Saturday, October 29, 2016

Church of England loses more than 100,000 worshipers in a decade

From The Independent-

The Church of England has lost more than 100,000 worshippers in the last decade, new figures have shown.

Attendance has now reached a nadir, having fallen an average of one per cent every year and 11 per cent since 2005.

However, Christmas and Easter see a spike in the numbers of people going to church.

It continues a trend which has seen CofE attendance, and people who identify as Anglican, drop consistently since the 1960s.

Attendance at Sunday services in 2015 was 752,460, compared to 875,000 in 2005, a fall of 12 per cent in ten years.

More here-

Church panel won't dismiss charges against bishop who tired to sell Newport Beach chapel

From Orange County-

A hearing panel of the national Episcopal Church in Chicago on Friday denied a motion filed by the Episcopal Bishop of Los Angeles, J. Jon Bruno, to dismiss misconduct charges filed against him by a Newport Beach congregation that has been left without a home after the bishop sold the church building to a developer and locked out members.

The five-member panel consisting of three bishops, a priest and a layperson also set March 28-30 as dates for a disciplinary hearing to be held against Bruno in Los Angeles.

Robert Williams, spokesman for the Episcopal Diocese of Los Angeles, declined to comment “since both civil litigation and canonical proceedings continue in these matters.”

The 71-year-old St. James the Great congregation has been locked out of the property since July 2015, even after the planned sale to the developer, who wanted to build 22 luxury townhomes where the 40,000-square-foot church building stands on Via Lido, fell through.

More here-

First African-American woman elected diocesan bishop

From ENS-

The Rev. Jennifer Baskerville-Burrows was elected 11th bishop of the Episcopal Diocese of Indianapolis on the second ballot Oct. 28 at Christ Church Cathedral Indianapolis.

Baskerville-Burrows, 50, is the first African-American woman elected to be a diocesan bishop in the Episcopal Church.

She was elected with 67 votes in the clergy order and 82 in the lay order.

Her election culminated a nearly two-year discernment and search process by the diocese at the 179th diocesan convention. The Rt. Rev. Catherine M. Waynick plans to retire in the spring of 2017.

More here-

Friday, October 28, 2016

Choosing to proclaim our faith to the next generation

From Atlanta-

Samuel Taylor Coleridge was an English poet, literary critic and philosopher who, together with his friend William Wordsworth, was a founder of the Romantic Movement in England. His literary works greatly influenced both English and American literature in the beginning of the 19th century.

The son of the well-respected Rev. John Coleridge, Samuel became known in the Victorian period as one of the most important apologists for the liberal Anglican point of view. Although Coleridge himself struggled with his faith throughout his life, he deemed religious heritage a crucial part of a child’s upbringing.

A story is told about Coleridge’s encounter with a man who argued that children should not be given any religious training, but rather, should be brought up free to choose their own faith. Instead of arguing against his friend’s point of view, Coleridge decided to express his opinion with a powerful visual.

He invited the man for a stroll around his garden.

More here-

Church of England loses one in seven Sunday worshippers

From The Daily Mail-

The number of worshippers at Church of England Sunday services has dropped by 14 per cent in ten years.

Yesterday’s figures confirm a steep decline in the ranks of the Anglican faithful at a time when evidence shows an accelerating fall in Christian belief in the country as a whole.

Sunday attendance, by which the CofE has long measured its congregations, fell to 752,460 in 2015, down from 764,000 in 2014 and around 875,000 in 2005.

he figure dropped below a million in the late 1990s, prompting the Church to stop publishing it for a period, and is now less than half the numbers of the late 1960s. As well as the loss of one in seven members of Sunday congregations in a decade, there was an 18 per cent drop in the number of weddings in CofE churches, a 28 per cent drop in funerals and an 11 per cent fall in baptisms. Even the most popular services, at Easter and Christmas, showed a fall of 13 per cent and 14 per cent in attendance between 2005 and 2015.

More here-

South Sudan leaders seek pope’s support as they work for peace

From CatholicPhilly-

In a newly independent nation where more than 70 percent of the population is Christian, leaders of the Christian churches are indignant about the violence raging around them.

Yet the South Sudan Christian leaders said they are certain that by working together, they can convince their people that dialogue, reconciliation and cooperation are the only paths to the peace and prosperity the South Sudanese have struggled so long to obtain.

In a sign that he agrees, Pope Francis invited Catholic Archbishop Paulino Lukudu Loro of Juba, Episcopal Archbishop Daniel Deng Bul Yak of South Sudan and Sudan and the Rev. Peter Gai Lual Marrow, moderator of the Presbyterian Church of South Sudan, to the Vatican Oct. 27.

More here-

Making evangelism the main thing, not an optional extra

From The Church Times-

THE Archbishop of Canterbury’s adviser for evangelism and witness, the Revd Chris Russell, deplores the attitude to evangelism entertainingly shown in the BBC TV sit-com, Rev. In that popular series, the Revd Roland Wise was seen talking another priest through the “IED” course: “Invade. Evangelise. Deliver.” This approach, says Mr Russell, is not endorsed by Lambeth Palace.

“Evangelism is not about techniques,” he says. “It is not a marketing ploy.”

Evangelism may be an important strand of Renewal and Reform, but many members of the Archbishops’ Evangelism Task Force, agree emphatically that it is not motivated by anxiety about numbers. “It is a commitment you have because you are the Church of Jesus Christ, not because you are worried about the future, or who is going to pay for the roof, Mr Russell says.” What matters is that “people do not know Jesus Christ.”

More here-

Bishop of Egypt calls for prayer and advocacy after “hostile takeover”

From ACNS-

The Bishop of Egypt, Dr Mouneer Anis, has called on Anglicans to pray and advocate with their local Egyptian consulates and embassies after a court ruling effectively subsumed the diocese into a separate denominational body. Dr Anis, who is also the Archbishop of the Province of Jerusalem and the Middle East, told ACNS that the Evangelical Church Association (ECA) has been laying claim to the Anglican Episcopal Diocese of Egypt for several years. Now, after a 14-year legal battle, a court has ruled that the Anglican Church in Egypt belongs to the ECA and can only be represented by the ECA President.

“This preposterous claim did not just stop there,” Dr Anis said. “They further claimed that they can take possession of all of the Episcopal/Anglican Church properties as their own. They are now forcing us to take their approval before we notarise any document in the government. Moreover, we need to receive the approval of the ECA before we ask immigration to grant or renew visas to our workers. This is causing us a great deal of trouble.”

More here-

Also here-

Cathedral Criticized for Honoring Confederate Generals in Windows

From D.C.-

Officials at the Washington National Cathedral are facing calls to remove stained-glass windows with the images of Confederate generals Robert E. Lee and Stonewall Jackson.

The Episcopal cathedral – the sixth largest in the world and second biggest in the United States – already removed stained-glass panes depicting the Confederal flag – but is embroiled in a debate on whether to follow suit with the 63-year-old windows that honor the Confederate icons.

More here-

Thursday, October 27, 2016

Power of prayer in an age of skepticism

From California-

A popular hashtag on Twitter starts with #prayfor, followed by the place of a major tragedy, such as #prayforNice or #prayforOrlando. In politics, Hillary Clinton often tweets about praying after such tragedies while Donald Trump has welcomed prayers from church leaders. In the United States, meanwhile, major media have begun to take note of the high number of prayer services held in religious institutions, especially after such tragedies.

At a time of a decline in church attendance, why is prayer still so prominent in the public square?

One reason, suggests a nationwide survey by the nonpartisan Barna Group, is that a majority of American adults — 66 per cent — believe that God can heal. Even more people (68 per cent) have prayed for God to heal someone. And more than a quarter of American adults have experienced healing through prayer.

More here-

Anglican Church to Buhari: Do something about Nigerians’ suffering

From Nigeria-

The Anglican Church, Ijumu Diocese, in Kogi State, has called on the Federal Government to stop paying lip service and show sincere commitment to its promises to diversify the economy through agriculture.

In a communique issued at the end of its Third Synod at Ayere, in Ijumu Local Government Area of the state, by the President of the Synod, Rt. Rev Ezekiel Ikupolati, the church said that despite the smooth change of government, Nigerians were still suffering. 

The synod also decried the alarming rate of graduates and skilled unemployed youths roaming the streets, with little or no efforts to tackle the situation by government. It urged government at all levels to take concrete measures to arrest the situation.

Read more at:

Standing Rock asks for federal probe of law-enforcement tactics

From ENS-

The U.S. Justice Department is monitoring the handling of the Dakota Access Pipeline project to “facilitate communication, defuse tensions, support peaceful protests, and maintain public safety.”
That Oct. 25 statement was emailed to Bismarck, North Dakota, television station KFYR hours after Standing Rocking Sioux Nation Tribal Chair Dave Archambault II asked U.S. Attorney General Loretta Lynch to investigate “potential civil rights violations” involving law enforcement’s response to the continuing opposition to the pipeline’s construction.

When contacted by KFYR, Justice Department spokesman Wyn Hornbuckle also told the television station that the department “will not authorize constructing the Dakota Access Pipeline on Corps land bordering or under Lake Oahe” while the Army Corps of Engineers reviews issues raised by the Standing Rock Sioux and other tribal nations. He added that in the interim the departments of the Army, Interior and Justice “have reiterated our request that the pipeline company voluntarily pause all construction activity within 20 miles east or west of Lake Oahe.”

More here-

Breakaway Diocese Still Waiting for Decision in $500 Million Episcopal Church Property Dispute

From Christian Post-

A diocese that broke away from The Episcopal Church over theological differences and purported mistreatment of its bishop has been waiting more than a year for a decision regarding the lawsuit over who rightfully owns approximately $500 million in church properties.

In September 2015, the South Carolina Supreme Court heard oral arguments between the Episcopal Diocese of South Carolina and parties representing The Episcopal Church and its loyal members, known as the Episcopal Church in South Carolina.

As of Wednesday, the highest state court has still not released a decision as to which party rightly owns the dozens of church buildings as well as the trademarked diocesan name and seal.

Joy Hunter, director of communications for the South Carolina Diocese, told The Christian Post that the diocesan leadership did not expect such a long wait for the decision.

More here-

Wednesday, October 26, 2016

Second Coming Of Christ Scheduled For Game 7 Of Cubs-Indians World Series

This Just In-

HEAVEN—In a stunning leak Monday, sources in heaven claimed to have “reliable information” that the triumphant return of Jesus Christ will occur one week from Wednesday, during a deciding Game 7 of the World Series between the Cleveland Indians and the Chicago Cubs.

Claiming that it’s “definitely happening,” sources added that the Second Coming will take place during the final inning, as one of the teams comes agonizingly close to winning the World Series.

More here-

Don’t give up hope, archbishop tells Iringa residents

From Tanzania-

RETIRED Anglican Church Archbishop Donald Mtetemela ha
s urged Tanzanians not to be hopeless when they encounter challenges in their lives.

He made the call yesterday when launching Karadha loan scheme implemented by Mama Bahati Foundation in Iringa where he urged Tanzanians to tackle emerging challenges without fear.

He appealed to people to be innovative in order to realise their lifetime dreams, saying loans by the Bahati Foundation in collaboration with other organizations such as Swiss Contact, have to be used productively to combat poverty.

“The loans will only be beneficial if you will use them productively. I also urge you to be honest to your lenders and customers, especially to make timely repayment of the loans” he insisted.

More here-

Episcopal Diocese of CNY To Ordain First Female Bishop

From Central New York-

Reverend DeDe Duncan-Probe remembers going to church with her family when she was young, absorbing as much as she could from each service.

"I would sit in the pews as a small child and take in this thing that was happening around me. Over time, I began to put words into that experience of a relationship with God and relationship with other people," she said.

Duncan-Probe was ordained as a deacon in 2003.

Thirteen years later, she was selected as the first female bishop of Central New York's Episcopal diocese.

Duncan-Probe visited Watertown's Trinity Episcopal Church on Tuesday.

She spent time with parishioners and leaders of smaller congregations.

"It's a good opportunity for our bishop-elect to visit the north country. We need to get to know her better, she needs to get to know us better," said Daphne Sterling of Trinity Episcopal Church.

More here-

Tuesday, October 25, 2016


From The Living Church-

The “missional community” movement has been gaining steam in several areas of the Episcopal Church, and it’s not just another rhetorical strategy aimed at motivating parishes and their leaders to engage in evangelism and grow their churches.

The missional community contrasts itself directly and emphatically with “attractional churches”: ministries that through their programs attempt to attract people to come to a fixed campus and the buildings thereon for worship, formation, and fellowship (i.e., parish churches as they exist today). We are told that this cultural moment is so epochal, so radically transformative, that the parish church and the sacramental life that sustains it are living on borrowed time — dead men walking, as it were — and a new way of “being church” is required if there will be any Christian witness in the Digital Age West. New staff, reallocated financial resources, and spent political capital are inaugurating and supporting the missional community as the future of the Church, not just in the Episcopal Church, but also in the Church of England and elsewhere.

But I think this approach to ministry will not be able to deliver on its nearly messianic promises because it fails on multiple levels: descriptive, functional, and theological.

More here-

Napier priest wins fights with church after being stood down for adultery

From New Zealand-

A Napier priest who was stood down for having two affairs 25 years ago has won his job battle against the Anglican Church.

Dean of Waiapu Michael Godfrey was stood down from priestly duties by the Bishop of Waiapu, Andrew Hedge, in May 2016.

Hedge claimed Godfrey had not disclosed to the church that he had the two affairs, one of which was with an 18-year-old woman, while serving as a priest in Australia in 1991.

Godfrey argued the affairs, which lasted 10 days, were disclosed to his bishop in Australia at the time. Both his former and current wives already knew of the adultery before he was stood down. 

More here-

Anglican Church To Buhari: Nigerians Are Suffering, Act Fast

From Nigeria-

The Anglican Church, Ijumu Diocese in Kogi State has called on the Federal government to stop paying lip service to development and show sincere commitment to its promises to diversify economy, boost agriculture and provide modern tools that will make working enjoyable and easy.

The church stated this in a communique issued at the end of her third synod session held at Ayere in Ijumu Local government area of the state, with the theme; “I will build my church”.

The communique signed by the President of the synod, Rt Rev (Dr) Ezekiel Ikupolati said despite the smooth change of government and no frustration from the oppositions parties to the President Muhammed Buhari led federal Government, the average Nigerians are still suffering.

More here-

No more spreading of ashes for Catholics

From News Cut-

It might be a bit more difficult to be a good Catholic if you’ve dreamed of having your cremated remains scattered to the wind in some idyllic location.

The Vatican today released new rules on cremation. No scattering remains. No keeping ashes in private homes.

Here’s the full English translation of the new instruction:

Instruction Ad resurgendum cum Christo regarding the burial of the deceased and the conservation of the ashes in the case of cremation

1. To rise with Christ, we must die with Christ: we must “be away from the body and at home with the Lord” (2 Cor 5:8). With the Instruction Piam et Constantem of 5 July 1963, the then Holy Office established that “all necessary measures must be taken to preserve the practice of reverently burying the faithful departed”, adding however that cremation is not “opposed per se to the Christian religion” and that no longer should the sacraments and funeral rites be denied to those who have asked that they be cremated, under the condition that this choice has not been made through “a denial of Christian dogmas, the animosity of a secret society, or hatred of the Catholic religion and the Church”. Later this change in ecclesiastical discipline was incorporated into the Code of Canon Law (1983) and the Code of Canons of Oriental Churches (1990).

More here-

Monday, October 24, 2016

Fetters & freedom (Thomas Merton)

From New Criterion-

Every year, thousands of people travel, as I did recently, to the Abbey of Our Lady of Gethsemani, a monastery set in the rolling hills of Kentucky, to immerse themselves in a world wholly at odds with modern life. The visitors are not all Christians, nor even religiously inclined, but many come and stay for days hoping to adopt, if only for a brief stretch of time, the contemplative way of life that has attracted monks to monasteries for thousands of years—a life defined by silence, constraint, and meditation.

The monks at Gethsemani belong to the Order of Cistercians of the Strict Observance, a monastic community known for the rigor of its contemplative way of life. Trappists, as they are called, remain silent, speaking only when necessary. They fast regularly and are constantly engaged in prayer and meditation, whether in church where they pray the seven offices of the Liturgy of the Hours each day, or in their cells reading scripture, or in the fields where they work.

More here-

First female Dean of Lincoln vows to make cathedral welcome place for all faiths

From The UK.

People came from far and wide to witness the installation of the first female Dean of Lincoln at the city’s iconic cathedral.

Christine Wilson, 58, the previous Archdeacon of Chesterfield since 2010, was installed as the 84th Dean of Lincoln at a service in the cathedral on October 22.

She vowed to make the cathedral a welcoming place for people of all faiths, and used her first sermon to preach about how iconic the building is and what it stands for in the wider community.

Opening with ‘Sing joyfully unto God’ by William Byrd, the congregation were jubilant in the nave of the historic building.

The entrance of the procession brought the College of Canons, other clergy from the diocese and dignitaries into their seats.

More here-

Buffalo Clergy supports detained workers

From Buffalo-

 Members of clergy in Buffalo announced Sunday they will provide support and shelter to workers detained last week after a federal raid of several Western New York Mexican restaurants.

The announcement was made at Trinity Episcopal Church on Delaware Avenue.

Representatives from multiple Buffalo churches said some of the workers are set to appear in immigration court this Tuesday. Their families may be at risk of being "torn apart," according to Drew Ludwig, the pastor of Lafayette Avenue Presbyterian Church. Children could be placed in foster care or social services.

"What we see is these are good, honest people who are trying to do the best for themselves and their families," Ludwig said. "And I do want to emphasize-- these are families that are tied up in this. Stable, together family units."

More here-

Historic Trinity Church Wall Street Unveils Plans for New Tower Space

From The Wall Street Journal-

Trinity Church has revealed its design for a building to house its new parish center and commercial office space behind the 19th-century Episcopal church.

Trinity Church Wall Street officials unveiled the designs over the weekend for the estimated $300 million project, capping almost two years of discussions and outreach for ideas that involved church members and the broader downtown Manhattan community. The plans call for a new tower with a facade of glass and bronze-colored aluminum and 26 floors that can be occupied rising at 74 Trinity Pl.

“The design itself is like the process we used to design it,” said the Rev. Dr. William Lupfer, Rector of Trinity Church, referring to the new building. “We wanted people to see in and feel the vitality and welcome.”

More here-

Sunday, October 23, 2016

Anglican Bishop of Wellington Justin Duckworth: 'It's not hard to go and meet your neighbour'

From New Zealand-

Justin Duckworth is a bishop without a bible. The leader of Wellington's Anglican Church uses a smartphone app instead.

But before God's word went digital, Duckworth owned a treasured tome, inscribed with years of musings of a young theology student on a path to ordination.

Decades ago, a light fingered youth uplifted the bag in which Duckworth had stashed his Good Book. The thief biffed the lot in the Hutt River. Duckworth chuckles at the memory.

"They had no idea of the value. They just threw it away to get rid of it. But for me it was like, "You've got to be kidding me. Couldn't you have just left it, or put it somewhere else?'"

More here-


From The Tablet-

Pope Francis has urged bishops to carefully vet who they ordain as priests so they ensure the world is served by “mature and balanced” clergy.

“When it comes to vocations to the priesthood and those entering the seminary, I beg you to discern the truth, to have a shrewd and cautious look,” Francis told a Vatican conference on vocations this week, adding that this discernment should be done without “shallowness or superficiality.”

He went on: "especially to my brother bishops, I say: vigilance and prudence. The Church and the world need mature and balanced priests, pastors who are intrepid and generous, capable of closeness, listening and mercy.”

The Pope has previously told bishops to focus less on the numbers of vocations but the “quality” of the men coming forward, and he has called for the next synod of bishops in 2018 to be focussed on vocational discernment and young people.

Before then, however, the Congregation for Clergy - the body which organised the conference which the Pope spoke at this week - are to release a major document on seminary formation. This has been prepared by Mexican Archbishop Jorge Patron Wong whom the Pope gave responsibility for seminaries urging him to undertake an overhaul of the system. 

More here-

Episcopal Church Executive Council stands with Standing Rock

From ENS-

The Episcopal Church’s Executive Council asked Oct. 22 that law-enforcement officials “de-escalate military and police provocation in and near the campsites of peaceful protest and witness of the Dakota Access Pipeline project.”

The request came in a resolution council passed as it wrapped up its three-day meeting here. A summary of resolutions council passed is here.

Council’s resolution on the Dakota pipeline protest follows support by Presiding Bishop Michael Curry both in words and his presence with the protestors.

The Rev. John Floberg, council member and supervising priest of the Episcopal churches on the North Dakota side of Standing Rock, told the council’s Joint Standing Committee on Advocacy and Networking for Mission Oct. 21 that the way the protest has been conducted has been “the most powerful experience I have had in my 25 years on Standing Rock.” And, yet, he said, he has been shaken by the racist responses that the protest has generated elsewhere in the state.

More here-