Saturday, April 16, 2016

American Religion Has Never Looked Quite Like It Does Today

From Huffington-

Nearly a century after German philosopher Friedrich Nietzsche first proclaimed “God is dead,” TIME magazine released a controversial cover on its April 8, 1966 edition with the related provocative question: “Is God dead?”

Both Nietzsche and TIME were exploring the prominence of God in people’s lives, and whether religiosity was on the decline in the society. Fifty years later, religion experts are still grappling with that question, though the context has drastically changed.

More here-

Hong Kong archbishop elected to chair Anglican Consultative Council

From ENS-

The Anglican Consultative Council April 15 elected Hong Kong Archbishop Paul Kwong to be its next chair.

Kwong, the second and current archbishop and primate of Hong Kong Sheng Kung Hui, said at a brief news conference after his election, that he was “deeply honored and humbled” to be elected. He called the job a “huge responsibility to serve the ACC and the communion, together with the delegates” and also with the Instruments of Communion.

“The most important issue is to hold the communion together,” Kwong said, adding that people with different opinions on the issues facing the communion must find ways to come together for what he called the communion’s objective of existence, which is for mission.

“We have to make the communion be relevant to the world, to the people that we are called by God to serve,” he said.

More here-

Friday, April 15, 2016

Why are men less religious than women?

From The Telegraph-

Arecent study by social scientists at University College London (UCL) identified that British women are up to twice as likely to pray or take part in a daily religious ritual than men.

Professor David Voas, head of the Department of Social Sciences, who was consulted for the paper, concluded that this gender disparity comes down to genetic differences between the male and female brain – as social factors alone did not explain the difference.

 “It’s plausible that the gender gap in religiosity is partly a matter of biology,” he told Pew Research, a leading US institute that conducted the study. “I doubt that it’s because there’s a ‘God Gene’ that women are more likely to have than men, however. It seems easier to believe that physiological or hormonal differences could instead influence personality, which may in turn be linked to variations in spiritual thinking.”

More here-

Two candidates for chair of Anglican Consultative Council

From Anglican News-

Members of the Anglican Consultative Council, meeting in Lusaka, Zambia, will elect a new chair tomorrow and will have the choice of two candidates with significant knowledge of global Anglicanism: Professor Joanildo Burity from Brazil and Archbishop Paul Kwong from Hong Kong.

Professor Burity is the lead researcher and director of the School of Postgraduate Studies and Professional Development at Fundação Joaquim Nabuco. He was elected to the ACC Standing Committee at ACC-15 in New Zealand in 2012.

“I believe that the Anglican Consultative Council provides us a way to express the ministry of all believers and especially the power of lay and clergy ministry to bring contributions to the church and the world,” he said. “The ACC is also a place where bishops, clergy and lay people can relate to one another in an equal and collegial forum. The ACC should remain a place where honest conversation about our differences can happen in an atmosphere of charity and mutual affirmation.”

More here-

Gender bias may be part of Episcopal Church firings, ex-staffer says

From RNS-

When the Rev. Bob Honeychurch learned that the Episcopal Church’s presiding bishop was calling for staff culture reform after firing two senior administrators for misconduct, he had a hunch what some of those cultural issues might be.

From 2008 to 2012, Honeychurch served on the national church staff, where he heard accounts of gender bias on multiple occasions. Women were excluded from important decision-making, Honeychurch said, even when they held high offices and had relevant skills and experience to offer. Respecting female colleagues as equals wasn’t the norm.

More here-

Thursday, April 14, 2016

The battle of Pope Francis’s footnote

From The Spectator UK-

Last week we reached the beginning of the end of the pontificate of Jorge Bergoglio — the ‘great reformer’ of the Catholic church who, it appears, has been unable to deliver the reforms that he himself favours. This despite being Pope.

On Friday, he published a 200-page ‘exhortation’ entitled Amoris Laetitia, ‘The Joy of Love’ (or ‘The Joy of Sex’, as English-speaking Catholics of a certain vintage immediately christened it). This was Francis’s long-awaited response to two Vatican synods on the family, in 2014 and last year, which descended into Anglican-style bickering between liberals and conservatives.

At the heart of the disputes lay the question of whether divorced-and-remarried Catholics could receive Holy Communion. Until now they have been banned from doing so because the Church teaches that their first marriages are still valid and therefore their current union is (though the word is diplomatically avoided) adulterous. Also, though this is one bit of the New Testament that Protestants seem to have forgotten, if there was one thing Jesus couldn’t stand it was divorce.

More here-

International recognition for Kenyan, Rwandan Anglican youth projects

From ENS-

Youth projects in the Anglican provinces of Kenya and Rwanda have been chosen by African Anglicans to receive the first of a new set of Anglican Communion awards in recognition of their success in youth discipleship.

Details of the new awards were announced in February: At each meeting of the Anglican Consultative Council the provinces of the region hosting the meeting will be invited to submit entries which will be judged by the provinces of the region.

One award will recognize the success of an existing project while the other will receive a cash grant of £10,000 GBP to support innovative and embryonic schemes.

The first winners were announced last night at a dinner hosted by Bishop of Lusaka David Njovu and the Diocese of Lusaka for members of the ACC and local Christians in the grounds of the Cathedral of the Holy Cross.

More here-

Even Our Compassion Has Been Colonized

From The House of Deputies-

The Anglican Communion will break your heart if you let it. And it seems these days that you have to let it or leave it, and I choose the former. I love belonging to a global communion of faithful people whose perspectives broaden and deepen my own, whose faith inspires and challenges me, and with whom I can work to make our world a little bit more like God wants it to be.

There are days, however, when our roots seem to run so deeply in the soil of colonialism that we will never outgrow it. There are days on which even our capacity to care for one another has been colonized. Today was one of those days.

More here-

Experts push Episcopal Church to explain firings

From RNS-

The firing of two senior Episcopal Church administrators for unspecified reasons after a four-month misconduct investigation has prompted warnings that the church’s “cover-up” could endanger future victims.

Some legal experts and advocates are calling for more disclosure about the managerial misconduct that led to the firings of Chief Deputy Operating Officer Sam McDonald and Director of Public Engagement Alex Baumgarten.

Presiding Bishop Michael Curry said in a brief April 4 statement that the two “violated established workplace policies” and “failed to live up to the Church’s standards of personal conduct in their relationships with employees.” Through a spokesperson, he said the church would have no further comment on the matter.

More here-

Wednesday, April 13, 2016

Connecticut bishop will not stand for Anglican Consultative Council chair

From ENS-

Diocese of Connecticut Bishop Ian Douglas, one of the Episcopal Church’s three Anglican Consultative Council members, said April 12 that he would not stand for election as its chair.

Douglas, who had been widely expected to seek the office, sent a letter about his decision to the members of the ACC Standing Committee who were at that group’s April 6-7 meeting.

“While I pray that I can continue to be of service to the Anglican Communion in some new way in the future, I believe that my not pursuing election as chair of the ACC at this time will best facilitate our walking together in unity as the Anglican Communion, and that is my highest priority and my greatest hope and prayer,” Douglas said in his letter.

Douglas is ending his term on both the ACC and Standing Committee at the close of the ACC-16 meeting. The ACC elected Douglas in 2009 to be one of its representatives on the Standing Committee.

More here-

Sex Abuse Scandals Roil Elite Schools

From Rhode Island-

A series of sexual abuse scandals is forcing a reckoning at some of New England’s most exclusive boarding schools and sending a shudder through similar institutions around the country that have long been training grounds for members of America’s elite.

At St. George’s School in Middletown, scores of alumni have come forward to complain of being sexually violated by teachers or schoolmates. At St. Paul’s in Concord, a rape trial revealed a tradition in which senior boys competed to have sex with younger girls. And at New Hampshire’s Phillips Exeter Academy, several graduates have accused faculty members of sexual abuse and other inappropriate behavior.

Those schools and ones that have yet to be touched by scandal are now rushing to adopt safeguards and reassure parents, while also launching internal investigations and asking former students and others to come forward if they know of any misconduct.

More here-

Tuesday, April 12, 2016

Secretary General issues statement clarifying events leading up to ACC

From ENS-

The Anglican Communion Office has released this statement in response to recent comments on events leading up to the Anglican Consultative Council meeting, ACC-16.

Statements circulating about a failure to follow up on the decisions of the January 2016 Primates meeting at best give a false impression. The terms of the Primates decision about The Episcopal Church (TEC) have been followed through as far as is possible and legal. To say otherwise is misleading and wrong.

The Archbishop of Canterbury has fulfilled his responsibilities and asked those members of interfaith or ecumenical bodies who are from TEC and whose appointment he controls, to stand down, and they have done so. In addition, as required, he has appointed a Task Group with representatives from across the communion.

More here-

Episcopal Church commended for respecting differences on marriage

From ENS-

The Episcopal Church and its individual members earned praise here April 11 from Anglican Communion Secretary General Archbishop Josiah Idowu-Fearon for working hard to walk together despite differences over same-sex marriage.

The secretary general’s remarks came in his report to the Anglican Consultative Council about this work since he took up his post last July.

The 78th General Convention’s decided last summer to change canonical language that defines marriage as being between a man and a woman (Resolution A036) and, in Resolution A054,  to authorize two new marriage rites with language allowing them to be used by same-sex or opposite-sex couples. Resolution A054 also requires bishops who oppose same-sex marriage to “make provision for all couples asking to be married in this Church to have access to these liturgies.”

More here-

Top Anglican condemns forgery allegations as 'scurrilous' and 'untrue'

From Christian Today-

A leading Anglican official has condemned allegations of forgery around a meeting of Anglican leaders in Africa as "scurrilous", "untrue" and "against all biblical principles of appropriate behaviour".

Archbishop Josiah Idowu-Fearon, secretary general of the Anglican Communion, spoke out after the Archbishop of Kenya criticised delegates from the Anglican Church of Kenya for attending an Anglican meeting in Zambia this week.

Archbishop Idowu-Fearon said in a statement: "The unsubstantiated public allegations of forgery against the members of the Kenyan delegation are scurrilous and untrue and are made in a manner against all biblical principles of appropriate behaviour."

Archbishop of Kenya Eliud Wabukala had said that a letter stating the Kenya delegates would attend the Anglican Consultative Council meeting in Zambia was a forgery. In fact the Kenya delegates are at the Lusaka meeting, although the Anglican provinces of Nigeria, Uganda and Jerusalem and the Middle East have boycotted it in protest at the presence of the US Episcopal Church. 

More here-

The Mysteries of Moses

From The Tablet-

It took a while for Chanan Tigay’s eureka moment to sink in.

He had spent four years on a quest to determine the whereabouts of a group of ancient scrolls that were purported to be the oldest text of the Bible in existence—older than the Dead Sea Scrolls. They might be a source of highly significant evidence of the most ancient state of the Bible for scholars, but no one had seen the scrolls since the suicide of their last owner in 1884. And their location was only one of the mysteries surrounding the scrolls: There was strong likelihood the scrolls were fake. Experts at the British Museum in London had disagreed over the age and provenance of the scrolls, and following sensationalist reports in the British press, all of London, including William Gladstone—the prime minister at the time of their appearance—had come to examine them. Over the decades since the scrolls’ disappearance, no lack of drama had been connected to them; the son of a rabbi and biblical scholar, Tigay was merely the latest individual to investigate.

When he first began to probe the mystery behind these ancient scrolls, Tigay had no idea the search would require hundreds of hours of research and take him to nine countries. After four years, he finally saw physical evidence that granted him answers he had been seeking, close to home—in the library of San Francisco State University, the very place where he teaches in the creative writing department.

More here-

Monday, April 11, 2016

ACC gets African Anglican liturgical welcome to Zambia

Form ENS-

Serving the world while modeling love and unity in the imitation of Christ was the overwhelming message of the five-hour Eucharist April 10 that officially opened the Anglican Consultative Council’s 16th meeting.

The ACC members began meeting two days earlier but at this Eucharist they were welcomed and celebrated by Anglicans from all around the Church of the Province of Central Africa. An estimated 4,000-5,000 people attended the service in which Zambian President Edgar Chagwa Lungu and Zambia’s first president, Kenneth Kaunda, joined other government officials and citizens of the Anglican province’s four countries.

More here-

Episcopal Church planning to appoint new Archbishop for Central Equatoria

From South Sudan-

The Episcopal Church in South Sudan's Central Equatoria state said it is going to appoint its own Archbishop to represent the region.

Currently The Episcopal Church of Sudan and South Sudan has an overall Archbishop, Daniel Deng Bul, whose seat is in Juba, Central Equatoria.

However, the Bishop of Yei Diocese Hillary Adeba said that the church held a synod which decided to group different diocese into clusters with their own administrations.

Adeba said in the new cluster system, Daniel Deng Bul would not be called an Archbishop but rather a primate and metropolitan who oversees the province.

More here-

Sunday, April 10, 2016

Lexington’s Episcopal bishop, Douglas Hahn, suspended for a year

From Lexington-

Douglas Hahn has been suspended from his position as bishop of the Episcopal Diocese of Lexington for a year.

The Most Rev. Michael B. Curry, presiding bishop of the national Episcopal Church, imposed the suspension effective March 9, after Hahn admitted that he had had a sexual relationship with an adult female parishioner, and that he “intentionally withheld” that information while seeking to become Lexington’s bishop, according to a news release from the diocese.

Hahn said in a letter dated March 14 that he was sorry for the hurt his behavior had caused and that the suspension was part of an agreement reached between himself and Curry.

“We have agreed that this should be a time of repentance, retreat and reflection. It will be a time of healing of hurts. I will spend this time doing whatever is possible to make this right with the Church,” Hahn wrote, adding later that “We agree that this will allow me to return to my ministry as a stronger, healthier Bishop.”

Hahn said the diocese would not be asked to support him financially during the suspension.

Read more here: