Saturday, January 24, 2015

Anglican Archbishop: ‘Allah’ ruling has far-reaching effects

From Borneo-

The ramifications of the Federal Court’s dismissal of the Catholic Church’s application for leave to appeal on the prohibition of ‘Allah’ to refer to God in its weekly publication Herald will likely spill beyond the case.

Reacting to this decision, the Most Reverend Datuk Bolly Lapok — the Archbishop of the Anglican Province of South East Asia and Bishop of Sarawak and Brunei — said the ruling would affect more than the Catholic newspaper.

“Case resolved? I am not too sure. I hope in the process we have not mired ourselves in greater complication,” he said in a statement yesterday.

Read more:

Small church fights Episcopal diocese over land

From Maryland-

The Church of the Ascension is an unremarkable Middle River landmark, just a squat, brick building on an isolated peninsula south of Martin State Airport. But for Episcopalians in eastern Baltimore County's Wilson Point community, the small church has been a fixture for generations — home to such cradle-to-grave memories as baptisms, weddings and funerals.

And on a street of mostly fenced-in front yards, the church's rolling lawn has served as an informal waterfront park to the entire neighborhood since aircraft pioneer Glenn L. Martin donated the property to the community 75 years ago. Residents walk their dogs to the tree-lined shore. A sliver of beach provides a popular spot for fishing. And a wooden bench perched amid a community garden beckons visitors to sit and gaze at the ducks on Stansbury Creek.

More here-

$1.7M for New Ministry in the Episcopal Church: What Happens Next?

From Acts 8-

It is challenging to name a way of changing the church for the better through budgeting alone. In 2012, The Episcopal Church’s budget decided to do just that.

Believing that funding innovative ministries at the local level could provide new models from which the whole church could learn, The Episcopal Church distributed 38 grants totaling roughly $1.7 million for Mission Enterprise Zones and Church Plants in 2013 and 2014. As these grants required matching funds, $3.5 million was raised toward fostering creative ways to be the Body of Christ in differing contexts.

Ultimately, though, the measure of the success of each of these grantees isn’t measured in their ability to raise funds. It’s in their ability to spread the Good News of God in Jesus Christ in each of their communities, and in the process, change lives.

The Acts 8 Moment is following up with each grant recipient to report on the work and discover what grant recipients are learning. With more than a quarter of the stories in, here is some of what we have discovered:

- See more at:

Episcopal bishop urges action on racial inequality

From Pittsburgh-

The leader of the Episcopal Diocese of Pittsburgh on Friday issued “A Pastoral Letter on Race,” decrying racial oppression and suggesting ways that the church and members of its congregations could move society closer toward reconciliation.

“There is a sort of sullen denial across much of our culture as if race were not a problem or, to the extent that it is, that it will someday, somehow, simply go away. [That] we have done enough,” Bishop Dorsey McConnell said in an open letter to the 9,000 members of 37 Episcopal congregations in the 11 counties of southwestern Pennsylvania.

“But we have clearly not done enough. We have heard a great deal recently about growing income inequality in our nation. This inequality of class is inseparably linked to inequality of race.”

More here-

African Anglicans fall out over support for the Episcopal Church of the USA

From Anglican Ink-

The Council of Anglican Provinces in Africa [CAPA] is on the verge of disintegration after leaders of the Gafcon coalition called upon its chairman, the Archbishop of Burundi, to repent or resign in the wake of an October communiqué he endorsed that backed the Episcopal Church of the USA.

The collapse of CAPA, sources within the Gafcon movement tell Anglican Ink, is merely a sign of the wider collapse of the Anglican Communion. On 22 Jan 2015, Archbishop Eliud Wabukala, the Primate of Kenya released a copy of a letter prepared at the December Gafcon primates meeting in Nairobi for Archbishop Bernard Ntahoturi (pictured)

The public rebuke of Archbishop Ntahoturi by the Gafcon primates is unprecedented in African church history, but was not unexpected. In his Advent letter to Gafcon, Archbishop Wabukala called Africa’s bishops to order.  Archbisho Ntahoturi’s failure to heed the warnings coming out of Nairobi prompted the public release of his rebuke.

. He stated that as “no reply has been received, the letter is now being made public in order to avoid misunderstanding.”

More here-

JNCPB report includes updates

From ENS-

The Episcopal Church Joint Nominating Committee for the Election of the Presiding Bishop (JNCPB) has released the following statement with an update of progress following its recent meeting:

The Joint Nominating Committee for the Election of the Presiding Bishop (JNCPB) met January 12 – 14. After nearly two years of conducting its work electronically, the committee gathered for the purpose of discerning the list of candidates to continue in the process. Committee co-chair, Bishop Edward Konieczny, said that during the time together the committee’s “passionate, emotional, and difficult work laid an incredible foundation that we will aim to continue with grace.”

More than 165 people representing over 60 dioceses submitted names during the nomination period last fall. Bishops whose names were submitted were invited to continue in the discernment process as established by the JNCPB by submitting information and materials for consideration. Video conferencing afforded the opportunity for committee members to talk with the candidates.

More here-

Friday, January 23, 2015

Presbyterians scrap ad campaign deemed offensive to minorities

From RNS-

The Presbyterian Church (USA) is scrapping an ad campaign for the needy after it was blasted for being culturally and socially insensitive.

The One Great Hour of Sharing campaign originally included an image of an Asian girl with the words “Needs help with her drinking problem” and, in smaller lettering: “She can’t find water.” Another image featured a man with the words “Needs help getting high,” followed in smaller lettering with: “Above the flood waters.”

Linda Valentine, executive director of the Presbyterian Mission Agency, said a redesign has begun and the new campaign should appear in February.

“We made a great misstep,” she said. “We acknowledged that the materials not only perpetuated offensive racial stereotypes but were insensitive to struggles with addiction that are real struggles and many of our churches and many of our ministries are working with those very people.”

More here-

No 'taint' over first female bishop, archbishop says

From The BBC-

The Archbishop of York has said his decision not to take part in the "laying on of hands" for a new bishop was not due to a "theology of taint".

Dr John Sentamu referred to the idea that he would be "tainted" by consecrating the Church of England's first woman bishop.

He will lay hands on the Rev Libby Lane when she becomes Bishop of Stockport on Monday, but will not when the Rev Philip North becomes Bishop of Burnley.

Mr North opposed women as bishops.

He will be consecrated on 2 February in York Minster, where two bishops will take part in the traditional laying on of hands while Dr Sentamu "will lead all other bishops present in exercising gracious restraint".

More here-

Thousands sign petition calling for Richard III to have a Catholic burial

From The Catholic Herald-

Three thousand people have signed a petition calling for Richard III to be given a Catholic burial.

The petition, addressed to Cardinal Vincent Nichols, the Archbishop of Westminster, is being organised by the historians whose efforts led to the king’s remains being found under a car park in Leicester.

Under present plans Richard III, who died in the Battle of Bosworth in 1485, before the Reformation, will be buried at the Anglican cathedral in Leicester on March 26.

But Philippa Langley, leader of the Looking for Richard project, said the burial should take into account Richard III’s Catholic faith.

More here-

Anglican bishop tasks Nigerians on general elections

From Nigeria-

Ahead of next month’s general elections, the Bishop of Diocese of Lagos West, Anglican Communion, Rt Revd. Dr. James Olusola Odedeji has called on  Nigerians to beware of who they vote for, stating that the outcome of the election will determine how things are going to be in the country for the  next four years.

Odedeji, who made the call yesterday while delivering a sermon at the 70th birthday celebration of Mr. Joseph Abiodun Falode at St. Peter’s Anglican Church Idimu, Lagos, also urged Christians to get involved in the politics of the country.

However, he said clerics must remain apolitical.

According to him, the more Christians shy away from politics, the more they put the country at the risk of being run by unscrupulous elements in the society.

More here-

New East Windsor priest boasts background in rock ’n’ roll, meditation

From Connecticut-

A former rock ’n’ roll drummer with a background in medicine is the new priest at St. John’s Episcopal Church.

“Life as a priest uses every single bit of my formation and my odd talents,” the Rev. Julia Fritts said. “Every single bit of that is not only OK, but necessary.”

Prior to becoming ordained, Fritts, 58, worked as a professional musician. She said she lived the dream for a while as a drummer, recording and touring with her Celtic rock band, Jane and Julia.
“I grew up assuming I would be an artist or a musician,” Fritts said. “Music is a service to the world. Beautiful music is really necessary.”

But the prevalence of ego and a self-absorbed existence were what turned her off to the lifestyle of a musician, she said.

More here-

Marcus Borg, well-known liberal Jesus scholar, dies at 72

From Oregon-

Update: There will be a memorial service for Marcus Borg on March 22 at Trinity Episcopal Church.

Marcus Borg, a liberal Jesus scholar, died Wednesday after a prolonged illness, said Pam Knepper, communications coordinator for Trinity Episcopal Church in Northwest Portland. Borg frequently lectured at Trinity, where he received the honorary title "canon theologian."

He was 72 years old, according to The Religion News Service.

More here-

Thursday, January 22, 2015

Marcus Borg 1942-2015

From Patheos-

The news has been breaking that Marcus Borg has passed away.

Borg was an important figure in two areas that I also live and work in: Biblical studies, with particular focus on the historical Jesus; and progressive Christianity.

Borg wrote a number of excellent books, including ones which illustrated the ability of people who disagree in pronounced and fundamental ways with one another to be friends, as for instance in his co-authored book with N. T. Wright, The Meaning of Jesus: Two Visions.

Even when I didn’t find his views persuasive, I appreciated his arguments, his clarity, and most of all his honesty, as for instance when he explained his reason for thinking that Jesus was not an apocalyptic figure: such end-of-the-world figures seemed to Borg to be out of their minds, while Jesus seemed sane.

Read more:

Church must avoid becoming Fight Club to attract men

From The Telegraph-

When I saw the latest statistics suggesting that the majority of British men don't believe in God, I wasn't surprised. Saddened, yes. Shocked, no.

This is an issue the Church of England has been struggling with for years. From a purely anecdotal perspective, wander into any Anglican church these days and you'll likely as not be struck by the gender gap, with females accounting for the majority of the congregation. Dig a little deeper and you'll probably also find that a core of thoroughly capable women are quietly but determinedly running the joint and keeping the whole place afloat.

This is backed up by various reports over the last 10 years, which indicate that women outnumber men at UK churches by up to 15 per cent.

More here-

Church of England in Lancashire told to reinvent itself for the 21st century

From England-

The Church of England in Lancashire has been told to reinvent itself for the 21st century or “wither away” like the county’s once-mighty cotton industry.

While a decline in attendance has been halted in recent years - in stark contrast to a spectacular drop in Catholic congregations - the Bishop of Blackburn is calling on Anglicans to join him on a programme of radical change.

“A few tweaks and adjustments will not suffice,” said Bishop Julian Henderson in his new vision for the diocese.

More here-

Two decades after apartheid ended, racial tensions rattling South Africa

From The Globe and Mail-

Zelda la Grange was the poster child for the “rainbow nation.” She was the blonde Afrikaner girl who grew up in a racist pro-apartheid family – and famously became the assistant to Nelson Mandela, who taught her the power of racial reconciliation and forgiveness.

But today, after a shocking outburst on Twitter about how “whites” aren’t welcome in South Africa any more, Ms. la Grange has become a symbol of something more disturbing: the growing racial tensions in a country that was once seen as a model of how to conquer official segregation.

More here-

Wednesday, January 21, 2015

Why Christians should ditch monuments in favor of messages

From RNS-

 I was working with a historic church, whose majestic facility was built long ago by wealthy industrialists.

The church needed to raise $3 million each year just for facilities maintenance and repairs, plus another $3 million to operate the church, do outreach and serve constituents.

It was an impossible task. If all members — not the 50 percent who actually donate — gave at normal giving levels, they would need 3,000 pledges, three times their most optimistic count.

Meanwhile, emergency repairs required a major capital campaign on top of the $3 million nut.

I made a suggestion: Close the doors, and worship on the front steps and yard. Let the city see your faith. Make a joyful noise.

More here-

Case of bishop accused in bicyclist death opens debate about theology of addiction

From The Washington Post-

The case of a high-ranking Episcopal bishop charged with drinking and texting before fatally hitting a bicyclist has raised questions about everything from church politics to bike lanes. But no debate about Bishop Heather Cook has been as intense as that about the theology of addiction.

Is it a sin? Does it qualify for forgiveness? Or are addicts blameless victims of disease, inculpable?

And how did these topics impact the leaders of the dioceses of Easton and Maryland — Cook’s last two places of employment — first when she was arrested for drunken driving in 2010, and then last year when she was selected despite that to become Maryland’s first female bishop?

More here-


From Indiana-

On the evening of Jan. 18 at St. Matthew Cathedral, Bishop Kevin C. Rhoades of the Diocese of Fort Wayne-South Bend and Episcopal Bishop Edward S. Little of the Diocese of Northern Indiana joined together in common fellowship for an ecumenical prayer service to initiate the Week of Prayer for Christian Unity.

Bishop Rhoades served as the main celebrant for the Vespers, asking that “the Lord bless us and the Church, that we may be united in our Baptism as brothers and sisters in Christ.” He acknowledged that true unity is only possible through the work of God. “By our own efforts, our own works, we cannot achieve peace. It is only through the gifts of the Holy Spirit that this will be possible; that is why we are here this evening.”

More here-

Tuesday, January 20, 2015

Making Christianity Weird Again

From The American Conservative-

This Wichita conference I’ve been at over the weekend was on the theme of wonder in Christianity. I had several important conversations about Millennials and the Christian faith, and the strong consensus — I’m talking about among college professors who teach them — is that even in Christian colleges, undergraduates come almost entirely ignorant of the Christian faith.

In a panel discussion yesterday, the Reformed philosopher James K.A. Smith told the audience, “We need to remember that for every finger we point at Millennials, there are three pointing back at us. We have failed them. We have failed to catechize them. This is our fault.” He added that this is the fruit of a completely discredited approach to youth ministry.

More here-

Archbishops Justin Welby and John Sentamu are involving themselves in the general election

From Express-

OUR two Anglican archbishops have waded into the general election campaign and no prizes for guessing which side they are on.

Their latest sermon is straight out of the Communist Manifesto and quotes its chief message: “From each according to his resources, to each according to his needs.”

The manifesto actually says, “From each according to his ability” but Archbishops Justin Welby and John Sentamu have made it even redder by calling outright for resources – wealth – to be transferred from those who have to those who haven’t.

As if that wasn’t already happening when about 80 per cent of the population are negative contributors to the economy.

More here-

Bishop Heather Cook goes to alcohol treatment facility after posting $2.5m bail following fatal hit-and-run

From Christian Today-

Episcopal Bishop Heather Cook, who is facing criminal charges for the hit and run of a 41-year-old cyclist, has checked herself into an alcohol treatment facility after posting $2.5 million bail.

According to a report by CBS News, Cook, who holds the position of Bishop Suffragan of Maryland, was intoxicated on December 27 when she crashed into Tom Palermo while he was out cycling that day.

Eyewitness reports placed Cook in her car roughly 100 yards from the man's body, before she drove off and only returned 20 minutes later to talk to police officers.

More here-

Monday, January 19, 2015

Egypt's churches charred to shells

From The Pittsburgh Tribune Review-

Two downed electrical towers, two armored personnel carriers, and stacks of old tires form an improvised gate to this impoverished Upper Egypt city.

Graffiti on its buildings denounce the police as “thugs” and “dancing prostitutes.”

Islamist militants ruled over Delga's 120,000 people – a fourth of them Christians – for more than a month in 2013, before Egyptian security forces regained control.

Even today, a visit to one ravaged Christian church requires an armed escort by three truckloads of twitchy police and shotgun-toting local guards in ankle-length gowns.

More here-

What the Church must do to help the poor

From The Catholic Herald-

Poverty and inequality are in the news once more. It is not just the Anglican Archbishops who are bringing the subject up, but it is also the Pope, in his preaching in the Philippines, as one can read here.

The causes of poverty in the Third World are undoubtedly complex, but all Third World countries share certain characteristics. One that stands out is failure to uphold the rule of law. The elites in places like the Philippines preserve their privileges, fortunes and capacity to generate wealth by bending the rules to suit themselves: the law is not neutral but is used as an instrument of oppression, to preserve the very unjust status quo.

More Here-

Anglican top brass in Upper Island Cove for 200th celebration

From Canada-

The town of Upper Island Cove is marking a significant milestone this weekend — the 200th anniversary of St. Peter's Church.

The head of the Anglican Church of Canada, Primate Fred Hiltz, will join Bishop Geoffrey Peddle and Reverends Arch Young and Bill Strong for the celebrations.

"Well we are just delighted that [Hiltz] is making this special trip to come and be with us," said Strong.

"You wonder sometimes if we just do what we do, and it is delighting for [St. Peter's] for the head of the diocese and the national church to come and celebrate with us. It will make a big difference to a lot of people."

More here-

Sunday, January 18, 2015

Civil rights demonstrator Jonathan Daniels remembered

From Alabama-

Civil rights demonstrator Jonathan Daniels, a seminarian from New Hampshire who came south to help the poor, was remembered Thursday as someone compelled to make a difference in reducing poverty.

Daniels made his presence known immediately as he helped impoverished residents of a Selma housing project learn how to read, but his life was cut short by a shotgun blast at a small grocery store in Hayneville.

"He was a genuine Christian who did not hate the people he was fighting or those who were trying to kill him," Selma historian Alston Fitts said following a discussion about Daniels at the Alabama Department of Archives and History.

More here-

Pope Francis: meeting with young people in Manila

From Radio Vatican-

Dear Young Friends,

When I speak spontaneously I do it in Spanish, because I don’t know the English language. May I do it? Thank you very much. This Fr Mark, a good translator.

First of all, a sad piece of news. Yesterday, as Mass was about to start, a piece of scaffolding fell and, upon falling, hit a young woman who was working in the area and she died. Her name is Kristel. She worked for the organisation preparing for that Mass. She was 27 years old, young like yourselves. She worked for Catholic Relief Services as a volunteer. I would like all of you who are young like her to pray for a moment in silence with me and then we will pray to Our Mother in Heaven. Let us pray.

More here-