Saturday, October 14, 2017

Perth’s Anglican ​​church offers ‘heartfelt apology’ to LGBT community

From The Guardian-

The Perth diocese of the Anglican church has offered a “heartfelt apology” to Australia’s gay and lesbian community, saying the church was “deeply sorry for any harm we have done”.

As the Archbishop of Sydney’s Anglican Diocese Glenn Davies was announcing a $1 million donation to the no campaign in Australia’s non-binding voluntary postal survey on same-sex marriage this week, his colleagues in Perth were saying sorry for the church’s past behaviour.

At the 49th synod of the Perth Diocese, the membership passed a motion offering “a heartfelt apology” to “people who are lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, intersex or queer whom we have hurt by words and behaviour that have not displayed the love of God”.

More here-

LA diocese, congregation still at odds over disputed St. James property

From ENS-

The dispute over the St. James the Great property in Newport Beach, California, that is at the heart of disciplinary proceedings against Diocese of Los Angeles Bishop J. Jon Bruno has taken several recent turns.

Late on Oct. 10, Los Angeles Bishop Coadjutor John Taylor and the Rev. Rachel Anne Nyback told the diocese that an anticipated sale of the property had fallen through.

“This event, we believe, gives our diocesan community a renewed opportunity for careful discernment about our mission and ministry in south Orange County,” the two wrote.

They pledged to “do all we can pastorally, logistically, and financially to assist the St. James congregation should it wish to regain mission status in the diocese.” However, that effort will not include an immediate return of the congregation’s pastor, the Rev. Cindy Evans Voorhees, to lead worship in the church she designed.

“After a suitable period of discernment and planning, we will reopen the church as a bishop’s chapel, with supply, or guest, clergy invited to conduct Sunday services,” Taylor and Nyback wrote. “It will be open to all in the community who wish to attend and glorify and serve our God in Christ.”

More here-

The Holy Bible, according to Trump

From The Washington Post-

Seems Roy Moore, the Ten Commandments Judge and very likely the next U.S. senator from the state of Alabama, has been playing a bit fast and loose with the whole thou-shalt-not-bear-false-witness thing.

My Post colleagues Shawn Boburg and Robert O’Harrow Jr. reported this week that Moore, who claimed he did not take a “regular salary” from the Christian-values charity he founded, in fact received $180,000 a year — more than $1 million from 2007 to 2012 — in compensation, much of which the charity did not disclose.

Still, Moore is in better shape, in terms of biblical injunctions, than Rep. Tim Murphy (R-Pa.), who is giving up his seat in Congress after admitting to an adulterous affair with a woman half his age. The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette reported that the married congressman, a member of the House Pro-Life Caucus, appeared to have asked his mistress to have an abortion.

More here-


From First Things-

It all did start with the ninety-five theses, in a sense. Luther probably did not actually nail them to the church door—at least no one at the time tells us so. And if he did, it was not in anger or protest against the church. He was trying to arrange an academic discussion, and evidently that’s where the bulletin board was. What we do know is that he mailed them off to his archbishop, together with a treatise on indulgences and a cover letter dated October 31, 1517, so that is the date remembered as the beginning of the Protestant Reformation.

Martin Luther was a professor at the University of Wittenberg, which is why he was arranging a disputation, a standard medieval form of academic discussion that would subject his theses to helpful critical debate so that he could clarify his own position. (He was certainly not wedded to all ninety-five theses.) He was also the official town preacher with pastoral responsibilities for the laity of Wittenberg, which is why he was trying to clear up some issues concerning the theology of indulgences, which were being sold very aggressively in neighboring territories, much to the harm of the souls in his charge. And he was a pious monk, intensely obedient to authority, who was convinced the pope could not possibly approve of turning indulgences and the forgiveness of sins into a kind of merchandise at the expense of Christ’s people.

More here-

God’s Church for God’s World: 2020 Lambeth Conference takes shape

From ACNS-

The group tasked with designing the next Lambeth Conference of Anglican bishops has been meeting this week to continue their preparations. The Lambeth Conference is one of the Anglican Communion’s four instruments of unity, and brings together bishops from across the world, usually once every 10 years. This week, the Lambeth 2020 Design Group have been at the Anglican Communion Office in London to further explore the details of the next Lambeth Conference, which will take place in Canterbury, England in 2020.

The group’s members report a general feeling of excitement and importance around the theme “God’s Church for God’s World”, and expressed a hope that it could powerfully impact the Communion in its entirety.

“The theme we are currently working with is “God’s Church for God’s World”, and it truly summarises our hopes and aspirations for the conference,” Phil George, the chief executive of the Lambeth Conference Company, which has been created to run the event, said. “I’ve just spent the last four days working with the Design Group which has been a very exciting experience.

More here-

Pope Francis calls for change to Catholic teaching on death penalty

From CNN-

Pope Francis said the death penalty was "inadmissable" and that official Catholic teaching should be changed to reflect that, comments with the potential to reshape the church's public stance on the controversial issue.

"It must be strongly stated that condemning a person to the death penalty is an inhumane measure," the Pope said Thursday. He was speaking at a Vatican conference celebrating the 25th anniversary of the Catechism of the Catholic Church, a guide to church teaching published under Pope John Paul II, who died in 2005.

The Catholic Church currently teaches that recourse to the death penalty is permitted but "the cases in which the execution of the offender is an absolute necessity are very rare if not practically nonexistent."

Both John Paul II and Benedict XVI spoke out against the death penalty, but Francis is the first Pope to suggest changing official church teaching on the issue.

More here-

To Those Christians Who Say, “God Doesn’t Give Us More Than We Can Handle”

From Patheos-

So, when someone is going through a really hard time you’ve been known to say, “God doesn’t give us more than we can handle” from time to time.

You mean well, I get it. You’re trying to encourage and comfort, and certainly your intent is good. Back in the day I said that as well.

When people are going through a difficult and painful life chapter, it can make those on the peripheral of a painful story deeply uncomfortable. It’s hard to watch others who are hurting, and it’s even harder knowing that we might not have any real solutions that would lessen their pain or improve their plight.

So, we “appeal to the mysterious” when all things tangible come up empty.

“God doesn’t give us more than we can handle” somehow flows from the lips of the one who wants to comfort, but who subconsciously knows nothing will.


Friday, October 13, 2017

Anglican Leaders Slam Sydney Diocese's $1 Million Donation To The "No" Campaign

From Buzz Feed-

Anglican leaders and laypeople have slammed the Diocese of Sydney's decision to donate $1 million to the "no" campaign in Australia's same-sex marriage survey.

BuzzFeed News revealed on Monday evening that the diocese had donated the sum to leading "no" group, the Coalition for Marriage, last month. It is the first significant church donation to come to light in the campaign thus far.

The Diocese of Sydney is a founding member of the Coalition for Marriage, along with the Catholic Archdiocese of Sydney and political activist groups Marriage Alliance and the Australian Christian Lobby.

In his address to the 51st Synod of the diocese on Monday afternoon, archbishop Glenn Davies said "the stakes are high and the cost is high" in the marriage debate.

"Yet the cause is just and it is a consequence of our discipleship to uphold the gift of marriage as God has designed it — a creation ordinance for all people," he said. "By so doing, the wisdom of God is made manifest."

More here-

and here-

Walking together at Lambeth 2020?

From The Living Church-

Summary: Building on yesterday’s analysis of walking together, this article explores the problems faced by the Lambeth Conference in 2008 and how they continue to be present as we approach Lambeth 2020. To enable as close and truthful a walking together as possible, it suggests the conference may combine the two forms of gathering we have known and build on the decisions of the primates in 2016 and 2017 about consequences for unilaterally departing from Communion teaching. This could take the form of a non-resolution gathering (as in 2008) in which all provinces and ecumenical partners walked together despite the significant distance between them, followed by a more deliberative assembly passing resolutions (as before 2008) involving those living in a higher degree of communion and committed to intensifying that communion.

By Andrew Goddard

The last Lambeth Conference in 2008 was marked by a number of distinctive features. These included the failure of a large number of provinces and so several hundred bishops to attend due to the actions of the American Church and their presence at the conference, the non-invitation of a serving bishop (Gene Robinson) because he was in a same-sex union and another because of corruption (Bishop Nolbert Kunonga), and the decision to have an Indaba and not to pass any resolutions. It is also important to recognize that in his 2007 letter of invitation the Archbishop of Canterbury made clear that there were certain expectations and commitments expected of those attending:

Episcopalians offer help in the face of danger as wildfires rage through Northern California

From ACNS and ENS-

Episcopalians in Northern California continue to monitor the growing wildfires in their neighbourhoods while finding ways to help their communities deal with the ongoing and expanding disaster. The Revd Jim Richardson, priest-in-charge at Church of the Incarnation in hard-hit Santa Rosa, told Episcopal News Service yesterday (Thursday) that he knows of parishioners, including those with health care experience, who are volunteering at Red Cross shelters. Other Episcopalians, he said, are donating their services elsewhere and offering material help.

The Revd Daniel Green, rector of St John’s Episcopal Church in Petaluma and dean of the Petaluma deanery, was working a phone bank, Richardson said, set up to connect evacuees with services.

Some evacuees had been sleeping at Incarnation since the fires broke out, but the city issued a voluntary evacuation order on Wednesday night (11 October). Richardson said the fires had gotten “way too close so we got everybody out, made sure they had places to go and left.”

More here-

I have felt hopeless, Archbishop Welby admits

From The Church Times-

THE Archbishop of Canterbury has admitted to struggling with depression in recent years, in a wide-ranging interview with the former New Labour spin-doctor Alastair Campbell.

When asked by Mr Campbell, who has often spoke of his own mental-health problems and alcoholism, if he got depressed, Archbishop Welby said: “I think if you had asked me a year ago I’d have said no.

“But what was that phrase Churchill used? ‘Black dog’. There is an element of that. I think, as I am getting older, I am realising it does come from time to time.

“I have those moments — you would know this — when objectively everything is fine, but you think you are, beyond description, hopeless.”

Archbishop Welby’s daughter Katharine has also experienced bouts of depression, and has recently written about her own journey through mental-health problems (Books, 15 September).

More here-

Coptic priest killed in street attack in Cairo

From Catholic Herald-

Egypt’s Coptic Orthodox Church says a priest has been killed in a knife attack in a poor Cairo district, the latest deadly assault on members of the country’s Christian minority.

The church says the attack took place on Thursday. The priest was identified in the media as Fr Samaan Shehata.

Security officials say the attacker struck the priest’s head with a cleaver and fled the scene, but was later arrested. The officials spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorised to brief the media.

The motive was not immediately known.

Bishop Angaelos, Britain’s Coptic Orthodox bishop, said Fr Shehata, a priest from the Upper Egypt region, had been visiting his family in Cairo and collecting aid for the needy in his parish. He had left his mobile phone at a church and was walking back to reclaim it.

More here-

Dialogue With God

From The New York Review of Books-

In 2012, Sarah Ruden brought us, in a crackling translation, the second-century-AD Latin novel known as The Golden Ass of Apuleius. The Golden Ass is full of impudent incongruities. A topsy-turvy tale about a hapless young man turned into a donkey is combined with a love story (of Cupid and Psyche) as bright and delightful as the tapestries that would illustrate it throughout the late Middle Ages and the Renaissance. Utterly unexpectedly, the book ends with the vision of a goddess rising from the swell of a moonlit sea.

Ruden now leads us to a yet more incongruous masterpiece. A little over two centuries after The Golden Ass, we discover a person who appears to be a highly Latinate North African such as Apuleius had been—a product, indeed, of a school established in Apuleius’s own hometown, Madauros (modern M’Daourouch, in Algeria, near the tense border with Tunisia)—only to learn that he was a middle-aged Christian bishop, with his back turned to us, speaking endlessly, urgently to his God.

More here-

Thursday, October 12, 2017

Evangelical conservatives are proving their harshest critics right

From The Washington Post-

For years, Democrats accused Christian conservatives of being closet theocrats, seeking to impose Christianity on the country and refusing to accept, let alone embrace, American diversity. That was a generalization, but it turned out to be more true than not.

The evangelical defense of President Trump has taken on a religious fervor immune to reason. The Post reports:

Although some say the Trump-evangelical alliance harms Christianity, it’s common to hear other conservative Christians say that Trump’s unexpected win — down to the electoral college — shows that God had a more-deliberate-than-usual hand, and has put Trump there for some reason.

Brian Kaylor, a Baptist pastor with a PhD in political communications who has written several books about religion and politics, thinks [White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee] Sanders holds this view of a divine plan and it gives her confidence at the podium.

More here-

Developer bows out of purchase of St. James the Great Episcopal church property; congregation still locked out

From Los Angeles-

A Newport Beach firm has pulled out of an agreement to purchase prime Via Lido real estate which was formerly home to the St. James the Great Episcopal Church congregation.

The Episcopal Diocese of Los Angeles made the announcement on its website late Tuesday, Oct. 10, saying Burnham Ward Properties will no longer buy the Via Lido property and that it will be preserved as a “bishop’s chapel,” or worship space, under the authority of incoming bishop the Rev. John Taylor.

Taylor, who will take over from retiring bishop J. Jon Bruno Dec. 1, said Wednesday he intends to open the lines of communication between the diocese and St. James congregants who were evicted by Bruno in June 2015 after he sold the property to a local developer.

More here-


From First Things-

David Bentley Hart’s new single-handed translation of the New Testament will strike the fair-minded reader by turns as startling, incisive, audacious, smug, shrewd, and quirky to the point of exasperation: everything, in short, the author intended it to be. The book sets out to be provocative and succeeds. A philosopher, theologian, scholar of patristics and mythology, and frequent contributor to First Things, Hart maintains that his dissatisfaction with the standard renderings of the Bible—each the product of committees and therefore of numberless harmful compromises—convinced him of the value of starting from scratch and making a one-man job of it.

The work consists of the twenty-seven books of the New Testament, transmitted in what Hart calls his “almost pitilessly literal” translation. Framing the translation itself are a lengthy introduction and a “Concluding Scientific Postscript,” written with the lucidity and cheery truculence characteristic of Hart’s essays. In these sections he sets out the purposes of his project, explains his strategy of translation, declares independence from a priori doctrinal and theological constraints, and provides a discussion of his more controversial renderings of key words that, somewhat paradoxically, amounts to an original theology of the New Testament in miniature.

More here-

Can the Churches Be Reunited?

From Commonweal-

In 1967, when Joseph Ratzinger was a thirty-nine-year-old professor at Tübingen, he was the guest of honor at a doctoral colloquium held in Basel by Karl Barth. The topic for discussion was the Second Vatican Council’s Dogmatic Constitution on Divine Revelation (Dei verbum). Barth and his students devised two main questions for their distinguished visitor. Both concerned how, according to the council, the transmission of the Gospel was dependent on the church.

From a theological standpoint, was it really true, the Protestants wondered, that the Gospel depends on the church if it is going to be preserved and actualized, as suggested by the wording of the dogmatic constitution? Weren’t matters really the other way around? Wasn’t it really the church that depends on the Gospel—if the church is to be truly apostolic? In other words, didn’t ecclesial life and witness always need to be tested against the living word of Scripture? And didn’t that word remain sovereign as a critical norm over against the church and its traditions? The priority of the Word over ecclesial tradition was a traditional Protestant concern.

More here-


From The Diocese of Nevada-

Our hearts break yet again over another mass shooting. This time it happened here in Nevada at a country music festival. It feels more real to us. From children slaughtered in a Colorado high school and a Connecticut elementary school to young adults at a gay nightclub in Orlando to Black worshippers in a South Carolina church to county music fans in Nevada, violence strikes any and all of us randomly. The perpetrators sometimes clothe their crime in an ideology – sometimes religious, sometimes political, sometimes racial, and sometimes not at all. The common thread is the choice of violence as a response to the satisfactoriness of the world.

If we muster the will, there are steps we could take to curb the gun violence. We do not need to interfere with anyone’s hunting rifles or even their handguns to say that no one has a legitimate need for such an arsenal of automatic weapons as Stephen Paddock unleashed on his victims. In the Las Vegas shooting, bad as it was, it could have been worse. Many were saved by hearing the shots and taking cover. Congress is now considering legislation to make silencers more freely available. Silencers will increase the number of fatalities and injuries. We have before us ways to make things better or worse. The choice will be ours.

More here-

Cathedral to display “the most dangerous book in Tudor England”

From ACNS-

St Paul’s Cathedral in London is set to display one of only three-known surviving copies of “the most dangerous book in Tudor England” as part of an event to mark the 500th anniversary of the Reformation. In 1536, William Tyndale was executed for his work in translating the New Testament into English, and King Henry VIII’s officials and Church leaders set about searching for destroying copies of what was the first English-language Bible. But within a few years it was available within every church in the country.

The publication of Tyndale’s Bible in 1526 “opened up for the first time the whole of the New Testament in English and helped to bring continental Reformation ideals to the people of England,” St Paul’s Cathedral, which owns one of only three known surviving copies, said. “Tyndale wrote that the Church authorities banned translations of the Bible in order ‘to keep the world still in darkness, to the intent they might sit in the consciences of the people, through vain superstition and false doctrine . . . and to exalt their own honour . . . above God himself’”.

More here-

Wednesday, October 11, 2017

Former youth pastor charged with sexual assault; Faces 5 years to life in prison

From Virginia Beach-

A former youth pastor charged with sexual penetration has been found guilty by a Virginia Beach judge.

Jeffrey Bondi, 47, was charged with a crime that happened 15 years ago while he was working as a youth minister at Galilee Episcopal Church in Virginia Beach.

34-year-old Margaret Anne Viola, who was 18-years-old at the time, told police that Bondi sexually assaulted her while he was working at her church.

Viola now lives in California and is a comedian/writer.

Court documents obtained by News 3 reveal the nature of the crime and describe sexual penetration of the victim. In court, prosecutors said Bondi asked the victim to babysit his children and then touched her inappropriately the night of October 27th. The victim testified that he forcefully touched her again when she attempted to leave the house.

The defense acknowledges Bondi acted inappropriately, but says Bondi never felt the contact was forceful and didn't warrant an object sexual penetration charge.

More here-

also here-

Episcopalians flee Northern California fires – and help their neighbors

From ENS-

The Rev. Karen King woke up to flames in the middle of the night Oct. 8 in her Oakmont Village home east of Santa Rosa, California.

“We could see the flames jumping on the top of the ridges of Annadel [State Park] that separate us from Kenwood,” said King, who is the interim priest at St. Patrick’s Episcopal Church in Kenwood. “We could see the fires all around us. And we left, thinking we could go home in the morning, and we’ve never been home.”

She and her spouse, Judith Kesot, went to the Montgomery Village Shopping Center parking lot along with many other people. The shopping center is on the other side of Annadel State Park and closer to Santa Rosa proper.

The nearby Presbyterian Church of the Roses opened its doors to everyone in the shopping center parking lot and to anybody who passed on the street, King said. “It was just amazing what they did,” she said.

More here-

Diocese to St. James: Let’s Talk

From The Living Church-

The planned sale of the former St. James the Great Church in Newport Beach has fallen through, but apparently the congregation that has been locked out of the building for more than two years will not return without some detailed conversations.

In a message circulated by email after business hours Oct. 10, Bishop Coadjutor John H. Taylor wrote to the diocese: “After a suitable period of discernment and planning, we will reopen the church as a bishop’s chapel, with supply, or guest, clergy invited to conduct Sunday services. It will be open to all in the community who wish to attend and glorify and serve our God in Christ.”

The statement, signed also by the Rev. Rachel Anne Nyback, president of the diocesan Standing Committee, added: “We again pledge to do all we can pastorally, logistically, and financially to assist the St. James congregation should it wish to regain mission status in the diocese.”

“The whole diocesan community has been through a rocky couple of years,” Taylor told TLC by telephone Tuesday evening. “Today’s development gives us the opportunity to do some discernment, and all things worth doing are worth doing in a deliberate, discerning way.

More here-

Bishop Johnston Announces Call for Second Bishop Suffragan

From Virginia-

Dear Diocesan Family,

Nearly seven years ago, the Rt. Rev. Edwin "Ted" Gulick returned to his native Virginia to become the Assistant Bishop of this Diocese. During that time, he has brought his boundless energy to everything he has touched.

He has helped many congregations work through conflicts to become thriving ministries. He has been a leader in ecumenical relations on behalf of The Episcopal Church. He has devoted himself to supporting Shrine Mont to ensure that generations of young people have the kind of mountain-top experience that shaped his youth in the 1960s.

Now, Bishop Gulick has announced his plans to retire at the end of this year. Thankfully, he and his wife, Barbara, will continue  to live on their Fauquier County farm, so their contributions to the life of the Diocese will continue.  

More here-

The Truth and Fiction of Adam and Eve

From The New York Times-

Stephen Greenblatt follows Adam and Eve through a long arc of Western history. He begins at the beginning, with paleoanthropology, then moves on to the Babylonian epics, which influenced the early chapters of Genesis, and on to a sketch of the life of St. Augustine. From there, he arrives at the Renaissance and its depictions of the first and perfect man and woman, then Milton, of course, the age of discovery and the rationalist rejection of Adamic creation, which was a rejection as well of the belief that, as St. Augustine said, “God willed to create all men out of one, in order that they might be held in their society not only by likeness of kind, but also by bond of kindred.” Europeans found that the great world teemed with people toward whom they felt little likeness and less kindred. Then Darwin emerged, upending everything all over again. And Greenblatt finally lands in his last pages at a fairly disheartening account of mating among the chimpanzees. This is the march of progress, tinged with melancholy, as always.

More here-

Federal judge rules clergy housing tax exemption unconstitutional (again)

From The Cafe-

A renewed lawsuit challenging the income tax break on clergy housing allowances (sometimes called the parsonage exemption) has been upheld by the same federal district judge who ruled the law unconstitutional in 2013.

As members of clergy and their Vestries know, a portion of a minister of religion’s compensation package may be designated as housing allowance, and exempted from income taxes (although not from the minister’s self-employment taxes). Find a helpful background to the housing allowance exemption here.

US District Judge Barbara Crabb ruled in 2013, and again in Wisconsin on Friday, that the provision is unconstitutional because it provides a benefit to some people but not to others. Her 2013 ruling was reversed on appeal, but the Freedom from Religion Foundation believes that it has the grounds for that reversal covered this time around.

More here-

Tuesday, October 10, 2017

Sydney Anglican diocese donates $1m to no campaign for same-sex marriage vote

From The Guardian-

The Sydney Anglican diocese has made a $1m donation to the no campaign in Australia’s postal survey on same-sex marriage.

Archbishop Glenn Davies announced the donation on Monday in his address to the 51st synod of the diocese of Sydney, telling the church that “removing gender from the marriage construct” would have “irreparable consequences” for society.

“Brothers and sisters, the stakes are high and the cost is high,” Davies said.

“Yet the cause is just and it is a consequence of our discipleship to uphold the gift of marriage as God has designed it – a creation ordinance for all people.”

He said he made “no apology” for encouraging Australians and Anglicans to vote no.

More here-

Federal judge strikes down housing allowance for clergy

From Crux Now-

A federal judge in Wisconsin has struck down as unconstitutional a law that gives clergy tax-free housing allowances, in a ruling that could have far-reaching ramifications for religious leaders, who could be facing new taxes which will threaten their ministry.

Under the federal law passed in 1954, a “minister of the gospel” doesn’t pay income taxes on compensation that is designated part of a housing allowance. The Freedom From Religion Foundation, based in Madison, argued that the law discriminates against secular employees.
The benefit saves clergy, including non-Christian religious leaders, $800 million a year in taxes, according to the latest estimate from the congressional Joint Committee on Taxation.

Under the law, housing allowances paid as part of clergy salary can be subtracted from their taxable income.

More here-


From Ft. Worth-

Is it possible to engage with friends in a friendly yet meaningful conversation about topics we care about? Can civil discourse still happen, given the current climate in our country?

The Rev. Linda Taylor is leading Living Room Conversations (LRC) at St. Luke’s in the Meadow, Fort Worth, every third Tuesday at 7 pm. The next conversation is October 17. All are welcome.  You can come to one LRC without having to attend all of them. See map below story.

Taylor recently retired from working in the Diocese of El Camino Real in California and moved to Fort Worth. She is licensed in our diocese and is serving as interim at St. Luke’s, Stephenville, through Christmas.

Living Room Conversations was founded in 2010 to focus on revitalizing civil discourse through conversation. Their format facilitates structured conversations among people of differing views and backgrounds and “through these conversations we hope to increase understanding of various issues, build relationships, and pave the way for collaborative and inclusive problem-solving.”

More here-

Tearing Down Statues of Columbus Also Tears Down My History

From The New York Times-

As I watched the disturbing events unfold in Charlottesville, Va., several weeks ago, I knew our Italian-American community would soon be called to once again address questions about statues celebrating Christopher Columbus and the day named in his honor. We would once again be called on to “defend Columbus” against efforts to remake his day into Indigenous People’s Day.

Indeed, within days, Baltimore’s Christopher Columbus monument, believed to be the first erected to the Italian explorer in America, was vandalized. Calls multiplied to remove the iconic statue from New York’s Columbus Circle. We watched Columbus unceremoniously decapitated in Yonkers. Then, as reports of similar actions began to flood in from around the nation, Los Angeles officially replaced its celebrations of Columbus Day with Indigenous People’s Day.

More here-

Primates’ 2017 Communiqué

From The Living Church-

“In our last meeting in January 2016 we made a clear decision to walk together while acknowledging the distance that exists in our relationships due to deep differences in understanding on same-sex marriage,” the primates write in their latest communiqué. “We endorsed this approach, which we will continue with renewed commitment.”

The full communiqué follows.

More here-

Monday, October 9, 2017

Anglican divide: GAFCON accuses Justin Welby of attributing blame to the wrong people Mon 09 Oct 2017

From Premier-

GAFCON, a worldwide group of conservative Anglicans, has told Premier that the Archbishop of Canterbury's call for repentance for missionary bishops is "disappointing".

The group - which created a missionary bishop to cater for disaffected Anglicans in Scotland, England and across Europe who are unhappy with the church's teaching on issues such as sexuality - made comments following Most Rev Justin Welby's criticism of the body at the recent Primates' Meeting on Friday.

Archbishop Peter Jensen, GAFCON's general secretary told Premier that Archbishop Justin was appointing blame to the wrong people.

Speaking about the teaching and practice surrounding sexuality, Archbishop Peter said: "The Communique seems deliberately to step around the real problem and then offer blame to the people who are really in a sense the victims.

"By putting so much emphasis on blaming people who are so-called crossing boundaries, but avoiding the real issue which is the flagrant breach of the teaching of the word of God by a number of the Anglican churches around the world."

More here-

The adoration of a body snatcher

From The Living Church-

I was called to the hospital to administer last rites. Sarah was dying, and her husband, Sam, was keeping vigil. Sarah was unconscious, and I told Sam that I’d like to say some prayers together, anoint Sarah with oil, and then celebrate Communion.

And so we did. As I’ve learned to do, I broke up one of the wafers into tiny pieces, and invited Sam to place a small piece in his unconscious wife’s mouth. We stood in silence at the bedside for some time, until finally, when I felt the moment had landed, I turned to begin cleaning up the Communion supplies. Then something odd happened.

Sam cut between me and our makeshift altar; he grabbed the paten still laden with the broken host, and said, “Oh, I’ll clean this up for you, Father,” and proceeded to the sink. I panic-froze. I didn’t have the presence of mind — or, more accurately, the courage — to stop him. I winced inside, and decided to let it happen. But then something even less expected happened.

More here-

Presiding Episcopal bishop to visit Christ Church Cathedral for 200th

From Western Mass.-

The Most Rev. Michael Curry will celebrate the Sunday, Oct. 15, 10 a.m. liturgy at Christ Church Cathedral, as well as attend the Choral Evensong at 4 p.m., during a three-day visit timed to the church's 200th anniversary.

Curry, the first African-American Presiding Bishop of the Episcopal Church, is well known as a dynamic preacher who has called for a revival of Christianity.

The cathedral is the seat of the Episcopal Diocese of Western Massachusetts, headed by the Right Rev. Douglas Fisher, and both services are open to the public.

"I'm so pleased that our presiding bishop was able to accept our invitation to be part of this joyful day," said Fisher who was recently with Curry during the Church's House of Bishops annual six-day fall meeting held this year in Fairbanks, Alaska.

More here-

Time to Abolish Columbus Day

From Common Dreams-

Once again this year many schools will pause to commemorate Christopher Columbus. Given everything we know about who Columbus was and what he launched in the Americas, this needs to stop.

Columbus initiated the trans-Atlantic slave trade, in early February 1494, first sending several dozen enslaved Taínos to Spain. Columbus described those he enslaved as "well made and of very good intelligence," and recommended to King Ferdinand and Queen Isabella that taxing slave shipments could help pay for supplies needed in the Indies. A year later, Columbus intensified his efforts to enslave Indigenous people in the Caribbean. He ordered 1,600 Taínos rounded up—people whom Columbus had earlier described as "so full of love and without greed"—and had 550 of the "best males and females," according to one witness, Michele de Cuneo, chained and sent as slaves to Spain. "Of the rest who were left," de Cuneo writes, "the announcement went around that whoever wanted them could take as many as he pleased; and this was done."

More here-

Francis Chan Urges Believers to Reject 'Cop-Out' Christianity, Lose Your Life for the Gospel

From Christian Today-

 Francis Chan is calling on Christians to be willing to give up their lives for Jesus and not compromise the Gospel by hiding behind otherwise good causes.

Speaking on the main stage Saturday night on the National Mall before tens of thousands assembled from all 50 states at America's Tent of Meeting sponsored by Awaken the Dawn, Chan encouraged believers to be willing to lay down their lives for Christ and to not shrink back from being bold.

"What does it profit a man if he gains the whole world and forfeits his soul?" Chan asked, citing the Words of Jesus in Mark 8:36.

"I'm promising you, if you try to save your life, you're going to lose it, but you're not going to regret it."

Chan, 50, who leads We Are Church, a network of house churches based in the San Francisco Bay Area, mentioned that he has reached a point in his life where he's getting rid of more and more stuff. And there is no point in trying to have it all, he said, and protect ones life from all possible forms of suffering. 

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Sunday, October 8, 2017

Irish missionary priest calls for foreign travel ban on paedophiles

From Ireland-

A four-time Nobel Peace Prize nominee has called on developed countries to ban paedophiles and suspected sex offenders from foreign travel in the same way as suspected terrorists.

Father Shay Cullen, an Irish missionary who has been rescuing street children in the Philippines since 1974, said hundreds of thousands of sex tourists travel to the country from Europe, including the UK and Ireland, the US and Australia.

The Columban priest missed out on the Nobel prize last week, but praised the decision to award it to a campaign for the abolition of nuclear weapons.

“The whole moral fabric of society and protection of human rights and the dignity of women and children is breaking down,” Fr Cullen said.

“One thing right now I would say to any government is to pass a law that would ban all convicted sex offenders from travelling abroad. That would be a very good thing they could do.”
“Why not? The international and Irish sex tourists, why are they coming here raping our children?”

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Bishop Rickel Responds to Las Vegas Shooting

From Diocese of Olympia-

Dear Ones,

Like you I awoke Monday morning to the horrifying news of the senseless slaughter of innocent citizens in Las Vegas by a lone gunman, tremendously over armed with firepower that, in my mind,  should not be allowed in the hands of anyone but our military and our police force. On that same morning I was scheduled to leave for a week of fellowship and bonding with several of our clergy in the mountains, and out of all TV or internet connections. I have to admit that part was a blessing. I have returned to find both, the debate I have come to expect, but also some of the same excuses and lack of courage on the part of our public officials. This tragedy is yet another stark reminder of the brokenness and violence that plagues our nation. I, like you, grieve yet again this tragic loss of life. My prayers go out to the hundreds of victims and their families and my heart breaks for those who have lost friends, family, and loved ones.

With shootings like this happening far too frequently, it’s easy to become numb and find ourselves paralyzed by inaction. However, we mustn’t give into the despair that tells us change is hopeless, futile, or vain. We must remain engaged with this issue of gun violence and demand that our government take action so that mass shootings like the one in Las Vegas never happen again. And we should not wait, as seems to be our human flaw so often, until such violence comes to our home, our family, our lives. That it has happened to any person in the human fa
mily should be reason, and in fact as a Christian, to call and demand our attention and action.

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From First Things-

The recent passing of Michael Novak prompted me to take up his masterpiece once again. I first read The Spirit of Democratic Capitalism in the 1980s. At the time, I had no illusions about socialism. It was obviously a failure, economically, politically, and morally. But like so many of my peers, I assumed capitalism to be morally suspect as well. Michael’s book helped me, as it helped so many others, to see that a free market economy has distinctive moral and spiritual contributions to make to a healthy society. Rereading The Spirit of Democratic Capitalism today, however, my reaction is different. Capitalism is not a choice, as it seemed to me and many others when Michael wrote his book. It is our fate—and our problem.

The leitmotif of the book is that capitalism promotes (and is promoted by) a democratic culture. Both, he argued, seek to limit the power of the state and “liberate the energies of individuals and independently organized communities.” As he put it, “the natural logic of capitalism leads to democracy,” because “citizens economically free soon demand political freedoms.” This mutual dynamism toward freedom is not sufficient, however, and Michael identifies the “moral-cultural base” or “moral ecology” (as he later described it) that undergirds, sustains, and guides economic and democratic freedom. He doesn’t denominate it as such, but we can call it “Judeo-Christian” as long as we remember that both religious terms include the classical inheritance of Greco-Roman philosophy, law, and civic engagement. A healthy society thus stands on three sturdy legs: a free economy; liberal, democratic political institutions; and a Judeo-Christian moral ecology that prizes human dignity and encourages self-discipline, social trust, and individual initiative.

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Can you afford to get married? In the US, it's increasingly the privilege of the rich

From The Guardian-

At 35, Mark Biddiscombe thinks it’s time he finally got married. “I have a woman, I have a kid, I want to do it. I wanted to before we had our son,” he said.

But he has a problem that increasing numbers of his generation encounter: he can’t afford it. Biddiscombe, a construction worker, is part of the changing face of marriage in the US.

In 1960, three-quarters of American adults were married. Today, just half are. Some are getting hitched later, but the share of those who never do has been rising steadily in recent decades, and research increasingly suggests money worries are a factor driving this trend. Nearly half of never-married adults with incomes under $30,000 say being financially insecure is a major reason.

More here-