Saturday, August 9, 2014

Anglican leader condemns ‘evil’ persecution of Iraq Christians

From Al Arabiya-

Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby, the leader of the world’s Anglicans, said Friday the forced exodus in northern Iraq was part of an “evil pattern” of Christians being “persecuted for their faith”.

The Church of England leader said Britain should open its doors to refugees fleeing the jihadist Islamic State advances and urged the international community to challenge the “culture of impunity” allowing the extremists’ actions to take place.

“The horrific events in Iraq rightly call our attention and sorrow yet again. Christians and other religious minorities are being killed and face terrible suffering,” Welby said in a statement.

“What we are seeing in Iraq violates brutally people’s right to freedom of religion and belief.

More here-

A summer camp for young singers in Newport that some find ‘life-changing

From Rhode Island-

 Some kids live for camp; others live for choir camp.

Not for the sing-alongs and marshmallow roasts, mind you. The Royal School of Church Music’s (RSCM) fifth annual Summer Singing Course — or “camp” as it’s known — is a place for kids and, more recently, adults, who are serious about music.

ake Connelly, a 12-year-old baritone from Worcester, Mass., made his singing debut at age two.

“Funny story,” said Connelly, who wore a striped bow-tie underneath his vestment. “I went to my first church service, and after the choir was done with the first piece I stood up in my pew and sang “Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Star” all the way through!”

He had to “wait and wait and wait” until he turned seven to join his church’s choir. At age eight, his parents sent him to the RSCM summer singing course in Newport. Even since he went to boarding school in New York City, he has returned here for his fourth summer.

More here-

Pope Francis pays tribute to evangelical bishop’s work for Christian unity

From The Tablet-

Pope Francis paid tribute to his late friend the evangelical Bishop Tony Palmer, saying in a special message for his Requiem Mass that he had left an important legacy for Christian unity.

Palmer, who was a co-founder of the Ark Community, a group of Evangelical charismatics within the Anglican Episcopal tradition, was killed in a motorcycle accident in the UK last month.

He came to prominence after persuading the Pope to broadcast a video message to a conference of Evangelical leaders in Fort Worth, Texas earlier this year.

At the requiem on Wednesday at the Catholic church of St John the Evangelist in Bath, his widow, Emiliana read out the Pope’s tribute.

More here-

Friday, August 8, 2014

From Liberia (From the "Face Palm" Department)

The men of God, meanstream Episcopalians and non-denominational evangelicals alike, unanimously endorsed the following resolution:

That God is angry with Liberia, and that Ebola is a plague. Liberians have to pray and seek God's forgiveness over the corruption and immoral acts (such as homosexualism, etc.) that continue to penetrate our society. As Christians, we must repent and seek God's forgiveness.

 That a three-day indoor fast and prayer across the nation be observed, commencing next Wednesday, August 6th, and concluding Friday, August 8th.

That an inter-denominational committee be constituted to present said resolution to government.
That if government is in agreement, the Republic of Liberia be locked up for three days of fast and prayer. All movement should be restricted during those three days. People should stay at home for three days of silence, fasting and prayer.

More here-

Congo Anglicans reach out to Pygmy community

From Anglican News-

The Anglican Church in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) is breaking new ground by bringing help and hope to a Pygmy. community living in the country’s forests.

Pygmy peoples live in several ethnic groups across the forests of central Africa. There are an estimated 250,000 to 600,000 living in the Congo rainforest alone.

These forest dwellers have lived by hunting and gathering for millennia. But in the past few decades their homelands have been devastated by logging, war and encroachment from farmers. Their appearance and lifestyle means they have also been marginalized by much of society.

More here-

Assault case has elite St. Paul’s examining school’s culture

From The Boston Globe-

Students call it an end-of-the-year tradition at the elite St. Paul’s School: Graduating seniors seek to hook up with younger classmates before departing the bucolic boarding school for college.

But two days before this year’s graduation, authorities say, the spring dating rite known as the Senior Salute took a darker turn. An 18-year-old senior, Owen Labrie, allegedly led a 15-year-old freshman into a secluded area and sexually assaulted her as she pleaded “no.”

More here-

Thursday, August 7, 2014

'Vicar Of Baghdad' Canon Andrew White Refuses To Leave Iraq, Despite Christian Persecution By ISIS

From Huffington (with video)-

Iraq's Christians have perhaps suffered more than any other group since the Islamic State formerly known as ISIS rose to power, but Christianity is in decline all over the Middle East. Just 5% of the region's population identifies as Christian, and that figure is dropping still.

The Christian residents of Mosul, Iraq, are under blatant attack, as the Islamic State distributed flyers in July giving them three options: convert to Islam, pay a fine, or be killed. Many of their abandoned homes now say in black lettering, "Property of the Islamic State."

Canon Andrew White, also known as the "Vicar of Baghdad," is the Chaplain of St George’s Anglican Church in Baghdad, Iraq. He estimates that his flock used to number around 6,000 people, but in the last decade over 1,200 have been killed, according to CNN's Arwa Damon.

More here-

Adulterous priest Luonde now sues Anglican church for money

From Zambia-

Richard Luonde, the former priest who was kicked out of the Anglican Church for alleged adultery and other sins has now sued the church demanding money.

Luonde also wants the court to force the church to give him back his preaching job so that he continues getting paid, because, he claims he was called by God and wanted to die as a priest.

Lounde, a former St Peter’s Anglican Church priest-in-charge in Kitwe asked the Ndola Industrial Relations Court (IRC) to order the church to give him back his portfolio and pay him to his satisfaction.
“I was called as a priest and I want to die a priest. I want the church to give me back my portfolio and pay what is due to my satisfaction and what else the court will deem fit,” he said.

More here-

Friends remember state’s first female Episcopal priest

From Oregon-

The first woman ordained as an Episcopal priest in Oregon died last week.

The Rev. Letitia “Tish” Croom, who served in Vale and Nyssa, among other places around Oregon and Idaho, died July 29 in Boise at age 89.

She was among the first 100 women ordained to the priesthood in the Episcopal Church. Many remember Croom, who worked in both the Episcopal Diocese of Idaho and the Diocese of Eastern Oregon, with fondness and respect.

“Her life was devoted to humanity and to the church. She was fearless in bringing tough issues to the table for discussion and actions,” said the Rev. Rustin Kimsey, who was bishop of Eastern Oregon from 1980 to 2000.

More here-

Wednesday, August 6, 2014

Archbishops Playing House

From Commonweal-

If anyone were keeping a list of Flimsiest Religious Exposes of the Year, here is a contender.  It’s a report from CNN’s Belief Blog exposing “The Lavish Homes of American Archbishops,” and it is now eliciting predictably self-righteous comments around the Web. 

It’s a pretty pretentious piece of work, complete with photos that will shock almost everyone who has never driven through an upscale neighborhood and concluding with a bragging note on “How We Reported This Story.”

“Records reveal that 10 of the country's top church leaders defy the Pope's example and live in residences worth more than $1 million,” the story begins breathlessly.

“Defy” the Pope’s example?  $1 million?  Please remember that the infamous German “Bishop of Bling” whom Francis ousted was spending $43 million to remodel a palatial residence, $300,000 for a new fish tank, $2.38 million for bronze window frames, almost $1 million for the garden, etc., etc.

More here-

The Christian family refusing to give up its Bethlehem hill farm

From The BBC-

A Palestinian Christian family that preaches non-violence from a farm in the West Bank is battling to hold on to land it has owned for 98 years. Now surrounded by Israeli settlements, the family is a living example of the idea of peaceful resistance.

On his farm outside Bethlehem, Daher Nassar is picking apples from the ruins of the orchard he planted at least eight years ago. The fruit is scattered across ground freshly opened and imprinted with the tracks of a bulldozer. At the field's edge, branches reach out from inside a mound of earth, the bark stripped and mangled, unripe almonds still clinging to the trees.

More here-

Ugandan lawmakers promise to revive their anti-gay law, just days after the country’s constitutional court struck it down

From The Washington Post-

Just days after the country's constitutional court struck it down, some Ugandan lawmakers and religious leaders are pushing to revive the country's controversial law that criminalized homosexuality with a maximum sentence of life in prison.

Because the court invalidated the law on what its supporters are calling a "technicality" (it was passed in Parliament without a quorum), its backers want to pass the same law again, as quickly as possible.

The country's top Anglican leader agrees that the law should be reinstated. On Monday, Anglican Archbishop Stanley Ntagali said the law was needed to "protect" Ugandans.

Archbishop of Canterbury joins in World War I commemorations

From ENS-

Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby joined members of the Royal Family and Britain’s Prime Minister at an event in Belgium the evening Aug. 3 to remember the entry of British soldiers into World War One in August 1914.

The service, which recalled the sacrifices of British soldiers while giving thanks for the strong friendship between former foes, was held at St. Symphorien Military Cemetery, Mons. It was attended by the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge; Prince Harry; and Prime Minister David Cameron.

Also in attendance were the King and Queen of the Belgians; the President of Germany; the President of Ireland; and representatives of other countries who fought in the First World War. Five hundred people attended the event, many with personal family links to soldiers buried in the cemetery.

More here-

Anglican Church in Canberra, Goulburn to apologise to victims of abuse on 'Lamentation Sunday'

From Australia-

Anglican churches across Canberra and Goulburn will hold special services this weekend that include an apology to victims of abuse by the church.

Bishop Stuart Robinson publicly apologised to abuse victims last year, but said the apology would be read out at all church services this weekend.

Bishop Robinson said "Lamentation Sunday" would recognise the pain caused by church action and inaction on abuse.

"We as a church over the last 30 to 40 years haven't always treated people in a Christ-honouring way," he said.

More here-

Tuesday, August 5, 2014

Archbishop Stanley Ntagali, Uganda's Top Anglican Leader, Doubles Down On Anti-Gay Law

From Huffington and RNS-

Uganda’s top Anglican leader criticized the constitutional court for striking down the country’s controversial anti-gay law on a technicality, saying the law is still needed to protect children and families from Western-imported homosexuality.

A five-judge panel on Friday (Aug. 1) declared the Anti-Homosexuality Act, 2014, null and void since it was passed by parliament without the required quorum. Dismissing the law on a technicality maintains the possibility that it could be revived in a different form.

The law punishes homosexual acts with life imprisonment. President Yoweri Museveni signed the measure in February, drawing harsh criticism from Western nations and cuts in foreign aid.

More here-

Unsung Hero: Katharine Babson of Brunswick, priest with a world view

From Maine -

 Katherine Babson was first drawn to the priesthood as a little girl.

“I’d walk into the church and wander around, wondering what the mystery was all about,” she recalled.

Several years later, while a student at Williams College in western Massachusetts, Babson told an administrator she felt called to be a priest. “I didn’t know where that came from, as there were no women priests in the Episcopal Church at the time,” she said.

Soon after that conversation, Babson went along on the first Williams in India program. The experience moved her so much that she briefly considered pursuing a doctorate in Indian art.

More here-

Episcopal Diocese OKs same-sex marriage certificates

From The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette-

Clergy within the Episcopal Diocese of Pittsburgh may now sign civil marriage certificates between same-sex couples, Bishop Dorsey McConnell confirmed in a recent open letter to the diocese.

The action builds on Bishop McConnell’s decision in November 2013 to allow clergy to conduct blessings of same-sex relationships.

At that time, same-sex marriage was not a legal option in Pennsylvania, but Bishop McConnell and diocesan chancellor Andy Roman reviewed civil and canon law after the May 20 federal court decision ruling that same-sex couples be allowed to marry in the state of Pennsylvania.

Read more:

Monday, August 4, 2014

WWI altar cloth is back at cathedral

From Gulf Times UK

An altar cloth embroidered by 138 wounded World War I soldiers was to take its place again yesterday at Saint Paul’s Cathedral in London to mark the centenary of the conflict’s outbreak.
The frontal which has not been on display here for seven decades was embroidered by severely wounded or shell-shocked men from Britain, Australia, Canada and South Africa in memory of their fallen comrades in arms.

“Of the many forms of rehabilitation, embroidery was seen as a good way of greatly helping to reduce the effects of shell shock, owing to its intricacy and need for concentration and a steady hand,” the cathedral said on its website.

The intricate needlework was commissioned for the national service of thanksgiving in July 1919 marking the end of the war the year before.

On Sunday, the Bishop of London Richard Chartres was to preside over a Eucharist service at which the altar frontal will be used for the first time since World War II.

More here-

Church faces legal challenge after blocking job offer to married gay priest

From The Guardian-

The first priest to marry his same-sex partner is to issue a legal challenge to the Church of England after his offer of a job as an NHS chaplain was withdrawn when his bishop refused the necessary permission.

The Rev Jeremy Pemberton, who married Laurence Cunnington in April, was informed on Friday that Sherwood Forest Hospitals NHS trust had withdrawn its offer of a job after Bishop Richard Inwood had refused him the official licence, known as a permission to officiate, in the diocese of Southwell and Nottingham.

"It this is not challenged," Pemberton said on Sunday, "it will send a message to all chaplains of whom a considerable number are gay and lesbian. This is an area of law that has not been tested and needs to be."

More here-

Don’t Judge a Bishop by His Residence (or the Pope’s)

From Patheos-

I love Pope Francis. I don’t love when the world—(including more than a few Catholics)—uses Francis as a stick to beat bishops with.

Today’s CNN frontpage feature, headlined “The Lavish Homes of American Archbishops,” uses public real estate and tax data to profile U.S. archepiscopal residences valued at more than $1 million. The investigation’s subhead says it all: “10 of the country’s top church leaders defy the Pope’s example.”

I’m no fan of bishops who bling for bling’s sake. And the Holy Father’s invitation to a less worldly model of shepherding is right and just as a prescription for a Church always in need of reform. But CNN’s “revelation” needs to be seen in context, and that context must be, for Catholics especially, a charitable one.

Read more:

St. Mark’s answers call to help migrant students fit in here

From Georgia-

St. Mark’s Episcopal Church senior warden Dr. John A. Hutchinson knows a political tug of war is being waged over the 30 migrants who were enrolled within Dalton Public Schools during the 2013-14 school year.

The immigrants — part of the influx of unaccompanied minors from Central America who have streamed across the United States’ borders — will be schooled at Newcomer Academy at Morris Innovative High School during the new school year. Whitfield County Schools reported to having about 13 students — part of a wave of more than 1,100 migrants sent to locations across Georgia by the federal government.

More here-

Sunday, August 3, 2014

Church services moved following fire

From Phoenix-

The business of selling off old churches

From Philadelphia-

Every year, about 7,000 churches in the United States close their doors, the Christian ministers' organization Pastoral Care estimates. In some cases, members' numbers have declined, and those who remain cannot support the considerable cost of maintaining the buildings.

Many are architectural gems in residential neighborhoods built 100 years ago, when money bought far more stone and stained glass than it does today.

Some church structures are being acquired by growing denominations, or congregations established by new immigrant groups. But more than a few are allowed to decay, or are being razed and the land put to secular uses.

More here-

A hidden meaning in North Platte church window?

From Nebraska-

A mystery surrounding a stained-glass window in North Platte drew the attention of a historian from South Dakota last week.

Barbara Johnson of Aberdeen, South Dakota, has studied stained glass for years. On Thursday, she spent hours visiting with local residents and researching the history of the Episcopal Church of Our Savior.

She was specifically interested in a stained-glass window in a chapel on the south side of the church. The image depicts Jesus walking with a boy and a girl.

According to a framed description inside the church, the glass was donated in 1894 by Arta Cody, a daughter of Le Claire, Iowa-born frontier showman William “Buffalo Bill” Cody. It was created in honor of Arta’s siblings Kit, who died when he was 5, and Orra, who died when she was 10.

More here-