Saturday, March 21, 2015

Priceless vestment from Ushaw College to be worn by Cardinal at Requiem Mass of King Richard III

From Durham-

A PRICELESS vestment believed to be from the royal wardrobe of King Richard III will be worn by the Cardinal when he celebrates Requiem Mass for the soul of the 15th century monarch, it has been revealed.

The chasuble, known as the Westminster Vestment, is part of the heritage collection of Ushaw College, the former Catholic seminary at Ushaw Moor, near Durham.

It will be taken to Leicester for a Mass in the city’s Holy Cross Church on Monday (March 23) - days before the king’s reburial in Leicester Cathedral on Thursday, March 26.

More here-

The dam of self-restraint bursts for Pakistan’s Christians

From The Washington Post-

The smell of burned cloth, wood and plastic lingered in the silent ruins eight months after a mob torched the row of modest homes. Nothing had been removed. Leaders of the small Christian community in Gojra, a district near Lahore, Pakistan, had preserved what they could as a shrine to their victimhood. In one abandoned home, a charred birdcage still hung in the kitchen; in another, a blackened Bible lay open on a table.

Muslims and Christians had lived together, though on separate blocks, in this working-class neighborhood for generations. But the comity vanished in a matter of hours after a rumor spread that someone at a Christian wedding had torn up a copy of the Koran. Muslims surged into the streets, furious at the supposed blasphemers. By the next morning, numerous houses had been gutted and seven people had been burned alive.

More here-

A burial fit for a (villainous) King! Found under a Leicester car park, he's our most maligned ruler. But in a five-day extravaganza, Britain will watch enthralled as Richard III is laid to rest

From The Daily Mail-

A few may find it faintly macabre. Others may wonder what on earth the fuss is about. But there’s no doubt that we will be witnessing history tomorrow as one of the most extraordinary ceremonies in living memory unfolds on national television.

Part state funeral, part Shakespeare, part Sherlock Holmes and, at times, pure Blackadder, it will be a multi-million-pound, five-day spectacular featuring the Royal Family, the Armed Forces, two Archbishops, several bemused aristocrats and tens of thousands of ordinary members of the public, all paying their solemn respects to a man they never knew.

So why is it that a substantial part of the East Midlands is being sealed off this weekend in honour of a 562-year-old suspected child-murderer?

More here-

Libby Lane: ‘Whatever the Church’s failings, I really think this is where God has put me’

From The Guardian-

Libby Lane didn’t think life as the first female bishop would be easy, but she didn’t expect to be noticed on holiday. She explains how she will change the church from within – and why she can’t endorse gay marriage.

Libby and George Lane both have theology degrees from Oxford, trained to be priests at the same college, and were ordained at the same time. Yet when the couple job-shared a curacy in the early years of their married life, for many congregants Libby was, she recalled cheerfully this week, “never anything other than the curate’s wife”.

Twenty years on, the tables are turned. It is George, the jolly co-ordinating chaplain at Manchester airport, whose identity is now defined by his spouse’s job. “I’m just the husband,” he sighs theatrically when we meet this week, leaning on a cabinet by the back door of the grand Cheshire house that came with Libby’s new job as the bishop of Stockport. Just as she has broken new ground by being the first woman to reach such heights within the Church of England, George is also blazing his own trail. “I’ve been invited to join the Association of Bishops’ Wives,” he says with amusement. “They’re rewriting the handbook for me. They’re even changing the name: it will be the Association of Bishops’ Spouses from now on.”

More here-

Church moves on same-sex unions, but not in lockstep

From Michigan-

Marriage-equality advocates call last week’s redefinition of marriage by the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) another step forward in an inevitable process.

“It reflects that acceptance is growing in the faith community,” said Regina Calcagno of Michigan For Marriage.

The mainline Protestant body now defines marriage as “a unique commitment between two people, traditionally a man and a woman.” The slight but significant change, which goes into effect June 21, is widely seen as permission for member churches to marry same-sex couples.

Yet not every Presbyterian church will be sanctioning same-sex unions.

Nor is their legal status clear in Michigan, where same-sex marriage remains prohibited under the state constitution.

More here-

Reimagining the Church

From Patheos-

The phrase, “think globally, act locally” is attributed to Patrick Geddes, a Scottish philanthropist, town planner, biologist, and sociologist. The idea, though not the exact phrase, appears in his book, Cities in Evolution, which was published in 1915. Well ahead of his time, Geddes was at pains to argue for an approach to urban planning that took the surrounding environs into account.

The concept has been appropriated and broadened in its application to a number of endeavors, but it’s time that we apply it to the life of the church. As my friend and colleague, the Very Reverend Kevin Martin points out in analyzing the strategic plan developed by The Episcopal Church, referred to as “TREC” (Taskforce for Reimagining The Episcopal Church), the vision for the future is bright, but the content of the report is focused on enhancing and strengthening a largely centralized approach to doing church.

Read more:

Friday, March 20, 2015

Rachel Held Evans, adult conversion, and the necessity of confirmation

From The Living Church-

Influential evangelical writer and blogger Rachel Held Evans has gotten a fair amount of attention recently for leaving evangelicalism to become an Episcopalian (although she’s been attending an Episcopal church for some time now). In an interview with Jonathan Merritt of Religions News Service (RNS), Held Evans described a process of “finding [her] own way,” noting her attraction to practices that she “felt were missing in my evangelical experience,” including room for silence and the central place of the Eucharist.

Her soon-to-be-released Searching for Sunday: Loving, Leaving, and Finding the Church promises to tell the story of her recent journey. Structured around the liturgical year, the book has a chapter on each of the seven sacraments. Held Evans will also be producing a series of short films on the book’s liturgical themes through The Work of the People, an emergent-progressive evangelical film platform, whose founder, Travis Reed, also recently announced his own conversion to the Episcopal Church.

More here-

Major U.S. church gives green light to gay marriage

From Phoenix-

The Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) approved redefining marriage in the church constitution earlier this week to include a "commitment between two people," becoming the largest U.S. Protestant group to formally recognize gay marriage as Christian and allow same-sex weddings in every congregation.

The new definition was endorsed last year by the church's General Assembly, or top legislative body, but required approval from a majority of the denomination's 171 regional districts, or presbyteries. The critical 86th "yes" vote came Tuesday night from a presbytery in New Jersey.

After all regional bodies vote and top Presbyterian leaders officially accept the results, the change will take effect on June 21. The denomination has nearly 1.8 million members and about 10,000 congregations.

More here-

Methodists and Anglicans ‘close enough for unity’

From The Church Times-

ANGLICANS and Methodists know enough about each other, and need to stop timidly "watching every careful step", seeking "impossible perfection" before agreeing to unity.

This is the message of a report by the Anglican-Methodist International Commission for Unity in Mission (AMICUM), launched by the World Methodist Vice-President, Gillian Kingston, and the Archbishop of Canterbury on Tuesday.

Into All The World: Being and becoming Apostolic Churches, a report to the Anglican Consultative Council and the World Methodist Council, is the outcome of 20 years of work. It hints at an impatience also noted in last year's report by the Joint Implementation Commission, which warned of "frustration and even boredom" with the Anglican-Methodist Covenant (News, 23 May 2014).

More here-

Class in America: Want to Get Ahead? Try Church

From NBC (with video)

Attending religious services regularly can confer many things besides salvation. For generations in America, houses of worship were places where families built relationships with similar families, and where clergy could provide the kind of mentorship that helped working class kids step up the economic ladder.

These days, though, young people are less likely to say they belong to a religion than their parents were at the same age. And the gap is not just generational — it's also about class.

Social scientists are finding that in the last 40 years, teenagers whose parents are in the bottom third on the socioeconomic scale stopped coming to services twice as fast as kids from the top.

More here-

Episcopalian and evangelical are not exclusive categories

From Patheos-

I dealt with this snarkily yesterday, but here’s a less-jokey follow-up … So Rachel Held Evans has joined the Episcopal Church. Good for her! (And good for the Episcopal Church!) Some of my best friends are Episcopalian, after all.

This is being treated as “news,” because Evans is a newsworthy evangelical figure. Fair enough, I suppose. But, weirdly, some have decided that the news here is that by joining the Episcopal Church, Evans is somehow “departing” evangelicalism.

Nonsense. “Evangelical” and “Episcopalian” are overlapping categories, and always have been. The Episcopal Church has around 2 million baptized members and a good chunk of that total is evangelical. It’s part of the worldwide Anglican Communion — a church of more than 80 million members which, likewise, includes tens of millions of evangelical believers. Justin Welby, the current Archbishop of Canterbury, is one of them.

White evangelicals in America have always had an affinity for Anglicans and Episcopalians. They lionize the Episcopalians among America’s founding generation as champions of Christianity. And they love C.S. Lewis, John Stott and N.T. Wright.

Read more:

PB and PHoD address final Executive Council Meeting

From The Cafe-

The Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori and President of the House of Deputies Gay Jennings gave their opening remarks to the final Executive Council meeting of this Triennium. Twitter  hashtag for meeting is #excoun

The Presiding Bishop gave thanks for one of the most effective councils that she has experienced in her 9 year term. She cited “more than anything else, your attitude toward this work as a ministry, and your understanding that we are here to serve the wider church in its partnership for God’s mission, is responsible for the health that I think we enjoy.” The new committee structure and the work on the budget were 2 areas that flowed more efficiently and to good ends. Read it all here.

President Gay Jennings announced that she has completed appointments to Legislative Committees.  Check the appointments here.  Jennings also related her experience of signing an Amicus Brief for the Supreme Court in support of marriage equality.

More here-

Justice Ginsburg writes a feminist opinion for Passover

From RNS-

Rabbi Ruth Bader Ginsburg?

Not quite, but when a Jewish nonprofit asked the Supreme Court justice to write a biblical commentary for Passover, she agreed, and added a feminist twist: It would raise up the often overlooked women of the Exodus story.

Ginsburg, one of three Jews and three women on the high court, is known as a champion of women’s rights — but not for being particularly religious.

But Rabbi Lauren Holtzblatt, whom Ginsburg asked to help out with the commentary, said Ginsburg had a clear vision for the piece and knew exactly which biblical women she wanted to highlight from the iconic liberation story of the Book of Exodus.

More here-

Thursday, March 19, 2015

24 warning signs that your evangelical friend might be about to ‘depart’ for the Episcopal Church

From Patheos-

Evangelical gatekeepers have been wringing their hands over the departure of yet another once-saved Christian, now lost to the clutches of the Episcopal Church.

Are your evangelical friends safe from the menace of creeping Episcopalianism? Can you be sure?

Here are 24 warning signs to watch out for.
- – - – - – - – - – - -
1. You say “How’re you doing?” and they respond “And also with you.”
2. They say they wish there was more scripture and Bible-reading in worship.
3. They like to read infamously Anglican author N.T. Wright.

Read more:

The Rev, Canon Audrey Cady Scanlan elected Bishop of Episcopal Diocese of Central Pa.

From Lancaster PA-

The Rev. Canon Audrey Cady Scanlan was elected this past Saturday as 11th Bishop of the Episcopal Diocese of Central Pennsylvania, pending the required consents from a majority of bishops with jurisdiction and standing committees of the Episcopal Church.

Scanlan, 56, Canon for Mission Collaboration and Congregational Life in the Diocese of Connecticut, was elected on the second ballot out of a field of 3 nominees.

More here-

How The Washington Post Should Report The Episcopal Church Scandal

From The Federalist-

In a quite unbelievably awful piece that has to be read not to be believed, Washington Post reporter Michelle Boorstein wrote about Heather Cook, the suffragan bishop of the Episcopal Diocese of Maryland, a woman who, while driving drunk last December, hit and killed a bicyclist then fled from the scene of the crime. Cook has now been indicted on 13 counts, including vehicular manslaughter. Clearly, she should not have been a cleric of any kind.

The basic facts, or at least some of them, were covered when the homicide occurred, and Boorstein’s piece is what might be called, loosely— as loose as an intensely grungy nomad big-pockets trench coat or a quirky slouchy oversized baggy Parisian boho chiffon sack dress—a “think piece.” She begins: “With a history of sherries at church coffee hour and wine during Holy Communion, Episcopalians have long endured — and shared — jokes about their drinking. (For example: ‘Wherever two or three are gathered, there’s a fifth.’)”

More here-

Wednesday, March 18, 2015

Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby delivers St Patrick's Day message of hope

From Belfast-

The Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby has delivered a powerful message of hope and reconciliation to the people of Northern Ireland as he took part in the St Patrick's Day celebrations in Downpatrick.

Speaking during a service at Down Cathedral, the leader of world Anglicanism said: "You have embarked with enormous courage on the long road to reconciliation and you are the symbol of hope for so many around the world. Don't give up. Make it work.

"It is a gift of God to you for the world.

"It is held in your hands as a treasure.

"It is something that comes from the peace of God."

More here-

Former Bishop Keith Slater to face defrocking by the Anglican Church for mishandling abuse claims

From Australia-

The Anglican Church is quietly preparing for a hearing that could see the defrocking of one of its former bishops, five months after the royal commission recommended he face disciplinary action for ignoring complaints from sexual abuse victims.

Keith Slater, whose title remains the Right Reverend, was forced to resign as the Grafton Bishop in 2013 for the way he handled abuse claims from a group of 40 people.

They were men and women who had been sexually, physically and or psychologically abused at the

North Coast Children's Home in Lismore between the 1940s and the 1980s.

More here-

Presbyterian Church (USA) changes its constitution to include gay marriage

From the Washington Post-

The Presbyterian Church (USA), the largest body of Presbyterians in the country, approved a change in the wording of its constitution to allow gay and lesbian weddings within the church, a move that threatens to continue to split the mainline Protestant denomination.

The 171 regional presbyteries (local leadership bodies within the PCUSA) have been voting on whether to change the wording to call marriage a contract “between a woman and a man” to being “between two people, traditionally a man and a woman.” On Tuesday, the denomination reached its needed majority of “yes” votes from at least 86 presbyteries to take effect. The change will be included in the church’s “Book of Order,” part of its constitution, taking effect on June 21.

More here-

House of Bishops concludes meeting with eye towards Convention

From ENS-

Near the end of its annual spring retreat meeting of The Episcopal Church House of Bishops, representatives of the house said that the bishops have agreed to write a new pastoral letter to the church on the sin of racism.

The letter, expected to be adopted at the spring 2016 meeting, will be “the most lasting response of this house to that issue,” Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori said during a midday press conference on March 17, the final day of the bishops’ meeting.

The letter would follow on one adopted by the house in April 1994 and another one issued March 22, 2006. The 2006 letter noted the 1994 pastoral statement said a new letter was needed because the “pervasive sin” of racism “continues to plague our common life in the church and in our culture.”

More here-

Cuban synod votes to return to Episcopal Church

From ACNS-

Members of synod for the Episcopal Church of Cuba narrowly voted in favour of returning to the church’s former affiliation with The Episcopal Church at their recent meeting last month in Cardenas, Cuba.

The move came two months after the historic decision by the United States and Cuba to re-establish diplomatic relations after a 54-year hiatus. The Cuban church had been part of a province in The Episcopal Church until the 1959 revolution, which made travel and communication between the two churches difficult. The Metropolitan Council of Cuba (MCC)—which includes primates of the Anglican Church of Canada, the Province of West Indies and The Episcopal Church—was subsequently created to provide support and oversight.

More here-

Tuesday, March 17, 2015

Downpatrick pilgrimage for Archbishop of Canterbury

From Belfast-

The leader of the world’s Anglican community will lay a wreath at the resting place of St Patrick when he attends a commemoration to the saint in Downpatrick on Tuesday.

The Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby will be the first leader of the church in more than half a century to take part in the annual pilgrimage from Saul Church to Down Cathedral from around 10.15am.

It is said that St Patrick landed close to Saul in the fifth century, and along the roughly two-mile route from the village to the cathedral, the pilgrims are expected to stop and pray a number of times.

More here-

Richard III's bones placed inside their coffin at the University of Leicester

From Leicester-

Richard III's bones have finally been placed inside the specially created oak coffin that will be placed inside the tomb at Leicester Cathedral.

The remains were laid out inside a lead ossuary, on Sunday, before being enclosed within the coffin crafted by Richard III's 17th great grandnephew, Michael Ibsen.

A rosary was placed inside and the final layer was a piece of Irish linen embroidered by Elizabeth Nokes of the Richard III Society.

Linen bags, made by the pupils of the Richard III infant's school in Leicester, were used for wrapping small bones and scientific samples.

More here-

The Missing Ingredient in the Iran and P5+1 Negotiations

From Huffington-

A missing voice in negotiations between Iran and the P5+1 is that of the global interreligious community. It is astounding that this voice has either been intentionally muted by the American media or, even worse, discredited by our own government as a comparatively unimportant interference in negotiations.

According to a Pew religious poll published in 2010, eight out of 10 people in the world identified with a religious group. There are approximately 1.8 billion who profess to be Muslim, and over 2 billion professing to be Christian. Within these numbers are significant groupings of Muslim and Christian clerics, scholars, and faith leaders who have been meeting quietly since the beginning of the new millennium to address common concerns threatening the very future of the human race and the ecological sustainability of the planet. A major focus of these meetings has been theological condemnation of the production and use of nuclear weapons.

More here-

Dominican Republic announces 3 nominees for bishop coadjutor

From The Dominican Republic (ENS)

The Standing Committee of the Episcopal Diocese of the Dominican Republic has announced a slate of three candidates to stand for election as the diocese’s bishop coadjutor.

They are:

The Rev. Ramon Antonio Garcia De Los Santos, 50, vicar of Misiones San Lucas and La Anunciacion in Santiago, a school principal and archdeacon in the north region of the country;

The Rev. Moises Quezada Mota, 58, vicar of Misiones Jesus Nazareno and Buen Samaritano, in San Francisco de Macoris, and a school principal; and

The Rev. Daniel Samuel, 58, vicar of Misiones Santa Maria Virgen, Divina Gracia and San Cornelio, and a school principal.

The Standing Committee released the names during the annual Diocesan Convention, held Feb. 13-15 at Iglesia San Esteban in San Pedro de Macoris.

The Diocese of the Dominican Republic will receive nominations by petition for additional candidates through March 19.

More here-

Monday, March 16, 2015

Drunk minister has been dealing with loss of her husband

From The New York Post-

Personal tragedy sent Episcopal priest Diane Reiners on a downward spiral before she was caught swerving through the Holland Tunnel with an open bottle of vodka and prescription meds in her car, colleagues told The Post on Sunday.

Reiners, 53, of the famed Cathedral of St. John the Divine, lost her beloved husband several years ago to tongue cancer.

“It was a very painful death . . . He was a wonderful man,’’ said Deenar Matthews, a fellow priest at St. John’s in Morningside Heights.

Reiners, who lives in Fort Greene, Brooklyn, chronicled her husband’s cancer battle in Marie Claire magazine in 2010, saying, “We laugh when people say that marriage is hard work. Cancer is hard work; our marriage is easy. But taking care of him can leave me without much time to take care of myself.”

More here-

Vancouver residents invite Pope Francis to tour Downtown Eastside and First Nations reserves

From Vancouver-

A group of Vancouver residents representing a broad range of faiths has invited Pope Francis to tour the Downtown Eastside and two First Nations reserves.

The unusual request involves members of the Jewish, Muslim, First Nations, Anglican, Catholic and United Church communities, who believe Pope Francis could spur real change in the welfare of the city and province’s poor and homeless.

The invitation has received the endorsement and support of both the Catholic Archdiocese and the Anglican Diocese, who agreed to deliver the written message directly to the Pope through Vatican emissaries in addition to a couriered invitation that the group delivered to the Vatican’s front door.

More here-

Married Northfield native gets pope's nod for priesthood

From Atlantic City-

James Thomas Wray, a native of Northfield and a 1977 graduate of Mainland Regional High School, is one of only about 80 married men in the U.S. to become a Catholic priest through Papal dispensation.

A former Episcopal cleric, he was ordained on March 7 in the Archdiocese of Cincinnati at St. Margaret of York Church in Loveland, Ohio. He said he is now awaiting his new assignment in the Diocese of Cincinnati.

“The dispensation came directly from the Holy Father,” he said of Pope Francis. Wray converted in 2011, spent years studying the Catholic faith, and was ordained a deacon in 2014.

The program to allow former Episcopal priests to become Catholic priests is about 40 years old, he said, and called the Pastoral Provision.

More here-

Sunday, March 15, 2015

Brooklyn woman and assistant priest arrested in Jersey City, charged with DWI

From New Jersey-

A Brooklyn woman and assistant priest was arrested in Jersey City Friday evening after driving out of the Holland Tunnel while intoxicated, according to a report by the Port Authority Police.

Police responded to reports at 6 p.m. of a woman driving through the Holland tunnel from Manhattan to New Jersey in an "erratic manner," a report said.

According to witnesses Diane Reiners, 53, drove her 2004 Toyota through the Holland tunnel swerving between lanes and striking the tunnel curb.

Reiners then stopped outside of the tunnel near Provost and 14th Streets before flooring the car and coming to a full stop just west of Marin Blvd, a report said.

More here-