Saturday, October 11, 2014

Welcome to the 100 best Christian books website

From The Church Times (all 100 are now listed)-

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-

Episcopal bishops study self-sustainability in the Philippines

From ACNS-

In sewing workshops, homes and sheds on either side of the road reaching to the top of a hill where Holy Faith Episcopal Church sits in Igorot Village, men weave hats, scarves and sweaters and women sew labels on finished goods. It’s a cottage industry started by six women who sell knitwear to wholesalers; it keeps the village humming.

The village was founded in the 1950s on 1.5 hectares of land that was once part of a cattle ranch by Igorots, or “mountain people,” from Luzon, the largest, northernmost island province of the Philippines where Anglican missionaries established a presence in the late 19th century. Located on the outskirts of Manila, the village of former bamboo and grass huts, now is home to more than 100 families living in concrete homes with metal roofs.

More here-

Yale's Ousted Episcopal Chaplain, Fr. Bruce Shipman, Speaks Out About Alleged Anti-Semitic Comments

From Huffington-

  On Aug. 25, 2014, Fr. Bruce Shipman, the chaplain of the Episcopal Church at Yale University, in a letter to the editor of the New York Times, wrote that “the best antidote to anti-Semitism would be for Israel’s patrons abroad to press the government of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu for final-status resolution to the Palestinian question.” Many readers believed that Shipman had implied that Jews were responsible for anti-Semitism. Two weeks later, Shipman resigned. Some anti-Zionists concluded that Zionists had, by pressuring Yale administrators, forced Shipman out. On Sep. 29, I drove to Shipman’s apartment, overlooking the water in coastal Groton, Conn., to talk with Shipman myself. “I have in many ways a Jewish soul,” Shipman told me, over the course of a long, candid interview, delicious for its frank talk about those who actually, according to him, were responsible for his departure. 

More here-

Former Episcopal bishop said to be nearing end of life

From Boston-

Bishop M. Thomas Shaw, former leader of the Episcopal Diocese of Massachusetts, is nearing the “end of his earthly pilgrimage,” his successor, Bishop Alan M. Gates, said in a message posted Thursday on the diocese’s website.

“I invite you to join me in lifting prayers for Bishop Tom Shaw,” the message said.

The posting said that Shaw’s “illness has progressed and his physical energy has continued to diminish.”

In January 2013, Shaw announced that he would be retiring. Several months later he was diagnosed with cancer.

Shaw had said goodbye in mid-September to about 3,000 of the faithful at the consecration of Gates as his successor.

More here-

Friday, October 10, 2014

Archbishop says ACNA not part of the Anglican Communion

From South Carolina-

The spiritual head of the Anglican Communion says a group of churches that left The Episcopal Church and its Canadian counterpart are not part of the communion, riling more orthodox members who see the cementing of global divisions.

Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby made the comments about the Anglican Church in North America, which includes one of the Lowcountry's largest congregations, St. Andrew's Church based in Mount Pleasant.

More here-

Kenya: Parents Shut Down School Over Demons

From Kenya-

A primary school in Kandara constituency, Murang'a county has been closed by parents after allegations that pupils are being invaded by demons.

The Kihuru-ini primary school parents said the problem started in second term when one girl was allegedly recruited to a cult by her aunt in Nairobi. The girl is said to have recruited other girls who are said to crawl like snakes when they are possessed by the evil spirits.

The parents said they had organised prayers, but the Anglican Church, which is the school sponsor, declined to allow the inter-denomination prayers in the school. The parents have now threatened to withdraw their children from all Anglican-sponsored schools until those spirit are exorcised.

More here-

Two Important Articles on the Future of Seminaries

From Patheos- (with links)

For those involved in seminary education or administration, you might want to read these two pieces.

First, The Rise and Fall of the American Seminary by Tom Ehrich. A provocative piece, esp. in light of the GTS labour dispute in New York, but probably truer for mainline seminaries.

Does the Episcopal Church — or any mainline denomination — need all of its seminaries? Probably not. To judge by recent graduation rates, it probably needs only four. Two of the eleven have already closed. Hence the anxiety leading to conflict, as tenured faculty, cost-cutting deans and anxious trustees collide. Many congregations are in the same situation.

Read more:

Inside New York’s Scandal-Hit Seminary, and Other ‘Open House’ Treats

From The Daily Beast-

For a non-believer, there is something disquieting about entering an empty church and looking down row after row of vacant pews, the ornate marble and mosaic floors, up to the altar and alabaster reredos, where inlaid statues of Jesus and friends follow your every move.

Or gazing towards the Bible stories, saints and martyrs depicted in the arched stained glass windows. And further still to the ceiling’s arched chestnut beams. It’s only then, after assimilating your surroundings, that one becomes transfixed by the chapel’s beauty, superseding that agnostic paranoia of mistakenly offending someone who might be your savior.

More here-

Thursday, October 9, 2014

West Africa clergy issue Ebola challenge to global Anglicans

From ENS-

Clergy in West Africa have challenged Anglicans worldwide to “live as their brothers’ keepers” and act to address the Ebola crisis.

The priests of the Anglican Diocese of Kumasi, Ghana, issued their challenge after a workshop entitled Church and Community Response to Ebola in which they learned more about the disease and how to prevent its spread.

In a statement issued after the workshop Message to the International Community, they said, “We challenge the international community to live as their brothers’ keepers*. We encourage Anglican Churches or Christian Churches the world over to express their solidarity by observing one Sunday as Ebola Sunday to pray and mobilize resources for the affected areas in the sub-region or West Africa.”

More here-

Stanley Hauerwas drops out of General Theological Seminary lecture series after controversy

From RNS-

Theologian Stanley Hauerwas has declined a series of lectures he was scheduled to give at New York’s General Theological Seminary in November in the wake of the crisis roiling the school.

On Wednesday (Oct. 8), the Christian ethicist said he does not want to get in the middle of a controversy involving the resignations or firings of eight faculty.

Two weeks ago, the eight faculty members quit teaching classes and attending official seminary meetings or chapel services until they could sit down with the Board of Trustees.

Hauerwas, who is professor emeritus of divinity and law at Duke Divinity School, said he pulled out of the lecture series so he would not appear to take a side.

More here-

All Saints Church to celebrate anniversary of emancipation

From Maryland-

On Saturday, November 1st, All Saints Church, Sunderland and the Presiding Bishop of The Episcopal Church USA will hold a service of Repentance and Reconciliation to acknowledge their complicity in the institution of slavery and will offer prayers of celebration for the progress toward equality since 1864. “It is our hope that you will be able to join us to honor this anniversary and those who have lived and died in the continuing struggle for justice, dignity and mutual respect; and, look with us to the future,” said the Rev. Kenneth Phelps; All Saints Rector.

Although All Saints’ community celebration starts at 9 A.M., the church is also one of the stops on the Maryland Episcopal Diocese “Trail of Souls” pilgrimage bus tour commemorating the 150th anniversary of the Abolition of Chattel Slavery in Maryland.  A bus pilgrimage and caravan will depart from the Cathedral of the Incarnation in Baltimore and then proceed to three historic parishes, ending at the Bishop Claggett Center, Buckeystown, MD. The Most Reverend Katharine Jefferts Schori, Presiding Bishop of The Episcopal Church, USA will visit All Saints for this Day of Repentance and Reconciliation, along with The Rt. Reverend Eugene Taylor Sutton, Bishop of the Diocese of Maryland; The Rt. Reverend Heather E. Cook, Bishop Suffragan of the Diocese of Maryland and the Rt. Reverend Mariann Edgar Budde, Bishop of the Diocese of Washington.

More here-

Wednesday, October 8, 2014

The rise and fall of the American seminary

From the Washington Post-

General Theological Seminary’s campus in the Chelsea neighborhood of Manhattan is everything you’d want in an urban seminary.

Handsome buildings, a chapel at the center, quiet walkways in a noisy city, calm places to read and pray. All serving a wonderfully diverse student body eager to minister in a changing world.

It’s like the best of historic church properties: harking back to a day of noble architecture and tradition and yet looking outward to a frenetic city and changing religious environment.

Why, then, is GTS on the verge of financial collapse and, now, paralyzing internal conflict? Its dean is under attack, 80 percent of its full-time faculty were dismissed, its board is floundering — all in the glare of press and blogosphere.

More here-

Protesters confront John Sentamu over Jeremy Pemberton case

From Christian Today-

Gay and Christian protesters confronted the Archbishop of York, Dr John Sentamu, at the opening of a restored Archbishop's Palace at Southwell Minister, Nottinghamshire over what they described as the "victimising, intimidating and bullying" of gay Anglican priest Canon Jeremy Pemberton.

As the Archbishop walked in the official procession to the Minster south door, human rights campaigners including Peter Tatchell, Davis Mac-Iyalla and the Rev Christina Beardsley confronted him.

More here-

Group believes Goulds Anglican church safe from demolition

From The Telegraph-

The future of an old Anglican church on the Ruby Line in Goulds is safe, even as another in St. Philip’s is likely to have a demolition application made against it.

The St. Philip’s Anglican church has been in the news for more than 10 years, since a new church was built on the same property. On Monday, The Telegram reported that the bishop of the Diocese of Eastern Newfoundland and Labrador, Rev. Geoff Peddle, recently decided to allow the Parish of St. Philip’s to make application to the Town of Portugal Cove-St. Philip’s for the removal of the 1894 church.

More here-

Tuesday, October 7, 2014

What do Americans pray for? Themselves. And maybe a sports team

From RNS (Via The Methodists)

When Americans aren’t busy praying for themselves or their own needs — and most of them are — many are seeking divine intervention on behalf of a favorite sports team or the golden ticket in the lottery, according to a new survey.

About 13 percent of Americans who pray say they pray for sports teams, compared with about one in five (21 percent) who say they have prayed to win the lottery, the new survey from LifeWay Research suggests.

More here-

‘Next Lambeth Conference a decision for the primates,’ says Welby

From ENS-

Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby has responded to inaccurate media reports that the Lambeth Conference had been cancelled by saying, “As it hasn’t been called, it can’t have been cancelled.”

Speaking to the BBC’s William Crawley, the spiritual head of the Anglican Communion said the historic meeting of bishops from around the world would take place sometime after the primates* had met together.

“When I was installed in Canterbury as archbishop I met all the primates, they all came to that, and I said to them that I would visit all of them in their own country which, God willing, I will have done by the end of this November, and that at the end of that we would consult together about when to have a Lambeth Conference.”

More here-

Young adult Episcopalians serve as missionaries throughout the Anglican Communion

From Anglican News-

Seventeen young adults - including six who will serve for a second year - representing 18 Episcopal Church dioceses are serving as missionaries in the Young Adult Service Corps (YASC) for the 2014-2015 term in locales throughout the Anglican Communion.

YASC is a ministry for Episcopal young adults, ages 21 - 30, who are interested in exploring their faith in new ways by living and serving in communities around the Anglican Communion.

The Rev. David Copley, Mission Personnel Officer, noted that while the day-to-day duties of each placement vary, the experiences of the YASCers are life-changing.  “YASC brings young adults into the life of the worldwide Anglican Communion and into the daily work of a local community,” he explained.

More here-

Pastors divided over gay marriage in Virginia

From Richmond-

In the eyes of faith leaders around the state, the arrival of state-sanctioned same-sex marriage in Virginia is either a step toward justice and equality or a sign of decaying morality.

Those divergent viewpoints show that marriage, open to all couples in Virginia starting Monday after the Supreme Court refused to consider the matter, remains one of the most divisive issues in the country.

More here-

Monday, October 6, 2014

Museveni unveils sh36b Namugongo Martyrs’ Museum

From Uganda-

PRESIDENT Yoweri Museveni on Sunday unveiled the foundation stone and launched the fundraising drive for the Uganda Martyrs’ Museum that is expected to cost sh36b. 

  The President announced a donation of sh400m towards the construction works of the facility out of which he paid sh40m.  He said the remaining sh360m is to be availed in two weeks time.

  During the ceremony, sh510m was realized both in cash and pledges.  The President auctioned the new Museum plan together with the portrait of the late Tefeno Kisosonkole, who donated the 48-hectre piece of land on which the Uganda Martyrs’ Anglican Church is seated. He bought it at sh 10m. 

More here-

GTS Grads Invoke Canon

From The Living Church-

Multiple graduates of General Theological Seminary have sent a letter to Bishop Mark Sisk and the seminary’s board of trustees:

We are members of The General Theological Seminary’s classes of 1972 through 1987. We are no strangers to pain and conflict in Chelsea Square. Ours were the years when the General Convention passed the ordination of women and Rachel Hosmer became the first woman to celebrate the Eucharist in the Chapel of the Good Shepherd. Ours were the years when petitions against Roland Foster remaining dean were brought to the Board of Trustees, and eventually he returned to using his considerable gifts as a church historian and professor. Ours were the years when HIV-AIDS first took the lives of our classmates’ partners or our classmates themselves. So we write to you at this painful, present time first of all with the assurance that the Way of the Cross is the path to Resurrection.

More here-

Anglican Church divests from fossil fuels, calls for fracking scrutiny in WA

From Australia-

The Anglican Diocese of Perth has decided to divest itself of fossil fuel investments over what it says is a responsibility to act on climate change.

The diocese made the decision at its annual synod over the weekend and now plans to put funds into renewable energy investments.

It also passed a motion calling on the Federal Government to put in place an "effective carbon pricing mechanism".

Father Evan Pederick said he hoped the measures would help to increase pressure for action to stop climate change.

More here-

Pope calls synod to speak 'boldly,' cardinal defends current teachings

From The National Catholic Register-

Pope Francis opened discussions at his worldwide meeting of Catholic bishops Monday by telling the prelates they should speak openly, without fear of upsetting him or limiting discussions to things he would want to hear.

Using the Greek term parrhesia -- meaning to speak candidly or boldly, and without fear -- the pontiff told the some 190 prelates gathered in the Vatican's Paul VI Hall they should "speak with parrhesia and listen with humility."

Working in a synod, the pontiff continued, does not mean prelates should say only what Francis wants to hear. "This is not good!" said the pope.

"A general condition is this," said the pope. "Speak clearly. Let no one say: 'This you cannot say.'"

"You need to say all that you feel with parrhesia," he continued. "And, at the same time, you should listen with humility and accept with an open heart what your brothers say."

More here-

Sunday, October 5, 2014

Anglicans sign mass ‘love letter’ to gay bishops - urging them to come out

From The Telegraph-

More than 300 Anglican priests, parishioners and other Christians have signed an open “love letter” to bishops in the Church of England who are secretly gay urging them to “come out” about their sexuality.

In one of the most unusual petitions ever addressed to the leadership of the established church, they have issued a direct plea to members of the episcopate who are gay or bisexual to have the “courage and conviction” to acknowledge it publicly.

The signatories, who include at least 160 priests and several members of the Church’s governing General Synod, pledge to “welcome and embrace” those bishops who decide to go public but strongly object to any attempt to involuntarily “out” anyone.

More here-

Catholic synod to address questions of marriage, sexuality

From Pittsburgh-

In Mass homilies and conference speeches, in literature racks and glossy posters at the backs of sanctuaries, Roman Catholic leaders confidently proclaim the answers to questions of sex, marriage and family.

They honor marriage as a divinely ordained sacrament, family as the core cell of civilization and as a church in miniature, raising new generations of faithful.

Sexual revolution? They respond with the "theology of the body" by the late pope, St. John Paul II, affirming marital sex as an icon of God’s love.

Birth control? Natural family planning, a combination of abstinence and timing sex according to the fertility cycle.

Divorce and remarriage? A tribunal that can sometimes annul previous marriages, opening sacraments to remarried persons otherwise barred from them.

Homosexuality? An “objectively disordered” inclination, according to Vatican teaching, but one able to be managed in celibacy.

But many aren’t listening.

More here-