopal Church celebrates the 175th anniversary of its ministry in Fort Wayne, the City of Churches. It has been a privilege for us to be immersed in the life of this vibrant community, to contribute to its growth and prosperity and in turn to receive a welcome that characterizes the city of Fort Wayne.

In 1839, the Right Rev. Jackson Kemper – the first missionary bishop of the Episcopal Church – passed through this area. As he traveled, he preached the Gospel, gathered Christian communities and pioneered the church’s mission to what was then called the West. Today we commemorate the first worship service in Fort Wayne, and we give thanks for the opportunity that God has given to us – and to brothers and sisters from other Christian traditions – to share the Gospel of Jesus Christ in a city known for its warmth and its deep roots. Fort Wayne is a wonderful environment for us to seek to follow Jesus and to apply our Christian faith in all aspects of our lives.

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Same-sex blessings in Midlands and Upstate Episcopal congregations to be permitted

From Upper South Carolina-

The leader of Midlands and Upstate Episcopalians told clergy Thursday he will permit congregations to perform blessings of same-sex couples, a decision reached after two years of intense theological discussions with pastors and parishioners.

The Rt. Rev. W. Andrew Waldo, bishop of the Episcopal Diocese of Upper South Carolina, said no clergy would be required to perform the rite. He said he will support all 61 of his congregations whether they choose to carry out the blessing ritual or not.

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Thursday, May 8, 2014

"Rwanda on the right track," says former Archbishop of Canterbury

From Anglican News-

Visiting former Archbishop of Canterbury, George Leonard Carey, has described Rwanda as a happy and fast developing country after positively responding to post-Genocide challenges.

Carey made the remarks yesterday, shortly after he had paid a courtesy call on President Paul Kagame at Village Urugwiro in Kigali.

He was last in Rwanda in 1995, shortly after the 1994 Genocide against the Tutsi, and he noted that the country had significantly improved since then.

“This country has responded magnificently. It’s now vibrant and is getting over all the miseries of what happened in those terrible days. This is now a strong and buoyant country that is going in the right direction,” he said.

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Florida deacon says he was 'drummed out' of Catholic church

From National Catholic Reporter-

Norman Carroll says he is an Episcopal deacon today rather than a Roman Catholic one -- as he had been for nearly 35 years -- largely because he had a one-on-one conversation on Feb. 26, 2013, with a man who insisted that Carroll state his personal view on the Catholic church's doctrine on the ordination of women.
Carroll told the man he felt the church had the authority to ordain women and that Pope John Paul II's apostolic teaching on the ordination of women was not infallible.

His view was reported to Miami Archbishop Thomas Wenski. A week later, on March 6, Wenski told Carroll's pastor to "instruct him [Carroll] that he is not to present himself for any diaconal ministries" and to "make an appointment ... to see me."

On the same date, Wenski corresponded with a parishioner of St. John Neumann Parish in Reston, Va., who had apparently been the person who complained about Carroll's mission presentation at the church.

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Thin skins and prayer

From George Will-

After the marshal on Monday spoke the traditional “God save the United States and this honorable court,” the Supreme Court ruled that the upstate New York town of Greece does not violate the First Amendment’s prohibition of “establishment of religion” by opening its board of supervisors’ meetings with a prayer. This ruling would not scandalize James Madison and other members of the First Congress, which drafted and sent to the states for ratification the First Amendment and the rest of the Bill of Rights. The Congress did this after hiring a chaplain.
Three decades have passed since the court last ruled on the matter of prayers during government meetings. In 1983, the court held:

“The opening of sessions of legislative and other deliberative public bodies with prayer is deeply embedded in the history and tradition of this country. From colonial times through the founding of the Republic and ever since, the practice of legislative prayer has coexisted with the principles of disestablishment and religious freedom.”

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Wednesday, May 7, 2014

Anglican Women call for action on kidnapped Nigerian girls

From ACNS-

Leaders of the International Anglican Women's Network have called on women around the Anglican Communion to do what they can to help the 200+ girls kidnapped in Nigeria by terrorist group Boko Haram.

IAWN Steering Group convener Ann Skamp has written to members encouraging them not to forget the girls some of whom, the media is reporting, have been forced to marry by their captors.

"Three weeks ago now, over 200 girls were kidnapped from their school in the northern Nigerian city of Borno. As we continue to keep the girls, their families and communities in our prayers please consider what we can do to support them," she said.

Mrs Skamp suggested that Anglican/Episcopalian women could sign an online petition at

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MEEKS: Thank you Episcopal bishops

From Georgia-

Though they are joined by many other religious leaders in their outrage at the recent gun bill that was signed into law by Gov. Nathan Deal, I want to thank our Episcopal bishops for being in that number. When the state loses its mind, hopefully the church will not follow it. Too many of our Georgia legislators and our governor seem to be traveling on a very peculiar road. A road that makes them believe it is a good idea for folks to take guns to schools, churches and bars.

Some of us who understand those who live by the sword or gun are likely to die by it, can be grateful that the bill allows leaders in schools and churches to say whether or not guns can be brought on their premises. I am personally thrilled that Bishop Scott Benhase of the Diocese of Georgia and Bishop Robert Wright of the Diocese of Atlanta quickly went on record making it clear that guns will not be welcome on Episcopal property in Georgia. Thanks be to God for them and all of the other religious leaders who are taking a similar stand.

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Tuesday, May 6, 2014

Conservative Anglican leaders back Uganda anti-gay law

From The Washington Post-

Leaders of the conservative wing of the worldwide Anglican Communion equate the experiences of Ugandans who support a new anti-gay law with those of victims of an earthquake or a terror attack.

The Global Anglican Future Conference — made up chiefly of Anglican archbishops in Africa, Asia and Latin America — concluded a two-day meeting in London on Saturday (April 26) with a statement that expressed concern for violence in South Sudan and Northern Nigeria. It then said:

“We are equally concerned for the affected communities in Chile from the recent earthquake, terrorist attacks in Kenya, and the backlash from the international community in Uganda from their new legislation.”

Pittsburgh-based Archbishop Robert Duncan, the founding leader of the breakaway Anglican Church In North America, signed the GAFCON statement. Duncan and the ACNA are not on the public record supporting the Uganda legislation, and both Duncan and an ANCA spokesman declined to speak on the record about it.

When the ACNA formally launched in 2009 as a shelter for Episcopalians who objected to the Episcopal Church’s pro-gay policies, its strongest ties in the worldwide Anglican Communion were with churches in the Global South, particularly in Nigeria and Uganda.

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Supreme Court backs public prayer

From The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette-

When he was in the minority in a 5-4 U.S. Supreme Court vote in 1989 that banned a creche display at the Allegheny County Courthouse, Justice Anthony Kennedy could do little more than register his dissent in writing.

But a quarter century later -- now writing for a court majority -- Justice Kennedy blew the dust off his words and used them to establish new case law. Local municipal boards, he declared, can invite clergy and other citizens to offer prayers before meetings, even if most or all of those prayers end up reflecting just one religion.

The court ruled, 5-4, on Monday that the town board of Greece, N.Y., was within its constitutional rights to begin its meetings with prayers, even though it went for many years having invited only Christians to lead the prayers. Prayer-givers had invoked specific Christian doctrines, invited all to bow their heads or stand with them in prayer and used terms such as "we" and "our brother the Lord Jesus Christ."

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Courtesy and Joy at Nashotah

From The Living Church-

Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori joined in Morning Prayer, attended classes, held a discussion session, and delivered an Evensong sermon during a visit to Nashotah House Theological Seminary on May 1. It was the first time since Jefferts Schori was invested as Primate of the Episcopal Church in November 2006 that she has been to the historic Anglo-Catholic institution.

Courtesy and even joy prevailed, especially among Nashotah House’s growing presence of women students. The Rt. Rev. Edward L. Salmon, Jr., dean and president of Nashotah House, encouraged all students and faculty to attend unless their sponsoring bishop forbade it.

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Monday, May 5, 2014

Anglican leader ponders why first woman priest only ordained 20 years ago

From Ecumenical News-

The Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby has praised the elevation of women to the priesthood in the Church of England 20 years ago.

"How did we not see that women and men are equally icons, witnesses, vessels of Christ for the world?" Welby asked Sunday.

"Twenty years, out of about 450. That's less than 5 percent in the story of the Church of England, so far, a story in which we remain committed to reimagining ministry," he said.

Welby who is the spiritual head of the Church of England and the most senior bishop in the 85-million strong Anglican communion, delivered a sermon at St Paul's Cathedral in London at a service to mark the 20th anniversary of women priests.

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The Very Rev. Brian R. Seage of St. Columb’s Episcopal Church was chosen Saturday over four other nominees.

From Mississippi-

Mississippi Episcopalians have elected a rector from Ridgeland to become the next bishop of Mississippi.

The Very Rev. Brian R. Seage of St. Columb’s Episcopal Church was chosen Saturday over four other nominees, one from Hattiesburg and the others from North Carolina, Missouri and Colorado. If confirmed, he will succeed the Rt. Rev. Duncan M. Gray III in February, when Gray retires.

The Episcopal Diocese of Mississippi says Saturday’s election took five ballots. It was held at St. Andrew’s Cathedral in Jackson.

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First Openly Gay Episcopal Bishop Announces Divorce

From NPR-

Bishop Gene Robinson says he and his husband, Mark Andrew, are getting a divorce. The first openly gay Episcopal bishop, Robinson retired last year, a decade after his election alienated many conservative Anglicans.

The pair had been together for 25 years. Robinson disclosed the divorce this weekend, in an email to the Diocese of New Hampshire and in a column for The Daily Beast in which he wrote:

"My belief in marriage is undiminished by the reality of divorcing someone I have loved for a very long time, and will continue to love even as we separate. Love can endure, even if a marriage cannot. It will take a lot of work, a lot of grieving, and a large measure of hope to see it through. And that's where my faith comes in."

"Life is hard," the retired bishop said, "and that is true whether you're in your teens or in your 'golden years.' "

More here-

Sunday, May 4, 2014

Episcopal leader stressing unity at SC church gathering

From South Carolina-

Katharine Jefferts Schori, presiding bishop of The Episcopal Church, thus chief pastor to 2.1 million Episcopalians in 17 countries, stressed unity and justice to S.C. loyalists Saturday at Holy Cross Faith Memorial Church.

More than 300 Episcopalians, including Schori and other state and national TEC leaders, gathered at the historic campus in Pawleys Island on a mild, sunny day, ideal for a day-long “Enthusiastically Episcopalian in South Carolina” Conference.

TEC leaders said the event was intended as a “new beginning” or a “way to move forward” in the wake of an Episcopalian rift in which the majority of the denomination’s S.C. churches have withdrawn from TEC over the last two years.

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Gene Robinson, first openly gay Episcopal bishop, announces his divorce

From RNS-

Bishop Gene Robinson, whose 2003 election as the first openly gay Episcopal bishop rocked Anglican Communion, has announced his divorce from his longtime partner and husband.

Robinson, who retired in 2013 as the Bishop of New Hampshire, and his partner of 25 years, Mark Andrew, were married in a private civil union in 2008. The announcement was made public Saturday (May 3) in a statement to the Diocese of New Hampshire.

“As you can imagine, this is a difficult time for us — not a decision entered into lightly or without much counseling,” Robinson wrote in a letter. “We ask for your prayers, that the love and care for each other that has characterized our relationship for a quarter century will continue in the difficult days ahead.”

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