Saturday, August 11, 2018

This Famous Cat Is Getting Her Own Stone Sculpture Inside A Cathedral

From Huffington-

Most cats just get nine lives. This British feline is aiming for immortality.
Doorkins Magnificat, a beloved, longtime resident of London’s Southwark Cathedral, is having a stone carving of her likeness installed in a wall on the north side of the centuries-old church building.
The addition, scheduled for Aug. 20, means that the cat’s memory will live on in the cathedral for decades to come.

The stone carving, called a corbel, is one of four designed by students at the City & Guilds of London Art School that will replace eroded corbels in the cathedral’s north side. The other three corbels depict the nearby Borough Market, suffragette Evelyn Sharp and Wayne Marques, a British police officer who was injured during the 2017 London Bridge terror attack. 
The carving of Doorkins was created by Miriam Johnson, a student in Historic Carving at the art school.

More here-

Richard Sipe dies

From The New York Times-

A. W. Richard Sipe, a researcher, psychotherapist and former priest who spent his life studying the roots of sex abuse within the Roman Catholic Church, becoming one of the subject’s leading experts, died on Wednesday in the La Jolla neighborhood of San Diego. He was 85.

His wife, Marianne Benkert Sipe, said the cause was multiple organ failure.

Mr. Sipe’s research into celibacy and sexuality within the clergy helped establish a foundation for those studying, investigating and responding to the sexual abuse crisis of the 2000s. Along with describing how celibacy was lived, his work resulted in several striking estimates arrived at in the 1980s.

One was that fully 6 percent of all priests were sexual abusers of children and minors. Another was that at any given time, only 50 percent of priests were celibate — an estimate that the church said was overblown.

More here-

A year after Charlottesville: Confederate symbols wear out welcome at Ohio cathedral

From Southern Ohio-

Symbols of the Confederacy that have long been a part of one of Cincinnati's oldest churches are slated for removal.

The journey to this decision started one year ago for Christ Church Cathedral following a sermon by Dean Gail Greenwell. From her pulpit, she challenged the cathedral’s vestry to consider what to do with the memorials – a plaque honoring Episcopal bishop and Confederate Gen. Leonidas Polk and a stained glass pane honoring Confederate Gen. Robert E. Lee – and to review what might be missing from the church.

The vestry accepted the challenge. Two scholars were brought in to discuss the context of the symbols and the issue of Confederate memorials in general. Conversations and listening session were held, according to the cathedral's head of the vestry, Senior Warden Don Lane.

Various opinions and concerns were considered by the vestry before a decision was made.

More here-

Friday, August 10, 2018

Anglican investigator found 'more than enough' evidence to revoke Peter Hollingworth's holy orders

From Australia-

The former director of professional standards for the Anglican Diocese of Melbourne last year told a survivor of sexual abuse that he believed there was enough publicly available evidence to revoke Peter Hollingworth's bishop's orders.

Vincent Lucas was the director of professional standards at Kooyoora Ltd between July 2017 and June 2018.

In October last year, he told a survivor: "I just don't understand why [Archbishop] Philip Freier … hasn't just said, 'That's enough, you can't be in Holy Orders'."

Dr Hollingworth was forced to resign as governor-general in 2003 after a series of scandals over his handling of sexual abuse allegations against priests and teaching staff while he was the archbishop of Brisbane in the 1990s.

More here-

Losing Faith: Why South Carolina is abandoning its churches

From South Carolina-

South Carolina churches are shedding thousands of members a year, even as the state’s population grows by tens of thousands.

In the place we call the Bible Belt, where generations have hung their hats on their church-going nature and faithful traditions, an increasing trend of shrinking church attendance — and increasing church closings — signals a fundamental culture shift in South Carolina.

At least 97 Protestant churches across South Carolina have closed since 2011, according to data from the Lutheran, Presbyterian, United Methodist and Southern Baptist denominations. An untold number of other closings, certainly, are not captured by these statistics.

Many churches are dying slow deaths, stuck in stagnation if not decline. And if they don’t do something, anything, in their near future, they’ll share the fate of Cedar Creek United Methodist, a 274-year-old Richland County congregation that dissolved last year; Resurrection Lutheran, a church near downtown Columbia that will hold its last service on Sept. 2; and the dozens of churches that sit shuttered and empty around the state.

More here-

Read more here:

Religiosity linked to lower teen suicide rates

From The Washington Times-

Scientists and researchers often point to the positive aspects of religion in creating a sense of community and providing a purpose for life. But research shows it can have a protective effect on children against suicide, even if they are not religious.

Researchers from Columbia University and the New York State Psychiatric Institute found that children whose parents believe in religion are less likely to have suicidal thoughts and fewer of them commit suicide.

Their study, one of the first to look at how religious beliefs influence offspring, was published Wednesday in the Journal of the American Medical Association Psychiatry.

“Previous research has examined a number of risk factors of child and adolescent suicide, but one that has received little attention is religious/spiritual belief,” the authors said in the introduction of their report. “This is surprising given that religious beliefs and practices have been associated with lower rates of suicide.”

More here-

Much Ado about Bishops

From The Living Church-

By John Bauerschmidt

The recently concluded General Convention of the Episcopal Church took up many matters of business, some of them widely reported and blogged upon before, during, and after the convention. Others have drawn less attention. From my perspective, as a member of the House of Bishops, it’s worth taking note of the work of the convention on the reform of the episcopate. Actions taken (and not taken) tell a story whose significance is not yet fully known. If you’re a General Convention aficionado you may want to skip down several paragraphs, but at the risk of too much inside baseball I offer this account from my vantage point as a participant in the daily legislative work of one house.

Through Resolution D004, the 2015 General Convention established a Task Force on the Episcopacy charged to address a number of concerns: studying the selection and responsibilities of bishops; racial and gender diversity in the House of Bishops; proposals for revising the process of “discernment, nomination, formation, search, election, and transition” for this ministry; and developing “best practices and educational materials” available to the wider church. During the intervening triennium the task force did its work, and in the months before the convention it presented this report. (I was not a member of the task force.)

More here-

Thursday, August 9, 2018

Melbourne Anglican diocese denies ignoring complaints about Peter Hollingworth

From The Guardian-

The Anglican diocese of Melbourne has rejected criticism it is ignoring complaints about Bishop Peter Hollingworth, as questions were raised about the independence of the diocese’s office of professional standards.

Hollingworth admitted to the child sexual abuse royal commission in 2016 that he poorly handled a complaint of sexual abuse by a priest, and he apologised to the victim. He also accepted that he failed to protect child sexual abuse victims within the church. Hollingworth was head of the Brisbane diocese from 1990 to 2001.

A report from the child abuse royal commission found Hollingworth misled the commission when he said he believed a report of abuse made to him about pedophile priest John Elliot at the Church of England Grammar School in 1993 was an “isolated incident”.

More here- 

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Willow Creek pastor, elders step down, admit mishandling allegations against Bill Hybels

From Chicago-

Answering critics' calls to let new leaders shepherd northwest suburban Willow Creek Community Church, lead pastor Heather Larson and other church elders resigned Wednesday and apologized for mishandling allegations that church founder Bill Hybels engaged in improper behavior with women.

Larson and the elders announced their resignations Wednesday evening during a packed congregational meeting at the church’s South Barrington campus. Audience members applauded the elders’ decision. But some people audibly groaned over Larson’s announcement, and one even approached the stage in protest.

“It has become clear to me that this church needs a fresh start,” Larson said.

“This is really important,” she said. “Trust has been broken by leadership, and it doesn’t return quickly. There is urgency to move us in a better direction.”

Hybels stepped down from the helm of the megachurch in April following a Tribune investigation that revealed allegations of misconduct with women — including church employees — that spanned decades. Women have continued to come forward with allegations, among them Hybels’ former executive assistant, who told The New York Times that she was sexually harassed and fondled by the pastor for over two years in the 1980s. Hybels denied those allegations.

More here-

Wednesday, August 8, 2018

Rwanda Restricts Fasting as 8,000 Churches Closed

From Christianity Today-

About 8,000 official and unofficial churches, as well as 100 mosques, have been closed in Rwanda for failing to comply with health, safety, and noise regulations. This includes 4 in 10 congregations belonging to a nationwide association of 3,300 Pentecostal churches.

And authorities indicate such shutting down of houses of worship in the East African nation will continue until congregations meet the strict requirements of a new law adopted by Rwanda’s parliament on July 27.

The latest requirement: Pastors must now have a degree in theological education from an accredited school. The law also prohibits church leaders from urging their followers to fast for lengthy periods—like Jesus’ 40 days in the wilderness—in order to better secure God’s blessing; authorities claim this is a form of starvation.

More here-

Rare medieval Bible returns home 500 years after it disappeared from Cathedral

From Canterbury-

A rare medieval Bible has been saved for the nation and returned to Canterbury Cathedral 500 years after it disappeared from the Cathedral’s monastic book collection at the time of the Reformation.

Now known as the Lyghfield Bible, after the 16th century Cathedral monk who once owned it, the 690-leaf volume was purchased at auction from a private seller at a specialist sale of manuscripts in London in July. The £100,000 purchase was made possible with a grant of almost £96,000 from the National Heritage Memorial Fund (NHMF) and further funding from the Friends of the National Libraries, the Friends of Canterbury Cathedral and a private donation.

The Lyghfield Bible was written in the latter 13th century on high quality parchment or vellum which is almost tissue-like in quality. The fine Latin script and extensive and very fine illumination (decoration) was probably produced in Paris, one of the medieval centres for this type of work.
The Bible is pocket-sized and as such was designed for personal use, possibly whilst travelling.  The volume formed part of the collection of the medieval monastery of the Cathedral in the 16th century, but may well have been in Canterbury well before that time.

More here-

The Liturgical Movement and the History of Prayer Book Revision

From The Living Church-

The appearance of the 1979 Book of Common Prayer was many generations in the making, and it was the fruit of a remarkable convergence of factors: historical research into the early Church, warm and creative ecumenical relationships with other Christians, a renewed focus on baptism’s relationship to both the life of the Church and the Paschal Mystery of Easter, and perhaps most importantly an orientation to the apostolic Church in our evangelism and worship. This was the Liturgical Movement.

This is the first of two posts, and my focus here is tracing the history of the movement, noting especially a long gestation — close to four centuries — to rites that have only been in use for about 40 years. The hope is that this may put current initiatives for prayer book revision in context. The second essay will highlight the methods of the movement and reflect on the absence of many of those critical elements today.

More here-

Monday, August 6, 2018

Be Back Thursday

Sunday, August 5, 2018

Edinburgh church votes to split from the Scottish Episcopal Church in early sign of schism at decision to support gay marriage

From The Telegraph-

One of the largest churches in Edinburgh has voted to split from the Scottish Episcopal Church amid tensions over its decision to become the first Anglican body in the UK to endorse gay marriage.
St Thomas’ is the latest evangelical parish to quit the official Anglican church in Scotland and back a rival splinter movement in reaction to the vote supporting gay marriage in June last year.

A number of other churches have either left or are considering leaving in the wake of the decision to change the Scottish Episcopal Church's (SEC) definition of marriage as being between one man and one woman.

St Thomas' is one of the largest Anglican churches in the capital and the move to split from the SEC will be seen as a major blow to Scottish bishops trying to hold together the deeply opposed factions over same-sex marriage.

More here-