Saturday, September 19, 2015

Bible should be at the center of Anglican meeting, global group says

From The Washington Post-

Restoring the Bible to the heart of the Anglican Communion should be the goal of a meeting called this week by Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby on how Anglicans should move forward, said the head of the Global Anglican Future Conference.

Welby’s meeting of Anglican leaders is planned for mid-January 2016 in Canterbury, England. It is being viewed as an attempt to heal the 80 million-member communion, which remains deeply wounded by disputes over homosexuality and women’s ordination in the global church.

GAFCON’s chairman, Archbishop Eliud Wabukala, the primate of Kenya, said the meeting was a recognition of the deep concerns of the faithful Anglican Church leaders in the world. GAFCON, started in 2008 in Jerusalem, says its aim is to restore the integrity of the Anglican faith and order.

More here-

Bishop Sean Rowe: God loves all unconditionally

From Erie-

How many times have we found ourselves engaged in arguments only to realize that whatever hot button issue we were arguing about wasn't really the issue at all?

Time and again we turn against one another for superficial reasons that are symptoms of deeper issues that remain unaddressed. This is true in secular politics, and it is true in our faith communities as well.

We're gearing up for what promises to be a long and painful political season. Already, candidates are using the poor for target practice in our ongoing cultural and ideological wars. Some aspirants to political power are even talking about massive deportations of people who live in grinding poverty and do work that many American citizens simply refuse to engage. The goal is to get "them" out.

More here-

130 years of faithful service at Yakima's oldest church

From Yakima-

No one is quite sure when the tower bell stopped ringing.

But they did solve the mystery of why the sermon from the First Baptist Church across the street suddenly blared over their public address system one Sunday (sound wave interference).

They’re also certain of the year when incensed church leaders protested “vulgar vaudeville” at the Capitol Theatre (it was 1919).

And they know very well how much tradition is immersed in St. Michael’s Episcopal Church. At 130 years, it’s the oldest church building in Yakima.

“There’s a lot of history here,” says Ann Davidson, senior warden of the church.

On Sept. 29, 1885, the parish of St. Michael’s was founded here, four years before Washington became a state. A committee of five townspeople then put their dreams into action, as well as into rock and mortar. After the Northern Pacific Railway donated two lots at the southeast corner of Yakima and Naches avenues, church members arranged to have basalt hauled by horse and wagon from near Gleed, ordered cathedral glass from Cincinnati and began the task of building a house of worship.

More here-

Rector of Episcopal church reflects on rebuilding

From The Washington Post-

When the Rev. John Ohmer was named rector of the Falls Church Episcopal in September 2012, he faced the challenge of rebuilding a historic church that had lost most of its membership in a split with conservatives, primarily over the issue of ordaining openly gay clergy.

In late 2006 and early 2007, more than 90 percent of the 2,200 members of the church — which dates to Colonial times — voted to leave the Episcopal church and form the Falls Church Anglican.

After the split, the Episcopal congregation met at a nearby Presbyterian church for nearly five years, until a legal dispute with the Falls Church Anglican over ownership of the property was resolved. A 2012 decision by the Virginia Supreme Court allowed the Episcopal congregation to return to the historic property.

More here-

Obama’s Game: Manipulate Culture Warriors by Exploiting a Pope

From Aleteia-

“Doesn’t Obama know any good Catholics?”

On social media that question has been repeating with the regularity of an exhaled mantra, and if one takes the bait and clicks on the provided link, one reads Thomas D. Williams’ piece on the interesting collection of Catholic dissenters who will enjoy personal introductions to Pope Francis, via the American President. “In a stunning show of political indecorum,” wrote Williams, “Obama has invited a series of individuals who publicly flout Catholic teaching, including a pro-abortion religious sister, a transgender woman and the first openly gay Episcopal bishop, along with at least two Catholic gay activists.”

More here-

Friday, September 18, 2015

Dissolving the Anglican communion would simply be a recognition of reality

From The Guardian-

One good way to understand Justin Welby is to think of him as the most Marxist archbishop of Canterbury we’ve had for decades. This isn’t because of his economics, nor his view of religion, but because he has completely internalised Marx’s apophthegm that freedom is the recognition of necessity. Only by giving up the make-believe can anything real be made to happen.

The Anglican communion has been a fantasy for at least 30 years. The term suggests there are Anglican churches outside of England grouped into a spiritually and politically significant whole with agreed beliefs and some kind of chain of command, but there isn’t. The idea proposition is theologically mysterious and ontologically nonsensical.

More here-

Vatican Disputes White House Guest List for Papal Visit

From The Wall Street Journal-

On the eve of Pope Francis’s arrival in the U.S., the Vatican has taken offense at the Obama administration’s decision to invite to the pope’s welcome ceremony transgender activists, the first openly gay Episcopal bishop and an activist nun who leads a group criticized by the Vatican for its silence on abortion and euthanasia.

According to a senior Vatican official, the Holy See worries that any photos of the pope with these guests at the White House welcoming ceremony next Wednesday could be interpreted as an endorsement of their activities.

The tension exemplifies concerns among conservative Catholics, including many bishops, that the White House will use the pope’s visit to play down its differences with church leaders on such contentious issues as same-sex marriage and the contraception mandate in the health care law.

More here-

Thursday, September 17, 2015

Meeting of Anglican Leaders Could Lead to a Looser Federation

From The New York Times (and others-links below)

Sharply divided over issues including same-sex marriage, Anglican leaders from around the world were called on Wednesday to a meeting, planned for next year, that could lead to the transformation of the fractious global church into a much looser grouping.

In a statement, the Most Rev. Justin Welby, archbishop of Canterbury and the spiritual leader of the Anglican Church, invited 37 primates to meet in Britain next January to “discuss key issues face to face, including a review of the structures of the Anglican Communion.”

 Among those invited was the leader of the Anglican Church in North America, a conservative alliance that broke away after the decisions by the Episcopal Church in the United States and the Anglican Church of Canada to ordain openly gay people. The Anglican Church in North America is recognized by conservative provinces in the Communion, but regarded by others as an illegitimate splinter group.

More here-

US News and World Report-

The Telegraph-

The Guardian-

The Atlantic-

What Real Estate Battles Say About Church

From Huffington-

What makes a church, a church? Is it the buildings? The programs? The members? These questions come to mind with recent real estate transactions involving (formerly) sacred ground.

The Los Angeles real estate battle over a former convent involving pop star Katy Perry has attracted great attention, but it's not the only controversial sale of church property in Southern California.

In Newport Beach, the L.A. Episcopal diocese has apparently decided that townhomes should replace a local church. In May, unbeknownst to its ministers or parishioners, Bishop J. Jon Bruno announced that the diocese had sold St. James the Great Church for $15 million to a local developer who has plans to build pricey townhomes on the site.

More here-

Can the Anglican Communion stay together? The Archbishop of Canterbury calls for talks

From The Washington Post-

The world’s third-largest Christian denomination appears to be in serious reflection about how — and whether — to stay unified amid divisions about human sexuality and other issues.

The leader of the Anglican Communion, the third-largest Christian group in the world, with some 85 million members, on Wednesday called a gathering of leaders from his fractured denomination to discuss sexuality, religious violence and other topics.

The Communion of national churches, which includes the Episcopal Church in the United States, have been affiliated for centuries.

Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby announced Wednesday that he had summoned Anglican leaders to a special meeting that will be held in January, including a review of the structure of the worldwide Anglican Communion.

More here-

'I Never Felt More Danger Than When I Kneeled to Be Ordained’

From Sojourners-

In an interview that aired last week, Stephen Colbert — possibly the only Catholic whose popularity rivals Pope Francis himself — admitted that one of the times the Eucharist felt “most real” to him was when he attended an Anglican service and heard a woman consecrate the bread.

“The freshness of hearing a woman say that gave the message a universality that it always should have,” said Colbert.

Today, if you walk through the red doors of an Episcopal church on Sunday morning, the person presiding over the Eucharist might be female, gay, lesbian, bisexual, or transgender. But on Sept. 12, some of the first women ordained as Episcopal priests reminded the church: it hasn’t always been that way.

More here-


From Breitbart-

In a stunning show of political indecorum, Obama has invited a series of individuals who publicly flout Catholic teaching, including a pro-abortion religious sister, a transgender woman and the first openly gay Episcopal bishop, along with at least two Catholic gay activists.

The White House was illuminated in gay pride colors on June 26, 2015, after the Supreme Court legalized gay same-sex marriage.

One of the invitees, retired Episcopal bishop Gene Robinson, made history by becoming the first openly gay episcopal bishop in 2003 and subsequently the first to divorce his gay partner in 2014, after having previously separated from his wife of 14 years. He has attended a number of religious events with the Obama administration, offering a prayer at President Obama’s inauguration in 2009 and taking part in the 2014 National Prayer Breakfast.

More here-

Wednesday, September 16, 2015

‘The nastiness refined me’ (Michael Coren)

From Anglican Journal-

Did I swim the Tiber or was it a walk to Canterbury? Not sure. It felt at the time more like some sort of ersatz inferno. I suppose I have a certain media profile and was until relatively recently known as a very public Roman Catholic. My 2012 book on Catholicism (Heresy, McClelland & Stewart) had been on the Canadian bestseller list for 10 weeks; I was named columnist of the year for my work in The Catholic Register and had been given numerous awards by Catholic groups. I was one of Canada’s most high-profile champions of Catholicism.

The separation was gradual, of course. While I never swayed from Catholic theology—and continue in my adherence—I began to question, then doubt, then reject Roman Catholic teaching on papal supremacy, authority, contraception and especially homosexuality and equal marriage. On the latter, I simply could no longer glue myself to a church that described gay relationships as sinful and disordered and caused so much pain to so many good, innocent people.

More here-

Why mainline pastors should read Rachel Held Evans

From Christian Century-

I put it off for a while. I don’t like to read people who are so popular, so trendy. Furthermore, I’m a United Methodist minister teaching at a PC(USA) seminary—why would I want to read a story of a young evangelical who has a few doubts and then joins the Episcopal Church?

What have you to do with me, Rachel Held Evans?

But this sense that I should read someone who a lot of people are talking about—this curiosity—got the better of me. So when I saw a good deal on her newest book, Searching for Sunday, I bought it and read it. I’m glad I did.

There are few places where her story and mine would connect. Many of the doubts she is having in her early 30s I had as a freshman in college, the year I made my way back to Methodism after a two-year sojourn among evangelical Baptists (a return occasioned by my evangelical Baptist girlfriend breaking up with me). While Evans grew up evangelical, I wasn’t evangelical long enough for the culture to seep into my bones. Unlike her, I still have to Google snatches of scripture stuck in my mind to locate them in the Bible—the tragedy of being raised in the mainline.

More Here-

Diocese of Dallas notified of successful canonical consent process

From ENS-

 Episcopal Church Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori and Registrar of General Convention, the Rev. Canon Michael Barlowe, have notified the Diocese of  Dallas that Bishop-Elect George Sumner has received the required majority of consents in the canonical consent process.

The Rev. George Robinson Sumner, Jr., was elected Bishop on May 16.  His ordination and consecration service is slated for November 14.

While Bishop-Elect Sumner has received the necessary majority of consents, consents will continue to be accepted up to and including October 10 deadline date.

More here-

Tuesday, September 15, 2015

Justin Welby offers Jewish community "warm wishes" for Rosh Hashanah

From Premier UK-

The Archbishop of Canterbury Most Revd Justin Welby has sent a message to the Jewish community in the UK and around the world as Rosh Hashanah is celebrated.

The Anglican leader said: "At Rosh Hashanah, a time of celebration, repentance and recommitment, I would like to convey a message of my warmest good wishes to Jewish friends, colleagues and communities here in the United Kingdom and around the world.

More here-

How Pope Francis Became the People’s Pontiff

From Vanity Fair-

Two summers ago my friend Agustín, an Argentinean graduate student on pilgrimage in Rome, filed into the papal-audience hall near St. Peter’s Basilica for a group photograph with Pope Francis. The pilgrims, a hundred in all, were put in four rows; those in the front row would meet the Pope. Then Francis strode in, smiling broadly. Scrapping protocol, he insisted on greeting all the pilgrims, one by one, the way Agustín had seen him do back when he was Archbishop Jorge Mario Bergoglio of Buenos Aires. Finally, Agustín’s turn came. “Buenos días,” Francis said, looking him in the eye, and Agustín explained that he was about to get married. “Congratulations,” said the Pope, “and look, if some dishes fly in your house, don’t worry about it.”

“And I said to myself, What? The Pope?,” Agustín recalls. Instead of a papal blessing, here was some man-to-man advice—the Pope, of all people, telling him not to worry if there was some everyday strife in his marriage.

More here-

Presiding Bishop’s statement on refugees; congregational and individual response suggestions

From ENS-

 Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori has issued this statement on the current worldwide refugee crisis:

The children of Abraham have ever been reminded to care for the widow and orphan and the sojourner in their midst, who were the refugees and homeless of the time. Jesus charged his followers to care for the least of these and proclaim the near presence of the Reign of God – in other words, feed the hungry, water the thirsty, house the homeless, heal the sick, and liberate the captives. We cannot ignore the massive human suffering in Europe, Africa, and the Middle East, nor in Asia and the Americas. We are our brothers’ and sisters’ keepers, and our lives are bound up with theirs. The churchwide ministry of Episcopalians has included refugee resettlement since the refugee crisis of World War II.  It continues today through the leadership of Episcopal Migration Ministries, and I urge your involvement, action, and support. Read about their work below, and share these opportunities with friends and co-workers. You will discover anew the power of good news in the face of the world’s tragedies. 

More here-

Monday, September 14, 2015

Smashing the stained-glass ceiling

From Nouse-

The morning of the consecration of first two female bishops at Canterbury cathedral (one of whom, I should probably admit at the outset, was my mother) held an atmosphere of both anticipation and nervousness. Since the Church of England voted to allow female bishops last year, both consecrations at York Minster had been interrupted by some kind of protest. It was under these conditions, in the dining room of the bishop’s palace with a view of the cathedral’s two western towers that I met with Libby Lane, the Bishop of Stockport, who had been consecrated seven months earlier in York, making her the first female bishop in the Church of England.

Lane’s career is one constantly at the forefront of what was available to women within the church. She was ordained as a priest in 1994, among the first wave of women to have been trained. About three years later she came to the diocese of York and after a few years of parental leave went on to be a team vicar in Stockport, she then went on to be assistant director of ordinands and later an incumbent in two parishes in the diocese of Chester and the dean of women in ministry. Consequently she nominated to be one of eight female observers in the house of bishops and in November was interviewed for the role of bishop of Stockport.

More here-

Pope’s attaché scores coup of interview with Colbert

From Detroit-

During the last few years, the Rev. Thomas Rosica’s days have been consumed by three things: his enhanced role as Pope Francis’ English-language attaché, his stewardship of Windsor’s Assumption University, and his popular Canadian Catholic television show.

So please understand —  says the Catholic priest who will answer countless media questions for Pope Francis during his upcoming visit to the U.S. — if he isn't really up on all of the happenings on the late-night cable comic scene.

But in spite of that, on Sunday, Rosica debuted a one-hour interview with comic Stephen Colbert — the brand new host of CBS's "The Late Show," and who previously parodied himself as “America’s most famous Catholic.” and "the pope of Catholic TV."

More here

Nigerian Bishop kidnappers demand £132,000 as Anglican leader urges vigilance

From Nigeria-

The kidnappers of a Nigerian Anglican bishop abducted near the capital Abuja have asked for a 40 million Nigerian Naira ( £130,178) ransom for his safe release.

It is believed that Rt Rev Moses Bukpe-Tabwayen, Bishop of Gwagwalada, was abducted in Edo state as he was travelling from Abuja to Onitsha, Anambra state on 3 September. His car was found just outside Abuja.

In 2013, another Anglican bishop was abducted by armed men who took him and his wife into a forest in the Niger Delta. A week later, Ignatius Kattey, his wife and their driver were released unarmed.

More here-

Sunday, September 13, 2015

Father Richard Harris converts from Anglican priest to Catholic

From The CBC-

The number of Catholic priests in Canada has fallen sharply in recent decades, so any ordination is a rare event.

But Friday's example of the sacrament in Saint John was particularly unusual — because the new priest was surrounded by his wife, children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren.

"It's something that I've wanted to happen for a number of years and it's finally happened," said Father Richard Harris. "It's a great privilege and a great responsibility too."

Harris wiped away tears of joy as he was ordained by the Bishop of Saint John, surrounded by his large family, including his wife Maggie.

More here-

Troubled Philadelphia Catholic diocese welcomes Pope Francis' late-September visit

From Pittsburgh-

The pipe organ thundered during Sunday morning Masses as worshipers gathered inside the grand Basilica Cathedral of SS. Peter and Paul in central Philadelphia.

Outside in the hot August sun, artists and others were busily preparing an eyeful for Pope Francis’ visit here in late September.

Their project: building a makeshift grotto and displaying tens of thousands of strips of cloth in which individual visitors have written their prayers, many in English or Spanish, asking for the welfare of their families, friends, immigrants, the homeless and the hungry.

“Hopefully this will give voice to those who otherwise may not have a voice,” said Meg Saligman, the local artist coordinating the project, who said some 30,000 prayers have been contributed.

More here-