Monday, December 31, 2018

Canadian gay bishop marries in Toronto cathedral

From Toronto-

An Anglican gay bishop has married his partner surrounded by friends and family at a cathedral in Toronto.

Bishop Kevin Robertson has married his partner Mohan Sharma at St James Cathedral in the Canadian city.

Bishop Susan Bell of the Diocese of Niagara carried out the ceremony, which took place on 28 December.

Diocese celebrated marriage of gay bishop

The Diocese of Toronto posted a notice congratulating the couple. The missive noted that the pair were married in the presence of their two children, families and friends.

In a sign of shifting attitudes within the church, Colin Johnson, who is the Archbishop of Toronto, also attended the ceremony.

Bishop Kevin and Mohan have been a couple since 2009. Their relationship was blessed in 2016 according to the Pastoral Guidelines of the Diocese of Toronto, but, after this week’s ceremony, are now officially married.

More here-

Typical C of E church 'held just one wedding last year'

From Premier-

The average Church of England (C of E) church hosted only one wedding last year, figures reveal.
Statistics seen by the Daily Mail show the typical Anglican church also held four baptisms and five funerals.

Harry Benson, a Christian from the Marriage Foundation think-tank told the newspaper: "The Church needs to sell marriage rather than weddings.

"We are all obsessed with celebrity weddings but, in the long term, more couples will marry in church if the Church of England talks about the benefits of a formal commitment."

Approximately 38,000 Church of England weddings were held in 2017, a significant decrease compared to the more than 50,000 ceremonies staged in 2007.

Earlier this year, a survey found the number of people who describe themselves as belonging to the Church of England had reached a record low.

More here-

Sunday, December 30, 2018

Five families seek refuge in Anglican Church for Caroling

From India-

For six days, since 23 December, five families have been forced to stay within the premises of a church in Pathamuttam near Kottayam in Kerala, ever since they were attacked whilst carolling before Christmas. On the night of 23 December, a group of carollers, including women and children, was allegedly attacked by DYFI workers. Chingavanam police arrested seven individuals in connection with the case including six DYFI workers. All those arrested were later granted bail.

However, the family members allege that DYFI workers continue to threaten them, and that they were forced to stay in the Pathamutam St Paul’s Anglican Church out of fear of attack if they left.

Johnson PC, committee secretary of the Pathamutam St Paul’s Anglican Church told TNM, "On December 23, a 45 member carol team was visiting homes in the area. But when they reached one of the homes, a group of DYFI workers allegedly joined the team and started calling them ugly words without provocation. The DYFI workers began harassing the girls in the group, and it was alleged that girls of the carol group was molested. When we questioned their actions, they attacked us and destroyed our instruments. Then we informed the police, and they reached the spot and directed us to stop carolling, and so we returned to the church.”

More here-

Saturday, December 29, 2018

Thomas Merton, the Monk Who Became a Prophet

From The New Yorker-

On December 10, 1941, a young man named Thomas Merton was received as a novice by a monastery in Kentucky, the Abbey of Gethsemani. Precisely twenty-seven years later, he died by accidental electrocution in his room at a retreat center in Bangkok, Thailand. He entered the monastery three days after Pearl Harbor; he died a month after Richard Nixon was elected to his first term as President. It had been an eventful time.

Merton was a remarkable man by any measure, but perhaps the most remarkable of his traits was his hypersensitivity to social movements from which, by virtue of his monastic calling, he was supposed to be removed. Intrinsic to Merton’s nature was a propensity for being in the midst of things. If he had continued to live in the world, he might have died not by electrocution but by overstimulation.

Thomas Merton was born in 1915, to parents living in the French Pyrenees. His American mother, Ruth, who would die of cancer when Thomas was only six, was a Quaker and an artist, though a less ambitious one than his father, Owen. Owen, a New Zealander, had great hopes to make a career as a painter, some of which he later realized. Living in Catholic France, married to a Quaker, he wanted his son baptized in the Church of England. This was done, bequeathing to Thomas a certain confusion about religious affiliation right from the outset.

More here-

‘Please pray for us’: Episcopal priest in Tennessee announces he’s becoming Catholic

From Tennesee-

A conservative Episcopal priest, who is a top administrator in the Tennessee diocese, is leaving the church to become a Roman Catholic.

Andrew Petiprin recently announced his plans to change his religious tradition and resign his post as the Episcopal diocese’s canon to the ordinary. He wraps up his job on New Year’s Eve, and Petiprin and his family will start 2019 in the Catholic Church.

“I’m not really running away from the Episcopal Church, but running toward the Catholic Church,” Petiprin said in an interview.

Since June 2017, Petiprin has worked alongside Bishop John Bauerschmidt, helping him with the administration of the Episcopal Diocese of Tennessee, which covers much of Middle Tennessee.
Petriprin said he started the job excited about the chance to influence the future of the Episcopal Church, but it became clear several months ago that God was calling him to Catholicism.

More here-

Friday, December 28, 2018

Coptic Christians plan protests demanding justice as targeted killings continue in Egypt

From Egypt-

Coptic Christians will be staging protests in multiple cities at the end of the month to bring attention to the ongoing persecution their communities suffer in Egypt.

The Australian Coptic Movement Association said on Facebook Friday that protests on Dec. 30 are scheduled in at least three cities: Sydney, Melbourne, and Darwin.

The Coptic community has faced several tragedies in 2018. It's still reeling from the murder of father and son Emad and David Kamal Sadiq who were killed on Dec. 12 by a police officer who had been tasked with guarding a Christian church.

Al-Monitor reported on Thursday that Sgt. Rabie Mostafa Khalifa has officially been charged with premeditated murder in the shooting deaths of the believers after he opened fire while guarding Nahdet al-Qadasa Church in the Minya governorate.

More here-

St. Michael’s Episcopal Church Torn Down Ahead Of Meeting That Might Have Preserved It

From Florida-

The building that once housed St. Michael’s Episcopal Church, located at 4315 NW 23rd Avenue in Gainesville, is being torn down.

Deconstruction on the building began Wednesday, within hours of the City of Gainesville issuing a demolition permit.

The move comes after the Episcopal Diocese of Florida, headquartered in Jacksonville, made a last-minute motion to demolish the building amid community backlash and the possibility that the building itself would be marked as a historic landmark. St. Michael’s Episcopal Church was on the agenda for the next meeting of Gainesville’s Historic Preservation Board, which is scheduled for Jan. 2. Marking the building a historic landmark would have secured its preservation for at least one more year.

“It affects everyone,” said Morris Hylton, the president of Modern Gainesville, a local nonprofit aimed at preserving mid-century architecture. “It’s an architectural landmark deserving of preservation.”

More here- 

also here (video)

Thursday, December 27, 2018

Episcopal Church in US buys shares in gun manufacturers

From The Church Times-

THE Episcopal Church in the United States is to start buying shares in gun manufacturers, in order to be able to exert pressure to reduce gun violence.

It is the first time that the Church has bought shares with the sole purpose of engaging in shareholder action. The Church’s General Convention passed a resolution in the summer calling on the Executive Council’s committee on corporate social responsibility to look into investing in gun manufacturers in order to have influence to “minimize lethal and criminal uses of their products”.

The Bishop of Western Massachusetts, Dr Douglas Fisher, is taking over chairmanship of the committee at the beginning of January. He said: “At our January meeting we will begin the preparation for guidelines for investment. Executive Council needs to sign off on that. We should be ready for investment by the late spring. We need to hold stock for 12 months before we can file resolutions, but we can engage in dialogue before that time.”

More here-

Tiny Brookline Episcopal church feeds hundreds on Christmas Day

From Pittsburgh-

In a Brookline kitchen that is a tight fit for two and packed with six, 900 meals are made to roll on Christmas Day.

The Church of the Advent has a congregation of just 20 to 30 worshipers, but their big hearts are contagious. They have been feeding the lonely and the needy on Christmas since at least 1951, as near as anyone can figure. The church also offers free meals on Wednesdays throughout the year.
About a decade ago, when Jacqueline Hohmann arrived, the church stepped up its Christmas game, and others followed. Today there really is such a thing as too many cooks in a kitchen — but only because the tight squeeze won’t allow for more.

When the parish administrator from Bethel Park began as a volunteer, there were a few delivered meals, a few pickups and a few people who came to eat in the dining hall alongside the kitchen. Ms. Hohmann took over the free holiday meals in 2008, and that year she began advertising in Brookline Boulevard storefronts and wherever else her flyers were welcome.

More here-

Rohr: Church needs an 'awakening of the soul'

From NCR-

Unless Christians rediscover the "bigger heart" and "bigger mind" of the mystical and contemplative tradition, the church will be unable to make positive change in the world — or reform itself, said spiritual author and teacher Franciscan Fr. Richard Rohr.

And the "master of the mystical life" is Thomas Merton, the Trappist monk and spiritual writer who died 50 years ago today, Rohr said in a keynote address at a conference marking the half-century anniversary of Merton's death.

"Merton gave us the tools to develop a deeper sense of consciousness and therefore conscience," said Rohr, criticizing the kind of "kindergarten Christianity" that makes an idol of a political party or country.

"That's heresy," said Rohr, founder of the Center for Action and Contemplation in Albuquerque, New Mexico. "God loves people on the other side of the border as much as on this side. A lot of Christians don't know that."

More here-

Wednesday, December 26, 2018

Why our congregation gives directly to a church school in Haiti

From The Christian Century-

In August 2015 I stood outside l’Eglise St. Matthieu, a small church in northern Haiti, looking at a low rectangular arrangement of stones, concrete, and rebar that was supposed to be the foundation of a new school building. Beside me were a fellow member of Grace Episcopal Church in Amherst, Mas­sa­chusetts, and Père Joseph Tan­crel Diegue, a 61-year-old Haitian priest. We were all frowning.

Three years earlier, Grace Church had raised money to pay for the construction of classrooms for St. Matthieu’s School. With a new classroom building, the school’s five teachers would no longer have to try to teach five different grades simultaneously in the church’s sanctuary, a room smaller than a basketball court. Children at the school had carried stones for the construction. Workers had dug trenches for the foundation, poured the concrete, and set the stones and rebar. Now the foundation was covered with weeds, and the rebar was starting to oxidize. There were no walls and no rafters. No more money, either; it had all been spent, somewhere.

More here-

Bishop Michael Curry on the real message of Christmas

From CBS-

It's been a big year for Most Rev. Michael Curry, the presiding bishop of the Episcopal Church. He first made headlines in May when he delivered a rousing sermon at the royal wedding of Prince Harry and Meghan Markle, and earlier this month he spoke at the funeral for former President George H.W. Bush

Bishop Curry told "CBS This Morning" co-host Gayle King that the real message of Christmas isn't just about giving, it's about love.

"Hold on to it, 'cause it's all we got. The truth is, if love is just a sentiment then it doesn't matter. But love is a commitment and one of the passages that speaks about Christmas is John 3:16. It speaks about the crucifixion of Jesus but it also speaks about Christmas, 'God so loved the world that he gave his only son.' It is love which is tied to giving, not taking. Giving. We give gifts as a symbolic way of reminding us that God showed us the way of love, which is to give and not to count the cost."

More here-

Trump Attends Christmas Eve Service That Had A Message About Migrants

From NPR-

NPR's Ari Shapiro speak with Mariann Budde, the bishop of the Episcopal Diocese of Washington, about the Christmas Eve service she led at the Washington National Cathedral, which President Trump and the First Lady attended.

The migrants at the U.S.-Mexico border were on Marianne Budde's mind when she sat down to write her Christmas Eve sermon. She's bishop of the Episcopal Diocese of Washington. And when she delivered that sermon last night at the Washington National Cathedral, some surprise guests were in the audience. President Trump and first lady Melania Trump had been scheduled to be in Florida, but the government shutdown kept them in Washington. So they were sitting in the pews when the bishop gave this interpretation of the Christmas story.

MARIANNE BUDDE: There are social implications. The story's very clear about this. It begins as you heard tonight. It begins with an emperor who could move people around on a whim. And two people were forced to obey the emperor's edict, and they set out on a long, arduous journey in the last month of the young woman's pregnancy. And they were denied a place of comfort in the hour of her greatest need, and she had no choice but to lay her child in the trough reserved for animals.

More here-

Archbishop of Canterbury’s 2018 Christmas Sermon

From ENS-

Christmas is full of sounds. There are the sounds of parties and gatherings, of familiar people arguing, or joking, or sitting quietly enjoying being together – sounds that bring hope, or joy, or sorrow.
God, in the greatest of sounds, the Word of God, the baby at Bethlehem, calls to the world through a baby’s cry: “This is who I am. This is my way of being. This is my language, love.”

That word of God has become flesh – tangible, visible, intimate – flesh that changes the world, changes every person who hears and responds.

People will be rejoicing and celebrating, others will be causing trouble and others bringing joy. The world does not stop because it is Christmas. To think so is a dangerous illusion because God came into the reality of the world, to change it, not to give us an escape from it.

More here-

Monday, December 24, 2018

The Washington Post Discovers The Magnificat

From Patheos-

he Washington Post—and Evangelicals—just discovered the Magnificat. Apparently this portion of scripture is unknown to a goodly portion of American Christians. On one hand this surprises me because it is in the Bible, but on the other hand doesn’t because of all those recent polls illuminating the amazing fact that hefty numbers of “evangelicals” are not versed in the most basic elements of Christian doctrine. If ordinary “evangelicals” think that Jesus is a spirit emanation and that you can work your way to heaven, then the Magnificat is probably not something they are any more used to than the Lord’s Prayer.

Anyway, I’m Anglican and the Magnificat has always been my favorite, just like the whole Bible. And not only should everyone read it, but it should be so often sung that everyone knows it by heart. But, like the Bible, it is a dangerous song. And if you think that it belongs to you, or that you can sing it on behalf of others, or that Mary—as the Wapo article intimates—is a revolutionary, well, then you are just reading the prayer and haven’t heard the gospel.

More here-

Anglican church welcomes Indigenous teacher who once renounced Christianity

From Canada-

More than 50 years after Albert Dumont renounced Christianity, the dean of Ottawa's Anglican diocese has welcomed him back — not as a believer, but as an Indigenous spiritual teacher-in-residence.

Dean Shane Parker, who is also the rector of Christ Church Cathedral, met Dumont in 2015 during an event connected with the Truth and Reconciliation Commission.    

"Someone came to see me to say, 'There's a fellow here who wants to smudge. Is that OK?'" said Parker. "I just had this strong sense of wanting to stay in the room."

Since then, the two men have bonded over a shared belief in the importance of compassion and interfaith dialogue. 

More here- 

Darien church in legal battle over rector accused of dishonesty

 From Connecticut-

It's been a turbulent year for a Darien church whose status has been stripped and is now embroiled in a legal battle over its rector’s alleged dishonesty.

A Stamford judge is considering whether to dismiss a case brought by the lay leaders of St. Paul’s Episcopal Church who want to remove rector George Kovoor, alleging he misrepresented himself when he was hired in 2016.

In June, the church vestry sent Kovoor a termination letter, ignoring Episcopal Bishop Ian Douglas’ call for the rector to remain at the Mansfield Ave. Parish.

More here-

Sunday, December 23, 2018

Just in: Bishop Ekpeye regains freedom after 5 days in kidnappers’ den

From Nigeria-

The Bishop of Ahoada, Rivers State Anglican Diocese, Bishop Clement N. Ekpeye, who was kidnapped by unknown gunmen last Tuesday night, has now been released.

It was not clear at the time of filing this report whether Bishop Ekpeye was released voluntarily or whether ransom was paid before he was set free five days after his abduction.

Sources in Ahoada, headquarters of Ahoada-East Local government area confirmed to this reporter that Bishop Ekpeye was released and was reunited with his family in the morning of Saturday December 22.

There was a huge celebration by the people of the area, especially, worshippers of the Anglican faith, who got wind of the release of the Christian cleric.

More here-

Anglican archbishop resigns from Rome role over sexual misconduct allegation

From Premier-

The governors of the Anglican Centre in Rome announced Archbishop Bernard Ntahouri’s resignation following an allegation of sexual misconduct.

Archbishop Bernard had also been the Archbishop of Canterbury’s personal Representative to the Holy See.

In a statement the Centre’s Governors said: “The Governors of the Anglican Centre in Rome have accepted the resignation of its Director Archbishop Bernard Ntahoturi following his suspension last week over an allegation of sexual misconduct.

“The Governors are now taking urgent steps to appoint an interim director, who will also act as the Archbishop of Canterbury’s Representative to the Holy See.”

Archbishop Bernard has held the role as Director since October 2017. Before he was ordained he was a civil servant who served as chief of staff to Burundi’s President and served four years in prison following a military coup in 1987.

More here-

Anglican Communion Gives Top Job in Rome to LGBT, Abortion Advocate

From Church Militant-

A senior Anglican bishop who publicly opposes fundamental Roman Catholic doctrine on abortion and homosexuality has been appointed Chair of Governors of the Anglican Centre in Rome.

Michael Burrows, Anglican bishop of Cashel, Ferns and Ossory, who defied the official position of the Catholic Church during the Irish Referendum on abortion in May and announced he would vote to repeal the Eighth Amendment, will oversee the Anglican Communion's headquarters for dialogue and unity with the Catholic Church from January 1, 2019.

"In an age when we are all supposed to be 'ecumenically sensitive' it seems an appalling insult to Catholics for an Anglican bishop who is an abortion and gay rights activist to be appointed to such an important position as the Chairman of the Board of Governors of the Anglican Centre in Rome," said Catholic priest, author and blogger Fr. Dwight Longenecker. "Is Bishop Burrows' appointment an unfortunate blunder or a calculated move on the part of Anglican authorities to push a progressive agenda in the heart of Rome?"

More here-

Church reaches out to 300 families

From Ohio-

Christmas will be a littler brighter for 300 families thanks to the efforts of St. Peter’s Episcopal Church.

A long line of people were waiting outside the church doors at 5 p.m. when the Christmas dinner supplies distribution began on Friday evening.

“It is very overwhelming. I am very excited and happy,” said Michelle Pruchasky of Ashtabula as she walked from table to table as volunteers put different parts of a Christmas dinner in her bag.

Julie Clayman, director of the church’s food pantry, said church members start talking to Giant Eagle about bulk buying opportunities that reduce the cost of the meals.

“It is something we start working on in October,” she said. “Today it is a stuffed pork, side dish of green beans, pie and dinner roles and a gravy mix.”

More here-

“I’m supposed to be here” New minister finds a homecoming at St. John’s by the Campus

From Iowa-

The Rev. Kim Turner Baker, the new pastor at St. John’s by the Campus Episcopal Church, was born in Des Moines and lived there for the first eight years of her life. But her ties to central Iowa go much further back to the early 1900s when her great uncle and grandfather were among the first blacks to graduate from Iowa State University.

So when she visited St. John’s earlier this year, Turner Baker said she felt as if it’s where she belonged.

Turner Baker, 62, began her work leading the congregation of about 320 parishioners in August, and was installed as its pastor during a ceremony last month.

To learn how more about how Turner Baker got here you have to look back.

More here-

Friday, December 21, 2018

In Good Faith: A Flintstones’ Christmas

From Minnesota-

Did you know, there’s a Christmas episode of “The Flintstones”? It originally aired on Dec. 25, 1964, as part of the original cartoon series. In it, Fred gets a part-time job at Macyrock’s department store to help finance the family’s Christmas. Mr. Macyrock initially fires Fred for being his usual doofus self, but reconsiders when he learns that the store’s regular Santa Claus has the flu. Fred proves a natural at entertaining the children and by the end of his stint, Mr. Macyrock proclaims Fred as the best Santa they’ve ever had.

Oh, but that’s not the end of the story. On Christmas Eve, two of Santa’s elves, named Blinky and Twinky, appear to Fred as Macyrock’s is closing for the night. They explain to Fred that the real Santa Claus is sick and they ask him to help deliver presents to children around the world. As Fred steps in to save the day, we see him perched atop Santa’s sleigh shouting “Merry Christmas” in French, Italian, German, Dutch, English and Swedish.

This is all very nice; until you do the math. And you think, “Wait a minute. The Flintstones took place in the Stone Age. That was 2.5 million years before Jesus was born in Bethlehem!”

More here-

St. Paul’s braces for change as popular reverend prepares to retire

From Philadelphia-

The Rev. E. Cliff Cutler, the 11th rector of the 150-year-old Saint Paul’s Episcopal Church, is the first to admit that change is certain to bring about anxiety among his 400 parishioners.

Last month, in a two-page letter to the community, Cutler wrote that after much prayer and discernment, he will retire at the end of April 2019. By then he will be 70 years old.

Cutler noted that one young mother opened the letter and just cried.

“Her emotions were very touching,” he said. “So yes, there is sadness, but I want the church members to know how resilient we are, and they can be confident in their ability to go forward and find a new leader. There are exciting opportunities ahead and it’s time to let someone else take the next step. I’ll miss the people here; they are gifted in so many ways. There is a lot of warmth, talent and love here and everything will work out.”

There were several factors that convinced Cutler that it was time for a change.

Last winter, he suffered double pneumonia and other respiratory issues that sent him in and out of the hospital.

More here-

Thursday, December 20, 2018

ACK priests who sued church over gay claims get Sh6.8m

From Kenya-

Three Anglican Church of Kenya priests from Nyeri who were initially suspended from pastoral duties over allegations of engaging in homosexuality have finally received a compensation of Sh6.8 million from the church after a four-year court battle.
The compensation is for psychological trauma flowing from the circumstances their ministerial services in the church were terminated.
It also covers withheld salaries and benefits for the period their preaching licences had been withdrawn.
They were suspended from officiating church services in August 2015 and were reinstated by court in September 2016 after a finding that the suspension was unlawful.
Archdeacon John Gachau will receive Sh2.4 million while James Maigua and Paul Warui will get Sh2.2 million each.

More here-

Anglican Priest to Face Off with Baro

From New Guinea-

For the first time, Papua New Guinea will witness an Anglican priest, Father David Smith, also known as the Fighting Father Dave, take on local boxer from Wanigela Luke Baro in Saturday’s first-ever Oceania Professional Boxing championships.

One wonders as to why a priest is getting involved in the boxing contest but the Sydney-based Anglican parish priest has something to share and hopes the sport of boxing can be a tool for change.
When asked about being a priest and involving in professional boxing, Smith said he got involved in the sport to change ways and lives of the people around him.

“I spent 28 years of my life as a parish priest in Sydney. I was in Sydney’s south before I was moved to Dulwich Hill (Sydney’s inner-west) where that place or area was rife for drugs. I began teaching and working with young people with drug problems and opened the church hall as an area where local youths could do fitness and martial arts training,” Smith said after arriving in the country.

More here-

Wednesday, December 19, 2018

Bishop of Ahoada Diocese, Clement N.Ekpeye kidnapped

From Nigeria-

Daredevil kidnappers abducted the Rt.Reverend Clement N.Ekpeye, JP, honourable Bishop of Ahoada Diocese of the Anglican Communion at about 7pm on Tuesday, December 18.

The dastardly incident happened ,at Bishop’s Court,,which his official residence at Odiemerenyi road,in Ahoada town,in Ahoada East local government area ofthe State.

The incident was made known to our Correspondent last night,Tuesday December 18 at about 10 pm through a terse by the Clerical Synod Secretary of the Diocese,the official Spokesman of Ahoada Diocese.

At the time of going to the press,no further details surrounding the kidnap was given, except the Clerical Synod Secretary calling for prayers fo the Bishop’s quick release by his abductors.

More here-

Pacific Anglican leaders call for West Papua action

From New Zealand-

The leaders of Anglican churches in New Zealand and four Pacific Island countries are calling for an end to human rights abuses in West Papua.

In a public statement on Friday, ten bishops and archbishops in New Zealand also said West Papua must put on the agenda at international forums.

The Bishop-Elect of Polynesia, which represents Fiji, Tonga, Samoa and the Cook Islands, also signed the statement.

The Anglican leaders called on their governments to support bringing the issue of West Papua to the United Nations.

They said the sale of natural resources sourced in West Papua should be investigated and restricted or banned.

Attention on restive Papua in recent weeks has centred on the massacre of at least 16 Indonesian workers by the West Papua Liberation Army.

The Liberation Army claimed the workers were military spies.

More here-

‘World’s most loved carol’ turns 200

From Florida-

In Austria today, “Stille Nacht” is considered a national treasure, and tradition says the song should not be played before Christmas Eve. Commercial use of the 202-year old carol is forbidden.
During the last 200 years, the song has been translated into more than 300 languages. In the mid-1800s, it was an Episcopal priest with Florida ties, John Freeman Young, bishop of Florida from 1867-85, who gave us the English translation we sing today.

The carol also enjoyed great recognition as early as World War I, when soldiers on each side of the frontline laid down their weapons on Christmas Eve and sang the carol across no man’s land.
Another beloved Christmas carol was written by a preacher after a memorable Christmas Eve.

“O little town of Bethlehem, how still we see thee lie!

More here-

National Cathedral: The nation’s church

From Kentucky-

Upon its construction, its purpose was to serve as the nation’s spiritual home. But is the Washington National Cathedral, formally dedicated as the Cathedral Church of St. Peter and St. Paul in the City and Diocese of Washington, DC, a Christian-based house of worship or an impressive national site? Perhaps the cathedral is a combination of both.

Although some ornamental work continues, construction began in 1907 and continued until 1990. The cathedral is the seat of the Presiding Bishop of the Episcopal Church and the Bishop of the Diocese of Washington.

It has been the scene, most recently, of the funerals of former President George W. H. Bush and Senator John McCain. The cathedral also played host to the funerals of President Ronald Reagan, President Gerald Ford and President Dwight D. Eisenhower, as well as many memorial services, including one for the victims of the September 11, 2001 attacks, and for presidential prayer services following inaugurations. When not in use for formal ceremonies, the cathedral is open to visitors.

More here-

Presiding Bishop Michael Curry Christmas message 2018

From ENS- (with video)

“Love came down at Christmas, because God so loved the world, that he gave,” Episcopal Church Presiding Bishop and Primate Michael Curry said in his Christmas Message 2018.

The video of the presiding bishop’s message, recorded at Bryant Park in New York, is here.

The text of the presiding bishop’s message follows:

 Presiding Bishop Michael Curry Christmas Message 2018

In the Third Chapter of John’s Gospel, Jesus says at one point, “God so loved the world that he gave his only begotten Son, that all who believe in him should not perish but have everlasting life.”
For years, I’ve often thought that that passage only referred to Jesus giving his life as a sacrifice on the cross. And to be sure, that is part of what it means. But some years ago I was reading a commentary by Raymond Brown, on the Gospel of John, and Professor Brown said that that passage not only speaks of Jesus willingly giving his life on the cross, but it actually speaks of Christmas, of God giving his very self, his very son to the world, not for anything God could get out of it, but for the good and the welfare and the well-being of the world. Of us.

More here-

Tuesday, December 18, 2018

The Jewels of England

From First Things-

In a recent issue of the center-right magazine Standpoint, the retired Anglican bishop of Rochester, Michael Nazir-Ali, argued that a post-Brexit Britain needs the “moral and spiritual framework” that can only be supplied by the “centrality of the Judaeo-Christian tradition in national life.” Certainly, the constant appeal to British “values” after every terrorist attack always begs the question of what precisely those values are, and on what they are based. However, while I do not disagree with Bishop Nazir-Ali’s hopeful plea and pious hope, the main conduits for providing the Christian “moral and spiritual framework” for the revival of national life—namely both the Anglican and the Catholic Church—seem to be unsure of their purpose and increasingly unwilling to proclaim the saving power of the gospel. Nature (or culture and society) abhors a vacuum. And as Benedict XVI wrote of an increasingly secular Europe and United States, where such a vacuum exists, something will fill it: either the growing totalitarianism of aggressive secular liberalism, or Islam, aided by large-scale immigration. 

More here-

Demo permit filed for St. Michael’s Episcopal Church

From Florida-

Residents of Suburban Heights rallied earlier this year to shut down a possible development in northwest Gainesville that would have turned a church and conservation land into a shopping plaza with drive-thru services.

But that battle isn’t over.

Earlier this week, the Jacksonville-based Episcopal Diocese of Florida, which owns the dormant St. Michael’s Episcopal Church, 4315 NW 23rd Ave., filed a permit with the city of Gainesville to demolish the building.

The move comes after the church’s owners got wind that the city’s preservation board was set in January to vote and recommend designating the building a local historic landmark. That would place a one-year hold on any possible demolition.

The church has been closed for about two years.

Morris Hylton, president of Gainesville Modern, a local organization dedicated to preserving unique local structures built from 1945 through 1975, has been fighting to save the building despite the owner’s wishes.

More here-

Monday, December 17, 2018

Ugandan LGBTQ refugees find a home in Long Beach’s ‘gayborhood’

From Los Angeles-

This story is the first in a two-part series looking at how St. Luke’s Episcopal Church in Long Beach helps immigrants.

Up until a few years ago, life was good in Uganda for Lucy. She had just graduated from a local university in 2013 and was looking forward to what came next. Unfortunately, what came next, a year later, was Lucy being forced to flee to Kenya to seek asylum after someone exposed a secret she had been keeping for some time: she was bisexual.

“They told all the people around me, the community and family,” said the 27-year-old who asked that her real name not be used.

She was threatened but received no support from her family.

“They were coming up to me, the whole community was coming up to me, so I had to run,” Lucy said. “[They said] ‘You’re an outcast, that’s not allowed here, how can you do stuff like that?’ No one physically got me. They were threatening me, they were coming to my house where I grew up.”

More here-

Surfing Milford priest rides the waves year round

 From Connecticut

Other times the sport buoys him spiritually through the grandeur of nature and life lessons that surfing teaches, including preparation, persistence, effort, planning, decision-making and patience in waiting for the right wave or one’s turn in the lineup of surfers.

The beauty of the world and the dynamics of nature as seen from the water put Lindeman in touch with God, he said.

“When I’m truly present with God, it diminishes my own agenda,” Lindeman said. “When reminded of god’s bigness and my smallness, it has a way of organizing things.”

Lindeman became an avid surfer as a young teen when his parents, both Episcopal priests, moved to San Diego.

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Bishop Michael Curry Delivers Sermon in Raleigh

From North Carolina-

A powerful message about love heard around the world resonated through a Raleigh church Sunday.
  • Bishop Michael Curry spoke at Saint Ambrose Episcopal Church as the congregation celebrated its 150th anniversary.
  • Many may remember him from the Royal Wedding of Prince Harry and Meghan Markle this past spring when his riveting sermon gained international attention.
  • He has strong ties to the Tar Heel state. He was previously bishop of the Episcopal Diocese of North Carolina.
Bishop Michael Curry spoke at Saint Ambrose Episcopal Church as the congregation celebrated its 150th anniversary.

Many may remember him from the Royal Wedding of Prince Harry and Meghan Markle this past spring when his riveting sermon gained international attention.

More here-

Sunday, December 16, 2018

Brexit debate needs a change of tone, Anglican bishops say

From AP-

The Brexit debate needs a change of tone, the Church of England's bishops said Saturday, calling for national unity following a week of divisive discussions around Britain's efforts to leave the European Union.

The Anglican leaders urged politicians and the public to insert civility into the debate amid intense discussions over Prime Minister Theresa May's Brexit deal. Amid turmoil, the bishops offered prayer.

"We urge everyone - our political leaders and all of us - to bring magnanimity, respect and reconciliation to our national debate," the bishops said. "There is now an urgent need for the United Kingdom to recover a shared vision and identity to help us find a way through the immediate challenges."

More here-

Saturday, December 15, 2018

Baptism-style ceremony for men who ‘transition’ to female? Why Church of England has imploded

From Life Site-

I mention this due to the fact that earlier this week, I spotted this headline in the Telegraph: “Church of England to offer baptism-style services to transgender people to celebrate their new identity for first time.” As it turns out, Canterbury’s rush to irrelevance (clerics warn that steadily plunging attendance numbers will only increase in the years ahead) now includes the bizarre heresy of creating a new sacrament, specifically tailored to celebrate the delusions of “sex-reassignment” surgery for "transgender" people.

The Church of England’s tailspin has been strange to watch, not because they are the first or the only mainline denomination to collapse under the weight of its own compromises. Here in Canada, for example, the United Church campaigned for legal abortion, celebrated the destruction of the Christian ethic of sexuality, and now has at least one atheist minister. They have been only somewhat jokingly referred to as “the NDP at prayer.” But the brazenness with which the clerics of the Church of England have spat on their own heritage has been jarring, to say the least. From the Telegraph:

More here-

Anglican Primate Call On Buhari To Sign Electoral Bill

From Nigeria-

Ahead of the 2019 general election, the Primate of the Church of Nigeria, Anglican Communion, Nicholas Okoh, on Thursday called on President Muhammadu Buhari to sign the Electoral Bill into law.

He urged Nigerians making provocative statements to be careful not to set the country on fire.

“They should not set us in conflict with ourselves because if you look at it, most statements are made from the point of self advancement. They calculated that their own chances are slim and limited and they begin to talk. So, we appeal to everyone, whatever is your position, speak in such a way that there will be a country because if there is a country, all of us will be in good condition. But if there is no country, everybody will scatter and it is not in the interest of anyone”, he advised.

More here-

Curry named Religion Newsmaker of the Year

From The Cafe-

Members of the Religion News Association has named Episcopal Church Presiding Bishop Michael Curry its newsmaker of the year.

Episcopal Church Presiding Bishop Michael Curry, whose riveting sermon at the royal wedding “stole the show,” according to the British press, and raised his profile as a progressive religious voice.


Evangelist Billy Graham, whose death at 99 caps the most influential ministry in modern evangelical history.

Rabbi Jeffrey Myers, who emerged as a voice of lament and peace after an anti-Semitic gunman killed 11 at his Tree of Life / Or L’Simcha synagogue.

More here-


Friday, December 14, 2018

Bishops and astronauts gather in Washington to remember Apollo 8

From RNS-

Sometimes, the most profound truths about humanity — and God — are revealed when we take a small step back. Or rocket ourselves about 238,000 miles into space.

Astronaut James Lovell had that epiphany 50 years ago as he became one of the first astronauts to orbit the moon.

“I remembered a saying I’d often heard: ‘I hope to go to heaven when I die.’ I suddenly realized that I went to heaven when I was born,” said Lovell.

Lovell spoke at the Washington National Cathedral on Tuesday night (Dec. 11) as part of a celebration of the 50th anniversary of the 1968 Apollo 8 mission that sent Lovell and fellow astronauts William Anders and Frank Borman into space to circle Earth’s gray satellite.

The mission, which lasted from Dec. 21 to Dec. 27, 1968, included an unusual religious element: As the trio of spacefarers rounded the moon on Christmas Eve, they paused to read the first 10 verses from the Book of Genesis.

More here-

Heretic of the week: James Pike

From Catholic Herald-

James Pike (1913-1969) had an enormous importance. Born and raised a Catholic (and believing he might have a vocation), Pike lost his faith studying under the Jesuits at the University of Santa Clara in the early 1930s. Moving on to UCLA, USC and Yale Law School, he served in naval intelligence during the Second World War. He had been received into the Episcopal Church in 1938. After the war, Pike decided to enter the Episcopal ministry and was ordained in 1946. Three years later, he was made Episcopal chaplain at New York’s Columbia University. On rather spurious historical grounds he claimed the post was a “Royal Peculiar”, subject only to the Queen and not to the Episcopal Bishop of New York. Given the radical nature of his sermons, this deception was useful; it did not prevent him being appointed dean of the Cathedral of St John the Divine. Thence he fulminated against the Catholic Church’s opposition to birth control. 

More here-

The leap of faith': Trinity Episcopal embarks on restoration project

From Upper South Carolina-

Restoration is a go for the historic Trinity Episcopal Church, thanks to groups joining forces and more than $700,000 to begin the project.

To jump start things, the independent nonprofit, Friends of Trinity, is granting $43,000 of money it has raised to Preservation South Carolina, according to Ann Waigand of Camden, Maine, whose mother has been a longtime historian for the church.
That announcement was made at a community meeting at the Abbeville Chamber of Commerce Thursday night, along with other details of the collaboration to restore the house of worship.
Waigand, who was baptized at the church, along with her children, said Friends of Trinity started in 1995.

More here-


Wednesday, December 12, 2018

As one historically black Episcopal church closes, others face strong headwinds

From RNS-

On a chilly December morning, 100 years and one week after its sanctuary opened, All Saints’ Episcopal Church, an African-American congregation with a proud history, was formally closed.
Bishop Samuel Rodman presided over the Eucharistic service in an elementary school a block away from the church, where weekly services ended more than three years ago. Several longtime members returned to read Scriptures and sing hymns. Afterward, the group of 100, including history buffs and well-wishers from North Carolina and Virginia, shared a meal of fried chicken and baked beans.

All Saints is hardly alone among mainline Protestant and Catholic congregations. Faced with dwindling members, crumbling infrastructure and costly maintenance, some 6,000 to 10,000 churches shutter each year, according to one estimate. More closures may be in the offing as surveys point to a decline in church attendance across the country.

More here-

Herdsmen: What we’ll do to Anglican bishops if they ask Buhari to declare us terrorists – Miyetti Allah

From Nigeria-

MIYETTI Allah Cattle Breeders Association, MACBAN, yesterday, flayed Anglican Bishops for describing it as a terrorist organisation, saying the group is made up of herdsmen, not terrorists.

Read more at:
 The Miyetti Allah Cattle Breeders Association of Nigeria, MACBAN, on Tuesday threatened to institute a legal action against Anglican bishops for describing violent herdsmen as terrorists.

The Miyetti Allah Cattle Breeders Association of Nigeria, MACBAN, on Tuesday threatened to institute a legal action against Anglican bishops for describing violent herdsmen as terrorists.
Recall that an Anglican bishops in Nigeria had called on President Muhammadu Buhari to declare armed herdsmen as terrorists.
However, MACBAN, while insisting they are not terrorists, admonished the bishops to withdraw their remark.

Speaking with Vanguard, the National Coordinator of MACBAN, Alhaji Garus Gololo said herdsmen have the right to graze anywhere across the country.

According to Gololo, “We are not happy with this comment coming from the Bishops who are spiritual heads of the Anglican Church; we want them to withdraw it.

More here-

MIYETTI Allah Cattle Breeders Association, MACBAN, yesterday, flayed Anglican Bishops for describing it as a terrorist organisation, saying the group is made up of herdsmen, not terrorists.

Read more at:
MIYETTI Allah Cattle Breeders Association, MACBAN, yesterday, flayed Anglican Bishops for describing it as a terrorist organisation, saying the group is made up of herdsmen, not terrorists.

Read more at:

Killer herdsmen should be declared terrorists like Boko Haram – Anglican Archbishop tells Buhari

From Nigeria-

The Archbishop of Ibadan Province of the Anglican Communion, Most Rev. Segun Okubadejo, has insisted that armed herdsmen are terrorists just like Boko Haram insurgents.
Okubadejo said this while faulting President Muhammadu Buhari’s refusal to proscribe violent herdsmen across the country.

Addressing newsmen yesterday in Ibadan, the Oyo State capital, he said, “Our nation is filled with disturbing evil acts; rapes, ritual killings, kidnappings, armed banditry and herdsmen terrorists.
“Though the president is refusing to declare them terrorists but to us, we know that they are terrorists in disguise just like Boko Haram.

“We say no as things will not continue like this; we need the inward transformation of every Nigerian and unless that happens God may not intervene in our situation.’’

More here-

Two vibrant Anglican congregations in Winnipeg

From Canada-

When United Church of Canada minister Paul Derry moved to Winnipeg, Manitoba, in the early 2000s, there were seven United Church congregations in his quarter of the city. At the end of 2018, he told me, there was only one. The rest have closed and sold for condos or been merged with other congregations.

Most mainline pastors paying attention these days—in Canada as well as the United States—know that their parish is perhaps ten minutes away from closing. If there is a future for this kind of church, it will be one in which every pastor is something of a church planter, seeding life in the midst of the enormous upheaval in institutional religious life. Not many pastors were trained for this work. How do we do it?

I traveled to Winnipeg because I had heard about two Anglican churches there that were doing innovative things and growing in significant ways. I’d also heard that they represented two opposing wings in the Anglican Church.

More here-

Episcopal parties seek summary judgment in lawsuit

From South Carolina-

The Episcopal Church in South Carolina and The Episcopal Church have asked the U.S. District Court to grant motions for summary judgment and call a halt to the “pervasive” public confusion caused by a group that broke away from the church yet continues to use Episcopal names and marks.

The motion asks U.S. District Judge Richard M. Gergel to prohibit false advertising and the use of confusing names and marks by the breakaway group and its affiliated churches. A motion for summary judgment is a request for the court to rule that the other party has no case, because there are no facts at issue.
“The public confusion resulting from Defendants’ conduct is pervasive,” according to a memo filed by TECSC on Dec. 7 in support of the motion. “It is undeniably causing irreparable harm to The Episcopal Church, and more locally, to TECSC and its Bishops. All that the Plaintiffs seek in this action is declaratory and injunctive relief, not damages (for which they could easily make a case).”

More here-