Saturday, August 1, 2015

National Cathedral weighs removing images of Confederate generals

From Christian Science Monitor-

When the National Cathedral installed stained-glass windows honoring Confederate Gens. Robert E. Lee and Thomas “Stonewall” Jackson in 1953, leaders called it an act of reconciliation and healing.

Now, the call in 2015 to remove the windows, in response to the Charleston, S.C., shootings at a black church, is also seen as a step toward reconciliation – not between North and South but between races.

After the shootings in the Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church June 17, the cathedral tolled its massive mourning bell nine times for each victim. The next Sunday, the Very Rev. Gary Hall, dean of the National Cathedral, told the congregation the cathedral was moving its “work on racial justice to the very top of our mission agenda.”

More here-

Same-sex couple in Pa. declared spouses even though one partner died before legalization

From Pennsylvania-

A judge has recognized a 2001 same-sex union as a common-law marriage in Pennsylvania even though one partner died before gay marriage became legal, a ruling that has family lawyers across the state buzzing about the potential implications.

Sabrina Maurer's case involves her fight over death benefits and inheritance taxes - as well as access to their safety deposit box - after the 2013 death of Kim Underwood.

Bucks County Judge C. Theodore Fritsch Jr. found that the women retroactively qualify as common-law spouses because of their 2001 church union.

Underwood died a year before a federal judge ordered Pennsylvania to conduct same-sex marriages and recognize those performed earlier. Fritsch's ruling Wednesday appears to extend that decision to include earlier common-law unions, at least in Bucks County.

More here-

Bishop Bruno Under Review for Locking Out St. James Congregation

From Los Angeles-

Bishop J. Jon Bruno of the Los Angeles Diocese for the Episcopal Church, who sold the St. James the Great Episcopal Church in Newport Beach to a developer and locked out the congregation, is now under review by a panel of three bishops referred by the Rt. Reverend F. Clayton Matthews, Bishop of Pastoral Development, for alleged canonical violations, according to a letter sent on July 23 to William F. Kroener III, member of St. James the Great. This was in response to Kroener’s letter notifying Bishop Matthews of the violations.

“I have been conducting interviews and reviewing correspondence with persons relevant to the matters you have raised,” wrote Bishop Matthews in his letter to Kroener. “I have determined that if the allegations presented are true, canonical violations may have occurred.”

More here-

Churches help the homeless through Laundry Aloha

From Hawaii (with video)-

That jingle in our pockets and weight in our wallets is enough for some to be life-changing. A handful of Hawaii churches are showing how a small roll of quarters can make a big difference. It's called Laundry Aloha.

Gathered in a small room behind the pews, a big-hearted operation to get little packets of kindness to families in need.

"We're talking about hundreds and hundreds of loads of laundry and hundreds and hundreds of families served hopefully," said Father David Gierlach of St. Elizabeth Episcopal Church.

St. Elizabeth Episcopal Church in Kalihi is one of nine parishes that won a $10,000 grant, then matched with another $10,000. Their chosen mission: coins and detergent to help the houseless get clean.

More here-

Friday, July 31, 2015

Giving up again, though givers down

From The Church Times-

PARISH giving has risen to its highest level on record, to almost £1 billion. But the figures for 2013, the latest available, also show that the number of donors has shrunk.

The Church of England’s 12,500 parishes raised £953 million in 2013, statistics published yesterday by the Archbishops’ Council show. This is an increase of £24 million from 2012.

A one-per-cent cut in expenditure to £920 million means a £33 million surplus. The first surplus since 2007 was generated in 2012 — to £0.2 million, compared with £60 million generated in 2007, before the economic downturn.

More here-

Was There a Crypto-Catholic in Anglican Jamestown?

From National Catholic Register-

Several articles have appeared recently about the discovery and identification of remains in Jamestown, Va., in The Atlantic, Smithsonian Magazine, The New York Times and The Washington Post. The Atlantic headline on July 28 summed up the issue: “A Skeleton, a Catholic Relic and a Mystery About American Origins.” In the article by Adrienne Lafrance, the researchers at Jamestown and others discuss the ramifications of one of the discoveries in the grave of Capt. Gabriel Archer, a leader of the English colony. His grave and those of three others were found in the sanctuary of the Anglican chapel.

A small silver box found in his grave is “a historical bombshell” because the archaeologists believe it is a reliquary, which leads them to believe that Archer, who had many conflicts with Capt. John Smith of Pocahontas fame, might have been a secret Catholic in Anglican Jamestown.

More here-

also here-

First ever Peruvian Anglican bishops consecrated in Lima

From ACNS--

Three new missionary bishops have been consecrated by the Primate of South America as part of plans for the diocese of Peru to become its own province.

The new bishops, Alejandro Mesco, Juan Carlos Revilla, and Jorge Luis Aguilar, will work alongside the Bishop of Peru, the Rt Revd William Godfrey, and will have responsibility for three of four newly carved out missionary areas, which will soon become dioceses: Arequipa, in the south of Peru; Chiclayo, in the north of Peru; Huancayo, in the central highlands; and Lima, the capital of Peru which sits on the Pacific coast.

The Diocese of Peru’s roots date back to 1846 when the then-Minister of Foreign Affairs, Jose Gregorio Paz-Soldan gave permission for an Anglican mission to be established in Callao – the first non-Roman Catholic church to be allowed in the country.

More here-

Episcopal panel to look into charges against L.A. bishop

From RNS-

The national Episcopal Church has referred charges against L.A. Bishop J. Jon Bruno to a three-bishop panel “for further review and action,” according to Bishop F. Clayton Matthews, head of the church’s Office of Pastoral Development.

The charges were brought by members of St. James the Great Episcopal Church in Newport Beach, CA, and other clergy and lay members of the Los Angeles Diocese. The charges – called a presentment – include many instances of alleged “dishonesty, fraud, deceit or misrepresentation” by Bishop Bruno in connection with the pending sale of the St. James the Great property. The presentment also alleges conduct unbecoming a bishop and violations of the vows of ordination.

- See more at:

Snake-Handling Pentecostal Pastor Dies From Snake Bite

From ABC (with video) -

The "snake handling" pastor of a small Pentecostal church in Kentucky died after being bitten by a rattlesnake during a weekend church service.

Jamie Coots, the pastor of the Full Gospel Tabernacle in Jesus Name in Middlesboro, Ky., was handling a rattlesnake during a service when he was bitten on his right hand Saturday night. But when the ambulance arrived at 8:30 p.m., the EMS team found that Coots had gone home, according to a statement from the Middlesboro Police Department.

Middlesboro Police Chief Jeff Sharpe told ABC News that, according to people at the church, Coots verbally refused treatment at the church. He said Coots was unconscious when he got to his house. When the ambulance crew arrived at Coots' home, his wife Linda Coots signed a form declining medical treatment, police said.

More here-

Thursday, July 30, 2015

Not Dead Yet: How two Anglican churches came back to life

From Premier Christianity-

The statistics tell us that St Peter's Brighton and St Swithun's Bournemouth should be carpet warehouses or gastropubs by now. Justin Brierley finds out why they are welcoming hundreds of parishioners through their doors again

'Reports of my death have been greatly exaggerated'. So said writer Mark Twain after a 19th century newspaper mistakenly published his obituary.

The same could be said of the dear old Church of England. Some parts of the press just seem to be awaiting its inevitable demise after a long, drawn out illness. After all, the buildings are empty, the vicars are demoralised and normal people prefer to go to M&S on a Sunday now, don't they?

But, despite the tide of assumed decline, there are plenty of stories bucking the stereotype. When I recently spoke to Holy Trinity Brompton (HTB) leader Nicky Gumbel about his strategy for the revitalisation of CofE churches, he described a 'hidden revival' taking place.

More here-

Evangelical Christian and Muslim clergy seek common ground

From The Christian Century-

Bob Roberts is a barbeque-loving Texan and head of a large conservative congregation outside Dallas with a mission to plant new churches around the world.

He’s the first to say that it’s sort of odd that his 30-year journey as an evangelical minister would lead him to stand shoulder-to-shoulder with some of the most prominent Muslim clerics in the world. He prays with them in their mosques, “breaks bread” with them at his home, and has become one of the leading Christian ministers of any persuasion in what he calls the fight against Islamophobia.

“I never dreamed I’d ever do anything like that—I had no desire to,” said Roberts, head of the 3,000-member NorthWood Church in Keller, Texas. On Monday (July 27), he traveled to the White House with other religious leaders to be briefed on the situation of Christians in Iran and the recent nuclear deal. “Right now the biggest challenge in fighting Islamophobia is my tribe—the evangelicals.”

More here-

Religious leaders sign Buffalo’s ‘Opportunity Pledge’

From Buffalo-

Nearly two dozen religious leaders gathered in Niagara Square Wednesday morning to join Mayor Byron W. Brown’s “Opportunity Pledge” encouraging a culture of diversity that supports economic diversity and equality in Buffalo.

Bishop Richard J. Malone of the Catholic Diocese of Buffalo and R. William Franklin of the Episcopal Diocese of Western New York were among the 21 religious leaders who signed the pledge following a short ceremony during which religious leaders from the Christian, Jewish and Muslim religions spoke.

The religious leaders talked about the importance of everyone in Buffalo benefiting as Buffalo’s economy grows, and also the larger symbolism attached to the pledge.

Malone spoke of a new level of hope occurring in Buffalo. “We want this new hope to be widely embraced,” he said.

More here-

Wednesday, July 29, 2015

Desmond Tutu back in hospital

From South Africa-

Anglican Archbishop Emeritus Desmond Tutu, 83, has been re-admitted to hospital, a week after he was discharged, his foundation said on Tuesday.

“He was discharged from hospital last Tuesday, and re-admitted this afternoon after expressing renewed discomfort,” the Desmond and Leah Tutu Legacy Foundation said in a statement.

"His doctors considered it prudent for him to return to hospital for observation.

More here-

Remains of 4 early colonial leaders discovered at Jamestown’s historic Anglican church

From Virginia (via India)

Archaeologists have uncovered human remains of four of the earliest leaders of the English colony that would become America, buried for more than 400 years near the altar of what was America’s first Protestant church in Jamestown, Virginia.

The four burial sites were uncovered in the earthen floor of what was Jamestown’s historic Anglican church from 1608, a team of scientists and historians announced Tuesday. The site is the same church where Pocahontas famously married Englishman John Rolfe, leading to peace between the Powhatan Indians and colonists at the first permanent English settlement in America.

Beyond the human remains, archaeologists also found artifacts buried with the colonial leaders — including a mysterious Catholic container for holy relics found in the Protestant church.

More here-

Episcopal Diocese of SD moves offices to Pierre

From South Dakota-

The offices of the Episcopal Diocese of South Dakota are moving to Pierre, and the Episcopal bishop – the former rector of a Pierre congregation – is moving back.

The Right Rev. John Tarrant, who was consecrated bishop of the South Dakota Diocese on Oct. 31, 2009, was formerly rector at Trinity Episcopal Church in Pierre.

Now, after nearly six years serving in the that statewide role from offices in Sioux Falls, Tarrant is back in Pierre. He moved his family to Pierre on July 14-15.

More here-

Episcopal Bishop Refuses to Go Along with US Church on Gay "Marriage"

From Aletia-

A bishop in the American Episcopal Church is bucking his faith community’s embrace of same-sex “marriage.”

Bishop Michael G. Smith, leader of the flock in North Dakota, said he plans to resist his Church’s new policy on allowing marriages of two men or two women in its churches.

At its general convention in Utah, the U.S. Episcopal Church voted July 1 to rewrite the liturgy to allow such nuptials, changing the phrase “husband and wife” to “the couple,” for example. Smith was one of only a few bishops who voted against the change, citing the catechism, which says: "Holy Matrimony is Christian Marriage in which the woman and man enter into a life-long union."

The bishop said in a church newsletter Monday that he remains "unconvinced that God is doing something new by altering the order established in creation.”

More here-

Tuesday, July 28, 2015

Dying for Christianity: millions at risk amid rise in persecution across the globe

From The Guardian-

Christians are facing growing persecution around the world, fuelled mainly by Islamic extremism and repressive governments, leading the pope to warn of “a form of genocide” and for campaigners to speak of “religio-ethnic cleansing”.

The scale of attacks on Christians in the Middle East, sub-Saharan Africa, Asia and Latin America has alarmed organisations that monitor religious persecution, with most reporting a significant deterioration in recent years.

On his recent trip to Latin America, Pope Francis said he was dismayed “to see how in the Middle East and elsewhere in the world many of our brothers and sisters are persecuted, tortured and killed for their faith in Jesus”. He went on: “In this third world war, waged piecemeal, which we are now experiencing, a form of genocide is taking place, and it must end.”

More here-

Civil rights hero honored at National Cathedral

From USA Today-

 A Massachusetts seminary student who sacrificed his life for a fellow civil rights worker 50 years ago is being memorialized in limestone near the entrance of the Washington National Cathedral.

Jonathan Myrick Daniels, a lesser-known martyr in the civil rights movement, was 26 when he stepped in front of a shotgun blast meant for 17-year-old Ruby Sales in Hayneville, Ala. That selfless act, and Daniels' brief summer of activism in Alabama, led the Episcopal Church to recognize him as a saint in 1991. An annual pilgrimage to Lowndes County is held in his honor.

More here-

Diocese of the Dominican Republic elects Moisés Quezada Mota bishop coadjutor

From ENS-

The Rev. Moisés Quezada Mota has been elected as bishop coadjutor of the Episcopal Diocese of the Dominican Republic, pending the required consents from a majority of bishops with jurisdiction and standing committees of the Episcopal Church.

Quezada, 58, rector of Jesus Nazareno and Good Samaritan mission churches in San Francisco de Macoris, was elected on the second ballot out of a field of four nominees.

He received 23 votes of 35 cast in the lay order and 29 of 48 cast in the clergy order. An election on that ballot required 19 in the lay order and 25 in the clergy order.

The election was held July 25 during the diocese’s extra-ordinary convention at The Cathedral Church of the Epiphany in Santo Domingo.

More here-

“Because Cotillions!” & Other Episcopal #AutoCorrect Fails

From Patheos-

Like most folks, I do a lot of things while I’m doing a lot of other things.

As primarily a stay-at-home dad right now, it often means that I make notes while I’m doing dishes, cleaning rooms, folding clothes, or ferrying kids to and from summer activities or camps.

Typically, Apple’s speech-to-text software is pretty spot on. It gets most things right.
But frustratingly — for an Episcopal priest — it tends to get one word unfailingly  and hilariously wrong.

Episcopal, apparently, isn’t in Apple’s lexicon of oft-texted words. Neither is Episcopal Church or Episcopalian for that matter.

So in order to blunt my frustration of SCREAMING ‘EPISCOPAL’ AT THE TOP OF MY LUNGS AT MY PHONE FOR THE SEVENTEENTH TIME while composing an eight-word tweet, I decided to make a list of all the terrible ways my iPhone autocorrects variations of the word “Episcopal.”

More here-

"Hate Flyers" Distributed at Episcopal Church in Rehoboth

From Delaware-

A coastal church told WBOC that a "hate letter" was left on the windshields of cars, and found by church goers, as they left services Sunday. The three-page flyers were critical of the All Saints Episcopal Church, for both their acceptance of gay and lesbians as well as their allowance of females to hold church leadership positions.

"It's really disturbing for people to receive this," said Rector Max Wolf. "To all sorts of people. Certainly the gay and lesbian members of our parish were offended. But also all their friends and family that love them just the way God made them."

Wolf said the church was likely targeted due to it's policy of being "fully inclusive." Since same sex marriage was legalized in 2013, the church has married about 50 gay and lesbian couples. The church also has female bishops in leadership roles at the church.  

More here-

Monday, July 27, 2015

Why Nigerian Anglican Bishops Have Issues With ACC – Ordu

From Nigeria-

The Anglican Bishop of the Diocese of Evoh, Rivers State, Rt. Rev. Innocent Ordu has said the Bishop of Kaduna Diocese, Rt. Rev. Josiah Idowu-Fearon did not inform the leadership of the Church of Nigeria (Anglican Communion), before accepting to serve as the Secretary-General of the Anglican Consultative Council (ACC).

He said the Church of Nigeria has an impaired relationship with the Anglican Church in the West and are not in support of Idowu-Fearon’s acceptance to serve in the ACC, because of their conviction that ACC is populated by those promoting homosexuality in the Church.

More here-

Diocese wants to hold ‘bling’ bishop accountable for excesses

From Crux-

A German Catholic diocese wants to take episcopal responsibility to a new level by making its disgraced former “bishop of bling” responsible for the 3.9 million euros ($4.9 million) in losses incurred during the luxury makeover of his residence and office.

Bishop Franz-Peter Tebartz-van Elst earned the “bling” label in 2013 when aides revealed he had spent 31 million euros ($34 million) — more than six times the original estimate — on the stately complex opposite the Romanesque cathedral in Limburg, north of Frankfurt.

The Vatican banished him from the diocese several months later and, subsequently, quietly reassigned him to a low-profile post in the Roman Curia. He seemed to be going the way of other failed bishops, such as the few punished in the clerical sexual abuse scandals by being removed from their dioceses.

More here-

Understanding Anglicanism is a bit like assembling an IKEA bookcase

From The Cafe-

Well, the smoke has all cleared and the dust is starting to settle after this very exciting General Convention, and we’re back to getting in the grooves of our ordinary Episcopalian lives.  For me, that meant getting back to reading an Anglican theology reading list that was assigned to me by my Diocesan Board of Examining Chaplains.

Frankly, Anglican theology is difficult to grasp for non-Anglicans.  Last semester, when I took Church History II through the Graduate Theological Union at Berkeley as part of my online studies at CDSP, I had to take it with the Lutherans, and found myself really annoyed at the author of our textbook for how he described the English Reformation.  It was almost as if he dismissed the whole thing as political, and not theological at all.

More here-

Meanwhile, over at the Episcopal Church …

From Patheos-

An Episcopal priest shocked his Queens congregation recently when he left his wife and married someone else — a much younger man.

The Rev. Juan Andres Quevedo-Bosch, 59, the archdeacon of Queens and rector of the Church of the Redeemer in Astoria, announced over Facebook last week that he got married in a Los Angeles church.

The Cuban-born prelate was pictured on a beach with the caption: “I’m in Miami Beach with my new husband. God is good.”

One churchgoer said many parishioners severed ties to the church after Quevedo-Bosch came out as gay at the pulpit a month ago.

More here-