Saturday, April 1, 2017

Anglican Church reaches out to community

From Barbados-

The Anglican Church today unveiled a community outreach initiative, in response to worrying social ills.

Speaking today at the Christ the King Anglican Church, Rock Dundo, St Michael, spokesman for the Intentional Ministry Initiative Reverend Von Watson told reporters that Warrens had been chosen for the pilot programme since it was seen as the fastest growing area of the island.

“We are saying the Anglican Church is here for you. It is really about meeting the needs of people, rather than merely offering religious services,” Watson said, without giving an official launch date for the programme which will take place at Massy Warrens.

Also briefing reporters, Anglican Bishop of Barbados and Archbishop of the West Indies Dr John Holder said it was hoped that coming out of the initiative, there will be a greater reflection of Christian living.

More here-

“Servant leadership”

 From Connecticut-

As Christians, we share a common call to what is known as “servant leadership,” valuing the power of love over the love of power. An example of this is the ceremony on Holy Thursday of foot-washing.

Washing another’s bare feet publicly is just as countercultural today as it was during the time of Jesus, at least among so-called equals. On a recent trip to Israel, we toured the ancient remains of a house of a once-prominent member of Jerusalem’s ruling class, and in the entryway was a place allocated for the house servant to wash guests’ feet, a common custom.

Just as we might hand our car keys to a valet upon arriving at an elegant party, in Jesus’ time, such an entry would begin with having one’s dusty feet cleansed by the lowest person on the social ladder.

More here-

A parish opens its doors to asylees

From New Jersey-

The Rev. Jill Singleton, of the Episcopal Church of Incarnation in Jersey City, said the idea of the Lighthouse was in part borne because of a man named Peter, an asylee that Singleton visited at the Hudson Correctional Facility as a volunteer for First Friends. Peter, she said, was born in Nigeria and when she visited him for the first time he told her she had been his first and only visitor during the nine months that he had been detained. On that day, he told her that he had been granted asylum.

"I asked him where he was going to go and he said 'I don't know,''' Singleton recalled.  "He didn't know another living soul in this country."

She said that night she couldn't sleep wondering where Peter had gone and she thought about opening a house to help others like him.

More here-

The religious reasons Mike Pence won’t eat alone with women don’t add up

From The Washington Post-

A story about Billy Graham goes something like this: In 1949 or 1950, after one of his famous evangelistic meetings, Graham returned to his hotel room to find a naked woman lying on his bed, ready to seduce him in an attempt to destroy his ministry. Graham, cautious and humble as usual, fled the hotel room and immediately implemented a rule that would come to bear his name: From that day forward, Graham would not travel (including by car), eat or meet alone with a woman other than his wife, Ruth.

The Billy Graham Rule was soon adopted by evangelical pastors and business executives. Men in positions of influence wanted to “flee from sexual immorality” and be “above reproach” (both biblical commands), as well as abstain from “every appearance of evil.” Aware of how many Christian leaders have been felled by sexual immorality, many of these men were taking sincere steps to guard their marriages from infidelity and their hearts from lust.

More here-


From Tablet-

There is a strangeness to being the People of the Book in the Age of Twitter. For two millennia, Judaism has given the world law without politics. Certainly, Jews have not stood outside of history; on the contrary, we’ve been deeply affected by it. But our national culture, the texts to which tradition demands we devote our energy, could not be more different than the torrent of frenzied pettiness (which we call “news” and “commentary”) that now consumes so many of us.

This thought occurred to me recently as I toggled through a handful of my regular news sources before heading to sleep. But as I slipped into bed and said the nighttime Shema prayer, I was suddenly struck by the contrast between my two nightly rituals. The practice of reciting the Shema before sleeping has always seemed to me to be among our tradition’s most powerful. A Jew literally obeys the biblical call to “to speak [these Words] in your lying down and in your waking up” and to “meditate on [the Law] day and night.” In doing so, one affirms physically and verbally one’s obsession—or at least one’s aspiration to obsession—with God’s Word.

More here-


From Current Affairs-

Here is a simple statement of principle that doesn’t get repeated enough: if you possess billions of dollars, in a world where many people struggle because they do not have much money, you are an immoral person. The same is true if you possess hundreds of millions of dollars, or even millions of dollars. Being extremely wealthy is impossible to justify in a world containing deprivation.

Even though there is a lot of public discussion about inequality, there seems to be far less talk about just how patently shameful it is to be rich. After all, there are plenty of people on this earth who die—or who watch their loved ones die—because they cannot afford to pay for medical care. There are elderly people who become homeless because they cannot afford rent. There are children living on streets and in cars, there are mothers who can’t afford diapers for their babies. All of this is beyond dispute. And all of it could be ameliorated if people who had lots of money simply gave those other people their money. It’s therefore deeply shameful to be rich. It’s not a morally defensible thing to be.

More here-

Diocese of Puerto Rico notified of successful canonical consent process

From ENS-

Episcopal Church Presiding Bishop and Primate Michael B. Curry and Registrar of General Convention, the Rev. Canon Michael Barlowe, have notified the Diocese of Puerto Rico that Bishop-Elect Rafael Luis Morales has received the required majority of consents in the canonical consent process.

The Rev. Canon Rafael Luis Morales was elected Bishop on December 10, 2016.  His ordination and consecration service is slated for July 22; Presiding Bishop Curry will officiate.

More here-

Friday, March 31, 2017

Pope’s remarks on intercommunion ‘ground-breaking’

From The Church Times-

REMARKS made by Pope Francis during his visit to All Saints’, Rome (News, 3 March) are being interpreted as an endorsement of intercommunion between Anglicans and Roman Catholics.

During a question-and-answer session, the Pope was asked what might be learnt from the Churches in the global South, where ecumenical relations were often much more advanced. He spoke of the “courage” of younger Churches, particularly in relation to the Anglican and Roman Catholic martyrs in Uganda, and the possibility of a joint visit to South Sudan with Archbishop Welby, at the specific request of the Roman Catholic Church there.

He went on: “And then, there is my experience. I was very friendly with the Anglicans at Buenos Aires, because the back of the parish of Merced was connected with the Anglican Cathedral. I was very friendly with Bishop Gregory Venables, very friendly.

More here-

Anglican archbishop Glenn Davies slams same-sex marriage activists

From Australia-

The Anglican Archbishop of Sydney­ has branded radical same-sex marriage campaigners as a “barge of bullies” who are swamping the public debate with an “intro­spective, authoritarian den­ial of free speech”.

Writing in The Australian today, Glenn Davies says the corporate world in Australia has been “press-ganged” into supporting marriage equality and backing div­ersity by gay activists. “What kind of diversity is so monochrome that it does not allow differing­ expressions of opinion in the debate?” he says. “This narrow-minded, freedom-restricting carping is what the same-sex marriage­ campaign has come to.”

The Australian revealed last week that IBM Australia managing partner Mark Allaby had been targeted in a social media campaign after activists learned he had ties to a Christian internship program at the Lachlan Macquarie Institute.

The charity, as well as the Aust­ralian Christian Lobby, was granted official permission to keep its board members’ names sec­ret on the grounds of “public safety” after sustained abuse.

More here-

The Story of Bad Bishop Brown

From The Jacobian-

The US Episcopal Church excommunicated Bishop William Brown on May 31, 1924. His heresy was communism.

Marxists of a non-sectarian bent are prepared to work with others who also fight oppression and exploitation, including people motivated by religious convictions. In specific campaigns and movements, such collaboration does not require concessions of political principle.

But the prized presence of vicars or, better still, bishops as symbols of respectability on platforms at rallies has also been associated with the pursuit of political influence by sacrificing militancy and class struggle to liberal sensitivities. This tendency is grounded in the traditions of early twentieth Century reformist social democracy and Communists’ Popular Front policies during the second half of the1930s.

More here-

Disciplinary hearing wraps up for Episcopal bishop overseeing Newport Beach church

From ENS (other links below)-

Three days of testimony in the ecclesiastical disciplinary hearing for Diocese of Los Angeles Bishop J. Jon Bruno ended here March 30 without a resolution.

Church Attorney Raymond “Jerry” Coughlan, appointed to represent the Episcopal Church, and Diocese of Los Angeles Chancellor Richard Zevnik did not make oral closing statements. They will submit written briefs for the Hearing Panel to consider before making its decision.

“I have no idea how long our decision will take but there are other canonical processes involved that could mean this could go on for a while,” Diocese of Southern Virginia Bishop Herman Hollerith IV, president of the Hearing Panel, told spectators at the end of the session. “This is not going to be something that is going to happen before Easter.”

The allegations detailed at the hearing stem from Bruno’s behavior during and after his unsuccessful 2015 attempt to sell St. James the Great Episcopal Church in Newport Beach to a condominium developer for $15 million. Members of the church initially filed the disciplinary complaint against him.

More here-

LA Times-

O.C. Register-

Denver Calls New Dean

From The Living Church-

St. John’s Cathedral in Denver has called the Rev. Richard Lawson as its 10th dean. Lawson will begin his work July 10.

A native of Guntersville, Alabama, Lawson is a graduate of Auburn University, General Theological Seminary, and the University of the South’s School of Theology. He has served as rector of Grace-St. Luke’s Church and School, Memphis, since May 2010.

He has been published in Sewanee Theological Review, and his article “Mysticism and Pragmatism in Modern Religious Architecture” will be published in the Spring 2017 issue of The Anglican Theological Review. His essay “Three Sketches of Symbols and Sacraments” will appear in Reasonable Radical? Reading the Writings of Martyn Percy (edited by Ian Markham and Joshua Daniel).

More here-

Pastor prays for Lazarus-style miracle that dead wife will be resurrected by God

From Christian Today-

A Christian pastor in Kenya who camped at a mortuary for four days in the belief that his wife would rise from the dead like Lazarus has been left disappointed after the miracle failed to occur.

Pastor Githumba, aged 40, began trending on social media after he camped out at the mortuary in Gakwegori in Embu district, fasting and praying for her resurrection.

His wife Polly Kagendo, aged 38, died of tuberculosis. The pastor predicted her resurrection four days later, on Wednesday March 29, just as Lazarus was resurrected by Jesus in the Bible according to John's Gospel.

He invited reporters and others to witness the miracle, Standard Digital reports. He attested that she was merely resting and would be restored to life if everyone prayed and believed in God for the miracle.

More here-

Thursday, March 30, 2017

The Real Work of Bishops

From Patheos-

But let’s hope that the bishops return to the subject of congregational vitality and give it serious, concerted attention, because if there is one issue facing the leadership of mainline Protestantism today it is the fate and future of shrinking congregations with ever-smaller numbers and evaporating resources.

Why we face those challenges can be traced to a number of factors: Shifting rural-urban demographics; the growth in numbers of those who identify as spiritual but not religious or as Nones; the changing generational interests and expectations; the rise of immigrant populations that have their own traditions; and the decline in numbers of white, middle class communities are just a few of the factors that are beyond the church’s control.

But there are other challenges that that the church can and must address: the failure of mainline Protestantism to give people a vital, inescapable, spiritually grounded explanation for why they should attend church; our over-identification with political causes that can be pursued just as easily without a religious motivation; the lackluster character of our programs for children and youth; (in the case of my denomination) the inescapable and unacknowledged classism of our denomination; and the failure of our congregations to give more than lip service to welcoming people of color, unless they are willing to conform to our cultural affectations and Progressive Protestantism’s theology. There are also serious strategic issues: the location and viability of congregations; resource distribution; the linguistic barriers to serving immigrant communities; and the supervision and training of lay and ordained leadership.

More here-

Defense Focuses on Priest

From The Living Church-

In the second day of Bishop J. Jon Bruno’s trial, the defense concentrated on undermining the testimony of the priest at the center of the dispute. The discussion turned ugly at times, highlighting the rifts between formerly congenial colleagues.

Bruno, Bishop of Los Angeles since 2002, faces charges of misrepresentation and conduct unbecoming a member of the clergy, and he could be deposed if convicted. In May 2015, the bishop abruptly announced that St. James the Great Church in Newport Beach — which had reopened less than two years earlier after being recovered through litigation — had been sold.

The Rev. Canon Cindy Evans Voorhees

(pictured), who served as vicar of the church throughout that two-year period, testified Tuesday that the bishop had given no indication that a sale was being considered and told her in 2015 that the property would not be sold. Bruno testified Wednesday that he never made any such promise.

More here-

Arguing for a reasonable faith

From Irish Catholic-

Fresh from a public debate at Trinity College Dublin, where 600 students overflowed from the college’s largest lecture theatre and filled three overflow rooms while a further 1,100 people watched online, philosopher and theologian William Lane Craig is adamant that Christian faith is a reasonable thing.

“As I went through my graduate education I became increasingly burdened with presenting the Gospel in the context of giving an intellectual defence of the Christian worldview,” he says. “I wanted to help students see that becoming a Christian is an intellectually viable option for thinking people today. I wanted to help them see that you don’t need to put your brains in one pocket and your faith in another pocket, and never let them see the light of day at the same time.”

Originally from Peoria, Illinois, and now a professor in California’s Biola Institute and Houston Baptist University in Texas, Dr Craig had become a convinced Christian in his teenage years, so he aimed to speak to people of a similar age to that at which his own life had been transformed. 

More here-

California Episcopal Bishop in Trouble for Trying to Sell Church to Condo Developer for $15M

From Christian Post-

A California bishop of The Episcopal Church is facing a disciplinary hearing for allegations that he violated church law when trying to sell off a diocesan property to a condominium developer for $15 million.

The Right Reverend J. Jon Bruno, bishop of the Episcopal Diocese of Los Angeles, was accused of multiple canon law violations, with a three-day disciplinary hearing beginning on Tuesday.

"Bruno is accused of violating Title IV Canon IV.4.1(g) failing to exercise his ministry in accordance with applicable church canons (specifically Title II Canon II.6.3 requiring prior standing committee consent to any plan for a church or chapel to be 'removed, taken down, or otherwise disposed of for worldly or common use')," reported Episcopal News Service.


Glasspool forced out of LA by Bruno over St James Newport Beach affair

From Anglican Ink-

The Episcopal Church’s first “lesbian” bishop was forced out of office by the Bishop of Los Angeles after she defied him by backing the congregation of St James the Great in Newport Beach in its dispute over the proposed sale of its parish properties.

On 29 March 2017, the attorney for the Rt. Rev. J. Jon Bruno, Bishop of Los Angeles, questioned the vicar of St James the Great, the Rev. Canon Cindy Evans Voorhees, about the events that led to Title IV ecclesiastical proceedings being lodged against the bishop.

The bishop’s attorney. Julie Dean Larsen, alleged Canon Voorhees had orchestrated a campaign to discredit the bishop and had conspired with other members of the diocese to halt the sale of the St James the Great in Newport Beach to developers.

The claims came on the morning of the second day of hearings investigating Bishop Bruno for misconduct. On 28 March 2017 Canon Voorhees testified for almost three hours about the events surrounding the bishop’s May 2015 announcement to the congregation that he was selling the property.

More here-

Liturgy of the Ordinary

From The Living Church-

I am a recovering idealist. I suffer from an unhealthy infatuation with spiritual highs that sidesteps or overlooks the reality of daily living. I would much rather skip over all the details and rituals that must be enacted or endured every day and cut straight to the mountaintop experience, in which the limitations of time and space seem to fall away, and the truly spiritual unfolds before me.

As a teenager, I went on extended overseas mission trips as a way to pursue those mountaintop experiences. Leaving behind the mundane and unimportant things that occupied folks back at home, I was off serving the Lord in a foreign country, enduring hardships, experiencing another culture. This isn’t to diminish the spiritual growth I experienced while on these trips; those experiences shaped me in important ways for which I am very grateful. However, in hindsight, I see how I let these trips reinforce a spiritual idealism that, while exhilarating, was doomed to fail me as soon as we landed back on American soil and I had to face my mundane, everyday teenage life back at home. The time I spent in high school between those trips was difficult, in no small part because those experiences could not be duplicated in my everyday life.

More here-

Wednesday, March 29, 2017

Episcopal leader speaks about Utah’s interfaith efforts, church divisions, dwindling membership, social causes

From Utah-

It has been a rare and long journey for Michael Bruce Curry, beginning with his mother's improbable decision, as a woman of color, to embrace the then-predominantly white Episcopal Church.

Enamored with the writings of Anglican C.S. Lewis, Curry's mother not only brought him along, but also Curry's father, a Baptist pastor. It was, in segregated Buffalo, N.Y., during the 1950s and '60s, an unusual transition, to say the least.

The younger Curry went on to be ordained as an Episcopal priest in 1978, laboring in Eastern and Southern parishes while earning a reputation for pastoral care, ecumenical outreach and service to the inner-city poor.

In 2000, he rose to bishop of the Episcopal Diocese of North Carolina and became an advocate on social-justice issues, including immigration policy and marriage equality. Then, in June 2015, during the church's national convention in Salt Lake City, Curry was elected the first black president of the Episcopal Church (which includes the U.S. and 16 other countries).

Nearly two years later, the 64-year-old cleric returns to Utah this week as an honored guest and speaker during the annual diocesan convention marking the church's 150th anniversary in Utah.

More here-

Church hearing to decide case of Newport Beach congregation vs. Episcopal bishop

From Orange County-

Church proceedings began in Pasadena, Tuesday, March 28, with regard to misconduct charges leveled by a Newport Beach congregation against J. Jon Bruno, the Episcopal Bishop of Los Angeles.

The disciplinary hearing, similar to a court trial, is being conducted by a panel of five officials of the Episcopal Church, in a meeting room at the Courtyard by Marriott-Old Pasadena.

At issue is the bishop’s move to lock the congregation out of the 71-year-old church in July 2015 after he received an offer from a developer who proposed to build 22 luxury townhomes where the 40,000-square-foot church building stands on prime real estate on Via Lido.

That deal fell through, but the congregation remains locked out of the property that also houses the cremated remains of 12 former parishioners. The congregation now gathers at the Newport Beach Civic Center in a community meeting room.

The hearing takes place even as the property remains mired in litigation.

It began Tuesday with opening statements from both sides. Jerry Coughlan, an attorney representing the congregation, told the panel that church members were under the impression that this was a ministry they could grow and worship in together.

More here-

The Benedict Option Can’t Save Your Faith Or Family

From The Federalist-

“The Benedict Option” rightly tells the reader there is no salvation in politics, our culture has morally collapsed, and Christians have amalgamated their faith with American popular culture. Dreher believes American Christians’ only viable choice is what he has dubbed the “Benedict Option.” He uses the monastic Benedictine spirituality and way of life as a prescriptive template for all Christians.

This includes such measures as: stable local living in small intentional Christian communities—“the Christian village”; cutting back on pop culture consumption; orienting the family towards God; creating sacramentally vibrant worship; pulling the kids out of public school and educating them classically either through private school, home school, or co-op; practicing hospitality and Christian neighborliness; buying from other Christians even if it costs more; building Christian employment networks; refusing to compromise to satisfy the whims of the young; fighting pornography—the list goes on. In short: avoid vice, and take up virtue.

It sounds nice on the surface, but that’s not how it often works out in practice. This option, no matter what you call it, leads to gospel amnesia, not to a flourishing Christian culture.

More here-

After 40 Girls Die in Orphanage Fire, Guatemala Asks Evangelicals for Advice

From Christianity Today-

Earlier this month, a fire at an orphanage outside of Guatemala’s capital caught international attention. Forty children died of carbon monoxide poisoning and burns; the tragic event drew worldwide condemnation.

But the aftermath of the fire has given hope to those who work with the Central American country’s orphans. As the government turns to evangelicals for help, it seems the tragedy may spark the breakthrough many have been praying for.

In some ways, the tragic blaze—set intentionally by children locked in the overcrowded facility—was not unexpected by evangelical experts. In 2006, Orphan Outreach founder Mike Douris told the Guatemalan government that the orphanage’s design wasn’t a good idea.

The government went ahead and built it anyway—another link in a chain of wrong moves. For decades, Guatemala has had some of the worst child welfare practices on the planet.

More here-

Tuesday, March 28, 2017

Church of England to create bishop for minority ethnic community

From The Guardian-

The Church of England is creating a new bishop specifically to reach out to black, Asian and minority ethnic people and to drive cultural change in one of the UK’s most diverse cities.

The diocese of Leicester has petitioned the Queen for permission to create a new see, and expects the new suffragan bishop of Loughborough to be in post by the end of the year.

Despite his or her title, the new bishop will be based mainly in Leicester, one of the first majority black, Asian and minority ethnic (BAME) cities in the UK. In the 2011 census, only 45% of the city’s population identified as white British.

“The diversity of the city is not reflected in our churches,” Martyn Snow, the bishop of Leicester, told the Guardian. “The majority of people going to Anglican churches are white British, while there are more than 100 BAME churches, mostly neo-Pentecostalist.” 

More here-

Anglican women advocate godly mothering

From Nigeria-

The Women and Girls Organisation of the St. Bartholomew’s Anglican Church, Aguda, Surulere, Lagos Mainland, have challenged mothers to nurture their children with fear of God.

They blamed the prevailing societal ills on weak mothering.

President of the organisation, Mrs Hilda Nwanekwu, who spoke on “The Unchanging God” during the commemoration of the Mothering Sunday, said mothers as catalyst of growth and development, must adopt biblical principles in raising well-grounded children.

According to her, the path to building a better society begins with women impacting their families with positive values of love and tolerance.

Her words: “The world is talking about development here and there and if women are not put into the scheme, it will be barbers because women have their part to contribute to development. Mothers nurture the home and whatever society will be.”

More here-

How did celibacy become mandatory for priests?

From The Conversation-

Priestly celibacy, or rather the lack of it, is in the news. There have been allegations of sex orgies, prostitution and pornography against Catholic clerics in Italy. On March 8, Pope Francis suggested, in an interview with a German newspaper, Die Zeit, that the Catholic Church should discuss the tradition of celibacy in light of an increasing scarcity of priests in rural areas, especially in South America.

Although some headlines have suggested that the pope’s latest comments signal a new openness to priestly marriage, neither of these recent developments – the allegations of sex scandals nor the debate about the tradition of priestly celibacy – should be surprising.

Celibate Christians, both monks and clergy, have a long history with scandal. As a scholar of early Christianity, I think it’s important to highlight the fact that Catholic priestly celibacy has never been practiced uniformly and is, in fact, a late development in church practice.

More here-

Monday, March 27, 2017

The Fascinating Story Behind the Rarest of Liturgical Devices: the Crotalus

From Church Pop-

The Holy Triduum is the shortest – but most important! – liturgical season of the year. Beginning with the liturgy on the evening of Holy Thursday, it lasts three days until Easter Sunday.

Due to some unique rules for the Triduum, if you attend Triduum liturgies, you may hear one of the rarest of liturgical instruments: the crotalus.

The what? Here’s an explanation.

In the Roman Rite, altar bells are not supposed to be rung after the Gloria in the liturgy on the evening of Holy Thursday, and are supposed to remain unused until the Gloria on Holy Saturday. This is supposed to make things more somber as we remember the passion and death of our Lord Jesus Christ.

But, during this short period of time, is anything supposed to take its place? That’s where the crotalus comes in. The Church’s liturgical rubrics don’t prescribe a replacement for altar bells, but there is a long-standing tradition of using a wooden clapper or noise-maker in its place. This serves to both mark the same events as the altar bells, but in a less “sweet” way and thus maintain the somber tone.

More here-

Religious left' emerging as U.S. political force in Trump era

From Reuters-

Since President Donald Trump's election, monthly lectures on social justice at the 600-seat Gothic chapel of New York's Union Theological Seminary have been filled to capacity with crowds three times what they usually draw.

In January, the 181-year-old Upper Manhattan graduate school, whose architecture evokes London's Westminster Abbey, turned away about 1,000 people from a lecture on mass incarceration. In the nine years that Reverend Serene Jones has served as its president, she has never seen such crowds.

"The election of Trump has been a clarion call to progressives in the Protestant and Catholic churches in America to move out of a place of primarily professing progressive policies to really taking action," she said.

Although not as powerful as the religious right, which has been credited with helping elect Republican presidents and boasts well-known leaders such as Christian Broadcasting Network

founder Pat Robertson, the "religious left" is now slowly coming together as a force in U.S. politics.

More here-

Christianity – why our faith is the radical alternative to terror

From Christian Today-

What must we do and what must we stop doing to escape from bondage to our basest desires, from being held captive by powers quite beyond our control and from being lost in a cycle of anger and desolation?

As the Bible puts it, by ourselves we are left 'following the course of this world, following the ruler of the power of the air ... All of us once lived among them in the passions of our flesh and senses, and we were by nature children of wrath.'

It's good sometimes to see the mud in which we stand without God, even when those who choose our lectionary readings choose to start them where things begin to cheer up; but we must start with the extreme, for a very good reason named Khalid Masood - the man responsible for the London terror attack last week.

Masood started life as normal as anyone else, but ended up going to London to perform an unspeakable act of multiple murder, having at some point been radicalised, perhaps while in prison for his violent crimes. Beyond the shock we feel that something like this can happen, we need to seek a radical alternative to terror, if we are to find hope for society.

More here-

Archbishop of Canterbury to make first official Israel visit

From Jewish News-

The Archbishop of Canterbury is to make his first official visit to Israel and the territories this May.

Meetings with the Israel and Palestinian presidents Reuven Rivlin and Mahmoud Abbas are expected to be on the agenda for Justin Welby’s 12-day visit, one of the longest foreign trips of his term so far. He is also seeking a meeting with Benjamin Netanyahu, The Guardian reported.

Four years after paying a private visit to the country where he spent his honeymoon, the trip will focus on religious freedom and challenges facing Christians in the Middle East. Starting in Jordan where he will hold talks with King Abdullah, he will then take in Jerusalem, Tel Aviv, Nazareth and Bethlehem where he will hear about the challenges posed to Palestinian Christians by the barrier erected by Israel to tackle suicide bombings.

More here-


From The Living Church-

This is the second in three posts about primitivism and how best to rediscover and resource from the past, especially the reformations of the 16th century, in a healthy way. The first post was largely about the nature of tradition. The challenge was to hold the familiar and the strange in tension, resisting the impulse (1) to classicize Cranmer as an idol, (2) to flatten him in ways to make him more appealing but less the man he really was, or (3) to reject him outright as foreign and alien. The third post will review possible responses along those lines. Here in this middle post, I want to help us see Cranmer with clarity by examining two things: briefly, Cranmer’s understanding of the Church as a body ruled by a divinely-appointed sovereign and then, with more detail, his eucharistic theology and practice offered up in the 1552 Holy Communion service.

More here-

After Great Pain, Where Is God?

From The New York Times-

These days I find I’m more alert to the grief and sorrow around me than I once was. In part it’s a product of my age, of youth giving way. I’m guessing my situation is not that different from many of yours.

Last month I checked in on a childhood friend whose 13-year-old son committed suicide last year after struggling with a brain injury. He told me, “I’ve stopped crying every day, which is a major transition.” He added, “I spent more than a year trying to get him well and keep him alive, and only in recent days have I finally, mostly, lost that mode of thinking. I don’t have to do anything now because I can’t.” Yet in his dreams, my friend said, his son is still alive and he’s checking on him to make sure he’s O.K.

Another lifelong friend recently died of colon cancer. His wife wrote to me: “I wish I could tell you that we are walking this journey with courage and faith, but that really doesn’t describe our situation at all. The outward courage feels like a ruse to convince ourselves that this immense pain will subside in time, and the weakness of our faith is showing us its shallow limits.”

More here-

Sunday, March 26, 2017

Bishop Jon Bruno, bishop diocesan to the See of Los Angeles, faces Title IV hearing this coming week

From Episcopal Cafe-

The final stage of the disciplinary process of the Episcopal Church against the Rt Revd Jon Bruno, bishop diocesan of the Diocese of Los Angeles, begins this Monday, 27 MAR. The hearing runs through Tuesday & Wednesday. The hearing is regarding charges of misconduct, brought against Bishop Bruno by the members of the former mission church, St James the Great in Newport Beach.

The folks from St James the Great filed charges against Bishop Bruno in a final attempt to prevent the sale of the building in which the mission congregation met. Bishop Bruno had dissolved the mission of St James the Great in preparation to sell the building, which he controls as one of the properties of the bishop’s Corporation Sole of Dio LA.

More here-

Who does the Benedict Option exclude and who does it benefit?

From American Magazine-

On this episode of the podcast, Matt Malone, S.J., and Kerry Weber are joined by James Martin, S.J., to talk about the Benedict Option, and the duty of Catholics to engage with issues of social justice.

The episode begins with a discussion of the homelessness, the war in Syria and ongoing health crises in Haiti, before introducing Rod Dreher’s controversial new book, The Benedict Option. Patrick Gilger, S.J. joins to talk about his recent essay on the book for America.

“What [Rod Dreher] calls for in The Benedict Option is a strategic withdrawal from certain aspects of American society,” Father Gilger said. “So his solution to this is a monastic one—his particular interpretation of monasticism, which is to withdraw into small communities of faith and practice, so as to form ourselves better.”

More here-

Not Leadership Material? Good. The World Needs Followers.

From The New York Times-

In 1934, a young woman named Sara Pollard applied to Vassar College. In those days, parents were asked to fill out a questionnaire, and Sara’s father described her, truthfully, as “more a follower type than a leader.”

The school accepted Sara, explaining that it had enough leaders.

It’s hard to imagine this happening today. No father in his right mind (if the admissions office happened to ask him!) would admit that his child was a natural follower; few colleges would welcome one with open arms. Today we prize leadership skills above all, and nowhere more than in college admissions. As Penny Bach Evins, the head of St. Paul’s School for Girls, an independent school in Maryland, told me, “It seems as if higher ed is looking for alphas, but the doers and thinkers in our schools are not always in front leading.”

Harvard’s application informs students that its mission is “to educate our students to be citizens and citizen-leaders for society.” Yale’s website advises applicants that it seeks “the leaders of their generation”; on Princeton’s site, “leadership activities” are first among equals on a list of characteristics for would-be students to showcase. Even Wesleyan, known for its artistic culture, was found by one study to evaluate applicants based on leadership potential.

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A San Antonio parish wins a Texican stand-off against its bishop.

From The American Spectator-

It’s gotta sting.

The Vatican has just whupped Archbishop Gustavo Garcia-Siller of San Antonio, upholding the right of the parish of Our Lady of the Atonement to place itself under the authority of a more congenial bishop. What should have been no more than a dust-up in the sacristy unexpectedly reached its “This Time He’s Gone Too Far” moment when Archbishop Garcia-Siller yanked the parish’s beloved and long-time pastor, Father Christopher Phillips.

In a letter dated January 19, 2017, and addressed to the parishioners of OLA, the archbishop explained that Father Phillips would leave the parish “to dedicate some time to reflect on certain specific concerns that I have shared with him.” Foremost among the archbishop’s “concerns” is the possible existence of “expressions in the life of the parish that indicate an identity separate from, rather than simply unique, among the parishes of the archdiocese.” (Huh?) During his time of reflection, Father Phillips “will not have the responsibility of pastoral care or authority in the parish.”

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Anglican conflicts continue

From Zambia-

THE Anglican Diocese of Manicaland has been rocked by divisions after fierce fighting erupted in January over the handling of funds and church administered schools leading to the temporary ex-communication of 40 church officials.

The 40 leaders and congregants mainly from St Agnes Chikanga who have since been restored to their positions had been suspended after complaining about the mishandling of funds raised in 2015 and 2016 to develop St Catherine Girls High School in Rusape.

Of the 40 ex-communicated, 26 of them were arrested and appeared in court charged with inciting violence.

In addition it is said individuals who were handpicked by the diocese leader, Bishop Erick Ruwona to handle finances and administration of schools which include St Catherine Girl's High went on to borrow funds at a local bank to finish up the developments.

It took a personal visit by Zambian Archbishop, Albert Chama, the Church's Province of Central Africa (CPCA) leader to resolve the conflict and reinstate the suspended officials to their positions.

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Did We Worship Our Way to Trump?

From Red Letter Christians-

How did we get here? No, not just how did Americans manage to elect to the presidency someone so astonishingly arrogant, persistently dishonest, brashly ignorant, fundamentally disrespectful, proudly profligate, clearly hateful, and altogether incompetent? Rather, how did American Christians – particularly white Christians – come to the point where they could support such a person?

Without the Christian vote, Trump would never have made it into the Oval Office. I suspect worship has a lot to do with it.

The patterns of worship in American churches helped pave the way for Christians to offer him their vote. Clearly, there is not just one reason Trump took more than 80% of the white evangelical vote and the majority of the white Catholic and mainline Protestant vote. But it comes down to this: many American Christians worship the same god as Trump.

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