Saturday, December 20, 2014

Traditional weddings threat as church faces unprecedented insurrection over gay marriage ban

From Scotland-

CHURCH leaders are facing an unprecedented insurrection amongst their own ministry over their gay marriage ban, with signals some clergy will not carry out any weddings until the matter is resolved.

In what has been described as the biggest crisis to engulf it in living memory, over 50 Scottish Episcopalian Church (SEC) clergy - around one in six - have signed a letter condemning the stance of their bishops over same-sex marriage.

Amongst the signatories are some of the SEC's most prominent figures, including current and former deans of three dioceses, essentially bishops' deputies and the equivalent of an archdeacon in the Church of England, and two provosts, the senior priests in Episcopalian cathedrals.

More here-

NH priest anxious to see what changes may come to Cuba

From New Hampshire-

The Rev. Mark Pendleton of Christ Episcopal Church in Exeter said he has witnessed the struggles of the small country, and, like others, he is very anxious to see what happens in its new chapter.

"Cubans, I think, have always done a very good job of distinguishing between U.S. foreign policy and American culture," Pendleton said.

Pendleton has made eight missionary trips to the island country. He said the church has been Cuba's connection to much of the world for the past half century.

"It's been a lifeline for this very isolated country, and hopefully with these changes, we'll be able to draw closer to a diocese that used to be a part of the American Episcopal church," he said.

Read more:

Friday, December 19, 2014

Bishop to continue midnight Mass tradition at Trinity

From Indiana-

 At 11 p.m. Christmas Eve, Bishop of Northern Indiana Edward Little – dressed in the traditional vestments of the ancient church – will carry a small bundle down the long aisle of Trinity Episcopal Church, 600 Franklin St.

In the quiet church lit by the flicker of more than 100 candles, Little will gently lay the figure of the baby Jesus in the manger next to his mother, Mary, starting the celebration of traditional Christmas midnight Mass.

More here-

Presiding Bishop makes historic visit to northern Haiti

From ENS-

Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori recently became the first ever primate to visit northern Haiti.

“It is a very significant visit for us,” said the Rt. Rev. OgĂ© Beauvoir, bishop suffragan of the Diocese of Haiti, during a Dec. 15 interview with Episcopal News Service at the diocesan office in PĂ©tionville, a suburb of Port-au-Prince.

Each Sunday Episcopalians in northern Haiti pray for the presiding bishop, said Beauvoir, who has lived in Cap-Haitien since becoming suffragan bishop in 2012, but with the exception of very few, they’ve never met her. As worshipers were boarding buses following the Dec. 14 Eucharist, they told Beauvoir, “’please express our thanks and love to our presiding bishop, tell her that we love her,’” he said.

More here-

Thursday, December 18, 2014

First woman bishop: ‘Now I hope to see more like me'

From The Telegraph-

She was once the stay-at-home vicar’s wife, putting her career on hold to look after their young children, but now the Rev Libby Lane has leapfrogged her husband to become the Church of England’s first female bishop.

Mrs Lane, 48, priest in charge of two busy parishes near Manchester, has been named as the next Bishop of Stockport, part of the Diocese of Chester, in the process becoming an unexpected symbol of women’s equality

The appointment comes a month after the Church’s ruling General Synod formally enacted a historic change to canon law admitting women to the episcopate.

More here-

First female rector admitted at St George’s Anglican

From The Caymans-

The Rev Mary Graham became the first priest from the Cayman Islands and the first woman to become Rector of St. George’s Anglican Church in Grand Cayman. After serving as Priest-in-Charge for one and a half years, she was admitted as the church’s fifth rector at a special service on Sunday, 14 December 2014.

Diocesan Bishop of Jamaica and the Cayman Islands, the Rt Rev Dr Howard Gregory, was the Chief Celebrant, and Archdeacon of Kingston, the Venerable Patrick Cunningham, was the Presiding Archdeacon.

More here-

Anglican Bishops Threaten Showdown Over Deputy Gov’s Slot

From Nigeria-

Anglican Bishops under Enugu Ecclesiastical Province have threatened showdown if the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) failed to field an Anglican as running mate to the governorship candidate of the party, Hon. Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi.

The eight bishops advised the party to make an Anglican the deputy to its candidate if it wants to enjoy the support of Anglicans in the state.

Spokesman of the bishops and the Archbishop of Enugu Ecclesiastical Province, Most Rev Emmanuel Chukwuma, who addressed a press conference in Enugu along with five other bishops, alleged that despite the huge population and contribution of Anglicans in the development of the state, Chime’s government marginalised them in areas of lands, schools and political appointments.

According to him, since Ugwuanyi is a Roman Catholic, it would be wrong to field another Roman Catholic as running mate.

More here-

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Church of England Names Rev. Libby Lane as First Female Bishop

From The New York Times-

The Church of England on Wednesday named the Rev. Libby Lane, a priest for 20 years in the north of England, as its first female bishop, just weeks after church authorities took the final step to reverse centuries of canon law to begin what the archbishop of Canterbury called “a completely new phase of our existence.”

Ms. Lane, 48, who has served as a priest in several parts of the north of England, will be consecrated on Jan. 26, the Church of England said on its website.

More here-

The Telegraph-


From Tom Ehrich-

I wanted so much to applaud the final report issued yesterday by the Task Force for Reimagining the Episcopal Church.

They are good people, they worked hard, and even though they were given an impossible assignment, they seem to have tried for fresh thinking about decline in the Episcopal Church.

As I read the report, I saw glimpses of fresh ideas. But in their actual recommendations, the task force took the easy road: they recommended structural and procedural changes for what are, essentially, not structural or procedural shortcomings. They have answered the wrong question.

In their call for a unicameral General Convention, for example, they raised an interesting model, and by limiting the bishops' participation to active bishops, they addressed a longstanding sore point.

More here-

Episcopalians, Here’s Your TREC Report Summary

From Church Work-

This week in the Episcopal blogosphere, many posts are being written in response to the TREC report. I’m probably going to write one myself fairly soon. Before I do, it seemed important to figure out exactly what the report recommends. And since I’m a blogger, I thought I’d share. Not everybody is going to wade through 70+ pages. Here are the TREC recommendations in less than 1000 words. NB: This is not an official summary.

First, a review:

The Task Force to Reimagine the Episcopal Church was created by a resolution passed unanimously at the 2012 General Convention. A task force was created

"whose purpose shall be to present the 78th General Convention with a plan for reforming the Church’s structures, governance, and administration"

More here-

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Desmond Tutu urges Pope Francis to meet Dalai Lama

From Ecumenical News-

Nobel Peace Prize Laureate Archbishop Emeritus Desmond Tutu has appealed to Pope Francis to reconsider meeting the Dalai Lama saying he is deeply saddened by the Vatican's decision.

"I am very aware of the dilemma in which so many have been finding themselves with regard to their relationships with His Holiness and the People's Republic of China," Tutu said in a statement on December 15.

Nobel Peace Prize laureates met in Rome at the weekend but after Pope Francis had refused to grant an audience to Tibetan Buddhist leader the Dalai Lama, the 1989 laureate, for fear of offending China.

Read more:

Anglican Diocese Plans for 2015 Gubernatorial Elections

From Nigeria-

In its bid to promote free, fair and credible elections, the Anglican Church of Lagos Diocese has planned to mobilise, sensitise and monitor the 2015 elections in Lagos State, as indicated by Rev. James Odedeji, the Anglican Bishop of the Diocese.

He disclosed this in a press conference in Ikeja, Lagos, on Monday. He said that the process had been carried out for the past 15 years and it had been profitable to the state.

According to Bishop Odedeji, with the permission of the federal government, "we have set up a forum for candidates running for the Lagos gubernatorial election to say or read to the people their manifesto in their forth-coming Vintage Government Election Debate to hold in January."

More here-

Religious-themed movies – helping or hurting the Christian story?

From ENS-

The latest in a slew of religious-themed films this year, “Exodus: Gods and Kings” starring Christian Bale as Moses, opened Dec. 12, but can it and others of its genre be considered Christian movies? And do they help – or hinder – the telling of the biblical story?

Some Episcopalians, like Faith Bryant of Highland, California, believe Hollywood’s creative license with movies like “Noah,” released in March and starring Russell Crowe as the ark-building patriarch, wreak havoc with beloved Bible stories.

More here-

The Tyranny of Orthodoxy

From Huffington-

Advent is dangerous. In my case I commenced my personal discernment to leave formation to become a Roman Catholic priest.

After 9 years as a member of the Society of Jesus (the Jesuits) I grew tired of the tyranny of orthodoxy, and deeply frustrated with being forced to live within it. I could not lie about my sexual identity no matter how good an upper middle class lifestyle religious life gave me. I could not be dishonest with the people I'd joyfully serve. To me Advent is a time of birth and new birth, not a season to consolidate groupthink or to publicly worship within a faith system because it feels safe or familiar.

More here-

Monday, December 15, 2014

TREC presents final report for General Convention 2015 consideration

From ENS-

The Task Force for Reimagining the Episcopal Church (TREC) has presented its final report to the 78th General Convention and to the Church, and for inclusion in Reports to General Convention, commonly referred to as The Blue Book.

The report is available in English and Spanish.

TREC’s work was directed by Resolution C095, which was approved by the 77th General Convention in 2012, with the specific task of preparing recommendations to the 78th General Convention for reimaging and restructuring the church.

More here-

Pastors Who Podcast

From Slate-

In 1921, Scientific American published a story titled “A New Era in Wireless,” reporting that radio was no longer just for experts and tinkerers, but had spread to the masses. In Pittsburgh, the magazine reported, Calvary Episcopal Church was broadcasting a full church service every Sunday. “Think what this means to many people: the invalid, unable to go to church can enjoy its benefits without leaving his bed or wheel chair; the farmer, too far from town to go to church has the service brought to him; and the sick in the hospital are encouraged to get well by the wonderful words of the preacher,” the reporter gushed. “One can almost imagine being in church.”

More here-

Sunday, December 14, 2014

Marriage equality is good for the church

From The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette-

Over the past few months, I have officiated at several same-gender weddings. Once this option became a legal reality in Pennsylvania, lots of couples inquired about being married in our church. I can honestly say that marriage equality has not only been a blessing for these couples, it has been good for the church.

Preparing for a same-gender marriage resembles most other wedding-planning rituals. Any couple (heterosexual or homosexual) who asks about being married in our church receives a fairly standard response: Weddings are done for couples who have a relationship with the church andideally are members of the congregation.

More here-

A theological debate is unleashed: Are dogs heaven bound?

From The Post-Gazette-

Will the Hound of Heaven, as a poet famously depicted God, let hounds in heaven?

The question of whether animals are in heaven, which has vexed theologians and laypeople for generations, has been the subject of animated debate in recent days, prompting fresh examination of the question and illuminating the passion of pet owners.

The worldwide debate was set off by reports, disavowed Saturday by the Vatican, that Pope Francis suggested heaven is open to all of God’s creatures. The pope, at his Nov. 26 audience at St. Peter’s Square, did remark that “the Holy Scripture teaches us that the fulfillment of this wonderful design also affects everything around us.” He went on to quote Paul’s epistle to the Romans: “Creation itself will be set free from its bondage to decay and obtain the glorious liberty of the children of God.

More here-