Saturday, March 24, 2018

Rt. Rev. W. Michie Klusmeyer: Episcopal bishops back steps against gun violence

From West Virginia-

As the bishop of the Episcopal Diocese of West Virginia, I participated in the gathering of the House of Bishops earlier this month in Texas. The assembly of bishops from across the United States and beyond came upon the heels of the school shootings in Florida and before the shootings this week in Maryland.

As we met, our conversation turned to the frequency of school shootings and gun violence. As spiritual leaders, we discussed the crisis our country is in and the urgency to address things - now.

As others - including our country's youth - have said, our country must change its laws to prevent gun violence and to save lives. We recognize this is not the world God created. It is not a world of love, hope and grace.

Our faith and belief in God's word led us to unanimously accept the following statement on gun violence:

More here-


From Maryland-

March 22, 2018

Dear Friends in Ministry,

The Episcopal Church created a Commission on Impairment and Leadership to study “matters involving the serious impairment of individuals serving as leaders in the Church, with special attention to issues of addiction and substance abuse.” The work was initiated by the crisis in our diocese: the death of Thomas Palermo caused by then Bishop Suffragan Heather Cook who was driving while impaired. The report of the Commission was just released and can be found here. As part of the Standing Committee’s ongoing commitment to nurturing our relationships in ministry and building trust, we commend the report to you.

The Standing Committee is a body of four lay and four clerics elected by Diocesan Convention to fulfill certain canonical functions and to serve as a body of advice to the bishops. We gathered with our bishops for a retreat on Saturday March 17, 2018 to continue the conversation on impairment in church leadership. Peggy Treadwell, editor of Edwin Friedman’s Failure of Nerve, guided us in reflecting on the last three generations of diocesan leadership including both clergy and laity. We saw patterns of behavior that have developed in our diocesan system. We identified areas of needed work as we move forward building mutual trust across our diocese.

More here-


From Baltimore-

A study commissioned after an Episcopal bishop killed a bicyclist while driving drunk in Baltimore criticizes the church's handling of substance abuse issues and highlights systemic deficiencies.

The Baltimore Sun cites a March report from the Commission on Impairment and Leadership that concludes the policies and cultural attitudes of the Episcopal Church U.S.A. have enabled an "abdication of accountability" and prevented clergy members and communities from addressing "impaired clergy." The church's House of Bishops commissioned the study.

The 11-person panel of Episcopal leaders used case studies to determine the church has "an inadequate theological understanding of forgiveness," which superseded taking responsibility for the consequences of behavior. The report said that the church's structure detrimentally impacted nearly every examined case by essentially fostering inaction.

More here-

No palms on Palm Sunday: Philly church using local grasses for lighter footprint

From Philadelphia-

St. Peter’s Episcopal Church in Philadelphia’ Society Hill is one of the oldest churches in the city. At more than 250 years old it is an historic landmark, one not afraid to change.

This weekend its congregants, along with Christians around the world, will observe Palm Sunday and mark the day Jesus entered Jerusalem to an adoring crowd waving palm fronds in his honor. It is the official start of Holy Week.

Instead of waving palms, St. Peter’s will wave ornamental grasses, in accordance with the church’s environmental theology.

“We had been using eco-friendly palm, which are sustainably harvested,” said Rev. Claire Nevin-Field, the church rector. “But even given that, most of those are imported from Central America or driven in trucks from Florida. That still is a pretty big carbon footprint. There has got to be stuff growing around here that we could use.”

More here-


From Ft. Worth-

In the spring of 2017, The Episcopal Church approved a grant of $100,000 for a church plant in Parker County, site of the Walsh development, the largest buildout in the United States at that time. The diocesan leadership “raised their eyes and looked at the fields” and believed it was time to see what God was doing in that part of our diocese.

The Rev. Hunter Ruffin was hired to lead the church plant effort and a church planting team comprised largely of members of The Episcopal Church in Parker County was formed and set to work preparing the field.

The team met for Bible study and worship, had a visible presence in numerous community events, went door to door inviting people to join the church plant, and generally became a visible presence. They worked hard and courageously at discerning what God wanted from us at this time.

More here-

Friday, March 23, 2018

The Guardian view of abuse in the church: a truly dreadful story

From The Guardian-

The Independent Inquiry into Child Sexual Abuse is just finishing its investigation of the scandals involving the Church of England in Sussex or, in the jargon, the diocese of Chichester. What it has found, in the words of one witness, has been “horrifying to a huge degree, because you see this extraordinary and atrocious willingness to turn a blind eye to things going very, very seriously wrong, and entirely damaging human beings for their whole lifetimes”. The speaker was Justin Welby, the present archbishop of Canterbury. He can’t on this occasion be accused of overstatement. The picture that has emerged of the Church of England is an organisation almost paralysed by self-importance, but lacking in real self-confidence and, as a result, almost wholly unaccountable, even internally. Bishops quite often burned all their confidential files on leaving office, to ensure there was no evidence to trouble their successors. The clergy were held to be more important than the laity, and the bishops far superior to the parish clergy. The archbishop told the inquiry that he thinks every day about how the church will answer for its sins on the day of judgment, but few people within it seem to have been troubled by the thought of any earlier reckoning.

This goes for both the preceding archbishops of Canterbury, Lord Williams and Lord Carey. Lord Carey, who submitted two paragraphs of written evidence to the inquiry, was sacked last summer by Mr Welby from his post as an unpaid parish priest after details emerged of his suppression of evidence in the case of Peter Ball, who had abused boys as a junior bishop in Chichester before being promoted to become bishop of Gloucester and finally arrested, charged and sentenced after one of his victims killed himself. Lord Carey still believes he has been treated unfairly, and some of his conservative evangelical supporters claim that he is being persecuted for his theological views.

More here-

Panel: Episcopal Church still lacks accountability on drugs

From The Washington Post-

A study commissioned after an Episcopal bishop killed a bicyclist while driving drunk in Baltimore criticizes the church’s handling of substance abuse issues and highlights systemic deficiencies.

The Baltimore Sun cites a March report from the Commission on Impairment and Leadership that concludes the policies and cultural attitudes of the Episcopal Church U.S.A. have enabled an “abdication of accountability” and prevented clergy members and communities from addressing “impaired clergy.” The church’s House of Bishops commissioned the study.

The 11-person panel of Episcopal leaders used case studies to determine the church has “an inadequate theological understanding of forgiveness,” which superseded taking responsibility for the consequences of behavior. The report said that the church’s structure detrimentally impacted nearly every examined case by essentially fostering inaction.

More here-


From The Living Church-

While living in Boston, I walked the Freedom Trail innumerable times with visitors. At first, visiting the historic sites of the early days of the American Revolution moved me. Yet after the 30th time standing in the shadow of Old North Church (one if by land, two if by sea), I found myself bored. I told the visitors, “You know what? You go ahead and look inside. I’ll be thinking about the delicious gnocchi we’ll be consuming in a moment.”

Our capacity for wonder is often limited by the drudgery of experience. We’ve been there, done that. This attitude is especially dangerous for those of us who belong to liturgical traditions. The Easter Vigil moved me — until the 30th time I participated in it. (I get it. This is the night.) A transcendent church, such as Westminster Abbey, captured my imagination until it became just another building that I passed while going somewhere in London. Christmas is the feast of the Word made flesh, the revelation that power is made perfect in weakness. But the 35th, 36th, and 37th Christmases tend to dull our wonder relative to the astonishing exchange of humanity and divinity in our Lord Jesus Christ.

More here-

Reclaiming Jesus: How Confessing Faith Can Respond to a Moral and Constitutional Crisis

From Jim Wallis-

On Ash Wednesday, a group of church leaders, all old enough to be called “elders,” met in a private retreat. We prayed. We experienced a deep sense of lament for the political and moral crisis we are in and for the ways it unfolded. We confessed on behalf of the churches and for our own complicity in the situation in which we now find ourselves. And we strongly sensed the need for repentance, realizing that word means much more than guilt and shame, but a “turning around” and moving in a new direction. We agreed to write a declaration together — something that would be much more than just another statement to sign and then file away. Rather, with a shared humble spirit, we felt called to act as elders for a time such as this and to commend our message to the churches for a process of prayer, study, reflection, and action.

Our concerns about the future — of our nation’s values, heart, soul, and even democracy itself — compel us to respond more theologically than politically, where what we believe is the foundation of the things we must vocally reject. We believe that the future of the nation’s soul, and the integrity of faith, are both at stake.

More here-

So Christianity is no longer the norm? Going underground will do it good

From The Guardian-

It’s quite a statement. “Christianity as a default, as a norm, is gone, and probably gone for good,” said Prof Stephen Bullivant this week, in response to figures showing widespread rejection of Christianity among Europe’s young people. He adds a slender caveat: “Or at least for the next 100 years.”

Plenty of people will find all this to be cause for celebration. It’s like a Philip Pullman fantasy made real: the young people of Europe casting off the deadening, corrupting, malignant influence of religion. They appear to be putting that ancient, feeble entity called God out of his misery. It could be seen as a sloughing off of superstition, a thrilling engagement with reality and reason. And yet I suspect the truth is a little more complex.

At the risk of sounding in denial, this may not be entirely bad news for Christianity. Arguably one of the most toxic developments in the history of the faith was its shift from being a radical political and spiritual movement to allowing itself to be co-opted by forces of oppression and militarism. Becoming a default or norm effectively drained it of much of its energy.

More here-

Thursday, March 22, 2018

Report following Heather Cook case finds Episcopal Church in denial about alcohol abuse

From Baltimore-

The Episcopal Church U.S.A. has done little to address alcohol abuse in its upper ranks, despite the 2014 death of a Baltimore cyclist killed in a drunk-driving hit-and-run by then-Bishop Heather Cook.

Instead, the church remains mired in a “system of denial and helplessness,” concluded a commission set up by the Episcopal House of Bishops after the widely publicized indictment and conviction of Cook, one-time suffragan bishop of the Maryland Diocese.

Cook is now serving a seven-year term for manslaughter, having been denied early parole after a hearing last May in which she accepted no responsibility for the death of Tom Palermo, a 41-year-old software engineer and father of two.

“The commission has discovered that in many instances, church polity has impeded the ability of the church to intervene, assess and treat impaired people and care for the injured community,” the report, released online yesterday, noted.

“The Report of the Commission on Impairment and Leadership,” took a case-study approach, “identifying several cases involving deacons, priests, and bishops across the span of their vocational life.”

More here-

Sewanee revokes Charlie Rose’s honorary degree after months of pressure to take action

From ENS-

 Sewanee: The University of the South has revoked Charlie Rose’s honorary degree after facing increasing pressure from all sides to act in response to the sexual harassment scandal that derailed the broadcast journalist’s career last fall.

The final decision was made by the Sewanee Board of Regents in a March 20 meeting, the university said in a statement released March 21. The statement noted this was the first time Sewanee had revoked a honorary degree, and the action required the creation of a new procedure for reconsidering such degrees.

“In the new four-step process, a written request for the revocation of an honorary degree was submitted to the vice-chancellor, who shared it with and received approval from the Joint Regent-Senate Committee on Honorary Degrees, the University Senate, and the Board of Regents, in that order,” the university said.

The Board of Regents initially had resisted requests to revoke the degree in February, but a month later it has reversed itself, joining the honorary degree committee and the University Senate in voting with at least two-thirds majorities to take action against Rose.

More here-

Not a Tame Lion: The “Deplorable” C.S. Lewis

From Crisis-

C.S. Lewis was not Catholic, much less a theologian who teaches with an authority Catholics are obliged to recognize. As an eloquent proponent of natural law and the close colleague of important Catholic writers like J.R.R. Tolkien and Elizabeth Anscombe, however, the Anglican Lewis is surely someone whose significance we must acknowledge. Unfortunately, among some there is a tendency to celebrate an imaginary Lewis, a tame conservative establishmentarian who opposes atheism, abortion, and human cloning but would otherwise fit nicely into a post-1960s dispensation of multiculturalism and working mothers. Such sanitizing of Lewis is unfortunate not because he was always right, but because we cannot possibly benefit from our conversations with the finest minds of the past until we are ready to listen to what such minds actually have to say.

“By learning to drink and smoke and perhaps to tell risqué stories,” observes Lewis, the supposedly emancipated modern girl has not really “drawn an inch nearer to the men than her grandmother.” Moreover, he adds, “her grandmother was far happier and more realistic. She was at home talking real women’s talk to other women and perhaps doing so with great charm, sense and even wit.” There are “sensible women,” but at a mixed party such women are wont to “gravitate to one end of the room and talk women’s talk to one another,” for they know full well that “it is only the riff-raff of each sex that wants to be incessantly hanging on the other.” So much for co-ed dorms. Or, for that matter, co-ed colleges.

More here-

SA Anglican Church sex abuse scandal: four victims come forward

From South Africa-

Anglican Archbishop Thabo Makgoba says four cases of sexual abuse in two dioceses have emerged in recent weeks.

Urgent consultations are now under way to bolster procedures for dealing with cases of sexual abuse in the church‚ he said on Thursday.

The church has been rocked by allegations of abuse‚ with South African author Ishtiyaq Shukri saying he had been “repeatedly and routinely” sexually abused in the past by priests at St Cyprian's Cathedral‚ Kimberley.

A second victim told the Weekend Argus at the weekend that he had been abused from the late 1970s until the early 1980s when he was 13 years old.

“The other priest stopped pursuing me. But one continued. He would come to our home‚ telling my parents he was taking me to church events. This continued for about four years. And suddenly he was moved about 150km from Cape Town‚” he said.

Archbishop Makgoba acknowledged on Thursday that the church had been “lagging behind in our care for victims of abuse”.

More here-

and here-

and 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-

Church Introduces New Soundproof Section For Terrible Singers

A Little Humor To Start The Day-

Christ Church of the Hills introduced an innovative new feature at its central campus Sunday: a completely soundproofed section of pews reserved exclusively for loud, off-key singers in the congregation, sources confirmed.

The section of several pews is encompassed by state-of-the-art anechoic technology, preventing any screeches, bellows, or other distracting noises from leaving the isolated chamber and disturbing the rest of the congregation. Those seated in the section can listen to the service through a set of speakers wired into the quarantined area.

According to head usher Monty Bennett, the program is working out great so far.

More here-

Wednesday, March 21, 2018

Justin Welby: sexual abusers can never be trusted again

From The Guardian-

People who sexually abuse children or vulnerable adults can never be trusted again even if they genuinely repent, the archbishop of Canterbury has told the independent inquiry into child sexual abuse.

“We know abusive behaviour tends to repeat. If someone has been an abuser, they can never be trusted again. You will never take a chance on them again,” Justin Welby said.

The Bible was “utterly, brutally blunt about the difference between forgiveness and the consequences of sin. Where there is something done wrong, there will be consequences,” he said.

“If you have abused and repent genuinely, you should still go to prison,” he added.

Welby was giving evidence on the last day of witness testimony in three weeks of hearings into sexual abuse in the Church of England, focusing on the diocese of Chichester in West Sussex. 

More here-

Diocese: Shelter Island retired minister tied up in home invasion

From Long Island-

A retired minister on Shelter Island was tied up in a home invasion several days ago and found Monday by a friend during a wellness check, authorities said.

The victim, who was not identified by police, was found seated in a chair at his home, not far from Shell Beach, and was airlifted to a hospital, said Town Supervisor Gary Gerth, who spoke to police at the scene. The minister has friends checking on him every three or four days, Gerth said.

“His garage door was open, so his friend went directly into the house and found him tied up and . . . immediately called 911,” Gerth said. “The person was in pretty difficult shape.”

Town police responded there about 12:40 p.m. and found an 87-year-old man injured in what is being investigated as a burglary, said Suffolk police, who are also on the case.

In an email asking for prayers, the Episcopal Diocese of Long Island identified the victim as Paul Wancura, a longtime priest and one of its former archdeacons.

More here-

also here-

Small, rural Episcopal churches designed by world-renowned architect are disappearing

From ENS-

In the center of a little former frontier town in northeastern South Dakota stands an Episcopal sole survivor.

The one-room wooden Trinity Episcopal Church was built only three years after the town of Groton was organized as a railroad stop in 1881. Groton is now a city of 1,400 people, according to the last U.S. census.

This simple, white-painted church is listed on the National Register of Historic Places, representing significant mid-19th century revival architecture, exploration and settlement. Properties listed in the register are deemed important in American history, architecture, archeology, engineering and culture. It’s the official list of the nation’s historic places worthy of preservation.

More here-

Bishop Search Update #5

From The Convocation in Europe-

The Bishop Search Process has moved into a new stage following the closure of the window for receipt of applications. The Search and Nomination Committee is delighted with and encouraged by the number of applications it has received from highly qualified clergy who have put themselves forward as candidates to be our next bishop.

The next part of the discernment process is to conduct video interviews with those candidates best fitting our Bishop Profile. To do this effectively, the Committee will work in small groups from the week beginning March 19. The aim will be to determine who to ¬invite to the Candidates’ Retreat being planned to take place in Germany in May.

Please continue to hold in prayer all those who have put themselves forward as candidates as well as the Search and Nomination Committee. Your support in this way is greatly appreciated.

More here-

Tuesday, March 20, 2018

ACNA diocese contemplates secession, dissolution

From Anglican Ink-

Fears for its future and disquiet over the Anglican Church in North America’s stance on the ordination of women has prompted the Missionary Diocese of All Saints (MDAS) to explore relations with non-Anglican bodies.

The bishops of the MDAS  have not withdrawn the small traditionalist Anglo-Catholic diocese from the ACNA, however in his presidential address to the 15-17 March  2018 meeting of his diocesan synod in Ocean City, Md., the Rt. Rev. William J. Ilgenfritz stated the diocese was speaking to “non-Papal Catholics” with a view to joining a new denomination.

While no decisions on withdrawal is imminent, diocesan sources tell Anglican Ink, but Bishop Ilgenfritz’s speech highlights the disquiet traditional Anglo-Catholics feel over the church’s policy of “two integrities” on women’s orders. The address also comes as Bishop Ilgenfritz and his suffragan, the Rt. Rev. Richard Lipka, prepare for retirement, raising questions as to the viability of the 34-congregation diocese’s survival.

Is Mark Rylands the humblest bishop in the Church of England?

From "Archbishop Cranmer"-

The Rt Rev’d Mark Rylands is presently Bishop of Shrewsbury. He is well-known to readers of this blog for being a thoughtful and intelligent advocate for UK secession from the European Union – the Church of England’s only Brexit Bishop, indeed. It has been announced that he is leaving his area bishopric in the Diocese of Lichfield and returning to parish ministry in the Diocese of Exeter. He explains:

“It will be sad to leave. And for some it may seem a surprise move. But, for me, I have sensed God’s beckoning to serve as a parish priest again. For the last 16 years, as both diocesan missioner and area bishop, much of my ministry has been to encourage, challenge and help churches and church leaders to embody and share the Good News of Jesus Christ in the local community. I have heard God calling me now to ‘go and walk the talk’.

“I am acutely aware that I have a great deal to learn in becoming a parish priest and am not unaware of the challenges I face. However, I have a heart for rural mission and ministry and am greatly looking forward to getting to know the people of Ashburton and the Moorland Team in Exeter Diocese, to seeing where God will lead us. I am slightly daunted but also know that, where God calls, he also equips.

You may ponder perfectly reasonable questions:

More here-

Meet the Candidates for Election to be the next Bishop of the Diocese of the Rio Grande

From Rio Grande-

"The Standing Committee of the Episcopal Diocese of the Rio Grande is delighted to announce a slate of three candidates for the office of Bishop presented to us by the Bishop Search Committee," said Dr. Kathleen Pittman, president of the Standing Committee.

"The people of our Diocese have prayed diligently and faithfully for God to send us good candidates. Our prayers have been answered," she said.

The electing convention will be May 5, 2018, at the Cathedral of St. John, Albuquerque, New Mexico. The Service of Ordination and Consecration is scheduled for November 3, 2018, with the Most Rev. Michael Bruce Curry, Presiding Bishop, officiating.

The candidates are:

The Rev. Canon Lucinda Ashby, Canon to the Ordinary, The Episcopal Diocese of Idaho
The Rev. Canon Michael Buerkel Hunn, Canon to the Presiding Bishop of The Episcopal Church
The Rev. Simon Charles Justice, Rector, Church of the Good Samaritan, Corvallis, Diocese of Oregon

More here-

Archbishop Justin Welby urges Commonwealth leaders to have “the courage to dream big”

From ACNS-

The Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby has spoken of his hopes that the Commonwealth heads of government will have “the courage to dream big” when they gather in London next month for their biennial meeting. The Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting (CHOGM) will take place in London and Windsor Castle from 19 – 20 April. In the three days ahead of the meeting, a number of forums will take place at which a number of civil society organisations – including provinces of the Anglican Communion – will take part.

“The great majority of members of the Anglican Communion are also members of the Commonwealth,” Archbishop Justin said in a video published by the Commonwealth secretariat. “The Commonwealth is one of those rare international bodies that is both useful and crosses all kinds of cultural and linguistic and historic boundaries.

More here-

God revealed through people with disabilities

From Living Lutheran-

His disciples asked him, “Rabbi, who sinned, this man or his parents, that he was born blind?” Jesus answered, “Neither this man nor his parents sinned; he was born blind so that God’s works might be revealed in him” (John 9:2-3).

I was born with one arm. I was 10 when I heard my mom tell the story of bringing her newborn to worship, only to be confronted by another member who insisted that God was punishing one or both of my parents by sending them a child with one arm.

Experiences like this have left me asking: “Is that what the church thinks of people with disabilities?”

When congregations never talk about disability, it sends the message to people with disabilities and their loved ones that they don’t really matter to the church. And when congregations talk about disability thoughtlessly or unkindly, it sends another message—that people with disabilities aren’t really welcome.

I’m a lifelong Lutheran and a lifelong person with a disability, and I need both of those parts of my identity to be welcome in the church. It’s not just up to leaders like pastors and deacons to make a congregation welcoming to people with disabilities. Every member of the body of Christ has the responsibility and power to make every other member welcomed and included.

More here-

Monday, March 19, 2018

The Episcopal Church changed course for our LGBT members

From Kansas City-

For more than 40 years the Episcopal Church has stood in support of the rights of gay and lesbian people and in more recent years has expanded that to include transgender people. This support for LGBT rights isn’t a political stance but a theological one, based in the knowledge that people are beloved children of God and worthy of respect.

It was one of the first Christian denominations to recognize in 1976 that “homosexual persons are children of God who have a full and equal claim with all other persons upon the love, acceptance and pastoral concern of the Church.” This resolution was passed only one year after the American Psychological Association voted to remove homosexuality from its list of mental illnesses. At its next General Convention in 1979, the Episcopal Church declared that there is no barrier to the ordination of homosexual people.

Over the next 36 years, we struggled with the recognition of the faithful and monogamous relationships between gay and lesbian couples. Our denomination has its conservative wing, and we were unable to reach a consensus to give full recognition to these relationships.

Read more here:

Matthews resigns her position as Bishop of Christchurch

From New Zealand-

Victoria Matthews resigns her position as Bishop of Christchurch

After ten years of leadership of the Anglican Diocese of Christchurch Bishop Victoria Matthews will step down from the Diocese on 1 May this year.

Bishop Matthews describes her time here in Christchurch as “an extraordinary privilege.”

“I want to thank the people in this Diocese for their faithful service. This beautiful Diocese has been through many challenges brought about by earthquakes, wind, fire and floods. But through it all, people have been their best selves by helping others, working together and finding new ways of doing things.”

More here-

and here-

and here-

Modern Christianity’s Mental Health Stigma Must End

From Relevant-

“Are you OK, Rachel? You don’t seem yourself. You’re making quite a lot of mistakes.”

I could hear the disapproval in his voice. I watched my feet as I shuffled them side to side. I couldn’t look him in the eyes.

I wish I never told you about my anxiety.

It was in that moment when I drew the conclusion that I had made a terrible mistake—the mistake of disclosing my mental health struggle to my previous boss.

The only thing more threatening than mental health stigma is someone’s ability to hold your mental health against you. That’s what happened to me with a previous employer. Amidst a myriad other factors, I felt discriminated against for having anxiety in the workplace. And get this—it was a Christian organization!

“Have you prayed about this? You might want to consider getting prayer.”

More here-

How Eastern Orthodox's ‘Forgiveness Sunday’ could save us from our Facebook feeds

From American Magazine-

As we enter deeper into Lent and continue to abstain from certain foods and habits, even those who have given up constantly checking Facebook and Twitter cannot retreat entirely from our divided, toxic political environment.

Partly because of my work in community and government relations for a Jesuit university, and partly the responsibility of simply being a citizen I will continue to take in news. This means I will inevitably be exposed to the usual mix of “fake news,” political grandstanding and negative partisanship—what the Stanford political scientists Shanto Iyengar and Masha Krupenkin call “a primal sense of ‘us against them.’”

Can our preparations for Easter help us cope with this reality? Can they do so not only now, but throughout the year?

In the Eastern Orthodox tradition in which I worship, the season of Lent begins with a “Forgiveness Vespers.” At the end of the service, each member of the community proceeds to the front of the church to exchange with the priest and fellow parishioners—the whole church—a plea of repentance.

More here-

Sunday, March 18, 2018

New abuse claim hits church

From South Africa-

THE ANGLICAN church has been rocked by another disclosure of sexual abuse, a few weeks after a well-known author broke a 40-yearsilence on his own experience.

The latest victim to come out is battling to reconcile with the church’s decision at the time to move alleged perpetrators of sexual abuse to another town “where they possibly damaged the lives of many more”.

This week, David Fields (not his real name) recalled how the abuse started in the late 1970s until the early 1980s when he was about 13 years old.

“As a young boy I grew up in church. Our parents wanted us to attend church and priests were looked up to in the community as people with authority and power.

“The priest and another one in the parish started taking an interest in me but at the time I didn’t know why nor could I understand what the interest was all about. Then the abuse started with touching and led to sexual activity.

More here-

A ‘Social Gospel’ in an age of religious diversity?

From Cape Cod-

While the incentives for these expressions remain the fundamental beliefs of the various faith traditions involved, institutional survival can also be a motivating force. St. George’s Church-Stuyvesant Square, an Episcopal congregation in New York City, was faced in the 1870s with a departing upper-class congregation and a growing lower-class immigrant population in its neighborhood when, with the support of J. Pierpont Morgan, the Rev. William Rainsford was called to be its rector. Under his leadership, the concept of a church that served the educational, medical, and social needs of that community was fully realized and in time shared in his widely implemented “The Administration of an Institutional Church.”

That was then. The Social Gospel did not survive the disillusionment of World War I, and for many contemporary religious institutions the Institutional Church no longer works as a model for parish life, a vehicle for survival, or an effective tool for mission and ministry. In addition, the modern world has complex challenges and social issues that are beyond the capacity of a single church, denomination or even religion to address fully. These range from substance abuse to human trafficking, gun violence to immigration, racism to economic inequality. What worked in the inter-bellum era no longer adequately addresses the third role of religion in our age. What then should replace them?

More here-

Welcome to the House of Deputies Newsletter

From The House of Deputies-

Impairment Task Force Report Released

Executive Council commission examines leadership and addiction

 In March 2015, the Executive Council of the Episcopal Church, by affirming a House of Bishops resolution,  created and funded the Commission on Impairment and Leadership. The group was charged with exploring "the canonical, environmental, behavioral and procedural dimensions of matters involving the serious impairment of individuals serving as leaders in the Church, with special attention to issues of addiction and substance abuse." The group's appointment was precipitated by a 2014 crash in which then-bishop Heather Cook, who was driving while drunk, killed bicyclist Thomas Palermo.

The commission's report, which includes recommendations about the church's ordination, training, transition, deployment, wellness, management and oversight processes, is now available online.

More here-

Episcopacy, Priesthood, and the Priesthood of the Church

From The Living Church-

It is a great pleasure to join you this evening to honour one of the great Anglican theologians and Bishops of the 20th century, Michael Ramsey. I have many illustrious predecessors as Van Mildert Professor at Durham. I count it particularly daunting but inspirational and a source of enormous pride to follow Michael Ramsey. Whilst I would never pretend for a moment to his depth of learning and spirituality, we do share an unswerving devotion both to Catholic and orthodox Anglicanism and the capacious nature of Anglican ecclesiology, a commitment to ecumenism and a deep love of this beautiful church and its liturgical and preaching ministry.

When Ramsey arrived in Durham as Van Mildert Canon Professor of Divinity in 1940, he was just 35 years old and came from a brief spell as vicar of St. Benet’s. The Gospel and the Catholic Church, written whilst he was a tutor at Lincoln Theological College, was not well-liked by some in Durham and he was regarded as very eccentric. Before his marriage to Joan Hamilton in the Galilee Chapel at Durham Cathedral in 1942, Ramsey lived alone in 12, The College (the cathedral close), a huge building that looks like a castle that the cathedral now lets as six substantial flats. You may know that Ramsey served as an air-raid warden during the war, although he was less distinguished in this role than he was as a theologian or bishop. He never quite grasped the difference between the air raid siren and the all-clear. He would often mistake them and rush round The College waking the residents as the all-clear was sounded, just in time for them to see the German bombers return from Newcastle.

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