Saturday, May 24, 2014

Church of England one step away from having women bishops approved after ALL of its dioceses vote in favour of plans

From The Daily Mail-

The Church of England is one step away from having its first woman bishop after all of its dioceses voted in favour of the plans.

The church announced today that all 44 dioceses have approved the proposal, which will pave the way for women to be promoted to the senior rank.

It leaves just one major hurdle - a final vote in July - to changing centuries of church practice.

The introduction of  women bishops has long divided the Anglican Communion, a Christian denomination with more than 80 million followers worldwide.

Anglican churches in Australia, New Zealand and the United States already have women serving as bishops.

More here-

Pope Francis Kicks Off Holy Land Visit in Jordan

From Time-

Pope Francis arrived in Amman, Jordan on Saturday morning, kicking off a jam-packed three-day trip to the Holy Land.

In his first official visit to the region, the Pontiff will meet with King Abdullah II, then celebrate mass at the International Stadium, visit the site of Jesus’ baptism, and meet with refugees from neighboring Syria and Iraq. On Sunday, he will take a helicopter to Bethlehem in the West Bank, then head to Jerusalem later that night.

More here-

Global Trend-spotting

From The Living Church -

Philip Jenkins spoke on “Christianity in the World City” at Wycliffe College, Toronto, on May 14 as part of the Refresh! Conference. This report uses his own rhetorical questions and questions from the floor. Jenkins is Distinguished Professor of History and Religious Studies at Pennsylvania State University and is best known for his highly acclaimed work, The Next Christendom: The Coming of Global Christianity, which is now in its third edition.

Has there been a geographic shift in Christianity globally?

Christianity around the world is doing extremely well but paradoxically Christianity in its former centers of glory is doing extremely badly. Why is this happening, and is there a way we can lessen that difference in the old centers that are very Western, educated, industrial, rich and democratic: W-e-i-r-d?

More here-

Harleys and Holy Water: D.C. Church Blesses Bikes

From NBC-

Holy water fell on Harleys when the priests from the Washington National Cathedral blessed motorcycles and welcomed members of Rolling Thunder on Friday ahead of their annual ride on Memorial Day weekend.

Tens of thousands of motorcycles, many ridden by U.S. military veterans, will roll into the National Mall, the nation's symbolic front yard, on Sunday in a bold show of support for American prisoners of war and those missing in action. The rally takes place every year on the eve of Memorial Day.

More here-

Priest: Jesus ‘Would Have Turned Water Into Beer’ Today

From the "You Can't Make This Stuff Up" Department- Texas Division-

An Episcopal priest in Hawaii and a bar owner in Texas, Father Bill Miller says that if Jesus was alive today he not only would have turned water into beer, it also would have been “his beverage of choice.”

Noting that Jesus’ first miracle was turning water into wine in the Bible’s New Testament, Father Miller tells Fox News that today – it would have been a different choice.

“If Jesus had lived in Texas, for example, rather than Palestine, I’m pretty sure he would have turned that water into beer,” Miller tells Fox News, noting that Jesus didn’t just make “any wine,” he made “really good wine” that was served as the best for last at the Biblical wedding at Cana.
“He had no problem with quality,” adds Miller.

More here-

Friday, May 23, 2014

‘Significant steps’ needed to progress Anglican-Methodist Covenant

From Ekklesia-

The Archbishops of Canterbury and York, together with the President and Vice-President of the Methodist Conference, have today(22 May) issued a joint statement to their Churches.

The Most Rev Justin Welby, the Most Rev John Sentamu, the Rev Ruth Gee and Dr Daleep Mukarji have issued the statement in response to a report that will be debated by the Methodist Conference and General Synod this year.

The report, entitled The Challenge of the Covenant, recommends that both Churches take action to enhance unity between them, with the work being fully embedded in Church structures. It also encourages the Church of England to address the question of interchangeability of ordained ministries between the two Churches, and the Methodist Church to consider the possibility of a form of episcopal ministry (such as a 'president bishop').

More here-

Outcry over death sentence for Christian’s ‘apostasy’

From The Church Times-

THERE has been worldwide condemnation after a Sudanese woman was sentenced to death after being convicted of apostasy.

Meriam Ibrahim, aged 26, was convicted on 11 May, but given four days to reconvert to Islam and escape the death penalty. Mrs Ibrahim, however, who is pregnant, denied that she had ever been a Muslim. The court has postponed her sentence until her child has been born.

She has also been sentenced to 100 lashes for adultery: the sharia court did not recognise her marriage to her Christian husband as legitimate, as it considers her a Muslim.

The death sentence has been denounced by the former Archbishop of Canterbury Lord Carey. Speaking to The Sunday Times, he said: "Isn't there something fundamentally wrong with Islam at its core that it cannot allow people to change their religion? Moderate Muslims . . . have to say enough is enough."

More here-’s-‘apostasy’

Same-sex ruling has religious leaders thinking

From The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette-

"Goin' to the chapel and we're gonna get married."

Well, some chapels anyway.

With this week's landmark federal court ruling legalizing same-sex marriage in Pennsylvania, some houses of worship, including those affiliated with more liberal Protestant and Jewish denominations, will be opening their doors to gay couples -- and in fact have been doing so for years before they had benefit of a marriage license.

Many other religious groups -- including Roman Catholics, Orthodox and conservative evangelical Protestants -- are holding fast to traditional doctrine as a matter of course.

And for still other religious groups, the ruling only further complicates their long-running debates over homosexuality.

Read more:

Thursday, May 22, 2014

Pope to visit a land of disappearing Christians

From Reuters-

 When Pope Francis visits the birthplace of Jesus next week, he will address a dwindling population of faithful whose exodus from the Holy Land could turn the shrines of Christendom into museum pieces.

While ever growing numbers of Christian tourists pour into Bethlehem and the adjacent Jerusalem to visit the plethora of sites associated with Jesus, many Palestinian Christians hope to join a legion of relatives who have already moved out.

Christian communities have been in relative decline across the Middle East for generations, with the recent Arab revolts and the rise of radical Islam only accelerating the process.

More here-

Bishop Rowe on court decision: 'A step toward justice'

From Erie-

The Rt. Rev. Sean W. Rowe, bishop of the Episcopal Diocese of Northwestern Pennsylvania and Bishop Provisional of the Episcopal Diocese of Bethlehem, released the following statement on Tuesday's ruling that Pennsylvania's ban on same-sex marriage is unconstitutional:

"Today is a joyful day for Pennsylvanians who believe as I do that same-sex couples should be allowed to marry in our state. These couples work hard, raise children, volunteer for good causes and pay taxes. Pennsylvania would be poorer without them, and I am pleased that Judge John E. Jones III has moved them one significant step closer to equality under the law.

More here-

Episcopal Deacon Walking To End Poverty Across America

From Pittsburgh-

Lou Ness is an Episcopal deacon.

The 65-year-old grandmother has walked into Pittsburgh for a lofty mission.

“My purpose is to end poverty in America,” she says.

One step at a time. She started hiking from her church in Rockford, Illinois, on April 1. Her destination: Capitol Hill in Washington.

“I’ve been walking from rural town to rural town, from state to state, listening to people’s stories who live very marginally, at or below the poverty level,” Rev. Ness says.

There are stops along the way.

It’s a long journey for someone who admittedly doesn’t like walking. She has logged 596 miles since Rockford.

Her Pittsburgh destination is Trinity Church in Downtown Pittsburgh.

More here-

Wednesday, May 21, 2014

Federal judge rules same-sex marriage ban in Pennsylvania is unconstitutional

From CNN- (with video)

A federal judge struck down Pennsylvania's ban on same-sex marriage Tuesday, making it the latest in a host of states in which such prohibitions have been declared unconstitutional in the past year.
As with many of those previous rulings, U.S. District Judge John E. Jones cited the constitutional touchstones of due process and equal protection in striking down the prohibition.

"In future generations, the label same-sex marriage will be abandoned, to be replaced simply by marriage," Jones wrote. "We are a better people than what these laws represent, and it is time to discard them into the ash heap of history."

Other courts' decisions have been stayed, pending appeals -- meaning gay and lesbian couples can't marry in those states until an appeals court weighs in. Same-sex couples in Oregon began getting marriage licenses Monday after a similar federal court ruling, which that state did not appeal though the National Organization for Marriage subsequently did.

More here-

Tuesday, May 20, 2014

'Fault in Our Stars' gets early benefit screening

From Pittsburgh-

In the spirit of Hazel Grace Lancaster and Augustus Waters, a red-carpet screening of “The Fault in Our Stars” will benefit two Pittsburgh pediatric cancer charities.

The event, being organized by St. Paul’s Episcopal Church in Mt. Lebanon, which served as a movie location, will be June 5 at the newly remodeled Galleria 6 theater in Mt. Lebanon.

Moviegoers can walk a red carpet at 7:30 p.m., nibble on appetizers and listen to the church’s Youth Praise Band at 8 p.m, and watch the movie at 9 p.m. (with popcorn and a drink) for $22. Tickets are available through the church website,, and organizers are hoping to fill three or more theaters for the event which is open to the public.

Read more:

Monday, May 19, 2014

Cleric Advises Christians Against Compromise in Face of Challenges

From Nigeria-

Most Rev. Adebayo Akinde, the Archbishop of the Ecclesiastical Province of Lagos (Anglican Communion), has advised Christians not to compromise their faith in the face of challenges confronting the nation.

Akinde gave the advice on Sunday in his message at the closing of the Abuja Diocese's 2014 Synod Session held at the Basilica of Grace Church, Apo in Abuja.

The cleric, who spoke on the theme: "Times of Stress", likened the challenges confronting the nation to the biblical signs of the end times.

He said that Christians must keep faith in God and be careful not to compromise their relationship with him in a bid to overcome the fear, danger and uncertainty that had characterised the society.

According to Akinde, the danger, fear and uncertainty that have characterised the nation are signs of end time and this call for sober reflection and a review of man's relationship with God.

More here-

Women in love with priests urge pope to make celibacy optional

From Ireland-

Twenty-six women who say they are in love with Catholic priests have written to Pope Francis urging him to make celibacy optional.

The women, who all live in Italy, described the "devastating suffering" caused by the church's ban on priests having sex and marrying.

"We love these men and they love us," they said in their letter published on the website Vatican Insider.

"With humility, we place at your feet our suffering so that something can change, not just for us but for the good of the whole church," they added in the message, signed with their first names and an initial of their last names, but with several phone numbers.

Priestly celibacy in the Catholic Church, while not an unchangeable dogma, is a tradition going back more than 1,000 years.

More here-

also here-

and here-

East Carolina diocese elects Robert Skirving as bishop

From ENS-

The Rev. Robert Skirving, rector of St. John’s Church in Midland, Missouri, was elected as the 8th bishop of the Diocese of East Carolina on May 17, pending the required consents from a majority of bishops with jurisdiction and standing committees of the Episcopal Church.

Skirving was elected on the third ballot, receiving 48 of the 70 clergy votes and 97 of the 165 lay votes. Thirty-six clergy votes and 84 lay votes were needed for an election. The first ballot was invalidated due to a procedural error.

The election was held during a reconvened session of the 131st Convention held at Christ Church, New Bern, North Carolina.

More here-

Sunday, May 18, 2014

Episcopal fight in San Joaquin Valley headed toward finish

From Fresno-

The battle between the national Episcopal Church and the theologically conservative Anglican diocese that departed from it has been compared to the epic Bible story of David and Goliath. But in this case, the shepherd boy was no match for the giant -- the mammoth national church with its deep pockets.

Although legal challenges remain, it appears that newly elected Bishop David Rice of the Episcopal Diocese of San Joaquin has arrived just in time to accept the spoils of the eight-year war: 29 parish properties, the diocesan headquarters in Fresno and frozen assets worth more than $7.25 million. Three parishes remain in litigation.

Earlier this month, a judge issued a tentative decision giving all properties and money to the Episcopal bishop and diocese. In a letter posted on the Anglican diocese's website, Bishop Eric Menees wrote, "I understand that this news and its potential implications may produce feelings of concern or even fear for you. However, I urge each one of you to trust in the Lord. He will never leave us nor forsake us, and no matter the fate of our buildings, we will be victorious in him!"

Read more here: