Saturday, August 29, 2015

Prominent Welsh priest on why he decided to leave the Catholic Church

From The Tablet-

A prominent priest in the Diocese of Menevia has announced he is leaving the Catholic Church for the Anglican Communion.

Fr Ceirion Gilbert was a parish priest at Briton Ferry in Neath, director of youth services, chaplain to two secondary schools, secretary to the bishop’s council and in charge of the diocese’s online and social media presence. He is also a fluent Welsh speaker. He has now, however, announced he is to be received into the Church in Wales on 12 October and will continue ordained ministry in the Diocese of Llandaff.

In the letter below he explains why he decided to leave the Catholic Church.

Just above the picturesque village of Llansteffan, nestled on the banks of the beautiful Carmarthen Estuary, lies the ruins of a medieval castle and, just below it, the impressive manor that substituted it when the era of castle strongholds and all that they were needed for passed into history. Since then times have changed again, and when I walk along the beach on the other side of the river and look up at them, they remind me that very little lasts for ever, and that what so often is seen as absolute truth is, in fact, contingent upon so many things - time, especially.

More here-

The Fellowship: Why the Inklings Still Matter

From Huffington-

This summer, I lived for five weeks in Oxford, where the influence of the Inklings -- the group of Oxford writers and thinkers including J. R. R. Tolkien, C. S. Lewis, Charles Williams, and Owen Barfield -- remains visible everywhere you go. Whether you see their pictures in The Eagle and Child, one of their regular haunts in town, feel their presence as you walk along the Thames to The Perch or The Trout, two of their regular haunts out of town, or pass the New Building at Magdalen College, where The Inklings met for evening readings in his rooms, the Inklings are as omnipresent in Oxford as Lewis Carroll's Alice.

More here-

Labrie cleared of rape, guilty of lesser charges

From Boston-

Former St. Paul’s School student Owen Labrie was acquitted Friday of raping a 15-year-old girl in a secluded room on the campus in May of last year, but was found guilty on lesser sexual-assault charges involving a minor — a split verdict that left both teenagers in tears.

After about eight hours of deliberations, the jury of nine men and three women determined that Labrie had sex with the girl, then a freshman at the Concord boarding school, but that prosecutors had failed to prove he had acted without her consent, as she had asserted.

More here-

Retired bishops reflect in Episcopal news site's video on Katrina

From New Orleans-

The Episcopal bishops of Louisiana and Mississippi reflect on Hurricane Katrina and its lessons for the church in a video posted Friday (Aug. 28) by Episcopal News Service. The Right Revs. Charles Jenkins of Louisiana and Duncan Gray III of Mississippi retired in the years after the storm struck Aug. 29, 2005.

"A church that is focused inwardly, a church – as I have said before – that exists for those who are already in it, I think, is a church that is not living up to the calling of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ," Jenkins is quoted as saying. "I would want the rest of the church to know that, here in New Orleans, she was reaching out to people to whom no one else would reach."

More here-

Friday, August 28, 2015

Piecemeal revision of C of E law won't help, say canon lawyers

From The Church Times-

PROPOSALS for a new Enabling Measure that would give the Archbishops’ Council “Henry VIII” powers to change or repeal some synodical Measures and Acts of Parliament do not go far enough, the Ecclesiastical Law Society (ELS) have said.

At present, minor changes to existing church laws usually require the passage of another Measure, with full scrutiny by the General Synod and Parliament’s Ecclesiastical Committee, in a process that takes a minimum of 18 months.

The proposed new Measure would give the Archbishops’ Council the power to change Measures and other legislation by Orders that, if approved by the General Synod in a single majority vote, would be laid before Parliament as Statutory Instruments.

More here-

At This Brooklyn Church, Everything Must Go

From The New York Times-

On a recent Saturday morning, dust choked the air, and debris rained inside the Church of the Redeemer in Brooklyn, just south of the Atlantic Terminal transit hub. Shards of stained glass panes had fallen onto remnants of floral floor tiles, near stacks of dirt-covered hymnals and mangled metal ceiling panels. Workers were hammering apart walls and carrying walnut pews, which were to be offered for sale at the Demolition Depot in Manhattan.

Last year, the Episcopal Diocese of Long Island sold the property for $20 million, and the church is scheduled for demolition. Its new owner, the Jackson Group, has not announced plans for the empty lot.

More here-

Jonathan Daniels’ companions in Alabama recall his life, death

From ENS (with video)

Five people who worked alongside Jonathan Daniels in the struggle for civil rights in Alabama in 1965 gathered at his home parish, St. James Episcopal Church, on Aug. 22 to reminisce about the seminarian who died when he was 26 years old.

Daniels died Aug. 20, 1965, in Hayneville, Alabama, by stepping in front of a shotgun aimed at then-16-year-old Ruby Sales.

The Episcopal Church added Daniels to its Lesser Feasts and Fasts calendar of commemorations in 1994. His feast day is Aug. 14, the day of his arrest.

The panel discussion included:

Sales, a Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee (SNCC) volunteer in Lowndes County, Alabama, in 1965, who now operates the Atlanta, Georgia-based SpiritHouse Project to work for racial, economic and social justice.

More here-

Thursday, August 27, 2015

From South Africa-

Archbishop Desmond Tutu is expected to be discharged from hospital by the end of next week, his daughter said Thursday, as his health improves under treatment for a persistent infection.

The 83-year-old Nobel peace prize laureate was readmitted to hospital on August 17 after being troubled by the infection, which his family said was a consequence of prostate cancer treatment he has received for 18 years.

His daughter Mpho Tutu told journalists in Cape Town that his family were keen to see him back home.

"We hope that he will be able to return home by the end of next week maybe, and he will take all the medication and not need to be on the intravenous stuff.

"He won't make a fuss about being uncomfortable and so sometimes that makes it a bit challenging for the nurses," she added.

More here-

Defendant Testifies in Prep-School Assault Case

From The Wall Street Journal-

A 19-year-old defendant on Wednesday said he didn’t have sex with a fellow prep-school student in a high-profile case that demonstrates how allegations of campus sexual assault are widening beyond the nation’s colleges and universities.

Owen Labrie, a former student and captain of the soccer team at St. Paul’s School, took the stand for the first time Wednesday. He is accused of raping a then-15-year-old girl in May 2014, just before he graduated at age 18. Mr. Labrie of Tunbridge, Vt., has pleaded not guilty to three felony sexual assault charges and other charges, including endangering the welfare of a child.

Under cross-examination Wednesday, Mr. Labrie acknowledged he invited the girl for a “senior salute,” in which graduating upperclassmen proposition younger students to arrange encounters, often intimate, before graduation. But he said the two had a consensual physical encounter that didn’t include intercourse.

More here-

Out of Deep Waters: Gulf Coast, Episcopal Church remembers Katrina

From ENS-

It was Sunday; just six days after Hurricane Katrina had ripped a swath of death and destruction across the Gulf Coast of Louisiana and Mississippi. It was time for church.

Not matter that Katrina had wiped the building known as St. Mark’s Episcopal Church in Gulfport from its Gulf-side lot. The Rev. James “Bo” Roberts had not missed a Sunday service since he became rector of the then-123-year-old church in April 1969 before Hurricane Camille knocked the building of its foundation about the same time in August of that year.

And so, on Sept. 3, the Sunday of Labor Day weekend, the particle board sign along debris-strewn Church Avenue just north of sand-covered East Beach Boulevard read “Here! Mass 9:30 Bring Chair.”

Roberts, a Gulf Coast native, rode out Camille in his home but nearly died. He stayed for Katrina, too.

More here-

Wednesday, August 26, 2015

Vatican Supports Naming Square After Excommunicated Church Reformer (Martin Luther)

From Huffington-

The Vatican has given its backing to a central Rome square being named after Martin Luther, a church reformer excommunicated by the pope nearly 500 years ago.

A German Catholic priest and theologian, Luther was a key figure in the Protestant Reformation and sparked considerable controversy by challenging the authority of the Catholic Church. He denounced the corruption he saw among clergy in Rome and believed salvation came through faith alone — views that did not sit well with Pope Leo X.

Luther was excommunicated in 1521 and was never allowed to return to the Catholic Church, but now the Vatican’s views have changed.

Next month a hilltop square in Rome is due to be named Piazza Martin Lutero, in memory of Luther’s achievements. The site chosen is the Oppian Hill, a park area that overlooks the Colosseum.

More here-

PB Supports Iran Agreement

From The Living Church-

Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori has joined more than 50 other religious leaders urging Congress to approve the Obama administration’s agreement with Iran.

“The July 2015 diplomatic agreement with Iran will dramatically shrink and impose unprecedented constraints on Iran’s nuclear program,” the leaders say in an open letter. “In exchange, the international community will begin to lift sanctions on Iran. It also establishes the most robust monitoring and inspection regime ever negotiated to verify Iran’s compliance with the restrictions on its nuclear program.

More here-

Kenya’s Council of Churches launches climate change campaign ahead of Paris conference

From National Catholic Reporter-

While calling for global carbon emissions cuts, Kenya’s National Council of Churches has launched a multifaith campaign to lobby governments, industries and multilateral agencies to agree on a binding treaty at the United Nations climate change talks in Paris later this year.

A new protocol is expected to be adopted at the meeting, known as COP21, to replace the 1997 Kyoto Protocol, which is due to expire. That protocol required that state signers reduce greenhouse gas emissions, based on the premise that global warming exists and human-made carbon dioxide emissions have caused it.

A pan–African climate justice campaign, under the slogan “We Have Faith -- Act Now for Climate Justicem,” seeks to mobilize African religious communities on climate justice ahead of the December conference. It has launched a 1 million signature petition to push for a new treaty.

More here-

Rape Trial Casts Spotlight on New Hampshire Prep School

From The Wall Street Journal-

A high-profile rape trial under way here has put an uncomfortable spotlight on one of the nation’s most prestigious boarding schools.

Several current and former students from St. Paul’s School in testimony Monday described a campus tradition in which seniors proposition younger students to arrange encounters, often intimate, before graduation—with boys in some dorms and athletic teams competing for the highest tally.

In the “senior salute” tradition, students about to graduate would “decide that they wanted to hook up with a younger student,” Henry Kremer, who graduated from St. Paul’s in June, testified. The encounters “meant at least kissing” and could escalate “all the way up to sexual intercourse,” said Mr. Kremer.

More here-

Cuban Episcopal Bishop makes historic visit to Christ Episcopal Church

From New Orleans-

Love brings courage and last week Rev. Griselda Delgado Del Carpio, the Episcopal Bishop of Cuba, brought love and courage to Christ Episcopal Church in Covington. 

Christ Episcopal welcomed Bishop Del Carpio with a program featuring prayers, readings, and songs, including a rousing rendition of Guantanamera, all in Spanish by students of Christ Episcopal School under the direction of Spanish teachers Dawn Cox, Elizabeth Ryan and Angela Nunez.

More here-

Tuesday, August 25, 2015

Attempt at humor falls flat, mischaracterizes parishioners

From Minnesota-

The road to hell, it is said, is paved with good intentions.

In my case, the road to hellish — or at least boorish — behavior was paved with the intention to be funny. Unfortunately, my intent went awry, and in the process I inadvertently caused offense and unintentionally leveled insult at a place and a group of people who deserved none of it. In other words, I tried to be funny and I wasn’t, and in the process, I hurt a lot of people whom I shouldn’t have hurt and disparaged a lot of people whom I didn’t intend to disparage. It was a stupid mistake on my part. For that, I am truly sorry and I apologize.

What happened was this: In the Lifestyle section of each Weekend Edition we run a feature that we call Mystery Shot, a feature we have been running since 2008. In the feature, we show part of a fairly well known structure in Steele County and ask our readers to identify the place pictured — something which our readers are very good at doing. Then, the next week, we identify the place pictured and tell which of our readers correctly identified the place. Occasionally, a couple dozen ID the place, sometimes only a few.

More here-

A remarkable tale of slavery and opportunity in early Detroit

From Michigan-

Tucked into a bucolic corner on Grosse Ile, an island community in the Detroit River, a small wooden Gothic Revival chapel adjoins the congregation of St. James Episcopal Church. The building is quaint and charming, matching the leafy setting and peaceful environment of the island. The story of the building’s existence, though, dates back nearly 150 years and testifies to the enduring friendship of two remarkable women and serves as a reminder of Michigan's oft overlooked history with the institution of slavery. Along the way, the story includes quite a few famous names from Detroit history, as well as some statewide firsts.

More here-

RIP: Former Jerusalem and Middle East Bishop Samir Hana Kafity

From ENS-

The Most Rev. Samir Hana Kafity, twelfth president-bishop and primate of Jerusalem and the Middle East, and bishop-in-residence at St. Bartholomew’s Episcopal Church in Poway, died on the afternoon of Aug. 21 at home after a stroke. He was 81 years old.

“Bishop Kafity kept a ball of barbed wire on his desk to help him remember that he was pastor to Christians on both sides of the barbed wire,” said the Rev. Mark McKone-Sweet, rector of St. Bartholomew’s, Poway, the parish home of Bishop Kafity and his family for the past eighteen years. “He gave himself relentlessly to bringing peace to all people, regardless of race, nationality, faith or political group, by breaking down differences and collaborating with countless religious leaders around the world.”

More here-

Monday, August 24, 2015

Did Religion Make the American Civil War Worse?

From The Atlantic-

If there is one sober lesson Americans seem to be taking out of the bathos of the Civil War sesquicentennial, it’s the folly of a nation allowing itself to be dragged into the war in the first place. After all, from 1861 to 1865 the nation pledged itself to what amounted to a moral regime change, especially concerning race and slavery—only to realize that it had no practical plan for implementing it. No wonder that two of the most important books emerging from the Sesquicentennial years—by Harvard president Drew Faust, and Yale’s Harry Stout—questioned pretty frankly whether the appalling costs of the Civil War could be justified by its comparatively meager results. No wonder, either, that both of them were written in the shadow of the Iraq War, which was followed by another reconstruction that suffered from the same lack of planning.

Bishop Curry's farewell comes through Greensboro

From North Carolina-

As the spiritual leader for the Episcopal Diocese of North Carolina, which roughly covers the central part of the state, Bishop Michael Curry often joins in the creativity of the Greensboro parishes.

“I think their legacy is in finding creative ways that really do engage people in issues — not always having to fix them but to engage people in problem solving,” he said on the steps of Holy Trinity during its 100th anniversary celebration in 2010, which focused on spirituality and the arts.

Curry, in his attention-drawing purple vestry and carrying a hooked wooden staff, led local congregations in a re-creation of the Stations of the Cross at Easter in 2013, with the downtown business district as a backdrop for the symbolic journey.

More here-

Rhode Island Church Taking Unusual Step to Illuminate Its Slavery Role

From Rhode Island-

One of the darkest chapters of Rhode Island history involved the state’s pre-eminence in the slave trade, beginning in the 1700s. More than half of the slaving voyages from the United States left from ports in Providence, Newport and Bristol — so many, and so contrary to the popular image of slavery as primarily a scourge of the South, that Rhode Island has been called “the Deep North.”

That history will soon become more prominent as the Episcopal diocese here, which was steeped in the trans-Atlantic slave trade, establishes a museum dedicated to telling that story, the first in the country to do so, according to scholars.

More here-

St. Paul's Episcopal Church discusses Confederate imagery

From Richmond-

At the landmark church sometimes referred to as the Cathedral of the Confederacy during the Civil War and its aftermath, the issue of memorials and imagery is prompting self-examination by congregants and clergy.

About 100 members of St. Paul’s Episcopal Church downtown participated in the second of two conversations about the Confederate symbols after their worship service Sunday.

The discussions, which are far from conclusive at this point, were sparked by the racially motivated massacre of nine black churchgoers June 17 in Charleston, S.C., said St. Paul’s rector, the Rev. Wallace Adams-Riley.

More here-