Saturday, September 17, 2016

Church Planters Meet in Dallas

From The Living Church- (with video)

Leaders of new church plants or missional initiatives along with applicants for Church Planting and Missional Enterprise Zone grants are invited to the inaugural Genesis Gathering of the Episcopal Church on Nov. 16-17 at the Church of the Ascension, Dallas. The event is sponsored by the church’s Advisory Group on Church Planting.

“The Genesis Gathering is a community of passionate, faithful people starting new Episcopal churches and worshiping communities,” said the Rev. Zachary Nyein of the advisory group. “We are a community of practice that gathers online and in-person to share in learning, nourishment, prayer, storytelling, and fellowship.”

The two-day conference begins Nov. 16 with worship and dinner, followed by introductions and conversations. Nov. 17 will focus on roundtable conversations and networking.

“This Genesis Gathering will have a particular focus on How to Get Started, what planters should do when they are at the very beginning of starting a new ministry,” said the Rev. Jane Gerdsen, who leads the advisory group. “We will have talks and group sessions for people starting both traditional and nontraditional ministries.”

More here-

Church apology for orphanage abuse

From New Zealand-

The Anglican Church has apologised to a Northland woman who says she was mentally, physically and sexually abused in the care of an Anglican trust orphanage.

Whangarei woman Beverley Lind, now aged 70, received the apology after highlighting abuse suffered at the Orphans' Home Papatoetoe run by a trust established by the Anglican Church.

Mrs Lind spent 13 years at the orphanage from 1947, and believes others were abused. She wants to encourage people to come forward.

The Anglican Church has also formally acknowledged there were failures in meeting obligations to care for Mrs Lind and her three siblings. Mrs Lind, her two brothers and sister were placed in the orphanage after their parents separated and their father was unable to care for them due to a head injury.

He wanted the children to remain together and paid for them to be cared for at the orphanage.

More here-

South Africa's Tutu returns to hospital due to infection

From Kansas (AP)

Nobel laureate Desmond Tutu was readmitted to a South African hospital on Saturday, just days after he left following three weeks of treatment there.

The 84-year-old retired archbishop returned to the hospital "as a precaution after his surgical wound had shown signs of infection," a family statement quoted Tutu's wife, Leah, as saying.

Tutu "underwent the surgical procedure 10 days ago to address the cause of recurring infections resulting from past treatment received for prostate cancer," the statement said.

Read more here:

Pastor who won AR-15 rifle raffle won’t be charged

From Oregon-

A suburban Portland pastor who won an AR-15 rifle in a raffle and then said he gave it a gun-owning friend for safekeeping will not be prosecuted for transferring the weapon without conducting a background check, authorities said.

Officials were investigating whether Rev. Jeremy Lucas may have violated a recent state law that makes transferring a gun without a background check illegal, even if the arrangement is between private parties and no money changes hands.But investigators uncovered no evidence that Lucas, 45, actually transferred the gun and never determined the name of the gun-owning friend, Clackamas County District Attorney John S. Foote said in a letter to the Oregon State Police.
The letter was written on Sept. 9 and made public Thursday by state police.

More here-

National Episcopal leader discusses Standing Rock, gun violence and sanctions during Oklahoma visit

From Oklahoma-

Though he came to honor the legacy of an American Indian Episcopal clergyman, the leader of the nation's Episcopal denomination took time to answer questions on a variety of topics during a visit to Oklahoma.

The Rt. Rev. Michael Curry, presiding bishop of the Episcopal Church USA, traveled to Oklahoma for the 30th anniversary of the Oakerhater Honor Dance on Sept. 10 in Watonga, which recognized the contributions of David Pendleton Oakerhater.

More here-

John Danforth calls Episcopal Church to healing ministry for America

From ENS-

Calling for “an expansive ministry to America,” former Missouri Republican Sen. John Danforth called on the Episcopal Church Sept. 16 to combine its pastoral and prophetic voices into “a healing ministry to a nation that needs healing.”

Danforth, an Episcopal priest, lawyer and author who served in the U.S. Senate from 1976-1995, told the House of Bishops that “this longtime politician knows that America needs us; this devoted Episcopalian believes that Jesus calls us” to act boldly in the current political and civic climate.

Episcopalians “should be evangelists to all Americans, especially to the most idealistic Americans, to young people who want to change the world. We should be the voices that call them to do just that,” he said.

More here-

Friday, September 16, 2016

Versace model turned vicar says he will get Janners worshipping in church again

From Plymouth UK-

"In churches I think we've put up a bit of a wall," says Vicar Olly Ryder, who has just moved from London to Plymouth.

"I think the majority of people in the country are not ungodly, but atheism gets a lot of air time.

"A lot of people have the sense of the divine, or 'the other', but have possibly found it hard to access that."

Olly, aged 41, was asked to come to Plymouth to set up what has been dubbed a 'Resource Church' by the Church of England.

The new church is being launched a St Matthias on North Hill, in the heart of the growing student community.

Olly, who was once a model for Versace, wants to offer a church for the "every man and woman".


Church of England sets up new body on sexuality

From Christian Today-

Church of England bishops have set up a new body to "take forward work on sexuality" which will be chaired by Graham James, the Bishop of Norwich.

The establishment of the 'Bishops' Reflection Group on Sexuality' was announced this afternoon after senior Church of England clergy met in Oxford this week.

The bishops discussed sexuality as well as a range of other topical issues following on from the 'shared conversations' on sexuality at the Church's July Synod.

More here-

Historic joint meeting hears of effort to change church’s culture

From ENS-

The House of Bishops, the House of Deputies and the Executive Council heard on Sept. 15 about efforts to shift the culture of the Episcopal Church’s denominational staff closer to that of the Jesus Movement.

Presiding Bishop Michael Curry and others also spoke about how the church’s culture at all levels can reflect the loving, liberating and life-giving way of Jesus.

Fear, mistrust and resentment have no place in such an organization, Curry and House of Deputies President the Rev. Gay Clark Jennings said of findings about the denominational staff’s culture in a two-hour presentation during the opening day of the House of Bishops’ Sept. 15-20 meeting here. Members of the House of Deputies joined the presentation via a webcast, making it what is believed to be the first time that the two houses have met together outside of General Convention.

Thursday, September 15, 2016

Tom Holland: Why I was wrong about Christianity

From The New Statesman-

When I was a boy, my upbringing as a Christian was forever being weathered by the gale force of my enthusiasms. First, there were dinosaurs. I vividly remember my shock when, at Sunday school one day, I opened a children’s Bible and found an illustration on its first page of Adam and Eve with a brachiosaur. Six years old I may have been, but of one thing – to my regret – I was rock-solid certain: no human being had ever seen a sauropod. That the teacher seemed not to care about this error only compounded my sense of outrage and bewilderment. A faint shadow of doubt, for the first time, had been brought to darken my Christian faith.

With time, it darkened further still. My obsession with dinosaurs – glamorous, ­ferocious, extinct – evolved seamlessly into an obsession with ancient empires. When I read the Bible, the focus of my fascination was less the children of Israel or Jesus and his disciples than their adversaries: the Egyptians, the Assyrians, the Romans. In a similar manner, although I vaguely continued to believe in God, I found Him infinitely less charismatic than my favourite Olympians: Apollo, Athena, Dionysus. Rather than lay down laws and condemn other deities as demons, they preferred to enjoy themselves. And if they were vain, selfish and cruel, that only served to endow them with the allure of rock stars.

More here-

Archbishop: nothing improper about gay sex

From The Telegraph-

Christians who support same-sex marriage are not “abandoning the Bible” the Archbishop of Wales has insisted, as he told leading Anglicans that sex in a committed gay or lesbian relationship is perfectly “proper”.

Dr Barry Morgan used his final address to the governing body of the Church in Wales, ahead of his retirement, to urge members to rethink traditional beliefs about same-sex relationships as being sinful.

Even Biblical texts often cited as condemning homosexuality, such as the destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah with fire and brimstone, could be “interpreted in more than one way”, he said.

More here-

Primate Warns Clergies Against Homosexual Acts

From Nigeria-

Primate of the Anglican Church in Nigeria, Most Reverend Bishop Nicholas Okoh, yesterday warned members of the clergy involved in act of homosexuality to resign or risk being disgraced out of the communion.

Okoh handed the warning at the opening ceremony of the All Anglican Clergy Conference holding at the premises of Benue State University (BSU) in Makurdi. He reiterated the anti-gay stand of the Anglican Communion and advised members of the clergy, who have gay tendencies to resign their position honourably or risk being disgraced out of the Church.

More here-

Tutu discharged from hospital after surgery

From South Africa-

South African cleric and anti-apartheid icon Desmond Tutu was discharged from hospital on Wednesday after a successful surgery to treat recurring infections that have afflicted him for more than a year, his family said on Wednesday.

The 84-year-old Nobel Peace Prize winner has struggled with ill health in recent years, but his family has not said whether his current ailment is related to the prostate cancer Tutu has battled with for nearly two decades.

More here-

Declare Emergency On Economy, Anglican Clerics Urge Buhari

From Nigeria-

Citing the biting hardship in the land, Anglican bishops have called on President Muhammadu Buhari to declare emergency on the economy to avert developments that might divide the country.

Speaking yesterday at Cathedral Church of St. Mary, Ngwo in Enugu North Council, the clerics, drawn from over 10 dioceses, urged government to immediately address the prevailing economic recession.

In a statement by by the provincial chairman and Archbishop of Enugu, Rt. Rev. Emmanuel Chukwuma as well as secretary, Venerable Augustine Orah, the church lamented the national minimum wage, which could no longer afford a bag of rice.

More here-

Anglican Bishop of Ballarat Garry Weatherill declares support for same-sex marriage, opposes plebiscite

From Australia-

Ballarat's Anglican Bishop Garry Weatherill has declared his support for same-sex marriage and said he opposed the Federal Government's proposed plebiscite on the issue.

Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull yesterday introduced legislation into the Lower House for a plebiscite on same-sex marriage to be held on February 11.

At this stage, Labor is expected to block the passage of the bill.

Bishop Weatherill told the ABC he supported "marriage equality".

"The local position of this particular bishop is for marriage equality," he said.

More here-

Despite popularity of praise bands, some area churches still investing in pipe organs

From Ohio-

If this doesn’t sum up the current state of organ music in church worship services, nothing does: An established church in Anderson Township is having a replacement organ built, in part using pipes donated from an organ that a new congregation in Covington had removed from an old church in order to make room for their band.

For centuries, the majestic sounds of the pipe organ filled Christian church services worldwide. In older, mainline Christian churches, the organ’s still a vital part of the worship service.

But in newer churches, where rock ’n’ roll music is played, the drum kit and guitar have taken its place.

More here-

The Episcopal Church in South Carolina welcomes new Provisional Bishop

From South Carolina-

The Right Reverend Gladstone B. “Skip” Adams III was elected by acclamation and invested as the Provisional Bishop for The Episcopal Church in South Carolina on Saturday, September 10.

“We are going to continue to look out, and to look beyond, and to trust whatever the future holds, because we know that future is held by God,” Bishop Adams told Episcopalians from across eastern South Carolina who gathered at Grace Church Cathedral in Charleston.

More here-


Wednesday, September 14, 2016

Teaching Calvin in California

From The New York Times-

We spend a great deal of time worrying about theology these days. From extremist violence to the American culture wars, the theological imagination can feel like an existential threat to liberal democracy. Or more simply, just to common decency. No surprise that many believe that theology has no place in the secular college classroom.

Over the years, I have decided that this is wrong. I learned to think otherwise teaching Calvin in California.

Given my profession, I am naturally curious about theology. But it takes collaborative work in the classroom to persuade students that they should be, too. To persuade them that theology is more than its bad press; that it is a rich subject as likely to provoke disbelief as belief; that it is more likely to open than to close interesting conversations about religion and public life. To persuade them, in short, that theology matters to a liberal education.

More here-

Another car park, another King: 'Henry I's remains' found beneath tarmac at Reading Gaol

From The Telegraph-

Britain’s kings appear to be making a habit of this.First it was Richard III, whose bones were found under a car park in Leicester. Now it appears that Henry I may have met a similarly undignified fate.

Archaeologists have discovered what could be King Henry’s remains languishing beneath a Ministry of Justice car park on the site of Reading prison.The bones were detected among a series of graves discovered by archaeologists using ground-penetrating radar (GPR), during an exploration of the site containing the ruins of Reading Abbey.

They came across the graves, along with a number of other potentially significant archaeological finds, while scanning tarmacked land close to the Abbey’s High Altar.

More here-

Archbishop of Canterbury’s XI beat Pope Francis’ cricket team

From Anglican News-

The third annual cricket match between the Vatican’s St Peter’s Cricket Team and the Church of England’s Archbishop’s XI ended with victory for the Anglicans. Yesterday’s convincing win in the blistering heat of Kent County Cricket Club’s Spitfire Ground makes it 2-1 to the Church of England since the first match in 2014.

The Archbishop’s XI batted first and ended their 20 overs on 157 for four. In their reply, the Vatican side had reached 63 for four after 13 overs when Father Tony Currer, from the Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity, was forced to retire with injury.

More here-

Unlocking the mystery of Our Lady of Guadalupe

From Catholic Culture-

Earlier this year, Ignatius Press brought out an English edition of a remarkable coffee-table book entitled Guadalupe Mysteries: Deciphering the Code. Authored by film director Grszegorz Górny and photographer Janusz Rosikoń, the 280-page oversize hardback book is printed in full color on high-gloss paper, complete with photographs, paintings, maps and charts to supplement the text on every page.

Guadalupe Mysteries retells the history of Mary’s appearance to St. Juan Diego in 1531 in Mexico, the miraculous image she left on his tilma, the importance of Our Lady of Guadalupe to the conversion of Mexico, and the extraordinary details of the image which continue to provide irrefutable evidence of its supernatural origin.

More here-

EDS Chairs on Transition

From The Living Church-

In a letter dated Sept. 13, the Rev. Gary Hall and Canon Bonnie Anderson write to community members of Episcopal Divinity School:

We’re writing today, as we did last month and as we’ll continue to do this academic year, to update you on our progress toward developing a sustainable plan to conserve the seminary’s resources for future mission.

First, we want to be sure that you saw the good news, released just before the Labor Day long weekend, that the Rev. Dr. William C. Nelsen has joined EDS as interim president. We hope you will be as pleased as we are that such an experienced leader and pastor has joined EDS at this pivotal time. As you may remember, former Interim President Francis Fornaro submitted his resignation at the board meeting in July and made it effective in mid-November, as per the terms of his contract. He asked us, however, to be relieved of his responsibilities as soon as possible, and in order to honor that request, we quickly began the search that brought Interim President Nelsen to us on September 2. We kept Interim President Fornaro apprised of the progress of our search process and notified him well in advance of Interim President Nelsen's start date. We are grateful to Interim President Fornaro for his seventeen months of service to EDS; he will, of course, be paid his full salary and benefits through his contractual resignation date of November 19, and will be teaching a course on campus this fall.

More here-

Tuesday, September 13, 2016

The Bishop of Grantham reveals the battle for the Anglican soul

From Varsity UK-

Last year, The Rt Revd Libby Lane was consecrated as the Bishop of Stockport, and in so doing overturned the centuries-old tradition that all bishops in the Church of England must be male. This year, with the public declaration of his sexuality, it is the turn of The Rt Revd Nicholas Chamberlain to overturn another centuries-old tradition in becoming the Church’s first openly gay bishop. Despite claims to the contrary, this does not represent a fundamental change to the Church’s position on sexuality and marriage; no Rubicon has been crossed. That said, it does mark an important step forward for the Church of England, while also highlighting the diversity of opinions within the Church and how much work is yet to be done if thoroughgoing agreement is to be reached.

More here-

Australia's Anglican hierarchy divided over marriage equality plebiscite

From The Guardian-

The Anglican church’s senior clergy are split on whether to support the federal government’s planned marriage equality plebiscite, with five bishops writing to the prime minister urging him to reconsider the plan.

The correspondence contrasts with the personal view of the head of the Anglican church, Melbourne archbishop Philip Freier, who wrote in support of the plebiscite last week.

In one letter sent on Thursday the bishop of Wangaratta, John Parkes, said the plebiscite would be “divisive and cause unnecessary harm to members of the Australian community”.

More here-

Church Pension Group Appoints William F. Murray Senior Vice President and General Manager of The Church Insurance Companies

From Business Wire-

The Church Pension Group (CPG), a financial services organization that serves the Episcopal Church and its people, today announced the appointment of William “Bill” F. Murray as Senior Vice President and General Manager of The Church Insurance Companies (CIC). In this role, he will be responsible for the management and oversight of CIC, which provides property and liability coverage for Episcopal Church institutions. He will report directly to CPG’s Chief Operating Officer, Frank Armstrong, and will be based in Bennington, Vermont. Murray will replace Rod Webster, current Senior Vice President and General Manager of CIC, who recently announced his intention to retire.

More here-

Former Newark Episcopal bishop Spong suffers stroke

From New Jersey-

 Rt. Rev. John Shelby Spong is recuperating after suffering a stroke before a planned speaking engagement in Michigan Saturday, the Episcopal Diocese of Newark said on its Facebook page.

"Many thanks to all of you who have been praying for Bishop Jack Spong and his family since we received the news that he suffered a stroke last Saturday morning. Bishop Beckwith is in contact with the Spong family, and reports that Bishop Spong is stable and talking, and that our prayers offer hope and help. Updates will be provided as they become available," the diocese said Monday.

More here-

Monday, September 12, 2016

Why CofE schools must resist becoming more religious

From Spectator UK-

The Church of England’s relationship with state education seems simple enough. Its schools have been a major source of strength, significantly slowing its rate of decline over the past few decades. Many congregations have been swelled by parents seeking a better-than-average state education for their offspring. From an Anglican point of view, what’s not to like?

Well, this: selection by church attendance is unpopular with those who do not benefit, giving the Church an image problem with its non-members. This makes some of its members, including me, uneasy. Also, the integrity of church attendance is in doubt, in parishes near a popular school. The cliché of the pushy parents faking their piety is partly true, and it affects the meaning of contemporary churchgoing. Its schools are a success story with a dubious smell. 

More Here-

IN GOOD FAITH: Washing away the hate

 From Massachusetts-

It started out as another beautiful Saturday morning. My friend Laurie Brock, an Episcopal priest, took the short walk from the parsonage to the front doors of the sanctuary. What she encountered was shocking.

Hateful and graphic graffiti was scrawled across the doors and the sidewalk in front of the church. Now, Mother Laurie, as she’s known to her flock, texted me photos of the graffiti. And I assure you, this wasn’t just your garden variety, colorfully creative 1970s New York City subway graffiti. This was crude, hateful stuff that invoked the political, the satanic, and the, um, anatomical.

So what do you about this? Well, the first thing you do is alert the parish and suddenly power washers appear and chemicals you didn’t even know they sold at Home Depot show up and there’s a whole group of parishioners cleaning and scrubbing and washing away the hate. In several hours it’s all gone, with nary a trace left.

More here-

Episcopalian leader visits Oklahoma to honor a 'remarkable man'

From Oklahoma-

Shaking a colorful gourd rattle and moving his feet to the rhythm created by an American Indian drum circle, the head of the Episcopal Church USA found himself immersed in Oklahoma culture.

The Rt. Rev. Michael Curry, presiding bishop of the nation's Episcopalians, was a guest of honor Saturday at the 30th anniversary of the Oakerhater Honor Dance held annually at the Oakerhater Episcopal Center in Watonga.

The event, which drew about 300 people, was held to recognize the life and ministry of David Pendleton Oakerhater, a Cheyenne warrior who converted to Christianity and became a missionary and deacon in the Episcopal Church. Oakerhater devoted much of his ministry to teaching and preaching the Gospel to Cheyenne and Arapaho Indians western Oklahoma, where he established what became known as the Whirlwind Mission. He was named to the Episcopal Church's calendar of saints in 1986.

More here-