Saturday, November 3, 2018

Over 200 Anglican Clergymen Barricade Anambra government house gate over property seizure

From Nigeria-

Priests of the Diocese on the Niger, Anglican Communion, yesterday in Awka, protested against the alleged forceful seizure of the church’s property by the Anambra State Government in the commercial city of Onitsha. The clergymen, numbering over 200, arrived the Government House gate around 11.00am, carrying placards in protest against the alleged forceful takeover of Bishop Crowder Memorial School in Onitsha.

The placards had various inscriptions, such as ‘Gov. Obiano, stop disrupting our church services and activities,’ Bishop Crowder Memorial Primary School is not government property,’ among others.The priests, who barricaded the entrance gate of the Government House, insisted that only Governor Willie Obiano should address them, adding that no other official of the state government could address us, not even the deputy governor, Dr. Nkem Okeke. 

More here-

From royal wedding to ABQ cathedral

From Rio Grande-

The presiding bishop and primate of the Episcopal Church, who gained worldwide attention earlier this year when he delivered a sermon at the royal wedding of Britain’s Prince Harry to American actress Meghan Markle, is in Albuquerque this weekend to ordain the new Episcopal bishop of the Diocese of the Rio Grande.

The Most Rev. Michael Curry will lead the 30 bishops who are here to witness the ordination and consecration of Michael Hunn.

In the Episcopal and Anglican traditions, three bishops are required to consecrate one new bishop. The presence of 30 bishops is a statement of the importance of Hunn and the Diocese of the Rio Grande, Curry said.

Curry, who is based in New York City, is the author of the just released book, “The Power of Love,” a compilation of his most notable sermons, including the one he delivered at the royal wedding.

More here-

Friday, November 2, 2018

Sex conviction comes back to haunt ex-priest David Norton at trial

From London-

Disgraced ex-cleric David Norton said he would never engage in sexual activities with a little boy, and certainly not the altar boys at Chippewas of the Thames First Nation.

“It isn’t the sort of thing I would ever do,” he said during testimony in his own defence at his trial on five historic sex-related charges.

But, the problem, the Crown pointed out, is Norton did.

After his defence lawyer Lakin Afolabi successfully argued Norton’s guilty plea earlier this year to abusing a London boy at St. Mark’s church in 1990s shouldn’t be treated as similar-fact evidence at his trial this week, Norton opened the door for assistant Crown attorney Chris Heron to ask him about that very thing.

It was a colossal blunder in the witness box. With each question from Heron after that moment, it was as if Norton had taken up a shovel to dig a deeper hole for himself.

More here-

US church leaders urge President to restore vital funding to East Jerusalem hospitals

From Lutheran World-

Leaders of Lutheran, Catholic and Episcopal (Anglican) churches in the United States have jointly called on the US President to restore vital funding for four church-associated medical institutions in East Jerusalem. By halting this humanitarian assistance “lives are being threatened unnecessarily,” they say in a joint statement issued today.

The five church leaders, Presiding Bishop Elizabeth A. Eaton (Evangelical Lutheran Church in America), Presiding Bishop Michael B. Curry (The Episcopal Church), Archbishop Timothy P. Broglio (United States Conference of Catholic Bishops), Bishop William O. Gafkjen (Evangelical Lutheran Church in America), and Bishop Joseph C. Bambera (United States Conference of Catholic Bishops) say restoring the vital financial support “is a morally correct thing to do” so that patients can “continue to receive the treatment and care they need.”

One of the affected institutions is Augusta Victoria Hospital (AVH), which is run by The Lutheran World Federation (LWF). For decades, AVH, St. John of Jerusalem Eye Hospital and Princess Basma Rehabilitation Centre (Anglican /Episcopal), and St. Joseph’s Hospital (Catholic) had been assured of US humanitarian assistance. Recently, President Donald Trump’s administration decided to discontinue such support as part of a wider move to curtail funding towards Palestinians.

More here-

Church-wide Bible Reading Initiative Begins in Epiphany 2019

From The Episcopal Church-

Forward Movement, along with partners from across the Episcopal Church, invites all Episcopalians to participate in the Good Book Club, a church-wide Bible reading initiative. The Good Book Club will focus on Paul’s Letter to the Romans, with participants reading a section of scripture each day during the Epiphany season, starting on January 7, 2019.
 “When we commit ourselves to reading God’s Word, we open ourselves to the opportunity for transformation,” said Richelle Thompson, deputy director and managing editor of Forward Movement. “Although Paul wrote this letter to the Romans, the message of salvation and redemption through the risen Christ is one we all need to hear and embrace today.”

The Good Book Club kicked off during Lent and Easter of 2018, with tens of thousands of Episcopalians reading the Gospel of Luke and the Book of Acts. Survey results from participants showed a hunger and desire to continue the initiative and provide more opportunities for people to read and discuss scripture together. Romans was the first choice of participants for the next Good Book Club.

More here-


Final preparations underway for inauguration of Chile as 40th Anglican Communion Province

From ACNS-

The Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby is travelling to Santiago to officially inaugurate the newest Province of the Anglican Communion. The Iglesia Anglicana de Chile – the Anglican Church of Chile – will become the 40th Anglican Communion Province when it is inaugurated on Sunday. Archbishop Justin will preside over the ceremony, which will be held at the Grange School in the city of Santiago. Usual Sunday services in local churches have been suspended to enable people to take part. The service will also be available to watch via the Facebook Live facility.

“The birth of a new province of the Anglican Communion is moment to rejoice and give thanks and praise to God”, Archbishop Justin said. “It is a hope-filled reminder that God’s vision for the Church is always bigger than we can imagine.

“As followers of Jesus we are called to be part of this ongoing revolution of love that transforms lives and changes the world through dealing with sin and opening the way to salvation. Especially at a time when there is so much in our world that needs healing, here is a sign that the Spirit of God points towards Jesus in his obedience to the Father.

More here-

also here-

Thursday, November 1, 2018

Anglican church told to apologise for marriage vote conduct rather than 'legalise bullying'

From The Guardian-

The Sydney Anglican church should apologise for its conduct in the marriage law postal survey, rather than lobby to “legalise bullying against LGBTIQ students”, the independent New South Wales MP and Equality Campaign co-chair Alex Greenwich has said.

Greenwich issued a stinging rebuke after a group of 34 Anglican principals demanded exemptions from discrimination law be preserved until a positive right to freedom of religion was created, saying the church should repair its relationship with the LGBTIQ community after “knowingly” harming it in the campaign.

Greenwich has written to Michael Stead, the bishop of South Sydney, seeking a formal apology from the Anglican church – which donated $1m to the Coalition for Marriage campaign against same-sex marriage – for “harmful and damaging conduct” in the postal survey.

More here-

Where presidents go to pray

From Washington D.C.-

On Nov. 1, 1800, John Adams became the first U.S. president to move into the White House. The following day he wrote a letter to his wife, Abigail, in which he composed a beautiful prayer.

A portion of John Adams’ prayer was inscribed on the mantelpiece in the State Dining Room by President Franklin D. Roosevelt: “I pray Heaven to bestow the best of blessings on this house and all that shall hereafter inhabit it. May none but honest and wise men ever rule under this roof.”

John Adams described himself in 1811: “I have been a church-going animal for seventy-six years from the cradle.”

Adams entered in his diary, July 26, 1796: “The Christian religion is, above all the Religions that ever prevailed or existed in ancient or modern times.”

Beginning with Thomas Jefferson and continuing till after the Civil War, church services were held in the United States Capitol Building. These services were attended by sitting Presidents, being held each Sunday in the U.S. Capitol House Chamber. Attendance reached over 2,000, making it the largest Protestant Sabbath audience in the nation.

After the White House was finished being built, the next building constructed on
Lafayette Square was St. John’s Episcopal Church. James Madison was the first president to worship at St. John’s Episcopal Church, referred to as “the Church of the Presidents.” His wife, Dolley Madison, was baptized and confirmed there. The church’s 1,000-pound bell was cast by Paul Revere’s son.


St. Luke’s Darien Parish pastor leaving parish for new post in Philadelphia

From Connecticut-

The pastor of one of Darien’s largest churches is leaving after being a mainstay there on and off for decades, he announced this week. 
In a letter sent to the parish on Monday, the Rev. David Anderson announced he is leaving the parish after accepting a chaplain job in Philadelphia. 

On why he is leaving, the letter wrote, “I have accepted a call to become the Chaplain of Episcopal Community Services in Philadelphia. I will be working with the Executive Director and the ECS team in an “ambassador” role, linking the diocese, the churches and ECS in the gospel work of addressing both the needs of the poor and the causes of poverty itself.”

Anderson began his ministry at Saint Luke’s, right out of seminary in 1989 as associate rector. In 1992 he left to lead a church in Pennsylvania and returned to St. Luke’s eleven years later, in 2003, to become Rector.

More here-

Bishop takes control of St. Paul’s Church in Darien

From Connecticut-

Months of tension between St. Paul’s Episcopal Church’s parish leaders and rector have ended in all positions being dissolved. The church now falls under the authority of the Rev. Ian Douglas, bishop diocesan of the Episcopal Church in Connecticut.

This comes after repeated mediation between the former vestry, which are the lay leadership of the church, and former Rev. Canon George Kovoor. In June, conflict between the two parties led to an attempt by the vestry to change the locks of the church. A lawsuit was later filed July 6, accusing Kovoor of obtaining his job by providing false credentials.

More here-

Pakistan Acquits Christian Woman Facing Death Penalty For Blasphemy

From Huffington-

A Christian woman who was sentenced to death in Pakistan eight years ago on blasphemy charges has been acquitted by the country’s top court.

Asia Bibi’s release was ordered by Chief Justice Mian Saqib Nisar in a landmark ruling which could ignite mass protests or violence by hardline Islamists.

Bibi had been held at an undisclosed location for security reasons and is expected to leave the country.

The charges against her date back to a hot day in 2009, when she went to get water for herself and her fellow farm workers.

Two Muslim women refused to drink from a container used by a Christian, and a few days later, a mob accused her of blasphemy. She was convicted and sentenced to death.

More here-

Pittsburghers treat each other as one community. We should all learn from them.

From The Washington Post-

The horrific shooting at Tree of Life Synagogue in Pittsburgh happened on the eve of the anniversary of my own bar mitzvah there, some 51 years ago. Pittsburgh’s Jewish community was then, and remains today, a giant family. Even those of us who moved away have stayed closely connected to it and to each other. Our hearts ache as one.

The synagogue is at the heart of the close-knit Jewish community in Squirrel Hill, a bustling neighborhood filled with tree-lined streets and ethnic restaurants. Pittsburgh is a city where neighborhoods like this are still common, where people get to know one another, where they welcome new neighbors and mourn the passing of old ones. It is a city of grit and compassion, one that can offer a model of how to counter the hatred that is tearing America apart.

The suspect in the 11 synagogue murders was reportedly motivated by anti-Semitism and anti-immigrant hatred. A particular target of his venom, according to news reports about his apparent online posts, was the Hebrew Immigrant Aid Society, or HIAS, an organization that assists refugees of all faiths. I am proud to serve on its board.

More here-

Wednesday, October 31, 2018

Charles WILL be Defender of the Faith: Prince of Wales is fascinated by Islam and Judaism but will take Anglican vow when he's King, writes biographer ROBERT JOBSON

From The Daily Mail-

Queen Elizabeth II, as we all know, is a devout High Church Anglican. 

Charles, on the other hand, has taken a great interest in other religions, studying both the Koran and Judaism in depth.

In 1993, for instance, he said: 'Islam can teach us today a way of understanding and living in the world which Christianity itself is poorer for having lost.'

This was widely quoted as proof that he had abandoned Christianity, though he remains a practising Anglican. 

Clearly, however, our next Supreme Governor of the Church of England plans to do the job a little differently.

More here-

Anglican principals warn over protections

From Australia-

The federal government will get the balance right in protecting freedom of religion and preventing LGBT teachers from being discriminated against by religious schools, Education Minister Dan Tehan says.

The principals of dozens of Anglican schools in Sydney have written to federal MPs warning against changing anti-discrimination laws to protect LGBT teachers from being excluded by religious schools.

The group says the shift would undermine their faith's core values.

"Until such time as religious freedom is codified in legislation, the exemptions should remain," their open letter states.

The coalition vowed to protect LGBT students and teachers in religious schools after the findings of a review into religious freedom were leaked earlier this month, sparking furious debate about their rights.

More here-

Episcopal Church in Colorado elects first African American woman bishop in its history

From Colorado-

Growing up between two military bases in North Carolina, the Rev. Kimberly Lucas  learned early the values and challenges of diversity. She learned how to garden from a Japanese neighbor and discovered treasures at the local Mexican-Thai bodega.

When she married her husband, Mark, the two had to navigate what it meant to be a multi-racial family in the United States.

For Lucas, diversity has always been an integral part of her past. Now, she plans to brings that perspective to parishioners across Colorado.

On Saturday, Lucas was chosen as the 11th bishop of the Episcopal Church in Colorado, becoming the church’s first woman and first African-American bishop in state history.

More here-

Tuesday, October 30, 2018

You’re deceitful, join politics, Fayose tells Anglican bishop

From Nigeria-

Embattled former governor of Ekiti State, Ayodele Fayose, has rebuked the Bishop of Ekiti State, Anglican Communion, Christopher Omotunde, for describing his tenure as a wasted four years.

In a statement signed by his Chief Press Secretary, Idowu Adelusi, and made available to journalists on Monday, Mr Fayose, who has just been released from detention on bail, said the bishop should remove the “cassock and mount the soap box” so that the whole world would know that he had joined politics.

Mr Omotunde during a thanksgiving service held for the deputy governor, Bisi Egbeyemi, on Sunday in Ado Ekiti, reportedly said Mr Fayose’s tenure was a wasted four years which stunted the growth of the state.

The bishop said Mr Fayose’s daily criticisms and opposition to President Muhammadu Buhari, for instance, denied Ekiti of “many benefits”.
He said while Mr Fayose was busy abusing the president, “other wiser PDP governors were busy attracting projects to their states and financial support from the federal government because of their good relationship with the President”.

More here-

Diocesan convention vote puts Connecticut congregation under direct authority of bishop

From ENS-

On Oct. 26, the highest governing body of the Episcopal Church in Connecticut (ECCT) — its Annual Convention — changed the internal governance of St. Paul’s Episcopal Church in Darien putting the church directly under the authority of the Rt. Rev. Ian T. Douglas, Bishop diocesan.  This action was taken as a result of the refusal of its elected lay leaders to participate in reconciliation efforts with its rector, the Rev. George Kovoor.

The action changed St. Paul’s status in ECCT from a “Parish” to a “Worshiping Community,” which puts it now under the exclusive supervision, direction, and control of Bishop Douglas. While the change in status does not affect the worship life or the property of St. Paul’s, the change ended the authority of the previous lay leaders of the church, the Vestry and Wardens, whose job it had been to oversee the property and business affairs of St. Paul’s.

More here-

Episcopal church battle over Fresno real estate, gay clergy leads to trial

From San Joaquin-

A national church is suing its former followers in Fresno in a real estate battle launched by the church's decision to accept gay and female clergy members.

Attorneys delivered opening arguments Monday in the case pitting The Episcopal Church and the Diocese of San Joaquin against St. Columba Church and its congregants who split away from the religion.

The Episcopal Church says the administration at St. Columba and its pastor, Rev. James Snell, illegally took possession of the church on Palm and Shaw in 2008.

The diocese's former bishop, John-David Schofield, tried to remove the diocese from the greater Episcopal Church starting in 2006, not long after the national church elected its first gay bishop, Gene Robinson. Schofield handed over control of the property itself to St. Columba before the Episcopal Church removed him in 2008, and he helped move St. Columba into the Anglican Church in North America.

More here-

Kym Lucas elected bishop of Episcopal Church in Colorado

From Colorado-

The Rev. Kimberly (Kym) Lucas was chosen as the 11th Bishop of the Episcopal Church in Colorado during its 131st Annual Convention held at Saint John’s Cathedral in Denver on Oct. 27.

One of two candidates, Lucas was elected on the fourth ballot, receiving 124 of 173 clergy votes and 237 of 306 lay votes. In order to be elected, a candidate needed to receive two-thirds votes from both the clergy and the lay delegates, voting separately as orders in the same balloting round. The second ballot was invalid due to a reporting error after the announcement of the first ballot. The other candidate was The Rev. Ruth Woodliff-Stanley, canon to the ordinary of the Episcopal Church in Colorado.

More here-

'Possible hate crime' reported as Lander Episcopal church is defaced with homophobic graffiti

From Wyoming-

Homophobic graffiti was discovered on the Trinity Episcopal Church in Lander on Friday morning, the same day Matthew Shepard’s remains were laid to rest at an Episcopal church in Washington. The Episcopal Diocese of Wyoming is calling the incident “a possible hate crime,” according to an announcement.
The Rev. Janet Seeley found the graffiti, which includes the phrases “False hope fags,” “Lies” and “Fake,” as well as drawings of male genitalia. There is also an image of a frowning face with the eyes crossed out and “Run” beneath it.
“As Bishop of the Diocese of Wyoming, I personally abhor this act and pray that those responsible will be held accountable and have their hearts changed,” the Right Rev. John S. Smylie, bishop of the Episcopal Diocese of Wyoming, said in the announcement. “I appeal to the people of the State of Wyoming to stand with and to pray for those targeted in the Lander community.”

More here-

Monday, October 29, 2018

How Should Churches Respond to Mass Shootings?

From Christianity Today-

In the wake of this morning’s mass shooting at Tree of Life Synagogue in Pittsburg, faith leaders across the country are once again asking what they can do to keep something similar from happening at their place of worship.

At the same time, the national conversation about gun laws has resurfaced with a renewed sense of urgency both inside and outside these sacred spaces. Dr. Jamie D. Aten had the opportunity to talk about these important issues with W. Craig Fugate, who served under both Democratic and Republican administrations as the head FEMA administrator from 2009-2017 and as Florida’s Emergency Management Director from 2001-2009. During his time at FEMA, he led responses to the Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church shooting in Charleston, SC (2015) and the mass shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, CT (2012).

Below, Fugate shares with Aten his perspective on how churches and houses of worship can have a better conversation about how to move forward and prepare for possible events without compromising their core identity or community responsibility.

More here-

Better Angels foster dialogue between local conservatives and liberals

From Mass-

Although officially described as a workshop, a gathering of “blues” and “reds” on Saturday was also something of a retreat.

The day-long session to foster dialogue between conservatives and liberals using a Better Angels approach, brought together seven self-described “blues” and four “reds” for a series of exercises at the Episcopal Church of St. James and St. Andrew.

Organizers from Community Conversations — a Franklin County group that’s been meeting for months — attempted to attract an equal number of community members, they explained, but were unable because of a reluctance from the “red” minority in Massachusetts to come forward.

The workshop, one of 130 around the nation since the bi-partisan Better Angels organization was created in 2016, was also attended by more than a dozen observers.

Each side, meeting separately, identified stereotypes that members felt the “opposite” group held about them, then analyzed the myths about each stereotype, as well as the kernel of truth about it. Discussing  the findings together afterward, the exercise helped both sides be self-critical, demonstrate humility and see each other beyond stereotypes.

More here-

Massachusetts Episcopal bishops, Catholic leaders decry deadly synagogue attack

From Mass Live-

The bishops of the two Episcopal dioceses in Massachusetts are among the religious leaders issuing statements of support to the victims of Saturday's attack on a Pittsburgh synagogue during a baby-naming ceremony that killed 11 people and injured 6, including four police officers.

The statement from Bishops Douglas J. Fisher, Alan M. Gates, Gayle E. Harris, also pushed back on President Donald Trump's statement that the "results would have been far better" if the targeted Tree of Life synagogue had hired an armed guard.

"A ceremony celebrating new life has become the latest setting for the murderous intersection of bigotry, religious hatred and easy access to lethal weapons," the bishops' statement reads.

"We extend our deepest condolences, solidarity and kinship to our sisters and brothers at the Tree of Life synagogue and to the wider Jewish community throughout the nation upon the massacre today in Pittsburgh."

More here-

Sunday, October 28, 2018

Statement from Pittsburgh Bishop on Synagogue Shooting

From ENS-

A short time ago, a gunman entered Tree of Life Synagogue in Squirrel Hill, apparently shouting anti-Jewish slogans and shooting into the crowd of worshippers gathered for the Sabbath. As of this writing, eight people are known dead and others injured.

The newscasts, sickeningly, are referring again and again to this horror as a “tragedy.” It is no such thing. A tragedy is inevitable. This was not. It was murder, murder of a particularly vile and poisonous kind. Human beings have moral agency. Someone chose to hate, and chose to kill. And now we are faced with a choice as well— to do nothing, or to reject this hatred in the strongest possible words and actions, and to refute in every way, in every forum, the philosophical foundations of anti-Semitism wherever they have gained a foothold in our churches and our society.

More here-