Saturday, April 8, 2017

Church of England rejects new grammar schools as it states it will build schools for the 'many, not just the few'

From The Telegraph-

The Church of England has rejected the Government’s plans to create hundreds of new grammar schools as it claims it will build schools for “the many, not just the few”.
The Church, the largest single provider of schools in England, has ruled out the creation of any new grammars on the grounds that they cater only to a select group of “high achievers”.

Responsible for more than 4,700 schools across the country, the announcement follows a decision taken at the General Synod last year, which concluded that the Church should move away from selection towards schools that serve the “whole community”.

As part of its new vision, the Church said it would proceed with plans to create 125 new, more inclusive schools, which it hopes will help remedy an “increasingly fragmented educational scene”.

More here-

Everyone's wrong about why we wear wedding rings on the fourth finger of our left hands

From The Insider (Fun facts to know and tell)-

Most wedding traditions can be traced back to religious practice. And the reason people wear the wedding band on the fourth finger on the left hand dates back to one of the most contentious religious debates of all time.

The actual use of wedding rings — or wedding bands — dates back at least 6,000 years, to ancient Egypt. But the decision to wear them on what's now known as the "ring finger" can be traced back only around 450 years, when the Church of England broke off with the Catholic Church.

The rule that we should wear wedding rings on our left hand comes from "The Book of Common Prayer," a collection of prayer books used by the Anglican Church from around 1549. Following the break with the Catholic Church — which is commonly known as the Reformation — the Anglican Church needed service and worship books that were different from those of the Catholic Church.

More here-

ANC leaders with moral compass challenged to stand up‚ top brass blind to the truth: Anglican Bishop

From South Africa-

Members of the ANC top executive who initially repudiated President Zuma’s Cabinet reshuffle were blind to the truth - which South Africans can see - of the need for a corrupt-free and stable society with a secure future.

This was the gist of a strong address given by the Anglican Bishop of Johannesburg‚ the Right Reverend Dr Steve Moreo‚ as part of the march to the Union Buildings in Pretoria on Friday.

Bishop Steve said that the country’s leadership had descended into a state of ghastly immorality and unethical behaviour.

He added that when some of the acolytes of the president had had the courage to repudiate him‚ South Africans had seen some hope for a stable future.

“But just a few days later‚ those same acolytes emerged from behind closed doors‚ where they had debated in secrecy‚ with no transparency. They emerged to proclaim again that the President is clothed even when they had revealed him for all his duplicity and nakedness just a few days before. Then we knew that the moral compass that was our legacy in 1994 had been destroyed.

More here-‚-top-brass-blind-to-the-truth-Anglican-Bishop

Robert E. Lee: The man and the monument

From Richmond-

But who was the man behind the monument? A new book by a Lexington, Va., resident explains Lee’s motivation. In “The Religious Life of Robert E. Lee,” R. David Cox addresses how Lee defined his life. His reading of Lee’s papers confirms that Lee was deeply religious. But his religion allowed the moral contradiction that scarred the nation. What sort of religion allowed such wrong?

Lee then, like Cox and myself now, was an Episcopalian. Lee was the product of a rational, English Christianity and an American evangelical one. Uniting his faith was the sense of a superintending providence. As Cox explains, “whatever happens — other than as the result of human sin — happens because God wants it that way: ... what happens is, in the end, best.”

Lee believed that divine will inevitably prevailed. Mortals could accept God’s designs; or they could — by rejection, passivity, or “outright sin” — make the world “more wicked.” Lee saw passivity as a source of evil. So he acted, even as he pondered the circumstances in which he found himself. He was capable of resignation, not passivity.

More here-

Revive democracy by reviving relationships

From St. Louis-

“If it is not about love, it is not about God.”

These words rang out Tuesday through the standing-room-only crowd in Graham Chapel at Washington University . The speaker, the Most Rev. Michael Curry, presiding bishop of the Episcopal Church, had the crowd hanging on his every syllable.

He’s that kind of preacher, the kind we don’t see often in the Episcopal Church: fiery, eloquent, poetic, and deeply shaped by the African-American tradition of rousing, rhythmic, call-and-response oratory that had even me shouting out the occasional “Amen!” when he really got going.

Curry was in town as a guest of the Danforth Center on Religion and Politics and was introduced by former Sen. John Danforth, himself both an Episcopal priest and a longtime politician.

More here-

Just Give Me Jesus: A Closer Look at Christians Who Don’t Go to Church

From Christianity Today-

When you ask someone about their faith, expect to hear a qualifier.

Of course, there’s “spiritual but not religious,” a category that 11 percent of Americans now fall into, according to Barna Group research. (The figure could be at least double that if applied to all without a particular religious affiliation, often referred to as the “nones.”)

But even Christianity comes with caveats. Some try to change up the term by saying, “I’m not a Christian, but a Christ-follower.”

#ImChristianBut trended on Twitter a couple years ago, in the wake of a BuzzFeed video of young Christians butting against what they saw as negative stereotypes of Christians. They said lines like “I’m Christian, but I’m not homophobic” and “I’m Christian, but I’m not closed-minded.”

Before that, the spoken word poem “Why I Hate Religion, But Love Jesus” took off with a message that confronted frustrations with religious legalism. It now has 32 million YouTube views.

More here-

Will this be our last Holy Week?

From Aleteia-

Is Holy Week really worth the effort? If you talk to pastors, liturgists, choir directors, leaders of RCIA, etc., Holy Week is a time of frenetic activity, the culmination of much planning and lack of planning, and somehow—at least sometimes—inspiring. And then…? Well, a few weeks of lilies and extra “Alleluias!” and then back to business as usual. (E.g., First Confessions and Communions in May, a spate of weddings in June, etc.) It seems that Holy Week is a lot of work for a few, an inconvenience for a few more (“How many times do I have to drag the kids to church this week?!?”), and an annual irrelevance for many, if not most Catholics. But does it have to be that way?

Here’s the key problem with Holy Week as described above: People who halfheartedly believe that they’re sinners try to stir up sorrow for an atoning death they’re not quite convinced they need, so that a few days later they can try to stir up joy for the benefits of a resurrection they don’t quite understand or believe in. So understood, it’s not very convincing theater, and even less is it worthy worship.

More here-

The Obscure Religion That Shaped The West

From BBC-

Talk of ‘us’ and ‘them’ has long dominated Iran-related politics in the West. At the same time, Christianity has frequently been used to define the identity and values of the US and Europe, as well as to contrast those values with those of a Middle Eastern ‘other’. Yet, a brief glance at an ancient religion – still being practised today – suggests that what many take for granted as wholesome Western ideals, beliefs and culture may in fact have Iranian roots.

It is generally believed by scholars that the ancient Iranian prophet Zarathustra (known in Persian as Zartosht and Greek as Zoroaster) lived sometime between 1500 and 1000 BC. Prior to Zarathustra, the ancient Persians worshipped the deities of the old Irano-Aryan religion, a counterpart to the Indo-Aryan religion that would come to be known as Hinduism. Zarathustra, however, condemned this practice, and preached that God alone – Ahura Mazda, the Lord of Wisdom – should be worshipped. In doing so, he not only contributed to the great divide between the Iranian and Indian Aryans, but arguably introduced to mankind its first monotheistic faith.

More here-

Friday, April 7, 2017

Dean of Liverpool named as the next Bishop of Sheffield

From The Church Times-

THE man who has the task of healing the wounds opened up in Sheffield by the Philip North row is to be the Dean of Liverpool, the Very Revd Dr Pete Wilcox.

Downing Street announced on Friday morning that Dr Wilcox has been nominated as the next Bishop of Sheffield, one month after the Bishop of Burnley, the Rt Revd Philip North, withdrew his acceptance of the post after protests against his views on women’s ordination (News, 9 March).

At the time, it was reported that the Archbishop of York, who chaired the Crown Nominations Commission (CNC) that selected Bishop North, would propose an alternative candidate. (For each diocesan appointment, the CNC sends two names to the Prime Minister for rubber stamping.) The speed of Friday’s announcement suggests that Dr Wilcox’s was the name beneath Bishop North’s. Having first nominated a Catholic traditionalist, the CNC has opted for an Evangelical.

More here-

Gay clergyman passed over seven times for promotion to bishop

From The Guardian-

Jeffrey John, a gay senior Anglican churchman, has been passed over for promotion to a bishopric for a seventh time since the Church of England rescinded his appointment as bishop of Reading in 2003 amid homophobic protests.

John, dean of St Albans Cathedral, was put forward for the post of bishop of Sodor and Man in February, but failed to make it on to the shortlist despite positive feedback. The rejection came shortly before he was passed over for appointment as bishop of Llandaff after objections to his sexuality allegedly were raised.

In the diocese of Sodor and Man, which covers the Isle of Man and surrounding islets, John’s name was considered by the Crown Nominations Commission (CNC), an appointment body of 14 people chaired by the archbishop of York, John Sentamu, and including representatives of the General Synod and from the diocese of Sodor and Man. An open vote confirmed that the panel had no objection to John’s sexuality and long-term civil partnership with Anglican priest Grant Holmes.

More here-

Churches struggling to find organists

From Baltimore-

When the longtime organist at St. John's Episcopal Church in Havre de Grace announced her retirement last fall, the leaders of the small 200-year-old congregation faced a bigger challenge than they knew.

Music — particularly the music of the organ — is central to the life of the church. Members say the instrument's rich sounds complement their liturgy, inspire congregational singing and even seem to invite the Holy Spirit into their presence.

But a six-month search has turned up just one potential applicant. Church leaders are trying every new strategy they can think of to get things moving.

"We're praying and trying to stay optimistic, but this we had no idea how challenging this would be," says parishioner Casi Tomarchio, a member of the search committee. "There aren't enough organists out there."

More here-

Christianity's growth will be in global South, Pew study shows

From Catholic Register-

Most of Christianity's future growth is likely to be in the global South, particularly in sub-Saharan Africa, where the Christian population is relatively young, according to a new analysis from the U.S.-based Pew Research Center.

And, while at last count more babies were born to Christian mothers than to members of any other religion, reflecting Christianity's status as the world's largest religious group, Muslim births will start to outnumber Christian births by 2035.

The share of Christians worldwide who live in sub-Saharan Africa is expected to increase dramatically between 2015 and 2060, from 26 per cent to 42 per cent, due to high fertility in the region. At the same time, lower fertility and religion switching are among factors that will lead to a drop in numbers of Christians living in Europe and North America, according to Pew Research Center demographic estimates released April 5.

More here-

BBC Cuts Religion & Ethics

From The Living Church-

The BBC, already under fire for farming out its flagship religious program, Songs of Praise, for private production, is taking more heat after announcing the closure of its Religion and Ethics Department.

“It is a failure of the BBC as a public service broadcaster,” said the Rt. Rev. Graham James, Bishop of Norwich and the Church of England’s media spokesman. James said it was a strange decision, given the BBC’s pledge to the media watchdog Ofcom, which begins regulating the corporation on Monday, that it would boost religious programming.

For its part, the BBC refuses to say how many staff jobs would be lost following the changes.

More here-

Thoughts on the “Benedict Option” – A Lament

From Scriptorium Daily-

For years Rod Dreher (senior editor at The American Conservative) has been writing about his “Benedict Option.” Now his book of the same title has finally appeared. To be honest, I have not been convinced by his articles addressing the Benedict Option and his book fails to convince me too. James K. A. Smith published a trenchant critique almost immediately and so did Alan Jacobs (there are, of course, a host of other critical reactions to Dreher) and I mostly agree with both of them from a theological point of view. Dreher paints with brush strokes that are too broad (too metaphysical and absolutist, says Jacobs), too alarmist (“fundamentalism without the rapture,” writes Smith) and in a spirit that seems to ignore or deny the catholicity of the Christian Church by a “repackaging of the historic disciplines and formative practices of the church retroactively [that] makes newcomers and outsiders mistake the Great Tradition with the narrowness of the Benedict Option” (Smith). Everything about Dreher’s proposal sounds too doomsday-ish, too idiosyncratic, too parachurch-y and, well, too cynical. But what I really lament is that another Christian author has managed to misrepresent monasticism, again.

More here-

Jesus Didn't Eat a Seder Meal

From Christianity Today-

Passover has a special allure for Christians. It is on the night of Passover, as all Israel is offering the pascal Lamb and eating matza (unleavened bread) and bitter herbs on the slopes of the Temple Mount in Jerusalem that Jesus of Nazareth meets with his 12 disciples for the Last Supper. This may be the best-known Passover meal.

Both of these meals—Jesus’s Last Supper and the first Passover meal—are launch events. Each of them inaugurates a new religious civilization. Thus, for the believing Christian, it is no coincidence that Jesus convenes the disciples at the very moment of the Passover meal to signal that this meal is the fulfillment of and successor to that first Passover meal, and that like the first one, the Last Supper inaugurates a new faith community. For most of Christian history, the celebration of the Lord’s Supper, the Eucharist, replaced the Jewish Passover Seder.For Jews, however, the most important Passover meal is the very first, described in Exodus 12. It is the meal by which Israel celebrates its

liberation from the pagan culture of Egypt/Mitzrayim by serving the One God and bringing an offering to the One God. That first Passover meal is eaten home-by-home, family-by-family. The guest list consists of all the members of the family, men and women, old and young, wise and foolish, learned and ignorant, boys and girls. In other words, present at that first Passover offering was the whole Jewish family in all of its delight and complexity. When Jews today celebrate the Passover, they are reenacting that moment and connecting with all Jews across time and space who have been celebrating the Passover Seder for millennia.

More here-

Thursday, April 6, 2017

Child abuse royal commission: Counsel's submission criticises Newcastle Anglican bishops

From Australia-

A counsel assisting the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse has taken aim at several former Newcastle Anglican bishops, concluding one was "weak and ineffectual on child sexual abuse".

In its Newcastle and Sydney hearings in 2016, the royal commission heard claims of paedophile networks and cover ups during its probe into Newcastle's Anglican Diocese.

The royal commission today published the written submissions for the public hearings into the Anglican Diocese of Newcastle.

In her submission, counsel assisting the royal commission, Naomi Sharp, made nearly 150 observations known as 'available findings' in the report.

She said when former bishops Alfred Holland and Richard Appleby were able to ignore disclosures of allegations of sexual abuse, they chose to do so.

More here-

Sometimes we need quiet time

From New York-

It is one thing to be at a family dinner table and everyone is excitedly talking at the same time, but it is altogether more annoying if it is a meeting and in every direction people are simultaneously exchanging thoughts and opinions. Isn’t that what we’ve come to in our culture?

We are entangled in an unending strand of multi-phonic, simultaneous communications shouting at us via text, cell phone, computer, twitter, snap chat, and even old-school television, radio and telephone. This becomes painfully clear when the person sending a text or email wonders what took us so long if we didn’t answer immediately. Worse yet is when we are the one who has become impatient for the same reason.

I don’t want to sound like a curmudgeonly Luddite, but sending an electronic communication seems to have become tantamount to being present with them and demanding a person’s full attention. If I were to receive a phone call at my house (yes, I still have a land line) at dinnertime, there is a pretty good chance I would not answer it until after dinner unless it was one of my kids. That does not seem unreasonable, and you may have the same protocol. Why then, should we allow texting or anything else to be more intrusive? Why feel compelled to read it or answer it immediately?

More here-

Lee Strobel's Hope for Apologetics in a 'Post-Truth' Culture

From Christianity Today-

Nearly two decades have passed since Lee Strobel’s The Case for Christ first hit bookstore shelves. Written as a response to the former journalist’s conversion from atheism, Strobel’s investigation into the truth claims of Christianity remains a landmark work of apologetics, often mentioned alongside mainstays such as C. S. Lewis’s Mere Christianity. And while the culture has changed much since 1998, Strobel insists that using reason to defend—and, more importantly, to share—the gospel remains as important as ever.

Later this week, the film adaptation of The Case for Christ, which tells the story behind Strobel’s investigation and resulting conversion, will premiere at theaters across the country. For this week’s episode of The Calling, CT managing editor Richard Clark sat down with Strobel to learn more about the challenges of adapting his book for the big screen, the role his marriage played in his conversion, and the future of apologetics in a “post-truth” world.

More here-

"Vitality and growth across the Communion"

From ACNS-

It is almost exactly a year since the Anglican Consultative Council met for ACC-16 in Lusaka, Zambia. So much has been happening across our Communion since then. Let me tell you about just a few things to give you a taste of how active and lively our Communion has been in the last few months.

On the personal level, I preached at a Dedication Service of a new church in Guangzhou, China, in January. The church, seating 3,000 people, was one of the new and big churches built in China in recent years.

In February, during the visit of the Presiding Bishop of TEC to Hong Kong, several Primates of neighbouring provinces in this region including Japan, Korea, New Zealand, Philippines, came and spent a day together to worship, share and discuss the matters of concern.

More here-

My feminist strategy for dealing with criticism as a Christian leader

From Faith and Leadership-

What do you do when you’re called shrill, hysterical or bossy? The executive director of the Massachusetts Council of Churches responds by feeling deeply and sharing her pain.

Christians say awful things to one another. I wish I hadn’t had to learn this as the leader of a Christian institution.

In my ministry, I’ve been called all sorts of cruel things: shrill, hysterical, bossy, manipulative, emotionally unstable. I’ve been likened to farm animals. I’ve had Christian colleagues repeat untrue rumors. I’ve had Christian colleagues stand in the sacristy and “joke” about cutting my mic when I speak. I’ve been called a name that is not printable here.

And this is not even counting what people have said about me online, anonymously or without my knowledge.

Navigating these particularly gendered criticisms is especially problematic for women in public Christian leadership. Our gender already puts us in a position of being perceived as overly emotional. Others will presume we’re additionally weak, volatile or angry based on their biases about age, sexuality, perceived abilities, class, educational status and race.

More here-


From The Living Church (July 31, 1926), pp. 467-68.

A GOOD behaviorist could work out quite an attractive bit of analysis by comparing the different Christian Churches according to his psychology. For in church, obviously much depends on behavior. There, especially, bodily attitudes and gestures, the forming of words, and the tones with which the words are spoken, are theoretically supposed to be of no great account, but actually express, or affect, or even are, the substance of religious beliefs and spiritual attitudes. A pronounced “ritualist” is thus a religious behaviorist. And public, corporate worship of any sort is about the most behavioristic thing there is.

So far as that goes, we need not be behaviorists at all to perceive that beliefs are highly colored by the ways in which we pronounce the words “I believe,” and by the actions with which we accompany our recitation of the Creed. And a great deal of our belief depends on our taste for this behavior or that. Take the one example of ceremonial bowing. Some like it, like to see it done, and like to do it even lavishly themselves; others invidiously talk of “bowing and scraping” (where “and scraping” is evidently put in for disparaging effect), to show that they detest it. Now while we cannot surrender the truth that we bow because we believe, we must admit that we believe more intensely when we bow; the believing and the bowing reinforce each other, and certainly believing comes much more easily to one who likes to bow than to one who hates it. So some beliefs are in part dependent on our taste or distaste for bowing. Kneeling to receive Holy Communion is another example, with a history of its own; and there are many more.

More here-

Wednesday, April 5, 2017

Alabama Baptist, national Methodist, Episcopal groups urge Congress to keep politics out of churches

From Alabama-

A group of 99 religious and denominational organizations are urging Congress to maintain laws that prevent churches and other tax-exempt non-profit groups from endorsing political candidates.

The coalition, which includes the Alabama Cooperative Baptist Fellowship, the Episcopal Church, the United Church of Christ's Justice and Witness Ministries and the United Methodist Church's General Board of Church and Society, presented a letter this week to Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, House Speaker Paul Ryan and all members of Congress.

The letter addresses the "Johnson Amendment," the 1954 IRS regulation that prohibits churches and other religious organizations from keeping their tax-exempt status if they endorse candidates, participate in partisan activities, or "directly or indirectly" become involved in a political campaign.

More here-

A move to part-time clergy sparks innovation in congregations

From Faith and Leadership-

Adjusting to life without a full-time pastor has become a pressing challenge for thousands of congregations in mainline Protestant denominations across the country.

Shrinking attendance and ever-leaner budgets have forced churches to pare back the pastorate, and many wonder how effective ministry can happen when clergy are working just 30, 20 or 10 hours a week for the church.

Relearning how to do effective congregational ministry with part-time clergy is no easy task, and denominational officers have no easy answers. The traditional model for mainline churches relies on full-time clergy, and it can be difficult to envision a thriving congregation with a part-time pastor.

More here-

Nominations now accepted for Episcopal Church positions, committees, boards

From The Episcopal Church-

Nominations are now being accepted for various Episcopal Church positions, committees or boards that will be elected during the next General Convention.

The Episcopal Church Joint Standing Committee for Nominations for General Convention has issued a call for nominations for five positions. Elections will take place at the 79th General Convention, to be held in Austin, TX, Thursday, July 5 to Friday, July 13, 2018.

Nominations are accepted for the following committees/boards:

Trustee, The Church Pension Fund
Member of Executive Council
Member of General Board of Examining Chaplains
Trustee, General Theological Seminary
Member of Disciplinary Board for Bishops

More here-

Tuesday, April 4, 2017

Pope to meet Prince Charles and Camilla as part of Italian tour

From Vatican Radio (with audio)-

British heir to the throne, Prince Charles and Camilla, the Duchess of Cornwall, meet with Pope Francis on Tuesday afternoon as part of their five day visit to Italy.

The Prince will also hold talks with Cardinal Pietro Parolin, the Holy See Secretary of State, and the Vatican 'foreign minister' Archbishop Paul Gallagher, as well as with other Vatican officials at the Pontifical Council for Interreligious Dialogue. Before the papal audience, the royal couple will be shown some of the rare documents contained in the Vatican library and secret archive.

The British heir to the throne began his Italian tour in the northern city of Vicenza, where he visited a Commonwealth cemetery, laying a wreath in memory of soldiers of different nationalities who died during the deployment of British forces to the Austrian front of the First World War one hundred years ago.

His wife, Camilla, meanwhile, spent the day in Naples, meeting with trafficked women and youngsters with learning difficulties at a former Mafia villa which was confiscated by the State. She also visited the ancient Roman town of Herculaneum which was destroyed by the eruption of nearby Mount Vesuvius in AD 79.

More here-,_camilla_as_part_of_italian_tour/1303325

The Rt Revd Tim Thornton has been appointed the new Bishop of Lambeth, replacing Rt Revd Nigel Stock who is due to retire

From England-

The Bishop of Truro, the Rt Revd Tim Thornton, has been appointed as the new Bishop of Lambeth, and will be stepping down from his role in Cornwall.

Bishop Tim will take up his new post in September, when he moves to the borough of London with his wife, Sian, and their two children, to replace Rt Revd Nigel Stock who is due to retire.

Since his appointment in 2009 Bishop Tim has done a lot for the county, including co-chairing an inquiry into foodbanks which led to the report Feeding Britain.

He was also the president of the Royal Cornwall Agricultural Association and chair of the Development and Appointments Group, which oversees the leadership development work among senior clergy.

His duties at Lambeth will include supporting the Archbishop of Canterbury's work in the House of Bishops, general Synod and the Archbishop's Council.

He will also be heavily involved in the Lambeth Conference 2020, and take on the role of Bishop to the Forces.

More here-

The priest who healed orphans with poetry

From The Washington Post-

Spencer Reece had gone to Honduras to learn Spanish after a crisis at work.

Reece, an acclaimed poet who later became an Episcopal priest, had been working as a chaplain at Hartford Hospital in Connecticut in 2009 when a teenage boy was rushed into the ER late at night. Stabbed 25 times, the boy died at 6 the following morning, another gang-war casualty. Reece had tried as best he could to comfort the mother, but she spoke only Spanish. Reece, a Midwesterner who in a previous incarnation sold wingtips and windowpane suits at Brooks Brothers, spoke only English.

Reece called Leo Frade, the Episcopal bishop of Miami. At the time, the Diocese of Southeast Florida, led by Frade, was sponsoring Reece at Yale Divinity School. How could he became fluent in Spanish, Reece asked Frade.

“He immediately said, ‘I have just the place for you,’’’ recalled Reece, who prior to seminary had been an assistant manager at the Brooks Brothers in Palm Beach Gardens.

More here-

Oh, all those religious calendar features! But here’s a good bet for Good Friday

From Get Religion-

News scribes face the perennial task of devising features pegged to major dates on religious calendars.

Due to the somber and difficult theme, perhaps the most challenging is Good Friday – Great and Holy Friday for Orthodoxy, whose date of April 14 coincides with other Christians’ in 2017. One rarely sees a fresh, first-class media article about the day Christ died.

Relief is on the way this year, thanks to “The Crucifixion: Understanding the Death of Jesus Christ” by Fleming Rutledge, proclaimed the “2017 Book of the Year” by Christianity Today magazine and newly reissued in paperback by Eerdmans. Sample chapter headings: “The Godlessness of the Cross.” “The Question of Justice.” “Condemned into Redemption.”

More here-

Presiding Bishop Michael Curry’s Easter message 2017

From ENS-

It’s taken me some years to realize it, but Jesus didn’t just happen to be in Jerusalem on that first Palm Sunday. He wasn’t on vacation. He wasn’t just hanging out in town. Jesus was in Jerusalem on purpose. He arrived in Jerusalem about the time of the Passover when pilgrims were in the city. When people’s hopes and expectations for the dawn of freedom that Moses had promised in the first Passover might suddenly be realized for them in their time.

Jesus arranged his entrance into Jerusalem to send a message. He entered the city, having come in on one side of the city, the scholars tell us, at just about the same time that Pontius Pilate made his entrance on the exact opposite side of the city. Pilate, coming forth on a warhorse. Pilate, with soldiers around him. Pilate, with the insignias of Rome’s Empire. Pilate, representing the Caesars who claimed to be son of god. Pilate, who had conquered through Rome the people of Jerusalem. Pilate, representing the Empire that had taken away their freedom. Pilate, who represented the Empire that would maintain the colonial status of the Jewish people by brute force and violence.

More here-


From Canada-

The Office of the Primate of the Anglican Church of Canada announced today, Monday, April 3, 2017, that Melanie Delva currently Archivist at the Diocese of New Westminster and the Ecclesiastical Province of British Columbian/Yukon has been appointed Reconciliation Animator for the National Church effective June 1, 2017.

In this new role, Ms. Delva will be “responsible for forming, equipping and resourcing a national team to encourage and sustain local engagement in the work of reconciliation between Indigenous and non-Indigenous persons and communities, both within the Anglican Church and in Canadian society. In particular, the incumbent will be responsible for our church’s overall strategy in implementing the Calls to Action of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission, in incorporating the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples into our life, in ongoing response to calls for justice emerging out of the Indigenous leadership of our church and our country, and in recognizing and acting on opportunities in the local, diocesan and national life of our church to act in support of such reconciliation.”

More here-

Monday, April 3, 2017

Church of England faces grave future, study concludes

From Premier UK-

The Church of England faces a "grave" future because too few younger people are coming forward to take over the running of things like providing teas and coffee at church.

New research by Goldsmiths College at the University of London found 700,000 women who volunteer in parishes are now into their 80s and 90s.

Author of the analysis, Dr Abby Day was quoted by the Daily Mail as saying: "The prognosis for the Church of England is grave.

"While elderly laywomen have never been given a formal voice or fully acknowledged by the Church, they are the heart, soul and driving organisational force in parishes everywhere.

"Their loss will be catastrophic."

In her new book, The Religious Lives of Older Laywomen, Dr Day found this army of volunteers also play a fundamental role in furnishing, cleaning, and raising money for Anglican churches.

More here-

Churches join calls for Zuma to resign

From South Africa-

The Anglican Church on Sunday added its voice to calls for President Jacob Zuma to resign and urged organised protest action against Zuma’s much criticised cabinet reshuffle which included the firing of highly respected finance minister Pravin Gordhan and his deputy Mcebisi Jonas.

In a statement by the Diocese of George in the southern Cape, Bishop Brian Marajh also called on all ANC councillors in the different towns of the diocese to declare their stance on Zuma’s action.

“It is with a profound sense of sadness and disappointment that we note the reshuffle of the cabinet by the president of the republic and the axing of the minister of finance and his deputy among others. The president’s claim of a breach of confidence in and breakdown of trust [in the] relationship between himself and the minister of finance, informed by a seriously flawed intelligence report, represents a serious undermining of the principle of the law,” Marajh said.

More here-

Jesus doesn’t want us carrying the excess baggage of selfishness

From Arizona-

A faithful woman I know told me recently that she doesn’t call herself a Christian anymore. If anyone asks, she tells them she’s a follower of Jesus. 

Many of us probably know how she feels. For quite some time now it’s been difficult to say we’re Christian without raising eyebrows or bringing the conversation to a grinding halt.  Unfortunately, the term “Christian” is now loaded with all kinds of excess baggage. It’s the kind of baggage that Jesus would have steadfastly refused to pick up. It’s the kind of baggage that the majority of Christians never packed and don’t want to claim as part of their faith. It’s the kind of baggage that a lot of followers of Jesus think of as misappropriated, mislabeled, mishandled and misdirected. 

Sadly, this excess baggage also comes with a high cost. 

The kind of baggage I’m talking about includes outright lies in the name of Jesus, or misleading teachings on everything from the Scriptures and so-called Christian values, to Christian living.

More here-

St. Stephen's Episcopal dedicates new window to LGBTQ community

From North Dakota (with video)-

St. Stephen's Episcopal church dedicated a new window in their sanctuary to the LGBTQ community on Sunday.

While many Christians disagree with supporting and embracing people who are lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer, basically anything but heterosexual, Father Jamie Parsley said he sees their acceptance as following in the way Jesus taught.

"Churches reaching out and including GLBTQ people in the congregation and doing ministry along side them is still fairly new in a lot of churches," Parsley said. "Loving God, loving your neighbor as yourself, that's really the basis for all Christian ministry as I see it and I think that's the basis for how we see GLBTQ inclusion."

They named the new window Integrity Window.

More here-

Sunday, April 2, 2017

A forgotten gem

From Patheos-

One of the greatest Anglican books of the 20th century is about to be republished on this side of the pond.  This is a cause for rejoicing.  Not only because E.L. Mascall was a great (and orthodox) Anglican theologian, but also because this book will help solve numerous theological problems for Christians in this troubled century.  Besides, as a stutterer who has written about famous stutterers, I am sympathetic to theologians who have a speech defect, as Mascall did.

Here is an excerpt from my foreword to this new edition of Christ, the Christian and the Church (Hendrickson, Fall 2017).

Eric Lionel Mascall (1905-93) was one of the best–perhaps the sharpest and most lucid–of orthodox Anglican theologians in the twentieth century.  An Anglican priest who finished his career as Professor of Historical Theology at King’s College in the University of London, Mascall excelled in mathematics at the university, and boasted of never having been formally trained in graduate-level theology.  These two facts might help explain why his theology was hailed for being so wide-ranging, incisive, and elegant.

More here-

Q&A: Why evangelism shouldn't just be about increasing church attendance

From Salt Lake City-

The Most Rev. Michael Curry, presiding bishop of the Episcopal Church, has witnessed an incredible amount of change over his 40 years of ministry.

He's seen women serve as priests for the first time, congregants struggle over same-sex marriage and the church expand its understanding of evangelism, watching in amazement as worshippers overcame their differences to work toward compromise.

"There’s a consensus to be compassionate," he said. "We don’t have to all agree, but we can agree — even when we disagree — not to be disagreeable."

This approach to conflict has served Bishop Curry well in recent years, as he has transitioned from leading the Episcopal Diocese of North Carolina to heading up the entire denomination. He was elected presiding bishop in June 2015 during the Episcopal Church's general convention in Salt Lake City, and he will serve in that role until 2024.

More here-

Bishop awaits ruling after hearing into his conduct in attempted sale of St. James church site

From The LA Times-

Whether or not Episcopal Church leadership in Los Angeles sought a buyer for the St. James the Great church property in Newport Beach was a matter of dispute for lawyers arguing whether a bishop acted properly when he tried to sell the land to a developer.

Thursday was the third and final day of a disciplinary hearing where Bishop J. Jon Bruno of the Episcopal Diocese of Los Angeles faced allegations that he was deceptive and unbecoming of a clergyman when he tried to sell the church site at 3209 Via Lido, locked congregants out and then kept the gates closed even after  the sale fell apart.

The Rev. Canon David Tumilty, Bruno's chief of staff and executive officer for operations, reiterated Bruno's testimony from Wednesday that the diocese did not actively market the St. James property even though it had received offers.

More here-

also here-