Saturday, June 23, 2018

Diocese of Kansas announces candidates for bishop

From ENS-

The Council of Trustees, acting as the canonical Standing Committee of the Episcopal Diocese of Kansas, presents to the diocese two priests as candidates for the 10th bishop of the diocese:
  • The Rev. Martha N. Macgill, Diocese of Maryland
  • The Rev. Helen Svoboda-Barber, Diocese of North Carolina
Nominees may be added by a petition process that closes at 5 p.m. CDT on June 30, 2018.
Members of the diocese will have the chance to meet the candidates in walkabouts scheduled in the diocese for Oct. 2-5; the schedule of events is online.
The election of the next bishop will take place on the first day of Diocesan Convention, Oct. 19, at Grace Cathedral in Topeka. The Service of Ordination and Consecration is scheduled for March 2, 2019, at the cathedral, with Presiding Bishop Michael Bruce Curry officiating.
Here are brief introductions to the candidates; more information about them is on the bishop search website.
More here-

Friday, June 22, 2018

Vestry of US church attempts to lock rector out after fallout

From Church Times-

A FORMER Principal of Trinity College, Bristol, Canon George Kovoor, has fallen out with his church in the United States. Lay leaders have attempted to change the locks on the church to keep him out.

Canon Kovoor, who is also a chaplain to the Queen, was appointed Rector of St Paul’s, Darien, in the diocese of Connecticut, in 2016. He served as Principal of Trinity for eight years, until he resigned in 2013.

Canon Kovoor moved to the US to take up a post in New Haven, Connecticut, before moving to Darien.

Tensions became apparent last October when the vestry of St Paul’s — the equivalent of a PCC — told the diocesan Bishop, the Rt Revd Ian Douglas, that they wanted to remove Canon Kovoor. Bishop Douglas informed the parish that it could not remove Canon Kovoor without his own approval.

More here-

On papal flight, Francis says intercommunion policy should be decided by diocesan bishops

From Catholic News Agency-

Pope Francis said Thursday that the German bishops’ debate on the reception of the Eucharist by the non-Catholic spouses of Catholics, also referred to as intercommunion, should be decided by diocesan bishops, rather than bishops’ conferences.

Speaking aboard the papal flight from Geneva to Rome June 21, the pope told journalists that the Code of Canon Law leaves decisions about the criteria for intercommunion to diocesan bishops, in order that their decisions will apply only to their individual dioceses, rather than to the Church across an entire country.

The pope said that although the German bishops attempted to establish guidelines through their episcopal conference, “the Code does not foresee that. It foresees the bishop of the diocese, but not the conference, because a thing approved by an episcopal conference immediately becomes universal.” 

More here-

Hundreds march in Seattle to protest separation of immigrant families

From Seattle-

Religious leaders Thursday evening said they were tired of having their faith used to justify the separation of migrant families at the southern U.S. border.

Hundreds of people showed up to march from Saint Mark’s Episcopal Cathedral to St. James Cathedral in Seattle to advocate for the families caught up in  President Donald Trump’s “zero tolerance” immigration policy, which has separated more than 2,000 children from their parents. Trump signed an executive order Wednesday reversing the family-separation policy, but the administration has not made clear how and whether the children currently detained would be reunited with their families.

“There’s no recourse for how they’re going to be returned to their families,” said Rabbi Daniel Weiner, of Temple De Hirsch Sinai.

Those attending the interfaith event packed Saint Mark’s cathedral with signs denouncing the Trump administration.

More here-

Prayer service set at Texas detention center during General Convention

From ENS-

Responding to calls from Episcopalians across the church to act on behalf of families seeking asylum at the southern U. S. border, a team of concerned leaders heading to General Convention has planned a prayer service outside the T. Don Hutto Residential Detention Center in Taylor, Texas, at about noon on Sunday, July 8.

The planning team, led by alternate Deputy Megan Castellan, rector of St. John’s Church in Ithaca, New York, is working with Grassroots Leadership — a local community organizing group in Texas that has held numerous gatherings at the Hutto Residential Center. Deputy Winnie Varghese, director of justice and reconciliation at Trinity Church Wall Street, is helping to arrange buses to the event.
“What is happening to those at our borders is monstrous,” Castellan said. “My bishop, DeDe Duncan-Probe [of Central New York] and I were discussing how we, as a church, could respond on Saturday morning. By evening, and with the help of enthusiastic Episcopalians across the church, the idea had taken shape and was moving forward.”

The detention center at 1001 Welch St. in Taylor is operated for Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) by CoreCivic, formerly the Corrections Corporation of America, a private prison company, and is about a 40-minute drive from the Austin Convention Center where General Convention is being held.

More here-

Thursday, June 21, 2018

We’re ministers in Jeff Sessions’s church. His immigration stance defies our values.

From The Washington Post-

Last month, Attorney General Jeff Sessions declared that if immigrants enter the United States without documentation and with a child, “we will prosecute you and that child will be separated from you as required by law.” In recent weeks, as Americans have, rightly, become increasingly outraged by this practice, being carried out in our names, he has tried using the Bible to justify these actions: “I would cite you to the Apostle Paul and his clear and wise command in Romans 13,” Sessions said, “to obey the laws of the government because God has ordained the government for his purposes.”

It was a poor scriptural choice. As Washington Post columnist Elizabeth Bruenig wrote last week, Sessions breaks from Christian teaching, “inventing a faith that makes order itself the highest good and authorizes secular governments to achieve it.”

More here-

Anglicans worldwide are working to provide support and care for refugees

From Anglican Journal-

Today – June 20 – is World Refugee Day, when the world is called to remember the millions of individuals fleeing their countries as refugees; and the millions more internally displaced people stranded within their country with no home to go to. In the middle of this crisis, across the Communion, Anglicans are responding.

In a statement released today, the Archbishop of Canterbury, Justin Welby, called on the church to lift up these millions of people in their prayers, and reflected on ministry to refugees that he had seen on his travels.

“My heart continues to break for over 68 million men, women and children who have risked their lives to escape conflict, violence and oppression,” he said. “In my prayers, I also remember the extraordinary welcome and support for refugees that I have seen during visits to Sudan, Uganda, Jordan and other countries. In your prayers today, please take some time to remember what it means that God came to us in the vulnerability of a child whose life was in danger.”

More here-

I'm A Pastor, And Romans 13 Should Never Be Used To Defend Family Separation

From Arizona-

Father Robert Hendrickson is the rector at St. Philip's In The Hills Episcopal Church in Tuscon, Arizona. This is a letter he sent to his congregation this week after Attorney General Jeff Sessions cited Romans 13 to justify a zero-tolerance immigration policy on the border.

As many of you know, there are two ways by which I am familiar with the pain of family separation.  First, my mother died when I was quite young after divorce and a long illness.  Second, and more recently, Karrie and I adopted boys from difficult circumstances.  Each day we navigate the land mines that the trauma of separation creates even as we forge new bonds of connection and attachment.

These experiences inform my perception of what is happening at the border now.  We can debate immigration policy, border controls, and more from a variety of points of view.  I'm afraid, however, that the pulling away of innocent children, brought without their input, consent, nor complicity is a moral evil that is not debatable.  Churches across the country are now actively condemning this policy choice — and it is that.  We are choosing to create fear, heartache, and anguish.  We can recognize that people will come, as they have for generations, across our borders with a mix of hopes, fears, and papers and treat all those who arrive with dignity even as we debate the legalities of the situation.  It is another thing entirely to willingly, and with the express purpose of causing maximum horror to families, choose this course.

More here-

A child is never a negotiating tool

From Maine-

A Joint Statement from Bishop Robert P. Deeley, Bishop of the Roman Catholic Diocese of Portland, and Bishop Stephen T. Lane, Episcopal Bishop of Maine
Every so often an issue emerges in public life that compels us, as faith leaders in Maine, to join together. The convergence of World Refugee Day and the current administration’s zero tolerance policy of separating families who present themselves as asylum seekers at the southern border inspires us to speak with one voice.

The family is the foundational element of our society and should be preserved whenever possible. To state the matter simply: tearing children from their parents is immoral. It does not reflect the teachings of Jesus of Nazareth whom we follow, nor the values upon which this nation was founded. Our faith calls upon us to respect the dignity of all persons as children made in the image of God. Our faith calls upon us to welcome the stranger. “When a stranger sojourns with you in your land, you shall not do him wrong. You shall treat the stranger who sojourns with you as the native among you, and you shall love him as yourself, for you were strangers in the land of Egypt: I am the Lord your God” (Leviticus 19:33-34).

More here-

Wednesday, June 20, 2018

Evangelical Christians 'sold' their principles in supporting Trump, says evangelical pastor

From The Washington Examiner-

Rev. Rob Schenck, a prominent evangelical minister and founding president of the Dietrich Bonhoeffer Institute, said Tuesday that evangelical Christians "sold" their principles in supporting President Trump and called for a return to the message of the Gospel.

"The justification for support of Trump is he is seen as Cyrus, a megalomaniac mass murderer, so I guess that qualifies," said Schenck at a luncheon in Washington, D.C., for his new book Costly Grace. "It’s the ends justifying the means. We support this ungodly character with massive flaws so we can get what he’s giving us. We did a deal with Donald Trump. We sold our principles if not our souls to get a laundry list of promises."

In his book, Schenck discusses his 1970s conversion from nominal Judaism to Christianity and his subsequent 1980s political activism as a "leader of the most extreme wing of the anti-abortion movement." 

More here-

600 United Methodists file complaint against Sessions for child abuse, discrimination

From USA Today-

More than 600 United Methodist clergy and laypeople have signed a formal denominational complaint against fellow United Methodist Attorney General Jeff Sessions, condemning his role in the Trump administration’s “zero-tolerance” policy of separating children from their parents along the U.S.-Mexico border. 

The charges include child abuse, immorality, racial discrimination and “dissemination of doctrines contrary to the standards of doctrine of the United Methodist Church.”

The complaint was sent Monday afternoon to two churches, one in Alabama and the other in the Washington, D.C., suburbs, said to be affiliated with the chief lawyer of the U.S. government. 
“We, the undersigned laity and clergy of the United Methodist Church, issue a formal complaint against fellow United Methodist layperson Jefferson Beauregard Sessions,” reads the letter, which was provided to Religion News Service.

More here-

Tuesday, June 19, 2018

How the Anglican Church has hardened its stance against same-sex marriage

From Australia-

In the aftermath of the legalising of same-sex marriage in Australia, the Anglican Church has ramped up its discrimination against gay people to new heights.

Not content simply with the discrimination built into the legislation – per ministers of religion to refuse to marry same-sex couples – conservatives in the Anglican Church are making sure the church is a complete no-go zone for gay couples. 

To begin with, Anglican clergy are not actually free to marry same-sex couples, should they wish to do so. And many clergy would like to. 

The state licenses ministers to perform marriages only according to their church’s authorised marriage rites. Conservatives have been quick to point out that the Anglican Church’s wedding services are specifically for male-female marriages, and so cannot be used legally for same-sex weddings.

More here-

Bishop Curry speaks at Aberdeen affordable-housing rally

From Michigan-

The Rev. Michael Curry, the presiding bishop of the Episcopal Church who gained international fame with his sermon at the royal wedding last month, joined about 100 participants in a tour of downtown Aberdeen and vigil at City Hall Saturday afternoon that sought to highlight homelessness in the city and push for 2,000 new affordable housing units. The event was organized by “Harbor Rising,” a new group that includes representatives from Chaplains on the Harbor, Democracy Rising, Blind Justice and Harbor Roots, all of which have advocated for the homeless.

“A movement starts small and keeps on growing,” Bishop Curry told the crowd outside City Hall. He cited the biblical parable of the tiny mustard seed that eventually grows into a tree, and proclaimed, “This is a mustard seed movement!”

He encouraged people to expand the push for local housing solutions and urged them to embrace the notion that, “We are a family that doesn’t let anybody go without a home.”

More here-

Utah Episcopal Diocese leader rips Trump administration over separation of families

From Utah-

Bishop Scott Hayashi of the Episcopal Diocese of Utah blasted
Attorney General Jeff Sessions and the Trump administration for their justifications of separating migrant families at the border.
In a statement released last week, Bishop Hayashi condemned the actions and particularly their use of the Bible in supporting it. He wrote:

“The use of the Bible by Attorney General Jeff Sessions to justify the inhumane policy of separating immigrant families is shameful.
He said: ‘I would cite you to the Apostle Paul and his clear and wise command in Romans 13, to obey the laws of the government because God has ordained the government for his purposes,’ Sessions said during a speech to law enforcement officers in Fort Wayne, Ind. ‘Orderly and lawful processes are good in themselves. Consistent and fair application of the law is in itself a good and moral thing, and that protects the weak and protects the lawful.’

ttorney General Sessions cites the same verses that were used to justify the institution of slavery in the United States. Following A.G. Sessions’ ‘logic’, one can imagine him in Germany in WWII utilizing his same thinking to justify the slaughter of the Jewish people.
If you are are a citizen of the United States, remember, what is being done by our nation is being done in our name. If you are a Christian living anywhere in the world – this is being done under the banner of Christianity. This is sin.”

Bishop Hayashi is the first Utah religious leader to openly condemn the actions of separating migrant families. Bishop Oscar Solis of the Catholic Diocese of Salt Lake City called on the Trump administration to rescind the policy.

More here-


Is There a Place for Conservatives in the Episcopal Church?

From The Living Church-

Richard Kearney in Strangers, Gods, and Monsters: Interpreting Otherness demonstrates how the modern nation-state “excludes those who do not conform … to its identity logic.” But in doing so, it often ignores what is demanded by justice: “unconditional hospitality to the alien” (p. 68).

Every nation-state’s exclusionists believe they have the right to expunge those with whom they disagree and deem incompatible with the dominant society. Their arrogance comes from not appreciating the other’s experiences nor the place from which they come. Kearney implores exclusionists to consider how the other’s unique individualism relates to them as fellow beings within the larger society; members of the larger society, in turn, can also relate and accept the other for who they are.

His observations put in context what Paul says:

We who are strong ought to put up with the failings of the weak and not to please ourselves; let each of us please our neighbor for the good, for building up. For Christ did not please himself; but, as it is written, “The insults of those who insult you fall upon me.” (Rom. 15:1-3)
Exclusionists should thus be agents of hospitality, not casting the other aside but embracing fellow citizens of the nation-state. The other is thereby de-alienated and each citizen recognizes another “as a self capable of recognition and esteem” (Kearney, Strangers, Gods, and Monsters, p .80).

More here-

Monday, June 18, 2018

Chesterton report could put apologist on road to sainthood

From Crux-   One of the best-known writers of the early 20th century could also be a model of sanctity, but the priest charged with compiling a report on the potential of sainthood for G.K. Chesterton says the Church has to determine how much ‘devotion’ to him exists, rather than simple ‘admiration.Best known in the United States for Orthodoxy, his groundbreaking defense of Christianity, Chesterton is most famous in his homeland for the invention of Father Brown, a priest detective more interested in converting the criminals he catches than he is in incarcerating them.
Chesterton - who was born May 9, 1874 and died June 14, 1936 - was considered one of the most influential writers of his time, and his frequent literary adversary, George Bernard Shaw, called him “a colossal genius.”
More here-

Bishop Curry at St. Luke’s in Vancouver: ‘Love is the cure’

From Olympia-

St. Luke’s Episcopal Church nearly packed both Sunday morning services for a visit from the Most Rev. Michael Curry, who sermonized on the power of love, keeping with a theme from his sermon at the royal wedding in May, where many first discovered his ebullient style.

Curry is the presiding bishop an primate, the elected chief pastor and senior most bishop, of the Episcopal Church of the United States.
Millions outside the church first heard Curry in May, as he presided at the royal wedding of Prince Harry and Meghan Markle, and shared a powerful sermon at Windsor Castle in England.
Curry’s last visit to the Vancouver church was in 2007, said St. Luke’s Rev. Jaime Case. At the time, Curry was the bishop of the Diocese of North Carolina, and the church rented out the hangar at Pearson Field.
More here-

Sunday, June 17, 2018

Gay Christian rock star backed by Archbishop of Canterbury ditches her dream of being an Anglican priest because Church teaches she is 'sinful'

From The Daily Mail-

A Christian rock star has abandoned her dream of becoming an Anglican priest because as a gay woman she cannot accept the church's teaching that homosexuality is 'sinful'.
Vicky Beeching, 38, revealed she has now 'let go of her dream' to become a priest after bishops allegedly warned her she would need to become celibate if she wanted to continue her training.
Oxford-educated Beeching, who enjoyed stratospheric success as Christian musician, was considered such a bright prospect that the Archbishop of Canterbury, Justin Welby, personally asked her to join the priesthood.
She came out as gay in 2014, a few months after her conversation with Welby, and claims she was ostracised by her church mentors shortly after.
According to Beeching, she also lost her record deal and was blacklisted by several radio stations while receiving a torrent of abuse and death threats.
More here-

Editorial: No 'winners' in bitter Episcopal church dispute

From South Carolina-

What is a church? Is it a group of like-minded people? A set of common beliefs? A tradition? A building?
For so many South Carolina churches, the answer is a combination of all of those things, which makes the dispute over 29 properties between the Episcopal Church in South Carolina and the breakaway Diocese of South Carolina so painful.
The 29 properties in question have centuries of history. They have offered places of worship to generations of Charleston area families and helped shape the city's spiritual culture almost since its founding. They are buildings and places, but they are much more than just walls and land.
On Monday, the U.S. Supreme Court declined to review a South Carolina Supreme Court ruling from August 2017 that granted control of the 29 disputed properties to the Episcopal Church in South Carolina, which remains connected to the national Episcopal Church. The state Supreme Court also refused in November to rehear the case despite the fact that one of the justices involved in the August ruling, Kay Hearn, has ties to a church associated with the national Episcopal Church.
More here-

Royal wedding preacher leans on lessons learned from Buffalo dad

From Buffalo-

Presiding Bishop Michael Curry knew immediately what his message ought to be.
Curry is the spiritual leader of the Episcopal Church in the United States. Representatives of Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby in Great Britain made contact with Curry's office last February.
There was going to be a royal wedding in May, with Prince Harry marrying Meghan Markle, an American. After discussions with Welby, the couple wondered if Curry – whose church is part of the England-based Anglican Communion – would offer a sermon at the ceremony.
This was an extraordinary moment. That meant a guy who used to say pretend Masses in front of his sister Sharon's dolls and stuffed animals in a Buffalo attic would be preaching in front of not only British royalty, but for a projected 2 billion – 2 billion – worldwide television viewers.
Curry said yes. He called his 14-minute sermon "The Power of Love," and he offered it in the passionate, cascading nature of the black American preaching tradition he embraced while growing up. A descendant of slaves, he quoted an old American spiritual called "There is a Balm in Gilead," and he spoke of how "unselfish, sacrificial, redemptive love changes lives, and it can change this world."
More here-

Episcopal Bishop Curry -- 'Selfishness can destroy nations'

From Seattle-

The mission of Episcopal Presiding Bishop, the Most Rev. Michael Curry, is to thaw out "God's frozen people," a task at which he excelled with a powerful message of love delivered in front of frosty British Royals at the Prince Harry-Meghan Markle wedding.
Bishop Curry was before a packed, ebullient house at St. Mark's Cathedral in Seattle on Thursday night, delivering old-fashioned Gospel preaching directed at those in front on him, this messed up country and the world.
The message was love of God, love of neighbor -- "Who are you not to love those who God loves" -- coupled with a pointed definition of sin. The congregation was left to discern where and at whom it was pointed.
"If you want another word for sin, just substitute selfishness," cried Curry.
More here-