Saturday, November 11, 2017

The Story behind the Navy Hymn: In Honor of Veterans Day

From Christian Headlines-

It’s one of the most famous hymns in Christendom: “Eternal Father Strong to Save.” It’s often called “the Navy hymn” because it’s sung at the U.S. Naval Academy in Annapolis.  But how many of us know the story behind this moving hymn?

The hymn’s author was an Anglican churchman named William Whiting, who was born in England in 1825. As a child, Whiting dodged in and out of the waves as they crashed along England’s shoreline. But years later, on a journey by sea, Whiting learned the true and terrifying power of those waves. A powerful storm blew in, so violent that the crew lost control of the vessel. During these desperate hours, as the waves roared over the decks, Whiting’s faith in God helped him to stay calm. When the storm subsided, the ship, badly damaged, limped back to port.

The experience had a galvanizing effect on Whiting. As one hymn historian put it, “Whiting was changed by this experience. He respected the power of the ocean nearly as much as he respected the God who made it and controls it.”

The memory of this voyage allowed Whiting to provide comfort to one of the boys he taught at a training school in Winchester.

More here-

Episcopal Diocese of Ohio celebrates bicentennial, holds 201st convention

From Ohio-

 For the Most Rev. Michael Curry, the presiding bishop of the Episcopal Church, the years ahead could mark a "new Reformation" for Episcopalians.

"This is a diocese and this is a bishop... for whom their leadership is helping the Episcopalian church broadly to begin to understand anew our witness to the gospel of Jesus in our time," he said.

The Episcopalian Church is governed by two bodies, the House of Bishops, and the House of Deputies, which is made up of appointed clergy members and lay leaders from each diocese.

Both Curry, the leader of the House of Bishops, and the Rev. Gay Clark Jennings, president of the House of Deputies, traveled to Cleveland for the 201st convention of the Diocese of Ohio, this weekend. 

More here-

Authorities in California ask church to stop feeding the homeless

From CBS-

A Malibu church that has helped the homeless for years has been asked to stop feeding people who are down on their luck.

CBS Los Angeles spoke to the people at the United Methodist Church about the request.

Workers at the church say they are able to serve as many as 100 people. They've been serving meals on Wednesdays since 2014.

But now, the food service will come to an end after Thanksgiving at the city's request.

"It's a safe place," said Michah Johnson, who is homeless. "And everyone is welcome. And the food is really good. It's home-cooked. And there's TLC involved."

"The church is very helpful," he added. "They keep my spirits up. They keep me accountable. When you're homeless, it's very easy to slip off and become jaded."

More here-

Humor in the Bible

From Church Life-

We rightly approach Scripture with reverence and a certain solemn spiritual hunger. Therefore, we do not often think of these inspired texts as having any sort of humor or laughter in them. This is especially true if we are Fundamentalists, or, take every word of the Bible literally.

Nonetheless, there are a number of Scripture passages that make me pause every time I hear or read them. These are in the Bible itself. They are not just the result of insufficient preparation on the part of the lector in regard to a particular text. One passage in particular comes to mind as an example of the latter: Luke 2:16.  The text may say, “The shepherds went in haste to Bethlehem and found Mary and Joseph, and the baby lying in the manger,” but the lector almost always proclaims instead that they “found Mary and Joseph and the baby, lying in the manger.” I will leave to your imagination how the “flaming brazier” of Genesis 15:17 comes across from some lectors.

What I am considering is something rather different. The Bible has a special status as the Word of God, but it is also quite simply literature and needs to be considered, at least at times, in that light if we wish to properly understand the manner in which each author wrote. Reflect on the fact that Shakespeare himself would include humor even in tragedies like Hamlet or Macbeth, and you will not be surprised to raise an eyebrow (or the corners of your lips) when you encounter certain biblical passages.

More here-

Friday, November 10, 2017

Church Members Stage Protest As Anglican Bishop Drags 3 Priests To Court In Imo

From Nigeria-

A peaceful protest was on Wednesday staged by the members of the Anglican Diocese on the Lake in the Oguta Local Government Area of Imo State over a crisis rocking the diocese.

the Bishop of the diocese, Rt. Rev. C.B.N. Otti, had dragged three senior priests of the church, Ven. Canon Eugene Onwubie, Rev. Eugene Iheanacho and Ven. Caleb Udom, to court for refusing to vacate the church premises where they resided with their families.

It was gathered that the priests who were officially in charge of St. Mathias Anglican Church, Nkwesi and Emmanuel Church, Izombe, were sued for refusing to submit their ordination certificates to the bishop, a situation that made him to issue the priests a one week notice to vacate their official residences.

The members carried placards with inscriptions such as, ‘Bishop Otti, stop this intimidation now or face our anger’, ‘Bishop Otti, is Diocese on the Lake your private business?, ‘Bishop Otti, pay your priests, ‘Oguta youths say no to your intimidation, harassment and humiliation’, among others.

 More here-,348246.0.html

and here-

Assault and abuse are rife in the Church of England, women say

From The Church Times-

THE Church of England has a blindspot when it comes to the sexual abuse, assault, or harassment of women, a growing group of women are saying.

Increasing numbers, clergy and lay, are coming forward to tell of their experiences after the Harvey Weinstein scandal and the #MeToo campaign, which encourages women to tell their stories of abuse.

Several have warned that adult women who are abused in this way are slipping through the cracks in the safeguarding procedures of the Church, which focus largely on protecting children and adults deemed to be “vulnerable”.

Jo Kind, who works with Minister and Clergy Sexual Abuse Survivors (MACSAS), the clerical-abuse survivors network, said this week that about half of all those who approached MACSAS were reporting abuse that had taken place while they were adults, not children.

More here-

Episcopal election makes it three firsts for Scotland’s first female bishop

From ACNS- (more links below)

Fourteen years after the Scottish Episcopal Church (SEC) formally opened the doors to the consecration of women to the episcopate, it has elected its first female bishop. Canon Anne Dyer, currently the Rector of Holy Trinity Church in Haddington, East Lothian, was elected as the new Bishop of Aberdeen & Orkney by the Province’s Episcopal Synod. It is the third “first” for Canon Dyer: In 1987 she was amongst the first group of women to be ordained to the diaconate in the Church of England’s Diocese of Rochester; and also amongst the first group of women in Rochester to be ordained to the priesthood in 1994.

Prior to ordination Anne Dyer read Chemistry at St Anne’s College, Oxford and was a business systems analyst with Unilever before training for ordained ministry at Wycliffe Hall, Oxford and studying theology at King’s College London.

More here-

and here-

and here-

Boston University creates new denominational program for Episcopalians

From The Cafe-

Perhaps sensing a gap in the wake of Episcopal Divinity School’s departure for New York City to join with Union Theological Seminary, Boston University School of Theology (BUSTH) has announced the formation of a new Episcopal denominational learning community.

In collaboration with the Episcopal Dioceses of Massachusetts, the intent of the learning community is to form a community of students, faculty, and staff dedicated to nurturing and preparing Episcopal students for future leadership and service in and through the church. The Anglican Episcopal Community of Learning (AECL) is a specialized program that aims to provide the best possible education in an ecumenical community that values the unique gifts, histories, and ministerial legacies of the denominations represented.

Who Is Satan?

From Biblical Archeology-

From the most comical of cartoons to the most grotesque of gargoyles, the majority of the population today can immediately recognize an image of the devil. But does our modern conception of Satan have any resemblance to the devil in the Bible? Just who is Satan? Is this horned, red-skinned monster with a pitchfork ruling hell truly the great enemy of God envisioned by the writers of the Biblical texts?

The short answer: no, not really.

In the Hebrew Bible, YHWH’s greatest enemies are not fallen angels commanding armies of demons, nor even the gods of other nations, but, rather, human beings. It isn’t the devil that spreads evil across the face of creation—it is mankind. Other than human beings, YHWH has no nemesis, nor are there malevolent spiritual forces not under his authority. YHWH is ultimately a god of justice. He is behind the good and the bad, behind the blessings and the curses. It is within this divine court of justice and retribution that Satan has his origins.

More here-

Bishop Smith Announces Retirment

From Arizona-

November 9 , 2017

Dear People of God,

This afternoon, I have met with the priests of the Diocese to let them know that I have announced my retirement and am calling for the election of my successor.

This was, of course, an announcement of mixed emotions for me. It has been the greatest honor and joy for me to serve as your bishop for almost 15 years. We have accomplished some great things together, and thanks to your hard work and prayers, the diocese overall is healthy and growing. By the time I retire I will be almost 68 years old. It is time for the diocese to move on to a new mission with younger leadership. It is also time for me to enjoy some new adventures before I get too old to do so! I am excited to share with you that one of these first adventures will be as a visiting professor of church history at General Theological Seminary in New York for the fall of 2019. Teaching is something which I very much enjoy, and having my two kids (and grandson!) nearby will be an added pleasure.

More here-

Thursday, November 9, 2017

One year after the election of Trump, the U.S. bishops shift focus

From Crux-

Two weeks after the surprising election of Donald Trump on November 8, 2016, Bishop Mark Seitz convened the priests of his border diocese of El Paso, Texas.

“There was a great deal of fear because of all of the rhetoric,” he told Crux. “I was receiving calls from teachers asking what do I say to my schoolchildren that are coming to school crying and some of them are having panic attacks…There was a lot of fear and it began from the day of the election.”
“At that time we began to think about what we should be doing as a Church and what we could do,” Seitz recalled.

“To be honest with you, we were feeling kind of helpless…We couldn’t go to the people and say ‘don’t worry, there’s nothing to worry about.’ We really asked ourselves what can we say? What can we do?”

At that meeting his priests suggested the formation of a diocesan committee that could rapidly respond to decisions being made in Austin, the state’s capital, and in Washington, D.C.

More here-

What’s behind the New Testament?

From Christian Century-

When I took my first New Testament course at Fuller Theologi­cal Seminary, the professor, Robert Guelich, opened the first class by asking who, after Jesus and Paul, was most responsible for the spread of Chris­tianity. Eager students raised their hands and offered various answers: Peter, Mary, Augustine.

“No,” Professor Guelich countered, “It was Alexander the Great.” He went on to explain how the young conqueror, dead for three centuries by the time Jesus was born, had laid the roads upon which the Roman Empire was built, and over which the gospel was subsequently spread. “Without Alexander the Great,” he told us, “no missionary journeys for Paul, and no Christianity.”

If Alexandrian roads provide a geographical map for the promulgation of Christianity, Philip Jenkins has provided us with a political-spiritual-textual map in his outstanding new book. Jenkins, a trusted historian and observer of the ebbs and flows of Christendom, has set his sights on a little-known period, which he dubs the “Crucible Era,” 250–50 BCE. It was in these two centuries, he argues, that the table was set for the emergence of Christianity and Rabbinic Judaism. (He says it paved the way for Islam, too, but here I think he’s stretching his thesis a bit.)

More here-

The Last of the First Christians

From Plough-

It’s been several years since I quit my job as director of Freiburg Seminary to live and work among the poor in Leipzig, Germany, along with three other members of the Little Brothers of Jesus, a religious order inspired by Charles de Foucauld. At an open house for our neighbors, many of them refugees from the Middle East, a thickset man of about forty comes up to me. Beside him is a boy with jet-black hair who looks about eleven. Yousif – as the broad-shouldered stranger turns out to be called – addresses me. I don’t understand him, but the boy already speaks excellent German and translates for him, “We are from Iraq, from Mosul. Please help us!”

The tasks awaiting me flash before my eyes: my duties in the parish and as a chaplain at a prison and a college. I feel like saying, “Sorry, I’d love to, but I haven’t got time.” But I can’t do it. The next day, I call to arrange a visit. My life hasn’t been the same since.

A few days later, I ring the doorbell of an eleven-story apartment block. Yousif lives on the third floor with his wife, Tara, and their two children, Amanuel and Shaba. They invite me into their living room. Yousif’s request for help, I learn, concerns his children. There are problems at school. Amanuel, a slightly built boy, confides to me that he is regularly bullied by his Muslim schoolmates because of the small cross he has always worn around his neck, even when things got dangerous for Christians in Mosul. Spotting it, an older Muslim boy had begun calling him names, then pretended to point a machine gun at him: “Ratatatata! Shoot the Christians!”

More here-

The stand

From The Economist-

IN THE summer of 1974, a 26-year-old Mayan villager lay drunk in a town square in the Guatemalan highlands. Suddenly he heard a voice that was to change the course of his life and that of his home town, Almolonga. “I was lying there and I saw Jesus saying, ‘I love you and I want you to serve me’,” says the man, Mariano Riscajche. He dusted himself down, sobered up and soon started preaching, establishing a small Protestant congregation in a room not far from the town’s ancient Catholic church.

Half a millennium earlier, a 33-year-old German monk experienced something similar. At some point between 1513 and 1517, Martin Luther had a direct encounter with God and felt himself “to be reborn and to have gone through open doors into paradise”. His moment of being born again was private. The day on which he is said to have nailed a list of 95 complaints about ecclesiastical corruption to the church door in Wittenberg, Saxony—widely thought to have been October 31st 1517—made the private public and, soon, political. A mixture of princely patronage, personal stubbornness and chance led what could have ended up as just another minor protest in a remote corner of Europe to become a global movement.

More here-

New Debates, Few Insights

From The Living Church-

In the United Kingdom, two seemingly unrelated topics regularly cause fractious and polarized debate, with few fresh insights into the divide between secular and religious life. The first is presence as of right of 26 bishops in the House of Lords. The second is the 2-minute, 45-second Thought for the Day heard at peak time on Today, BBC Radio’s flagship current affairs program.

First, the House of Lords: With plans in place to reduce membership of the House of Commons from 650 to 600, few disagree that the Lords with 800 members is bloated and urgently needs slimming down. Fueling debate are regular media revelations of members who make no contribution but contrive to show long enough to collect the prescribed £300 allowance for daily attendance. People become truly animated, however, about the 36 bishops (Lords Spiritual) who sit in the Lords.

More here-

Wednesday, November 8, 2017

Atheist Convention cancelled due to Lack of Intrest

From Australia-

To be honest, I'm disappointed.

"Reason to Hope", the third Global Atheist Convention scheduled for Melbourne in February 2018, has been cancelled because of "lack of interest" (according to my sources).

The conference was to be headlined by Sir Salman Rushdie, the highly esteemed – one might even say revered – novelist. In 1989 the Iranian cleric Ayatollah Khomeini issued a fatwa against him after his novel The Satanic Verses was published. It was the Islamic world that took offence for what it said about the Prophet, but the novel took aim at Sikhs as well, and at religion in general.

Rushdie once called religion a "poison in the blood". He argued that respect for religion is not deserved:

"What is there to respect in any of this, or in any of the crimes now being committed almost daily around the world in religion's dreaded name? How well, with what fatal results, religion erects totems, and how willing we are to kill for them."

Rushdie is himself totemic; not simply an artist but a piece of history himself. If anyone knows what damage excessive religious zeal can do, it is he.

More here-

First step towards Covenant for Clergy Well-being

From Church of England News-

Plans for a new deal between clergy and the wider Church of England - modelled on the ideas behind the Military Covenant - have taken a step forward after a panel was established to begin drafting.

The Church of England's Appointments Committee has set up a group, made up of members of General Synod, both lay and ordained, alongside others with expertise in areas such as health and education, to draw up a Covenant for Clergy Well-being.

It is being produced in response to a vote in the General Synod in July of this year after a debate which heard of the impact of stress, isolation and loneliness on clergy's lives and ministries.

The debate heard how the Military Covenant recognises that the nation relies on the sacrificial service of those in the armed forces and in return has a duty to support and value them in practical ways.

Although the parallels with the Church are not exact, Synod heard how a similar pattern of mutual commitment could be recognised in the Church.

The working group will begin work later this month and aims to bring proposals for such a Covenant back to this Synod by July 2019.

More here-

Forget the Guy Fawkes propaganda - the English Reformation was a violent catastrophe

From The Telegraph-

At this time of year, it is traditional to burn things. Tonight especially people will gather in gardens, parks and fields to apply a match to anything combustible. Highlights of the evening’s conflagrations will include re-enactments of a good deal of religious killing.

There will be Roman Candle fireworks, an allusion to the Emperor Nero dousing Christians in accelerants and burning them alive to light his gardens. The 18-year-old Saint Catherine of Alexandria will make her annual appearance, fizzing around a sparkling wheel in memory of her condemnation to death on a spiked breaking wheel (although, so the story goes, it shattered at her touch so she was beheaded instead). And the pièce de résistance will be the immolation of a life-size Jacobean Yorkshireman, or - in some parts of the country - the Pope.

Anyone visiting from abroad might be forgiven for thinking that they have chosen to spend their early winter holiday in a country with more than a hint of unresolved religious tension. They may well twig — even if most of us do not — that the one thing all these historical characters being symbolically executed have in common is that they are Catholics. And they would have a point. Historically,
Guy Fawkes Night was created as an explicit celebration of the death of Catholic England on the pyre of the Protestant Reformation.

More here-

After Texas church shooting, 70 Episcopal bishops say US must tackle relaxed gun laws

From Christian Today-

More than 70 Episcopal bishops working to curtail relaxed gun laws in the US have said that the nation must 'make amends' and called on elected representatives to be replaced if they are not up to protecting the people.

Bishops United Against Gun Violence released a statement yesterday condemning the gun attack on the First Baptist Church in Sutherland Springs, Texas, which left at least 26 people dead and many more wounded, including children, on Sunday.

In their statement reported by the Church Times, Bishops United Against Gun Violence said: 'As a nation, we must acknowledge that we idolize violence, and we must make amends. Violence of all kinds denigrates humankind; it stands against the will of God and the way of Jesus the Christ.

'The shooting in Sutherland Springs brings the issue of domestic violence, a common thread in many mass killings, into sharp relief. It is not only essential that we keep guns out of the hands of domestic abusers, but that we, as a society, reject ideologies of male dominance that permeate our culture and the history of our churches.

More here-

Tuesday, November 7, 2017

Should more people bring guns to church? Local pastors weigh in

From Kansas-

"It's got no safety...and I keep it loaded."

Cliff Snell, pastor at Word of Life South Campus, shows the pistol he conceals on a daily basis. For him, carrying a gun is second nature.

"It's just been a part of my world since I was a kid."

His decision to carry in church came easily.

"I don't find anything in my new testament that tells me I can't own a gun, I don't find anything that tells me I can't have a gun, that I shouldn't posess them, and that I can't carry them in church." He says.

"When we post a sign that says "no guns permitted here", this is my opinion, and I understand that it's my opinion, but what we post is an open season sign."

Outside his church, you'll see no signs stopping others from carrying guns inside, and it's likely you'll see at least a few men in his congregation also carrying a firearm.

More here-

Episcopal Bishops Challenge Idolatry Of Violence

From Huffington-

In the wake of yet another horrific outbreak of gun violence — this time in Sutherland Springs, Texas — trending hashtags on Twitter reflect the deep divide in our nation: #PrayersForSutherlandSprings vs. #ThoughtsAndPrayersAreNotEnough.

Into that vortex, Bishops United Against Gun Violence — a group of more th

Read their powerful words here ... and then let us find the courage and resolve to both pray and act to end the scourge of gun violence in our nation.

More here-

an 70 Episcopal bishops working to curtail the epidemic of gun violence in the United States — released a powerful statement calling us to a both/and place of prayer and action. They had me at: “One does not offer prayers in lieu of demonstrating political courage, but rather in preparation.”

“This world is ruled by violence”

From Internet Monk-

Democracy don’t rule the world
You’d better get that in your head
This world is ruled by violence
But I guess that’s better left unsaid

• Bob Dylan

• • •
The Bible has a lot more to say about violence and its devastating effects upon the human race than it does about other sins, such as sexual misbehavior. “Now the earth was corrupt in God’s sight, and the earth was filled with violence,” the Flood story begins. The one story in our faith that talks about God’s judgment in universal terms blames it on violence. Many Jews have read the murderous story of Cain and Abel, rather than that of Adam and Eve as the account of humankind’s original sin. It’s hard to find a page in the Hebrew prophets that doesn’t decry violence vividly.

More here-

Searching for Spirituality in the U.S.: A New Look at the Spiritual but Not Religious

From PRRI-

The American religious landscape is undergoing unprecedented tectonic shifts in identity and practice. Americans who do not identify with any religious group—the religiously unaffiliated—now account for nearly one-quarter (24%) of the adult public, tripling in size over the last 25 years.1 At the same time, trust in religious institutions has fallen to historic lows. According to Gallup, only 42% of the public report having a “great deal” or “quite a lot” of confidence in organized religion. This is the lowest mark in the more than 40 years Gallup has canvassed American opinion on this topic. At its peak in 1975, more than two-thirds (68%) expressed confidence in organized religion.2

The decline of formal religious affiliation and the rising distrust of institutional religion have led some scholars to question whether the fundamental nature of religious practice and belief is changing. Rising rates of disaffiliation may not necessarily indicate an increasingly secular orientation but rather an abandonment of traditional religious practices in favor of a more personalized and customizable spirituality. This argument—that in leaving formal religion, many people who disaffiliate are not becoming secular, but instead are identifying as “spiritual but not religious”—is supported by research that shows growing interest in spirituality.3

More here-

Scottish and US-based Episcopal Churches celebrate historic bonds of communion

From ACNS-

The Presiding Bishop of the US-based Episcopal Church (TEC), Michael Curry, has delivered a sermon at St Andrew’s Cathedral in Aberdeen to celebrate the historic links between two of the earliest churches in the Anglican Communion outside England. TEC traces its roots back to 1784 – the year after the Americans defeated the British in the American War of Independence. The Church’s first US-bishop, Samuel Seabury, was required by the Church of England to swear an oath of allegiance to the Crown before they would consecrate him. He refused, and bishops from the Scottish Episcopal Church (SEC) agreed to conduct the consecration.

“Our bishops today trace their succession to Samuel Seabury . . . so our roots really are here in Aberdeen, Scotland. Indeed, Scotland is our mother church, so it was good to come home and give thanks to our mother church and to affirm our continued partnership in Jesus Christ,” Presiding Bishop Michael Curry said in an interview on Monday with the Episcopal News Service.

More here-

Presiding Bishop speaks on Texas church shooting

From ENS-

“I offer this prayer for those who have died, for those who are suffering, for those who are still healing from physical wounds, and the emotional, spiritual and mental scar,” Presiding Bishop Michael B. Curry stated following the Nov. 5 shooting at the First Baptist Church, Sutherland Springs, Texas. “We pray for those who suffer and for those who have died. Will you pray with me?”

Curry offered his comments during a visit to the Scottish Episcopal Church in Aberdeen, Scotland. The text follows:

“I’m in Aberdeen, Scotland, where last night we had a service at St. Andrew’s Cathedral, giving God thanks for the deep roots of the Episcopal Church here in the Scottish Episcopal Church. The Scottish Episcopal Church is indeed the mother church of the Episcopal Church, and we give thanks for the ties that bind us together.

“But even as we gave thanks last evening, we received word that in Sutherland Springs, Texas, a gunman entered the First Baptist Church, and now some 26 people have been killed and many more wounded and afflicted. I offer this prayer for those who have died, for those who are suffering, for those who are still healing from physical wounds, and the emotional, spiritual and mental scars. As I pray and invite you to pray the prayer the Lord taught us. I invite you to pray that God’s will might be done, that God might guide us to find a better way, to find concrete steps so that this kind of thing doesn’t happen anymore. But above all, we pray for those who suffer and for those who have died. Will you pray with me?

More here-

Monday, November 6, 2017

Why Uhuru said no to sacrament at Anglican church

From Kenya-

President Uhuru Kenyatta and the Archbishop of Canterbury, Justin Welby, left congregants in laughter after a light-hearted interaction during a special church service at the All Saints Cathedral on Sunday, November 5.

After being offered an opportunity to address the faithful, a jovial Kenyatta said he was surprised by the generosity of the Anglican Church for offering him a chance to celebrate Holy Communion despite him being a Roman Catholic.

“Where I come from (Catholic Church), we don’t offer Communion to strangers and I was quite willing to go up but then I realised that this event is live and my Cardinal may be watching, and I wasn’t sure how he may respond to that,” said Kenyatta, referring to Cardinal John Njue.

More here-

A Church Struggles With Lee's Legacy

From Virginia-

When my church in Alexandria made the news, I knew it would be a bumpy ride.

The historic Episcopal church, after months of soul-searching, announced Oct. 26 it would relocate from the sanctuary two marble plaques memorializing George Washington and Robert E. Lee, its most famous members.

It may not surprise you that some media reports overly simplified and exaggerated the turn of events.

Headlines trumpeted: “Cultural terrorism comes to Christ Church in Alexandria” and “George Washington’s church to tear down memorial honoring first president.” Blogs referred to “ripping out” the memorial to Washington the church now finds “offensive.”

Asked about the plaques in a TV interview, John Kelly, President Trump’s chief of staff, criticized the decision and praised Lee as an honorable man.

More here-

W.Va. bishop encourages churches to carry naloxone

From West Virginia-

The bishop of the Episcopal Diocese of West Virginia wants churches to start carrying the opioid overdose-reversal drug naloxone.

“We just need to be prepared and be available in the community,” said Bishop Mike Klusmeyer.

Klusmeyer said the drug problem is present everywhere including West Virginia’s congregations.

“The reality is there are drug addicts in our congregations,” he said. “The church is not immune from sociable norms, so there are already people who are sitting in our pews who are suffering, but this is a larger issue and it’s an issue for the community at large.”

Klusmeyer pitched the idea last month at the Episcopal Church’s annual convention in Charleston.

Naloxone, also referred to by its brand name Narcan, is now being used by law enforcement agencies, schools and other organizations across the state. Klusmeyer is hoping the Episcopal Diocese, which includes 67 congregations in West Virginia, can jump on board.

More here-

Every person has God-given dignity. We must protect those who are vulnerable.

From Utah-

As a person of faith, as an ethnic and religious minority, as a human being, I know what it means to be harassed, ignored and treated as less than a valued member of society by some people. I am grateful that these experiences have not been frequent.

The unfortunate reality is that at some point in our life’s journey we will meet someone who refuses to recognize our inherent, God-given human dignity. Those moments will be hurtful and diminishing, but for many will not necessarily be threatening to life, limb or property. Others, however, will not be so fortunate. The question for our government leaders during the 2018 legislative session is what will they do to combat those circumstances when life, liberty and property are seriously threatened based on nothing more than a person’s perceived religion, nationality, race, sexual orientation, gender, disability or age?

More here-

Sunday, November 5, 2017

Are Christians Supposed to Be Communists?

From The New York Times-

It was in 1983 that I heard the distinguished Greek Orthodox historian Aristeides Papadakis casually remark in a lecture at the University of Maryland that the earliest Christians were “communists.” In those days, the Cold War was still casting its great glacial shadow across the cultural landscape, and so enough of a murmur of consternation rippled through the room that Professor Papadakis — who always spoke with severe precision — felt obliged to explain that he meant this in the barest technical sense: They lived a common life and voluntarily enjoyed a community of possessions. The murmur subsided, though not necessarily the disquiet.

Not that anyone should have been surprised. If the communism of the apostolic church is a secret, it is a startlingly open one. Vaguer terms like “communalist” or “communitarian” might make the facts sound more palatable but cannot change them. The New Testament’s Book of Acts tells us that in Jerusalem the first converts to the proclamation of the risen Christ affirmed their new faith by living in a single dwelling, selling their fixed holdings, redistributing their wealth “as each needed” and owning all possessions communally. This was, after all, a pattern Jesus himself had established: “Each of you who does not give up all he possesses is incapable of being my disciple” (Luke 14:33).

More here-

Holy Apostles: The Story of a Catholic and Episcopalian Joint Parish

From Paulist-

There is at least one U.S. congregation that was excited to read the article posted from Rome dated October 5th, 2016, stating that Pope Francis and Anglican Archbishop Justin Welby of Canterbury charged 19 pairs of Catholic and Anglican bishops to return to their home countries and work together to promote joint prayer, joint proclamation of the Gospel, and especially joint works of charity and justice.  The excitement was there because for the last 39 years, that has been the mission of the Church of the Holy Apostles in Virginia Beach, Virginia.

Founded November 1, 1977 as a joint assembly of Roman Catholics and Episcopalians, Holy Apostles has worked diligently to promote ecumenism in the Hampton Roads area of Virginia, the State of Virginia and beyond.  As longtime members will tell you, “Many verbally promote ecumenism, but we live it every day, and in everything we do.”

More here-

Cuban Church Poised to Reintegrate

From The Living Church-

If next year’s General Convention approves reintegrating the Episcopal Church of Cuba with the Episcopal Church in the United States, American Episcopalians will discover a church at once foreign and familiar. The Cuban church is historically Episcopal; it began as a mission of the Episcopal Church. That relationship ended with the U.S. embargo of Cuba in 1960 and subsequent deterioration of the countries’ relationship.

The churches parted ways in 1966, and the Metropolitan Council of Cuba was set up to govern the extra-provincial church. The council now consists of Presiding Bishop Michael Curry, Archbishop Fred Hiltz of Canada, and Archbishop John Holder of the West Indies.

Exchange between the countries rekindled after the Obama administration’s decision to lessen travel restrictions, allowing for Americans — including Episcopalians — to visit the island after decades of absence. Relations between the churches started to mend as well, and the Cuban church voted in 2015 to rejoin the Episcopal Church in the United States. The Task Force on the Episcopal Church in Cuba, established by the 2015 General Convention to explore the question, intends to recommend reintegration, the Rev. Luis León told TLC in June. León, the task force chairman, said the Metropolitan Council has not been able to provide the kind of support the Cuban church needs. Thus, it has been far-off, isolated.

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