Friday, September 11, 2015

Come to live in our homes, church people tell migrants

From The Church Times-

CHURCH leaders have joined politicians, charity workers, and thousands of individuals offering their own homes to accommodate refugees fleeing war-torn Syria.

The crisis, which has seen thousands of Syrians risk their lives to seek asylum overseas, has triggered a national social-media campaign, #refugeeswelcome, that is encouraging people in the UK to open their homes to those in need.

The campaign is widely supported by churches and cathedrals. The Dean of York, the Very Revd Vivienne Faull, has offered one of York Minster’s vacant properties to accommodate a refugee family.

"York has a long history of offering sanctuary, and I would welcome the chance to convene a meeting so we can respond to this crisis as a city and commit to welcoming some families," she said.

More here-

Kenya's Anglican church revokes priest's license, suspends four others, over gay sex allegations

From Kenya (RNS)

As the worldwide Anglican Communion struggles with how to treat gays in the church, the Anglican Church of Kenya has revoked a priest’s license and suspended four others over alleged gay sex.

The church created a diocesan tribunal after four young men, all over 18, claimed they were lured into gay sex by senior clergymen.

“I feel pain about this knowing (Kenyan) Anglican bishops have been very clear that they are against the gay practices,” Bishop Joseph Kagunda said after the release of the tribunal’s verdict Thursday (Sept. 10) in Nyeri.

Kagunda said the tribunal found one of the priests guilty and stripped him of his clergy credentials after examining the evidence by witnesses and his defense.

Some of the priests confessed and received suspensions ranging from three months to three years. One of the priests was suspended indefinitely.

More here

Trinity, Norges ink massive Hudson Square deal

From New York-

Trinity Real Estate has found a venture partner for its 11-building portfolio in Hudson Square: Norway’s sovereign-wealth fund, the largest in the world. The real estate arm of Trinity Wall Street Episcopal Church agreed, in principle, to bring in the $830 billion fund as a partner on 5 million square feet of real estate. The church’s governing body voted late Wednesday on the deal, Bloomberg News reported Thursday. Financial terms were not disclosed, but sources previously told The Real Deal that the offering could fetch $3 billion. An earlier offering of just four buildings was expected to go for $1.25 billion. The partnership will enable Trinity “to diversify its real estate assets in order to ensure that it will be able to sustain the hundreds of programs, services and ministries provided by the church in service to millions of people for generations to come,” Betsy Vorce, Trinity’s chief communications officer, said. 

More here-

Diocese of Central Pennsylvania to install new Episcopal bishop

From Central PA-

The consecration of the Episcopal Diocese of Central Pennsylvania’s 11th Bishop, the Rev. Dr. Audrey Scanlon, will be held this weekend in  Harrisburg.

Scanlon, the diocese’s first female bishop, previously served the Diocese of Connecticut.

Bishop-elect Scanlon's formal installation ceremony will be held Saturday from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. and will include Episcopalians from across the diocese, featuring more than 20 bishops (including Lutheran and Moravian.)

The seating of Scanlon will take place  at Saint Stephen's Episcopal Cathedral, 221 N. Front St., Harrisburg, at 10:15 a.m. Sunday. In the Episcopal tradition, the new bishop must knock on the red front doors of the Cathedral church and ask to enter. Once entry is granted, the bishop is formally seated. Scanlon will preach the sermon at the service.

More here-

Thursday, September 10, 2015

Charleston Church Shooter Dylann Roof 'Caught Us With Our Eyes Closed'

Moving interview from NBC- (video)

In a matter of seconds, a moment of quiet prayer turned into a massacre.

"We were just about to say the prayer to be released," said Felicia Sanders, one of three people who survived when a gunman opened fire during Bible study at her Charleston, South Carolina, church on June 17.

"He caught us with our eyes closed. I never told nobody this."

Sanders and another survivor, Polly Sheppard, spoke to NBC News' Lester Holt in an exclusive interview Wednesday. They said they want those killed in the shooting at Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church to be remembered as heroes, not as victims.

More here-

Heather Cook pleads guilty to automobile manslaughter

From ENS-

Former Episcopal Diocese of Maryland Bishop Suffragan Heather Cook is due to be sentenced late next month after pleading guilty Sept. 8 to automobile manslaughter and three other criminal charges.

The other charges to which Cook pleaded include driving while intoxicated, texting while driving and failing to remain at an accident resulting in death, according to a spokesperson for the Baltimore City State’s Attorney office.

Prosecutors said during Cook’s court appearance that they would ask for a sentence of 20 years, with all but 10 years suspended, to be followed by five years’ probation. Judge Timothy Doory will sentence Cook on Oct. 27.

More here-

Wednesday, September 9, 2015

Francis announces changes to annulment process

From Pittsburgh-

When Rae O’Hair sought an annulment of her first marriage from the Catholic Church more than a decade ago, it took her more than a year to complete the accompanying questionnaire.

The questions were personal and emotionally fraught. “I gave them a lot of thought,” said Ms. O’Hair of Edgewood. “I felt I could only do a few at a time.”

She eventually did receive the annulment. But her second husband, who has since died, applied twice for an annulment of his previous marriage and was denied twice. So they married in an Episcopal church.

Ms. O’Hair still attends a Catholic church, but she applauded the news Tuesday that Pope Francis has streamlined the annulment process.

More here-
From Christian Post-

A diocese that broke away from The Episcopal Church is requesting prayers ahead of arguments scheduled to take place before the South Carolina Supreme Court over the regional body's church property dispute.

The Diocese of South Carolina will go before the Palmetto State's highest court to argue that they are the rightful owners of approximately $500 million worth of church property, rather than the national Mainline denomination.

The Rev. Canon Jim Lewis posted a prayer last Wednesday on the diocesan website asking God to "protect this diocese and its parishes."

"Speak your words alone through Alan Runyan and the other attorneys who represent us. May the courtroom be filled with the pleasant aroma of Christ," read the prayer in part.

More here-

Tuesday, September 8, 2015

Heather Cook pleads guilty in bicyclist's death

From Baltimore-

Former Maryland Episcopal Bishop Heather Cook pleaded guilty Tuesday in the 2014 death of a bicyclist.

In court Tuesday afternoon, Cook admitted she was drunk and distracted when she hit and killed bicyclist Thomas Palermo last December.

Cook admitted that, two days after Christmas, she mowed over Palermo on Roland Avenue in north Baltimore. He died of head injuries. Cook's blood alcohol level was nearly three times the legal limit at 0.22 percent. She was texting at the time and kept going after the crash, returning to the scene more than half an hour later.

Cook's lawyer, David Irwin, said the former episcopal bishop pleaded guilty to help speed closure for the Palermo family.

More here-

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Remember when divorce was immoral?

From Maine (via Los Angeles)

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.”

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.

Divorce — and especially divorce and remarriage — was once such an issue, an issue about which evangelicals would brook no compromise. But evangelicals eventually reconfigured their preaching and adapted just fine to changing historical circumstances.

More here-

Monday, September 7, 2015

'Cool' vicar takes surprise wedding party snap on his selfie stick

From the "You Can't Make This Up Department"-

A tech-savvy "cool" vicar gave a bride and her groom a pleasant surprise when he interrupted their wedding ceremony to take a photo with his selfie stick.

Emma Scarborough, 26, had just met her husband-to-be Jamie, 28, at the head of the church when the vicar said he had something to do before he married them.

more here-

Churches commit to housing hundreds of extra refugees

From New Zealand-

Canterbury parishes have joined churches across New Zealand offering support for hundreds of additional Syrian refugees.

Leaders of Anglican, Baptist and Catholic churches called on the Government to increase its quota and committed to helping provide housing, resettlement and language assistance for more than 1200 additional refugees.

The churches' call comes as the crisis in Europe escalates and as Prime Minister John Key announced New Zealand would take an emergency intake of 600 Syrian refugees in the next two and a half years.

More here-

Sunday, September 6, 2015

Anglican Primate Cautions Christians On Kidnapping

From Nigeria-

The Anglican Archbishop, Metropolitan and Primate of Nigeria, Most Rev. Nicholas Okoh, has advised Christians to be vigilant of kidnappers.He gave the advice in Abuja today, September 5, at the 2015 Annual Pre-pilgrimage Retreat and Workshop for staff of Nigerian Christian Pilgrim Commission (NCPC) and other stakeholders.

Okoh’s advice comes on the heels of the kidnapping of Rev. Moses Tabuwaye, from the Gwagwalada, Abuja Diocese yesterday, on his way to Awka, Anambra state, for a church programme.

More here-

For U.S. Catholics: growing numbers, shrinking rites

From Pittsburgh-

There may be more American Catholics than ever, but they’re doing fewer Catholic things.

Such is the paradox that Pope Francis will be facing when he touches down in the United States later this month.

The Catholic Church counts a historic high of about 70 million Americans in the United States and its territories, the fourth-largest Catholic population in the world, behind Brazil, Mexico and the Philippines. Independent surveys of adults give mixed results on whether the Catholic population is growing or stagnating, and many cradle Catholics do leave the faith, but immigration has continued to fuel a membership roughly a quarter of the U.S. population.

More here-