Saturday, August 16, 2014

Travelodge removes the Bibles from its rooms on grounds of 'diversity'. Were Satanists complaining?

From The Telegraph-

If you’re staying in a Travelodge and you get a hankering to save your mortal soul, don’t bother. The management has decided to pull every single Gideon Bible from bedside tables in their hotels, on the grounds of "diversity" and not wanting to cause offence. Who, pray, might be offended? Cut to a Satanist coming down to reception at 1.30 in the morning, covered in goats blood, slamming a Bible down on the desk and saying, “What the Hell is this doing in my room?”

Travelodge's decision is irritating on three grounds. First, in fact no one had complained about the presence of the Bibles. NO ONE. Second, it’s an act of cultural vandalism upon a tradition that goes back 126 years. It’s long been comforting to know that when the TV gets irritating and there’s nothing left to do in your hotel room, you can always open up the bedside table drawer and find a Gideon’s in there. I’ve stayed in a hotel in Detroit that was obviously being used for immoral purposes (or as a place to shelter from the gun crime) and was delighted to discover that even in that den of vice there was a well-ruffled Good Book chained to the desk. Sally Hitchiner, an Anglican priest, tweets: “When I stay in hotels I almost always place Bible book mark in a comforting passage in the hope someone might find it”. Which is nice.

More here-

19th century carpenter gothic St. John's Episcopal Church serves 21st century needs

From Mississippi-

Originally organized in 1856 as St. Paul's Episcopal Church, this high Victorian, Carpenter Gothic-styled sanctuary has become a treasured example of fortitude, faith and endurance in South Mississippi.

The name of the church was changed in 1877 to St. John's Episcopal Church and the original building was erected in 1892. It is believed that Louis Sullivan, a teacher of Frank Lloyd Wright, worked with the church to develop the building plans for the first sanctuary.

The beautifully detailed, all-wood structure still serves every Sunday as a place where parishioners gather to hear the word of God.

In the early 1920s, it is said that the rector, who served the church weekly, walked across the bay on the railroad bridge to hold services, because there was no highway bridge between Biloxi and Ocean Springs. The only other way for the rector to reach St. John's would have been a long trip around through D'Iberville.

Read more here:

Friday, August 15, 2014

First edition book nearly thrown away with trash to get new life

From Charleston WV-

A first edition autographed copy of Helen Keller’s “Out of the Dark” almost had a tragic accident nearly 50 years ago — it was placed in an unwanted box of books intended for an apartment garbage incinerator in Washington, D.C.

But before the book was gone forever, Tom Rardin, now a Charleston resident, saved it from being destroyed. Now, years later, he has donated the almost 99-year-old book to be sold Saturday at the “Treasures on Earth” antique fundraiser held by St. John’s Episcopal Church.

In 1964, Rardin lived in a high-rise apartment near Dupont Circle in Washington, D.C. He said on his floor lived a mother and daughter, whose names he could not recall, who were both teachers at George Washington University.

- See more at:

Leaders in dilemma over humanitarian crisis in Iraq

From The Church Times-

CHRISTIAN leaders around the world are agonising over how best to respond to the humanitarian catastrophe in northern Iraq, as many thousands of Iraqi Christians, Yazidis, and people of other minority faiths flee for their lives from the advancing Islamic State (IS) forces. The Archbishop of Canterbury has added his voice to those urging the UK Government to allow Iraqi refugees to enter the country.

The crisis in northern Iraq has many layers, of which the refugee emergency is just one. Iraqi Christians who have not been able to seek shelter in the Kurdish region have been subjected to horrendous atrocities at the hands of the jihadists.

More here-

Ferguson Faith Leaders Take To The Streets, March With Protestors

From Ferguson MO-

A group of local clergy and religious faithful took to the streets of Ferguson, Missouri on Thursday evening, joining a mass of peaceful protestors to vent frustration over the fatal shooting of an unarmed teen on August 9.

Sporting clerical collars and brandishing signs inscribed with slogans such as “We are praying with our feet” and “End police brutality,” pastors and priests filed in with hundreds of other Ferguson residents to decry the killing of Michael Brown. Brown, an 18-year-old African American high school graduate from Ferguson, was killed this past weekend after a local police officer allegedly shot him several times — even though Brown was reportedly unarmed.

More here-

The business of selling off old churches

From Philadelphia (via Naples FL)

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-

Christian film critic Ted Baehr says Robin Williams accepted Jesus Christ in rehab

From Christian Today-

Christian Film and Television Commission Chairman Dr. Ted Baehr recently revealed that late comedian Robin Williams accepted Jesus as his personal Savior during one of his rehab stays.

Williams committed suicide on Monday, and many friends and fans are still struggling to come to grips with the immense and sudden loss. Dr. Baehr expressed sadness for Williams' family, and shared a personal moment between himself and the actor in a blog post.

Williams grew up Episcopalian, although his mother was a Christian Scientist. He sometimes discussed his religious upbringing in comedy shows and interviews.

More here-

Thursday, August 14, 2014

Social issues swirl at Gordon College

From Boston-

Faculty and students celebrate Gordon College for its intellectual bent, a place where big ideas are bandied about and opposing views welcomed. They describe a place that prides itself on being more diverse and tolerant than many of its peers.

As an evangelical school in the most liberal of states, the college has managed to strike a delicate balance between the secular and religious, and largely avoid such emotionally charged issues as gay rights or abortion.

Until this summer.

More here-

Faith leaders attempt to bring Ferguson community together

From St. Louis-

In the aftermath of the fatal shooting of Michael Brown, St. Louis faith leaders are hoping to lead the charge in de-escalating racial tensions and rebuilding trust in Ferguson.

One major step toward that goal will take place Tuesday night, when the Rev. Traci D. Blackmon will host a forum at Christ the King United Church of Christ. Ferguson Police Chief Thomas Jackson and Mayor James Knowles III are expected to both be on hand to answer questions. The forum is scheduled to take place at 7 p.m. 

Blackmon, pastor at Christ the King in Florissant, is organizing the forum after submitting a petition with approximately 480 signatures to the Ferguson Police Department that called on officers to immediately engage with the community.

More here-

Archbishop of Canterbury praises NZ's 'radical' approach

From New Zealand-

The Archbishop of Canterbury says Anglicans worldwide can learn from how the Church is run in New Zealand.

The Most Reverend Justin Welby held a special service at the Holy Sepulchre Church in Auckland tonight on the first day of his visit to New Zealand.

"The most exciting thing for me and the most challenging thing for me has been the extraordinarily radical way in which the Anglican Church in New Zealand is structuring itself to represent its communities...I'm very excited by it," he told ONE News.

More here-

Anglican Vicar of Baghdad: “Child I baptised cut in half by ISIS

From ACNS-

The five-year-old son of a founding member of Baghdad’s Anglican church was cut in half during an attack by the Islamic State on the Christian town of Qaraqosh.

In an interview today, an emotional Canon Andrew White told ACNS that he christened the boy several years ago, and that the child’s parents had named the lad Andrew after him.

“I’m almost in tears because I’ve just had somebody in my room whose little child was cut in half,” he said. “I baptised his child in my church in Baghdad. This little boy, they named him after me – he was called Andrew.”

More here-“child-i-baptised-cut-in-half-by-isis”.aspx

Nominating committee issues call, profile for 27th Presiding Bishop

From ENS-

The Episcopal Church Joint Nominating Committee for the Election of the Presiding Bishop (JNCPB) has issued the Call for Discernment and Profile for the 27th Presiding Bishop of The Episcopal Church.

The Call for Discernment and Profile is located here.

Between now and September 30, any member of The Episcopal Church may submit a name of a bishop to JNCPB whom they believe should be considered for nomination through the email listed in the Call for Discernment and Profile.  JNCPB will inform bishops whose names have been presented and advise them that if they wish to engage the discernment process, they must submit their materials as specified in the Call for Discernment and Profile between October 1 and October 31. The JNCPB will announce its nominees in early May 2015.

The election will take place during the 78th meeting of General Convention June 25-July 3, 2015 in Salt Lake City. The current draft of the convention schedule shows the election taking place on June 27.

More here-

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

SA Anglicans appoint first woman to lead theological college

From South Africa-

The Anglican Church of Southern Africa, has appointed a new Rector for its only provincial residential college, the College of the Transfiguration.

Described by Natal Diocese Bishop Rubin Phillip as “a woman deeply rooted in the Anglican tradition with a living spirituality and faith practice" the Revd Dr Vicencia Kgabe will take over the reins of the college at the beginning of next year.

More here-

Australia could take 4000 Iraqi and Syrian refugees as church leaders urge Abbott government protection for Christians

From Australia-

The Abbott government is considering offering refuge to as many as 4000 Iraqis and Syrians after the new Anglican Primate of Australia, Philip Freier, called for asylum in Australia for Christians facing slaughter in northern Iraq.

Dr Freier, Anglican Archbishop of Melbourne, said he had written to Prime Minister Tony Abbott and Immigration Minister Scott Morrison asking that they emulate France in offering refuge to Christians facing forced conversion to Islam or death.

Dr Freier was joined in his plea by the Archbishop of Canterbury, the Most Reverend Justin Welby, for urgent help to those fleeing the murderous organisation Islamic State, formerly known as ISIL.
Archbishop Welby, who called on the British government last week to offer asylum to Iraqi Christians, said that what was happening in northern Iraq was ''off the scale of human horror''.

More here-

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Sudanese Church Calls for Global Support in Food Crisis

From All Africa-

The Episcopal Church of South Sudan & Sudan (ECSSS) continues its inspirational humanitarian work to assist communities affected by the conflict in South Sudan and now asks the Anglican Communion to support their Phase II appeal. The UN has warned that this is the worst food crisis in the world and could turn into famine.

Eight months after the conflict began, the situation in the country is still critical. According to the latest UN OCHA report, 1.1 million people are facing emergency levels of food insecurity and an estimated 3.8 million people will require assistance by the year end. According to UNICEF and the World Food Programme, nearly 1 million children face acute malnutrition. They say that without a swift response 50,000 children could die from malnutrition this year.

Archbishop Daniel Deng Bul has written to the Archbishop of Canterbury to seek the continuing support of the Anglican Communion and other partners for Phase II of the Church's humanitarian response. Archbishop Daniel calls for prayer and support to the Church of South Sudan "at this critical moment when the South Sudan community is threatened with famine".

More here-

Keep politics out of the pulpit

From LA Times-

Under federal law, it is illegal for churches and other so-called 501c(3) nonprofit organizations to “participate in, or intervene in … any political campaign on behalf of (or in opposition to) any candidate for public office.”
But in recent years the Internal Revenue Service has failed to aggressively enforce the law...

That soon may change. The Freedom From Religion Foundation, which had sued the IRS seeking to require it to enforce the law, says it has reached an agreement with the IRS under which the agency has adopted procedures for “reviewing, evaluating and determining whether to initiate church investigations.”

IRS investigation of political activity by nonprofits has been complicated by allegations that the agency improperly targeted tea party and other conservative groups that sought tax exemptions.

Read more:

Trinity Wall Street's Music Director Considers Himself a 'Composer Who Conducts'

From The Wall Street Journal-

If there are two types of classical composers in the world, the artist-colony type and the extroverted sort, then the composer Julian Wachner falls squarely in the second camp.

"I'd never survive as a guy who sits in a log cabin, composing," he said. "I need the energy of people. I need the energy of music-making."

In New York's classical music scene, Mr. Wachner, 44 years old, is best known as a conductor and music director at Trinity Wall Street, the downtown church where he has created an ambitious music program, focusing on early and Baroque music, new commissions and festivals of works by composers like Stravinsky and Britten.

More here-

Monday, August 11, 2014

Event held in Lowndes Co. honors fallen Civil Rights activist

From Alabama (with video)-

Hundreds of people from all over the country poured into Hayneville on Saturday to remember a Civil Rights activist and martyr.

The annual event is called the Jonathan Daniels Pilgrimage, and honors not only him but others who were killed in Alabama during the 1960's Civil Rights movement.

Jonathan Myrick Daniels is regarded as a hero. A Civil Rights martyr who fought and gave his life for the freedom of others.

"At that moment of death, you have no idea what legacy you leave behind," said Atlanta resident Janice Jerome.

The Episcopal seminarian was a civil rights activist and one day after being jailed for picketing an all white store, he was released. Daniels along with three other people, another white man and two black teens, then headed to a store to buy cold drinks.

More here-

REVIEW: 'Lincoln's Bishop,' by Gustav Niebuhr.

From Minnesota-

In the latest book on the U.S.-Dakota War, Gustav Niebuhr takes us back to an extraordinary and pivotal meeting in September 1862 with Henry Benjamin Whipple, Minnesota’s first Episcopal bishop. Lincoln’s 12-year-old son, Willie, had died of typhoid fever that year. The Civil War wasn’t going well and the president was busy crafting his Emancipation Proclamation.

Back in Minnesota, more than 600 white immigrant settlers had been killed and more than a dozen counties emptied out after starving Dakota Indians staged surprise attacks in hopes of winning back land snatched through a series of shady treaties.

More here-

Episcopal diocese helps home, in Ghana, for children whose mothers died in childbirth

 From Western Massachusetts-

The director of the Mampong Babies Home in Kumasi, Ghana, has been visiting with leaders of the Episcopal Diocese of Western Massachusetts this month. Margaret Addai, who heads up the home, established to care for the infants of mothers who died in childbirth, is in the area for 10 days of rest.

“It’s my dream come true to be here today,” said Addai, herself an orphan. “I thank them very much. They treat me like a queen here; I wish to come back again.”

Many volunteers from the diocese have visited the home to help the staff, who at any given time are caring for 35 to 40 children. The children stay at Mampong, until their families can accept them back home, usually around the age of 4 or 5.

More here-

Sunday, August 10, 2014

Revival headliner Franklin Graham has trail of support, polarizing comments

From Pittsburgh-

For those in the scores of Protestant and Catholic churches supporting it — stuffing envelopes, putting out lawn signs, training to be ushers and counselors — the Aug. 15-17 revival to be led by the Rev. Franklin Graham is something of a Super Bowl of spiritual life here.

Several hundred people from churches in dozens of denominations have trained to be ushers, counselors and other volunteers as the Three Rivers Festival of Hope, to be held at the Consol Energy Center. The free services — starting at 7 p.m. Friday and Saturday and 4 p.m. on Sunday, Aug. 17—  will feature music ranging from Christian rapper Lecrae to country rock veteran Charlie Daniels, with preaching by Rev. Graham.

“Christians are about sharing the love of Christ, and he’s good at it and he’s focused on it. I think it’s a unifying message, and we’re thrilled to have him here,” said Cynthia Scott, executive leader of the festival.

More here-