Friday, July 27, 2018

Provincial fact-finding group looking into claims of episcopal election fraud in Diocese of Haiti

From ENS-

Presiding Bishop Michael Curry has taken the next step in a never-before-used canonical process contesting the election of the Very Rev. Kerwin Delicat as bishop coadjutor for the Diocese of Haiti.
Curry on July 17 officially asked the Province II Court of Review to convene as a fact-finding commission and prepare a report on allegations of what a group of Haitian Episcopalians called an “electoral coup d’état.” The group represents more than 20 percent of the clergy and lay electors of the June 2 convention that chose Delicat, dean of Holy Trinity Cathedral in Port-au-Prince, Haiti.

The 16 priests and 26 lay people say that Bishop Diocesan Jean Zaché Duracin and his supporters:
  • Violated a covenant that was agreed to just more than a year ago by Curry, Duracin, Haiti Bishop Suffragan Ogé Beauvoir and the diocesan Standing Committee to “address and resolve many of the issues of conflict that have been burdening the diocese.”
  • Manipulated ordinations to influence the election results.
  • Developed an illegitimate slate of candidates by eliminating those who did not support the bishop.
  • Violated election canons and the diocese’s bylaws governing elections.
  • Planned and implemented obstacles to voting that amounted to fraud.
More here-

Bishop Michael Curry’s books to be published in UK for the first time

From The UK-

A UK Christian publishing company has announced it will be publishing three books by the American bishop who preached a sermon at the wedding of the Duke and Duchess of Sussex. 

Most Rev Michael Curry’s books, Crazy Christians, Songs My Grandma Sang and Following the Way of Jesus are only currently available in the US. 

Andy Lyon, publishing director at Hodder Faith, said the books will be published over the next nine months.

“Bishop Curry made religion front page news after his involvement in the royal wedding - there can’t be many sermons recently that have prompted so much discussion and debate,” he said.  
“We are delighted that these three accessible and thought-provoking books will now be available for readers here in the UK.”

The first of Bishop Curry’s book to be released by Hodder Faith is Crazy Christians: A radical way of life on 20th September. 

More here-

Church swaps 'detained' Jesus for mirror in immigration policy protest

From Indianapolis-

For most of the month, that space along Monument Circle was occupied by nativity statues of the baby Jesus, Mary and Joseph.

The Rev. Stephen Carlsen, dean and rector of  the church, explained Thursday that the change was made so that visitors can envision themselves enduring the pain felt by detained and separated families. 

"The original image was about how God loves us and then how we should love others based on that. This is about how we should love our neighbors as ourselves. That's the core foundation of all ethics and morality," said Carlsen. "Can you imagine what it's like to come to this country seeking safety
for your family, and if you did, how would you want to be treated? What would it be like for you to be detained and in a cage?"

More here-

Toronto Churches Offer Healing Prayers

From Toronto-

Two Anglican churches in Toronto are offering space for prayer after an evening shooting on July 22 left two dead and 13 others injured. The gunman, whose identity has not been released, was found dead in a nearby alley after an exchange of gunfire with police, according to The Globe and Mail. It is unclear if the shooter died by suicide.

The shooting began around 10 p.m. on Toronto’s busy Danforth Avenue, the city’s Greektown. Witnesses describe a man dressed in all black shouting and shooting a handgun as he walked down the street.

The Redeemer Toronto announced the next morning on Twitter that the church would be open for prayer. “If you need a quiet place to be in light of the shooting on the Danforth please know that you are welcome here,” the post said.

More here-

Heather Cook, ex-bishop convicted of fatally striking bicyclist with car in Baltimore, applies for work release

From Baltimore-

Heather E. Cook, the former Episcopal bishop serving a prison sentence for fatally striking a bicyclist with her car while drunk in 2014 in Baltimore, has applied for a work release program.

Cook’s application is under review, according to a prisons spokesman and a letter sent to the victim’s family and shared with The Baltimore Sun.

The prison system’s Victim Service Unit said in the July 19 letter to the family of Thomas Palermo that placement of Cook “is to begin within the next several weeks.”

But Gerard Shields, a spokesman for the Department of Public Safety and Correctional Services, said in an email that “there is no set time on when she would be approved or begin working” and he does not know why the letter gave that time frame.

Shields said the department’s review “is not a quick process” and that Cook is first undergoing a medical examination “to determine if she can work.”

Alisa Rock, a sister of Palermo’s wife, said in an email to The Sun that she opposes Cook’s application for work release. She said that by applying, Cook “once again attempts to limit the consequences of her actions.”

More here-

and here-

Thursday, July 26, 2018

Priest facing slew of historic sexual assault charges in hospital with cancer

From Canada-

An Anglican priest accused of historical sexual assaults against teenage boys in an Edmonton youth jail is hospitalized and undergoing cancer treatment, court heard Wednesday.

Gordon William Dominey was not present at a provincial court appearance on some of his more recent charges. A law student attending on behalf of his defence lawyer, Kent Teskey, told court that the 65-year-old is undergoing treatment for cancer.

The initial charges Dominey faces date back to the 1980s when investigators say Dominey worked as a priest at the now-demolished Edmonton Youth Development Centre (YDC). When police first announced the charges in February 2016, five complainants had come forward with allegations of abuse. At the time of the alleged offences, the complainants were between 14 and 17 years old.

After the allegations went public, police laid additional historic charges against Dominey. There are now 15 complainants and 30 criminal charges, according to court records.

More here-

Immigrant activists keeping pressure, focus on Mass. House

From Massachusetts-

Bishop Alan Gates of the Episcopal Diocese of Massachusetts, one of a handful of clergy members to speak, said the Episcopal Church supports a pathway to legal status for undocumented immigrants.
"It does not befit a commonwealth to extend legal due process to some categories of residents and not to others," Gates said. "It does not befit a commonwealth to create communities in which some residents turn confidently and gratefully to their public safety officers when needed, while other residents are afraid to do so." 

Also Tuesday, the Lawyers' Committee for Civil Rights and Economic Justice and immigrant advocacy Centro Presente cheered a U.S. District Court opinion, issued Monday, rejecting the federal government's request to dismiss the case Centro Presente v. Trump, which challenges the termination of temporary protected status for nationals of Haiti, El Salvador and Honduras. 

The decision "gives hope to immigrant families and children," Centro Presente executive director Patricia Montes said in a statement.

Read more: 

Presiding Bishop to have surgery for prostate cancer

From ENS-

Presiding Bishop Michael Curry announced July 25 that he will soon undergo surgery for prostate cancer.

Dear Friends in Christ,

A few months ago, through my annual physical, I was diagnosed with prostate cancer. After a variety of tests, consultations, and conversations with my wife and daughters, I decided on a surgical treatment course. On this coming Tuesday, July 31st, I will have surgery to remove the prostate gland.

I am happy to say that the prognosis looks very good and quite positive. I have spoken with several others who have gone through this, and who have offered both encouragement and helpful advice. I will be in the hospital for at least a day, then at home to recuperate.

I’ve been told that 4-6 weeks is a reasonable time to anticipate. I plan to resume my duties in early September and I do not anticipate any significant changes in my commitments.

More here- 

and here-

Wednesday, July 25, 2018

'It’s not safe for us': South Sudanese-Australians weather 'African gangs' storm

From The Guardian-

Luke Henriques-Gomes visits west Melbourne shops, churches and sports clubs to hear how residents cope with complicated social issues amid an onslaught of negative attention
At the Victory Grace Church in Albion, 100 worshippers sing and sway with their eyes closed and their palms out.

Leading them is Pastor Nathan Kuku, dressed in a tan leather jacket. He bounds across the room, his arms jutting out at sharp angles as he gesticulates with an almost Mick Jagger-like energy.

The gospel music swells. Some women lose their footing and are guided to the front of the church – technically a Maltese community centre in Melbourne’s western suburbs. Kuku places his hand on the women’s foreheads, and they collapse again.

More here-

Church thought abuse claims bishop was going to retire, Carey tells inquiry

From England-

The ex-archbishop of Canterbury admitted the Church of England could have been much firmer in ensuring ‘manipulative’ bishop Peter Ball stayed away.

Church intentions to discipline bishop Peter Ball “fizzled out” because officials thought he was a “sick man” who was going to retire, former archbishop of Canterbury Lord Carey has said.

The peer later admitted the Church of England could have been much firmer in ensuring the “manipulative” bishop stayed away after he resigned in 1993.

He told the Independent Inquiry into Child Sexual Abuse that although he did not put pressure on Ball to resign, it was “inevitable” given the police case mounting against him.

The former archbishop, 82, defended a “pastoral” meeting he held with the since-disgraced bishop days after his arrest, saying he wanted to know about the allegations.

The inquiry heard that Ball, who was arrested in December 1992, protested his innocence.

More here- 

also here-

Episcopal priest in Wilmington uses cartoons in ministry

From North Carolina-

Jay Sidebotham started out as an animator on “Schoolhouse Rock!,” the tuneful educational cartoons that aired on ABC back in the 1970s and ’80s.”

“I was old school -- pre-computer,” Sidebotham said, chuckling as he remembered the glory days of “I’m Just a Bill” and “Conjunction Junction.” “Seven million drawings for five minutes of tape. That might be why I wear these,” he added, tapping his glasses.

Sidebotham’s career took a turn when spiritual longing led him into the Episcopal priesthood. Since 2013, he’s been the associate rector -- “a very part-time associate rector,” he added -- at St. James Episcopal Church in Wilmington.

At first, he thought he was leaving artwork behind, but he soon found cartooning made a useful adjunct to his vocation.

More here-

Union of Black Episcopalians at 50: ‘Glory of the Past, Hope for the Future’

From ENS-

Presiding Bishop Michael Curry electrified hundreds of worshippers who chanted ‘Love Lifted Me’ along with him at Christ Church Cathedral here in Nassau during the July 24 opening Eucharist of the 50th annual meeting of the Union of Black Episcopalians.

More than 800 Bahamian and U.S. laity, clergy, dignitaries and officials responded passionately as Curry invoked the hymn, a favorite of his grandmother: “I was sinking deep in sin, far from the peaceful shore, very deeply stained within, sinking to rise no more, but the Master of the sea heard my despairing cry, from the waters lifted me, now safe am I.

“Love lifted me! Love lifted me! When nothing else could help, love lifted me!”

Curry’s sermon, laced with frequent call-and-response, spontaneous laughter and sustained applause, echoed his familiar ‘Love is the way, the only way, there is no other way’ mantra, as he challenged worshippers to embrace Christ’s ministry of reconciliation.

UBE President Annette Buchanan also invoked the rich spiritual heritage of black Episcopalians. She reminded the congregation that although the organization is observing its 50th annual conference, its precursors date to the pre-Civil War era.

More here-

Tuesday, July 24, 2018

Bishops were ‘perfect accomplices’ for ‘nauseating’ Peter Ball, IICSA hears

From The Church Times-

PETER BALL found the “perfect cover” for his sex-offending in the Church of England, and the “perfect accomplices” in fellow bishops who turned a blind eye to his actions, the Independent Inquiry into Child Sex Abuse (IICSA) has heard.

The details of the abuse carried out against vulnerable adults by Mr Ball, the disgraced former Bishop of Gloucester, during his ministry were heard on Monday at the start of a week-long hearing being conducted by IICSA, as part of its investigation into the extent to which the Anglican Church failed to protect children from child sex abuse.

The first hearing, in March, used the diocese of Chichester as a case study (News, 9 March). This week is to focus on the repeated failures of the police, Crown Prosecution Service, and the Church to identify, prevent, and prosecute abuse carried out by Ball over several decades, the lead counsel to the Anglican investigation, Fiona Scolding QC explained.

Ball received a three-year sentence in 2015, having admitted to a series of indecent assaults and the abuse of 18 young men aged 17-25 (News, 7 October 2015).

More here-

Kenya: Bishop Fights Defamation Suit Filed By Three Priests

From All Africa-

Bishop Joseph Kagunda of the Anglican Church, Mt Kenya West Diocese, has opposed the hearing of a defamation case filed against him by three priests he attempted to suspend over allegations of engaging in sexual immorality.

Bishop Kagunda argues that the suit is an attempt by the priests to gag him from discharging his canonical duties.

He says the issues in the suit are similar to those in another case heard and determined by the Employment and Labour Relations Court, where the priests were reinstated and awarded Sh6.8 million in compensation.

Bishop Kagunda, who was recently committed to a civil jail for failing to reinstate the priests, filed the preliminary objection through the Church Chancellor Wachira Nderitu, following permission granted by Justice Abigail Mshila on June 16, 2018.

More here-

Religious leaders of the UAE head to US to spread message of peace

From UAE-

A UAE delegation is on its way to Washington DC with a message of peace.

A reverend and a pastor, who lead services in Abu Dhabi churches, will tell the world about the religious freedoms enjoyed by their congregations in an Islamic country.

The delegation — that also comprises officials from government backed anti-radicalisation organisations such as the Muslim Council of Elders, Sawab and Hedayah centres — will be participating in a religious freedom conference, Ministerial to Advance Religious Freedom, organised by the US State Department.

“I am representing the Christians living in the UAE and what it would be like to be a Christian leader in a Muslim country like the UAE,” said Andy Thompson, head of St Andrew’s Anglican Church in the capital.

“I think what is best for me is to tell a good news story from the Middle East.”

He said some people can have preconceived ideas of what it means to be a Christian living in the Middle East.

“From the Middle East there all sorts of stereotypes of Muslim countries. I can be an unofficial ambassador to explain that Christians are not persecuted in the UAE.

“From the media in the west, they picture a very negative perception of the Islamic community. I will do anything I can to counter that,” Mr Thompson said.

More here-

Albany's Bishop Love 'troubled' by Episcopal same-sex marriage resolution

From Albany-

The passage of a resolution to allow same-sex couples to be married in an Episcopal Church, regardless of a particular diocese's policy, has prompted Bishop William Love to call for a special meeting of clergy within the Episcopal Diocese of Albany.

Love opposes same-sex marriage, and earlier this month voted against the resolution authorizing it at the Episcopal Church's national meeting in Austin, Tex. In a letter to Albany diocese parish members last week, he said that the passage of the resolution, labeled B012, by the Episcopal House of Bishops and House of Deputies is "the most problematic and potentially damaging within the Diocese of Albany as well as the wider Anglican Communion."

"While I know that there are some in the Diocese of Albany who applaud the passage of B012," he wrote, "the vast majority of the clergy and people of the Diocese, to include myself, are greatly troubled by it."

More here-

Martin Luther

From Christianity Today-

In the sixteenth century, the world was divided about Martin Luther. One Catholic thought Martin Luther was a "demon in the appearance of a man." Another who first questioned Luther's theology later declared, "He alone is right!"

In our day, nearly 500 years hence, the verdict is nearly unanimous to the good. Both Catholics and Protestants affirm he was not only right about a great deal, but he changed the course of Western history for the better.

Thunderstorm conversion

Martin was born at Eisleben (about 120 miles southwest of modern Berlin) to Margaret and Hans Luder (as it was locally pronounced). He was raised in Mansfeld, where his father worked at the local copper mines.

Hans sent Martin to Latin school and then, when Martin was only 13 years old, to the University of Erfurt to study law. There Martin earned both his baccalaureate and master's degrees in the shortest time allowed by university statutes. He proved so adept at public debates that he earned the nickname "The Philosopher."

Then in 1505 his life took a dramatic turn. As the 21-year-old Luther fought his way through a severe thunderstorm on the road to Erfurt, a bolt of lightning struck the ground near him.

More here-

Monday, July 23, 2018

'Veil of secrecy' fear as trust readies for Christ Church Cathedral restoration

From New Zealand-

Restoration of the Christ Church Cathedral could fall behind a "veil of secrecy" because the Government is not part of the deal, a heritage campaigner has warned.

The restoration, which will use $35 million of public money, will be controlled by three private entities. This means the project will not be subject to the Official Information Act (OIA) – a law that allows documents related to public bodies to be released.

Restore Christ Church Cathedral Group co-chairman Mark Belton, who campaigned for restoration of the cathedral, said the project should be more transparent.

"Transparency should be the overriding principle in this given it is a project of such high public interest and there is a lot of government and council money going into it," he said.

"I am not comfortable with this project slipping behind a veil of secrecy. The public needs to know that their money will be wisely spent."

More here-

Three key players, including a judge, failed to disclose Anglican church associations in 2001 trial

From England-

STEVE Smith calls it an ambush – the day he walked into a Newcastle courtroom to give evidence against an Anglican priest only to be blindsided by a judge’s attack against him, in a trial where three key players had undisclosed associations with the church.

Seventeen years after the case against the priest collapsed, Mr Smith has written to Attorney General Mark Speakman seeking an apology from the State of NSW.

“I expected to get beaten up by the defence but I had a judge attacking my credibility in court. He was basically calling me a liar in court, that I was fabricating it. I remember thinking, someone say something,” Mr Smith said.

“I spent years in the wilderness, despairing about what happened. I spent years thinking, I should have just shut my mouth. So the state should apologise. I just want some acknowledgement it was wrong. I want the state to take responsibility for that because it was devastating. It was soul-destroying. It’s unfinished business for me.”

More here-

Karl Barth and Liberation Theology

From The Living Church-

In June I attended a conference at Princeton Theological Seminary on “Karl Barth and the Future of Liberation Theology.” This paradoxical pairing for a conference theme upended many assumptions I had about Barth and liberation theology. My seminary training tended to belittle liberation theology as Marxism parading in theological garb. We assumed liberation theology is radical in its presuppositions and its conclusions tend to jettison theological orthodoxy. On the other hand, the theology of Barth, with its emphasis on the Christ in whom all humanity is elected and saved, would seem to undercut the claims of a contextual theology that takes its cues from the experience of finite ethnic, social, or gender groups.

I was skeptical coming into the conference, but I left being impressed by the appeal and rigor of the speakers who put Barthian theology in conversation with liberation theology. Paul Jones argued that Barthian studies should be “orthodox, modern, and liberative” — and the conference seemed generally to conform to this paradigm in its variety of perspectives and voices.
That said, there were certainly moments of tension. Luis Rivera-Pagán, emeritus professor at Princeton, noted that he had not read Barth in years, and identified himself as a liberation theologian in the line of Gustavo Gutiérrez, whose book A Theology of Liberation (1971) has become a touchstone of the movement.

More here-

American Anglican Episcopal Church Bishop now headed to the Bahamas had decided to bless same-sex marriages? Is he now invited to share his views in the Bahamian Church?

From The Bahamas-

In January 2016, Primates in the Anglican Communion gathered at Canterbury Cathedral, mother church of the global Anglican Communion, at the invitation of the Most Rev. Justin Welby, Archbishop of Canterbury. It was the first such meeting attended by Curry as presiding bishop.
Human sexuality and the Episcopal Church’s July 2015 approval of same-sex marriage rites were prominent topics of discussion.

The primates in attendance unanimously resolved to walk together before a majority of Anglican primates also publicly sanctioned the Episcopal Church, for a period of three years, demanding that it “no longer represent us on ecumenical and interfaith bodies, should not be appointed or elected to an internal standing committee and that while participating in the internal bodies of the Anglican Communion, they will not take part in decision making on any issues pertaining to doctrine or polity.”

In the aftermath of the sanctions, Curry maintained his public support for same-sex marriage stating:
“Our commitment to be an inclusive church is not based on a social theory or capitulation to the ways of the culture, but on our belief that the outstretched arms of Jesus on the cross are a sign of the very love of God reaching out to us all. While I understand that many disagree with us, our decision regarding marriage is based on the belief that the words of the Apostle Paul to the Galatians are true for the church today: All who have been baptized into Christ have put on Christ. There is no longer Jew or Gentile, slave or free, male or female, for all are one in Christ. For so many who are committed to following Jesus in the way of love and being a church that lives that love, this decision will bring real pain. For fellow disciples of Jesus in our church who are gay or lesbian, this will bring more pain. For many who have felt and been rejected by the church because of who they are, for many who have felt and been rejected by families and communities, our church opening itself in love was a sign of hope. And this will add pain on top of pain.”

More here-