Saturday, January 9, 2016

The Anglican schism over sexuality marks the end of a global church

From The Guardian- (Opinion)

As 38 leaders from Anglican churches around the world prepare to meet in Canterbury next week to decide whether they can bear to go on talking to one another, or whether to formalise their schism over sexuality, it’s worth asking whether they have any larger message for the world. Apparently they do. It’s that genocide is more biblical than sodomy.

The hardline African churches preparing to walk out of next week’s meeting are disproportionately involved in wars and in immense civilian suffering. In northern Nigeria and northern Kenya, the fighting is with Islamist militias; in South Sudan and Congo the truly dreadful civil war is fought between largely Christian ethnic groupings. In Rwanda, the war is over, but the genocide was committed by Christians against other Christians, and Uganda, while itself at peace, is involved in both Rwanda and Congo.

Yet for the leaders of all these churches, it is apparently more important to make a stand against American sexual liberalism than to accept such help as the supposedly decadent north can offer. It’s an extraordinary spectacle.

More here-

Church of England fears gay rights talks could end global Anglican communion

From The Guardian-

The Church of England is braced for a de facto split in the worldwide Anglican communion next week over the issues of gay rights and same-sex marriage. Church leaders from six African countries are expected to walk out of a pivotal summit called by the archbishop of Canterbury.

Bitter divisions among Anglicans on the issue of sexuality are expected to intensify at the week-long meeting of the 38 leaders of national churches at Canterbury cathedral. Archbishops from conservative churches in Uganda, Kenya, Nigeria, South Sudan, Rwanda and Congo are likely to walk out of the summit within a day or two of its opening on Monday.

“There’s going to be a lot of drama,” said a senior C of E source. “It’s 90% likely that the six will walk out. If we get past Tuesday, we’ll be doing well.”

More here-

Slavery and human trafficking are far from eradicated

From Tallahassee-

Human beings, created in God’s image, are made for the perfect freedom found in service to God and neighbor.

Throughout human history, as a result of our brokenness and a willful misuse of our freedom, we have enslaved others and turned God’s people into commodities.

In the Old Testament, we witness Joseph’s brothers selling him into slavery. In Scripture, we also hear the people of Israel, enslaved in Egypt, crying out for freedom.

In the New Testament, St. Paul pleads with a man named Philemon to free his slave, Onesimus. Slavery and human trafficking are an ongoing scourge on humanity, a fact we know all too well as we recall our history as a nation and our continuing struggle for racial justice and reconciliation.

More here-

Church sale uproots 127-year-old congregation

From San Diego-

In 2006, the St. Anne’s congregation was one of a half-dozen in the region that broke away from the Episcopal church in a schism over its views on homosexuality and other issues. A years-long court battle ensued between the diocese and the breakaway Anglican congregations over ownership of the church properties. The fight ended in 2012 with the Episcopal diocese reclaiming the St. Anne’s real estate and appointing a new priest to re-establish the Episcopal congregation.

But Morelli said the St. Anne’s parish was never able to grow large enough to sustain itself. Membership was small — just 28 regulars from week to week — and most attendees were in their 70s to 90s. For the past five years, the church relied on monthly subsidies from the diocese and there was zero budget for utilities, maintenance and repairs, Morelli said.

More here-

Summit could determine fate of Anglican Church

From Pittsburgh-

It could be a meeting of hearts, or it could be the collision of tectonic plates, shaking along the same ecclesiastical fault lines that saw the rupture of the historic Episcopal community in southwestern Pennsylvania in the past decade.

National leaders in the Anglican Communion, the world’s third-largest Christian tradition, are scheduled to gather Monday in Britain for their first big gathering after years of frosty stalemate. And it could be their last time together if the most ominous forecasts bear out.

Local bishops are echoing their colleagues’ call for prayer for what has so far defied human efforts — to repair the rupture in the communion over liberalizing trends on homosexuality and theology in Western churches such as the Episcopal Church in the United States. Anglican churches across the Southern Hemisphere, many of them fast-growing churches in Africa, have deeply opposed such changes.

More here-

Pastor Forges a New Path in Brooklyn

From The Wall Street Journal-

The Rev. Emily Scott was a high-school student in the mid-1990s when she decided to make her faith her career.

A gay couple exchanged vows in her family’s Seattle church, even though same-sex unions hadn’t yet been officially sanctioned by the Episcopal Church.

“That was a key moment for me in understanding what church was about,” Ms. Scott said. “We would always privilege love and relationship and what’s right over rules and regulations.”

In her own way, Ms. Scott, 35 years old, is making a radical push at St. Lydia’s, her storefront church in the Gowanus section of Brooklyn. Her “dinner church” service weaves song, scripture and prayer with a simple homemade supper, drawing a diverse set of worshipers—young and old, gay and straight, Quaker and Evangelical.

The service, held in a loft-like space without a cross or altar, could be mistaken for a hip social club, but the worship is deeply rooted in Christian traditions of humble table fellowship.

More here-

Change (and growth?) for the Church of England

From Psephizo-

There is a fascinating new article Resurrection? published in The Economist, taking a look at decline, growth and change in the Church of England. It is interesting for a number of reasons:

It looks carefully at the actual numbers which tell us about decline, growth and change in the Church
It takes seriously a range of different perspectives of what is going on, including sociologists like Linda Woodhead, researchers like David Goodhew and Nick Spencer, and church leaders from a range of positions from Pete Hughes of KXC church in London to Alan Wilson, suffragan Bishop of Buckingham.

It touches not just on the questions of numerical change, but the changing church scene in England overall, and the way the C of E is changing in relation to contemporary culture.

More here-

Friday, January 8, 2016

Spectre of walkout by Primates haunts Canterbury talks

From The Church Times-

REPORTS that GAFCON Primates may walk out of next week’s gathering in Canterbury have prompted the Archbishop of Canada, the Most Revd Fred Hiltz, to call for a cessation to “the language of warfare” and for a commitment to healing the “bruised” Communion.

The GAFCON website confirms that the Primates will attend the meeting, which begins on Monday in Canterbury, but warns that “their continued presence will depend upon action by the Archbishop of Canterbury and a majority of the Primates to ensure that participation in the Anglican Communion is governed by robust commitments to biblical teaching and morality”.

A report in the Mail on Sunday last week suggested that the Archbishops of Nigeria, Kenya, and Uganda had been on the brink of snubbing the meeting, and may still walk out.

More here-

Vatican Loans Relic to Protestants

From US News-

The Vatican is loaning a deeply symbolic religious relic to a meeting in Britain discussing the future of the 80 million-strong Anglican Communion that has been badly divided over issues of female bishops and same-sex marriage.

The ivory top of the pastoral staff of St. Gregory the Great — the 6th-century pope who dispatched missionaries to England to spread Christianity — will be displayed in England's Canterbury Cathedral before and after the Jan. 11-16 meeting of Anglican primates.

The Archbishop of Canterbury, Justin Welby, has summoned the 37 primates to discuss how the Communion can keep working together after it has been splintering for years over issues such as the ordination of female and gay bishops and the blessings of same-sex marriage.

The Vatican has watched from afar but nevertheless with alarm as the rift has widened, fearing that schism within the Anglican Communion will only complicate its own efforts at promoting Christian unity.

More here-

Also here-

Ugandan bishop to shun Anglican meeting until 'godly order' is restored

From RNS-

On the eve of a pivotal summit to explore the future of the Anglican Communion, cracks are emerging with a Uganda archbishop indicating he will not participate in a primates meeting unless “godly order” is restored.

Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby, the spiritual leader of Anglicans across the world, has invited the church’s primates to Canterbury, England, to explore how its 38 national churches can stay together while going their separate ways when dealing with the issues of gays and women’s ordination.

The Jan. 11-16 meeting is being viewed as the last chance for the communion to avoid a schism.

But Archbishop Stanley Ntagali of Uganda said that unless “godly order,” is restored he cannot participate in any official meeting of the communion.

More here-

Rowing, not rowing

From The Economist-

WHEN he was an undergraduate at Cambridge, Justin Welby, the Archbishop of Canterbury, was cox of a Trinity College rowing eight. Perhaps coincidentally, rowing metaphors flowed in September when he announced that he had invited all 37 global Anglican primates to Canterbury for a conference starting on January 11th, in what some see as a last-ditch attempt to save the Anglican Communion. One aide suggested that bishops should not spend so much time “trying to placate people and keep them in the boat, without ever getting the oars out and starting to row”. Frustrated that bickering is keeping Anglicans from their primary mission, the archbishop will need all his powers as a cox to head off a collision, or even the sinking of the global Anglican boat.

The problem is a row between liberals, mainly North American, who want the church to allow same-sex marriage, and conservatives, who think it must not. Some leaders from each side are not on speaking terms. Archbishop Welby is said to want a looser affiliation, so that both groups can keep relations with Canterbury and continue to call themselves Anglican but not have to deal with each other. He has no “papal” powers to kick out any provinces; previous attempts to discipline those who defy traditional Anglican teaching have been stopped from below. The archbishop is “not so much trying to get closer unity”, says one informed cleric; “he is trying to prevent greater disunity.”

More here-

Pastor making a stand

From Alabama-

The Rev. Jeff Byrd, rector of St. Mark’s Episcopal Church in Troy, is once again taking a stand on the issue of same sex marriages.

Byrd stood outside the Pike County Courthouse on Thursday morning holding a sign that read “One Christian for Marriage Equality.”

Bryd’s stand was in response to the administrative order issued Wednesday by Roy Moore, chief justice of Alabama’s Supreme Court, for the state’s probate judges not to issue marriage license to same-sex couple. Moore issued the order despite a decision by the U.S Supreme Court last year that legalized same-sex marriage in America.

In issuing the order, Moore noted that the Supreme Court of Alabama upheld the state’s ban on same-sex marriage in March of 2015. Three months later, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled bans on same-sex marriages unconstitutional.


Boarding school agrees to new investigation of sex abuse

From NBC- (Other links below)

An elite Rhode Island boarding school agreed Thursday to hire a new, independent investigator to look into allegations of sexual abuse made by at least 40 former students covering four decades.

Lawyers for the people who allege they were molested or raped by former school employees and students said they reached an agreement late Thursday with administrators at St. George's School, a $56,000-a-year coeducational, Episcopalian school in Middletown, Rhode Island.

Many of the alleged victims had questioned the thoroughness of the school's first investigation, which was led by the law partner of the school's attorney. In a report last month, the school said that investigation found that 26 students had been sexually abused in the 1970s and '80s by six former employees. The school acknowledged it didn't report abusers to authorities at the time and apologized for not doing more.

Since then, Massachusetts lawyers Eric MacLeish and Carmen Durso said they have heard from at least 40 people who say they were abused by former staffers and students at the prep school.

More here-

also here

and here-

New York Times-

Thursday, January 7, 2016

Welby urges Anglicans to pray for the Primates’ Meeting

From Anglican Journal (with video)-

Less than a week before a meeting that will bring primates of the provinces in the Anglican Communion together for the first time since 2011, Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby has released a video asking Anglicans to pray for “wisdom and love” for their leaders.

The video acknowledges that the Communion’s 38 primates will be “dealing with some very difficult issues” both within the life of the Communion and within the wider church and world. In it, Welby expresses a hope that “the love of Christ for each of us—for each of us who are sinners, each of us who fail—will so overwhelm us that we are able to love each other as we should.”

The Primates’ Meeting, to be held at Canterbury Cathedral from January 11-16, has been the subject of many secular media reports and religious blogs since it was announced in September 2015. Welby’s decision to invite Archbishop Foley Beach, leader of the breakaway Anglican Church of North America, and his comment that the primates will need to consider “look[ing] afresh at our ways of working as a Communion and especially as Primates,” have led to varying comments about the fate of the Anglican Communion and of  churches with more liberal views on human sexuality.

- See more at:

The Mystic, the Monk and the Play Brought to You by Powerball

From The New York Times-

It sounds like the setup for some kind of droll joke: A lottery winner and a rhinoceros arrive at the birthday party for a dead mystic. Art, and a blowout brawl, ensues.

An unusual stew of ingredients, some onstage and some off, has resulted in this strange spectacle’s move from Kentucky to the Brooklyn Academy of Music, which, beginning Saturday, Jan. 16, will present “The Glory of the World,” a new play by Charles Mee that takes a silence-and-strife-filled look at the life of Thomas Merton, the 20th-century American Catholic thinker who “remains a source of spiritual inspiration and a guide for many people,” as Pope Francis put it in an unexpected shout-out during his address to Congress in September.

The production is being financed by one of the newest and more unexpected patrons of American theater: Roy Cockrum of Knoxville, a onetime Episcopal monk who bought a Powerball ticket at his local supermarket in 2014 and won $259 million.

More here-

Area congregations weigh impact of guns in churches

From Houston-

Almost a week after the state's open carry law went into effect, religious leaders in Houston are still deciding if openly displayed handguns ‑ recently legalized in Texas ‑ will be welcome in their Sunday-morning pews.

With memories of last summer's deadly shooting spree at a black Charleston, S.C., church still fresh, religious leaders are split on whether the overt presence of armed parishioners would enhance or impair worshipers' safety. While many area congregations autonomously will make the decision to ban or accept open carry, by mid-week at least two major denominations had issued recommendations to member churches.

Contending that "the open carry of handguns on church property is inconsistent with an atmosphere of prayer and worship," leaders of the United Methodist Church's 676-congregation Texas Annual Conference called on member churches to prohibit visibly displayed firearms. Similarly, the United Church of Christ's Houston Association advocated banning openly holstered pistols. The Rt. Rev. C. Andrew Doyle, bishop of the 160-church Episcopal Diocese of Texas this week was reviewing an update on a current diocese policy banning weapons from churches and schools.

More here-

Pennsylvania bishop suspends former assistant chaplain at St. George's School

From Rhode Island-

A Pennsylvania bishop moved swiftly to suspend the Rev. Dr. Howard White, former assistant chaplain at St. George's School in Middletown, from his Pennsylvania church ministry following Tuesday's revelation that White "is among the subjects of an investigation into widespread sexual abuse during the 1970s and 1980s" at the school.

The Rev. Canon Audrey Cady Scanlan, bishop of the Diocese of Central Pennsylvania, wrote a letter to members of her Episcopal diocese Wednesday that explains her decision. White is now a retired Episcopal priest, and has served as a long-term supply priest at St. James Episcopal Church in Bedford, Pa., a borough of fewer than 3,000 people. He could not be reached for comment Wednesday.

"I have moved to immediately restrict Father White’s ministry and to provide for the pastoral care of the congregation that he currently serves," the bishop wrote.

More here-

Scottish Episcopal Church concerned about cross-border ecumenical agreement

From ENS-

The Church of England and the (Presbyterian) Church of Scotland have reached “an historic agreement that recognises their longstanding ecumenical partnership and lays the groundwork for future joint projects,” the two churches have announced, but the (Anglican) Scottish Episcopal Church has called for a rethink, citing concerns about shared worship and the exchange of ministers.

The Primus of Scotland, Dr David Chillingworth, said: “The question here is not whether the development of ecumenical relationships is desirable – for of course it is. The question is about whether that development can take place respectfully and in good order.”

More here-

Wednesday, January 6, 2016

Archbishop pleads for prayer as global Anglican leaders prepare to meet

From Christian Today-

The Archbishop of Canterbury has issued a plea for prayer as the leaders of his divided church prepare to meet in Canterbury next week in an attempt to avoid schism over homosexuality.

Archbishop Justin Welby has invited the leaders of the 38 Anglican provinces to the meeting in Canterbury on from Monday to Friday next week. Already some conservative primates have threatened to walk out if no attempt is made to discipline the pro-gay liberal provinces such as the Episcopal Church, which consecrated the first openly gay bishop Gene Robinson in 2003.

Without success in staving off a split next week, it probable that the next Lambeth Conference, the ten-yearly meeting of all Anglican bishops and archbishops from around the world, will be postponed indefinitely. One possible solution will be a move away from the present structure of the Anglican Communion to a more federal model similar to that adopted by the Lutheran churches of northern Europe and Scandinavia. 

More here-

The Top Five Religous Trends to Watch in 2016

From Huffington-

Silicon Beach Venture Capitalists Venture into Religion

The tech industry isn't the only one innovating these days. Several groups essentially serve as the R&D divisions for long-standing religious institutions in Southern California. Holy Ground in Long Beach and Thad's in Santa Monica are "off-the-books" laboratories of the Episcopal Diocese of Los Angeles where the beliefs and rituals that have traditionally defined mainline Protestantism are pulled apart and reassembled in remarkable ways. Similar experimental enclaves exist within Jewish and Muslim communities.

More here-

Abortion case at Supreme Court gets personal

From USA Today-

Those telling their stories generally became pregnant while attending prestigious universities such as Harvard and Stanford, a way station to their successful careers. Had they not decided on abortions, they said, their lives would have been changed forever by a single mistake.

"If the Reverend Anne Fowler had not had access to an abortion when she accidentally became pregnant after enrolling in Divinity School, she would never have been able to graduate, to serve as a parish rector, or to help the enormous number of people whose lives she has touched," the brief says of an Episcopal priest who had an abortion in 1981, before she was married.

Others went on to become a professor, a neuropsychologist, a childhood education specialist and a doctor whose willingness to perform abortions led her to wear a bulletproof vest on her way to and from work.

More here-

Episcopal bishop calls for 'disciplinary proceedings' in St. George's School sex abuse case

From Rhode Island-

The Episcopal bishop of Rhode Island is calling for "appropriate disciplinary proceedings" against three people named in recent reports of sexual abuse at St. George's School in Middletown in the 1970s and 1980s.

The Rt. Rev. W. Nicholas Knisely said in a statement Tuesday that he is in contact with Rhode Island State Police, "and I am following their direction as the investigation is being carried out" into the episodes discussed in a report issued by the school in December and in media coverage.

"As of this morning, two Episcopal priests and a third person who has worked in Episcopal congregations have been named in the report or ensuing media coverage," Bishop Knisely wrote in a letter to clergy released shortly after a Boston news conference about sexual abuse at the elite private school.

More here-

Also here-

Tuesday, January 5, 2016


From The Tablet-

New year message neglected the needs of Christians 'Guardian world view'

The Archbishop of Canterbury’s new year message prioritised his left-wing, liberal agenda over the needs of Christians, a Tory MP has claimed.

David Davies, Conservative MP for Monmouth in Wales, wrote a stinging criticism of the message - which called on Britons to welcome refugees - on his website this morning.

“How wonderfully saintly it must feel to sleep at night with an easy conscience knowing that you have roundly condemned the wicked politicians and bigots who worry about mass migration without actually having to take difficult decisions yourself and live with the consequences,” he wrote.

“Church leaders seem more comfortable preaching the world of the Guardian than the word of God,” he added.

In his new year address Archbishop Justin Welby called on Christians to defeat extremism with love and hospitality.

More here-

Pope Francis Shares 10 New Year's Resolutions With Vatican Employees And The World

From Latin Times-

Known for his sensible advice (including his 10 steps to achieve happiness), Pope Francis gave out some New Year’s resolutions for everyone at the Vatican and the world. And even though they are deeply rooted in Catholic teachings, these can apply to many different aspects of life including spirituality, work and relationships, amongst others. If you already have your resolutions all set, take a moment to review these and maybe you can implement them as ways to live. Happy New Year!

1. “Take care of your spiritual life, your relationship with God, because this is the backbone of everything we do and everything we are.”

More here-

Anglicans Fearing Permanent Split Over Gay Marriage as Bishops Threaten to Walk Out

From Christian Post-

The issue of gay marriage is threatening to split apart the Anglican Communion ahead of an important summit in Canterbury in England next week, with African and Asian leaders threatening to walk out on Archbishop Justin Welby.

Mail Online reported that Welby is preparing for a "make of break" effort at the summit in order to keep the Anglican churches together despite disagreements over homosexuality.

Although Welby and the Church of England have remained opposed to the legalization of gay marriage, a number of bishops within the Anglican Communion, including American church leaders as part of the Episcopal tradition, have backed the practice.

This has drawn deep discontent from more conservative African and Asian bishops, who remain strongly opposed to any approval of same-sex unions.


Anglican Bishops Fear a Lasting Schism Over Gay Marriage, Threaten to Walk Out of Summit in Canterbury

From The Blaze-

The Anglican Communion faces staunch division in anticipation of a summit that will be held next week in Canterbury, England. The issue of gay marriage has long been a controversial subject among Protestant Christians, and some churches like the Presbyterian Church USA have opted to include same-sex couples in their marriage ceremonies.

Though the Church of England has refused to support the legalization of gay marriage, many bishops within the Anglican Communion, including American church officials belonging to the Episcopal tradition, have endorsed the practice.

This has now led to a deep divide between Anglican clerics.

African and Asian bishops who firmly reject any approval of same-sex unions have already threatened to walk out on Archbishop Justin Welby during next week’s summit unless the liberal supporters of gay marriage “repent” or the archbishop throws them out, the Daily Mail reported.

More here-

Monday, January 4, 2016

The Archbishop of Canterbury’s New Year Message

From ACNS-

Marsh Academy is a school in my own diocese of Canterbury. Today, I’ve been meeting and chatting to some of the students – an experience I found very uplifting.

I had the honour to meet, privately, an inspiring boy, who at just 14 fled his homeland in North Africa after soldiers stormed his school and attempted to abduct him. He was saved by a courageous teacher but was so terrified that it would happen again he decided to escape. This is just one example of the many desperate journeys children are making on their own to save their lives.

This school represents the best of what we can do in this country. It welcomes, it loves, it serves, it teaches and equips people and demonstrates our ability to live up to our long established tradition of warmth and hospitality.

More here-

The curse of the via media

From The Living Church-

The cherished Episcopalian notion, that we are a church of right-thinking, reasonable people, is going to be the death of us. Don’t get me wrong: I am all for right thinking and reason in equal measure, and indeed compromise, and some sort of Anglican via media may indeed be found to be the solution amidst the church’s present agonizing over its own identity. But moderation as the keynote of any sort of Christian identity is deeply problematic — ahem, Laodicea — not least because the hidden sting in the tail of the via media is that it demonizes conflict. We don’t fight; we’re right-thinking, reasonable people — who already know the right, reasonable solution to whatever it is that we’re not fighting about. The paradox, and indeed the curse of the via media, is that it is not something you can assume to have achieved, or even assume you will be able to achieve, in advance because you or your tradition has always done so in the past. The surest way not to arrive is to assume that you are already there.

More here-

Desmond Tutu’s lesbian daughter weds

From StarFM-

Archbishop Emeritus Desmond Tutu’s daughter, Reverend Mpho Tutu, who is a lesbian got married on Wednesday.

Her lesbian marriage stands in stark contrast to her Tutu parents, who recently renewed their wedding vows on the occasion of their 60th wedding anniversary.

Mpho Tutu exchanged vows in a small private ceremony, with her longtime partner Professor Marceline Furth in Oegstgeest a town and municipality in the province of South Holland in western Netherlands. Their wedding will be celebrated in Cape Town in May.

Furth is a professor in Pediatric Infectious Diseases at the Vrije University in Amsterdam and Tutu is currently the executive director of the Desmond and Leah Tutu Legacy Foundation, and holds the Desmond Tutu Chair in Medicine at the university.

This is the second marriage for both. Canon Tutu, the youngest daughter of Desmond and Leah Tutu, was married to Joseph Burris. They had two daughters, Nyaniso and Onalenna.

More here-

Newport News church helps those struggling with homelessness

From Virginia-

St. Paul's Episcopal Church brings together food and faith in its efforts to help individuals and families struggling with homelessness. The church is a landmark of downtown Newport News — its building was constructed in 1900 — and has developed a close community with its volunteers and regular visitors.

Father Richard Budd, the interim pastor at St. Paul's for the past two years, said his most rewarding aspect of the church's homeless outreach is the Bible study he participates in twice a week.

"I love to do them," he said. "There are very knowledgeable people with strong religious backgrounds that attend regularly. We have great discussions, and we're able to make applications to daily life."

More here-

Sunday, January 3, 2016

Repent or we quit say bishops in gays feud: Anglican church could split in challenge to Welby's authority

From The Daily Mail-

Church leaders from Africa and Asia are threatening to walk out of a crucial meeting chaired by the Archbishop of Canterbury unless American bishops drop their support for gay marriage.

Archbishop Justin Welby last year invited the leaders of the worldwide Anglican Church to the summit in Canterbury next week in a ‘make or break’ effort to avert a permanent split over homosexuality.

The row has torn the Church apart for a decade – with conservatives accusing liberals of abandoning the word of God by backing openly gay bishops and marriages for gay couples – and the Archbishop wants to broker a deal to allow both sides to co-exist peacefully.

More here-

Multiple sites a trend for worship

From Pittsburgh-

As one worship service was letting out at Orchard Hill Church in the Cultural District late on a Sunday morning, another was just ramping up about a mile away at Amplify Church in the Strip District.

Each featured high-energy, guitar-led worship with lyrics projected on screens, and each was using a rented space originally designed for entertainment.

And there was another similarity: The worshipers were many miles from their mother churches, occupying very different spaces from the large suburban buildings with ample parking.

The Franklin Park-based Orchard Hill Church rents the theater and other space at the August Wilson Center Downtown on Sundays, while the Plum-based Amplify Church uses a former nightclub on Smallman Street.

More here-