Saturday, October 1, 2016

Anglican Church of Southern Africa rejects blessing of same-sex civil unions

From ENS-

The Anglican Church of Southern Africa voted Sept. 30 to reject a proposal to allow “prayers of blessing” to be offered for people in same-sex civil unions under South African law.

The vote was taken by the church’s Provincial Synod, its top legislative body, on a proposal by the Diocese of Saldanha Bay, which stretches from the northern suburbs of Cape Town to the Namibian border.

The initial motion before the synod also proposed that bishops could provide for clergy who identify as LGBTI and are in legal same-sex civil unions to be licensed to minister in parishes. But the proposers withdrew this section before debate began.

More here-

also here-

and here-‘I-was-glad-I-wear-glasses-or-the-Synod-would-have-seen-the-tears’-says-Makgoba

and here-

Bishop delivers ecumenical lecture at Episcopal church

From Pittsburgh-

Bishop David Zubik recalled having a Holy Saturday dinner with friends when a bottle of wine arrived at his table, courtesy of the couple across the room. Glancing over, he realized that it was Bishop Dorsey McConnell of the Episcopal Diocese of Pittsburgh and his wife, Betsy.

But he said the meeting was the sign of a much deeper reality than a beautiful friendship. It was a sign of collaborators in the mission of Jesus, working together against difficult conditions to serve the wider Christian community.

“Isn’t this what Pope Francis is calling all of us to at this point in history?” he asked.

Bishop Zubik spoke of ecumenical relationships in the era of Pope Francis during the 19th Annual St. Andrew’s Lecture Sept. 23 at St. Andrew’s Episcopal Church in Pittsburgh’s Highland Park neighborhood.

More here-

Friday, September 30, 2016

Faith in Focus: For love of money?

From Central PA-

The song on the radio advertisement for a casino or some other establishment says “I want money, that’s what I want.”

Is it okay to want it?

As we know, to love money brings us to the root of many evils. It’s not about money being evil, having money being bad, or needing money making you someone destined for eternal suffering.

We have been given teachings meant to shape us into the way humans are to relate to others and to the material world. There are some things we absolutely must have. About these things we pray that we have what we need.

More here-

Thursday, September 29, 2016

Why we baptised our baby despite almost never going to church

From New Zealand-

Are we frauds?

We want to pave as many paths to participation for our progeny as possible, so connecting her with our local parish seemed like a sensible idea. Whether she walks down it later in life will be up to her.

But we haven't been back to church since. And the aforementioned baptism was one of a very few times we've attended church on a Sunday. I don't see anything wrong with that.

But some do. Some might say we're "cop outs", "token", "lazy", or "cheats". Others - avowedly anti-religion - might question whether a baptism really was in the best interests of our baby.

More here-

The Reformation and its consequences revisited

From Irish Catholic-

Eamonn Duffy at Cambridge and Diarmuid MacCulloch at Oxford are the leading historians on the Reformation writing in English. Together with the historical novelists Hilary Mantel and Philippa Gregory, they have brought the intricacies and consequences of the Reformation in Tudor England before the wider public.

Their success in different genres is a tribute not only to the fascination and drama of the period, but to the quality of their works.

MacCulloch’s latest offering is a collection of 22 of his writings assembled from articles, papers and book reviews to stand beside his biography of Cranmer, his History of Christianity: The First 3,000 years, and of the Reformation – the latter sub-titled “Europe’s House Divided 1490-1700”. It runs to 450 pages with some 14 colour plates. 

More here-

I‘m the gay son of a preacher man. When I came out to Dad, he was perfect

From The Guardian-

“What was your dad like when you came out?” When people discover I’m both gay and the son of an Anglican vicar, the Reverend Ian Godfrey, their response is often a predictable variation of this question.

The assumption is, of course, that a devout, spiritual servant of God will at the very least have a few reservations about homosexuality. They’re picturing criticism, rejection, maybe even abandonment.

I empathise with the insinuation. The church’s attitude towards the gay community has never exactly been harmonious, and the institution undoubtedly still has something of a homophobia problem.

More here-

Growing St. Thomas Episcopal Church opens doors this weekend

From Rhode Island-

Standing in the heart of Smithfield’s Greenville village as the ebb and flow of traffic continues on Routes 116 and 44, St. Thomas Episcopal Church remains a historic sanctuary to the community it serves.

With a growing congregation over the last few years, along with renovations to its structure, the church will open its doors to the community on Saturday and Sunday for an open house filled with food and information.

“Come on by and see what you’re missing,” says church rector Susan Carpenter.

Carpenter says this is the first time the church, which has been a staple in Smithfield since the late 1800s, has had such an open house.

“It’s a way for the community to come in as we open our doors and invite the community to come and see what we’re all about,” said Carpenter. “The community has been noticing we’ve been more active and vibrant.”

More here-

Wednesday, September 28, 2016

Archbishop Of Canterbury: Children Must Be Taught To Understand The Jihadist Mind

From Christian Today-

Children in the West need to understand what drives Islamist jiahdists to extreme acts of terror and murder, the Archbishop of Canterbury has said.

Justin Welby said: "It's very difficult to understand the things that impel people to some of the dreadful actions that we have seen over the last few years unless you have some sense of religious literacy.

"You may reject and condemn it – that's fine – but you still need to understand what they're talking about."

The Archbishop was addressing the head teachers of Anglican secondary schools at Coventry Cathedral.

He referred to the "religiously-motivated violence" of Islamic State.

More here-

Anglicans not ready to take back priests accused of being gay, court told

From Kenya-

The Anglican Church of Kenya is not ready to welcome back three priests who were cleared of allegations that they were homosexuals.

Anglican Church of Kenya Trustees’ lawyer Syphurine Nyongesa Mayende said believers will not trust the priests.

The trustees were in court Tuesday seeking to stay the judgement issued by the Labour court on September 9 pending an intended appeal.

Justice Byram Ongaya ordered the church to reinstate Archdeacon John Njogu Gachau, the Rev James Maina Maigua and the Rev Paul Mwangi Warui.

Justice Ongaya also ordered the church to pay a total of Sh6.8 million, being accrued salary since August 2015 when they were sacked and compensation for psychological trauma, by December 1, 2016.

More here-

Tuesday, September 27, 2016

British Cathedral Numbers Grow

From The Living Church-

English cathedrals are experiencing growth in people attending worship, according to a report by the Church of England’s Research and Statistics unit.

The report, “Church Statistics 2015” [PDF], reinforces conclusions drawn in a 2014 Church of England report, “From Anecdote to Evidence” [PDF].

“It would be wrong to think that the growth of cathedrals is happening at the expense of the rest of the Church; instead consider cathedrals as the vanguard of renewal,” said Becky Clark, senior cathedrals officer and deputy secretary of the Cathedrals Fabric Commission for England. “They have the locations, the leadership, the staff, and the confidence to be at the forefront of what an outward-looking, societally focused, just and fair church can be.”

More here-

We Need to Rescue Nigeria - Wike

From Nigeria-

Rivers State Governor, Chief Ezebunwo Nyesom Wike has stated that the painful general hardship flowing from the country's economic crisis affect all Nigerians, hence all hands must be on deck to resolve the challenges.

He also said that his administration has already established a working framework to shield the people of Rivers State from the negative effects of the economic downturn.

Wike spoke yesterday at the Saint Cyprian Anglican Church, Port Harcourt, during the inter-denominational church service to mark Nigeria's 56th Independence Anniversary.

More here-

Former priest hits out at church over support for wind farm near Hawick

From Hawick England-

A retired Anglican priest says he is appalled by the Church of England’s support for a proposed wind farm near Hawick as he believes it would be a blot on the landscape of the Borders. 

Andrew Warburton, formerly a priest in Oxfordshire, said he is ashamed of his church for refusing to consult with residents likely to be affected by the Highlee Hill wind farm being lined up near his current Newcastleton home. “I am appalled that the Church Commissioners of England have had the gall to support this development in Scotland,” writes Warburton, in a letter to Scottish Borders Council.

Read more at:

Standing Rock oil pipe protest may become “the new Selma”

From Anglican News-

The Presiding Bishop of the US-based Episcopal Church has delivered an impassioned speech in support of the Standing Rock Sioux community. Bishop Michael Curry told them that their stand against a controversial oil pipeline could become as important in US history as the 1965 civil rights stand in Selma, Alabama. Selma is considered a turning point in racial equality in the US after a peaceful protest by African Americans demanding the right to vote was met with police violence.

The Presiding Bishop made his comments at the weekend during a solidarity visit to the Sioux protest camps along the Canon Ball River. They are opposed to the construction of the Dakota Access Pipeline which is set to run through sacred burial grounds and under the Missouri River.

More here-

Home planned for women released from prison or abused

From Arkansas-

She hopes to start a transitional home for women who have been incarcerated or survived abuse, sexual violence or addiction.

A chaplain for 25 years and prison mentor, Kaczmarek envisions a two-year program in Little Rock modeled after a program in Nashville, Tenn., known as Magdalene and Thistle Farms. It would be known as Magdalene -- Coming Home.

The program is in the planning stages, and an informational "FUNraiser" will be held Oct. 6 at St. Michael's Episcopal Church, in Little Rock.

The idea for the project grew out of Kaczmarek's experience mentoring a woman in prison and coordinating fellow mentors.

Read more: The Courier - Your Messenger for the River Valley - Home planned for women released from prison or abused.

More here-

Monday, September 26, 2016

Help our youth

From Barbados-

Anglican clergyman Reverend John Rogers has urged Barbadians to step out and help guide the nation’s youth as he underscored the need for mentorship in the society.

Speaking at a church service this morning at his St George Parish Church to launch National Youth Week, Reverend Rogers questioned whether adults had created a void in the society by not mentoring and helping to guide young people.

“Have we created a void for our young people? Is there a case where we did not pass down the lessons that we were taught? We often talk about attending Sunday School as children and all we have learnt, why aren’t we enforcing that for our children? Have we broken the line of transmission?” Rogers questioned.

More here-

Managed decline?

From Australia-

According to statistics and a recent pew sheet of my church; the Anglican Church has been in decline in the West for over 100 years. Numbers of Anglicans in Australia have also been in steady decline since 2001.

Being part of a traditional parish in the Diocese of Sydney, the challenge of growth and decline is more than just cyclical, it is generational. While the majority of the diocese has moved its worship form away from traditional setting, parishes like St Paul's Burwood has the challenge of protecting and using the liturgy regularly while still focusing on outreach.

Four key elements

My rector noted in the pew sheet there are four elements which form the key to the healthy growth of any church; prayer, welcoming, nurturing, and worshipping.

More here-

Episcopal Church membership continues steady decline

From Christian Times-

The Episcopalian Church membership continues its gradual decline as it lost 37,669 members in 2015. Between 2014 and 2015, the worship attendance in the U.S.-based denomination decreased by 20,631. Forty-three parishes have also been closed.

According to the statistics released by the Episcopal Church Office of Research, its membership decreased by 9 percent in the past five years. In 2011, the church reported having 1.9 million active members. The number has decreased to 1.7 million by 2015.

Average church attendance lowered by 12 percent in the past five years and 26 percent in the last 10 years. Despite the decline in church attendance, the average pledge has increased by 0.7 percent from $2,626 in 2014 to $2,707 in 2015.

More here-