Saturday, October 17, 2015

Priest: The Real Miracle Would Be A Cubs Win

From The Daily Beast-

Being a Christian and a Cubs fan have lots in common—starting with faith against all odds.

The opposite of faith is not doubt. The opposite of faith is certainty.

That is a bit of proverbial wisdom that I have often shared with others on my faith journey that led to being ordained as an Episcopal priest this past January. I share it because it rings true to my experience, not merely as a Christian, but as a Cubs fan.

There has been no greater certainty in American sports over the last century than that the Cubs will lose. Seasons change. The players change. Management changes. And still the Cubs lose.

More here-

Pope Calls for Church That Is Far More Decentralized

From ABC-

Pope Francis called Saturday for a Catholic Church that is far more decentralized, where they laity play a greater role, bishops conferences take care of certain problems and even the papacy is rethought.

Francis issued the call during a ceremony Saturday to mark the 50th anniversary of the institution of the Synod of Bishops, a consultative body formed during the Second Vatican Council that was intended precisely to encourage more collegiality in the running of the church by inviting bishops to offer their advice to Rome.

Over the past five decades, the synod has been little more than a talk-fest. But Francis has sought to re-energize it, and the contentious meeting under way at the Vatican, in which conservative and progressive bishops are squaring off over ministering to families, has been the result.

More here-

Bishop leads cycling tour through Valley to raise awareness of human trafficking

From San Joaquin-

David Rice, Bishop of the Episcopal Diocese of San Joaquin, and his cycling team are on a mission: to raise awareness and funds for local groups working to end human trafficking.

The Tour Against Trafficking, an 18-day, 750 mile ride throughout Central California, made its way into Turlock on Friday, stopping at St. Francis Episcopal Church for rest and refreshment before the group of bicyclists set off on day 13 of their trip towards Sonora.

As a veteran team cyclist, Rice thought a bicycle tour was a great way to get people involved in the cause and start conversations throughout the region about the growing crime of human trafficking.

More here-

5 questions for New Testament scholar John Dominic Crossan

From North Carolina-

John Dominic Crossan won headlines, esteem and condemnation as co-founder of the controversial Jesus Seminar – a group of New Testament scholars in the 1980s and ’90s that claimed Jesus didn’t say a lot of what was attributed to him in the Bible. Crossan, the author of more than 20 books, cast Jesus as a peasant nonviolent revolutionary who was executed by Rome.

This weekend, in a series of talks at Myers Park Baptist Church in Charlotte, Crossan will shift his focus to Jesus’ disciple Paul. This 1st-century evangelist converted Gentiles into believers in Jesus. And Paul’s New Testament letters, or epistles, are still widely quoted today – at weddings (“Love is patient, love is kind...”) and in culture war battles over same-sex marriage and the role of women at home and in church.

More here-

Friday, October 16, 2015

Stephen Colbert and Oprah Get Biblical on ‘The Late Show

From The Daily Beast-

Unlike some of his late-night contemporaries—Bill Maher, John Oliver, etc.—Stephen Colbert is a devout Christian.

The limber host of The Late Show with Stephen Colbert grew up the youngest of 11 children in a very Roman Catholic family, and was raised in Charleston, South Carolina. He attended an Episcopal school there, and is currently an ordained minister who teaches Sunday school. In the lead-up to the Late Show premiere, Colbert even sat down for a rare, remarkably candid interview about his faith with Father Thomas Rosica, media attaché to the Holy See Press Office, for his show Witness.

So when Colbert welcomed the one-and-only Oprah Winfrey on his show to promote her new OWN series Belief, a 7-night television event exploring the origins of various faiths, the two outsized personalities got downright Biblical.

More here-

Thursday, October 15, 2015

CofE churches may soon only open at Easter and Christmas: One in four parishes has fewer than ten worshippers

From The Daily Mail-

Dwindling congregations mean thousands of historic churches may only open at Christmas and Easter under radical plans proposed by the Church of England.

Centuries-old churches across the country may shut their doors for most of the year after attendances in some places fell into single figures.

In a drastic overhaul, thousands may become ‘festival churches’ which only open during major religious holidays.

More here-

Alexandria's Immanuel Church: More Than a Building

From Virginia-

“To the glory of God, this chapel burned.”

To many attending the consecration of the new Immanuel Chapel following the destruction of the earlier incarnation of the building in a fire, the comment by Justin Welby, the Archbishop of Canterbury, may have come as a bit of a shock. The original Immanuel Chapel at the Virginia Theological Seminary, built in 1881, was destroyed in a fire in 2010. Over $14.3 million was raised in donations to build a new chapel, which was completed earlier in 2015. The Rev. Ian Markham, Ph.D., and dean and president of the Virginia Theological Seminary, thanked Robert A.M. Stern architects and all of the donors who made the building’s reconstruction possible.

“Is it possible?” continued Welby, “Can such an event ever be seen to the glory of God? Yes. Through the death and resurrection, we are brought back into the presence of the living God through his resurrection of Christ.”

More here-

First black Episcopal Church leader will continue his father’s teachings

From The Washington Post-

Bishop Michael Curry vividly remembers growing up in segregated Buffalo in the 1950s and ’60s, where on one bright morning in 1963, he crossed Main Street from East Buffalo to West Buffalo to attend an integrated school.

As an Episcopal priest and civil rights activist, his late father, Kenneth Curry, helped lead the boycott of the city’s segregated public schools. And yet, like the larger culture at the time, worship in the Episcopal Church he so loved was largely segregated. As leader of a black congregation in Buffalo, he never would have been called to the pulpit of a white Episcopal church.

More here-

Wednesday, October 14, 2015

Education that Crosses Divides

From The Living Church-

The future of theological education in the Episcopal Church should be marked by robust evangelism, serious engagement with orthodoxy, and a courageous tenderness, according to panelists at a gathering of seminary leaders convened by the Archbishop of Canterbury.

The Very Rev. Ian Markham, Virginia Theological Seminary’s dean and president, hosted the forum Oct. 12 as part of the celebration of Immanuel Chapel’s consecration. Deans, faculty, and students from eight of the Episcopal Church’s ten seminaries attended the meeting, as well as representatives from two seminaries affiliated with the Anglican Church in North America.

More here-

Anglicans could receive Roman Catholic communion, Archbishop suggests

From The Telegraph-

The Archbishop of Birmingham, the Most Rev Bernard Longley, signalled that restrictions, which can be traced back to the Reformation, might be “reconsidered” as a result of “deeper sharing” between the two churches.

Although he insisted that he was expressing a “personal view”, the Archbishop’s comments will be closely watched as he is the senior Catholic cleric responsible for dialogue with the Anglican churches.

His remarks were warmly welcomed by leading figures in the Church of England who said it was time for closer ties.

For centuries, the issue of communion was a source of some of the deepest and most bitter division between protestants and Catholics.

More here-

Don’t entertain homosexuality- Religious Leaders warned

From Ghana-

Religious leaders have been warned not to entertain the practice of homosexuality among church members.

The Archdeacon of the Accra North Parish Priest of All Saints Anglican Church at Adabraka, Venerable Edmund Mensah Tetteh, gave the warning on Saturday during an ordination ceremony at the St Mary’s Virgin Anglican Church at James Town.

He said “homosexuality is filthy and satanic” and that Christians, especially the clergy, should not associate it with Christian religion.

“The clergy should stand firm and say no to the practice of homosexuality because those pushing the agenda into the Christian religion are ready to do everything possible to influence us,” he said.

More here-

Gay English priest elected to Anglican General Synod

From Christian Examiner-

A British priest who is married to his homosexual partner is now a member of the Church of England's General Synod – the church's governing body and the group that supposedly sets theology for the churches of the worldwide Anglican Communion.

According to The Guardian, Vicar Andrew Foreshew-Cain, whose "husband" is also an atheist, has said he will use his new position to "advocate for a church that faces up to the issues of sexuality in a honest and compassionate way."

He joins as many as three other openly homosexual priests serving on the General Synod, but he is reportedly the only one married to his partner openly. Others are apparently married, but have not disclosed their same-sex marriages to the church.

More here-

Episcopal Church in Decline? Denomination Loses Nearly 50K Members, Closes 69 Parishes

From Christian Post-

The Episcopal Church continues to experience losses in both church attendance and membership, according to recently released numbers from the denomination's Office of the General Convention.

From 2013 to 2014, active baptized members in domestic dioceses went from 1.866 million to 1.817 million, representing a loss of nearly 50,000 members.

The statistics reveal that in 2014 that average Sunday attendance was a little over 600,000 in domestic dioceses, down from approximately 623,000 in 2013.

More here-

Tuesday, October 13, 2015

Dutch Reformed Church’s radical gay ruling

From South Africa-

Christian denominations have lashed out at the “conservative” Dutch Reformed Church (DRC) after it announced that it had approved of same-sex unions and that would now allow homosexual ministers to be ordained without the need for them to be celibate.

The decision was, however, applauded by the lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender community who said this was a surprising, yet warmly welcomed decision that would drive many same-sex couples and individuals back to the church.

Last week a 64% majority of the church’s synod voted in favour of acknowledging same-sex marriages and having openly gay church members serve in the church, which had previously been forbidden.

More here-

Archbishop Longley rejects synod proposal on Communion for Anglican spouses

From Catholic Herald UK-

A synod proposal to allow Anglican spouses of Catholics to receive Holy Communion has been rejected by the Archbishop of Birmingham.

The proposal, contained in the working document is due to be discussed at the synod next week.

If approved it would mean Anglicans being allowed to present themselves at Communion during Mass if they were married to a Catholic but unable to attend a service in their own denomination.

More here-

New Zealand Anglicans and Methodists eye closer ties

From New Zealand-

The Anglican and Methodist churches are in talks which could bring them closer than ever.

The two were working on equal recognition of each other's ordained clergy and a hui, held in Auckland in September, had kicked off the latest round of discussions which could see them more united in the future.

Of all the Christian denominations, the Anglican Church of Aotearoa and the Methodist Church of New Zealand had the most similarities.

John Wesley founded Methodism, with parishioners from the Anglican church, in the 18th century.

Reverend Bob Sidal minister of the Woodlands Rd parish, had already worked at St John's Anglican church in Wai-iti Rd by leading a funeral there.

With an earthquake-prone church building out of use, the congregation had used the church hall to worship, but there was not enough room for mourners.

More here-

Monday, October 12, 2015

A Greener Prayer Book

From The Living Church-

The Rev. Ruth Meyers predicted this week that a revised Book of Common Prayer will most likely reflect changes in creation, baptism, and trinitarian theology.

Meyers, Hodges-Haynes Professor of Liturgics at Church Divinity School of the Pacific since 2009, led an “Imagining a New Prayer Book” forum Oct. 8 during the school’s alumni convocation.

Meyers led the Standing Committee on Liturgy and Music from 2009 to 2015. Her presentation addressed General Convention’s charge that the SCLM plan for a comprehensive revision of the prayer book.

More here-

Sydney Anglican Archbishop Glenn Davies' call to arms over same-sex marriage

From Australia-

The Anglican Archbishop of Sydney has issued a call to arms for true believers to oppose same-sex marriage even if they are confronted with hatred and ridicule over their views.

Dr Glenn Davies has used his opening address to the Sydney diocese 2015 synod to urge Anglicans to join the national debate around same-sex marriage ahead of a plebiscite on the issue.

"The antagonism of the world to the word of God is perhaps seen nowhere more acutely than in the virulent challenge to the definition of marriage which pervades conversations in the media, the workplace and even in our places of leisure," he has told the annual meeting of church leaders in Sydney.

"The bombardment, both subtle and not so subtle, is relentless."

More here-

Churches striving to answer city’s call

From Hawaii-

Mayor Kirk Caldwell grew visibly frustrated as he recalled standing in front of a room filled with Oahu religious leaders and asking them to house a homeless family, but not a single one stepped up.

The Rev. David Gierlach of St. Elizabeth’s Episcopal Church on North King Street was not invited to the July meeting, and said he believes Caldwell was “talking to the wrong group of churches.”

St. Elizabeth’s is surrounded by homeless people and lets them use the church’s showers and bathrooms at any time . In June, the church even took up valuable space in its parking lot to temporarily accommodate a converted 8-foot-by-20-foot shipping container that has since housed a homeless family of five and is now being used by a homeless woman named Marie Kane, who is pregnant with twins and is expected to deliver just after Christmas.

More here-