Saturday, July 9, 2016

Synod faces conservative boycott over gay marriage talks

From Christian Today-

The Church of England's governing body may face a conservative rebellion over its discussions on gay marriage.

Despite pleas from senior bishops, a number of conservative Anglicans are considering boycotting the Church's private conversations over sexuality, designed to prevent a fracture over gay marriage. A deep fissure exists within the Church over whether or not to accomodate gay relationships in some way.

A memo sent round to some members of the Church's governing synod listed "reasons not to participate" in conversations, which aim to reconcile opposing factions. The note, seen by Christian Today, offers a damning assessment of the secret talks, known as "shared conversations".

More here-

‘God’s Breath’ allows us to give back, to heal

Fro Utah-

Spirit is an interesting word in Hebrew. In addition on meaning spirit, it can also mean breath, or wind. Michael Curry is well known Episcopal preacher, who is presently the Bishop of the Episcopal Church, and he tells the story of being chastised by his father when he was a teenager. Apparently he was complaining about something trivial and his father blurted out, “You know, the Lord didn’t put you here just to consume oxygen.” I don’t know if his father intended this to be taken theologically, but for Reverend Curry it became a theological truth. The theological truth was this. Although we do need to breathe oxygen in order to live and God did put us here intending that we consume oxygen, there is more to breathing than mere consumption. If we are to survive, we also have to exhale. In fact, Exhaling carbon dioxide is as important as inhaling (consuming) oxygen.

More here-

Archbishop of Canterbury's generous move puts his words about the Syrian refugee crisis into action

From Salt Lake City-

The spiritual head of the Church of England will soon be housing a Syrian refugee family at his residence — an act of compassion that comes amid the ongoing Middle Eastern refugee crisis.

The family will reside on the grounds of Lambeth Palace, the home where Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby resides, according to Reuters.

News of the refugee family's impending arrival was revealed by Paul McGlone, a political leader who serves on the local council in Lambeth, U.K.

"We have ... worked with the Home Office and Lambeth Palace to support the Archbishop's undertaking to house a family within the grounds of Lambeth Palace," McGlone reportedly told his fellow leaders, according to Reuters.

More here-

Local faith leaders call for unity and love in wake of police shootings

From Virginia-

 Faith leaders in Richmond are asking the community to come together this weekend and work to bring peace among our citizens and police officers in the wake of Thursday's Dallas police shooting.

St. Michael’s Episcopal Church in Bon Air put the words “Pray to End the Violence Support Our Police” on a sign outside the church Friday.

“You can’t solve violence with more violence, only love can solve violence, only love can solve hate,” St. Michael's Rector Jeunee Godsey said, citing a famous Martin Luther King Jr. quote.

More here-

Video: Presiding Bishop asks for prayers following shootings

From ENS-

Primate Michael Curry has issued the following video asking every Episcopalian to share in deep prayer following the shootings in the United States.  The video is available here.

Many Episcopal groups have prepared resources that may help congregations and individuals in their prayer and conversation this weekend.

A liturgy resource for praying after Ferguson, created in the Diocese of Missouri and shared by the Beloved Community: Commission for Dismantling Racism in the Diocese of Atlanta

A summary of Episcopal resources for racial reconciliation

Episcopal News Service feed with statements and resources from across the church
If you have created resources to help your community to pray and to work for healing and justice, please share them with the Presiding Bishop’s staff here:

More here-

Friday, July 8, 2016

Church of England Evangelical Council tries to stall gay marriage

From The Church Times-

THE Church of England Evangelical Council (CEEC) has attempted to push back the movement towards greater acceptance of same-sex relationships.

On the eve of the Shared Conversations at the General Synod in York this weekend, the Council has issued a Q&A designed to puncture notions that scripture could be compatible with same-sex relationships.

And, writing in the Church Times, the Bishop of Blackburn, the Rt Revd Julian Henderson, argues that the authority of the Bible “must not be superseded by pastoral, anthropological, and missional arguments”.

The Church should not be worried about being at odds with cultural norms, says Bishop Henderson, who is the president of the CEEC. “The Christian community has never been called to popularity,” he writes. “The gospel is an offence because of its call to repentance.”

More here-

General Synod opening worship confronts difficult questions

From Anglican Journal- (Canada)

Standing before the broad wooden altar dominating the centre of the meeting hall, clothed in crimson vestments, the primate of the Anglican Church of Canada, delivered his sermon at the opening Eucharist of the 41st meeting of General Synod in a voice thick with emotion.

“This is the body that through its history has…wrestled with numerous issues within the Church and in the world at large over which we have often found ourselves in deep disagreement,” Archbishop Fred Hiltz said speaking of General Synod itself. “Many of the issues have centred around inclusion.”

In a silence that was palpable save for the low hum of the air conditioners, Hiltz listed the major debates that have arisen and been resolved since the General Synod of the Canadian church first met in 1893—the ordination of women, the right of children to take the Eucharist, the remarriage of divorced persons and the place of Indigenous peoples—before culminating with the most contentious issue of the present day: the marriage of same-sex couples.

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Activists Say Police Tampered with Evidence in Mission District Shooting

From Mission Local-

Police officers tampered with evidence by ordering the removal of the body of police shooting victim Amilcar Perez Lopez before it could be properly investigated by city officials, alleges a group of Mission District activists who addressed the Police Commission on Wednesday night.

Father Richard Smith, a vicar at the Episcopal Church of St. John the Evangelist in the Mission District, held a press conference on the fatal police shooting of Amilcar Perez Lopez moments before a commission hearing.

According to Smith, the supervising officer on the scene had ordered the Medical Examiner to remove the body before the arrival of District Attorney investigators, which violates protocol.

Smith and other Mission activists have been pressuring District Attorney George Gascon to bring criminal charges against the officers involved, and said Gascon told them of the protocol breach to explain why the charging decision, hotly anticipated since April, had been delayed.

More here-

On target? Kansas bishops ban concealed weapons from churches

From The Christian Examiner-

Episcopal bishops in Kansas have issued a declaration that all of the denomination's churches in the state must ban the carrying of firearms (concealed or open), unless they are carried by designated law enforcement officers.

Bishop Dean Wolfe of the Episcopal Diocese of Kansas and Bishop Michael Milliken of the Episcopal Diocese of Western Kansas issued the "pastoral directive" June 20. Churches now have until Aug. 1 to comply by posting official signage that makes the churches official "gun-free zones."

More here-

Thursday, July 7, 2016

Archbishop of Canterbury to open home to Syrian refugee family next month

From RNS-

The Church of England’s spiritual leader will house a family of Syrian refugees in a cottage at his official London residence, Lambeth Palace, from next month, a local councilor said.

Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby, the most senior cleric in the world’s 85 million-strong Anglican communion, pledged last September to personally take in refugees from Syria, with the gesture following a similar move by the Pope.

More than 250,000 people have been killed in Syria’s five-year war, with half of the population forced from their homes leaving 6.6 million displaced inside the country and another 4.8 million fleeing, many seeking refuge in Europe.

More here-

Canada's Anglicans set to debate same-sex marriage but ban likely to stay

From Canada-

The Anglican Church, the third-largest in Canada, is set to grapple with whether to allow same-sex couples to marry in a divisive debate that has already stirred strong emotion and seems destined to come down on the status quo ban.

The issue, in the form of a resolution that recommends giving formal church blessing to same-sex marriage, is to be voted on at the church's six-day triennial General Synod that opens Thursday north of Toronto.

To pass, the resolution requires two-thirds of the hundreds of delegates to vote yes in each of three orders — lay, clergy and bishops. However, the latter group has already indicated the threshold likely won't be met, saying in February that "some of us talked of being mortified and devastated by this realization."

In response, Ottawa Bishop John Chapman apologized to members of the gay community and to those feeling "discouraged, angry, betrayed and hurt."

More here-

Even in the Ozarks, Anglican tradition finds space inside Catholicism

From Crux Now-

In the unlikely setting of the Ozarks, a new structure within the Catholic Church intended to provide space for former Anglicans to preserve their patrimony puts down roots and finds an improbable appeal even to Baptists and Pentecostals.

In 2009, I was headed for a retreat with other men who had come into full communion with the Catholic Church from the Anglican tradition. As we traveled, we caught the news that Pope Benedict XVI had established a kind of “church within the Church” for Anglicans called “a personal Ordinariate.”

The Archbishop of Canterbury at the time, Dr. Rowan Williams, was taken by surprise, and it was clear that he was not pleased. Observers on both the Anglican and Catholic side of the ecumenical table were critical.

This was not a move forward ecumenically, they accused, but a simple attempt at “sheep stealing” on the part of the Catholics.

More here-

Christian Mingle Ends Legal Battle By Opening Up To LGBT Users

From Think Progress-

The world’s “largest and fastest growing” Christian-specific dating website will now allow gay and lesbian users to search for same-sex mates, ending a heated legal struggle in which the company was accused of anti-LGBT discrimination.

Last week, the 11-year-old online matching service Christian Mingle announced it will no longer require users to choose between two explicitly heterosexual identities — “men seeking women” or “women seeking men” — while using its platform. People signing up will now only be able to select “man” and “woman,” and the company promised to implement new search tools to make it easier for gays and lesbians to find each other.

More here-

Legal battle hinges on California’s High Court

From San Joaquin-

An eight-year legal battle involving tens of millions of dollars in church property, including the St. Michael and All Angels Anglican Mission in Sonora, is in the hands of the California Supreme Court, which could decide as soon as a week from now whether to accept the case.

If the Supreme Court takes the case, the dispute could continue for another year or more, and the members of St. Michael, which is known as the Blue Church, will not have to move.

But a choice to not accept the case would leave standing a decision in the May decision by 5th District Appeals Court that said St. Michael and 27 other church properties belong to the Episcopal Church.

In 2007, a majority of the members of the Diocese of San Joaquin objected to the ordination of gay bishops and the Episcopal Church’s stance toward gay people and women in church. They voted to leave the Episcopal Church to form the Anglican Diocese of San Joaquin, prompting the Episcopal Church lawsuit to reclaim ownership of the church properties.

Whatever the court’s determination, it will signify a major development in one of the nation’s first efforts by a diocese to breakaway from the national Episcopal Church. Scores of congregations across the country had broken away, but the Diocese of San Joaquin vote in 2007 was among the first times an entire diocese had done so.

More here-

Wednesday, July 6, 2016

State police withhold prep school abuse investigation report

From Rhode Island (AP)-

Rhode Island state police won't release their report into dozens of sexual abuse allegations at a prestigious boarding school because the matter is being investigated in other states.

The investigation into allegations of abuse of students at St. George's School concluded in June with no criminal charges.

Police denied a request by The Associated Press for the investigative report on Tuesday. The denial said police determined the report isn't releasable under state law because of ongoing investigations in other state jurisdictions.

Capt. Matthew Moynihan said state police turned over information they had to the Suffolk County district attorney's office in Massachusetts and the Waynesville Police Department in North Carolina. He declined to provide further details.

More here-

Presiding Bishop brings message of hope to quake-ravaged Ecuador

From ENS-

Presiding Bishop Michael Curry’s visit to the Episcopal Diocese of Ecuador Litoral last week was meant to show that the people hard hit by the April 16 earthquake and its aftermath are not alone.

Curry assured the congregation assembled June 30 for Eucharist at Catedral Cristo Rey (Christ the King Cathedral) in Guayaquil, the diocesan see, that he brought with him the prayers of the rest of the Episcopal Church and its pledge to walk with them through the post-earthquake period.

The presiding bishop also encouraged the congregation to look outward. “Go out into this world and help us make a better world,” he said at the close of his sermon. “Go out into this world and show them that love is the only way. Go out into this world and join hands with all people until all of us can say: ‘We are not alone; we’ve got a God and with God we cannot fail.’”

More here-

Tuesday, July 5, 2016

Priests Accused of Being Gay Sue Bishop, Church

From Kenya-

Three Anglican Church of Kenya priests accused of being homosexuals want the High Court to establish if Mount Kenya West Diocese Bishop Joseph Kagunda caused them to suffer loss of their dignity and integrity.

Through lawyers Wonge, Maina and Onsare Partners Advocates, Archdeacon John Njogu Gachau, the Reverend James Maina Maigua and the Rev Paul Mwangi Warui want the court to find that Bishop Kagunda made false, slanderous and defamatory statements against them.

The three have sued Bishop Kagunda and the registered trustees of the ACK for defamation.

More here-

How Prayer Won the American Revolution

From Charisma-

Someone proposed that they begin their deliberations with prayer. Two delegates, however, opposed the motion on the grounds that they were such a diverse religious group, including Anglicans, Puritans, Presbyterians and Quakers, that it would be impossible for them to pray together.

Samuel Adams, a Puritan from Boston who had been impacted by the Great Awakening, arose and said that he was not a bigoted man and that he could join in prayer with any person of piety and virtue who loved his country. He went on to say that, although he was a stranger to Philadelphia, he had heard of an Anglican minister, a Rev. Jacob Dusche (pictured), who was such a man, and he proposed that they invite him to come and lead them in prayer. Adams' proposal was approved and Dusche was asked to preside over a time of Bible reading and prayer.

As the elderly, grey-haired Dusche stood before the Congress, he began by reading the entire 35th Psalm, which powerfully impacted everyone present. It is a prayer of David for deliverance and begins with the words, "Plead my cause, O Lord, with my adversaries; fight those who fight me." The Psalm ends with praise for God's deliverance.

More here-

Geoffrey Hill, often hailed as Britain’s greatest poet, dies at 84

From The Washington Post-

Geoffrey Hill, recognized as one of the foremost English-language poets of his time, who disdained the prevailing style of confessional poetry, choosing instead to use his forceful, solidly built verse to examine age-old moral and historical concerns, died June 30 at his home in Cambridge, England. He was 84.

His death was announced by Emmanuel College of the University of Cambridge, where Mr. Hill had taught, and by his wife, Alice Goodman. The cause was not disclosed, but he had a history of heart ailments.

Mr. Hill announced his uncompromising arrival on the poetry stage in 1959 with the opening lines of his first book, “For the Unfallen”: “Against the burly air I strode / Crying the miracles of God.”

More here-

Royal Commission releases details about hearing into Anglican Diocese of Newcastle

From Australia-

More details have been released about the scope of Royal Commission hearings into child sexual abuse to be held in Newcastle next month.

The hearing, starting on August 2, will look at the past and present systems, policies and practices within the Anglican Diocese of Newcastle for responding to allegations of child sexual abuse.

In particular it will look at the response by the diocese to allegations made against a number of clergy and lay people, including Graeme Lawrence, Gregory Goyette, Andrew Duncan, Bruce Hoare, Graeme Sturt, Peter Rushton, Ian Barrack, James Michael Brown and another Anglican priest.

More here-

Monday, July 4, 2016

'We hold these Truths to be self-evident!'

From Wyoming-

One of the things I have our congregation do is to renew our baptismal vows on a regular basis. We recite the Apostle’s Creed, which reflects what we believe, and then we reaffirm our Baptismal Vows, which we “hold” to express the ethics of living out what we say we believe in the Apostles Creed.

Like Paul, we sometimes not only see through a glass darkly, but we continue to do the things we ought not to do and not do the things we should. Paul says we need the help of God to do the right thing. That is why we need to regularly reaffirm these values, especially since we live and move and have our being in the midst of competing values and ethics in our culture. This can help us live up to the values we proclaim.

More here-

Church of England changes wardrobe

Fro The U.K.-

The Church of England's governing body is expected to ban clergy from wearing overly revealing or political clothing.

The measures are part of an overhaul of canon law regarding how church leaders dress which is set for the upcoming General Synod meeting later this week.

The changes also include giving clergy to option not to wear traditional vestments while performing official church ceremonies such as Holy Communion or weddings, baptisms and funerals.

Currently the rules stipulate that vicars wear proper robes when performing these duties however in practice they are often ignored, particularly at more contemporary Anglican services or churches.

More here-

Jackson Ole Sapit becomes sixth Anglican Archbishop of Kenya

From Kenya- (Video)

President Uhuru Kenyatta has called on leaders to unite and bring the country together this as the country gears up for the 2017 general election.

The President together with his deputy William Ruto made the remarks during the enthronement ceremony of the archbishop of Kenya Jackson Nassore Ole Sapit.

Ole Sapit now takes over from his predecessor Eliud Wabukala who retired early this year.

More here-

How prayer and meditation can make you healthier

From Houston-

In 1975, Herbert Benson, M.D., a professor of medicine at The Harvard Medical School, published a national best-seller, "The Relaxation Response." In his book Benson described the effects of chronic stress on the human body and shared the many health benefits of taking 20 minutes a day to meditate and pray.

More than 3,000 articles have appeared in the medical literature on the subject, and these studies show a long list of health benefits. They include an improved sense of well-being, lowering of stress in the body, lower blood pressure and cholesterol levels, lower frequency of hospitalization, shorter hospital stays, lower incidence of suicide, and one's longevity is increase by an average of seven years.

How can spiritual practices make us healthier?

Extensive research reveals there is a complex connection between the mind, brain and body. What we think and the attitudes of our heart, our emotions, our beliefs, our doubts and fears — all have an impact on our body through the immune system which can be shut down by stress, anger or fear. Also, the release of certain neurotransmitters in the brain adversely affects organ and tissue function.

More here-