Saturday, November 10, 2018

Rick Warren Rushed to Hospital for Emergency Surgery, Expected to Make Full Recovery

From CBN-

Rick Warren, the best-selling author and pastor of one of the largest churches in the country, has been hospitalized. News of his condition broke after his wife, Kay Warren, was forced to pull out of a speaking engagement in Northern Ireland and return to her husband’s side. Rick, the author of “A Purpose Driven Life,” has had to undergo “immediate surgery” for an “intestinal condition.”

Kay, a leading mental health advocate and well-known public speaker, was due to be the special guest at the “Illuminate” conference in Coleraine, on the north coast of Northern Ireland, before having to pull out. According to the note, Warren heard the concerning news about her husband while “in the air and just a few hours from arrival.”

Encouragingly, the announcement noted that Rick is “expected to recover” from the operation, though it did not give any further details on his current condition, other than confirming that Kay would be “immediately returning to the United States to be with her family.”

The Saddleback Church also told Charisma News Warren's surgery went well and he is out now and is expected to fully recover.

More here-

Friday, November 9, 2018

God will rebuild Nigeria, says Anglican primate

From Nigeria-

The Primate, Church of Nigeria, Anglican Communion, Most Rev. Nicholas Okoh, on Thursday, said God’s plan to restore and rebuild Nigeria would manifest soon.

Okoh stated this in Abuja while briefing newsmen on the 2018 Divine Commonwealth Conference (DIVCCON) scheduled to hold at the Ecumenical Centre, Abuja, from Monday to Friday.

He announced the theme of the conference as “I Will Restore”, saying restoration meant returning to original position.

According to him, it also means bringing back what existed before, a return of something to a former or unimpaired position and restitution of something taken away or lost.

“One common denominator in all the meanings of restoration is the return of something to its original form,” he explained.

More here-

Episcopal, Roman Catholic Bishops Call On Their Flocks To Be Compassionate

From Long Island-

Last week, the bishops of the Episcopal Diocese of Long Island and the Roman Catholic Diocese of Brooklyn published pastoral letters regarding the recent shooting at a Pittsburgh synagogue, and acts of vandalism against Jews in Brooklyn, as well as the then-upcoming elections and national political climate.

The Rt. Rev. Lawrence Provenzano, the Episcopal Bishop of a diocese that includes Brooklyn and Queens, addressed the anti-Semitic attacks. His letter reads, 

“Last week there was the horrendous anti-Semitic attack on worshippers at Pittsburgh’s Tree of Life synagogue. Today [Friday, Nov. 2] there is news of several Brooklyn synagogues and Jewish schools being attacked by an arsonist and Union Temple vandalized by graffiti—additional ugly displays of evil that appear to be on the increase in our nation.

“To counter this evil, I call on the priests and deacons of our diocese and the people of each of our congregations to be the personal, outward and visible expressions of God’s goodness for our Jewish sisters and brothers whose lives and worship are being silenced, threatened or disrupted.

More here-

Canon Janet Waggoner on slate for next bishop of Maine

From Ft. Worth-

The Rev. Canon Janet Waggoner is among the candidates on the slate announced on Thursday, November 8, 2018, by the Standing Committee of the Episcopal Diocese of Maine.

The electing convention for the 10th bishop of Maine will be held on Saturday, February 9, 2019 (with Saturday, February 23, as a snow date) at the Cross Insurance Center in Bangor, Maine.
“I am humbled and delighted to be invited to continue this journey of discernment with Episcopalians in the Diocese of Maine,’ Waggoner said. “I am grateful to the Discernment Committee for their diligence, care and leadership as they have guided the process to this point. I ask your prayers for me and the other nominees, and for all in the Diocese of Maine who are prayerfully engaged in calling their next bishop.”

Bishop Scott Mayer said, “I have full confidence that Canon Waggoner has the gifts and experience to serve the Church as a bishop. Janet, her family, and the Diocese of Maine will be in our prayers during this upcoming period of discernment. May God’s will be done.”

More here-

A Place for Death in the Life of the Church

From Christianity Today--

I remember the first time I touched a dead body. It was at my grandfather’s funeral. You know the scene: attendants in boxy black suits, the cloying scent of flowers, tissue boxes, breath mints, dusty funeral parlor furniture. As the sad murmur of relatives droned all around, I stepped up to the coffin and quickly reached in to touch his embalmed hands, folded nicely on his belly. They felt like cold, soft leather.

That was when death was still an anomaly to me, an outlier. Now it has become familiar, a recurring pattern in recent weeks and months. For the past several years, I’ve served as a pastor in a suburban parish, an evangelical who made his home in a mainline church. I don’t run the show, since I’m a lay pastor, but I’ve been there for most of the funerals. In the past few years we’ve had almost 40 in our parish. Those are a lot of faces I won’t get to see any more on Sunday mornings. Death is no longer a stranger to me; it is a regular part of my life.

This has been one of the more difficult parts of being a pastor, seeing people who faithfully served our Lord over decades take ill and start a steep decline. These deaths don’t have the shock of tragedy, of teenagers hit by cars or babies born without breath. Still, the dull ache of sorrow is there.

More here-

Thursday, November 8, 2018

Archbishop Justin given ecumenical welcome to Norwich

From England-

Archbishop Justin was welcomed by the Catholic Bishop of East Anglia and the Anglican Bishop of Norwich, alongside many other local church leaders in a short service of reconciliation. It is believed to be the first time any Archbishop of Canterbury has spoken at St John's Cathedral.

The service marked the start of a three-day visit to the Diocese of Norwich by the Archbishop, which will also include King’s Lynn on Thursday and Great Yarmouth on Friday.

A 500-strong congregation heard Catholic Bishop Alan Hopes open the service with a word of welcome to Archbishop Justin: “The theme of your visit is reconciliation, so it is hugely significant that you have chosen to begin with an ecumenical act of worship. It speaks clearly of the journey we are all called to make in our search for that unity of the Body of Christ which is in accordance with his will and of the healing of the wounds of past divisions. May your visit bring fresh impetus to that journey for Christians in Norfolk.”

More here-

Anambra: Obiano, Anglican church feud deepens

From Nigeria-

A group, under the auspices of Concerned Christian and Non-Christian Citizens of Anambra State, yesterday, embarked on a peaceful protest to the police headquarters in Amawbia Awka, where it submitted a protest letter to the state Commissioner of Police, Garba Baba Umar.

The group comprising young men and women and bearing placards of various inscriptions, amongst which was, “Bishop Owen Nwokolo is a politician,” urged the Nigeria Police to call the bishop to order.

The group accused the bishop of  blackmail, campaign of calumny and feeding the public with baseless information, which they said were aimed at casting aspersions on Governor Obiano.

The group’s protest letter, jointly signed by the Coordinator, Ernest Anafonye, and the Secretary, Onyedika Nwosu, read in part: “The said Bishop Owen Nwokolo deliberately, with the intention to incite the public, has taken to both the traditional and social media, to spread false rumours claiming that Governor Willie Obiano is marginalising members of the Anglican church in Anambra State.”

More here- 

also here-

‘God Is Going to Have to Forgive Me’: Young Evangelicals Speak Out

From The New York Times-

The role of evangelical Christianity in American politics has been a hotly discussed topic this year, intersecting with front-burner issues like immigration, the Supreme Court and social justice. Often the loudest evangelical voices are white, male and … not young.

With just days left before the midterm elections — two years after President Trump won the White House with a record share of white, evangelical support — we asked young evangelicals to tell The Times about the relationship between their faith and their politics.

Nearly 1,500 readers replied, from every state but Alaska and Vermont. Hundreds wrote long essays about their families and communities. They go to prominent megachurches as well as small Southern Baptist, nondenominational and even mainline Protestant congregations. Some said they have left evangelicalism altogether.

We read every submission and spent many hours interviewing respondents. Here’s what we learned:

More here-

Anti-Semitism in the Episcopal Church

From The Living Church-

After the shooting at the Tree of Life Synagogue in Squirrel Hill, the Rt. Rev. Dorsey McConnell, Bishop of Pittsburgh, released a statement inviting Episcopalians “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.” In the spirit of McConnell’s call for self-examination and repentance, perhaps it is time for the Episcopal Church to reflect on its complicity in anti-Semitism.

This may strike some as surprising since the Episcopal Church seems to be the vanguard of progressive mainline Christianity. Citing the single most-quoted clause of the Baptismal Covenant, Episcopalians have been quick to condemn instances when racists or neo-nationalists have violated the dignity of human beings. Robert Bowers’ deranged attack at the Tree of Life synagogue seems to have been motivated by these forces, lately given new life by the populist politics of the extreme right. However, anti-Semitism is not only a problem of the neo-nationalist right; it is increasingly a problem of the progressive left.

Lord Jonathan Sacks, former Chief Rabbi of the United Kingdom, describes anti-Semitism, or the attitude that denies the right of Jews to exist collectively as Jews, as a “virus that has survived over time by mutating.” He continues,

More here-

Wednesday, November 7, 2018

Former Anglican priest found guilty of sex-related charges

From Canada-

David Norton, a former Anglican priest and pastor at St. Andrews on the Chippewas of the Thames First Nation, has been convicted on numerous sex-related charges involving young boys.

Justice Lynda Templeton handed down her verdict at the London courthouse around noon on Tuesday.

She says it was "A difficult and emotional case," but ultimately, "I find that I don't believe Mr. Norton's testimony, his evidence simply did not ring true."

More here- 

also here-

Kenyan court orders mediation to solve Anglican homosexuality dispute

From Kenya-

A long-running dispute over three Anglican clergymen accused of homosexuality will be resolved through mediation, a court here ordered last week.

The three had sued Bishop Joseph Kagunda of the Mount Kenya West diocese in the High Court in Nyeri, challenging their 2015 suspensions over allegations that they were engaging in homosexual relationships and encouraging homosexuality among the church’s youth. They have denied all charges.

But last month, after a nearly three-year court battle, Justice Abigail Mshila of the Nyeri High Court ordered the parties to settle their disagreement by meeting with a mutually agreed-upon mediator. It is the first time mediation has been used to resolve a case of this kind.

“This is what we have been looking for,” the bishop told Religion News Service in a telephone interview on Oct. 26. “When we are in the courts, we cannot respect each other, but when we sit at the table, we come up with a way of working together. We are one people. When we sit at the table, we can start a new journey together.”

More here-

Anglican school leaders withdraw support for gay discrimination exemptions

From Australia-

Last week, the heads of 34 Anglican schools in New South Wales wrote to federal MPs urging them to protect exemptions in the Sex Discrimination Act that permitted them to sack or expel LGBTI staff and students.

Yesterday, the heads of Abbotsleigh private school for girls in Wahroonga and Barker College in Hornsby wrote to their communities, apologising for the distress the letter caused.
In response to criticism, the two school leaders signalled they would support the removal of the discrimination exemptions.

Meanwhile, former students from St Catherine's School in Waverley wrote to the school's headmistress, Julie Townsend, condemning her for a limp response to the backlash.

Dr Townsend, who signed the original letter from the Diocese of Sydney, said the exemptions were the only legislated protection of religious freedom the school enjoyed.

More here- 

also here-

Tuesday, November 6, 2018

500 Anglican priests storm Awka, block Obiano’s office

From Nigeria-

Fully robed priests of the Anglican Church numbering about 500 this afternoon stormed the Anambra State Government House protesting what they described as unprecedented sustained religious bigotry by the Gov Willie Obiano against non-Catholic faithfuls in the state especially the Anglicans.

Wearing long faces chanting popular Christian choruses, intermittently reading from the bible and singing sonorous but heart touching songs from their denominational Ancient and Modern official hymn book, the priests carefully and peacefully blocked the main entrance to the governor’s office and vowed never to quit the scene until Obiano personally addresses them.

They bore many placards with various inscriptions like, “Religious politics in Anambra has no end”, ”Governor Obiano give us back our land and school”, “Bishop Crowder memorial primary school Onitsha belongs to Anglican Church”, “Bishop Crowder is not government’s property”, “Willie Obiano leave our property for us.

More here-

'We are sorry': Anglican school backtracks from letter on gay teachers and students

From Australia-

A prominent Sydney Anglican school has apologised for signing a controversial letter calling on the Morrison government to maintain laws allowing schools to discriminate against gay teachers and pupils, and blamed church leaders for "unintended hurt and division" in the school community.

Faced with a backlash, the head of Barker College, Phillip Heath, pledged his support for removing exemptions to anti-discrimination laws that currently let religious schools discriminate against LGBTI staff and students.

Mr Heath earlier told the Fairfax Media he was "dismayed" by the response to the letter, which was signed by 34 Anglican principals and sent to all federal MPs including Prime Minister Scott Morrison.

On Tuesday, the north shore school went further and apologised to parents, students and alumni in two dispatches to the school community. Barker leaders also appeared to blame the Sydney Anglican diocese for a poorly-timed and poorly-worded communique.

More here-

and here-

and here-

Why this shrinking religious group might be among America’s last “swing voters”

From Vox-

White mainline Protestantism is in decline — at least, that’s been the prevailing narrative for the past few decades. 

White evangelical Christian denominations have ascended to political power, continuing a trajectory that’s been in place since Jerry Falwell founded the Moral Majority movement of the 1980s. Meanwhile, the traditionally politically centrist Protestant tradition — which includes such denominations as Episcopalians, Methodists, Disciples of Christ, and more — has ceded its position of influence in government and media while also hemorrhaging members

Mainline Protestants — 86 percent of whom are white (historically black Protestant churches, like the African Methodist Episcopal Church, are not generally counted among historic mainline denominations) — have historically been about evenly split between Republican and Democratic presidential candidates. But, in an increasingly fractured political landscape, what is next for these relative moderates?

More here-

Ex-Episcopal Bishop Heather Cook to remain in prison

From Baltimore-

A Baltimore judge denied this afternoon a reduction in Heather E. Cook’s prison sentence that would have meant almost immediate release for the former Episcopal bishop who killed a bicyclist while driving drunk in 2014.

Cook’s lawyers argued for mercy, saying the 62-year-old had been rehabilitated.

But Circuit Court Judge Timothy J. Doory refused. He cited the words of a mentor on the bench whose dictum was “concurrent time is no time at all.”

“Can I justify no time at all for leaving the scene [of a fatal accident]? I’m sorry to say, I cannot,” Doory said.

Cook had been asking that two of her four sentences be changed from consecutive to concurrent, a change which Doory said would essentially mean she was never punished for leaving the accident scene.

More here- 

also here-

Monday, November 5, 2018

All Saints Cathedral to hold mass wedding

From Uganda-

Thirteen couples have registered for the corporate wedding organised by the All Saints’ Cathedral in Kampala this month.

The Church’s communications officer, Mr Ivan Naijuka, said the November 23 event is aimed at preventing Christians from cohabiting. 

According to Mr Naijuka, the church always organises mass holy matrimony because weddings tend to be expensive, especially to the youth, as they have to pay for church dues, wedding receptions, food and drinks, which at times leave them indebted.

“As All Saints Cathedral we’re paying for everything for our couples which includes food and drinks, a cake for each couple, 40 people for each couple, decorations, marriage certificates and registering them with government, among others,” Mr Naijuka said at the weekend.

 More here-

A new Anglican Church of Kenya bishop has urged leaders to be accountable to the people and not abuse their power. Speaking during his consecration and enthronement, Maseno South Bishop Charles Ong’injo said those holding public offices must account for every penny disbursed to them. “One of the most serious factors affecting development in the counties and Kenya is the greed of leaders to remain in power forever and failing to deliver diligent services to the people,” he said.
Read more at:

an Church of Kenya bishop has urged leaders to be accountable to the people and not abuse their power. Speaking during his consecration and enthronement, Maseno South Bishop Charles Ong’injo said those holding public offices must account for every penny disbursed to them. “One of the most serious factors affecting development in the counties and Kenya is the greed of leaders to remain in power forever and failing to deliver diligent services to the people,” he said.
Read more at:
an Church of Kenya bishop has urged leaders to be accountable to the people and not abuse their power. Speaking during his consecration and enthronement, Maseno South Bishop Charles Ong’injo said those holding public offices must account for every penny disbursed to them. “One of the most serious factors affecting development in the counties and Kenya is the greed of leaders to remain in power forever and failing to deliver diligent services to the people,” he said.
Read more at:

Ballarat Anglicans may bless gay marriages

From Australia-

Coming almost a year after legislation passed allowing same-sex marriages in Australia, the motion asked that the synod “affirms that all people are accorded equal dignity and are created in the image and likeness of God, regardless of their sexuality or gender”, and acknowledge “the reality of the recent change in Australian marriage law to include same-sex couples”.
It also asked that the synod “commends the pastoral value of a Form of Blessing of a Marriage for optional use within the Diocese of Ballarat alongside, or in addition to, a secular wedding conducted by a civil celebrant”.
While the church will not conduct marriages, it leaves open the option to bless civil marriages.

More here-

Schools' letter misinterpreted as homophobic, Anglican Archbishop says

From Australia-

The Archbishop of Sydney says Anglican schools did not ask for and do not want exemptions from the Sex Discrimination Act but are seeking "a positive right to religious freedom".

Anglican Archbishop Glenn Davies said that a letter to federal MPs asking for exemptions for religious schools under the Sex Discrimination Act to be maintained until alternative forms of legal protection are brought in has been misinterpreted as being homophobic.

The letter was signed by the heads of 34 Anglican schools across Sydney and the Illawarra, and has sparked protests and petitions from nearly 2700 alumni of the signatory schools, who are calling for the letter to be retracted. The heads of two schools, Cranbook and SCEGGS Darlinghurst, reufsed to join the other schools in signing the letter.

"We call on you to retract your open letter and not judge your staff by their sexual orientation but by the quality of their work," the petition states.

More here- 

and here-

Sunday, November 4, 2018

Angry Coptic Christians mourn Egypt bus attack victims

From Egypt-

Angry Coptic Christians on Saturday buried relatives shot dead on a bus carrying pilgrims south of the Egyptian capital, the second such jihadist attack on the country's main religious minority in as many years.

The Islamic State (IS) group said it was behind Friday's attack which killed seven Christians returning from a visit to the desert cemetery of Saint Samuel that was also targeted in 2017.

A security source said another seven people were wounded in the shootings near the city of Minya.
Hundreds of angry Copts gathered in and around Minya's Prince Tadros church from dawn for the funeral of six victims, under heavy guard by masked security personnel.

The seventh victim, an Anglican, was buried Friday evening in a village outside Minya.

More here-

San Diego Churches Taking In Detained Immigrants Released by ICE

From San Diego-

Several local churches in San Diego say they are being overwhelmed with the influx of asylum-seeking immigrant being dropped off on the streets with nowhere to go.

The churches say they have been taking in about 50 people a day in 10 different locations. Their hospitality toward immigrants are needed more than ever as Immigration and Customs Enforcement releases detained families without any plans on where these asylum seekers should go or how they should get there.

"There has been a definite uptake in the number of people that are needing assistance right now," Episcopal Dioceses of San Diego spokeswoman Hannah Wilder said. "My understanding is that ICE is dropping people off without any place to go without any food or money."

More here-