Saturday, October 20, 2018

Row over Muslim scholar's invitation to preach at Anglican service

From The Guardian-

An invitation to a distinguished Muslim scholar to preach at a eucharist service in an Oxford church on Sunday has triggered complaints from traditionalists.

Monawar Hussain, who was awarded an MBE in the Queen’s birthday honours last year for services to interfaith relations and the community, will deliver a sermon at the University Church of St Mary the Virgin, following a request from Oxford University’s vice-chancellor, Louise Richardson.

The move has been denounced by Archbishop Cranmer, a conservative Anglican blog authored by Adrian Hilton. He said he failed to understand how an imam delivering a sermon at a eucharist service would respect “a sacred act of divine worship which is supposed to be conducted according to the rites and formularies of the Church of England”.

More here-

Brews with a bishop: Episcopal leader ignites discussion at Priest's Pint event in Salado

From Texas-

People packed into Barrow Brewing Co. in Salado Thursday evening to enjoy a pint of beer and a stimulating discussion led by the Rt. Rev. C. Andrew Doyle, Bishop of Texas.
Doyle is the ninth and current bishop of the Episcopal Diocese of Texas. At one time he also served as curate at Christ Episcopal Church in Temple.
Doyle was the featured guest during the Priest’s Pint, a faith and theology-based discussion series that meets 6:30 p.m. every third Thursday at the brewery.
The usual hubbub of a Thursday evening crowd gave way to dialogue about the bishop’s topic, “Fractured Fairytales and other stories we tell ourselves.”

More here-

Episcopal Diocese of Kansas makes history with election of first female bishop

From Kansas-

The first female bishop to lead the Episcopal Diocese of Kansas was elected Friday.

The Rev. Cathleen Chittenden Bascom, from the Diocese of Iowa, was selected on the second ballot, receiving 64 votes from lay delegates and 56 votes from clergy, the diocese said.

The election took place at Grace Episcopal Cathedral in Topeka.

Bascom is the first woman to be elected bishop since the diocese formed in 1859.

The Rev. Martha N. Macgill, of the Diocese of Maryland, and the Rev. Helen-Svoboda-Barber, from the Diocese of North Carolina, were the other candidates. This was the first time in the history of the Episcopal Church that a bishop heading a diocese was selected from all-women candidates.

More here- 

and here-

also here-

Executive Council passes budget, grants diocesan waivers, praises work of Episcopal Migration Ministries

From ENS-

The Episcopal Church’s Executive Council, in its first meeting since the 79th General Convention, spent four days this week focused primarily on orientation, training, leadership appointments and relationship-building at a conference center in suburban Minneapolis.

This meeting was light on legislative business, but Executive Council, the church’s governing body during the three years between General Convention meetings, concluded the week by approving a handful of resolutions on financial matters, including the 2019 church budget, the House of Deputies president’s salary and diocesan assessment waivers for six dioceses.

Members of Executive Council also received briefings from church officers and staff members during the week, including a bleak assessment of the future of the church’s refugee resettlement work from the Rev. Charles Robertson, the presiding bishop’s canon for ministry beyond the Episcopal Church.

More here-

Friday, October 19, 2018

Anambra Government bans Church services in public schools

From Nigeria-

The Anambra Government, on Friday, banned religious bodies from using either public schools or its facilities, to conduct religious services across the state.

The state Commissioner for Information and Public Enlightenment, Mr Don Adinuba, announced the ban in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Onitsha.

Adinuba said the ban became imperative because of the ongoing seeming ownership tussle of Bishop Crowder Memorial School, Onitsha, being contested between the state and the Diocese on the Niger, Anglican Communion.

NAN recalls that the Church, through its legal Secretary, Mr Tabugbo Anaeto, is laying ownership of the school.

NAN further reports that members of the Anglican Church recently staged a peaceful protest and subsequently released a statement, accusing the state government of its alleged refusal from allowing it to assume ownership of its property.

More here-

Sydney Anglican bid to ban gay 'advocacy' on church property condemned

From Australia-

Christian gay rights advocates say a new policy from the Sydney Anglican diocese that will ban same-sex weddings in churches and school halls and clamp down on the freedom of priests to support LGBTI rights goes against “core teachings” of the Bible.

According to the Sydney Morning Herald, a ban on the promotion of homosexuality on church property is likely to be approved at a meeting next week.

The new measures would potentially silence priests who advocate for LGBTI acceptance, and outlaw LGBTI support groups in Anglican schools.

The text of the policy would confirm that church-owned buildings can only be used for acts that “conform to the doctrines, tenets and beliefs of the diocese”. It specifically picks out “advocacy for transgender ideology (e.g: gender-fluidity)” and “advocacy for expressions of human sexuality contrary to our doctrine of marriage” to be banned.

More here-

also here-

Domestic abuse survivors within Anglican Church to receive financial assistance in possible 'world first'

From Australia-

Women in the Anglican Church in Sydney who have been physically, emotionally and sexually abused by their priest husbands will, for the first time, be able to apply for substantial financial assistance following the establishment of a new fund dedicated to supporting clergy spouses escaping domestic violence.

In what is believed to be a national — and possibly global — first, the Sydney Anglican Synod on Wednesday voted unanimously to create the Ministry Spouse Support Fund, which from January 2019 will allow clergy spouses who have suffered domestic abuse to access an initial sum of $10,000, followed by a one-off payment of up to $50,000. 

The initiative is being celebrated by church communities as a long-overdue "first step" towards acknowledging the ongoing hardship many victims of domestic violence face.

More here-

Not-so-hidden labyrinth now open in downtown Dayton

From Ohio-

Downtown Dayton has a brand new twisty path.

Reconciliation Labyrinth is now open at Christ Episcopal Church, 20 W. First St., Tom Schaefer, the project’s director, told this news organization.

The church considers it a public space. 

“It is not hidden in the bowels of the church,” he said. “It is out for there for anyone to use.” 
The church exceeded its $30,000 goal for the project by about $10,000. 

The money will be used for landscaping, printed material, maintenance and other needs. 

More here-

Thursday, October 18, 2018

New ad has dying Jesus as organ donor

From WND-

The death of Jesus has been portrayed countless times in many famous movies, from “Ben Hur” and “The Gospel of John” to “The Passion of the Christ.”

But now, a controversial ad is showing the Son of God agreeing to become an organ donor while He’s being crucified.

The spot commences with two soldiers asking Jesus, who is nailed to the cross, if he thought about becoming an organ donor.

“Is this really the best time to bring this up?” Jesus answers.

One soldier responds: “We get it. No one wants to talk about death. But you know, not all of us are going to the eternal paradise, and your organs could save the lives of up to six people.”

“Obviously I would do it. I am Jesus,” says the Savior.


Retired bishops rebuff letter from fellow Evangelical bishops that warned of schism over marriage

From The Church Times-

TWO retired bishops, both Evangelicals, have criticised a letter from 11 serving bishops that hinted at a schism in the Anglican Communion should the Church of England change its teaching on marriage.

The 1800-word letter, posted on the website of the Church of England Evangelical Council last week, defines traditional teaching in the light of Resolution 1.10 from the 1998 Lambeth Conference, stating: “We believe that this vision of (1) sexual intercourse as ‘an act of total commitment which belongs properly within a permanent married relationship’, (2) marriage as a union of a man and woman in a covenant of love marked by exclusivity and life-long commitment, and (3) faithful, sexually abstinent love in singleness and non-marital friendships, is the teaching of scripture. It therefore expresses the character and will of God.”

It is addressed to the Bishop of Coventry, Dr Christopher Cocksworth, who chairs the co-ordinating group of the Living in Love and Faith (LLF) project. The project was set up by the House of Bishops as an attempt to look more deeply into matters of sexuality after earlier attempts failed to heal divisions (News, 30 June 2017).

In a critique of the letter, posted on the ViaMedia website, the Rt Revd David Atkinson, a former Bishop of Thetford, argues that, far from being fixed: “Christian understanding of the ‘scriptural teaching’ on marriage and sexuality has developed from Augustine, Aquinas and Cranmer, and within Anglican theology in recent decades, not least post-Freud.”

More here-

Matthew Shepard to be interred at Washington National Cathedral on Oct. 26

From D.C.-

Twenty years ago, the world was horrified when it heard the story of Matthew Shepard, a gay man who died after being beaten and tied to a fence in a remote part of Wyoming.

“In some ways, Matthew’s death may have been even more important to our straight allies than our community itself, in the sense that it shows what happens when ‘Good people remain silent in the face of injustice,'” says Bishop Gene V. Robinson. “It serves as a symbol of the kind of senseless violence committed against our community simply because of who we are.”

Robinson, the first openly gay priest to be consecrated as a bishop in the Episcopal Church, praises Shepard’s parents, Dennis and Judy, for channeling their grief into advocacy, choosing to travel around the world urging tolerance, compassion, and respect for those who are different. By raising awareness of the LGBTQ community’s challenges, Robinson says they helped pave the way for later LGBTQ rights victories — from the end of the military’s ‘Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell’ policy to the legalization of same-sex marriage.

More here-

United Methodists, Episcopalians perfect Full Communion document

From The Methodists-

The United Methodist-Episcopal dialogue committee held a meeting recently to continue its conversations about a proposal for full communion between these churches entitled “A Gift to the World: Co-Laborers for the Healing of Brokenness.” The committee met at the Nicholas Center of St. James Cathedral in downtown Chicago on October 1-2, 2018.

After receiving reports on the proposal from The United Methodist Committee on Faith and Order and the Inter-Anglican Standing Commission on Unity, Faith, and Order (IASCUFO), members of the committee discussed and implemented a final round of edits to “A Gift to the World” in response to input from these bodies and other public conversations surrounding the document.

The document is now in its definitive form and will be going before The Council of Bishops of The United Methodist Church for preliminary action the first week of November 2018. The updated document can be found online.

More here-

Prominent evangelical leader on Khashoggi crisis: let’s not risk “$100 billion worth of arms sales”

From Vox-

A major evangelical leader has spoken in defense of US-Saudi relations after the apparent killing of journalist Jamal Khashoggi in a Saudi consulate, saying that America has more important things — like arms deals — to focus on.

Pat Robertson, founder of the Christian Broadcasting Network, appeared on its flagship television show The 700 Club on Monday to caution Americans against allowing the United States’ relationship with Saudi Arabia to deteriorate over Khashoggi’s death.

“For those who are screaming blood for the Saudis — look, these people are key allies,” Robertson said. While he called the faith of the Wahabists — the hardline Islamist sect to which the Saudi Royal Family belongs — “obnoxious,” he urged viewers to remember that “we’ve got an arms deal that everybody wanted a piece of…it’ll be a lot of jobs, a lot of money come to our coffers. It’s not something you want to blow up willy-nilly.” 

More here-

Wednesday, October 17, 2018

Evangelical Bishops Warn of 'Major Problems' If Church of England Changes Stance on Sexuality

From Christian Post-

A group of evangelical bishops have sent a warning about the consequences that could arise if the Church of England decides to alter its stance on sexuality.

Eleven bishops affiliated with the Church of England Evangelical Council signed onto a joint letter sent Saturday to the head of the Church of England's Living in Love and Faith project, which was established last summer by the House of Bishops as a two-year initiative to develop a deeper understanding on sexuality in light of the cultural push for LGBT affirmation and rights.

The project will culminate in the production of teaching resources expected to be released in 2020.
The letter sent to the Bishop of Coventry Christopher Cocksworth urges him and other leaders involved in the LLF initiative to clearly articulate the "traditional teaching" of sexuality in which intercourse is only permitted in the confines of a one man-one woman marriage.

More here-

Melbourne Anglican budget hit by redress

From Australia-

Melbourne Archbishop Philip Freier says the diocese's budget will be significantly affected by the cost of redress.
The diocese's redress liability has been estimated at between $12.2 million and $21 million.
Addressing the annual Melbourne synod or parliament on Wednesday night, Archbishop Freier said the Anglican diocese's budget situation was tight.
He said $8 million in initial capital will be set aside for redress with $2.5 million to be added annually over the next five years "to give confidence that redress payments can be honoured".

More here-

Episcopal Diocese of Kansas to make history with first woman bishop

From Kansas-

History will be made Friday in Topeka, when the Episcopal Church in Kansas elects its next bishop from a slate of three candidates, all of whom are women.

According to Episcopal church officials, the vote will mark the first time a woman has been elected to serve as the bishop in Kansas. The Episcopal Diocese in Kansas was founded in 1859.

Beyond that, the vote will mark the first time in the history of the Episcopal Church in the United States that all bishop candidates are women, according to national church leaders.

The vote, which will be carried out by clergy and lay delegates from the Episcopal Church in Kansas, will determine the 10th bishop since the founding of the Kansas diocese 159 years ago.

The three candidates are:

• The Rev. Cathleen Chittenden Bascom, assistant professor of religion at Waldorf University, Forest City, Iowa, in the Diocese of Iowa.

• The Rev. Martha N. Macgill, rector, Emmanuel Episcopal Church, Cumberland, Md., in the Diocese of Maryland.

• The Rev. Helen Svoboda-Barber, rector, St. Luke’s Episcopal Church, Durham, N.C., in the Diocese of North Carolina.

More here-

This is what happens when you take Ayn Rand seriously

From PBS-

“Ayn Rand is my hero,” yet another student tells me during office hours. “Her writings freed me. They taught me to rely on no one but myself.”

As I look at the freshly scrubbed and very young face across my desk, I find myself wondering why Rand’s popularity among the young continues to grow. Thirty years after her death, her book sales still number in the hundreds of thousands annually — having tripled since the 2008 economic meltdown. Among her devotees are highly influential celebrities, such as Brad Pitt and Eva Mendes, and politicos, such as current Speaker of the House Paul Ryan and Republican presidential candidate Ted Cruz.

The core of Rand’s philosophy — which also constitutes the overarching theme of her novels — is that unfettered self-interest is good and altruism is destructive. This, she believed, is the ultimate expression of human nature, the guiding principle by which one ought to live one’s life. In “Capitalism: The Unknown Ideal,” Rand put it this way:

More here-

Tuesday, October 16, 2018

Eugene Peterson Enters Hospice Care

From Christianity Today-

“Every moment in this man’s presence is sacred.”

So concluded the son of Eugene Peterson in a weekend announcement that the 85-year-old retired pastor and bestselling author of The Message and A Long Obedience in the Same Direction is receiving hospice care.

Robert Creech, a professor of Christian ministries at Baylor University’s Truett Seminary, shared the announcement from Eric Peterson on Facebook.

“Eugene Peterson has encouraged, formed, and often literally saved the ministry of more than one pastor over the years through his writing and thinking (I would include myself in that list),” wrote Creech in a Saturday post now shared more than 1,000 times. “He has refreshed Scripture for many through his thoughtful paraphrase of the Bible published as The Message.

More here-

Executive Council meets in Minnesota, aims to link ‘local context’ to broader Jesus Movement

From ENS-

The Episcopal Church’s Executive Council kicked off its first meeting since the 79th General Convention on Oct. 15, gathering in a conference center in this Twin Cities suburb to begin discussing how to align church operations with the priorities and mandates established in July.

The 40 voting members of Executive Council and additional nonvoting members are a broad mix of races, ages, genders and places of origin. One example was Table 4, where Honduras Bishop Lloyd Allen from sat across from the Rev. Devon Anderson, rector at the nearby Trinity Episcopal Church in Excelsior, Minnesota. The Rev. Gay Clark Jennings, House of Deputies president, lauded the group for its diversity – “more diverse than it was at last triennium, and I think God for that.”

Presiding Bishop Michael Curry opened the morning session at Oak Ridge Hotel & Conference Center by using a passage from the Gospel of John to set the tone for this four-day session: “I am the vine, you are the branches,” Jesus said during his Last Supper. “Those who abide in me and I in them bear much fruit, because apart from me you can do nothing.”

More here-

Episcopal Church confronts past role in sexual exploitation

From New York-

With striking displays of candor, the Episcopal Church is acknowledging the potency of the #MeToo movement by officially lamenting its past role in sexual exploitation and pledging steps to combat it.
The Protestant denomination’s national convention this summer included an emotional session at which first-person accounts of abuse by clergy and other church personnel were read aloud by bishops of the same gender as the victims — six men, six women. Dioceses nationwide are now seeking to gather and share similar stories from victims in their local church communities.

That process of story sharing has been particularly dramatic in the Diocese of New York, where Bishop Andrew Dietsche released a blunt pastoral letter on Sept. 11. It described the most famous of his predecessors, the late Paul Moore Jr., as a “serial predator” who engaged in “long-time patterns” of sexual exploitation and abuse.

Moore, as charismatic bishop of the diocese from 1972 to 1989, became one of the nation’s foremost liberal Christian activists. He supported the ordination of women and gays while assailing racism, corporate avarice and various U.S. military policies.

More here-

Russian Orthodox Church cuts ties with Constantinople

From The Guardian-

The Russian Orthodox Church has announced it will break off relations with the Patriarchate of Constantinople in a religious schism driven by political friction between Russia and Ukraine.

The Synod of the Russian Orthodox Church elected on Monday to cut ties with the Ecumenical Patriarchate of Constantinople, which is viewed as the leading authority for the world’s 300 million Orthodox worshippers.

The split is a show of force by Russia after a Ukrainian church was granted independence.

Last week Bartholomew I of Constantinople, the “first among equals” of eastern Orthodox clerics, granted autocephaly (independence) to the Ukrainian Orthodox Church, which previously answered to Moscow.

More here-

and here-

Monday, October 15, 2018

Evangelical bishops issue blunt warning to Church of England on sexuality

From Christian Today-

Anglican evangelical bishops have warned of 'major problems' and the danger of division if the Church of England changes its stance on sexuality.

Eleven leading evangelical bishops have issued a joint letter in which they say that the traditional Christian view of sex as being for heterosexual marriage alone 'is the teaching of Scripture' and 'therefore expresses the character and will of God'.

They warn any changes in that stance 'will create major problems for many of us, both here and in the wider [Anglican] Communion', declaring that 'recent history tragically demonstrates that introducing changes in teaching and liturgy has consistently divided Anglicans globally and within provinces'.

More here-

Sunday, October 14, 2018

Indigenous bishop groundbreaking for Sask.

From Canada-

Harper has been elected bishop of the Anglican Diocese of Saskatoon. His appointment is groundbreaking because Harper is the first Treaty Six member to become an Anglican Diocesan bishop.

Harper was born in Paradise Hill and spent half his younger life on the Onion Lake First Nation, the other half living off reserve in a number of locations in Alberta and Saskatchewan.
A hard work ethic has always been part of his life, and during the nearly two decades he worked as an EMT/EMT-A, he was also involved in lay ministry in his church.

“At one point, our parish was without a priest,” Harper says, “and the bishop of Saskatchewan approached me about conducting lay ministry services. I wanted to do it right, and I believed that required some education.”

To that end, Harper enrolled in James Settee College which provides theological education for Indigenous clergy and laity.

More here-

Tasmanian Government blasts Anglican Church over 'de facto death tax' claim

From Tasmania-

The State Government has accused Tasmania's Anglican Church of "scaremongering" after it said changes to the Burial Act were effectively a $20,000 "

Earlier this year, the state's Anglican Church announced it would sell more than 100 properties to help fund its redress scheme for survivors of sexual abuse. 

In response to community concerns over the sales and the impact on loved ones' graves, the State Government reviewed the legislation around the governance of cemeteries.

On Sunday morning, the Anglican Diocese of Tasmania said there would be an "unintended response" to the proposed changes to the Burial Act.

It claimed the cost of burial plots would rise by between $15,000 and $20,000.

More here-

Bishop Robert Skirving elected 25th Chancellor of the University

From Sewanee-

On Friday, October 12, the Board of Trustees elected the Rt. Rev. Robert Skirving (H’15) as the 25th Chancellor of the University.

Skirving serves as the Bishop of the Diocese of East Carolina, which covers the eastern third of North Carolina, where he has been bishop since 2014. Prior to that, he was the Rector of St. John’s Episcopal Church in Midland, Michigan. Ordained to the priesthood in 1986, he served a number of parishes in Ontario before being called to St. John’s in 2005. Skirving is also originally from Ontario, making him the first Canadian Chancellor of the University.

In the wider church, Skirving has been a Deputy to General Convention and a member of the House of Deputies Committee on the State of the Church. 

More here-