Saturday, October 6, 2018

Woman says Kissimmee counselor, priest took advantage of her

From Florida- (with video)

A woman said she trusted an Osceola County therapist to help her through one of her darkest times. Instead, she said he took advantage of her.

"It is the most disgusting feeling and such a violation," she said. She is not being identified to protect her privacy.

The Kissimmee Police Department said more women have come forward with accusations against that mental health counselor and Episcopal priest, bringing the number of accusers now to three.

More here-

A look at ex-Baltimore bishop Heather Cook's time behind bars, according to her case file

From Baltimore-
Former Episcopal bishop Heather Cook’s criminal case file indicates she has been active in prison programs while serving a nearly three years of her original seven-year sentence for fatally striking bicyclist Tom Palermo with her car while drunk.

Her participation has earned her enough credits that her sentence has been shortened by more than three years; she is scheduled to be released Aug. 6 of next year and could be freed next month if her most recent request to the court is approved.

Alisa Rock, a sister of Palermo’s wife, Rachel, said in an email to The Baltimore Sun that she “vehemently” opposes Cook’s application.

“Each of Cook’s attempts to reduce her sentence traumatizes my sister and her family anew,” she said.

More here-

Friday, October 5, 2018

'What Jesus would have us do': Utah religious leaders urge support of Medicaid expansion initiativec

From Utah-

The Rt. Rev. Scott Hayashi, bishop of the Episcopal Diocese of Utah, said he believes Utahns' decision on Proposition 3 amounts to a moral choice.

"As a person of faith, as a person of belief that all people have dignity, because they have been made by a creator, I believe that doing this is not only the good thing to do, but the right and the moral thing to do for Utah," Bishop Hayashi said.

The ballot initiative would increase the state sales tax from 4.7 to 4.85 percent in order expand Medicaid coverage to all Utahns earning up to 138 percent of the federal poverty level, bringing eligibility to an estimated 150,000 people who otherwise do not qualify.

More here-

‘Turn cathedral visitors into pilgrims,’ says British Pilgrimage Trust

From The Church Times-

PEOPLE are being asked to devise pilgrimage routes that would take a single day to each of the cathedrals in Britain.

“It’s the most accessible way to engage with pilgrimage before you do a really long one,” Guy Hayward, of the British Pilgrimage Trust, said. “You might ask whether a one-day pilgrimage actually counts as long enough, but the thing about pilgrimages is mainly the intention behind the journey. What do I want to bring into my life? What do I want to let go, or what question do I need answering?

“If you set your intention at the beginning of the day in a holy place — kneeling by an altar, an ancient tree, or a river source — and then walk through the landscape, holding that intention, visiting holy places as you go, arriving in time for evensong at the majesty of a cathedral, it’s a brilliant way of connecting to the Church.

More here-

Ex-bishop who fatally struck bicyclist seeks sentencing change that could lead to release from prison next month

From Baltimore-

A former Episcopal bishop serving a prison sentence for fatally striking a bicyclist with her car while drunk could be released as early as next month if a Baltimore judge approves her request to modify how she is serving her sentence.

Heather Cook has asked Baltimore Circuit Judge Timothy Doory to change two of her four sentences from consecutive to concurrent status. That could cut two years off the seven-year sentence Doory imposed for the 2014 crash that killed Tom Palermo.

If Doory agrees to Cook’s full request, state prison officials said credits Cook has accrued, in accordance with state law, through participation in prison programs would be applied against her revised five-year sentence. That would make her eligible for release on Nov. 5 — the date the judge has set for a hearing on the motion.

If Doory denies the request, Cook is set to be released on Aug. 6.

More here-

Episcopal leaders, congregations offer pastoral responses in wake of Kavanaugh hearings

From ENS-

With Judge Brett Kavanaugh’s nomination to the U.S. Supreme Court potentially on track for a final vote in the Senate as soon as this weekend, some Episcopal leaders are adding their voices to the ecumenical response to Kavanaugh’s hearings and the sexual assault allegations against the judge.

The National Council of Churches, of which the Episcopal Church is a member, issued a statement Oct. 3 calling on President Donald Trump to withdraw Kavanaugh’s nomination because of his testimony during the hearings and his judicial record.

“Judge Kavanaugh exhibited extreme partisan bias and disrespect towards certain members of the committee and thereby demonstrated that he possesses neither the temperament nor the character essential for a member of the highest court in our nation,” the Council of Churches said.

More here- 

also here-

Thursday, October 4, 2018

For the first time, a woman could lead the Episcopal Diocese of West Tennessee

From West Tennessee-

For the first time, the Episcopal Diocese of West Tennessee is slated to have a woman serve as its bishop.

Three candidates have been named as options to succeed the Rt. Rev. Don Johnson, who plans to resign next year.

They are the Rev. Marian Dulaney Fortner, rector of a church in Hattiesburg, Mississippi; the Rev. Sarah D. Hollar, rector of a church in Huntersville, North Carolina; and the Rev. Phoebe A. Roaf, rector of a church in Richmond, Virginia.

The Rev. Gary Meade, president of the standing committee that oversees the process of selecting a new bishop, said there was no goal to have three women candidates, but that he is “delighted” it ended up that way.

“Male and female, black and white, gay and straight, healthy or ill, rich or poor, we are all God’s children,” Meade said. “This is just a recognition that the Episcopal Church honors that. We honor the full diversity of God’s people and we see that reflected more and more in our leadership.”

More here-


Abu Dhabi church pays tribute to Zayed on 50th anniversary

From Abu-Dhabi-

An oasis of peace, a refuge, a home away from home, an institution for life: St. Andrew's Church has been all of this and more to the Abu Dhabi Christian community, its long-time members recalled as the Anglican church celebrated its 50th anniversary on Wednesday.

Jose Bernado Gomes, 62, who worked as a parish clerk for 32 years from 1980 to 2012 at the church, said he was "beyond happy."

"It is a very special moment for me. This church has been my life and existence since I arrived in the UAE in 1979," Gomes told Khaleej Times. He left the UAE in 2012, but was specially invited by the church for the anniversary ceremony.

"I used to work in the church when it was on the corniche first, and then moved to this new building in Muroor. I used to do everything from running errands to taking care of the paper work. Today, I see a lot of old faces. It is like a homecoming to me," said Gomes, who is married with three grown-up children. He currently lives in Goa, India, with his family.

More here-

Protestant Churches Finding Balance On Israel

From Jewish Weekly-

Is some of the anger that mainline Protestant churches in America have shown in recent years toward Israel regarding its treatment of Palestinians beginning to cool?
That’s the suggestion of the Jewish community’s point man on outreach to Protestant churches, Ethan Felson, in assessing a busy summer of votes on Middle East resolutions at their national conventions.

Both the Presbyterian Church USA and the Episcopal Church this summer supported moderate resolutions, offering a balance to ones in favor of the Boycott, Divestments and Sanctions (BDS) movement that would isolate Israel economically, said Felson, executive director of the Israel Action Network (IAM); the network was created by Jewish Federations of North America in partnership with the Jewish Council for Public Affairs (JCPA). He offered his update in a webinar interview last week conducted by JCPA President David Bernstein titled “Mainline Protestants and the Israeli-Palestinian Conflict: Where Do We Go From Here?”

More here-

Antisemitism Is Still a Serious Problem in Churches

From Algemeiner-

Bishop Suffragan Gayle Harris’ discredited testimony at the recent Episcopal Church General Convention and her subsequent apology have highlighted a troubling, long-standing issue in Jewish-Christian relations: antisemitism and anti-Israel sentiments in Christian churches. 

While Bishop Suffragan Harris and Bishop Alan Gates now appear to understand the damage that Bishop Harris’ actions have caused, it comes as no surprise that such actions were countenanced in the first place. 

While Presiding Bishop Michael Curry has talked about the Jewish roots of Christianity, the Episcopal Church under his leadership signed an anti-Israel Atlanta Summit document, which was produced by a summit co-hosted by the Palestinian Authority and the Carter Center. Bishop Curry subsequently “added the Episcopal Church’s name” to another multi-denominational statement — one giving cover to Hamas on Gaza’s border violence. 

Given the willingness of Bishop Curry to give his church’s stamp of approval to documents clearly composed of Palestinian propaganda posing as “peacemaking,” it comes as no surprise that Bishop Harris felt at liberty to disseminate what respected, prominent Jewish organizations have described as a blood libel.

More here-

Episcopal Diocese to choose woman bishop

From Kansas-

The Episcopal Diocese of Kansas will make history this fall as it chooses one of three clergywomen candidates who will become its 10th bishop. A woman has never been bishop of the diocese that dates back to 1859. 

This also will be the first time an all-woman slate has been presented in any Episcopal Diocese in the United States. The Very Rev. Foster Mays, president of the Council of Trustees of the diocese, said the fact that they are all women, while historic, speaks to the ministry and experience of ordained women across the Episcopal Church. 

The three candidates were guests of clergy members of the diocese at a luncheon Tuesday, Oct. 2, at St. Paul’s Episcopal Church, 1300 N. 18th St., Kansas City, Kansas. 

More here-

Wednesday, October 3, 2018

The Kavanaugh Hearings: A Letter from St. Augustine

From The Living Church-

To Publicus, Augustine sends greetings.

1. You have written me concerning the matter of how Christians ought to respond to the hearings in your national assembly to confirm a judge to your highest court. You observed in your letter the extreme anger and animosity your fellow countrymen feel for one another and your deep concern about the passion these hearings have inflamed. These passions, you say, affect the Church as well, making it difficult to know how one ought to witness to Christ in a society seemingly bent on its own destruction.

2. As a long-dead North African bishop, I cannot possibly comment on the processes of your government, nor have I any knowledge of the details concerning the accuser and the accused. But observing the past few days, I have been struck by how much your time resembles the days of that man of eloquence, Cicero, when factions warred publicly with each other in courtrooms, assemblies, and the Senate. Often these debates seemed to be about goods like truth and justice but in reality were for the consumption of the crowds, to inflame their passion, feed their anger, and thus gain their support.

More here-

Search for new Anglican Bishop enters another stage

From Barbados-

The quest for a new cleric to lead the island’s largest congregation officially entered its next stage this evening when the House of Bishops of the Anglican Church of the Province of the West Indies met with members of the laity, another of its three decision-making chambers.

The meeting, held at the Ivan Harewood Centre at the Christ Church Parish Church, paves the way for a meeting with the House of Clergy this week, with a decision by the bishops expected by weekend on the next steps to end the protracted battle between two priests to lead the Diocese of Barbados.

“At this meeting, we listened to the views of the House of Laity, and on Thursday we will get together with the House of Clergy at Codrington College,” said Senior Bishop Errol Brooks, just after the meeting he chaired had concluded.

More here-


Anglican church needs police clearance for new clergy amid child abuse reports

From South Africa-

In an unprecedented move to curb child abuse, the Anglican Church of Southern Africa has adopted new measures that include requesting police clearance for those who want to serve as its clergy.

"In future, anyone wanting to be ordained to serve as a clergyperson will have to provide a police clearance certificate," said Archbishop Thabo Makgoba of Cape Town in a statement on Wednesday
“From January 2019, we will progressively enforce the same rule for lay ministers, especially those involved in youth ministry and Sunday School teaching," said the bishop.

He said the church has also set up an email address to make it easier to report allegations of such abuse.

More here- 

also here-

Episcopal diocese plans to repurpose 'high-tech' barns housing chickens

From Ohio-

The Episcopal Diocese of Ohio is seeking potential partners in efforts to eventually repurpose the high-tech chicken barns on the Wakeman Township property it recently purchased.

“Last week, thanks to the designated gifts of a group of generous donors, the diocese was able to purchase a 90-acre property across (Ohio) 60 from Bellwether Farm,” said the Rev. Mark Hollingsworth Jr., the bishop of the diocese, in a prepared statement released Monday.

The diocese purchased the property at 4550 Ohio 60, Wakeman, from Wakeman Township resident Byron Dalton for $3.45 million. According to documentation from the Huron County Auditor’s Office, the market value for the land is $572,730 and the buildings are worth $784,670. Dalton declined to be interviewed.

“Some of you will remember that this tract of land includes six high-tech barns in which currently are (housing) close to 80,000 chickens. This purchase allows us to repurpose the barns for educational and resource-conserving food production, as well as other uses, relieving Bellwether, our neighbors and the village of Wakeman of the environmental impact of the current poultry operation,” Hollingsworth said.

More here-

New bishop starts with Hudson visit

From Newark-

"I get up with butterflies," the Right Rev. Carlyle J. Hughes admitted. "This is a fun time for me. ... There is a lot of excitement."

It is understandable because she was elected on May 19 as the 11th bishop of the Episcopal Diocese of Newark on the first ballot and consecrated at NJPAC last month as the first woman and African American to serve as bishop of this diocese.

At 51, the former corporate trainer will have to summon all her past experience to shepherd her 26,000 parishioners in 98 parishes over most of northern New Jersey to take ownership of a new way of being an Episcopalian in the 21st century.

"I also have 200 priests to get to know quickly," she said. "And to build relationships among churches, clergy and lay leaders."

Hughes' vision of the diocese is "as a hub and network of support for those seeking a loving, compassionate, and just way of life."

More here-

Tuesday, October 2, 2018

Millennials Are Causing the U.S. Divorce Rate to Plummet

From Bloomberg-

Americans under the age of 45 have found a novel way to rebel against their elders: They’re staying married.

New data show younger couples are approaching relationships very differently from baby boomers, who married young, divorced, remarried and so on. Generation X and especially millennials are being pickier about who they marry, tying the knot at older ages when education, careers and finances are on track. The result is a U.S. divorce rate that dropped 18 percent from 2008 to 2016, according to an analysis by University of Maryland sociology professor Philip Cohen.

Demographers already knew the divorce rate was falling, even if the average American didn’t. Their question, however, was why? And what do current trends mean for the marital prospects of today’s newlyweds?

More here-

Hearing examines China’s policy on religion, new agreement with Vatican

From Crux-

Debate continues about whether the Vatican’s provisional agreement with China will improve relations between the Chinese state and members of religious groups, which have had a long history of conflict.

The agreement marks the first time in decades that all the Chinese bishops have been in communion with Rome, said the Vatican press office.

A Sept. 27 hearing on Capitol Hill, chaired by Rep. Chris Smith, R-New Jersey, drew attention to the challenges faced by the Chinese government in adapting its stance toward religion in modern times and tensions between China’s lawmakers and many ethnic and religious minorities over past decades.
Smith mentioned the Vatican’s new arrangement with China in his opening address.

“The reports are that this deal is provisional and full details are yet unknown,” said Smith.

More here-

Over 200 Anglican priests and five thousand worshipers of the Diocese on the Niger, Anglican Communion, yesterday defied the heavy presence of security agencies and marched in a long convoy to St Simon, Bishop Crowther Memorial Church, BCM, inside Bishop’ Crowther Primary School, owned by the Diocese, to worship and thank God for Nigeria’s 58th independence celebration with the Internally Displaced Persons, IDPs, camped in the church premises.

Read more at:
Over 200 Anglican priests and five thousand worshipers of the Diocese on the Niger, Anglican Communion, yesterday defied the heavy presence of security agencies and marched in a long convoy to St Simon, Bishop Crowther Memorial Church, BCM, inside Bishop’ Crowther Primary School, owned by the Diocese, to worship and thank God for Nigeria’s 58th independence celebration with the Internally Displaced Persons, IDPs, camped in the church premises.

Read more at:

Curry for the soul: top Episcopal bishop talks love and royal wedding

From Guam-

Known for his powerful sermon during the royal wedding, Presiding Bishop Michael Curry was recently on island for a speaking engagement hosted by St. John's Church and School.

Curry is the 27th Presiding Bishop and primate of the Episcopal Church. Elected in 2015, he is the first African American to serve in such capacity.

But most probably know Presiding Bishop Curry for his passionate sermon during the infamous wedding that took place in St. George's Chapel at Windsor Castle.

According to Curry, the decision to have him part of the royal wedding was Prince Harry and Meghan Markle's idea. He said that for whatever reason, the couple wanted to hear his voice at the wedding and that is when the Archbishop of Canterbury called him up.

“I don't think you tell the royal family no,” he remembers. “And so the initial question was, if you were asked to preach at the upcoming royal wedding on May 19th, would you be available?”

More here-

Monday, October 1, 2018

The Bells of St. Martin’s Fall Silent as Churches in Harlem Struggle

From New York-

In a tower above Malcolm X Boulevard in Harlem are more than 40 large bells that were fabricated in the Netherlands — they form the carillon of a once-proud church, St. Martin’s, and are one of only three carillons in New York City. The queen mother of the Netherlands attended a dedication ceremony in the 1950s. The current Episcopal bishop of New York says it was “a giant big deal” that she was there.

The bells were last played in July, and then only briefly during an inspection by a carillon expert. The last time they were heard regularly was in 2013 because the carillon has been “deemed structurally unsound,” said Malcolm J. Merriweather, a member of the congregation. He is also a conductor and an assistant professor of music at Brooklyn College.

The carillon has become a flash point in a dispute among some members of St. Martin’s and the Episcopal Diocese of New York over how to repair the instrument and the rest of the decaying church building. In August, the bishop replaced the congregation’s lay leaders after failing to come to terms on $2.4 million that he offered to advance for the repair work. He wanted St. Martin’s to repay the money to the diocese by selling one of three nearby brownstones that it owns.

More here-

Episcopal bishop visits Guam, gives talk on diversity and inclusion

From Guam-

The Most Reverend Michael B. Curry, presiding bishop and primate of the Episcopal Church, visited Guam and gave a talk on diversity and inclusion on Sunday evening.

His visit marked the third time a presiding bishop of the Episcopal Church visited Guam, according to Reverend Irene Maliaman of St. John’s Church. The church last year celebrated its 60 year anniversary in Micronesia, and is comprised of a relatively small community, Maliaman said.

“It is part of the responsibility of the presiding bishop to visit the Episcopal Church on Guam because we are his family,” Maliaman said. “You do not neglect or abandon your family, even if they are so far away. You visit them, check on them, make sure they are OK and let them know that you love them.”

Students, parents, teachers and community members joined at the St. John’s School gymnasium for Curry’s talk. The night began with performances of songs from “Game of Thrones” and “The Theory of Everything” by the school’s orchestra students.

More here-

New leader of Episcopal diocese brings a corporate background and church heart

From Newark-

"I get up with butterflies," the Most Rev. Carlyle J. Hughes admitted. "This is a fun time for me. ... There is a lot of excitement."  

It is understandable because she was elected on May 19 as the 11th bishop of the Episcopal Diocese of Newark on the first ballot and consecrated at NJPAC last weekend as the first woman and African American to serve as bishop of this diocese.

At 51, the former corporate trainer will have to summon all her past experience to shepherd her 26,000 parishioners in 98 parishes over most of northern New Jersey to take ownership of a new way of being an Episcopalian in the 21st century.

"I also have 200 priests to get to know quickly," she said.  "And to build relationships among churches, clergy and lay leaders." 

More here-

Sunday, September 30, 2018

Anglican bishop condemns lack of reverence in worship places

From Nigeria-

The Anglican Bishop of Ekiti West Diocese, the Rt. Rev. Rufus Adepoju, has frowned at what he described as unwholesome practices in churches in recent times, stressing that God is not happy seeing that fake pastors now preside over the church of God while worshipers have turned the church to mere social gathering.

The Bishop, who was speaking at the 7th Synod of the Church of Nigeria, Anglican Communion, Diocese of Ekiti West, held in the ancient town of Efon Alaaye, Ekiti State, lamented that such practices have no basis in the Bible.

The bishop warned that those he referred to as “fake pastors” were taking advantage of the situation to wreak havoc on the body of Christ.

“It is obvious that the word (of God) today is diluted and polluted with a lot of heresies which are hindering Christians from standing firm for the true gospel.

“There are a lot of things that are militating against Christians and making them to doubt God, as if the God of our fathers has changed, whereas it is their unbelief and doubt that are causing a lot of them to go to mountains, valleys, watersides, occult groups and even to the extent of backsliding to paganism.

More here-

A Zen Priest Dreams of Angels

From Patheos (Monkey Mind)-

Today within the Christian liturgical calendar is Michaelmas. Or, and actually my preferred name, today is the Feast of the Saints Michael, Gabriel, Uriel, and Raphael. Or, if you prefer, the shorter while still more accurate version, today is the Feast of the Archangels.

An archangel is a chief or principal angel. Angels are supernatural beings who often serve as mediators between the heavenly and earthly realms. It appears angels enter Judaism and later Christianity through the influence of Zoroastrianism. Where they got it, I don’t think we know with any certainty, but on first blush it does sort of look like they’re a positive adaptation of local deities by monotheistic religions.

More here-