Saturday, May 2, 2015

‘I felt a hypocrite': Author Michael Coren on why he left the Catholic Church for Anglicanism

From National Post (Canada) with video-

Until his recent conversion to Anglicanism, the broadcaster and author Michael Coren was one of Canada’s best known Catholics. He has a Catholic wife and four Catholic children and is the author of books that include “Why Catholics Are Right.” So when he was formally welcomed into an Anglican congregation in Toronto the other day, after worshipping with them privately for a year, the news caused a stir in the Catholic world. False rumours were circulated about his motives. Old scandals from a career in punditry were dredged up. The uproar cost him several speeches to conservative American Catholic groups, and his regular column in the Catholic Register was pulled. As he tells the National Post‘s Joseph Brean, he was driven to Protestantism by a growing sense of hypocrisy.

More here-

Making Peace in Baltimore

From PBS- (with video)

The death of Freddie Gray, an African-American man who died while in police custody, set off widespread—and sometimes violent—protests, marches, and demonstrations that have focused the attention of religious and civic leaders on issues of poverty, hopelessness, race, and police violence. Bishop Eugene Sutton, Episcopal bishop of the Diocese of Maryland, tells R&E “the cycle of hopelessness and poverty and violence has been building up for years,” but “the church has a moral voice that it can use,” and “eventually justice has to be done in order for there to be peace.”

More here-

Four chosen as nominees for 27th presiding bishop

From ENS-

The Joint Nominating Committee for the Election of the Presiding Bishop May 1 announced the names of the bishops it will nominate this summer to succeed Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori.

The four names will be formally submitted to the General Convention during a joint session on June 26, the day prior to the day set for the election by the House of Bishops of the 27th presiding bishop. The nominees are:

The Rt. Rev. Thomas Breidenthal, 64, Diocese of Southern Ohio

The Rt. Rev. Michael Curry, 62, Diocese of North Carolina

The Rt. Rev. Ian Douglas, 56, Diocese of Connecticut

The Rt. Rev. Dabney Smith, 61, Diocese of Southwest Florida

More here-

Breakaway South Carolina Episcopal Diocese Mulling Affiliation With Conservative Anglican Group

From Christian Post-

A diocese that broke away from The Episcopal Church in 2012 over theological and personal differences might join a prominent conservative Anglican group.

Representatives for the Diocese of South Carolina and the Anglican Church in North America met Tuesday and Wednesday about the possible affiliation.

Held at the St. Christopher Camp and Conference Center in South Carolina, the meeting was overseen by South Carolina Diocese Bishop Mark Lawrence and ACNA Archbishop Foley Beach.


Top female Episcopal bishop defrocked four months after her DUI arrest in bicyclist’s death

From The Washington Post- (More links below)

Facing a manslaughter trial next month in the drunk-driving death of a bicyclist, a top Maryland bishop was defrocked Friday by the Episcopal Church. Heather Cook was the first female bishop in the Diocese of Maryland, which also announced Friday that she has lost her position there.

Cook’s resignation as an employee of 44,000-person diocese ends what was an embarrassing employment issue for the diocese. Bishop Eugene Sutton, the diocese’s leader, had asked in January for her to step down and thousands of Episcopalians were on Facebook pages calling for her to leave her job and to face tough criminal charges.

More here-

Baltimore Brew-

Baltimore Sun-

Friday, May 1, 2015

Dual actions end Heather Cook’s ordained ministry, employment

From ENS-

Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori announced May 1 that she and Episcopal Diocese of Maryland Bishop Suffragan Heather Cook have reached an agreement that deprives her of her status as an ordained person in The Episcopal Church; moreover, that announcement came on the same day that Cook resigned her diocesan post.

Cook is scheduled to go on trial in June for allegedly causing the Dec. 27 car-bicycle accident in Baltimore that killed bicyclist Thomas Palermo. The simultaneous May 1 announcements do not involve the legal proceedings against Cook, but they do end all ecclesiastical disciplinary matters pending against her.

Maryland Bishop Eugene Taylor Sutton had placed Cook on administrative leave shortly after the accident. Jefferts Schori restricted her ministry on Feb. 10

The statement from the Office of the Presiding Bishop is here and below.

More here-

Heather Cook Deposed

From The Living Church-

The Diocese of Maryland has accepted the resignation of Heather Cook as suffragan bishop, and Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori has announced an accord in which Cook accepted a sentence of deposition from ordained ministry.

The diocese announced at 3 p.m. (EDT):

The Right Rev. Eugene Taylor Sutton and the Standing Committee of the Episcopal Diocese of Maryland today announced the acceptance of the resignation of Heather E. Cook as bishop suffragan of the Episcopal Diocese of Maryland. This means that Cook is no longer employed by the diocese. 

The acceptance of Cook’s resignation is independent of any Title IV disciplinary action taken by the Episcopal Church.

The Episcopal Church’s Office of Public Affairs announced:

More here-

Today’s doctrinal disputes may well seem irrelevant to future generations

From Catholic Herald-

Luther's criticism of Aristotle does not seem important today. Nor will today's political fads in the future

It may come as something of a surprise to many that ARCIC is still in business. But the Anglican Roman Catholic International Commission, which is the forum for ecumenism between Catholics and the Anglican Communion, met recently in Rome, where they were addressed by the Pope. This is ARCIC’s third incarnation, and it has been going now for some considerable time. There is a useful summary of its history here.

It is worth remembering just why the ecumenical movement started in modern times. When Protestant churches sent missionaries abroad, to Africa and Asia, they naturally realised that a difficulty existed. How on earth were they to explain to people in Africa that the Christian Church, One, Catholic and Apostolic, was in fact not one, but a bunch of rival enterprises? It was thought, among the Churches of the Reformation, that the various communities should not turn mission lands into disputed territories. But in fact if you go to Kenya today, there are numerous Protestant Churches that have been planted there: Anglican, Presbyterian, Methodist, and even “the Friends’ Church”, which one assumes is what in Europe goes by the name of the Society of Friends.

More here-

US Episcopal Church backs Arctic refuge Bill

From The Church Time-

THE Episcopal Church in the United States is backing plans to designate 12.28 million acres of the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge as wilderness - a move that would block any drilling for oil or gas in the area.

President Obama has urged Congress to support a Bill to protect the area, describing it as "one of the most beautiful, undisturbed places in the world". The wilderness designation will include the area's coastal plain, home to the Porcupine Caribou herd, on which the indigenous Gwich'in people depend for survival.

The Republicans in Congress, however, argue that the oil-rich region should be opened up for drilling. The Republican Senator for Alaska, Dan Sullivan, said that the proposal was "outrageous", and would "undermine Alaska's future and America's energy security".

The Episcopal Church praised President Obama for taking a "critical step in protecting a sacred part of God's creation". The majority of the 7000 Gwich'in people are Episcopalian.

More here-

Pope Welcomes ARCIC III

From The Living Church and Vatican Radio-

Pope Francis met on Thursday with members of the Anglican-Roman Catholic International Commission, telling them that the cause of unity is not an optional undertaking. The 18 Anglican and Catholic members of the commission, known as ARCIC III, are holding their annual encounter this week at an ancient retreat house in the Alban hills, south of Rome. Philippa Hitchen reports.

Meeting with the members of ARCIC III, Pope Francis noted the current session is studying the relationship between the universal Church and the local Church — a question central to his own reform programme — with particular reference to difficult decision making over moral and ethical questions.

More here-

Want millennials back in the pews? Stop trying to make church ‘cool.’

From The Washington Post (Rachel Held Evans)-

Bass reverberates through the auditorium floor as a heavily bearded worship leader pauses to invite the congregation, bathed in the light of two giant screens, to tweet using #JesusLives. The scent of freshly brewed coffee wafts in from the lobby, where you can order macchiatos and purchase mugs boasting a sleek church logo. The chairs are comfortable, and the music sounds like something from the top of the charts. At the end of the service, someone will win an iPad.

This, in the view of many churches, is what millennials like me want. And no wonder pastors think so. Church attendance has plummeted among young adults. In the United States, 59 percent of people ages 18 to 29 with a Christian background have, at some point, dropped out. According to the Pew Forum on Religion & Public Life, among those of us who came of age around the year 2000, a solid quarter claim no religious affiliation at all, making my generation significantly more disconnected from faith than members of Generation X were at a comparable point in their lives and twice as detached as baby boomers were as young adults.

More here-

Westminster Abbey accused of 'denial of Christ's Lordship' in Muhammad prayer row

From Christian Today-

Westminster Abbey has been accused of "denial of the Lordship of Jesus Christ" after the prophet Muhammad was described as "the chosen one" in a prayer at a First World War service.

The Abbey, which is a Royal Peculiar under the personal jurisdiction of the Queen and outside the Church of England's diocesan structures, included a Turkish prayer in the recent service of commemoration and thanksgiving marking the centenary of the Gallipoli campaign.

The Archbishop Cranmer blogspot noted that God was thanked in the Abbey, and referred to as Allah, and there was no problem with that because Allah is simply Arabic for 'The God'.

"We may quibble over conflicting doctrines and cavil over contradictory revelations, but if St Paul can address a meeting of the Areopagus and exhort the incipient virtue in the ignorance of Athenian religiosity, whether you call the Creator of the universe 'God', 'Jehovah', 'YHWH', 'I Am' or 'Allah', you are acknowledging (in mirrors darkly) the One who does not live in temples built by human hands, and the One who gives everyone life and breath and everything else," he wrote.

More here-

Thursday, April 30, 2015

Appeals court denies breakaway group’s motion in federal lawsuit

From South Carolina-

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit today denied a petition for rehearing filed by attorneys for Mark Lawrence, affirming its March 31 ruling in favor of Bishop Charles G. vonRosenberg of The Episcopal Church in South Carolina that sent vonRosenberg v. Lawrence back to U.S. District Court in Charleston.

The one-page ruling from the appeals court comes only 15 days after the petition for rehearing was filed by attorneys who are representing Bishop Lawrence and others who have left The Episcopal Church.

More here-

Church of England begins 'shared conversations' on human sexuality - can it reach 'good disagreement'?

From Christian Today (Ruth Gledhill)-

The Church of England begins its long process this week on how to avoid schism and reach "good disagreement" over the issue of homosexuality and same-sex marriage. At the same time, leading conservative evangelicals recommended Gafcon, whose leaders met recently in London, as a way forward for Anglicans who wished to remain true to biblical teaching.

In the first of a series of facilitated "conversations" taking place in the South West, church members and senior clergy are struggling to find a way to "bless and affirm" gay people and their relationships while remaining "united".

More here-

LGBT Kenyans gain the right to organize, and churches promise to fight

From Crux (and Kenya)-

In a move that has stirred the anger of Kenya’s anti-gay Christian groups and sparked celebration by pro-gay clergy, the nation’s High Court has ruled that gay rights activists have the right to formally register their own groups and welfare organizations.

A three-judge panel issued the ruling Friday in response to a 2013 petition by the National Gay and Lesbian Human Rights Commission. The organization had unsuccessfully tried — five times — to register under the nation’s Non-Governmental Organizations Co-ordination Act since 2012, but had been rejected on grounds that Kenya’s penal code criminalized gay and lesbian associations.

This time, things were different, with the court ruling that refusing to register the organization was an infringement of the constitutional rights of association for LGBT people. The judges said registration was not about the moral and religious views of Kenyans, since the constitution does not set a limit of rights.

More here-

In Good Faith: Baltimore's burst bubble

From Utica NY-

There was an adage growing up in white Baltimore that declared, “70 percent of Baltimore is black; the rest of us all know each other.” I recall being vaguely uncomfortable whenever I heard it — the product of liberal parents — but also thinking, well, there is some truth to that.

And therein lies the problem. Despite all the rhetoric, Baltimore, like many urban areas, has remained a segregated city — geographically, socio-economically, religiously, politically. The forces of income inequality and institutional racism, combined with the tragic and preventable death of Freddie Gray, have sparked the inevitable outburst of despair triumphing over hope.

As the Episcopal bishop of Maryland put it in a sermon he preached on Tuesday afternoon, “We are in an official state of emergency, but we are also in an unofficial state of despair.”

More here-

A Call to the Episcopal Church to Recognize the New Political Landscape in Israel & Palestine

From RNS-

As the Episcopal Church approaches its 78th General Convention in Salt Lake City this June, a new group, the Episcopal Committee for Justice in Israel and Palestine, has been created to advocate for a just and lasting peace in the Holy Land. (See below for names of group members.)

To coincide with the announcement of its formation, the Committee has issued a statement and resolution, featuring a foreword by Archbishop Emeritus Desmond Tutu, calling on the church to recognize the new political realities in Israel/Palestine and to adjust its policies accordingly to ensure that we are not profiting from human rights abuses and the suffering of our fellow human beings. Specifically, the Committee is calling on the church to investigate whether we are complicit in Israeli human rights abuses through investments in companies that profit from Israel’s illegal occupation and colonization of Palestinian lands, and to advance the process to divest from such companies if we are found to be doing so.

More here-

Wednesday, April 29, 2015

PB Welcomes Bishop David Bane

From The Living Church (with lots of background links)

Bane worked with the Anglican Church of the Redeemer in Camden County. Made up of former parishioners from Christ Episcopal Church, and currently led by the rector, the Rev. Craig Stephans, Bane says he made good friends there, and enjoyed working with Stephans, a man he is happy to call friend.

“I love Craig Stephans and the folks at Redeemer,” said Bane. “They are still dear friends.”

But Bane had realized, he explained, that the Episcopal Church is his home, and he was ready to return to it. It is a decision that has roots in his decision to become a priest in the first place.

More here-

Also here-

Supreme Court cases prelude to marriage debate at General Convention

From ENS-

Episcopalians who followed the April 28 U.S. Supreme Court oral arguments on whether same-sex couples have a constitutional right to be married were no doubt looking ahead to the implications of the court’s eventual ruling for this summer’s General Convention.

The Episcopal Church officially has advocated for equal treatment of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people in both the civil and ecclesial arenas for years. However, it was not until 2012 that the General Convention voted to consider anew the church’s theology of marriage, and LGBT Episcopalians’ access to the sacramental rite.

More here-

Tuesday, April 28, 2015

Court hears about financial failings within Anglican Diocese of Bathurst

From Australia-

The management board of the debt-ridden Anglican Diocese of Bathurst in western New South Wales has admitted huge loans weren't properly examined before being approved.

The Commonwealth Bank is suing the Anglican Diocese of Bathurst for outstanding debts of $40 million dating back to 2007.

The diocese is being sued in the Supreme Court in Sydney and is responsible for roughly a third of all Anglican parishes across the state ranging from Bathurst to Bourke.

More here-

Obiano fetes Anglican Communion Bishops

From Ghana-

THE governor of Anambra State, Chief Willie Obiano, has taken steps to strengthen the existing relationship between his administration and religious organisations, especially the Anglican Communion, in the state.

Governor Obiano, at a dinner he organised for Archbishops and Bishops of the Anglican Communion at the Banquet Hall of the Governor’s Lodge, Amawbia, described the Church and government as partners in progress in the task of changing lives and building a virile society.

The governor expressed the belief that a healthy relationship with all denominations will avail his administration of the much-needed peace and spiritual backing to actualise its lofty dreams for the state.

More here-

One candidate added to Dominican Republic bishop coadjutor slate

From ENS-

The Standing Committee of the Episcopal Diocese of the Dominican Republic has announced an additional candidate to stand for election as bishop coadjutor.

The Rev. P. Salvador Patrick Ros Suarez, 59, rector, Church of the Good Shepherd, Rahway, New Jersey, Diocese of New Jersey.

Ros joins three other candidates who were announced in March. 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.

More here-

Monday, April 27, 2015

St. Stephen’s service focuses on jobs not jail

From Massachusetts -

Jobs, not jails. That’s the focus of the Justice Reinvestment Act in Massachusetts and elsewhere. And Sunday, one of the program’s co-founders, Mass. state Rep. Byron Rushing, visited St. Stephen’s Memorial Episcopal Church to talk about that, and other things.

Rushing, the House majority whip, spoke both at Sunday’s service and then again at the Soul Celebration afterward.

While his district includes parts of Boston, Rushing, an Episcopal layman, said that “in our baptism, we as Christians all inherited a constituency.

“That’s a huge group,” he said, “not just those close to us. You and I are familiar with the people in our community, but we must also include the wounded and unwounded as well as the included and the outcast. We must seek Christ in all persons.”

More here-

Newark congregation rescues historic church

From Ohio-

It has been a long journey for members of the Trinity Episcopal Church in Newark, one whose first steps were taken with trepidation but now, with faith, have become confident strides toward a goal.

It was about two years ago when the congregation learned that the massive, nearly 125-year-old timbers supporting the expansive slate roof above the sanctuary were rotting from water damage.

Fear that the beams would crumble under the weight of the roof meant the congregation might have to abandon its beautiful place of worship, a nave bathed in light from some of the most beautiful stained-glass windows in Licking County.

Faced with a monumental decision of abandoning the church or taking on a repair estimated at more than $1 million, the church members, after some debate, chose restoration.

More here-