Saturday, June 13, 2015

Change to doctrine on marriage could allow first gay church weddings in Scotland

From Scotland-

Same-sex marriage has been legal in Scotland since December 31, 2014, and it looks as though the first gay couples to wed in a church could be Episcopalian, although this could still take until 2017.

The Roman Catholic Church in Scotland is opposed to gay marriage, and the Church of Scotland is moving to address the issue of same-sex marriage among ministers as well as examining any future solemnisation of gay Kirk weddings.

The General Synod of the Scottish Episcopal Church said it has voted to begin a process for change in relation to its canon on marriage.

A spokeswoman said it has "therefore instructed the Church's Faith and Order Board to begin the two year process which may lead towards canonical change".

"That change would potentially allow the marriage of same gendered couples in Church in late 2017."

More here-

Episcopal Church in Utah has ministered in Utah since its humble beginnings in 1867

From The Desert News-

The day The Right Rev. Daniel Sylvester Tuttle of New York state, the Episcopal Church's newly appointed missionary bishop of Montana, Idaho and Utah, arrived in Salt Lake City the summer of 1867, he wrote the following in his journal:

"Having spent a whole week in the mail coach from Denver, we arrived safely at Salt Lake City. Laus Deo (Praise (be) to God).

"In the evening, I preached at Independence Hall. The Revs. and Msgrs. Goddard, Miller Foote and Haskins were present."

His trip by stage coach came after riding cross-country from the East Coast to Denver by train.

More here-

Episcopal Church's 78th General Convention to convene in Salt Lake City

From The Desert News-

The election of a new presiding bishop, the theology of marriage, gun violence and the Episcopal Church in Cuba are just some of the issues that will come before the Episcopal Church's 78th General Convention when it convenes June 25 through July 3 in Salt Lake City.

The General Convention of the Episcopal Church is held every three years to debate and approve new church policy or positions and to approve a budget. The events and affiliated reunions and meeting could draw around 10,000 people to Utah. The nine-day event will be headquartered at the Salt Palace Convention Center.

More here-

Friday, June 12, 2015

Reports of Anglican decline ‘have been greatly exaggerated’

From The Church Times-

THINKING of oneself as "Church of England" or "Anglican" is increasingly irrelevant, clergy have suggested, responding to last week's statistical analysis indicating that Anglicans were in steep decline in the UK (News, 5 June).

The Dean of Chelmsford, the Very Revd Nicholas Henshall, writes (Letters) that parish priests and deans are leading "increasingly post-denominational" communities.

He points to the decline in confirmations, even in churches that are growing, as "a version of the same story. . .

"Confirmation suggests an ownership of a specific denominational identity, which is simply not part of the deal for most people. I would suggest that even most people of my generation, and certainly those of my children's, find denominational identity increasingly irrelevant."

More here-

Holding bishops accountable: Vatican tribunal addresses the 2nd scandal

From Catholic Culture-

By creating a new Vatican tribunal that will judge bishops accused of negligence in abuse cases, Pope Francis has addressed the second of three companion scandals that have rocked the Catholic Church worldwide in the early 21st century.

As I explained a decade ago in The Faithful Departed, it’s inaccurate to speak about the “sex-abuse scandal” as a single problem. The scandal actually involved three different problems, which came to light in quick sequence.

First we learned that many Catholic priests—a small minority of priests, but still a large number—had molested children and adolescents. That was horrifying news, and the public rightly demanded action. At their historic meeting in Dallas in June 2002, the US bishops instituted a “zero tolerance” policy that called for effective disciplinary action against any cleric credibly accused of abuse.

More here-

Breakaway Texas Diocese Wins Court Battle Over Church Property Claimed by Episcopal Church

From Christian Post-

A judge has ruled that a diocese in Texas which broke away from The Episcopal Church over theological differences is the rightful owner of its church property.

Judge John Chupp of Tarrant County ruled Wednesday that All Saints Episcopal Church belongs to the breakaway Episcopal Diocese of Fort Worth rather than the national denomination.

Bishop Jack Leo Iker, head of the breakaway diocese, said in a statement that he and his diocese "thank God for this wonderful ruling."

"It means that in due course this great, historic parish will be restored to the biblical faith, orthodox teaching, and catholic religion of her founding members," said Bishop Iker.

More here-

2067: the end of British Christianity

From The Spectator-

It’s often said that Britain’s church congregations are shrinking, but that doesn’t come close to expressing the scale of the disaster now facing Christianity in this country. Every ten years the census spells out the situation in detail: between 2001 and 2011 the number of Christians born in Britain fell by 5.3 million — about 10,000 a week. If that rate of decline continues, the mission of St Augustine to the English, together with that of the Irish saints to the Scots, will come to an end in 2067.

That is the year in which the Christians who have inherited the faith of their British ancestors will become statistically invisible. Parish churches everywhere will have been adapted for secular use, demolished or abandoned.

Our cathedral buildings will survive, but they won’t be true cathedrals because they will have no bishops. The Church of England is declining faster than other denominations; if it carries on shrinking at the rate suggested by the latest British Social Attitudes survey, Anglicanism will disappear from Britain in 2033. One day the last native-born Christian will die and that will be that.

More here-

Thursday, June 11, 2015

Traditionalist bishop announces support for female ordination

From Christian Today-

A leading traditionalist bishop has changed his mind on the ordination of women in a volte face that will astonish clergy and laity on both sides of the debate.

The Bishop of Horsham , whose area as a suffragan covers much of West Sussex, has decided to accept the sacramental ministry of all women and men ordained as deacon, priest and bishop "after much prayer and soul searching".

He has as a result resigned as a member of the Council of Bishops of the Society, the body set up in 2010 to promote and maintain Catholic teaching and practice within the Church of England. It also provides episcopal oversight for parishes that do not wish to accept the ministry of a woman priest or bishop.

More here-

Holy See tribunal for bishops accused of abuse cover-ups

From The Irish Times-

A major step forward may have been taken by the Holy See this week in addressing clerical child abuse with its decision to set up an unprecedented tribunal to judge bishops accused of “cover-ups”.

In effect, it would seem that the much debated principle of “bishop accountability” is about to be written into canon law.

For years, activists on behalf of clerical sex abuse victims have argued that the Catholic Church cannot limit its reaction to the abuse problem to sanctioning only the offender priest.

More here-

No sympathy for Heather Cook

From Baltimore-

It is disgraceful that our legal system sees fit to delay the prosecution of former Episocpal bishop Heather Cook ("Trial of former bishop Heather Cook postponed as attorney considers a plea," June 5).

I have no pity for her and care little that she suffers from a disease.

The delay gives this drunken murderer the entire summer to be free. She can go to the beach, barbecue, get together with friends and even go for a BIKE RIDE. Mr. Palermo can never enjoy summer pleasures again. Where is there any effort at obtaining justice?

I do care greatly, however, that the legal system and the Episcopal Church have found ways to avoid pain and embarrassment for her. She is not the victim, and it is egregious that members of the church successfully hid her addiction to alcohol from their council.

Her mental anguish and suffering notwithstanding, the verdict should have been swift and severe. Her benefactor, a fellow ex-clergyman who is also a recovering addict, and the church, which enabled her to make bail and is paying for her rehabilitation, should be paying the family of Ms. Cook's victim triple that amount as a minimum gesture of support.

More here-

Wednesday, June 10, 2015

$1 Million Gift To University Of The South Supports School Of Theology’s Vision

From Chattanooga-

The University of the South announced a $1 million gift from the Episcopal Foundation of Texas. Though the gift is being made to the university as a whole, a significant portion has been designated for the School of Theology.

“We are blessed by our long partnership with Sewanee and we have the distinct pleasure to have many Sewanee graduates among both our lay leaders and our clergy," said the Rt. Rev. C. Andrew Doyle, bishop of the Episcopal Diocese of Texas.  "We are grateful to be able to make this gift and pray it will help to support the continued health and vitality of the University of the South and of the School of Theology.” 

More here-

Woman pleads guilty to theft from local church

From Texas-

A former employee of the Episcopal Church of the Nativity has pleaded guilty to multiple thefts from the church.

Assistant Houston County District Attorney Mark Johnson said 44-year-old Rhonda Sue Kidder pleaded guilty to five felony counts of second-degree theft of property.

Johnson said Kidder received a 24-month prison sentence for each of the five charges, with all to be served concurrently. However, Johnson said the court suspended the prison sentence for three years of probation.

Kidder pleaded guilty in front of Circuit Court Judge Kevin Moulton.

Dothan police investigators arrested Kidder in October 2014 charging her with multiple felony thefts.

More here-

Philippines: Priests negotiate surrender, baptism of homicide suspect

From ENS-

On May 28, 2015, Filipino Episcopal priests,  Lito Awakan, Leo Basing-at and Pablo Buyagan of the Episcopal Diocese of Northern Philippines, together with members of the Movement for the Advancement of Tribal Unity and Development (MAITUD),  effected the surrender of a suspect in the killing of a 13-year old boy from Bontoc, Mountain Province, which has caused tribal tension between the peoples of Bontoc and Tinglayan, Kalinga, the suspect’s hometown. Both towns are in the Cordillera mountains of Northern Philippines, whose tribes have a history of engagement in violent tribal wars. Prior to the surrender, the suspected assailant, Zaldy Alinong Dalog, confessed to the crime and requested that he be first baptized.

More here-

Tuesday, June 9, 2015

The Strategic Legacy of Bishop Ed Little

From Vital Practices-

From the beginning of his ministry as the seventh bishop of the Episcopal Diocese of Northern Indiana, the Rt. Rev. Edward S. Little II has beamed a spiritual focus to follow. Personifying the lighthouse on the diocesan seal, Little has delivered powerful messages that illuminate priorities for Christ centered living and ministry.

Communicating the right priorities is one of the keys to strategic leadership. I offer a glimpse of Little here as a model of such leadership.

Little’s strategic legacy began with his seating sermon in 2000, in which he called on his new flock to embrace the lighthouse as a vision for individual and congregational ministries. To prompt and guide, he set four core values for the diocese:

A passion for the Gospel of Jesus Christ
A heart for the lost
A willingness to do whatever it takes
A commitment to one another

More here-

First woman Anglican bishop for Montreal

From Canada-

Mary Irwin-Gibson, dean and rector of St. George’s Anglican Cathedral in Kingston, Ont., since 2009, has been elected the first female bishop of the Anglican diocese of Montreal in its 165-year history.

Irwin-Gibson, 59, who served parishes in the diocese of Montreal between 1981 and 2009, was elected bishop on a fourth ballot on Sat., June 6,  over another woman candidate, the Rev. Karen L. Egan, 57, director of pastoral studies at the Montreal Diocesan Theological College.

Bishop-elect Irwin-Gibson will be ordained following ratification by bishops of the ecclesiastical province of Canada, made up of seven dioceses in Quebec and Atlantic Canada. She will succeed Bishop Barry Clarke, 62, who will retire in late August after serving since 2004.

More here-


From Vermont-

A crane that was in place to begin removing blocks of granite from the side of Christ Episcopal Church on Monday collapsed across the roof of the 1868 building when a huge pin supporting the crane dislodged.

The three workers nearest to the crane were not injured, said Rev. Paul Habersang, priest of the church on State Street in downtown Montpelier.

One of the workers was actually on the roof and had to leap to get on to a scaffolding landing where two other workers were, a firefighter at the scene said.

The accident happened shortly after 7 a.m., according to Habersang, who said while the crane’s pressure caused both internal and external damage, including dislodging of roof tiles and plaster on the interior, the fact no one was injured is really all that matters.

More here-

Investigators search for cause of fire at Fond du Lac landmark

From Wisconsin-

Although investigators know the origin of Friday's fire at a historic Fond du Lac convent, the Fond du Lac Fire/Rescue said they are still trying to determine what caused it and if foul play was involved.

Division Chief of Fire Prevention Troy Haase said the fire originated in the back of a building on the first floor. According to Haase, bystanders witnessed children skateboarding around the building before the blaze started.

“Somebody was inside the house where they’re not supposed to be. For us to determine whether someone did it accidentally or intentionally, we can’t really go there yet. We have to do interviews and try to figure that out.”

More here-

Monday, June 8, 2015

Catholic priests spread thin as numbers dwindle

From The Pittsburgh Trib-

The newly ordained Rev. Michael Ackerman had a challenging first assignment last summer: Serving more than 3,500 families on a three-priest team across four Catholic churches near the Ohio border in New Castle.

On a typical weekend, Ackerman would celebrate a Mass or two at one church, preside over baptisms and a wedding at another and then drive to a third location for an evening youth group.

“You'd use the commuting time to pray and to think through things,” said Ackerman, 31, a former Riverview School District teacher who grew up in Aspinwall. “You had to be creative.”

In contrast, the Rev. Kenneth Marlovits — ordained into the Roman Catholic Diocese of Pittsburgh last June alongside Ackerman and two other men — is part of a three-priest team focused on one parish of about 3,000 families, St. Bernard in Mt. Lebanon.

More here-

A Growing Number of People See God as a Woman

m The Guardian-

A growing number of people across the world see God as a woman. Many religions such a Wicca, or people who are Pagan have always worshiped the feminine divine for centuries, but recently even Christian denominations have begun to embrace God as a woman.

Alternative religions have seen an increase in numbers among those who they count as followers. Wicca is now the fasting growing religion in the United States. There are approximately 200,000 registered Wicca members with an estimated eight million unregistered members. It is believed that membership increases double every thirty months. Wicca emerged in the middle of the twentieth century but many believe it has ancient roots that go back thousands of years with many practices dating back to ancient Babylon.

More here-

Church of England decline heralds calls for innovative use of church buildings

From The Guardian-

Occasionally, someone will stick their head around the huge wooden door of the church of St Peter and St Paul in Great Casterton and, on spotting the vicar, express surprise. “They say: ‘Oh, does something happen here?’” says the Rev Jo Saunders. “Well, yes: services, every week.”

She notices something similar at weddings, where guests hover outside before the service, a little intimidated about entering. Occasionally, after the service, they will ask if the church is very old and be astonished to learn that parts date from the 12th century. “But that’s lovely,” she says, “because, who knows, maybe they will come back some day?”

Saunders has been vicar at this ancient Rutland parish for six years – and also in the neighbouring villages of Little Casterton, Pickworth, Tinwell and Tickencote. Each has a beautiful ancient church building (though Pickworth is merely Georgian), and each hosts regular services, though not all every week. But while Great Casterton (population 365) can attract up to 50 for a Sunday morning service, its little sibling generally hosts around a dozen. Pickwell boasts the same. Average attendance at Tickencote, once a month, is six.

More here-

Sunday, June 7, 2015

Kenya's long, painful road to gay equality

From The Independent-

Three years on, Immah Reid, a Kenyan gay rights activist, is still haunted by a young girl’s text. The girl had been locked in her bedroom in a Nairobi suburb for three days. Her mother had sent in men to rape her, and her little sister was forced to listen to her screams. “I don’t want you to come and get me because they will kill me,” she wrote. “I just want you to know.”

The girl, whom Ms Reid never heard from again, was a lesbian. In an all too common occurrence, her family believed that she could be “cured” through sex with a man in a practice known as “corrective rape”. Some of the girls subjected to such an ordeal never get over it, and end up taking their own lives.

Such is the attitude towards homosexuality in Kenya that many never come out, sometimes turning to religion for answers, sometimes taking a husband and having children.

And yet it is also the country where a little over a month ago, the High Court ordered the government to allow the official registration of a gay rights non-governmental organisation, a landmark ruling that followed years of official stonewalling of pro-homosexual groups seeking legal recognition and status.

More here-