Wednesday, July 5, 2017

Monday, July 3, 2017

National Episcopal leader bars bishop from selling church

From Los Angeles-

The top bishop of the Episcopal Church in the United States has barred the bishop of the Los Angeles diocese from completing a planned sale of the St. James the Great Episcopal Church property in Newport Beach, California.

The pending sale, which was set to close July 3, came to light in June as Bishop J. Jon Bruno of the Episcopal Diocese of Los Angeles was already under scrutiny by an ecclesiastical panel considering whether he committed misconduct in a separate attempt to sell the site in 2015.

The Most Rev. Michael Curry, presiding bishop of the Episcopal Church, issued an order Wednesday banning Bruno from closing the latest planned sale until the misconduct matter is resolved.

More here-


From The Living Church-

Last year, beating the 2017 rush, three Anglican friends and I decided to spend a week visiting a handful of historic Martin Luther tourist sites in eastern Germany. We made a merry pilgrim band, I like to think: my housemate Aidan, a burly, tattooed Alaskan, was at that time two weeks away from his ordination to the priesthood in the Episcopal Church and was, with his wife Melanie, a happy convert to Anglicanism from a Wesleyan Holiness background; I was (and am still) a former Baptist teaching at an Episcopal/Anglican seminary and was just beginning to discern a call to Holy Orders; and Fr. Russell, rounding out our posse, was and is a priest serving an Anglican parish in Basel, Switzerland. We all met up in Berlin and, after a quick stroll through the cathedral there — whose nave is surveyed from on high by four imposing statues of Luther, Melanchthon, Zwingli, and Calvin — drove on to Wittenberg, whose castle church doors, on which Luther is said to have nailed his Ninety-Five Theses, mark the legendary birthplace of the Reformation. It was nightfall by the time we arrived at our hotel, but the atmosphere of tourist anticipation, not only among the four of us, was electric.

More here-

Rethinking the transition process

From Episcopal Cafe-

The search processes for diocesan bishops, rectors, and vicars are broken. Little evidence exists, beyond anecdotes, to demonstrate that the current processes efficaciously select clerics who succeed in their new posts, regardless of one’s definition of success. Indeed, numerous anecdotes suggest that the processes result in calling unsuccessful leaders at least as often as the processes result in calling successful leaders. Furthermore, the current processes entail excessive and unnecessary delays and costs.

Significant improvements are easily identified and implemented.

First, eliminate the frequently intentional long interim periods in congregations (parishes and missions) and dioceses. Accumulating research on the effects of long interim periods between permanent congregational leaders generally shows that congregations decline or at best subsist in a holding pattern until the new leader arrives. The same is likely true for dioceses.

More here-

Sunday, July 2, 2017

Pope replaces top rival in latest move to make church more inclusive

From The Guardian-

The Vatican has signalled a major shake-up of its administration, with Pope Francis replacing his top theologian, a conservative German cardinal who has been at odds with the pontiff’s vision of a more inclusive church.

A brief Vatican statement said Cardinal Gerhard Ludwig Müller’s five-year mandate as head of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, a key department charged with defending Catholic doctrine, would not be renewed.

Müller, 69, who was appointed by the former pope, Benedict, in 2012, will be succeeded by his deputy, the archbishop Luis Francisco Ladaria Ferrer.

More here-

Are So-Called “Non-Denominational Churches” Really “Non-Denoms?”

From Patheos-

There it was again. The same has happened to me numerous times over the past several years. Someone told me about a great new church in an affluent suburb of a major American metropolis. It is attracting thousands to its services and programs. And among its attractions is that it is “non-denominational.”

This time I said what I thought: “I’ll bet it’s not really ‘non-denominational;’ at least not in the way you think. Let me look at its web site and I’ll bet I can tell you what denomination it affiliates with.” The answer was more or less the usual: “No, no, it’s truly non-denominational; it has no denominational affiliation.”

I always think to myself “Why is that important? What is it about ‘denomination’ that people run away from? And why do churches that are really denominational—in some sense—so anxious to hide their affiliation with other churches or groups?”

I am the editor of the forthcoming fourteenth edition of the Handbook of Denominations in the United States—a reference work that has been published approximately every five to ten years by Abingdon Press (The United Methodist Publishing House) for many decades. I have spoken out publicly, here and in public talks, in defense of denominations. I admit to being completely nonplussed by this trend of churches claiming to be non-denominational even when they do have some denominational affiliation.

More here-