Saturday, March 3, 2018

ACK Bishop denies defaming priest accused of being gay

From Kenya-

The Anglican Church of Kenya Mt Kenya West Diocese Bishop, Joseph Kagunda yesterday denied tarnishing the name of one of the three priests he allegedly suspended for being gay. Yesterday, the bishop, through Lawyer Wachira Nderitu, refuted claims the suspension letter he issued to Reverend Paul Warui, had any content relating to homosexuality.

Instead, he noted the letter dated August August 22, 2015 had nothing written about him, as a person being homosexual, but only made reference to sexual immorality in the church. “The letter never mentioned anything about you being gay, it only referred to immoral activities in the church,” Nderitu while cross-examining Warui told the Nyeri High Court.

Read more at:

A better way to authorize liturgical texts

From Liturgy and Music-

For the next several weeks, the SCLM will present an essay describing a portion of its Blue Book report and explaining the thinking that shaped our conclusions. We invite your comments and hope that our conversation here will be beneficial to the legislative committees of General Convention.

This essay explains the SCLM’s response to constitutional and canonical issue that complicate the consideration of many liturgical issues, including some that will come before this convention. As Paul Fromberg writes: “Texts that churches use every Sunday, across the breadth of the Episcopal Church, have very tenuous constitutional and canonical authorization.” The SCLM believes it is time to create a more rational process for authorizing such texts. For that reason it recommends passage of Resolutions A062 and A063.

On the surface, the work of creating beautiful, meaningful liturgy may seem to be all about the poetic. Liturgists are like poets to the degree that we attempt to give a shape, in language, to all of our inchoate experiences of God. But there are also a lot of nuts and bolts to the work of crafting liturgy, and not just rules around grammar or rhetorical structure. The SCLM has found that, at the bottom of our toolbox, one of the most powerful tools we must pay attention to are the Constitution and Canons of the Church – vessels that hold the order of the church for the sake of our shared life.

more here-

The Episcopal Diocese of San Diego Seeks a New Bishop

From San Diego-

The Episcopal Diocese of San Diego seeks applications from qualified clergy throughout the Episcopal Church and churches in the Anglican Communion to enter into the discernment process for identifying our Fifth Bishop. The standing committee has appointed a nominating committee to compile a slate of qualified candidates for election at a special electing convention to be held in February 2019. The nominating committee will be the single confidential contact point between candidates, nominators and the diocese.

The nominating committee now invites interested persons to carefully read and prayerfully reflect on our profile and this website. Priests and bishops interested in applying should complete the application form and submit it as well as all requested documentation to  All materials must be received by Tuesday, April 10, 2018.

More here-

Traditional welcome for Archbishop

From Fiji-

A TRADITIONAL welcome ceremony was hosted by President Jioji Konrote for the Archbishop of Canterbury, Justin Welby, at Borron House in Suva yesterday.

Archbishop Welby is in the country for the three-day Oceania Anglican Fono which started yesterday.

Mr Konrote conveyed his gratitude to the Archbishop for focusing on the wellbeing of the planet.

"I understand that you are champion on many other environmental issues as well. And I applaud your commitment to the health and wellbeing of our planet. It is a commitment that we share in Fiji," Mr Konrote said.

Archbishop Welby said it was a privilege to be in Fiji as it was playing an important role in addressing climate change issues.

More here-

Clergy Corner: Use Ten Commandments as your guide through life

From Rhode Island-

How many of you recognize the Crosby, Stills and Nash song from the 1960s? I thought of it immediately while reading the 10 Commandments from the Book of Exodus.

In the second book of the Torah, Moses, that greatest figure of the Torah, to whom history has credited as the author of the first five books of the bible, is preparing the people of God for life in the real world. He has definitely been on the road and the code to live by is the Ten Commandments — for starters. Our actions speak louder than our words, as all the great prophets have written and lived.

All religious traditions show us that life is full of ways to live together in community. Life is full of challenges to the faith, of obstacles to community rules, of wisdom and discernment about how to follow God’s laws and how to be a model for our children. A very tall order for the people of Israel; a very tall order for the people of first century Palestine; it is our tall order: How do we raise our children in the life of the faith. Or, in the words of Crosby, how do we “teach our children well?”

More here-

Friday, March 2, 2018

Anglican parishes, Episcopal diocese settle property dispute

From The Pittsburgh Poast-Gazette-

The Episcopal Diocese of Pittsburgh and nine breakaway Anglican parishes have settled a nearly decade-old legal dispute that will enable the congregations to continue using their properties while paying annual fees to the diocese, which will retain a limited say in the future of the properties.

The agreement, announced Wednesday, resulted from intensive mediation that began last fall, resolving most of the remaining legal issues that had festered ever since Pittsburgh became the epicenter of a continent-wide denominational schism in 2008.

That year, a majority of parishes left the Episcopal Diocese of Pittsburgh — opposing liberal trends in the Episcopal Church on homosexuality and theology. They incorporated a diocese of the same name under the newly formed conservative Anglican Church in North America, an Ambridge-based denomination.

More here-

Episcopal Diocese, 9 breakaway parishes reach property agreement

From The Greensburg Tribune Review-

The Episcopal Diocese of Pittsburgh and nine breakaway Anglican churches have reached a “distinctively Christian” agreement on the use of their properties, resolving a dispute going back to 2008, the diocese said on Thursday.

The agreement involves two parishes in Westmoreland County ­— Christ's Church Greensburg and St. Alban's Anglican Church in Murrysville — three in Allegheny County, one in Butler County, two in Washington County and one in Fayette County.

All nine are part of the Ambridge-based Anglican Church in North America , a body that formed out of the theological disputes that roiled the Episcopal Church (USA) in the late 1990s and early 2000s. Disagreements over women's ordination, homosexuality and Biblical authority led some traditional parishes to seek autonomy from the more liberal Episcopal Church.

The decision by some Western Pennsylvania parishes to break away led to litigation over issues of ownership and property rights. The status of older parishes that predated the formation of the Pittsburgh diocese was less clear.

More here-

House of Deputies Special Committee on Sexual Harassment and Exploitation Appointed

From The House of Deputies-

Forty-seven member panel to draft legislation for General Convention 2018

House of Deputies President Gay Clark Jennings has appointed a House of Deputies special committee that will draft legislation on sexual harassment and exploitation for this summer’s General Convention.

“In January, Presiding Bishop Curry and I called the church to examine its history and end the systemic sexism, misogyny and misuse of power that plague the church just as they corrupt our culture, institutions and governments,” Jennings said. “We asked Episcopalians to consider what roles each of us is called to play in the church’s collective repentance.”

Since then, she says, scores of women from across the church have contacted her. “On Facebook, via email, by phone and in person, women have been in touch to share their stories and let me know that they want to be part of changing the church’s culture on these issues. I am delighted to harness their energy by appointing this committee.”

The group, which Jennings will chair, is divided into five sub-committees that arose from ideas that women contributed to a Facebook discussion on the House of Deputies page in late January. One group will draft legislation concerning theology and language, while others will address issues of structural equity including pay and benefits, the Title IV disciplinary process, and social justice for women. In response to the presiding officers’ call for the church to examine its history, a sub-committee will draft legislation proposing the creation of a truth and reconciliation process.

More here-

R. I. churches oppose concealed weapons on premises

From Rhode Island-

State law enforcement and politicians continue to debate gun regulation following the high school shooting in Parkland, Florida earlier this month. The Rhode Island State Police and the Rhode Island State Council of Churches clashed after RISP Captain Derek Borek informed the congregation at St. James Episcopal Church that he advises law enforcement officers to carry concealed weapons in church services. Borek stated that his remark, given during an active shooter training Feb.17, does not indicate a change in state policy, but rather is consistent with standard protocol.

“Unfortunately, in society today, we have to think about what we would do in that type of situation,” Borek said. “It’s sad that we have to think about (shootings) in our churches or in our schools.”

In response to Borek’s assertion, the RISCC issued a statement saying that it does not support the presence of concealed weapons in church.

“A house of worship is a safe space for anyone to be able to come into, any person who feels vulnerable on any level,” said the Rev. Dr. Donald Anderson, executive minister of the Council. “The idea of a weapon being present violates that concept.”

More here-

It's morally wrong for a Christian school to arm teachers

From Dallas-

Neither one of my parents graduated from college. My dad got close but dropped out for an opportunity in the construction industry.

The opportunity worked out. For the next 30 or so years he toiled like mad to be a good husband, father, and worker. The fruits of his labor were a fulfilling marriage, a peaceful home and a thriving business.

Sometimes. As we all know, neither marriage nor family life is always serene. Our family endured some lean years.

During one of the particularly lean years, my third grade teacher told my class our school was collecting groceries for some needy families. Eager to help, I told my mother I wanted to bring food to school for those families. My mother's eyes filled with tears. She sent me back to school the next day with some groceries.

More here-


From Arizona-

On November 9, 2017, Bishop Kirk Smith announced his retirement and called for the election of his succesor. On the same, day, Bishop Todd Ousley, from the Presiding Bishop's Office of Pastoral Development who oversees the transition process for the Episcopal Church, outlined the next steps. The Standing Committee, with The Rev. Canon Daniel Tantimonaco as President, will oversee the search and transition process for the diocese. The Diocesan Staff's responsibility will be to work to keep the diocese doing business as usual throughout this transition.

The Search Committee is designated by the diocesan Canons. The names of those who are serving on the committee are listed below. Their job is to find a list of final candidates to present to the whole diocese in a series of "walkabouts" before the election takes place at the Diocesan Convention on October 19-20, 2018. The bishop-elect will then work with Bishop Smith for a few months before being consecrated as the Sixth Bishop of Arizona on March 9, 2019 by Presiding Bishop Michael Curry.

More here-

Thursday, March 1, 2018

Episcopal Diocese of Pittsburgh and Parishes Announce Agreement

From Pittsburgh-

The following is the text of a Joint Statement issued February 28, 2018, by the Episcopal Diocese of Pittsburgh of the Episcopal Church in the United States and the following congregations of the Anglican Diocese of Pittsburgh:  St. Peter’s Anglican Church, Butler; St. Mary’s Church, Charleroi; Christ Church, Fox Chapel; Christ’s Church, Greensburg; St. Alban’s Anglican Church, Murrysville; Church of the Ascension, Oakland; St. Stephen’s Church, Sewickley; St. Peter’s Church, Uniontown; and Trinity Church, Washington, collectively referred to as the "Parishes."

The Episcopal Diocese of Pittsburgh and the Parishes are pleased to announce that they have amicably reached an agreement that resolves disputed questions over the ownership and use of the church property that have lingered since the congregations voted to leave The Episcopal Church in October 2008.

The comprehensive Agreement was reached with the assistance of two distinguished mediators, namely, David L. McClenahan of the law firm K&L Gates, LLP and Mark Nordenberg, Chancellor Emeritus of the University of Pittsburgh and former Dean of its Law School, following years of confidential negotiations and intense consideration by representatives of all parties.

The Agreement defines the respective rights, obligations and expectations of the parties relative to the historic real and personal property of each of the Parishes.  As a result of the Agreement, the Parishes and the Episcopal Diocese can now move forward to focus on their respective missions, knowing what is expected from each other in their new relationship under the Agreement.

More here-

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and here-

and here-

First female bishop to be consecrated by Scottish Episcopal Church

From Scotland-

Rev Canon Anne Dyer will become bishop of Aberdeen & Orkney in a service at St Andrew's Cathedral, Aberdeen, that will also be livestreamed online.

Canon Dyer succeeds the Rt Rev Dr Robert Gillies, who retired as Bishop of Aberdeen & Orkney in October 2016.

The church said the role of a Diocesan Bishop is to "oversee the spiritual and practical concerns of all the clergy and lay people within their diocese and to provide leadership in mission and ministry".

The consecration service will be attended by around 500 people including some from other faith communities across the UK and the Episcopal Church in the US.

The service will be led by the Most Rev Mark Strange, Bishop of Moray, Ross and Caithness and Primus of the Scottish Episcopal Church.

He said: "It is a great privilege and honour to consecrate Anne as the new Bishop of Aberdeen & Orkney and to welcome her to the College of Bishops.

"This will be a very special moment in the life of the Scottish Episcopal Church and it is heartening to hear of all the good wishes that people have expressed for the new stage of ministry and leadership that Anne now takes up in the Diocese of Aberdeen & Orkney."

More here-

Episcopal Church shareholder activism works to change gun sale practices

From ENS-

 The Episcopal Church’s Executive Council in late January authorized its Committee on Corporate and Social Responsibility to join an attempt to convince Dick’s Sporting Goods to abide by the Sandy Hook Principles developed to stem the tide of gun violence.

A little more than a month later, the Pittsburgh-based retailer announced Feb. 28 that it would stop selling assault weapons at its 35 Field & Stream stores.

The company had removed them from all Dick’s stores after the Sandy Hook massacre. The company also said it would no longer sell firearms to anyone younger than 21, and it would no longer sell high-capacity magazines. And, Dick’s said, it has never and will never sell bump stocks that allow semi-automatic weapons to fire more rapidly.

Dick’s also called on elected officials to ban assault-style firearms, high-capacity magazines and bump stocks; raise the legal minimum age to purchase firearms to 21; require universal background checks that include relevant mental health information and previous interactions with law enforcement; build what it called a “complete universal database of those banned from buying firearms; and close the private sale and gun show loophole that waives the necessity of background checks. All of the company’s actions and its message to government officials fit into the Sandy Hook Principles.


From The Jerusalem Post-

The Church of the Holy Sepulchre reopened early Wednesday morning after Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu became personally involved and froze the measures that had infuriated church leaders.

The site had been closed since Sunday.

“We, the heads of Churches in charge of the Holy Sepulchre and the status quo governing the various Christian holy sites in Jerusalem – the Greek Orthodox Patriarchate, the Custodian of the Holy Land and the Armenian Patriarchate – give thanks to God for the statement released earlier today by Prime Minister Netanyahu and offer our gratitude to all those who have worked tirelessly to uphold the Christian presence in Jerusalem and to defend the status quo,” the leaders of the three denominations in charge of the site said in a statement.

More here-

Ex-vicar, 79, who handed his home and life savings to male model 54 years his junior finds new love with a 22-year-old Romanian biology student

From the "You Can't Make This Stuff Up" Department-

A retired vicar who married a male model 54 years younger than him has found love again with an even younger man, he has revealed.

Philip Clements, 79, said he is dating a 22-year-old biology student from Romania who he now hopes will move to the UK to live with him.

The Church of England vicar tied the knot with 24-year-old Florin Marin in April last year after meeting him online in 2015.

He even sold his £215,000 home in Sandwich, Kent, to buy a flat in Bucharest, Romania - where Mr Marin was from - and transferred ownership into his new husband's name. 

But the couple split after just a few months because Mr Marin spent most of his time partying in nightclubs without his husband, who ca
me back to Britain with nowhere to live.

Read more:

Wednesday, February 28, 2018

Bishops visit Hurricane Harvey affected areas

From Texas-

The Most Reverend Michael Bruce Curry (Presiding Bishop and Primate of the Episcopal Church) will tour the diocesan areas affected by Hurricane Harvey today.

Michael Bruce Curry, the first African American to be elected Presiding Bishop of The Episcopal Church, is an author, preacher, and activist, noted for his inspiring and galvanizing preaching style and his profound concern for social justice.

He will be accompanied by the Rt. Rev. David M. Reed (Bishop Diocesan) and the Rt. Rev. Jennifer Brooke-Davidson (Bishop Suffragan) from the Episcopal Diocese of West Texas, as well as the Vice President for Episcopal Church Programs and the Chairman of the Board of Directors for Episcopal Relief & Development, and additional staff members from the national Episcopal Church offices in New York City and diocesan office in San Antonio.

More here-


From The Living Church-

The difficulty that confronts ordinands is often due less to intellectual rigour than to experience and the imagination. Thanks to the cultural changes of the past 50 years, Augustine, Anselm, Aquinas, and even Luther and Calvin reside in an unfamiliar world. Very often their concerns and commitments are almost unintelligible, if not repugnant, to late modern people. Over and over again, I’ve heard ordinands complain that Aquinas or Hooker or Tertullian isn’t relevant to today’s ministry. None of this is to suggest that ordinands today are dim or ill-educated. Rather, it points to what’s fundamentally lacking in the preparation of a great many of them: the imaginary.

Many ordinands haven’t had their imagination informed deeply by Scripture or by the experience of life within a worshipping community for a long period of time. Even fewer have grown up in the Church. So, while they may have tremendous faith — and it takes a great deal of faith to put oneself forward for the ministry in the Church of England these days — they often aren’t native to the Church. Their way of understanding themselves and the world is typically formed within the same culture as everybody else: late modern consumerism. 

More here-

Pope suggests it's better to be an atheist than a bad Christian

From CNN-

If you're a Christian who exploits people, leads a double life or manages a "dirty" business, perhaps it's better not to call yourself a believer, Pope Francis suggested in a homily on Thursday in Rome.

"So many Christians are like this, and these people scandalize others," Francis said during morning Mass at Casa Santa Marta, according to Vatican Radio. "How many times have we heard -- all of us, around the neighborhood and elsewhere -- 'But to be a Catholic like that, it's better to be an atheist.' It is that: scandal."

"But what is scandal? Scandal is saying one thing and doing another."

In the Catholic Church, causing scandal also a grave offense.

Examples of such sins abound, the Pope said, from money launderers to business owners who take beach vacations while stiffing their employees.

More here-

Sewanee administrators, faculty urge regents to rescind Charlie Rose’s honorary degree

From ENS-

Top administrators and faculty members at Sewanee: The University of the South are recommending that the university rescind journalist Charlie Rose’s honorary degree in the aftermath of a sexual harassment scandal, and they are pushing for new procedures to guide reconsideration of such degrees after they have been awarded.

The University Senate – which includes the vice-chancellor, provost, chaplain, deans and all full professors – voted unanimously Feb. 26 to approve an advisory motion asking Sewanee’s Board of Regents to revoke Rose’s honorary degree. The regents had decided earlier this month to let Rose keep the degree.

No official statement was immediately available from the Board of Regents. A university spokeswoman said the regents may be called together at any time by the chair to consider the Senate’s motion.

More here-

Archbishop of Canterbury presents the Hubert Walter award to Egypt's Bishop Mouneer Anis

From English Ahram-

The Bishop of Egypt, Mouneer Anis, has received an official award from the Archbishop of Canterbury, Justin Welby, for his “invaluable contribution to the work of peace and reconciliation."

The Hubert Walter Award for Reconciliation and Inter-Faith Cooperation was presented to Bishop Mouneer on Wednesday 21 February during a meeting of the Anglican Inter-Faith Commission in Cairo.

He was handed the award by Dr. Josiah Idowu-Fearon, the Secretary-General of the Anglican Communion, on behalf of Justin Welby at Cairo Cathedral.

The citation for Bishop Mouneer’s award recognises his work with the Grand Imam of Al-Azhar, Ahmed El-Tayyeb.

It reads that Bishop Mouneer “has made a unique contribution and example through his ability to establish deep relationships; this is largely because of his openness, creativity and ambition to move people towards reconciliation. At times, this inevitably makes him a counter-cultural voice within his setting."

More here-

Tuesday, February 27, 2018

Orombi to Men - Stick to One Wife

From Uganda-

Retired Archbishop of Uganda Henry Luke Orombi has asked government to promote monogamy as a strategy of controlling the high population growth, which has led to high dependency rate and maternal mortality in Uganda.

Rtd Archibishop Orombi argued that a relationship, where a man marries one wife or engages in a sexual relationship with one partner makes it easy for him to stand by his woman during pregnancy to ensure safe delivery as opposed to polygamy.

"Preach the importance of treasuring women...we must stand by her in her role (of procreation) as a woman," he said adding that "promote monogamy to reduce high population and maternal mortality."

The former archbishop was last Friday speaking at an event organised to celebrate 10 years of Save the Mothers (STM) East Africa, a non-governmental organisation, aimed at improving the health of mothers and babies.

More here-

Does Your Pastor Or Priest Have This Kind Of Courage?

From Conservative HQ-

Justin Welby, Archbishop of Canterbury, and leader of the Anglican Church in England, said yesterday that Islamic rules are incompatible with Britain’s laws, which have developed over 500 years on the principles of a different culture.

He added that high levels of immigration from Muslim countries can “have an impact on the accepted pattern

Archbishop Welby’s comments, reported by Steve Doughty Social Affairs Correspondent for The Daily Mail, follow the release earlier this month of a highly critical Home Office report that said all couples marrying in mosques should also have to go through a legally-binding civil marriage ceremony to shield wives from injustices under sharia.

They also reverse the position taken by his predecessor Lord Williams, who, observed Doughty, backed incorporating sharia into the British legal system. Archbishop Welby set out his reasons why sharia should not win official status in a book, Reimagining Britain.

Archbishop Welby said in advance of publication that British law has “underlying values and assumptions” that come from a clearly Christian tradition. “Sharia law is not just about punishments,” he added. “It is something of immense sophistication, but it comes from a very different background of jurisprudence to the one from which British law has developed over the past 500 years.”

for choosing a partner, on assumed ages of maturity and sexual activity, and especially on issues of polygamy.”

More here-

Anglican bishop urges Christians to preach gospel undaunted

From Nigeria-

Bishop of the Anglican Diocese of Egbu, Right Reverend Geoffrey Okorafor, has encouraged Christian adherents to be consistent in their belief.

He urged them not to waver in the pursuit of their Christian faith, rather remain undaunted in preaching the gospel.

Bishop Okorafor, who gave the charge in his homily during the pastoral visit to St. Matthias Church, Umuchima, Ihiagwa in Owerri West Local Government Area, Imo State, stressed that as believers they should be proud of being identified with Christ.

While advising against self-righteousness, he maintained that they should not allow anything to shake and deflate their faith.

The Bishop enjoined the congregation of St Matthias to emulate their Patron Saint in embracing and being identified with the gospel message, ensuring that all lost sheep were found and brought back to the fold.

More here-

Transgender Pastor Is Welcomed Into Church With A New Name

From Huffington-

Many Bible stories recount how God changed followers’ names to recognize their new identities. In Genesis, Abram’s name was changed to Abraham to reflect his new identity as the father of the Jewish people. And in the Christian gospels, Jesus changed his follower Simon’s name to Peter to symbolize that the apostle would be the “rock” upon which the church was built.

Echoing that tradition, a Lutheran congregation in New Jersey recently marked a milestone in the life of its pastor with a renaming ceremony. On Sunday, parishioners watched their transgender pastor take on his new chosen name ― Peter.

It was a sacred way for Hoboken’s St. Matthew Trinity Lutheran Church to acknowledge and bless the Rev. Peter R. Beeson’s gender transition.

Beeson told HuffPost that it was also important for the congregation to demonstrate the “expansiveness of God’s compassion.”

More here-

US Episcopalians confront hard truths about Church’s role in slavery and black history

From ACNS-

Brutal scenes of physical and psychological violence in the 2016 film “The Birth of a Nation” flashed across a screen set up inside a small chamber at the Episcopal Cathedral of St John the Divine. A few viewers turned away, while some gasped and others watched steadily. The film is based on the true story of Nat Turner, a slave preacher who led a rebellion in 1831.

Vivian Evans, 82, didn’t turn away.

“When I was 10 years old, I interviewed friends of my grandmother’s in Mississippi who had been slaves. She had me pick cotton to see what it was like, and I pricked my fingers just like they did in the movie,” Evans, a member of Trinity St Paul’s Episcopal Church in New Rochelle, New York, told the others during a discussion after the film.

The Episcopal Diocese of New York Reparations Committee on Slavery organised the film screening and discussion as part of its Year of Lamentation to examine the diocese’s role in slavery. It’s one of a growing number of events across the United States as the Episcopal Church seeks racial reconciliation and healing among its congregations and wider communities.

More here-

Monday, February 26, 2018

Uganda: Clergy's View of Black Panther

From All Africa -

The movie, Black Panther, premiered two weeks ago and it has been on every movie goer's lips. It has had different interpretations. In Uganda's case, it is because of one of the main actors whose parents are migrants from Uganda. However, for Rev Canon Benjamin Twinamaani, a rector at Grace Episcopal Church in America, the movie has a spiritual connotation.

"I took three hours of my day and took a trip to the African kingdom of Wakanda in the new movie Black Panther (even though there are no Panthers in Africa, just their cousins the leopards). Here are my impressions as a theologian and an African living in the Diaspora.

Remember this is a comic book story from the 1960s and 1970s that created a super hero of African descent to join the ranks of White male only Superman and Spiderman.

The audience was 90 per cent plus mellennials. All races, both genders. This tells you the power of mythical stories with this generation. To know your young people will find a way to make significant impact and change in the world, but without personal suffering.

More here-

Jerusalem Christians Unite ... to Close Church of the Holy Sepulchre

From Christianity Today

In an action not seen in more than a century, the leaders of Jerusalem’s churches closed the doors of the Church of the Holy Sepulchre on Sunday in a show of united protest. The dramatic decision comes in response to moves by Jerusalem authorities to begin collecting tens of millions of dollars in taxes from churches, as well as proposed legislation to confiscate church-owned land.

The Anglican Episcopal Diocese of Jerusalem said the new tax threatened its ability to maintain its many social care initiatives in the city, along with its numerous schools, training centers, and health care facilities. Likewise, the Vatican’s Notre Dame of Jerusalem hotel, restaurant, and conference center (among many other such enterprises) are set to face fines, stretching the Roman Catholic Church’s resources in the ancient city.

More here-

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The Danger of Prayer

From Plough-

When we call on God, we are asking him to do something that we cannot, to bring into being something that we ourselves do not know how to create. We are seeking for the impossible to happen, for something to be changed irrevocably that we could never change. We are asking for a history to unfold for which we ourselves could never be responsible.

The question is: Do we have the faith that through our prayer the status quo can be shattered? Can we believe that at our call Christ will come among us to judge and save? When we ask for the Holy Spirit, are we ready for God to strike us like a burst of flaming lightning, so that at last we experience Pentecost? Do we really believe that God’s kingdom is imminent? Are we capable of believing that through our pleading this kingdom will break in? Are we able to believe that as a result of our prayer the entire history of the world will be turned topsy-turvy?

More here-

Billy Graham's legacy is the evangelical pursuit of politics instead of Jesus

From NBC (and the Dean of the The Episcopal Cathedral in Denver)-

From an early age, I was drawn to the glamour and excitement of the religious venues and personalities that dotted the area of Texas in which I grew up — in the shadow of Bishop T.D. Jakes’s Potter’s House, Jan and Paul Crouch’s TBN studios, and Benny Hinn’s annual healing crusades — which makes me wonder why I didn’t attend Billy Graham’s “Metroplex Mission” in October 2002 when I was 12.

Graham had held a crusade at the same Dallas Cowboys stadium 31 years prior (one of its earliest and most sought after names) My mother, who was 12 at the time and living in the area, didn’t attend that one either. At that time, de facto segregation was the rule of schools, churches, and businesses throughout much of the land, so it wouldn’t have occurred to her to attend.

Much of Graham’s preaching focused not on the pressing issues of his time — other than mentioning from time to time the Cold War — but on personal conversion and salvation. This homiletical orientation represented the logic of Southern Baptist ministers and lay people of his generation: Social transformation only comes through individuals “giving their life to Jesus Christ.”

More here-

Sunday, February 25, 2018

He led churches in Africa and West Virginia. Now he’ll lead Lexington’s Episcopal diocese.

From Lexington-

The Episcopal Diocese of Lexington has a new spiritual leader.

The Rt. Rev. Mark Van Koevering was affirmed “bishop provisional” for the diocese at its annual convention Saturday at Emmanuel Episcopal Church in Winchester. A bishop provisional serves when a diocese is without a permanent bishop.

Van Koevering, who replaces the Rt. Rev. Bruce Caldwell, took over leadership after the close of the convention and will be living here by early April.

The goal for the Lexington diocese was to select a bishop provisional who would “serve two to three years with the intent of creating a process that may lead to her or his election as our Bishop Diocesan,” according to information about the process that was posted on the diocese’s website Jan. 30.

Read more here:

Billy Graham Built a Movement. Now His Son Is Dismantling It.

From Politico-

As a young boy growing up in an Episcopal household, I watched Billy Graham at least a dozen times as he preached his straightforward gospel of sin and salvation on national television. I was dazzled by what I later learned to describe as his charisma. He was tall and handsome. There was a sweet urgency in his voice. And he didn’t seem to be hiding anything behind his deep-set blue eyes. So I may be unduly forgiving of his faults. But I still view him as a good man who was ultimately chastened by his chumminess with Nixon, who worked hard to transcend the racism and anti-Semitism that swirled around him as a farm boy in North Carolina, and who understood (at his best) that the Christian message (at its best) is about love rather than fear, inclusion rather than exclusion.

When he spoke to the nation at the post-9/11 memorial service at Washington’s National Cathedral, he spoke of evil, but he did not denounce Islam. Throughout his career, Graham was criticized by fundamentalists for working with Catholics and liberal Protestants at his crusades. He prayed with Democratic and Republican presidents. And instead of castigating Christianity’s religious rivals, he focused on preaching Christ. When asked to join in common cause with Jerry Falwell after the foundation of the Moral Majority in 1979, Graham refused to yoke his organization to the cultural wars of the Religious Right and the Republican Party. And almost immediately after saying during a 1993 crusade in Columbus, Ohio, that AIDS might be “a judgment of God,” he retracted those words, telling the Cleveland Plain Dealer a few days later, “I don't believe that and I don't know why I said it. . . . To say God has judged people with AIDS would be very wrong and very cruel. I would like to say that I am very sorry for what I said.”

More here-

The Rev. Billy Graham's Casket Will 'Lie In Honor' At The Capitol

From NPR-

Throughout his career as a preacher, the Rev. Billy Graham's message of faith drew massive crowds of believers to tents, arenas and stadiums. Next week, mourners will have a final opportunity to turn out for Graham.

His casket will lie in honor in the rotunda of the U.S. Capitol on Wednesday, Feb. 28, and Thursday, March 1.

The public viewing for the internationally famous spiritual leader who is credited with changing the face of evangelical Christianity in America, was arranged by House Speaker Paul Ryan, R-Wisc., and Senate Majority leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky. Both Republican leaders will deliver remarks.

It is a rare privilege for civilians to be honored in this way, a distinction that usually is reserved for presidents or members of Congress, although they technically lie "in state." The practice changed in 1998 when Congress voted to recognize two Capitol Police officers who died in the line of duty.

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