Saturday, August 15, 2015

‘Amazing Grace’ Opens on Broadway

From National Catholic Register-

Young John Newton was familiar with the sea: He was only 11 years old when he first set sail with his father. By the age of 18, he’d accepted a position as a slave master in Jamaica; but before he could assume his new post, Newton was pressed into service in the British Navy. He became a midshipman, but he tried to desert his ship — so he was severely beaten and, at his own request, was transferred to a slave ship bound for West Africa.

While he was aboard the slave ship, Newton was forced to become the personal servant of the cruel slave master. Finally, in 1743, he was rescued by a British sea captain, who agreed to transport him home to England.

But alas, as the ship sailed homeward, it encountered a storm at sea. As the wind roared, as the waves washed over the bough, as lightning split the sky into two, Newton and his fellow sailors feared for their lives. As the ship filled with water, the panicked Newton called out to God.

More here-

The harrowing lives of Christians in the Middle East

From The Washington Post-

Witnessing sectarian turmoil in the Middle East, and observing the back and forth over which threat is most existential to countries in that religiously sensitive region, a soft voice asks: “Don’t Christian lives matter, too?” Depends upon how it’s expressed.

This weekend, the Episcopal Church and other Christian denominations will celebrate the Feast of Saint Mary, the virgin mother of Jesus Christ, and the Catholic Church will recognize Mary’s assumption into heaven.


● An Aug. 11 article by The Post’s Jerusalem bureau chief, William Booth, featured Aviya Morris, a 20-year-old West Bank settler, described as “the fresh new face of Jewish extremism.”

According to the article, “in 2013 [Morris] was arrested on suspicion of involvement in vandalizing Jerusalem’s Monastery of the Cross, where assailants left behind the spray-painted message ‘Jesus — son of a whore’ on a wall.”

More here-

People flock from across U.S. to honor Jonathan Daniels

From Alabama-

Religious leaders and civil rights activists from across America begin arriving in Alabama today to remember an Episcopal seminary student who sacrificed his life to save a teenage girl 50 years ago.

Jonathan Daniels was one of several activists who took part in voting rights protests in 1965 during a violent year that claimed several lives.

Daniels, 26, died instantly when struck in the chest at point blank range by a shotgun blast as he stood outside a small convenience store on Aug. 20, 1965, shielding Ruby Sales who was not struck.

The two protesters had been ordered away from the “Cash Store” by Tom Coleman, a special deputy sheriff, shortly after their release from the Lowndes County Jail where they were incarcerated for a week.

More here-

Historic mission still serving Utah's Navajo Nation

From Utah-

A historic mission to the Navajo Nation is still alive and well, almost three-quarters of a century after it was founded by a legendary Episcopal priest.

But the mission is not all about religion, according to his successor. It's also about trying to plug some gaping holes in the social safety net.

On Sunday mornings, the Rev. Richard Stevens — known locally as "Father Red" — rings an old railroad bell, summoning the faithful to church. St. Christopher's Episcopal Mission is just outside of Bluff in a place on the edge of the Navajo Reservation that's drenched in history.

First there was an old log church "built in 1944 and '45," Father Red explained as he walked through the remains. The church burned down in 1964. "This got scorched," he said, pointing to a stone altar, "but it got preserved."

More here-

Bishop James Magness, Suffragan for Armed Services and Federal Ministries, to retire in 2017

From ENS-

Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori has announced the upcoming resignation (retirement) of Bishop James “Jay” Magness, the Sixth Bishop Suffragan for Armed Services and Federal Ministries of The Episcopal Church.

“Bishop Magness has brought a new level of clarity, effectiveness, and responsiveness to the office, and has increased recruitment and raised awareness of the ministry of federal chaplains around The Episcopal Church,” Presiding Bishop Jefferts Schori said. “He will be difficult to replace, and I am grateful this careful process of seeking a successor has begun.”

Bishop Magness has served in this position since June 2010.

More here-

Friday, August 14, 2015

10 Things I Wish Everyone Knew About the Episcopal Church

From On Faith-

The Rev. Laurie Brock serves as the rector of St. Michael the Archangel Episcopal Church in Lexington, Kentucky. She blogs at, is the co-author of Where God Hides Holiness (Church Publishing) and contributor to There’s a Woman in the Pulpit (Skylight), as well as several devotional books. We asked her to list 10 things she wishes people knew about the Episcopal Church.

1. We don’t all love Downton Abbey.

Yes, we began in the United States as an outpost of the Church of England. When the American Revolution began, shifting from the Church of England to become the Episcopal Church was no easy choice. Many of the founders and upper crust of our country were Episcopalian, but we are no longer the church of the establishment. We have changed in deeply important ways.

While many of us enjoyed watching the royal wedding of Kate Middleton and Prince William, recognizing the words of the wedding service as our own, we are also energized by our own Episcopal identity. Our churches include the National Cathedral in Washington, D.C. and communities that gather to worship in homes and homeless shelters. Our Sunday Eucharist is celebrated in over a dozen languages, including Spanish and several Native American languages, and we strive to become a more diverse church.

2. We are people of the Book.

 More here-

News August 13, 2015 Alva James-Johnson: Columbus connections bring history to life

From Georgia-

Reading about history is one thing; living it is another.

Ruby Nell Sales sure knows the difference.

Sales, 67, is a human rights activist who grew up in segregated Columbus at a time when black children were taught that they had a responsibility to uplift their communities.

In the 1960s, she took that sense of purpose to Tuskegee University, where she joined the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee and began campaigning for voting rights in Selma, Ala. There she met Jonathan Daniels, a white, 26-year-old, seminarian who would die saving her life. At the time, Sales was only 17 years old.

I must humbly confess, I knew nothing about Sales until about two weeks ago. I stumbled across her name while working on a story about the 50th anniversary of Daniels’ historic deed, which hundreds of people are expected to commemorate Saturday during an annual pilgrimage in Hayneville, Ala., where he was killed.

Read more here:

Reader to lose Permission to Officiate over marriage plans

From The Church Times- (If you don't know what a "Reader" is click the 2nd link below)

JEREMY TIMM, a Reader, has described the “tears and soul-searching” that he endured before deciding to convert his civil partnership to marriage, knowing that this would result in the loss of his permission to officiate (PTO).

Mr Timm, a Reader in the Howden Team Ministry in Hull, was told by the Archbishop of York, Dr Sentamu, last month, that his PTO would be revoked if he pursued his intention to convert his partnership with Mike Brown.

Writing on the website of Changing Attitude, Mr Timm described being “placed in an impossible situation by the Church of England . . . faced with choosing between marriage or ministry”.

He entered a civil partnership with Mr Brown in 2009. After the publication of the Pilling report, the then Bishop of Hull, the Rt Revd Richard Frith, agreed that he could seek licensing as a Reader. He was granted a PTO by Dr Sentamu.

More here-


Episcopal Relief & Development Supports Church Response in Burma-Myanmar Following Cyclone Komen

From ERD-

Episcopal Relief & Development is supporting the relief efforts of the Church of the Province of Myanmar (CPM) in response to widespread flooding caused by heavy monsoons and Cyclone Komen, which swept through the region on July 30. The rains that began on July 16 caused landslides in hilly areas and floods throughout much of the country, which worsened as water flowed out of the mountains and reservoirs were opened to prevent dams from breaking.

According to UN OCHA, as of August 11, more than 1 million people have been affected and over 240,000 households are displaced. Approximately 687,000 acres (1,100 square miles) of farmland have been damaged, and special equipment is needed to remove water, mud and sand from fields so they can be replanted in order to prevent food shortages.

Read more:

Newfoundland's Anglican-Episcopal pipeline

From Newfoundland-

The Rev. Steven Maki is part of a long tradition of cross-border religious reciprocity. He’s an American Episcopal priest serving in an Anglican parish in Newfoundland.

In fact, the Massachusetts-raised Maki is now ministering in his second parish in the diocese of Western Newfoundland—his first being Flower’s Cove, where he served from 2005 to 2007. For the past 18 months, he’s been priest to the 600-family, three-point parish of Grand Bay, where he hopes to stay for at least four years. Maki is one of three U.S. Episcopal expatriates making up for the scarcity of Anglican clergy in the diocese.

More here-

Western Mass Episcopal Bishop Douglas Fisher on walking his diocese, his wife being a priest, love of Bruce Springsteen

From Western Mass-

The Right Rev. Douglas J. Fisher became bishop of the Episcopal Diocese of Western Massachusetts on Dec. 1, 2012. He and his wife, the Rev. Elizabeth Fisher, who is rector of a church in Dutchess County, N.Y., live in the Berkshires, and the bishop is based in the diocese's headquarters at Christ Church Cathedral on Chestnut Street.

His determination to walk his diocese, which includes Worcester County, as well as the counties of Berkshire, Franklin, Hampden and Hampshire, has made his boyish, lanky figure a not uncommon sight, and his opposition to legalized gambling, the need for tighter gun control laws and opposition to the death penalty have earned him headlines.

More here-

Thursday, August 13, 2015

Professor Sues Religious University After Allegedly Being Fired For Getting Pregnant

From NPR-

Now a story about a professor in Oregon who says when she told her employer she was pregnant, she got a pink slip instead of congratulations. That's because she worked at a Christian school and because she's not married. NPR's Carrie Johnson reports.

CARRIE JOHNSON, BYLINE: Coty Richardson spent four years teaching exercise science at Northwest Christian University. She says she loved in the small classes at the school in Eugene, Ore., and she loved its values and caring environment.

COTY RICHARDSON: Christ-centered community that's based on, you know, loving one another, loving yourself, kindness, tolerance of other individuals.

JOHNSON: But Richardson says that tolerance was put to the test earlier this summer when she told her boss she was pregnant. Richardson says she thought they'd discuss arrangements for her to give a take-home exam at the end of the fall semester. That's right when her baby boy is due. Instead, she says, her supervisor had something else on his mind.

More here-

Communiqué from the International Anglican Liturgical Consultation 2015

From ACNS-

Rites of Corporate Reconciliation

1. The International Anglican Liturgical Consultation met in Montreal, Canada from the 3rd to 8th August 2015. The Consultation was warmly welcomed and appreciated the facilities placed at its disposal by the Montreal Diocesan Synod Office. The Anglican Communion Office was represented at the meeting by the Revd Canon Dr John Gibaut, the Director of Unity, Faith and Order for the Anglican Communion.

2. Members were present from Aotearoa New Zealand and Polynesia, Australia, Canada, England, Hong Kong, Ireland, Japan, Korea, the Philippines, Scotland, the Solomon Islands, Southern Africa, the United States of America, Uruguay and Wales. Unfortunately some members were again unable to attend the consultation because of visa problems.

3. We were able to support the attendance of some members through the bursary fund. Significant bursary donations will be needed to secure this assistance for future meetings.

More here-

Conversation on race provides community dialogue

From Missouri-

Racism, according to most dictionaries, is “the belief that all members of each race possess characteristics or abilities specific to that race, especially so as to distinguish it as inferior or superior to another race or races.”

The Northland Justice Coalition, in partnership with Communities Creating Opportunity, held a Northland Conversation on Race, Privilege and Power at the end of July at Grace Episcopal Church.
The Rev. Susan McCann, the rector at Grace Episcopal, welcomed guests as both the church’s lead pastor and a member of the Northland Justice group. People from all across the metropolitan area — including leaders from Independence, Raytown, Lee’s Summit in Missouri, and Lenexa and Leawood in Kansas — joined in the conversation as well as Liberty leaders including Councilman Gene Gentrup, state Rep. Nick King and Superintendent Dr. Jeremy Tucker.

More here-

Area children commemorate 50th anniversary of Jonathan Daniels' death

From New Hampshire-

On Tuesday, a youth group from St. James Episcopal Church in Keene left on a journey back in time to the civil rights movement, in a trip marking 50th anniversary of Elm City native Jonathan Daniels’ death.

Nine children, ages 10 to 16, were slated to participate in the Jonathan Daniels pilgrimage to Alabama, according to Derek M. Scalia, the St. James youth pilgrimage leader and chairman of the city of Keene’s Martin Luther King Jr./Jonathan Daniels Committee.

“There’s an amazing opportunity for these students to actually walk where the movement took place, to visit the sites in which people sacrificed their reputation in the community and, for many, ultimately gave their life,” Scalia said. “It’s extremely moving.”

More here-

Wednesday, August 12, 2015

Bishop Protects Civilians

From The Living Church-

Wednesday, August 12, 2015

The Diocese of Iowa reports briefly on the Diocese of Nzara, South Sudan, from a conversation between the Rev. H. Milton Cole and the Rt. Rev. Samuel Peni, Bishop of Nzara:

The news from Nzara is not good. One result of the conflict between the Army and civilians is that civilians are very frightened. People living in rural parts of the diocese are coming into town seeking shelter and safety. Presently 15 to 20 people have moved into the bishop’s home and about 50 are living in the cathedral compound. Feeding these displaced people is putting a strain on diocese resources that is not helped by the general inflation within the country. Where a single US dollar could previously feed about 15 people now it will only feed about 10.

More here-

Gay Anglican preacher forced to ‘choose between marriage or ministry’

From The Telegraph-

A Church of England lay preacher has disclosed that he is preparing to be expelled from ministry to marry his male partner.

Jeremy Timm said he had been forced to “choose between marriage or ministry” by the Archbishop of York, Dr John Sentamu, but is ready to be stripped of his position in the Church in order to tie the knot.

Mr Timm and his partner, Mike, who live near Howden, East Yorkshire, have been in a civil partnership for six years but are planning to convert it to marriage in September, in open defiance of a ban on same-sex weddings in the Church of England.

More here-

St. Barnabas Episcopal Church Gets Ripped Off – Would Like Lawnmowers Back

From Oregon-

The St. Barnabas Episcopal Church in SW Portland on SW Vermont is now the victim of a theft.  Somebody broke into their shed and stole two lawnmowers and a trimmer.

Father Sean Wall says he and another church staff member decided to go ahead and put up a message on their new digital sign out front asking for someone to please return them.

Father Sean says while they are keeping a sense of humor about the whole thing, they are standing by one of their core values of being the hands and feet of Christ.  He says if someone has a heart to help out the church they should offer assistance to one of their neighbors in need.

More here-

Tuesday, August 11, 2015

How J.R.R. Tolkien and C.S. Lewis Revived Modern Myth-Telling

From Atlantic Monthly-

In this nearly magical room, amid fire-crackle and clink of glass, you can hear them talking. Pipe smoke is in the air, and a certain boisterous chauvinism, and the wet-dog smell of recently rained-on tweed. You can hear the donnish mumbles of J. R. R. Tolkien as the slow coils of The Silmarillion glint and shift in his back-brain. Now he’s reading aloud from an interminable marmalade-stained manuscript, and his fellow academic Hugo Dyson, prone on the couch, is heckling him: “Oh God, not another fucking elf!” You can hear the challenging train-conductor baritone of C. S. Lewis, familiar to millions from his wartime radio broadcasts; hear the unstoppable spiel of the writer/hierophant Charles Williams, with his twitchy limbs and angel-monkey face; hear the silver stream of ideas and argumentation that is the philosopher Owen Barfield. They are intellectually bent upon one another, these men, but flesh-and-blood is the thing: conviviality is, for them, a kind of passion. The chairs are deep; the fire glows gold and extra fiery in the grate. Lewis’s brother, Warnie, rosy with booze and fellow feeling, serves the drinks. And the walls drop away, and the scene extends itself backwards and forward in time …

More here-

Pope Francis Institutes "World Day of Prayer for the Care of Creation"

From Aleteia-

As millions of gallons of toxic decontaminate and sludge from a Colorado gold mine pour into the Animas River following a massive mining spill last week by the federal Environmental Protection Agency, Pope Francis has announced his decision to institute a “World Day of Prayer for the Care of Creation” to be celebrated annually on September 1st.

The purpose of the Day is to offer all Catholics the opportunity “to reaffirm their personal vocation to be stewards of creation, to thank God for the wonderful handiwork which he has entrusted to our care, and to implore his help for the protection of creation as well as his pardon for the sins committed against the world in which we live.”

More here-

Dundee cathedral hosts historic same-sex marriage

From Scotland-

A historic moment in the movement to have same-sex marriages recognised in church took place in St Paul’s Cathedral in Dundee.

Paul Hastie and Steven Gray were married in Dundee’s registry office, before the first ever service of blessing was held in the cathedral on Saturday.

The day was an important one for the Scottish Episcopal Church, which has not yet agreed to solemnise same-sex marriages but is considering changing its rule stating a marriage has to be between “one man and one woman”.

Conducting the service, the Very Rev Jeremy Auld said: “Sadly at this point in the law we cannot yet marry them here but we can give them the Church’s blessing on their marriage and I’m really pleased to do this.

More here-

Pilgrimage marks Civil Rights-era martyrdom of Jonathan Daniels

From Alabama-

Why should people remember this terrible story? Fifty years ago on a blazing August afternoon, Jonathan Daniels, a skinny white seminary student walked with a mixed group of civil rights workers in Hayneville, Ala., to a neighborhood store. The group was met by the store owner swinging a shotgun at them.

Daniels pushed 16-year-old Ruby Sales out of the line of fire, receiving the blast to his chest at nearly point-blank range. Daniels lay dying on the store's doorstep as the rest of the group scattered. Richard Morrisroe, then a Catholic priest, was also shot, but survived.

So why commemorate this event with the Jonathan Daniels Pilgrimage each year?

"That was a pivotal moment in the Civil Rights movement," said Alabama Rep. Kelvin Lawrence, who is also a former mayor of Hayneville. "Unfortunately, we have that history, but also, we can learn from history and move forward."

More here-

Monday, August 10, 2015

A Bible and a Gun: 3 Pastors Who've Taken Up Firearms Since Charleston Shooting

From NewsMax-

Several pastors around the nation joined the gun-control debate in the wake of the mass shooting that occurred at the Emmanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church in Charleston, South Carolina, on June 17.

Dylann Roof, 21, who is white, has pleaded not guilty in the attack, viewed by some as a racial hate crime, which left nine members including one of the church's pastors, dead of gunshot wounds, according to The Wall Street Journal.

Here are three pastors and congregations that have taken up firearms and initiated training since the Charleston shooting occurred.

More here-

Postiff: You can’t cherry pick your theology

From Detroit-

The Episcopal Church’s recent approval of weddings for gay couples continues the rapid societal shift regarding marriage. Some welcome the change as long overdue, while others lament society’s regression into immorality.

Progressives make a seemingly compelling argument that traditional Christian belief is terribly inconsistent. For example, the church is inconsistent in its acceptance of some practices (divorce) while it rejects others (homosexuality). Christians conveniently ignore some Bible laws, e.g. that slavery is acceptable (Exodus 21:7), Sabbath-breaking is a capital offense (Exodus 35:2), and touching a pigskin makes one unclean (Leviticus 11:7-8). Yet they doggedly insist that homosexuality is a sin (Lev 18:22). Why such “cherry picking”?

The accusation sounds compelling. However, it is weak. Here’s why.

More here-

Sunday, August 9, 2015

Some denominations still unsettled over same-sex marriage

From Illinois-

After meeting in California and moving to Springfield two years ago, Leda Kozikowski and Lisa Eggold didn't necessarily expect to have a church wedding.

But after finding a spiritual home and affirming community in First Presbyterian Church, along with the legalization of same-sex marriage in Illinois, those plans changed.

"It was spiritually deepening to get married in our own church and by our own pastor (the Rev. Clifford Hayes)," Leda Kozikowski Eggold said.

Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.), of which First Presbyterian is a member, is the largest Protestant denomination to allow same-sex marriage.

Other denominations are grappling with the issue, especially in light of the U.S. Supreme Court decision in late June legalizing same-sex marriage nationwide, while still others have dug in their heels.

In the 12.1 million-member United Methodist Church, a potential schism is developing prior to next year's General Conference in Portland, Oregon, where the question will be taken up.

While Episcopalians voted to permit same-sex marriages beginning in late November, Springfield Bishop Daniel Martins is one of a handful of leaders not allowing the new canons in his diocese.

More here-