Saturday, September 1, 2018

Update: Washington National Cathedral prepares to help family, nation honor McCain

From The Episcopal Church-

Washington National Cathedral may be the site of state funerals and national memorial services and celebrations, but it is also a worshipping community whose members come to the cavernous building on the highest hill in Washington, D.C., to mark the significant moments of their lives. And that is why on Sept. 1 the morning’s funeral for Sen. John McCain will be followed that afternoon by a wedding.

“This couple is actually having their reception in the back of the nave, so we’re going to be moving in hundreds of chairs and moving out hundreds of chairs and then flipping it over again Saturday night for services on Sunday morning,” the Very Rev. Randolph Marshall Hollerith, cathedral dean, told Episcopal News Service in an interview.

It’s all hands on deck for the cathedral’s 80-plus employees as they prepare for McCain’s funeral, set for 10 a.m., and for the services that follow. “Some employees will be here all night Friday night and well into Saturday night,” he said.

More here-

Lakeland’s St. David’s Episcopal to merge with St. Stephen’s

From Central Florida-

St. David’s Episcopal Church will hold its final service on Sept. 16, putting to bed a history stretching 65 years.

The church, at 145 E. Edgewood Drive in Lakeland, is merging with St. Stephen’s Episcopal Church on County Road 540A in the Lakeland Highlands community. St. David’s rector, the Rev. Robert Moses, will assume assistant rector status at the new location.

He expects as many as 70 parishioners to follow him to St. Stephen’s, which has seen average Sunday attendance dwindle to about 120.

The St. David’s property of nearly 2 acres won’t stay empty for long. Redemption Church of Lakeland, which is affiliated with the Southern Baptist Convention, is purchasing the property for $1.85 million, according to its lead pastor, the Rev. Brannen Padgett.

He said his church, formed over two years ago, has outgrown its rental space at the RP Funding Center.

More here-

Friday, August 31, 2018

Newcastle Anglican priest Rod Bower reveals his Hunter background in new book, Outspoken

From The Examiner-

HIS mother was a 16-year-old Newcastle girl who gave him up for adoption, the three fathers in his life died tragically young, and he had a “raging hangover” when he walked into a Mayfield church in 1984 as a first step towards becoming an Anglican priest.

Father Rod Bower tells the story of his Hunter upbringing in his new book, Outspoken, to explain how a conservative country boy became known years later for challenging the powerful on some of the most controversial issues of our time.
Father Bower’s signs outside the Newcastle diocese Gosford Anglican Church have championed marriage equality – “Dear Christians. Some ppl are gay. Get over it. Love God.” – gun reform – “When will they love your kids more than their guns?” and the environment – “There is no planet B”.

More here-

‘Christians don’t like hearing the truth’

From The Church Times-

THE Rt Revd Dr Josiah Idowu-Fearon suspects that Christians won’t like the answer that he has just given. But “I don’t want to be liked,” he adds. “I just want to tell the truth.”

We are talking about the cause of a recent surge in violence in his home country, Nigeria, where AK-47-toting herdsman are reported to have killed hundreds of people (News, 6 July). But his observation about the likely reaction could apply to some of his other answers, too. Throughout our hour together, he is more than willing to parse the problems among what he refers to as “yours truly — the Christians”, from corruption in Nigeria to his diagnosis of a “tailor-made” faith in the United States.

He has little time for British guilt about colonialism (“It is about time you get rid of it”), fears that our commitment to religious freedom has been “exploited” by extremists, and remains committed to his belief that the C of E may need to exercise “self-restraint of a sacrificial kind” in matters of sexuality. But he has also observed how “Christ-like” the British have been, in response to terrorist attacks, and speaks warmly of our “spirit of accepting people for who they are”.

More here-

Denver’s century-old St. John’s Cathedral installs new tech to help congregants with hearing loss

From Denver-

The clergy at St. John’s Cathedral in downtown Denver don’t want anyone to miss out on a sermon.

For that reason, the church is taking steps to make it easier for congregants with hearing loss to listen by purchasing a new system to help reduce background noise in the 107-year-old cathedral, including echos and organ notes that waft through the church.

St. John’s, located at 1350 Washington St., had the new hearing loop installed this week by Denver-based Assist2Hear. The system works by transmitting an audio signal to hearing aids or headset receivers.

“The hearing loop is to serve a portion of our congregation that has trouble hearing the sermons,” said Seth Reese, communications director for St. John’s.

More here-

Thursday, August 30, 2018

Justin Welby to UN Security Council: Church will not walk away from global pain

From Premier-

The Archbishop of Canterbury has promised the United Nations Security Council that the Church of England will do all it can to provide mediation and peaceful resolution of conflict in war-torn countries. 

Most Rev Justin Welby addressed the UN Security Council in New York on Wednesday. 
He told the council that the Church is embedded in communities where conflict and violence is rampant and said that the Church “cannot and will not walk away” from those who are suffering.

“Let me pledge my support to you, Mr Secretary-General, in this work,” Archbishop Justin said.
“I have the privilege of having assembled a team in my office that is already learning from past experiences. Many of them worked with the UN. Together we can reach out to counterparts from other faiths to encourage their involvement and support, as they are already doing.

More here-

Indian peacekeepers in S Sudan impart farming training to women

From South Sudan-

Archbishop of the Episcopal Church of South Sudan Hillary Garang Deng, who joined in the training, expressed his optimism about the project having a significant impact in the revival of Malakal town.

"Women play a crucial role in the well-being of families and communities and they should be encouraged and taught how to cultivate land and other skills," he said.

At the end of the on-farm demonstration, participants were given a variety of seeds, including bottle gourd, chilli, coriander, mustard, beans, spinach, cucumber, better gourd and lady fingers, to enable them to start their own individual farm projects.

More here-

Fr. Richard Neuhaus: “At epicenter” of clergy sex abuse scandals “is grave negligence of bishops”

From Life Site-

Fr. Richard John Neuhaus, founder of First Things, prolific pro-life activist, renowned orator and intellectual giant passed away in January of 2009. One thing he was especially known for was his blunt, piercing articles on the Church sexual abuse crisis of 2002 and onwards. Neuhaus bore into areas the Catholic bishops refused to go, repeatedly and correctly naming the crisis as being one of homosexuality, a crisis of “grave negligence of bishops” and a crisis of widespread infidelity to Church teachings among the clergy. Finally, with the revelations about Cardinal McCarrick, the Pennsylvania grand jury report and Archbishop Vigano’s explosive letter, Neuhaus is being vindicated.

  On the sexual abuse scandals, Fr. Neuhaus was by far the most honest of all prominent commentators. He called the bishops to serious account for their negligence and deadly refusal to acknowledge the real causes of the scandal. Neuhaus wrote a great deal about how this was threatening to destroy the Church in the West with consequent great loss to the entire culture.

More here-

Facing More Episcopal Church Decline

From The Living Church-

The Episcopal Church’s statistics for 2017 are just out, and this article updates the picture I discussed last July, when I drew from an analysis by Dr. Jeremy Bonner, a Durham-based researcher.[1]

The church deserves congratulation for the detail, accuracy, and especially candor it shows in sharing its data. Beyond that, it has to be said that the news is bad. The church is a movement, and the Episcopal Church is moving downward. The data from 2016 showed decline, but some optimists hoped the decline was slowing. This is not borne out by the data from 2017, when membership and attendance continued to drop at the same rate as in 2016 or, in some instances, at a sharper rate.

More here-

Wednesday, August 29, 2018

Why Every Church Should Have Weekly Sunday Communion Like the Anglicans Do

From Church Leaders-

There was a long period where many Anglican churches didn’t have communion every Sunday. They would have morning prayer for a few weeks, and then a Holy Communion once a month or so. But a movement called Parish Communion successfully restored the tradition around the world. Today, most (but not all) Anglican churches celebrate Holy Communion every week on Sunday. And so should you.

I’ve heard a few arguments against weekly communion, but the “rote ritual” argument is the primary one from evangelical churches.

For me, this is really a non-argument. All churches do a lot of things every Sunday, such as singing, praying and preaching. Any of these things can become rote or seem mundane. Yet we find ways to stay connected. The same goes with Holy Communion.

More here-

Why Was Harris the First? Will There Be Others?

From The Times of Israel-

By now you’d have to be living under a rock not to know that Episcopal Bishop Gayle Harris from Massachusetts has apologized for broadcasting unverified atrocity stories about Israel to her fellow bishops at her church’s General Convention in July. Reasonable people are unhappy with her apology because she did not admit that the stories she told were false, but only said they were unsubstantiated. 

I see it differently. Bishop Harris is one of the very few Christians that I have written about over the past decade or so to take any responsibility for bearing false witness against Israel. Someone of Harris’s stature offering an apology of any sort, even if it’s not perfect, is cause for at least some degree of celebration. 

More here-

Tuesday, August 28, 2018

Did the Syrophoenician woman teach Jesus to be Jesus?

From Psephizo-

The episode of Jesus’ encounter with the Syrophoenician woman in Mark 7.24–30 often brings readers up short, containing as it does what appears to be a rather shocking insult. Jesus is seeking to withdraw from public attention, needing some time for rest and recuperation, but (as characteristic of his portayal in Mark’s gospel) he is unable to keep his presence secret. A woman approaches him to ask for deliverance for her daughter and (Mark having emphasised her pagan gentile credentials), Jesus appears to insult her with a racial slur by calling her a ‘dog’. Yet her stubborn faith persists, and her clever response to Jesus’ ‘insult’ persuades him to act, so her daughter is delivered and healed.

There seems to be quite a strong trend in ‘progressive’ readings of this text to draw a particular point from this episode: Jesus was in fact fallible and racist; the woman taught him something by her response; he changed and moved on from his narrow, exclusive view; and so we should be willing to do the same. Here is one example, which sees mainstream readings of this texts as ‘workarounds’ which are avoiding the awkward reality that we find in the text:

More here-

Local Anglican Priest Announced As New Bishop

From New Zealand-

The Venerable Doctor Peter Carrell has today been announced as the new Bishop-Elect of the Anglican Diocese of Christchurch. Carrell, a Cantabrian, is well-known and respected throughout New Zealand for his teaching and preaching.

Ordained under Bishop Maurice Goodall in the late ‘80s, Carrell is currently the Director of Education for the Diocese, Director of Theology House and Archdeacon for Pegasus (East Christchurch). He has served parishes both here in Christchurch and in the Nelson Diocese.

Carrell says he is humbled by the confidence the Anglican community has shown him and excited by the road ahead. 

“I am gratified to be the next Bishop of Christchurch and very keen to serve the city of my birth and the regions of the Diocese: Canterbury, West Coast, Chatham Islands.

More here-

Liturgical Revision and a New Conception of God

From The Living Church-

I generally support strategic revision of our liturgy in the direction of expansive language, because I think such language is biblical and because God is more (though not less) than the images that have nourished the Church the past two millennia. I also have great respect for the Rev. Dr. Ruth Meyers’s gifts as a liturgical scholar. And I deeply share the concerns she raised in her recent interview in Sojourners (Aug. 7) on how overly masculine and patriarchal images have contributed to sexual abuse and inequality in the Church. The recent penitential liturgy at General Convention atoning for the Episcopal Church’s complicity in sexual abuse was long overdue, and Meyers served an essential role in its development and execution.

Nevertheless, I found myself somewhat perplexed by her remarks in the Sojourners interview, because these remarks seem to contradict her much more reserved comments made just a year earlier in Anglican Theological Review (Summer 2017). There, she insisted that BCP revision was not necessary  even given the need for expansive language and changes to the marriage liturgies. But in her more recent interview, she suggested that BCP revision is strongly needed to incorporate a new conception of God.

In Sojourners, Meyers mentioned a conversation between an Episcopalian and a peer:

More here-

John McCain and religion: Senator was raised Episcopal, attended Baptist church

From Arizona-

Arizonans will honor the life of Sen. John McCain at a memorial service at North Phoenix Baptist Church. McCain and his family attended the church for many years. 

The service will be held at 10 a.m. Thursday. 

McCain, who was raised Episcopal and later attended a Phoenix Baptist church with his family, rarely spoke publicly about his Christian beliefs. However, when talking about his time as a prisoner of war in Vietnam, he often shared how he was able to keep faith. 

McCain, who died Saturday at age 81, was raised in an Episcopal family and attended a private all-boys boarding school where he was required to attend chapel services. 

He spent three years at Episcopal High School in Alexandria, Virginia, before graduating in 1954.
"This country has lost one of our great public servants and our school family has lost one of our most inspirational examples of the intellectual and moral courage our school's mission calls on us to develop in each of our graduates," said Head of School Charley Stillwell in a statement.

More here-

Monday, August 27, 2018

Hundreds of Tasmanians attend Save our Community Souls rally

From Australia-

More than 300 people from across Tasmania attended a rally to save their community’s Anglican Churches.
Save our Community Souls chairman and Northern Midlands mayor David Downie said the meeting at Campbell Town on Sunday was the first step in having the community heard.
“It was a very emotional meeting. There were a lot of very passionate speakers,” he said.
Mr Downie said most people at the meeting were unhappy with the way the Anglican Church was managing the Redress Scheme.

“No one is against the Redress, but it’s the way they’re trying to sell off these community assets without properly consulting and engaging with the parishes.

More here-

Sen. John McCain: Known as a veteran but also a man of quiet faith

From RNS-

McCain was diagnosed in July 2017 with glioblastoma, an aggressive form of brain cancer.

The longtime Arizona Republican senator, reared in the Episcopal Church, attended a Southern Baptist megachurch in his later years. He viewed himself as a Christian but had “a distrust of the religious right and a faith that is too public, too political,” author Stephen Mansfield, author of books about the faiths of presidents and presidential candidates, told Religion News Service in December 2017.

During his 5 ½ years in a POW camp in Vietnam, McCain drew on his Episcopal roots — his great-grandfather was an Episcopal minister and McCain attended Episcopal day and boarding schools.
In his family memoir, “Faith of My Fathers,” he recounted how he “prayed more often and more fervently than I ever had as a free man.”

George “Bud” Day, a fellow POW, said McCain was among those who volunteered to preach at religious services they were eventually permitted to hold at the prison known as the “Hanoi Hilton.”

More here-

A Church in Ruins

From Philadelphia-

“The righteous cry, and the Lord hears them; and delivers them from all their troubles.”  (Ps. 34:17)
Pope Francis is almost assuredly not going to visit, while he is in Ireland, the ruins of Kilcorban Abbey in east Galway.  The abbey was established by Third Order Dominicans some time in the mid-fifteenth century.  It lies along the road that goes from Portumna to Tynagh, and is adjoined by more recent graves to the south of the ruins, and a pasture to the north where cows graze.

I have passed by the ruins many times on my way to the barn at Flowerhill, where I have been going for the past five years to ride horses in the lush green Irish countryside.  Often I have stopped at the ruins of the abbey (which is also sometimes called a friary, or a priory) on the way to barn.   The roof-less grey stone walls describe a rectangular church, running east to west.  On the north side of the church an archway leads into what is thought to have been a Lady Chapel, where an altar still stands.  Many times I have prayed in that half-ruined chapel: sometimes silently and alone, sometimes aloud with others, once explicitly to remember the dead, and more than once on a Sunday when it was my only place of worship.  I’ve stood at the altar and looked out and up at the emptiness around me, and the graves beyond.  I’ve looked, but never stepped down into the little stone well, outside by the road, which may have been a font, and which includes a little shrine to Mary.  I’ve never said Mass at that altar, although there’s nothing to stop me.  All I’d need is bread, wine, the Gospel, and one other person.

More here-

Markle’s royal arrival blows lid off Britain’s glaring heritage secret

From San Francisco-

But the absolute gem: Markle introduced to both America and the world the Rev. Michael Curry. The first African-American ever to preside over the U.S. Episcopal Church, he affirmed being soundly grounded in Civil Rights legacy.

Rev. Curry’s 14-minute sermon did an astounding thing, flooding the space with Afro spiritual richness, inherited from an unbroken line of Black freedom fighters. Dr. King’s dissertation on “love” being the base of his presentation, Rev. Curry stated, “We must discover the redemptive power of love.”

Rev. Curry proceeded to lecture the detached governing elite on the broader powers of essential love and the critical need to move their subjective love beyond privileged inner circles to the disenfranchised they actually govern.

Then Curry offered a jaw-dropper – driving this home by actually quoting American slaves, saying even from brutal captivity Africans maintained humanity, reminding: “There’s a balm in Gilead to make the wounded whole … to heal the sensate soul.”

More here-

Sunday, August 26, 2018

Preach against greed, selfishness and corruption – Anglican Clergy

From Ghana-

Churches operating within the country have been urged to preach boldly against greed, selfishness and corruption in the quest to holistically develop the country.

They are also to encourage their members to eschew all forms of immoral and deviant behaviours and rather serve as role models to their peers at homes or work environment.
The Venerable Emmanuel Mensah, Chairman of the Ghana Anglican Clergy Association (GACA) stated this in an eight point communique copied to the Ghana News Agency,  after the 10th  Biennial Conference of the Association in Takoradi in the Western Region.
The conference was on the theme: “Nation Building and the Bible: the Role of the Anglican Priest”.
The communique intimated that the GACA had seen nation building as a collaborative effort by the citizenry and other key stakeholders to deliver on the aspirations and visions of the country and therefore the government must strive to harness both human and natural resources for wealth creation and development.
More here-

Thinking of T S Eliot & His Religions

From Patheos-

In my formative years “J. Alfred Prufrock” caught my imagination. The “Wasteland” gave voice to my anxieties. “Ash Wednesday,” the plays Murder in the Cathedral and The Cocktail Party, and most of all the “Four Quartets” informed and gave images as well as turns of phrase to my developing spirituality.

Raised Unitarian, after a brief flirtation with Buddhism, he embraced Anglicanism’s spiritual comprehensiveness. His unlikely journey from America to England also hints volumes at the mutability of our lives both as individuals and where we’re going. That going, I believe, is leading irresistibly toward the universal longing.

If anyone can claim to come from Unitarian aristocracy, it would be Thomas Stearns Eliot. His great grandfather William Greenleaf Eliot, Sr, was one of the founders of the Unitarian church in Washington D. C. His grandfather William Greenleaf Eliot Jr, was the founding minister of the Unitarian church in St. Louis, where he would also be a founder of Washington University. One of his uncles, Thomas Lamb Eliot would be the founding minister of the Unitarian church in Portland, Oregon. While his cousin Frederick May Eliot would become president of the American Unitarian Association. At least one UU church is named for this family.

More here-

The Anglican Church of Kenya (ACK) has two new bishops after the dioceses of West Pokot and Maseno South held elections yesterday.
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The Anglican Church of Kenya (ACK) has two new bishops after the dioceses of West Pokot and Maseno South held elections yesterday.
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The Anglican Church of Kenya (ACK) has two new bishops after the dioceses of West Pokot and Maseno South held elections yesterday. ALSO READ: Tuskys to give 50pc discounts Troubled Kitale ACK elected Rev Emmanuel Chemengich, 49, to replace Bishop Stephen Kewasis, who has in the recent past received opposition from a section of congregation from West Pokot County
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The Anglican Church of Kenya (ACK) has two new bishops after the dioceses of West Pokot and Maseno South held elections yesterday.
Read more at:
The Anglican Church of Kenya (ACK) has two new bishops after the dioceses of West Pokot and Maseno South held elections yesterday.
Read more at:

Anglican Church Staff Are Reuniting Families With Lost Victims Of Residential Schools

From Canada-

Nellie Hardisty was just a little girl from Moose Factory in Ontario when she disappeared into the morass of Indian residential schools and associated hospitals.

She died of turberculosis at the age of 12. None of her family ever saw her again or even knew where the smiling child with the deep dimples had been buried.

Decades later, her nephew Logan Jeffries finally held her picture. There they were, those dimples.
"I got a little emotional," he says.

"My whole family, my children, my grandchildren, all share those dimples. That's where it came from. That lady there. My mom always talked about those."

More here-