Saturday, February 3, 2018

Oklahoma Episcopal bishop named to special council

From Oklahoma-

The leader of Oklahoma Episcopalians recently was elected to be part of a team representing the Episcopal Church USA on a prestigious council of the worldwide Anglican Communion.

The Rt. Rev. Edward J. Konieczny, bishop of the Episcopal Diocese of Oklahoma, was elected by the Episcopal Church USA's Executive Council to serve as its bishop member on the Anglican Consultative Council (ACC).

According to a news release from the denomination's public affairs office, the Anglican Consultative Council is one of the four instruments of communion in the Anglican Communion, of which the Episcopal Church is one of the 39 province members. The Episcopal Church USA is the American arm of the Anglican Communion.

More here-

Episcopal group wants priests to have say in officiating same-sex weddings in Middle Tennessee

From Tennessee-

The Episcopal bishop in Middle Tennessee does not allow priests to officiate same-sex weddings even if they want to, but supporters are trying to change that.

They want a resolution passed at this week's Annual Convention for the Episcopal Diocese of Tennessee that urges the national church to let clergy make their own decisions on whether or not to marry gay and lesbian couples in their parishes.

"What we want is for each priest to be able to follow his or her conscience," said Connally Davies Penley, an advisory board member for St. Augustine's Chapel in Nashville.

The chapel's board and the vestries of four parishes in Nashville and Sewanee proposed the nonbinding resolution. It is among those being considered during the Annual Convention, which meets Friday and Saturday at St. Paul's Episcopal Church in Murfreesboro.

If passed, the resolution will be sent to the General Convention, the governing body of the church, that meets in July in Austin, Texas. 

More here-

Covington priest offers perfect message for Super Bowl weekend

From New Orleans-

When the Rev. Bill Miller, pastor of Christ Episcopal Church in Covington, began his sermon last Sunday, it was like being transported back in time: "Jan. 14, 2018, is a day that shall live in infamy," he intoned. "Especially if you love the New Orleans Saints."

He proceeded slowly, emphasizing every bit of the agony we all were feeling.

"Most of us may try to forget but will likely always remember that moment at the very end of the playoff game two weeks ago, after God's team -- the New Orleans Saints -- made another miraculous comeback against the Minnesota Vikings in their home stadium. A moment when victory was ours and was all but assured. A Saints Super Bowl was in sight when the mistake was made -- an inconceivable miscalculation of consequential impact."

When a young 21-year-old safety by the name of Marcus Williams missed an easy tackle, even taking out the only other Saints defender who might have made a play on Stefon Diggs after he somehow caught a desperation pass from Case Keenum as time on the clock expired and he ran untouched for a 61-yard, game-ending, season-ending, heart-wrenching score, and in an instant absolute euphoria turned to utter devastation.

More here-


From Wired-

THE FIRST TIME D. J. Soto strapped on an Oculus Rift and stepped into virtual reality, he felt like the ancient prophets must have felt—arriving in the promised land that would fulfill his destiny. It was a summer Friday in 2016, and the virtual world he was visiting, AltSpaceVR, was just a year old. Billing itself as a free social network in virtual reality, AltSpaceVR allows its users to toggle between 2-D and 3-D, using a virtual-reality headset or a computer monitor to explore the space. When Soto entered, he found a virtual world that was practically empty: just a few avatars attending quiz shows or cheesy comedy performances. Still, the young preacher was electrified.

In the months since he’d quit his job as a pastor at a branch of his local megachurch in Reading, Pennsylvania, Soto had been looking for a way to create a radically inclusive church. After all, he had embarked on a career in ministry to introduce as many people as possible to God’s love. Scripture called for men of the cloth to reach into the most unreceptive corners of the world and find common ground with outsiders: the weirdos, the sinners, the dammed, the indisposed. But Christianity, Soto believed, had stalled in this mission. The ministers he knew were happy preaching only to those who walked through their doors on Sunday. The only way to spread the good news as he envisioned, Soto decided, was to found his own church.

More here-

Bishop begins bid to change law on marriage registration in England and Wales

From ACNS-

A change in the law to allow the names of couples’ mothers to be included in the official registers of marriages in England and Wales is a step closer after a Church of England bishop successfully steered a Bill through its second reading in the House of Lords – the upper house of the British Parliament. At present, marriage registers include only the name of the couple’s fathers. The Bishop of St Albans, Alan Smith, described this as “a clear and historic injustice” and “an archaic practice and unchanged since Victorian times, when children were seen as a father’s property and little consideration was given to a mother’s role in raising them.”

Bishop Alan is one of 26 Church of England bishops in the House of Lords: The Archbishops of Canterbury and York, and the Bishops of London, Durham and Winchester are the five senior member of the Bishops’ Benches. The other 21 places are taken by diocesan bishops in order of seniority, with a temporary transitional measure which sees qualifying female bishops placed higher in the succession list. This afternoon, Bishop Alan became the first bishop to steer a Bill – draft legislation – through its second reading stage in more than 30 years. It now progresses to the detailed clause-by-clause committee stage.

More here-

Friday, February 2, 2018


From Joy 105-

The Presiding Bishop of the US-based Episcopal Church, Michael Curry, and Archbishop Fred Hiltz of the Anglican Church of Canada, have joined with their Lutheran colleagues to offer a series of Lenten reflections. Together with Presiding Bishop Elizabeth Eaton of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America and National Bishop Susan Johnson from the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Canada, they have prepared reflections for Ash Wednesday, the five weeks in Lent, Palm Sunday and the Triduum.

Each reflection begins with a series of four Bible readings from the Old and New Testaments, a Psalm and a Gospel – with three-sets for the Triduum. These are followed by a reflection by one of the bishops and a prayer. In the first of the reflections, for Ash Wednesday (14 February), Bishop Elizabeth Eaton writes about the need for racial equity in churches, saying: “We have been claimed in baptism, buried with Christ in a death like his, to be raised with Christ in a resurrection like his. We have already died the only death that really matters, and yet… We do not recognize the full humanity of others.”

More here-

Anglican Church in Southeast Asia now in ‘impaired communion’ with Scottish Episcopal Church

From Anglican Church League-

Here is a statement, released today, from the Synod of the Province of the Anglican Church in South East Asia – from the 2nd Meeting of its 6th Session in Tawau, Sabah, Malaysia, from 29th to 31st January, 2018.

31st January 2018

Noting the decision of the Scottish Episcopal Church on 8 June 2017 to change its doctrine of marriage and to recognise same-sex marriages and further to amend its Canons to allow for the rite of blessing of same-sex marriages, which is a contravention of Resolution 1.10 of the Lambeth Conference 1998; and

Recalling that as a consequence of the then Episcopal Church of the United States of America (ECUSA) proceeding with the consecration of Gene Robinson as a Bishop of the Diocese of New Hampshire in 2003, in contravention of Resolution 1.10 of the Lambeth Conference 1998, the Province of the Anglican Church in South East Asia declared in 2003 that it was in a state of impaired communion with ECUSA (now known as The Episcopal Church)

More here-

Episcopal Church in US does penance for failing victims of abuse

From The Church Times-

EPISCOPALIANS in the United States are being urged to spend the 40 days of Lent examining the institutional Church’s record of failure in handling cases of sexual abuse, harassment, and exploitation.

In an open letter to churchgoers, the Presiding Bishop of the Episcopal Church in the United States, the Most Revd Michael Curry, and the President of the House of Deputies, the Revd Gay Jennings, called for Ash Wednesday to be dedicated to examining the ways “in which we in the Church have failed to stand with women and other victims of abuse and harassment”.

The exploitation of women had been endemic in the Church for much longer than in Hollywood or journalism or industry, they wrote.

They asked Christians to make it part of their Lenten discipline to redouble their commitment to “be communities of safety that stand against the spiritual and physical violence of sexual exploitation and abuse”. Reflecting on the biblical story of the rape and exploitation of King David’s daughter Tamar, they described it as a “biblical story devoid of justice”.

The letter acknowledges the effect of widespread abuse scandals across the US — in the government and in the film and music industries, and elsewhere — and the Church’s own “sexism, misogyny, and misuse of power”.

More here-

Can an Institution Built on the Backs of Women Be the One to Liberate Them?

From Sojourners-

Earlier this month, the New York Times chronicled the Sunday morning that Andy Savage, a Memphis, Tenn., megachurch pastor, stood before his congregation and admitted to having had a regrettable “incident” with a young woman when he was a youth pastor. His admission came days after a woman came forward with her narrative of being assaulted by him as a teenager when she was a student under his pastoral leadership in Houston. She detailed being taken to a remote location and being forced to give him oral sex before he swore her to secrecy. In response to these allegations, Savage offered a cryptic, scripted explanation of his actions, throughout which it is quite clear that his victim has yet to receive the healing, restoration, or justification that she needs to move forward, even though 20 years have passed. Savage received a standing ovation.

Throughout the article, Savage and his counterparts referred to his abuse as “sin,” and opted to “deal with” him internally. What “deal with” meant remains unclear, but what is apparent is that none of the systems and processes for “dealing with” the assault included law enforcement. They did, however, call for the silencing of the alleged victim, Jules Woodson. From the perpetrator to the senior pastor of the church, the victim was repeatedly instructed to be silent in the face of a “sin” that had been committed against her.

More here-

Cradle Episcopalians: Who Cares?

From The Living Church-

It is my great desire to walk around this summer’s General Convention with a mic, sweetly asking people, “Are you a cradle Episcopalian?” and then yelling “No one cares” as they begin to answer.

The phrase describes a segment of the Episcopal Church that I have never understood. It almost makes my skin crawl, except that I find it hilarious. I mean, who thinks that the Episcopal Church has been on some sort of an upward trajectory for the past few decades? Friends, we have been in grave decline. For some time now, the Episcopal Church has been known for flagrant alcoholism, powerful wealth, and confusing ourselves with Jesus.

I will say, though, that when people say Cradle Episcopalian and mean Waspy repression, flagrant alcoholism (is there a theme?), and a spiritless spirituality, I think, that’s more like it. Because when you say “I’m a Cradle Episcopalian,” I generally think of a dysfunctional Mad Men character.

More here-

Wednesday, January 31, 2018

The Divine Dance: The Trinity and Your Transformation

From Parabola-

“We must begin with Trinity if we are to rebuild Christianity from the bottom up. The Trinity is absolutely foundational to Christianity because it reveals the heart of the nature of God.”
–Fr. Richard Rohr1

In his foreword to this new book from Roman Catholic priest and author Father Richard Rohr, William Paul Young, author of “The Shack,” refers to communities of intelligent mystics who summon us to participate more consciously “in this divine dance of loving and being loved.” Rohr leads such a band, and in The Divine Dance he sets out to overturn what he considers a static image of God, inviting us to see Him not as “the Eternal Threatener,” but as “the Ultimate Participant—in everything—both the good and the painful.” For Rohr, God is “a flow, a radical relatedness, a perfect communion between three—a circle dance of love.”

Thus begins his latest book of 224 pages in three parts—not a lot of space in which to challenge millennial ideas or evoke cosmic perspectives around the Christian concept of the Trinity. The first section explains the need for what he calls a Trinitarian Revolution. In the second, Rohr explores the many difficulties that come between us and the experience of the presence of God, as he asks (or rather tells us), Why the Trinity? Why Now? In the third part, by far the shortest, he addresses the Holy Spirit.

More here-

Filling an Educational Void

From The Living Church-

When Episcopal Divinity School (EDS) left Cambridge, Massachusetts, last year for New York City, the move gave rise to a new void and a question: where will Boston-area candidates for ordination go for formation and coursework?

One answer is now coming from Boston University School of Theology (BUSTH), which is expanding its newly launched Anglican Episcopal Community of Learning. It is part of a multipronged effort at BU to fill more niches as economic pressures take a toll on the region’s theological resources.

Boston’s collection of major theological schools is shrinking from nine to seven with the departure of EDS and Andover Newton Theological School (ANTS), a clergy training hub for the American Baptist Church and United Church of Christ. EDS has joined forces with Union Theological Seminary in New York. ANTS is moving to Yale Divinity School this year.

More here-

Why people are not happy in Nigeria – Bishop Madu

From Nigeria-

The Anglican Bishop of Oji-River Diocese, Most Rev. Amos Madu, has revealed the reason the citizens are not happy in Nigeria.

According to him, people were not happy in the country because they lacked exemplary leadership qualities among political elites.

Madu said this yesterday while delivering a homily at the service of songs held for late former Vice-President, Dr Alex Ekwueme, at the Cathedral Church of the Good Shepherd, Independence Layout in Enugu.

He, however, urged leaders in the country to lead with the fear of God by showing exemplary qualities at all times.

He said: “why people are not happy in the country is due to lack of exemplary leadership qualities among leaders.

“We will continue to pray for God’s intervention to give us leaders with impeccable character as well as men and women with forthrightness.”

More here-

DC Episcopalians Push Open Borders And A Gender Neutral God

From The Daily Caller-

The governing body of the Episcopalian Diocese of Washington, D.C., approved measures to adopt gender neutral pronouns for God, embrace transgenderism, and a push for open borders.

The 123rd Diocesan Convention of the Episcopal Church in D.C. passed a trifecta of resolutions Saturday to replace all gendered pronouns referring to God with gender neutral pronouns, oppose laws against illegal immigration, and open traditionally gender restricted congregational roles and facilities, like bathrooms, to transgender individuals. The convention, held at the Washington National Cathedral, passed the resolutions within an hour, according to The Institute On Religion & Democracy.

The resolutions, entitled “On Becoming a Sanctuary Diocese: Offering Sacred Welcome to Immigrants,” “On the Gendered Language for God,” and “On Inclusion of Transgender People,” garnered support from Rev. Kimberly Lucas, who sponsored all three, and Rev. Alex Dyer, who proposed two of the resolutions. Lucas serves as rector of St. Margaret’s Episcopal Church in D.C. and Dyer serves as rector of St. Thomas’ Episcopal Parish in D.C., both of which have suffered a massive decline in member participation within the last decade, according to parochial reports.

More here-

Tuesday, January 30, 2018

Bishop Sean Rowe: Welcoming Dreamers the obvious choice

From Allentown-

The current political morass in Washington has thrown light on a deep and ugly divide in our country and in our faith communities on the issue of immigration.

More than half of white evangelical Christians — a group that gave 81 percent of its votes to President Trump in the 2016 election — say that immigration is a threat to this country's "traditional customs and values."

In the same survey, conducted by Public Religion Research Institute in 2015, 70 percent of Hispanic Catholics say that immigration "strengthens American society." Other Christian groups fall in between, but only among white evangelicals does the majority report being threatened by immigration.

Proponents of these sharply contrasting views are on center stage as Congress prepares to negotiate what Sen. Chuck Schumer of New York called "a global agreement" that will include the fate of the young people who live in this country under the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program initiated by President Obama in 2012 and ended by President Trump last September.

More here-

Hymnathons: Episcopal choirs perform marathon-style training events to raise funds

From Seattle-

Fiona Campbell prepared for last weekend’s test of endurance by eating a good breakfast, hydrating and keeping a big water bottle by her side.

The Jan. 27 event wasn’t a 26.2-mile race, a running marathon. It was a hymnathon — a test of singing stamina like no other.

“It’s going to be a looooooong time,” said Campbell, 20, the week before the fundraising event. Campbell’s been a chorister at St. Mark’s Episcopal Cathedral in Seattle, Washington, since she was 10. To raise money for the Evensong Choir to sing at historical cathedrals in England this summer, choir members sang the first verses of 720 hymns for almost nine hours straight. They had a 15-minute morning break, a one-hour lunch break and a 15-minute afternoon break.

Working through the Hymnal 1982, they started with hymn No. 1 at 8 a.m. They also devoted two hours to singing all the verses of the special dedication hymns chosen by donors who gave an extra amount for the honor. To fit it all in, they had two timekeepers to help singers average about 30 seconds a hymn, with the goal to cross the finish line by 6 p.m.

More here-

Christianity Cannot Survive the Decline in Worship

From On Faith-

Around the year 1510, a delegation of Christians from Sudan, which had been recently overrun by Muslim conquest, went to the Christian Ethiopian court and begged the emperor to send them bishops and priests. The Christians remaining in Sudan needed clergy to lead worship, administer the sacraments, and teach the people. But the emperor refused, sending them away empty-handed.

With no Christian worship, within 100 years Christianity in Sudan became extinct and forgotten until the twentieth century.

That historical moment is a useful example for Christians today.

The mainline Protestant churches have been declining for decades. This trend has now reached the evangelical churches, too. In a desperate attempt to stay alive, churches and their leaders are coming up with new solutions, new strategies and guesses.
New church plants are tailored for terribly busy people, giving them a brief moment of worship (with the stress on brief) “on the run.”

More here-

Reports to the 79th General Convention

From The General Convention-

2018 Blue Book Reports

In the list below reports in red are live links.  Clicking the link will open a .pdf version of the report which may be read online or downloaded for free.  Reports in black are not yet ready.  All reports will be posted by May of 2018.

In May we will also have print versions available for purchase from Amazon.  Please note that due to the size of the reports, we will have multiple volumes in the print versions, which must be purchased separately.  

More here-

Losing Our Religion and Our Humanity

From National Review-

Cain and Abel and the Tower of Babel: These are far from the most inspiring of biblical images. And so they are the ones that jump out at you upon reading Pope Francis’s recent message on “fake news” and our communications today. As I quickly checked Twitter before setting down to write this column, I saw someone express a wish that an ideological opponent would get hit by a bus, simply for having a different point of view. In such a climate, when we are losing our grasp on the reality of our common humanity, the pope’s message seemed like an urgent plea from a wise pastor. Pope Francis talked about why it can be difficult to unmask and eliminate fake news:

Many people interact in homogeneous digital environments impervious to differing perspectives and opinions. Disinformation thus thrives on the absence of healthy confrontation with other sources of information that could effectively challenge prejudices and generate constructive dialogue; instead, it risks turning people into unwilling accomplices in spreading biased and baseless ideas. The tragedy of disinformation is that it discredits others, presenting them as enemies, to the point of demonizing them and fomenting conflict. Fake news is a sign of intolerant and hypersensitive attitudes, and leads only to the spread of arrogance and hatred. That is the end result of untruth.

Read more at:

Monday, January 29, 2018

How Quebec City Muslims and Anglicans found friendship through faith and grief

From Canada-

Members of Quebec City's Muslim community will stand alongside those of the Huron-Wendat, Jewish, Catholic, Anglican and many other communities Sunday, as they honour the victims of last year's deadly attack on a mosque.

The interfaith ceremony, which starts at 7 p.m. at the Pavillion de Jeunesse at Expo Cité, will not be the first time different religious communities in the city will have come together since the shooting.

Bruce Myers, bishop of the Anglican diocese of Quebec and Boufeldja Benabdallah, co-founder of the Islamic Cultural Centre of Quebec City, spoke with Ainslie MacLellan on CBC Radio's All in a Weekend, about how their communities have built a friendship.

More here-

and here-

First woman ordained priest at Christ Church in Gardiner says experience ‘joyful’

From Maine-

The path to becoming an Episcopal priest is a deliberate and well-trod route that thousands have followed.

Kerry Mansir’s route started in a different spiritual location, followed a different map and took in different experiences.

None of that mattered on Saturday, Jan. 20, when the Rev. Kerry Mansir was ordained as a priest at Christ Church Episcopal in Gardiner — the first ordination in the church in about four decades and the first ordination of a woman that anyone can remember since Gardiner’s oldest church was the first parish to join the Diocese of Maine in 1820. It’s also where the first bishop of the Maine diocese is buried.

“I was teary-eyed. I have been a participant in many ordinations in my 35 years,” said the Rev. Stephen Muncie, the priest in charge at Christ Church. “This one felt sort of exceedingly joyful and deeply moving. We all had some tears, and it was due to Kerry.”

More here-

The Holy Work of Grieving

From Communicating Across Boundries-

Two days ago, my friend’s dad died. In twenty first century vernacular – she “lost” her dad. “Lost” is such a silly thing to say – like she needs to just go searching for him and she will find him; like it’s a child’s game of hide ‘n seek.

“Lois – just look for him! I’m sure you’ll find him.”

My dark humor comes through as I think about this. We humans delight in deceiving ourselves about death and loss by using words that are ambiguous and sweetly horrid.

As I heard the news, I immediately revisited my dad’s death and the resulting losses. The first picture taken of Lois and me together was on the banks of the Dead Sea. Each of us is holding hands with our dads. Our dads are so young and so alive. Two adventurers – as at home in Pakistan and Jordan as they were in the United States. They lived between worlds – learning languages with sounds that seemed impossible, deciphering a script that was completely foreign, and traveling to places that topped the U.S State Department watch list. They learned about Middle Eastern hospitality; about what it was to send their children to boarding schools; and about friendship in a Middle Eastern context. Most of all, they learned what it is to follow a faith until the end and to never give up.

More here-

Puerto Rico family State of the Union

From Orlando-

Bishop Gregory Brewer sits with the the Ortiz Torres family after giving them a blessing before their trip to Washington DC, at the Episcopal Diocese of Central Florida, on Thursday, January 25, 2018. Left to Right, Emmanuel Ortiz Nazario; Bishop Gregory Brewer; mom Cristal Torrez Rodriguez; Delimar Isabelle Ortiz Torres, 4; and Aziel Amir Ortiz Torres, 10, -- The family displaced from Puerto Rico has relocated to Florida is joining Rep. Stephanie Murphy (D-Winter Park) at President Donald Trump’s State of the Union address. They will talk about needs of displaced families in Central Florida and those back on the island.

More here-

Much more here-