Saturday, January 20, 2018

Saint to be honored, Episcopal bishop to speak

From Georgia-

Anna Alexander was a woman born ahead of her time.

Born to emancipated slaves on Butler Plantation in Darien in 1865, Anna Ellison Butler Alexander was an African American educator, who paved the way for the futures of generations of children. But that was just a part of her mission. In addition, she was also named the first black deaconess of the Episcopal Church, serving the people of Pennick and Darien throughout her life.

She spent more than 60 years living her faith through her church, Good Shepherd, in Pennick. Under her guidance, her parishioners gave more support to the needy throughout the world than any church in the diocese, surrendering their pennies and dimes each week to help others. A good example of this charity took place in 1923. That was when more than 200,000 people died during an earthquake in Tokyo-Yokohama, Japan. Deaconess Alexander’s mission diverted building funds to aid the victims.

More here-

Right Desire and True Gospel

From The Living Church-

As the Episcopal Church approaches the daunting task of liturgical revision, it would be good beforehand to revisit the theological vision that birthed our prayer book tradition as a distinctive branch of Christian worship. While Thomas Cranmer insisted that Anglican liturgy must be regularly renewed so as always to speak to contemporary society, he was equally adamant that the gospel message transcended any specific cultural moment, remaining consistent through the many centuries after Jesus’ initial proclamation of it. Hence, Cranmer believed that he and other liturgical revisers had much to learn from how previous generations used worship to proclaim the mission of the Church to the people of their day. As we continue to adapt his handiwork to contemporary needs, we would be well advised to follow his example in learning from the past to better lead the present into the future.

The heart of Tudor Protestantism was not right doctrine but right desire. Undoubtedly, Cranmer and his fellow English Reformers thought the two were closely connected. Truth about God would draw humanity homeward. Right desire could only be formed by right knowledge of both God and fallen human nature. Nevertheless, saving truth by itself was insufficient to move a self-centered humanity to return to the Creator through repentance and amendment of life. The Church’s mission was to proclaim the unchanging message of the gospel to each generation in ways that would move the hearts of hearers to embrace it. Here is the raison d’être of Cranmer’s liturgical revision.

More here-

When the Bible is profane

From Christian Century-

 It was not the easiest class. 

Our goal: a full, engaged reading of the book of Judges. I'd committed to leading it a couple of months back, being the teaching elder at my little congregation and all, and I don't regret it.

It's a fascinating book, truly and genuinely ancient, chock full of tales that rise out of the late Bronze Age. Here, songs and stories that are over three millennia old, narratives that rise up from deep in the primal memory of the people of Israel.

That alone makes them worthy of study and worthy of deeper exploration.

But it doesn't make them any less brutal. Judges starts with a captive king having his toes and thumbs cut off, and it pretty much goes downhill from there. It's chock full of ultraviolence, as the imprisoned Alex DeLarge discovered to his delight, as much so as any of the savage tales of our violence-loving culture. The heroes of the tale nail sleeping men's heads to the ground with spikes, and flay village elders to death with thorned branches. They butcher their own children. Even Samson, Samson of countless Sunday school coloring books? He's driven by lust, betrays his sacred oaths, and murders entire villages to pay off his debts.

More here-

12 Things Pastors Cannot Do

From Church Leaders-

Pastors are, in my judgment, amazing people. They faithfully serve Sunday after Sunday, often with no desire for recognition or fame. In faith, they can do a lot—but here are several things they can’t do:

1. Read minds. Everybody knows that, but many church members hold pastors accountable for unstated expectations.

2. Be everywhere. No human being can be every place at once, yet some members still get angry when pastors have to say “No.”

3. Change hearts. Only God can do that.

4. Know everything. Most pastors study hard, but nobody can answer every question somebody asks.

More here-

Understanding Grief

From The New York Times-

Although many of us are able to speak frankly about death, we still have a lot to learn about dealing wisely with its aftermath: grief, the natural reaction to loss of a loved one.

Relatively few of us know what to say or do that can be truly helpful to a relative, friend or acquaintance who is grieving. In fact, relatively few who have suffered a painful loss know how to be most helpful to themselves.

Two new books by psychotherapists who have worked extensively in the field of loss and grief are replete with stories and guidance that can help both those in mourning and the people they encounter avoid many of the common pitfalls and misunderstandings associated with grief. Both books attempt to correct false assumptions about how and how long grief might be experienced.

More here-

Friday, January 19, 2018

Pope shocks Chile by accusing sex abuse victims of slander

From RNS-

Pope Francis accused victims of Chile’s most notorious pedophile of slander, an astonishing end to a visit meant to help heal the wounds of a sex abuse scandal that has cost the Catholic Church its credibility in the country.

Francis said that until he sees proof that Bishop Juan Barros was complicit in covering up the sex crimes of the Rev. Fernando Karadimas, such accusations against Barros are “all calumny.”

The pope’s remarks on Thursday (Jan. 18) drew shock from Chileans and immediate rebuke from victims and their advocates. They noted the accusers were deemed credible enough by the Vatican that it sentenced Karadima to a lifetime of “penance and prayer” for his crimes in 2011.

More here-

Six decades after it closed, a Bristol church will re-open as youth mission resource centre

From ACNS-

A church in the centre of the west of England port city of Bristol is to re-open 65 years after it was closed. Once it re-opens in the Autumn, St Nicholas’ Church will focus on engaging with young people who don’t currently go to church, and will act as what the diocese is calling a “Resourcing Church”, serving the wider city and assisting future church plants. It will be led by the Revd Toby Flint, currently the Lead Pastor at London’s Holy Trinity Brompton, home of the Alpha Course and a significant participant in church plants.

Bristol is a young city – some 60 per cent of people in the city centre are aged between 15 and 29. “The new church’s particular focus will be on younger generations,” the Diocese of Bristol said. The diocese has set out three priorities in its vision: making disciples, growing leaders and engaging younger generations. The new St Nicholas will explore those three priorities as well as partnering with other churches and organisations for social action, including looking at ways to tackle homelessness, food poverty and youth unemployment.

More here-


From Springfield-

The eight-day period each January between the feasts of the Confession of St Peter (the 18th) and the Conversion of St Paul (the 25th) has been observed across various Christian traditions for more than a century as the Week of Prayer for Christian Unity. If you’re readings this after January 25–no worries, ecumenism is important 365 days a year.

The number of distinct “brand names” of Christian bodies is staggering. It numbers in the tens of thousands. Given the manifest will of Jesus in his prayer “that they may all be one” (John 17:21), this reality ought to be scandalous beyond imagination. Yet, it isn’t. Instead, we have normalized a situation that we don’t see any hope of changing. We speak of the proliferation of denominations as representing healthy diversity, veritably a gift from God.  Each has its market niche of ethnic or cultural or devotional proclivities, and isn’t that wonderful, because then the gospel can reach a wider variety of people? Ecumenism is nice, but not an emergency.

More here-

All Flesh Must Once Again Become Fire: Origen’s Untamed Thinking

From Harvard Divinity School-

ORIGEN WAS BORN IN ALEXANDRIA in the late second century to Christian parents who gave him a pagan name: Ôrigenês, “child of Horus,” the falcon-headed sky god of the Egyptian pantheon. His was a life bookended by persecution: his father, killed for his faith when Origen was only sixteen years old, and Origen himself died from tortures suffered under the persecution of the emperor Decius in the year 253 or 254. His tormenters wanted him to yield so that they would have a prominent apostate with which to embarrass the church. That he did not yield, or die in their custody, but expired only later from his wounds meant that he was not, strictly speaking, like his father, a “martyr”—a witness to his faith unto death—but only a “confessor.”

More here-

Harvey Guthrie Jr., leader during historic period for Episcopalians, dies

From Christian Century-

Harvey Guthrie Jr., former Episcopal sem­inary dean, died on Decem­ber 17 in Oxnard, California, where he had been recovering from hip surgery.

During Guthrie’s tenure as dean, Epis­copal Divinity School in Cambridge, Massa­chusetts, became the first Episcopal seminary to allow ordained Anglican women to celebrate the Eucharist in its chapel and the first Episcopal seminary to admit openly gay and lesbian students to degree programs.

Guthrie participated in a historic period in the life of the Episcopal Church as a deputy to its general conventions from 1973 to 1982, as a leader in the movement for the ordination of women, as a participant in the deliberations leading to the 1979 revision of the Book of Common Prayer, and as an advocate for the recognition of gay and lesbian unions and the ordination of openly gay and lesbian people.

More here-

Thursday, January 18, 2018

Trinity Episcopal Church demolition underway downtown

From Newark-

Trinity Episcopal Church parishioners experienced a combination of sadness, relief and anticipation at Sunday's final service in the sanctuary before demolition of the 125-year-old church.

Demolition of the crumbling downtown building on the corner of East Main and First streets began in mid-December but will take several months because every stone will be sold for salvage.

Chuck Morello, senior warden at the church, said the demolition work ends five years of making every effort to save the structure. It will be at least April before demolition is completed, and probably three years before another building takes its place.

"It's sad to see it go," Morello said. "There were a lot of tears at the service Sunday. I think we have parishioners everywhere from sad to relieved. It's been a long slog. We've been five years at this.

More here-

Three centuries of Revival in the Diocese of Georgia

From Georgia-

While this week’s tent revival at Honey Creek may seem out of character for the Episcopal Church, the Diocese of Georgia’s history has been marked by revivals, including these three notable examples from our history:

18th century – Beef and Beer Dinners Lead to a Colony

Thomas Bray (1656-1730) was for most of his life, the rector of St. Botolph-Without-the-Walls, in London, but a brief tour of Maryland expanded the scope of his ministry. The Bishop of London, who was responsible for the colonies, sent Bray to the colony as his representative. Bray returned to England with a passion for assisting the work of the Gospel in the colonies. He developed a group of friends who ministered with beef and beer meals in the prisons on Sundays. A young James Oglethorpe joined him in this work. Bray suggested the idea of a colony where people could have a new chance at life. Though he died before Georgia was founded, the charter reflects his Christian utopian vision. Georgia was founded as a place where there would be no slaves, lawyers, and no accumulation of land beyond 150 acres per family.

More here-

You Are Worthy

From Pennsylvania-

Jesus Christ proclaimed a New Kingdom that is not of this world. As people of the New Kingdom, we identify, first, with Jesus Christ. We must always set aside nationalism, party identity, race or place of origin. Our identity is Jesus Christ. We are all beloved children of God. Every person on this earth is created in God’s image. That is a profound and moving realization and identity.

As followers of Jesus Christ who live this identity in the Episcopal Diocese of Pennsylvania I humbly offer the following:

We welcome, accept and embrace all our brothers and sisters; we are a diocese where everyone “belongs.” In Genesis, God created humanity in his image, male and female God created them (1:27). God formed us out of the dust of the earth and breathed the breath of life into us (2:6). God created every inch of this sacred earth and every person with liberating and loving hands. No person nor any place on earth is profane.

No person is unworthy.

More here-

Was He a Theologian?

From Commonweal-

Forty-three years after his untimely death, Thomas Merton remains one of the most compelling American Catholics of the past century. Most of his important books are in print, and he continues to attract new readers who identify with his journey to faith and to the monastic life. In the taxonomy of publishers and booksellers, however, his classification as a “spiritual writer” has tended to suggest that, while his writings might bring spiritual insight, they do not constitute heavy theological lifting. As a result, since his death numerous theologians have taken up the challenge of demonstrating the substance and merit of Merton’s work.

Christopher Pramuk’s Sophia: The Hidden Christ of Thomas Merton is the latest important contribution to this field. It began as a doctoral dissertation at the University of Notre Dame under the tutelage of Lawrence S. Cunningham, a longtime Commonweal contributor and the author of several books on Merton, including Thomas Merton and the Monastic Vision, perhaps the best theological introduction to Merton’s life and writings. Pramuk describes his project as one that “looks to Thomas Merton as a classic theologian of the mystical tradition from East to West, and offers a retrieval and interpretation of his mature Christology.” He frames Merton’s distinctive Christology (the monk of Gethsemani was by no means a systematic theologian) as “a unifying thread to be discerned in the larger tapestry of his life.”

More here-

Legislative Committee Rosters: General Convention 2018

From The House of Deputies-

Legislative committees of deputies, along with parallel legislative committees of bishops, work before and during General Convention to review and propose legislation for the convention to consider. For General Convention 2018, President Jennings has appointed the deputy committees listed below. Read her letter about committee appointments, and review the list of legislative committee officers.

More here-

Advancing to General Convention 2018: “Overview Calendar: What’s Happening at General Convention”

From The Episcopal Church-

The General Convention 2018 schedule and events along with related activities are available in the “Overview Calendar: What’s Happening at General Convention.”

The Episcopal Church 79th General Convention will be held Thursday, July 5 to Friday, July 13, 2018 at The Austin Convention Center, Austin, Texas (Diocese of Texas).

“Overview Calendar: What’s Happening at General Convention” offers calendars for official General Convention events, Episcopal Church Women Triennial meeting, exhibit and registration schedules, and events taking place in Austin related to Episcopal Church and General Convention.

“General Convention is a time to come together: to plan mission and ministry, worship, network, review friendships, and build community,” said the Rev. Canon Dr. Michael Barlowe, General Convention Executive Officer.  “Our new “Overview Calendar” is one way that we can easily see the many opportunities for us – including the official events – and plan accordingly.  People using our app, for instance, will be able to create their own, personalized calendar –customizing their days at General Convention around the legislative sessions, liturgies, and events they want to attend.  The “Overview Calendar” is going to help us all participate more fully in diverse, rich experiences, and add some order to the excitement that animates Convention.”

More here-

For judge, these immigrants in US are like Jews fleeing Nazis

From The Boston Globe-

A federal judge on Wednesday likened a group of Indonesian Christians facing possible deportation by the Trump administration to Jewish refugees trying to escape the Nazis.

Judge Patti B. Saris compared the plight of the Indonesians, who are in the country illegally, to Jews fleeing the Third Reich in a boat — an apparent reference to the infamous case of the St. Louis, an ocean liner that left Germany with 937 passengers, most of them Jews, and was turned away by the US government in 1939. Hundreds of the Jews were later killed during the Holocaust.

The Indonesians argue they will be tortured or killed because of their religion if forced to return to their Muslim-majority homeland. The Trump administration insists they have not proven they would be harmed if they returned to Indonesia.

More here-

Wednesday, January 17, 2018

Vandals hit 129-year-old Episcopal church in West Pasadena

From California-

Church suffered major damage and the loss of at least one significant historical statue after a vandal or vandals broke in early Saturday morning, spray painted graffiti, destroyed property and set fire to the structure.

A 129-year-old, strikingly beautiful West Pasadena church suffered major damage and the loss of at least one significant historical statue after a vandal or vandals broke in early Saturday morning, spray painted graffiti, destroyed property and set fire to the structure.

Although the fire was quickly extinguished by the Los Angeles City Fire Department, the Church of the Angels, at 1100 Avenue 64, suffered major damage from the assault, Pasadena Fire Dept. spokesperson Lisa Derderian said.

The fire was reported by a 911 caller in the neighborhood who saw smoke at about 2:20 a.m.  A Los Angeles Fire Dept. spokesperson said 41 firefighters knocked down the blaze in 14 minutes.

More here-

Syrian bishop narrowly avoids death in bombing

From Crux Now-

A bomb fell in the bedroom of the Maronite Archbishop of Damascus last week. He was spared death, he says, only because of a providential trip to the lavatory.

Archbishop Samir Nassar related that a shell fell on his bed the afternoon of Jan. 8, when he had been taking a nap. He got up to go to the bathroom shortly before the bomb hit his room, and he said that “a few seconds at the sink saved my life!”

“Providence watches over his little servant, but now I am exiled like 12 million Syrian refugees who have nothing left,” he told Catholic pastoral charity Aid to the Church in Need.

Nassar’s cathedral was heavily damaged. He said that “The doors of the cathedral and 43 windows and doors have to be replaced, holes need to be filled, fuel tanks and water tanks need repairing, as does the electricity network.”

More here-


From Comment-

When I first ran for governor seven years ago, my wife and I agreed on one thing: we both felt like I was called to run for governor. However, as she gently reminded me throughout the campaign, the election would determine whether I was called to actually be governor. Now, as I begin the last year of my second term as governor, I agree with John Senior who writes in his book, A Theology of Political Vocation: Christian Life and Public Office, that a new view of the theology of political vocation is not only possible, but also critical, as we live out our faith in a morally ambiguous political world.

Senior aptly describes the process, difficulty, and benefit of being called "in" and called "to" a political vocation. The process of being elected is part of being called in, and the difficulties arise immediately. For me, campaigning brought challenges that I had never anticipated. While the meek might inherit the earth, what do they do on the campaign trail? As believers we are instructed to "do nothing from selfish ambition or conceit, but in humility count others more significant than yourselves" (Philippians 2:3). Yet a campaign is primarily about saying, "I'm the one. Elect me and I can solve these problems." The challenges continue once you are in office. The issues are rarely as clear as they seem, and those issues are discussed in a media environment that is changing faster than anyone imagined. Today's social-media-driven world has no editors to check validity and rewards taking the low road while it punishes anyone choosing to defend against the crowd.

More here-

Guilty of Spiritual Abuse

From The Living Church-

In what is thought to be a landmark case, a church tribunal has convicted a vicar from Oxfordshire of spiritual abuse.

The Rev. Tim Davis of Abingdon moved into the family home of his victim, engaged in lengthy encounters in his bedroom, and tried to control his behavior. He forbade the boy, who cannot be named for legal reasons, from seeing his girlfriend. The case is said to be the first of its kind.

Davis was found guilty of misconduct after a tribunal found that his intense mentoring of the boy between 2012 and 2013 amounted to abuse. It found he sought to control the boy’s life and relationships. There were nightly one-to-one, unsupervised mentoring sessions lasting up to two hours in the boy’s bedroom. The boy was between 15 and 16 during those sessions.

More here-

Tuesday, January 16, 2018

Why Don’t People Want To Know?

From American Conservative-

I want to put this Alan Jacobs comment in a separate place from my thread about Christian higher education — the one I started earlier Monday, “The Big Freeze” — even though it rightly goes as an update. That post has been there since this morning, and I’m afraid if I updated it, most people wouldn’t read what Alan has to say about the same topic.

He has very strong words for Christians. Note well that Alan is a professor at Baylor University, an Anglican Evangelical, and not any kind of conventional conservative. He’s simply telling the truth here. Alan says the real crisis is going to come when Christian colleges and universities knuckle under to the left’s view of sexual desire and gender identity, or lose their accreditation. Excerpt:

"The people who argue that Christian institutions should support the modern left’s model of sexual ethics or else suffer a comprehensive shunning do not think of themselves as opponents of religion. And they are not, given their definition of religion, which is “a disembodied, Gnostic realm of private worship and thought”. But that is not what Christianity is. Christianity intrinsically, necessarily involves embodied action in the public world. And this the secular left cannot and will not tolerate, if it can help it, because it rightly understands that Christianity stands opposed to the secular left’s own gospel, which, popular opinion notwithstanding, is not essentially about sex but rather may be summed up as: “I am my own.”"

More here-

Catholic bishop says churches should stay open like the Church of England

From The Telegraph-

Catholic churches should follow the Church of England to keep their doors open outside of services, the bishop of Portsmouth has said.

Philip Egan complained that on a recent visit outside his diocese he had been unable to visit any churches because they had all been shut.

In a Tweet posted on Sunday he said: "Why oh why?! Just spent a few days outside the Diocese but every Catholic church I tried to visit was locked.

The Church of England recommends that its churches keep their doors open outside service times as best practice.

It says churches are actually more likely to be attacked when they are locked, "possibly as criminals feel they are less likely to be disturbed in a closed church than one where anyone could appear at any time".

More here-

also here-

Religious faith continues to be a driving force behind push for civil rights, Episcopal bishop says in West Haven MLK service

From Connecticut- (with video)

Even during a time when it seems as if “all of the progress that we have made” is being stalled, religious faith continues to be a driving force behind the push for civil rights, an Episcopal bishop said Monday in West Haven’s second Martin Luther King Jr. Day tribute in as many days.

“We are living in a contemporary moment where it seems that all the progress that we have made” is facing “it seems like, from the highest offices ... a consistent pattern of derogatory diminishment,” the Right Rev. Nathan D. Baxter, retired bishop of Central Pennsylvania, said at a tribute to the late Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.

The tribute service, of which Baxter was celebrant, was sponsored and organized by the Union of Black Episcopalians’ Southern Connecticut Chapter.

More here-

Monday, January 15, 2018

What Would Martin Say Now?

From Huffington-

Prophets are hard.

Prophets don’t come to us to make us feel better about ourselves, to tell us to affirm our inner goodness, or to grant us wishes like a Santa-Clause.

No, prophets come to hold up a mirror to our society and our hearts, and let us see how we have fallen away from God, how we are living unjustly. They tell us that unless we repent now, the judgment of the Lord is upon us.

Martin Luther King, Jr., was an American prophet in the old Biblical sense, a prophet from the black church tradition of love and justice who held a mirror to a society that was betraying its own lofty ideals. Today we hold up Dr. King in honor, yet we forget about the challenges that he faced in his time, challenges from the political establishment, challenges from the white church, and even challenges from the black church that questioned his engagement with the peace movement and the Vietnam War. It is no easy task to be a prophet, and you have to listen to Martin’s voice to hear the hardship he endured:

More here-

Is This a Bonhoeffer Moment?

From Sojourners-

Are we in a “Bonhoeffer moment” today?

It is common to wonder what we would have done if we lived in history’s most challenging times. Christians often find moral guidance in the laboratory of history—which is to say that we learn from historical figures and communities who came through periods of ethical challenge better than others. Christians who wish to discern faithfulness to Christ often look back to learn how others were able to determine faithful discipleship when their contemporaries could not.

With this in mind, Dietrich Bonhoeffer may help us out today.

Bonhoeffer was a German theologian and pastor who resisted his government when he recognized, very early and very clearly, the dangers of Hitler’s regime. His first warning about the dangers of a leader who makes an idol of himself came in a radio address delivered in February 1933, just two days after Hitler took office.

More here-

Miami archbishop: Trump is “Archie Bunker without the charm”

From Crux Now-

President Donald Trump is “channeling Archie Bunker without the charm,” says Archbishop Thomas Wenski of Miami in response to Trump’s alleged comments that African nations are “sh*thole countries.”

Trump’s remarks are said to have come during a Thursday meeting with lawmakers regarding DACA and immigration reform.

Bunker is the popular 1970s sitcom character from the television show “All in the Family,” which often used bigoted remarks and salty language as a source of humor for the show.

In an interview with Crux, Wenski said the president’s remarks were “disappointing” and likely came in an effort to assuage his critics after holding a bipartisan meeting on Tuesday where he signaled a willingness to sign comprehensive immigration reform into law.

More here-

Archbishop Nkoyoyo: A child of miracles

From Nigeria-

Ordinary people think merely of spending time. Great people think of using it. Livingstone Mpalanyi Nkoyoyo never relied on any such sage sayings, but the late Archbishop Emeritus of the Anglican Church of Uganda, who died on Jan. 05 of pneumonia, lived his life like someone with a lot to do in a short time. He often was to be heard exhorting his congregation to value time. “Buli ky’okola, kola mangu,” he would say in his native Luganda, meaning `whatever you are doing, do it hastily’. It also made him lead a purposeful life.

Before his death, Nkoyoyo had earlier undergone treatment for cancer of the throat at St. Mary’s Hospital, Paddington London in England where he spent six months between December 2016 and June 2017.

Born in 1938 colonial Uganda, Nkoyoyo – as a child of Buganda Kingdom’s chief Erisa Wamala Nkoyoyo and Naume Nakintu of Busimbi, Singo in Mityana District – he could have followed the usual path; studying at prestigious schools like King’s College Budo, before moving on to a foreign university like Cambridge in the UK. But Nkoyoyo chose a more practical path.

Instead, as he once explained in an interview with Bukedde, a Luganda newspaper; since he admired his father’s car so much, he decided that he would be its caretaker. So he went into motor vehicle mechanics.

More here-

Sunday, January 14, 2018

A Call for Justice

From Kenyon-

Kenyon’s annual “Day of Dialogue” celebration of Martin Luther King Jr.’s legacy will feature as keynote speaker an advocate in issues of social justice, racial reconciliation, immigration and marriage equality. The Most Rev. Michael B. Curry, the presiding bishop and primate of the Episcopal Church, will deliver a livestreamed address on Monday, Jan. 15, at 3 p.m. in Rosse Hall.

Curry, a high-energy and dynamic speaker, was installed as the first African American head of the Episcopal Church in November 2015. As presiding bishop, Curry has led the church in its renewed commitment to work toward racial justice and reconciliation.

In a March 2016 interview with The New York Times, Curry discussed this work: “Rather than creating just another program, we said we have got to go deeper. Because laws can change behavior, and must change behavior, but laws don’t change hearts. We’ve got to be about the work of changing and transforming hearts. And that happens by deepening real sustained relationships, and listening to and telling and sharing of our life stories.”

More here-

Reflections on leaving

From The Living Church-

Much has been said about the virtue of remaining within a church or denomination from which one dissents on theological and spiritual grounds. A number of posts on this blog more or less express my views on the matter. Remaining in the Anglican Church of Canada is something I am committed to, especially as a pastor in a parish and diocese in which I have taken vows. Still, there are reasons for people to leave, and sometimes the rationale for remaining can fly so high that it leaves people in the cold. I say this as one who finds himself in the Anglican Church of Canada after having come from somewhere else, and as one whose parents left a tradition. It was a difficult decision, but one that may have very well saved my life.

More here-

Arson suspects sought in Pasadena church fire

From LA Times-

Authorities are searching for those responsible for vandalizing a 129-year-old Pasadena church early Saturday and setting it on fire.

The fire was reported at about 2:20 a.m. at the Church of the Angels at 1100 N. Avenue 64, said Lisa Derderian, a spokeswoman with the Pasadena Fire Department. The Los Angeles Fire Department initially responded and put out the fire because of confusion over the address, she said.

The vandals broke a stone statue in front of the church and sprayed graffiti on its exterior walls, Derderian said. The church sustained smoke damage, including to some pews, and a solid oak statue that was part of the church when it was built was badly damaged, she said.

The fire was started inside the building, she said.

More here-

We’re not Kmart. The Church is Not Dying.

From Country Parson-

One theme keeps driving online conversations among Episcopalians: How can we grow the church in the face of decades long decline?  It doesn’t matter what the original subject was, only moments are required to turn it toward church growth.  It’s a common marketing question just like ones asked at Kmart, Macy’s, J.C. Penny, McDonald’s, and even Amazon.  It’s the same question asked in every consumer products company about every consumer product.  Maybe that’s why it so easily becomes our question too.  Its pervasiveness in American culture makes it appear as the natural, normal, necessary question every organization must ask about everything they do.  The consultants say so. 

Maybe so, but not for the church.  At least not for the Episcopal Church.  We’re not selling a consumer product.  My nonreligious buddy disagrees.  You are too, he says, you’re trying to sell me a religious product with “wait, that’s not all” promises, and I’m not buying.  It that’s what we’re about, he’d be right, but we are in (or should be) the business of proclaiming the gospel, the good news of God as revealed in Christ Jesus.  The right question is, How can we better proclaim the gospel?  It isn’t our church.  It’s God’s church.  We don’t have to save it.  Last I heard, God was not in need of a marketing consultant.  What we need is to faithfully proclaim the gospel by word, sacrament, and and hard work of living into what we proclaim.

More here-