Saturday, December 19, 2015

Church sources fear Burundi genocide

From Church Times-

THE discovery of the corpses of young people on the streets and in rivers is fuelling terror and fear in the capital of Burundi, church sources in the country reported this week.

The sources, who asked to remain anonymous out of concern for their safety, fear a possible genocide. One source believes that the UN must send peacekeeping forces to the country "without delay".

Almost 90 people were killed in Bujumbura last Friday, after gunmen attacked three military sites in Bujumbura. The government said on Tuesday that security forces had "intervened with the greatest possible professionalism".

Residents reported finding dead bodies dumped in the streets on Saturday morning, with bound wrists and bullet wounds to the head. One source said on Tuesday that more than 100 people had been killed and buried on Sunday in common graves.

More here-

Detroit parish priest calls gay unions ‘sacred and sacramental’

From Detroit-

A Catholic priest of the Archdiocese of Detroit recently referred to a homosexual union between his nephew and another man as “sacred and sacramental,” one of several comments he made that conflict with Church teaching on homosexuality.

“They are two very holy guys,” said Father Ronald Victor. “I do see their union as being sacred and sacramental, in the sense that it reflects God’s love.”

Father Victor, pastor of St. Isidore Catholic Church in Macomb Township, Michigan, made the statements while at the two men’s “wedding” this past summer at a Detroit-area Episcopal church, according to the Detroit Free Press.

More here-

Christian Charity On $1 Billion Federal Gravy Train Leads Political Call to ‘Care Sacrificially for the Refugee

From Breitbart-

World Relief, one of five Christian charities among the top nine voluntary agencies (VOLAGs) receiving $1 billion a year in payments from the federal government as part of the U.S. Refugee Resettlement program, is leading a political charge calling on American taxpayers to “care sacrificially for the refugee.”

Two top executives at World Relief, Stephan Bauman, President & CEO of and Jenny Yang, Vice President of Advocacy & Policy, were among a dozen members of a drafting coalition of the recently organized “Great Commandment and Great Commission Summit” that issued a statement titled “Christian Declaration on Caring for Refugees: An Evangelical Response” on Thursday.

More here-

Episcopal diocese elects new bishop

From Eastern Oregon-

The Rev. Patrick Bell was elected the seventh bishop of the Episcopal Diocese of Eastern Oregon Dec. 12 at Church of the Redeemer in Pendleton.

Bell was one of three finalist from a pool of 16.

The new bishop is a seventh-generation Eastern Washingtonian and comes from a long farming tradition.

He was raised Episcopalian and attended Whitworth College, a Presbyterian school in Spokane. He received a master’s in theology from Fuller Theological Seminary in Pasadena, California, and served as a Pentecostal minister. In time, he returned to the Episcopal Church.

“I realized I wasn’t a fundamentalist,” Bell said.

More here-

Friday, December 18, 2015

Op-ed: Faith calls us to push for civil rights

From Indiana-

We represent a group of 150 clergy and religious leaders from across Indiana who have come together to express our support for upholding religious freedom while protecting the civil rights for all citizens of our state.

The religious liberty upon which our nation was founded has allowed our country’s diverse faith traditions to flourish. We cherish this religious freedom, which is guaranteed by the Bill of Rights, and believe it should be affirmed.

More here-

Thursday, December 17, 2015

Repent of how Church has treated gay people, top Oxford cleric tells Archbishop

From Christian Today-

A senior Church of England clergyman has called for the Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby to apologise for the way the Church has treated homosexuals worldwide.

In an essay for the liberal organisation Modern Church, the Dean of Christ Church Oxford, the Very Rev Martyn Percy, says the relatively small numbers of traditionalists and conservatives who reject same-sex unions and gay marriage in churches are "dictating" the menu for everyone else.

He warns: "The Church of England's stance on sexuality is deeply alienating and quite incomprehensible for most young people in the UK. It confirms their view of religion as being backward-looking and bigoted."

More here-

Botswana's First Locally Trained Ordinands Become Priests

From All Africa-

The first locally trained priests in the Diocese of Botswana have been ordained in what was the largest ordination service held in the 42-year history of the diocese, in the Anglican Province of Central Africa.

Thirteen priests and two deacons were ordained earlier this month at the Cathedral of the Holy Cross in Gaborone, by the Bishop of Botswana, the Rt Revd Metlhayotlhe Beleme.

"This was a truly exciting event in our national church history," the diocese's Susan Mogwera told ACNS. "This is the largest number of priests to be ordained in the 42 years' history of the Diocese of Botswana.

"Twelve priests were trained locally at St Augustine Theological School and they are the first class to graduate."

More here-

Wheaton College says view of Islam, not hijab, got Christian teacher suspended

From The Chicago Tribune-

If Wheaton College professor Larycia Hawkins had simply donned a headscarf to support her Muslim neighbors without explaining herself, she still might be administering final exams this week.

Instead, Hawkins, a tenured political science professor at the private evangelical Christian college, proclaimed on social media that Christians and Muslims share the same God and was suspended by the college.

"I stand in religious solidarity with Muslims because they, like me, a Christian, are people of the book," she posted Dec. 10 on Facebook. "And as Pope Francis stated last week, we worship the same God."

That explanation rankled some evangelical Christians, who read her statement as a conflation of Christian and Muslim theology, even if they supported her symbolic gesture.

More here-

Wednesday, December 16, 2015

Faith leaders show support for Muslims in RI

From Rhode Island- (with video)

“Once you turn on the television or turn on the radio and you hear the anti-Islam rhetoric,” said Wendy Ibrahim. “It creates a form of fear, like do I hide my family, do I need to hide my children?”

The Warwick native is one of many Muslim Americans who are worried about being targeted over their faith. She said she refuses to hide or be silent, which was a similar sentiment brought forth by leaders of other faiths.

“I bring support as a Christian, I bring support as an American citizen,” said Rev. Nicholas Knisley of the Episcopal Diocese of Rhode Island. “Our nation was founded on an ideal that all people’s faith will be respected.”

More here-

Stop being jerks about Christmas

From The Living Church-

Let me state this as plainly as I can: Traditional Christians are losing Christmas because we’re being jerks about it.

I confess to God, to Mary Ever Virgin, and to you, my brothers and sisters, that I was just such a jerk for a long time. I was the proverbial Grinch. I didn’t start out that way. I loved Christmas as a kid. And yes, the Christmas that I loved had a lot to do with the culture. I loved getting presents. I loved watching Mickey’s Christmas Carol on repeat from about Halloween onward on an old VHS tape. I loved seeing the lights go up in the neighborhood and the Christmas train garden that my mother would set up around the Christmas tree.

And cookies. I really liked Christmas cookies.

More here-

Nothing Says "Desperation" Like Star Wars Church at Christmas!!

From Pirate Christian Media- (Its mostly pictures so click the link)

This pastor (who dressed up as Han Solo to preach on Sunday morning) has jumped whatever remains of the shark. Welcome to Christmas in the land of Evangelical Embarrassment. After church you can get your picture taken with the Storm Trooper "Magi:"

More here-

Tuesday, December 15, 2015

Kunonga fires former ally Jakazi for misconduct

From Central Africa-

EX-COMMUNICATED Anglican Church leader Nolbert Kunonga has fired his former ally Bishop Elson Jakazi for alleged misconduct.

Jakazi became a Bishop in Kunonga’s Evangelical Anglican Church International (EACI)’s Mutare Diocese after they were both fired from the Anglican Church of the Province of Central Africa (CPCA) in 2012, following a protracted five-year legal battle over control of church properties.

Last month, he was suspended from Kunonga’s EACI for committing various acts of misconduct, before the church’s national court defrocked him.

Some of the charges include 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-

Kenya speaks out on split from US church over homosexuality

From Christian Today-

The Anglican Church of Kenya remains in a state of "impaired communion" with The Episcopal Church of the United States. Kenya's Anglicans believe this is the way they must continue for the sake of mission, and are calling for the US province to be disciplined by "exclusion" from all activities in the Anglican Communion.

The synod of the Kenya province, one of the most conservative of the 38 provinces worldwide, passed the resolution as part of the continuing row over same-sex ordination and relationships that has brought the communion close to schism. The Kenyans said they remain disappointed with the decision by the June 2015 meeting of The Episcopal Church's General Convention to authorise rites for the blessing of same sex marriages.

More here-

How a married gay Catholic couple live their faith

From Detroit-

Because their Catholic faith is against same-sex marriage, Bryan Victor and Thomas Molina-Duarte made their wedding vows this summer before a Protestant minister in a Detroit Episcopal church.

Those in attendance included many family members, including Victor’s uncle, who is a Catholic priest and Macomb County pastor. The Rev. Ronald Victor did not officiate but was there because, he told his nephew, the Catholic Church “needs more examples of gay holiness.”

When Victor and Molina-Duarte attend mass every Sunday, the couple go to an east side Detroit Catholic church, where Bryan Victor’s mom and dad join them in the pew. In their shared Catholic faith,  Victor and Molina-Duarte find spiritual sustenance. And at their parish, they’ve also found acceptance.

“We remain in the church rather than leaving,” said Bryan Victor, 30, a Wayne State University doctoral student in social work. “The reason is that it’s my faith. It’s one of my guides. It’s how I treat people. It gives me a deep sense of community.”

More here-

Monday, December 14, 2015

UPDF officers in mass wedding at end-of-year party

From New Vision (Africa)-

This was perhaps what God intended from the very beginning — a moment when all his children, Anglicans, Muslims, Catholics, and Pentecostals, regardless of their very different backgrounds, came together as one family to do something pleasant in his name.

He perhaps didn’t intend for there to be divisions, rejection, and discrimination along faith lines, after all, we are all his children — though different.

And that is what was on display Saturday at the army armoured brigade barracks in Masaka, when 15 UPDF officers, from Anglican, Catholic, Islam and Pentecostal faiths, said “I do” at a grand ceremony organized for the uniformed officers to “beautify their marriage unions before God”.

It did not matter here that the uniformed officers belonged to different faiths. They were joined in Holy Matrimony (for the Christians) and Holy Nikkah (for the Muslims) at one function, at the same gardens, and the same UPDF brass band saluted them after they exchanged their vows.

More here-

Communiqué from the Inter-Anglican Standing Commission on Unity Faith and Order

From ACNS-

The Inter-Anglican Standing Commission on Unity, Faith and Order met at Elmina, Ghana, from 2 to 9 December 2015.

The Commission was generously hosted by the Church of the Province of West Africa and its Diocese of the Cape Coast. The Primate, the Most Revd Daniel Sarfo, and the Bishop of the Cape Coast, the Rt Revd Dr Victor Atta-Baffoe met with the Commission, and the Bishop subsequently welcomed the Members to a special ecumenical Evensong at Christ Church Cathedral, Cape Coast. Commission Members also participated in the Cathedral’s Sunday morning celebration of the Holy Eucharist, at which Bishop Victoria Matthews was invited to preside and Bishop Howard Gregory to preach. The Commission was delighted to spend a morning engaging with students and faculty at the St Nicholas Seminary.

More here-é-from-the-9-december-2015-meeting-of-the-inter-anglican-standing-commission-on-unity-faith-and-order-(iascufo).aspx

Monument installed to honor early African-American church members

From Western NC-

Overgrown until recently with ivy, an area reserved for mid-19th century African-American parishioners in the historic cemetery at St. John in the Wilderness Episcopal Church is now graced with a 9-foot-high monument.

On Thursday afternoon, a crane lifted a 6-foot-tal,l rough-hewn granite cross onto a granite pedestal at the front of the historic cemetery as clergy and members of the churchyard committee looked on.

About 100 graves are estimated to be in the burial ground, wherein the remains of those who were enslaved to white church members as well as freedmen are interred. The main fact is that all were parishioners at the church, said the Rev. John A. Morton, rector of St. John.

For Lost Boy of Sudan, faith carried him from civil war to path to Episcopal priesthood

From AP-

A man who was one of thousands of children in Sudan forced to flee or be inducted into the army during the country's civil war was ordained recently as a deacon by the Episcopal Diocese of Utah.

For Gabriel Garang Atem, 36, the achievement marked another step on a long road where his faith has sustained him as he navigated the dangers of a war in Sudan, famine and life in refugee camps.

As an orphan in 1987, he and thousands of other young children were forced to flee Sudan on foot to Ethiopia.

Thousands of the children, mostly boys, lost their lives as they faced attacks from rebels and wild animals, drowned in rivers, or succumbed to malnourishment, dehydration and exposure to the elements.

More here-

Sunday, December 13, 2015

Millennials and religion: The great disconnect

From Pittsburgh-

Olivia Burk, 22, has attended church fewer than 10 times.

“I stood there not taking much from the sermons, and people would sing and shake my hand and I felt very uncomfortable and out of place,” Ms. Burk said.

Ms. Burk, who lives in Pittsburgh and is an instructional aide to children with autism, doesn’t identify as atheist but does not believe in God or practice religion.

She says it stems from the fact that she was raised in a family with one Christian parent and one religiously unaffiliated. To avoid conflict, the family treated religion “just as if it wasn’t ever a thing,” Ms. Burk said. “I grew up without any religion in my household my whole life.”

She’s among a growing group of millennials, the generation ages 18 to 34, who identify as nonreligious.

More here-