Saturday, January 3, 2015

Queen's hope for a lasting reconciliation is realistic

From The Belfast Telegraph-

One of the reasons why I admire the Queen is her openness about sharing her Christian faith, especially in the United Kingdom where many establishment figures are either aloof from religion or too embarrassed to associate themselves with Christianity.

In her Christmas Day message, Elizabeth showed that she is a devout Anglican, and in her broadcast she spoke about the role of Jesus Christ "as an inspiration and an anchor in my life".

There are not many heads of state, apart from the Pope, who would speak out so clearly and it was no surprise that, in a recent survey about moral leadership in Britain, the Queen topped the poll ahead of the Archbishop of Canterbury, and well ahead of Prime Minister David Cameron.

More here-

Bishop accused in bicylist death raises question: Who’s qualified to be clergy?

From The Washington Post-

The awful death Saturday in Baltimore of a biker who was hit by an Episcopal bishop has set off questions around the country: How long after she hit the man did she return to the scene? Could dividers bordering the bike lane have helped?

But mostly: How could a member of the clergy do that kind of thing?

Baltimore police have released almost no information about what they believe happened Saturday when Bishop Heather Elizabeth Cook hit the bike of Thomas Palermo before leaving the scene and returning some time later. But that hasn’t stopped the incident from immediately setting off passionate debate about our expectations of religious leaders and exactly what kind of flaws should disqualify someone from the clergy. The case shows that even with Americans’ cynicism about institutional religion, many pine to hold faith leaders to a higher standard.

More here-

Friday, January 2, 2015

Still-Amazing Grace

From The Living Church-

“I am not what I ought to be. I am not what I hope to be. But by the grace of God, I am certainly not what I was.” — John Newton

Christopher Smith had never heard of John Newton when, with a little time to spare and in search of some air conditioning, he browsed through the children’s section of a library in Fort Washington, Pennsylvania, looking for inspiration for his church youth groups.

The police officer and religious education director had no idea that this experience of “just killing time” would be his life-changing moment, one that would lead him from small-town life in Bucks County, Pennsylvania, to the Great White Way. As it turned out, he was the one who was inspired.

More here-

Welby: 2014 was a tough year

From The Church Times-

THE Archbishop of Canterbury cautioned against the temptation to "look inwards in despair", in his New Year's message yesterday, despite the daily "toll of bad news" in 2014.

He drew attention to the persecution of Christians in the Middle East and north-east Nigeria, and the massacre of schoolchildren in Peshawar, Pakistan, before asserting: "We are not a country that turns our back on the suffering and the weak and the helpless."

More here-

Anglicans hope for better Nigeria, peaceful elections- NAN

From Nigeria-

Members of the Church of Nigeria, Anglican Communion, on Thursday in Abuja, expressed great optimism and hope for a better Nigeria in 2015, as they joined other people in the world to usher in 2015.

Top on the list of the expectations of members of Our Saviour’s Anglican Church who spoke to the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN), was a peaceful conduct of the 2015 general elections.

Mrs Amarachukwu Nwosu expressed gratitude to God for keeping her and other members of her family safe in 2014 in spite of the security challenges facing the country.

``I am most grateful to God that my son completed his studies in Maiduguri without being a victim of violent attack; the God who did this for me definitely has better plans for me in 2015.

More here-

Hundreds of cyclists ride to honor Thomas Palermo

From NBC Baltimore-

Loved ones of Thomas Palermo said they wanted to pay tribute to his life, but Thursday's memorial event also attracted a lot of bike safety advocates.

"I'm a cyclist. I'm also an active Episcopalian so I wanted to show my church support for the Palermo family," Bel Air resident Nick McDonald said.

Those who wanted to pay tribute to Palermo's life gathered at Bishop Square Park, near the Episcopal Church Cathedral of the Incarnation. The gathering was organized by advocacy groups Bike Maryland and Bikemore.

"Something like this just brings to my attention to the fact that what we’re doing, if the drivers as well as ourselves aren't conscious of what we’re doing out there something like this could happen -- tragic," Owings Mills resident Earl McKnight said.

More here-

Thursday, January 1, 2015

Happy 2015? Newsweek hit piece smears Bible, Christians

From Fox News-

Newsweek is launching the New Year with an old school attack on the Bible and Christians. It was just the sort of holiday hit piece that we’ve come to expect from these anti-Christian pinheads.

I imagine the Yuletide season must bring about near celebrations in the hallways of Newsweek as writers giddily try to find new ways to defile the followers of Christ.

This year’s winner was Kurt Eichenwald – and he certainly spun quite a yarn – one truly worthy to be published in a magazine. Mr. Eichenwald is known around literary circles as a man of words – and he certainly used most of them in his verbose essay.

More here-

Donald Dewar consulted Queen over Catholic monarchy ban

From The Telegraph-

Donald Dewar consulted the Queen and the UK Government over his rejection of SNP calls for an end to the ban on Roman Catholics ascending to the throne, according to newly-declassified documents.

Scotland’s first First Minister after devolution personally backed the campaign to reform the "prejudiced" Act of Settlement 1701, which also prevented Catholics marrying into the Royal Family.
But Mr Dewar argued that a “simplistic or hasty approach” to the controversial issue could embarrass Tony Blair's Labour government and disrupt the peace process in Northern Ireland.

More here-

Archbishop of Canterbury: UK must continue looking outwards

From The BBC-

In a broadcast from the National Memorial Arboretum, the Most Rev Justin Welby talked about the disasters and wars in 2014.

He urged people not to let crises, such as Ebola, "slip form our minds".

The archbishop was unable to deliver his Christmas Day sermon because he was suffering from pneumonia.

In his New Year address, he reflected on his surroundings and Britain's armed forces.

More here-

Episcopal Church saga could see resolution

From South Carolina-

Could the saga splitting the local Episcopal Church diocese be resolved in 2015 after years of intractable theological and legal battles?

A circuit judge likely will rule soon in a lawsuit filed after two-thirds of area parishes left the national church two years ago. But her ruling is almost certain to face appeal in the coming year, leaving the $500 million question lingering: Who will be the rightful owners of millions in church properties, including some of Charleston's most historic houses of worship?

That answer also will resolve a key question for thousands of parishioners about whether the rightful Episcopal Diocese of South Carolina is the majority of parishes that left the national Episcopal Church or those who remain part of it.

More here-

Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Kenya: Making of Women Bishops in Kenya

From Kenya-

The recent appointment of the Rev Libby Lane as Bishop Suffragan of Stockport, the first ever woman bishop in the Church of England (CoE), will without doubt excite those who have pushed to have Women bishops in the Anglican Church of Kenya (ACK).

This news in equal measure will irritate conservatives within the ACK who had clung to the robes of tradition as their excuse, now that the CoE 'mother church' has changed its long held position on women episcopacy. The import of this appointment is the springing of demands for the same action in the ACK by those who adjudged the moratoria on the women bishops concentration imposed by the house of Bishops and the provincial synod in October 2014 a blockade.

More here-

Strangers become key to family’s survival

From Cincinnati-

A horrible tragedy that changed the lives of a Hartwell family in June 2013 has mobilized a community that helped a mother pick up the pieces for herself and her three young children.

Ornuma Ao‘s husband, Richard Evans, was shot and killed on a summer during a robbery at his restaurant, Cosmic Pizza. His death left her alone, in a foreign country, with no friends or family.

A neighbor who happened to drive past, as Evans fell to the ground, stopped and called 911, then offered comfort to Ao (pronounced “O”) and her children, Jimmy, Zoey and Ashton.

That outreach continues today, and Ao’s circle of friends has expanded beyond her neighborhood, to Wyoming, where members of Ascension and Holy Trinity Church, St. James of the Valley and Wyoming Presbyterian Church have filled every need, and the family had many.

More here-

Episcopal Diocese of Maryland Says They Knew About Heather Cook's DUI Before Electing Her as Bishop

From Christian Post-

As outrage and criticism continue to mount over the hit-and-run death of a cyclist at the hands of Heather Cook, 58, the first female bishop of the Episcopal Church of Maryland on Saturday, the Diocese has revealed that they knew about her 2010 DUI before she was elected as bishop earlier this year.

Cook, who's the second-highest ranking official in the Diocese, hit 41-year-old married father of two, Thomas Palermo, as he cycled on a Baltimore roadway Saturday afternoon then fled the scene as he lay dying. She only returned to the scene later after other cyclists reportedly chased her down. Authorities say they are investigating the incident and have refused to release any details.


 Court records highlighted by the Baltimore Sun reveal that in September 2010 Cook was charged with driving under the influence of alcohol, possession of marijuana and paraphernalia in Caroline County. She registered a .27 blood alcohol level, more than three times the legal limit in Maryland.

According to The Associated Press the reporting officer highlighted that at the time of the incident Cook was driving on the shoulder at 29 mph in a 50 mph-zone with a shredded front tire. Her vehicle reeked of alcohol and she had vomit streaming down the front of her shirt. She was so intoxicated, he noted, she couldn't finish a field sobriety test as there were concerns she would fall and hurt herself.

More here-

Left Behind in the Mainline: Witnessing Within The Episcopal Church

From Christian Post-

One such individual is the Rev. Charles D. Alley, Ph.D., of St. Matthew's Episcopal Church in Richmond, Virginia.

In an interview with The Christian Post, Dr. Alley explained that when it comes to his congregation remaining in The Episcopal Church, "divorce is not an option for us."

"Each of us individually and corporately must discern the path of obedience that God has willed for us. We have discerned a call to stay in TEC and to provide an example of an authentic Anglican identity," said Alley.

More here-

Tuesday, December 30, 2014

Lord Carey and bishop’s chaplain join call for Parliament to re-open Assisted Dying debate

From The Tablet-

Pressure is mounting on the Government to legalise assisted dying after a coalition of public figures, including a former Archbishop of Canterbury, wrote a letter urging parties to commit to a debate regardless of the outcome of the next general election.

Lord Carey, Rabbi Dr Jonathan Romain and the philosopher AC Grayling were among 80 signatories to the letter to the Daily Telegraph today.

Canon Rosie Harper, chaplain to the Anglican Bishop of Buckingham, Alan Wilson, also signed the letter.

In it they welcomed the progress that had been made in the campaign to legalise assisted dying in the past year.

More here-

At a Manhattan Soup Kitchen, Food on the Table and Chops on the Piano

From The New York Times- (with video)

The line of men — they are almost all men — backs up around the corner on West 28th Street in Manhattan, turns and follows the iron fence line along Ninth Avenue and through the gates of the Church of the Holy Apostles. A worker at the door hands each a ticket, and from that point on, they are referred to as guests.

They file through a narrow hall and enter the Episcopal church’s sanctuary, an arching vault shot through with color from the stained-glass windows. The men accept trays, and empty plates quickly fill with roasted chicken, mashed potatoes, half-cobs of sweet corn, milk and chocolate pudding.

More here-

Episcopal bishop involved in bicycle crash has DUI record

From Baltimore- (with video)

Moncure Lyon and other bystanders had stopped to help a badly injured cyclist on Roland Avenue on Saturday afternoon when a Subaru with heavy windshield damage drove by. Lyon wondered: Was this the car that had hit Thomas Palermo and left the scene?

There was only one way to find out. Lyon, 65, jumped on his Bianchi Steel Chromo bike and followed the vehicle as it drove away. He caught up with it at a stoplight and continued to follow as the car entered a nearby gated apartment community.

"I thought that car was involved in a potentially fatal hit-and-run of a biker, and I needed to get that license plate number," Lyon said Monday.

More here-

Monday, December 29, 2014

Pope Francis’s edict on climate change will anger deniers and US churches

From Guardian-

He has been called the “superman pope”, and it would be hard to deny that Pope Francis has had a good December. Cited by President Barack Obama as a key player in the thawing relations between the US and Cuba, the Argentinian pontiff followed that by lecturing his cardinals on the need to clean up Vatican politics. But can Francis achieve a feat that has so far eluded secular powers and inspire decisive action on climate change?

It looks as if he will give it a go. In 2015, the pope will issue a lengthy message on the subject to the world’s 1.2 billion Catholics, give an address to the UN general assembly and call a summit of the world’s main religions.

More here-

The Christmas Truce, 100 Years Later

From Bishop Whalon-

We get “joyous” from “joyeux.” The English say “happy” Christmas, Americans have kept that lovely word “merry” alive. “Noël” is a mysterious word, not Latin or Greek or even Hebrew in origin. Originally it was a cheer when the king visited or the queen gave birth or French arms won a victory. Hooray for the newborn Prince of Peace! Noël!

Joyeux Noël is also the name of a film that came out nine years ago. It depicts an event that happened exactly one hundred years ago today. On Christmas Day 1914, French, British and German troops declared a truce in order to celebrate Christmas together. The high commands hated that it happened, devised policies to stop it from happening again, and did not allow any mention of the truce. Yet rumors were rife, soldiers recorded it in diaries and drawings, and gradually the story came out, well after the Great War was over.

Episcopal bishop tied to deadly Roland Park hit-and-run

From Maryland-

A spokesperson from the Episcopal Diocese of Maryland confirmed that a bishop was involved in a deadly hit-and-run of a bicyclist in Roland Park Saturday afternoon.

58-year-old Heather Elizabeth Cook, Bishop Suffragan of Maryland, was driving a Subaru that struck and killed the bicyclist, 41-year-old Thomas Palermo.

In an email sent to the clergy of the Episcopal Diocese of Maryland, the Right Rev. Eugene Taylor Sutton told members that Cook "has been placed on administrative leave, effective immediately."

Sutton also said that Cook first drove off after striking Palermo's bike, but then returned to the scene approximately 20 minutes later "to take responsibility for her actions."

More here-

Update here-

Sunday, December 28, 2014

Science Increasingly Makes the Case for God

From The Wall Street Journal-

In 1966 Time magazine ran a cover story asking: Is God Dead? Many have accepted the cultural narrative that he’s obsolete—that as science progresses, there is less need for a “God” to explain the universe. Yet it turns out that the rumors of God’s death were premature. More amazing is that the relatively recent case for his existence comes from a surprising place—science itself.

Here’s the story: The same year Time featured the now-famous headline, the astronomer Carl Sagan announced that there were two important criteria for a planet to support life: The right kind of star, and a planet the right distance from that star. Given the roughly octillion—1 followed by 24 zeros—planets in the universe, there should have been about septillion—1 followed by 21 zeros—planets capable of supporting life.

More here-

7 Secrets Your Pastors Wish They Could Tell You (But Probably Won’t)

From Church Leaders-

Most pastors I know have clear calls to ministry, work long hours, carry battle scars, sometimes get discouraged, and struggle to balance vocation and family.

They really do have servants’ hearts, but they are human and there are a few considerate things the people in the pews can do to support their pastors. If you could be a fly on the wall when pastors talk amongst themselves, you may be quite surprised by what you hear and how often you would hear the same things over and over.

Here are seven things your pastor would love to tell you (but probably won’t):

Atlanta Bishop: Jesus’ ‘inconvenient’ birth brings people together, lights the world’s darkness

From Atlanta-

Episcopalians gathered Tuesday for 2014 Christmas Eve services at The Cathedral of St. Philip heard their bishop say that the “inconvenient” birth of Jesus gives everyone who gathers in his name the gift of hope for peace in a violent world.

The Right Reverend Robert C. Wright, the son of a church musician, sang verses from Christmas hymns and secular tunes to illustrate to his key points.

“What would Christmas be without music and singing?  O Come All ye faithful, Joyful and Triumphant, come all ye citizens of Bethlehem.  Or, Silent Night, Holy Night, all is calm all is bright,” Wright said. “Or, Augusta Georgia’s own James Brown’s contribution, to Christmas music,“Santa Claus go straight to the ghetto, hitch up your reindeer and go straight to the ghetto.” 

More here-

Episcopal Church Gives Factory New Life

From Connecticut-

On Pratt Street, a three-story building stands alone against the sky. A cross in a top floor window provides a sign that life has returned to this once-dormant factory.

Many in Meriden remember when the sprawling structure housed the New Departure ball bearing company, employing 5,000 during World War II. Today, the top floor is home to the Episcopal Diocese of Connecticut.

"When I told the retired clergy that we would be moving to a broken down mill town, they were skeptical," says Connecticut's Episcopal bishop, the Rt. Rev. Ian T. Douglas, of the recent move from Hartford to Meriden. "But as soon as they entered this space, their view changed. They got it! We were able to bring the past, present and future together all in one room."

More here-