Saturday, November 24, 2018

In Oxford, Elder Holland joins former archbishop of Canterbury in call to serve in ways that connect us to each other

From Salt Lake-

A Latter-day Saint apostle, a former archbishop of Canterbury and other religious leaders invited Christians Friday to use service to confront "toxic loneliness" and honor human interdependence during a panel discussion at the University of Oxford's Pembroke College.

Lord Rowan Williams, the 104th archbishop of Canterbury, joined Elder Jeffrey R. Holland of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and two others for "Inspiring Service."
They said humans are fundamentally interdependent and service is the lifeblood of not only those human connections but Christianity, democracies, communities, families and marriages. They also named many of their heroes of service and addressed the issue of would-be volunteers feeling overwhelmed by the world's needs and challenges.

More here-

Anglican priest gets seven days’ jail time for Trans Mountain protest

From Vancouver-

An Anglican priest and a member of her church were sentenced to seven days in jail, but avoided paying costly legal fees, for staging a protest on Trans Mountain’s Burnaby property in May.

Priest Laurel Dykstra and parishioner Lini Hutchings, both from the environmentally-focused church Salal and Cedar, appeared calm as they heard the sentencing on Friday, maintaining in their final statements that they were acting to protect Indigenous lands. The pair were arrested after chaining themselves to a tree, which breached an injunction that barred protesters from coming within five metres of Trans Mountain’s property.

More here-

Christian Group Wants Native Tribe “Brought to Justice” for Death of Missionary

From Patheos-

A group that focuses on Christian persecution says it’s “extremely concerned” about the death of John Chau, a missionary who illegally trespassed on a secluded island to preach to the locals about Christianity, and wants the tribes-people brought to justice.

I reported on Chau’s story yesterday, when the world learned that he was killed by indigenous people with bows and arrows after visiting the island of North Sentinel in India to convert people to his religion. He broke the law and endangered their lives on his Christian mission.

But International Christian Concern, a nonprofit that aims to draw attention toward Christians suffering throughout the world, wants the locals to be charged with murder.

A spokesperson for International Christian Concern said: “We here at International Christian Concern are extremely concerned by the reports of an American missionary being murdered in India’s Andaman and Nicobar Islands.

More here-

Friday, November 23, 2018

Of course God isn’t a man – ignore this cynical attempt by the Church of England to fill empty pews

From The Independent-

Asked in a church in Trafalgar Square whether God had a gender, Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby said “God is not a father in exactly the same way as a human being is a father. God is not male or female. God is not definable.” The argument is extraordinarily dated in Christian circles, but arguments and discussions over gender pronouns and whether people can define as whichever gender they feel they belong in are a considerable part of the modern discourse. Welby will have been aware his comments would spark a large argument, and of course, many words have been spilled over his belief by writers, myself included.

As a practising Catholic, the guiding books of the faith make clear Welby is right: that there should be any argument is bizarre. The Catechism of the Catholic Church states “In no way is God in man's image. He is neither man nor woman. God is pure spirit in which there is no place for the difference between the sexes.” As Welby says, human language is utterly inadequate when trying to describe many aspects of faith, including the Holy Trinity. But Welby’s intervention has led to many others speaking out and complaining that gendered language is still used in religious services, referring to God as “our father”.

More here- 

also here-

Guard the gospel, don’t twist it, Anglican Bishop advises new ones

From Nigeria-

The Anglican Archbishop of Lokoja, the Most Rev. Emmanuel Egbunu, has warned newly-consecrated Bishops of the church to guard against “repackaging the gospel”, for selfish and pecuniary interests.

Egbunu gave the charge on Friday in his sermon during the consecration service of Bishops Chukwuma Oparah of Owerri Diocese, Godfrey Ekpenisi of Ika Diocese and Jezerel Vandeh of Zaki-Biam Diocese.

The cleric told the newest members of the 164-strong House of Bishops of the Anglican Church in Nigeria that the “position of a Bishop is prone to arrogance and dangerous assumptions”.

“We must be careful because God’s standards cannot be adjusted for anybody…no Christian, whether bishop, clergy or laity, has the licence to alter the gospel of Jesus Christ,” the clergyman said.

More here-

Chile becomes 40th Province in the Anglican Communion

From The Church Times-

A NEW Anglican Province has been inaugurated in Chile by the Archbishop of Canterbury.

The Standing Committee of the Anglican Consultative Council agreed in September that the diocese, which was formerly part of the Anglican Church of South America, should be a Province in its own right (News, 19 October).

The Iglesia Anglicana de Chile becomes the 40th Province of the Anglican Communion.
Archbishop Welby told the 800 people who gathered in Chile’s capital, Santiago, for the celebratory service that it was “truly a gift of God to be here with you and to experience again the life, the fire, the purpose, and the perseverance of this Church”.

“The Province [of South America] and its new Province are shining lights within the Anglican Communion which will now burn yet more brightly as a challenge and example to the rest of the Communion,” he said.

More here-

Thursday, November 22, 2018

Senators to Bishop-designate: Stay with us.

From Barbados-

Newly named as Anglican Bishop of Barbados, Reverend Michael Maxwell has been urged not to resign from his position as an Independent Senator.

The call came from several of his colleagues in the Upper House today, including President of the Senate Sir Richard Cheltenham and Opposition Senator Caswell Franklyn, as they congratulated him on his elevation to the head of the former state church.

Maxwell had signalled his intention to discuss his position with Governor General Dame Sandra Mason before making a decision on his future in the Upper Chamber.

The 47-year-old Rector of Holy Trinity Church was chosen by the House of Bishops in the Church of the Province of the West Indies last Friday to head the island’s largest religious denomination. This follows months of deadlock as the Anglican Synod could not choose one of two contenders.

More here-

Archbishop of Canterbury says God is not male

From La Croix-

The Anglican Archbishop of Canterbury has dropped a theological bombshell on the heads of many deeply conservative Christians by announcing that God “is not male,” even though this aligns with the church’s official catechism.

Archbishop Justin Welby told an audience at St. Martin-in-the-Fields in Trafalgar Square in mid-November that no gender word is suitable to describe the eternal being at the heart of the religion.
“All human language about God is inadequate and to some degree metaphorical,” he was quoted as saying by Britain’s Daily Mail.

Despite God continually being referred to as “our Father” in the Bible, it is erroneous to appoint a human gender to “Him” as this is too limiting, the archbishop said.

More here- 

and here-

Church leaders who don't support Christianity

From WND-

The current British Anglican archbishop of Canterbury, Justin Welby, recently described the terrible results regarding declining church attendance as the effect of an “anti-Christian culture,” that our culture and churches have been infected with an ideological virus that aims to end the Western era of “freedom of religions.” There may be an element of truth in his statement.

Yet, the archbishop conveniently neglected to mention that the responsibility for this decline is his own, and his fellow church leaders, who so eloquently have chosen to remain silent and smile politely instead of standing up for the Christian message. Last we checked, Jesus did not exactly go silent into the night. The Anglican Church leadership were supposed to be spiritual leaders who showed the way out of social upheaval. Yet, they have quietly conformed to the standards of secular society, omitting subjects of discord and nervously nodding to avoid being persecuted, yet with remarkable strength holding on to the prestige of their clerical positions. They have liberalized church theology in accordance with what they knew to be the anti-Christian establishment.

Read more at 

St. Andrew's Episcopal Church in Brewster to Close Its Doors

From New York-

For 138 years, St. Andrew's Episcopal Church has served the community. In addition to the ongoing costs of maintaining the church, St. Andrew's Church is old and is in need of many repairs. The small parish is unable to financial meet these demands and a decision has been made to close their doors on a date yet to be determined. The building and the property are owned by the Episcopal Diocese of NY and they will be making the decisions on what will be done with the church. The church has commitments until the end of April with the Brewster Emergency Shelter - so the church will not close immediately.

"We've been lacking a continuous spiritual leadership for the past 8 years when the last rector left," explained Paolo Rossi Junior Warden of St. Andrew's. "Currently, the priest-in-charge is Rev. Juan Francisco Perez, Jr who is leading the Harlem Valley Ministries. The Ministry is made up of St. Andrew's Episcopal Church in Brewster, Holy Trinity Episcopal Church in Pawling, and MESA in Dover Plains."

More here-

Wednesday, November 21, 2018

What happened Sunday, in case you missed it

From Garrison Keillor-

Church was practically full last Sunday, with a few slight gaps for skinny fashion models but otherwise S.R.O., and everyone was in an amiable mood what with several babies present for baptism, and then the organ rang out the opening hymn, the one with “teach me some melodious sonnet sung by flaming tongues above” in it, an exciting line for us Episcopalians who rarely get into flaming stuff, and I sang out from the fifth pew near some babies and their handlers, some of whom weren’t familiar with this famous hymn of Christendom, though later, around the baptismal font, they would pledge to renounce the evil powers of this world and bring up the child in the Christian faith, but their ignorance of “Come thou fount of every blessing” suggested that they might bring up the child to play video games on Sunday morning, but what the hey, God accepts them as they be and though with some reluctance so must we, and I’m sorry this sentence got so long.

I was brought up evangelical and got baptized when I was 15, the morning after a hellfire sermon in which the evangelist suggested strongly that our car was likely to be hit by a fast train on our way home and we’d all be killed and ushered into eternity to face an angry God. I was the third child in a family of six and the thought that my five siblings and two parents would lose their lives on my account weighed heavily and so in the morning, as a life-saving measure, I asked to be baptized, and Brother John Rogers led me into Lake Minnetonka, I in white trousers and white shirt, he in a blue serge suit, shirt and tie, and immersed me in the name of the Holy Spirit. I have been careful crossing railroad tracks ever since.

More here-

Faith leaders call for abandonment of sodomy laws

From The West Indies-

Intimate Conviction, a book which speaks about the commitment of several global faith leaders to have governments abandon sodomy laws, has been launched here.
The book was launched at the Marion House conference room last Friday November 16.
Presentations were made by Senior Policy Analyst, Canadian HIV/AIDS Legal Framework Maurice Tomlinson and Reverend Tom Decker, an Anglican military chaplain from the Canadian Armed Forces.
According to Tomlinson, the book came out of the 2017 “Intimate Conviction” conference which was a two-day event held in Jamaica to examine the church and anti-sodomy laws across the Commonwealth.
The keynote address at the conference was delivered by Barbadian the Most Reverend John Holder, Anglican Archbishop of the West Indies.

More here-

LI Bishop To Travel To Border To Aid Migrant Caravan

From Long Island-

Bishop Lawrence Provenzano of the Episcopal Diocese of Long Island plans to head to the border to help migrants in the caravan claim asylum.

Provenzano said he will travel to Tijuana, Mexico, in early December, along with at least a dozen other Episcopal bishops to help migrants arrive safely.

Provenzano said President Trump could be a hero if he would reverse course and help these people be processed through the normal channels.  

“He has over and over again enjoyed the endorsement of evangelical Christians. He calls himself a Christian. There is an opportunity for him here to embrace the gospel and act as a Christian.”

More here-

Trinity Episcopal hosting sell-off

From Geneva NY-

You might say there’s an inventory reduction going on at Trinity Episcopal Church.

The congregation has moved from its massive building at 520 S. Main St. to the smaller confines of Trinity Place on Castle Street. The church also is in the midst of redeveloping the historic building into an events center, inn and restaurant. Thus the need to dispose of about 150 years’ worth of things, said Trinity Pastor Cameron Miller.

Church officials decided on an online auction.

“We’re emptying the building,” Miller said. “We’re going to worship in the sanctuary (after the building redevelopment is complete). (But) we’re not going to be able to use the rest of the building.”
The church already has dealt with some of its property, said Miller.

More here-

Tuesday, November 20, 2018

Episcopal Diocese defrocks St. Wilfred rector who confessed to theft of church funds

From California-

A priest who in October confessed to stealing funds from St. Wilfred of York church for his own use has been defrocked by the Episcopal Diocese of Los Angeles.

The defrocking means the Rev. Canon Michael D. Archer is no longer a priest, Rev. Canon Gary R. Hall, priest-in-charge of the Huntington Beach church, said in a Nov. 16 letter to parishioners.
Archer could not be immediately reached for comment.

Archer was permanently removed from the priesthood for reportedly violating an agreement with the diocese that he made when he was initially suspended for the alleged financial impropriety.
Specifically, the diocese discovered Archer had contacted parishioners after he had been told not to and misrepresented “crucial information” about his reasons for leaving his previous ministry with the Church of the Nazarene, Hall said in the letter.

More here-

Politics, Evangelicals, and Gun Violence

From South Carolina-

This week’s election news regarding the shift in control of the House of Representatives from the Republican Party to the Democratic Party was overshadowed by still more gun violence, first with a mass shooting in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, and second with a mass shooting in Thousand Oaks, California. Following a campus shooting here in South Carolina, the Rt. Rev. Andrew Waldo, Bishop of the Episcopal Diocese of Upper South Carolina, provided a “pastoral letter” about our out-of-control gun violence. Here is an extract from that letter:

“Through an Episcopal consortium known as Bishops United Against Gun Violence, I came into contact and have become friends with Pastor Rob Schenck, a conservative evangelical and former president of the Evangelical Church Alliance International. This group represents as many as 1,200 evangelical churches. In a documentary movie, The Armor of Light, produced and directed by Abigail Disney and available on Netflix, his spiritual and theological journey on the question of gun violence offers a challenge to all Christians. For me, his most jarring spiritual challenge in the documentary comes as he is addressing a conference of conservative evangelical pastors and leaders. In reference to spiritual authority, he says,

More here-

Episcopal diocese reports record applicants for next bishop

From Houston (But I don't know why. Must be  a slow news day)-

The Episcopal Diocese of Maine says it had a record number of applications for its next bishop.

The Press Herald reports 27 clergy members were either nominated or applied to replace Bishop Stephen Lane, who is retiring next year.

The diocese says it narrowed the field to five candidates who will go up for election in February.

The five finalists are the Rev. Kenneth Brannon, of Idaho; the Rev. Thomas Brown, of Massachusetts; the Rev. Anne Mallonee, of New York City; the Rev. Rachel Taber-Hamilton, of Washington; and the Rev. Janet Waggoner, of Texas.

More here-

Monday, November 19, 2018

Worth Talking About: The Episcopate and Women

From The Living Church-

At some point in the last year I received a very kind email asking me to put my name in for bishop. Someone I did not know had nominated me. It was flattering and terrifying. I have been ordained for about 30 minutes (or since 2013). I have never been a rector. I have never handled major conflict in a leadership role. And I do not like hats. So, I emailed back with a polite No, thank you, and I believed that would be the end of it.

Moments later, I received an email back that said, “Well, let us know if you think of anyone.”
And I thought, “That’s what I say when I need to hire a magician for my kid’s birthday party.”

More here-

Don’t shy away from mass weddings, says All Saints Cathedral

From Uganda-

The leadership of All Saints Cathedral at Nakasero Hill in Kampala, has said when a couple steps forward to register for a mass wedding, this should not be seen as a sign of poverty in which the two have failed to raise money for their individual wedding.

“The act of registering for such a wedding is a sign of running away from sins and entering God’s kingdom by joining holy marriage,” The Church’s communications officer, Mr Ivan Naijuka says.
Speaking to media recently, Mr Ivan Naijuka confirmed the Church’s forthcoming mass wedding scheduled for November 23.

He encouraged Christians from all walks of life, above the age of consent, to join the event, adding that the initiative is organised as part of their corporate social responsibility – aimed at preventing believers from cohabiting.

More here-

Okoh urges bishops to scutinise intending priests before ordination

From Nigeria-

Primate of All Nigeria (Anglican Communion), Most Rev. Nicholas Okoh, has advised Anglican bishops to do background checks on intending priests before their admission into seminary.

Okoh, who gave the advise to delegates at the 2018 Divine Commonwealth Conference (DIVCCON), in Abuja said this was necessary to reduce cases of misconduct, suspension and dismissals.He said: “One person cannot by himself pick a priest, he must do a background check, where the elders and councils members of the church are involved to avoid error.” 

He also urged the bishops not to allow themselves to be tempted, or be under any pressure by families, friends and the society in ordaining priests of their choice.He counseled them to be guided by qualities of discipleship and signs that the intending priests have the calling of God. 

More here-

The Complicated History of Washington & Lee University

From The Weekly Standard-

The discord at Washington and Lee had been foreshadowed in events two years earlier at another venerable Lexington institution, the R. E. Lee Memorial Church. After a small but vocal minority of the Episcopal church’s congregants, led by a few academics from Washington and Lee, objected to the name of the building, there began a long and painful debate over whether to rename it. By the end, the rector had been dismissed, several members had quit the church, and many of those who remained were left exhausted and dispirited by the dispute.

One of the most persistent voices for change was Howard Pickett, a professor of ethics and poverty studies at W&L, who had been bothered by the church’s name since arriving in Lexington a decade earlier. Most Episcopal churches that are named for people are consecrated in honor of Christian saints. What was the theological reason, Pickett wondered, for naming a church after a Confederate general?

More here-

Sunday, November 18, 2018

Chris Harper ordained as first Indigenous bishop of the Anglican Diocese in Saskatoon

From Canada-

As Chris Harper walked into St. John’s Anglican Cathedral on Saturday afternoon, the soon-to-be-ordained bishop-elect paused at the door to take part in a smudging ceremony.

As the first ever Indigenous bishop of the Anglican Diocese in Saskatoon, Harper — originally from the Onion Lake Cree Nation in Saskatchewan — said before the ceremony that he considered himself to be a “bridge” between the church and the Indigenous peoples in the city and the province.

“I’ve always said I’ve walked in two worlds all my life,” he said. “If we can find peace first, maybe we can walk together as human beings and to recognize each other … that we’re in this together.

More here-

First woman, African-American elected to lead Episcopal Diocese of West Tennessee

From West Tennessee-

Growing up as an Episcopalian in Pine Bluff, Arkansas, the Rev. Phoebe Roaf never saw any priests who looked like her.

Her role models, all white men, were affirming and wonderful, she said, but it wasn't until her 40s that she saw God was calling her — a black woman — to be ordained.

Now, Roaf has been elected as the first woman and first African-American to lead the Episcopal Diocese of West Tennessee. She will also be only the fourth black woman to become a diocesan bishop in the Episcopal Church in the United States. 

"I’m a person who’s very optimistic about the future," Roaf said. "I have had a ministry of building bridges and reconciliation in my secular life and in my life as a parish priest, and that is sorely needed at this time in our nation’s history. ... I’m coming there as someone who wants to build bridges and bring people together.”

More here-