Saturday, July 15, 2017

Delaware of Bishop Election Results

From Delaware-

Episcopal Election results.

Court rules Episcopal bishop has authority over disputed Newport Beach property

From Orange County-

An Orange County Superior Court judge on Thursday, July 13, ruled in favor of Los Angeles Episcopal Bishop J. Jon Bruno, essentially stating the bishop — as sole administrator of the property — has full authority to do as he wishes with the Newport Beach site formerly occupied by St. James the Great Episcopal Church.

When Bruno decided to sell the property in 2015, the move was met with an objection from the Griffith Co., which had donated the property to the diocese in 1945 with the restriction that the site remain a church. The Griffith Co. developed much of Lido Isle since the 1920s.

However, the diocese’s lawyers argued that the church in 1985 negotiated removal of that use restriction from the deed, granting the diocese the right to sell the property for other purposes.

On Thursday, the trial court upheld the diocese’s claim that there is no restriction on the property.

More here-

Pity Eugene Peterson, the latest victim of social media's theology wars

From Premier-

The translator of The Message version of the Bible and well respected contemplative pastor Eugene Peterson caused quite a stir this week for his statements on gay marriage.

The retired pastor was asked by Religion News Service (RNS) during an interview: "If you were pastoring today and a gay couple in your church who were Christians of good faith asked you to perform their same-sex wedding ceremony, is that something you would do?" Peterson had given a one word answer: "Yes".

Cue much rejoicing from LGBT-affirming Christians. Praise was heaped on Peterson. He’d been so brave. On the traditional side there was sadness at another leading Christian who many perceived to have taken the easy way out and sided with the culture, rather than the Bible.

More here-

He served with the U.S. Army in Iraq and Afghanistan before entering the ministry

From Indiana (T. J. served in Pittsburgh most recently)-

After starting the Episcopal Church's ordination process, the Rev. T.J. Freeman quickly found it so frightening he thought it would be safer to serve in the U.S. Army, so he enlisted.

After a tour of duty as a combat soldier in Iraq, Freeman said he returned home suffering from Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) and feeling broken, dirty and sinful. He was surprised by the response of God, the church and his community.

"This flawed human being is exactly who we need," he recalls learning. "God can work with that."
That is one of the lessons Freeman, 36, carries with him into his ministry as the new rector of Trinity Episcopal Church in downtown Fort Wayne.

He began work at the church by leading worship this past Sunday. He still is unpacking, deciding where to hang artwork in his office and trying to find the light switches in the building. But he is excited about the opportunities at Trinity and in Fort Wayne.

More here-

Pope Francis Announces New Path To Sainthood

From NPR-

Pope Francis has introduced a new pathway to Catholic sainthood, recognizing those who sacrifice their lives for others.

The new category, introduced in a official letter from the pope on Tuesday, is "one of the most significant changes in centuries to the Roman Catholic Church's saint-making procedures," Reuters reports.

Before the change, there were three categories that provided a path to sainthood: being killed for the faith (martyrdom), living a life heroically of Christian virtues and having a strong reputation for religious devotion. The process of becoming a saint begins after an individual's death.

More here-


From The Living Church-

Every now and then familiar words in the Book of Common Prayer stand out and speak to me with new force and meaning. That’s been my experience with a phrase in one of the post-Communion prayers. Here’s the prayer in its entirety:

Eternal God, heavenly Father,
you have graciously accepted us as living members
of your Son our Savior Jesus Christ,
and you have fed us with spiritual food
in the Sacrament of his Body and Blood.
Send us now into the world in peace,
and grant us strength and courage
to love and serve you
with gladness and singleness of heart;
through Christ our Lord. Amen. (1979 BCP, p. 365)

As with so many of the prayers in the BCP, there’s a lot to unpack here. But what stands out for me is the phrase you have graciously accepted us.

For some, the question remains open whether God really accepts them. They worry that if they’ve sinned and haven’t repented, what hope can there be? They live in anxiety and perhaps even fear of what awaits them on the other side of death. An assurance of salvation eludes them.

More here-

Pope Francis allies accuse Trump White House of 'apocalyptic geopolitics'

From The Guardian-

An explosive article written by two close associates of Pope Francis has accused Steve Bannon, the chief White House strategist, of espousing an “apocalyptic geopolitics” whose roots are “not too far apart” from that of Islamist extremism.

The article in La Civiltà Cattolica, which is vetted by the Vatican before publication, lays out a scathing critique of “evangelical fundamentalism” in the US, arguing that, on issues ranging from climate change to “migrants and Muslims”, proponents of the ideology have adopted a twisted reading of scripture and the Old Testament that promotes conflict and war above all else.

The piece was published just days after evangelical leaders met US president Donald Trump in the Oval Office of the White House and “laid hands” on him in prayer following discussions about religious freedom, support for Israel and healthcare reform.

More here-

Friday, July 14, 2017

A church where angels and Darth Vader mingle

From Atlanta (via Washington Post)

Washington National Cathedral stands tall in the nation's capital. It is the city's fourth-tallest building and its highest point, rising 676 feet above sea level atop Mount Saint Alban in Northwest. Its three large towers can be seen for miles. 

A cathedral is the main church in an area headed by an official called a bishop. Washington National Cathedral, officially named the Cathedral Church of Saint Peter and Saint Paul, is the center of the Episcopal Church in Washington and the nation. People of all faiths, or no particular faith, are among the 500,000 who visit or come to worship each year. Funerals for three presidents and other major services have been held here. 

Construction of the cathedral began in 1907 and continued for 83 years. A major earthquake in 2011 badly damaged some areas. Wall supports called buttresses cracked, and some of the 300-plus angels toppled from on high. Workers are still repairing damage to the Indiana limestone exterior. 

The cathedral was built in the Gothic style, which was popular in Europe from the 12th to 16th century. New building techniques such as buttresses, ribbed ceilings and pointed arches made it possible to have thinner, taller walls with large, colorful windows.  

More here-

Gluten in Holy Communion wafers causes problems for some

From Columbus-

The Episcopal Diocese of Southern Ohio also takes Holy Communion, but it allows members to consume gluten-free wafers, said Canon Lynn Carter-Edmands.

“We’re taking this sacrament seriously in the Episcopal church,” Carter-Edmands said. “The sacrament is meant to be life giving and not a burden and not a health hazard.”

One to two percent of people worldwide have celiac disease and up to 10 percent more might have a heightened sensitivity to gluten, said Dr. Marty Meyer, a gastroenterologist at Ohio State University’s Wexner Medical Center.

Celiac disease is characterized by damage to the small intestine from ingesting gluten, according to the Celiac Disease Foundation. The only treatment is a gluten-free diet.

“It doesn’t take a whole lot of gluten to incite the intestinal damage,” Meyer said. “I would tell someone to potentially just see how they feel after taking in a Communion wafer. ... See if over time that’s leading to an issue.”

More here-

US Episcopal Presiding Bishop Curry stands in way of Newport Beach sale

From The Church Times-

THE Presiding Bishop of the Episcopal Church in the United States, the Most Revd Michael Curry, has placed a restriction on the ministry of the Bishop of Los Angeles, the Rt Revd Jon Bruno, to prevent his selling a church.

The “partial restriction” was an­­nounced on Thursday of last week, in a statement in which Bishop Curry expressed concern for “the good order and welfare of the Church”.

It follows the imposition of a sanction on Bishop Bruno by the Episcopal Church ecclesiastical dis­ciplinary panel that is considering a complaint of misconduct brought against him by parishioners of St James’s, Newport (News, 23 June). The complaint concerns Bishop Bruno’s unsuccessful attempt to sell St James’s in 2015 (News, 7 April). The sanction came after Bishop Bruno declined to deny that he had again tried to sell the church.

More here-

This is why two black pastors are suing Coca-Cola

From The Denver Post-

William Lamar, the senior pastor at D.C.’s historic Metropolitan African Methodist Episcopal Church, is tired of presiding over funerals for parishioners who died of heart disease, diabetes and stroke.

So on Thursday, he and another prominent African-American pastor filed suit against Coca-Cola and the American Beverage Association, claiming soda manufacturers knowingly deceived customers about the health risks of sugar-sweetened beverages — at enormous cost to their communities.

The complaint, filed in D.C. Superior Court on behalf of the pastors and the Praxis project, a public health group, alleges that Coke and the ABA ran an intentional campaign to confuse consumers about the causes of obesity.

Lamar and Delman Coates, pastor at Mt. Ennon Baptist Church in suburban Clinton, Maryland, claim soda marketing has made it harder to protect the health of their largely black, D.C.-based parishioners.

More here-

Priest arrested in Florida road rage incident after pulling out gun

From ABC-

A North Carolina priest may want to practice what he preaches.

William Rian Adams, 35, was arrested in connection with a road rage incident on Florida's Turnpike near Palm City Wednesday after pulling out a gun, according to the Florida Highway Patrol.

According to an FHP report, Adams -- a priest at Calvary Episcopal Church in Fletcher, N.C. -- was driving a red Chevrolet Corvette when he "attempted to brake-check" another vehicle, a Chevrolet Silverado pick-up truck, that was closely following his Corvette.

"As the victim attempted to pass the Corvette, the driver [Adams] pointed a semi-automatic hand gun at them," read the report.

More here-


From The Living Church-

Two concerns loomed large in my mind seven years ago when I moved from Austin, that bastion of progressive hipsterdom, to Tyler, Texas, nestled behind “the Pine Curtain” of East Texas and far more culturally typical of the Lone Star State: First, would I find adequate trails and neighborhoods to keep up my weekly running routine? Second, would I find good places to drink craft beer on tap? Thankfully, providence arranged that a construction sign appeared one day soon after my arrival, announcing the advent of a chain restaurant featuring craft beer. At least there’d be one place for me to have a decent pint with my friends.

In the subsequent three or four years, however, things changed. Flash forward to 2017, a couple of years after our East Texas county went wet, and now we have not one but at least two fine craft breweries in this town of about 100,000 citizens. Thankfully, the global village arrived in full force. No longer am I one of the top craft beer experts in the area. Truth be told, these days I struggle to keep up with the dozens of spots to enjoy a pint, and with the burgeoning craft beer community in Tyler.

More here-

Eugene Peterson Retracts Affirmation of Same-Sex Marriage

From Eugene Peterson's Literary Agent. Various articles can be found in links at the bottom-

Dear friends and supporters of Eugene Peterson,

Eugene is a long-time client of Alive Literary Agency who is best-known as the translator of THE MESSAGE Bible, and the author of the recent AS KINGFISHERS CATCH FIRE and numerous works on spiritual theology. You may be aware of his recent interview by Religion News Service on topics ranging from his mortality, current events and homosexuality. The interview—rare at this stage of his life at 84–was circulated broadly and generated significant controversy because of his one-word response to a very hypothetical question as to whether he would perform a wedding ceremony for a gay Christian couple if he were pastoring today—something he hasn’t done in more than a quarter century. In discussing the interview with him, he told me he was taken by surprise by the query, but that after a long and awkward pause, he responded with an uncharacteristic and simple yes.

On further reflection and prayer, as he says, he would like to clarify and change his response. He has asked me to circulate his revised statement as follows:

Recently a reporter asked me whether my personal opinions about homosexuality and same-sex marriage have changed over the years. I presume I was asked this question because of my former career as a pastor in the Presbyterian Church (USA), which recently affirmed homosexuality and began allowing its clergy to perform same-sex weddings. Having retired from the pastorate more than 25 years ago, I acknowledged to the reporter that I “haven’t had a lot of experience with it.”

Statement here-

From RNS-

Christianity Today-


Thursday, July 13, 2017

Episcopal youths forge 'Path to Peace'

From Oklahoma (with video)-

More than a 1,000 young people from around the country learned about the events of April 19, 1995, as they walked through the Oklahoma City Memorial & Museum on Wednesday as part of an Episcopal Church USA youth conference.

The tour and a candlelight vigil at the memorial and museum were among the highlights of the Episcopal Church USA's Episcopal Youth Event 2017 (EYE17) conference continuing through Friday in the metro area.

Youth organizers of the event said the activities at the memorial fit the conference's theme of "Path to Peace."

More here-

Nigerian leaders are financially reckless – Anglican Primate, Okoh

From Nigeria-

The remains of the late former Minister of Education, Prof. Abraham Babalola Borishade, has been committed to mother earth in his home town in Usi-Ekiti, Ekiti State, with the Primate of Anglican Communion, Most Reverend Nicholas Okoh blasting Nigerian leaders for being too corrupt.

Borishade, who also superintended over the Ministries of Aviation, Culture and Tourism as well as Steel and Power, died on April 26, 2017 at the age of 71.

The interment service for the late professor of Nuclear Physics took place at Cathedral Church of Saint Andrew, Usi Ekiti, Ido/Osi Local Government area of the state.

Okoh, who delivered his sermon through the Arch Bishop of Ondo
Province and Bishop of Ondo Diocese, Most Reverend George Lasebikan, called on the leaders to live lives worthy of emulation, saying “only what you do well on earth will speak for you after your demise”.

More here-


From The Living Church-

Zeal and patience are virtues of the kingdom, the fruit of the Holy Spirit’s work among those who bear the name of Christ and strive together to do his will. He who moved from town to town proclaiming the immediacy of the kingdom also learned to bear with the slow of heart, revealing what they were able to receive. The apostles were commissioned to work wonders and preach with power, but also to forgive sins and celebrate sacraments. “Go into all the world and preach the Gospel,” Jesus commanded them (Mark 16:15), but also “wait in the city until the Holy Ghost has come upon you” (Lk. 24:49).

In his poem “Zeal and Patience,” John Henry Newman meditated on the place of the two virtues in the life of St. Paul. His ardent urgency propelled him and his gospel across the known world, until a prison cell kept him fixed in place. He who called himself “the Lord’s prisoner” came at length, Newman surmised, to find a new kind of fellowship with the one who first compelled him to preach:

Lord! who Thy thousand years dost wait
To work the thousandth part
Of Thy vast plan, for us create
With zeal a patient heart. (Verses on Various Occasions, 164)

More here-

Lutherans work to shed stuffy image and kick-start change

From Minnesota-

Redeemer Lutheran Church is not your typical Lutheran outpost. Summer means the bike store and coffee shop are humming, kids camp and Zumba classes are in gear, and the young adults renting its apartments are mentoring children in this north Minneapolis neighborhood.

It represents a new model for the Lutheran Church, which is transforming itself to attract younger and diverse members, be more relevant to neighbors below its steeples and shake its image as a Scandinavian bastion best known for hot dish, Jell-O and Ole and Lena.

Minnesota, with the largest number of Lutherans in the nation, will be instrumental in shaping the future of the faith. Time is of the essence: 37 percent of the churches in the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America — the largest denomination in Minnesota and the U.S. — now have fewer than 50 Sunday worshipers.

More here-

Vatican Says Communion Bread Must Contain Gluten

From Time-

The Roman Catholic Church will not allow its congregations to be given gluten-free wafers (called hosts), or bread, for celebrating the Eucharist during Mass, according to its latest directive at the behest of Pope Francis.

The ban comes from a letter to Catholic bishops worldwide, published Saturday by Vatican Radio. The detailed guidelines are needed, according to Cardinal Robert Sarah of the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments, as Eucharist bread and wine are widely available for sale nowadays, "even over the Internet."

Bread and wafers used in the sacrament "must be unleavened, purely of wheat, and recently made so that there is no danger of decomposition," the letter reads. "Hosts that are completely gluten-free are invalid matter for the celebration of the Eucharist."

More here-

Wednesday, July 12, 2017

Anglican church to vote on 'welcoming transgender people'

From England-

The Church of England’s ruling body is to vote on whether to provide special services for transgender people during their transition.

The General Synod is considering a motion on the need for transgender people to be “welcomed and affirmed in their parish church” as part of the “long and often complex process” of transition.

The vote comes after bishops overwhelmingly backed a motion calling for a ban on “unethical” conversion therapy for gay Christians.

While the synod debated and voted on the private member’s motion on Saturday, an estimated 1 million people were celebrating Pride weekend in London, marking 50 years since the decriminalisation of homosexuality.

On Sunday the meeting in York will decide on a diocesan synod motion on “welcoming transgender people”, tabled by the Rev Chris Newlands of Blackburn.

More here-

also here-

Eugene Peterson on changing his mind about same-sex issues and marriage

From RNS-

When a journalist has a chance to interview a paragon of the Christian faith like Eugene Peterson, there’s a lot of pressure to pick the perfect questions. I’d asked him about why he was leaving the public eye and if he was afraid of death. I’d asked him about Donald Trump and the state of American Christianity. But there was one more topic I wanted to cover: same-sex relationships and marriage.

It’s one of the hottest topics in the church today, and given Peterson’s vast influence among both pastors and laypeople, I knew his opinion would impact the conversation. Though he has had a long career, I couldn’t find his position on the matter either online or in print. I did discover that “The Message,” Peterson’s popular paraphrase of the Bible, doesn’t use the word “homosexual” and “homosexuality” in key texts. But this wasn’t definitive proof of anything. After all, those words never appear in any English translation of the Bible until 1946.

More here-

How the mitre have fallen: Bishops urged to ditch their 'silly' hats for more modern look

From The Mirror-

Bishops are being urged to ditch their “daft” pointed hats to try to make the Church more modern.

Critics claim tall mitres, usually worn at formal services, are “silly” and outdated.

Rev Ian Paul, an academic theologian, said: “A piece of attire which communicates absolute authority has no place within Anglican understandings of ministry.

“To most, and I suggest especially the young, bishops in mitres put them in another world.

“It looks daft and it does not signify anything in the Church of England. It makes them distant and it makes them look silly.”

More here-