Saturday, April 25, 2015

Anglican priest accused of stealing over $200,000 arrested again

From Manitoba-

A 32-year-old man was arrested after an investigation revealed that he stole more than $200,000 from his former employer, according to Brandon police.

Police identified the man as Anglican priest Noah Njegovan, the son of Brandon Bishop Jim Njegovan. Civil court documents allege that Noah made trips to Sin City, and meals and massages were among the fraudulent purchases using a church credit card.

In total, more than $200,000 in fraudulent purchases were made, documents state — including cash advances, payment of meal, bar and hotel bills and a trio of trips to Las Vegas.

Police said the fraudulent transactions and false bookkeeping happened between 2010 and 2012. In 2012, a diocese employee found the financial records were in disarray and a considerable amount of money was missing.

More here-

Same-sex Blessings in W. Texas

From The Living Church-

The Rt. Rev. Gary Lillibridge, Bishop of West Texas, has granted permission to three congregations to bless same-sex couples.

Bishop Lillibridge writes about the decision in a letter to the diocese [PDF]:

I am requiring that both members of the couple seeking a same-sex blessing through the ministry of the Church be in fact members of the Episcopal Church in good standing, and that at least one be a member of the Diocese of West Texas. Since the congregations who are requesting permission state that these blessings are requested for “members of our congregation,” these requirements are consistent with that statement. The priest-in-charge retains the right and responsibility to determine whether any union shall be blessed on church property or under the auspices of the congregation.

More here-

Catholic dissident group to ordain women priests in Morristown, April 25

From New Jersey-

Catholics who thought they never would live to see the ordination of women priests can witness it right here in Morristown, on Saturday, April 25, 2015.

A dissident organization called Roman Catholic Womenpriests will ordain seven women at 2 pm, at the Episcopal Church of the Redeemer.

The Vatican does not recognize females as priests, and has warned women that the ritual amounts to automatic excommunication, according to the Rev. Marellen Mayers, who has traveled from Baltimore for Saturday’s ceremony.

“Jesus calls both men and women,” Mayers countered.

Established in Germany in 2002, Roman Catholic Womenpriests now numbers about 200 women priests, mostly in the U.S., Mayers said.  They have staked a claim to “apostolic succession” — theological  legitimacy — based on ordinations they say were performed by Catholic bishops who they decline to name.

More here-

Have you ever thought you would like to write your own Psalm?

From Missouri-

There are a lot of people dealing with grief who may benefit from a workshop being offered Saturday at Christ Episcopal Church, said Father Jonathan Frazier.

Attendees don’t need to be members of the church, or even be religious, said Frazier.

Christ Episcopal is offering two free writing workshops Saturday presented by internationally known speaker and writer Ray McGinnis.

McGinnis, who lives in Canada, is the author of “Writing the Sacred: A Psalm-inspired Path to Appreciating and Writing Sacred Poetry.” He travels the world doing a series of “Write to the Heart” workshops and has had more than 13,000 workshop attendees since 1999.

“He visited our cathedral in Kansas City a year ago and people were raving about him and I thought, ‘Well, what if we bring him to this part of the state,’” said Frazier.

More here-

Friday, April 24, 2015

Archbishop and Pope unite in call for EU help for migrants

From The Church Times-

THE Archbishop of Canterbury and Pope Francis have demanded that European nations take in more of the migrants who are fleeing North Africa and the Middle East, days after hundreds were feared to have died after their boats sank in the Mediterranean.

Up to 400 migrants were believed to have drowned when their boat capsized last week, but as many as 900 people could have died after another boat sank near the coast of Libya on Saturday. The deaths prompted Archbishop Welby to call for a united effort to prevent more deaths.

Speaking to the BBC, he said: "We can't say this is one country's responsibility, the one nearest; that's not right. Of course, we have to be aware of the impact of immigration in our own communities, but when people are drowning in the Mediterranean, the need, the misery that has driven them out of their own countries is so extreme, so appalling, that Europe as a whole must rise up and seek to do what's right.

More here-

Local Priest Among Two Arrested for Child Porn

From Georgia-

Two men including a local priest are under arrest and facing child pornography charges.

Bruce Fehr, 54, and Zachary Giebner, 33, were arrested following a two month long investigation.

The Effingham County Sheriff's Office says that both men were downloading child pornography and search warrants were executed Thursday morning at each of their Wilmington Island homes.

Both men are being held at the Effingham County Jail on charges of Sexual Exploitation of Children.

Fehr is a rector of Saint Francis of the Islands Episcopal Church.

More here-

Episcopal bishops speak out against death penalty ahead of Dzhokhar Tsarnaev sentencing

From Massachusetts-

The state's three Episcopal bishops, including the Right Rev. Douglas Fisher of the Western Massachusetts diocese, have issued a statement reaffirming their church's stance against the death penalty. The statement adds to the voices of those taking stands on the fate of convicted Boston Marathon bomber Dzhokhar Tsarnaev.

Referencing a letter written by the family of bombing victim Martin Richard at the start of the sentencing phase of Tsarnaev's trial this week, the statement says, as that letter "movingly asserted, justice will be fully served by a life sentence without parole."

A jury found the 21-year-old Tsarnaev guilty April 8 on all 30 charges in the first phase of the trial.

More here-

Tangled Up in Blue: Executive Council

From "Seven Whole Days"-

The Executive Council of the Episcopal Church has written several reports for the Blue Book. There are reports from various committees of Episcopal Council, and there is the Council’s main report. Today’s fun is focused on the Council report itself. It’s well worth reading, and you’ll make it through the 33 pages in no time at all. I know that sounds snarky, but I’m serious. It’s a quick but worthwhile read (until you get the resolutions, but more on that later).

In the first part of the report, we read a brief summary of what Executive Council has focused on and accomplished this triennium. Lots to note here, but I wish to raise up a few issues.

Church Center. One of the interesting issues that the 2012 General Convention addressed is the location of the Episcopal Church’s headquarters. Where do we want our staff to work? Resolution D016 was passed overwhelmingly, stating very simply and clearly, “That it is the will of this Convention to move the Church Center headquarters away from the Church Center building at 815 2nd Avenue, New York City.” Since then, these has been almost no public discussion about this topic and the only statements have come in the form of attempts to redefine or ignore what General Convention said.

More here-

Thursday, April 23, 2015

Archbishop of Canterbury preaches at Anglican cathedral in Cairo

From Anglican News-

Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby visited the Anglican All Saints Cathedral in Cairo and opened his sermon with a surprising comparison. Earlier he visited Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi, Grand Sheikh of al-Azhar Ahmad al-Tayyeb, and Coptic Orthodox Pope Tawadros II.

“It has been an interesting and useful day,” the archbishop told the packed cathedral of his high profile itinerary, “but worshipping with you is the most important part.

“Here we meet with Jesus Christ and become his witnesses.”

Welby’s visit was to offer condolences for Egypt’s most recent witnesses, the twenty Coptic Christians and one Ghanaian martyred in Libya in February. The word ‘martyr’ is derived from a Greek word meaning ‘witness.’

More here-

Is Anyone Religious Enough to Be President of the United States?

From Slate-

It is easy to suspect that this claptrap is an unprecedented display of disrespect. There are certainly unique dimensions to the “debate” over Obama’s faith: his race, his name, his policies perceived as hostile to conservative Christian values, his identity as the first president raised in a non-Christian home, and his longtime membership in an inflammatory pastor’s church, to name a few. But historian Gary Scott Smith’s new book Religion in the Oval Office, which traces the religious lives of 11 presidents from John Adams to Obama, makes clear that dark rumors about a president’s secret faithlessness are nothing new. The hefty new volume and its predecessor, Faith and the Presidency, point to a startling suggestion: No president in history has been Christian enough for the American people.

More here-

Rachel Held Evans: the Church can be a place of hope – even for millennials

From Christian Today-

Much has been made of American blogger and author Rachel Held Evans' decision to leave the evangelical church and attend an Episcopal church. But her latest book, 'Searching for Sunday: loving, leaving and finding the church' (Nelson Books), is about more than that, and it would be a shame for it to be reduced to the binary terms of the very labels she is trying to escape.

After all, the book is a memoir, not a doctrinal thesis. The reflections she makes based on her own journey and those around her – such as a return to tradition – are not necessarily a blueprint for all millennials, but could be seen instead as a report from the front line: what it looks like to try and come to terms with your religious heritage, and find a new and living faith as an independent, thinking adult.

More here-

Social justice advocate to speak at Brevard College

From North Carolina-

The Rev. Michael Curry, the 11th Bishop of the Episcopal Diocese of North Carolina and a social justice advocate, will speak at Brevard College Friday.

He will deliver a lecture called "Let Justice Roll Down Like Waters!" at 7 p.m. at the Porter Center for Performing Arts.

The college is co-sponsoring the event with the Transylvania County chapter of the NAACP. A panel of speakers representing the NAACP and Brevard College will follow the lecture. The event is free and open to the public.

More here-

Wednesday, April 22, 2015

Rwanda: Rucyahana Whips up Support for Girls' Education

From Rwanda-

A bottom-up approach in girls' education needs to be adopted if the country is to consolidate its current gains in achieving gender parity.

Speaking at an outreach programme aimed at drumming up support for girls' education in Kigali, yesterday, retired Anglican Bishop John Rucyahana said to do this, there has to be a radical change in the way society perceives girls' education.

"We must maintain and sustain what we have achieved as a nation as far as gender parity is concerned," said Rucyahana, who is president of the National Unity and Reconciliation Commission (NURC).

NURC facilitated the session.

"To maintain the impressive numbers of women we have in Parliament, we have to go down to the grassroots, in the villages and in homesteads. We should make sure that from this level, we give girls as much attention as we do boys. We can't afford to continue treating girls the way we currently do."

More here-

Portland, Falmouth churches to welcome Episcopal leader

From Maine-

The head of the Episcopal Church in the United States will make two stops in southern Maine this weekend as her term winds down.

The Rev. Katharine Jefferts Schori, the 26th presiding bishop of the Episcopal Church, will visit churches in Portland and Falmouth, where she will celebrate the 125th anniversary of the Episcopal Church of St. Mary.

Jefferts Schori, who is from Nevada, will hold a town hall-style meeting on April 25 from 1 p.m.-3 p.m. at St. Luke’s Cathedral, 143 State St.

She will be at St. Mary's, 43 Foreside Road, Falmouth, on April 26 at 9 a.m. to preside and preach at a worship service marking the church's 125th anniversary.

More here-

Anglican bishop expresses horror at ISIS killing of Ethiopian Christians

From ENS-

The Anglican bishop for Ethiopia has hailed as martyrs 28 Ethiopian Christians shot or beheaded in Libya by members of the terrorist group known as ISIS or ISIL.

LeMarquand is Anglican Area Bishop for the Horn of Africa (Eritrea, Djibouti, Somalia and Ethiopia) and Assistant Bishop of the Diocese of Egypt with North Africa and the Horn of Africa.

“It is too early to learn the names of these newest martyrs. It is also too early to know what churches they came from.” the bishop said.

“I have just learne
d the horrifying news that as many as twenty-eight Ethiopian Christians have been shot or beheaded in Libya by members of the terrorist group known as ISIS or ISIL. This alarming act of violence against those that ISIS calls ‘people of the cross’ comes just two months after twenty-one other Christians – twenty Egyptians and one Ghanian, were beheaded on a Libyan beach.” Bishop Grant LeMarquand said in a letter to be read in Ethopian churches and distributed overseas.

More here-

Episcopal bishops' long-planned trip to Cuba takes on character of 'diplomatic mission'

From Salt Lake City-

The Right Rev. Scott Hayashi's recent trip to Cuba started out as an opportunity to learn more about the Episcopal Church on the island country and to support its appointed Bishop Griselda Delgado del Carpio.

With the trip two years in the planning stages, the group of 11 American bishops could have in no way anticipated President Obama's recent announcement that his administration will re-establish diplomatic relations with Cuba and the Episcopal Church in Cuba voting to rejoin the Episcopal Church. The World Council of Churches happened to be meeting in Cuba during the bishops' long-scheduled trip.

Their visit April 7-12 occurred shortly before the 54th anniversary of President John F. Kennedy sending an army of CIA-backed anti-Castro exiles onto the beach at Cuba’s Bay of Pigs to suffer bloody, catastrophic defeat.

More here-

Tuesday, April 21, 2015

Conservative Anglican group backs away from split with Anglican Communion

From The Washington Post-

Widely viewed as a schismatic movement, the Global Anglican Future Conference, or GAFCON, a grouping of conservative Anglicans, says it is not leaving the worldwide Anglican Communion.

Instead, the movement says it is committed to renewing the 85 million-member communion from within.

GAFCON members from Africa, Europe, America and Asia, met in London last week where they discussed the future of global Anglicanism.

“The members of our churches stand at the heart of the communion, which is why we are committing to its renewal,” the GAFCON Primate Council said in a statement at the end of the April 13-17 conference. “We belong to the mainstream, and we are moving forward.”

More here-

Christians, adherents of most major religions, support equality for LGBT people

From Ireland-

The forthcoming referendum in which Irish people will be asked to extend the civil right to marry to gay and lesbian couples has generated much debate about the nature of marriage, the extent of homophobia in Irish society and the status of particular religious values in a secular and pluralistic state.

Throughout the debate, however, there has been a mistaken assumption that those who are motivated by religious belief do not support marriage equality, and that the only theological arguments that can be made are those that would deny the right to civil marriage to gay and lesbian couples.

More here-

My Journey Through Evangelicalism (and Seven Reasons I Left)

From Patheos-

I have decided to write a series of posts in which I explain my own theological journey through evangelicalism–and outside the other side. I have contemplated doing this for some time, and now with the end of my first year teaching  behind me (at an ecumenical seminary decidedly not identified with evangelicalism), I feel a bit freed up to think about my journey more reflectively. It’s a hot topic too, thanks to the release of Rachel Held Evan’s book, Searching for Sunday, and the discussion her journey to the Episcopal church has provoked regarding the identity of evangelicalism and its future viability for the increasing ranks of the malcontent. (Note: RHE has pointed out her book is not really about evangelicalism and its problems, but that’s how the conversation has turned).

I’m not taking this on because I think people need to hear the specifics of my personal journey, but because it seems there are quite a few people out there with similar stories and similar questions, who are wrestling with their own theological and faith-identities. Perhaps these posts can add to an already vibrant discussion about what it means to be Christian today–in particular, what it means to be “evangelical.” For many of us, it is becoming increasingly difficult to own the term. When does the old wineskin break?

Read more:

Monday, April 20, 2015

Christ Church Cathedral burglary charges dropped

From New Zealand-

Two men charged with burgling the quake-damaged Christ Church Cathedral have avoided prosecution after apologising and giving money to the Anglican diocese.

The burglary charges were dropped by the police when the case was called in the Christchurch District Court on Monday. The prosecutor told Judge Stephen O'Driscoll there was no public interest in the men being prosecuted.

The men, Phillip Mark Pavich, 55, and Gilbert Southworth, 46, both from Waikato, did not attend the unexpected hearing. Their attendance was excused.

They had been arrested in March after motion-activated cameras inside the cathedral captured images of them entering the building at 3.30am on March 21. The men had climbed the perimeter fence and walked through the main doors before having a good look around.

More here-

'To God, no one is invisible': Anglican Alliance joins anti-poverty drive

From Anglican News-

The Anglican Alliance has joined more than 30 leaders from world religions and global faith-based organisations in a commitment to collective action to end extreme poverty by 2030.

The leaders have signed a declaration, Ending Extreme Poverty: A Moral and Spiritual Imperative, that sets out a vision for action: that humanity has both the responsibility and the capability to lift the last billion people out of extreme poverty in our generation.

This is a goal shared by the World Bank Group, which has convened a dialogue process with faith groups under the leadership of World Bank President Jim Kim.

More here-,-no-one-is-invisible-anglican-alliance-joins-anti-poverty-drive.aspx

Sunday, April 19, 2015

Traditional Worship Is the Future

From Huffington-

Conservative Christians love to get their knickers in a twist over various things from time to time such as the horrifying possibility that a victim of sex trafficking might seek an abortion after a rape, or the completely made up issue of "religious discrimination" where apparently roaming gangs of LGBT couples are going around forcing god-fearing business owners to treat them with respect (or at least like any other paying customer).

Politics aside, a perpetual source of gleeful angst is when someone formerly deemed "one of us" dares to nuance an obscure theological teaching about heaven (Rob Bell), dares to be honest about doubt in the life of faith (Ryan Bell), dares, heaven forfend, to make a slight lateral move from Christian pop to secular pop (Amy Grant), or worst of all, becomes Episcopalian!

In the most recent kerfuffle, Christian author and blogger Rachel Held Evans has been excoriated in advance of her upcoming book, Searching For Sunday, where she speaks about her faith journey from Evangelical roots to sacramental worship that has led her to her current worshipping community at an Episcopal church. (And for the record, she herself points out, she's not even officially Episcopalian having not yet been confirmed).

More here-

Healing the past: Episcopal program studies history of church, Native culture

From South Dakota-

South Dakota's Episcopalians are working to mend what one priest calls “historical trauma” between the church and Native Americans.

“It can hurt, but it’s very important,” said the Rev. Paul Sneve who facilitates efforts to mend the wounds of the past. “The more we talk about it, that’s how we begin to heal our historical trauma.”

Twice a year, the former rector of St. Matthew’s Episcopal Church in Rapid City leads a workshop on the history of the Dakota and Lakota people and the impact of assimilation on their culture, traditions and spirituality. Episcopalian clergy, parishioners and others attend the two-day Dakota Experience, which was recently held in Rapid City.

“We discuss the good and the bad in our history,” Sneve said.

More here-