Saturday, October 15, 2016

Church of England Could Soon Remove Legal Requirement For Regular Sunday Services

From Christian Today-

The Church of England is considering moves to abandon the legal requirement to hold regular services of morning and evening prayer in parish churches because of declining congregations.

The proposal is among those in the first "update" from the simplification task group. The group, which in spite of its name is facing a set of extremely complex tasks, was set up as one of a raft of reforms aimed at stopping the "terrifying" decline of the Church of England.

The aim of the group is to remove the red tape from parish life in order to aid mission and growth.

Bishop of Willesden Pete Broadbent, chairman of the group, writes in the update that they are considering changes to church law spelled out in Canons B11 and B14 in order "to relax the requirements for regular worship in parish churches in sparsely-populated benefices."

More here-

Omaha church begins raising funds for shelter to serve survivors of human trafficking

From Nebraska-

Lori Wright said she was 13 years old when she snuck out the window of a boarding school and started running through the cornfields of Indiana.

When she finally saw a sign for a truck stop, she said, she had hope. Someone could give her a ride to her father’s home in Nashville, Tennessee, she thought.

She said she didn’t know then that the truck driver who gave her a ride would be the first of many men who would use her and pass her around for sex.

By 16, Wright was married. By 17, she said, her husband had sold her to a pimp for drugs. For 25 years, Wright said, she was trafficked for sex. She said she lost count of how many times she was raped and beaten.

More here-

Rt. Rev. Jose Antonio McLoughlin ordained as Bishop of Episcopal Diocese of WNC

From Western North Carolina-

The Episcopal Church’s new leader in Western North Carolina wants to see the diocese do more to serve communities and reach people through ministry.

“I want to make sure we as a church are outwardly focused, not looking inward,” said the Rt. Rev. Jose Antonio McLoughlin, the new bishop of the Episcopal Diocese of Western North Carolina.

McLoughlin, 47, began his transition to bishop for the diocese in September after being elected to the job in June during a meeting in Asheville. He was ordained and consecrated on Oct. 1 as the seventh bishop of the diocese in a ceremony at UNC-Asheville.

McLoughlin has spent the last month getting to know both clergy and lay leaders in the diocese, learning the administrative functions of his new job, attending previously scheduled events on the bishop’s calendar, working on the budget for the diocese and meeting with various committees.

More here-

California Episcopal bishops issue statement supporting Proposition 62, repeal of death penalty

From ENS-

Episcopal bishops from all six dioceses in California have issued a statement supporting Proposition 62, which, if passed, would repeal the death penalty in the state. The statement follows.

Grace and peace to you, in the Name of Jesus Christ. We are the bishops of the six dioceses of the Episcopal Church in California. We believe that the citizens of our state face a profound moral choice this November in the form of Proposition 62. That measure, if approved, will end the death penalty in our state, replacing it with a sentence of life without parole.

While we acknowledge that this may be an issue on which reasonable people of good faith might disagree, we want to reaffirm emphatically our Church’s opposition to the death penalty, a position first officially stated by our General Convention in 1958. Then, and in subsequent statements, the Episcopal Church has based its opposition to the death penalty in our understanding of God’s justice, our regard for the sacredness of human life, our commitment to respect the dignity of every human being, our desire to seek and serve Christ in all persons, and our mission to continue Christ’s work of reconciliation in this world.

More here-

Friday, October 14, 2016

ACC chair sets out his vision for the Communion

From ACNS-

Being proactive, building links and bringing peace to a world in turmoil – those are the main tasks ahead for the Anglican Communion and its leaders, according to the chair of the Anglican Consultative Council, Archbishop Paul Kwong.

Archbishop Paul – the Primate of Hong Kong – is celebrating his first six months in the post. He is the first serving Primate to be elected to the role. Speaking to ACNS, he said it was vital for the Communion to be relevant.

“We are not simply a body of churches,” he said. “We have a mission to do – to serve the world, especially in areas where there is lots of conflict, human trafficking and terrorism.

“It seems to me there is no safe place in the world today. We have to help people find peace in their lives and in their hearts. This is the gospel we have to bring to the world.”

More here-

Broward church volunteer accused of trying to recruit 14-year-old parishioner for sex

From Florida-

The girl rebuffed him and told her family, who reported it to Plantation police, investigators said. Law enforcement took over her email account and set up a cellphone number that the suspect thought belonged to the girl.

After weeks of receiving increasingly graphic messages and photos of his genitals, investigators arrested Taffe on Wednesday morning at a local mall when they said he showed up thinking he was meeting the girl for sex.

Taffe, an insurance broker who lives in Fort Lauderdale and has ties to Iowa, is accused of enticing a child to engage in sexual conduct.

Father Albert Cutie, the internationally well-known parish priest, confirmed Thursday that Taffe was recently ousted from St. Benedict's Episcopal Church in Plantation because of allegations of misconduct.

More here-

Starving in the Pews

From Commonweal-

Give or take, I’ve heard about two thousand sermons. Most are boring, many are dreadful, and some are spiritually harmful. Bad preaching starves the church.

I was raised in a mix of Catholic and Evangelical churches. When I turned 16 and got my license, my parents let me choose. They meant choose between their two churches, but instead I chose to explore the rest of the churches of Denver. (In hindsight I was destined to become a religion professor.) Around south Denver, I heard sermons from Baptists, Methodists, Episcopalians, Mormons, Unitarians, and not a few megachurches. Later I explored further north and heard Ethiopian Orthodox, Black Catholics, Latino Catholics, and the Denver Rescue Mission.

More here-

How Myanmar refugees saved a dying Smyrna church and inspired a movie

From Tennessee-

The true story of how refugees from Myanmar breathed new life into a floundering Episcopal church in Smyrna is being brought to the big screen.

The inspirational drama "All Saints" will star John Corbett of "My Big Fat Greek Wedding" and "Northern Exposure" as well as Cara Buono of "Stranger Things" and "Mad Men," according to Affirm Films and Provident Films, the entities behind the movie. It is inspired by what happened at All Saints' Episcopal Church about a decade ago.

More here-

Thursday, October 13, 2016

Leaked Anglican Church Document Says Marriage Equality “Greatest Ever Threat To Religious Freedom”

From Australia-

The booklet, which was distributed to nearly 1,000 Sydney Anglicans on Tuesday, instructs church members on how to win arguments about marriage equality.

Churchgoers are told to warn friends and family of the negative social consequences of same-sex marriage, which the church claims include widespread adultery, divorce, child marriage, bigamy, polygamy, and women’s bodies becoming “slaves” to commercial surrogacy.

Bishop Michael Stead, chair of the Archbishop’s plebiscite task force, said the booklet is “moderate and reasonable and non-defensive, and not narky or hysterical”.

The booklet criticises both major parties for “only contemplating minimal protection for religious freedom”.

In its proposed legislation on same-sex marriage, the Coalition suggested exemptions for religious ministers and civil celebrants from marrying same-sex couples and exemptions for religious organisations from providing them service. The Labor party says ministers of religion are the only necessary exemption.

More here-

An Anglican-Catholic ecumenical triumph in the Lone Star State

From Crux-

Last week the Archbishop of Canterbury, Justin Welby, attended Vespers with Pope Francis at the church of Saint Gregory in Rome. It’s where Canterbury and Rome meet: the church marks the spot of Pope Saint Gregory’s monastery, from where he sent Saint Augustine to evangelize the English in the sixth century.

The union between Rome and Canterbury was broken about a thousand years later, when King Henry VIII declared himself the head of the Catholic Church in England. Last week’s Vespers in Rome marked 50 years since Archbishop Michael Ramsey’s historic meeting with Pope Paul VI in 1966.

That meeting opened the way to the establishment in 1969 of the Anglican Roman Catholic International Commission (ARCIC) which pursues theological rapprochement between the two churches. Despite the Anglicans imposing “grave obstacles to unity” such as women priests and same-sex marriage, the polite discussions continue, interspersed with formal meetings between popes and archbishops and the occasional non-Eucharistic worship services.

More here-

Leaving Fundamentalism Is Like Moving Away

From Patheos-

Leaving fundamentalism is a lot like moving to a brand new (to you) area of the country.

You are going somewhere where the accents are different. Where they say soda instead of pop, and where instead of a steady jet stream that goes from west to east, the weather literally comes in any of the 4 directions.

You leave fundamentalism, so you think, but you find yourself being fundamental, well, about not being fundamental.

You have a lifetime of learned behavior and thought processes and it is as hard to get rid of them as it is to remember the call letters for your new local news station. I’ve actually made 2 significant moves in the last 3 years and the call letters I know by heart are WOOD, WZZM, and WAVY. None of which are my current TV stations. I have no idea the numerical numbers for any of my local channels, except for knowing that 29 is NBC. And yet I can still tell you that for 30 years, NBC was 16, CBS was 22, ABC was 28, FOX was 32, and the Christian station was 46 (home of Joy Junction, Circle Square, Gospel Bill, and Jimmy Swaggert).

More here-

Wednesday, October 12, 2016

If Donald Trump has done anything, he has snuffed out the Religious Right

From The Washington Post-

Donald Trump once bragged to radio shock-jock Howard Stern about walking through the dressing rooms of his beauty pageants while contestants were getting dressed. He could do it, he suggested, because he owned the place.

This year, religious conservatism stands naked and exposed before the world, while Trump smugly surveys what he has come to own.

Journalist Mark Halperin noted this weekend that virtually all of the “reaffirmation of support” for Trump, following the disclosure of his sexually predatory recorded comments, were from religious conservative leaders. This is a scandal and a disgrace, but it should not be a surprise.

More here-

Same-sex marriage: Anglican Church leaders accuse Sydney Archbishop of silencing supporters

From Australia-

In the wake of the likely failure of the plebiscite bill, a group of 68 priests and church leaders across Australia have signed a petition urging the Archbishop of Sydney to allow "free and open debate" about same-sex marriage within his church.

The move — unprecedented within the Anglican church — comes after the Sydney Archbishop, Glenn Davies, refused to renew the licence of a Sydney priest, Keith Mascord, due to theological differences, particularly his support for same-sex marriage.

Reverend Mascord was offered the opportunity to continue to minister to his own congregation at Dulwich Hill, with the proviso that he not preach in favour of same-sex marriage — he refused.

More here-

Pastors Arrested And Churches Set For Demolition As Persecution Increases In Sudan

From Christian Today-

Six Christians were jailed in Sudan last week for refusing to hand over church property to the government, persecution charity Open Doors reports.

The three pastors and three church members were arrested and briefly detained on 6 October in the town of Wad Medani when they refused to hand over a school run by their evangelical church.

"While in custody, they were questioned by police over the reasons for disobeying the orders. They were released on bail later the same day. It is not clear if further legal action is planned," a source told Open Doors.

Five other churches – three belonging to the Sudan Church of Christ, one to the Presbyterian Church and the other to the Episcopal Church – have been told their buildings will be demolished.

Open Doors' source said officials told churches "their land had been assigned for investment".

More here-

Study ranks incomes of religious groups

From Baptist News-

Compared to Episcopalians and Presbyterians, Baptists store more of their treasure in heaven than on earth, according to a new comparison of household incomes of U.S. religious groups by the Pew Research Center.

The analysis of Pew’s 2014 Religious Landscape Study found highest incomes among Jewish and Hindu religions and the lowest for Jehovah’s Witnesses.

Historically black denominations such as the National Baptist Convention and the Church of God in Christ rank near the bottom of the list with 9 percent of members earning $100,000 or more and nearly half less than $30,000.

More than half (53 percent) in American Baptist Churches USA, one of the most ethnically diverse religious bodies, have annual incomes below $30,000 while fewer than one in 10 (9 percent) pull down more than $100,000 a year.

More here-

Survivors of abuse 'heartened,' 'ecstatic' after action against ex-St. George's chaplain

 From Rhode Island-

The Episcopal Church issued "the most severe penalty" possible against Howard W. "Howdy" White Jr. when it removed him from the priesthood Monday, nearly 50 years after he was ordained.

Every diocesan bishop within the Episcopal Church — here and abroad — will be notified Wednesday.

White, 75, former associate chaplain at St. George's School, is one of six former staff or faculty members accused in the sex-abuse scandal that has rocked the elite Middletown prep school since last December.

White remains under criminal investigation in North Carolina, based on two allegations of sexual abuse in the mid-1980s. White could not be reached for comment Monday or Tuesday in Bedford, Pennsylvania, where he lives.

More here-

and The Boston Globe-

and NPR

Tuesday, October 11, 2016

Tutu wants choice of assisted death

From Health 24-

South African retired Anglican archbishop and anti-apartheid icon Desmond Tutu celebrated his 85th birthday on Friday, saying he would like to be allowed the option of dignified assisted death.

Treated with compassion

"Today, I myself am even closer to the departures hall than arrivals, so to speak, and my thoughts turn to how I would like to be treated when the time comes," Tutu wrote in an op-ed published in The Washington Post.

"I have prepared for my death and have made it clear that I do not wish to be kept alive at all costs," said Tutu, who was discharged from hospital late last month.

More here-

Catholics, Anglicans walk the talk as they seek unity

From Crux-

If Christians are called to live their faith concretely, then they cannot leave out concrete signs of the unity to which Jesus calls them, both Anglican and Catholic leaders say.

And just because the formal Anglican-Roman Catholic theological dialogue has been forced to grapple with new church-dividing attitudes toward issues such as the ordination of women and the blessing of same-sex marriages, it does not mean that common prayer led by Anglican and Catholic leaders and concrete collaboration by Catholic and Anglican parishes are simply window dressing.

Dozens of Catholic and Anglican bishops and several hundred priests and laity from both communities gathered in Rome in early October to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the Vatican meeting of Blessed Paul VI and Anglican Archbishop Michael Ramsey of Canterbury, almost 50 years of formal theological dialogue through the Anglican-Roman Catholic International Commission (known as ARCIC) and the 50th anniversary of the Anglican Center in Rome.

More here-

Episcopal Church province inaugurated in W. Equatoria state

From Sudan-

The Arch-bishop of the Episcopal Church of South Sudan has inaugurated the new internal province and it’s Archbishop in Yambio in charge of Western Equatoria state.

Adressing the press after the elections were concluded, Daniel Deng Bol said Peter Munde Yakob, the former Diocesan Bishop of Yambio diocese was unanimously elected to be the Arch-bishop for the new created internal province of Western Equatoria, which comprises of Bar-el-Oro, Maridi, Ibba, Yambio Nzara and Ezo dioceses.

Deng stated that during the 2011 provincial meeting in Juba, the committee resolved that there should be internal provinces in South Sudan and Sudan in order to easy work load from the overall Arch-bishop who is based in Juba.

10 members from each diocese converged in Yambio to be voted during the election.

More here-

Churched Philosophy

From American Magazine-

Contemporary philosophy has a problem. No one outside the philosophical tribe seems to be listening.

The most abstract of the humanities, philosophy grows ever more marginal in academe. As core curricula are eviscerated in favor of STEM instruction, philosophers often find themselves confined to teaching applied ethics—when they find themselves teaching at all. The raising of philosophy’s perennial questions and the study of its classical texts have become a luxury reserved for a few elite colleges. The discipline’s hyper-specialization has not helped it find a broader public. A recent philosophy conference I attended featured such tantalizing topics as “Causal Models and the Ambiguity of Counterfactuals.”

More here-

Marray welcomed to the Episcopal Diocese of Easton

From Easton-

The Episcopal Diocese of Easton will formally welcome its 11th bishop, the Rt. Rev. Santosh K. Marray, at a service of recognition and investiture at 11 a.m. Saturday, Oct. 15, at the Todd Performing Arts Center at Chesapeake College, Wye Mills. The Most Rev. Michael B. Curry, presiding bishop of the Episcopal Church, will be the celebrant.

The Rt. Rev. Santosh K. Marray, 58, most recently served as the assistant bishop of the Diocese of Alabama. He was the bishop assisting of the Diocese of East Carolina from 2009 to 2012. From 2005 to 2008, he was the bishop of Seychelles, province of the Indian Ocean, and led the diocese through re-imagination, change and clergy and laity empowerment. When the diocese returned to sustainability, he returned to his family in the US.

More here-

Monday, October 10, 2016

Roger Herft stands aside as Anglican Archbishop of Perth to 'focus' on sex abuse royal commission

From Australia (ABC)-

In a letter to parishioners, Archbishop Herft said he would stand aside with immediate effect, to "focus my attention on the royal commission's ongoing inquiry into the Diocese of Newcastle".

The Archbishop gave evidence at the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse in August.

He finished his testimony with an apology to the people of Newcastle, where he served as bishop between 1993 and 2005.

He said he would stand aside from all duties including ordinations, pastoral visits, public functions, correspondence and related engagements.

"I have taken this decision after much prayer, thought and consultation with my advisors to allow for the mission and ministry of the Diocese of Perth to flourish," he wrote.

More here-

Full letter here-

From WA-

From Yahoo News-

And here-

An Anglican priest’s glamorised hypocrisy

From Nigeria-

Now to the priest: I tried to fathom why Chinamerem left Imo to come trouble shoot in Anambra. Is he a native of Anambra? He must be careful not to be termed busybody and meddlesome interloper, to quote a judge, or be accused, like Mbaka, of harbouring political motives. Douglas Road in Anambra state cannot be the only dirty road in the whole of the South-east. Is the priest saying there are no dirty roads or refuse dumps in Imo state where he is based? Number Two: He claimed to be drawing attention to the dirty habit or lifestyle of the people – which is right – but did it not also occur to him that popping champagne and settling down right under the refuse to enjoy his drink was also a dirty habit? It was loathsome – an eyesore – seeing him enjoy a drink under such condition. Number three: He took umbrage against government; market women association, community groups, and vigilante groups in the area. Why, he asked, did they not take up the challenge when it appeared government had shirked its responsibility? Good question, but the same question also applies to the priest – why did he not take up the responsibility of clearing the refuse instead of simply drawing attention to it and using it to launch himself into the limelight?

More here-

Analysis: Will Faith Decide the 2016 Election?

From NBC-

Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump will square off at Washington University in St. Louis for their second presidential debate and while the topic of faith and religion was neglected during the pair's first encounter, it is possible that the conversation may go beyond generic statements about the significance of the Black church, and engage the issues of faith and belief.

Many pundits, writers and political strategists are convinced the African American community will determine the next President of the United States and that faith will play an important role in their decision-making.

Faith has been at the core of survival for the black community and for Robert M. Franklin, professor in Moral Leadership at Candler School of Theology in Atlanta, GA, faith should continue to be such a driving force.

More here-

Political climate subject to interpretation

From Massachusetts-

Once upon a time, when I was a fraternity pledge, one of the brothers came up to a group of us and demanded to know the lyrics to the song Louie, Louie. We had one hour to present them. Or else…well I don’t know what, but something bad.

Now, if you know this 1960’s-era classic by The Kingsmen, which has been played by every garage band that ever played in a fraternity basement, you know that the lyrics are unintelligible. I mean, nobody has any idea what they say beyond “Louie, Louie” and “we gotta go” and “yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah.” The rest is pure mystery.

More here-

S. Sudan bishop named adviser for Anglican Communion affairs

From Sudan-

The Archbishop of Canterbury, Justin Welby has appointed the bishop of Kajo-Keji Diocese in South Sudan, Rt. Rev. Anthony Poggo as his new adviser for Anglican Communion affairs.

“I am absolutely delighted that Bishop Anthony is joining the team at Lambeth,” Welby told Episcopal News Service (ENS).

“He brings the experience of his ministry in one of the most challenging provinces in the Anglican Communion where he has faithfully served the church as a pastor and teacher,” he added.

Throughout his ministry, Poggo has reportedly been engaged with the profound issues, which many parts of the Communion face, where famine, war, and violent ethnic tensions destabilise society and leave whole communities living in poverty.

More here-

Sunday, October 9, 2016

NZ Anglican and Roman Catholic bishops at historical gathering at the Vatican

From New Zealand-

Thirty-six Anglican and Roman Catholic bishops are gathering at the Vatican for a meeting with Pope Francis, and Archbishop of Canterbury, Archbishop Justin Welby in which the bishops were commissioned to go out continue to grow their collaboration.

The bishops represent 19 different regions where Anglicans and Catholics live side by side in significant number. New Zealand was represented by Bishop Ross Bay, Anglican bishop of Auckland and Cardinal John Dew, Roman Catholic Archbishop of Wellington.

The purpose of the meeting, which is in two parts, first in Canterbury and then in Rome, is to discover new ways for Catholics and Anglicans can give greater witness to their common faith, and particularly how they can collaborate in mission to the world.

More here-

Episcopal Bishop Defends Nude, Female Jesus as ‘Object of Devotion’

From Breitbart-

The Episcopal Cathedral Church of St. John the Divine in New York is exhibiting a naked, feminized statue of Christ’s crucified body, which the bishop has defended as an appropriate work to hang “over our altar.”

“In an evolving, growing, learning church,” Andrew M. L. Dietsche, the bishop of the Episcopal Diocese of New York, wrote in a booklet accompanying the exhibit, “We may be ready to see ‘Christa’ not only as a work of art but as an object of devotion, over our altar, with all of the challenges that may come with that for many visitors to the cathedral, or indeed, perhaps for all of us.”

The bronze statue, named “Christa” by its creator, British artist Edwina Sandys, had briefly been exposed in the Cathedral Church in 1984, but was soon removed after the church received a wave of complaints. It is now installed on the altar in the Chapel of St. Saviour, one of seven chapels in the ambulatory behind the choir.

More here-