Friday, February 10, 2017

Welby writes to Primates as provinces continue to differ

From Church Times-

THE Archbishop of Canterbury has written to every Primate in the An­­glican Communion about the next Primates’ Meeting, to be held in Can­­ter­­bury in October.

It is now just over a year since the last Primates’ Meeting, in Can­ter­bury, which envisaged “con­sequences” for the Episcopal Church in the United States. A press release from the Anglican Com­munion Office this week stated that these consequences had meant that TEC representatives at the meeting of the Anglican Consultative Coun­cil in Zambia last year had not taken part in “formal votes on issues of doc­trine and polity”.

On Wednesday, these represent­atives issued a statement disagreeing with this account of events.

“Each of us attended the entire ACC-16 meeting and voted on every resolution that came before the body, including a number that con­cerned the doctrine and polity of the Anglican Communion,” they wrote. “As the duly elected ACC members of a province of the Anglican Com­mun­ion, this was our responsibility and we fulfilled it.”

More here-

Syrian refugee family arrives in Fort Worth during pause in travel ban

From Ft. Worth-

Fahmi Mousa Al Kazma has been looking for safe place to raise his six children since 2011 when militias forced the farmer out of his village near Aleppo, Syria.

The family’s new safe haven is a four-bedroom apartment in Fort Worth. They arrived Wednesday night during a window of opportunity thanks to a federal judge’s halt last week of President Donald Trump’s ban on citizens from seven mostly Muslim countries.

“We just wanted to arrive,” the-38-year-old father said in Arabic through an interpreter. “We were on the plane [with] our hearts in our hands.”


Refugee Services of Texas is working with Lutheran Immigration and Refugee Services to help the family. Volunteers from St. Alban’s Episcopal Church in Arlington, St. Christopher Episcopal Church and Trinity Episcopal Church in Fort Worth are helping too. They helped furnish the family’s apartment. The volunteer work follows a recent plea for refugees by several local faith leaders.
Read more here:

Episcopal Church Executive Council reaffirms stand with Standing Rock

From ENS-

The Episcopal Church’s Executive Council during the last day of its Feb. 5-8 meeting here reaffirmed its stand with the Standing Rock Sioux Nation.

Council members said the church pledges to “continue to support the action and leadership of the Standing Rock Sioux Nation as the salt and light of the nation in its unwavering support of the sacredness of water, land, and other resources and reminding us all of the sacred calling to faithfulness.”

They praised the Episcopal Church and its ecumenical partners in the water protection actions led by the Standing Rock Sioux Nation. The Rev. John Floberg, council member and priest-in-charge of Episcopal congregations on the North Dakota side of Standing Rock, drew council’s specific praise, as did “the hundreds of Episcopal lay and clergy who responded to his call for support.”

More here-

Thursday, February 9, 2017

Archbishop of Canterbury and Ecumenical Patriarch commit to tackling modern slavery

From ACNS-

The Archbishop of Canterbury and His All-Holiness Bartholomew of Constantinople have pledged to fight modern slavery in its various forms. Signing a joint declaration condemning modern slavery at a forum in Istanbul, they vowed to :

Condemn all forms of human enslavement

Commend the efforts of the international community

Pray for all victims

Repent for not doing enough to curb modern day slavery

Appeal to governments to implement strict modern day slavery laws

Urge members of the Orthodox Church and Church of England to become educated, raise awareness and take action

Commit to establish a joint taskforce for modern day slavery, looking at ways for how the Orthodox Church and the Church of England can work together

More here-

Is Gorsuch a secret liberal? Trump, GOP have reason to wonder.

From The Hill-

Gorsuch lives in the ultra-liberal college town of Boulder, Colorado.  He also teaches at the University of Colorado’s law school, also a progressive bastion, and is supported in his quest for the Supreme Court by most of the faculty and students there.

Gorsuch is also a member of the St. John’s Episcopal Church in Boulder.  The Episcopal Church has embraced very liberal positions on a variety of issues, including performing same-sex commitment ceremonies since the 1980s and eventually same-sex marriages. At church, he often hears a very liberal point of view. 

Mike Orr, a spokesman for the Episcopal Church in Colorado, described Gorsuch’s church, as a congregation that “does a lot of social justice and advocacy.” He said, “It’s a healthy and vibrant congregation. It’s very diverse in its congregants as well as its ministry.”

More here-

Episcopal diocese joins federal lawsuit against Trump travel ban

From Washington State-

President Donald Trump is not a man of the pews but has attended Christmas Eve eucharist at the Episcopal Church of Bethesda-by-the-Sea in Palm Beach, Florida, the setting in which Trump took Melania as his third bride.

On the other side of the country, Episcopalians are suing him.

The Episcopal Diocese of Olympia has joined with the ACLU and two unnamed University of Washington students to file a lawsuit challenging Trump's executive order temporarily banning refugees and immigrants from seven predominantly Muslim nations.

The diocese argues that the work of its Refugee Resettlement Office (RRO) "has been completely disrupted" by the Trump executive order.

"Not only have families in transit or on the verge of transit been placed in additional crisis and stress, but the chaos surrounding the implementation of the executive order has also required the RRO to expend additional, unplanned-for resources."

More here-

Wednesday, February 8, 2017

Executive Council supports Episcopal Migration Ministries in midst of Trump’s order

From ENS-

The Episcopal Church’s Executive Council Feb. 8 pledged the Church’s solidarity with refugees in the face of President Donald Trump’s executive order suspending their entry into the United States.

A federal judge on Feb. 6 temporarily blocked Trump’s action, leaving the State Department’s refugee admissions program in limbo.

Council’s approach was two-pronged: financial and legal. It granted $500,000 to Episcopal Migration Ministries to bridge it financially during Trump’s suspension of refugee resettlement and as that work presumably resumes, albeit on a smaller scale. It also requested that presiding bishop investigate whether it is “appropriate and advisable” to defend in court EMM’s refugee resettlement ministry and the church’s stance of religious tests.

More here-

Bishop Stacy Sauls sues the Episcopal Church

From ENS-

Episcopal Church Presiding Bishop Michael B. Curry and President of the House of Deputies the Rev. Gay Clark Jennings shared the following letter with the staff of the Episcopal Church on Feb. 8.

Dear Sisters and Brothers in Christ:

Earlier this week, we informed Executive Council that Bishop Stacy Sauls has filed a lawsuit against the corporation of the Episcopal Church, called the Domestic and Foreign Missionary Society (DFMS), and an unspecified number of unnamed defendants associated with the church. 

The suit concerns Bishop Sauls’ tenure as chief operating officer of the DFMS and his departure from that job.

As you may remember, Bishop Sauls served as chief operating officer from 2011 until December 2015, when he was placed on administrative leave. Bishop Sauls’ employment with the church ended in April 2016.

More here-

Anglican priest, author Tom Harpur argued that Jesus was an allegory

From Canada-

Tom Harpur was a devout Christian who was not certain that Jesus existed, but did believe in the principles that were taught in his name. He knew before he wrote his most powerful book, The Pagan Christ, that his views would be controversial and unsettling.

“My goal is not to summarily dismiss the deep beliefs held by many millions in North America, Europe, and increasingly now in the Southern Hemisphere, where the vast majority of today’s Christians live. But I do want these people to think deeply about their faith anew,” Mr. Harpur wrote in that book.

Tom Harpur, who died last month at the age of 87, was an ordained Anglican priest and theology professor at the University of Toronto who gained international fame, not from the pulpit, but from his newspaper columns and books. He wrote for the Toronto Star for almost 40 years, first as its full-time religion editor and then as a freelance writer.

More here-

First Turned Around By Travel Ban, Syrian Refugee Family Makes It To Texas

From Texas-

“Everything is going to be fine,” one of the greeters, a refugee herself, assured them in Arabic as some of the volunteers handed the girls a bouquet of white daisies and an assortment of stuffed animals. Others broke into applause to celebrate the refugees’ arrival.

By then, the newcomers were smiling back.

While her two older sisters were shyer, the 7-year-old Syrian girl — the family’s second-youngest — looked up in wonder as the parishioners of St. Michael’s Episcopal Church protectively surrounded the family. When she reached out to touch hands with the volunteers there to greet them, there appeared to be little understanding in her big, brown eyes that just a week ago, this country had closed the door to refugees like her over security concerns.

More here-

Episcopal Diocese sells East Ave. HQ for $1.2M

From Rochester-

The Episcopal Diocese of Rochester has sold its East Avenue offices and chapel for nearly $1.2 million, a deal that was finalized late last month.

The 12,000-square-foot property at 935 East Ave. in the city was sold to East 935 LLC, according to the Episcopal Diocese, which has relocated its offices to a space at  St. Peter’s Episcopal Church, 3825 East Henrietta Road, Henrietta.

"These funds will enter our endowment and will be used to support such things as outreach missions and growth of our congregations," Rt. Rev. Prince G. Singh, bishop of the Rochester diocese, said in a statement.

The diocese began exploring a sale of the 100-year-old building, where it oversaw 46 parishes in eight counties, earlier this year. The area diocese has been based at the site since 1954.

More here-

Tuesday, February 7, 2017

Meet Supreme Court nominee Neil Gorsuch's ultra-liberal church

From The Daily Mail (UK)

He has been described as 'the heir to Scalia' and is a religious conservative whose appointment to the Supreme Court was greeted with jubilation on the pro-gun, anti-abortion Right.

But can reveal that Neil Gorsuch's own church, in Boulder, Colorado, is a hotbed of liberal thinking – and is led by a pastor who proudly attended the anti-Trump Women's March in Denver the day after the President's inauguration.

Another member of the clergy at St. John's Episcopal Church is outspoken about the need for gun control, and helped organize opposition to a gun shop giveaway of high-capacity magazines in the run-up to a 2013 law that banned them from the state of Colorado.

More here-

Lady Gaga's Super Day: Church visit, suite time with Pats owner, and goodbye to mansion

From Houston-

On what was arguably Lady Gaga's most important day, the singer left the lavish home on Memorial Drive where she had been living over the past week and stopped in at St. Martin's Episcopal Church for the 8 am Sunday service. While her bodyguard remained outside, she slipped into a back pew for the Holy Eucharist service conducted by the Rev. Sarah Condon.

There is no music at this service, only a sermon and communion, so Gaga did not have to worry about straining her voice. But if she was there to ask for divine intervention, she surely received it with a Super Bowl halftime performance that has been generally recognized as one of the best ever.

After her show stopper at NRG Stadium (where Donatella Versace was backstage to help her get ready), the singer showered, got dressed and went up to New England Patriots owner Robert Kraft's suite with her parents to say hello. She greeted good friends singer Elton John and his husband, David Furnish, and Houston social icon Lynn Wyatt. Wyatt had become pals with Gaga while attending John's White Tie and Tiaras Ball in England in 2010. (Also in the suite were John Legend and Chrissy Teigen, while in the next door box were Rupert Murdoch and Jerry Hall.)

More here-

Episcopalians in Baltimore ‘walk in prayer’ for refugees

From Baltimore-

For many of the more than 300 people who marched through downtown Baltimore on Feb. 4 to support refugees, the issues at play are not personal.

But for Amer Omar, 22, the issues are real and painful.

When he describes the day in 2009 when the police stormed into his family’s home in Sudan, he cries. They arrested his father and two brothers. They destroyed his home. They even killed his cat. Only Omar and his mother, Makka, escaped.

Their odyssey took them to Libya, then to Turkey, where they came under the protection of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees.  Omar, who now lives in East Baltimore, was in Turkey for three years before arriving in America in 2014. Complications kept his mother in Turkey.
“She is the last person I have now,” said Omar, who is Muslim. He has not seen his father or brothers since their arrest.  “I don’t want to say they’re alive. I say they are passed away. If they were alive, I would see them on Facebook.”

More here-

Sudans' Episcopal archbishop to step down in November

From South Sudan-

The long-serving Primate in the Anglican Communion, Archbishop of the Episcopal Church of Sudan and South Sudan Dr. Daniel Deng Bul, said he will step down from his position in November this year.

Daniel Deng is the fourth Archbishop and Primate of the Episcopal Church of Sudan and South Sudan since his enthronement on 20 April 2008.

Deng told a congregation at Emmanuel Diocese in Yei town on Sunday that his tenure as archbishop will expire in November, saying the church will elect a new archbishop to lead the Anglical Church in South Sudan.

The religious leader further said he has done enough whether good or bad things during his leadership.“I became an archbishop in 2008, and its time for me to retire and leave the site for a new young archbishop and primate for the Anglican Church," said Deng.

More here-

Monday, February 6, 2017

Sapit: We’ll stand with Wabukala

From Kenya-

Anglican Church of Kenya (ACK) archibishop Jackson ole Sapit has vowed to support his predecessor in his new mandate on war against corruption.

Sapit says retired archbishop Eliud Wabukala, who was recently appointed as the chairperson of the Ethics and Anti-Corruption Commission (EACC), requires the support of every well-meaning Kenyan in the quest to slay the graft dragon.

He pledged that he and the entire Anglican community would offer every necessary support to the new EACC chief.

Sapit said whereas many Kenyans, including ACK faithful, had expressed reservations regarding Wabukala’s decision to take up the EACC job, the move was a personal choice.

More here-

The Prosperity Gospel's Shallow Preaching

From National Interest-

At the Washington National Cathedral on January 21, President Donald Trump participated in the traditional inauguration prayer service, and he included a member of the clergy who represents his own ideology and background: the “prosperity gospel.” This vein of doctrine in modern Christianity that argues that God will reward those whom he favors, not only in the afterlife, but here on Earth as well. Material wealth is thus both a sign and a result of God’s blessing.

This way of thinking has important policy implications. It can influence everything from Trump’s views on health care and Medicaid reform, to other anti-poverty debates at home, to the current refugee crisis abroad, to immigration policy. To the extent that Trump views it as part of his defining political philosophy, it should be scrutinized and measured against the standards of the faith from which it derives before being used to advance any particular political agenda.

More here-

GAFCON Accuses Anglican Head Office Of Deceit Over 'Consequences' For Gay-Affirming Episcopal Church

From Christian Today-

The global Anglican head office is being accused of deception in a row over the role of the gay-affirming Episcopal Church in the USA.

The Episcopal Church allows same sex marriage and consecrates gay bishops and as a result worldwide Anglican leaders at the last primates meeting in January 2016 imposed "consequences".

As part of those consequences, which the primates insist are not "sanctions", The Episcopal Church (TEC) was barred from decision making in matters of doctrine for three years.

But GAFCON, a conservative grouping within the Church, accused Anglican officials of half-truths, manipulation and compromise in a dispute over whether TEC delegates voted at a recent meeting of the Anglican Consultative Council (ACC), a decision making body in the wider Anglican Communion.

Bureaucrats at the Anglican Communion Office insist TEC did not officially vote because the decisions were agreed by consensus, not by ballot.

More here-

Episcopal bishop discusses priest’s arrest with church leaders

From Long Island-

The Episcopal bishop of Long Island met Sunday with parishioners of a Long Beach church after its priest was arrested Friday on child pornography and drug charges.

The Rev. Christopher King, 51, the priest at St. James of Jerusalem Episcopal Church, was arrested after investigators found five videos of boys between about 2 and 12 years old engaged in sex acts on a computer at his church residence, authorities said. Detectives also found methamphetamine, Xanax and numerous drug-related paraphernalia, police said.

Bishop Lawrence C. Provenzano first spoke privately with about a dozen leaders of the 137-year-old congregation and then held a 45-minute question-and-answer session with more than 40 parishioners in the middle of the worship service that he decided to preside over.

More here-

Sunday, February 5, 2017

Episcopal Church leader appears at breakfast gathering with youth in Homewood

From Pittsburgh-

Early on in his whirlwind day of worship and meetings in Pittsburgh, the national leader of the Episcopal Church answered a question that would frame all of his talks for the rest of the day.

Presiding Bishop Michael Curry, on the second of a three-day visit to the city, joined a packed fellowship hall for a breakfast gathering with youth Saturday morning at the Episcopal Church of the Holy Cross in Homewood.

As the youth gathered over juice, fruit and muffins, Bishop Curry led them in a call-and-response to the phrase, “We are the Jesus movement.”

One of the adults lining the back walls of the fellowship hall asked him to elaborate: “Why Jesus?”

More here-

Three men of faith converse: a Christian, a Jew and a Muslim

From Massachusetts-

Dr. Mohamad Chatila, Rabbi Peter Levy and the Rev. Ray Bonin follow three different religions, with sharply differing views of how their God has expressed himself over the ages.

Yet they are friends. Chatila, a cardiologist; Levy, the leader of Etz Hayim Synagogue; and Bonin, rector of the Episcopal Church of the Transfiguration, recently had a conversation about their religious beliefs, with this reporter listening.

It was one lively chat, punctuated by frequent comments such as "wait a minute" and "let me finish, please." Yet they began as friends and parted as friends.

All three agreed they believe in one God. They also look upon Abraham as the founding father of their faiths – hence the description of Islam, Judaism and Christianity as the three "Abrahamic" religions.

More here-

Long Beach Episcopal priest fired after child porn arrest

From Long Island-

The bishop of the Episcopal Diocese of Long Island on Saturday fired a Long Beach priest charged with possessing child pornography and drugs, officials said.

The Rev. Christopher King, 51, the priest at St. James of Jerusalem Episcopal Church, was arrested Friday after investigators found images of boys engaged in sex acts on a computer at his church residence, authorities said Saturday.

King also had crystal methamphetamine in his West Penn Street home office and bedroom, authorities say in court records.

“The diocese and the entire Episcopal Church have a zero-tolerance policy with respect to criminal conduct of any kind, including the allegations made against Father King,” Bishop Lawrence C. Provenzano said Saturday in a statement. “As a result of these allegations, I have today terminated Father King’s license to function as an Episcopal priest in the Diocese of Long Island.”

More here-