Saturday, May 23, 2015

Michael Palin: my seven of the best (Churches)

From The Church Times-

CHURCHES, of one kind or another, have played important roles throughout my life, although, I must admit that I am no longer a devout worshipper, if indeed I ever was.

I remember filming for the Himalaya series at Rawalpindi in Pakistan, in the only brewery in the entire country. There was only one outlet for the products of the Murree Brewery, and that was a hole in the wall at the back of Raffles Hotel on the Grand Trunk Road. Here, liquor could be purchased, but only after I'd filled in a very thorough form: "Mother's Name; Father's Name; Place of Birth; Religion."

As I was on camera I felt I should be scrupulously honest; so I wrote down "Agnostic" and pushed the form towards him. He took one look, shook his head, and pushed it back to me. How could I be more specific? I thought again, and after some deliberation wrote "Agnostic with doubts". I pushed this across to him, he took it quite happily and passed me a large bottle of Murree whisky.

More here-

Former archbishop of Canterbury weighs in on fundamentalist threat

From Toledo-

The Right Rev. and Right Hon. George Carey includes among his passions his wife, Eileen; the Barclays Premier League football club Arsenal; and “certain things such as a peaceful world,” he told The Blade during an interview at St. John’s Episcopal Church in Detroit.

The former archbishop of Canterbury elaborated on obstacles to peace that he sees.

“I really do feel very worried about” what is happening to Christians in the Middle East at the hands of the Islamic State, Lord Carey said. “I think we’re now living in a world more dangerous than ever.”


Detroit area 'Lutherpalians' blend faiths

From Michigan-

On a recent evening, Andrew Seng dressed up in a suit to officially become a Lutheran and an Episcopalian.

The 16-year-old was raised in the township's Advent Episcopal Church, which lost its building and in 2012 started holding services at nearby Sylvan Lake Lutheran. The congregations soon bonded and, in an unusual twist, eventually blended their worship.

After adding another Lutheran flock, parishioners in April voted unanimously to formally combine into a single assembly with full membership in two denominations.

So, the same ceremony at which Seng celebrated his confirmation also toasted the birth of a relative rarity in Metro Detroit: a Lutheran-Episcopal community now called Spirit of Grace Church with about 140 members — one of only four such mixes in the region and about 50 nationwide, church officials said.

More here-

Jon Meacham: Keep the Feast

From The Living Church-

At the largely full St. Jerome’s Church in Oconomowoc, Wisconsin, historian and journalist Jon Meacham delivered a commencement address for Nashotah House Theological Seminary’s class of 2015.

Meacham, a proponent of a liberal perspective on same-sex unions, called himself a “diversity appointment” to Nashotah’s board of visitors, which drew laughter. Meacham described how his faith was formed by his years as a student of the University of the South (Sewanee) and a member of Saint Thomas’ Church, Fifth Avenue. He described both Sewanee and Nashotah as “small places devoted to big ideals.”

More here-

Editorial: Questions for the Bishop-Elect (Dallas)

From The Cafe-

The Diocese of Dallas last week elected George Sumner to be their next bishop, effective with his consecration. As with all bishops-elect, consecration cannot take place without consent. Given recent history of some dioceses asserting the right to leave the Episcopal Church, it is imperative that those taking part in the consent process ask Sumner his views on the polity of the Episcopal Church. Specifically, what is his stand on whether dioceses have the unilateral power to leave the Episcopal Church? The reasons Sumner and the Diocese of Dallas are of particular concern are laid out below.

More here-

Friday, May 22, 2015

St. Blasé’s welcomes you!

A little humor from The Living Church-

What follows is a (fictional) transcript between the Rev. Cindy Pendleton-Hokemeier, rector of St. Blasé’s Episcopal Church in General Oaks, KS (a suburb of Kansas City), and Tom Griffith, a writer for the General Oaks Herald. Any resemblance between actual persons and events is entirely coincidental.

Tom Griffith: Rev. Pendleton-Hokemeier, thanks for meeting with me, and congratulations on St. Blasé’s semicentennial celebration. The Herald sent me here to gather some information for the article we’re going to run in a few days.

Cindy Pendleton-Hokemeier: Thank you! We’re very excited about what God is doing in our community.

TG: So, tell me a little bit about your church.

CPH: Well, we’re a diverse, inclusive, and dynamic congregation in the heart of the suburbs. Our mission is to “care for all God’s children through service, justice, and intentional community-building.”

More here-

Civilians in South Sudan without relief as aid-workers stuck in camps

From The Church Times-

KILLINGS, rape, and the razing of houses to the ground are devastating the northern region of South Sudan, as aid agencies withdraw and the UN struggles to secure access.

Eyewitnesses report the targeted rape and killing of civilians, including children. About 100,000 people taking refuge in UN camps at Malakal, Upper Nile State, and Bentiu, Unity State, are now cut off, a spokesman for UNICEF, Jonathan Veitch, said on Tuesday.

"Survivors reported to UNICEF that whole villages were burned to the ground by armed groups while large numbers of girls and women were taken outside to be raped and killed, including children as young as seven," Mr Veitch said. "I don't know why people would do that to children; it's absolutely staggering that it's taking place."

More here-


A Rebuttal to the previous Salon post from Beitbart-

In a recent article in Salon Magazine, pro-abort Patricia Miller can barely control her glee in the numerical decline in the number of Americans professing an affiliation with the Catholic Church, as she imagines a nation where the most vociferous opponent to abortion-on-demand is silenced.

Miller asserts that conservative Catholic bishops have had a disproportionate influence in the culture wars, and she envisions the falling number of Catholics as lessening bishops’ moral authority on such issues as abortion and religious liberty.

The Catholic Church’s American downfall: Why its demographic crisis is great news for the country

From Salon-

The big decline in the number of Catholics may give progressives in the church a critical boost going into this fall’s Synod on the Family, which is part two of the historic meeting of bishops that Pope Francis called to consider reforms like allowing divorced and remarried Catholics to receive communion. For years, conservatives have pointed to the Catholic Church’s relatively stable numbers during the orthodox papacies of Popes John Paul II and Benedict as evidence that it is conservative policies that will ensure the future of the church. As New York Times columnist Ross Douthat famously warned in 2012:

[T]oday the Episcopal Church looks roughly how Roman Catholicism would look if Pope Benedict XVI suddenly adopted every reform ever urged on the Vatican by liberal pundits and theologians. It still has priests and bishops, altars and stained-glass windows. But it is flexible to the point of indifference on dogma, friendly to sexual liberation in almost every form, willing to blend Christianity with other faiths, and eager to downplay theology entirely in favor of secular political causes. Yet instead of attracting a younger, more open-minded demographic with these changes, the Episcopal Church’s dying has proceeded apace. … Practically every denomination—Methodist, Lutheran, Presbyterian—that has tried to adapt itself to contemporary liberal values has seen an Episcopal-style plunge in church attendance.

More here-

JPMorgan Gets Church’s Trust Mismanagement Claims Thrown Out

From Indianapolis-

JPMorgan Chase & Co. defeated claims that it put its own interests first and mismanaged trust accounts established for an Indianapolis church endowed by the descendants of drug company founder Eli Lilly.

Christ Church Cathedral sued the bank last year, saying it selected unsuitable and poorly performing investments, causing the church trusts to lose $13 million in value from July 2004 to December 2013.

U.S. District Judge Larry McKinney in Indianapolis on Thursday threw out the case, while allowing the Episcopal church to revise and refile some claims within a month. He faulted its lawyers for lumping together disparate JPMorgan units in its court papers and said their allegations lacked specificity.

More here-

St. John’s Episcopal displays symbol of inclusion

From South Carolina-

For the first time, a downtown Charleston church is flying a Gay Pride flag. The intent is to show that St. John’s Episcopal Church is a welcoming community, said church member and Straight and Gay Alliance president Travis Baldwin.

Those walking or driving along Quarrier Street in downtown Charleston may have noticed two new flags fluttering in the breeze at St. John’s Episcopal Church.

“One is the official Episcopal flag and the other is the Gay Pride flag,” said Travis Baldwin, church member and president of the Straight and Gay Alliance (SAGA). “St. John’s has always been an inclusive church since the late 1960s.”

He said the flags were the idea of the Rev. Canon Donald Vinson, of the Episcopal Diocese, who previously served as a supply priest for St. John’s and is now retired.

More here-

Thursday, May 21, 2015

Exeter Cathedral facing uncertain future after £12.8m Roman Baths project denied funding

From The UK-

Exeter Cathedral is fighting for its future after it failed to secure multi-million pound funding to uncover the city’s Roman baths.

The £8.7m Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF) bid would have seen the first century bath house, buried under the Cathedral Green, excavated and opened to the public.

But the ambitious plans to create a worldwide tourist attraction were dealt a major blow when the funding body decided not to support the project.

The Dean of the Cathedral admitted he was concerned for its future as staff try to maintain the £4,000 a day running costs of the Anglican building.

More here-

A Curious Discovery

From Huffington-

Today, the American government released the list of documents found during the raid on the Pakistani compound in which Osama bin Laden was found and shot. Much of it is predictable: Islamic theology, terrorist manuals, conspiracy theory books and so on. One document is, however, remarkable. It is no less than something entitled "Profiles of Bishops in the Church of England." At this point I could understand you checking the date to make sure that this is not a delayed 1 April blog -- but it isn't.

It's a bit unfortunate really, isn't it? Of all the Christian books and literature that he could have had to read, he ends up with this. But why did the man, who was for so long global Public Enemy Number One, keep this document on his bookshelves? The possibility that one of our bishops is in fact already in the employment of Al Qaeda is, I think, unlikely. All Anglican bishops are specifically chosen on the basis that they will strike terror into no one!

More here-

Anglican mission calls for recognition of seafarers’ role in migrant rescue

From ENS-

The International Christian Maritime Association (ICMA), the International Maritime Health Association (IMHA) and the International Seafarers Welfare and Assistance Network (ISWAN) have issued a joint press release calling on EU governments to recognize the key role of seafarers in the rescue of migrants at sea.

They have sent a letter to all heads of governments urgently requesting that more resources are mobilized for search and rescue in the Mediterranean.

The Mission to Seafarers, as one of 28 members of ICMA, fully supports this statement.

More here-

'Nones' are 'someones' in vibrant U.S. religious landscape

From Huffington-

The end is not near for religion in America - or elsewhere in the world.

What analysts are trying to divine, however, is the mystery of why more people are indicating "none" when asked their religious affiliation.

Does the evidence fewer people are identifying with specific faith groups herald a long-term loss of religious beliefs?

The debate gained momentum this month with the release of a Pew Research Center survey finding a substantial increase in the number of Americans who do not claim a religious affiliation. A few days earlier, prominent Baylor University scholars addressed the issue in a symposium on "The End of Religion?"

More here-

Wednesday, May 20, 2015

Malaysia's Anglican bishop 'no' to same-sex marriages

From News Asia-

The Anglican church here will not allow same-sex marriages to take place on its pre­mises, said newly installed Anglican bishop Melter Jiki.

The 50-year-old bishop, who is the first native Kadazan chosen to lead the 90,000-strong Anglican community in the state, said this when asked about the church's policies and what to expect during his tenure.

"We are totally against the so-called same-sex marriage. We will not allow it in the church," said the father of four who was installed as the sixth Anglican bishop in Sabah on Tuesday.

Some Anglican churches in European countries have accepted gay marriages and even performed the ceremony in their churches.

Bishop Melter said while other Anglican dioceses and provinces decided to ordain women to the priesthood, South-East Asia had not taken the step yet.

"We are not ready for such a move.

- See more at:

5 ways churches inflicted pain on themselves

From The Washington Post-

Let’s be clear: The much-heralded “decline of Christianity in America” isn’t about God losing faith in humankind.

It isn’t about losing our moral compass thanks to whatever you happen to loathe. It isn’t about fickle millennials. It isn’t about zigging trendy or zagging traditional.

In fact, I would argue that Christianity isn’t in trouble at all. Churches are in trouble. Denominations are in trouble. Religious institutions like seminaries are in trouble. Professional church leaders are in trouble.

More here-

Kingston church ransacked during burglary

From The Diocese of Bethlehem-

Police are investigating a burglary at Grace Episcopal Church that was ransacked with communion wafers thrown on the floor and vulgar graffiti painted on walls.

The Rev. John Franklin Hartman said the church administrator discovered the burglary and vandalism when she arrived at the church on Butler Street just before 8 a.m.

“When she arrived for work, she went through the front door and she noticed immediately some pictures that were on the wall were on the floor,” Hartman said. “When she went to her office, her office had totally been ransacked. The doors had been taken off the frames.”

Police Det. Thomas Paratore was at the church for most of Tuesday speaking with Hartman and other congregation members. Paratore was seen walking into the church with a forensic kit to dust for fingerprints.

More here-

Videos of the Presiding Bishop nominees

From The General Convention Office-

Tuesday, May 19, 2015

Pope to bishops: Stop ordering faithful around, fight graft

From AP-

Pope Francis has told bishops to strongly denounce corruption and to act more like pastors than "pilots" telling the faithful what to do.

Francis' strong words were aimed at members of the Italian bishops' conference, who opened their annual meeting at the Vatican on Monday. Francis, who is also the bishop of Rome, urged his bishops to be more Christ-like in showing humility, compassion, mercy and wisdom.

He told them to not shy away from denouncing the "diffuse mentality" of public and private corruption that he said impoverished families, honest workers and retirees, while marginalizing the neediest and depriving young people of hope. Italy is rife with corruption scandals, and its youth unemployment rate stands at 43 percent.

Read more here:

Lennox: Episcopalian decline highlights church woes

From Detroit-

Would you miss your church if it closed?

This thought-provoking question was posed by one of the foremost Protestant religious leaders when he visited the pre-Civil War St. John’s Episcopal Church in Detroit last week. (For full disclose, I not only attend the church in question but also serve on its vestry, aka board of directors.)

The question came from Lord George Carey, who in his capacity as archbishop of Canterbury from 1991 until retirement in 2002 was spiritual head of the Anglican Communion, would have been seen by some as controversial not long ago.

But it wasn’t, not least because it came only days after the release of a major Pew report that revealed hashtag-epic declines among the once dominant mainline churches that in so many ways defined American life for most of this country’s history.

More here-

Newport Beach Episcopal church to be sold

From Los Angeles-

The Episcopal Diocese of Los Angeles is nearing the end of negotiations to sell St. James the Great Episcopal Church in Newport Beach to real estate developers.

Bishop J. Jon Bruno announced the sale to congregants Sunday, Diocese spokesman Robert Williams said. The sale of the church could bring in roughly $15 million -- twice the appraised value of the site, Williams said.

Services at the church will likely continue into the fall, Williams said. No information on where congregants will be moved or whether the congregation may reopen at a different site was available on Monday, he said.

The church at 3209 Via Lido is in an area slated for several large development projects, including an overhaul of the Lido Marina Village, a proposed hotel on the former city hall site and townhomes in the 3300 block of Via Lido.

More here-

Episcopal Church details arguments to S.C. Supreme Court in local schism

From South Carolina-

The Episcopal Church and its local diocese have filed a brief with the S.C. Supreme Court detailing their arguments for overturning a circuit judge’s ruling that allowed parishes that left the national church in 2012 to take with them more than $500 million in church property and the Diocese of South Carolina name.

The S.C. Supreme Court agreed last month to hear the lawsuit, bypassing the state appellate court, and set Sept. 23 to hear oral arguments.

The parishes at issue all chose to identify with the Episcopal Church because of advantages to being included in the national brand, the 51-page brief states.

More here-

Monday, May 18, 2015

Tutu turns to God after family fight

From South Africa-

Leah Tutu is devastated that her eldest grandchild has, according to her, gone off the rails, but Ziyanda Tutu says she feels “upset and victimised” by her 81-year-old grandmother.

South Africans were given a glimpse this week of the fractured relationships in one of our most famous families.

The head of the family, Archbishop Emeritus Desmond Tutu – who spent the week praying for guidance – is a renowned peacemaker, but peace eluded his family this week.

Speaking to City Press on the phone yesterday from her home in Milnerton, Cape Town, a resolute-sounding Leah Tutu spoke of how she had finally had enough of her granddaughter’s antics.

Leah said she was “heartbroken” by her granddaughter’s behaviour – but was determined to see the matter go to court.

More here-

Church of Scotland plan for gay ministers offers possible ‘template’ for Anglicans

From The Telegraph-

The Church of England is facing renewed pressure to reconcile its divisions over homosexuality after the Church of Scotland agreed plans it hopes will enable openly gay clerics to serve as ministers without a split in the church.

Under plans agreed by the General Assembly, which is meeting in Edinburgh, congregations will be able to invite people in civil partnerships to become their minister without formally changing the Church of Scotland’s traditional teaching on sexuality and marriage.

Instead, those congregations will be able to “opt out” of that aspect of the Church’s teaching.

More here-

First hospice for Utah's homeless dedicated by community, religious leaders

From Utah-

Members of the Salt Lake Interfaith Roundtable, the Utah Legislature and others gathered Monday to participate in the blessing of Utah's first volunteer homeless hospice as a sanctuary and refuge.

"It is truly exciting to see the INN Between become a reality," chairwoman and co-founder Deborah Thrope told an overflowing crowd. "It was exceedingly challenging and frustrating to find resources for the homeless."

The INN Between is the first volunteer hospice house of its kind in Utah and will provide services to people regardless of insurance or ability to pay. The hospice is located in the building that formerly housed the Guadalupe School, 340 S. Goshen St. (1040 West).

More here-

Dallas diocese elects George Sumner as next bishop

From ENS-

The Rev. Canon George Sumner was elected May 16 to serve as the next bishop of the Episcopal Diocese of Dallas, pending the required consents from a majority of bishops with jurisdiction and standing committees of The Episcopal Church.

Sumner, 60, is currently the principal of Wycliffe College in Toronto, Canada, and was one of four nominees on the ballot for the diocese’s 7th bishop. He received 77 votes from clergy and 107 votes from laity on the fourth ballot during a special convention held at the Episcopal School of Dallas. In order to be elected, a candidate needed to receive a simple majority of votes within both the clergy order and the lay order on the same ballot.

More here-

Sunday, May 17, 2015

Controversial preacher, writer Timothy Radcliffe given Vatican role

From Crux Now-

An internationally known preacher and writer known for pushing the boundaries of Catholic orthodoxy and a strong ally of Pope Francis was given a boost by the Holy See Saturday.

In a move sure to raise eyebrows among the Church’s traditional guard, Pope Francis named the Rev. Timothy Radcliffe a consultor to the Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace, the Vatican announced Saturday.

The head of the Dominican Order for nearly a decade in the 1990s who now leads a social justice center at Oxford, the English-born Radcliffe has repeatedly challenged Catholic attitudes toward women, gays and lesbians, and the divorced.

More here-

Short answer? God

From Tennessee-

When Anna Brawley was young, she once imitated her father as he preached.
Not in a mean way, but in the way a child mimics the actions of a parent.

She may not have known it at the time, but she would lead her own congregation — at St. Bartholomew’s Episcopal Church in Florence — as the Rev. Dr. Anna Brawley.

The short answer to why she wanted to go into the ministry full time, Brawley said, is God.

“My only moment of doubt was the initial call,” Brawley said, recounting when she first realized she was called to go into the ministry.

“I laughed and said out loud, ‘yeah right, like I’m going to be an Anglican priest,’” she said. “What made me realize it was a call was that disbelief is a classic response to a call. From the point where I accepted it as a call, I did not look back.”

More here-