Saturday, August 25, 2018

Church of England launches Instagram guide for parishes as they try to attract younger worshippers

From The Telegraph-

Instagram is best known for playing host to Love Island contestants, polished young "influencers" and healthy eating bloggers. 

But the social network could soon be flooded with arty pictures of pews and altars as the Church of England encourages its parishes to sign up in order to woo younger worshippers. 

It has launched an "introduction to Instagram" aimed at helping confused clergy who are finding it "hard to keep up with the latest digital trends and the platforms being used by young people". 
The Church's digital team has spent a year training churches in how to use social media "strategically" for "evangelism and discipleship", and says it will have trained 1,000 parishes by Christmas. 

Its advice is that "every church needs a Facebook page" but that the choice between Instagram and Twitter "depends on your audience, and where they are more likely to be."

More here-

This Vancouver church will use a bouncy castle to power their organ

From Vancouver-

Science is a wonderful thing, if for no other reason than its many applications to simply explain the complexities of the world around us.

You can take baking soda, mix in some vinegar and the next you know, you’ve got a simulated volcanic eruption in your kitchen.

Take an organ, for example. Or more specifically, its parts. The pipes need air to make sound, but where that air comes from doesn’t particularly matter.

The folks at Holy Trinity Anglican Church will capitalize on that fact Saturday when Michael Park channels his inner Bill Nye.

More here-

Pedophile Priest Gets Four Year Sentence

From Canada-

A former Anglican priest has been sentenced to four years in prison for the sexual abuse of a young boy.

David Norton, 72, showed no reaction from the prisoner’s box as Superior Court Justice Lynne Leitch delivered the sentence at the London courthouse Friday. Norton pleaded guilty in February to a charge of sexual interference involving the son of one of his parishioners. The abuse began in 1991 when the boy was just 9 years old. It continued until 1995.

In handing down her sentencing decision, Leitch said those who prey on children for their own sexual gratification “must pay a heavy price.” She classified Norton’s actions as “sexually deviant behaviour.”

“Mr. Norton took advantage of a young child to satisfy his own sexual desires,” said Leitch. “There is no question the victim was cheated of his childhood.”

More here- 

and here-

Millennial Voices: Same-Sex Marriage in the Church

From PBS-

On July 12, 2018, after four days of deliberation, clergy members of the Episcopal Church voted to adopt a new resolution on same-sex marriage.

Resolution B012 was drafted and adopted at the 79th Episcopal General Convention as a compromise on what was already dubbed the ‘Compromise Resolution’ on same-sex marriage. Its passing lifted regional restrictions on same-sex marriage, letting individual clergy and their congregations decide whether to perform same-sex ceremonies.

Same-sex marriage has been federally legal since June of 2015, when the United States Supreme Court made its historic 5-4 ruling, declaring it a fundamental right. For the United States’ mainline Christian Churches, however, the struggle for marriage equality continues. This summer, I aided To the Contrary in the production of a documentary, premiering in October 2018, that will illuminate this struggle; its successes, failures, and what’s next for America’s mainline Churches and their LGBTQ members. If you can’t wait until October, here’s a preview.

More here-

Friday, August 24, 2018

Court of Review of Province II issues Report of Findings

From The Episcopal Church-

The Province II Court of Review has released its Report of Findings regarding the Contestation of the election of the bishop coadjutor of the Diocese of Haiti.

Following the June 2nd election of the Venerable Joseph Kerwin Delicat as bishop coadjutor of the Diocese of Haiti, a group of lay and clergy delegates to the Electing Convention filed written objections to the election process. Canon III.11.8 (a) outlines the process for contesting the election process.

As required by Title III.8, the Presiding Bishop referred the matter to the Province II Court of Review for investigation of the complaint. (Province II includes the Diocese of Haiti.) The Court’s Report of Findings is here. Copies of the report will be distributed to bishops with jurisdiction and all Diocesan Standing Committees as part of the election consent process. 

More here-

Did General Convention Authorize Prayer Book Revision?

From The Living Church-

You may not understand what happened at the Episcopal Church’s recent General Convention in Austin, but you probably know that it was big news. Stories on liturgical revision ran in Washington PostJuicy EcumenismCBN, Religion News ServiceGetReligion, and First Things, among others, plus many articles at Episcopal News Service and The Living Church.

An article in the Washington Post seemed to get the facts wrong: “The Episcopal Church will revise its beloved prayer book but doesn’t know when.” But the Post was following the headline of Episcopal News Service (ENS), which declared, “Deputies agree with bishops on new plan for liturgical and prayer book revision.” On the same day, The Living Church — which also publishes Covenant — led with a nearly contradictory headline: “Changing Trains on Liturgical Revision” (TLC’s earlier article was even more stark: “Bishops Kill BCP Revision”).

It turns out that when you move past the headlines, most of these articles acknowledge the basic facts. The difference comes in the angle. As Matthew Townsend of TLC summarizes things in “Changing Trains”: “Both houses of General Convention have approved a resolution that will move the Episcopal Church closer to liturgical revision, but not closer to a revised Book of Common Prayer.”

More here-

Thursday, August 23, 2018

When Trinity ruled lower Manhattan

From Curbed-

In December 1894, the vestry and clergy of Trinity Wall Street—New York’s oldest, wealthiest, and trendiest Episcopal church—should have been deep into their celebrations of Advent, a time of penitence and reflection before Christmas.

Instead, Trinity’s leadership was reflecting on something entirely different: the near-daily revelations in New York’s newspapers about the church’s recently discovered role as the city’s most egregious slumlord.

“Tenement Houses in a Deplorable Condition” blared the front page of the New York Times on December 9, 1894.

The next day, the New-York Tribune led with “Tenement-House Abuses,” while the less staid Evening World ran an illustration labeled “In the Shadow of Trinity,” showing the back side of the elegant Gothic Revival church at the corner of Broadway and Wall Street overshadowing dilapidated tenements. Four days later, that same paper would run the headline “DEATH LURKS IN SQUALOR” over a story about the “appalling” mortality rate in Trinity tenements, which was 35 percent higher than the city’s average. Even “in the larger tenements in similar localities,” the World reported, “the death rate has never exceeded that in the houses owned by the Trinity corporation.”

More here-

Brews and religious views mix peacefully at Pub Theology meetings

From Houston-

Where do an Episcopalian, a Methodist and someone who is in between an Agnostic and a Christian gather together to drink beer and talk about theological and philosophical issues — such as the meaning or absurdity of life?

No, this isn’t the set-up for the punchline of a joke. It’s what actually happens at weekly Pub Theology meetups.

The goal of the group is to create a safe space that allows for diverse theological, political and philosophical discussion.

The Rev. Sean Steele, a priest at Saint Isidore Episcopal Church, started the group about four years ago. Steele said his church — which has a service area of Spring and The Woodlands — sponsors the group.

More here-

Cardinal Wuerl's name taken off Pittsburgh school due to scandal

From Reuters-

The Roman Catholic Diocese of Pittsburgh said on Wednesday it had removed Cardinal Donald Wuerl’s name from a high school after a grand jury report on sex abuse in the Church found he had reassigned priests who had been accused of abusing children, rather than taking stronger action. 

Prior to his current role as archbishop of Washington, Wuerl was bishop of Pittsburgh from 1988 to 2006. The grand jury report did not accuse him of personally sexually abusing children.  

The Pittsburgh diocese said in a statement that following the release of the report, Wuerl asked last week for his name to be removed from Cardinal Wuerl North Catholic High School, saying he did not want to be a distraction. The school has been renamed North Catholic High School. 

More here-

Diocese of Newark notified of successful canonical consent process for bishop-elect

From ENS-

The Episcopal Diocese of Newark has received notification from Presiding Bishop Michael Curry and the Rev. Michael Barlowe, registrar of General Convention, that Bishop-Elect Carlye J. Hughes has received the required majority of consents in the canonical consent process detailed in Canon III.11.3. 

In giving consent to her ordination and consecration, standing committees and bishops with jurisdiction attest to knowing of “no impediment on account of which” Bishop-Elect Hughes ought to be ordained to the office of bishop and believing that her election was conducted in accordance with the Canons.

More here-

Wednesday, August 22, 2018

Christ Church Cathedral restoration deal signed

From New Zealand-

The deal to restore Christ Church Cathedral has been signed -  but the agreement will not be made public, there is no start date and the cost has not been confirmed.

The deal was signed at the Cardboard Cathedral on Wednesday morning by the private joint venture company that will run the restoration, Anglican land and cathedral owners the Church Property Trustees, and the trust formed to represent the Government and oversee fundraising.

But joint venture chairman Justin Murray said the deal, which runs to over 50 pages and covers "ownership, management, reporting lines and phasing", will not be made public.

More here-
He urged Nigerians to go back to the ancient path of obedience, dignity of labour, honesty, fear of God, love and also being faithful to the things of God.

Read more at:

He urged Nigerians to go back to the ancient path of obedience, dignity of labour, honesty, fear of God, love and also being faithful to the things of God. “By the time we walk in the path of righteousness, the beauty of holiness will be seen in our lives by everybody and the society will be better for everyone to live,” he said. He urged Nigerians not to lose faith but to continue to pray for the country. “We should continue to pray for the government, I believe that they are focused but they need to do more especially on security of lives of its citizens.

Read more at:

He urged Nigerians to go back to the ancient path of obedience, dignity of labour, honesty, fear of God, love and also being faithful to the things of God. “By the time we walk in the path of righteousness, the beauty of holiness will be seen in our lives by everybody and the society will be better for everyone to live,” he said.

Read more at:

Inside The Seminary Closet

From The American Conservative-

Reader Gabe Giella and I have been e-mailing about his own story. Gabe attended a small New England seminary in a conservative diocese in the era immediately after the clergy sex abuse scandal broke in Boston. Today, as an out gay man, he is unable to do ministry in the Catholic Church as a priest or lay person, so he has ceased to practice the Catholic faith. He has agreed to let me publish his account of seminary life here:

I’d kept two secrets for a very long time. First that I was gay and second that I wanted to become a priest. An unlikely, awkward combination for a public high school student in the 90s.

One way to avoid the topic about my sexuality was to play up the notion of a divine call to the priesthood, especially to my devout Catholic family and friends.

My first year of state college near Boston gave me the distance and freedom to explore and discover people who supported me as a gay person — a piece of information I shared mostly with spiritual mentors — and also in ministry. Part of that included leading a trip to Canada to hear the late Pope John Paul II speak at World Youth Day. The clergy sex abuse scandal was unraveling like a spool of yarn, a web with connecting points all across the globe. The pope was doubling down. He encouraged the thousands of youth gathered to not let the failings of a few keep us from following Christ as priests or nuns.

More here-

‘Not a Beat Skipped’

From The Living Church-

Episcopal Migration Ministries has been on the front lines of immigration policy skirmishes throughout the Trump administration. Now the agency is searching for a new director, as the incumbent has been promoted to a senior position on the presiding bishop’s staff.

The Rev. Canon E. Mark Stevenson, who has overseen EMM since May 2016, was named Aug. 1 as canon to the presiding bishop for ministry within the Episcopal Church. That makes him one of three executives who collectively oversee virtually all the programs of the Episcopal Church.

Demetrio Alvero, Stevenson’s deputy director, has been named interim director of EMM.

“Demetrio’s been doing this a long time,” Stevenson told TLC. “There will not be a beat skipped in the work of EMM.”

When President Trump introduced a travel ban and moratorium on refugee resettlement during his first week in office, it threatened the very existence of EMM, which receives most of its funding from the federal government based on the number of refugees it resettles.

More here-

Split from the Scottish Episcopal Church over equal marriage is ‘very sad’, says incoming Bishop of Brechin

From Scotland-

In an interview with The Courier, The Very Rev Andrew Swift – Bishop Elect for the Diocese of Brechin who will be consecrated as Bishop of Brechin in a ceremony at St Paul’s Cathedral in Dundee on Saturday – said the decision of St Thomas’ to quit the official Anglican church in Scotland over the June 2017 equal marriage vote was “really sad” – and there was a danger other churches could follow.

When the Scottish Episcopal Church (SEC) voted last summer to allow gay couples to marry in church, it meant that clergy who wished to officiate at gay marriages would have to “opt-in”.

The church said this meant that those who disagreed with gay marriage would be protected and would not have to act against their conscience.

However, the church’s decision to permit gay marriage led to sanctions being imposed on the SEC by leaders of the global Anglican Communion last October, with St Thomas’ rector Rev David McCarthy recently describing the decision to leave as a “very painful” one, adding: “We have not done it easily. We have had many tears and many sleepless nights. It is a tragic necessity. But it is the Episcopal Church who are leaving us. They are leaving orthodoxy.”

Commenting on the issue, The Very Rev Andrew Swift, who is a married father-of-three, and who welcomes equal marriage at St Paul’s Cathedral in Dundee, said: “It’s really sad.

More here-

Tuesday, August 21, 2018

Diocese of Virginia to replace Bishop Johnston with provisional bishop for three years

From The Episcopal Church-

Helen K. Spence, president of the Diocese of Virginia’s standing committee, sent a letter to the diocese on Aug. 20 announcing the committee’s decision to seek a provisional bishop for three years after Bishop Shannon Johnston steps down in November. Election of the provision bishop would take place at the diocese’s convention in November. The following is the test of Spence’s letter.

Dear Brothers and Sisters:

Bishop Shannon Johnston has announced that he will resign as our Bishop Diocesan during our Annual Convention in November 2018, and he will fully retire on June 30, 2019. In his letter of August 3, Bishop Shannon called for “new vision and new energy for the church in our Diocese.” To create the best opportunity for that vision and energy, the Standing Committee is seeking a Bishop Provisional for election at the November convention, per General Convention Title III.13.1. We want to make all of you aware of the steps involved in this process, as we work for the good of our Diocese.

More here-

Episcopalians to join 40-mile Solidarity Walk to immigrant detention facility in New Hampshire

From ENS-

Episcopalians will join others in the New Hampshire faith community this month for a four-day Solidarity Walk for Immigrant Justice, tracing detained immigrants’ path from federal immigration enforcement offices in Manchester to a jail in Dover to raise awareness of immigrants’ plight and voice their support.

“We’re following on foot the path that people who are detained and taken to jail are themselves traveling,” said the Rev. Jason Wells, an Episcopal priest who serves as executive director of New Hampshire Council of Churches, one of the Solidarity Walk organizers.

This pilgrimage will begin Aug. 22 with a short prayer service at St. Anne-St. Augustin Catholic Church in Manchester, and the walk will kick off from the Norris Cotton Federal Building, where offices of U.S. Immigration and Customers Enforcement, or ICE, are located. The building also has been the site of regular prayer vigils scheduled for days when immigrants are known to be checking in with ICE, some fearing they will be detained or deported.

More here-

Episcopal Diocese apologizes for bishop’s comments about Israeli soldiers

From Boston-

The Episcopal Diocese of Massachusetts apologized to the Jewish community Friday after one of its bishops repeated unverified and misleading stories about the Israeli military at the church’s July convention in Austin, Texas.

In a pair of statements, Bishop Alan M. Gates, who heads the Episcopal Diocese of Massachusetts, and Bishop Gayle E. Harris, who serves as Gates’s second in command, apologized for the “hurt” caused when Harris told church members two stories about alleged mistreatment of Palestinian children by Israeli soldiers.

Harris shared the anecdotes while speaking at the General Convention during deliberations over a resolution to “Safeguard the Rights of Palestinian Children.”

More here-

Monday, August 20, 2018

Austin Ford, priest and 1st director of Emmaus House, became neighbor

From Atlanta-

In 1967, the Rev. Austin Ford, an Episcopal priest, moved into a run-down, two-story house in the Peoplestown area.He was a strange sight at first. The white man in his late 30s rode his bicycle through the predominantly black community and knocked on doors to talk to residents about ways they could work together to improve the area.

The polished but affable Ford, who grew up DeKalb County, moved into what is now Emmaus House, an Episcopal Church mission, with the aid of at least two nuns and a seminary student.
“He didn’t just drop in,” said longtime Peoplestown resident Columbus Ward. “He moved in. He became a neighbor. He made it known that this Southern white man had no problem fighting the system.”

And that he did, even at times if it meant butting heads with city powers-that-be and even some diocesan authorities. 

Ford, of Grant Park, a tireless advocate for Atlanta’s disenfranchised and poor, died Saturday at 89.

More here-

Episcopal Bishop Forced to Apologize After Making Up Israeli ‘Atrocities’

From Massachusetts- (additional links below)

Gayle Harris, Suffragan Bishop for the Episcopal Diocese of Massachusetts, has apologized for presenting unsubstantiated atrocity stories against Israel during her church’s General Convention in July.

“The fault is solely mine,” she said in a statement issued Friday. “I was ill-advised to repeat the stories without verification, and I apologize for doing so,” she said.

Alan M. Gates, the Diocesan Bishop for the Episcopal Diocese of Massachusetts, affirmed her apology, declaring, “We recognize that for Christian leaders to relate unsubstantiated accounts of Israeli violence awakens traumatic memory of a deep history of inciting hostility and violence against Jews—a history the echoes of which are heard alarmingly in our own day.”

More here- 

and here-

and here-

Wuerl to address his role in Pennsylvania sex-abuse scandals with priests in archdiocese: Report

From D.C.-

The archbishop of Washington will reportedly hold a meeting Monday of priests in the archdiocese over his role in the Pennsylvania sex-abuse scandals.

“A spokesperson for the Archdiocese of Washington” confirmed Sunday night that Cardinal Donald Wuerl will address his priests on the grand-jury report on that matter, TV station WTTG (Fox 5) reported.

Cardinal Wuerl was bishop of Pittsburgh from 1988 to 2006, part of the period investigated by the Pennsylvania grand jury and his mishandling of sex-abuse charges was widely detailed in its report. All told, according to the report, six of the state’s dioceses knew of more than 300 priests accused of varying forms of sex-abuse against more than 1,000 young people.

In addition, according to Fox-5, Cardinal Wuerl will also discuss with his priests the case of Theodore McCarrick, his predecessor as Washington archbishop who resigned from the College of Cardinals over charges of sexual abuse of boys and young men — his seminarians and other men discerning the priesthood among them — going back decades.

More here-

Sunday, August 19, 2018

Round and around we go

From Florida-

An ancient pathway is the newest addition to the Flagler College campus.

Located behind Alumni House (Anderson Cottage) on Seville Street, the labyrinth path has seven easy circuits.

A labyrinth is not a maze. There are no dead ends. You cannot get lost. One path circles into the center and out again. Often a labyrinth is used as a walking meditation — a short course reminder of life’s journey.

“Many of the labyrinths I’ve seen are wide open,” said Jill Craddock of St. Augustine. “Perhaps a soccer game going on next door. Or people walking across the labyrinth. I’ve always felt self-conscious. This one at Alumni House is fully enclosed. I can focus better.”

Alumni House and labyrinth were dedicated in May, but you don’t have to be enrolled or an alumni to walk the labyrinth.

More here-

How to Avoid the Folly of the Pharisees

From Christianity Today-

You’ve probably heard someone say at some point “Don’t be such a Pharisee.” Typically these words are uttered when someone is being overly scrupulous in “rule keeping” in the Christian life. If there’s one type of person in the New Testament that you don’t want to be compared to, surely it’s the Pharisees. Though one could consider the question of the Pharisees from a variety of perspectives, let’s look at how Jesus responds to the Pharisees in the Gospel of Matthew.

The Pharisees frequently oppose Jesus in the Gospels. Jesus is often critiqued by the Pharisees, and he in turn reproaches them for their errant ways. He strongly warns his disciples not to follow their teaching. But what exactly was the Pharisees’ problem? Was it that they were too concerned with following God’s law? Or was it something else?

More here-