Saturday, July 5, 2014

Bishop Ball Plans to Celebrate

From The Living Church-

After he retired in 1998 as Bishop of Albany in 1998, the Rt. Rev. David S. Ball settled into 14 years as bishop-in-residence at the Cathedral of All Saints in Albany. That independent life ended abruptly one Sunday evening in July 2012.

Bishop Ball stepped into a neighborhood store, bought a bottle of juice, and fell. He did not recall losing consciousness and did not realize the extent of his injuries until an emergency-room doctor informed him that he had severely broken the C1 vertebrae in his neck directly beneath his brain stem.

“When I asked the doctor about my chances of walking again, he said I should consider myself lucky to be alive,” Bishop Ball told TLC. The previous day he had overseen the tee-off of the 14th Annual Bishop Ball Charity Golf Tournament. Proceeds from the golf tournament are dedicated to his beloved cathedral.

More here-

Swing voters say they will now back women bishops

From The Church Times-

THE pivotal votes of a small num­ber of members of the General Synod who helped to defeat the women-bishops Measure in Novem­ber 2012 have swung to the Yes camp.

The earlier Measure was lost by six votes in the House of Laity. Instrumental to the defeat were a handful of members who, despite being in favour of the consecration of women as bishops, voted against the Measure, prompted by a concern that it did not offer enough provision for those who were opposed on principle.

Five of these members told the Church Times this week that they now planned to vote in favour.

More here-

When Pope Francis Met Archbishop Welby

From Aleteia-

One of the less predictable events arranged during the recent meeting of His Grace the Archbishop of Canterbury, Justin Welby, and His Holiness, Pope Francis, was the Archbishop’s meeting with the Vatican’s cricket team which has challenged the Church of England to a match in Canterbury next September. It was pointed out that this would be the first such match in 600 years.

It is certainly striking that the Vatican has now taken up this very British game, whose international reach largely coincides with that of the wider global Anglican Communion. Sadly, neither the Pope nor the Archbishop apparently intends to lead their own team onto the field -- even though the Pope would surely have had a head start when it comes to wearing the traditional cricketer’s white. Anglicans and their clergy, it must be said, have tended to be rather good at cricket, perhaps because the game is a slow one with genteel pauses for lunch and tea, though this leisurely pace does allow much room for the strategies of stealth to which clergy are so inclined.

More here-

Confidant calls Pope Francis a changed man

From Boston-

A veteran Latin American prelate and one of two members from the continent on Pope Francis’ council of cardinal advisors says the pontiff today is a changed man, coming off as far more “communicative” and “approachable” than the “shy” Archbishop of Buenos Aires in Argentina he once knew.

“After he was elected pope, a cardinal mentioned this visible change to [Pope Francis],” said Chilean Cardinal Francisco Javier Errázuriz Ossa.

The Chilean prelate said the pope acknowledged the transformation, and told the cardinal: “It’s true. I believe the Holy Spirit has changed me.”

Errázuriz spoke to the Globe Thursday, while in Rome for a meeting of a council of cardinal advisors with the pontiff.

More here-

Friday, July 4, 2014

Vatican formally recognizes international association of exorcists

From The Vatican-

The Vatican formally recognized an international association of exorcists founded by Pauline Fr. Gabriele Amorth, an Italian priest renowned for his work in dispelling demons.

The Congregation for Clergy signed the formal decree June 13 approving the group's statutes and granting it "private juridical personality," which recognizes the group's autonomy as an organization of Catholics not operating in the name of the Catholic church, but as having some accountability to the Vatican.

The Vatican newspaper, L'Osservatore Romano, published the news July 3.

The International Association of Exorcists is headquartered in Rome and was co-founded by Amorth and the French exorcist, Fr. Rene Chenessau.

More here-

Richmond church where Patrick Henry called for ‘liberty or death’ seeks funds for repairs

From Virginia-

In 1775, Patrick Henry called for “liberty or death” at St. John’s Church.

And now, 239 years later, the historic church is calling for donations to repair its roof and paint its walls.

“The big item is replacing the roof of the church,” said Sarah Whiting, executive director of the St. John’s Church Foundation. “It’s leaking.”

And, Whiting said, “All the buildings need to be painted.”

Under its Legacy of Liberty Preservation Project, the St. John’s Church Foundation is working to raise $324,000 to make critical repairs to the national historic landmark.

More here-

Prayer answered! Former monk claims Tennessee's largest ever Powerball prize of $259M (and most of it is going to charity)

From Tennessee-

Roy Cockrum had once vowed to lead a life of poverty - but a winning $259million Powerball ticket has changed everything for the former Tennessee monk. 

Cockrum, 58, of Knoxville, appeared at the Tennessee Lottery headquarters in Nashville Thursday to claim Tennessee's largest ever jackpot. He plans to accept a lump sum payment of $115million.

The 58-year-old former member of an Episcopal monastic order bought the ticket at a Kroger store in Knoxville June 11.

More here-

Thursday, July 3, 2014

Anglican priests to have option of disclosing confessions on serious crimes

From Australia-

The Anglican Church has decided to give priests in Australia the option of breaking the confidentiality of confessions.

The general synod, meeting in Adelaide, has voted for the historic change to cover serious crimes, such as child abuse.

It has decided it will be up to individual dioceses to adopt the policy.

Adelaide's Anglican Archbishop Jeffrey Driver says the change makes sense but there will not be a hard-and-fast rule.

"In matters where lives and genuine wellbeing of people is at risk, the Church has decided that a priest may disclose [but] it's not saying a priest must disclose," he said.

More here-

Glory days?

From Christian Century-

You know the story: America’s mighty mainline Protestant churches once stretched from sea to shining sea, embracing the vast majority of American people who worshiped week after week, filling glorious churches with their hymns of praise. But, alas, they are now reduced to a handful of aging folks who can scarcely pay to keep the church furnace running. In a few weeks they’ll all be gone.

Martin Marty has written that the story of “mainline decline” is so hackneyed by now that we should just reduce it to one word—mainlinedecline. It is a narrative that has dominated the interpretation of church life in America’s older Protestant denominations since 1972, when Dean M. Kelley wrote Why Conservative Churches Are Growing.

But it may have a seriously faulty presupposition. 

More here-

2,000 Christians gather in South Africa for Anglicans Ablaze

From ENS-

 Around two thousand Christians from Southern Africa and beyond are in Johannesburg for one of the continent’s most popular Christian gatherings: Anglicans Ablaze.

Day one was characterized by lively praise and worship songs led by Bishop Martin Breytenbach of the Diocese of St. Mark the Evangelist (Limpopo Province of the Anglican Church of Southern Africa), backed by an energetic “blazing band.”

The bishop told attendees: “People are spiritually thirsty and desperate for a living God” and he encouraged participants to be “engaged and meet God despite the different styles of praise and worship” at the conference.

The Anglican-run conference, with the theme Hope is Rising, runs from July 2-5, and will address various topics ranging from re-imagining mission, the environment, social justice, discipleship and leadership, among many others. Speakers have been drawn from various backgrounds, denominations and countries mostly from Africa.

More here-

Franklin Park church garden rooted in faith to feed needy

From Pittsburgh-

Parishioners of all ages at St. Brendan's Episcopal Church planted a Garden of Hope in the spring, part of the church's year-round effort to support local food banks and homeless shelters.

Behind the Franklin Park church, the garden produces crops that go to Bethlehem Haven in Uptown and the North Hills Food Bank in West View.

Nancy Davis said she and other church members worked to build interest in a program to help people who did not have access to fresh produce. She contacted Vanessa Capozzi, now ministry leader for the Garden of Hope.

“We wanted to ensure that we could provide as much food as possible, and get as many parishioners involved as we could to help our neighbors,” Davis said.

More here-

Wednesday, July 2, 2014

Joint Nominating Committee provides update, presents first of three essays

From The Episcopal Church-

The Episcopal Church Joint Nominating Committee for the Election of the Presiding Bishop (JNCPB) has issued the following information.

The Joint Nominating Committee for the Election of the Presiding Bishop (JNCPB) is continuing its work to prepare The Episcopal Church for the election of the 27th Presiding Bishop at General Convention in 2015.

Between now and August 1, the JNCPB will publish three short educational essays.

This first essay describes the basic timeline and steps for the nominating and election process.  (The first essay is presented below.) The second essay will outline the current roles, functions, and responsibilities of the Presiding Bishop.  The third essay will discuss how the office of Presiding Bishop has changed and evolved from being the senior bishop by consecration who presides over meetings of the House of Bishops to the complex multifaceted position it is today.

More here-

Pope Francis' none-too-subtle Vatican 'dress code'

From The LA Times (and our friend Michael McGough)

Vaticanologists — the Catholic version of Kremlinologists — are journalists and scholars who scrutinize even the most trivial actions for clues to the thinking of the pope. A subset of this group (in which I include myself) pays special attention to what Pope Francis wears.

As I have written before, compared with Pope Benedict XVI, Francis has been “dressing down,” eschewing ornate vestments and sky-high jeweled miters (the double-pointed headdress worn by Catholic and Anglican bishops). This isn’t just a matter of fashion preferences: Benedict’s fondness for Baroque vestments was viewed by both liberals and conservatives in the church as a coded endorsement of the theology and style of worship of pre-Vatican II Catholicism.

More here-

42% of Dioceses Pledge 19%

From The Living Church-

Adapted from a release by the Episcopal Church’s Office of Public Affairs

The Episcopal Church Office of Finance has issued a mid-year report on diocesan commitments.

N. Kurt Barnes, treasurer and chief financial officer, announced that all Episcopal dioceses located in the United States and nearly all non-domestic dioceses have committed to the church’s 2014 budget, adding that:

42 dioceses have committed to the full 19 percent asking level adopted by General Convention in 2012

39 dioceses are contributing between 10 percent and 19 percent

Commitments have been received from all but one diocese.

More here-

Abp Welby begins primate visits in Central, Southern Africa

From ACNS-

The Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby arrived in Zambia on Monday for a week of visits to fellow primates in the Anglican provinces of Central and Southern Africa.

The visits, which form part of Archbishop Justin’s commitment to visit every primate in the Anglican Communion during his first 18 months in office, will focus on spending time with church leaders and communities and seeing the work of Anglican churches in their local context. He will be accompanied throughout the visits by his wife, Caroline.

This morning the Archbishop arrived in the Zambian capital of Lusaka, where he will spend two days as a guest of the Archbishop of Central Africa and Bishop of Northern Zambia, Albert Chama. This evening he will address Anglicans in Lusaka at the Cathedral of the Holy Cross.

More here-,-southern-africa.aspx

Missouri Episcopal diocese says it supports St. Louis' fight for gay marriage

From St. Louis-

Because Monday's news was all about Hobby Lobby, there's an item from the Episcopal Diocese of Missouri that may have slipped past your radar.

On that same day, the diocese released a statement noting that Bishop George Wayne Smith “supports St. Louis Mayor Francis Slay and City Counselor Winston Calvert in their challenge to Missouri law prohibiting same-sex marriage.”

"Even as the Episcopal Church works to clarify our theological understanding of and pastoral practices around same-sex blessings," Smith said, "I believe that it is not the place of the State of Missouri to deny the privileges and responsibilities of marriage to anyone, basing that denial solely on the gender of the couple."

More here-

Tuesday, July 1, 2014

Second Vicar Defies Prohibiton on Same-sex "Marriages" for Clergy

From Christian Concern-

A second same-sex 'wedding' involving a Church of England minister took place last weekend.

Rev Andrew Cain, the Vicar of St Mary with All Souls in Kilburn and St James in West Hampstead, 'married' his partner Stephen Foreshew, becoming the second CofE clergyman to defy the church’s ban on homosexual clerics 'marrying'.

Andrea Williams, chief executive of Christian Concern and a member of the General Synod, said: "It is extraordinarily disappointing that just months after the House of Bishops clarified its instruction that homosexual clergy should not marry, yet another minister has acted in open defiance.   

More here-

Local reverand (sic) performs baptisms in Jordan River

From West Virginia-

Reverand Chip Graves of Trinity Episcopal Church in Huntignton recently got to tour Israel and Palestine.

Graves also got to baptize eight new-found friends in the Jordan River.

"It was simply amazing," Graves said. "I was standing there at the traditional location where Jesus was baptized, pondering the event, the scenery, when all of a sudden, several folks came to me asking if I would baptize them," he said.

"After personal instruction and hearing their commitment to Christ, I baptized them in the Jordan where it meets the Sea of Galilee," he added. "It was truly a blessed event that I'll never forget."

More here-

Leading CofE academic in fatal car accident

From Christian Today-

A leading academic and fast-rising young theologian in the Church of England has died tragically in a fatal car accident.

Dr John Hughes, Dean of Chapel at Jesus College, Cambridge, who was tipped for high office, had recently edited a collection of sermons written in response to the "new atheists" which is shortly to be published.

Aged just 35, he was from the academic Anglican-Catholic tradition and a leading thinker on a project set up by the Archbishops of Canterbury and York to examine Anglican social thought. Besides having developed a coherent intellectual response to the new atheism, he had studied and become an expert on Roman Catholic social teaching especially in relation to economics.

The Cambridge News reports that he was the victim of a fatal crash on the A10 at Melbourn. Dr Hughes was driving a blue Toyota Corolla which was in a collision with a grey Volvo S80 about a mile south of the junction with Station Road.

More here-

Archbishop begins visit to Central and Southern Africa

From ENS-

The Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby arrives in Zambia today for a week of visits to fellow primates in the Anglican provinces of Central and Southern Africa.

The visits, which form part of Archbishop Justin’s commitment to visit every primate in the Anglican Communion during his first 18 months in office, will focus on spending time with church leaders and communities and seeing the work of Anglican churches in their local context. He will be accompanied throughout the visits by his wife, Caroline.

Today the Archbishop arrives in the Zambian capital of Lusaka, where he will spend two days as a guest of the Archbishop of Central Africa and Bishop of Northern Zambia, Albert Chama. This evening he will address Anglicans in Lusaka at the Cathedral of the Holy Cross.

More here-

'Philadelphia Eleven' Members, Author To Speak – Brevard NC

From North Carolina-

College Walk and Highland Books will host a book signing and discussion by the Rev. Carter Heyward, Dr. Darlene O’Dell, and College Walk resident the Rev. Alison Cheek Thursday, July 3, at 7 p.m. The event will be held at College Walk.

Seabury Books has just released the books “The Story of the Philadelphia Eleven,” written by O’Dell, and “The Spirit of the Lord Is Upon Me: The Writings of Suzanne Hiatt,” co-edited by Heyward and Janine Lehane.

The Philadelphia Eleven were the first women ordained by the Episcopal Church. The ordinations occurred without the approval of the church hierarchy and created a media firestorm that began just before the ordinations in 1974 and lasted until the General Convention met in 1976. Cheek, Hiatt, and Heyward were three of the 11 women ordained on a “blistering” hot day in the Church of the Advocate in Philadelphia. Cheek was later named one of Time’s women of the year. Heyward was featured on the cover of Ms. magazine. Over the course of the two years, the coverage around the events appeared in major newspapers and on the nightly news shows. Both women appeared together on The Phil Donahue Show.

More here-

A Tale Of Two Churches: Navigating Georgia’s New Gun Law

From Georgia-

“God put this in our path for a reason and for us to figure out where our priorities are. Our priority includes church, so that's not in question. What it also includes is you know, is having certain freedoms not curtailed and not decided for us."

Daniel asked GPB not to use his last name. He worries speaking out on such a controversial law could cost him his job. He and his family stopped going to their church about two months ago. That’s when Bishop Robert Wright of the Episcopal Diocese of Atlanta announced that the 109 parishes he leads would not welcome firearms.

“I saw this as a wonderful opportunity to talk about what it means to be a follower of Jesus in the 21st Century,” says Wright. “Even though permission has been given to have guns everywhere, that stops for us at the sanctuary. This is a gun-free zone.”

Bishop Wright says even though he was active in lobbying against the gun bill this spring, this was not a political decision, but one based on faith. The Bishop calls this a “respectful disagreement” with state lawmakers and even other Christians.

“We know that there are people who this has been a tough conversation for them and some people are choosing to leave, though these have been very isolated incidents. I can tell you what I have heard. I’ve heard that more people are wanting to come to the Episcopal Church now, because of the stance.” 

More here-’s-new-gun-law

Monday, June 30, 2014

Archbishop of Canterbury to visit Zambia this week

From Zambia-

THE Archbishop of Canterbury, the head of over 70 million Anglicans worldwide, is expected to visit Zambia this week.

Archbishop Justin Welby and his entourage that includes his wife Caroline would arrive in Zambia on Monday, June 30, 2014 and would pay a courtesy call on finance minister Alexander Chikwanda before visiting the Cathedral of the Holy Cross, the venue of the Anglican Consultative Council meeting in 2016.

The Archbishop would then pay a private visit to the Archbishop of Central Africa Albert Chama on Tuesday, July 1, 2014 in Kitwe.

More here-

Pope Francis attacks Rome's 'moral decay'

From The Daily Mail-

Pope Francis has attacked Rome's 'moral decay', citing child prostitutes and busy soup kitchens in his adopted home city as examples of society's downfall.

The 77-year-old Pontiff spoke of the 'tremendous pain' he felt over the darker side of the city in an interview to mark the feasts of Saints Peter and Paul.

He also hit out at economic struggles, unemployment and Italy's falling birth rate, as well as expressing the view that communists had 'stolen' the flag of Christianity.

More here-

Episcopal bishop ponders whether to sanction same-sex blessings

From South West Florida-

Early this year, Episcopal Bishop Dabney Smith stood before a crowd of about 175 people who wanted him to authorize same-sex union blessings.

The meeting, in the parish hall of St. Peter's Episcopal Cathedral in downtown St. Petersburg, was of particular significance.

It took place at the "mother church" of Smith's diocese, which stretches from Brooksville to Marco Island and includes Tampa, St. Petersburg and Plant City. St. Peter's also is home to an energized group of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender members with strong support from congregational leaders and parishioners.

More here-