Saturday, October 4, 2014

Canterbury buries the instruments of unity

From Anglican Ink- The actual interview with  Church of Ireland Gazette can be found here:

The Archbishop of Canterbury has claimed the authority to determine who is Anglican. In a wide ranging conversation with the Church of Ireland Gazette, the archbishop offered his appreciation of the ecclesiology of the Anglican Communion, placing his office in the center of the church's polity.
He further stated he saw the Anglican Church in North America as an ecumenical partner, not a member church of the Anglican Communion.

While Archbishop Justin Welby’s comments about the ecclesial relationship between the Church of England and the ACNA break no new ground, his defense of his appointment of an ACNA priest to an honorary post in the Church of England by asserting the priest’s orders were valid as they were conveyed by the Episcopal Church of the USA raises the question of the validity of the ministerial orders conveyed by ACNA's bishops. The archbishop's comments also appear put paid to the notion of four instruments of unity within the Communion, down grading the Anglican Consultative Council in setting the parameters of the Anglican world, placing the primates in a consultative role, while elevating his office as the arbiter of Anglicanism.

More here-

Reimagining task force hears from the church

From ENS-

After spending the evening of Oct. 2 answering questions and taking comments about its work, the Task Force for Reimagining the Episcopal Church is refining its recommendations to General Convention on structural changes to the church.

TREC’s last face-to-face meeting before its report to General Convention is due began with the 2.5-hour gathering Oct. 2. The event was webcast live from Washington National Cathedral. It is also due to be available on demand for later viewing here and here. The agenda included 10-minute presentations from some TREC members each followed by 15-minute question-and-comment periods. A 40-minute question-and-comment period rounded out the meeting. Questions, concerns and comments were taken from the audience in the cathedral as well as from people sending in questions via e-mail and Twitter.

More here-

Friday, October 3, 2014

Welcome to the 100 best Christian books website

From The Church Times (100-11)

Paul Handley explains why we began our quest for the best 100 Christian books, and how we reached our verdicts.

HUMAN progress involves assimilating the wisdom of past generations, and building on it. The most valuable lessons are still conveyed by word of mouth, but these can be very basic instructions — and, besides, you have to be within earshot.

The jury is still out on the efficacy of modern methods of communications. The vast encyclopaedia that is the internet has to be acknowledged as a boon, despite its darker and more irritating aspects. As the editor of a newspaper, I recognise the value of Twitter for alerting people to events; and, as the editor of a newspaper with a healthy budget for photos, I can even see the value of things such as Instagram.

More here-

Alabama's oldest historically black Episcopal church turns 160

From Alabama-

When seven freed slaves were confirmed at Trinity Episcopal Church in Mobile, the year was 1854, seven years before the start of the Civil War. The new congregation they would form, the Episcopal Church of the Good Shepherd, would become the oldest historically black Episcopal congregation in Alabama.

Good Shepherd celebrates 160 years of existence this month.

The congregation has seen wars, the Great Depression, the Civil Rights era and a move from downtown Mobile to Toulminville in the 1960s. "We've weathered all those storms," said Eric Finley, a member of the vestry. "For those seven men who started this church, it had to take an enormous amount of confidence to branch out away from Trinity."

More here-

In dispute with dean, faculty fired from Episcopal seminary

From UPI-

Eight of the 10 professors at the oldest U.S. Episcopal seminary were dismissed after they staged a strike in dispute with the dean.

The faculty at General Theological Seminary in New York has been getting support from the students and from colleagues at other seminaries. They have also taken worldly action, hiring a lawyer and arguing that the board violated a New York State labor law that bars the firing of strikers.

"It's a really difficult situation, it's chaotic," Alexander Barton, a student who entered the seminary last month, told the New York Times. "And as a student, it's hard to see what's true and what's not."

Read more:

Thursday, October 2, 2014

Mandela Nobel prize event canceled over Dalai Lama visa row

From Africa Report- ("lickspittle"?)

South African Nobel Peace Prize laureate, Archbishop Desmond Tutu has lashed out at President Jacob Zuma's government for turning down Tibetan spiritual leader Dalai Lama's visa application.

Tutu, a retired bishop of the Anglican Church accused the government of 'groveling' to China' by blocking the Dalai Lama's visit for the 14th World Summit of Nobel Peace Laureates that was scheduled for Cape Town.

"I am ashamed to call this lickspittle bunch my government," he said in a statement.
This follows reports that a high profile Nobel Peace Prize event in Cape Town has been cancelled after the visa snub.

Seminary Fires 8 Professors Who Complained About Its Leader

From The Chronicle of Higher Education-

The General Theological Seminary, in New York City, has fired eight of its 10 full-time faculty members after they walked off the job on Friday to highlight their complaints about a president they accused of creating a hostile workplace, according to The New York Times and the blogs Episcopal Café and Anglican Ink.

The faculty members sent a letter to the institution’s Board of Trustees on September 17 detailing their complaints about the Very Rev. Kurt H. Dunkle, who is dean and president of the Episcopal seminary. The professors said they had alerted the board several times over the past year about their concerns that Dean Dunkle was abrasive and overcontrolling. But the board’s chairman, Bishop Mark S. Sisk, said that the trustees had felt blindsided by the severity of the complaints in the September 17 letter.

Wednesday, October 1, 2014

Requiem for a Seminary: Or, Piling Up the Garbage Bags

From Crusty Old Dean-

The image to the right (left) was taken in the summer of 2012.  These are blue garbage bags stuffed with carpeting and other interior debris from a building renovation.  Old, broken-down office furniture is stacked amidst the piles of garbage bags. 

The building that was being worked on (still is, BTW) is Bexley Hall, a structure on the campus of Kenyon College that served as the home of an Episcopal seminary from 1839-1968 (the seminary was founded in 1824 but moved in 1839 and eventually took its name from the building in which it was located), and after the seminary's departure served as home of the studio art department.  The place where these garbage bags are stacked is Colburn Hall, located directly behind Bexley Hall, and which served as the seminary library.  In a place where generations of theological students studied for the ministry, garbage bags were unceremoniously heaped and cheap, broken desks and chairs stacked.  Crusty somehow found it a fitting metaphor for Kenyon's relationship to the Episcopal seminary it housed for so many years. COD is currently Academic Dean at the institution which is the successor of Bexley Hall, Bexley Seabury Seminary. 

More here-

Seeking Dean’s Firing, Professors End Up Jobless

From The New York Times-

The General Theological Seminary in Manhattan, the nation’s oldest Episcopal seminary, seemed to be regaining its footing after almost having to seek bankruptcy protection in 2010. It sold off some valuable real estate — its leafy campus in Chelsea is just steps from the High Line — and hired a new dean and president, the Rev. Kurt H. Dunkle, who promised to make the struggling institution a “joyful, thankful and useful” place.

A year after his arrival, however, the seminary has fallen into turmoil. Eight of its 10 full-time faculty members walked off the job on Friday to protest what they described in letters to the school’s board of trustees as Mr. Dunkle’s overly controlling management style, his habit of making vulgar and offensive remarks, and his frequent threats to demote or fire those who disagreed with him.

More here-

Baghdad Hits Crisis Point Amid IS Threat

From Sky news (with video)

There is "immense fear among everybody" in Baghdad with some too frightened to leave their homes due to the threat from Islamic State, according to a vicar in the city.

Canon Andrew White spoke to Sky News as IS militants were reportedly only a mile away from the capital amid clashes with Iraqi soldiers.

There has also been renewed fighting in the central cities of Baquba and Ramadi.

And in Syria despite the recent coalition airstrikes, fighters from IS, also known as ISIS, are thought to be within three miles of the strategic border town of Kobani.

More here-

Jonathan pledges greater service as Anglicans honour President

From Nigeria-

“BY  his Christian conviction, character, conduct, confession and competence, he has exhibited commendable Christian stewardship and now today, the Primate, on behalf of All Anglican faithful nationwide and in conformity with cherished biblical counsel and Christian heritage, has rolled that our beloved Servant leader be conferred with the PRIMATIAL Award of Excellence in Christian Stewardship to the glory of God and in praise and thanksgiving to God for His gift to us in the Church of Nigeria.”

   With the above statement, the Church of Nigeria (Anglican Communion) led by the Archbishop, Metropolitan and Primate of the Anglican, the Most Rev. Nicholas Okoh yesterday presented its highest award to President Goodluck Jonathan at the Presidential Villa, Abuja. The award is the highest be conferred on an individual for service to humanity and to God.

More here-

Woman priest, abused as child, rescues prostitutes; now they make scented lotions

From Alabama-

The Rev. Becca Stevens, an Episcopal priest, rescues prostitutes and puts them to work making scented lotions and soaps.

Stevens will be in Birmingham on Wednesday to talk about the ministry, speaking at Canterbury United Methodist Church in Mountain Brook at 6 p.m. The event is open to the public.

"I'm bringing the message that love heals, and we don't have to leave anybody behind," Stevens said.

More here-

What The Hell Is Happening At General Theological Seminary?

From Huffington-

Faculty members at the country’s oldest Episcopal seminary are facing off against the school’s President, blasting him for his allegedly bullying, heavy-handed leadership style.

Eight professors at New York’s General Theological Seminary announced Friday that they are not going to teach, attend meetings, or participate in common worship until they can meet with the school’s Board of Trustees, according Anglican Ink.

In a letter distributed to students, the professors accuse the seminary’s Dean and President, The Very Rev. Kurt H. Dunkle, of failing to collaborate or take their grievances seriously, creating a climate “fraught with conflict, fear, and anxiety.”

More here-

Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Tensions at Episcopal Church’s oldest seminary reflect larger crisis in future of theology schools

From RNS-

Several faculty members at the Episcopal Church’s oldest seminary are battling with the school’s leadership, although neither side agrees whether they quit, were fired or staged a walkout.

General Theological Seminary in Manhattan is the only seminary overseen by the national church. Last week, eight faculty decided to stop teaching classes, attending official seminary meetings or attending chapel services until they could sit down with the Board of Trustees.

More here-

Lambeth Conference cancelled

From Anglican Ink-

The 2018 Lambeth Conference has been cancelled. The precarious state of the Anglican Communion has led the Archbishop of Canterbury to postpone indefinitely the every ten year meeting of the bishops of the Anglican Communion.

A spokesman for Archbishop Justin Welby told Anglican Ink that as the archbishop had not yet met with each of the primates of the communion, he would not be commenting on the news. Since his installation last year, the Archbishop of Canterbury has travelled extensively and plans on visiting the 37 other provinces of the Anglican Communion within the first 18 months of his term of office.

ISIS push fuels massacre fears near Turkish border

From The New York Post-

Meanwhile, a group that supports Canon Andrew White, head of the only Anglican church in Baghdad, said that ISIS fighters had advanced to only about a mile from the Iraqi capital.

“The Islamic State are now less than 2km away from entering Baghdad. They said it could never happen and now it almost hasObama says he overestimated what the Iraqi Army could do. Well you only need to be hear a very short while to know they can do very very little,” the Foundation for Relief and Reconciliation in the Middle East wrote on Facebook early Monday, a report that could not be independently verified.

More here-

Korean Anglican clergy walk 400+ miles to commemorate ferry disaster

From ACNS-

Three priests  from the Anglican Church of Korea today started a 400-plus kilometre walk to commemorate the victims of South Korea's worst maritime disaster in decades.

The members of The Anglican Priest Corps for the Justice and Peace have started their walk from Paengmok on Jin-do--the nearest port to the site of the incident--to Seoul Kanghwamun.

It is over 400 km between Jin-do and Seoul as the crow flies and takes more than six hours to complete by bus. The priests expect to arrive at their destination around October 18.

More here-

Wall Street’s Inner Sanctum

From Marketplace-

 Once during the roaring '90s, I was ushered into the high temple of Wall Street. You might be thinking Goldman Sachs, but its headquarters are near, but not on, Wall Street. The high temple of Wall Street is the big church that presides over the street’s high end, Trinity.

I was interviewing the Rev. Dan Matthews, the Episcopal priest who was, at the time, rector of Trinity. The topic was what we then called “socially responsible investment,” a way to apply an investor’s personal values to a portfolio. Trinity owns a lot of Manhattan real estate and I was curious if the parish screens its massive portfolio to be sure it doesn’t own securities in companies that do things the church finds morally repugnant.

Not really, came the answer. Matthews told me that his board of directors consisted of captains of Wall Street, and, try as he might, he could never get his vestry to agree on good versus bad companies (beyond their capacities to generate future profits). There was a strong view that it was the board’s fiduciary responsibility to make sure the church’s portfolio generated the best return. It was the job of priests and parishioners to then decide what good works could be done with the proceeds.

More here-’s-inner-sanctum

Monday, September 29, 2014

Former Bishop of Winchester Michael Scott-Joynt dies aged 71

From The BBC-

The former Anglican Bishop of Winchester, the Right Reverend Michael Scott-Joynt, has died aged 71.

He served as bishop from 1995 until his retirement in 2011.

The Archbishop of Canterbury, Justin Welby, said the Church of England had "lost a faithful, hard working and distinguished servant".

Bishop Scott-Joynt was known as a strong supporter of traditional marriage and was opposed to homosexuality.

'Highly respected'

Bishop Scott-Joynt was the Bishops' spokesman on constitutional affairs in the House of Lords and also chaired a Church of England committee in 2000 to relax the rules governing remarriage in church for people who have been divorced.

More here-

4 favorite Ohio haunts from Cleveland's 'Haunted Housewife' Theresa Argie

From Ohio-

An unexpected ghost resides at Brownella Cottage, the former home of Episcopal Bishop William Montgomery Brown. Brown was a charismatic and controversial figure whose outspoken views on politics and religion made him the target of heresy trial in 1925. Brown made no bones about his support of communism and was considered a traitor by many in his own congregation. He was the only man since the Reformation to be brought up on heresy charges. Bishop Brown was deposed and stripped of his title, at least in the Episcopal church. He somehow survived the storm of controversy that followed his personal and religious life and retired peacefully with his wife and mother-in-law at Brownella Cottage. Many in the community supported the bishop, even if they didn't share his unpopular beliefs.

More here-

FDR’s Dark Anti-Gay Legacy in Newport

From Rhode Island-

The Roosevelts are all the buzz with the launch of Ken Burns' new PBS documentary, but one of the darkest episodes in Franklin Roosevelt's career was in Newport, RI and was ignored by Burns.

In the spring of 1919, Assistant Secretary of the Navy Franklin D. Roosevelt and his fellow officers at the Newport, Rhode Island Naval Training Station recruited enlisted sailors to investigate what they called "immoral conditions"-- homosexual activity --  in Newport through the use of entrapment.  The decoys were ordered to have sex with "sexual perverts" in the community, resulting in the arrest of more than 20 sailors and 16 civilians including a prominent Episcopal Navy clergyman, Samuel Kent. 

More here-

Hmong worshippers revitalize congregation

From Minnesota (via Pittsburgh)

In the mid-2000s, Holy Apostles Episcopal Church was on the verge of dying.

The modest building, tucked into a quiet neighborhood on Minnehaha Avenue, was attracting about 20 worshippers, and the Episcopal diocese was getting ready to close it.

And then, a schism in one congregation led to the revitalization of another.

More here-

Sunday, September 28, 2014

Is It Time To Remove The (American) Flag From The Church Sanctuary?

From Patheos-

If one were to walk into an American Church, it’s far more likely than not that somewhere on the stage in the sanctuary, there will be found an American flag. This tradition is one that spans across a wide-variety of faith traditions, from Catholic to Evangelical, Mainline, etc., and is not limited to a certain group of people. Chances are, your church probably has one too and you may not have even noticed it.

The practice of displaying an American flag in church sanctuaries seems to be wide-spread and for the most part, completely unchallenged by the average church member. As one who studies the intersection of faith and culture, I have found over time that culture has a way of creeping into our faith slowly and undetected. As a result, we often don’t question it because we’re not even aware that such a blending is taking place. Given enough time unnoticed, such practices become firm traditions where questioning such traditions is no longer permitted without being ostracized by the group at large.

Read more:

Leadership, community, and the current crisis at General Seminary

From The Cafe-

On Friday, the news broke that most of the faculty at the General Theological Seminary in New York City have decided to refrain from teaching classes, attending official seminary meetings, and attend Chapel services until they are able to sit down and have a conversation with the Board of Trustees.

Despite a follow up letter from the faculty to the students describing in more detail what it going on, there is still some question as to what is going on.

The conflict has nothing to do with pay, hours, job description, benefits, or perks. There is none of the traditional pocket-book labor issues at stake.

More here-

One in 10 Church of England bishops 'could be secretly gay' – says bishop

From The Telegraph-

A serving bishop has issued a stinging public denunciation of “duplicity and hypocrisy” in the Church of England over homosexuality – claiming that around as one in 10 of his fellow bishops could be secretly gay but unwilling to speak publicly.

The Rt Rev Dr Alan Wilson, the Bishop of Buckingham, accused the current episcopate of preaching a 1950s “Janet and John” image of human relationships while adopting an “eyes wide shut” approach to homosexuality in its own ranks and the wider church.

His remarks come in a new book published next week setting out what he sees as the theological case for a major reassessment of the Church’s stance on sexuality.

Iraq crisis: 'Every single Christian wants to leave'

From The Telegraph-

Christians in the Nineveh region of northern Iraq are unable to celebrate communion for the first time in two millennia, after Islamic State militants captured the area and took over the churches.

Canon Andrew White, vicar of the only Anglican church in Iraq, told the Telegraph that Isil have set up offices in the churches and have replaced crosses with the militant group's black flag.

"Last week there was no communion in Nineveh for the first time in 2,000 years," he said. "All [the churches] are closed, all their people have run away. It is so sad."

More here-