Saturday, September 9, 2017

Interpreting the Bible Just Got More Complicated

From The Daily Beast-

In October 2012, Dr. Lukas Dorfbauer, a researcher at the University of Salzburg, was examining the manuscripts of the Cologne Cathedral Library. He was looking at an anonymous manuscript and realized that this ancient text contained the earliest Latin commentary on the Gospels. Dorfbauer was not the first scholar to examine the manuscript, but he was the first to realize its significance: Here, as part of the 100-page fourth century c.e. commentary, was the earliest Latin translation of the Gospels. And now, it’s available in English—and the implications are enormous.

The author of the commentary was Fortunatianus of Aquileia, a fourth-century North African who later became a northern Italian bishop. Scholars had known about the commentary from references to it in other ancient works, but until Dorfbauer identified the Cologne manuscript it had been lost for more than 1,500 years.

When scholars had looked at this turn-of-the-ninth century manuscript in the past, they had been much more interested in a forged letter “on Pride and Folly” that claimed to be from the Jewish high priest Annas to the famous Roman Stoic philosopher Seneca. To be sure, forged letters between Seneca and Christian religious figures are fascinating (there’s a set of letters between the Apostle Paul and Seneca, as well), but they are of little consequence next to the earliest extant Latin translation of the Bible.

More here-

‘Pray for us’: Southeast Episcopalians brace for Hurricane Irma

From ENS-

The Rev. Jim Shevlin looked down at his list fewer than two days before Hurricane Irma was expected to drive up the spine of Florida’s peninsula. As a Category 5 storm, Irma had already killed at least 11 people and destroyed thousands of homes in the Caribbean Islands.

And the massive storm was looming closer.

By Sept. 8, the rector had 18 to 20 people, five dogs and one cat on his list seeking shelter at his Church of Our Saviour on the north side of Lake Okeechobee in the Diocese of Central Florida. When Shevlin found out some parishioners had nowhere else to go, he decided to open the church, its halls and offices for them. The church’s windows are covered with hurricane shutters. Evacuees will need to bring sleeping bags, food and water for at least three days, but there are two generators ready to kick in if the power goes out.

“All people got to do is show up, and we’ll welcome them with open arms,” Shevlin told Episcopal News Service. He’s worried about his home, but Shevlin’s wife, 20-year-old son, 17-year-old daughter, and their two dogs will shelter at the church with him and the other parishioners.

“Pray for us,” Shevlin said.

More here-

Cardinal Cormac Murphy-O’Connor obituary

From The Guardian-

Cardinal Cormac Murphy-O’Connor, archbishop emeritus of Westminster, who has died aged 85, was there or thereabouts at several crucial points in the recent history of the Catholic church. The extent to which he actually influenced the events in which he participated, though, was always hard to assess, partly because this genial cleric naturally played down his own importance, and was much more comfortable in casting himself as the benign parish priest rather than a prince of the church.

Some claimed, though, that his was an influential voice among the small group of liberal-minded cardinals – known as “la squadra” – behind the surprise election at the papal conclave of March 2013 of the “change candidate”, the Argentinian Pope Francis. A few months after his election, the former Cardinal Jorge Mario Bergoglio was apparently lightheartedly to credit Murphy-O’Connor, when the two met at a papal audience. The pope pointed to his old friend and said, “You’re to blame!” But, as Murphy-O’Connor subsequently noted, because he was over 80 at the time of the conclave, church rules had allowed him to participate only in the preliminary discussions, and not in the actual vote in the Sistine Chapel.

More here-

Bp. Bruno Appeals Ruling

From The Living Church-

Bishop J. Jon Bruno of Los Angeles has appealed the findings of the hearing panel that recommended he be suspended from Episcopal ministry for three years, on charges related to the attempted sale of church property formerly used by St. John the Great in Newport Beach.

According to Canon IV:17.8, the review will be heard by nine bishops on the Court of Review for Bishops.

Bruno asked that all charges and restrictions against him, arguing that the hearing panel exceeded its authority under the canons; interpreted the canons incorrectly; committed procedural errors; relied on irrelevant evidence; and reached factual determinations not sufficiently supported by the evidence.

Bruno’s three-page notice of appeal contains statements that do not appear to reflect the Hearing Panel’s order. Most notably, the appeal says, “The Hearing Panel found for the Respondent [Bruno] on the second charge, from which the Respondent does not appeal.”

More here-

Presiding bishop of the Episcopal Church visits Charlottesville

From Virginia-

Presiding Bishop Michael Curry visited St. Paul’s Memorial Church near the Corner Thursday evening to deliver a message of support and love to a community shaken by the violent events of Aug. 11 and 12.

As the presiding bishop, Curry is the leader of the Episcopal Church, a denomination which has 1.9 million members. He is the first African-American to be elected to the position.

Curry proclaimed he “[wasn’t] getting political at all,” but he clearly emphasized the importance of compassion in the face of such conflict.

“You will never know if I’m a Republican or a Democrat, but this is what you’ll know — I follow Jesus and Jesus said love … The way of Jesus, the way of the cross, of unselfish love, is the way that changes lives and changes the world,” he said.

According to the program, the service centered around a Eucharist of “The Reign of Christ.”

More here-

Top Lutheran bishop: If hell exists, ‘I think it’s empty’

From Chicago-

Presiding Bishop Elizabeth Eaton heads the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America, based in Chicago, has questioned her own beliefs at times but says, “There are some things we need to doubt so that we can come to a greater faith — I think that doubt is just an intensifying of one’s relationship with God.”

A lifelong Lutheran, Elizabeth Eaton was raised in Cleveland. “Being a Cleveland sports fan for now six decades, I am an example of faith.”

“I was a music education major in college” and thought about being a band director.

She didn’t always go to church back then (“Sunday morning coming after Saturday night is a bad arrangement in college”) and had some doubts of faith — “probably typical questions of someone in one’s early 20s about ‘Is there a God?’ ‘Why do bad things happen to good people?’ ”

She worked that out enough by the time she graduated that she enrolled at Harvard Divinity School, where “the question first wasn’t ‘Why are you some brand of Lutheran?’ It’s ‘Why believe anything?’ And then once you can say, ‘This is why I . . . believe something,’ then: ‘Why Christianity, as opposed to other world religions?’”

More here-

Friday, September 8, 2017

No, I’m not the secretary! The trials of Ireland’s only woman bishop

From Ireland-

Ireland’s only woman bishop has spoken of the disbelief she has encountered as a result of being female in such high office in the church.

Most Rev Pat Storey revealed she was once mistaken for a secretary by a male bishop and recently, when she presented a cheque in a bank, it was handed back to her and she was told “the bishop will have to sign that himself”.

Bishop Storey (57), who holds the third most senior position in the Church of Ireland House of Bishops, became the first woman bishop in Britain and Ireland in 2013.

Speaking on Thursday at DCU’s All Hallows campus on “Breaking through the stained-glass ceiling”, she recalled that, when appointed, “I was much more conscious of the challenge of the top level of church leadership than of the whole ‘first woman’ thing.”

Over time, however, she would be reminded of her gender. “Recently I went to the bank to lodge a cheque. I handed it over to the cashier who took one look at it, passed it back over the desk to me and said: ‘The bishop will have to sign that himself.’ I smiled at her, passed it back over the desk, and said ‘I am he’. She was, of course, mortified. People always are.”

More here-

Rector of St. Paul's Episcopal Church in Richmond resigns

From Richmond-

The Rev. Wallace Adams-Riley, rector of historic St. Paul’s Episcopal Church in downtown Richmond, is stepping down from the post after nine years.

“And now the time has come for me to move into the next chapter of my life and ministry, and for St. Paul’s to do the same,” Adams-Riley wrote in a message posted Wednesday to the church’s Facebook page, titled: “With Gratitude, a Parting Message from Wallace.”

Adams-Riley said he tendered his resignation the night before and that the vestry — the church’s 14-member governing body — accepted it, effective at the end of the day on Sept. 15.

He invited readers to join “me and your St. Paul’s Church family” for his final Sunday at St. Paul’s at 10 a.m. Sunday for a worship service and a reception afterward in Scott Hall.

A phone message and emails sent to Adams-Riley on Thursday afternoon at the church were not immediately returned. Phone and email messages left for the Right Rev. Shannon S. Johnston, bishop of the Episcopal Diocese of Virginia, and a communications director for the diocese, also were not immediately returned.

More here-

White Christians are now a minority of the U.S. population, survey says

From PBS-

The share of Americans who identify as white and Christian has dropped below 50 percent, a transformation fueled by immigration and by growing numbers of people who reject organized religion altogether, according to a new survey released Wednesday.

Christians overall remain a large majority in the U.S., at nearly 70 percent of Americans. However, white Christians, once predominant in the country’s religious life, now comprise only 43 percent of the population, according to the Public Religion Research Institute, or PRRI, a polling organization based in Washington. Four decades ago, about eight in 10 Americans were white Christians.

The change has occurred across the spectrum of Christian traditions in the U.S., including sharp drops in membership in predominantly white mainline Protestant denominations such as Presbyterians and Lutherans; an increasing Latino presence in the Roman Catholic Church as some non-Hispanic white Catholics leave; and shrinking ranks of white evangelicals, who until recently had been viewed as immune to decline.

More here-

Nashotah Honors Bp. Curry

From The Living Church-

Nashotah House Theological Seminary will present its Archbishop Ramsey Award to Presiding Bishop Michael B. Curry on Sept. 28. Named for the 100th Archbishop of Canterbury, the award is presented to individuals who distinguish themselves in ecclesiology, ecumenism, and liturgy.

Bishop Curry’s vocation has included ecumenical summer day camps for children, preaching missions, the Absalom Jones Initiative, education centers, and brokering millions of dollars of investment in inner-city neighborhoods.

“We are privileged to recognize Bishop Curry for his dedication and contributions to the Episcopal Church,” said the Rt. Rev. Daniel H. Martins, chairman of Nashotah House’s board. “His personal flair and unique ability to connect and minister to others throughout the world is admirable. We are especially grateful for his efforts to raise the visibility of the name of Jesus in church discourse.”

More here-

Fading white evangelicals have made a desperate end-of-life bargain with Trump

From USA Today-

One of the biggest mysteries of Donald Trump’s presidency has been white evangelicals’ steadfast and enthusiastic support for him. Unlike Mormons, who saw a nearly 20-point falloff in support for Trump compared with their typical support for Republican presidential candidates, white evangelicals' support for Trump was in line with, and even slightly higher than, their 2004 support for fellow evangelical George W. Bush (81% vs. 78%, respectively), according to the exit polls.

And unlike Trump’s arts council and economic advisory councils, which saw so many resignations that the committees themselves dissolved, Trump’s evangelical advisory committee has seen just one resignation and is standing by their man.

While many may want to simply dismiss this turn of events as pure hypocrisy, anyone seeking understanding will want to look deeper. White evangelicals branded themselves as “values voters.” That they could support Trump as strongly as Bush and more resolutely than arts and business leaders ought to serve as a signal that something dramatic has happened in the interim.

More here-

Thursday, September 7, 2017

Anglican Church offers formal apology to victims of domestic violence

From Australia-

The Anglican Church of Australia has for the first time apologised to victims of domestic violence — many of whom, it says, have been let down by Church leaders and teachings — and pledged to undertake independent research into the nature and extent of family violence in Anglican communities.

The Church's triennial General Synod meeting, held this week in Maroochydore, Queensland, heard abuse of power was "at the heart" of many relationship problems in the church.

"We grieve with victims and survivors of domestic abuse, and pray for their healing and recovery," the General Synod said in its apology.

"We give thanks for those women and men, clergy and lay people, who have faithfully supported, cared for and protected such victims in our churches and communities.

More here-

Former isle Episcopal bishop known for integrity, advocacy

From Hawaii-

Richard Sui On Chang, known as “Uncle Bishop” while heading the Episcopal Diocese of Hawaii and the first person of Chinese heritage to hold the position in the U.S., has died at the age of 76.

Chang was instrumental in helping the late Presiding Bishop Edmond Lee Browning lead the national Episcopal Church in implementing progressive changes, advocating for AIDS victims, the LGBTQ community, female priests and African-Americans.

From 1986 to 1995, Chang was executive officer to Browning in New York, later becoming chief operations officer there from 1995 to 1996. He served as bishop of Hawaii from 1997 to 2007 before retiring.

More here-

The Apostle to the Media

From The New York Times-

When a public person you know and care for dies too soon, there is a temptation to elevate their historical significance, to cast them as an era’s representative figure in order to persuade easily distracted readers to pay closer attention to the life they lived.

I’m going to give in to that temptation in this column. In the life of Michael Cromartie, an evangelical-Christian impresario dead of cancer last week at 67, you could see a larger generational story in archetype — the story of certain boomer-era evangelicals, heirs to an embattled and often self-segregated subculture, who tried to abandon anti-intellectualism and separatism and to establish a new religious center for a fragmenting and secularizing age.

Like many young evangelicals of the 1960s and 1970s, Cromartie began as a pacifist and radical, a Christian of the left, who opposed the Vietnam War and sojourned with the left-wing evangelical activist and author Jim Wallis.

More here-

The baptismal covenant, the norm of adult baptism, and mission

From The Living Church-

Liturgical scholar Louis Weil recently recalled predicting that the Episcopal Church would need at least 50 years to implement the revisions of the 1979 Book of Common Prayer.[1] One key area that still requires implementation is the revised baptismal liturgy, and particularly its baptismal covenant.

The baptismal covenant is, of course, a cornerstone of Episcopalians’ self-identity, and frequent appeal is made to its fifth and final interrogation: “Will you strive for justice and peace among all people, and respect the dignity of every human being?” (p. 305). Of course, appeals to the covenant tend to be imbalanced: there is a lot more enthusiasm for striving for justice and human dignity than there is for cultivating repentance or holding fast to apostolic teaching (p. 304). Nevertheless, in what it affirms and requires, the covenant is a welcome addition.

That said, the baptismal covenant has a lot more to offer Episcopalians than what we’ve appropriated thus far. In particular, it has the potential to maneuver us into a far more missional understanding of the Church and our Christian vocation. The covenant does this through its contents, calling upon us to affirm the faith in the Apostles’ Creed, to proclaim the faith in “word and example,” and to embody the faith in our work for justice in the world, even as it recognizes the priority of God’s acting in us to carry this out. The Creed’s account of Christ’s saving work comes first; each question is met with the response that with God’s help the baptized will do so; and prayers are offered for our ability to carry out this calling. Perhaps even more significantly, though, the liturgy recovers the theological normativity of baptizing adult converts to the faith.

More here-

Wednesday, September 6, 2017

Announcement on the Future of the Lee-Jackson Windows

From The National Cathedral-

Dear friends,

Two years ago, following a tragic shooting at a church in Charleston, S.C., then-Dean Gary Hall called for the removal of two stained glass windows at the Cathedral that honor Confederate Generals Robert E. Lee and Thomas “Stonewall” Jackson.

At that time, we began a process to engage this community in deep questions of racial justice, the legacy of slavery and God’s call to us in the 21st century. Over the past two years, we have heard from deeply passionate voices who have engaged with us and held us accountable to this process, and we thank them.

The programs we have hosted, the conversations within our community and national events have brought greater focus on the key question facing us: Are these windows, installed in 1953, an appropriate part of the sacred fabric of a spiritual home for the nation?

After considerable prayer and deliberation...

More here-

What IS the point of Archbishop Welby?

From The Daily Mail-

Finding hope amid despair, a flicker of light in the blackest tunnel, is a key Christian virtue. Even so, for us proud Anglicans yesterday’s news about the latest churchgoing habits was pretty bleak.

The British Social Attitudes survey found the number of people who belong to a religion has for the first time dropped below half of the population.

Only 47 per cent of us now align ourselves with an organised religion and only 15 per cent say we follow the Church of England. Fifteen per cent!

As the U.S. novelist Raymond Chandler nearly said, it’s enough to make a bishop kick a hole in a stained-glass window. If only they would.

Read more:

Secretary General of the Anglican Communion rebukes Nigerian primate for boycotting meeting

From Premier-

Archbishop Josiah Idowu-Fearon, Secretary General of the Anglican Communion has told Premier it is "sad" that the leader of Anglicans in Nigeria has decided to not attend a meeting called by The Archbishop of Canterbury, Most Rev Justin Welby.

The meeting scheduled for next month in Canterbury is for the Primates from the 39 provinces.

But Most Rev Nicholas Okoh Primate of All Nigeria has refused to attend because of what he deems as a lack of progress on the issue of sexuality.

The last meeting of its kind was in January 2016 where there was much disagreement about the Church's view on sexuality.

Archbishop Josiah disagrees with the primate's stance.

He told Premier: "At their meeting in January 2016 the Primates agreed to walk together.

"The primate of Nigeria was present at that meeting. In effect, he is now reneging on this decision which is very sad.

More here-

Deepen your love through habit

From The Living Church-

The title for this book provides its outline. First, James K.A. Smith debunks identity myths in which we’ve been immersed since Descartes pronounced, “I think, therefore I am.” We’ve been reduced to “brains-on-a-stick,” Smith says. He argues that a return to an older, more biblical understanding of who we are would bring us back to wholeness. We are lovers, the Scriptures tell us.

Next, Smith describes what we love. “We are not just static containers for ideas; we are dynamic creatures directed toward some end.” Telos draws us lovers as whole selves, our whole life long. How we grope toward love, acting out of our deepest-seated desires, brings us to the last, and main, theme of his book: love as a habit. Smith uses liturgy to mean habit-forming rituals or cultural practices that shape who we are and what we love. Secular and church liturgies can be spiritually powerful.

More here-

All the president’s clergymen: A close look at Trump’s ‘unprecedented’ ties with evangelicals

From Religion News-

The invitation was unexpected. Would any of the preachers and pastors and other religious leaders, who had come to hear the administration’s views on issues they cared about, like to meet the POTUS in person?

A number of them fumbled with their iPhones to get them selfie-ready as they made their way to the Oval Office. And when they filed in, President Trump greeted them warmly.

“Now this is a group that has the real power,” he said. “They have influence with God.”

A little while later the crowd gathered round the president. Some laid a hand on him for a prayer that led the participant recalling the episode, Tony Suarez, to feel as though “the anointing of the Holy Spirit was in that room.”

Among those standing nearest the president were Florida prosperity gospel preacher Paula White; Tim Clinton, head of a national Christian counseling association; and South African-born TV evangelist Rodney Howard-Browne, who is known for leading raucous worship services at his megachurch in Tampa, Fla.

More here-

Tuesday, September 5, 2017

Pagans demand return of church buildings 'stolen' 1,300 years ago

From The Telegraph

A group of pagans has written to the Archbishop of Canterbury demanding two churches to make amends for those it says were stolen 1,300 years ago.

The Odinist Fellowship, which represents 1,000 members of the pagan religion, wrote to the Church of England last month asking for two churches to be returned to make up for actions which took place during the Christianisation of England.

The letter, addressed directly to Archbishop Welby, said: "With a view to re-establishing better relations between the Odinist Fellowship and the Christian churches in England, and persuaded that a restitution of past wrongs is the best way to lay the foundations of improved relations, we wish you to be aware that the great majority of Odinists believe that honour requires the English church to issue a public apology for its former crimes against the Odinists.

More here-

Secretary General clarifies ACNA position with Communion as he reports to Standing Committee

From ACNS-

The Secretary General, Archbishop Josiah Idowu-Fearon, has stressed that the Anglican Church of North America is not a province of the Anglican Communion. Speaking to ACNS as he delivered his report to the Standing Committee, Archbishop Josiah said he wanted to correct any suggestion that ACNA was the 39th province of the Communion rather than Sudan, which was inaugurated in July.

“It is simply not true to say that ACNA is part of the Anglican Communion,” he said.  “To be part of the Communion a province needs to be in communion with the See of Canterbury and to be a member of the Instruments of the Communion. ACNA is not in communion with the See of Canterbury – and has not sought membership of the Instruments.

“There is a long-standing process by which a province is adopted as a province of the Communion. It was a great joy for me to see Sudan go through this process and it was a privilege to be in Khartoum in July to see it become the 39th member of the Communion. ACNA has not gone through this process.

More here-

Presiding Bishop, President of House of Deputies on DACA: We stand with the Dreamers and will do all that we can to support them

From The Episcopal Church-

Today our hearts are with those known as the Dreamers—those young women and men who were brought to this country as children, who were raised here and whose primary cultural and country identity is American. We believe that these young people are children of God and deserve a chance to live full lives, free from fear of deportation to countries that they may have never known and whose languages they may not speak. As people of faith, our obligation is first to the most vulnerable, especially to children. In this moment, we are called by God to protect Dreamers from being punished for something they had no agency in doing.

Since 2012, individuals who are undocumented and who were brought to the U.S. as children have benefitted from the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program. Through this program, those eligible have the opportunity to obtain a work permit and can secure protection from deportation. The nearly 800,000 recipients of DACA have proven that when given the opportunity, they succeed and contribute positively to our country. Without protection afforded by DACA or a legislative solution, these young people will live in fear of arrest, detention, and deportation to countries they may not remember. In six months those fears may become reality, so we must use that time wisely to advocate for their protection.

Head of Anglican Church Blasts Uhuru Over Attacks on CJ Maraga and Judiciary

From Kenya-

Politicians’ attacks on the Supreme Court are unnecessary, ACK Archbishop Jackson ole Sapit has told politicians following the September 1 verdict on the presidential election.

Chief Justice David Maraga, in a decision supported by four out of six judges, ordered that IEBC conducts fresh polls within 60 days as the August 8 vote was not in line with the constitution and other laws.

Determinations by judges Philomena Mwilu (Deputy Chief Custice), Isaac Leanaola and Smokin Wanjala also favoured the National Super Alliance. Judges Njoki Ndungu and Jackton Ojwang’ dissented in the matter.

The verdict has seen leaders including President Uhuru Kenyatta attack the highest court amid celebrations by supporters of Opposition candidate Raila Odinga.

More here-

Record number of Britons describe themselves as non-religious

From Catholic Herald-

For the first time, more than half of Britons say they are not religious, a survey suggests.

The National Centre for Social Research found that 53 per cent of adults described themselves as having “no religion” in a survey of 2,942 people. The figure was even higher among those aged 18 to 25, with 71 per cent saying they had no religious affiliation.

The biggest decline was among self-described Anglicans, whose numbers have collapsed by 50 per cent in under two decades. Just 15 per cent of Britons now identify as Anglican, down from 30 per cent in 2000. Among the under-25s, the figure is as low as three per cent, compared to 40 per cent of those aged 75 and over.

More here-

and here-


From Auburn-

I’m writing this statement to make sure that people are able to read in my own words what has happened to me over the last three weeks so that the events of my leaving Bethany United Church of Christ might be understood from my perspective.

It began when MTV invited me to speak out at the Video Music Awards in Los Angeles as a descendent of Robert E. Lee who is committed to speaking out against white supremacy and the hatred that had permeated our country.   The event was in the immediate aftermath of the gathering of White Supremacist in Charlottesville who were rallying around a statue of my ancestor Robert E. Lee. I strongly support the removal of these monuments to the Confederacy and feel it is my duty as a descendent to speak out against White Supremacy.

More here-

Monday, September 4, 2017

ACNA Consecration Fallout

From The Living Church-

The June 7 consecration of Andy Lines as an ACNA missionary bishop for the United Kingdom and Europe continues to make waves, not least in Australia. Four Australian bishops have asked their primate, the Most Rev. Philip Freier, to request a judgement from the Appellate Tribunal the (church’s court of appeal) on whether the three bishops who took part in the consecration violated the Australian church’s constitution.

The letter of complaint is signed by Bishops Andrew Curnow (Bendigo), Kay Goldsworthy (Gippsland, recently elected Archbishop of Perth), Bill Ray (North Queensland), and John Stead (Willochra).

“Archbishop Glen Davies and Bishop Richard Condie participated in the consecration of a bishop for Europe in the Anglican Church of North America (ACNA), a church that is not a member of the Anglican Communion and is not in communion with the Anglican Church of Australia,” they wrote.

More here-

Anglican church leader says cuts to asylum seeker welfare support 'callous'

From The Guardian-

The head of the Anglican church in Australia has condemned the decision by the immigration minister, Peter Dutton, to cut welfare services from 100 asylum seekers and refugees in Australia as a callous attack on vulnerable people.

The Anglican primate of Australia, Melbourne Archbishop Philip Freier, spoke at the church’s triennial synod on Monday, telling delegates from Australia’s 23 Anglican dioceses that refugee policy was a matter about which many politicians would like churches to stay silent.

“But it should be a matter of conscience for all Australians that we have kept asylum seekers in deliberately callous conditions,” he said. “Here many of them have suffered trauma and stress, especially defenceless children.

More here-

A Controversial Restoration That Wipes Away the Past

From The New York Times-

The pilgrim did not find what he was searching for. As a child, Patrice Bertrand heard his mother recount details of her visit to the shrine of the famous Black Madonna of Chartres Cathedral, 60 miles southwest of Paris. Now Mr. Bertrand, 41, of Nantes, was following in her footsteps. But he was perplexed by what he discovered: “The statue I came to see is not here anymore,” he said. The Black Madonna had become white.

The decision to remove what a plaque in the cathedral calls the “unsightly coating” from the 16th-century wooden icon has come to symbolize the contested transformation of Chartres, which has been undergoing a decade-long restoration. For almost 500 years, pilgrims worshiped the Virgin’s dark visage, and it accrued the kind of mythic currency integral to Catholic worship. To some critics, the repainting has erased a cultural memory from a building its restorers say they are saving.

More here-


From Connections-

My first exposure to the Episcopal Church was in 1954 when I first moved to Lincoln Heights outside Cincinnati, along with my dad and two brothers. The city prided itself as being one of the few all black cities in the country, having a black mayor, city council, police and fire chiefs and other municipal workers.

My best friend at the time was William “Billy” Schooler. Billy’s family were members of St. Simon of Cyrene Episcopal Church in Lincoln Heights. The church was founded by the Sisters of the Transfiguration, an order of nuns affiliated with the Episcopal Church. The nuns and the church operated a school K through 8th grade at the time. (Later, when my youngest son became of school age in the early 60s, his mother and I enrolled him in the school and became involved in the Parents and Teachers committee there.)

St Simon’s rector, the Rev. James ”Jim” Francis, was also the headmaster of the school. He was a community activist and allowed the church to be used as a meeting place for those of us who were engaged in the civil rights struggle and who embraced the “Black Power” philosophy that was prevalent at the time.

More here-

Sunday, September 3, 2017

Breakaway South Carolina diocese files for rehearing

From The Cafe-

As expected, the breakaway diocese in lower South Carolina has filed a motion for a rehearing of the recent South Carolina Supreme Court opinion which ruled largely in favor of The Episcopal Church and the continuing diocese.

Two of the judges on the five-judge have since retired. It is understood that the judges who heard the case in 2015 are the ones who decide whether to accept or reject the motion.

The breakaway diocese also filed a motion for the recusal of Judge Kaye Hearn, something it did not do when the case was originally heard by the court in 2015. It is unusual if not unheard of for (1) a request for recusal on rehearing and (2) the request for recusal to be addressed in the form of a motion to a court rather than a request to the judge herself.

More here-

Pope, Patriarch: ‘Cry of the earth’ and cry of the poor are one voice

From Crux Now-

In a joint statement from Pope Francis and Patriarch Bartholomew to mark the World Day of Prayer for the Care of Creation on Sept. 1, the two said that what’s happening in the world today reveals a “morally decaying scenario, where our attitude and behavior towards creation obscures our calling as God’s co-operators.”

They call on those “in positions of social and economic, as well as political and cultural, responsibility to hear the cry of the earth, and to attend to the needs of the marginalized.”

Those leaders, Francis and Bartholomew write, are called to “respond to the plea” of millions, and support “the consensus of the world for the healing of our wounded creation.”

One point stressed by Francis and Bartholomew is that care for the environment, and care for the poor, are inextricably linked.

More here-