Saturday, July 25, 2015

Push Within Religions for Gay Marriage Gets Little Attention

From The New York Times-

From the moment the Supreme Court ruled last month in favor of a constitutional right to same-sex marriage, opponents placed the decision in a very specific analytical frame. Here, they contended, was an egregious example of secular culture triumphing over religious values and religious freedom.

“Profoundly immoral and unjust,” the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops said in a statement. The Orthodox Union, the national association of Orthodox Jewish congregations, declared its “emphatic” and “unalterable” religious opposition to same-sex marriage. The prominent evangelist Franklin Graham reiterated that God had created marriage between man and woman and said, “His decisions are not subject to review or revision by any man-made court.”

More here-

Historic Houma church may be rebuilt by early next year

From Louisiana-

A historic downtown Houma church being rebuilt may be ringing its bells again early next year after a fire destroyed it more than four years ago.

St. Matthew's Episcopal Church, 243 Barrow St., was built in the mid-1850s as a place of worship for local Christians and as a community gathering point. The church was added to the National Register of Historic Sites in 1989 but burned down in an electrical fire on Nov. 11, 2010.

Only a shell of the original structure remained, but this proved to be the structural basis for the new church, said the Rev. Craig Dalferes. St. Matthew's pastor.

More here-

Episcopal church fighting alcohol addiction, and they're not alone

From Utah-

When the Rev. Canon Mary June Nestler fielded calls about the Episcopal Church's General Convention in Salt Lake City this summer, she wanted to tell visitors about "the beautiful mountains or our wonderful people."

Instead, the conversations often turned to booze. Can you buy alcohol in Salt Lake City? Is it OK to have a cocktail in your hotel room? Could you drive into Utah with alcohol from another state?
"Our whole diocese found it curious that so many questions came in" relating to alcohol consumption, the Rev. Canon Nestler, executive officer of the Episcopal Church's Diocese of Utah, said. Part of it she credited to Utah's reputation of having complex liquor laws, but the questions also "said something about our (Episcopal) church" and the leadership's comfort level with alcohol.


Friday, July 24, 2015

C of E voices opposition to latest Assisted Dying Bill

From The Church Times-

THE latest attempt to change the law on assisted dying, which is to be debated by MPs in a Second Reading in September, has faced opposition from critics from the Church of England and elsewhere.

The Private Member’s Bill, if passed, would enable terminally ill adults who are “voluntary, clear, settled, and informed” to end their life with medically supervised assistance.

In a blog post, “Caring for the vulnerable in a compassionate society”, published on the Church of England website on Wednesday, the Revd Dr Brendan McCarthy, the Church’s national adviser on medical ethics, said that the Assisted Dying Bill “has the potential to damage both the well-being of individuals and the nature and shape of our society”.

More here-

Pope Francis' plummeting popularity is nothing to worry about

From Christian Today-

Every leader, whether prime minister or bishop, is rightly suspicious of the adulation that comes their way during their honeymoon period.

Since Laudato Si was published, Pope Francis has discovered he is no longer the adorable, cuddly Latin champion of conservative Catholic values who won an unprecedented good press. He has instead become a feared advocate of a radical Christian socialism that looks suspiciously close to Marxism.

More here-

South Sudan Letter

From Anglican News-

American Friends of the Episcopal Church of Sudan and South Sudan and the Episcopal Church in the United States have co-signed an open letter to US President Barack Obama urging him to help put an end to the conflict in South Sudan.

In the letter, 19 religious organisations and NGOs urge Mr Obama to use his upcoming visit to Africa to "press for a solution to the ongoing crisis in South Sudan and stress the need for greater regional cooperation to pressure the warring parties to make the necessary concessions for a sustainable peace in South Sudan."

They say that "a central component of this agenda should be combating the culture of impunity that surrounds the conflict to help forge an enabling environment for peace negotiations."

More here-

Rev West: Anglican Church facing dwindling membership

From Trinidad and Tobago-

The Anglican Church in Trinidad and Tobago continues to face declining numbers both in members and clergy, Rev Canon Steve West has said.

West was at the time addressing a packed congregation at the ordination ceremony of 15 persons to the Diaconate (the Holy Order of Deacon, at the Cathedral of the Trinity Cathedral, Abercromby Street, Port of Spain, on Wednesday.

“The Anglican Church and the dioceses of Trinidad and Tobago is facing a dwindling membership: we have many people who say they are Anglicans but on Sunday morning they are not worshipping in church with us, and we have a severe shortage of clergy. We have parishes without parish priests,” West said.

Some of the interventions in response to declining membership have included a supplementary ministry programme, a diocesan strategic plan and in more recent times the capacity building project and capacity building report. Other solutions include an annual bible convention, youths interacting with the bishop and Lenten and advent caravans and diocesan bible study.

More here-

Head of ND Episcopal Church says he cannot 'in good conscience' allow gay marriages

From North Dakota-

Earlier this month at its general convention in Utah, the U.S. Episcopal Church voted overwhelmingly to allow same-sex marriages in the church, a decision that one reverend called a "huge step" for equality.

But the Episcopalian leader in North Dakota, Bishop Michael G. Smith, said in a church newsletter this week that he plans to resist the new policy when it goes into effect Nov. 29.

"I remain unconvinced that God is doing something new by altering the order established in creation," the bishop wrote in a letter Monday. "Therefore, I cannot in good conscience authorize the use of these trial liturgies for the Diocese of North Dakota."

More here-

Thursday, July 23, 2015

Church of English ordains 1st diocesan woman bishop

From Catholic Culture-

Rachel Treweek has become the first female diocesan bishop in the Church of England's history.

Earlier in the year, Libby Lane became the first woman ordained as a suffragan bishop-- a position comparable to that of a Catholic auxiliary bishop.

"I hope that women bishops will disturb us," Anglican Bishop Adrian Newman preached at the July 22 ceremony, which took place at Canterbury Cathedral. "I hope they will challenge the conventions of the Church of England, which continues to be led and directed by too many people like me: white, male, middle-aged professionals."

More here-

Anglican Bishop calls for religious tolerance

From Ghana-

Right Reverend Dr Daniel Sylvanus Mensah Torto, Bishop of the Anglican Diocese, Accra has called for religious tolerance across the various religious groups in Ghana.

He said the world has become a global village with the aid of the advancement of technology and people with different nationality; race or religion could no longer escape living together.

Bishop Torto said this at the opening of the first session of the 22nd Synod of the Anglican Diocese of Accra on the theme: "Stand Firm in the faith."

He said the two dominant religions in Ghana- Christianity and Islam have over the years lived in peaceful co-existence and wondered what has changed in recent times.

More here-

Anglican Bishop Condemns Same-sex Marriage

From Nigeria-

The Bishop of the Diocese of Evo, Church of Nigeria (Anglican Communion), Rt. Rev. Innocent Ordu, has restated that the Church of Nigeria condemns same sex marriage, homosexuality and lesbianism.

He also said the Church of Nigeria has an “impaired relationship” with churches in Western countries that have lent their support to same sex marriage and other vices condemned by the bible.

Ordu spoke in Port Harcourt yesterday at a press briefing to herald the third session of the third synod of the diocese scheduled for July 29 to August 2 at the Chapel of Grace and Knowledge, Archdeacon Crowther Memorial Girls’ School (ACMGS), Elelenwo.

More here-

Wyoming's Episcopal Bishop Wants A Statewide Discussion On Gun Violence

From Wyoming-

Wyoming’s Episcopal Bishop John Smylie wants the state to have a conversation about gun violence following shootings that killed three men and seriously injured another this week.

Smylie says the shooting of two people at a detox center in Riverton and the shooting of two people at a Cheyenne business shows him that gun violence issues across the country have come to Wyoming. 

“This is a conversation that we need to have and more than a conversation. I mean these are concerns that really do affect the people of Wyoming, we can’t isolate ourselves. The other place where I think gun violence is a huge problem that we are not addressing is suicide by gun.”  

More here-

Wednesday, July 22, 2015

African clergy to protest Obama’s gay-rights ‘agenda’ on trip

From The Washington Post-

Anti-gay activists, including conservative clerics, traditional elders and politicians, are threatening to resist any push by President Obama for gay rights during his Kenya visit later this week, with tactics that range from throwing rotten eggs to marching naked and boycotting his speeches.

On Thursday (July 23), Obama will fly to Kenya — his father’s homeland — where he will attend the 2015 Global Entrepreneurship Summit in Nairobi and then travel through neighboring Ethiopia. He will be the first U.S. president to visit Ethiopia. Several members of the Congressional Black Caucus will join him on the trip.

Ahead of the visit, anti-gay speeches have heightened intolerance, violence and discrimination against homosexuals, according to the National Gay and Lesbian Human Rights Commission.

More here-

If St. James church is sold to developer, the remains of 12 buried in the rose garden will be dug up and moved by the Episcopal Diocese

From Los Angeles-

When Frances “Rita” Eby died in January 2014 at age 96, her daughter knew where she would inter her mother’s cremated remains – she would bury them in the rose garden at St. James the Great Episcopal Church in Newport Beach.

“Her church was so close to her heart,” said Eby’s daughter, Trish Norman.

Eby, Norman and St. James had a history. Eby was a congregant and volunteer at the church for 60 years. And Norman, 75, was confirmed at the church and attended Sunday school there.

So last month, when the Episcopal Diocese of Los Angeles shuttered the church on Via Lido as part of a plan to sell the property, Norman was concerned about what would become of the remains of her mother and 11 others buried in the rose garden.

More here-

On Being An Evangelical

From Patheos-

Over the past few years as I have undergone a major transformation in my understanding of the world, my faith, and myself. Yet in the midst of all of the transformation, I have remained fairly committed to my identity as an evangelical Christian. Many people have asked why I have fought so hard to keep using this word that so many people in my progressive world view as unattractive. Likewise, many of my conservative brothers and sisters have insisted that as a queer, progressive, universalist, I cannot continue to honestly claim the label of evangelical. My standing here on the Evangelical Channel at Patheos has even been questioned by some, wondering why I would want to continue to be a rogue liberal voice in the midst of a generally politically and theologically conservative bunch of bloggers. I understand the questions. I understand the frustrations. And yet, in the midst of it all, I still consider myself an evangelical. Here’s why.

More here-

Pastor goes berserk, destroys Anglican church property

From Zimbabwe-

Apostle Tirivangani Gunduza is reported to have pulled the roof off the Anglican church after he had been served with an eviction order by a messenger of court.

Gunduza who belongs to the ex-communicated Anglican Church leader, Nolbert Kunonga’s faction is said to have failed to stomach the eviction news hence he vandalized property at the church.

“Gunduza was appointed pastor by Kunonga although he had not gone through any training to lead the church. He was appointed in 2011 before he moved on to form his own church called God’s Fire Ministries International.

More here-

Tuesday, July 21, 2015

The Rt. Rev. Anne E. Hodges-Copple Appointed Bishop Pro Tem of Diocese of North Carolina

From North Carolina-

At the 78th General Convention in Salt Lake City, Utah, the Rt. Rev. Michael Curry was elected the 27th Presiding Bishop of the Episcopal Church. The reaction in North Carolina was a mix of elation, pride and excitement for The Episcopal Church and sorrow at knowing our beloved bishop would soon leave our diocese.

Knowing the question of “what’s next?” would naturally be on the minds of Episcopalians in the diocese, the Rev. Jim Melnyk, president of the Standing Committee, Bishop Curry and the Rt. Rev. Anne Hodges-Copple began the work of discerning the transitional possibilities even before General Convention, in order not to delay a decision in the event Bishop Curry was elected Presiding Bishop.

More here-

Parish Ministry: It's Not Dead Yet

From The Young Curmudgeon Priest-

Some may find it surprising that until I was about four months into my time as a transitional deacon, I was convinced that I would not enjoy parish ministry. When I had entered the discernment process for the priesthood I was sure I was going to spend my vocation in diocesan administration or perhaps running a nonprofit or charity. I never ever thought that I would be a parish priest. That has changed. I have only been ordained three years. I don't pretend to have experience experience or the knowledge that my colleagues have, but I have noticed a few things. And what I have noticed, that despite some drawing conclusions to the contrary, parish life is not dead. In fact, parish life is what gives me hope for our Church and our faith.

The local parish has been an experience of the Holy. Whether it is meeting with a man who had not darkened the doors of a church since he was a teenager but knew that upon the death of his mother there was only one place he could go, or the community gathering together to care for a sick neighbor, lightening the load of care for the family so they could be together in a holy time.  Agreeing to hold a funeral for  a member of the greater community who was not a member of a church so her family and friends could grieve.  Seeing children around the altar rail reaching out for the host during the Eucharist and saying the words of distribution along with me.  This is the Holy that happens in a local parish, and we should not be so quick to etch the date of death in the gravestone of "traditional" faith communities just yet.

More here-

What’s in a name?

From The Living Church-

Some things rise to one’s consciousness slowly. One that has been nibbling on the mind for some time, but which burst into awareness at General Convention in a new way this summer, is the formulation “The Episcopal Church in” as a replacement for “The Episcopal Diocese of.” So, for instance, we have the name “The Episcopal Church in Minnesota” rather than “The Episcopal Diocese of Minnesota,” a usage which has been introduced over the last few years not only in that diocese but in others as well. I’m imagining that in each case this has not been a formal change in articles of incorporation, but rather a change in self-conception and public presentation, but I could be wrong.

What’s in a name? Before becoming too exercised by this “innovation,” there are a few points to be made. “Diocese” is a word that is unfamiliar to many, a word moreover that has developed at least two pronunciations as familiarity with its use has faded. So “The Episcopal Church in” formulation has at least the virtue of being easily recognizable and pronounceable. There are also considerations of commonality: a diocese wants to be clear about its brand, as in “The Episcopal Church Welcomes You.” And there is also a historical point to be made: the word “diocese” was not used much in the Episcopal Church until the 1830s, when the church in some states began to multiply new “dioceses” that subdivided civil jurisdictions, or even leapt over their boundaries, and canonical language began to change in favor of the more traditional formulation. Until then, the language of church law largely spoke of the bishop of each state or district. Remember as well that “diocese” has its origins in a civil entity within the late Roman Empire.

More here-

Monday, July 20, 2015

The Rev Owen Chadwick obituary

From The Guardian-

The religious historian Owen Chadwick, who has died aged 99, was one of the most remarkable men of letters of the 20th century. He held two Cambridge University chairs over a period of 25 years, was its vice-chancellor during the student unrest of the late 1960s, chaired a commission that transformed the structures of the Church of England and declined major bishoprics.

His range of publication was exceptional: he was a master of the large canvas – The Secularisation of the European Mind in the Nineteenth Century (1976) or The Popes and European Revolution (1981); of the full-scale biography, such as those of Hensley Henson (1983), the stormy petrel of church politics, and of Michael Ramsey (1990); and of the cameo, as in Victorian Miniature (1960), his study of the fraught relationship between a 19th-century squire and parson, drawing on the papers of each, or as in Mackenzie’s Grave (1959), his wonderful story of the bishop sent to lead a mission up the Zambesi and whose disappearance brought out the best and the worst in Victorian Christianity and public life.

More here-

A Brooklyn Church Is About to Vanish

From The Wall Street Journal-

A year after the Civil War ended, an Episcopal church opened on Fourth Avenue in Brooklyn to serve waves of immigrants arriving from England.

More than a century later, the stately Church of the Redeemer served a different population of immigrants: from the Caribbean and West Indies. “We had 16 to 18 flags for different islands…Jamaica, Antigua, St. Lucia,” said Anderson Holder, who moved to Brooklyn from Barbados 30 years ago and attended the church for seven years. “There were all different countries coming to the Church of the Redeemer.”

More here-

A Pastoral Letter on Marriage and Related Actions of the 78th General Convention

From Albany-

Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ,

As many of you are aware, the 78th General Convention of The Episcopal Church recently voted to change the marriage canon (Canon 1.18), by making all references to individuals being married gender-neutral. In addition, Resolution A054, authorizing the use of specially designed liturgies for the blessing of same gender marriages, was also adopted. With the passage of these two resolutions in conjunction with the recent ruling by the U.S. Supreme Court on same gender marriage, the majority voice in The Episcopal Church has opened the door for same gender marriages to occur in those dioceses where the bishop allows them. 

More here-

Sunday, July 19, 2015

UK is Denying Refuge to Christians Fleeing Isil, Say Church Leaders

From India-

British church leaders accused David Cameron yesterday (Saturday) of "turning his back" on Christians facing genocide in Syria and Iraq by failing to offer them refuge in the UK.

Lord Carey, the former Archbishop of Canterbury, led criticism aimed at the Government for failing to provide a safe haven to Christians trying to flee the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (Isil).

He will sign a petition that is being launched tomorrow (Monday) calling on the Government to "welcome Christian refugees and give them priority as asylum seekers".

It comes amid growing concern that the Government is ignoring their plight.

Last week, 42 Christian families were smuggled out of Syria to Beirut and then flown to Poland where they received safe haven. The operation was run by the Barnabas Fund, a charity aiding persecuted Christians, and the Weidenfeld Safe Havens Fund, a Jewish-funded organisation founded by Lord Weidenfeld, the publisher.

More here-

Director of Christ Church takes cathedral to court

From Ireland-

Nuala Kavanagh will seek an injunction against her suspension in the High Court on Tuesday, according to the court register.

Ms Kavanagh is the Director of Operations at the Cathedral, where her duties include organising events at one of the capital's most popular tourist attractions.

She is the second director at the Cathedral to clash with her employers in recent years. Two years ago, Christ Church settled a constructive dismissal case taken by a former director of music, Judy Martin, who alleged she had been "bullied" by the Dean of Christ Church, Reverend Dermot Dunne. The Dean denied the allegations.

More here-

Divorce was once considered immoral

From Arkansas-

Amid all of the overheated rhetoric surrounding the Supreme Court's decision legalizing same-sex marriages across the nation, evangelicals have alternated between defiance and a kind of martyrdom.

"It's time to be a light in these dark times," Jim Daly, president of Focus on the Family, said. Franklin Graham declared that the court was "endorsing sin" and that God's "decisions are not subject to review or revision by any man-made court."

Echoing many other conservatives, Graham went on to say that churches and others who oppose same-sex marriage would be subject to discrimination and persecution. A Fox commentator declared that gay rights now trump religious liberty. And R. Albert Mohler of Southern Baptist Theological Seminary warned that "the majority in this decision has placed every religious institution in legal jeopardy if that institution intends to uphold its theological convictions limiting marriage to the union of a man and a woman."

Evangelicals like to present their position as biblical and therefore immutable. They want us to believe that they have never before adjusted to shifting public sentiments on sexuality and marriage. That is not so.

More here-