Saturday, March 26, 2016

Oklahoma's Episcopal bishop reflects on 'A Word to the Church'

From Oklahoma-

Q: What precipitated this or was there any discussion about why this was a good time to make this statement?

A: Yes. This was our first House of Bishops meeting following the installation of Michael Curry as presiding bishop so we spent a great deal of our time in conversation and reflection and prayer around  his agenda of evangelism, racial reconciliation, restoration of peoples, and in the midst of that conversation, we all are were kind of  talking about the recent rhetoric that has kind of plagued the political debate. As we had that conversation, it led to discussions of historical events where people sat silent when politicians were speaking in these kinds of ways and where they were talking about disenfranchising people and immigration, building walls and those kinds of things. One of the things that came up was the political rhetoric back in the late 1930’s and what happened with Hitler and Europe. That kind of led to a conversation about do we want to weigh in on the politics of our nation, which there was really not a lot of energy about doing that. But we did want to weigh in on how we were treating one another. It is so easy for us to ridicule and demean and use this disrespectful kind of discourse. We’re kind of saying this is not who we are. This is not who we are as a nation. This is not who we are called to be as Christians. That led to a group of bishops drafting this statement and we at the House had some discussion about it and wordsmithed it a little bit,  We unanimously voted to make this a “mind of the House” statement. Given where we’re at in this country, we feel it fits very strongly with where our presiding bishop is taking us about the restoration of all people.

More here-

Grace Episcopal partners with fellow churches to present Easter Vigil service

From Western North Carolina-

A number of community churches are coming together for a special service open to the public Saturday at 7 p.m. at Grace Episcopal Church to take part in prayers, communion and other rituals to spiritually prepare themselves to observe Christ’s resurrection on Easter Sunday.

St. Paul’s Episcopal Church, St. Mary’s and St. Stephen’s Episcopal Church, Calvary Lutheran Church and Grace Episcopal Church will all participate in the Easter Vigil service that will be presided over by the Right Rev. G. Porter Taylor, bishop of the Episcopal Diocese of Western North Carolina, according to a press release from Grace Episcopal.

Porter’s biography states that he served for seven years as the rector of St. Gregory the Great Church in Athens, Georgia, before being consecrated as a bishop in 2004. He is the author of “To Dream as God Dreams: Sermons of Hope, Conversion and Community” and “From Anger to Zion: An Alphabet of Faith.”

More here-

Friday, March 25, 2016

Why is it called Good Friday?

From Alabama-

Today millions of Christians worldwide observe the somber holy day of Good Friday, which commemorates the suffering and crucifixion of Jesus.
The faithful often act it out by carrying a large wooden cross and crown of thorns symbolic of the suffering of Christ.

In the streets of Jerusalem, and even in the streets of Birmingham, Alabama, people will be carrying wooden crosses to remember Jesus carrying his cross to his own crucifixion.

At first glance, Good Friday seems like the ultimate misnomer. If Jesus suffered and died on this day, then why is it called Good Friday?

More here-

Thursday, March 24, 2016

We will not be 'cajoled' into accepting homosexuality, says African Archbishop

From Christian Today-

A leading conservative Archbishop has accused the worldwide Anglican leadership of trying to "cajole" orthodox churches into accepting homosexuality.

Archbishop of Kenya Eliud Wabukala says in a letter he cannot heed the Archbishop of Canterbury's plea for him to attend next month's meeting of the Anglican Consultative Council in Lusaka.

This is because the promises made at the recent Primates Meeting in Canterbury to restrict the participation of the Episcopal Church in the Anglican Communion because of its liberal stance on homosexuality have not been kept, the Archbishop says.

More here-

Episcopal Presiding Bishop Michael Curry to visit Charleston April 8-10

From South Carolina-

The Presiding Bishop and Primate of The Episcopal Church, the Most Reverend Michael Curry, will visit Charleston April 8-10 to preach, worship and visit with people from across The Episcopal Church in South Carolina at special events at five downtown churches.

Presiding Bishop Curry’s major public appearance in Charleston will be on Saturday, April 9 at Church of the Holy Communion, 218 Ashley Ave., when he gives the keynote address at an all-day educational conference titled “Spirituality, Evangelism, and Justice: Telling the Story, Sharing the Message of The Jesus Movement.”

More here-

Wednesday, March 23, 2016

In Good Faith: Spring Fling

From Oregon-

It started with a throwaway Facebook post. A lament that, given what I do for a living, I would never get to go to spring training. I mean, the season of Lent, the busiest time of year for parish clergy, just happens to coincide with Major League Baseball’s own season of preparation. Christians may be preparing for Easter but ballplayers are preparing for Opening Day, so there are a few parallels. If you’re desperate enough.

Getting to see my beloved hometown Baltimore Orioles play in spring training has crept up my bucket list over the years. Okay, I don’t actually keep a bucket list, but if I did it would be near the top. Connecting with my inner child, combined with some warm sun after surviving another New England winter — what could be better? Alas. Maybe when I retire.


And so, in-between innings, we talked about life and death, faith and family. Time stood still as the three of us laughed and cheered and talked about the things that really matter in life — the relationships that define us and shape our identity — and the sense of peace in the face of death that, even as it comes from a life well-lived, defies all understanding.

More here-

Tuesday, March 22, 2016

The theatrical Bishop caring for a far-flung flock in the outback

From Australia-

In his first year as the Anglican Bishop of the Riverina, the Right Reverend Rob Gillion spent as much time in a car or aeroplane as he did in church.

It is a measure of the size of his diocese, which covers more than a third of New South Wales and is bigger than England, Scotland and Wales combined.

"About 65,000 kilometres I've travelled in a year visiting all the different parishes," said the 64-year-old Bishop.

"And you'd have thought at my age, for goodness' sake, I'd be exhausted — but it's invigorating, and I hope other people are inspired by the fact that I'm with them and I'm here for the long term."

More here-

'God Is Not Finished With This World' - A Q+A with Presiding Bishop Michael Curry

From Sojourners-

Michael Curry took office as the 27th Presiding Bishop for the Episcopal Church on All Saint’s Day (Nov. 1), 2015. His election as the first black presiding bishop for the denomination has drawn comparisons to Pope Francis and talk of an “Obama moment” for the Episcopal Church. Sojourners contributor Christine A. Scheller caught up with Bishop Curry during a recent trip to New Jersey for a diocesan convention. There, they chatted what’s ahead for the church, what it means to love our neighbor, and what Christians should keep in mind while voting in this year’s elections.

This interview has been edited for length and clarity.

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The Healing Power of Forgiveness

From The Wall Street Journal-

To forgive, or not to forgive? It is a question that we ask ourselves more, and that becomes more salient, as years pass.

As we grow older, it is “very, very common to review your life,” says Berit Ingersoll-Dayton, professor and director of the joint doctoral program in social work and social science at the University of Michigan School of Social Work. It’s a process that inevitably will bring up “things that we feel good about—and that we don’t.”

In the absence of forgiveness, an offense that was committed against us, or some pain that we caused others, can replay in our minds, causing continuing anger or remorse that is often a recipe for bitterness and bad health. A wealth of research has linked the isolation and loneliness that can result to increased health problems and higher mortality.

More here-

Monday, March 21, 2016

Paschal mystery

From The Living Church-

Years ago, in a diocese far, far away, a colleague surprised me one day by saying how much he disliked the reading of the Passion Gospel on Palm Sunday, particularly when members of the congregation were assigned the various dramatic parts (in precisely the way that over the past forty years or so has become fairly common in churches of all sorts). What he found objectionable was the role assigned to the congregation, the part of the crowd, calling out “Crucify him, crucify him!” in the midst of the solemn liturgy of the day. He was scandalized by the suggestion that his congregation, good Christian people, might be identified with Jesus’ killers.

Just telling this story reminds me of the joys of theological conversation at a certain age, of the thrust and parry over great ideas that can take place in an informal setting. My sense is that theology is often best done in such a setting. I have the sense that much of this give and take happens on social media these days, but that’s another story.

More here-

Church of England 'wrong to smear sex abuse bishop'

From The Daily Mail-

A high-powered group of lawyers, politicians and police officers yesterday accused the Church of England of smearing one of its own heroes.

They declared that an allegation that former Bishop of Chichester George Bell was a child abuser ‘cannot be upheld’ and called for an inquiry into how the CofE came to make it.

The protest, by well-placed figures including Anglican Labour MP Frank Field, leading lawyer Desmond Browne QC, and former police chief Lord Geoffrey Dear, threw the Church into a fresh difficulty over its handling of sex abuse allegations.

Last week the Church declared that a number of senior Anglican figures had failed to act on allegations of historic sex abuse of a teenager by a paedophile priest. It declined, however, to publish the report.

More here-

Anglican archbishop acknowledges suffering caused by residential school system

From Canada-

"I'm sorry."

He's said it before and Anglican Archbishop of Canada Fred Hiltz says he'll keep saying it.

"I must never weary of saying, on behalf of our church, I'm sorry."

But, said the archbishop Saturday, words aren't enough.

In order to promote the continuous reconciliation with the aboriginal survivors of the residential school system and their families, Hiltz said, the church must take action.

At the Mohawk Chapel, the archbishop announced several new steps the church will take, answering a call to action issued by the Truth and Reconciliation Report.

Hiltz called on the church to: include the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples in the handbook of the general synod; to publicly read that document in every parish on the Sunday closest to June 21, National Aboriginal Day; to include the declaration when preparing candidates for baptisms and confirmation; and to commit to anti-racism training.

More here-

Sunday, March 20, 2016


From The Tablet-

It has become one of the most regular events of the papal calendar: a visit by the Archbishop of Canterbury to the Pope. But in 1966, Anglican-Catholic relations took a huge leap forward when Archbishop Michael Ramsey visited Pope Paul VI – the first encounter between pope and primate of England since the Reformation.

The meeting on 23 March 1966 led to a half-century of ecumenical dialogue through the formation of the Anglican Roman Catholic International Commission (Arcic) and the setting up of the Anglican Centre in Rome. The Centre was dedicated on 22 March and opened a few months later. A series of events have been set up to marks its fiftieth anniversary. On Tuesday 22 March, there will be a Holy Communion service  in London at St Andrew by the Wardrobe, where the preacher will be Revd Barry Nichols, secretary and former governor of the Anglican Centre, and on the same day a Eucharist service in Rome at the Anglican Centre. Bishop Stephen Platten, the chairman of governors, will preach and use the original order of service used by Archbishop Ramsey to rededicate the Centre’s chapel. In June, ecumenical Evensong will be held at Westminster Abbey to mark the anniversary with the sermon preached by the Archbishop of Canterbury, Justin Welby.

More here-

Is Palm Sunday a Rainforest Killer?

From The Daily Beast-

For years, Latin Americans were stripping the landscape bare to sell palm leaves to US florists and churches, until an eco-friendly Guatemala program turned things around.

I sat in the passenger seat of Juan Trujillo’s pickup truck, careening through a dense forest in northern Guatemala. The road we were driving on—and I use the word road here with some hesitation—was simply a deeply grooved dirt trail that had been coarsely etched through the jungle so that trucks like this one could travel between the town of Flores, a lovely little place overrun by tourists on an island in the middle of a scenic lake, and the many tiny villages and Mayan ruins that dot the northern jungles. Rains had turned parts of the road into muddy mush, and the trip was about as smooth as the swirling teacup ride at Disneyland. I was being jarred in all directions, my head occasionally thumping up against the roof of the truck, as I tried to do some basic fourth-grade mathematical calculations using the numbers that I had written down in my little notebook at the village we’d just departed.

More here-