Saturday, July 21, 2018

Catholic, Anglican leaders urge halt to destruction of Palestinian village

From Crux-

A Catholic-Anglican delegation met with British officials on Monday to try and stop the demolition of a Bedouin village in the West Bank.

Israel claims the village of Khan al-Ahmar - located between two Israeli settlements - was built without the proper permits, which Palestinians have long complained are nearly impossible to get.

“Earlier today we met with the Minister for the Middle East at the Foreign and Commonwealth Office and shared our deep concern about the planned demolition of Khan al-Ahmar,” said the statement issued by Catholic Bishop Declan Lang, chair of the Holy Land Co-ordination, and Bishop Christopher Chessun, Anglican Bishop of Southwark.

The Holy Land Co-ordination brings bishops from Europe, North America, and South Africa on an annual pilgrimage of the Holy Land in a show of solidarity with the region’s Christian community.

More here-

Woe to bad shepherds

From The Virgin Islands-

It is no secret that many of our long-established, mainline congregations are dwindling. And at the same time, many of our historic communities, hometowns to generations, are experiencing more than just decline.

These smaller communities in many instances are experiencing actual disunion, and increasing, oppressive decrepitude. Indeed, they are becoming places where promises of the blessings of freedom, and promises of growing prosperity in time, are going unfulfilled.

In many instances, sheer practicalities (for example, commuting challenges, and need for more accessible, sophisticated medical resources), and the evolving advantages (better and more comprehensive education, employment, and so on) of our more urban, technology-dominated age, are overtaking the possibility of greater fulfillment “back home,” where even the least of us historically could be treasured, with more of our human potential realized, and with essential moral and ethical values intact. Some say that this evolution is our future.

More here-

‘But You Want to Be a Priest’: A Conversion Story

From National Review-

Of course there is no God. That thought came to me with great clarity and force at around 11 a.m. on a Monday in June 1976. I was 13 years old and listening to a professor of philosophy speak to a group of schoolchildren gathered at an academic summer camp whose purpose was to encourage good students to be curious about everything. The professor was an atheist, and as I listened to her explain why she was certain that every religion in the world was a survival of man’s pre-scientific attempts to understand the universe, it was as though the tumblers of a lock were turning over to open my mind to an understanding of the true nature of things: Of course there is no God.

What she said that day helped me gather disparate intuitions and perceptions into a coherent worldview, and from that moment I was an atheist and a scientific materialist, sincerely convinced that everything in the cosmos could be observed, quantified, and understood according to the scientific method alone. I would remain an atheist until October 1981, when the Lord Jesus laid hold of my life.

My conversion to Christ came about largely through the influence of my college friends, a few of whom who were older and wiser, but most were my peers. I was drawn to the Lord sweetly but firmly by the witness of their lives, by the books they suggested, by the love of a young woman, by the death of a classmate, by an encounter with the numinous presence of God in Princeton’s magnificent Gothic chapel, and finally by studying and praying with Holy Scripture under the guidance of a friend who had learned the Bible deeply from his youth.

More here-

The Prosperity Gospel: Dangerous and Different

From La Civilta Cattolica-

The “prosperity gospel” is a well-known theological current emerging from the neo-Pentecostal evangelical movements. At its heart is the belief that God wants his followers to have a prosperous life, that is, to be rich, healthy and happy. This type of Christianity places the well-being of the believer at the center of prayer, and turns God the Creator into someone who makes the thoughts and desires of believers come true.

The risk of this form of religious anthropocentrism, which puts humans and their well-being at the center, is that it transforms God into a power at our service, the Church into a supermarket of faith, and religion into a utilitarian phenomenon that is eminently sensationalist and pragmatic.

This image of prosperity and well-being, as we will see in a moment, relates to the so-called “American Dream.” It is not the same thing, just a reductive interpretation. In and of itself, this dream is the vision of a land and a society understood as a place of open opportunity. Historically, through the centuries, this has been the motivation pushing many economic migrants to leave their own land and set out for the United States to stake a claim to a place where work produces results that were unreachable in their old world.

More here-

Friday, July 20, 2018

Church ready to work with reinstated bishops

From Kenya-

The Anglican church is ready to readmit three priests from Mt Kenya West Diocese who had been suspended over homosexuality allegations.

However, they first have to seek forgiveness from worshippers, Anglican Church of Kenya Archbishop Jackson ole Sapit said.

The Labour court in Nyeri ordered the reinstatement of bishops John Gachau, Paul Warui, and Maina Maigua.

The court directed that they be paid Sh6.8 million in compensation.

Sapit said the church will obey the court order.

"But it must be known that the church leadership cannot force its followers to be shepherded by a person they don’t want," he said on Tuesday.

More here-

Bishop Love Reflects on GC79

From The Living Church-

The Rt. Rev. William H. Love, Bishop of Albany, reflects on the decisions of the 79th General Convention:

On a positive note, an amended version of A068 was passed, thus preserving the 1979 Book of Common Prayer for at least the near term. There had been an attempt to change the 1979 BCP at this convention in ways that would have been unacceptable to those who maintain a traditional understanding of marriage. Resolution A068 not only preserved the 1979 BCP marriage rite and preamble, but also preserved the current psalter and liturgies; the Trinitarian formularies; the Lambeth Quadrilateral; and the Historic Documents. The resolution does allow for Dioceses under the direction and approval of their Bishop, to develop new rites and new language for trial use.

There had been an attempt at the 79th General Convention to radically change the bishop election process for each diocese by including the involvement of surrounding dioceses and the Presiding Bishop’s Office in unprecedented ways. While presented in a positive light, the potential for abuse led to the overwhelming defeat of the resolution.

More here-

Local collection on display at The Wall That Heals

From Maine-

Sometimes a place becomes real when you can touch it.

Reaching on Thursday for a crystal chunk on a table in the parish hall at Christ Episcopal Church, Robert Egloff said, “This is from Cambodia.”

The rock is part of a collection of items that Egloff has assembled over years of collecting.
This week, it’s on display at the church, which has opened its doors for events in conjunction with The Wall That Heals, the display of the traveling replica of the Vietnam Veterans Memorial just across Dresden Avenue in the Gardiner Common.

On tables that encircle the parish hall, and even overhead, items from Egloff’s collection shine a light on the era of the Vietnam War, a tempestuous and turbulent time in American history.

There are uniforms, caps, hats, insignias, weapons, Life magazines, helmets, record albums of pop and rock music popular in the 1960s and 1970s, transistor radios, a tape recorder and political memorabilia from the period, as well as a parachute complete in its pack and one suspended from the ceiling.

More here-

Episcopal Church in the US compromises on marriage rites for all couples

From The Church Times-

SAME-SEX couples will be able to marry in Episcopal churches in all dioceses, even where the diocesan bishop has objected.

The Church’s General Convention, which was held in Austin, Texas, has backed a compromise resolution to ensure that everyone has access to two trial marriage rites, approved in 2015, in their home churches.

Currently, in nine of the 101 dioceses of the Episcopal Church the gender-neutral rites have not been authorised by the bishop: Albany, New York, Central Florida, Dallas, Florida, North Dakota, Spring field, Tennessee, and the Virgin Islands. The new resolution allows for all couples to request the gender-neutral marriage rites, with pastoral support offered by a bishop from another diocese if necessary.

This resolution was a compromise on the original one put forward by the Task Force on the Study of Marriage, which would have changed references to marriage in the Prayer Book (News, 6 July) to make it gender neutral, and included the two trial rites in the Prayer Book.

More here-

Thursday, July 19, 2018

Why do Catholics make up a majority of the Supreme Court?

From American Magazine-

There are nine justices on the Supreme Court, and four of them (Chief Justice John G. Roberts, Samuel Alito, Clarence Thomas and Sonia Sotomayor) are practicing Catholics, as is retiring Justice Anthony Kennedy. Conservative Neil Gorsuch was raised Catholic but reportedly attends an Episcopal church. (The other justices on the bench—Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Stephen Breyer and Elena Kagan—are Jewish.)

If confirmed, Judge Brett Kavanaugh—the second of President Trump’s nominations while in office—would become the fifth Catholic (and the 14th in U.S. history) serving on the Supreme Court.
Catholic justices are frequently nominated by Republican presidents, including Mr. Trump, George H.W. Bush and his son George W. Bush. The current court’s exception is Ms. Sotomayor, who was appointed in May 2009 by President Barack Obama.

More here-

Darien Church files lawsuit against their Rector

From Connecticut-

A lawsuit has been filed by parishioners of Saint Paul’s Episcopal Church against Rev. Canon George Kovoor.

The vestry, the meeting of parishioners that conduct parochial business, seek the courts to rule Kovoor is not the lawful rector of St. Paul’s. The lawsuit, filed July 6, states Kovoor obtained his job by lying about his past work and schooling.

The lawsuit comes after repeated mediation attempts between the vestry and Kovoor, organized by the Episcopal Church of Connecticut.

“A vestry cannot in itself fire a rector,” said Rev. Ian Douglas, the bishop diocesan of the Episcopal Church in Connecticut.

Douglas said the position of the priest is within a three-way agreement between the priest, the vestry and the wider diocese. Kovoor was hired by the church in October 2016.

To mediate the situation there is a process overseen by the rules of the church called the Canon, he said. The process also allows for bishop diocesan of the Episcopal Church to issue a godly judgment to resolve matters.

More here-

Episcopal Church rejects measure to divest from Israel

From The Jewish Journal-

The Episcopal Church rejected a measure to divest from Israel at its General Convention.

The measure, titled “Ending Church Complicity in the Occupation,” was initially approved by the House of Deputies in the church, one of the legislative houses of the bicameral General Convention, but was later rejected by the House of Bishops during its triennial convention in Austin, Texas.

“Divestment will not move us one inch forward in the peace process. It will not bring an end to the occupation. It will not lead us to the solution that we all yearn for, which is two states living side by side in peace within secure borders,” said retired Bishop Ed Little of the Diocese of Northern Indiana, who was one of six bishops to speak against the resolution before the vote, the Episcopal News Service reported.

More here-

The Episcopal Church will revise its beloved prayer book but doesn’t know when

From The Washington Post-

After more than a week of debate among church leaders about whether God should be referred to by male pronouns — and about the numerous other issues that come up when writing a prayer book — the Episcopal Church has decided to revise the 1979 Book of Common Prayer that Episcopalian worshipers hold dear.

The question now is when it will happen.

At the denomination’s triennial conference, which concluded in Austin last week, leaders considered a plan that would have led to a new prayer book in 2030. They voted it down.
“There’s no timeline for it,” said the Very Rev. Samuel Candler, chair of the committee on prayer book revision. “There’s no A-B-C-D plan. The plan is to put a joint task force together now that will work on how we do it. They’ll be gathering liturgies and working in dioceses and assembling texts. I think we are going forward.”

More here-


Wednesday, July 18, 2018

It’s good for girls to have clergywomen, study shows

From RNS-

Research has consistently shown that positive adult role models can contribute to the health, education, and overall well-being of young people. Albert Bandura has argued that children learn how to “perform” adult roles by observing the behavior of prominent adults in their lives and trying to imitate it.

Other research has shown that this is especially the case when it comes to learning gender roles. When children see a behavior modeled exclusively by men or by women, they internalize that behavior as distinctly masculine or feminine. The more children see positions of power occupied only by men, the more they come to think of leadership as an exclusively masculine role. As leaders occupy a place of higher social status, this can implicitly generate an association between gender, leadership, and self-confidence.

More here-

Reflections on the Beginning of a New Era

From The Living Church-

This past June family and friends joined me in the celebration of my 83rd birthday. Normally, big birthdays come with a new decade: 60, 70, 80, 90, and even, in this day of medical wonders, 100. But for me 83 marked a big birthday. For various reasons, on this birthday, I realized that the life I had lived — as a priest of the Church, a missionary, a teacher of ethics, the dean of a seminary, and an author — had come to an end. At first, this realization made me resentful. But then it occurred to me that I was entering a new era filled with challenge but even more with promise.

This new era is certainly one of challenge. Old age is a period of decline — of physical and mental powers along with one’s social status. It is a period of life in which we are being stripped. Our professional life is behind us, our friends are dying off, and our society does not really know what to do with elderly people. There are no two ways about it! But this paring down brings with it the possibility of real blessings. Chief among them is unclaimed time — space in the passage of days, months, and years that is free of the business of life. As such, it can be used to assess one’s life, come to terms with things both done and left undone, and most of all make new beginnings. In short, the stripping of our lives can be viewed not as a loss but as a gift of grace that allows for the fashioning of a new form of life.

More here-

Episcopal Church extends gay ‘marriage’ into dioceses where bishops object

From Life Site (additional links below)-

Episcopal dioceses in the United States which reject the notion of same-sex “marriage” must now allow gay and lesbian couples to “marry” in the church.

The Episcopal Church’s General Convention meeting in Austin, Texas last week found a way to expand gay “marriage” rights into all dioceses while seemingly respecting the consciences of local bishops who object on theological grounds.

Praised as a compromise that doesn’t alienate traditionalists, the resolution essentially allows an end-run maneuver around the consciences of the leaders of eight U.S. dioceses who are standing firm against same-sex “marriage.”

Beginning in December, when a gay couple wants to “marry” in a diocese where the same-sex “marriage” is not condoned, the priest who has agreed to conduct the ceremony will be free to bypass his or her bishop and reach out to an Episcopal bishop elsewhere who can step in and provide “pastoral support” for the mono-gendered couple.

More here-

and here-

and here-

and here-

Tuesday, July 17, 2018

Goodness makes America great

From Arkansas-

Two Sundays ago at the General Convention of the Episcopal Church in Austin, I joined a large congregation for a prayer service in a field outside the Hutto Residential Center in Taylor, Texas, a prison for women waiting for their immigration hearing. Many of these are women who have been separated from their children.

Our preacher was Michael Curry, Presiding Bishop of the Episcopal Church. Bishop Curry recently gained international attention with his sermon at the wedding of Prince Harry and Meghan Markle.

Bishop Curry is African American and he preaches with the rich cadence of that tradition. I want to share some of his words from that day.

He began: "We come in love. We come in love because we follow Jesus. And Jesus taught us love. Love the Lord your God. And love your neighbor ...

"We come in love. That is the core of our faith. That is the heart of it. And we come, because we are Christian and the way of love calls for us to be humanitarian. It calls for us to care for those who have no one to care for them. And we come because we don't believe that a great nation like this one separates children from their families. We come because we believe that this nation is conceived in liberty, dedicated to the proposition that all people are created equal. We believe that we must call this nation America back to its very soul! We are here because we love this nation. 'Cause if you really love somebody you don't leave them the way they are. You help them to become their best selves. We are here to save the soul of America. Save the soul of America!"

More here-

General Convention wrap-up: Following the Way of Jesus

From ENS-

Responding to Presiding Bishop Michael Curry’s call to “Follow the Way of Jesus,” deputies and bishops at the 79th General Convention of the Episcopal Church, meeting July 5-13 in Austin, Texas, acted on a record number of resolutions on key issues such as immigration, prayer book revision, Israel-Palestine, and readmitting the Episcopal Church of Cuba as a diocese. Convention also passed a $134 million budget that reflects for a further three years the presiding bishop’s priorities of evangelism, racial reconciliation and creation care. Meanwhile, the legislative processes were overseen by a resident roost of avian observers, one of which adopted a social media presence to bring a steady flow of light-feathered moments to convention amid the often-intense and passionate debates on the key issues before the church.

Outside the legislative chambers, several events brought together bishops, deputies and visitors to mingle, socialize, pray, worship and advocate, with a public witness against gun violence and another outside an immigrant detention center challenging the actions of the U.S. government in its enforcement of immigration policies. A revival service at Austin’s Palmer Events Center on July 7 drew a crowd of more than 2,500 people who listened to Presiding Bishop Michael Curry’s rousing sermon about how “God is love and gives life.”

More here-

Episcopal Church: all same-sex couples can marry in their home churches


The Episcopal Church removed restrictions on same-sex marriage, a move that allows all couples to wed where they worship, even if their bishop disapproves.

The action came out of discussions at the General Convention, which wrapped up its triennial meeting in Austin, Texas, Friday.

Same-sex couples are already allowed to marry across most Episcopal Churches in the United States, but a few U.S. dioceses had not permitted religious wedding ceremonies for this type union.
Friday’s decision overrides previous decisions by local dioceses to not allow the liturgies, which currently includes eight of the of the nation’s 101 Episcopal dioceses — Albany, N.Y.; Central Florida; Dallas; Florida; North Dakota; Springfield, Ill.; Tennessee; and the Virgin Islands.

No one spoke against the resolution during a short debate by the House of Deputies, the news service affiliated with the Episcopal Church said.

More here-

Anti-Semitism Creeps Back Under Episcopal Auspices

From The American Spectator-

And what to my wondering eyes should appear, at the General Convention of the Episcopal Church this month, but a heap of painful evidence that the foreign policy of the United States isn’t in disarray solely because of Donald Trump.

Practically no substantial number of Americans seems capable these days — in contrast with the Cold War era — of figuring out for long who the good guys are, and aren’t. It used to be so easy. The commies were bad. Then we beat the commies, and… and…

I intrude mention of the Episcopal Church here because of my presence at the late convention — where what could have been taken for the third, perhaps second, cousin of old-fashioned anti-Semitism prowled like a ramping and roaring lion, snarling at Israel, clapping its paws for the Palestinians.

Resolution after resolution targeted Israel for its apparently endless failures to bestow full rights on Palestinians in the so-called “occupied” territories. Resolution authors wanted the church, through its investments, to pressure Israeli acquiescence in a pro-Palestinian policy.

More here- 

and here-

Monday, July 16, 2018

Bishop Adams: 'Our aim is restoration and unity'

From South Carolina-

The Episcopal Church in South Carolina is, by God’s grace, a part of the Episcopal branch of the Jesus Movement. We are growing in numbers, in joy, and in our sense of mission. One of our deep desires is that we might be a visible manifestation of reconciliation in Christ. To do that, we are seeking all people of goodwill to join us in conversation about how we might live into what God accomplished for us in the death and resurrection of Jesus.

It is in the spirit of God’s love as shown forth in Christ that we seek to be in conversation with one another, for it is “in him that the fullness of God was pleased to dwell” (Colossians 1:9). We are the common inheritors of that Gospel. Our witness is strengthened if we are a people united in service of God’s mission given to the Church, “to restore all people to unity with God and each other in Christ” (Catechism of the Book of Common Prayer, page 855).

More here-

US Episcopal Church moves towards divestment from Israeli occupation

From Middle East Monitor-

The General Convention of the Episcopal Church, with more than 3 million members across the US, has passed a number of resolutions in support of Palestinian rights, including an unprecedented move towards divestment from companies involved in Israeli violations of international law.

At the 79th General Convention, six resolutions on Israel-Palestine made it through both the House of Deputies and House of Bishops, although the latter body failed to follow through on “bolder steps” backed by Deputies.

Issues singled out by the adopted resolutions “including the plight of Palestinian children, the status of Jerusalem, the disproportionate use of lethal force on both sides and ways the Episcopal Church can press for peace through its investment decisions”.

As regards that latter issue, resolution BO16 mandates the Church’s Executive Council’s Committee on Corporate Social Responsibility “to develop criteria for Israel and Palestine based on a human rights’ investment screen”, and “to engage in shareholder advocacy in support of human rights in Israel and the Occupied Territories”.

More here-

General Convention responds to the voices and stories of women

From ENS-

The voices and stories of women played a significant role in the workings of the 79th General Convention, from a liturgy where bishops offered laments and confession for the church’s role in sexual harassment, exploitation and abuse, to Resolution D087 that allows deputies to bring infant children on the floor of the House of Deputies to feed them.

On the night of July 4, before the convention officially opened, a Liturgy of Listening featured stories from women and men who were victims of sexual misconduct perpetrated by someone in the church. Bishop DeDe Duncan-Probe of the Diocese of Central New York, who planned the service, said it was designed to help set a framework for General Convention’s consideration of resolutions dealing with sexual misconduct, exploitation and gender disparity. As part of a response to that liturgy, the House of Bishops on July 8 adopted a covenant that commits them to seek changes in their dioceses to combat abuse, harassment and exploitation. The document, which applies only to bishops, is entitled “A Working Covenant for the Practice of Equity and Justice for All in The Episcopal Church.” Bishop Mary Gray-Reeves of the Diocese of El Camino Real said the covenant grew out of the Liturgy of Listening because it was clear that “there is no way we can do this and nothing more.” She said, “Sexual abuse, harassment and exploitation are part of the system. This is about acknowledging and accepting that.”

More here-

Toward Generous Faithfulness About Marriage

From Springfield-

Beloved in Christ in the Diocese of Springfield,

I am now safely and gratefully back home after serving for 12 days at the 79th General Convention of the Episcopal Church, which was held in Austin, Texas. I was joined there by an outstanding cadre of Deputies elected by the diocese: Kevin Babb and Sharon Hoffman (St Andrew’s, Edwardsville), Randy Winn (Trinity, Mt Vernon), Gerry Smith (Christ the King, Normal), Fr Dick Swan (St John’s, Decatur), Mother Sherry Black (St Mark’s, West Frankfort), Fr Dave Halt (St Matthew’s, Bloomington), and Fr Mark Evans (Trinity, Lincoln). They all did you proud.

The convention considered and disposed of, one way or another, over 4oo resolutions. I wrote about some of them on my personal blog, which I encourage you to look at. In this letter, I will focus on just one, because it deals with the most controversial issue our church has faced over the last several decades, which is human sexuality in general and marriage in particular. and it seems important that I communicate to the clergy and faithful of the diocese about this both promptly and clearly.

More here-