Saturday, December 13, 2014

Pope Francis says all dogs go to heaven!

From The Chicago Tribune-

I have great news for my many canine readers: YOU’RE GOING TO HEAVEN!

The bad news is you’ll have to die in order to get there, but let’s focus on the positive for now.

While speaking to a boy whose dog had died, Pope Francis recently said: “One day, we will see our animals again in the eternity of Christ. Paradise is open to all of God's creatures."

The pope’s comment wasn’t an official change in church doctrine, which has generally held that animals don’t have souls and thus don’t go to heaven. But his words were met with glee by groups like the Humane Society and People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals, not to mention your neighbor’s dog Bowser who, based on his proclivity for shoe chewing, never thought he stood a chance of making it through the pearly gates.

More here-

Four young Christians brutally beheaded by ISIS in Iraq for refusing to convert to Islam

From The Daily Mail-

Four young Christians were brutally beheaded by ISIS in Iraq for refusing to convert to Islam, according to a British reverend forced to flee the country.

Canon Andrew White, known as the Vicar of Baghdad, told the horrifying story how of the youths, all under 15, were murdered for standing up to the jihadists.

The vicar of the city’s St George's Church, the only Anglican church in the whole of Iraq, has had to leave the country for Israel amid constant threats on his life by Islamic State.

In a harrowing interview with the Orthodox Christian Network, he said ISIS had killed ‘huge numbers’ of believers in Jesus.

More here-

Canterbury Cathedral TV review – a quintessential hour of Church of Englandness

From The Guardian-

In its almost 1,500 years as Anglicanism’s mother church, I doubt whether Canterbury Cathedral has witnessed such a quintessential moment of Church of Englandness as we did in the opening episode of the three-part documentary Canterbury Cathedral (BBC2).

It came as the Holy Stitchers, women who meet for two hours on Thursdays to keep the clergy’s various vestments in good repair, meditated on changes wrought by the admittance of women priests. They are all so much shorter than the men that they had to have grievously extensive alterations to the antique robes. “One had to have a foot cut off it,” said one of the ladies. “It can’t go back on again. Joan suggested they should be interviewed by size.” The mixture of laughter and distress, the hint of froideur, spoke directly to the English soul – a moment of perfect communion among the Holy Stitchers, and between them and the viewers. I like to think the ladies spend their downtime making needlepoint samplers to decorate the vestry walls. Perhaps ones that say: “You don’t have to be Anglican to work here, but it helps.”

More here

Friday, December 12, 2014

Plan to groom ‘talent’ for high office in C of E

From The Church Times-

A RADICAL overhaul of the Church of England's leadership is under way.

A key report, still unpublished, sets out a programme of "talent management" in the Church. The report has been signed off by the two Archbishops, and a £2-million budget has been allocated. It was discussed by all the bishops in September, and the House of Bishops on Monday. A spokesman said on Wednesday that the Bishops "welcomed the implementation plan prepared in the light of those discussions. Details will be published next month."

More here-

Female priest strip searched for drugs and firearms following sit-in

From Australia-

A female priest claims to have been strip-searched following a sit-in protest at Foreign Minister Julie Bishop's Subiaco electoral office on Wednesday.

Anglican priest, the Reverend Lorna Green, said she was outraged to be stripped naked and searched for drugs and firearms.

Rev Green was among a group protesting at the alleged transfer to Nauru of a number of asylum-seeking mothers, family members and new-borns who had been brought to Australia from detention centres for the births.

She said they were simply buzzed in at Ms Bishop's offices, where they sat and prayed while police tried to get them to leave.

More here-

How Ridley Scott’s Exodus Strays From the Bible

From Time-

The biblical story was poetic, the history is murky at best

The Biblical story of Exodus hits the big screen on Friday with the release of Ridley Scott’s Exodus: Gods and Kings. The story is one of the most timeless in Western history, like the Odyssey or Shakespeare, only imbued with deeper spiritual significance, as Jews, Christians, and Muslims all claim the hero as their own. This newest adaptation is classic Scott-style, very Gladiator, set in an ancient Egypt where Ramses is Pharaoh and Moses is Christian Bale.

More here-

Thursday, December 11, 2014

Report of the House of Deputies Study Committee on the Rules of Order

From The House of Deputies-

December 10, 2014

Dear Deputies and Alternate Deputies:

The House of Deputies Study Committee on the Rules of Order was appointed by President Jennings following the 77th General Convention. Her goal in appointing the committee was to undertake a comprehensive review and update to the Rules of Order that govern legislative business in the House of Deputies. During our work, she has encouraged us to think creatively about ways to improve the work of the House of Deputies.

Our study committee began its work by meeting with a parallel committee from the House of Bishops. During this meeting, we had a fruitful discussion and shared some of the experiences of our respective Houses and opportunities to improve the Joint Rules of Order.

More here-

Buffalo bishops say region’s economic progress should also benefit immigrants and the poor

From Buffalo-

The bishops of Buffalo’s Catholic and Episcopal dioceses have written a joint pastoral letter urging church members to help make sure immigrants, minorities and the poor, among others, share in the region’s economic progress.

While noting new development and revitalization in Buffalo, Bishop Richard J. Malone of the Catholic Diocese of Buffalo and Bishop R. William Franklin of the Episcopal Diocese of Western New York said not everyone is benefitting.

More here-

Chicago Church Doesn't Just Feed The Hungry -- They Do It With Maitre D' Service

From Huffington-

On Dec. 7, the kitchen of All Saints Episcopal Church was packed with volunteers, and the aroma in the air was undeniably mouth-watering. The Chicago parish was hosting one of its two yearly Sunday dinners for needy community members, dishing up food, service and entertainment one might expect to find in a restaurant, rather than a church hall.

The night's menu boasted a wide range of dishes: roasted turkey breast, prime rib, salmon, roasted acorn squash, a broccoli-spinach souffle and sage stuffing, plus pecan and pumpkin pies. As guests filed in to sit at tables adorned with flowers, smartly dressed waiters flitted about the room. Rev. Bonnie Perry and other volunteers greeted the hungry guests as friends, while a group of singers from a local prep school readied their dinnertime performance.hunger

More here-

Central Pennsylvania diocese announces 3 nominees for bishop

From ENS-

The Standing Committee of the Episcopal Diocese of Central Pennsylvania has announced a slate of three nominees to stand for election as the 11th bishop of the diocese.

The nominees were presented to the Standing Committee by the Bishop Search Committee on Dec. 1.
The three are:

The Rev. Canon David A. Pfaff, 50, canon to the ordinary, Diocese of Milwaukee;

The Rev. Canon Audrey Cady Scanlan, 56, canon for mission collaboration and congregational life, Diocese of Connecticut;

The Rev. Douglas Everett Sparks, 58, rector, St. Luke’s Episcopal Church, Rochester, Minnesota (Diocese of Minnesota).

More here-

No rejoicing here: Scottish Episcopal Church’s marriage guidance

From Ekklesia-

Many Christians regard their wedding day as one of the most joyful, and spiritually significant, in their lives. Those preparing to celebrate marriage are part of the body of the church, whose other members may wish to rejoice with and support them as they make a costly, as well as fulfilling, commitment.

In Scotland, for the first time same-sex as well as opposite-sex couples will be able to get legally married. The new law takes effect on 16 December 2014, with weddings booked from 31 December.

In many churches there, as elsewhere, opinion is divided and discussions are taking place on how best to honour different views of what conscience demands. Meanwhile institutional churches need to provide pastoral care to those who feel called to pledge their love publicly to their life-partner, as well as those opposed.

There is little sense of this in the Scottish Episcopal Church’s College of Bishops’ Guidance for Clergy and Lay Readers in the light of the Marriage and Civil Partnership (Scotland) Act 2014. This document is perhaps even more grim and threatening than the Church of England bishops’ February 2014 ‘pastoral’ guidance.

More here-

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

Desmond Tutu cancels travels plans to Nobel summit to battle prostate cancer

From South Africa-

South African Archbishop Desmond Tutu has cancelled all travel plans for the rest of the year in order to battle cancer, his foundation said Tuesday.

The 83-year-old Nobel peace laureate will embark “on a new course of medication to manage the prostate cancer he’s been living with for the past 15 years”, a statement said.

Tutu had been scheduled to attend a Nobel Peace Laureates Summit in Rome this week.

It is the latest medical setback for the anti-apartheid icon, who survived an illness believed to be polio as a baby and battled tuberculosis as a teenager. In 2011 he was hospitalised for “minor” elective surgery.

More here-

The Niger State government has given 100 hectares of land for the proposed Walter Miller University

From Niger-

The Niger state governor Dr. Babangida Aliyu has allocated 100 hectares  of land to the Anglican Church for its proposed Walter Miller University (WMU).

This was revealed by Gen. Theophilus Danjuma who was speaking at the the Sod Turning Ceremony of the institution on Monday in Diko.

“We also wish to acknowledge, with immense gratitude, the offer of this 100 hectares of land to us at no cost by the Governor of Niger State, Dr Babangida Aliyu," the onetime Minister of Defence said in a The News report.

More here-

Williams: We need to bridge gap between rights and religious freedom

From Ireland-

A former Archbishop of Canterbury has called for a general “reimagining” of our attitude towards human rights and religious liberty.

Dr Rowan Williams served as the leader of the Anglican Church for 10 years before he stepped down in 2012.

In an interview with the Church of Ireland Gazette, Dr Williams said it was important to bridge the gap between human rights and religious freedom.

“It is dangerous I think for everyone if the language of human rights and the language of religious liberty drift apart too much.

More here-

Vatican asks for wide input on 2015 synod, not based on doctrine

From National Catholic Reporter-

For the second time in two years, the Vatican has asked national bishops' conferences around the world to seek input from Catholics at "all levels" about how the church should respond to sometimes difficult questions of modern family life, such as divorce and remarriage.

Issuing a document in preparation for a second worldwide meeting of Catholic bishops on family life next year, the Vatican has also stressed the need for mercy in responding to such difficult situations -- even asking the bishops to avoid basing their pastoral care solely on current Catholic doctrine.

The call for input came Tuesday in a document released by the Vatican's Office for the Synod of Bishops, which in October 2015 will to host the second of two global bishops' meetings called by Pope Francis for 2014 and 2015.

More here-

Tuesday, December 9, 2014

The Yorkshire town that inspired A Christmas Carol

From The Telepgraph-

It is perhaps the most famous Christmas tale of all, the story of Ebenezer Scrooge, his hard-done-by clerk Bob Cratchit and the three ghosts who came to change their lives forever.

Now Charles Dickens’s legendary tale, A Christmas Carol, has been given a new lease of life in a small Yorkshire town.

For unbeknown to many, while the story was set in the fog of London, it was actually the swirling mists of Malton, near York, and a young lawyer from the town, that inspired Dickens to create his haunting tale.

More here-

Bishop Zubik Takes To TV To Invite Catholics Back To Church

From Pittsburgh-

In a somewhat unusual television ad campaign, a local Catholic bishop has an important message.
Entitled “The Light Is Still On For You,” it’s aimed at getting Catholics who no longer attend Catholic church to attend.

“We’re following after the lead of our boss, Pope Francis,” said Bishop David Zubik. “I think he has been so open.”

Growing the congregation is hardly new for Christian denominations.
It’s not just the Catholic Church that wants to welcome folks back. In the South Hills in Mt. Lebanon, there’s a bit of a sign war going on where lots of churches want to welcome new folks into their doors.

More here-

Human rights, dignity: An Episcopal priest in Brussels fights for justice

From ENS-

Fulfilling God’s vision of a renewed creation “that respects the dignity and beauty of every individual person on this planet” may be a formidable goal, but the Rev. Mark Barwick lives for that dream of a reconciled world.

Based in Brussels, Belgium, the Episcopal priest says that his work as a policy adviser with Human Rights Without Frontiers (HRWF), a nongovernmental, nonreligious organization, “is a part of that recreation and renewal of human societies.”

More here-

Monday, December 8, 2014

Iraq's persecuted religious minorities still desperately need our help

From The Week-

The plight of religious minorities is still desperate in Iraq and Syria, despite U.S. efforts to thwart ISIS with a lethal flurry of airstrikes. As winter approaches, Yazidi refugees who left their homes and communities this summer are still hiding from ISIS militants and sex-slave traders in the mountains of Sinjar, and the Iraqi Christian communities of the Ninevah Plains are disintegrating. In Mosul, a historically Christian city of Iraq, most of the believers have left after being given the ultimatum to flee, convert, or die. Some of Mosul's Christian churches have since been converted by ISIS into prisons.

You probably haven't heard much about this lately, as the two minority groups have dropped out of headlines in the West in recent weeks. But that doesn't mean they don't need our help.

More here-

Anglican Leader Says Plight of Hungry in Britain More Shocking Than in Africa

From Newsweek-

The Archbishop of Canterbury has said he found seeing the hungry in Britain to be less serious but more shocking than the plight of those starving in some places in Africa.

Justin Welby, head of the 80-million strong Anglican communion, compared his two recent experiences of seeing hungry people in the Democratic Republic of Congo, to talking to a family making a collection of free food in England.

"I found their plight more shocking. It was less serious, but it was here. And they weren't careless with what they had – they were just up against it," Welby wrote in the Mail on Sunday.

More here-

From Huffington-

Candlelight vigil for peace in Newark, where people are 'upset and confused'

From Newark-

Sirens wailed as police and fire equipment rushed past the place of worship Sunday night where people gathered for the Prayer Vigil for Peace at Trinity and St. Philip's Cathedral in Newark.

“We needed to have a witness in response to Ferguson and Staten Island,” said Episcopal Bishop Mark Beckwith. “People are upset and confused and we offer hope, together, in a commitment to a more just world,” Beckwith added.

Dozens came to the church, which traces its history to the early 18th century. Some wore a bulls-eye on their backs.

More here-

Sunday, December 7, 2014

Archbishop of Canterbury warns that Anglican Church may 'not hold together' over conflicting views

From The Independent UK-

The Archbishop of Canterbury has warned that parts of the Anglican Communion could break away as a result of the conflicting views held by other churches.

In a series of frank remarks to The Times, the Most Rev Justin Welby said there could be “a sort of temporary separation” and admitted to personally disagreeing “profoundly” with views held by other churches within the union.

“I think, realistically, we’ve got to say that despite all efforts there is a possibility that we will not hold together, or not hold together for a while,” he said.

“I could see circumstances in which there could be people moving apart and then coming back together, depending on what else happens.”

More here-

Episcopal Church split gave life to three new congregations in the Myrtle Beach area

From South Carolina-

Those who left their home churches in Horry County when the Episcopal Diocese of South Carolina broke apart in 2012 have formed new congregations that are working to build the traditions that will one day make them feel like home, too.

“I had the assumption that the Episcopal Church would always be there for me,” said Beth Ault, one of the former members of Trinity Episcopal Church who now is among the small congregation of the newly recognized Church of the Messiah in Myrtle Beach.

Trinity Episcopal has become simply Trinity Church where the majority of the congregation – like that at St. Paul’s Church in Conway – voted to split from the traditional Episcopal Church because they felt it had grown too liberal in changes it was making to liturgy that dates back to the 15th century.

The Episcopal Church’s ordination of a gay bishop in New Hampshire further fanned the discontent.

Read more here: