Saturday, February 10, 2018

Justin Welby calls for greater Anglican Communion say in selection of successor

From ACNS-

The Primates of the Anglican Communion should have a greater say in the appointments of future Archbishops of Canterbury, the current Archbishop, Justin Welby, said today. Archbishop Welby made his comments during a debate at the Church of England’s General Synod on the working of the Crown Nominations Commission (CNC) – the body that recommends appointments to diocesan bishoprics. Appointments of bishops in the Church of England are made by the Queen, as Supreme Governor of the Church, who acts on the advice of the CNC.

The CNC is usually chaired by the Archbishop of Canterbury or York, dependent upon the province of the vacancy. Its membership includes central members nominated by the General Synod, and diocesan members, nominated by the diocese in which the vacancy occurs. In the case of the Archbishop of Canterbury, the CNC is chaired by an independent lay member of the Church of England, appointed by the British Prime Minister. And a Primate of the Anglican Communion is selected to join the Commission. Today, Archbishop Welby suggested that in future, the Communion should be represented by five Primates – one from each region.

More here-

Christian: You Are Upset About the Wrong Things

From Patheos-

Sociologist Tony Campolo has been known, when speaking to Christian audiences, to begin by saying something like this:

I have three things I’d like to say today. First, while you were sleeping last night, 30,000 kids died of starvation or diseases related to malnutrition. Second, most of you don’t give a shit. What’s worse is that you’re more upset with the fact I just said “shit” than you are that 30,000 kids died last night.
When citing this, I have had people prove his very point by responding something to the effect of, “Yeah, I get it, but I still wish he would make his point some other way…” Ummm, that is his point. His point, in my opinion, isn’t really about the children (although it is, obviously); his point is that we (Christians) get upset over the wrong things. Our moral sense of outrage is often misdirected.

The fact that we notice the language, our being offended, before we really register the fact that children are dying, tells us all we need to know. Any focus on a crude term and not on his greater point that children are dying of starvation or malnutrition and that we might be complicit proves his very point. If there was a tiny gasp from the crowd at that word or an awkward silence—such reactions were misdirected. These people were upset about the wrong thing.


Friday, February 9, 2018

Accused counselor now inviting patients to his home

From Central Florida-

Kissimmee police said a pastoral counselor accused of touching one of his patients inappropriately is now inviting some of his patients to his home.

News 6 first reported the arrest of Dr. Gerardo "Jerry" DeJesus -- an Episcopal priest and a pastoral counselor -- in January.

Investigators said one of his patients called police after he "touched her in an unwanted manner outside the scope of his care."

Officers said they arrested DeJesus and charged him with three counts of battery.

Now, police said, they've learned that DeJesus is inviting some of his patients to his home.

"I can't for the life of me fathom why he would be putting himself in that situation," said his accuser, who wished to remain anonymous.

News 6 checked with the Episcopal Diocese of Orlando, where Bishop Gregory Brewer said he immediately "inhibited (DeJesus) from functioning as a priest in any capacity" after his arrest.

More here-

The Episcopal Diocese of Bethlehem Transition Committee

From The Diocese of Bethlehem-

The Standing Committee of the Diocese of Bethlehem is pleased to announce the approved slate of nominees received from the Search Committee for the IX Bishop of Bethlehem.

The Rev. Canon Kevin D. Nichols 

We live in a time where religious and other institutions are being dismantled. I see this as a moment for us as the Church to recover our purpose for why we are here - for reconciliation and to offer God’s love and healing where there has been painful damage. The Diocese of Bethlehem, in its diverse landscapes, is rich and fertile ground for God’s planting and pruning (John 15). 

The Rev. Canon Ruth Woodliff-Stanley

Six months ago, I refused to look down as we ascended 415 feet on Zumanjaro, the world’s tall-est drop ride. We paused, then plunged 90 miles per hour to the ground in 6 seconds. They say on a clear day you can see Philadelphia from the top. I wouldn’t know, as I didn’t look out. Now, I am a coaster aficionado, but drop rides terrify me. In line, I said, “I’m not doing this….” My sons responded, “You can do this, Mom.” And George recited his courage mantra, “Do scary things.” 

More here-

Episcopal Relief & Development Responds to the Refugee Crisis in Syria

From University Chronicle-

Episcopal Relief & Development is working with the Fellowship of Middle East Evangelical Churches (FMEEC) to respond to the needs of people displaced by the ongoing unrest in Syria.

This FMEEC partnership will provide blankets, clothing, stoves and fuel during the harsh winter months to 2,850 people newly displaced who are living in the Aleppo, Homs and Hama governorates. Aleppo and Homs have been the center of the conflict. Many homes and buildings have been destroyed and people don’t have access to basic services.

With the crisis in its seventh year, Syrians struggle with basic needs, including food, shelter and medicine. Approximately six million people have been displaced and uprooted from their homes in Syria with over five million seeking refuge outside of the country.

“We are are thankful for our partnership with FMEEC, an organization that is particularly knowledgeable and well connected in Syria, during this humanitarian crisis,” said Rob Radtke, President of Episcopal Relief & Development. “After recently visiting the Holy Land Institute for the Deaf outreach centers in Za’atari and Azraq in Jordan and witnessing the impact of displacement, I am grateful to our partners for providing a compassionate and critical response for those uprooted from their homes and who face an uncertain future.”

More here-

Kay Goldsworthy becomes first female Anglican archbishop in the world

From Australia-

The first time Kay Goldsworthy knelt before the altar of an Anglican church to become a deacon, the solemn ceremony was interrupted by a bomb scare.

Someone who wouldn’t accept a woman in clerical collar thought a death threat might stave off the ordination of women.

Three decades later, Kay Goldsworthy reached the top of the church.

In St George’s cathedral in Perth this week she will become Australia’s first woman archbishop.

But it isn’t all celebration. She’s taking over the Perth diocese because her predecessor, Roger Herft, resigned after admitting he mismanaged sexual abuse cases when he was bishop of Newcastle.

More here-

and here-

Thursday, February 8, 2018

Nigeria under spiritual darkness, but there is hope, says Okoh

From Nigeria-

Primate of the Church of Nigeria (Anglican Communion), Nicholas Okoh, yesterday said Nigeria’s current situation could only be possible because Nigerians were spiritually blind and the entire nation operating under spiritual darkness.
His words: “Where spiritual blindness and poverty persist in a nation, it will eventually result in economic poverty, breakdown of social system and emergence of heartless people, who will make the times perilous.

“When leaders lead without the counsel and fear of God, they grope in darkness and won’t see what makes them stumble.”Okoh, who spoke on The Poverty Of The Riches, at a meeting of the Church, said: “The blessings of natural resources with which God has blessed Nigeria, had no impact on the wellbeing of the people.”

The reason for that, he stated, was because Nigerians have forsaken the giver and put their confidence in gifts.He said the Church of Nigeria could not be divorced from the country’s spiritual poverty, as evidenced in the divisions, greed, spiritual shortsightedness and confidence in wealth.Okoh further told members that the Church “has strong connection with the nation,” adding: “It is the members of the Church that make up the state. Therefore, to a large extent, the life of the Church impacts the nation and vice versa”.

More here-

Should church order prevent church union?

From Psephizo-

Responses to the report Ministry and Mission in Covenant, proposing closer union between the Church of England and the Methodist Church (and discussed in my previous post), have reignited the responses that were made to the earlier scheme in 1969, which was agreed by the Methodists but rejected by the Church of England’s Church Assembly (the precursor of General Synod). In this extract from his biography of Michael Ramsey, then Archbishop of Canterbury, historian Peter Webster highlights the issues and the way that Ramsey engaged with them.

It may be that the most important ecumenical event in twentieth century Britain was the failure of the scheme for reunion between the Church of England and the Methodist Church in 1972. The achievement of unity had taken on immense national and international significance, and the authors of the Scheme were in no doubt as to why. Visible disunity among the churches placed constraints on co-operation at local level, leading to ‘frustration, impatience and the gradual cessation of effort.’ There was reason too to suppose that the decline in numbers in the churches and in new vocations to ordained ministry was also consequent on the same ‘pattern of incompetence which [the churches] present in which disunity is a main feature.’

More here-

Me Too founder advocates for community changes

From Pittsburgh-

Tarana Burke remembers the first day she saw “Me Too” used on Twitter — Oct. 15, 2017, when actress Alyssa Milano used the phrase in response to the sexual assault allegations against producer Harvey Weinstein.

Burke, who is known as the first person to use the now-popular phrase, is a supporter of the #MeToo movement on social media, but she doesn’t want people to see the viral slogan as a solution to the problem.

“The solution is listening to the people who’ve had experience, not making more hashtags,” Burke said.

Burke, a civil rights activist and community organizer, stopped by Pittsburgh Tuesday night while traveling around the country to speak about what the movement means to her.

At the event hosted by PublicSource, about 1,000 people gathered in the Calvary Episcopal Church on Shady Avenue to listen to Burke discuss how the movement came about and how it has affected other people. The #MeToo movement spread on social media after sexual misconduct allegations against Hollywood producer Harvey Weinstein, but Burke began using the term in 2006.

More here-

Executive Council awards Episcopal Church Evangelism Grants

From The Episcopal Church-

The Episcopal Church Executive Council, at its January meeting in Linthicum Heights, MD, approved the recipients of 15 Evangelism Grants, totaling $37,450.  The new Episcopal Evangelism Grants Program is designed to fund local and regional evangelism efforts in the Episcopal Church.

“This program will encourage our whole Church to share resources, catalyze imagination, and ultimately cultivate a network of evangelists who can learn from each other and connect with each other,” explained the Rev. Canon Susan Brown Snook, Chair of both the Episcopal Evangelism Grants Committee and the Executive Council Committee on Local Mission and Ministry.

The Episcopal Evangelism Grants program is coordinated by the Local Mission and Ministry Committee in collaboration with the Episcopal Church's Evangelism Initiatives Team.

“Evangelism isn’t some scary practice only ‘other’ Christians do,” said the Rev. Canon Stephanie Spellers, Presiding Bishop’s Canon for Evangelism, Reconciliation and Creation Care, and a member of the Grants Committee. “Evangelism is the heart of Christian life, and we hope this program will light a fire and connect Episcopalians who are creating unique, authentically Episcopal ways of seeking, naming and celebrating Jesus’ loving presence everywhere.”

More here-

To know Donald Trump’s faith is to understand his politics

From The Guardian-

The only surprising feature of Donald Trump’s first year in office is that it has been entirely predictable. So when I mention to colleagues that I have been researching Trump’s religious faith, reactions vary from mild scoffing (“I thought he was his own prosreligion”) to bafflement and surprise. But Trump has a faith. And if you want to know how the next few years of his presidency will pan out, understanding Trump’s religion is an important key.

Start with his inauguration ceremony. Pastor Paula White was one of the clergy nominated to pray for Trump on the day. A televangelist and exponent of the “health, wealth and prosperity” movement, she preaches the “prosperity gospel”, an unorthodox approach to Christianity that says God wants people to be rich, and that he makes them wealthy as a sign of his blessing. So the richer you are, the more obvious it is that God loves you, and the stronger your faith is.

White teaches that God rewards “faithful” people who invest in His promised providence. You invest by making deposits – faith, prayers and gifts of money – to God (the church, naturally, is the “steward” of your financial gifts). So if you want to be healthy and wealthy, all you need to do is give, and then believe, and all your heart’s desires will be realised. The more you invest, the greater the likely rewards.

More here-

‘The Stuff of Tyranny’: Christian Baker Who Refused to Make Gay Wedding Cake Scores Major Victory

From Faith Wire-

A California judge ruled in favor of a Christian baker who has been under fire over her refusal last August to make a same-sex wedding cake, finding that the state cannot force her to act against her sincerely held beliefs.

Cathy Miller, owner of Tastries Bakery, won her victory on Monday, with Kern County Superior Court Judge David Lampe drawing an interesting distinctive in the case.

Had Miller declined to make a cake that was already made and on display, he said she would have been guilty of discrimination.

But the cake the couple requested had not yet been made, and, according to KBAK, the baker offered the couple another means to get their cake at a different establishment. Lampe went as far as to say that forcing someone to violate his or her religious beliefs would be “the stuff of tyranny,” KGET-TV reported.

More here-

God’s Own Music

From The New York Review of Books-

The Anglican choral tradition is one of the great successes of English cultural diffusion, to rank with Association Football (soccer), cricket, and the works of William Shakespeare. It has a cultural heft way beyond its parochial and very specific origins, and it turns up in the oddest places. The most incongruous example must surely be the upmarket gloss that Thomas Tallis’s forty-part motet Spem in Alium lends to a down-and-dirty scene in the film Fifty Shades of Grey.

I’m often surprised by how far this music travels. The transposition of the Anglican sound world into the urban jungle of New York seemed rather miraculous the first time I walked into Saint Thomas Episcopal Church on Fifth Avenue to bathe in the glories of stained glass–inflected light and English-inflected harmonies. On another occasion, I was in Jacksonville Beach, Florida, for a concert, arriving just after a school shooting in next-door Jacksonville that had made me preternaturally alert to the cultural differences between the Old and the New Worlds. But it turned out that the concert was in St. Paul’s by-the-Sea Episcopal Church. Our greenroom was the church vestry, and I felt strangely at home among the cassocks and surplices, The Oxford Book of Tudor Anthems (some nice Tallis there), and the familiar hardcovers of Hymns Ancient and Modern and The English Hymnal, the red and the green.

More here-

Tuesday, February 6, 2018

Crooks grab crook: Bishop's staff lost as thieves take holy Territory

From Australia-

An engraved pastoral staff with sentimental and historical value is among the missing items after a Ballarat’s bishop’s car was stolen.

A chaplain drove Anglican Bishop Garry Weatherill to the airport on Friday and then returned to Ballarat, parking the white Ford Territory diesel in a residential street in Ballarat East.

On Saturday morning the only sign of the car was the smashed glass on the road.

Anglican Diocese of Ballarat registrar Peter Jarvis said police had been notified and were investigating,

‘‘A lot of the stuff inside was the bishop’s clerical attire, his robes and what he wears on special occasions, Mr Jarvis said.

More here-

Renewed plans to unite the Church of England and Methodist Church to be scrutinised by the Synod

From The Church Times-

A DEBATE on a report containing proposals for the coming together of the Church of England and the Methodist Church will take place during next month’s meeting of the General Synod.

Members will be asked to welcome the report, produced by the faith and order bodies of the two Churches, which calls for ministers from the two to be made interchangeable (News, 30 June 2017). Proposals for the union of the two Churches, debated periodically since the 1950s, were narrowly defeated in General Synod in 1972.

The present recommendations are different, calling for communion rather than full unity. A note from the Commission says that acceptance would be a “profound sign of reconciliation”, and warns that there would be “serious” implications to not proceeding.

“I won’t hide from you that it’s not completely uncontroversial . . . you will hear voices on both sides in all three houses,” the secretary-general to the General Synod, William Nye, said last Friday. The proposals contained elements that were “challenging to comfortable assumptions in our two Churches”, including the acceptance of bishops in the Methodist Church and a temporary period in which Methodist clergy not ordained by bishops would be treated as such in the C of E. Whether or not this was a “bearable anomaly” in the greater interests of unity was to be debated.

More here-

Six Unsung Heroines of the Civil Rights Movement

From History-

The writings of The Rev. Dr. Anna Pauline “Pauli” Murray were a cornerstone of Brown v. Board of Education of Topeka, the 1954 Supreme Court case that ended school segregation, but the lawyer, Episcopal priest, pioneering civil rights activist and co-founder of the National Organization for Women wouldn’t be made aware of that extraordinary accomplishment until a decade after the fact.

In 1944, Murray was the only woman enrolled at Howard Law School—and at the top of her class. While discussing Jim Crow laws, Murray had an idea. Why not challenge the “separate” in “separate but equal” legal doctrine, (Plessy v. Ferguson) and argue that segregation was unconstitutional? This theory became the basis of her 1950 book, States’ Laws on Race and Color, which NAACP attorney Thurgood Marshall called the “bible” of Brown v. Board of Education.

More here-

Anglican Cleric Urges Nigerians to Imbibe Virtue of Honesty

From Nigeria-

The Anglican Bishop of Nnewi Diocese, Rt. Rev. Godwin Okpala has advised Nigerian leaders to imbibe the virtue of honesty in order to take the nation to the next level of development.

Okpala gave the advice in a short sermon he delivered during service of songs for late former Vice President, Dr Alex Ekwueme at St John the Divine Anglican Church Oko on Thursday.

The Anglican cleric noted that honesty, humility and hard work are key elements of life, which could make or mar any nation when its leaders lack such virtue.

He noted that the late Ekwueme in spite of all odds distinguished himself as a honest and humble politician.

Okpala, however, advised Nigerians to emulate the positive virtue of the late former Vice President, especially his approach to public service.

The cleric said that everything of the world is vanity, adding that it is only the good work done by people that will earn them eternal life.

More here-

Good Book Club among diverse Lenten tools offered by the Episcopal Church

From ENS-

 Instead of seeing this Lenten season as a time to do without, you can approach it from a more plentiful perspective: an opportunity to grow closer to Jesus, with more resources than ever.

That’s how Presiding Bishop Michael Curry sees it. Lent can be a chance to deepen your intimacy with Christ, he said in a video about helpful Lenten tools, including the Good Book Club.

Lent begins on Ash Wednesday, which falls on Feb. 14 this year – coinciding with Valentine’s Day – and it lasts through Thursday, March 29, when the Triduum of Maundy Thursday, Good Friday and Holy Saturday begins.

Typically, Lent involves fasting and abstinence of some sort, inspired by the 40 days and nights Jesus fasted in the wilderness, according to several Bible passages, including Luke 4:1-13. Christians are invited “to the observance of a holy Lent, by self-examination and repentance; by prayer, fasting, and self-denial; and by reading and meditating on God’s holy Word,” according to page 265 of the Book of Common Prayer.

More here-

37 Episcopalians Remaining On Planet Vote To Stop Using Male Pronouns For God

A Little Humor To Start The Day-

The last surviving members of the Episcopalian religion voted last week to stop using male pronouns for God, sources at a meeting of the Diocese of Washington, D.C. confirmed.

The 37 remaining Episcopalians on Planet Earth conducted the vote in an effort to make the last three or four Episcopal churches in the country be more inclusive, in the rare case anyone actually showed up to any of their services.

“We don’t want to offend or trigger the six or seven people left in our pews,” said the writers of the resolution. “And we get literally dozens of visitors every decade—what if we scare one of them off by reading the Book of Common Prayer and forcing them to hear the words ‘He’ or ‘Him’? That’s a chance we just can’t take.”

More here-

Monday, February 5, 2018

Brooklyn church honors activist Ravi Ragbir with Bishop's Cross

From New York-

Immigrants’ rights have been Ravi Ragbir’s cross to bear, even before he faced imminent deportation.

But a Brooklyn church tried to lighten that burden Sunday by honoring Ragbir for “exceptional service to the church and to the community it serves.”

Ragbir received the Bishop’s Cross from the Episcopal Diocese of Long Island in a service at St. Ann & The Holy Trinity Church in Brooklyn Heights.

The rare honor was bestowed in recognition of Ragbir’s work on behalf of persecuted immigrants caught up in mean-spirited federal policy, church leaders said.

That number now includes Ragbir, 43, who faces deportation as early as Saturday, after Immigration and Customs Enforcement officials detained him last month during a routine check-in.

More here-

This church has faith in Amazon: Tech giant’s HQ2 could help ‘make Pittsburgh alive again’

From Geek Wire-

The stunning 14-foot cross suspended above the altar at Trinity Episcopal Cathedral was constructed of steel, glass and aluminum in the 1960s, symbolizing the city’s major industries of the time.

Given Pittsburgh’s new industry, maybe it’s time to add a layer of silicon chips?

“I’ll bring that up,” joked William Kaiser, Trinity Cathedral’s 81-year-old docent, laughing at my suggestion during a tour of the 146-year-old building in downtown Pittsburgh after Holy Eucharist on Sunday morning.

The rise of technology played a key role in Pittsburgh’s resurrection following the decline of the once-booming U.S. steel industry. Now the focus of the region is turning to Amazon’s $5 billion second headquarters, an unprecedented corporate prize that promises to bring 50,000 employees to the winning city.

When it comes to its Amazon bid, Pittsburgh is dealing with plenty of non-believers. Sizing up the Rust Belt city against Amazon’s request for proposals, many skeptics think Pittsburgh doesn’t have a prayer in the competition, despite its status among the 20 finalists for Amazon’s HQ2.

O ye of little faith.

“Amazon coming will make Pittsburgh alive again,” said The Very Rev. Scott Quinn, a Pittsburgh native, speaking like someone with an inside track on the outcome, when asked Amazon HQ2 during coffee hour on Sunday.

More here-

Police release 'kidnapped' priest in DR Congo

From The Congo-

Congolese police have released a Catholic priest hours after they snatched him this weekend following a mass in Kinshasa, the cleric said Sunday, amid spiralling tensions between the church and the government.

Security forces had grabbed Father Sebastien Yebo outside his church on Saturday morning, beaten him and thrown him into a jeep, with witnesses describing the incident as a "kidnapping".

Yebo told AFP he was let go in the afternoon after several hours of interrogation over his alleged links with the Kamwina Nsapu militia.

More here-