Saturday, April 4, 2015

Response to misrepresentation of remarks: Statement from the Rt Rev Dr Josiah Idowu-Fearon

From ACNS (If you need the context click on the second link below)

Statement from the Rt Revd Josiah Idowu-Fearon responding to misleading stories concerning a sermon in 2014 and an interview in 2007:

In Benin on Sunday 23rd March, 2014 at St. Mathew's Cathedral where Knights and their wives were being admitted, I encouraged them to continue to uphold family values in their homes bringing up their children as Christians in order to make a difference in their society. I then went on to challenge the National Assembly, comparing corruption with homosexuality that they had just criminalized. I wished the National Assembly had spent all that time and energy to criminalize corruption rather than homosexuality which is not damaging the Nigerian society as is corruption.

I have never supported the law in Nigeria that criminalizes the gay community and I will never support it. The Church is called to love and protect everyone without discrimination, 'love the person but hate the sin” whatever the sin may be, corruption, sexual sins of all kinds, misuse of power or anything else.

More here-

Also here-

Archbishop Philip Freier calls for a conversation led by the people

From Australia-

Questioning the age of entitlement should be at the core of a new conversation about the future shape of Australian society, says the Anglican ­primate of Australia, Melbourne Archbishop Philip Freier.

In his Easter blog today, he says that “public trust is plumbing new depths” so it’s necessary to take this debate beyond politicians. Treasurer Joe Hockey was “expressing an important sentiment” when he said of last year’s budget that the age of entitlement was over, Dr Freier says.

“He used the phrase, perfectly reasonably, to suggest entitlement equalled gaining something people did not deserve. But as citizens we all have legal and moral entit­lements, ranging from equality under the law to benefits from the taxes we pay.

“No one is turned away from Australian hospitals to die in misery because they cannot afford lifesaving treatment — and we thank the wisdom of a previous generation of politicians for that.

More here-

Kenya religious leaders urge unity after Garissa attack

From USA Today-

As Good Friday services took place here, Christian and Muslim leaders preached unity a day after a horrific terrorist attack at Garissa University left 147 students dead, most of them Christians.

Al-Shabab, the Somalia-based Muslim insurgency, claimed responsibility for the massacre that began around 5:30 a.m. Thursday as Muslims students were at mosque for morning prayers and Christian students were still asleep in their dorms.

The masked attackers — strapped with explosives and armed with AK-47s — stormed the dorms, took some hostages and gunned down others. When Kenyan security forces struck back, the attackers detonated explosives. Security forces killed four militants.

More here-

Breakaway Episcopalians win Texas church property fight

From Ft. Worth-

For the second time in as many months, a state court has sided with a group of breakaway Episcopalians, ruling that they can keep their property after leaving the national church in 2008 over sharp differences on homosexuality and the authority of Scripture.

Judge John P. Chupp of the 141st District Court in Tarrant County, Texas, recently ruled that more than 60 parishes in greater Fort Worth can retain their property and remain independent of the Episcopal Church.

“We are grateful for the ruling in our favor,” said Bishop Jack Iker, the former Episcopal bishop of Fort Worth who’s now affiliated with the Anglican Church in North America, which formed in 2009 as a rival to the Episcopal Church. “It’s clear that both church laws and Texas laws have been rightly applied to this dispute.”

While still a part of the Episcopal Church, Iker was a leader of the church’s small conservative wing that opposed the 2003 consecration of an openly gay bishop and blessings for same-sex unions.

More here-

Appleyard: Church grows from unique beginning

From Central Gulf Coast-

The Pensacola area is a community of churches, and one — Old Christ Church — is easily recognized by many. Faithfully restored in its location opposite Seville Square, the facility is an icon. However, few recognize its unique beginning. The story merits telling.

When Pensacola became part of the United States, it had but one practicing Christian denomination — the Catholic Church. However, with the coming of a new government, several Protestant denominations felt the isolated Florida population was fertile ground for recruiting. Gov. Andrew Jackson had hardly departed when the first missionary arrived. Alexander Talley represented the Methodists. He arrived with a year's assignment to enroll members in Pensacola and Mobile. However, his 12 months brought no results. Other Methodists followed: Ashley Hewitt, Henry Cook and Charles Hardy. The Rev. Hardy did raise a small chapel, but gained few members.

Presbyterian David Robinson Preston's survey brought hopeful reports; however, he concluded that the time was not yet right for a church.

Then came the Rev. Ralph Williston, an Episcopalian. Rather than make individual solicitations, he placed an ad in the Gazette inviting all practicing protestant Christians to meet and to discuss combining forces to establish a common church. The meeting drew 12 Episcopalians, 10 Methodists, two Presbyterians and two Baptists and, with amazing fortune, all agreed to proceed to obtain a charter, raise funds and erect a church.

More here-

Friday, April 3, 2015

Episcopal bishop enters not-guilty plea in cyclist's death

From Baltimore-

Heather Elizabeth Cook, the Episcopal bishop accused of driving under the influ

Neatly dressed in a black pantsuit, white blouse and silver brooch, Cook sat solemnly beside her attorney, David Irwin, during a hearing that lasted under five minutes.

ence and killing a local bicyclist in December, made her first public appearance since the accident, accepting a trial date of June 4 during an arraignment Thursday in Baltimore Circuit Court.

Circuit Judge Michael A. DiPietro did not ask her to speak during the proceedings, and Cook made no public comment afterward before leaving in a white sedan driven by a friend as cameras clicked.

By accepting the court date, Cook entered a plea of not guilty on all 13 charges against her, Irwin said. He declined to say whether her legal team would seek a plea deal and noted that during the trial she could enter a different plea to individual charges.

More here-

also here-

and here-

Thursday, April 2, 2015

How the Presidential Candidates Found Their Faith

From Newsweek-

It was built in the 1920s in the Spanish Mission style, topped by one of those red clay tile roofs so popular in South Florida back then. The Catholics laid their foundation just a short walk from the famed Biltmore Hotel (modeled on the Giralda, the tower of the Seville Cathedral in Spain), and named their church in honor of Saint Thérèse of Lisieux, also known as “the Little Flower.” These days, Coral Gables is majority Cuban-American, the Church of the Little Flower’s pastor, the Reverend Michael W. Davis, tells me, which might also explain why he is so comfortably bilingual. Unlike so many Catholic parishes in the U.S., Davis says, his still boasts packed pews and “reflects a vibrant community.” He adds playfully that the church’s lovely setting makes it a “wedding factory.”

On a more serious note, Davis explains the Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults (RCIA)—the Catholic conversion program. He tells me about it because Little Flower’s most famous parishioner is a convert: Jeb Bush, the former governor of Florida who’s already touted as the Republican front-runner in the upcoming presidential race, attends Mass frequently with his wife, Columba, and their daughter, Noelle. “[He’ll be] gone all week, and yet he regularly makes the liturgy,” Davis says.

More here-

Nigerian bishop to be Anglican Communion’s next secretary general

From ENS-

 The Most Rev. Josiah Atkins Idowu-Fearon has been appointed to be the next secretary general of the Anglican Communion.

Idowu-Fearon currently serves as bishop of Kaduna in the Church of Nigeria (Anglican Communion) where he has earned a global reputation for his expertise in Christian-Muslim relations.

He was selected out of an initial field of applicants from Oceania, Asia, Africa, Europe and the Americas.

Since 1998, Idowu-Fearon has been bishop of Kaduna, and he is the current director of the Kaduna Anglican Study Centre. Before that he served as bishop of Sokoto, warden at St. Francis of Assisi Theological College in Wusasa, and provost of St. Michael’s Cathedral in Kaduna.

More here-

4th Circuit sends Episcopalians’ federal lawsuit back to a local district judge

From South Carolina-

A federal appeals court has ruled in favor of a bishop leading parishes loyal to The Episcopal Church in a feud between men who both claim to be rightful leader of the Diocese of South Carolina.

The U.S. 4th Circuit Court of Appeals ruled Tuesday that a federal judge erred in putting a lawsuit between the bishops on hold while a separate case involving the same church schism winds through the state courts.

The appellate court ruled that a district judge only can stay certain cases in “exceptional” circumstances and sent the case back to a Charleston district court, breathing new hopes into local Episcopalians who want to see Bishop Charles vonRosenberg declared rightful leader of the diocese.

More here-

Wednesday, April 1, 2015

Double take: The amazing story of the strangers who look like identical twins

From The "Truth is Stranger Than Fiction" Department-

The retired Anglican clergyman spent months wondering why everyone hailed him like a long-lost friend – albeit with the wrong name.

But the mystery was solved after Neil, 69, finally asked a shopkeeper the reason. Only then did it emerge that he is the spitting image of community stalwart John Jemison, 74, who has lived in Braintree, Essex, for half a century.

Although strangers and with a five-year age difference the pair could pass as identical twins – and they also share an astonishing number of shared interests and history.

Speaking yesterday as he sat alongside his doppelganger, Neil said: “Twice a month I would have someone pass me in the street and say ‘Hello John’.

“I brushed it off at the time but then I realised that the cafe owner always referred to me as John as well.

More here-

Strictly Come Dancing to understand Jesus. Welcome to the new Church of England

From The Telegraph-

The Church of England’s first female bishop, Libby Lane, will have divided opinion within the Church this week by suggesting her Christian faith is linked with the TV programme Strictly Come Dancing.

She told Radio Times that she is a Strictly fan, and uses dance steps to explain her relationship with God. Apparently, the bishop danced regularly for 15 years and this experience now informs much of her theology, particularly her understanding of the incarnation - the idea that God became a human in the person of Jesus.

Those who argue that men are being put off going on a Sunday by an increasingly emotional and flowery approach to ministry will no doubt shake their heads in consternation as they conjure up an image of Jesus wearing sequins and dancing the cha-cha. These are the scaremongers who lament the ‘feminisation’ of the Church and wheel out stats like 65 per cent of all church-goers are women, and that female trainee priests now outnumber male trainees two to one.

More here-

A new cathedral would heal Christchurch

From New Zealand-

Poor old Anglican cathedral. Its once proud rose window and spire gone, open to the elements, dark and empty except for nesting pigeons.

I like the colourful art that now walls off the building from the Square. The plant- covered whare makes me smile. Tourists still cluster, the Wizard still fulminates, a man sunbathes, and two blokes play super-size chess.

On the afternoon of February 22, 2011, I stared in amazement. The shattered cathedral looked like a bomb had hit it. I had met someone at the cathedral cafe the day before. Later, a photographer told me how she had gone into the cathedral immediately after the quake - incredibly dangerously - and had seen it littered with blocks of rubble.

Four years on, this space still has a giant question mark hanging over it. Debate has raged. Save the cathedral or build a new one? Argument has lurched towards the acrimonious: Blame the bishop, blame the Church, blame each other; call in the lawyers. It has divided the city.

More here-

Historic Churches From Civil Rights Era Hold Service of Reconciliation

From Alabama-

On March 14, 1965 -- one week after Bloody Sunday -- a small group of about 19 demonstrators gathered in front of St. Paul's Episcopal Church. Many of them had responded to the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King's call to come south and participate in the march to Montgomery that would begin the following week. That day, however, their mission was to integrate the historic downtown parish.

These demonstrators didn't carry signs. Instead, they came armed with the Episcopal Church's Book of Common Prayer. After St. Paul's ushers turned them away, the small group knelt at the steps of the church and said a prayer known as the General Confession.

More here-

Atlanta's Episcopal Clergy Renew Their Vows... In A Synagogue

From Atlanta-

It’s “Holy Week,” the week leading up to Easter. And, every year at this time, Episcopal bishops, priests and deacons renew their ordination vows.

The Episcopal Diocese of Atlanta followed that tradition this morning with a ceremony. But one part of the event was very untraditional: instead of a church, the priests gathered in The Temple – Atlanta’s oldest synagogue. 

So how did this happen? It was the idea of Episcopal Bishop of the Atlanta Diocese – the Rt. Rev. Robert Wright.

"The renewal of vows is a great opportunity for me to gather the clergy and for us to make these sacred promises again and again in the places that in fact Jesus would have been," Bishop Wright said.

More here-

Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Thought-provoking religious statue to be unveiled in Cathedral Park

From Western New York-

The chill wind and overcast sky provided verisimilitude Monday as a huddled figure wrapped in a thin blanket took his place on a park bench in Cathedral Park. The shape is completely draped in what almost looks like a shroud. Even the face is covered; all that is exposed is his feet, still showing the holes where they were pierced on the cross.

“Homeless Jesus,” a controversial sculpture by Canadian artist Timothy P. Schmalz, has found yet another home, this time in Buffalo. The bronze artwork will be officially unveiled downtown at 1:30 p.m. Tuesday, in the shadow of St. Paul’s Episcopal Cathedral and steps away from the busy intersection of Church and Main streets. On hand for the ceremony will be the Rt. Rev. R. William Franklin, bishop of the Episcopal Diocese of Western New York, and the Very Rev. W.H. Mebane, interim dean of the cathedral. Joining them will be other local clergy and members of the St. Paul’s congregation, who paid for the sculpture and are donating it to the city.

More here-

Church ordains deacon, first in decades

From Albany-

The ordinand stood before a seated bishop at the altar, while each row of pews were filled by witnesses of the congregation.

The newly ordained Deacon Aidan Everett Smith consecrated his vows at St. Luke’s Episcopal Church on William Street in Catskill Saturday.

An ordination of this type had not been held at the church for more than two decades.

The Rev. Dr. Leander Harding, the rector who is in charge of St. Luke’s Parish, gave the opening sermon, prior to Smith’s examination. “We are here to celebrate a sacrament,” said Harding.

More here-

Vatican defends choice of Chilean bishop linked to abuser priest

From Crux-

Reacting to widespread criticism of the appointment of a bishop in Chile linked to the country’s most notorious abuser priest, the Vatican issued a terse statement on Tuesday insisting the move was “carefully examined” and there were no “objective reasons” to stop it.

“Prior to the recent appointment of His Excellency Msgr. Juan de la Cruz Barros Madrid as bishop of Osorno, Chile, the Congregation for Bishops carefully examined the prelate’s candidature and did not find objective reasons to preclude the appointment,” it said.

More here-

Ex-offenders in New Haven find hope, smiles at St. Luke’s Episcopal Church

From Connecticut-

When Danny had finished serving his time in prison and was dropped off outside the Whalley Avenue jail, he knew where to go — down the street to St. Luke’s Episcopal Church.

But when he sat down for breakfast on a recent Wednesday, he was just one of the many who come for a hot meal at the church at 111 Whalley Ave.

St. Luke’s, through its nonprofit corporation, St. Luke’s Services, serves the ex-offenders because of its location. But you couldn’t tell the ex-convicts from the others who eat there, use the clothing closet, even the diaper bank. Serving everyone without question is St. Luke’s mission.

“As far as this church and these people that run the church,” said Danny, “We get a good meal. We get received of the love of God.”

More here-

Monday, March 30, 2015

In Kenya, religious coexistence feels pressure of stronger Muslim identity

From Christian Science Monitor-

On a steamy day on the Kenyan coast, a tall student stands at the courtyard water pump at her school filling a wheelbarrow during a class break. Her arms, bare to above her elbow, poke out from beneath her blue hijab.

Her attire speaks to a series of compromises between her Christian-funded school and its Muslim students. The hijab is permitted – but must match her blue skirt. The shirt, on the other hand, is regulation short-sleeve, and tucked into the fitted waist of her skirt.

This is the trade-off for attending Malindi Central Primary School, one of Kenya’s many church-sponsored public schools.

More here-

For Holy Week, here’s how you can match your Myers-Briggs personality type to a patron saint

From The Washington Post-

If your personality were matched to one of the Christian church saints, which one would it be? Now you can use the popular Myers-Briggs Type Indicator to match your personal church style.

During Holy Week, the week leading up to Easter, during which Christians celebrate the resurrection of Jesus, different personalities will be attracted to different expressions of worship. For example, introverts might be found hiding in the bathroom while the extroverts might hoard Palm Sunday leaves for display.

More here-

Sunday, March 29, 2015

Pope Francis and the ambivalence of popularity

From Crux-

If Pope Francis were the President of the United States, he would now be on the other side of his first midterm election, having marked his two-year anniversary on March 13, and all indications are his party would have done exceptionally well.

The pope’s poll numbers remain sky-high, with the most recent Pew Forum study putting his approval rating among American Catholics at 90 percent. While a president would probably take that and run, being pope is a bit more complicated.

For one thing, a pope is expected to be not an electoral dynamo, but a living saint. As “House of Cards” proves definitively, Americans long ago abandoned the conceit that our civic leaders are or should be paragons of virtue.

More here-

Women finding their place as church leaders

From Louisiana-

When Linda Baker first recognized her calling, someone told her she misunderstood God's intention.

The Minden native was serving in a teaching ministry at one of the larger churches in Ruston where she held yearly workshops. God's calling comes when it comes, and her heart told her she was needed as a pastor.

But a pastor at that church thought it best she discuss her newly-intended vocation with him first.

"I was coming as a teacher, and he said he could not allow this," she said. Now Rev. Baker is pastor of Mays Chapel CME Church in Ruston.

More here-