Saturday, April 21, 2018

Anglican Church launches scathing attack on Nyanza politicians

From Kenya-

The Anglican Church has launched a scathing attack at politicians in Nyanza, accusing them of lackluster leadership in development. Bishops from the church’s three dioceses declared they will no longer keep quiet over politics and development issues in the region.

Bishops Mwai Abiero (Maseno South), James Ochiel (Southern Nyanza), Joshua Owiti (Maseno East) and Dr David Kodia (Bondo) said politicians must take responsibility for slow growth in the region.

hey spoke in Kisumu during the commissioning of Victoria Inter Diocesan Enterprise Investment Company (Vidic) building whose construction will cost Sh1 billion. The 18 storey Vidic Towers will be co-funded, owned and run by the six ACK dioceses in Nyanza. It will house offices and create over 1,000 jobs. The revenue generated from the tower will also be ploughed back to various community development projects. The bishops told all elected political leaders “to wake up” and help improve the economy of the region. In an apparent move to show solidarity with Rev Ochiel, who has been a lone voice in attacking ODM over alleged poor leadership, the clerics accused politicians of not initiating meaningful projects to spur growth.

Read more at:

Marriage canon resolution may be amended with protections for traditionalists, bishops say

From Canada-

A resolution to amend the marriage canon to allow for same-sex marriages may itself be amended to include protections for Anglicans who hold to the traditional view of marriage, said Archbishop Fred Hiltz, primate of the Anglican Church of Canada.

“There is a possibility” that the resolution, which passed its required first reading at the last General Synod in 2016, may be amended when it is presented for a required second reading in 2019, Hiltz said in an interview Thursday, April 19.

Another possibility is that a separate resolution to amend the canon could be made, one that “would enable the church as a whole, as a General Synod, to say something clearer to conservatives who want to remain in our church” in the event the resolution passes, he said.

More here-

Episcopal cathedral plans Beyonce 'Mass'? California media fall over themselves praising it

From Get Religion-

Every so often, a piece crosses one’s desk that makes you wonder how journalism has survived up to this point.

Puff news coverage of a “Beyonce Mass” does leave one shaking one's head. How, you wonder, can a singer better known for quadruple platinum albums be as

Answer: When the host organization is San Francisco’s Grace Episcopal Cathedral and the music critic penning the piece doesn’t know much about religion.

Here’s what appeared recently in the San Jose Mercury News:

sociated with the holiest rite in Christianity?

More here-

Church leaders condemn Syria strikes

From The Church Times-

THE bombing of Syrian targets, approved by the Prime Minister to “degrade the Syrian regime’s chemical weapons capability”, has been condemned by Syrian church leaders.

A joint statement issued on Saturday, the morning after the strikes, denounced it as “brutal aggression” and “a clear violation of the international laws and the UN Charter, because it is an unjustified assault on a sovereign country”.

The statement was signed by the Greek Orthodox Patriarch of Antioch and All The East, John X; the Syrian Orthodox Patriarch of Antioch and All The East, Ignatius Aphrem II; and the Melkite-Greek Catholic Patriarch of Antioch, Alexandria, and Jerusalem, Joseph Absi.

Their view was put into perspective by the Revd Stephen Griffith, a former Anglican chaplain in Damascus: “The Churches of Syria are in captivity. Their leaders dare not criticise the government of Syria for fear of the consequences, both personally and for their communities” (Comment).

On Monday, the Bishop of Coventry, Dr Christopher Cocksworth, described the co-ordination of the strikes, carried out by British, French, and US forces, as representing “an impressive example of diplomatic energy and skill”.

More here-

Friday, April 20, 2018

German bishops deny Pope nixed their plan for intercommunion with Protestants

From Life Site-

The German bishops are denying reports that Pope Francis has rejected their plan to give Holy Communion to Protestant spouses of Catholics.

The plan, which was contained in a guide published by the German Episcopal Conference, justified giving Holy Communion to Protestant spouses of Catholics on the grounds that they might otherwise experience “serious spiritual distress.”

Following a request for a review of the material by seven German bishops, the Austrian Catholic news agency has reported that the Holy See’s Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith has rejected the guide, and that that the decision was confirmed by Pope Francis himself.’s report has been confirmed by the National Catholic Register’s Vatican correspondent Edward Pentin.

More here-

also here-

Sacred Items Dating Back to the 1800s Stolen from Placerville Church

From California-

The Episcopal Church of Our Saviour was broken into Monday night, according to Reverend Debra Sabino.

What makes the case bizarre is that the items stolen, aside from some audio equipment, have no value outside of the church. They include chalices and patens. The chalices were for the wine considered the blood of Christ and patens are the plates used to serve the bread or body of Christ.

But those items have huge value to the church.

Sabino said the church was the first Episcopal Church built west of the Mississippi when it went up in Placerville back in 1863. Some of the stolen chalices and patens date back to the church's inception

"And they have names engraved from people back in those days that they were given in memory of from so long ago, who still have families in the area," Sabino told FOX40.

More here-

A life in Lothian: Rector at St. James retires after 45 years

From Maryland-

On Sunday historic St. James’ Parish says goodbye to its rector of nearly half a century, the Rev. William H.C. Ticknor.

But as he insists most know him as Bill.

He officially retires on April 29, but the church community, which has blossomed in all respects under his wing, is holding a retirement reception after services this Sunday.

Fresh out of divinity school Ticknor accepted his first position as rector of St. James’ Parish at age 26, celebrating his first service on Easter Day, April 22, 1973.

And next Sunday he turns 72 which kicks in mandatory retirement. If not for that he would stay on.

It was perhaps a fitting appointment for the Episcopal parish founded in 1692, . Ticknor is a direct descendant of the church’s seventh rector Thomas John Claggett, who resigned from St. James’ in 1792 to be ordained the first Episcopal bishop ordained on American soil.

More here-

Thursday, April 19, 2018

Museveni, Archbishop Lwanga agree trade-off

From Uganda-

Two weeks after Kampala Archbishop Cyprian Kizito Lwanga spoke angrily about the state spying on him, President Museveni fixed a meeting for the two to meet at State Lodge Nakasero on April 8.

To Nakasero, Lwanga went with a group of priests but Museveni later scaled down the meeting to just the two of them, and it is during this one-on-one meeting in the gardens of the State Lodge that they agreed on a follow-on visit to Rwakitura, Museveni’s country home in Kiruhura district – where a common position seems to have been shaped.

It was during the Rwakitura meeting last weekend that a seemingly softened Lwanga took the significant step of inviting Museveni to be Uganda’s chief pilgrim to the Vatican when Pope John Paul II will be canonised in October. 

More here-

Ex-St. George’s chaplain Howard White charged with child sex abuse in N.C.

From Rhode Island-

White, 76, who was stripped of his Episcopal priesthood last fall and is behind bars in Massachusetts for raping a prep school student in the 1970s, faces nine counts alleging various sexual abuse of a juvenile boy and a girl back in the 1980s, while he worked at Grace Church in the Mountains, in Waynesville, North Carolina.

Howard W. White Jr., the former associate chaplain at St. George’s School, in Middletown, now behind bars in Massachusetts for raping a prep school student in the 1970s, is facing numerous similar charges in North Carolina.

White, 76, who was stripped of his Episcopal priesthood last fall, faces nine counts alleging various sexual abuse of a juvenile boy and a girl back in the 1980s while he worked at Grace Church in the Mountains, in Waynesville, North Carolina.

More here-

Evangelical Leaders Gather at Wheaton to Discuss Future of the Movement in Trump Era

From Sojourners-

About 50 evangelical Christian leaders gathered early this week to discuss the future of evangelicalism amid concerns their movement has become too closely associated with President Trump’s polarizing politics.

The closed-door meeting Monday and Tuesday (April 16-17) was held at Wheaton College, a private school outside Chicago that is sometimes called the “evangelical Harvard.” Wheaton attracts a theologically diverse mix of evangelical students and scholars with its focus on the liberal arts.

The session took place as Trump’s evangelical advisers, a group often criticized for providing cover for the president’s unsavory behavior and language, are reportedly planning a June meeting between the president and as many as 1,000 evangelical pastors, similar to the meeting held in New York City during the 2016 campaign.

More here-

Exorcism: Vatican course opens doors to 250 priests

From The BBC-

As many as 250 priests from 50 countries have arrived in Rome to learn how to identify demonic possession, to hear personal accounts from other priests and to find out more about the rituals behind expelling demons.

Exorcism remains controversial, in part due to its depiction in popular culture and horror films. But there have also been some cases of abuse linked to exorcisms in a range of religious sects.

The week-long Vatican course is described as the only international series of lectures of its kind. Entitled Exorcism and the Prayer of Liberation, it first opened its doors in 2005 and the number of priests attending has more than doubled since then. The event costs €300 (£260, $370) and covers the theological, psychological and anthropological background to exorcisms.

More here-

Wednesday, April 18, 2018

Judge orders expansion of federal lawsuit

From South Carolina- (with link to the opinion)

U.S. District Court Judge Richard M. Gergel has granted motions to expand a federal false-advertising and trademark infringement lawsuit against the bishop of a group that left The Episcopal Church, adding as defendants the breakaway organization and parishes that followed Bishop Mark Lawrence in separating from The Episcopal Church.

The 12-page order and opinion in the case known as vonRosenberg v. Lawrence adds as defendants to the case the diocesan organization operating under Bishop Lawrence, diocesan trustees that are also operating under Bishop Lawrence, and 54 parishes that followed Bishop Lawrence after the 2012 split. Those groups have been operating under the name "Episcopal Diocese of South Carolina," and the confusion created by that is one facet of the trademark and false-advertising claims. 

 "The Court therefore grants Plaintiffs' motions insofar as they seek to assert trademark infringement and false advertising claims against the Lawrence Diocese, parishes associated with the Lawrence Diocese, and the Trustees Corporation," the order says. 

More here-

Do churches need ministers? Not as much as they think

From Christian Today-

Just how important is the minister? Professionals who've trained for two or three years at a college and probably done a bit of an apprenticeship too might not particularly like to hear it said, 'Not very much.'

That's not quite what Andy Griffiths is saying in his Grove booklet, Refusing to be Indispensable: Vacating the centre of church life. But there's certainly an element there of Anglican vicars ministering in such a way that they do themselves out of a job.

Griffiths is co-ordinator of curate training in Chelmsford diocese and a continuing ministerial development adviser. And, as he points out, what's now desirable is shortly to become inevitable. Up to half of Anglican incumbents – vicars or rectors in charge of congregations – will retire during the next 10 years, leaving around 5,000 compared with 23,235 in 1901. How should incumbents relate to their congregations in such a way that they help them minister to themselves and to their local communities?

He has five metaphors for ministry, speaking of the incumbent as the 'vanishing priest' who points to God without herself being present, as apostolic team member, team builder, doorkeeper and 'planet' – that is, one who orbits around the Sun of Righteousness rather than herself being the congregation's centre of gravity. That's a thought borrowed from Pope Benedict when he was Cardinal Ratzinger, and there is a refreshingly broad range of reference in this little book.

More here-

An abuse of trust White hid behind his charm

From North Carolina-

Howard White is now seen by some as a wolf in sheep's clothing, the devil in a white robe.

But between 1984 and 2006, many in Haywood County only saw the former Episcopal priest as the beloved rector of Waynesville's Grace Church in the Mountains.

Since then, much has changed for White, 76, who has been convicted of child sexual abuse in New England, and now faces abuse charges in Haywood County dating back to 1985.

White, who preferred the affectionate, disarming nickname "Howdy," has been indicted by a Haywood County Grand Jury on charges that he abused one boy and one girl during his time in Haywood.

More here-

Dear Orange County Register editors: Some Episcopal stories require a bit of research

From Get Religion-

If you have been a religion-beat reporter for a decade or two (or longer), then you probably have a large "box" (analog, digital or both) stashed somewhere with a label that says "Episcopal Church Sex Wars," or words to that effect.

It's hard to know precisely where to start the clock, when creating a timeline for Episcopal conflicts about doctrines defining marriage and sex. has a helpful view from the left that starts in 1962. At GetReligion, we normally start with the 1979 General Convention in Denver, which affirmed traditional doctrines, but also saw the release of a protest document from 21 liberal bishops, including the names of several future leaders of the church.

This brings me to a recent story in the Orange County Register: "St. James the Great congregants make joyous return to Newport Beach church." One Godbeat veteran wrote me to say that this story had "more holes in it than a piece of Swiss cheese." Here is the lede:

More here-

‘Paul, Apostle of Christ’ owes more to Coca-Cola than to the Bible

From The Conversation-

The poster for Paul, Apostle of Christ shows a steely-eyed Paul (James Faulkner) gazing straight at the viewer. Luke, played by Jim Caviezel, (Jesus in The Passion of the Christ), stands resolutely beside him. Two handsome, sun-beaten white actors with strong noses and strong chins play heroes of the Christian faith. What could possibly be wrong?

In terms of historical accuracy, there’s much wrong. And much at stake. Paul, Apostle of Christ is one of an upsurge in Bible-themed movies that romanticize and distort the past and risk present-day harm. Such films are like soda pop: Sweet, easy to swallow, but harmful as a steady diet. 

I enjoyed watching Paul, Apostle of Christ; the fictional subplot of Paul haunted by a young girl’s murder is quite touching. Despite that, I believe the movie owes more to Coca-Cola than to the Bible. Here are five ways:

1. If your origins seem embarrassing, make up a new story

Coca-Cola was invented in 1886 by American Civil War veteran John Pemberton. Its earliest formulations contained alcohol and kola nut (caffeine) and coca leaf extracts (cocaine).

More here-

Tuesday, April 17, 2018

Departing Anglican Bishop calls out Christchurch old boys network

From New Zealand (Audio)-

Departing Anglican Bishop Victoria Matthews believes Christchurch is ruled by an old boys network, and has been for generations.

The Bishop's used her final sermon to heavily criticise the City Council and Great Christchurch Building Trust for their inaction over the Christchurch Cathedral.

She has since told Chris Lynch while her time in Christchurch before the earthquake was a very pleasant experience it went south after February 2011.

Matthews also criticised the council for its lack of action in the east of the city saying its focus on restoring business has come in the expense of the people.

More here-

also here-

Elderly minister dies of wounds suffered during home invasion

From Long Island-

Reverend Canon Paul Wancura, 87, died of wounds suffered as a result of a home invasion at his Silver Beach home three weeks ago.

The Shelter Island Police and Suffolk County Police departments announced his death this afternoon.

The brutal incident, which shocked the peaceful neighborhood and the Island at large, was originally termed by the police departments as a case of home invasion and burglary.

Now, with the Episcopal minister’s death, it has become a homicide case which will be conducted by the Homicide Division of the county department, according to Shelter Island Police Department Chief Jim Read.

Rallying only a week ago from critical condition at Stony Brook University Hospital where he had been since being airlifted from the Island on Monday, March 19, Reverend Wancura, who had a hand amputated,  never emerged from the intensive care unit of the hospital, according to Father Charles McCarron, pastor of St. Mary’s Church.

More here-

Sudanese Community Rallies to Send Kids to Camp Rock Point

From Vermont-

This summer might bring a new experience for fourth graders Nyankoor Anyang and Rosa Kuku. Along with their teammates from Chittenden County's Nile Bright Stars Academy soccer team, the students hope to spend a week at Rock Point Camp in Burlington. The entire local Sudanese community is rallying behind them.

Last Saturday, the Sudanese Foundation of Vermont and the Cathedral Church of St. Paul in Burlington  organized a fundraiser dinner so that kids from the Sudanese community can attend Rock Point Camp, which is run by the Episcopal Diocese.

"When the school is closed, the kids stay at home. That's not OK," said Chol Dhoor, executive director of the Sudanese foundation. His goal is to send all 21 members of the soccer team, who range from 5 to 16 years old, to camp so that they stay engaged and healthy over the summer. 

More here-

Ex-Episcopal priest accused of child sex assaults in the North Carolina mountains

From North Carolina-

An ex-Episcopal priest imprisoned in Massachusetts for decades-old child sex crimes is now accused of sexually assaulting two children in the North Carolina mountains.

A Haywood County grand jury has indicted 76-year-old Howard "Howdy" Willard White Jr., 76, on sex assault charges involving a girl and a boy, The Mountaineer newspaper in Waynesville reported. White is accused of the assaults when he served as rector of Grace Episcopal Church in the Mountains in Waynesville in the 1980s, according to the newspaper.

The charges are first-degree forcible rape, second-degree forcible rape, second-degree forcible sexual offense and indecent liberties with a child, Asheville ABC-TV affiliate WLOS reported.

Read more here:

The Biggest Myths about Mary Magdalene

From The Daily Beast-

At least once a week someone emails me to tell me that Mary Magdalene and Jesus were married. Sometimes, they can trace their own family tree back to history’s most famous non-couple. Best publicized by Dan Brown in The Da Vinci Code the story that Mary M. and Jesus were married and had children is just one of a number of myths about Mary that simply refuses to die. 

She wasn’t married to Jesus

If Jesus was married, that’s a fact that would have some serious theological implications. For the conspiracy theorist among us, the possibility that he was married and had children means that there might be a line of special, semi-divine human beings wandering around. For the Catholic Church, the ramifications are even more pronounced. If Jesus was married and had children should not Catholic priests also be allowed to marry and have children? It would set an important precedent for Pope Francis’ recent statements about older married men being able to become priests. 

Let’s be very clear, though, none of the texts in the New Testament (which, more importantly, also happen to be the earliest texts written about him) refer to Jesus being married to anyone, much less Mary Magdalene. 

More here-

Monday, April 16, 2018

White Sox Attendance Now Lower Than Average Episcopal Church Service

A Little Humor-

Attendance records for the beginning of the Chicago White Sox’s season obtained Monday revealed that the majority of Sox games are now being attended by fewer people than even the average Sunday service at an Episcopal Church.

“Where Episcopalians usually are able to wrangle up a dozen people or so for morning worship, the White Sox are averaging about three people a game,” a journalist wrote at Bleacher Report. “The ball club would do well to study Episcopalian outreach methods and try to figure out what they can do better to maybe get 10 or 15 people to come watch them play at Guaranteed Rate Field.”

“Maybe throw a hot dish social or two to garner up some interest,” he concluded.

It's here -

Why Priests, Rabbis, Nuns, and Reverends Solve So Many Crimes

From Crime Reads-

From the bespectacled Father Brown, blundering along with pipe and umbrella, to Clare Fergusson, the tenacious, Air-Force-pilot-turned-Episcopal-priest, the clerical detective delights mystery fans with the twining of murder and mysticism, death and divinity. Why does the priest, minister, rabbi or nun make such a compelling and fascinating detective? Because religious types are natural sleuths in their own right as they sort out the most troublesome realities of society: order and chaos, good and evil, right and wrong. Not unlike the police detective or the gumshoe private eye, the members of the clergy are often faced with the dark side of humanity. But unlike their more mainstream contemporaries, they temper it with an enduring faith in goodness.  Throw in the melodrama of a church jumble sale, the social entanglements of a lady’s luncheon, or the tension of parish council meeting, and you have the perfect setting for murder.

This list focuses on the top ten clerical mysteries found in a series, chosen for their intriguing detectives and page-turning plots as well as an acquaintance with all things ecclesial. An ecclesial mystery must, above all, represent the faith community with authenticity: the good, the bad and the ugly, from last rites to first communion.

More here-

How Sean Bean gets the life of a parish priest right in a new BBC show

From American Magazine-

Shortly after the election of Pope Francis, I was called to a hospital near my parish. The clerk said neither the social worker nor the security chief were available to deal with a developing situation. The family of a recently and tragically deceased patient was becoming increasingly agitated, even hostile, while waiting to see their loved one in the morgue. As a parish priest, I presented a last-ditch hope for intervention.

I usually make the eight-minute walk from parish office to the hospital at a leisurely pace so I can prepare mentally for what I might encounter. This time, while walking, a strong directing question came to me: “What would Pope Francis do in this situation?” I was not asking what would the Holy See do, but rather: What would Francis the priest, the pastoral minister, do? I do not think I ever had such a thought in the past. For the first time, I was mentally reaching out to a pope, not as voice of theological authority or center of ecclesial unity, but as a source for help in a basic pastoral need.

Justin Welby to Speak in Dallas

From The Living Church-

The Diocese of Dallas has announced a vocations conference that will feature the Archbishop of Canterbury as a plenary speaker. “Ancient Order, Radical Vocation: The Anglican Priesthood as 21st Century Calling,” or “RadVo,” is scheduled for Sept. 20-22 at Church of the Incarnation.

Other speakers include:

Archbishop Josiah Idowu-Fearon, general secretary of the Anglican Communion

Stanley Hauerwas, professor emeritus of divinity and law at Duke Divinity School

Oliver O’Donovan, professor emeritus of Christian ethics and practical theology at the University of Edinburgh

Ephraim Radner, professor of historical theology at Wycliffe College, University of Toronto

Bishop N.T. Wright, professor of New Testament and early Christianity at the University of St. Andrews

More here-

Anglican priest pleads guilty to sending child abuse images during online conversations

From Australia-

An Anglican priest who boasted online about his child abuse fantasies has pleaded guilty to transmitting child abuse images using a carriage service.

Former Sunshine vicar Philip John Murphy, 53, on Monday pleaded guilty to the offence, which was committed during numerous sexually explicit online conversations he had with men in 2016 and 2017.

Murphy spent several months chatting to paedophiles online about child abuse fantasies involving young boys before police seized his computer in February 2017.

Murphy told one man that he wanted to sexually abuse hundreds of children as young as two years old, prosecutor Jessica Mackay told the Victorian county court.

When the man told the priest he was “having some fun with a six-year-old boy with a slight handicap”, Murphy replied: “Nice, wish I could join you.”

More here-

and here-

and here-

Over 150 Genocide victims get decent burial in Ruhanga

From Rwanda-

Thousands of mourners gathered yesterday at Ruhanga memorial site in Gasabo District to accord a decent burial to 157 Genocide victims recovered recently from different parts of Rusororo Sector.

Ruhanga Genocide Memorial is located at the former Ruhanga Episcopal Anglican Church (EAR Ruhanga) and has a mass grave inside the former church.

This is the only Anglican Church parish in the country which was converted into a Genocide memorial site.

Currently over 36,700 victims massacred from both inside the church and from surrounding areas are buried at the memorial site.

Over 25,000 were killed at the church compound where they sought refuge, according to accounts by witnesses.

More here-

Sunday, April 15, 2018

Sex for marks: Lecturer may go free –Investigation

From Nigeria-

After all the hues and cries, especially on the social media, against the purported conduct of a Professor of Management and Accounting at the Obafemi Awolowo University (OAU), Ile-Ife- Richard Akindele, who was accused of demanding sex to help an unnamed female student pass his course, strong indications have emerged that the embattled lecturer and a senior pastor with an Anglican church may escape trial.

A top management official at the university, who spoke with Saturday Telegraph on condition of anonymity, said apart from the damage the social media account may do to the lecturer’s image, there is yet to be any case established against the accused. The source, who confirmed that the university had on Wednesday set up a committee to look into the matter and give its report in one week, said only four top officials of the institution know the membership composition of the committee to avoid unnecessary influence. Meanwhile, further investigations have revealed that as at Friday night, just about four days to the expiration of the oneweek tenure of the committee, the female student, whose voice was heard in the recording that has gone viral on social media, has refused to either meet or forward any relevant document or information to the committee members for prosecution.

More here-

Real concerns Archbishop Welby raised before Buhari

From The Guardian-

Contrary to official statement from the Presidency concerning the meeting between President Muhammadu Buhari and the Archbishop of Canterbury, Archbishop Justin Portal Welby, it has emerged that the Anglican cleric raised concerns about the security situation in Nigeria, particularly attacks on Christian communities.

This is coming just as The Guardian gathered that President Buhari kept away from Abuja House, where he experienced some heckling from protesters last August.

A transcript of the discussion between the two leaders, which The Guardian obtained, showed that the Archbishop was very worried about the herders farmers’ conflicts and excruciating poverty in the country.

More here-

Former Episcopal priest indicted on sexual assault charges

From North Carolina-

A former episcopal priest who served in Waynesville for over two decades has been charged with several felonies stemming from alleged sexual abuse dating back to 1985.

The charges against Howard "Howdy" Willard White, Jr., 76, were filed after he was formally indicted by a Haywood County Grand jury.

The charges, which pertain to two alleged victims — one male and one female — are first-degree forcible sex offense, two counts of indecent liberties with a child, first-degree forcible rape, four counts second-degree forcible sex offense, and second-degree forcible rape.

More here-