Saturday, June 9, 2018

Vancouver-area church uses Christian, indigenous traditions

From San Francisco-

The Rev. Joe Scheeler thinks Christian and Native American spiritual journeys aren't so different from one another, nor are they incompatible.
"The closer you look, the more alike we are," he said.
God. The creator.
 Hymnals. Native songs with drums and flutes.
Holy communion. Sacred pipe ceremonies.
Confession. Sweat lodges.

Scheeler, 67, is the vicar at All Saints Episcopal Church, a west Hazel Dell church that blends Christian and Native American traditions in its services. Scheeler belongs to the Lenape tribe. His family's "ancestral stew" also inlucdes Ojibwe, Cree, Northern Cheyenne and Assiniboine tribes, in addition to being Irish, French and German. All Saints has families that are Mohawk, Yakama and Nez Pearce.

More here- 

Friday, June 8, 2018

Still no new Anglican bishop

From Barbados-

After more than three hours of deliberations and three rounds of voting, the elective synod of the Anglican Church was still at a stalemate Thursday night in its effort to select a bishop for Barbados. 

A fourth attempt will be made.
Seventy-three clergy and 82 representatives of the laity cast ballots which again failed to secure the two-thirds majority required by either Dean Dr Jeffrey Gibson or Reverend John Rogers. 

The atmosphere at the Christ Church Parish Centre where the synod meeting took place was at times heavily charged, as both sides became very vocal in their views. 
In the first ballot of the evening, Rogers received 30 votes from the clergy and 59 from the laity while Gibson got 43 votes from the clergy and 23 from the laity.
 More here-

Anglican Church ready to celebrate 170 years in Borneo

From Borneo-

The Anglican Church will kick off a year-long calendar of events to commemorate its 170th anniversary in Borneo this weekend.
Themed ‘Reaching Forward’, the events celebrate the arrival of Rev Dr Francis Thomas McDougall in Sarawak on June 29, 1848, to lead the Borneo Church Mission Institution.

“But this is not just about Francis McDougall. It is also about his wife Harriette and the countless other missionaries who came over the years and gave their lives for the cause of the Gospel. 
“Yet again, it isn’t just about the Gospel as the Anglican Church in Borneo has impacted every sphere of our lives. Throughout its history, the church here has been instrumental in the fields of education and healthcare.

More here-

Synod of the Episcopal Church of Brazil backs same-sex marriage

From The Church Times-

THE General Synod of the Episcopal Church of Brazil (IEAB) has voted overwhelmingly to amend canon law to allow its priests to conduct same-sex marriages in church.
Members of the synod voted 57 to four, with two abstentions, in favour of amending its marriage canon to be gender-neutral, last Friday. It was the third time that the motion had been brought before the synod.
Same-sex marriage was legalised in the country in 2012. Discussions on same-sex marriage in the Church started in about 1997, but the synod did not commission formal dialogues within the dioceses until 2013, a statement from the Province said.
“Canonical changes were approved in an environment filled by the Holy Spirit and with mutual love and respect. It was preceded by long, deep, and spiritual dialogue.”
The outgoing Primate of Brazil, the Most Revd Francisco de Assis da Silva, said: “I felt the decision was a result of the Holy Spirit’s presence and work. This widens our boundaries, allowing us to be more welcoming to the diversity of people in our country.”
More here-

Thursday, June 7, 2018

Fleming Rutledge: Why Being ‘Spiritual’ Is Never Enough

From Christianity Today-

We hear a good deal today about “the triumph of the human spirit.” Books and movies about disasters are frequently marketed as triumphs of the human spirit, even though they often portray examples of human depravity. This emphasis on the human spirit first impressed itself upon me when, 32 years ago, our family was undergoing a crisis. I received a long, compassionate letter from a friend on the West Coast. Although the letter was wonderful, one line bothered me. My friend wrote, “Your spirituality will get you through this.”
When I read it, I recoiled. Whatever “spirituality” meant, I was keenly aware that I didn’t have any of it. In and of myself, I had nothing adequate for what was facing us at the time. I had only the faithfulness of Jesus Christ.
As Barna and other research institutions have reported, there is a fast-growing category of so-called “Nones”—those who, like my friend, identify as “spiritual but not religious.” Generally speaking, people use this self-definition to mean that they want no part of the “institutional church” but seek a connection to some sort of transcendent dimension. Many millennials define themselves in these terms, so it is important to address these conceptions with warm pastoral sensitivity as well as audacious theological imagination. 
More here- 

Third try to elect bishop

From Barbados-

THE ELECTIVE SYNOD of the Anglican Church meets today in the third attempt to select a bishop.

The meeting, scheduled for 5:30 p.m. at the Christ Church Parish Centre, will again bring together laity and clergy to vote for the person who will lead the denomination that boasts the largest religious numbers in Barbados.
Many are hoping that the stalemate from the two previous meetings will be broken today when the process of nominating candidates is repeated.
At the previous meetings of the synod, members of the House of Laity stood firm in their support for 45-year-old John Rogers, the younger of the two candidates nominated, while the priests who make up the House of Clergy, have twice cast their majority vote for Dean of St Michael’s Cathedral, 61-year-old Dr Jeffrey Gibson.
 More here-

Anglican Church Crisis: Why I collected ₦260 million – Bishop

From Nigeria-

The Bishop of the Lagos Diocese of the Church of Nigeria (Anglican Communion), Adebola Ademowo, pushed back vehemently on claims that he misappropriated ₦260 million belonging to the church, according to a letter by the cleric seen by PREMIUM TIMES.
The letter, dated March 1 and addressed to Nicholas Okoh, the Primate of the Church of Nigeria, was a response to accusations of financial impropriety and election malpractice levelled by some members of the church against Mr Ademowo. 
While presenting his achievements in the church in his almost two decades as bishop to the Primate, Mr Ademowo detailed the origin of the recent controversy which has embarrassed the church and exposed its leaders to ridicule. 
Ten members, who identified themselves as prominent financial members and elders in the church, had accused Mr Ademowo of causing division and hatred among members, receipt of funds from the Diocesan Board for his personal use, and the placing of his family members in strategic positions.
The aggrieved members also accused the bishop of manipulating the electoral process that led to the emergence of Humphrey Olumakaiye as his successor.
More here-

Accused Beaumont bomber indicted by federal grand jury

From Texas-

The alleged Beaumont bomber has been indicted by a federal grand jury, Wednesday.

Jonathan Matthew Torres, 40, of Beaumont, has been charged with use of an explosive to damage property, possession of an unregistered destructive device, and mailing a threatening communication, all in connection with the explosive found at Starbucks on Dowlen Rd. in April, and the explosion at St. Stephen's Episcopal Church two weeks later in May.

Torres, if convicted, could spend 5 to 20 years in federal prison. 

From U.S. Attorney's Office...

A 40-year-old Beaumont, Texas man has been indicted and charged with federal violations in the Eastern District of Texas announced U.S. Attorney Joseph D. Brown today.

Jonathan Matthew Torres was indicted by a federal grand jury today and charged with use of an explosive to damage property, possession of an unregistered destructive device, and mailing a threatening communication.

More here-

Episcopal bishops express support for Puerto Rico evacuees

From Massachusetts-

The commonwealth's Episcopal bishops have issued a statement of support for Puerto Rican Hurricane Maria evacuees scheduled to meet with Washington D.C. lawmakers Thursday over permanent housing.
"As citizens of the United States, those who have fled the island of Puerto Rico should have the same assistance as a citizen of the 50 states. Instead, these families are getting phone calls from FEMA encouraging them to return to Puerto Rico," reads the statement issued by Western Massachusetts Episcopal Bishop Douglas J. Fisher, Massachusetts Episcopal Bishop Alan M. Gates and Massachusetts Episcopal Bishop Suffragan Gayle E. Harris.
It further reads, "No American family should become homeless because of a hurricane, a wildfire or a tornado. These Puerto Rican families are our sisters and brothers, our fellow Americans."
 More here-

Wednesday, June 6, 2018

How UK Anglicans and Catholics are teaming up to fight modern slavery

 From Crux- 
Anglican and Catholic leaders in the UK are teaming up to fight modern-day slavery through a free app that helps identify forced labor at hand car washes.“Over the last few years we have learned more about the evil of modern slavery and we have begun to understand how it is perpetrated in our communities in plain sight,” said Anglican Archbishop Justin Welby of Canterbury, according to the Guardian.
The app, Safe Car Wash, was launched on June 4 by two faith-based anti-slavery groups: The Church of England’s Clewer Initiative and the Catholic Church’s Santa Marta Group. To promote the application, clergy have been encouraged to speak about the app during sermons, school functions, and other public events.
More here-

Anglican Church sign raises eyebrows with unintentionally crude message

From Australia-

An Australian church has raised eyebrows from passersby after erecting an unintentionally crude message on a road sign.
The Anglican Church of the Holy Spirit in Surfers Paradise erected the sign with the words "Forgiveness is swallowing when you'd rather spit" written on it.

Surfers Paradise MP John-Paul Langbroek snapped a picture of the sign and shared it on Twitter with the caption "Church signs done differently". 
A church spokeswoman told the Brisbane Times the meaning of the sign was to "swallow your words and think before you say anything".
 More here-

Former Organist Won’t Face Jail Time For Vandalizing Brown Co. Church

From Indiana-

The former organist at a Brown County church will not face jail time for vandalizing the building following the 2016 presidential election.
A judge sentenced George “Nathan” Stang to 180 days in jail Tuesday, but suspended the sentence so he won’t serve any of that time. He will instead be on probation for more than one year and must complete 300 hours of community service. The judge stipulated Stang must complete at least 20 hours of community service per month.
Stang admitted to spray painting “Heil Trump”, a swastika and an anti-gay slur on the outside walls of St. David’s Episcopal Church in November 2016. At the time, he told police he was trying to mobilize a movement, after being disappointed in the outcome of the election.
Several members of the church testified during Stang’s sentencing hearing Tuesday, asking the judge not to give him jail time.
Jim Huber says he was shocked when he learned Stang was responsible for the vandalism, but impressed by how he’s handled the aftermath.
 More here-

Tuesday, June 5, 2018

Churches nationwide eye pivotal moment this week in SC Episcopal dispute

From South Carolina-

For years, top legal minds have asked the U.S. Supreme Court to settle property fights between big national churches and breakaway congregations.
For years, they have been turned away before ever reaching the court's marble steps.
Whether a South Carolina case becomes the one that finally lands in the high court is a question that soon will be answered. The case could make history and carry implications for disputes that have divided other religious denominations throughout the country.
If a state court ruling stands, The Episcopal Church would reclaim $500 million worth of property occupied by South Carolina parishes that split from the national body.
But in a private meeting June 7, nine justices are set to consider whether the parishes from the Grand Strand to the Lowcountry should have another chance to make their case. A review would require a "yes" vote from four of them. An announcement might come as early as June 11, though the justices could delay it.
It would be the first legal dispute from the Palmetto State to fall under the court’s review since 2013, when a landmark decision allowed a James Island couple’s adoption of a Native American toddler known as Baby Veronica.
More here-

I want a religion

From The Living Church-

I want a relationship, not a religion.

Most of our readers have probably come across this saying before, or some variation on it. In the present-day Episcopal Church, it often takes the form, “Jesus didn’t come to found a religion.” I understand the sentiment behind such slogans, and to a certain extent I am sympathetic with them, insofar as they reflect an earnest zeal to grow in and to draw others toward a deep personal intimacy with the living Christ and to avoid a stale, dead faith.

But, granted this sympathy, I have to say I rather like my religion, and I’m pretty sure it’s good for me. I like the stuff I gaze on when I walk into church: the crucifixes and crosses — wooden, golden, silver; the high-arched ceilings pointing me to heaven; the icons and the stained glass and the statues of the Blessed Virgin; the flickering flames atop candles and torches; the radiant vestments that remind me this isn’t just another business meeting.

I like what I get to do: bow and kneel, genuflect and sing, make the sign of the Cross and hold my hands together in prayer, following the choreography of worship.

More here-

Presiding Bishop Michael Curry delivers video message on ‘Britain’s Got Talent’ finale

From ENS-

Presiding Bishop Michael Curry, after appearing on nearly every major TV news and talk show to discuss his royal wedding sermon, was invited to share his message of Christian love in a new genre this week: variety talent show.

No, Curry won’t be competing on ABC’s “Dancing With the Stars” (as far as we know), but he appeared June 3 on the finale of “Britain’s Got Talent” to offer a message of encouragement to the contestants and their fans.

The show asked Curry on May 31 if he was interested in the appearance, and he agreed and recorded a video for the show that night.

Curry was the surprise star May 19 when he preached on the power of love at the wedding of Prince Harry and Meghan Markle. The royal couple appeared in the audience on the “Britain’s Got Talent” finale as host Declan Donnelly introduced Curry as “someone you two know very well.”

“Hello ‘Britain’s Got Talent,'” Curry said in his 25-second video message. “It’s a joy to bring you these greetings. To all of the contestants, to the judges, to the audience and to all who make this possible, thank you. Thank you for what you’re doing. Thank you to the contestants who offer yourselves and share your talents and your gifts with the rest of us. You actually bring some joy and happiness. So thank you. God bless you, God keep you and may God hold us all in those almighty hands of love.”

More here-

Monday, June 4, 2018

Bless same-sex marriages‚ pleads retired Anglican archbishop

From South Africa-

Archbishop Emeritus Njongonkulu Ndungane has urged the Anglican Church to show full acceptance of lesbian‚ gay‚ bisexual‚ transgender‚ questioning‚ intersexual and asexual people.
He was speaking at St George’s Cathedral‚ Cape Town‚ on Saturday at the funeral service of the Reverend Canon Rowan Smith‚ a former Dean of the Cathedral who identified as gay and campaigned for the rights of the LGBTQIA community.
Archbishop Ndungane asked for the kind of leadership “that we saw in the dark days of apartheid” and added that the Anglican Church had excluded a “huge part of itself” in respect of people of different sexuality.
The blessing of same sex marriages remained an unresolved issue‚ and the Church’s failure to deal with this issue meant that its Christian humanity was suffering‚ the retired archbishop said‚ according to a statement issued by his office.
More here-

Our confessional guidance is not uncanonical, Canterbury diocese says

From The Church Times-

CANTERBURY diocese has defended itself against the charge that guidance on its website advises priests to betray the seal of the confessional.
The Principal of St Stephen’s House, Oxford, Canon Robin Ward, this week called the advice “uncanonical”, and said that it placed the clergy in an “invidious and unsatisfactory position”.
The diocese’s child- and adult-protection guidelines, drafted and posted online in early 2015, state: “The Bishop emphasises that . . . any priest hearing a confession, regularly or otherwise, must say prior to hearing that confession the following statement of confidentiality and safeguarding: ‘If you touch on any matter in your confession that raises a concern about the well-being or safeguarding of another person or yourself, I am duty bound to pass that information on to the relevant agencies, which means that I am unable to keep such information confidential.’”
Prior to this, the guidelines cite the House of Bishops policy for safeguarding children (Protecting All God’s Children, 2010), which state: “Canon Law constrains a priest from disclosing details of any crime or offence which is revealed in the course of formal confession; however, there is some doubt as to whether this absolute privilege is consistent with the civil law. Where a penitent’s own behaviour is at issue, the priest should not only urge the person to report it to the police or the local authority children’s social care, if that is appropriate, but may judge it necessary to withhold absolution. In such a case the priest may consider it necessary to alert the bishop to his or her decision in order to safeguard himself or herself and seek advice on the issues, though the penitent’s details would not be shared without their permission. The priest might also judge it appropriate to encourage the penitent to speak personally to the bishop.”
More here

IN GOOD FAITH: The royal power of love

From  Massachusetts-
I’m not much of a royal watcher. I find a figurehead monarchy whose yoke we overthrew 200 years ago less than compelling. Sure, at the insistence of my wife, I watched a few episodes of “The Crown” on Netflix, but I generally prefer my kings and queens relegated to the chess board.
Attending an early morning royal wedding watch party was never going to happen. Partly because I just can’t pull off the fascinator look, but also because I figured I’d see all the photos the next time I’m on line at the grocery store staring at the tabloids as the person in front of me inevitably pays with a check.
I did perk up when I heard Harry and Meghan invited Bishop Michael Curry to preach. As an Episcopalian, Bishop Curry is the head of my denomination; he is the presiding bishop of the Episcopal Church. I’ve heard him preach several times and I thought to myself, “Do these royals have any idea what they just signed up for? They better hang onto their fancy hats!”
And sure enough, Bishop Curry — one of the foremost preachers in America — nearly blew the walls off St. George’s Chapel at Windsor Castle. What captivated everyone was Bishop Curry’s ability to speak simultaneously and forcefully to both the royal couple and the entire world. His mere presence, as a passionate black man in a mostly staid white context, was as powerful as his words. His message about the power of love stood in stark relief to a global context crying out for justice, mercy, and hope.
More here-