Friday, December 21, 2018

In Good Faith: A Flintstones’ Christmas

From Minnesota-

Did you know, there’s a Christmas episode of “The Flintstones”? It originally aired on Dec. 25, 1964, as part of the original cartoon series. In it, Fred gets a part-time job at Macyrock’s department store to help finance the family’s Christmas. Mr. Macyrock initially fires Fred for being his usual doofus self, but reconsiders when he learns that the store’s regular Santa Claus has the flu. Fred proves a natural at entertaining the children and by the end of his stint, Mr. Macyrock proclaims Fred as the best Santa they’ve ever had.

Oh, but that’s not the end of the story. On Christmas Eve, two of Santa’s elves, named Blinky and Twinky, appear to Fred as Macyrock’s is closing for the night. They explain to Fred that the real Santa Claus is sick and they ask him to help deliver presents to children around the world. As Fred steps in to save the day, we see him perched atop Santa’s sleigh shouting “Merry Christmas” in French, Italian, German, Dutch, English and Swedish.

This is all very nice; until you do the math. And you think, “Wait a minute. The Flintstones took place in the Stone Age. That was 2.5 million years before Jesus was born in Bethlehem!”

More here-

St. Paul’s braces for change as popular reverend prepares to retire

From Philadelphia-

The Rev. E. Cliff Cutler, the 11th rector of the 150-year-old Saint Paul’s Episcopal Church, is the first to admit that change is certain to bring about anxiety among his 400 parishioners.

Last month, in a two-page letter to the community, Cutler wrote that after much prayer and discernment, he will retire at the end of April 2019. By then he will be 70 years old.

Cutler noted that one young mother opened the letter and just cried.

“Her emotions were very touching,” he said. “So yes, there is sadness, but I want the church members to know how resilient we are, and they can be confident in their ability to go forward and find a new leader. There are exciting opportunities ahead and it’s time to let someone else take the next step. I’ll miss the people here; they are gifted in so many ways. There is a lot of warmth, talent and love here and everything will work out.”

There were several factors that convinced Cutler that it was time for a change.

Last winter, he suffered double pneumonia and other respiratory issues that sent him in and out of the hospital.

More here-

Thursday, December 20, 2018

ACK priests who sued church over gay claims get Sh6.8m

From Kenya-

Three Anglican Church of Kenya priests from Nyeri who were initially suspended from pastoral duties over allegations of engaging in homosexuality have finally received a compensation of Sh6.8 million from the church after a four-year court battle.
The compensation is for psychological trauma flowing from the circumstances their ministerial services in the church were terminated.
It also covers withheld salaries and benefits for the period their preaching licences had been withdrawn.
They were suspended from officiating church services in August 2015 and were reinstated by court in September 2016 after a finding that the suspension was unlawful.
Archdeacon John Gachau will receive Sh2.4 million while James Maigua and Paul Warui will get Sh2.2 million each.

More here-

Anglican Priest to Face Off with Baro

From New Guinea-

For the first time, Papua New Guinea will witness an Anglican priest, Father David Smith, also known as the Fighting Father Dave, take on local boxer from Wanigela Luke Baro in Saturday’s first-ever Oceania Professional Boxing championships.

One wonders as to why a priest is getting involved in the boxing contest but the Sydney-based Anglican parish priest has something to share and hopes the sport of boxing can be a tool for change.
When asked about being a priest and involving in professional boxing, Smith said he got involved in the sport to change ways and lives of the people around him.

“I spent 28 years of my life as a parish priest in Sydney. I was in Sydney’s south before I was moved to Dulwich Hill (Sydney’s inner-west) where that place or area was rife for drugs. I began teaching and working with young people with drug problems and opened the church hall as an area where local youths could do fitness and martial arts training,” Smith said after arriving in the country.

More here-

Wednesday, December 19, 2018

Bishop of Ahoada Diocese, Clement N.Ekpeye kidnapped

From Nigeria-

Daredevil kidnappers abducted the Rt.Reverend Clement N.Ekpeye, JP, honourable Bishop of Ahoada Diocese of the Anglican Communion at about 7pm on Tuesday, December 18.

The dastardly incident happened ,at Bishop’s Court,,which his official residence at Odiemerenyi road,in Ahoada town,in Ahoada East local government area ofthe State.

The incident was made known to our Correspondent last night,Tuesday December 18 at about 10 pm through a terse by the Clerical Synod Secretary of the Diocese,the official Spokesman of Ahoada Diocese.

At the time of going to the press,no further details surrounding the kidnap was given, except the Clerical Synod Secretary calling for prayers fo the Bishop’s quick release by his abductors.

More here-

Pacific Anglican leaders call for West Papua action

From New Zealand-

The leaders of Anglican churches in New Zealand and four Pacific Island countries are calling for an end to human rights abuses in West Papua.

In a public statement on Friday, ten bishops and archbishops in New Zealand also said West Papua must put on the agenda at international forums.

The Bishop-Elect of Polynesia, which represents Fiji, Tonga, Samoa and the Cook Islands, also signed the statement.

The Anglican leaders called on their governments to support bringing the issue of West Papua to the United Nations.

They said the sale of natural resources sourced in West Papua should be investigated and restricted or banned.

Attention on restive Papua in recent weeks has centred on the massacre of at least 16 Indonesian workers by the West Papua Liberation Army.

The Liberation Army claimed the workers were military spies.

More here-

‘World’s most loved carol’ turns 200

From Florida-

In Austria today, “Stille Nacht” is considered a national treasure, and tradition says the song should not be played before Christmas Eve. Commercial use of the 202-year old carol is forbidden.
During the last 200 years, the song has been translated into more than 300 languages. In the mid-1800s, it was an Episcopal priest with Florida ties, John Freeman Young, bishop of Florida from 1867-85, who gave us the English translation we sing today.

The carol also enjoyed great recognition as early as World War I, when soldiers on each side of the frontline laid down their weapons on Christmas Eve and sang the carol across no man’s land.
Another beloved Christmas carol was written by a preacher after a memorable Christmas Eve.

“O little town of Bethlehem, how still we see thee lie!

More here-

National Cathedral: The nation’s church

From Kentucky-

Upon its construction, its purpose was to serve as the nation’s spiritual home. But is the Washington National Cathedral, formally dedicated as the Cathedral Church of St. Peter and St. Paul in the City and Diocese of Washington, DC, a Christian-based house of worship or an impressive national site? Perhaps the cathedral is a combination of both.

Although some ornamental work continues, construction began in 1907 and continued until 1990. The cathedral is the seat of the Presiding Bishop of the Episcopal Church and the Bishop of the Diocese of Washington.

It has been the scene, most recently, of the funerals of former President George W. H. Bush and Senator John McCain. The cathedral also played host to the funerals of President Ronald Reagan, President Gerald Ford and President Dwight D. Eisenhower, as well as many memorial services, including one for the victims of the September 11, 2001 attacks, and for presidential prayer services following inaugurations. When not in use for formal ceremonies, the cathedral is open to visitors.

More here-

Presiding Bishop Michael Curry Christmas message 2018

From ENS- (with video)

“Love came down at Christmas, because God so loved the world, that he gave,” Episcopal Church Presiding Bishop and Primate Michael Curry said in his Christmas Message 2018.

The video of the presiding bishop’s message, recorded at Bryant Park in New York, is here.

The text of the presiding bishop’s message follows:

 Presiding Bishop Michael Curry Christmas Message 2018

In the Third Chapter of John’s Gospel, Jesus says at one point, “God so loved the world that he gave his only begotten Son, that all who believe in him should not perish but have everlasting life.”
For years, I’ve often thought that that passage only referred to Jesus giving his life as a sacrifice on the cross. And to be sure, that is part of what it means. But some years ago I was reading a commentary by Raymond Brown, on the Gospel of John, and Professor Brown said that that passage not only speaks of Jesus willingly giving his life on the cross, but it actually speaks of Christmas, of God giving his very self, his very son to the world, not for anything God could get out of it, but for the good and the welfare and the well-being of the world. Of us.

More here-

Tuesday, December 18, 2018

The Jewels of England

From First Things-

In a recent issue of the center-right magazine Standpoint, the retired Anglican bishop of Rochester, Michael Nazir-Ali, argued that a post-Brexit Britain needs the “moral and spiritual framework” that can only be supplied by the “centrality of the Judaeo-Christian tradition in national life.” Certainly, the constant appeal to British “values” after every terrorist attack always begs the question of what precisely those values are, and on what they are based. However, while I do not disagree with Bishop Nazir-Ali’s hopeful plea and pious hope, the main conduits for providing the Christian “moral and spiritual framework” for the revival of national life—namely both the Anglican and the Catholic Church—seem to be unsure of their purpose and increasingly unwilling to proclaim the saving power of the gospel. Nature (or culture and society) abhors a vacuum. And as Benedict XVI wrote of an increasingly secular Europe and United States, where such a vacuum exists, something will fill it: either the growing totalitarianism of aggressive secular liberalism, or Islam, aided by large-scale immigration. 

More here-

Demo permit filed for St. Michael’s Episcopal Church

From Florida-

Residents of Suburban Heights rallied earlier this year to shut down a possible development in northwest Gainesville that would have turned a church and conservation land into a shopping plaza with drive-thru services.

But that battle isn’t over.

Earlier this week, the Jacksonville-based Episcopal Diocese of Florida, which owns the dormant St. Michael’s Episcopal Church, 4315 NW 23rd Ave., filed a permit with the city of Gainesville to demolish the building.

The move comes after the church’s owners got wind that the city’s preservation board was set in January to vote and recommend designating the building a local historic landmark. That would place a one-year hold on any possible demolition.

The church has been closed for about two years.

Morris Hylton, president of Gainesville Modern, a local organization dedicated to preserving unique local structures built from 1945 through 1975, has been fighting to save the building despite the owner’s wishes.

More here-

Monday, December 17, 2018

Ugandan LGBTQ refugees find a home in Long Beach’s ‘gayborhood’

From Los Angeles-

This story is the first in a two-part series looking at how St. Luke’s Episcopal Church in Long Beach helps immigrants.

Up until a few years ago, life was good in Uganda for Lucy. She had just graduated from a local university in 2013 and was looking forward to what came next. Unfortunately, what came next, a year later, was Lucy being forced to flee to Kenya to seek asylum after someone exposed a secret she had been keeping for some time: she was bisexual.

“They told all the people around me, the community and family,” said the 27-year-old who asked that her real name not be used.

She was threatened but received no support from her family.

“They were coming up to me, the whole community was coming up to me, so I had to run,” Lucy said. “[They said] ‘You’re an outcast, that’s not allowed here, how can you do stuff like that?’ No one physically got me. They were threatening me, they were coming to my house where I grew up.”

More here-

Surfing Milford priest rides the waves year round

 From Connecticut

Other times the sport buoys him spiritually through the grandeur of nature and life lessons that surfing teaches, including preparation, persistence, effort, planning, decision-making and patience in waiting for the right wave or one’s turn in the lineup of surfers.

The beauty of the world and the dynamics of nature as seen from the water put Lindeman in touch with God, he said.

“When I’m truly present with God, it diminishes my own agenda,” Lindeman said. “When reminded of god’s bigness and my smallness, it has a way of organizing things.”

Lindeman became an avid surfer as a young teen when his parents, both Episcopal priests, moved to San Diego.

More here-

Bishop Michael Curry Delivers Sermon in Raleigh

From North Carolina-

A powerful message about love heard around the world resonated through a Raleigh church Sunday.
  • Bishop Michael Curry spoke at Saint Ambrose Episcopal Church as the congregation celebrated its 150th anniversary.
  • Many may remember him from the Royal Wedding of Prince Harry and Meghan Markle this past spring when his riveting sermon gained international attention.
  • He has strong ties to the Tar Heel state. He was previously bishop of the Episcopal Diocese of North Carolina.
Bishop Michael Curry spoke at Saint Ambrose Episcopal Church as the congregation celebrated its 150th anniversary.

Many may remember him from the Royal Wedding of Prince Harry and Meghan Markle this past spring when his riveting sermon gained international attention.

More here-

Sunday, December 16, 2018

Brexit debate needs a change of tone, Anglican bishops say

From AP-

The Brexit debate needs a change of tone, the Church of England's bishops said Saturday, calling for national unity following a week of divisive discussions around Britain's efforts to leave the European Union.

The Anglican leaders urged politicians and the public to insert civility into the debate amid intense discussions over Prime Minister Theresa May's Brexit deal. Amid turmoil, the bishops offered prayer.

"We urge everyone - our political leaders and all of us - to bring magnanimity, respect and reconciliation to our national debate," the bishops said. "There is now an urgent need for the United Kingdom to recover a shared vision and identity to help us find a way through the immediate challenges."

More here-