Saturday, July 26, 2014

Pope Says to Anglicans “Come on Over!”

From Patheos-

Pope Francis has waved a welcome to Anglicans who are still shivering on the banks of the Tiber .
They don’t even have to swim the Tiber anymore. They can walk across the bridge called “Ordinariate”

In the wake of the Church of England’s decision to ordain women bishops the Ordinariate of Our Lady of Walsingham is hosting an open day.

Pope Francis has written especially to welcome all who wish to come home to Rome. The nuncio to Great Britain wrote to the Ordinary Keith Newton saying,

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Churches searching in wake of same-sex marriage

From Oregon-

It’s been two months since Oregon has joined other states in allowing same-sex marriage. While the state has made its decision, local churches are all over the board on this controversial issue.

Some stand firm in their traditional views of marriage, some know what they believe but are trying to figure out how to respond, some are entering new waters in their denominations and some have been waiting a long time and are cheering the ability to marry homosexual couples.

“We have had phones flying off the hook, and couples in our congregation who have been ‘married’ for years are getting a reaffirmation in their own church, state and home,” said Associate Pastor Emily Goodnow of First Congregational United Church of Christ in Salem. She can think of six same-sex weddings coming up in the next few months. “It’s been really fun. Our church has been overjoyed.”

More here-

When history becomes ashes

From Easton-

The crispy, hard, black ashes crunched against the blade of his shovel as Chuck Hughes dug deep into the remains of St. Paul's Episcopal Church in Spring Hill near Hebron. He came to investigate, on behalf of an insurance company, the cause of the fire that, in less than two hours, turned the wooden building into smoke and charcoal.

In 120 minutes, a church built in 1773 was gone.

"Just think," Chuck said to me, "this church was here before there was our United States."

When I met Chuck at the site, I noticed it was less than 24 hours since Old Spring Hill, as it was also called, was standing. In just 24 hours a beautiful church was gone. The morning before, fire trucks, emergency personnel, bystanders and backed up traffic on a closed portion of the highway. Oddly, it was just Chuck and I standing in the ashes, alone, talking.

More here-

Testimony in SC Episcopal break winds up

From South Carolina-

The bishop of the Diocese of South Carolina testified Friday that he never originally intended to split with the national Episcopal Church as a three week-trial stemming from the acrimonious division came to a close.

The bishop for the state’s parishes that are remaining with the national church, meanwhile, said he was praying for reconciliation.

Nearly two years ago, about 50 conservative Episcopal churches in the diocese split with the national church amid differences over a range of theological issues, among them differences with the national church over the authority of Scripture and its allowing the ordination of gays.

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Friday, July 25, 2014

Pope Francis prays for success of Ordinariate’s exploration day

From Independent Catholic News-

Pope Francis has said he is praying for the success of the Personal Ordinariate of Our Lady of Walsingham's forthcoming 'Called To Be One' exploration day, which it has planned with the aim of increasing understanding of the Ordinariate's purpose and reaching out to those who may feel called to join it.

The endorsement was delivered in a letter from the Apostolic Nuncio to Great Britain, Archbishop Antonio Mennini, to Monsignor Keith Newton, the Ordinary of the Ordinariate.

The full text of Archbishop Mennini's letter follows:

More here-

Bishop Tutu latest Christian figure to support assisted suicide

From Canada-

Archbishop Desmond Tutu, who fought successfully against apartheid in South Africa, came out strongly in favour of assisted suicide this month.

He is the latest leading Christian figure to offer support for the idea of “dying with dignity” through this form of euthanasia.

With Canada’s Supreme Court set to hear a B.C.-launched case on assisted suicide on October 15th, it’s worth noting that an active United Church of Canada member, Gloria Taylor, who recently died from ALS, was a leader in the campaign in this country.

Before we review Taylor’s thoughts on God, Christianity and assisted suicide, here’s an excerpt from what Tutu, the Nobel Peace laureate, had to say in a public statement:

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Uganda Anglican Church seeks support to build martyrs museum

From ANS-

The Anglican Church in Uganda has begun initial preparations to construct a museum at the Uganda Martyrs Heritage Centre in Namugongo, a township in Central Uganda.

The Chairman of the Project, the Archbishop Emeritus of Uganda, Livingstone Mpalanyi Nkoyoyo, made the announcement in a recent letter to supporters and friends.

“The purpose of the Project is to develop the entire Martyrs Heritage Centre where the first seed of Christianity was sown in Uganda, possibly in East Africa and the whole of Africa during the reign of King Mwanga Basammula 11,” he said.

More here-

Welby: Provisions in women-bishops Measure express ‘love’ to opponents

From The Church Times-

THE Archbishop of Canterbury has described the General Synod's provisions for those who are theologically opposed to the consecration of women to the episcopate as an "expression of love".

Archbishop Welby made his comments as he appeared alongside senior officials and members of the General Synod at Parliament's Ecclesiastical Committee, which was considering the Bishops and Priests (Consecration and Ordination of Women) Measure which had received final approval from the General Synod on Monday of last week (News, 18 July).

The former President of the Methodist Conference, Lord Griffiths of Burry Port, said that the inclusion of provisions would lead to "wider incomprehension to the public at large".

More here-‘love’-to-opponents

'Philadelphia 11' blazed trail for women priests in the Episcopal Church

From News Works-

Forty years ago, women were ordained for the first time as Episcopal priests at the Church of the Advocate in North Philadelphia. It was an illegal ceremony that would alter the future of the Protestant denomination.

Called the Philadelphia 11, the women were from around the country – many did not know one another – and congregated in Philadelphia to receive the laying of hands by four bishops, whose calling to bestow the responsibilities of the priesthood onto women opposed official Episcopal law.

"The mind of the church was not there," said the Rev. Storm Swain, director of Anglican studies at the Lutheran Theological Seminary at Philadelphia. "It had been voted down once before."

More here-

Thursday, July 24, 2014

Judge in Episcopal schism trial: It's a civil matter

From South Carolina-

The judge presiding over the local Episcopal schism trial said Wednesday that she considers the case a matter of neutral, secular state laws and not about a hierarchical church's authority, a potential blow to The Episcopal Church's argument that it has the religious freedom to govern its own dioceses.

"I'm not going into the hierarchical part," Circuit Judge Diane Goodstein said.

At issue is whether state civil laws override a national, hierarchical church body's authority on matters of governance such as whether a subunit can secede or whether to hold property in trust.

"To what extent am I going to delve into ecclesiastical law?" Goodstein asked. "I'm not."

David Beers, chancellor to The Episcopal Church's presiding bishop, disagreed: "We contend hierarchy is important."

More here-

Canadians decry shutoffs, plan water convoy to Detroit

From USA Today-

Detroiters without running water have a special delivery coming Thursday from Canada, if it can get past the border guards.

Eight cars, adorned with Canadian flags, will be loaded with 1,000 liters (about 264 gallons) of Canadian tap water in a convoy through the Detroit-Windsor Tunnel, said Sujata Dey of the Council of Canadians.

"We needed to show solidarity with our neighbors," she said. "How could we not do something for them?"

After a 4:30 p.m. rally Thursday afternoon near the Spirit of Detroit, the group intends to drop off the water jugs at St. Peter's Episcopal Church of Detroit.

There will be a receiving prayer and a blessing of the water before it is distributed to people in gallon-sized containers, said the Rev. Bill Wylie-Kellermann.

"St. Peter's is becoming a water station," he said, adding that it will be one of several across the city and also provide information to people about what their options are with the shutoffs.

More here-

The ‘Philadelphia 11′ who shattered the stained-glass ceiling: 40 years later, where are they now?

From RNS-

On July 29, 1974, in Philadelphia, 11 women broke rank and were ordained as the first female priests in the Episcopal Church. They became known as the “Philadelphia Eleven.”

While there was no church law explicitly prohibiting the ordination of women, there also was no law allowing it. After the Philadelphia protest at the Church of the Advocate, the 11 women were deemed “irregularly” ordained, and Episcopal bishops warned the church not to recognize the women as priests.

Two years later, the Episcopal Church’s General Convention — under pressure from the events in Philadelphia and elsewhere — affirmed and authorized the ordination of women to the priesthood. Today, the church is led by Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori, the first woman to lead a national branch of the worldwide Anglican Communion.

More here-

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

15 Reasons Why We Should Still Be Using Hymnals

From Theology in Worship-

Unfortunately, many churches have done this with their hymnals, but I think they are important symbols for worshiping congregations. Here are some of the reasons why.


Hymnals actually teach music. We’re making less music than ever before. Oh, to be sure, there’s lots of music going on around us, but very few people are actually making it. We’re just consuming it, or at the very most, singing along with music someone else made first. But even an untrained musician can look at the words and music in the hymnal and learn to follow melodic direction and rhythmic value.

Hymnals set a performance standard. Contemporary worship music is based on recording instead of notation. This is endlessly confusing, and it opens each song up to individual interpretation. Without notation, it is exceedingly hard to sing well as a congregation. Hymnals fix that. Everybody has the same notation, so we all know how the song is supposed to go.

Hundreds of families seek refuge in Gaza's Churches

From Gaza-

Umm Abdullah Hijazi, holds her 1 year-old son, Yousef, as she pours water on a bar of soap and tries to wash the boy and his clothes.

But although she scrubs hard, the soapy mixture proves inadequate, and Hijazi cannot wash away the dirt and blood-stains that spattered the boy’s body as his family fled their home under the hailing of Israeli bombs.

“We ran outside as fires broke out all around us. Israeli tank shells fell on our heads, and killed some of our neighbours,” says Hijazi, who fled with her husband and six children.

The first idea that came to her mind after the shelling was to run to one of the UNRWA schools that are acting as makeshift shelters for the internally displaced. But with almost 120,000 people now taking refuge in 77 UN-run schools and medical centres, Hijazi found no room for her and her children.

More here-

Ecumenical Associate Named

From The Living Church-

Richard Mammana, founder of Project Canterbury and a member of the Living Church Foundation’s board of directors, has been named associate for ecumenical and interreligious ministries of the Episcopal Church.

The Rev. Margaret R. Rose, deputy for ecumenical and interfaith collaboration, said Mammana will serve as staff liaison for the Episcopal Church’s ecumenical dialogue with Roman Catholics, Presbyterians, United Methodists, the Lutheran and Moravian coordinating committees, and the Concordat panel of the Philippine Independent Church. His duties will also include ensuring that archival and current ecumenical documents are easily available as well as networking with diocesan ecumenical and interreligious officers.

More here-

Fire Ruins Historical Hebron Church

From Maryland-

Authorities are investigating a Tuesday fire that destroyed the historical St. Paul's Episcopal Church at the corner of Memory Gardens Lane and Route 50 in Hebron.

The Maryland State Fire Marshal's Office said the fire was reported by a passerby to 9-1-1 shortly after 11 a.m.  Father Ryan Glancey is an episcopal priest at another church in the diocese and is the one who made the 9-1-1 call.

"Just black smoke coming through the windows at the top.  And then the flames came out of the roof about 20 feet and then all the windows downstairs started to break and the sides fell in," Glancey said.

More here-

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Stanford Names New Dean for Religious Life

From California-

The Very Rev. Dr. Jane Shaw, dean of Grace Cathedral in San Francisco, has been named dean for religious life at Stanford University, Provost John Etchemendy announced today. Shaw will also be joining the faculty in Stanford's Department of Religious Studies.

Shaw, a historian and theologian who is at present also a visiting scholar at Stanford's Center for Advanced Study in the Behavioral Sciences, has served as dean of the Episcopal Grace Cathedral since 2010. She previously taught at the University of Oxford.

More here-

Seattle prelate is early prospect for Episcopal Presiding Bishop

From Seattle-

The bishops of America’s Episcopal Church will elect a new Presiding Bishop next July.  Western Washington’s Bishop Greg Rickel is being sounded out as candidate for a top job that requires the wisdom of Solomon and the patience of Job.

Rickel, 51, is an Arkansas native, a onetime hospital administrator who successfully built a multiethnic, multilingual congregation in fast-growing Austin, Texas, before being elected Episcopal Bishop of Olympia in 2007.

Rickel indicates he is willing to have his name put in nomination.  A Joint Nominating Committee will on August 1 publish a profile of sought-after talents and a call for nominations. The General Convention at which bishops make their choice is June 25-July 3, 2015, in Salt Lake City.

More here-

Popular S.C. historian Walter Edgar testifies in Episcopal trial

From South Carolina-

The Palmetto State's best-known historian testified Monday about the historically interwoven connection between the Diocese of South Carolina and the national Episcopal Church, two bodies now immersed in a legal battle.

Walter Edgar, a popular author known for his ETV Radio shows including "Walter Edgar's Journal," pointed to historic documents showing the local diocese has long accepted The Episcopal Church's laws. Wearing his standard bow tie, often quipping about his flagging eyesight and hearing, Edgar spent most of his time on the witness stand reading from historic documents.

More here-

Monday, July 21, 2014


From Beitbart-

Iraq’s Christian leaders have just made a desperate cry for help. Patriarch Louis Raphael I Sako, head of Iraq’s Catholic church, has issued an appeal “to all who have a living conscience in Iraq and all the world.”

The situation for Iraq’s Christians has been steadily deteriorating ever since the 2003 invasion, in part because the U.S. never acknowledged that Christians were being targeted by Islamists and did not prioritize protection of Christians or other minorities.

But with the recent sweep through Mosul and other Iraqi cities by the jihadi group ISIS, Iraq’s Christians look to be on the verge of genocide.

On June 16th it was reported that ISIS had marked the doors of Christians in red. Patriarch Sako’s letter confirms that rumor. While no one yet knows what this ominous sign foretells, Sako and other Christian leaders are pleading with the world to intervene before the meaning of the sign is made clear.

More here-

Give Us a Bishop in High Heels

From The New York Times-

LAST Tuesday, on the front page of The Daily Telegraph of London, which I buy like thousands of other dementia-fearers because of the kindly crossword, I saw the face of a young woman at the General Synod at York with a bright teardrop sliding down her cheek. I thought, Oh dear! More misery. Newspapers now are only frigates of misery.

But the gleaming teardrop was not for sorrow; it was for joy! This girl, in an ecclesiastical, once exclusively male, dog collar, was weeping for joy because the synod, which governs the Church of England, had at last decided to allow women to become bishops.

Not that there are not some tough preliminaries. The dog collar has to be earned. And more. But starting next year, if all goes well, a female Anglican priest will be able to become even an archbishop should she believe she is called to do the job.

More here-

Church sex 'obsession'

From New Zealand-

The church's perceived obsession with homosexuality has seen an Anglican pastor break camp and lead his flock into the religious wilderness and find a new home in the city.

Reverend Michael Hewat, the vicar of West Hamilton Anglican Parish on Rifle Range Rd, was the second high profile Anglican leader to leave the Anglican Church in opposition to Motion 30 - a national declaration by the governing body to bless same sex relationships.

He said homosexuality had dominated the church's agenda for two decades and "it amounts to an obsession", he said in a letter to Waikato Times.

His refusal to submit to General Synod on the motion passed in May that aimed to recognise same-sex relationships meant a forfeiture his licence to practice as an Anglican pastor.

More here-

Can Anglicans, Catholics unite on role of women? Opinionline

From USA Today-

What people are saying about Church of England allowing women bishops

The Sydney Morning Herald, editorial: "(Last) Monday, word came from Rome that Pope Francis is considering allowing priests to end their vow of celibacy. Also on Monday, the Church of England voted to allow women to become bishops, overturning centuries of fiercely guarded tradition. ... The Herald hopes Pope Francis does act on his signal. We'd like to see the role of women in the Catholic and Anglican churches become more reflective of the dramatic change in the rights and roles of women in the societies and communities these churches exist to serve."

Monsignor Mark Langham, The Tablet: "This is a critical moment for ecumenical dialogue. Anglicans do not seem always to realize how difficult (allowing women bishops) is for Catholics. ... It is true to say that hope of (an Anglican-Catholic) union has receded. There is no midpoint now between having women bishops and not having them. (Consider) how two traditions, one of which ordains women bishops and one which does not, co-exist. The rug has been pulled from under those who longed for unity."

More here-

New solar panels are symbol of the resurrection of life on earth

From Utah-

For one small Episcopal church, new solar panels mean a big difference in its carbon footprint, the community and the congregation's devotion to God.

About 160 members of St. Stephen's Episcopal Church, 4615 S. 3200 West, were able to raise $7,500 in conjunction with a grant from the Rocky Mountain Blue Sky Foundation and Utah's Interfaith Power and Light Organization to install 76 solar panels on the roof of the church, cutting the facility's energy bill in half.

The Rev. Matt Seddon, vicar of St. Stephen's Episcopal Church, said he expects the new panels to save the church nearly $6,000 annually. Seddon emphasized that the initiative to lower the church's carbon footprint was based upon members' faith in God.

More here-

Presiding Bishop speaks at Christ Church

From Savannah-

As the Rev. Katharine Jefferts Schori stood behind the pulpit Sunday at Christ Church, her message to the crowd was a simple one filled with acceptance and love.

Hundreds filled the pews of the Johnson Square church to listen to Jefferts Schori, the presiding bishop and chief primate of the Episcopal Church. Jefferts Schori is the 26th presiding bishop and chief pastor to the Episcopal Church’s 2.1 million members in 17 countries and 109 dioceses.

“Thank you for demonstrating what it is to be disciples and missionaries...,” Jefferts Schori told the crowd. “Usually we only want to let in people who agree with us. Too often we try to exclude people who make us uncomfortable or fearful...

More here-

Sunday, July 20, 2014

Anglican church's first female head given warm welcome

From Australia-

Australia’s first female head of an Anglican diocese said she’s had a warm welcome from the faithful she leads, four months after she began in the historic position.

As the church’s homeland in England voted to allow women bishops this week, Bishop of Grafton Sarah Macneil said she had heard no opposition to her own appointment as she travelled around the northern NSW community.

“They’ve been very welcoming, very open – they are very positive, down to earth, interesting people,” Reverend Macneil said.

“A few people have said, ‘We weren’t sure, but it’s fine, we welcome you as a bishop’.”

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