Saturday, February 28, 2015

RIP - The Rt. Rev. Orris G. Walker, Jr., has died.

From Long Island-

February 28, 2015

Dear Sisters and Brothers,

I have received word that the Right Reverend Orris G. Walker, Jr., died early this evening.

The family will be making arrangements in the coming days. That informaton will be shared with the diocese as soon as it is available.

Please keep Bishop Walker and his family in your prayers and remember them at the altar this Sunday.

Bishop Walker became the Bishop Diocesan of Long Island in 1991 after serving as Bishop Coadjutor from the time of his consecration and ordination in 1989. He was bishop for 21 years, retiring in 2009.

His episcopate championed the cause of full inclusion of women in the ordained ministry of the diocese. He was the first to ordain women in the diocese and was responsible for facilitating the full inclusion and participation of women in all aspects of diocesan life.

More here-

How about a living wage for our poor clergy?

From The Telegraph-

The Church of England has blasted the trumpet for social justice: all should be paid a “living wage”, enough to maintain a basic standard of living. Ironic, as clergy called to serve the Church itself are not paid a “wage” at all but a “living”.

My husband Shaun has given his life to the Church; 14 years as a vicar. He regarded himself (as did we, his family) as literally “living” the role, night and day – in the way he brought up his children as much as how he preached.

He was never off duty, and neither were we. People knocked in the middle of the night, and we welcomed them in. Strangers called during supper, and we shared it. Even clergy, however, need to live.

The living wage is calculated at £9.15 an hour in London, £7.85 an hour elsewhere. Now the Church itself is squirming because it pays less, though this week it has promised to pay “at least the living wage” by April 2017.

More here-

Selma churches plan Unity Walk on Sunday

From Alabama-

Members of churches in Selma will gather on the south side of the Edmund Pettus Bridge on Sunday, March 1, at 2 p.m., then walk into the city as a show of unity. They will then gather in Song of Selma Park for a prayer service.

The walk is in the opposite direction of the Selma-to-Montgomery march in 1965 and the annual commemoration of Bloody Sunday, which will happen the following weekend.

"Walking back across the bridge is a way to symbolize that God is working to unify Selma," says the Rev. Jerry Light, pastor at First Baptist Church of Selma. "We are making a witness to the fact that the community is hungry to work together for a positive future."

The churches will carry a Unity Quilt as a banner, made from 176 quilt squares sewn together as a symbol of healing.

More here-

Exclusive interview with Episcopal Priest who counsels convicted killer Kelly Gissendaner

From Georgia-

Rev. Cathy Zappa is the first to admit she feels helpless. She said there is little she can do to comfort Kelly Gissendaner, a woman who has become her friend. Gissendaner is schedule to be executed by the state of Georgia Monday for masterminding the murder of her husband, Doug Gissendaner.

"She has changed," said Rev. Zappa.

Rev. Zappa met Kelly four years ago when she was teaching theology to inmates.

She says Gissendaner graduated with a certificate and went on to teach a few classes and even preached once at a service in prison.

More here-

Malcolm Boyd dies at 91; Episcopal priest took prayer to the streets

From Los Angeles-

The Rev. Malcolm Boyd, the Episcopal priest whose book "Are You Running With Me, Jesus?" took prayer out of church onto the city streets in a slangy vernacular not found in Sunday missals, has died. He was 91.

Boyd died Friday under hospice care in Los Angeles from complications of pneumonia, according to Robert Williams, spokesman for the Episcopal Diocese of Los Angeles.

Boyd delivered riffs on life's grittier problems — the white racists afraid of integration, or teenage girls who get pregnant — with a candor that was rarely heard from a priest leading a community at prayer.

He wrote more than two dozen books, many of them about people who did not fit the blue-sky ideal. But none of his prayers for them were as raw and urgent as those in the 1965 collection that sold half a million copies.

More here-

Friday, February 27, 2015

University Of The South Unveils Giant Statue Of Female Private Part In Library [PHOTOS]

From the "You Can't Make This Stuff Up" Department Tennessee Division-

Officials at Sewanee: The University of the South excitedly unveiled a massive golden clitoris statue on Wednesday afternoon. There was a reception.

The giant golden clitoris will reside in the main library at the Episcopal Church-affiliated liberal arts school in Tennessee for two weeks.

The sculpture is part of a project called “CLITERACY” by feminist artist Sophia Wallace.

Sewanee’s Women’s Center has publicized the big unveiling on social media with hashtags including #SolidGoldClit and #yeaSEWANEEScliterate, Campus Reform notes.

More here-

Justin Welby, The Archbishop Of Canterbury, Wants YOU At Lambeth Palace

From Huffington-

Ever wanted to kick it with the Archbishop of Canterbury? Here’s your chance.

Justin Welby, the senior bishop of the worldwide Anglican Communion and a self-described “spiritual magpie,” is looking for a few good young men and women (aged 20 - 35) to live with him in London’s Lambeth Palace.

The one-year residency comes with a pretty choice digs -- Lambeth Palace has been the residence of the Archbishops of Canterbury since the 13th century. The 16 young people will be living in cottages on the leafy grounds of the palace, which is located right on the River Thames in central London. Forty commuters from the London area are also invited to participate in evening and weekend programs.

More here-

Second female bishop Barbara Darling broke ground in Anglican Church

From Australia-

Barbara Darling was Australia's second woman Anglican bishop and retired as Bishop of the Eastern Region of Melbourne Diocese at the end of 2014.

She notched up many significant firsts: the first woman to be given tenure as a theology lecturer at Melbourne's Ridley College, one of the first women ordained in the Anglican Church of Australia, one of Melbourne's first women priests, a first woman vicar, and the first woman bishop in Victoria.

On the day of her consecration as a bishop she was described as having been a role model for all women in the Anglican Church from the time she first became a licensed lay worker in 1981.

More here-

‘Jihadi John’ attended a C of E school

From The Church Times-

THE man identified as 'Jihadi John' - the notorious Islamic State terrorist filmed beheading Western hostages - attended a Church of England primary school in West London, it has been reported.

Mohammed Emwazi, who was born in Kuwait but grew up in Britain, was said to be Jihadi John by the Washington Post on Thursday. He attended St Mary Magdalene Church of England Primary School, near Paddington, from 1996.

He later studied computing at the University of Westminster before leaving for Syria in 2013. He became infamous after appearing on numerous Islamic State videos, with his face covered by a black mask, waving a knife at the camera before appearing to murder hostages including journalists and aid workers.

More here-

She asked God, ‘Are you serious? If you don’t want me to do this I will stop.’

From The Washington Post-

Becky Zartman, 29, is assistant rector at St. Thomas’ Parish, an Episcopal church near Dupont Circle in Washington. She lives in Southeast Washington. This is an edited transcript of her interview with writer Laura Sessions Stepp.

I was born in central Pennsylvania, a sixth-generation Episcopalian. My parents went to church every week; it’s just what you did. I was an acolyte before I could read, and in Sunday school, I would ask so many questions that my priest would finally say, “Does anyone else besides Becky have a question?”

I had always known I wanted to be a priest, and in early 2005, two years before graduating from Gettysburg College in Gettysburg, Pa., I approached the priest in my home town – who had replaced my childhood priest – for his backing. In the Episcopal Church, you need your local priest’s support to enter seminary and start the process of becoming ordained. This man didn’t think women should be priests. So I started the process at a church in Gettysburg and halfway through that process, the priest in Gettysburg left.

More here-

Thursday, February 26, 2015

Church Writes to U.N. Group

From The Living Church-

With the 2015 United Nations Commission on the Status of Women (UNCSW) meeting on the horizon, the Episcopal Church submitted its first official written statement [PDF] to the 59th Session last October, detailing persistent challenges to women’s empowerment and gender equality and offering action steps.

This year, UNCSW will undertake a review of progress made in the implementation of the Beijing Declaration and Platform for Action, 20 years after its adoption at the Fourth World Conference on Women in 1995. The document outlined 12 Critical Areas of Concern in which progress needs to be made to empower women and girls.

More here-

Ruling expected soon in Fort Worth Episcopal Diocese dispute

From Ft. Worth-

A decision may be imminent on which of two rival groups claiming to be the true Episcopal Diocese of Fort Worth should be awarded control of millions of dollars worth of property in the 24-county Episcopal Diocese of Fort Worth.

At a hearing Friday before state District Judge John Chupp, both sides in the long-running dispute asked for partial summary judgments and each side gave proposed orders detailing why their group should win out.

“Essentially that means we are not going to have a jury trial,” said Suzanne Gill, a spokeswoman for the group led out of the national church by Bishop Jack Iker. “The judge will make his own decision.”

Frank Hill, an attorney for churches loyal to the national Episcopal Church, said rulings on most of the dispute could come this week.

Read more here:

Barnabas Aid director convicted of sexual assault

From World Magazine-

Patrick Sookhdeo, one of the founders of the Christian charity Barnabas Aid International and an expert on Islamic extremism, was found guilty of sexual assault and intimidating two witnesses.

A British jury upheld charges on Monday that Sookhdeo, 67, groped a female staff member in his office last year, and that he intimidated two witnesses identified as Barnabas Fund employees.

Sookhdeo has denied all charges.

More here-

Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Hundreds gather to mourn Christians slain by Islamic State

From Canada-

The Coptic Christians of Toronto and their friends gathered in Mississauga Feb. 22 to answer the murder of 21 Egyptian Copts by Islamic State allies in Libya. They answered the Feb. 15 beheadings with Bible readings, prayers, songs, hope and forgiveness.

Many of the 600 to 700 faithful who gathered that Sunday evening at the Virgin Mary and St. Athanasius Church wore orange buttons — orange for the colour of the overalls the Egyptian migrant workers were wearing when IS militants murdered them before a video camera. IS dresses its prisoners in orange because it is the colour of prison uniforms at the American military prison at Guantanamo Bay in Cuba. The buttons read “21 Copts, Martyrs of Libya.” In the centre of the button was a Coptic cross with a crown of martyrdom on either side.

Just one week after the video of the beheadings hit the Internet, the church was already displaying a new icon of the 21 martyrs.

More here-

John Gray loses Bishop title

From New Zealand-

An Anglican cleric who offended Jews and Muslims last month, has had his title of bishop partially stripped.

Controversial Anglican leader John Gray shocked visiting Jews in Christchurch last month when he told them the Holocaust "should have taught you a lesson".

Gray, who was head of the Maori Anglican diocese in the South Island, also attacked Muslim speakers, asking what they were doing about the "slaughter of innocent people" by Muslims "under the banner of Isis and al Qaeda".

The Anglican Church apologised and Gray was demoted from his role as vicar general to Maori Anglican Diocese in Aotearoa. He has also been stripped of his title as bishop of Anglican diocese of Te Waipounamu, though retains the general title of bishop.

More here-

Confessions of a Gay Jesuit: How I Was Forced To Leave My Church—And Calling

From The Daily Beast-

Today, at 35, I am a gay seminarian who still needs human touch. For me the best place is the Episcopal Church. Some day I will be a priest, hopefully married with children. That’s what I’m looking for, love; it falls under the rubric of modern love. I am a modern gay Christian in search of love, one who still wants to become a priest.

From 2004 to 2014 I was a Jesuit, a member of the Society of Jesus in good standing, an order gone global by the election of Pope Francis I. I left the Jesuits because I left the Roman Catholic Church. I would not be an openly gay priest in a Church that fires LGBTQ employees and volunteers. I left in protest: How could I be an openly gay priest who fires LGBTQ employees and volunteers?

More here-

Young Evangelicals Are Getting High

From Christian Pundit-

A friend of mine attended a Christian college where almost all of the students, including her, grew up in non-denominational, evangelical Protestant churches. A few years after graduation, she is the only person in her graduating class who is not Roman Catholic,  high Anglican or Lutheran. The town I live in has several “evangelical” Protestant colleges: on Ash Wednesday you can tell who studies at them by the ash crosses on their foreheads.

Young Christians are going over to Catholicism and high Anglicanism/Lutheranism in droves, despite growing up in low Protestant churches that told them about Jesus. It’s a trend that is growing, and it looks like it might go that way for a while: people who grew up in stereotypical, casual evangelicalism are running back past their parents’ church to something that looks like it was dug out of Europe a couple hundred years ago at least. It’s encouraged by certain emergent leaders and by other “Christian” authors whose writings promote “high” theology under a Protestant publisher’s cover.

More here-

Tuesday, February 24, 2015


From World Religion News-

The Catholic News Agency recently published an interview with writer Joseph Pearce. He authored C.S. Lewis and the Catholic Church, a book that was almost not written if not for the urging of Walter Hooper, the former secretary and literary executer of the C.S. Lewis Estate. The book was initially going to be a simple republish an earlier book by Christopher Derrick, C.S. Lewis and the Church of Rome, however Mr. Hooper wanted a different approach to the subject. “I leapt at the opportunity to grapple with Lewis’ complex and problematic relationship with the Church,” said Pearce, who had converted to Catholicism after being inspired by C.S. Lewis.

More here-

Justin Welby ‘embarrassed’ by Church of England pay revelations

From The Financial Times-

The Archbishop of Canterbury has admitted that revelations the Church of England was offering jobs that paid below the living wage were “embarrassing”, less than a week after rebuking politicians for not ensuring workers were paid a “modest hourly rate”.

Justin Welby told clergy and business leaders in Birmingham on Monday that the church was implementing plans to ensure the living wage — defined as £7.85 an hour outside London — was paid across the organisation but said it would take time.

More here-

SC judge reaffirms ruling against the episcopal church

From South Carolina-

For the second time in less than a month, South Carolina Circuit Court Judge Diane S. Goodstein rejected arguments by The Episcopal Church and its subsidiary, The Episcopal Church in South Carolina, that the two groups are rightful owners of the churches, symbols and other assets of the Diocese of South Carolina.

In her Order denying the motion for reconsideration she stated, “Large portions of the motion are simply the proposed orders previously submitted to the Court or reiterations of the Defendants' positions at trial.” 

The motion had also argued that because the Diocese had argued legal positions in the All Saints case contrary to those now being presented, that Judicial Estoppel should apply.  In response, Judge Goodstein sharply noted... “The court finds that the Judicial Estoppel argument is without merit....If the Defendants' argument in the instant action was correct, no party previously adjudicated to be wrong would be able to correct their conduct in compliance with a court's holding.  Such a result would be contrary to all sense of justice and order...  With regards all other matters presented in Defendants' Motion for Reconsideration, they are hereby denied.”

More here-

Monday, February 23, 2015

Quebec Anglican Church facing major challenges in light of fewer parishioners

From Quebec-

As Rev. Yves Samson speaks to his congregation in the Quebec town of Trois-Rivieres, two things stand out: the bilingualism of the sermon and the dearth of parishioners.

Samson holds nothing back when he says that, without radical change, the Anglican Diocese of Quebec could soon be extinct.

"If we want to keep going on (the old) track we will all die," Samson says in an interview after his French and English sermon to a room full of near-empty pews in the St. James Anglican Church.
The fact Samson, 49, preaches in both languages might not sound radical to many Canadians, but to the Anglican Church — the Church of England — it is.

More here-

Pope to mafia: repent and be saved

From The Telegraph-

Pope Francis has urged members of Italy’s organised crime groups to publicly repent, saying the Catholic Church would welcome them if they promised to stop serving the cause of evil.

"Open your hearts to the Lord. The Lord is waiting for you and the Church will welcome you if your willingness to serve good is as clear and public as your choice to serve evil was," he said on Saturday.

More here-

Sunday, February 22, 2015

The 'Pittsburgh Experiment' at 60: Making prayer an everyday presence

From Pittsburgh-

The small group of men gathered over soup, salads and flat-bread sandwiches at their regular Tuesday lunch table at Houlihan’s at the Galleria of Mt. Lebanon.

The waiter filled their coffee and soft-drink orders, which he knows by heart. The men bantered a little about the Pirates’ latest acquisition and had some fun at the expense of one of their regular attendees, absent for a winter sojourn down South.

But without losing its casualness, the conversation held to a purpose. “How’s everyone’s week?” one of them asked. “... Hey, what’s going on with you, anything?”

They shared anxieties about aging parents and grown-up children. They told of searches for new jobs and overflowing inboxes at existing jobs. They committed to praying for each others’ struggles.

More here-

Don’t condemn the Church. Who else argues for the common good?

From The Guardian-

There are doubts and debates at the highest level of the civil service about the cost of Trident. On balance, officials and chiefs of staff still support it, not least because cancellation would irrevocably remove one of the last props of Britain’s great-power status. But the case is not open and shut. The cost verges on the impossible, with unpalatable and irrational choices forced on the rest of our military capability to pay for a weapon system that will never be used. It is closer to a 51/49 call than the wider debate recognises.

Yet when the Church of England’s bishops urge that the question be publicly discussed as part of a grownup debate about the future of our country and the quest for the common good, they are dismissed by right-of-centre commentators, Tory MPs and some ministers as a bunch of closet leftists making a political statement. They should get out of politics, and stop making unsolicited interventions like last week’s letter, Who is my neighbour?, directed to the people and parishes of the Church of England.

More here-

Church thieves strike in Carlsbad

From San Diego-

Like it was for most Episcopal priests, Ash Wednesday was a big day for Rev. Doran Stambaugh. He arrived at St. Michael’s at 7:40 a.m., 20 minutes before his first of three services that day. He knew something was wrong the minute he walked in to Carlsbad’s historic church by the sea.

“As I walked down the hall, I saw all the doors were open. I could see someone had taken a crowbar to the hardware on the cabinets.”

As he walked into the main nave, Stambaugh saw the approximately one-square-foot marble “tabernacle” that held the reserve sacraments was missing from the center of the main altar. What he saw, he says, was “spiritually violent…. They took the tabernacle and threw it on the ground.”

More here-

The Episcopal Church in Okatie moves on after split from Holy Trinity

From South Carolina-

For Nancy Gault and Eve Pinckney, being Episcopalian is part of their identity.

So when the majority of the congregation at Holy Trinity Episcopal Church in Ridgeland voted to leave the faith in January 2013, the two women decided it was time to move on.

Theological differences had led to a deep-set schism in the church, resulting in dozens of congregations choosing to break away from the National Episcopal Church.

More here-

Episcopalians elect new bishop for Central Gulf Coast diocese

From The Central Gulf Coast-

The Rev. James "Russell" Kendrick, a Birmingham rector who began his ministry in Dothan, has been elected the fourth bishop of the Episcopal Diocese of the Central Gulf Coast to succeed the Rt. Rev. Philip M. Duncan II, who is retiring.

Kendrick, rector of St. Stephen's Episcopal Church in Birmingham, received 60 percent of lay votes and 59 percent of clergy votes in the third ballot, cast electronically at Trinity Episcopal Church in Mobile, the site of the diocese's 44th Annual Convention.

The earlier two ballots, which had included three nominees, did not result in an election. For a bishop to be chosen, he or she must receive a majority of lay votes as well as a majority of clergy votes.

More here-