Saturday, October 13, 2018

'We're not bigots', says vicar splitting from Anglicans over same-sex blessings

From New Zealand-

In a partially boarded-up house in suburban Christchurch, Jay Behan is helping to start a new church.
He doesn't know what it will be called yet, but some estimate it will have a congregation of about 1000 people.

The worshippers will mainly come from four Christchurch parishes that have split from the Anglican church, along with eight ministers who have resigned their positions.

The drastic decision to form a splinter church was made in reaction to a move by Anglicans in May to allow same-sex blessings.

The Anglican's ruling body, the general synod, voted to allow the blessings if they are authorised by the local bishop. The motion only allowed blessing ceremonies for same-sex couples who were married elsewhere and gave each diocese's bishop and clergy immunity from complaint if they refused to conduct blessings of same-sex couples.
It was an attempt to reach compromise on a divisive issue, but it failed.

More here-

Pope accepts Cardinal Wuerl’s resignation

From D.C.-

Pope Francis has accepted the resignation of Cardinal Donald Wuerl from his position as the Archbishop of Washington, DC.

This morning the Archdiocese of Washington released an English translation of a letter of Pope Francis to Cardinal Wuerl accepting his resignation “from the pastoral government of the Archdiocese of Washington.”

The letter reveals that the Holy Father had received a request from the cardinal on September 21 to be released from his office. Wuerl arrived in Rome on September 17 to discuss his resignation. 

Pope Francis said that he was aware that Wuerl’s request “rests on two pillars” in his ministry: “to seek in all things the greater glory of God and to procure the good of the people entrusted to your care.”  He observed that their shared mission is “to take care that the people not only remain united, but become witnesses of the Gospel.”  (Full “unofficial courtesy translation” from the Archdiocese of Washington published below.)

More here-

also here

Ten in running to be Bishop of Polynesia and Primate of Aotearoa, New Zealand & Polynesia

From ENS-

A former Olympic sprinter is amongst 10 candidates in the running to be the next Bishop of Polynesia. The holder of the diocesan post will also become one of three Primates and Archbishops of the Anglican Church of Aotearoa, New Zealand and Polynesia (ANZP). The slate of candidates include two women, a cathedral dean, three senior educators, a vicar-general and three bishops. An electoral college will convene in Suva on 26 and 27 October to conduct the vote.

The three bishops are Afa Vaka from Tonga, Gabriel Sharma from Viti Levu West, and Te Kitohi Pikaahu from Te Tai Tokerau. The two female candidates are Sereima Lomaloma, Ministry Officer for the Diocese Te Kotahitanga and Dr Eseta Mateiviti-Tulavu, senior lecturer at St John's College in Auckland.

The other candidates are Tomu Asioli, Dean of Suva's Holy Trinity Cathedral; Fereimi Cama, priest at St Peter's, Lautoka; former Olympic sprinter Henry Rogo, priest in charge of Lotu Vaka Viti, a Fijian worship centre in Auckland; Sione Uluilakepa, Vicar of All Saints’ Church Fasi, in Tonga; and Orisi Vuki, Vicar General of the Diocese of Polynesia and Archdeacon of Suva.

More here-

Friday, October 12, 2018

All Things Anglican: Who we are and what we believe, by Marcus Throup

From The Church Times-

“THE Anglican position is that anyone can believe anything they like,” an uncharitable relation of mine said recently. Well, we don’t employ thought police. More positively, my late wife Denise often observed how greatly she appreciated what she referred to as “the spaciousness of Anglicanism”.

Within that space, Anglicanism does have a very clear approach to things, and the author of this book sets out to provide “a textbook on Anglicanism that would cover essentials in a way that readers would find accessible, practical, informative and engaging”.

Articulating what is distinctive about Anglicanism in a way that is clear and accessible is not easy. The author points out that people new to Anglicanism find that Anglican jargon can be “not only unfamiliar, it can feel alienating, archaic and even a bit wacky!” Anyone who has tried explaining the difference between a priest, deacon, curate, vicar, and rector will resonate with that.

More here-

Three Bishops nominated for this week’s Chancellor election

From Sewanee-

As the Board of Trustees meets on October 11 and 12, perhaps no decision will be more relevant than the election of the next Chancellor of the University. The Chancellor is required to be the Bishop Diocesan of one of Sewanee’s owning dioceses and will serve for the next six years. 

The Chancellor acts as the Chair of the Board of Trustees and leads various ceremonial functions at the University, including Convocations, Baccalaureates, and Commencements. Bishop Samuel Johnson Howard (H’04) of Florida has served in this role since 2012 and his term is almost up, although he will lead the Founders’ Day Convocation after the election of his successor. The next Chancellor will be installed in January.

The Trustees Committee on Nominations and Credentials, chaired by trustee Pete Stringer of Tennessee, has nominated three bishops to stand for election: Rob Skirving (H’15) of East Carolina, Dabney Smith (H’08) of Southwest Florida, and Morris Thompson (H’11) of Louisiana. All three have been members of the Board of Regents for at least a year.

More here-

DC National Episcopal Cathedral to become LGBT ‘pilgrimage’ site with Matthew Shepard’s remains

From D.C.-

The Washington National Cathedral in the country’s capital is slated to become an unlikely symbol of homosexual activism following the news that it will be the final resting place of murdered University of Wyoming student Matthew Shepard.

The family of Shepard, a 21-year-old homosexual man brutally beaten to death in 1998, has decided to have his ashes interred in the crypt of the iconic Episcopal cathedral, the Washington Post reported. His parents had previously kept his ashes for fear of drawing unwanted attention to a public grave, but have now settled on the cathedral ahead of his murder’s 20th anniversary on Friday.

In a public service on October 26, his ashes will be placed in the private, off-limits crypt columbarium. One of just 200 to receive such a distinction, Shepard’s remains will join those of distinguished historical figures such as President Woodrow Wilson, Helen Keller, and Navy Adm. George Dewey. The Daily Caller noted that the cathedral’s dean, the Very Rev. Randolph Marshall Hollerith, is responsible for selecting figures of national significance to inter.

More here- 

also here-

Thursday, October 11, 2018

Texas dioceses to release names of clergy who sexually abused children

From Texas-

The 15 Catholic dioceses in Texas and the Ordinariate of the Chair of St. Peter will release the names of “clergy who have been credibly accused of sexually abusing a minor, going back to at least 1950,” the Texas Conference of Catholic Bishops announced Wednesday.

The Ordinariate of the Chair of St. Peter is the equivalent of a diocese for priests and laymen from Anglican backgrounds.

“My hope in releasing these names is to be transparent and begin to rebuild trust with the people I shepherd. This is only one action in response to this crisis in our church. As the Bishop of the Diocese of Austin, I am committed to protecting children from any abuse. Indeed, this is what Christ expects from me and all who serve His people,” Bishop Joe S. Vásquez of the Diocese of Austin said.
The bishops’ decision to release the names was reached on Sept. 30.

“This is an action in response to the faithful’s call for greater accountability and transparency,” said Cardinal Daniel DiNardo, archbishop of Galveston-Houston. 

More here-

Victim’s Family Speaks Out After Ex-Bishop Seeks Early Release: ‘Please Stand By Original Sentencing’

From Baltimore-

A former Episcopal bishop who fatally hit a young father while she was driving drunk wants out of prison.

The former bishop, Heather Cook, is asking a judge to alter her sentence, less than four years after killing the man while he was riding his bike on Roland Ave.

Ex-Bishop Who Killed Cyclist Could Be Released Next Month

She was drunk, texting and left the scene where 41-year-old Thomas Palermo was left to die in a bike lane.

His family is adamant that they do not want her to walk free, with 20 letters from family and friends begging a judge to deny her request.

She has served less than three years after she hit the cyclist two days after Christmas in 2014. But now she is asking the court to alter her sentence in a way that would make her eligible for release in early November.

More here-

Anti-violence event for foster youth happening in Penn Hills

From Pittsburgh-

Black Women for Positive Change in Pittsburgh is sponsoring an event at a Penn Hills church to educate youths in foster care about alternatives to violence. 

St. James Episcopal Church at 11524 Frankstown Road will host the community forum from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. Oct. 20. It will feature a panel made up of representatives from Moms Demand Action, Cease Fire PA, the Allegheny County Violence Prevention Unit and a pastor. 

Auberle Foster Care youth are invited to ask the panel questions during the forum, said Diane Powell, chairperson for BWPC of Pittsburgh. 

“We’re trying to make young people aware there are alternatives to violence — that they don’t have to rely on illegal activities to support (themselves),” she said. 

More here-

Wednesday, October 10, 2018

British priest may not have to leave U.S. But he can’t be a citizen after voting error

From Kansas City-

An Illinois priest facing removal to his native England is changing his earlier plans to leave voluntarily for having mistakenly voted once in a U.S. election.

At a preliminary hearing in Kansas City immigration court Tuesday, the Rev. David Boase and his attorney told a judge via phone that they will seek a cancellation of Boase’s removal. 

If granted, the action would allow Boase to reside permanently in the United States. However, he may never attain citizenship, his lawyer said — a fact that Boase has accepted.

Allowing Boase time to submit the necessary papers, Judge Glen R. Baker scheduled an April 23 teleconference to further discuss the matter. 

More here-

Read more here:

Read more here:

The Heather Cook case: a timeline

From Baltimore-

Following are key dates in the case of Heather Cook, the former Episcopal bishop now serving a prison term for fatally striking bicyclist Tom Palermo with her car while driving drunk and texting. She has applied for a two-year reduction in her sentence.
2010 — Cook is arrested, pleads guilty to a drunken-driving charge in Caroline County
May 2, 2014 — Cook is narrowly elected as bishop suffragan of the Episcopal Diocese of Maryland
Sept. 6, 2014 — Cook is consecrated as first female bishop in Maryland diocese history
Dec. 27, 2014 — Cook fatally strikes bicyclist Tom Palermo while driving drunk and texting in North Baltimore.
More here

Tuesday, October 9, 2018

History suggests religion will rise again

From Australia-

Here in Australia, we are experiencing something similar to what is happening in Ireland: a growing disinterest, even distrust of all things relating to religion. 

In Australia, this movement has been slowly galvanising for decades as we almost celebrate becoming one of the most secular countries in the world. 

For Ireland, the movement has taken place much faster. 
However, even the worst actions of the worst “missionaries” will permanently rob neither Ireland nor Australia of faith in the divine.
When a society divorces itself from religion it’s never permanent, and if that divorce takes place decidedly and swiftly, ironically the return to religion is also decisive and swift. 

More here-

The church’s response to sexual assault survivors

From Christian Century- (Gay Jennings)

Since Christine Blasey Ford came forward to tell her story of being sexually assaulted by new Supreme Court justice Brett Kavanaugh when the two were teenagers, many female clergy have been logging long hours listening to stories of sexual abuse and harassment from women they know, and sometimes women they don’t. In Facebook messages, at coffee hour, and in anguished late-night emails, women who belong to the church and women who left long ago are summoning the courage to tell the stories of what happened to them at the hands of fathers, boyfriends, brothers, classmates, colleagues, bosses, and yes, clergy and bishops.

Plenty of clergy are doing heroic work providing support and care for women reliving trauma, and many are doing so while struggling themselves with memories of abuse. But the institution of the church has little to offer abuse survivors in the way of liturgy, public prayer, or formal acknowledgement of the pain that has seared their lives.

More here-

Diocese of Nevada announces postponement of bishop election

From Nevada-

“Dear People of the Diocese of Nevada,

Our bishop search process this year was challenging in several respects. One is that there were an unprecedented number of bishop searches in process, resulting in a limited applicant pool. Another is that decisions had to be made under time constraints that did not allow the Standing Committee to engage in the depth of deliberation really needed.

Since announcing the slate of candidates, more information has been brought to our attention that calls our decisions into question. We have, after much soul searching, unanimously concluded that it is in the best interest of the Diocese to postpone the election of our 11th Bishop until next year following another search under more propitious circumstances.

We are grateful to the Search Committee for their faithful work and regret any frustration they may feel that we are not proceeding to an election now. The decision to delay is in no way a reflection on the Search Committee, but rather is what we deem to be for the good of the Diocese. Likewise, we are grateful to the candidates on the 2018 slate. Our decision does not preclude them from applying again and participating in the 2019 search process.

More here-

Monday, October 8, 2018

Church's decision to bless same-sex unions hailed

From South Africa-

Gender rights organisation Free Gender has hailed the Anglican Diocese of Saldanha Bay’s vote in favour of blessing same-sex couples in civil unions in church. 

Funeka Soldaat, of the black lesbian rights campaign organisation, based in Khayelitsha, said the decision taken would boost the organisation's campaign for inclusivity. In a historic vote on Friday, the Anglican Diocese of Saldanha Bay voted in favour of blessing same-sex couples in civil unions in church, becoming the first diocese in southern Africa to take this step. The diocese voted 104 to 4 to accept without condition those living in same-sex civil unions. 

The diocese said it wanted every member of the wider LGBTIQ community to have their union blessed like all other couples in the church. 

More here-

Anglican bishop of Indigenous people tells of long, challenging journey

From Canada-

Mark MacDonald's journey through the Anglican church has followed a long, and sometimes challenging path.

The Anglican bishop was awarded an honorary doctorate from Thorneloe University in Sudbury Wednesday night for his role within the church, and his efforts at incorporating spiritual elements into the reconciliation movement in Canada.

MacDonald, the Anglican Church of Canada's first National Indigenous Bishop, spoke with CBC's Up North about the challenges facing Indigenous people not only in the structure of the church, but society as a whole. 

"We have tried to become an Indigenous church with an Indigenous identity within the larger church," MacDonald said. "That's been difficult for most Anglicans…[where some say] there's only one way to be Anglican, the way I do it."

"The idea that you could go with Jesus into the sweat lodge, so to speak, is a strange idea to many, but welcome to Indigenous people."

More here-

There are still good reasons for becoming a Catholic

From The Boston Globe-

Yet even now, some Americans are converting to Roman Catholicism.

Why? If you are a Christian, there is one obvious reason: Because it’s the church founded by Jesus Christ. My denomination, the Anglican or Episcopal church, traces its roots to King Henry VIII’s antipapal pique in the 16th century. Martin Luther founded the Lutheran church, Joseph Smith begat the Mormons, and so on.

But there is only one church founded by the guy whose name is on the door. Jesus’ words are right there on the dome of St. Peter’s basilica in Rome: “Upon this rock I will build my church.” The rock refers to the apostle Peter (“Petrus,” or rock), the first pope of the Roman Catholic church. 

More here-

Haunted by clergy abuse, Pa. family leaves Catholic Church after years-long struggle

From NPR-

Among the more than 200 people who responded to NPR’s request for information, many mentioned leaving Catholicism for Episcopalian or Unitarian congregations. There is a history of exchange between the Episcopalian and Catholic faiths, although the Episcopalian Church does not track how many new members came from Catholic parishes, according to Bishop Daniel Gutiérrez, of the Episcopal Diocese of Pennsylvania.

Some listeners, like Diane McGinty from Delaware County, say they still draw comfort from practicing Catholicism, but try to do so on their own terms.

I do like the mass, I just don’t like the institution,” she said. “I’m tired of men in Church, running the show, telling me what to do.”

Others, like Rick Topper from Glenside, reject the idea that the church belongs to abusers and leaders who tried to keep it quiet.

More here-

Sunday, October 7, 2018

Dissociate yourself from dishonesty, Anglican Bishop tells christians

From Nigeria-

Bishop of the Diocese of Ife, Church of Nigeria (Anglican Communion) has enjoined Christians to detach themselves from acts of dishonesty that is widespread among Nigerians and even in the church of God. 

Giving the admonition, during the 1st Session of 10th Synod of the Diocese tagged: “Biblical Principles for the marketplace” held at the Cathedral Church of St. Philips, Ife, Osun State, Akinlade explained that the choice of the theme was hinged on the attitude of Nigerians today, which suggests ‘anything goes’ without recourse to conscience and integrity. 

He said: “There are certain principles, which are supposed to be guiding us in doing business, but we seem to have jettisoned all these things. 

Dishonesty, coupled with unfaithfulness, has been enthroned in the area of buying and selling. 

More here-

Ex-bishop who fatally struck cyclist seeks sentencing change

From The Washington Post-

A former Episcopal bishop imprisoned 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-