Saturday, June 25, 2016

Vicar of Baghdad: 'When I invited Isil to dinner they said, "Yes, we’ll come, but we’ll chop off your head." Rather kind of them to warn me'

From The Telegraph-

For more than 10 years, Canon Andrew White presided over the only Anglican Church in Iraq, a role that led him to be known universally as the Vicar of Baghdad.

But his old parish of St George’s has become too dangerous, and today he leads a peripatetic life, spending time with his displaced congregation in Israel and Amman, Jordan.

He is, in effect, a vicar without a parish. Recently he was to be found in Britain conducting a private service for ‘Christians in Government’ at St Margaret’s church, Westminster. For the past 17 years White, 52, has suffered from multiple sclerosis, so he would normally sit to conduct a service.

More here-

Pope and Anglican leaders comment on Brexit vote outocme in UK

From Ecumenical News-

Pope Francis has commented on Britain's decision to leave the European Union saying it must be followed by "guarantees" for the good of both Britain and the countries on the continent.

He was speaking to journalists aboard the Papal plane on his way to the Armenian capital, Yerevan, and said referendum result must be respected because it was wanted by the people, Vatican Radio reported.

"It was the will expressed by the people and this requires a great responsibility on the part of all of us to guarantee the good of the people of the United Kingdom, as well as the good and co-existence of the European continent" he said.

The Archbishop of Canterbury, Justin Welby and the Archbishop of York, John Sentamu, the two most senior clerics in the Church of England also noted that the outcome had been determined by the people of this country.

More here-

Witchcraft concerns Uganda’s Anglican archbishop

From Uganda
- (RNS)

 Ugandan Anglican Archbishop Stanley Ntagali is raising concerns over the practice of witchcraft in his country amid reports of Christian politicians and citizens visiting witch doctors and shrines to their ancestors.

The archbishop first expressed worry in May, after the recently re-elected parliamentary speaker, Rebecca Kadaga, visited her ancestral shrine in eastern Uganda to allegedly thank her ancestors for her good luck.

Since then, several politicians have been sighted at shrines, according to news reports.

More here-

Friday, June 24, 2016

Anglican leader in Iraq suspended in ISIS funding inquiry

From RNS-

The Rev. Andrew White, acclaimed as the Anglican “Vicar of Baghdad” for his outreach among Iraqi Christians, has been suspended with pay and his British charity placed under official investigation over allegations that money used to redeem sex slaves ended up in the hands of the Islamic State.

“We never gave the bad guys one penny,” White said in denying the charges.

The U.K.’s official Charity Commission on Thursday (June 23) “confirmed that it opened a statutory inquiry into the Foundation for Relief and Reconciliation in the Middle East on June 9, 2016.”

More here-

EU referendum: Statement by Archbishops of Canterbury and York

From Canterbury-

Archbishop Justin Welby and Archbishop John Sentamu have issued this joint statement today after the UK voted to leave the European Union:

On Thursday, millions of people from across the United Kingdom voted in the referendum, and a majority expressed a desire that Britain’s future is to be outside the European Union

The outcome of this referendum has been determined by the people of this country. It is now the responsibility of the Government, with the support of Parliament, to take full account of the outcome of the referendum, and, in the light of this, decide upon the next steps. This morning, the Prime Minister David Cameron has offered a framework for when this process might formally begin.

More here-

Values Translating Into Action

From Huffington- (The Rt. Reverend Mary Gray-Reeves)

I have asked the question a lot lately, “How do our values translate into action?” It’s a question that arises during the defining moments that inevitably come our way in life; those events that are transforming to the point where we are confronted with who we are, what we believe, and how we live out our values in the world. Our values can be clarified, strengthened and empowered as a result of having to wrestle with ourselves.

I was ticketed for speeding a few months ago. I clearly had decided that my right to drive beyond the speed limit on an unpopulated road was more important than the reason the speed limit in that location was determined in the first place. I slogged through traffic school and the obvious was repeatedly stated: laws were in place to keep us from harming ourselves and others.

More here-

Episcopal bishop urges political engagement during election year

 From The Diocese of Western Massachusetts

The Right Rev. Douglas Fisher, bishop of the Episcopal Diocese of Western Massachusetts, has issued a statement on the upcoming presidential election encouraging "our church leaders to urge people to vote, to be informed and to bring Gospel values into their discernment."

While he notes that clergy "cannot endorse any candidate publicly" nor should they "speak against a candidate by name from the pulpit or in church publications," he calls Christianity a "world-engaging faith."

"If we are to engage the world, then we need to be good citizens and be informed about the issues of our time. And we need to speak to those issues – even when those issues are complex and they always are," said Fisher in the statement posted on his blog, where he has advocated for better gun safety legislation, written about his Church's support for same sex marriage and the impact of global warning.

More here-

Thursday, June 23, 2016

Bishop Martin Nyaboho elected as next Archbishop of Burundi

From ACNS-

The Bishop of Makamba, the Rt Revd Martin Blaise Nyaboho, has been elected as the fourth Archbishop and Primate of the Anglican Church of Burundi. Bishop Martin will succeed Archbishop Bernard Ntahoturi, who has led the church since 2005, when he is installed on 21 August.

The 61-year-old bishop, a former member of the Anglican Consultative Council (2005 to 2009) was baptized in 1965 and confirmed in July 1969. He was ordained a deacon in 1985 and a priest four years later. He was consecrated in 1997, becoming the first Bishop of Makamba.

His theological education began at the Mweya Bible Institute and Matana Theological School in Burundi and continued at the Kenya Highlands Bible College (now known as the Kenya Highlands Evangelical University) and the Asbury University College in Wilmore, Kentucky, in the US. He has also studied at the Haggai Institute Leadership Training in Singapore and the Panzi Development Training Centre in what was Zaire (now the Democratic Republic of Congo).

More here-

Church of England aims to agree to disagree over homosexuality

From The Guardian-

At next month’s General Synod, the Church of England will try a new approach to avoiding a disastrous formal schism over homosexuality. After two days of discussing legislative matters in open session and once all outsiders have left, the 550 representatives from around the world will break into groups of 20 for three days of intensive and personal discussions about sexuality.

The idea is not to reach agreement – 30 years of wrangling have established that this is quite impossible – but to try to bring people on both sides of the debate to see their opponents as fellow Christians. Conservative evangelicals have denounced the scheme as an attempt to manipulate opinion, which of course it is. The question is whether it will work.

What’s new about this approach is that the manipulation that Justin Welby’s strategists have in mind is not to be carried out from the top down. It is hoped that the process of facilitated conversations will allow the church’s activists gathered in the synod to take note of the social changes that are happening in their own congregations and their own families, where acceptance of gay people is becoming much more common.

More here-

New rector at St. Philip's in Tucson brings fresh perspective

From Arizona-

In college, the Rev. Robert Hendrickson III would have called his relationship with religion complicated.

He was no longer the boy his grandmother says rode his bike to church with a water bottle, intent on baptizing his stuffed animals with stolen holy water. And he was not yet the man poised to become the new rector of St. Philip’s in the Hills Episcopal Church in August.

Hendrickson’s mother and sister died when he was a child. Although he had previously imagined a future in ministry, the loss made him angry at God. He even considered himself an atheist for a time.

But his wife, Karrie Cummings Hendrickson, grew up Methodist and pressed her husband to attend church. He did “to preserve domestic tranquility.”

More here-

Kansas bishops issue pastoral directive banning firearms in churches

From ENS-

 Episcopal Diocese of Kansas Bishop Dean Wolfe and Episcopal Diocese of Western Kansas Bishop Michael Milliken June 20 issued a pastoral directive banning firearms from Episcopal churches in the state, effective Aug. 1, unless they are carried by designated law enforcement officials in the line of duty.

In a letter sent to all churches, the bishops said changes to state law in recent years “has led to permission being given to carry firearms, openly or concealed, into churches and other houses of worship. These changes reverse long-standing law and practice regarding firearms in our state.”

The bishops concluded that the changes allowing anyone to bring guns into a church “unnecessarily endanger the citizens of our state and the members of our parishes.”

More here-

Wednesday, June 22, 2016

Florida man threatens churchgoers days after decapitating 875-year-old statue, police say

From SE Florida-

A man stormed a South Florida church and threatened to shoot the people inside just days after decapitating an 875-year-old statue, authorities said.

According to the Miami Herald, Jorge Arizamendoza, 33, entered North Miami Beach’s Ancient Spanish Monastery, the meeting place of St. Bernard de Clairvaux Episcopal Church, on Sunday during a Mass to remember the victims of the Orlando shooting, police said.

Arizamendoza started ranting and making threats toward church members, authorities said.

“He said he was going to shoot me and anyone who stayed in the church,” the Rev. Gregory Mansfield told the Herald. “The fact that this man came in right on the heels of Orlando was scary.”

Arizamendoza bought a ticket Thursday for a tour of the monastery and screamed at groups conducting Masses on the grounds, police said. He also threw a rock at an electric sign, causing $2,000 in damage before driving off, according to authorities.

More here-

‘Why Was I Spared?’ Ivan Backer Reflects On Life After Escaping The Holocaust

From New England Public Radio-

In May of 1939, Jewish ten-year-old Ivan Backer boarded a train in Nazi-occupied Prague, headed for the United Kingdom. He was one of over 600 children taken to safety on “Kindertransport” trains, organized by a British stockbroker, Nicholas Winton.

Seventy-seven years later, he’s a former Episcopal minister and neighborhood activist living in Hartford. He tells the story of his life in his memoir, My Train To Freedom, which came out earlier this year.

I sat down with Ivan Backer and asked what he remembers of getting on that train.

More here-

At 90, Bishop Ball is All Saints' Episcopal Superman

From Albany-

After he fell and broke his neck four years ago, a surgeon told Bishop David Ball: "You're not supposed to be alive."

On Saturday night, 250 well-wishers from as far away as Boston celebrated the 90th birthday of the retired 7th bishop of the Albany Episcopal diocese during a party at the Fort Orange Club. A receiving line never waned for the beloved spiritual beacon of the Cathedral of All Saints, the one they call "Superman."

"The injury the bishop sustained when he had his fall took Superman Christopher Reeve from us (at 52 in 2004)," said Charles Dumas, 62, who was baptized by Ball at age 6 and who has served as treasurer and in other leadership posts at the landmark cathedral. "David Ball is in many ways, especially spiritually, our Superman."

More here-

Tuesday, June 21, 2016

Anglican Diocese of Guyana to decide on female priests; same-sex marriages not on agenda

From Guyana-

The Anglican Church in the Guianas is this week set to decide whether whether women should be ordained priests, but Bishop Charles Davidson deflected questions about whether the church should allow same-sex marriages.

Davidson said delegates would vote on the matter of women priests at the 145th Session of the Synod  for the Diocese of Guyana which includes Suriname and French Guiana. “It has been on the agenda for the last two or three years. I am just making sure that we take it of the agenda,” he told Demerara Waves Online News.

Reverend Davidson said it was not so much whether he would prefer to see women ordained to the priesthood, but what God is “saying to us at this particular time.” “I have worked with female priests for the last twenty years so I have no issues with working with anybody who will do God’s work,” he said.

More here-

Pauli Murray, first black woman Episcopal priest, honored by Yale

From The Christian Century-

A new residential college under construction at Yale University will be named for Anna Pauline Murray, a co-founder of the National Organization for Women who was the first African-American woman to be ordained an Episcopal priest. She is honored as a saint in the Episcopal Church every July 1.

Murray, known as “Pauli,” also held several law degrees, and one of her publications shaped the legal argument for the Brown v. Board of Education Supreme Court case. She earned a doctor of juridical science degree from Yale in 1965 with a dissertation titled “Roots of the Racial Crisis: Prologue to Policy,” according to Yale’s alumni magazine.

“Pauli Murray represents the best of Yale: a preeminent intellectual inspired to lead and prepared to serve her community and her country,” Yale president Peter Salovey wrote in an e-mail this spring announcing the decision.

More here-

Monday, June 20, 2016

Divine truffles helped along with divine intervention as former bishop blesses dogs with good noses

From Australia-

People have blessed fishing fleets, they have blessed herds of cattle and sheep, so why not bless truffle dogs?

These were the thoughts of Anglican priest Professor Tom Frame, who celebrated a liturgy for truffle hunting pooches in the NSW Southern Tablelands at the weekend.

The former bishop to the Australian Defence Force said he had been asked to do many "out of the box" ceremonies in his time.

But he still had to think up some new ideas when he was asked by truffle farmers Anne and Denzil Sturgiss to bless their dogs.

The farmers have 4,500 oak and hazelnut trees at Truffiere at Tarago.

More here-

Relocating for Mission

From The Living Church-

Two prominent religious institutions located two miles apart in Rochester, New York, plan to sell their historic buildings near the city center and redirect their resources toward mission priorities.

Colgate Rochester Crozer Divinity School (CRCDS) and the Diocese of Rochester announced pending sale and relocation plans about two weeks apart in May. The decisions respond to similar demographic changes.

The Rt. Rev. Prince G. Singh, Bishop of Rochester, is a board member of CRCDS, and he teaches classes in the school’s Anglican Studies program. In a letter to his diocese about the pending sale of Diocesan House, he described the sale as a liberating and mission-focused decision.

More here-

How refugees resettle in WNY and make it home

From Western New York-

Volunteer organizations, such as Church World Services and Episcopal Migration Ministries inform Journey’s End when there’s a family facing persecution that needs to be resettled. They set up the airfare and refugees are required to pay it back.

Once they arrive at the Buffalo Niagara International Airport, Journey’s End employees greet them.

“We greet them right at the door and we bring them downstairs to collect everything. Then we bring them to their first apartment,” Scott said.

Scott added that federal funding helps the refugees with housing bills for the first month or two. During that time, workers help them get jobs and enroll in school to become self-sufficient.

More here-