Saturday, January 30, 2016

Book tells story of married former Episcopal priests now Catholic priests

From Catholic Philly-

In “Keeping the Vow,” author Father D. Paul Sullins, a sociologist and a former Episcopal priest, presents his research on a tiny but fascinating subcategory of American Catholic priests — married Catholic priests who were formerly Episcopal priests.

The author is in that group; married with three adult children, he became a Catholic priest in 2002. He is a sociology professor at The Catholic University of America in Washington.

In 1980, the Vatican created a pastoral provision allowing the U.S. to admit into the Catholic priesthood former Episcopal priests who have become Catholic. Since that time, at least 80 priests along with their wives and children have made this transition. Most of them serve in dioceses in the Southwest, many of them in Texas in the Dallas-Fort Worth area.

More here-

Anglicans 'more likely to back gay marriage than oppose it'

From The Telegraph-

More members of the Church of England now support same-sex marriage than oppose it, new polling suggests.

The finding, from a YouGov survey of more than 6,000 people, suggests the Church’s leadership, which led a high-profile campaign against a change in the law, is at odds with the majority of Anglicans in England for the first time.

It also points to a sharp fall in opposition to same-sex marriage among those who identify as members of the Church of England since the law changed, echoing a shift in wider society.

More here-

10 predictions about the future Church and shifting attendance patterns

From Christian Week-

Every generation experiences change.

But sometimes you sense you’re in the midst of truly radical change, the kind that happens only every few centuries. Increasingly, I think we’re in such a moment now.

Those of us in in Western culture who are over age 30 were born into a culture that could conceivably still be called Christian. Now, as David Kinnaman at the Barna Group has shown, even in America, people who are churchless (having no church affiliation) will soon eclipse the churched.

In addition, 48% of Millennials (born between 1984-2002) can be called post-Christian in their beliefs, thinking and worldview.

More here-

Friday, January 29, 2016

Pennsylvania Announces Slate

From The Living Church-

The Diocese of Pennsylvania has announced a five-member slate in the election of its 16th bishop:

The Rev. W. Frank Allen, rector, St. David’s Church, Wayne, Pennsylvania

The Rev. Canon Daniel G.P. Gutierrez, canon to the ordinary, chief operating officer, and chief of staff, Diocese of the Rio Grande, Albuquerque

The Rev. Canon John T.W. Harmon, rector, Trinity Church, Washington, D.C.

The Rev. Martha N. Macgill, rector, Emmanuel Parish, Cumberland, Maryland

The Rt. Rev. Dean E. Wolfe, Bishop of Kansas and vice president of the House of Bishops

Provisional bishops have led the diocese since the retirement of the Rt. Rev. Charles E. Bennison, Jr., in December 2012.

The Rt. Rev. Clifton Daniel III has served as provisional bishop since 2013. The Rt. Rev. Rodney R. Michel became assisting bishop in 2008.

The diocese will accept nominees by petition until Feb. 3. A special convention will meet March 12 to elect the bishop.

Archbishop Welby condemns ‘cancer’ of extremism

From The Church Times-

CHRISTIANITY is not immune from the “cancer” of violent extremism, the Archbishop of Canterbury has said.

Every world faith, including Christianity, includes a minority of people who refused to live peacefully with those who were different from them, Archbishop Welby said.

“We need to remember it’s not just Daesh [Islamic State, or IS]. In all the major world faith traditions, including Christianity, there is a group that cannot tolerate diversity, cannot tolerate difference,” he said.

Speaking during a panel discussion at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, last Friday, Archbishop Welby said that the current surge of violent religious extremism was the worst that Christianity had experienced since the 16th- and 17th-century wars of religion.

More here-

Fractured Christian World(s)

Martin Marty from Huffington-

Look at medieval maps of Europe, urges Robert D. Kaplan in the Wall Street Journal (see "Resources" below) and you will be overwhelmed by the dizzying incoherence--all of those empires, kingdoms, confederations, "minor" states, "upper" this and "lower" that. It is a picture of a radically fractured world. Today's Europe is, in effect, returning to such a map. Kaplan's article is called "Europe's New Medieval Map."

The religion story of this week comes not from the north, from Europe, but from the south, from Africa, which shares with "the global South," stories of major Christian growth and energy. Leaders of the Anglican Communion, the third largest Christian "body," suspended, but did not sever, its American arm, the Episcopal Church. The suspensions resulted from disagreements over sexual issues.

More here-

National Press Club to Host Newsmaker Media Briefing with Episcopal Church Presiding Bishop Michael Curry

From The National Press Club-

Episcopal Church Presiding Bishop and Primate Michael Curry will address the Church's role in creating a more inclusive society at a National Press Club news conference on Monday, February 8.

The first African-American to lead the Episcopal Church, Presiding Bishop Curry's recent meetings in England with Anglican Communion primates and differences with some Church leaders over inclusion was the subject of headlines in the United States and across the globe.

This Newsmakers news conference is scheduled for 10 a.m. in the club's Bloomberg Room, on the 13th Floor of the National Press Building at 529 14th St., NW, Washington, D.C.

More here-

Episcopal Diocese bringing 189th Council to the Coast on Friday

From Mississippi-

The Episcopal Diocese of Mississippi will hold its 189th annual Council at the Coast Convention Center, beginning on Friday. It has been about 15 years since the council has been held on the Coast. The three-day conference will end with a diocese-wide Eucharist on Sunday.

The Rev. Patrick Sanders, rector at St. Peter's-by-the-Sea Episcopal Church in Gulfport, said the council is unique to the diocese.

"Normally, (only a few) parishes will go in together and host the council," he said. "This year, the entire Episcopal congregation on the Coast is hosting the council."

About 1,000 people are expected to attend what Dean of Coast Convocation Robert Wetherington described as "a direct extension of the hierarchical structure of the Episcopal Church.

Read more here:

Thursday, January 28, 2016

Priest, 71, rescued after being lost in -43 C storm on snowmobile trip

From Canada-

A 71-year-old priest who lost his way on a gruelling snowmobile journey to Ontario’s most northern community was found alive after running out of fuel in a -43 C winter storm while returning from a pastoral visit.

Moses Kakekaspan, the priest at St. Peter’s Anglican Church in Fort Severn, a remote First Nation’s community of 335 on Hudson’s Bay, became lost Tuesday in a nighttime storm when the headlight on his snowmobile burned out, his satellite phone broke and he eventually ran out of gas.

He suffered only mild hypothermia.

“It is a beautiful country here, but it is very unforgiving,” said Sgt. Matthew Gull, commander of the Peawanuck patrol of the Canadian Rangers, a largely aboriginal Canadian Forces reserve unit, who co-ordinated the local search.

More here-

US Episcopalians step up anti-racism fight

From ACNS-

In the months following General Convention, the [American] Episcopal Church has been working to fulfil its mandate to confront racism and the institutional structures that support it.

On 21 January, Presiding Bishop Michael Curry preached the sermon at the opening Eucharist of the 2016 Trinity Institute, Listen for a Change: Sacred Conversations for Racial Justice. As he invited those assembled to embrace difficult conversations around racism, he offered some advice; “As you prepare to march, meditate on the life and teachings of Jesus.” Keynote speaker Michelle Norris also offered her belief that “listening is an act of courage.” Trinity Institute is hosting this year’s institute on racial justice as a means of creating new understanding, opportunity, and encouragement for deeper conversations about racism.

More here-

Mainline Protestant Denominations in Freefall, Touting Secular Agenda and Masquerading as Christianity

From CNS-

It may look like a church, sing like a church, have stained-glass like a church, and call itself a church, but be careful: It might not be a church.

The big religion story of last year? Christianity is in decline in America. The sensational headlines were based on data from the Pew Research Center. But as Ed Stetzer of Lifeway Research observed in the USA Today, the folks writing the headlines must not have read the study.

More here-

Wednesday, January 27, 2016

'The Witch Book' set for auction

From Massachusetts-

A piece of Salem Witch Trials history is hitting the auction block next week.

Swann Auction Galleries, based in New York City, is gearing up for a “Printed and Manuscript Americana” auction on Feb. 4. Buried in the list of items, as Lot 84, is a previously unknown seventh edition of the Bay Psalm Book, which is expected to sell for between $30,000 and $40,000, according to auction director Rick Stattler.

“It has a double connection to the Salem Witch Trials,” Stattler said. “The original owners were Jonathan Corwin and his wife, Elizabeth.”

Jonathan Corwin was one of the judges during the Witchcraft Trials of 1692, when 19 accused witches were hanged and another was pressed to death. Corwin’s home during the trials, now owned by the city of Salem, is better known today as the Witch House.

More here-

Episcopal Bishop Says 'Partial Exclusion' By Anglicans Won't Change Mission

From Public Radio (with audio)-

The Episcopal Church will remain part of the worldwide Anglican Communion -- for now. A recent gathering of the world's top Angilcan bishops, or primates, avoided a separation with the U.S. branch over their full inclusion of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people.

The primates, meeting in England, released a communiqué in which they “condemned homophobic prejudice and violence” and “reaffirmed their rejection of criminal sanctions against same-sex attracted people.”

But they approved a "partial exclusion" of the more liberal Episcopalians, which bans them from voting on certain committees or helping to decide "any issues pertaining to doctrine or polity."

More here-

Has the Episcopal Church been plutoed?

From Christian Century-

What really happened at Canterbury this month, nobody knows. Nobody can know, because it hasn’t finished happening.

Even what seems to have happened so far isn’t easy to describe in brief. There was a “gathering” of 30-some “primates” of the “Anglican Communion.” (The scare-quotes are deliberate, for reasons that will appear.) From this assembly there went out a communiqué that may or may not portend significant changes in what is for the moment the only officially Anglican church in the U.S., namely the Episcopal Church. According to early reports, and not a few recent ones, TEC has been demoted, plutoed as it were. It may still orbit the Canterbury sun, but it doesn’t count as a genuine Anglican planet.

That reading is vastly oversimplified.

More here-

Tuesday, January 26, 2016

Pope asks mercy, pardon for ways Christians have harmed one another

From Catholic News Service-

After walking across the threshold of the Holy Door with an Orthodox metropolitan and an Anglican archbishop, Pope Francis invoked God's mercy upon divided Christians and apologized for times that Catholics may have hurt members of other denominations.

"As bishop of Rome and pastor of the Catholic Church, I want to beg for mercy and forgiveness for un-Gospel-like behavior on the part of Catholics against Christians of other churches," the pope said Jan. 25 at a prayer service concluding the Week of Prayer for Christian Unity.

"We ask most of all for forgiveness for the sin of our divisions, which are an open wound on the body of Christ," Pope Francis said.

"At the same time, I ask all my Catholic brothers and sisters to forgive if, today or in the past, they were hurt by other Christians," he said. "We cannot erase what happened, but we do not want to allow the burden of past faults to continue to poison our relationships."

More here-

The Historical Hypocrisy of the Anglican-Episcopal Split

From Huffington-

On January 14, 2016, the Anglican Communion suspended its American branch, the Episcopal Church, from voting and decision making in the global Anglican Church for the next three years. This was a direct reaction to the Episcopal Church officiating marriages of same-sex couples in church. As quoted from, this act violated church doctrine:

"The traditional doctrine of the church in view of the teaching of Scripture, upholds marriage as between a man and a woman in faithful, lifelong union. The majority of those gathered reaffirm this teaching."

Such a statement would not have raised an eye if it had been made by the Catholic Church, whose stance on marriage has been clear since it assimilated Peter Lombard's list of seven sacraments in 1439. The sacrament of marriage espouses one man, one woman, one flesh, for life.

More here-

Archbishop Justin on Anglican Leaders’ Meeting: It Was a ‘God Moment’

From Sojourners-

Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby, the “first-among-equals” leader of the world’s Anglican churches, has published his reflection on the 2016 Primates Meeting.

The Jan. 11-15 meeting of the leaders, or primates, of the Anglican Communion ended with a three-year suspension of The Episcopal Church’s right to represent the Anglican Communion on interfaith or ecumenical bodies and vote on doctrine and polity because of The Episcopal Church’s unilateral decision to recognize same-sex marriage.

- See more at:

Monday, January 25, 2016

Who do you want to be?

From The Living Church-

Politicians — at least the ones running for president — love theme campaign songs. I don’t know if it’s because they believe they’re a quick way to get a crowd fired up, or if it makes them feel like superheros or professional wrestlers. Whatever the reason, they like playing them when they come out to speak. Sometimes they get in trouble for using songs without permission, especially if their political views don’t align with those of the artist.

Sometimes, the songs politicians pick may reveal something about their personality or their values. A politician who chose the Avett Brother’s song “Ill with want” as their theme would likely get my vote.

The Avetts are one of my favorite bands, hailing from my home state of North Carolina. The guys from Concord have been getting some attention for the past few years, but for a while they labored on while being outshone in the public eye by some of the bands they’d influenced, like Mumford and Sons. The Avetts were raised in a church going family and occasionally still sing gospel songs with their dad and other family members at their concerts or at festivals like Merlefest.

More here-

Has Christianity Become a Coward’s Religion?

From Catholic Citizen-

Renaissance political thinker Niccolo Machiavelli castigated Christianity for making its adherents weak. Looking to the next world, he charged, Christians forget their public duties in this world, leaving their communities weak in the face of their enemies. Early Christian martyrs were hardly cowards. There were martyrs in Machiavelli’s day as well, and as I write martyrs are being made every day as pious Christians are murdered by the thugs of the Islamic State. One wonders, however, given some recent trends, whether some Christians in the West—and especially their leaders—have not lost their courage, or even their faith.

A recent Pew Forum survey found that the percentage of Americans who identify with no religion at all has risen to 23 percent. Those stating that they are “absolutely certain” God exists has dropped to 64 percent. And there were small drops in religious observance as well. In comparative terms, this is not such terrible news. 89 percent of Americans continue to believe that God exists, and our rates of religious observance remain miles ahead of our European brethren.

More here-

Who Are the Successors of the Apostles?

From Charisma-

One of the major doctrinal divides between Catholic and Protestant is the Catholic concept of apostolic succession. According to this Catholic doctrine, the authority of the original apostles has been passed down to the Catholic bishops through a mechanical, religious rite called "Apostolic Succession." 

Since Peter, they argue, was the chief of the apostles whom Christ gave the keys, and since he founded the church in Rome, his authority over all the church has been passed along to the bishop of Rome (the pope) through this rite of apostolic succession. Beginning in the latter part of the second century, lists began to be made of this succession.

According to the Congregation of the Doctrine of the Faith (formerly known as the Inquisition), since Protestant "communities" do not hold to this Roman Catholic doctrine and practice of "Apostolic Succession," or maintain a "sacramental priesthood," they cannot be called churches.

More here-

On John Updike and eternity

From The Boston Globe-

John Updike died seven years ago this week. His last poem, “Fine Point,” is a meditation on the 23rd Psalm:

The tongue reposes in papyrus pleas,

saying, Surely —magnificent, that “surely” —

goodness and mercy shall follow me all

the days of my life, my life, forever.

It is a poem that finds solace in the Christian promise — “surely” — that believers will “dwell in the house of the Lord forever.” Updike, an intellectual and an ironist, must have known that “surely,” a translation from the original Hebrew, was a slender reed to hang a faith upon.

More here-

Sunday, January 24, 2016

Africa, Anglicans and Catholics: The Heart of Christianity Moves South

From Aleteia-

Last week the Anglican world was rocked by the decision of the world’s Anglican bishops to suspend the Episcopal Church of the United States from active participation in the Anglican Communion for a period of three years. The suspension was driven by the Anglicans in the developing world’s anger with the Episcopal Church’s formal decision last summer to validate same-sex weddings.

The politics of the decision are complicated. Unlike Catholics, the Anglicans do not have a unified authority structure. Each of the Anglican national churches are independently governed while voluntarily belonging to the Worldwide Anglican Communion. Put simply, the bishops of the developing world — led by African bishops — pressured the rest of the Anglican Communion to discipline the Episcopal Church. While this might seem a minor matter of Christians squabbling, in fact the implications for both Anglicans and Catholics are historic.

More here-

Baptist rival attacks Congressman's Episcopal faith, says too tolerant on gay marriage

From Alabama-

The Episcopal Church's acceptance of same-sex marriage has surfaced as a campaign issue in South Alabama where conservative candidate Dean Young is accusing U.S. Rep. Bradley Byrne for being too lenient on the issue.

Young, an Orange Beach developer who is challenging the incumbent congressman during the March 1 Republican primary, is linking Byrne's affiliation with the Episcopal Church to the issue.

 "If that's what his church believes, how much do you figure how much he fights (to oppose gay marriage)," Young, 51, said. "No wonder Bradley isn't fighting to keep marriage between one man and one woman."

More here-