Saturday, December 17, 2016

Abductors Release Wife Of Fagbemi, Anglican Church Secretary

From Nigeria-

Three days after her abduction, Ebunoluwa Fagbemi, the wife of the General Secretary of the Church of Nigeria, Anglican Communion, Venerable Ayodeji Fagbemi has been released.

The 48-year-old woman was said to have been released by her abductors in Ikire, the headquarters of the Irewole Local Government Area of Osun State on Thursday.

Mrs Fagbemi, a teacher in one of the public secondary schools in Akure, was kidnapped on Monday night at her residence at Oba Ile Akure in Akure North Local Government Area of Ondo State.

More here-

36 religious communities show solidarity for the Islamic Society of Vermont

From Vermont-

It's not every day more than 200 people from 36 different faith-based communities come together to support one religion.

“We are so honored to have you here today, and we are so honored to have this atmosphere of love and support,” said Imam Islam Hassan from the Islamic Society of Vermont.

A hate letter written to the Islamic Society of Vermont prompted religious leaders across the state to come together.

“The members of the congregation of Vermont Interfaith Action strongly condemn this hateful action, we find the sentiment expressed in this letter, completely unacceptable,” said the Rev. Earl Kooperkamp, from the Episcopal Church of the Good Shepard.

More here-

Christmas season speaks to naked fragility, not glitter

From Texas-

Everything is dressed up for Christmas: our houses, yards, churches and even ourselves. But isn't it ironic, all this decking out, when you consider that the Christmas movement of God is away from glitter and glory. To get ready for Christmas, God undresses! God stripped off his finery and appeared naked - how embarrassing - on the day that Jesus was born. God rips off badges of rank, puts aside titles, honors, talents and appears naked and vulnerable as a newborn baby.

Shocking, isn't it? To behold the Lord God of the universe unable to turn over on his back without assistance, utterly dependent upon the kindness of his human creatures.

This is what Christmas is all about - the birth of God in humankind, the incarnation, the gathering into one of things heavenly and things earthly; one in the naked flesh of the infant savior.

More here-

Fighting for faith

From Oklahoma-

Several University of Oklahoma students who walk into St. Anselm of Canterbury feel they can’t go anywhere else.

The church is a place they can pursue spiritual fulfillment and Christian fellowship without having to hide their sexuality from the congregation.

Even amidst growing public acceptance and support for the LGBTQ community, it can still be an issue in one of the few places people feel they can truly open their souls: the church.

“I definitely, to this day, feel the tension between the person I expected myself to be and the person I am,” said “Amanda,” an OU junior and Canterbury attendee. “It was especially difficult when I felt a lot of fear.”

More here-

Friday, December 16, 2016

Idowu-Fearon: US conservatives manipulating African Anglicans

From The Church Times-

THE importance that African church leaders attach to the ques­tion of same-sex relationships is the result of interference by conserva­tives in the United States, the secretary-general of the Anglican Communion, Dr Josiah Idowu-Fearon, has said.

In an interview with The Church of Ireland Gazette, published last week, Dr Idowu-Fearon said that Anglican leaders in Africa seemed “to be so much taken in” by the issue, not be­cause of concerns about the impact on relations with Mus­lims, but as a result of “very strong min­ority conservatives” in the US.

“The very strong minority conservatives, not in the UK but in America, they have found a footing amongst some of the leaders in Africa,” he said. “They are the ones that sort of pumped this thing into the leaders, and the leaders decided to make it an African thing. It is not an African thing. There are homo­sexuals everywhere — even in my diocese.”

More here-

Former priest starts medical school at 50

From North Carolina-

For Suzanne Watson, it didn’t matter if her dream came sooner or later.

“If a person wants something badly enough, they can really truly make it happen,” she said.

In this case, it was later.

She started medical school at Wake Forest School of Medicine at 50 years old.

“I received my AARP card and my med school acceptance the same week,” she said.

That was three-and-a-half years ago.

More here-

Shore Episcopal churches extend welcome after election

From Virginia (Delmarva)

Not long after the Nov. 8 election, leaders of the seven Episcopal churches on the Eastern Shore of Virginia decided to take action in response to the presidential campaigns' divisive rhetoric and reports of an increase in hate crimes against minorities.

The seven churches took out an advertisement in local newspapers headlined "The Episcopal Church Welcomes You," in which they said they want people to know "regardless of your race, color, creed, age, ethnic background or gender identity you are welcome to participate in our worship and sacraments, spiritual guidance, fellowship, pastoral care, outreach and educational ministries."

The advertisement appeared in the Saturday, Nov. 26 edition of the Eastern Shore News.

More here-

Thursday, December 15, 2016

Abductors of Anglican church’s scribe’s wife demand N20m

From Nigeria-

The abductors of Ebunoluwa, the wife of the General Secretary of the Church of Nigeria, Anglican Communion, Ven. Ayodeji Fagbemi, have contacted the family, demanding N20m ransom.

Ebunoluwa was abducted by some armed men who invaded her residence at Oba-Ile Akure, in the Akure North Local Government Area of Ondo State on Monday.

According to the police, the armed hoodlums gained entrance into the Fagbemis’ house through the window after which they abducted the woman with her Toyota Jeep.

The husband of the victim told our correspondent on Wednesday that the abductors had contacted the family and demanded N20m, saying the family had no such money.

Ayodeji, a former Provost of Bishop Vining College of Theology, said, “Everybody is traumatised and we are all praying for her safe return. There is a very outrageous expectation; the abductors demanded N20m, which I don’t think anybody can afford. But at the movement, we are praying.”

More here-

N.C. Loses One Nominee

From The Living Church-

The Rev. Milind Sojwal, rector of All Angels’ Church Church in Manhattan, has withdrawn from the slate of nominees in the Diocese of North Carolina’s search for its 12th bishop. The diocese’s website provides details:

On Tuesday, December 13, 2016, the Standing Committee of the Episcopal Diocese of North Carolina accepted the withdrawal of the Rev. Milind Sojwal from consideration in the election of the XII Bishop Diocesan of the Diocese of North Carolina. Sojwal wrote to the Standing Committee to inform them of his need to withdraw for personal reasons that do not allow him to continue with the diocesan bishop search process.

More here-



It all started with Nicholas, a Greek bishop in what is now Turkey. He became the patron saint of children; his feast day on December 6th or 19th, depending on whether one follows the Orthodox or modern calendar. St. Nicholas/Father Christmas was transformed into Sante Claus in the U.S. by the early 1820s by writers like Washington Irving, who celebrated the Knickerbocker heritage of the Dutch colony of New Amsterdam. “Sante Claus” comes from the Flemish name for St. Nicholas, Sinterklaas.

The “jolly old elf” really got his persona going in the 1823 poem, “A Visit From St. Nicholas,” better known as “The Night Before Christmas.” This still-popular poem was published anonymously and is usually attributed to Clement Clark Moore. Moore was an Episcopal theologian and professor of Greek and Latin with a side-gig developing Manhattan’s Chelsea neighborhood. He represented the wealthy New Yorkers who turned American Christmas into a family and children-centered holiday instead of the sometimes rowdy open-air (and inside-tavern) communal celebration it had been.

More here-

Christmas on Sunday causes a predicament for some pastors

From Ohio- (Really?)

Christmas creates a predicament for pastors when it falls on a Sunday, as it does this year. While some church members want to come together to celebrate the birth of Christ, others want to stay home with their families and reflect on the holiday in a quieter way. With that in mind, church leaders must decide whether to cancel Christmas Sunday services, but for many local pastors, the decision was easy.

“The board and I talked about it, but we all came to the conclusion pretty quickly. We’re having a service on Christmas,” said Pastor Candy Seaman, of Clyde Christian Church. “I totally understand if families with little kids choose not to come.”

Clyde Christian Church will host a Christmas Eve candlelight service and a Christmas morning service, so Seaman will be up late on Christmas Eve and then up early to deliver a message on Christmas.

“It will be wonderful,” she said.

More here-

Episcopal excitement: Local clergy anticipate newly elected bishop

From Indianapolis-

Recently, media outlets across the country rushed out reports about the election of Rev. Jennifer Baskerville-Burrows as the 11th bishop of the Episcopal Diocese of Indianapolis. 

They proclaimed the historic significance of her election, which makes her the first African-American woman to lead an Episcopal diocese. She will also become only the second woman to head the Indianapolis diocese when she succeeds current Bishop Catherine Waynick, who will retire in April.

However, Episcopal leaders in Indianapolis are excited about the arrival of Baskerville-Burrows for other reasons. They see remarkable potential in her ability to lead the diocese to new heights.

Rev. Suzanne Wille, the rector at All Saints Episcopal Church in Indianapolis, said she was “super excited and overjoyed” when she found out Baskerville-Burrows would be the new bishop of the local diocese. 

More here-

Wednesday, December 14, 2016

How Trump is paving the way for a revival of the ‘religious left’

From The Washington Post-

On Election Day, much was made of exit polls that showed 80 percent of white evangelicals backing Republican Donald Trump, a sometimes vulgar, twice-divorced candidate who could not name his favorite Bible verse and once bragged about sexual assault. The result seemed inexplicable, and political analysts are now questioning the theological credibility of right-wing Christian leaders who embraced Trump, with some high-profile religious conservatives decrying such support as hypocritical at best, heretical at worst.

But as some members of the religious right wrestle with how to reclaim their moral authority, another group is quietly beginning to rise. Progressive, faith-rooted advocacy organizations, such as Faith in Public Life, Auburn Seminary and Sojourners, have all reported surges in donations and interest in activism since November, and are now organizing to counter any number of Trump’s policy proposals. Meanwhile, progressive Christians long absent from Sunday worship are returning to church in droves.

More here-

Winchester pastor describes scene at pipeline protest

From Massachusetts-

The plan was to meet up with fellow clergy and sleep on the floor of the St. James Episcopal Church in Cannon Ball, North Dakota. The Reverends William Burhans and Judy Arnold, pastors of Winchester's First Congregational Church, were responding to a call from a minister in that part of the country, asking for clergy to join for a day the protest against a major oil company's plan to run a pipeline across the Missouri River near tribal land.

It was early November and they had flown from Boston to Bismarck. They set out on what was supposed to be an hour-long drive.

"After about 45 minutes of driving, we came upon a roadblock with a couple of police cars and a military presence," Burhans said. "They asked us where we were going and politely told us the bridge to Cannon Ball is closed, and to go back around and come into town from the other way. It was a one-hour detour, when we had gotten within 10 minutes of Cannon Ball."

More here-

DA: Teen victim of Episcopal priest

From Boston (more links at the bottom)-

A 75-year-old former Episcopal priest in Rhode Island was arrested and charged yesterday with assaulting a 15-year-old prep school student he took on trips to Boston more than 40 years ago, Suffolk prosecutors said.

Howard “Howdy” White was an associate chaplain at St. George’s School in Middletown, R.I., in 1973 when prosecutors say he took one of his academic advisees on two overnight trips to Boston and assaulted him. He faces five counts of assault and battery from the two trips.

“Whether as a child or as an adult, disclosing sexual abuse can be the most daunting experience in a person’s life,” Suffolk District Attorney Daniel F. Conley said in a statement. “Survivors everywhere should know that they can feel safe and supported coming to us, and that we place their well-being above all else as we investigate and prosecute the harm committed against them.”

More here-

Bedford PA here- 

CBS- with video-

Providence RI-


Tuesday, December 13, 2016

The Leaders Of Africa's Anglican Christian Churches Are 'Despotic' Says Nigerian Archbishop

From Christian Today-

The Archbishop who heads the leadership team at the Anglican Communion has confessed he took the job because he felt called to do something to address the "disagreement and even hatred" between fellow Anglicans.
Josiah Idowu-Fearon, appointed secretary general of the Anglican Consultative Council last year, said his commitment to reconciliation remained firm.

But on the issue at the root of the disagreements, human sexuality, he admitted there was "no way" of finding agreement. "It's not possible," he said. The alternative to finding a way to live together was to allow separate "splinter groups".

Idowu-Fearon also criticised the leadership of Anglican churches in Africa as ineffective.

He said he was speaking from experience, and described them as "despotic".

More here-

Trump and EQB: an open letter

From Sewanee-

Behold how good and how pleasant it is when brothers (and sisters) dwell together in unity. I don’t have to remind you that phrase comes directly from Psalm 133:1 of the Holy Bible. You know that. I don’t have to tell you that “Ecce quam bonum” is the motto of the University of the South. You already know that, too. Therefore, this open letter will be confined to The Sewanee Purple and its readers. This will not be published any place else. It is a very personal matter, and I promise to treat it accordingly.

I love Sewanee. I truly do. It is a beautiful place filled with wonderful people. That’s not just some clever catchphrase I say to impress folks in my travels. That’s actually how I feel about the University of the South. And that last statement is why I, a current seminarian at the Sewanee School of Theology, have been disappointed nearly to the point of speechlessness at some of the behaviors I have seen and heard about over the past couple of weeks or so.

The 2016 presidential campaign was a long, bitterly-contested, emotional, insult-filled, vision-challenged, political deathmatch between Secretary Hillary Rodham Clinton and billionaire businessman Donald J. Trump. While both candidates had many supporters in the Sewanee community, Trump won the General Election on November 8th. And that, friends, is when the so-called Trump effect began on our mountain.

More here-

Massachusetts Episcopal bishops oppose Trump's EPA pick

From Massachusetts-

The state's Episcopal bishops have issued a letter to President-elect Donald Trump opposing his selection of Oklahoma Attorney General Scott Pruitt, an opponent of the Obama administration efforts to address human induced climate change through such legislation as the Clean Power Plan, to head the country's Environmental Protection Agency.

The letter addressed to Trump from the five bishops states, "As citizens of this beloved country, we intend to write our members of Congress, urging them to block the nomination of Scott Pruitt to lead the E.P.A. We will pray for a better choice."

"Our respect for our government leaders and our reverence for the earth as God's creation impel us to write you to express our dismay about your selection of Scott Pruitt to head the Environmental Protection Agency. We wonder why a person who has consistently and adamantly opposed all laws and policies that provide even minimal 'protection' to the environment should be entrusted with leading such an agency," reads the letter who signers include the Right Rev. Douglas Fisher, bishop of the Episcopal Diocese of Western Massachusetts.

More here-

Monday, December 12, 2016

Michael Curry's Christmas Message

The Presiding Bishop's Christmas message (video)

Egypt is in mourning as church bombing victims are laid to rest

From Egypt-

Egyptian President Abdel-Fattah El Sisi has declared three days of mourning in Egypt following Sunday’s bombing of Cairo’s main Coptic cathedral, in the Abbasiyah district, which killed more than 30 people and injured more than 50.

Funerals for the victims, who included women and children, were held on Monday.

The funeral procession was led by Egypt’s Coptic Pope Tawadros II, who cut short a papal visit to Greece and returned to Cairo before heading directly to site of the bombing, Egypt’s Al Ahram newspaper reported,

An improvised explosive device (IED) with 12kg of TNT caused the explosion, according to an Egyptian security official’s statement to state media.

The IED ripped through the church as hundreds of Copts, who make up 10% of Egypt’s population of over 80 million, were worshiping. Women and children were among the victims.

More here-

Oregon pastor destroys AR-15 won in raffle, repurposes parts

From New York Daily News-

An Oregon pastor who promised to destroy the AR-15 rifle he won at a girls softball team's raffle has dismantled the weapon, and is turning its remains into gardening tools.

Jeremy Lucas, an outspoken anti-gun advocate, purchased $3,000 worth of raffle tickets in July to ensure he'd win the prize. The softball team, made up of 14 to 18 year olds, hosted the raffle in order to pay for a trip.

"I wanted to win it so I could destroy it or turn it into something else and take it out of commission," Lucas told NBC affiliate KGW.

More here-

Sunday, December 11, 2016

Anglican Bishop Shut Out for Burying His Wife in Church

From Zimbabwe-

THE Anglican Church has moved to sever ties with a retired bishop who last month pulled a shocker by digging a grave and burying his late wife in a chapel.

The church said it was implementing a series of proposals to salvage "what is left of our dignity and integrity" after the saga, adding that "we cannot be insulted any worse than this".

Controversial philanthropist and retired Anglican cleric Lazarus Muyambi buried wife, Neddie, inside a chapel on November 26 in a development that reportedly baffled the Gokwe community and divided the Anglican church.

Despite retiring, Muyambi is reportedly engaged in a row over ownership and control of church facilities and properties that include a girls' high school.

More here-

Episcopal bishop visiting LR church

From Arkansas-

The Most Rev. Michael B. Curry, presiding bishop of the Episcopal Church, will preach at Christ Episcopal Church during the 10:30 a.m. Holy Eucharist on Sunday. Curry will also participate in a question and answer session at 9:15 a.m.

The church is at 509 Scott St. in downtown Little Rock.

The presiding bishop will also speak at 12:30 p.m. Monday at the University of Arkansas Clinton School of Public Service, in Sturgis Hall, 1200 President Clinton Ave. Seating for the talk can be reserved by emailing or calling (501) 683-5239.

Curry, 63, was elected as the 27th presiding bishop and primate of the Episcopal Church during the church's General Convention in Salt Lake City in June 2015. He was installed to the post on Nov. 1, 2015.

More here-