Saturday, December 8, 2018

Minister critical of archbishop’s support for gay conversion therapy ban says he’s now barred from preaching event

From England-

An evangelical minister in the U.K. says he's been barred from preaching at an Anglican cathedral due to his criticism of an archbishop who's opposed to allowing people with unwanted same-sex attraction to obtain counseling, or as it's derisively called, "gay conversion therapy."

Derby Cathedral, the institution in question, has denied that it has barred the Rev. Melvin Tinker, positioning that it has simply chosen not to invite him to preach at the Christian Union carol service.
Tinker, who leads St. John Newland Church in Hull, told The Times that he was refused an invitation by Derby Cathedral for his past criticism of Anglican Archbishop John Sentamu.

“The progressives are continuing to gain ground and the biblical tradition is losing ground,” Tinker said.

More here-

Florida bishop had a hand in 'Silent Night' translation

From Florida-

If you look carefully inside St. John’s Episcopal Church on Monroe Street, the red brick edifice that on the busy thoroughfare seems so peacefully removed, you will find a precious photo of an organ.
 It is a special photo of a special organ because the instrument is dedicated to Bishop John Freeman Young.  It was an organ upon which at Christmas time was played what is now the world’s most popular hymn, "Silent Night" — the very hymn translated by John Freeman Young himself, a man with a special connection to Tallahassee.

With original Germanic words, written in 1818 by Austrian Joseph Mohr and set to music by Franz Gruber, "Silent Night" has now been translated into over 300 languages according to FSU Assistant Professor of Musicology, Sarah Eyerly.  John Freeman Young gave us the hymn in English.

Young was born in Maine in 1820 and converted to the Episcopal faith. Following graduation from Virginia Theological Seminary, he made his way South to Jacksonville, Florida, where he served as Deacon at St. John’s Church there.

More here-

Love language: Bishop Curry speaks at St. Anne’s

From Western Kansas-

Every pew was filled at St. Anne’s Episcopal Church in McPherson as the Most Reverend Michael Curry, who is the Presiding Bishop and Primate of the Episcopal Church of the United States and who recently delivered the sermon at the wedding of Prince Harry and Meghan Markle, served as the guest preacher on Dec. 2.

Bishop Curry spoke to the congregation about the beginning of the Advent season and how it marks three comings — that of Jesus’ birth, his coming into the heart of a person and also his future return.
″(Jesus) gave his life willingly to show us this is what love does,” Curry said.

Curry encouraged the crowd to follow Jesus’ example and be motivated by love to help others.

More here-

Chilton Knudsen appointed assisting bishop in Washington

From ENS-

Bishop of Washington Mariann Edgar Budde announced in a Dec. 7 letter the appointment of the Rt. Rev. Chilton Knudsen as assisting bishop in the Diocese of Washington. Read the full letter below.  To read Knudsen’s farewell to the Diocese of Maryland, where she’s served for three years as assistant bishop, click here

Dear Friends of the Diocese of Washington,

I am thrilled to announce that Rt. Rev. Chilton Knudsen will join the Diocese of Washington as Assisting Bishop, effective February 20, 2019. Bishop Knudsen served as Bishop of Maine for a decade (1997-2008) and has since served a missionary in Haiti and as an assistant bishop in four dioceses. She will complete her ministry in the Diocese of Maryland at the end of 2018.

More here-

Friday, December 7, 2018

Bishop turnover in US-based Episcopal Church fuels talk of “unprecedented” challenges

From ANS-

The flurry of activity has continued into December, with Western Kansas consecrating a new bishop and Northern California releasing its slate of nominees. With dozens of dioceses embarking on or completing bishop transitions over the past 18 months, the frequency of searches has raised concerns that a limited pool of candidates is being depleted. Diocesan search committees tend to dismiss suggestions that they are competing with each other for applicants, though some dioceses have been open in pointing to what they said is a challenging landscape for bishop searches.

The Diocese of Nevada’s Standing Committee announced in October it was postponing its bishop’s election, calling the search process “challenging in several respects. One is that there were an unprecedented number of bishop searches in process, resulting in a limited applicant pool.”

The Diocese of San Diego made a similar claim after its search committee returned just one finalist, prompting the diocese to extend the deadline for nominees by petition. After a slate of nominees has been announced, search committees typically allow diocesan members to petition to add other nominees. Those nominees go through the same vetting process as those on the original slate.

“This is a time in the wider church when more than 20 dioceses are seeking bishops, and that has presented challenges,” said Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori, the Episcopal Church’s previous presiding bishop who now serves San Diego as assisting bishop.

More here-

Thursday, December 6, 2018

Who Is Reverend Michael Curry? George H. W. Bush Funeral to Be Led by Bishop Who Gave Memorable Royal Wedding Sermon

From Newsweek-

George H. W. Bush has made his final trip to Washington, D.C. for his funeral Wednesday at the Washington National Cathedral. For the past few days as he lied in state, thousands of people have lined up for hours outside the U.S. Capitol building, sometimes late into the night as they waited for their brief chance to bid a final farewell to the 41st president of the United States.

The man who will preside over the former president’s funeral service, Reverend Michael Curry, is also of significance.

Born in 1953, Curry’s descendants came to North America as enslaved Africans via slave routes, according to the Episcopal Church. In 2015, he became the 27th and current presiding bishop of the Episcopal Church, part of the global Anglican communion, making him the first African-American to lead the church.

Some of the most zealous causes listed by the Church that Curry has involved himself in throughout his ministry include social justice, reconciliation, immigration policy and marriage equality. His passionate sermon on the "redemptive power of love” at the royal wedding of Prince Harry and Meghan Markle in May captured the hearts and minds of many who bore witness.

More here-

Abilene man, a former Episcopal bishop, calls Bush 'man of enormous spiritual treasure'

From Texas-

The minister was in a meeting when a secretary interrupted to tell him the vice president of the United States was on the phone.

“Claude,” the vice president said, “I’ve got a favor to ask.”

Claude Payne, then rector of St. Martin’s Episcopal Church in Houston, didn’t hesitate in answering, “Of course, Mr. Vice President.”

The vice president was George H.W. Bush, who would be elected President Bush the next day, Nov. 8, 1988. The favor was that Payne would lead a brief service of thanksgiving at St. Martin’s the day after the election, no matter who won.

“It would be a thanksgiving for our country,” Payne said. “That’s a part of his DNA.”
Payne, 86, and his wife Barbara, retired to Abilene, their hometown, after Payne’s career as an Episcopal rector and bishop of the Diocese of Texas.

More here-

Republicans are taxing churches to help corporations. Really.

From The Washington Post-

Republicans tax churches to help pay for big corporate giveaway.

You would be forgiven for thinking this is a headline from the Onion or the fantasy of some left-wing website. But it’s exactly what happened in the big corporate tax cut the GOP passed last year.

Now — under pressure from churches, synagogues and other nonprofits — embarrassed leaders of a party that casts itself as religious liberty’s last line of defense are trying to fix a provision that is a monument to both their carelessness and their hypocrisy.

The authors of the measure apparently didn’t even understand what they were doing — or that’s their alibi to faith groups now. It’s not much of a defense. And the fact that Republicans increased the tax burden on nonprofits, including those tied to religion, so they could shower money on corporations and the wealthy shows where their priorities lie.

More here-

Wednesday, December 5, 2018

Westminster Abbey service celebrates Middle East Christians

From Westminster Abbey-

His Royal Highness The Prince of Wales attended a service to celebrate the contribution of Christians in the Middle East, at Westminster Abbey on Tuesday 4th December.
The service was led by the Dean of Westminster, the Very Reverend Dr John Hall, who said in his Bidding:
In this Advent season, as we approach the celebration of Christmas, our hearts and minds turn to the cradle of our civilisation, and in particular to Bethlehem as the birth-place of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ.
So we pray for all the people of the Holy Land and of the surrounding nations. We pray that they may live in harmony one with another, respecting difference and celebrating common humanity. And we pray for peace within each nation and between all peoples of whatever faith.
The Prince of Wales read a Reflection expressing concern for the difficult situations endured by Christians in the region, and support for those communities most affected.
Further Reflections were read by His Beatitude Theophilos III, Patriarch of Jerusalem; and Maulana Sayed Ali Abbas Razawi, Director General and Chief Imam, Scottish Ahlul Bayt Society.

More here-

Author Stephen Mansfield on the quiet, steely faith of George H.W. Bush

From Salt Lake-

With the passing of George H.W. Bush from this life, we will have the opportunity to be stirred once again by tales from his lengthy journey. We will hear of his early heroism at war. We will be reminded of his storied political career. We will be touched anew by his tender 73-year marriage. We will be told of his mistakes, and of regrets of a kind familiar to us all.

Yet we will likely hear little about his religious faith, and this is unfortunate.

The truth is that his deep sense of God’s calling lay beneath all that he was and all that he gave us. We should remind ourselves of this part of him, both because it is an act of honor and because his brand of faith offers a needed antidote to some of the toxins of our time.

More here-

How George H.W. Bush enabled the rise of the religious right

From The Washington Post-

Following Wednesday’s state funeral for George H.W. Bush at Washington National Cathedral, the former president’s casket will be flown to Houston where a memorial service will be held at St. Martin’s Episcopal Church the following day.

Unlike his son George W. Bush, the elder Bush, a lifelong Episcopalian, was less-known for his religious faith. He was certainly not thought of as a champion of the religious right, the powerful political movement most associated with his predecessor, Ronald Reagan.

Yet it was Bush, the moderate establishment Republican whose family helped found Planned Parenthood, who secured the religious right’s permanent place in American politics. While historians largely credit Reagan’s presidency with helping religious conservatives move from the shadows of American public life into its spotlight, it was the Bush presidency, particularly its disappointments and defeat, that entrenched the religious right as the center of the Republican Party and guaranteed its ongoing influence.

More here-

Episcopal Bishop of Long Island leads group to border to aid migrants

From Long Island-

The Episcopal Bishop of Long Island left Tuesday afternoon for the U.S.-Mexico border near San Diego, where he plans to help several thousand Central American migrants who arrived in Tijuana, Mexico, by caravan and hope to gain legal access to the United States.

“I think it is the American thing to do,” said the Right Rev. Lawrence Provenzano in an interview before he left. “I certainly know it is the Christian thing to do.”

Provenzo said he is leading a delegation of about two dozen volunteers from the Episcopal Diocese of Long Island who will travel to Tijuana throughout the week to help the migrants with physical, spiritual and legal needs.

The volunteers include doctors, social workers, clergy and others, along with the Rev. Marie Tatro, the diocese’s vicar for community justice ministry, he said.

More here-

Tuesday, December 4, 2018

On Kindertransport anniversary, Archbishop urges vigilance on antisemitism

From Jewish News-

The Archbishop of Canterbury has warned that people must be vigilant against antisemitism and stressed British Jews are as British as anyone else. 

The Most Rev Justin Welby was speaking at an event at Lambeth Palace on Monday commemorating the 80th anniversary of Kristallnacht and Kindertransport.  

Mr Welby warned that antisemitism can lead to prejudice and discrimination against other religions. 

He added: “We come today to remember and give thanks for the Kindertransport and we come to mourn the events of Kristallnacht, but we also come to say ‘let us be vigilant’.

“We know from that terrible period that if even one religious or ethnic group is targeted, it’s a threat to them all.”

More here-

Christians in Middle East at risk of 'imminent extinction,' warns Anglican head

From Christian Post-

Christians in the Middle East are at risk of “imminent extinction” due to the continued “threat of violence, murder, intimidation, prejudice and poverty,” the archbishop of Canterbury has warned.
In a recent op-ed for the Sunday Telegraph, Justin Welby described the “daily threat of murder” 

Christians are experiencing in the Middle East, calling it “the worst situation since the Mongol invasions of the 13th Century.”

"In the last few years, they have been slaughtered by so-called Islamic State, and in many countries they find themselves squeezed between the upper and lower millstones of pressure on them within society and of conflicts that afflict the region.

More here-


Priest from Birmingham will officiate funeral for President Bush, calls him man of deep faith

From Alabama-

A Houston priest originally from Birmingham will officiate the funeral Thursday for former President George H.W. Bush.

The Rev. Russell J. Levenson Jr., a close friend of the Bush family and the rector at St. Martin’s Episcopal Church in Houston, was present when Bush died. There will be a service on Wednesday at Washington National Cathedral in Washington, D.C., and another Thursday at St. Martin’s Episcopal Church in Houston. Bush’s son, former President George W. Bush, will give the eulogy Wednesday at the National Cathedral. The president’s body will then be transported back to Houston for the service at St. Martin’s.

“He left this life for the next, and it is the way all of us would want to leave this life: surrounded by the ones you love, completely at peace, and ready for what follows,” Levenson said in a TV interview. Bush died Friday. He was 94.

Levenson graduated from Mountain Brook High School in 1980 and earned his bachelor’s degree in 1984 from Birmingham-Southern College. He was associate rector at St. Luke’s Episcopal Church in Mountain Brook from 1993 to 1997.

More here-

also here-

Episcopal Migration Ministries, 8 other agencies awarded new contracts to resettle refugees

From ENS-

The State Department, despite the Trump administration’s decision to drastically reduce the number of refugees allowed to be resettled in the United States, has renewed contracts with all nine agencies that long have facilitated resettlements for the government, including Episcopal Migration Ministries, or EMM.

The decision, communicated to the agencies on Nov. 30, allows them to continue their resettlement activities for another year, though at a greatly diminished capacity than under the Obama administration.

“We are thankful we will continue to resettle refugees in the coming year,“ the Rev. Charles Robertson, canon to the presiding bishop for ministry beyond the Episcopal Church, said Dec. 3 in a press release announcing the State Department’s decision. “We still face the challenge of transitioning to a much smaller resettlement program. This at a time when there are more than 25.4 million refugees, over half of whom are children. With everyone’s support, we will continue to welcome refugees to a place of safety and welcome.”

More here-

Monday, December 3, 2018

Abu Dhabi priest's book about Jesus in Islam to be published into Arabic

From UAE-

A UAE-based Christian priest's book showing how Jesus had more in common with Arabian Islamic culture rather than western is to be published into Arabic.

Jesus of Arabia was penned by Rev Andy Thompson, the chaplain at St Andrew’s Anglican Church in Abu Dhabi, and it also examines the bridges between Islam and Christianity. 

The book was first published in English in 2014 and now the Arabic version will launch at St Andrew's on Tuesday. It is rare that a book written by a Christian resident about Jesus receives such a treatment and Rev Thompson says the event is a pre-Christmas celebration of Jesus for both Muslims and Christians.

“A lot of conversations between Muslims and Christians get bogged down in dogma and it is not really helpful,” said Mr Thompson. “I want to promote education between our two communities which is different from proselytising.

More here-

Buhari And Politicization Of Religious Majorities in Nigeria

From Nigeria-

In a piece that was published in The Church Times, President Buhari urged Nigerians not to politicize religion, warning Christians and Muslims against those who would seek to divide them for political reasons. But the question is: Did Buhari take a critical look at his form of politicking before making this statement? In this piece, I show some of the ways that Buhari’s appeal contradicted his own politics.

First, let us look at the timing of this piece. The presidential election is less than three months away. And President Buhari’s name will be on the ballot. He is seeking re-election in a contest, which some analysts have said he would lose. The projected defeat is mainly due to the alleged religiously divisive politics that Buhari had played since he became the president. Buhari is very unpopular in the Christian communities where he’s seen as a religious bigot. His handling of the killings and attacks by Fulani herdsmen has reinforced this impression.

More here- 

and here-

Gifts, baubles and community

From Lichfield-

As Bishop of Stafford does his Christmas shopping, his thoughts turn to worms and scones.

Christmas seems to get earlier each year.Call me soft-hearted and old fashioned but I do like to take my wife out from time to time and I particularly like to spoil her with a tea and scone at The Range. For those less fortunate who have yet to discover this amazing hyper-store I can tell you that they stock over 65,000 different products and from September onwards half of them seem to be Christmas decorations! Having looked at aisle after aisle I finally discovered two different crib scenes selling at £9 each and also some plastic baubles to hang on thetree with a picture of the Holy Family – a snip at just under £3 and the only acknowledgment of the Christmas Story.

It seems to me that when it comes to Christmas many get their priorities wrong. Perhaps this speaks volumes about our increasingly secularised society where so much that affects our daily living is decided by ‘rational’ thinking without any reference to religious belief.

But there are two aspects of the Christian Festival of Christmas that ‘Winterfest’ will never be able to exclude: the sense of community that bubbles to the surface at this time of year and the giving of gifts.

More here-