Saturday, November 7, 2015

Lennox: New church leader faces tough times

From Detroit-

A new leader took the helm of the Episcopal Church during an elaborate service in the iconic neo-Gothic Washington National Cathedral on Sunday. Episcopalians under new Presiding Bishop Michael Curry face the dire reality of demographic extinction. To put it in perspective, the Detroit-based Diocese of Michigan reported a 37 percent decline in baptized membership from 2000 to 2013.

While numerous factors have contributed to the denomination’s stunning collapse, the main schism occurred after the openly gay Gene Robinson became bishop of New Hampshire in 2003. The embracing of same-sex blessings and eventually liturgical rites for gay marriage only made matters worse.

Since then, at least $42 million has been spent by the Episcopal Church in lawsuits against dissenting parishes and even entire dioceses that decided to quit rather than remain a part of the U.S. branch of the Anglican Communion, which traces its roots to the Church of England.

More here-

Churches extend helping hand to Hawaii's homeless

From Hawaii- (with video)

A month ago, St. Elizabeth's Episcopal Church in Kalihi invited a pregnant woman and her boyfriend to move into a converted shipping container in the church's parking lot.

It's nothing fancy but better than the sidewalk Jerome Pannell and his girlfriend, Marie Kane, were used to sleeping on.

"It fits four bunk beds, a desk, and a small table," Pannell said.

St. Elizabeth's brought in the container in June, and the the couple are the second family to be housed in the converted shipping container.

"Our real push is for the intact families who are out there, who frankly don't need services," said Father David Gierlach, of St. Elizabeth's. "They just need a roof over their head. And there's lots of them."

More here-

Episcopalian Columba House ministry helps young adults live by pillars of faith

From Georgia-

From the outside, Columba House doesn’t look like much yet.

There are no signs to distinguish it from similar houses along the lower end of Central Avenue.

But inside the pink Craftsman-style house, big things are beginning to take shape for young Episcopalians in the area.

The furnishings are sparse – a couple of used couches and a few tables. Missioner Ranie Neislar is looking for donated items to help turn the house into a home.

But it won’t be just any home. If everything goes according to plan, three full-time residents will move in next summer and commit for almost one year to living intentionally by the pillars that shape the Columba House ministry.

“An intentional-living community is a community that essentially is shaped by a common rule of life,” Neislar said. “They’ll adopt this shared rule of life.”

The residents will share meals and will pray together every morning and every evening. They’ll facilitate group discussions among young adults and college students who attend the weekly meetings, and they’ll hold social events for those young adults, all under Neislar’s direction.

More here-

Friday, November 6, 2015


From World Religion News-

The Episcopal Church on Sunday installed Michael Curry as its Presiding Bishop at the Washington National Cathedral. He took over the reins from Katharine Jefferts Schori, who also made history as the first female leader of the church. Michael Curry had words of praise for the latter, who he said led the church towards a level of spiritual maturity where everyone could be honest with each other. He hoped to build on the good work of his predecessor, whose nine-year term came to an end this year.

More here-

St George’s College, Jerusalem, welcomes new Dean

From ACNS-

The new Dean of St George’s College in Jerusalem, the Revd Dr Gregory Jenks, has begun his new ministry by meeting the Archbishop of Jerusalem, the Most Revd Suheil Dawani, and his predecessor as Dean, the Very Revd Dr Graham Smith. In addition to his role with the college, Dr Jenks will become a residentiary canon at St George’s Cathedral in Jerusalem

St George’s College, Jerusalem is an Anglican community of education, hospitality, pilgrimage, and reconciliation; and is renowned for its short-term study and pilgrimage courses which bring Christians from around the world into contact with the “Living Stones” of Israel and Palestine.

More here-

Eastern Oregon diocese announces 3 nominees for bishop

From Oregon-

The Standing Committee of the Episcopal Diocese of Eastern Oregon has announced a slate of three nominees to stand for the election as bishop of the diocese. The candidates are:

The Rev. Patrick W. Bell, rector of St. Luke’s Episcopal Church in Coeur d’Alene, Idaho;

The Rev. Jedediah Holdorph, rector of Trinity Episcopal Church in Bend, Oregon; and

The Very Rev. Churchill Pinder, dean of St. Stephen’s Cathedral and School in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania.

The petition process officially closed on Nov. 3 and produced no new candidates.

The nominees will participate in a series of open “walkabout” meetings from Nov. 30-Dec. 5, allowing members of the diocese to meet and learn more about the candidates.

The election will take place on Dec. 12.

More here-

Thursday, November 5, 2015

Anglican, Orthodox Leaders Urge World's Christians to Fight Climate Change

From Christian Post-

Anglican leader the Most Rev. Justin Welby and Orthodox Patriarch of Constantinople, Bartholomew I, joined together in a speech urging the world's Christians to lead the fight against climate change.

Bartholomew, the spiritual leader of close to 300 million Orthodox Christians, visited Welby at the Lambeth Palace in London this week, The Telegraph reported, and insisted that climate change is a "moral crisis."

Bartholomew called on Christians and people around the world to change their day-to-day behavior, instead of relying only on politicians making treaties concerning the environment.

More here-

Theological liberalism is tearing Christianity apart

From Irish Catholic-

A big concern for many conservative or orthodox-minded Catholics during the recent Synod on the Family is that the Catholic Church might be about to go down the same road that has been trodden by Anglicanism over the last few decades and which has led to that communion almost falling apart.

In response to this fact, in September the Archbishop of Canterbury, Justin Welby announced a special meeting of Anglican primates to take place in Canterbury in January.

The Guardian newspaper reported the development as follows: “The Archbishop of Canterbury is proposing to effectively dissolve the fractious and bitterly divided worldwide Anglican communion and replace it with a much looser grouping.“

Justin Welby has summoned all the 38 leaders of the national churches of the Anglican communion to a meeting in Canterbury next January, where he will propose that the communion be reorganised as a group of churches that are all linked to Canterbury but no longer necessarily to each other.”

More here-

Neel Lane appointed Episcopal Relief & Development board chair

From ENS-

Daniel McNeel “Neel” Lane, Jr., has been appointed the new chair of Episcopal Relief & Development‘s board of directors, effective November 1. The appointment was made by The Most Rev. Michael B. Curry, newly installed presiding bishop of The Episcopal Church, who transitions to the position of honorary chair.

Lane has served on Episcopal Relief & Development’s board since 2011, and has chaired the governance committee since 2012.

“I am inspired by Neel’s commitment to strengthening Episcopal Relief & Development and equipping the organization’s staff and partners for deeper ministry,” said Curry. “I look forward to continuing our service on the board together in our new capacities, as we strive to envision how the organization is called to faithfully partner with communities around the world to leverage their unique gifts to fight poverty and disease.”

More here-

Wednesday, November 4, 2015

God Is in the Details of this Chapel

From The Wall Street Journal-

In October 2010, a raging fire destroyed the landmark Immanuel Chapel (1881) of Virginia Theological Seminary. This venerable Episcopal institution was established in 1823; its founders included Francis Scott Key, the author of America’s National Anthem.

Electing for a new chapel, the seminary chose Robert A.M. Stern, the dean of Yale’s School of Architecture and the head of the internationally esteemed firm Robert A.M. Stern Architects (RAMSA). Mr. Stern and his design team for the project, headed by partner Grant Marani, would realize the chapel, recently consecrated, with the Archbishop of Canterbury, the head of the global Anglican Communion, in attendance.

More here-

Anglican Consultative Council theme highlights current mission challenges

From Anglican News-

The overarching theme for the next year’s Anglican Consultative Council (ACC-16) meeting in Zambia, “Intentional Discipleship in a World of Differences”, has been chosen by the Standing Committee of the Anglican Communion as a response to daily Christian challenges.

Director for Mission at the Anglican Communion Office (ACO), Canon John Kafwanka, welcomed the theme as “the best news for the Communion at this point in time.”

Mr Kafwanka explained that “It has become evident in many parts of the Communion that the challenge we face today in Christian discipleship is the divide between ‘professed faith’ and ‘lived faith’. This is mainly because we have not taken seriously the need to intentionally equip ourselves and our members in considering the implications of faith in Christ in every sphere of our life. The theme for next ACC meeting calls us back to that.”

More here-

Anglican suspends Kunonga ally over misconduct

From Newsday (Africa)

 MUTARE-based Evangelical Anglican Church International (EACI) Bishop Elson Jakazi and a former ally of ex-communicated Anglican Bishop for Harare, Norbert Kunonga, has been suspended for alleged misconduct.

A letter from the church’s national conference dated October 31, 2015 said Jakazi was being suspended in terms of section 30 (1)(4) of the church’s constitution.

Jakazi, who was fired from the Anglican Church of the Province of Central Africa (CPCA) in 2012 after a protracted court process, is accused of committing various acts of misconduct.

The misconducts include unbecoming behaviour of a bishop, wilfully contravening the church’s constitution, general neglect of duties after admonition by a legally constituted body and exercising veto powers on resolutions of the national council.

More here-

Reform Jews poised to approve far-reaching resolution in support for transgender community

From US News and World-

When Rabbi Elliot Kukla became the first out transgender rabbi ordained in the Reform Jewish movement almost a decade ago, he would get questions from other rabbis along the lines of "There's a transgender congregant coming to services. What should I do?" He would tell the other rabbis to greet them with, "Shabbat shalom," the traditional welcome for anybody.

Now, other rabbis ask more sophisticated questions and lack the discomfort of the earlier ones: Is there a ritual for a trans man who is converting to Judaism but doesn't have a penis for a traditional circumcision? How can we celebrate a 12-year-old trans girl's name change at her Bat Mitzvah?

More here-

Tuesday, November 3, 2015

This just in: Episcopal churches to be sold

From San Diego-

Two North County Episcopal churches, both over 60 years old, were told last week that due to declining attendance and compounding red ink, the Episcopal Diocese of San Diego has decided to fold them.

The land and the buildings that house St. Anne’s in Oceanside and All Saints in Vista will be sold.

A letter dated October 25 from the Rt. Rev. James Mathes, who oversees the San Diego Episcopal diocese, said that after 15 months “of discernment by clergy and lay leaders of the congregations themselves,” a sale was forthcoming. “The costs of maintaining separate properties, [and] compensated clergy and staff…is beyond the capacity of the congregations themselves and the diocese.”

More here-

Can Episcopal Church's first black leader heal racial divides?

From Christian Science Monitor-

Declaring that "God has work for us to do," Bishop Michael Curry was installed as the Episcopal Church's first black leader Monday at the Washington National Cathedral, accepting the ceremonial crozier from outgoing Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori, the Church's first female leader.

According to Bishop Curry, the welcome his family found decades ago at the Episcopal Church, which is 83 percent white, set into motion his own journey toward the priesthood, when his mother was handed the same communion chalice as the white parishioners. ...

More here-

Monday, November 2, 2015

North Baltimore Episcopal, Lutheran churches combine

From Baltimore-

As the Sunday service began, two leaders stepped forward with pitchers full of holy water from their two churches. As the congregation gave thanks for the gift of baptism, they poured the water into one vessel.

The unusual ceremony was meant to mark the joining of two North Baltimore churches, the Episcopal Church of the Nativity and the Lutheran Church of the Holy Comforter, that had faced declining congregations and financial struggles. The leaders of the two churches see their melding as crucial to their survival and ability to attract new congregants.

"People are saying that we're moving to a post-denominational time, that young people don't care if you're Baptist or Methodist or Presbyterian," said the Rev. T. Stewart Lucas, the rector of Nativity. "They just want good, authentic worship and service to those who are in need. So, in a way, we're going back to the basics of studying the Word, praying together and serving together, and I think there are lot of people who are hungry for that message."

More here-

Here's a sampling of the press reporting on Michael Curry's Installation


News Observer- (great photos)


Washington Post-


Charlotte Observer-

Daily Mail-


Video: Curry’s sermon at installation of the 27th Presiding Bishop

From ENS (with video)-

Jesus came to continue a movement. Actually, Jesus picked up and took the movement of John the Baptist to a new level. John was part of the movement born out of prophets like Amos and Isaiah and Jeremiah. And prophetic movement was rooted in Moses, who went up to the mountaintop. Jesus crystalized and catalyzed the movement that was serving God’s mission in this world.  God has a passionate dream for this world. 

Jesus came to show us the way.  Out of the darkness into the dream.

That’s what is going on in the passage from the Acts of the Apostles — the movement! The Apostle Paul and Silas, his partner in ministry, have been preaching, teaching and witnessing to the way of Jesus in the city of Thessalonica. While their message finds some resonance with many, it is troublesome to others. A riot breaks out because of the tensions. Our text describes those who are troubled by the teaching about The Way, as the Jesus movement was first called.

Listen to this description of the first followers of Jesus:

These people who have been turning the world upside down have come here also…. They are all acting contrary to the decrees of the emperor, saying that there is another king named Jesus.  (Acts 17:6b-7)

Notice that the activity of Paul and Silas was seen not as an isolated incident in Thessalonica, but as part of a greater movement of revolution. “These people who have been turning the world upside down have come here also.” Paul and Silas by themselves might not have been of much consequence. But as part of a movement, they posed a problem.

More here-

Sunday, November 1, 2015

Canon Andrew White: 'Vicar of Baghdad' on leading a church in Iraq and being in the crosshairs of Isis

From Independent UK-

They were coming for him and his people. Friends were being killed or fleeing for their lives. So Andrew White did what he always does when faced with an enemy. “I invited the leaders of Isis [Islamic State] for dinner. I am a great believer in that. I have asked some of the worst people ever to eat with me.”

This extraordinarily self-confident priest is best known as the vicar of Baghdad, leader of a church in the chaos outside the protected Green Zone. He made his offer last year as the terrorist forces threatened to take the city. Did he get a reply?

“Isis said, ‘You can invite us to dinner, but we’ll chop your head off.’ So I didn’t invite them again!” 

More here-

‘Pray for Him, not Prey on Him’

From The Living Church-

Several hundred people gathered Saturday for a Vigil Eucharist preceding Sunday’s installation of Presiding Bishop-elect Michael Curry.

The service, hosted by the Union of Black Episcopalians at the Washington Armory, began with prayers for and with Curry around a baptismal font, which flowed into a soulful performance of “Shall We Gather at the River?”

The Rev. Canon Sandye A. Wilson, rector of St. Andrew and Holy Communion Church in South Orange, New Jersey, preached about the historic nature of the occasion, the tension between the Jesus Movement and the institutional church, and the challenges that Curry will face in the coming years.

More here-

Episcopal Church installs its first African-American leader: Chicago-born Bishop Michael Curry

From The Chicago Tribune-

The Episcopal Church, whose history is entwined with the founding of the United States, is installing its first black national leader this weekend.

Presiding Bishop-elect Michael Curry, who comes to the job after nearly 15 years leading the Diocese of North Carolina, was elected last summer to succeed Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori, the first woman leader of the church. Her nine-year term ends Sunday, when Curry formally steps in, during a ceremony at the Washington National Cathedral.

Curry takes leadership of the New York-based denomination after years of membership losses and amid ongoing tensions among fellow Anglicans over Episcopal support for gay rights and same-sex marriage. His installation also comes at a time of renewed national attention to racism, after the shooting death of Michael Brown in Ferguson, Missouri, and the massacre of nine black congregants at a Charleston, South Carolina, church.

More here-