Saturday, September 29, 2018

Theologically themed comic convention aims to examine intersection of faith, pop culture

From ENS-

Many years before he would become the presiding bishop’s canon for ministry beyond the Episcopal Church, the Rev. Charles Robertson was a comic book fan.

“I learned how to read on comic books,” Robertson said. The first he remembers reading was “Superboy and the Legion of Super-Heroes,” a futuristic and optimistic fantasy in which the forces of good fight the forces of evil.

Superhero conventions might not seem an obvious place to discuss Jesus and the Gospel, but fans of comic books and the Good Book will take center stage Sept. 29 as Virginia Theological Seminary hosts ΘeoCon – pronounced “theo-con,” for theological convention. Its tagline is “where theology meets pop culture,” and Robertson is on the list of presenters and panelists.

More here-

Friday, September 28, 2018

Archbishop Welby speaks in Texas and New York

From The Church Times-

THE Archbishop of Canterbury paid a flying visit to the United States last week, addressing conservative and progressive Episcopalians.

Archbishop Welby attended a conference organised by Communion Partners, a group of conservative bishops who have pledged to remain in the Episcopal Church and the Anglican Church of Canada, despite differences with the Churches’ leaders over sexuality. The Archbishop was accompanied at the conference, by the Presiding Bishop of the Episcopal Church, the Most Revd Michael Curry.

Archbishop Welby preached at evensong during the conference, on Thursday of last week. He said that Christians should be “the true radicals, the extremists of love, the subversive underminers of inertia, those that turn the whole world upside down”, Archbishop Welby said.

Priests “do not just shine a light into the darkness”, but also “confront the darkness at every point”. Christians were called to be “children of light” in a “world of puzzlement and confusion”. The nature of ordained ministry was “to seek to ensure that the Church shines a light that illuminates — and yet to find oneself doing that in a confusing world, where options and choices often have the appearance of equal validity”.

More here-

S. Africa: Archbishop Desmond Tutu admitted to hospital

From South Africa-

Former South African anti-apartheid campaigner Archbishop Emeritus Desmond Tutu has been admitted to a Cape Town hospital, his office said in a statement on Thursday.

“The Archbishop was in good spirits after settling into his ward. He hopes to be back home in a few days,” the statement said.

It added that the Nobel Peace Prize laureate will be turning 87 in 10 days’ time.

He has been admitted to an undisclosed hospital where a series of tests will be conducted on him.
The retired Anglican archbishop of Cape Town rose to prominence in the 1980s for his strong role in the opposition to apartheid rule in South Africa.

More here- 

and here-

New national diocese to be formed in wake of same-sex blessings

From New Zealand-

Anglican Reverend Andy Carley of St Paul’s in Papanui has revealed he will help establish a breakaway diocese in the wake of the same-sex marriage blessings saga.

He said nine clergy from seven parishes in Canterbury had resigned and would start to form the diocese, separate from the synod of the Anglican Church of Aotearoa, New Zealand and Polynesia.

The parishes are St John’s Latimer Square, St Stephen’s in Shirley, St John’s in Woolston, St Saviour’s and St Nicholas in Barrington, St Christopher’s in Avonhead and St Mark’s in Rakaia.
“We will establish a new extra-provincial Anglican diocese, one recognised by the majority of the world’s Anglicans, but is separate from the current New Zealand Anglican diocese,” he said.

More here-

Lawsuit filed against San Mateo school after teacher convicted of sex crimes

From California (worth watching the video to hear the reporter mispronounce "Episcopal")-

A civil lawsuit has been filed against Saint Matthew's Episcopal Day School in San Mateo where a former teacher was found guilty of molesting young girls at the school.

South San Francisco resident, 33-year-old Anthony Satriano, taught at the school for three years. 

Satriano was arrested on April 21 2017 by the San Mateo Police Department for molesting young girls on campus after hours, during extended care time. 

Once the school found out about the arrest, they immediately fired Satriano and banned him from the campus. 

More here-

The Murder Wall of St. Anna’s Episcopal Church: a wake up call for New Orleans

From Louisiana-

Since 2007 Saint Anna's Episcopal Church, in the Treme community of New Orleans, has drawn attention to New Orleans' murder problem.  The Very Reverend William Terry displays the names of those murdered in the city out in the open for the world to see and has been doing so since 2007.

"it was in 2007 there had been a large number of murders. We had just done a major march on city hall and nothing seemed to be really changing," said Reverend Terry.  "Every year we put up a new outside board and we have to handwrite them because a printer can't keep up."

The ongoing project is a crusade with a sharp message-- in one of the most violent cities in the world.  Reverend Terry wonders why more churches do not get involved.  However, Reverend Terry has found that there simply isn't a space big enough to display a ravenous list of names.   He has the idea to replace putting the names outside on a wall in favor of displaying them inside in the future, in a way that could mimic Michelangelo's Sistine Chapel ceiling.   He wants to engrave the names on gold stars and affix them up on the rafters inside of the church's sanctuary.

More here-

Thursday, September 27, 2018

St Mary's Cathedral defends credit card compatible collection plates

From Australia-

Sydney's St Mary's Cathedral calls it a necessary step into the 21st century, but not everyone thinks the introduction of credit card compatible collection plates is a righteous move.

As of last weekend, parishioners can now tap-and-go a flat $10 donation when the collection plate is passed around at the cathedral's public services.

It's a trial of a system already in place at St Paul's Anglican Cathedral in Melbourne, according to St Mary’s Cathedral precinct general manager Helen Morassut – and a response to being "continually asked for alternative ways to donate".

Despite the apparent demand for the plates, the response on the cathedral's Facebook page to its announcement the new technology had arrived was so overwhelmingly negative, the post was removed.

More here-

Abu Dhabi church all set to mark its 50th anniversary

From Abu Dhabi-

On any weekend, the packed St Andrew's Anglican Church in Abu Dhabi would offer a microcosm of the UAE's multicultural and multi-ethnic society.

For the last five decades, this church complex located in Mushrif has been the spiritual home for thousands of Christians in the capital.

More than 50 congregations catering to different nationalities, including Ethiopians, Koreans, Pakistanis, Indians, Nepalese and western expats, all gather for prayers at this church complex, that is celebrating its 50th anniversary next week.

For many old timers in Abu Dhabi, the church has been very much part of their existence.
A British expat woman, who moved to the UAE in the 1980s, said one of her children took his first steps in the aisle of St Andrew's Church.

"I first went to the church, which was on the corniche. When the new church opened in Mushrif in 1984, I had just become a mother for the first time, and I started to go to the Sunday morning service, which was specifically for mums and kids. Some of the people I met were to become lifelong friends," said the expat in her 60s, who did not want to reveal her name.

More here-

Christ Episcopal to reopen Saturday

From Illinois-

The Christ Episcopal Church in Ottawa is gearing up to hold services once again after a fire led to a 16-month closure.

Volunteers and church members quickly hustled through the church, 113 E. Lafayette St., Tuesday morning while prepping for Saturday’s open house.

Vestry member Angie Miller walked around while placing hymnals and prayer books in the pockets on the back of pews while other volunteers were setting up the holy water receptacle near the church’s entrance. The church’s organ was scheduled to be tuned up on Wednesday in anticipation of returning guests.

Warden Mary Grzywa was assisting with the final pieces of the restoration but paused to speak with The Times and take in the work.

More here-

A Field Guide to Bishop-Spotting

From The Living Church-

 I haven’t assembled data to back this up, but it surely feels that there is a rising and nearly cresting wave of diocesan bishops in the Episcopal Church who have, within the last year or so, announced their retirement or resignation and called for the election of a successor. This means that several dozen priests across the church — doubtless a number expressed in triple digits — are busy answering essay questions, recording videos, making plans to attend discernment retreats, and preparing to answer questions at walkabout events. And in the affected dioceses, clergy and lay delegates are in discernment, reading essays and making notes, watching videos and forming impressions, talking with their colleagues, all in an effort to decide how they will vote at the electing convention.

I am long past being a rookie bishop, but not yet, I hope, grizzled and wizened to the point of acerbic cynicism. So, from this putative sweet spot of seven-plus years of experience not yet singed by burnout, I offer these observations for the benefit of electors and candidates trying to discern their possible vocation to the episcopate. They are predicated on the assumption that, inside several priests in the church at this moment, there is a future bishop waiting to be discovered and liberated to act according to that vocation, just as within some blocks of marble or wood, an artistic masterpiece lies waiting to be discovered and liberated by the right tools in the hands of a skilled sculptor. What are some of the characteristics that might help identify a bishop in the making? What might the lay and clergy electors of a diocese in transition look for as they prepare to vote?

More here-

Another Pastor Ended His Life: A Reflection on Pastoring

From Every Thought Captive-

A long-term member of our church approached me just before service this week with a serious look on his face. Every pastor has had that moment. Service is about to begin, what is this about? He has never done this before, so I honestly didn’t have a sense of what was on his mind.

He proceeded to ask if I knew a particular pastor in Denver – there was a connection between us and some mutual friends. I didn’t, but he pastored a good church. He then told me that years ago the pastor had been in an accident, and ever since had battled depression. I got a sinking feeling about what he was going to tell me.

Sure enough, the pastor committed suicide last week. It is the second incident like this I have heard of in the last 3 weeks.

What came next was one of those moments that pastors have too few of. He then told me, “It seems to me that most pastors go along doing a really good job, but only hear the criticism and negative things.” I told him that this is often the case. He continued, “I just want to tell you that I think you are doing a great job.”

More here-

Wednesday, September 26, 2018

Church of England will send first refugee chaplain to Calais

From Premier UK-

A chaplain ministering to refugees is going to be stationed in Calais by the Church of England for the first time, amid concern over a rising number of migrants settling around ports in northern France.
Canon Kirrilee Reid will leave her current post as the rector of a rural church in Perth and Kinross to boost the presence of the Church's Pas-de-Calais Chaplaincy team.

The Bishop of Gibraltar in Europe, Rt Revd Dr Robert Innes: "I am delighted that we have been able to appoint Kirrilee to this strategic post at a crucially significant time for the Pas-de-Calais chaplaincy and the people it serves.

"Kirrilee brings extensive experience of the Church, a passion for social justice, and sustained involvement in working with migrants and refugees to her new ministry."

The post of chaplain and refugee projects officer is intended to boost co-ordination between both sides of the England Channel, to ensure migrants and their families receive the care and support they need.

More here-

Changes to Burial Act backed by Tasmanian mayors as church plans graveyard sales

From Tasmania-

Several mayors across Tasmania have embraced the proposed changes to the Burials Act, as many Tasmanian families face uncertainty over the planned sale of Anglican churches and cemeteries around the state. 

The Anglican Church announced plans to sell off more than 100 properties, partly to fund redress for survivors of sex abuse

In response to community concerns about the sale of cemeteries, the State Government released draft legislation with amendments to the Burials Act that it hopes to introduce to Parliament before the church finalises its asset sale list at the end of the year. 

The legislation proposes that any intended sale of a cemetery must be made public and have a certificate of compliance from a regulator, who would be able to issue infringement notices of up to $16,300 for non-compliance with maintenance, record-keeping and access requirements. 

More here- 

also here-

Bishop Ahimbisimbwe urges Christians to work hard

From Uganda-

The Anglican Bishop of South Ankole Diocese, the Rt Rev Nathan Ahimbisibwe has asked Christians to develop a culture of hard work, to free themselves from what he called the “yoke of misery.”

The Prelate argued that work was a Biblical ethos, since God himself worked when he was creating the world and also assigned human beings to be procreators with him.

“The call to mission puts it to us to preach the gospel in word and deed. But we must also be mindful to work to ensure our dignified survival and self-sustenance of the Church. If we work, God will bless our labour,” Ahimbisibwe said.

Ahimbisibwe excited Christians when he told them that much as he was a prelate, he continued to practise his trade of farming, which he said had given him even more joy in his episcopal ministry. “Further to pastoring God’s flock, I am also a farmer with over six acres of pineapples. Working hard has enabled me to do my episcopal ministry even more conveniently.”

More here-

Archbishop of Canterbury on US trip preaches of God’s wisdom as light for confused world

From ENS-

Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby spoke of the vision, wisdom and light that the Gospel and followers of Jesus can bring to “a world of puzzlement and confusion” in sermons during recent stops on a trip to the United States.

Welby, head of the Anglican Communion, was in Dallas, Texas, last week to participate in a vocational conference, and he preached Sept. 23 at Trinity Church Wall Street in New York with a message to spread the wisdom of the Gospel to the world.

“The reality of Jesus is seen in a holy people of prayer, who desire God from the bottom of their hearts,” Welby said at Trinity Wall Street.

“The search for God-centered wisdom from above, the holy understanding of what to do now, begins with our identity, which is found truthfully in Christ alone,” Welby said. “That will only happen when we are outward-looking.”

More here-

Tuesday, September 25, 2018

328 Clergywomen Criticize Danforth Over a Kavanaugh Comment

From The New York Times-

To the Editor:

We, clergywomen in the Episcopal Church, object to the comments by John C. Danforth, a former Republican senator from Missouri and a priest in the Episcopal Church, regarding the accusation of sexual assault made by Christine Blasey Ford against Brett Kavanaugh, President Trump’s Supreme Court nominee.

In your article, Mr. Danforth said he feels “terribly sorry for Kavanaugh” and considers Dr. Blasey’s allegations against Judge Kavanaugh to be a tragic repeat of the damage to Justice Clarence Thomas’s reputation after Anita Hill’s allegations of sexual harassment against Mr. Thomas.

No one, not least a priest of the church, should publicly shame, blame or question the motives of women who step forward to report instances of sexual abuse; Mr. Danforth should instead be calling for an in-depth examination of Dr. Blasey’s allegations. 

More here-

Bishop announces retirement

From Minnesota-

Brothers and Sisters in Christ,

With the beginning of my 10th year of serving as the Bishop of the Episcopal Church in Minnesota on the horizon, and after much prayer and conversations, the Spirit has led me to believe that it is time to begin the process of calling the 10th Bishop of Minnesota.

The question inevitably is, why now? ECMN is clear about its calling to engage God’s mission of becoming the Beloved Community. In every corner and in countless neighborhoods faithful Episcopalians are participating in the Jesus movement through building relationships and cultivating partnerships across the great state of Minnesota.

ECMN is incredibly healthy. We are blessed to have great clergy and lay leaders, a phenomenal Team of Missioners and very competent leaders at all our affiliates. Our Elected Bodies and our Mission Areas are functioning at a high level of collaborative leadership. We are, and have been for a number of years, very financially solid; including being debt free on all ECMN properties.

Vote taken over whether parishioners will stay

From New Zealand-

The majority of St Paul’s Anglican Church parishioners have voted to remain with the congregation, in spite of the church’s vicar resigning.

Reverend Andy Carley announced he would step down from his role at the Papanui church in November due to the Anglican synod’s decision to allow same-sex marriages to be blessed in Anglican churches.

Church member and Papanui-Innes Community Board member John Stringer said 75 per cent of parishioners voted to remain at the church.

“Only a small minority will go. Some may even decide to come back,” he said.

More here-

Congregants Leave Church That Becomes LGBT Inclusive After 14-Y-O Lesbian Girl's Suicide

From Christian Post-

An Anglican church in the U.K. has transformed itself to become LGBT inclusive following the suicide of a 14-year-old girl who feared the church would not accept her.

The church, St. James and Emmanuel in Didsbury, has been honoring the memory of Lizzie Lowe, the teenager who killed herself in 2014 over fears she wouldn't be accepted, by taking part in gay pride events and declaring that it welcomes all and accepts same-sex relationships.

This transformation has angered some parishioners, however, with 25 members so far having left in protest, Manchester Evening News reported.

Leaders at the church said that they received messages telling them that they will "go to Hell" for their decision.

More here-

Cree priest made first suffragan bishop for northern Manitoba

From Anglican Journal-

Archdeacon Larry Beardy, a Cree priest, educator and former executive archdeacon of the diocese of Keewatin, was consecrated first Indigenous suffragan bishop of the Northern Manitoba Area Mission—a new grouping of parishes within the Indigenous Spiritual Ministry of Mishamikoweesh—at a ceremony at Sagkeeng First Nation, Man., September 23.

Beardy’s is one of two new Indigenous suffragan (assistant) bishop positions created by the synod of the ecclesiastical province of Rupert’s Land this May, meant to help in providing pastoral care and spiritual leadership to Indigenous people from northern Ontario to Saskatchewan. His area mission will span that part of Manitoba that lies within the Spiritual Ministry of Mishamikoweesh, but he will also assist the bishops of the dioceses of Brandon and Missinippi in the diocese of Saskatchewan, in providing ministry to Indigenous people in these areas.

More here-

Error ends UK priest's US life

From Ft. Wayne-

The Rev. David Boase has presided over enough baptisms and funerals in Alton, Illinois, that the town began to feel smaller than it really was, full of people the priest has watched grow up or grow old.

He has been a priest at two Episcopal churches for the past 14 years in Alton, a southern Illinois river town on the banks of the Mississippi, and when he arrived from England in 2004, he said he knew fairly quickly that he never intended to leave. It was, “as we say about priestly work,” his calling.

“It was a heartfelt sense of belonging, and that was a large part of the impetus of my seeking citizenship,” Boase, 69, told The Washington Post. “I just wanted to belong in the fullest possible way here in America, as a responsible citizen.”

But that's all scheduled to come crashing down Friday, when Boase, a legal permanent resident, expects to be removed from the country by an immigration judge because of a violation 12 years ago. At issue? A single vote cast in 2006.

Boase was placed in removal proceedings last month, roughly a year after he admitted during his citizenship interview with U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services that, yes, he once registered to vote, and yes, he once cast a vote.

More here- 

also here-

Monday, September 24, 2018

Religion and politics; hopes and disappointments

From Japan-

Believe it or not, I have been writing columns for The Japan Times for more than 30 years. Often I have uttered quite controversial views about the world that a tolerant editor has kindly carried — my hope being to get some reaction from readers and provoke a good debate.

I have to confess almost total failure in this regard. Despite having seen around 500 articles published, the feedback has been minimal — except in one notable case.

This was when I rashly criticized bishops of the Anglican Church for treading too far into politics — I think it was in the early 1990s during a British general election. For some reason this sparked a real furor throughout Japan and a veritable flood of responses. I do not know how many Anglicans there are in Japan, but it seemed a great many, all of them writing to denounce my views and saying that, on the contrary, the views of religious leaders on political issues were most welcome, and a lot more valuable than those of many politicians.

Well, here we go again. The archbishop of Canterbury, Justin Welby, head of the Anglican Church of 100 million souls, has been plunging boldly into political issues recently, but this time I am going to take a different line. In this totally altered world in which we now live, and in times such as these when all the old verities are under attack, moral bearings have been lost, no one knows whether news is true or false, uncertainty prevails and ordered government almost everywhere is under challenge, I welcome the voices of all thoughtful people, whatever their status. And if they can couch those views in ways that get reported and spark intelligent debate, so much the better.

More here-

Terry Gross's Anti-Christian Crusade

From Christian Examiner-

Terry Gross, the host of NPR's Fresh Air, has been taking advantage of the good weather during the summer months to wage a war on Christianity. We will see whether the assault slows down for winter, but I am writing just days before the official start of autumn and there is no sign of any change of tactics yet. Today (18 September) it was an interview with Linda Kay Klein, the author of Pure: Inside the Evangelical Movement that Shamed a Generation of Women and How I Broke Free.

In truth, however, every time Gross addresses evangelicalism, the theme is: I once was a conservative Christian, realized the movement was sinister and oppressive, and now I'm an ex-evangelical who has broken free. I have a day job and do not listen to Fresh Air regularly, so I am not able to provide an exhaustive list. Highlights, however, include the episodes on The Miseducation of Cameron Post (18 and 25 July) which were about how evangelicalism is sinisterly wrong and oppressive. 

Michael Arceneaux's I Can't Date Jesus a few days earlier (23 July), on the other hand, was about how conservative Christianity is sinisterly wrong and oppressive. A week and a half before that it was another breaking free story: "An Evangelical Minister's Change of Heart on Abortion" (11 July). To come back closer to the present, 14 August was on Karen Piper's memoir, A Girl's Guide to Missiles. Gross found the escaping-evangelicalism part of her story particularly worth probing.

More here-

Columbia church members head to North Carolina to assist with hurricane relief efforts

From South Carolina with video-

Members from St. Martin’s In the Fields Episcopal church packed their bags Sunday afternoon to head over to New Burn, North Carolina to assist with hurricane relief efforts.

Ten members left Columbia with four packed trucks and a trailer with disaster relief items to help with a week’s worth of work.

Mitchell Smith, Rector St. Martins in the field Episcopal Church said, “We just have a community that is about serving people and as a church, we believe we are the hands and feet of Christ in the world and it’s our opportunity to live that out and serve.”

A family from the New Burn area contacted Rector Smith and asked for a place to stay during the hurricane.

After the devastation, some parts of New Bern faced, they decided it was their calling to help those in need.

More here-

Honest, direct, yet gentle: Raleigh Episcopal priest pens picture book to explain death, grief to kids

From North Carolina-

The subject of death, dying and grief has intrigued Mary Davila since she was at least an undergraduate student at the University of Richmond, willingly getting up to take an early morning class on the topic during her senior year.

The lessons from the class intrigued Davila – and have served her well in her current career. Davila has been an Episcopal priest for 13 years and served as a children‘s minister before she went to seminary. Today, she‘s assistant rector at Christ Church in Raleigh and the co-author of a new picture book called “Grandpa‘s Tent” about grief.

Davila lives in Raleigh with her husband and two girls, ages 8 and 5.

I checked in with Davila to learn more about her book, her work and her advice for parents about how to talk to their young children about death. Here‘s a Q&A …

More here-

Sunday, September 23, 2018

Is Pacifism Enough?

From Plough-

Germany, 1934. Eighteen months after Hitler’s rise to power, Plough’s founding editor warned of the threat of a second major war – and foresaw that the international peace movement, which he had championed, would be powerless to stop it. His reflections remain unsettlingly relevant today.

Does pacifism suffice? I don’t think it is enough.When over a thousand people have been killed unjustly, without trial, under Hitler’s new government, isn’t that already war? When hundreds of thousands of people in concentration camps are robbed of their freedom and stripped of all dignity, isn’t that war? When in China and Russia millions starve to death while in other countries millions of tons of wheat are stockpiled, isn’t that war? When thousands of women prostitute their bodies and ruin their lives for the sake of money, isn’t that war? When millions of babies are murdered by abortion each year, isn’t that war? When people are forced to work like slaves because they cannot otherwise feed their children, isn’t that war? When the wealthy live in villas surrounded by parks while other families don’t even have a single room to themselves, isn’t that war? When some people build up enormous bank accounts while others earn scarcely enough for basic necessities, isn’t that war? When reckless drivers kill tens of thousands of people each year, isn’t that war?

More here-

Funerals make me miss being a parish pastor

From Christian Century-

Over five years ago I came to work for Princeton Seminary after spending 32 years as a parish pastor. One of the questions I frequently receive is “Do you miss serving a congregation?”

I love serving our seminary and am absolutely devoted to its mission. But of course, there are some aspects of being a parish pastor that I miss. By far, what I miss most are the funerals.

It surprises people when I say that, and it’s actually been a surprise to me as well. But as much as I enjoyed my years as a parish pastor, the funerals are the only thing that have ever tempted me to look over my shoulder at the decision to leave congregational ministry.

I don’t miss the evening committee meetings that can last too long and accomplish too little. I don’t miss the small-time politics, the denominational bureaucracy, or the grumpy members who were never going to be happy but who just wouldn’t leave the church. But being with someone through the process of dying, offering compassion to the family as they place their loved one into God’s arms, conducting the funeral, and working through the grief—it’s the purest form of pastoral ministry I know.

More here-