Saturday, December 15, 2018

Baptism-style ceremony for men who ‘transition’ to female? Why Church of England has imploded

From Life Site-

I mention this due to the fact that earlier this week, I spotted this headline in the Telegraph: “Church of England to offer baptism-style services to transgender people to celebrate their new identity for first time.” As it turns out, Canterbury’s rush to irrelevance (clerics warn that steadily plunging attendance numbers will only increase in the years ahead) now includes the bizarre heresy of creating a new sacrament, specifically tailored to celebrate the delusions of “sex-reassignment” surgery for "transgender" people.

The Church of England’s tailspin has been strange to watch, not because they are the first or the only mainline denomination to collapse under the weight of its own compromises. Here in Canada, for example, the United Church campaigned for legal abortion, celebrated the destruction of the Christian ethic of sexuality, and now has at least one atheist minister. They have been only somewhat jokingly referred to as “the NDP at prayer.” But the brazenness with which the clerics of the Church of England have spat on their own heritage has been jarring, to say the least. From the Telegraph:

More here-

Anglican Primate Call On Buhari To Sign Electoral Bill

From Nigeria-

Ahead of the 2019 general election, the Primate of the Church of Nigeria, Anglican Communion, Nicholas Okoh, on Thursday called on President Muhammadu Buhari to sign the Electoral Bill into law.

He urged Nigerians making provocative statements to be careful not to set the country on fire.

“They should not set us in conflict with ourselves because if you look at it, most statements are made from the point of self advancement. They calculated that their own chances are slim and limited and they begin to talk. So, we appeal to everyone, whatever is your position, speak in such a way that there will be a country because if there is a country, all of us will be in good condition. But if there is no country, everybody will scatter and it is not in the interest of anyone”, he advised.

More here-

Curry named Religion Newsmaker of the Year

From The Cafe-

Members of the Religion News Association has named Episcopal Church Presiding Bishop Michael Curry its newsmaker of the year.

Episcopal Church Presiding Bishop Michael Curry, whose riveting sermon at the royal wedding “stole the show,” according to the British press, and raised his profile as a progressive religious voice.


Evangelist Billy Graham, whose death at 99 caps the most influential ministry in modern evangelical history.

Rabbi Jeffrey Myers, who emerged as a voice of lament and peace after an anti-Semitic gunman killed 11 at his Tree of Life / Or L’Simcha synagogue.

More here-


Friday, December 14, 2018

Bishops and astronauts gather in Washington to remember Apollo 8

From RNS-

Sometimes, the most profound truths about humanity — and God — are revealed when we take a small step back. Or rocket ourselves about 238,000 miles into space.

Astronaut James Lovell had that epiphany 50 years ago as he became one of the first astronauts to orbit the moon.

“I remembered a saying I’d often heard: ‘I hope to go to heaven when I die.’ I suddenly realized that I went to heaven when I was born,” said Lovell.

Lovell spoke at the Washington National Cathedral on Tuesday night (Dec. 11) as part of a celebration of the 50th anniversary of the 1968 Apollo 8 mission that sent Lovell and fellow astronauts William Anders and Frank Borman into space to circle Earth’s gray satellite.

The mission, which lasted from Dec. 21 to Dec. 27, 1968, included an unusual religious element: As the trio of spacefarers rounded the moon on Christmas Eve, they paused to read the first 10 verses from the Book of Genesis.

More here-

Heretic of the week: James Pike

From Catholic Herald-

James Pike (1913-1969) had an enormous importance. Born and raised a Catholic (and believing he might have a vocation), Pike lost his faith studying under the Jesuits at the University of Santa Clara in the early 1930s. Moving on to UCLA, USC and Yale Law School, he served in naval intelligence during the Second World War. He had been received into the Episcopal Church in 1938. After the war, Pike decided to enter the Episcopal ministry and was ordained in 1946. Three years later, he was made Episcopal chaplain at New York’s Columbia University. On rather spurious historical grounds he claimed the post was a “Royal Peculiar”, subject only to the Queen and not to the Episcopal Bishop of New York. Given the radical nature of his sermons, this deception was useful; it did not prevent him being appointed dean of the Cathedral of St John the Divine. Thence he fulminated against the Catholic Church’s opposition to birth control. 

More here-

The leap of faith': Trinity Episcopal embarks on restoration project

From Upper South Carolina-

Restoration is a go for the historic Trinity Episcopal Church, thanks to groups joining forces and more than $700,000 to begin the project.

To jump start things, the independent nonprofit, Friends of Trinity, is granting $43,000 of money it has raised to Preservation South Carolina, according to Ann Waigand of Camden, Maine, whose mother has been a longtime historian for the church.
That announcement was made at a community meeting at the Abbeville Chamber of Commerce Thursday night, along with other details of the collaboration to restore the house of worship.
Waigand, who was baptized at the church, along with her children, said Friends of Trinity started in 1995.

More here-


Wednesday, December 12, 2018

As one historically black Episcopal church closes, others face strong headwinds

From RNS-

On a chilly December morning, 100 years and one week after its sanctuary opened, All Saints’ Episcopal Church, an African-American congregation with a proud history, was formally closed.
Bishop Samuel Rodman presided over the Eucharistic service in an elementary school a block away from the church, where weekly services ended more than three years ago. Several longtime members returned to read Scriptures and sing hymns. Afterward, the group of 100, including history buffs and well-wishers from North Carolina and Virginia, shared a meal of fried chicken and baked beans.

All Saints is hardly alone among mainline Protestant and Catholic congregations. Faced with dwindling members, crumbling infrastructure and costly maintenance, some 6,000 to 10,000 churches shutter each year, according to one estimate. More closures may be in the offing as surveys point to a decline in church attendance across the country.

More here-

Herdsmen: What we’ll do to Anglican bishops if they ask Buhari to declare us terrorists – Miyetti Allah

From Nigeria-

MIYETTI Allah Cattle Breeders Association, MACBAN, yesterday, flayed Anglican Bishops for describing it as a terrorist organisation, saying the group is made up of herdsmen, not terrorists.

Read more at:
 The Miyetti Allah Cattle Breeders Association of Nigeria, MACBAN, on Tuesday threatened to institute a legal action against Anglican bishops for describing violent herdsmen as terrorists.

The Miyetti Allah Cattle Breeders Association of Nigeria, MACBAN, on Tuesday threatened to institute a legal action against Anglican bishops for describing violent herdsmen as terrorists.
Recall that an Anglican bishops in Nigeria had called on President Muhammadu Buhari to declare armed herdsmen as terrorists.
However, MACBAN, while insisting they are not terrorists, admonished the bishops to withdraw their remark.

Speaking with Vanguard, the National Coordinator of MACBAN, Alhaji Garus Gololo said herdsmen have the right to graze anywhere across the country.

According to Gololo, “We are not happy with this comment coming from the Bishops who are spiritual heads of the Anglican Church; we want them to withdraw it.

More here-

MIYETTI Allah Cattle Breeders Association, MACBAN, yesterday, flayed Anglican Bishops for describing it as a terrorist organisation, saying the group is made up of herdsmen, not terrorists.

Read more at:
MIYETTI Allah Cattle Breeders Association, MACBAN, yesterday, flayed Anglican Bishops for describing it as a terrorist organisation, saying the group is made up of herdsmen, not terrorists.

Read more at:

Killer herdsmen should be declared terrorists like Boko Haram – Anglican Archbishop tells Buhari

From Nigeria-

The Archbishop of Ibadan Province of the Anglican Communion, Most Rev. Segun Okubadejo, has insisted that armed herdsmen are terrorists just like Boko Haram insurgents.
Okubadejo said this while faulting President Muhammadu Buhari’s refusal to proscribe violent herdsmen across the country.

Addressing newsmen yesterday in Ibadan, the Oyo State capital, he said, “Our nation is filled with disturbing evil acts; rapes, ritual killings, kidnappings, armed banditry and herdsmen terrorists.
“Though the president is refusing to declare them terrorists but to us, we know that they are terrorists in disguise just like Boko Haram.

“We say no as things will not continue like this; we need the inward transformation of every Nigerian and unless that happens God may not intervene in our situation.’’

More here-

Two vibrant Anglican congregations in Winnipeg

From Canada-

When United Church of Canada minister Paul Derry moved to Winnipeg, Manitoba, in the early 2000s, there were seven United Church congregations in his quarter of the city. At the end of 2018, he told me, there was only one. The rest have closed and sold for condos or been merged with other congregations.

Most mainline pastors paying attention these days—in Canada as well as the United States—know that their parish is perhaps ten minutes away from closing. If there is a future for this kind of church, it will be one in which every pastor is something of a church planter, seeding life in the midst of the enormous upheaval in institutional religious life. Not many pastors were trained for this work. How do we do it?

I traveled to Winnipeg because I had heard about two Anglican churches there that were doing innovative things and growing in significant ways. I’d also heard that they represented two opposing wings in the Anglican Church.

More here-

Episcopal parties seek summary judgment in lawsuit

From South Carolina-

The Episcopal Church in South Carolina and The Episcopal Church have asked the U.S. District Court to grant motions for summary judgment and call a halt to the “pervasive” public confusion caused by a group that broke away from the church yet continues to use Episcopal names and marks.

The motion asks U.S. District Judge Richard M. Gergel to prohibit false advertising and the use of confusing names and marks by the breakaway group and its affiliated churches. A motion for summary judgment is a request for the court to rule that the other party has no case, because there are no facts at issue.
“The public confusion resulting from Defendants’ conduct is pervasive,” according to a memo filed by TECSC on Dec. 7 in support of the motion. “It is undeniably causing irreparable harm to The Episcopal Church, and more locally, to TECSC and its Bishops. All that the Plaintiffs seek in this action is declaratory and injunctive relief, not damages (for which they could easily make a case).”

More here-

‘We have saved St. Augustine’s.’ Raleigh university removed from probation.

From North Carolina-

The university has made numerous budget cuts in recent years, such as in 2014 trimming its full-time workforce, not rehiring dozens of adjunct faculty and furloughing employees. In April, the university announced it was laying off 22 employees as part of a restructuring.

Ward said that accreditation agency was impressed by how the university invested $1.7 million in a project addressing its financial processes. He said the university has gone from doing its accounting manually to using software. 

Ward also praised the alumni and the Episcopal Diocese of North Carolina, which founded the school in 1867, for their financial support. He also singled out the faculty and staff for standing by the university.

“I know how hard it has been and you have stood with us in the most difficult times because you never failed to believe that we would not reach this day,” Ward said.

More here-

Read more here:

Church of England to offer baptism-style services to transgender people to celebrate their new identity for first time

From The Telegraph-

The Church of England has encouraged its clergy to create baptism-style ceremonies for transgender people to welcome them into the Anglican faith.

New pastoral guidance, published on Tuesday, advises clergy to refer to transgender people by their new name, though it stops short of being a baptism.

The guidance, which was approved by the House of Bishops on Monday night, also details how elements including water and oil can be incorporated into the service.

It also advises that as part of a special service, they can be presented with gifts such as a Bible inscribed in their chosen name, or a certificate.

More here-

Ian T. Douglas: Our job is not to keep the church in business

From Faith and Leadership-

As bishop of the Episcopal Church in Connecticut, the Rt. Rev. Ian T. Douglas takes seriously his administrative duties.

But, he says, he also enjoys “throwing all things up in the air, causing chaos, inviting imagination and encouraging folk, particularly by virtue of their baptism.”

Specifically, he points to efforts, at both the diocesan and the parish level, to send Christians out into the world, open to the work of the Spirit.

“How do we join in that faithfully, and what does it mean to be a disciple, a follower of Jesus today, who is sent into the world as an apostle to join God in God’s mission?” he said.

Douglas, who was elected bishop in 2009, serves approximately 168 parishes and faith communities in the state of Connecticut.

More here-

Pittsburgh, 9 Churches Settle Disputes

From Pittsburgh-

The Episcopal Diocese of Pittsburgh and nine churches of the Anglican Diocese of Pittsburgh announce that they have reached an agreement regarding disputed properties:

“Even though the issues resolved here originated through division and were often the cause of great pain, we know that as Christians we are called to be ambassadors for Christ and ministers of reconciliation, first among ourselves, and then with the larger world. The Episcopal Diocese and the Parishes have come to recognize that our mutual desire to live according to the Gospel and to share with others the Good News of Jesus Christ far outweighs any differences we have with each other, and this agreement frees us to carry out that mission as we believe God is calling us to do,” said Bishop Dorsey McConnell of the Episcopal Diocese.

Bishop James Hobby of the Anglican Diocese of Pittsburgh issued the following statement in support of the parishes entering into this agreement: “I feel that the settlement is quite remarkable, given the litigious culture in which we live. Clearly, hard work and difficult conversations were part of the negotiations. But, biblical principles and a shared commitment to follow Christ provided a healthy context for pursuing the discussions with mutual respect and understanding. A commitment to our fundamental mission was greater than our differences. While differences remain between the parties, I pray that Jesus’ prayer for unity in Him and His truth will one day find expression throughout the Church.”

More here-

Tuesday, December 11, 2018


From Australia-

One of Australia's first female Anglican priests when she was ordained in 2005, LIBBY GILCHRIST has recently written a book about her "journey to priesthood" The Tapestry: One Woman's Journey to Priesthood. Having retired in 2010 and now an honorary associate priest at Sorrento/Rye Anglican Parish in Melbourne, the 68-year-old, who with husband Stuart has three children and six grandchildren, speaks about why she decided to write it, the challenges she’s faced on her journey and why it’s important to have women in church leadership…
Congratulations on the book. What made you decide to write it? 
"Initially I felt the need to write simply to come to grips with the different facets of my journey to priesthood, the difficulties as well as the joys. It is not a history so much as the story of my own personal journey."

Why now?  

"I began to write when I retired in 2010. It took me over a year to write the basic story, and then several more years to review and edit it. Once at this point I was encouraged by many people to try to have it published so that the present and coming generations of women, and men, within the church might have some understanding about the history of women’s leadership in the church. It was also so that women and men outside the church may gain an insight into a wider perspective of the often different and difficult path that women are faced with in their life’s journeys. The further years of review were important as they allowed for a process of 'composting' - that is, after some years of retirement, to look hard at what I had written and how I had written it, trying to make sure that it expressed what I wanted and needed to say."

More here-

Royal wedding bishop reflects on whirlwind 2018 — and reveals the key to marriage

From Today-

The Most Rev. Michael Curry nearly stole the show when he presided over the royal wedding of Prince Harry and Meghan, Duchess of Sussex, in May. 

As part of our Voices series, the presiding bishop of the Episcopal Church is reflecting on his viral moment and newfound celebrity — and also sharing his best relationship advice, highlights from the year and an update on his health, months after he revealed he had prostate cancer. 

It was really a joy to be at the royal wedding and participate in it. (Prince Harry and Meghan, Duchess of Sussex) sent me a very lovely letter and thank you. Now they go on and live their lives. My job is to bless them from their nest and then they go off and fly on their own.

And I came through prostate surgery and came through it well, and that was a joy. I'm good — had good doctors, good prayers, good people, good family. Put it all together and it spells love.

More here-


Aslan Is Not a Tame Lion: The Serious Mistake of Casual Worship

From Patheos-

As a professional Christian, I don’t get many Sundays off. In fact, I tend to take fewer off than I am allowed, since I enjoy my work immensely and am not traveling much these days. But a couple weeks ago I was in Boston on a Sunday morning, and following the recommendation of a few friends, found my way to The Church of the Advent, an Episcopal parish serving Boston’s Beacon Hill neighborhood since 1844.

Google maps directed me from the T, but once I was within about eight blocks I put my phone away and followed the smell of incense wafting through the brisk New England autumn air.

Worship at Advent differs from common liturgical practice in the contemporary American church, to say the least. It is exceedingly beautiful, sublime even, evoking a sense of transcendence that seems strikingly out of place, even in one of the most historic cities in the country. Continuity and communion with the universal church is palpable.  

More here-

America’s New Religions

From New York Magazine- (Andrew Sullivan)

Everyone has a religion. It is, in fact, impossible not to have a religion if you are a human being. It’s in our genes and has expressed itself in every culture, in every age, including our own secularized husk of a society.

By religion, I mean something quite specific: a practice not a theory; a way of life that gives meaning, a meaning that cannot really be defended without recourse to some transcendent value, undying “Truth” or God (or gods).

Which is to say, even today’s atheists are expressing an attenuated form of religion. Their denial of any God is as absolute as others’ faith in God, and entails just as much a set of values to live by — including, for some, daily rituals like meditation, a form of prayer. (There’s a reason, I suspect, that many brilliant atheists, like my friends Bob Wright and Sam Harris are so influenced by Buddhism and practice Vipassana meditation and mindfulness. Buddhism’s genius is that it is a religion without God.)

More here-

‘Silent Night’ turns 200 this year. Is it the greatest Christmas song ever?

From American Magazine-

The hills around Salzburg are alive, we hear, “alive with the sound of music.” Young and old, the people sing and hum and strum. The water in the brooks laughs as it trips and falls downstream. Church chimes sigh with the breeze.

This music, we also hear, has been sung for 1,000 years. Maybe. But one song—probably the most famous—is celebrating only 200 years. On Christmas Eve 1818, in the church of St. Nicholas in Oberndorf near Salzburg, “Stille Nacht” (“Silent Night”) was sung for the first time.

The words to “Silent Night” were the work of the Rev. Joseph Mohr, a young priest in Oberndorf. He wrote them in 1816 as a reflection on peace after a summer of violence in Salzburg. On Christmas Eve two years later, he asked his friend Franz Xaver Gruber, a schoolteacher in the neighboring town of Arnsdorf and also the organist in Oberndorf, to set his words to music. Gruber did so, and together that evening at Christmas Eve Mass, the two performed “Silent Night” for the gathered faithful, Mohr singing and Gruber playing the guitar, since the church organ was not working. “Silent Night” was an immediate sensation.

More here-

Monday, December 10, 2018

Two former senior Newcastle Anglicans could be stripped of any positions in the church

From Australia-

Former Newcastle Assistant Bishop Richard Appleby and former registrar Peter Mitchell have told a church tribunal the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse erred in finding they failed in their responses to child sex allegations and abuse survivor Steve Smith.

Bishop Appleby and Mr Mitchell told a Newcastle Anglican professional standards board hearing they were treated “unfairly” by the royal commission. While Mr Mitchell admitted the commission’s finding that he adopted a “deliberately obstructive approach” when police investigated allegations against Newcastle priest George Parker, he denied it in his submission to the professional standards board.

More here-

Presiding bishop greets area Episcopalians

From East Carolina-

The presiding bishop of the Episcopal Church offered words of hope and comfort Sunday afternoon to area Episcopalians coping with the aftermath of Hurricane Florence.

“We need each other,” Bishop Michael B. Curry told a packed crowd at St. James Episcopal Church’s Perry Hall, citing the passage from Genesis that “it is not good for a human being to be alone.” “We were made for relationships with God and each other.” For those troubled or depressed, he urged, “Do something for somebody else.”

In a lighter mood, the bishop led the crowd in a sing-along of the Bill Withers song “Lean on Me,” with the refrain, “We all need somebody to lean on.”

Curry was touring the region on pastoral visits to those engaged in hurricane recovery and relief. On Saturday, Curry was at St. Anne’s Episcopal Church in Jacksonville, and Sunday morning, he made an unpublicized stop with parishioners of St. Philip’s Episcopal Church in Southport.

More here-

Sunday, December 9, 2018

Brisbane Anglican diocese welcoming more women than men to the priesthood

From Australia-

In the past decade, 43 women have been ordained in the Brisbane diocese, compared with 35 men.

One of the newest entrants to their ranks is the Reverend Rosemary Gardiner, 30, anointed last weekend before a packed congregation in St John's Cathedral in Brisbane.

She exemplifies the changing face of the church.

Reverend Gardiner is mother to two-year-old Edward, and will soon give birth to her second child.
So why would she want to become a priest?

"The simple answer is because God told me to," Reverend Gardiner said.

She had a Christian upbringing and her mother, Gillian Moses, is also a priest and school chaplain.
Reverend Moses said she was proud of her daughter.

"I think I have seen that interest and calling in her longer than she has, but I never wanted to push her in any particular direction, just to support her in whatever she did."

More here-