Saturday, December 9, 2017

West Virginia church pays off families’ toy layaway bills, receives praise from White House

From West Virginia-

An Episcopal church’s century-old tradition of playing secret Santa for West Virginia children has received national recognition, including a mention this week by the White House.

St. Matthew’s Episcopal Church in Wheeling, West Virginia, made local headlines after it paid the Walmart layaway balances on toys for several families in its community. The congregation had intended to remain anonymous, but word got out after news of the donations spread on social media.

“It’s just such a blessing and I don’t know if words can really describe how grateful we are and so very happy that someone would do something like this,” Nathan Robinson, whose family was one of those benefiting from the layaway payoffs, told WTRF-TV.

The Rev. Mark Seitz, rector at St. Matthew’s, said the tradition is rooted in the grief of a local family who lost a daughter to illness more than 100 years ago. They gave the church an endowment in their daughter’s memory to be used each year to brighten the season for families in need.

More here-

New head of the Episcopal Church in Delaware to be ordained

From Delaware-

 The last time the head of the Episcopal Church’s Diocese of Delaware stepped down, it took 17 ballots across multiple days to elect a successor. This time around, only five ballots and a few hours were required.

Kevin Brown, formerly the rector of the Church of the Holy Comforter in Charlotte, North Carolina, was selected in July as the next bishop for the Diocese of Delaware and will be formally ordained and consecrated today. A ceremony will be held at Delaware State University, with Presiding Bishop Michael Curry, the leader of the Episcopal Church, in attendance.

“Delaware, it’s an exciting place, it’s an interesting place, and that’s part of the call that I felt, and as I met people, I would see that there’s a hospitality that I found here that I have really, really come to enjoy,” Bishop-elect Brown said Friday.

He is the 11th bishop in the history of the Diocese of Delaware.

More here-

Pope Francis suggests rewording the Lord's Prayer. The problem? 'Lead us not into temptation'

From The LA Times-

Pope Francis has called for a rewriting of the Lord’s Prayer, saying the current translation gives God a bad name and, essentially, does not give the devil his due.

Described in the Bible as a prayer taught by Jesus, the Lord’s Prayer is viewed in the catechism of the Roman Catholic Church as “the summary of the whole gospel."

Used by Catholics, Protestants and Orthodox Christians, the prayer is common ground for churches, which have historically fought over theology, and it can be recited by heart by millions around the world.

But in a TV interview this week, Pope Francis said that the line asking God to “Lead us not into temptation,” or in Italian, “non indurci in tentazione,” should be changed because it has been translated badly.

Friday, December 8, 2017

Disgraced former Anglican bishop becoming Catholic to ‘live and worship in anonymity’

From The Catholic Herald-

An Anglican bishop who was jailed for sexually abusing 18 young men is converting to Catholicism to “live and worship in anonymity”.

Peter Ball, who was Bishop of Lewes and of Gloucester for the Church of England, was jailed for 32 months in October 2015 for offences dating back to the 1970s.

A spokesman confirmed that he has been in talks to join the Catholic Diocese of Clifton, although he is unlikely to take Holy Orders.

The Daily Mail reports that his identical twin brother Michael, who served as an Anglican bishop, sent an email to friends and relatives revealing the plan.

More here-

How diversity saved a historic church in West Philly

From Philadelphia-

Philadelphia’s neighborhoods are studded with hundreds of historic churches. But as attendance steadily declines, many of these religious buildings have fallen into disrepair. Some have been forced to become something else entirely, like loft-style apartments.

A Pew Charitable Trust study released in October found that of the city’s 839 historic churches – defined as those constructed before 1965 – about 83 percent were still being used for religious purposes. 10 percent have been repurposed into other uses and five percent are vacant.

From 2011 to 2015, 23 were demolished.

The loss of historic churches is a trend that continues, as Bella Vista’s Christian Street Baptist Church is now targeted for demolition, even after the building was thought to have been spared the wrecking ball by the Historical Commission.

In West Philadelphia, the Calvary Methodist Episcopal Church at 48th Street and Baltimore Avenue, faced a similar fate. The building had fallen into disrepair, but instead of allowing the demolition of the church, the neighborhood saved the space by embracing the diversity of the surrounding community.

More here-

Betsy Devos and The Bishops

From First Things-

Recently, Education Secretary Betsy DeVos made significant changes to the way universities are to handle complaints of sexual assault. DeVos made clear that in no way will such assaults be tolerated, for “one rape is one too many.” But she also accented the rights of the accused, insisting that “one person denied due process is one too many.”

DeVos’s policy changes make sense: Both the accused and the accuser must enjoy clearly defined rights—rights that must be equitably balanced so that the truth of an accusation may be determined and justice served. This procedure has been at the heart of American jurisprudence for centuries.

I invoke DeVos’s astute and courageous changes because similar adjustments are necessary in the Charter for the Protection of Young People (commonly called the Dallas Charter) enacted by the American bishops in 2002 in the wake of the sex-abuse crisis in the Catholic Church. The Charter has caused serious problems—of theology, justice, and morale—which continue to bedevil and undermine the Catholic priesthood in the United States.

More here-

Thursday, December 7, 2017

Newcastle Anglican diocese had 'do nothing' approach to child abuse: royal commission

From The Guardian-

Paedophiles were allowed to harm children for at least 30 years within the Anglican diocese of Newcastle because of a series of failures by leaders, who had a “do nothing” approach to reports of abuse, a report from the child sexual abuse royal commission has found.

The commission has been releasing a series of incremental reports about abuse in various institutions in the lead-up to their final report being delivered to the governor general on 15 December. On Thursday the commission published its findings on its investigation into historical child sexual abuse perpetrated by clergy and lay people involved with the Anglican diocese of Newcastle.

The report found Newcastle diocese bishops Alfred Holland and Roger Herft lacked leadership and failed to report perpetrators to police or hold them to account. When abuse was reported to them and other members of the clergy they minimised the impact of the offending, showed reluctance to take action against offenders and had a focus on protecting the reputation of the church and protecting positions of power and influence.

More here-

Robinson enjoys life on the fringes

From San Francisco-

Despite the encroaching darkness in the body politic, retired Episcopal Bishop Gene Robinson, in a visit to the largely LGBTQ Episcopal Church of St. John the Evangelist in San Francisco, believes these dejected days might be the birth pangs of a new revitalized religious left movement.

"In every age there are those who point to signs that the world, as we know it, is about to end. It feels that way in America right now, doesn't it?" Robinson said during the December 3 service. "The church's season of Advent is about where to find God in the midst of the chaos all around us."

Robinson made headlines in 2003 when he became the first openly gay bishop in any major Christian denomination. He served almost a decade as head of the Episcopal Diocese of New Hampshire before his retirement in 2013.

The title of his sermon: "Jesus Doesn't Need Any More Admirers!" was meant to be a call to action, one of many comments he made to the Bay Area Reporter in a sit down interview.

More here-

You Can Be an Evangelical and Reject Trump's Jerusalem Decision

From The Atlantic-

Few developments could have excited President Trump’s evangelical base more than his intention to move the U.S. embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem. This base came through for him in the 2016 election, with 81 percent of white evangelicals voting for him. When he promised during his campaign that moving the embassy was high on his agenda and even said it would be one of his first acts as president, many evangelicals cheered.

But other evangelicals—myself included—were cautious, viewing this move as an idea that needs to be left on the shelf. And they are worried now. Despite media portrayals giving the impression that evangelicals have one point of view when it comes to Israel, in reality there is a wide range of perspectives.

More here-

Jerusalem's Christian Leaders to Trump: Recognition Will Cause 'Irreparable Damage'

From Haaretz-

Patriarchs and heads of local churches in Jerusalem penned a special letter addressed to U.S. President Donald Trump to express their concern over his intention to recognize Jerusalem as Israel's capital and possibly relocate the U.S. Embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem.

The letter, sent on Wednesday hours ahead of the expected announcement by Trump, asks the president to walk back on the potential unilateral recognition of the city as solely Israeli. "Our solemn advice and plea is for the United States to continue recognizing the present international status of Jerusalem. Any sudden changes would cause irreparable harm," the clerics pleaded with the president.

Read more:

Vermont Episcopal Bishop Thomas Ely announces plan to retire

From ENS-

The Right Reverend Thomas C. Ely, tenth bishop of the Episcopal Diocese of Vermont, recently announced his intention to retire and resign his ministry, no later than September 30, 2019. He has agreed to remain in his position until a successor is chosen and is in place.

Ely, 65, was consecrated as bishop of the Vermont diocese in 2001, having previously served as a priest in the Diocese of Connecticut for 20 years. In a message to the people of the Diocese of Vermont, Ely said that by the time of his retirement he will have served in the priesthood for nearly 39 years.

“There are other interests and ministries to which I am feeling called to devote my time and energy while my health and stamina are still good,” Ely said, “including family, community theatre, various justice ministries and a bit more golf.”

More here-

Heads of Jerusalem churches deliver last-minute plea to Trump

From Times of Israel-

The patriarchs and heads of the main churches in Jerusalem on Wednesday delivered  a last-minute plea to US President Donald Trump, urging him not to change US policy toward Jerusalem for fear this could cause “irreparable harm.”

“We have been following, with concern, the reports about the possibility of changing how the United States understands and deals with the status of Jerusalem,” a letter from them Wednesday said.

Trump was giving a speech later Wednesday in which he is expected to recognize Jerusalem as the capital of Israel. The move has sparked widespread outrage in the Arab and Muslim world, fears of violence and pleas from world leaders to hold back.

More here-

Wednesday, December 6, 2017

Not even vicars have the patience of saints

From The Guardian-

“You only work one day a week!” Clergy hear it all the time. The people who say it think they’re being original. They’re not. Being a vicar is an enormous privilege, but it is also hard work and the clergy can pay a heavy emotional price.

So when I read that the Rev Andy Thewlis in Wiltshire had written a strongly worded letter to his congregation for what he perceived as their lack of warmth – a letter for which he has since issued an apology – I wasn’t remotely surprised. He said his enthusiasm had been sapped by “grumbling and disunity”, also complaining about “arrogant gossips” and “criticism and negativity”. It “drains energy”, he said. Every case is different. But all clergy will recognise something of this.

The demands are many. A typical day for a member of the clergy begins with morning prayer, reading from the Bible and mentioning to God the needs of the whole community. They can then find themselves going from a lively school assembly to a visit to a bereaved parishioner to plan a funeral service. They may then attend a meeting to discuss repair works to a listed building, take a communion service in an old people’s home, liaise with organists to choose next month’s liturgical music, report a potential safeguarding concern, and in the evening chair a meeting of the parochial church council. No day is quite the same, which is one of the great things about being a vicar. But a schedule requiring such mental, spiritual and emotional agility can take its toll.

More here-

Did Santa actually die on this date in 343 A.D.?

From World Net Daily-

St. Nicholas is the most popular Greek Orthodox saint, equivalent to St. Peter in Roman Catholic tradition. Greek Orthodox traditions tells of Saint Nicholas being born around A.D. 280, the only child of a wealthy, elderly couple who lived in Patara, Asia Minor (present-day Turkey). When his parents died in a plague, Nicholas inherited their wealth.

Nicholas generously gave to the poor, but did it anonymously as he wanted the glory to go to God. One notable incident was when a merchant in town had gone bankrupt. The creditors threatened to take, not only the merchants’ house and property, but also his children. The merchant had three daughters. He knew if they were taken it would probably mean a life of sex-trafficking, prostitution or forced marriages.

Anglican Church ordains five into priesthood

From Ghana-

The Anglican Diocese of Tamale under the leadership of Rt. Reverend Dr. Jacob Ayeebo has ordained five newly trained ministers into priesthood.

At a packed service held at the St Johns Anglican Church at Yelwoko in the Upper East Region, Rt. Rev Ayeebo challenged the clergy to remain courageous and stand by the biblical principles to expose the social ills of the country.
He observed that the high level of lawlessness coupled with the blatant misuse of state resources among other immoral acts requires the support of the clergy in dealing with such social issues aside evangelism.

Correspondent Isaac Asare witnessed the ceremony and filed the following report for Radio Ghana.

The ceremony to usher in the five newest ordinances in the Anglican Communion was held under the distinguished patronage of the Episcopal Diocesan Bishop of Oklahoma in the United States, Rt. Rev Dr Edward Koniecryn.

More here-

A new Poor People’s Campaign wants to change how society defines morality

From The Washington Post-

Fifty years ago this week, the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. and the Southern Christian Leadership Conference announced the Poor People’s Campaign. Calling for a cross-racial coalition of Americans living in poverty to demand better living conditions, King described the need for the campaign in terms that feel particularly timely in the Trump era. “All of us can feel the presence of a kind of social insanity which could lead us to national ruin,” King declared.

Half a century later, as Republican leaders ram through a ruinous tax bill that will exacerbate economic inequality, a coalition of faith and social justice organizations is bringing King’s vision into the 21st century. Led by Rev. William J. Barber II and Rev. Liz Theoharis, the Poor People’s Campaign: A National Call for Moral Revival is planning 40 days of coordinated action in the spring of 2018 at statehouses across the country. Like its predecessor, the modern Poor People’s Campaign is focused on what King described as the “triple evils” of racism, poverty and militarism — with the addition of ecological devastation, a global crisis that disproportionately affects people living in poverty.

More here-

Can Trump Voters See It Now?

From Commonweal-

Last week the New York Times ran a front-page article, “Trump’s Doubts on Vulgar Tape Stun Aides,” revisiting the notorious comments he made on Access Hollywood about grabbing women’s genitals. The article disclosed that the president has been “raising the prospect with allies that it may not have been him on the tape after all.” Relating this turn of events, the Times does not mince words: “Mr. Trump’s falsehoods about the ‘Access Hollywood’ tape are part of his lifelong habit of attempting to create and sell his own version of reality.” The article quotes Republican Senator Jeff Flake of Arizona, who has addressed Trump’s mendacity before. “It’s dangerous to democracy,” Flake said after hearing about Trump’s attempt to deny the tape. “You’ve got to have shared facts. And on so many of these, there’s empirical evidence that says no: You didn’t win the popular vote, there weren’t more people at your inauguration than ever, that was your voice on that tape, you admitted it before.” (Monday’s New York Times featured an op-ed by Billy Bush, famously caught laughing at Trump’s remarks on that Access Hollywood tape, reminding Trump that he did indeed say what he was recorded saying.)

More here-

The Church’s Fate Is Not Electoral: Our Roy Moore Moment

From The Gospel Coalition-

In Alabama on December 12—a week from today—large numbers of evangelicals will cast their vote for Roy Moore, many of whose defenders do not even bother to deny that he is a serial sexual molester of underage girls. The evidence against Moore is so overwhelming that if evangelicals are going to posit the existence of a vast conspiracy to frame him, they owe Dan Brown an apology.

How did we get to this point? That’s a question with a long answer, but a short answer might be: by neglecting our eschatology—and the lesson of Chuck Colson.

The basic argument of Moore’s supporters is that the stakes in U.S. elections are so high that we have to disregard what might otherwise be valid moral objections to voting for him. Defeating the church’s political enemies is so important at this critical moment in our history that even voting for a monster is justified. One prominent evangelical leader has said that God gave America a “second chance” for survival with Donald Trump’s election, and that second chance will be hindered if pro-life Republicans lose ground in Congress.

More here-

Tuesday, December 5, 2017

U.S. to Recognize Jerusalem as Israel’s Capital, Trump Says, Alarming Middle East Leaders

From The New York Times-

President Trump plans to recognize Jerusalem as the capital of Israel and move the American Embassy there, upending nearly seven decades of American foreign policy and potentially destroying his efforts to broker peace between Israel and the Palestinians.

Mr. Trump’s decision, a high-risk foray into the thicket of the Middle East, was driven not by diplomatic calculations but by a campaign promise. He appealed to evangelicals and ardently pro-Israel American Jews in 2016 by vowing to move the embassy, and advisers said on Tuesday he was determined to make good on his word.

But the president, faced with a deadline of this past Monday to make that decision, still plans to sign a national security waiver to keep the embassy in Tel Aviv for an additional six months, even as he set in motion a plan to move it to Jerusalem. Officials said the process would take several years.

More here-

Anglican archbishop accuses govt of failing to protect civilians

From Sudan-

The leader of the Anglican Church in South Sudan, Archbishop Daniel Deng Bul said chiefs of both Dinka and Murle communities in Jonglei state should work to unite the two neighbouring communities, saying the government and the United Nations have failed to protect South Sudanese citizens.

His statement followed last Tuesday’s attack where at least 69 people were killed and homes torched. The attack carried out by suspected Murle tribesmen in Duk Payuel County of Jonglei state, has also left many people unaccounted for. But information minister Michael Makuei Lueth addressing the press after a cabinet meeting on Friday said local Dinka youth who clashed with the attackers, recovered all stolen cows and people abducted in that attack.

Speaking to Radio Tamazuj in an interview on Sunday, Deng Bul said the government and the United Nations have failed to protect the people of South Sudan.

More here-

Biblical Responsibility for the Poor: Individual or Communal?

From Huffington-

In response to criticisms of new tax regulations passed by Congress, conservative writer and radio host Erick Erickson wrote on Twitter: “The Bible teaches it is an individual responsibility to help the poor. Shame on those who’d pass off their personal obligation to the government.” In other words, Erickson, like many other conservatives, believes that the Bible rejects government programs to help alleviate poverty. As Jack Jenkins has shown, over the past half-century prominent conservative evangelical Christians adopted free-market economic principles as a core principle of their faith. This new free-market fundamentalism has fast become a central tenet of the Republican party.

Unfortunately for them, it’s a sentiment that God has promised to judge harshly (Exod 22:21-27). One of the Bible’s most pervasive and defining claims is that the community is responsible for the welfare of all who reside in it—particularly the poor and vulnerable. The Bible’s idea of justice doesn’t ignore individual responsibility. It goes far beyond it.

More here-

Churches challenged to “rehabilitate and refresh” how they explain the Gospel

From ACNS-

The new Archbishop of Wales, John Davies, has said churches are “not always seen for the good which we do, or for the just causes which we support or further, or for the justice and truth for which we call.” He called on churches to “rehabilitate and refresh” how they explain the Gospel message, particularly to young people who, he said, would high-five the prophet Job and queue for selfies with Jesus – if they properly understood Christianity. Archbishop John made the comments as he was enthroned as the 13th Archbishop of Wales during a service in Brecon Cathedral on Saturday.

John Davies, the Bishop of Swansea and Brecon, was elected as the Primate of the Church in Wales in September, securing the two-thirds majority from the electoral college on the second day of their meeting in Holy Trinity Church, Llandrindod Wells – the small Welsh town that has the honour of being the meeting place for the archiepiscopal electoral college. His election took effect immediately. Yesterday’s service marked the ceremonial start of his role as archbishop.

More here-

Supreme Court allows full enforcement of Trump travel ban

From CNBC-

The Supreme Court on Monday allowed the Trump administration to fully enforce a ban on travel to the United States by residents of six mostly Muslim countries.

This is not a final ruling on the travel ban: Challenges to the policy are winding through the federal courts, and the justices themselves ultimately are expected to rule on its legality.

But the action indicates that the high court might eventually approve the latest version of the ban, announced by President Donald Trump in September. Lower courts have continued to find problems with the policy.

Opponents of this and previous versions of the ban say they show a bias against Muslims. They say that was reinforced most recently by Trump's retweets of anti-Muslim videos.

More here-

Monday, December 4, 2017

Anglican bishops break ranks to support Dean Smith's same-sex marriage bill

From Australia-

A group of Anglican bishops has split with some of the church's top leaders to declare support for the current version of the same-sex marriage bill before Parliament, publicly calling on lower house MPs to resist the conservative push to insert stronger religious protections.

The House of Representatives will begin debating the bill drafted by Liberal senator Dean Smith on Monday and is expected to pass it by the end of the week. If it passes unchanged it will then be signed into law, and same-sex weddings will occur within weeks.

However Coalition conservatives are set on amending the bill, which passed the Senate 43 votes to 12 last week, without change. If they manage to get enough support for their changes around freedom of religion and conscience the bill will have to return to the Senate.

More here-

The Loss of “Common” Prayer

From The Cafe-

In its proposed report to General Convention, the SCLM has suggested four approaches to revising the Prayer Book, each of which has some merits and disadvantages. But they all include the assumption that we should continue to have a Book of Common Prayer. I would like to raise a question before the question: what is common prayer, and is a Book of Common Prayer right for our future, or should something else be our “unifying myth”? To make this question a little less heretical, note that some other Anglican churches no longer use the title—A New Zealand Prayer Book, for example—or explicitly use a number of other sources—the Church of England’s Common Worship series, or the Anglican Church of Canada’s Book of Alternative Services.

Full disclosure: I am a layperson who has been active in church life for some sixty years, sometimes professionally. My young adulthood was spent with the 1928 BCP, I eagerly participated in the Green Book and the Zebra Book, and I welcomed the 1979 BCP. I did not and do not want to return to the hierarchical and privileging theology, language, and piety of the 1928 BCP. But precisely because of my experience of the 1928 BCP, I have come to think, over the years of the 1979 BCP’s use, that it has had some unintended consequences—namely, that despite its greater theoretical theological inclusiveness as expressed in its baptismal liturgy, in actual Sunday-morning practice the 1979 BCP has ironically decreased “common” prayer and increased the liturgical gap between clergy and laity.

More here-

Oldest complete Latin ​​Bible set to return to UK after 1,302 years

From The Guardian-

One of the greatest of all Anglo-Saxon treasures, the oldest complete Latin Bible in existence, is returning to the UK for the first time in 1,302 years.

The Codex Amiatinus is a beautiful and giant Bible produced in Northumbria by pioneering monks in 716 which, on its completion, was taken to Italy as a gift for Pope Gregory II.

On Thursday, the British Library announced it had secured its loan from the Laurentian library in Florence for a landmark exhibition in 2018 on the history, art, literature and culture of Anglo-Saxon England.

“It is the earliest surviving complete Bible in Latin,” said Claire Breay, the library’s head of medieval manuscripts. “It has never been back to Britain in 1,302 years but it is coming back for this exhibition. It is very exciting.”

More here-

Falling In Love With Language — Through The Power Of Hymns

From NPR-

Anyone thoughtful — no matter what their spiritual leaning — can appreciate the art of the hymn: the rhythm, the sonorous language, the discipline and structure. My first encounter with that power — despite having been part of a youth group as a teenager — came when I was a freshman at a dignified religious institution. I remember cigarette smoke and a song, a somber little something blaring from a nearby room. Three of us stood in the parking lot with Newports hanging from our teeth. I don't recall our conversation, but that night I had my first true experience with hymns and their lyrical magic.

If you want to unravel that magic, I recommend starting with Shakespeare's Common Prayers: The Book of Common Prayer and the Elizabethan Age. Journalist Daniel Swift offers a scholarly treatise on cultural history, Shakespeare's plays, and Anglican liturgy, among other things. It's an arresting but heavy read, one that should be of course followed by The Book of Common Prayer, where it finds its inspiration. Swift calls the latter a "history of response" and argues that, in its pages, "Shakespeare found a body of contested speech: a pattern and a music of mourning." Both works are rich and welcome companions to any collection of hymns. The Oremus Hymnal, a collection of pieces for varying occasions, is a good one for the uninitiated. "At even, ere the sun was set" an evening read, resolves:

More here-


From Newsweek-

For the first time, scholars have found a copy of the original Greek manuscript describing what Jesus secretly taught his brother James.

Biblical scholars at the University of Texas at Austin discovered the manuscript in the Nag Hammadi Library at Oxford University, where it may have been a tool teachers used to help students learn to read and write. According to a press release from The University of Texas at Austin, to find a copy of such a manuscript in Greek, the language in which it was originally written, is incredibly rare.

The Nag Hammadi Library is a collection of 13 Coptic Gnostic books, also called codices, that were found in Egypt more than 70 years ago. Only a small handful of works from the library have been recovered in their original Greek versions

More here-

Sunday, December 3, 2017

Anglican minister clarifies 'un-Christian' remarks over Prince George

From Sky News-

The Anglican Cleric at the heart of a dispute over the sexuality of Prince George has issued a statement clarifying his views.

Kelvin Holdsworth became the focus of controversy on Friday after reports he believed Christians should pray for Prince George to be gay to encourage support for same-sex marriage in the Church of England.

The comments were drawn from a blog, written more than two years ago, that considered how Christians might support the campaign for gay marriage in the Church of England.

When the post was republished this week, however, it attracted attention for a suggestion that "a royal wedding might sort things out remarkably easily" with regard to gay marriage.

A light-hearted line musing that believers could pray "for the Lord to bless Prince George with a love, when he grows up, of a fine young gentleman" provoked the ire of some members of the church community.

More here-

Cole 5th Bishop of the Episcopal Diocese of East Tennessee

From East Tennessee-

Saturday at the Episcopal Church of the Ascension in Knoxville, the Rt. Rev. Brian Cole was ordained and consecrated as the 5th Bishop of the Episcopal Diocese of East Tennessee.

Cole is the fifth bishop to serve the diocese since its establishment in 1985. About 800 people were present for the celebration and pageantry that are part of the sacred service.

The presiding bishop of The Episcopal Church – head of “the Episcopal Branch of the Jesus Movement,” the Most Rev. Michael Curry, ordained Cole.

The Rt. Rev. William Evan Sanders and the Rt. Rev. Charles Glenn vonRosenberg, the first and third bishops of the diocese, participated in the ordination.

The Rt. Rev. Robert Gould Tharp, second bishop of the diocese died in 2003. Bishops from outside East Tennessee, and ecumenical, interfaith and other guests were present as well.

More here-

Amid national and local shootings, Colorado houses of worship turn to panic rooms and other heightened security measures

From The Denver Post-

During a Sunday service at New Hope Baptist Church in Denver in October, a visitor stood up and began shouting during the sermon.

It was a few weeks before a shooter killed 26 people and wounded 20 others at a church in Sutherland Springs, Texas, but it still alarmed many in the pews that day, said Rev. Eugene Downing Jr., the pastor at New Hope.

“That created some uncertainties for members of our congregation,” Downing said. “Some anxiety.”

But the worshipers also were prepared, trained in a protocol developed after nine people were killed during a Bible study meeting at Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church in Charleston, S.C., in 2015.

More here-