Saturday, May 7, 2016

Nonreligious are a growing section of Americans

From Oregon-

Kay Dickey decided she was atheist at age 12. Her parents were not religious and accepted her epiphany, despite living in a predominantly Mormon section of Utah.

“It felt like a cloud went off my shoulders,” Dickey said.

Her story of acceptance contrasts with those of other Central Oregon Atheists members, a group the now 64-year-old woman is organizing.

The Meetup group started in 2008 and has 409 members, ranging from teenagers to octogenarians. Less than 10 members attended the April 17 meeting in a Bend motel conference room. While Dickey is the primary organizer, there is no board or bylaws; there are weekly breakfast meetups that other Central Oregon Atheists members arrange.

While 3.1 percent of Americans identify themselves as atheists, more than 20 percent say they do not affiliate with a religion, according to a Pew Research Center study. More than 35,000 Americans over age 18 were polled for the 2014 Religious Landscape Study.

More here-

Former interim priest sentenced to 180 days in jail

From Michigan-

A judge sentenced a former interim priest at Grace Episcopal Church to jail for trying to sexually touch a parishioner.

Accusations from three women prompted prosecutors in March to charge the Rev. Bryant Whitman Dennison Jr., 70, of Ann Arbor, with a sex crime. He eventually pleaded guilty to one count of attempted fourth-degree criminal sexual conduct, a misdemeanor.

Eighty-sixth District Court Judge Thomas J. Phillips on Thursday sentenced Dennison to a 180-day jail term and two years of probation.

"The victims from our conversations with them were very satisfied with this sentence," said Grand Traverse County Prosecutor Bob Cooney.

More here-

Parish of the Epiphany rector is candidate for West North Carolina bishop

From Massachusetts-

Rev. Thomas Brown, rector of Winchester’s Parish of the Epiphany, is a nominee for Bishop of the Episcopal Diocese of Western North Carolina, it was confirmed Friday, May 6.

Brown, who has been at Parish of the Epiphany since 2009, is one of four candidates being considered for the position. The current bishop, Porter Taylor, is retiring after 11 years heading the church.

According to their website, the Diocese of Western North Carolina started out as a missionary district in 1842. Today, it has 15,000 members, 62 parishes, and eight chapels/preaching stations. The diocese is made up of many small parishes, "centered around the mountains...and extends into the foothills and Piedmont," according to the website, which describes the area as "pristine wilderness."

More here-

Friday, May 6, 2016

Bob McDonnell and the Rolex Christians

Garrison Keillor in the Washington Post-

Every time Bob McDonnell talks about his corruption conviction in Virginia, he mentions how Jesus Christ is sticking with him all the way, which surely is true. Jesus does not dump a guy just because he is sleazy. The Lord has always been there for thieves and malefactors, but this is mercy; it doesn’t mean that Jesus approves of taking more than $150,000 in gifts from a man cozying up to a governor, as Mr. McDonnell seems to suggest. Jesus didn’t wear a Rolex. He did not hit up the Pharisees for thousands of shekels so the apostles could have rib-eye steak and a 35 B.C. cabernet at the Last Supper.

Well, we all have our little inconsistencies, don’t we? Einstein unlocked the secrets of the universe, but he had a hard time piloting a small sailboat. I am no model Christian either. I love my neighbor as myself but only because I don’t much care for myself. I believe in prayer, but if you asked me to pray aloud in Men’s Bible Study, I would turn purple and leave the room.

More here-

The Kasich Conundrum

From Christianity Today-

At a time when incivility is perceived as courage, and a lack of anger equated to a lack of understanding, Kasich is the odd man out.

In this upside-down presidential election, Kasich was the most offensive candidate running.

How so? His faith hurt him more than it helped. Laura Ortberg Turner described this dynamic in an article in Politico, “How Kasich’s Religion is Hurting Him with Conservatives.” Kasich is a member of the Anglican Church of North America, formed following a split with the Episcopal Church over divisions regarding biblical authority and the sacrament of marriage, among other issues. Kasich has belonged to a small group of men that have met every week for more than 20 years, which is the subject of his 2010 book, Every Other Monday. He also contributed a short chapter to a book celebrating the life and ideas of Dallas Willard.

More here-

The article from Politico is here-

St. James Sale Terminated

From New Port Beach California-

The controversial agreement by Bishop Jon Bruno to sell St. James the Great Episcopal Church to condo developer Legacy Partners was terminated last year, according to information sent in a press release from Save St. James the Great Episcopal Church.

A document filed in court last month shows that the sale was cancelled nearly a year ago, probably prior to Bruno locking out church worshippers and forcing them to find another location to hold services.

In addition, the bishop and his representatives have stated in the ensuing months that it could cost the Los Angeles Episcopal Diocese some $5 million to call off the deal, although in fact the agreement was already null and void.

“This is simply appalling,” said Rev. Canon Cindy Evans Voorhees, vicar of St. James the Great, who has been holding Sunday services outdoors in a local park, in leased space in a local museum, and in a Newport Beach City Hall community room since being locked out of the church in June of last year.  “After all we’ve been through, to find out that it was all completely unnecessary – well, I’m speechless.”

More here-

Presiding Bishop joins landmark summit on Holy Land peacemaking

From ENS-

Episcopal Church Presiding Bishop Michael Curry joined more than 100 church leaders from the Middle East and the United States at the Carter Center last month for an unprecedented summit focused on seeking a lasting two-state solution for peace in the Holy Land and ending Israel’s occupation of Palestinian land.

“We honor the land that witnessed to the life and resurrection of our Lord Jesus Christ affirming his call to justice, peacemaking and to the ministry of justice and reconciliation,” the leaders said in a statement at the conclusion of their April 19-20 summit at the Atlanta-based center founded by former U.S. President Jimmy Carter and his wife Rosalynn.

Curry described the event as an “unprecedented summit … to look at how we can be a force for good” for Israelis and Palestinians “to find a way forward and to help our governments find a way forward for a just and lasting peace for all of the people of the Holy Land.”

More here-

Former Episcopal School of Jacksonville administrator held on stalking charge involving teacher

From Jacksonville-

A former administrator at the Episcopal School of Jacksonville is facing a stalking charge in Duval County involving a teacher at the school, according to jail and court records. The charge comes after he was arrested on a warrant Thursday in Alachua County following his release from a mental health facility.

The Episcopal teacher filed an injunction Monday against Matthew Joseph Kearney III that includes accusations of stalking, suicide threats and threats to harm a friend of hers as well as ending her career.

Kearney, 55, was booked into the Alachua County jail Thursday about 11:40 a.m. with a bond of $100,003, according to jail records.

More here-

Thursday, May 5, 2016

Meet Bruce Myers, Quebec's newest Anglican bishop

From Montreal-

It’s not your typical career path.

When Bruce Myers is ordained to the Order of Bishops Thursday evening — a consecration that will also put him in line to become the next Anglican Bishop of Quebec — he’ll surely reflect on the road travelled and, perhaps, his beginnings as a broadcast journalist.

Because that’s where it all started: Myers was a prominent voice on Montreal’s CJAD news talk radio in the 1990s and served as both Ottawa and Quebec City bureau chief, covering the often harsh world of politics.

It was during his time in Quebec City that Myers, 43, said he reconnected with the Anglican Church. The Cathedral of the Holy Trinity, a beautiful Georgian cathedral founded in 1804, was a two-minute walk from where he lived.

“It’s with mostly excitement and joy that I’m heading into this, but I think with just the right dose of fear and trembling,” Myers told the Montreal Gazette. “To use a parallel from the life of the National Assembly, it’s like when there’s a change of government.”

More here-

Wednesday, May 4, 2016

Episcopal–Methodist Communiqué

From The Living Church-

The Episcopal Church–United Methodist Dialogue Committee has issued this communiqué:

Episcopalians and United Methodists met in Charlotte, North Carolina, for the third session of their Dialogue on Full Communion (April 25-27). The ten committee members, along with staff from each church, shared in conversation, meals, prayer, and a celebration of the Eucharist. It was a time for building relationships between representatives of two sibling churches that have long desired to grow closer in common witness to the gospel of Christ and in mission for the healing of God’s world.

The dialogue session made substantive progress towards a proposal for full communion between the Episcopal Church and the United Methodist Church. Committee members continued to learn about the history, beliefs, practices, and ways of living as church that are found in each tradition. Many are shared in common by both traditions. Dialogue participants also discussed and appreciated our distinctiveness. Among these are the ways our churches have shaped their institutions and approaches to ministry appropriate to their particular missional contexts.

More here-–methodist-communique

For 27 years, these Seattle women have served food and ‘unconditional love’ to the needy

From Seattle-

Every Friday, Nancy Rogers opens the battered, former cream-puff box with the hole cut out of the lid, sits at a plastic-covered table at the back of the room and reads the prayer requests that have been slipped inside by the homeless people who come for breakfast five days a week.

“They’re for housing,” she said of the requests. “They’re for jobs. They’re for a relative who is sick. They’re for getting along with each other.”

Rogers and her colleagues at the St. Luke’s Episcopal Church feeding program bow their heads and pray for all those things and more.

Then they get up and start lunch for the more than 100 people who will come in off the streets of Ballard and beyond — the sixth and last meal of the week made by this army of older women who have never stopped being mothers.

More here-

Tuesday, May 3, 2016

Pray for Nigeria's Prosperity, Ambode Urges Religious Leaders

From Nigeria-

Governor Akinwunmi Ambode of Lagos State, Monday, urged religious leaders to intercede fervently for the country in bringing about greater economic prosperity, just as he tasked political leaders to prioritize the welfare of the masses.

Governor Ambode, who spoke while declaring open the 33rd Synod of the Lagos Diocese of Anglican Communion, held at the Our Saviour's Church, Tafawa Balewa Square, Lagos, said the country was in dire need of God's blessings and prosperity at this critical point in time and the church has a great role to play.

The Governor expressed delight at the theme of the Synod which was to discuss the Ecclesiastical business vis-a-vis the role of the church in the country, saying the topic was apt and timely, especially at this trying period for the economy of the country.

More here-

Anglicans at a crossroads

From Canada-

It’s going to be a busy summer for the Anglican Church of Canada. In July, the General Synod meets and one of the most divisive issues will be a motion from the Synod itself proposing to reform the marriage canon to include same-sex couples. In other words, Canadian Anglican churches being allowed — but not compelled — to conduct same-gendered marriages. To pass, it will need a two-thirds majority in all three orders — bishops, clergy and laity — and this result would have to be repeated at the next Synod in three years time. So if all goes well, by 2019 Canadian Anglicans will be able to marry gay couples.

But they won’t. It will be virtually impossible to get all three orders to achieve the required majority. The order of bishops, who are avowed to guard church unity, have already stated they are unlikely to support the motion. So if equal marriage is to progress within Canadian Anglicanism, another approach will have to be found. 

More here-

15 Methodist leaders just came out together to protest church's LGBT policy

From Oregon-

In an open letter to The United Methodist Church, 15 clergy members and clergy candidates came out Sunday as gay, lesbian, bisexual and queer -- a bold act of defiance against a church that defrocks clergy for marrying same-sex couples or coming out.

"We are compelled now to speak out and tell the whole truth of who we are to the wider church," they said in the letter. "Ministry requires honesty, courage, integrity."

The letter comes just one week before The United Methodist Church, the second-largest Protestant denomination in the United States, holds its General Conference in Portland, where representatives will consider new rules allowing clergy to be openly-gay and perform same-sex weddings.

More here-

Postscript: Daniel Berrigan, 1921-2016

From The New Yorker-

He was in the elevator when we got on, riding down from his rooms in the building on 98th Street that housed the priests known as the West Side Jesuits. His hair, thick and black in the old news photographs, had gone gray. Instead of a black turtleneck and suit coat—the outfit with which he had united clerical garb with Beat style—he had on a collarless linen shirt, untucked at the waist. His face was thin and lined. At the time, in the mid-nineteen-eighties, it seemed that the Roman Catholic Church and the gay men of New York City were at war, but he was spending his time ministering to AIDS patients at St. Vincent’s Hospital, in Greenwich Village. He stepped off the elevator, and, as we trailed behind, the Jesuit priest we were with said, a little boastfully: “Dan Berrigan—that was him. He lives with us.”

More here-

Monday, May 2, 2016

Many looking forward to Curry’s visit

From Mississippi-

Vicksburg has been the place to visit for high-ranking clergy recently.

Just two weeks ago, the Rt. Rev. Brian Seage, bishop of the Episcopal Diocese of Mississippi, visited Christ Episcopal Church. While in Vicksburg, Seage spoke with those at Christ Episcopal about his recent two-week visit to Uganda.

Seage said his time in Uganda gave him a fresh, new, joy-filled look at Christianity. He also welcomed all people into the church by saying the Episcopal Church of Mississippi is open to everyone.

- See more at:

Bishop to visit Okatie Episcopal church for final time before retirement

From South Carolina-

The man who helped establish a new church in Okatie will soon visit the congregation for the last time ahead of his retirement.

The Rt. Rev. Charles G. vonRosenberg, Bishop Provisional of The Episcopal Church in South Carolina, will make his annual visit to The Episcopal Church in Okatie at 9:00 a.m. Sunday, May 8.

The visit precedes vonRosenberg’s second retirement – he orginially retired as Third Bishop of the Episcopal Diocese of East Tennessee in 2011 before being installed in his current role in 2013.

One of the hallmarks of his leadership was his guidance during the establishment of The Episcopal Church in Okatie.

Read more here:

Diocese of Central New York announces bishop slate

From ENS-

 The Standing Committee of the Episcopal Diocese of Central New York May 2 announced a slate of four candidates for the position of 11th bishop of the diocese, succeeding the Right Rev. Gladstone B. “Skip” Adams, who is retiring after 15 years of service.

The candidates are:

The Very Rev. Dr. DeDe Duncan-Probe, rector, St. Peter’s in the Woods Episcopal Church, Fairfax Station, Virginia;

The Rev. Canon Debra Kissinger, canon for transition ministries and leadership development, Diocese of Indianapolis;

The Rev. Noah H. Evans, rector, Grace Episcopal Church, Medford, Massachusetts;

The Rev. Nora Smith, rector, The Church of St. Barnabas (Episcopal), Irvington, New York

The election will take place Aug. 6 at the Holiday Inn in Liverpool, New York. The ordination and consecration of the bishop-elect is tentatively scheduled for Dec. 3, 2016 at the Holiday Inn in Liverpool, New York.

More here-

Sunday, May 1, 2016

St. George's sex-abuse scandal: Rev. 'Howdy' White's trail of trauma

From Providence-

In December 1966, the Charleston Daily Mail noted the ordination of Howard W. White Jr. as an Episcopal priest in West Virginia.

White, like all other Episcopal ordinates, vowed to follow the teachings of Christ and be "a wholesome example" to his people.

White's first assignment, at Trinity Episcopal Church in Martinsburg, West Virginia, lasted less than a year. He moved, and moved again, from parishes to elite boarding schools, from prep schools to churches, from state to state and within states. New Hampshire. Rhode Island. Virginia. North Carolina. Pennsylvania.

Along the way, White's accusers say, he left a trail of wrecked and broken lives. The allegations of sexual abuse span decades and distance.

More here-