Saturday, February 13, 2016

Lent: Muslims stand in solidarity with Christians by tweeting what they will give up until Easter

From The Independent-

In a show of solidarity, Muslims are standing with Christians and giving up guilty pleasures for lent.

For Christians, lent is a period of self-restraint, marked by fasting, repentance, prayer and self-control. Luxury or rich foods, such as meat and dairy are often avoided by those taking part.

Abstention from personal “bad habits” such as watching television or eating too much sugar is also commonly practised.

The observance starts on Ash Wednesday and lasts until Easter, as Christians imitate the 40 days Jesus spent fasting in a desert before being blessed by John the Baptist.

Using #Muslims4Lent, followers of Islam are tweeting photos of themselves in which they declare what they will be giving up.

More here-

Joint Declaration of Pope Francis and Patriarch Kirill

From The Vatican-

Pope Francis and Russian Orthodox Patriarch Kirill of Moscow and All Russia met in Havana, Cuba on Friday (12 Feb) to sign an historic joint declaration.

The official English translation of the full joint declaration is below:

Joint Declaration of Pope Francis and Patriarch Kirill of Moscow and All Russia

“The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ and the love of God the Father and the fellowship of the holy Spirit be with all of you” (2 Cor 13:13).

1. By God the Father’s will, from which all gifts come, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, and with the help of the Holy Spirit Consolator, we, Pope Francis and Kirill, Patriarch of Moscow and All Russia, have met today in Havana. We give thanks to God, glorified in the Trinity, for this meeting, the first in history.

More here-

Chase violence out of religion, urges Welby

From The Church Times-

THE global turmoil and conflict driven by extremism can be stopped only once religiously motivated violence has been purged from every faith tradition, the Archbishop of Canterbury has said.

The world was facing, for the first time in centuries, an obviously religious conflict that encompassed all faiths, Archbishop Welby said. In his travels around the Anglican Communion, he had come across “Islamic violence, Christian violence, Hindu violence, Buddhist violence”.

While he believed that the current bombing campaigns in Iraq and Syria met the tests for a just war, bombing alone could not end the violence. “We must aim for nothing less than chasing religiously motivated violence out of every tradition,” the Archbishop said to an audience of hundreds at Queen’s University, Belfast, as he gave the annual Church of Ireland Theological Lecture

More here-

Friday, February 12, 2016

Lionel Richie Shares Hilarious Tale of Writing 'We Are the World' With Michael Jackson

From the "Who Would Have Guessed Department"-

Richie met his Commodore bandmates while a freshman at Tuskegee Institute and he revealed how their first gig, at a freshman talent show, changed his life. “The most amazing thing happened,” he said. “Girls started screaming [as I performed]. I was going to be an Episcopal priest, but that girl screamed on the front row and I called the bishop and said I didn’t think I was cut out for the cloth.”

By the time he was a senior,  The Commodores were opening for the Jackson 5 and each band member was pulling down at least $200,000 per year. What followed was more than a decade of massive hits, including “Easy,” “Three Times A Lady,” “Brickhouse,” and “Lady (You Bring Me Up).” 

More here-

Diamonds and Faith: Transitioning Between Denominations

From Huffington-

For myself, at varying times in my life, the Roman Catholic Church was the best denomination for me. It served me well, allowing my faith to increase and allowing me the opportunity to prayerfully seek knowledge and clarity in matters spiritual. My bio on this site details a bit of my spiritual journey, and, after prayerful consideration, it is time to return to the Episcopal Church (sometimes referred to as Anglo-Catholic).

It is never an easy decision to change (or leave your church), and one that you should consider over a period of time with much prayer and discernment. It is an emotional and sometimes painful process--one the fortunate won't need to endure. My reasons for leaving the Roman Catholic fold are not universal and are not meant to be an indictment of the whole.

More here-

Alabama Episcopal Diocese investigates allegations of past sex abuse

From Alabama-

A group of leaders from St. Thomas Episcopal Church in Vestavia Hills recently asked the Episcopal Diocese of Alabama to investigate allegations of sexual misconduct at diocesan headquarters that happened 25 years ago.

The diocese has responded by having a law firm conduct an investigation, led by lawyer Augusta Dowd.

The diocese is investigating allegations by former employee Tyrone Lucas, who now goes by the name Titus Battle.

Battle says a male administrator — who died in 1990 at age 56 after working for the diocese since 1971 — forced him to submit to sexual acts, threatening to withhold his pay as an office worker and revoke his college scholarship paid by the diocese.

More here-

Thursday, February 11, 2016

Kasich's Spiritual Adviser Thinks Gay Rights Activists Are Fascist "Thought Nazis"

From Mother Jones-

Despite his calls for tolerance, Kasich is part of a religious community that was built almost entirely on opposition to liberalized religious views on gays and lesbians. Kasich attends St. Augustine Anglican Church, in Westerville, Ohio, a church that was created in 2011 as part of a splinter group, the Anglican Church in North America, that broke with the Episcopal Church after it ordained Gene Robinson, a gay man, as a bishop. Kasich's denomination doesn't allow women to serve as bishops or ordain gays and lesbians as clergy, as it considers noncelibate homosexual relationships to be sinful.

Kasich's personal spiritual adviser is Father J. Kevin Maney, the rector at St. Augustine's whose bio on the church's website says he received his religious education "almost entirely online" before being ordained as a deacon in the Anglican Church. Maney has been outspoken in his views on LGBT people, writing on his blog, the Anglican Priest, for instance, to complain that "militant homosexualists" are trying to stifle dissent and silence those who believe homosexuality is a sin.

More here-

The married priest debate

From National Catholic Register-

They haven't ordered team jerseys yet, but two sharply divided sides are lining up in the married priest debate.

Supporters of a wider married priesthood in the Roman Catholic church argue for the whole church's tradition of married clergy, never abandoned by most of the 23 or so Eastern Catholic churches. The other side points to studies of failed clergy marriages and says married priests are just too expensive.

Time out. Let's talk about 23-year-old Joel A. Wright, a first-year seminarian (now a former first-year seminarian) at the Pontifical College Josephinum. Wright is from Vermont, but as a student at Franciscan University of Steubenville in Ohio, he found the vocation director for the Steubenville diocese and eventually began priestly studies.

More here-

Thrown to the lions? Catholic & Anglican leaders say Christians now a minority

From Russia Today-

Practicing Christians are now a minority in the UK and the Catholic and Anglican churches must pull together in order to survive, according to two senior British clerics.

The Right Reverend Richard Chartres, Bishop of London, and Cardinal Vincent Nichols, head of the Catholic Church in England and Wales, were speaking at an event at Hampton Court Palace, London, on Tuesday.

They hailed the reconciliation between two churches that have traditionally been rivals, and the gathering also saw the first Catholic act of worship at the chapel of Henry VIII for 450 years.

“I would like to think of this evening as a celebration of how far we’ve come and also a celebration of a common agenda,” Chartres said.

More here-

Bishop might spark change

From Ft. Wayne-

Wednesday morning during rush hour, the Rev. Douglas E. Sparks spent time at a bus stop near the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minnesota, where he prayed with willing commuters and made the sign of the cross in ashes on their foreheads.

Participating in Ashes to Go, an unusual way of marking the solemnity of Ash Wednesday, was part of how the Episcopal priest spent his first week as bishop-elect of the Episcopal Diocese of Northern Indiana, which includes Fort Wayne.

Sparks, 60, was elected the eighth diocesan bishop on Saturday. His election came on the fourth ballot during a convention of clergy, deacons and laypeople at St. Anne’s Episcopal Church in Warsaw. He succeeds Bishop Edward S. Little II, who is retiring.

The election of Sparks, who heads St. Luke’s Episcopal Church in Rochester, may signal a pending change in the local diocese’s stance on same-sex marriage.

More here-

Wednesday, February 10, 2016

Henry VIII chapel hosts first Catholic service in 450 years

From London-

The sounds of Latin song echoed through the halls of Hampton Court Palace in London for the first Catholic service in more than 450 years to be held in anti-papal King Henry VIII's residence.

Cardinal Vincent Nichols, head of the Catholic Church in England and Wales, celebrated the Vespers prayer together with Anglican Bishop of London Richard Chartres in a symbolic gesture of reconciliation.

"I think it's a very remarkable moment," Nichols told AFP ahead of the service in the palace's Chapel Royal, which is still administered directly by the Church of England's head, Queen Elizabeth II.

More here-

Chattanooga Mourns the Passing of "Brother Ron"

From Chattanooga-

Chattanooga has lost an advocate for those who rarely had a voice in the city.

St. Paul's Episcopal church says Ron Fender, a monk affectionately known as "Brother Ron," passed away on January 29th at the age of 61.

Fender has been in Chattanooga since 2002, and had been a tireless advocate for the homeless, serving as an outreach case manager for the Chattanooga Community Kitchen.

He made the Bible passage of John 13:1-17 a central part of his mission. In that passage, Jesus washes the feet of his disciples. In addition to washing the feet of the homeless, Fender also made sure that they had proper and adequate footwear to brave the elements, hot or cold.

More here-

Ex-St. George’s School chaplain now target of N.C. abuse probe

From The Boston Globe-

In 1974, when the Rev. Howard H. White Jr. was quietly let go as assistant chaplain at St. George’s School in Middletown, R.I., after admitting to sexual misconduct with a male student, headmaster Tony Zane wrote White a letter telling him he “should not be in a boarding school” and “should seek psychiatric help.”

White went on to work at two other private schools, and neither reported complaints. But now North Carolina police are investigating a woman’s claim that, when she was a teenager, White sexually abused her at Grace Church in the Mountains in Waynesville, N.C., where he worked as a rector from 1984 to 2006. The investigation was first reported Saturday by the Providence Journal.

More here-

Gay marriage remains divisive issue in Episcopal Church

From Tennessee-

A resolution passed by delegates from Episcopal parishes in Middle Tennessee signals that the long-simmering same-sex marriage debate in the Diocese of Tennessee did not end when the bishop prevented clergy from officiating gay weddings.

Clergy and lay representatives voted Saturday in support of the resolution that affirmed the contributions of lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and questioning church members, and called for the creation of a task force to discuss LGBTQ inclusion in church life, said the Rev. Rick Britton, whose parish, St. Ann's Episcopal Church, proposed the resolution. The vote happened at the diocese's annual convention, held at St. George's in Nashville.

"We didn’t know where people stood in the diocese because there was silence. Now we have an idea that there are a good number of people in the diocese who agree with the national church’s decision and not the bishop's," Britton said.

More here-

Tuesday, February 9, 2016

Episcopal church leader calls Anglican censure ‘fair’

From RNS-

Episcopal Church Presiding Bishop Michael Curry is describing the recent censure of his church over allowing clergy to perform same-sex marriages as a “fair” move by the wider Anglican Communion.

Anglican primates voted last month in Canterbury, England, to remove the Episcopal Church from votes on doctrine and to ban it from representing the communion in ambassadorial relationships for three years.

In an appearance at the National Press Club on Monday (Feb. 8), Curry said the decision was a “very specific, almost surgical approach” that allowed both sides to express their differences and yet find a way to remain together.

“There was clarity on our part, both about who we are as a church and about our love and commitment to the communion and there was clarity on their part that they disagreed with us,” he said. “But they didn’t vote us off the island.”

More here-

Monday, February 8, 2016

Anglican diocese looks to secure future through ethical investing

From The Globe and Mail-

There are a lot of empty pews in the Anglican Diocese of Quebec’s churches, but the treasury is fuller than it has been in years.

As shrewd investing is replacing weekly parishioner offerings as a main revenue source, the diocese is looking to ethical investment to build its portfolio in a socially responsible way that better reflects its values.

In December, the diocese completed the process of selling off its $1.72-million in fossil fuel investments and the $525,000 it had invested in gold and copper mining. In doing so, it added its name to the growing list of organizations that have chosen to divest from oil and gas over climate change concerns.

Bishop Dennis Drainville says the next step for the Quebec Anglicans is an investing shift to renewable energy.

More here-

Professor, Wheaton College 'part ways' after controversy over head scarf, Facebook remarks

From Chicago-

A Christian college professor who sparked nationwide debate — and scrutiny from her school — after donning a hijab and saying that Muslims and Christians worship the same God will leave her post.

Wheaton College, outside of Chicago, and political science professor Larycia Hawkins have reached a confidential agreement in which they will “part ways,” the college said in a statement Saturday. “Wheaton College sincerely appreciates Dr. Hawkins' contributions to this institution over the last nine years,” the college's president, Philip Graham Ryken, said in the statement. “We are grateful for her passionate teaching, scholarship, community service and mentorship of our students.”

More here-

Northern Indiana diocese elects Douglas E. Sparks as eighth bishop


The Rev. Douglas E. Sparks was elected Feb. 6 to serve as the eighth bishop of the Episcopal Diocese of Northern Indiana, pending the required consents from a majority of bishops with jurisdiction and standing committees of The Episcopal Church.

Sparks, 60, is currently rector of St. Luke’s Episcopal Church in Rochester, Minnesota, and has served as a deputy to General Convention for the Diocese of Minnesota since 2009. He was one of five nominees for the Diocese of Northern Indiana’s eighth bishop and was elected on the fourth ballot receiving a total of 70 lay and 28 clergy votes. On that ballot, 48 lay and 25 clergy votes were needed for a successful election.

More here-

Sunday, February 7, 2016

Letter from the Bishop regarding the Rev. Howard White

From The Diocese of Western North Carolina (and related to the post previous)-

Just a few weeks ago I wrote to let you know that Howard White, the rector at Grace Church in the Mountains (Waynesville) from 1984 to 2006, had been identified by former students of St. George’s School in Rhode Island as having engaged in sexual misconduct in the early 1970s while he served on the staff at that school. I am writing again to share more difficult news with you. Earlier this week I received an email message from a person informing me that she had been sexually abused by the Rev. White many years ago during his tenure as rector at Grace in the Mountains and while she was a minor. I received that with many emotions and with a renewed commitment for our Diocese to do all it can to aid in the investigation, to console any who are abused or hurt, to respect our ecclesiastical disciplinary process while pushing for a speedy resolution, and to pray to the Lord that justice be done and that the Holy Spirit console all those who are harmed as well as give us all hope for a renewed world.

Complaint sets in motion a 'healing' process

From Rhode Isalnd-

When a complaint is filed with a diocesan "intake officer" about a member of the Episcopal clergy, the church launches a "Title IV" ecclesiastical disciplinary process.

That process seeks to support everyone involved or affected — from the clergy member in question, to those who may have been harmed, to the larger community. It also seeks to resolve conflicts, whether through "healing, repentance, forgiveness," or restitution, justice, reconciliation, or someone's agreement to change behavior.

"This is not a matter of what punishment can a person get. It’s how can we best act to heal all the brokenness and woundedness for everybody who is impacted," said Robin Hammeal-Urban, canon for mission integrity and training for the Episcopal Church in Connecticut.

Prior to July 1, 2011, the process in the Episcopal Church was based on a military code of justice, she said. "The question was, what sentence should be imposed on the clergy person? That, at this point, has been rejected."

More here-

also here-