Saturday, March 14, 2015

Parish Fashion Week: Vicars strut down the aisle as they show off colourful new robes

From the "You Can't Make This Stuff Up" Department- (UK Division) Video too!

The very latest Parish fashions were modelled today by men and women of God who paraded down a clergy catwalk.

Five vicars showed off the new designs in ecclesiastical wear, which are made in the different colours which are worn according to the season in the Church's calendar.

Hundreds of clergy jostled for a place on the show's front row as the group revealed cutting-edge bespoke vestments in bright colours.

Crucifixes and cross neckwear were also on show, along with a capsule collection of 'leisure pieces' for the busy vicar.

The clergy catwalk featured at the Christian Resources Exhibition in Bristol, a two-day event showcasing every item needed by clergy - from candles to wine.

More here-

The "right question" about Bishop Cook and alcohol

From The Blog of Christ Church Cathedral St. Louis- (Mike Kin

I always try to look for the right question.

The right question can lead us down incredible paths of discovery.

The right question can be the first step in breaking decades-long cycles of dysfunction.

The right question can get us into all sorts of trouble … trouble we both fear and desperately need.

The right question is everything.

Since Maryland Suffragan Bishop Heather Cook tragically killed cyclist Thomas Palermo while driving with a blood alcohol level well over the legal limit, all sorts of questions have been asked.

There have been questions about Bishop Cook and her judgment and whether or not she is an alcoholic.

More here-

Do Christians love one another?

From Christian Today-

"And they'll know we are Christians by our love, by our love, yes they'll know we are Christians by our love."

So we sang in the late 1970s, in a culturally appropriate rock ballad idiom, and very real it seemed at the time. I came to faith in an evangelical Anglican tradition which had been shaped by the charismatic renewal movement and a key sign of this was an authenticity of relationships which had been absent from the starchy formality of much church life.

It was, in fact, a key part of my own coming to faith. As a struggling teenager in a large all-boys school, I was keenly aware of the competition to be accepted—to be cool—and also aware that I wasn't doing very well at it. By an odd series of 'coincidences', I met people from the youth group of the local Anglican church, and over about nine months decided that I wanted to be part of this Christianity thing.

More here-


From London-

Church traditionalists have reacted with shock to a full Islamic service being held in a major London church, with the Church of England vicar proclaiming his love for Allah.

Although many official mosques in the United Kingdom are hosted in de-consecrated, former churches abandoned as the nation’s resident Christian population recedes, this is thought to be the first time a full Muslim service has been held inside an active church in England.

The event, which was held to celebrate International Women’s day, was organised through the ‘Inclusive Mosque Initiative’, and has been criticised not only for breaking canon law but for insulting the struggle of persecuted Christians in the Muslim world. Proceedings were kicked off with the Islamic call to prayer, followed by talks and worships, with the ordinary church furniture cleared away to make space for prayer rugs.

More here-

also here-

Like St Patrick, Dr Welby is a leader with great vision

From Belfast-

The participation by the Archbishop of Canterbury Dr Justin Welby in next Tuesday's St Patrick's Day celebrations in Saul and Downpatrick will provide a higher than usual profile for these annual ceremonies in honour of our patron saint.

It is not often that a Church figure such as the Archbishop of Canterbury comes to Northern Ireland, and this will be Dr Welby's second visit in just a few months - which must be something of an ecclesiastical record.

He will preach in Down Cathedral and lay a wreath at St Patrick's grave near the church, though some historians are not sure that this site is authentic. However, why let facts spoil a good story in this part of the world where symbolism is so potent.

More here-

‘Our Tribe Is Women’

From The Living Church (Sudan)-

The conflict in South Sudan broke out on 15th December 2013 when a political disagreement arose in the ruling Sudan People’s Liberation Movement (SPLM) party pitting the President, H.E. Salva Kiir, and his former Vice President Riek Machar. This came just 2 years after independence. The conflict turned violent, taking on tribal dimensions between the Dinka and Nuer ethnic groups.

Starting in Juba, the capital city, the fighting spread out to Jonglei, Upper Nile, and Lake States and some parts of Warrap.

More here-

Francis Predicts His Papacy Will Be 4 to 5 Years, Misses Pizza

From NBC- (with video)

Pope Francis has said he will probably remain pope for only a few years, adding that his predecessor was very brave for retiring.

"I have the feeling that my pontificate will be brief, four or five years — I do not know, even two or three," he said in an Spanish-language interview with Mexican broadcaster Televisa. "I have the feeling that the Lord has placed me here for a short time but it's a feeling."

Francis, 78, who has said he thought he'd be pope for only a few years, added that Pope Benedict XVI showed great bravery when he decided to step down and become emeritus pope in 2013.

More here-

Friday, March 13, 2015

Under fire, vicar who said 'we love Allah': Liberal clergyman attacked by traditional Anglicans for allowing full Muslim prayer service in his Church

From The Daily Mail-

A leading liberal clergyman has come under fire from traditionalist Anglicans after allowing a full Muslim prayer service in his church.

Reverend Giles Goddard, vicar of St John’s in Waterloo, central London, joined in the event by reading a passage from the Bible at the ‘Inclusive Mosque’ event.

He then asked the congregation to praise ‘the god that we love, Allah’, it was reported last night.

It is thought to be the first time an entire Islamic service has been held by the Church of England and has sparked criticism from evangelical clerics.

Orthodox clergyman said the event was against canon law, which prohibits any divergence from the official liturgy.

More here-

Don't use religion to divide people, warns Welby

From The Church Times-

RELIGIOUS leaders must counter the lure of extremism by demonstrating that different faiths can co-exist without becoming violent, the Archbishop of Canterbury has said.

It is too easy for violent radicals to persuade the impressionable that those from other others faiths were "bad" while they were "good", Archbishop Welby said. Much of the conflict he has seen around the Anglican Communion was justified on religious grounds, and this was spreading to the UK too.

More here-

Pope Francis Enters His Third Year of Scolding of Introverts

From National Review-

He preaches mercy for everyone except them, when the Church needs them more than ever. ‘I want the Church to go out into the streets,” Pope Francis told a cheering crowd gathered for World Youth Day in Rio de Janeiro in July 2013, four months after he was elected pope. “¡Hágan lío!” he exhorted them, in the spirit of creative destruction: Make a mess! Take care, he added, not to become “closed in on” yourselves. On other occasions, he has urged priests to leave “the stale air of closed rooms” and has characterized traditional Catholics as “self-absorbed.” An extrovert, Francis attaches a positive moral value to extroversion — and, as if it followed by some logical necessity, a negative moral value to extroversion’s complement, introversion.
Read more at:

Today in women’s history: Church of England ordains women priests

From Peoples World-

On March 12, 1994, the Church of England for the first time ordained 32 women at Bristol Cathedral. As the women were ordained in alphabetical order, Angela Berners-Wilson is considered the first woman to be ordained in England.

Ordination of women marked a momentous passage out of the exclusive male domination of the church, although other denominations within Christianity and in other faith traditions had already begun the process of opening up to women. In part this movement was a response to the growing worldwide feminist movement, and also to the increasing secularization of the population in advanced industrial nations. Church attendance in England is presently at an all-time low. Many churches have all but closed down for lack of interest and support.

More here-

Thursday, March 12, 2015

Is Obama Really a Christian?

From The National Review-

Seven years after Jeremiah Wright came to national fame as President Obama’s radical pastor, a man who declared “God damn America” from the pulpit, the president’s faith is still a matter of controversy. With a new presidential election looming, it’s apparently urgently important for members of the media to know whether Republicans such as Scott Walker believe that President
Obama is a Christian. 

Walker’s answer — “I don’t know” — is not one the media want to hear. But how can any man know another man’s heart — especially the heart of a person he’s never met? Who but God knows our deepest beliefs? To the extent that a president bares his soul to anyone, it won’t be to a reporter or to any person likely to speak to a reporter. Thus, any pundit or commentator who purports to declare what a president “really believes” on matters of faith should be viewed with deep suspicion.
Read more at:

New online tool maps Episcopal Church ministries

From ACNS-

An innovative partnership between the Domestic and Foreign Missionary Society and Episcopal Relief & Development has resulted in a new online tool – the Episcopal Asset Map - to learn more about local ministries and to enhance them.

The Episcopal Asset Map is an online service showing the location and the array of ministries offered by Episcopal congregations, schools and institutions throughout the United States in dioceses that are participating in the project. The Episcopal Asset Map is available at no fee.

“I deeply value the important work diocesan and local leaders have put into building the Episcopal Asset Map thus far, and hope that more dioceses will join in the coming months,” said Bishop Stacy Sauls, Chief Operating Officer of The Episcopal Church and Episcopal Relief & Development ex-officio board member. “I know that both The Domestic and Foreign Missionary Society and Episcopal Relief & Development are supporting this endeavor with training and resources to encourage widespread participation.  The collaboration and partnership between these two important service organizations of The Episcopal Church is a great asset to our mission.  It is very exciting to watch the map bloom with information that will lead to new connections, partnerships and ministries.”

More here-

God, Reason, and Our Civilizational Crisis

From Public Discourse-

The way that a culture understands the nature of God shapes its conception of man, reason, and society. Though this presents enormous challenges for the Islamic world, it also has significant implications for the sustainability of Western civilization.

In 1992, the political scientist Samuel Huntington ignited a debate among scholars of politics and international affairs when he proposed that civilizational differences would be an increased source of conflict in a post-Cold War world. Widely seen as a competitor to the “end of history” thesis proposed by Francis Fukuyama, Huntington’s argument was developed in the pages of Foreign Affairs before being expounded in book form in 1996. It acquired more traction—and criticism—in the wake of 9/11 and Islamic jihadism’s subsequent expansion across the globe.

More here-

Wednesday, March 11, 2015

Youths turning to Jihad because mainstream religion not ‘exciting’ enough – Welby

From The Telegraph-

Young people are turning to Jihad because mainstream religion is not "exciting" enough, according to the Archbishop of Canterbury.

The Most Rev Justin Welby told faith leaders that Britain’s religious communities must do more to provide an alternative to extremism which gives young people a “purpose in life”.

He also warned against being too quick to brand people and groups with strong views on religious matters as extremists.

Nothing will ever be achieved if the only conversations which take place involve “nice people talking to nice people about being nice”, he said.

More here-

Anglican Leaders From Across Africa Meet in Cape Town

From All Africa-

Anglican Church leaders from across Africa are being hosted at meetings in Cape Town by Archbishop Thabo Makgoba of Cape Town.

The leaders include Archbishops, Bishops and other members of the Council of African Provinces of Africa (CAPA), a body which coordinates and articulates issues affecting the Church and communities across the continent.

The council, chaired by the Most Revd Bernard Ntahoturi, Archbishop of the Province of the Anglican Church of Burundi, represents Anglicans in 26 countries from 12 church provinces.

The meetings, which are happening in South Africa for the first time, include Primates (the leaders) of churches and members of the CAPA Standing Committee.

More here-

Holy Trinity: 'We have not broken away'

From Savannah-

It’s been one year since Church of the Holy Trinity in Ridgeland made the decision to disassociate from the national Episcopal Church and remain in the Episcopal Diocese of South Carolina.

It’s been one year since life-long members of the church have parted ways, joining other houses of worship and also breaking ties with family and friends.

While the Diocese of South Carolina has commonly been referred to as the ‘breakaway church’, Holy Trinity’s Rev. James Gibson says this portrayal is simply inaccurate.

“Our contention is that we have kept the faith, we have stayed within the historic faith of the church and that our diocese, in the decision it has made to disaffiliate with the national church, is not ‘leaving’ the church,” Gibson said. “We have not broken away, we have branched out and sought a greater unity with the worldwide church.”

More here-

Tuesday, March 10, 2015

"Seismic shift" required to equip all Anglicans as evangelists – Abp Welby

From ACNS-

Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby has set out his vision for a Church in which every Christian shares "the revolutionary love" of Jesus Christ.

In the inaugural Lambeth Lecture, Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby focused on the third of the priorities he announced on taking up his ministry two years ago: evangelism and witness.

He described evangelism as “the Good News of the coming of Jesus Christ into this dark world… not simply [good news] because without this light we are in the dark, but also because it comes to us unwarranted, unsought, without our initiation.”

More here-

Anglican Primate Preaches Detribalised Nigeria

From Nigeria-

The Bishop of Church of Nigeria (Anglican Communion) Diocese of Abuja, Most Reverend Nicholas Okoh has called for a united and detribalized Nigeria, in order for the country to grow and developed to its desired height in the face of the challenges confronting it.

Okoh who made this call at the official flag-off of the 25th Anniversary Celebration of the church said that the challenges affecting the nation, which is as well affecting the church is the issue of tribalism and the absence of unity.

According to the clergyman, the issue of unity in Nigeria is what the church has taken upon itself to teach the people during the anniversary celebration, adding that it wants to unite Nigerians and make the issue of tribalism less attractive.

More here-

Episcopal leader in spotlight after bishop charged in Baltimore hit-and-run

From Baltimore-

Just over two months ago, when Heather Elizabeth Cook, a newly ordained Episcopal bishop, was involved in an accident that left a bicyclist dead, the tragedy made headlines around the world, while sparking controversy within and outside the church.

Cook — who was drunk at the time of the accident, according to Baltimore police and prosecutors — had been made a bishop despite an arrest on DUI charges four years earlier. The Dec. 27 crash raised questions about how the Episcopal Church, already split over dogma and facing steep membership declines, chooses its leaders.

And it has put the stewardship of the national church's presiding bishop, the Most Rev. Katharine Jefferts Schori, in the spotlight.

More here-

Rio Grande Episcopal diocese sees ‘change of identity’

From Albeuquerque-

At the time of her 2008 visit to Albuquerque, Episcopal Church Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori headed a congregation torn, both in New Mexico and nationally, over the role of gays and lesbians in the church.

The Episcopal Diocese of the Rio Grande was preparing to select a new bishop to replace former Bishop Jeffrey N. Steenson, who resigned in 2007 to join the Roman Catholic Church over the issue.

Several New Mexico congregations had split from the diocese and others were discussing similar moves.

More here-

Monday, March 9, 2015

Rachel Held Evans defends exit from evangelicalism, calls Christians to celebrate sacraments

From RNS-

From the soil of the blogosphere, Rachel Held Evans has grown into a powerful voice in American Christianity. She is author of “Evolving in Monkey Town” and the New York Times bestseller “A Year of Biblical Womanhood.” But those who have followed her writings often note that her thinking has become increasingly progressive–especially on hot button theological issues such as gender and sexuality. This shift culminated in her leaving evangelicalism for Episcopalianism.

Next month, Evans will release “Searching for Sunday: Loving, Leaving, and Finding the Church,” a book that oscillates between stinging critiques of American Christianity with prescriptions for how she believes we can more faithfully participate in church life going forward. Here she explains what she believes is the key to revitalizing the church and defends her exit from evangelicalism.

RNS: You say that the way to stop the exodus of millennials from churches isn’t cosmetic–better music, sleeker logos, more relevant programming, etc. Why are these methods ineffective in your mind?

More here-