Saturday, April 23, 2016

Should Christians hold seders?

From The National Catholic Reporter-

The Rev. Ann Fontaine, priest associate at St. Catherine of Alexandria Episcopal Church in Nehalem, Ore., points to the work her denomination's Standing Commission on Liturgy and Music has done in recent years to counter what it calls "Christian anti-Judaism." That includes language often used during the Easter season that make Jews out to be the "bad guys" who killed Jesus, she said.

To Fontaine, Passover "comes from a history of people who have suffered at Christian hands."

"It's a lot like people doing a sweat lodge or sun dance that are not Native American. To me, you haven't walked that path with that people. You're taking the benefits without having suffered," she said. "I don't mind if a Jewish family invites you to a seder or if a Native American group invited you to a sweat lodge -- that's OK. But to start one yourself, that's stealing."

The Evangelical Lutheran Church in America also has warned its congregations that "taking a tradition that does not belong to us and practicing it in our congregations could be an imitation that is not welcomed at best and very offensive at worst."

Moffic has heard similar arguments, and he acknowledges people will disagree with him. But, he said, "To me, as a Reform rabbi, I believe our customs and stories are open to interpretation, and Christians can interpret a story just as we can."

More here-

Painting a Death Sentence

From The Wall Street Journal-

“I know, therefore, that when the Volk passes through these galleries it will recognize in me its own spokesman and counselor,” declared Adolf Hitler with the opening of the “Great German Art Exhibition” on July 18, 1937, in Munich. The presentation, selected by his Nazi associate Heinrich Hoffmann, was loaded with conventional paintings and sculpture, including mythological scenes and portraits of “pure” Aryans.

Opening the next day, also in Munich, was a second show mocking modern art. “Entartete Kunst”—“Degenerate Art”—had been conceived by Third Reich Minister of Propaganda Joseph Goebbels and organized by Adolf Ziegler to show 650 contemporary paintings and sculptures, picked from the thousands of works Nazi forces had seized from 32 German museums, some only days earlier. In his public remarks about the exhibition, Hitler added that these modern “so-called artists” could be treated for “disorders” or as “a matter for a criminal court.”
More here-

St. George’s cancels “healing” session on sex abuse scandal during alumni weekend

From The Boston Globe-

After threats of boycotts and other protests from angry victims of sexual abuse, St. George’s School is altering its plans to hold a “Hope for Healing” session on its Rhode Island campus during an alumni reunion weekend next month.

On Wednesday, headmaster Eric Peterson wrote to alumni about a gathering to “address this deeply troubling and painful chapter in our school’s history.” The session was to be held in the chapel of the Episcopal prep school, during Alumni Weekend, scheduled for May 6-8.

But late Friday afternoon, board chairwoman Leslie Heaney sent out a second letter to alumni, stating that the initial letter about the proposed “Hope for Healing” session had “upset many survivors.”

More here-

Episcopal women revisit Bethesda history

From Florida-

Leigh Anne Brown shared the story of how a soldier in love kept the parachute he used to land in Normandy on D-Day. When he returned home from war, he asked his fiancée to turn it into a wedding dress.

“They enjoyed a beautiful 55-year marriage as a result of that,” Brown said. “Even in spite of separation and war and tragedy, true love wins.”

Brown owns multiple parachute gowns as part of her vintage wedding-dress collection. The Hillsborough County resident displayed 17 pieces Thursday at the annual meeting and tea of the Episcopal Church Women at The Episcopal Church of Bethesda-by-the-Sea.

The ministry of and for women has been active in the community for 126 years, according to Mary Allen, president of the ministry’s board. Episcopal Church Women leaders organize events, raise money for charitable causes and support improvements to Bethesda.

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Friday, April 22, 2016

Even a Stopped Clock is Right Twice a Day

From National Catholic Register-

You may want to sit down for this, but once upon a time flamboyantly apostate Episcopal bishop John Shelby Spong actually thrilled me with a prescient bit of insight into Scripture! How is this possible?

Well, there is a basic principle at work in the universe called the Gomer Pyle Axiom of High and Low Expectations. It works this way: when you expect great things from somebody, then merely above average performances are often denounced as disappointing failures. So, when Pixar, whose worst movies still tower over the junk Hollywood emits, makes Cars, people groan at what a weak effort it is, even though Cars still dwarfs 99% of all other movies and 99.9% of all other animated films.

But when a guy like Gomer Pyle, from whom nobody expects anything at all, bursts forth in a voice of not-awful-but-certainly-not-very-good tone and talent, he is hailed as a New Caruso because we weren’t expecting anything at all from him.

It’s that “Wow! He didn’t utterly suck!” thrill that I am describing, because John Shelby Spong once, albeit briefly, scaled the snowy summit of common sense. Addressing the sort of people who blindly insist that Jesus never existed, and therefore appearing smart in comparison to them, we discover Spong declared:

"He was no myth," says Spong, who came through Toronto recently to promote his latest book, Jesus for the Non-Religious. "He really existed."

Read more:

Thursday, April 21, 2016

Mugabe had no choice: Anglicans

From Zimbabwe-

On November 19, 2011, the Supreme Court ruled Kunonga was no longer a member of the Church of the Province of Central Africa (CPCA) and immediately vested control of Harare Diocese in Gandiya, bringing to a close a five-year acrimonious battle.

Government had, in the wrangle, weighed in behind Kunonga.

However, in a sign of the end of hostilities early this week, Mugabe met Anglican Archbishop of Canterbury, Justin Welby, and Gandiya for the first time since the end of what local Anglicans have come to know as “our years in exile”.

Gandiya told NewsDay yesterday that relations between government and the church had become cordial since the judgment.

More here-

Claiming fraud, Anglican clerics seek action against Muslim preacher posing as ex-priest

From Malaysia-

Three of Malaysia’s most senior Anglican clergymen want the authorities to act against award-winning Islamic scholar Ayub Abdul Rahman whom they allege has been speaking in public under the fraudulent guise of a former Christian cleric with their church.

Datuk Ng Moon Hing, the Anglican Church’s archbishop for Southeast Asia; Melter Tais, the bishop of the Sabah diocese and Datuk Bolly Lapok, bishop of the diocese of Kuching denounced those who have been repeatedly highlighting the preacher’s alleged past Christian association without due checks.

“Such actions are mischievous and harmful in a multi-religious society,” the trio said in a joint statement to Malay Mail Online last night.

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'Consequences' imposed on US church by Anglican primates have been 'fully implemented' says Archbishop

From Christian Today-

The Archbishop of Canterbury has stated that the "consequences" imposed on the US Episcopal Church by leaders of the worldwide Anglican Communion have been "fully implemented".

Archbishop Welby posted on Facebook in the days after this month's meeting of the Anglican Consultative Council in Lusaka, Zambia. Two provinces, Uganda and Nigeria, boycotted the meeting because of the attendance of delegates from the Episcopal Church.

However, for constitutional reasons those delegates were legally entitled to attend.

Archbishop Welby said the Primates' Meeting decisions had been "clearly" supported and accepted.

"No member of the Episcopal Church stood for office in the ACC or Standing Committee. The consequences of the Primates meeting have been fully implemented," he wrote.

More here-

ACC members depart with stories of unity

From The Church Times-

MEMBERS of the Anglican Consultative Council left Lusaka this week full of praise for the unity on display, despite taking with them differing interpretations about what had been agreed.

A letter to members of the Episcopal Church in the United States, published by its representatives, spoke of a meeting “filled with joy, grace, and love” that “visibly demonstrated, once again, our unity in diversity as the provinces of the Anglican Communion”.

The outgoing chairman, the Rt Revd James Tengatenga, sought permission to be “a little smug” in his closing sermon, asserting: “The rumour about the Anglican Communion’s demise is greatly exaggerated.”

It was clear from members’ responses to a request to list the most pressing issues in their provinces, that ecology, evangelism, migration, and violence were of far greater concern to them than issues of human sexuality (News, 15 April). Among the other 44 resolutions passed was a call for Anglicans to take “pastoral, priestly and prophetic action” on climate change. There were also a number of expressions of solidarity with Burundi, South Sudan, South Africa, and Pakistan — and with Asia Bibi, held in Pakistan on charges of blasphemy since 2009 (News, 24 July).

More here-

Wednesday, April 20, 2016

How your church can REALLY welcome everyone

From Christian Today-

One of the most popular types of personality test is the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator. It's supposed to be able to tell you exactly which one of 16 personality types you are, based on your balance between extraversion and introversion, sensing and judging, thinking and feeling, and judging and perceiving.

It's been much-criticised by psychologists who say it doesn't really work very well, and it does tend to look a bit like a horoscope. But it does indicate something very important: that while we're all children of God, made in his image, we are very, very different people. Some of us are reserved, some of us exuberant. Some of us are adventurous, some of us prefer routine. Some of us cry easily, others not at all. Some of us are easily bored, while others are able to concentrate intensely for long periods of time.

More here-

Bravery of the Grey Nuns of Montreal during Great Famine honored

From Ireland-

The Grey Nuns, also known as the Sisters of Charity, were the first order to be called to help the Irish. There were just 40 nuns in the group and most of them became infected with typhus. They carried the sick Irish from the ships to the sheds where they cared for them. At least even Grey Nuns died, but those who recovered from the disease came back and continued to care for those who needed it.

There were 1,500 orphans left after the massive number of deaths. The Nuns found them homes either with other Irish families or French Canadians.

Also among those caring for the Irish were Catholic and Anglican clergymen, and several priests also lost their lives. There are also tales of British soldiers on security detail at the sheds giving up their rations to feed the Irish.

The Nuns' own writings on the disaster are the “most detailed eye-witness accounts of the suffering,” according to the National University of Ireland, Galway, Famine Archives. Their annals have been digitized, transcribed and translated and can now be read online.

More here-

A Letter from Lusaka: Episcopal Church’s ACC members write to the church

From ENS-

The Episcopal Church‘s three members on the Anglican Consultative Council have written the following letter to the church at the conclusion ACC-16 in Lusaka, Zambia.

April 19, 2016

Dear Sisters and Brothers in Christ in The Episcopal Church:

The 16th meeting of the Anglican Consultative Council concluded today at the Cathedral of the Holy Cross in Lusaka, Zambia, and tonight and tomorrow, we are saying farewell to our fellow ACC members from across the Anglican Communion and making our way home.

ACC16 was filled with joy, grace and love as close to seventy Anglican sisters and brothers in Christ, laypeople, priests and bishops, came together in prayer, Bible study, and worship.  Our time together over the last thirteen days has visibly demonstrated, once again, our unity in diversity as the provinces of the Anglican Communion. Meeting fellow Anglicans from around the world in discussions, around the altar, in tea breaks, and at meals, we learned from each other what intentional discipleship across our differences means as the Body of Christ in the world today.  We are thankful to God and to The Episcopal Church for this privilege of representing our church on the Anglican Consultative Council.

More here-

Tuesday, April 19, 2016

ACC Picks Diverse Leaders

From The Living Church-

The Anglican Consultative Council has chosen a diverse slate of leaders for its standing committee.
The Rt. Rev. James Tengatenga, the ACC’s chairman, reminded members of their constitutional mandate to consider “the desirability of achieving (so far as practicable) appropriate regional diversity and a balance of representation between clergy and laity and between the genders.”

Delegates chose a new vice chairwoman and five standing committee members from provinces that represent the Communion’s worldwide mission as well as a diversity of positions on the issues testing the stability of its union. In most cases, members of the standing committee serve for six years.

ACC’s seven members on the standing committee work with five members elected by the Primates’ Meeting to guide the Communion’s life and work between ACC meetings, which are held every two to three years. The chairman and vice chairwoman of the ACC also lead the standing committee.

More here-

ACC-16 concludes in Lusaka on note of unity amid diversity

From ENS (with video)-

The outgoing chair of the Anglican Consultative Council says ACC-16, which concluded here April 19, formed a unique vision of the body of Christ and its members felt that God was with them.

“We’ve been able to see that our diverseness and that some of our differences in culture, language and ways of being are actually an enrichment of the body of Christ,” retired Malawi Bishop James Tengatenga said during a closing news conference the evening of April 18, the last full day of the April 8-19 meeting at the Cathedral of the Holy Cross here.

“It has been a celebration of the life of the church and God has been with us,” he said.

Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby, speaking at the same news conference, said the meeting’s opening Eucharist, which combined thousands of Anglicans with Zambian President Edgar Chagwa Lungu and Kenneth Kaunda, the country’s first president, and other government officials, epitomized what the work of the church is about.

More here-

Anglican Consultative Council declines to go along with ‘consequences’

From ENS-

An April 18 Anglican Consultative Council marathon resolution-passing session saw ACC members take stands on climate change, gender justice, safe church environments, youth involvement in the communion, solidarity with persecuted people, and interfaith and ecumenical relations, among other issues.

And the council declined to endorse or take any action similar to the primates’ call in January for three years of so-called “consequences” for the Episcopal Church. The primates’ call was in response to the 78th General Convention’s decision to change canonical language that defines marriage as being between a man and a woman (Resolution A036) and authorize two new marriage rites with language allowing them to be used by same-sex or opposite-sex couples (Resolution A054).

The primates had said that they were “requiring” that for those three years the Episcopal Church not serve on ecumenical and interfaith bodies, not be appointed or elected to an internal standing committee, and “that while participating in the internal bodies of the Anglican Communion, they will not take part in decision-making on any issues pertaining to doctrine or polity.”

More here-

Bishop of Episcopal Church in East Tennessee announces retirement

From Knoxville-

George Dibrell Young, III, fourth bishop of the Episcopal Diocese of East Tennessee, has announced that he plans to retire at the end of 2017 and has called for the election of his successor.

Young expects to retire as a new bishop is ordained. Young's successor will be elected in August 2017 and the anticipated ordination date will be in December 2017 or January 2018.

Young has served the East Tennessee diocese since 2011.

In a letter to the diocese, Young said, "God has blessed us in many, many marvelous ways. I am more grateful to God and to you than I could ever express." In retirement he looks forward to spending more time with his family. Young maintains offices in Chattanooga and Knoxville, traveling from the home he shares at Sewanee with his wife, the Rev. Kammy Young, Director of Contextual Education and Lecturer in Contextual Theology at the School of Theology.

More here-

Monday, April 18, 2016

Bishop Candidates Announced

From Western North Carolina-

On Monday, April 18, 2016, the Standing Committee met with the Search and Nominating Committee and had the privilege to receive their report and talk about their discerned recommendations. The Standing Committee unanimously accepted their recommendations and is honored to present the following slate of 4 candidates for the Bishop of the Episcopal Diocese of Western North Carolina.

Reverend Hannah E. Atkins, Trinity Episcopal Church, Houston, TX

Reverend Cyndi Banks, St. Luke’s Episcopal Church, Boone, NC

Reverend Thomas James Brown, Episcopal Parish of the Epiphany, Winchester, MA

Reverend Canon José Antonio McLoughlin, Canon to the Ordinary, Diocese of Oklahoma

More here-

New Archbishop enthroned

From Melanesia-

Thousands gathered at the Provincial Cathedral of Saint Barnabas on Sunday morning to witness the installation and enthronement of the new Archbishop of the Anglican Church of Melanesia the Most Reverend George Takeli.

Archbishop Takeli, from Ulawa in Makira Province is the sixth Archbishop of Melanesia and Bishop of the Diocese of Central Melanesia.

Speaking to the congregation after the enthronement service Archbishop Takeli said yesterday’s gathering gave him peace, a swell of encouragement and confidence to take leadership as Archbishop.

“Your attendance at this service also indicated to me of your willingness to working together with me to carry out my vision and plans for mission work of the Anglican Church in the Province of Melanesia as I take charge of this church beginning from today,” he said.

More here-

Church closings, mergers mourned by worshippers, communities

From Pittsburgh-

The sacred space she valued as her place of refuge for six decades suddenly is off limits, its holy relics stripped away, doors bolted shut and almost 400 weekly worshippers told to go elsewhere. St. John Vianney church in Pittsburgh's Allentown neighborhood closed this month, the latest in more than 150 Diocese of Pittsburgh church closures in three decades.

The Catholic church built by German immigrants, known as St. George Church for most of its 105 years, is where Evans, 64, made her First Communion, married her husband of 41 years and had her three children — now ages 30, 32 and 40 — baptized. She and her neighbors refer to the twin-steepled structure at the heart of their community as “the beacon on the hill.”

“It's almost like a death in the family,” Evans said. “We're all hurting and lost.”

More here-

First openly gay Episcopal bishop speaks on forgiveness

From Massachusetts-

Bishop Gene Robinson, the first openly gay bishop in the Episcopal Church, spoke on forgiveness during his keynote talk on Sunday at an interfaith conference at Williams College.

Robinson's election and consecration as Episcopal Bishop of New Hampshire in 2003 and 2004, caused an international uproar in the world-wide Anglican Communion of churches. Robinson served as an openly gay priest in the Episcopal tradition for over 30 years. He is originally from Lexington, Ky., and speaks with a soft southern accent.

"You know a little bit about this story, I'm sure, in the ensuing years and if you know any of that story, then you know why Gene Robinson is one of the great heroes for many of us," said Williams College Chaplain Rick Spalding in introducing Robinson. "I'm sure he would say not because of any particular qualities of personal heroism. He's a pastor, like countless others, but in the wisdom of the great mystery, he was also the right person at the right place at the right time, thanks be to God."

More here-