Saturday, November 12, 2016

Bishop's Wife Revered Among One Christian Community Well after Her Death

From CBN-

A woman who took a bullet to save the life of her husband during the 1979 Iranian Revolution, is an inspiration even after her death.

Margaret Dehqani-Tafti is now buried beside her husband Bishop Hassan Dehqani-Tafti on the grounds of Winchester Cathedral. She was 85-years-old. She died in October but persecuted Christians are still talking about her and remembering her example.

Margaret met her husband, an Iranian-born Muslim who later converted to Christianity, while working as an interpreter in the Imperial Iranian Army between 1943-1945.

The UK native married Hassan in 1952 after he spent two years in the UK training for ordination.

Hassan later became the first Persian-born Anglican Bishop of Iran, but his new position only endangered his family to the rising hostility in Iran during the 1979 revolution.

More here-

Nigerian Christians facing crisis largely unrecognized by the West, says Anglican archbishop

From Christian Daily-

Christians in Nigeria are facing a humanitarian crisis due to the severity of persecution, but only a few in the West give their attention to this situation, according to Anglican archbishop Benjamin Kwashi from northern Nigeria.

During the recent Speak Freedom Dallas Summit held at the Dallas Baptist University, Archbishop Kwashi urged the audience to speak for those who are unable to do so. He highlighted Western media's tendency to contain a report on violence in Nigeria within the term "clash" instead of outright calling it a massacre, The Baptist Standard relays.

"We must speak on behalf of the voiceless. I have lost pastors. I have lost friends," said Archbishop Kwashi. "The injustice facing Christians in northern Nigeria is unbelievable."

Kwashi questioned the labeling of these violent incidents as a clash between Muslims and Christians. He pointed out that the victims in these incidents were murdered in their sleep, which makes it a massacre.

More here-

Hundreds of clergy gather in North Dakota to back indigenous people blocking pipeline

From Christian Century-

When John Floberg, an Episcopal priest on Standing Rock Reservation, called for clergy to join him less than a week later in Cannonball, North Dakota, he thought 100 might come.

Instead, more than 500 clergy from around the world came to show their support for the Standing Rock Sioux Nation’s efforts to protect land and resources they say are at risk from construction of the Dakota Access Pipeline. They gathered November 2 and 3 at the Oceti Sakowin camp on the shores of the Cannonball River, which bears the proper name of the Sioux people, one of several camps the Standing Rock Sioux and supporters have set up.

“The invitation of the Standing Rock Sioux tribe—the people here, the people who have been here for weeks and months—that’s how it came to be that God called us together,” Floberg said at the introductory gathering.

Emphasizing the interfaith and ecumenical nature of the show of support, Floberg encouraged everyone to authentically represent their faith traditions even as he acknowledged the “overwhelming” presence of Christian clergy. The next day the group processed to Backwater Bridge, where 141 people were arrested while blocking construction in late October.

More here-


From The University of Southern California-

Let’s get the boring stuff out of the way first. From what I’ve seen, conservative religious responses to the election of Donald Trump have mostly been along the lines of, “Congratulations, praying for you, looking forward to outlawing abortion, also undoing marriage equality, and oh yeah, religious freedom is really important.” Archbishop Joseph Kurtz of Louisville, president of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, at least threw in a caution that Catholics weren’t down for anti-immigrant legislation: “We are firm in our resolve that our brothers and sisters who are migrants and refugees can be humanely welcomed without sacrificing our security.”

Perhaps the most interesting conservative reaction came from Samuel Rodriguez of the National Hispanic Christian Leadership Conference: “We must continue the fight to reconcile (the Rev.) Billy Graham’s message of righteousness with (the Rev.) Dr. Martin Luther King’s march for justice.” With Rodriguez, who the hell knows what that actually means, but it at least sounds like they’re not giving up on the fight for immigrant rights.

More here-

Doors close on historic Luverne church; hope remains for house of worship

From Minnesota-

Standing on a solid foundation at the corner of North Cedar and East Luverne streets in the city of Luverne is the Holy Trinity Episcopal Church. Built in 1891 of Sioux quartzite harvested from the Blue Mounds just north of town, this beautiful beacon has beckoned parishioners for 125 years. It’s the oldest standing church in Luverne, and the only church in Rock County to be listed on the National Register of Historic Places.

Today, with just three members left in the congregation, the diocese is offering the church for sale. It wasn’t an easy decision, but one the parishioners made after many months and much thought.

“It’s been something that’s been weighing on our hearts and our minds for a long time,” said parishioner Roni Feit. The St. Paul-based diocese had encouraged Roni, her husband Lowell and a third parishioner, Bob DeYong, to consider the church’s closure.

“There were a lot of tears — a lot of praying,” Roni said.

More here-

R.I. Episcopal bishop seeks to quell political rancor

From Rhode Island-

In the wake of the presidential election and the bitter divisions exposed throughout the country, the bishop of the Episcopal Diocese of Rhode Island is calling for people to show respect for each other and not delve into hateful language.

The Rt. Rev. W. Nicholas Knisely, who leads the diocese encompassing 53 congregations in Rhode Island, acknowledged on Friday the turmoil and heated rhetoric over the election.

"Our country is deeply divided along regional, racial, gender and economic lines. The divisions are real and painful," Knisely said in a statement. "The divisions are ending friendships and threatening family relationships. There are people in our communities and congregations who are delighted and people who are devastated. The emotions are real and raw, and their intensity is hard for some to understand.

More here-

Friday, November 11, 2016

Welby condemns media reaction to Brexit ruling

From The Church Times-

THE Archbishop of Canterbury has said that he was “horrified” by the abuse directed at three High Court judges on social media last week, after they ruled that the Prime Minister must take Article 50, which would begin the process of leaving the European Union, to a parliamentary vote.

Theresa May had argued that MPs did not need to vote on the legislation, given the majority result of the referendum on membership of the EU in June (News, 1 July 2016). But the panel of judges unanimously agreed with campaigners that the move would be unconstitutional. The Government is appealing against the decision in the Supreme Court.

The judges were subject to abuse and “trolling” on social media, after making the front page of national newspapers last Friday. The headline on the front page of The Daily Telegraph read: “The judges versus the people”; the Daily Mail chose “Enemies of the people”.

More here-

I'm in Charge, Says Ntagali As Christians Apologise

From Uganda-

Following a High Court dismissal of the case against Church of Uganda Archbishop Stanley Ntagali that had been brought against him by 11 canons of West Ankole Diocese, the archbishop has said he is still in charge of the Anglican Church of Uganda.

"I am the head of Church of Uganda, being archbishop does not mean that I stop in Kampala. My territories run from Karamoja to Kisoro, Kotido to Muhabura, West Nile to Bukedi," the archbishop said.

A group of canons had petitioned High court challenging Archbishop Ntagali's take over of West Ankole Diocese and appointing commissaries to help him in overseeing the diocese after the retirement of Bishop Yona Katoneene on October 2. Quoting the church rules, the archbishop said he is empowered to act in the capacity of a bishop during their absence.

Archbishop Ntagali made these remarks during his apostolic visit where he confirmed 657 Christians into the Anglican faith at Bugongi Secondary School in Sheema District.

More here-

Trump's victory sparks protests and prayers

From Michigan-

It looks like Donald Trump's honeymoon may be over before he has even gotten a chance to say "I do" and put on the ring.

They protested in Detroit election night, yelling nasty comments and chanting "not my president" for three hours. Police were there to keep order. Similar protests erupted around the same time in New York, Philadelphia, and Chicago.

Protestors appeared at the White House, Texas, southern California and Seattle. There was violence and the destruction of property and businesses in Oakland.

There will be a protest Thursday evening in Grand Rapids. Grand Valley State University students are the organizers. They have plans to converge on Rosa Parks Circle in downtown Grand Rapids at 5 p.m.

On Facebook, several hundred have indicated they will attend.

Kalamazoo went in a different direction, with a communal interfaith prayer for peace.

Over a half-dozen religious leaders from all different beliefs convened at St Luke's Episcopal Church in downtown Kalamazoo to share religious writings and music all with a theme emphasizing peace. 

More here-

Thursday, November 10, 2016

Video: Election message from the Presiding Bishop

From ENS (Video from
the Presiding Bishop)

Hello.  We’re filming this on Election Day before the results of the presidential and other elections are in.  But there’s some thoughts I wanted to share with you, and a prayer I’d like to offer.
Twenty-five years ago Robert Fulghum published a book, All I Needed to Know I Learned in Kindergarten, and in that book he talked about the kinds of things we learned as children, especially in kindergarten:

Share everything.
Clean up your own mess.
Don’t hit people.
Play fair.
Say you’re sorry when you hurt somebody. 

More here-

UK government aides see traditional Christians as extremists, says Archbishop of Canterbury

From Ecumenical News-

UK government officials lack "religious literacy," and are therefore likely to view Evangelical Christians as extremists, the spiritual leader of the Church of England and the most senior bishop in the Anglican Communion has said.

Dr. Justin Welby, the Archbishop of Canterbury, said that government officials often do not recognize a distinction between Islamic militants and traditional Christians, and are likely to see both groups as "a bit bonkers."

"It's fine to reject and condemn many of the things done in the name of religion but you still need to understand what it is that can so catch hold of someone that they think life itself is not worth living if that contradicts what they believe," said Welby, Catholic Culture reports.

The archbishop is a man who knows the secular world having spent years in corporate leadership in the banking and oil industries before turning to the Anglican priesthood.

More here-

Bearing witness at Standing Rock

From Indiana-

The Revs. Paul Nesta and Tanya Scheff don't consider themselves protestors or activists.

Their trip to North Dakota last week wasn't exactly in protest of the Dakota Access Pipeline. "It was a stand of solidarity for us," Scheff explained.

Scheff of Trinity Episcopal Church in Michigan City and Nesta from St. Paul's Episcopal Church in La Porte, were among 577 priests from across the country who answered a call from Rev. John Floberg of North Dakota to help the native people of Standing Rock Sioux Reservation.

The priests were met with cries of relief from the native people who feel the pipeline not only threatens their reservation with potential environmental concerns, but also disturbs what is considered sacred land.

While much of the pipeline opposition stems from concerns about local water sources, Scheff explained that the land earmarked for the pipeline also includes burial land of the native tribes.

More here-

School employee bought gun, ammo after being placed on leave

From Georgia-

Sandy Springs Police charged a private school employee after police said he purchased a gun and ammunition after he was placed on personal leave.

Terry Kelly, a dean and basketball coach at Holy Innocents' Episcopal School, was charged with reckless conduct and obstruction of justice following a traffic stop. Police said he was loading a gun when officers pulled him over.

The school was placed on lockdown after he bought the gun Wednesday morning.

He had worked at the school for more than seven years and had been placed on leave for allegedly sending "unprofessional" texts and emails to former students.The students informed their parents of the messages, who then told school officials.

He was placed on leave Wednesday morning and left, the school said. School officials were concerned so they hired a private investigator to follow him. The investigator followed the man to a Bass Pro Shops location, where police said he bought a handgun and ammunition. The private investigator contacted police, who conducted the traffic stop when he was back in the city of Sandy Springs. He was charged with reckless conduct and obstruction based on what happened during the traffic stop, according to police.

Read more:

Wednesday, November 9, 2016

Archaeologists describe how Ezekiel's Wheel helped turn African Americans into Christians


At the site of a plantation where abolitionist Frederick Douglass once lived, University of Maryland (UMD) archaeologists have uncovered striking evidence of how African and Christian religious beliefs blended and merged in the 19th century. The team dug up an intact set of objects that they interpret as religious symbols—traditional ones from Africa, but mixed with what they believe to be a Biblical image: a representation of Ezekiel's Wheel.

"No one has found this combination before. It may give us a snapshot of the blending of religious symbols of a tenant farmer after 1865," says University of Maryland archaeologist Mark P. Leone, who led the team. "Christianity had not erased traditional African spirit practices; it had merged with them to form a potent blend that still thrives today."

From the late 18th century, Methodist Episcopal, and later African Methodist Episcopal (AME) preachers successfully ranged Maryland's Eastern Shore carrying the Christian message, Leone explains. They converted African Americans to Christianity, in part, by giving new meaning to traditional symbols.  A powerful West Central African spiritual symbol—the cosmogram, a circle with an X inside—may have fused with Ezekiel's blazing chariot wheel. Uniquely, the discovered array contains both.

Read more at:

Episcopalians meet fellow voters with vigils, prayer, hospitality

From ENS-

In the hours leading up to the Nov. 8 general election and all during Election Day and evening, Episcopalians across the United States are voting and praying and welcoming fellow voters into their churches.

Many congregations held vigil services on Nov. 7 and many are hosting services on Nov. 8 with still more planned for Nov. 9. Still other congregations have left open their doors and invited their neighbors into their prayerful spaces. And some Episcopal churches serve as official polling places and have been welcoming their neighbors into their buildings.

Meanwhile, Episcopalians and their congregations and dioceses were tweeting photos and encouragements to vote using the hashtag #EpiscopaliansVote.

Among those offering prayer services Nov. 7 were St. John’s Episcopal Church in Sandwich, Massachusetts on Cape Cod, St. Paul’s Episcopal Church in Brookline, Massachusetts, and St. Columba’s Episcopal Church in Washington, D.C.

Dakota Access Pipeline: Native American religion matters!

From The Ecologist-

The intimate connection between landscape and religion is at the center of Native American societies, writes Rosalyn R. LaPier, and a key reason why thousands of Native Americans and Indigenous peoples from around the world have traveled to the windswept prairies of North Dakota. There is no excuse for the ignorance and disrespect of corporations, and government.

In recent weeks, protests against the building of the Dakota Access Pipeline across North Dakota have escalated. Native American elders, families and children have set up tipis and tents on a campsite near the pipeline's path in the hope of stopping the pipeline's construction.

Dave Archambault Jr., the leader of the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe that is leading the efforts to stop the pipeline, summed up what is at the heart of the issue.

More here-

Tuesday, November 8, 2016

Welby: Government assumes believers are just ‘a bit bonkers

From The Telegraph-

Government officials know so little about religion that they cannot see the difference between Muslim extremists and traditionalist Anglicans – and so just assume both are “bonkers”, according to the Archbishop of Canterbury.

The Most Rev Justin Welby said some staff in departments like the Foreign Office or Ministry of Defence had “no grip” on how people would be motivated by faith and were “desperately trying to catch up” to understand the modern world.

Many, he warned, simply could not see the “relevance” of religious feeling while, at the same time, struggling to make sense of the rise of fundamentalist inspired violence across the world.

More here-

Nigerians living in fear, says Anglican Primate

From Nigeria-

Rev Nicholas Okoh, Primate, Church of Nigeria, Anglican Communion, says people are living under a perpetual sense of insecurity and uncertainty in all parts of Nigeria because of different forms of fear. 

Okoh made this remark at the Sixth Edition of the Divine Common Wealth Conference (DIVCCON), with the theme, ” Fear Not” on Monday in Abuja.

Okoh said the fears might be dismissed as wrong perceptions of reality. But he added that the fact of events available had left the ordinary man with no option than to be afraid. 

He explained that the people’s perception of the inclination of the present administration was on its own a cause of mistrust and fear. The primate added that the direction of the government was not clear on the issue of national unity giving the actions of the government that seemed to sideline some and favour some.

Read more at:

Larger faith community comes to Standing Rock in solidarity

From The National Catholic Reporter-

In silence they processed. In a circle they prayed. With Standing Rock they stood.
More than 500 clergy and people of faith across religious denominations joined the Standing Rock Sioux Nation and its supporters in their stand against the construction of the Dakota Access Pipeline.

The gathering Nov. 3, described as "a day of protective witness in solidarity with the Standing Rock Sioux Nation and with the water protectors," brought the interfaith group to the main Oceti Sakowin camp on tribal land in south-central North Dakota that has served as the base for the pipeline resistance.                                                                                                                     

Among them were Mercy Srs. Kathleen Erickson and Aine O'Connor, and Mike Poulin, a member of the Sisters of Mercy justice team in Omaha. The three spoke to NCR following the conclusion of the prayerful witness.

The role of the faith community at Standing Rock, O'Connor said, was "to decry the injustice that is happening to the Native American peoples here."

More here-

As vote looms, faith leaders say it's time to bridge the political divide

Lots of places holding prayer vigils for Voting Day-



New Hampshire- 

New Jersey





South Carolina-

Monday, November 7, 2016


From The Living Church-

Lately I’ve been dipping into James Pike’s edited volume from 1956, Modern Canterbury Pilgrims: And Why They Chose the Episcopal Church. It’s the ideal book for the nightstand: Each essay can be read easily in one sitting, and none are so intellectually demanding as to impede falling asleep afterwards. If C.S. Lewis suggested that the ideal nightstand volume is “a gossipy, formless book that can be opened anywhere,” this book isn’t quite that ideal, but it is its ecclesial cousin.

One of the most memorable pieces in this collection is by the great poet W. H. Auden. It includes tantalizing bits of autobiography and not a little substantive theology. (Often, I find, it is poets and historians and novelists who have a better grasp of the import of certain doctrines than the professional theologians.) I recommend reading the whole essay. But for now, I just want to quibble with where Auden ends his reflections. In his concluding paragraph, he writes this:

Into the question of why I should have returned to Canterbury instead of proceeding to Rome, I have no wish to go in print. The scandal of Christian disunity is too serious.

More here-

Episcopal ministry finds mission in Troy's North Central

From Albany-

Main line churches have abandoned many depressed urban neighborhoods as their parishioners have moved on, leaving empty churches behind.

Since 2010, the Episcopal Diocese of Albany has returned to the poverty-stricken North Central neighborhood. Its Oaks of Righteousness, or Troy Inner City Ministry, has worked to establish a foothold.

From seminary school, the Rev. Christina Hunter has followed her calling to North Central, working out of an apartment, then a park and a rented space in a shuttered diner renamed the Oaks Cafe Ministry Center at 2952 Sixth Ave. Now the ministry has moved again to the former rectory of St. Patrick's Roman Catholic Church.

More here-

Sunday, November 6, 2016

Mosques and churches, bathed in yellow paint

From Kenya-

Kenya's churches, mosques, and temples are turning yellow.

As the sun sets in Kenya, reflecting its golden rays off thousands of rusty iron sheets in Nairobi's Kibera slum, a couple of buildings painted yellow stand out from the usual oranges and browns dominating the rusted iron sheets and mud houses.

One of the buildings is a mosque, while the rest are churches, all painted golden yellow.

Sheikh Yusuf Nasur Abuhamza who leads the Jeddah Mosque, told Anadolu Agency that the mosque was the first place of worship in Kenya to be painted yellow.

“I remember that day as if it was yesterday. Both Muslims and Christians came here to paint the mosque,” Nasur says, pointing to a section of the mosque’s walls.

More here-

Ministry applies to establish refugee resettlement community in Charleston

From West Virginia-

A national refugee resettlement agency has submitted an application to the U.S. Department of State to turn Charleston into one of its “resettlement communities.”

Episcopal Migration Ministries, one of nine national refugee resettlement agencies that works with the U.S. government and local groups to place refugees, and the West Virginia Interfaith Refugee Ministry have been working together in hopes of making Charleston a safe haven for refugees.

The West Virginia Interfaith Refugee Ministry aims to create greater understanding of the Muslim community and the plight of refugees, including those fleeing Syria, where millions have been displaced and hundreds of thousands have been killed.

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